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

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Best of the Fitz 2007

It's been a relatively quiet year for the Fitz, though we did of course manage a get-together back in June. Also, some good innovations in terms of the sidebar have helped keep it as dynamic ever. In no particular order, here is my traditional pick of the year's postings:

How Things Change

Finding Someone

Fitz Redux

Buckie Gift pack

Northern pilgrimage

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Monday, November 26, 2007

Space Needle Webcam

Our office in Seattle has gone completely offline (can't even phone them) - have therefore been looking at the Space Needle webcam to see if there is any extreme weather happenning over there or suchlike.

All looks OK but looking down on downtown Seattle it occurs to me what a fantastic place it must be in the run up to Xmas - great shops and coffee bars, Frasier like ambience etc etc. Aaah...

TV tonight

This looks really good.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

L.A.S.E.R. Tag

And while I'm doing videos, here's one that should appeal to the artist in you all ;)


Liquid Rescale Images

I found this really cool new style of image rescaling. Have a look at the video to see what it's about. Also, there's a GIMP plugin to do this, so you can try it out on your own photos! Website is http://liquidrescale.wikidot.com/en:examples

Arrgh Arrgh Arrgh

Man-sized sea scorpion claw found

Monday, November 19, 2007


Has anyone been watching the Flight of the Conchords on BBC4? I didn't much like the look of it at first, but it's now my favourite show. They have a nice line in underplayed, self-deprecating humour - see this little medley of jokes at the expense of New Zealand.

It's all quite gentle too - a nice break from cynicism. (Tuesdays, 9.30pm.)

Monday, November 05, 2007

Northern Pilgrimage

We're on holiday in Avimore at the moment. On the way up we stopped off at a place that I know has been of great importance to some of us in our individual spiritual journeys.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Jimmy Eat World - Hear You Me

Oh right - really good songs are still being written.

Timothy and Rafe Spall Vs Denholm Eliot and Julian Sands

Not sure how I feel about this.

The Most Beautiful Planetary Maps Ever

These maps, featured in a Wired News story, are cool - they look like abstract designs, or some kind of fractal/yellow submarine hybrid, but actually show things like the geological composition of the dark side of the moon.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Inspirational blog

This blog is the best thing I've read all year, I think. I've been reading the archives in chronological order. First blog to make me cry at any rate.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Monday, October 29, 2007

Happiness doesn't cost the earth

The most happy European countries have smaller carbon footprints, according to NEF. Although we don't all have Iceland's geo-thermal resources, there's probably something in this.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Free Rice

An interesting site: improve your vocabulary and donate to charity at the same time! A bit addictive too.


Monday, October 08, 2007


Seems Feels like only yesterday the that this CGI was cutting edge...

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Bring on the Bears

I often find myself wishing that bears were brought back to the UK. Everytime they turn up on US news bulletins, they are invariably doing something brilliant.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Least appropriate fun run costumes

Watching the Great North Run on telly a moment ago, I wondered what the least appropriate novelty fun run costume would be. I reckon 'suicide bomber' - that would make everyone run faster.

(I've just posted this by email, by the way. Didn't know you could do that - it's an option in the Blogger settings.)

Telecom Rehab

I wholeheartedly agree with this - bring back the days of phantom meetings and time killed on park benches of an afternoon. The expectation of immediate response to all communications is a tyranny that creates stress and anxiety in the modern worker. People used to communicate by letter and the world seemed to function ok.

Friday, September 28, 2007

I Know What I Know

Might as well keep posting this evening's musical oddessy. Music was definitely better in the 80s.

Boy in the Bubble

Last one. Prophetic, as the one of the YouTube commentators notes.

In Your Eyes

Actually Peter Gabriel is way better than Phil and Co of the same era

Will now stop posting youtube videos (for this evening anyway) as QI is about to start.

Invisible Touch

Another storming track from back in the day. Phil Collins pretending that his drumsticks are a microphone is bloody annoying even 20 years later. Some part of me still reckons 1980s grey flecked suits are dead cool though, couple of beauts on show here.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Dark Ages

Not as polished as the (later) album version but this ROCKS from 4:57 in. Also check the lyrics. Awesome.

Buckie Gift Pack

Apparently spotted in a Glasgow Haddows: bottle of Buckfast, 20 Mayfair and some skins.

