"Then it is dark; a night where kings in golden suits ride elephants over the mountains." - John Cheever

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Short Sharp Science

The New Scientists has launched a couple of blogs. They look quite good - Short Sharp Science, and Technology Blog.

Monday, February 27, 2006

About Time

Excellent four-part documentary series started last night on BBC4, in which a world-renowned physicist examines the philosophy, history and science of time. Although it didn't mention Seamus's bete noir, the alarm clock, it did cover the tyranny of 'public time' - apparently Henry Ford and WWI are largely to blame.

It also filmed some fascinating experiments about biological body clocks and how we perceive things time differently (rats on cannabis and cocaine were quite amusing). For instance, a man was given a LCD which was flashing too fast to read the number being displayed. He was then dropped from a crane at a height of 12 storeys. As he fell (into a safety net), he stared at the LCD and could read the number. The idea that is in moments of intense panic/stimulation, our brains process information faster - hence the reported sensation of things appearing to slow down when people are involved in car accidents etc.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

In a completely different vain....

Have a look at www.fluideffect.com. More to the point, go to their portfolio, click agree and then go to the before/after section. You'll find some pictures of celebs (don't worry; safe for work). Now you'll see a link to the left that says "click to see before". What this does is shows you what the picture looked like before they touched it up in photoshop (or whatever). Very interesting. Incredible shrinking women and everything! And now you realise that I did mean "vain"...

Hunger Site

www.thehungersite.com is an interesting idea. Click on the button and the sponsers give money to hunger charities. Simple.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Stop the war! oh

I meant to post this a couple of days ago, on the third anniversary. Fat lot of good it did.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Just finished the latest novel by Jonathan Safran Foer. It's ambitious, brilliant in parts but only partly successful. It is similar in style and structure to his other book "Everything is Illuminated", in that it is half based around an eccentric, very funny narrator and half around his forebear's various recollections and adventures through global traumas - specifically the bombing of Dresden and 9-11. Anyway, worth a read.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Climate Change Experiment

The BBC and the Met office are doing one of those things where they use the idle power of your computer to run climate models and simulations - BBC Climate Change Experiment.

Are there any IT issues we should know about with such things, John and Seamus?

On a related matter, I heard a thing on the radio the other day that I thought was clever. Environmentalists in the US have come up with the phrase 'What would Jesus drive?', therby getting the message through to vast swathes of the population who might not have given it much thought before. Let's face it, it wouldn't be a Hummer, would it?

Finally, saw an article about 'off-grid' living in a copy of The Times I found on the tube yesterday. It included reference to site called www.off-grid.net, and an off-grid holiday cottage you can rent in Argyll.

Dulux are getting in on this North London bohemian racket...

Saturday, February 11, 2006


In case you're curious, these are the cartoons.

They're not very good, but not all that offensive either, from our perspective. Funny old business.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Monday, February 06, 2006

Cartoon Time

I think this bloke answers the question he raises: " 'They want to test our feelings,' protester Mawli Abdul Qahar Abu Israra told the BBC.

'They want to know whether Muslims are extremists or not. Death to them and to their newspapers,' he said."

The world's gone nuts.

Four killed in cartoon protests

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Participant Productions

Oh well, Google might have fallen from grace slightly, but there's always e-bay founder Jeff Skoll's Participant Productions, dedicated to funding popular movies with a liberal message. (Independent Online Edition >Feature in Independent.)

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The Global Id

Interesting piece about Google in London Review of Books.