Wednesday 19 December 2007

Dmx shock collar

Ever find that during a show one of the followspot operators has a tendency to snooze? Or that flyrail personnel have fallen asleep backstage?

Using the DMX512 shock collar you can wake them up and send a shocking reminder directly from the lighting console.

This looks like a fantastic idea - might even make it into production ;)
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Tuesday 4 December 2007

Comic abuse

The New York Archdiocese of the Roman Catholic church has created an unusual weapon against child abuse.

Following many humiliating sexual-abuse scandals, the Roman Catholic Church is trying to convince parishioners that they're doing everything they can to prevent such tragedies from happening again. In the New York Archdiocese that means a surprisingly direct, abuse-themed coloring book for kids that's being sent to parishioners across the area.

At first glance, "Being Friends, Being Safe, Being Catholic" is what you'd expect from a Christian handout: lessons in loving thy neighbor and knowing we're all special in God's eyes, plus a fun word search with names of people whom kids can trust (parents, counselors, teachers).

Many of the book's cartoon-sketch drawings, which were created by a church volunteer, are light in tone and narrated by an angel looming overhead. But on one page, the angel warns of an online predator—with chest hair exposed—who attempts to chat with a child; on another (shown above), the angel implies that children should make sure they're never alone in a room with a priest.

In a way it is a shame that the diocese has found it necessary to produce such a document, but it is a symptom of the society that we find ourselves in. As a youthworker myself I have to abide by rules like this, much as they may seem inconvenient and uneccessary most of the time, they aren't just there to protect the kids they are also there to protect the leaders. If you aren't alone with a kid it is difficult for them to create false accusations at a later date (not that I'm saying this is the case in every case of child abuse - but I'm sure a very small percentage of these type of claims are fabricated).

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Tuesday 27 November 2007

Mind the spoof message

One of the tube's official announcers has been sacked after making a whole bunch of witty announcements in the same smooth voice that has warned millions to mind the gap. Then she posted them on her website

It'll almost certainly be overloaded, I hope it'll be up and running again soon
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Monday 19 November 2007

LED Colour changing Lamp

I really like the idea of LED lamps, more efficient than the incandecsent type and (I think?) the CFL type.

This lamp look great not only is does it fit into a standard lamp socket (looks like an ES27) but it comes with a remote to change the colour. You can get it from thinkgeek, however it looks like it only runs from US 110V, so no good for me in the UK :( .
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Wednesday 14 November 2007

Sunken Lamp

This lamp took its inspiration from the Titanic sinking below the waves. It is deliberately designed to be a stylised version of the classic lamp form and plays with the traditional mindset that furniture pieces have.

Maximum 60W ES fitting (if you are that interested)

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Tuesday 13 November 2007

Safe air travel?

The ban on dangerous liquids must have annoyed almost everyone who has travelled on an aircraft since it was introduced. I must say I feel so much safer because of it (sarcasm added)

This guy says he accidentally left his Swiss Army knife in his backpack as he went through the TSA check point, an all too common mistake.

Thankfully, the TSA agent spotted his package of pudding and confiscated it, missing the knife completely.

"I was passing through Sacto airport security checkpoint. I sent my carry-on backpack through the Xray machine. The operator found something, and raised her hand for assistance. Another TSA person came over and pulled my bag out of the machine and commenced with a hand search. Inside he found a package of unopened Hunts Pudding Snacks in my lunch. He confiscated the pudding "it's a liquid" and sent me on my way. Absurd, but forgettable. However later in the day I had a layover, and was going through my backpack looking for a pen and came across my Swiss Army Knife with a 4" locking blade. I had been camping and had inadvertently left it in my backpack. I was stunned that the moron TSA agent had confiscated my pudding, but missed my knife. I am left wondering if the X-ray person ordered the hand search because she saw my knife on the xray, but the hand searcher got thrown off his game by the delicious, and apparently dangerous pudding. If so the lack of communication between the Xrayer and hand searcher indicates a serious weak spot in their protocol. After I discovered the knife, I took a cell phone shot of it in the airport bathroom, and a shot of it as I was LEAVING the secure "sterile" area of the airport."

Would you say pudding is a liquid?
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Monday 29 October 2007

Reverse Spoke Illusion

I love optical illusions - this one is one of my favorites. I'm not going to write any more this site is fantastic please go and see it.
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Thursday 11 October 2007

The Answer Machine

Science fiction sometimes is incredibly inaccurate, however on occasion it is fantastically accurate. When it is accurate it amazes me for instance the idea for an 'Answer Machine' from a 1964 book Childcraft Volume 6: How Things Change

does this sound like Google to you?
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Wednesday 19 September 2007

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's Superbaby

A New Zealand couple have decided to call their newborn son Superman -- but only because their chosen name of 4Real has been rejected by the government registry.

Pat and Sheena Wheaton say they will get around the decision by the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages by officially naming their son Superman but referring to him as 4Real, the New Zealand Herald newspaper has reported.

The couple decided on the name after seeing the baby in an ultrasound scan for the first time and realizing their baby was "for real."

They decided 4Real was the best way to write it, but the name was rejected because the registrar said a name could not contain a digit.

"No matter what its going to stay 4Real," Wheaton told the Herald, "I'm certainly not a quitter."