Scots rank second in world for obesity

Obesity levels in Scotland are the second highest in the developed world behind the US, statistics have revealed.

Come on Scots! Let's beat the Yanks and be number 1! Double pie suppers all round...

My Desk...

Originally uploaded by johnmain.

Relaxing, creative workspace you betcha!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Writer's Rooms

I find things like this strangely fascinating - particularly when you see how makeshift and uncomfortable some of their set ups are. There was a good programme on Radio 4 about this once too, although I can't remember who any of the anecdotes were about - people who could only write standing up, or by dictating perfectly formed sentences to a scribe and so on. The collected Paris Review interviews are also good on this stuff.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Manilow - what a star

Really! Is it just me or is he turning into Julian Clary btw?

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Facebook in the Flesh

"Jean Baudrillard, as any philosophy student will tell you, theorized that, in the postmodern world, “the territory no longer precedes the map.” In other words, if you are a member of N.Y.U.’s class of 2011, you probably arrived in New York City with a pre-existing web of soon-to-be college friends from Facebook..."

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Scotland 1 - 0 France

Blimey - what were the chances of that happening? Can we possibly keep it up and actually qualify for a tournament? (I'm suspending my self-imposed avoidance of football for one evening only.)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Kill the Gun

Check out this brilliant commercia.l If only commercials directors were getting this kinds of commissions more often the tired cliche that "advertising is art" would have a bit more going for it.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Alan Turing Chess Program

I was told a really interesting story toward the end of last week - not sure if you guys are aware of it. Apparently in 1948-50 Turing wrote the first ever computer chess program, even though there weren't any computers in existence that could actually run it. Lacking a computer, Turing had to run the program manually, logically following the procedural steps to play chess (and taking about half an hour to make each move).

The coolest thing of all is the name he gave to his program without a computer... "Turbo Champ."

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Vantage Point

I went to see a band called Vantage Point on Sunday - a guy from work's the drummer. Not my usual kind of thing but totally enjoyed it. The audience were great too - interesting how aggressive, heavy thrash metal attracts really nice people, while casuals etc tend to go for lovey dovey dance music.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

My dog's got two noses...

How does it smell?

Er, pretty well actually.

(Can this be real?)

My wife's gone to the West Indies...

Friday, August 03, 2007

Sunday, July 29, 2007


Is anyone else participating in this madness?

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

No sun link to climate change

(I can't seem to edit the "Title" field in Mozilla btw - Tom did you have this problem?)

There seem to be a lot of people about who have bought the cosmic ray hypothesis re climate warming - thought it might be worth linking to this BBC news item (which I'm going to email to my brother in law).

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

I saw Clerks II earlier this evening. Doesn't have the freshness of the original, and is very uneven in tone with a disappointingly soppy, and deeply unconvincing, romantic plot line. However, the characters are all there and the climatic scene with the donkey is spectacular - genuinely laughout loud funny.

Sunday, July 01, 2007


Mindfulness, to put it as plainly as possible, is the ability to observe one's own internal sensations with the calm clarity of an external witness. It has been described by the great Buddhist monk Nyanaponika as "the clear and single-minded awareness of what actually happens to us and in us, at the successive moments of perception."

I came across the concept and practice of mindfulness when I first started trying to actively manage my Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) about 3 years ago. In his book Brain Lock Jeffrey Schwarz advocates using mindfulness as part of his 4 step approach to managing the condition, basically through being mindfully aware of distressing thoughts as they arise and working around them rather than trying to argue with them or push them away (which - owing to the mechanism of OCD - makes them more likely to recur).

As well as being a useful technique for managing a troublesome psychiatric disorder, it turns out mindfulness is a central tenet of buddhism. By paying non judgemental bare attention to one's internal states one is able to observe things as they really are rather than continually reacting to thoughts, feelings and emotions. Two quotes from the Buddha:

"Mindfulness, I declare, is all-helpful"
"All things can be mastered by mindfulness"

Mindfulness can be cultivated by regularly meditating - most commonly by focusing on observing one's breathing. There are quite a few guided meditation mp3s out there on the internet - the introductions and lead throughs by Kamalashila linked to here are pretty good, I think. I try and do a 15 or 20 minute meditation on most days and certainly find it beneficial.

