Peter Macinnis, Australian science writer

pm5 (270K) Disambiguation: I am an Australian science writer, and not to be confused with the BMX chap, the Toronto ice hockey chap, the auditor, the guitarist singer or the bishop's husband in China. (Note to my nominal doppelgangers: feel free to ask me to add a better link.)

I went to school at Manly West Primary, Manly Boys' High on Sydney's northern beaches, and took many years to get a Bachelor of Science at the University of Sydney, majoring in botany and zoology. I later took even longer to get a slow but amusing Master's degree in obscure statistical jiggery-pokery. You don't really want to know more than that. Manly is the municipality where I have lived for most of my life, and this is why I commonly use the handle McManly on social networking sites.

My joys include wilderness walking where you can't find cars, reading, writing, debating and arguing, invertebrates of the leaf litter and the sea, red wine, classical music, wood working and creative computing. I derive a special kind of joy from placing my hand on an unconformity on a cliff, knowing that in that single hand-span, I can cover a time span of 100 million years.

I am rather good at nailing down fraud and while a lot of the work I have done remains confidential, I blocked a massive attempt by Control Data Corporation staff to sell the PLATO computer-based education system to the NSW government in the early 1980s, using fraudulent data, I was the first to detect a piece of fraudulent chemistry, 166 years after it was published and I once displayed two savages in a golden cage (good fraud investigators need also to be good hoaxers). That is relevant when you read my account of the Ugly Islands, created originally for a public examination in New South Wales, now extensively revised and presented as true (the details aren't, but they were convincing enough for Encyclopaedia Britannica to have repeated them at one stage). My page on Cootaburra's giant dung beetle was created as a gentle amusement, but it seems to have taken in quite a few people, so obviously I am good at convincing people. As you may realise from some of the fraud links above, I can also be heard on radio.

I spent much of my working life in education of one sort or another, but these days I mainly write, and mostly, I write books. That said, I care about science for young people, and science projects. I am passionate about my home town, Sydney, but I am also fond of Lord Howe Island. My main expertise lies in Bayesian statistics, educational measurement, science things, word herding and telling tales, short or tall. I try not to use them all at once, but they often get tangled up. I want to know more about most things, but I especially wish to be expert in distinguishing Guinness from the hands of different master brewers. It's dreadful stuff, and I wouldn't normally touch it, but for the assistance it gives in raising the tall tales.

About Chris Macinnis, my other half

Born Christine Clarke, she lived in Perth, then moved to Sydney where she attended Loreto Convent Kirribilli, University of Sydney B. Sc. (Hons) in botany, Teaching Fellow in botany, then a teacher, dropping out to raise kids to the age of reason, gave up when they didn't (they never do), and returned to teaching. She played with computers in the 1960s, and actively messes with the computers in our house, of which there are quite a few. We are going to have to buy another one, soon. She has a less public profile than mine. We have three children, all adult. This page is mainly about me, because I write for a public audience. If you want to know more about us, you probably won't get it, but try emailing.

This file is http://members.ozemail.com.au/~macinnis/index.htm. Other key pages on this site, given here as explicit URLs, mainly for search engines, include

Peter's writing pages / Lord Howe Island pages / Sydney tourism pages / Science Project pages / Science experiment pages / Ugly Islands pages / Ockham's Razor pages

This page began in early 1994, and it was last revised on July 24, 2010.
This page was created by Peter Macinnis -- macinnis@ozemail.com.au (But that email address is a spam trap that won't work unless you put my first name in front of it!)

The stuff on this site is copyright for any commercial use. Permission will be readily granted for reproduction of material on this site for educational, non-profit, or socially useful purposes, and ideas are never subject to copyright, in any case. Personal copying is allowed free of let or hindrance, if you can find a use for it.

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