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

Friday, January 29, 2010

1963 as seen from 2010

Just watched Episodes 1 & 2 of Madmen series 3. Total genius. Urgently need to move to upstate New York and start commuting to Madison Avenue.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Are environmentalists bad for the planet?

Just caught the end of quite an interesting Analysis on Radio 4, in which Newsnight's 'Ethical Man' asked whether environmentalists were bad for the planet ? His point being that the green movement's hard line approach makes other people hostile and resistant to environmental issues. It's a debate worth having, I think. Personally, I like the sound of most of what they have to say, but agree that most of the population are so offended by the implications of a lot of it that it makes them resent and reject the whole issue, often angrily. Think I'll Listen Again and get the beginning.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

2010 as forseen in 1972

Somebody's unearthed a child's book from 1972 which predicts how we will all live in 2010.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Ah takes me back

The Buckfast Code

The Secret Life of Chaos

Did anyone see The Secret Life of Chaos on BBC4 last night? Excellent documentary on chaos theory. You'll have heard some of it before (Turing, Mandelbrot etc.), but it was a very watchable and well put together overview, nicely directed, and not much actual maths! They get into the relationship between chaos and evolution, and there's a fascinating bit where some maths geniuses develop a programme that enables a computer to learn how to make a little virtual avatar guy walk around without falling over. What they actually do is produce 100 different avatar-controlling programmes, then let the computer evolve a better programme through natural selection. It ends up with a far more sophisticated ability to control the avatar than a human would have been able to programme from scratch. It's repeated a few times (see the link), including next Saturday (17th) at 8.30pm, or is on iPlayer.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Will Self on catastrophe books

"Just because we've been crying wolf for decades now it doesn't mean that there isn't a whole pack of them, it just means they haven't come to blow your house down yet."

(I just read elsewhere that 'catastrophe' literally means a 'down stroke' in fortunes.)

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

mathematical constants

If I was going to make two sure-fire predictions for the future, they would be that the world is going to get warmer, and that some weirdo will calculate an even higher number for pi.

Sunday, January 03, 2010