"May all beings be happy" :-)

Friday, June 29, 2007

Fitz Redux

Good to revive the Fitz nights yesterday, even if it was a Thursday. From what I can remember, the following topics needed follow up: Semi-identical twins; huge ligers (are they sterile?) and pizzly bears; mindfulness, meditation, depressive realists and forms of OCD; the tribulations of middle-managers; the share of London businesses that account for half of employment. What have I missed?

Also, something I meant to mention and didn't get around to - the German super baby. This is a kid with a gene mutation that makes him super-strong but otherwise healthy. You could view it as an interesting example of evolution at work - a random mutation produces a version of the species that would have been more likely to survive and pass on his genes (in cave man days at least, providing he doesn't need to eat twice as much food or anything).

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Fitzrovian Thursday

Hallo chaps. I'm going to be in London on Thursday from lunchtime'ish to mid evening - anyone interested in meeting up? Planning on visiting a couple of art galleries in the afternoon before maybe repairing to Charlotte Street...

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Size Matters

An interesting look at the Earth relative to other astronomical objects. It's a small world after all!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007


Has anyone tried using Ubuntu ? We've got a couple of old (4-5 yrs) laptops at work that are a bit knackered, and I was wondering whether they might run a bit better on Ubuntu than Windows (2000 in their case)? Providing they meet necessary system requirements. John? Seumas?

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Finding Someone

On Wednesday I found a notepad - black cover, maybe A6 size pages - lying on the pavement, near Old Street station. I picked it up and looked around for anyone that might be searching for something they'd dropped. No sign of such a person. I continued to my bus stop at which a 55 bus miraculously appeared immediately. I got on and had a quick look through the pad. It had a scrawled letter, written in red ink and the page torn in two, shoved between its pages.

The letter, scored with crossed out lines and added comments, seemed the least likely avenue for finding the owner, so I put that to one side and opened up the notepad itself. The inside cover simply said "March" with the first page looking something like a diary entry. Skipping to the back revealed some more writing, again which looked like a diary entry. There didn't seem to be any contact details; no names, phone numbers, email...I felt really uncomfortable at this point: I don't want to read someone's private writings (or, more honestly, I kind of want to but would feel guilty about it!)

Anyway, off the bus and time to wander and wonder as I made my way down the street to a convenient pub, halfway between the bus stop and my Room With A View. Now, reasoning:
  • If I don't read this diary I'll never be able to find out who it belongs to so I might as well bin it and they'd never know or care if I'd read it or not and they'll never get it back
  • If I do read it, I may be able to track the owner, or at least find out if it's worth it, and there's no need to feel guilty because it was necessary and they'll get back their valued writing
Result! I get to do what I want and it's the right thing to do!

So I read it. Of course, I'm not going to tell you what it said, even if I could remember it that precisely. She, and somehow I knew it was "she" before the first direct reference, is an artist. And the entries are various musings on the state of being an artist, what is important, what is irrelevant, what influences the way you perceive and think and feel. There are thoughts on her cultural background, being Bangladeshi, and her social background. On connections and relationships and paths in life. All scribbled on the pages of this little black book.

I find it strangely fascinating, like things I've read, but not quite, and not a novel: no pretence at professional writing, but all the more powerful for that. It seems to me like an odd mix between the second half of "The Collector" (John Fowles) and "My Name is Asher Lev" (Chaim Potok). And always this awareness that this wasn't written for my entertainment but as a personal journal. That my purpose is simply to find out who this belonged to, not to find it interesting. All I've found so far, identity-wise, is that the letter, rewritten in the notepad, is to "G*" and that she studies at M* College of Art. Maybe I can look up the list of lecturers and find one called G* who has a Bangladeshi student who's written him a letter. It's kind of an angry letter though and what if she hasn't actually sent it? Will it get her in trouble? Enough thinking! Do this tomorrow! The pub closes and I stagger home to bed.

I head blearily in to work. I get the notepad out and look at it again. No inspiration. I look once more at the letter. Wait, how did I miss that?! The letter is signed "S*"! So I now have a first name; this should be easy. I go to the M* college website and do a search for S*. Nothing. Even G* doesn't give me much useful information. I'm used to this though: our own website search is useless so I tend to just search it using Google. I google for "S* Bangladeshi" and the first hit is an artist's website...an artist called S* who studies at M*! That's got to be her!

Email: "Have you lost a notepad near Old St? Last entry was a letter to someone called G*"
Reply: "That's me! Thank you!"

...and we arrange to meet at Starbucks. I have lunch at Old Street during which I get a text saying she's arrived. I go to meet her. Walk in the door and I'm not sure if she's there. There's a girl by the window who looks maybe Bangladeshi but prettier than the website picture and seems younger. I'm not sure. I call her mobile. Sure enough, she picks up her phone so I hang up and wander over.

"Ah, then this belongs to you..."

...and present the notepad. Absurdly, I feel reluctant to let it go. My mini-adventure is over. I explain a little of how I found it, that I read it, how I looked up her name. And then I leave. I don't have a coffee.

Of course I did want to stay and talk and discuss things with her, but I didn't. And the reason why not? Well:
  • [complete lie reason]: I had to get back to work (hah! like anyone would believe that!)
  • [partial lie; partially honest reason]: I couldn't think of a way of saying, "Hey, I just read your private diary! Would you like to chat about it?!" that didn't sound extremely weird and creepy and just fundamentally wrong
  • [totally honest reason]: I'm painfully shy with people I don't already know, so I couldn't talk to her. A problem I've had since I was a child. I'm hoping it will go away when I become an adult and all my insecurities and worries disappear, which, when I was younger, I presumed happened sometime in your late twenties. Clearly it must happen sometimes near forty or something as I haven't hit it yet and I'm now thirty-four.
So that's the end of my tale. I've learned a bit more about myself and about other people just from finding something lying in the street. Perhaps there's a moral to this, but I suspect I've really written it because I still feel guilty about reading someone's diary.

So maybe I'll just send S* this link and let her read my side of things...Maybe.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Monday, May 14, 2007

Glasgow Urban Model

This is pretty impressive: Glasgow Urban Model. (See also here and here.)

They should turn it into a game - like Doom, but with neds.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Things can only get better... !

Remember that? Hard to believe the '97 election results came in a whole decade ago. How naively optimistic I was.

Three of the original cabinet have died since then - Cook, Dewar and Mowlam. Shame.

Monday, April 30, 2007

I don't get fashion. Who's issuing all the orders? And why does everyone seem so eager to obey?

Charlie Brooker on good form.

How Things Change

Confusing numbers

I came across this Dilbert cartoon the other day, and it reminded me of an essay by Ray Kurzweil called The Law of Accelerating Returns. You may have read this already, in which he talks about The Singularity, when technology will reach the point of advancing too quickly for humans to comprehend it. If you haven't read it, do! It makes some fascinating points.

In the meantime, you may be wondering what possible link there is between The Singularity and the above Dilbert cartoon. Well, one of the main points in that essay was that humans tend to think linearly. We intuitively understand numbers if they grow steadily, whereas exponential growth (like doubling numbers) confuses us.

In this case, Scott Adams has got his sums wrong. Which just goes to show that even an economist can get things wrong sometimes! The trouble is that his numbers look right, whereas the right numbers don't, if you see what I mean. Actually, you can see what I mean: here's a version with the numbers corrected.

Now that's a big number. In fact, at least to me, it looks ridiculously big. But, it's the correct number for 25 different possibilities in every possible combination (actually, "permutation" is the correct word here).

How permutations are calculated (if you know this already, or just can't be bothered with it, just skip to the next section)

The number of different permutations isn't too difficult to work out, at least when the numbers are small enough to be manageable!

Starting with one, if we just have one item (say "A"), then the number of
permutations is one: just A.

With two (AB) the number of permutations is two: AB and BA
This is pretty easy so far...

With three (ABC) the number of
permutations is six: ABC, BAC...CBA, BCA...ACB, CAB

Ok, this is a little tricker, so let's think about what we've done. For the first two permutations I just stuck the C onto the end of the two AB permutations. Then, for each of the two letters in turn (A and B) I swapped them with C. So when C was swapped with A, ABC became CBA. So, I basically just did the two (AB) permutations three times over (including swaps). 3 x 2 = 6

What happens with the permutations for four items (this can be written as "4!", which is a lot shorter!) Well, we can just add the D to the end of all the previous ones (so that's 1 times 6 permutations) and then swap the D with each of the remaining letters (which is 3 times 6 permutations). In other words, 4! = 4 x 6 = 24

Let's summarise:
1! = 1
2! = 2 x 1 = 2
3! = 3 x 2 x 1 = 6
4! = 4 x 3 x 2 x 1 = 24

So even if you don't get my mangled attempt at an explanation above, I'm sure you can spot the pattern!

Back to Dilbert

Ok, if it's so easy how come Mr Adams got it so completely wrong? Well, as you can see, the numbers early on in this series aren't particularly big. In fact, you'd be forgiven for thinking that I was lying about 25! being so huge! It seems part of a completely different pattern. This is really where our intuitive sense breaks down.

And this is where the relevance to Kurzweil's essay comes in. These odd and dramatic changes don't really matter when it's just an abstract number sequence (Ok, I'm sure it's vitally important for many engineers, but I mean for regular folk!). What happens when we start leaving our technological 3! and 4! with their nice, understandable results and start getting towards our incomprehensible 25! though? This is what the rate of technological advance really means.

But let's have a version that has something closer to a comforting 625. Will 720 do? Here we are:

Still doesn't look right though...

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Email Bankruptcy

Quite an appealing idea. I wonder if I could extend it to other areas - work projects, domestic chores etc.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Sam Leith on Patriotism

Another storming piece from the Telegraph comment page.

Wedding Belles

Anyone else see this? We videoed it on Thursday and watched it last night - pretty good, I thought, probably better than anything else Irvine Welsh has done post Trainspotting. His range might be limited but he does what he does very well.

I was also impressed to see cameos from Balamory's Eadie Mcreadie and Archie.

Friday, March 30, 2007

From the New Scientist

"If your baby has a fever, you go to the doctor. If the doctor says you need to intervene, you don't say, 'I read a science fiction novel that says it's not a problem'" - so said Al Gore when testifying to congress, as quoted in New Scientist this week (with Michael Crichton in mind I'm sure).

In a similar vein, they've also got an interview with Darwin's great great grandson Matthew Chapman, who attended the court hearing in Dover Pennsylvania last year when they were trying to teach intelligent design in the local school. He makes some good points, relevant to our earlier discussion about how people can convince themselves about particular theories contrary to the apparent evidence. He talks about how the intelligent design advocates 'would intellectually and morally contort temselves to cling to ideas one felt even they did not quite believe', and about how there must be 'some part of the fundamentalist mind that recognises the facts that contradict a literal biblical interpretation, yet they insist that another truth in conflict with this exists.'

His rather elegant suggestion is to teach intelligent design in classrooms, and then use the scientific method to challenge it - thereby teaching kids how the whole process of scientific enquiry works.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Global warming doom mongering thought for the day

From the Al Gore testifying to Congress story:

Representative Joe Barton, the leading Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, challenged global warming science as "uneven and evolving".

"You're not just off a little, you're totally wrong," he said of Mr Gore's conclusions that carbon dioxide emissions contribute to global warming.

Given that people like Barton, N Lawson (snr), Crichton et al must appreciate that there is consensus among climate scientists, it strikes me they can't be too worried about what later generations think of them. I'm a bit surprised they're not more concerned about their Historical Legacy.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Warmer, Warmer

I know I'm always posting about this stuff (maybe we need a sister blog just for global warming doom-mongering), but there's an excellent piece by the ever-reliable John Lanchester in the current LRB: Warmer, Warmer.

"I don’t think I can be the only person who finds in myself a strong degree of psychological resistance to the whole subject of climate change. I just don’t want to think about it. This isn’t an entirely unfamiliar sensation: someone my age is likely to have spent a couple of formative decades trying not to think too much about nuclear war, a subject which offered the same combination of individual impotence and prospective planetary catastrophe... I suspect we’re reluctant to think about it because we’re worried that if we start we will have no choice but to think about nothing else."

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Real Climate's take on last week's TV

Specifically the Great Global Warming Swindle. Didn't bother to watch the program, not surprised to read it was a load of mendacious tosh.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Fitzrovian Tuesdays Flickr group

I've set up an invite only Flickr group for Fitzrovian Tuesdays - Colin, Tom and Seumas can I get a note of your current email address and/or Flickr usernames so I can invite you to this?

Should hopefully be able to set it up so the most recent photos go on the RHS sidebar, just underneath the "Contributors" bit...

Friday, February 23, 2007

The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar

I've never been a great fan of the Lord of the Rings, always found the books a bit humourless. Did quite enjoy the films however and the MMOG looks amazing.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Seumas post by proxy

Britain's climate change cover-up

"Britain creates 200million extra tonnes of greenhouse gases which it is not declaring, campaigners claim.

It actually produces up to 15 per cent of the world's carbon dioxide rather than just the two per cent which the Government admits to.

The gap is mainly down to companies failing to declare the emissions of their factories abroad, says a report from Christian Aid.

Andrew Pendleton, the charity's senior climate analyst, said: 'Our research reveals a truly staggering quantity of unreported carbon dioxide is emitted around the world by the top 100 companies."

This is a good point, I think, and I'm quite impressed that they ran it as a huge splash on the front of Metro today, of all things, instead of Britney Spears's haircut or Jade's rehab or some other rubbish.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Hundred Marksian Tuesdays

I see the Fitz made it into Time Out's 50 best West End pubs ( http://www.timeout.com/london/features/2511/5.html ) - best one in Fitzrovia, they reckon. Bit of pub history provided, but strangely no mention of the birth of Fitzrovian Tuesdays, attended by John, Tom, Seumas, Me and an enormous computer monitor.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Sidebar content

Has anyone got any side projects that they'd like to link into from the Fitzrovian Tuesdays sidebar? The new version of blogger allows RSS content to be loaded in very easily, as well as normal text and links.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Hawksmoor: "the Devil's Architect"

Like most popular culture, I've come to this pretty late on, but I read Peter Ackroyd's "Hawksmoor" last week - his gothic thriller based around the six churches designed by Nicholas Hawksmoor. It's intriguing rather than hugely enjoyable and ultimately collapses under the weight of its own symbolic structure, but it is worth googling the largely bogus mythologizing, psychogeographic ramblings and high-brow Da Vinci Code-type conspiracies that form part of the Hawksmoor story, which Alan Moore and Iain Sinclair have also made use of in their work. This Guardian article has a more sober take on the churches.

Saturday, January 27, 2007


Hunter S. Thompson photography exhibition at the Michael Hoppen gallery 3rd February – 10th March 2007. Looks pretty good, though don't think I'm that likely to be in London over these dates. It's hell in the provinces...

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Adsense back

And we're above the magic $100 mark, so can try and get hold of some of the moolah at some stage...

Friday, January 19, 2007

Doomsday Clock

5 minutes to midnight. There's a great line in the Metafilter thread about this link:

As an Iron Maiden fan, I'm looking forward to when it's two minutes to midnight.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

New Blogger

We can switch this blog over to the new version of blogger now btw - however you need google (rather than blogger) accounts to post to it. Does everyone have google accounts?


Had a bit of a search and tracked down carbonfund.org - the carbon offset people that RealClimate.org approves of (in its measured, reasonable kind of way).

Going to have a serious look at contributing toward this scheme, or a similar one. Not sure what the most credible UK based scheme would be?

Monday, January 15, 2007

Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame

I visited the Science Fiction Museum in Seattle this afternoon. Overall the place is really strong on the more intellectual and literary aspects of science-fiction - I'd snobbishly thought it might be just a load of movie props. Lots of early edition books and magazines on display with intelligent accompanying notes. They have the orginal draft of Neal Stephenson's Baroque Cycle - he wrote it in longhand and it's a stack of foolscap about 4 foot high. Best of all, London Transport's "Safe Beneath..." poster has made it into the "Brave New Worlds" section!

Friday, January 12, 2007

A bank for wind power

Here's one for the wind power naysayers - various methods of storing off-peak wind-generated energy to use during peak times. Including 'flow batteries', whereby once the battery is fully charged they move the chemicals to a storage tank, fill the battery up again, and charge that - resulting in huge tank of stored energy. And hydro-schemes which pump water up to the reservoir using wind power, then open the sluices for hydro power when needed. Which goes to show that you can't write wind power off - the more we invest in it, the more we'll learn about how to make it more productive and practical. (Log-in required I'm afraid.)

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Scottish Taleban

Well Scottish Highlands may lead the way on renewables, but they're clearly not entirely up-to-speed with 21st century

Thursday, January 04, 2007


Pee-cycling! Is there nothing we can do that isn't harmful? Will we have to start using bed pans again? Note the new NS environment section - pretty good.

Happy new year, by the way. Back at work today - bah!