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Monday 10 September 2007

Library furniture

Those of you that know me will know I love reading books, and I have loads, if you want to you can see them at

It has a wheel on the front - which on first glance looks purely artistic - but it actually enables you to treat this chair like a wheelbarrow. One day I'm going to own a house and equip it with a library - it will be full of furniture like this.

It might want some upholstery tho

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Thursday 23 August 2007

Reincarnated Lama

In one of history's more absurd acts of totalitarianism, China has banned Buddhist monks in Tibet from reincarnating without government permission.
According to a statement issued by the State Administration for Religious Affairs, the law, which goes into effect next month and strictly stipulates the procedures by which one is to reincarnate, is "an important move to institutionalize management of reincarnation."
According to a 2005 Gallup poll, 20 percent of all U.S. adults believe in reincarnation. Recent surveys by the Barna Group, a Christian research nonprofit, have found that a quarter of U.S. Christians, including 10 percent of all born-again Christians, embrace it as their favored end-of-life view.

Beyond the irony lies China's true motive: to cut off the influence of the Dalai Lama, Tibet's exiled spiritual and political leader, and to quell the region's Buddhist religious establishment more than 50 years after China invaded the small Himalayan country.
Barring any Buddhist monk living outside China from seeking reincarnation, the law effectively gives Chinese authorities the power to choose the next Dalai Lama, whose soul, by tradition, is reborn as a new human to continue the work of relieving suffering.

At 72, the Dalai Lama, who has lived in India since 1959, is beginning to plan his succession, saying that he refuses to be reborn in Tibet so long as it's under Chinese control. Assuming he's able to master the feat of controlling his rebirth, as Dalai Lamas supposedly have for the last 600 years, the situation is shaping up in which there could be two Dalai Lamas: one picked by the Chinese government, the other by Buddhist monks. "It will be a very hot issue," says Paul Harrison, a Buddhism scholar at Stanford. "The Dalai Lama has been the prime symbol of unity and national identity in Tibet, and so it's quite likely the battle for his incarnation will be a lot more important than the others."

So where in the world will the next Dalai Lama be born? Harrison and other Buddhism scholars agree that it will likely be from within the 130,000 Tibetan exiles spread throughout India, Europe and North America. With an estimated 8,000 Tibetans living in the United States, could the next Dalai Lama be American-born? "You'll have to ask him," says Harrison. If so, he'll likely be welcomed into a culture that has increasingly embraced reincarnation over the years. A non-Tibetan Dalai Lama, experts say, is probably out of the question. Link

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Tuesday 7 August 2007

Veni vedi - no Visa?

UK tourist visas are often denied to would-be visitors because they "plan a holiday for no particular purpose other than sightseeing", a report says.
Others were turned down because they had never previously taken any foreign travel or could not speak English.
The "ridiculous reasons" for rejecting visas were set out in a report by the independent monitor of UK visas.
Linda Costelloe Baker's report said that despite such flaws there had been "significant improvement in quality."
But she said entry clearance officers could use "some ridiculous reasons when refusing visa for tourist visits".

She said a common reason for refusal was "you wish to go to the UK for a holiday. You have never previously undertaken any foreign travel before and I can see little reason for this trip".
In her report she says "this is a common reason for refusal but there was a first time for everyone who has gone abroad on a holiday and not having done it before is an acceptable reason for travel".
Another reason to reject a tourist visa was "you plan a holiday for no particular purpose other than sightseeing".
On the use of that reason, she says: "But that's what the UK is famous for, sights worth seeing."

She also highlights the case of a person whose request was rejected by an officer because they had "little or no idea what you plan to see or do".
This was, she discloses, because the person had answered the question on a form asking why they were going to the UK, with the words "annual leave vacation".

In one case, a man was refused a visa because the officer thought it not credible that he was going to stay in a hotel in Cirencester "far from [his] friends in Surrey and Kent".
The hotel was in fact in London and the man had told the officer that he had not wanted to put a burden on his friends for his entire 28-day visit.
Mrs Costelloe Baker said the man had been offered another application free of charge and she hoped he would get an apology as well.

The report covers the first nine months of 2006, which had been a very busy period for UKvisas.
Mrs Costelloe Baker, who is independent but appointed by the Foreign Office, concluded that overall "there has been a significant improvement in the quality of UKvisas work compared with 2005 and I have found that refusal notices are more consistent and less idiosyncratic".

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Tuesday 31 July 2007

Driving a Fjord

A Norwegian firm is looking to produce a new electric car with a range of ~112 miles on a charge and a top speed of 62mph.
Tesla Motors CEO Martin Eberhard flew to Oslo to take a spin and sent back his people to hammer out a deal to supply Think with high-power lithium-ion batteries. An executive from PG&E, the giant California utility, dropped by during his vacation to talk about giving Think a foothold in the Golden State. Dean Kamen, inventor of the Segway scooter, paid a visit, became an investor, and is now working on what could be the next breakthrough in automotive technology
This all sounds great I'd love one if Think want to send me one - I'll try it out and give them a review. If it is any good I might even buy one.
Think CEO Jan-Olaf Willums takes the wheel. Willums, looking slightly rumpled like the academic he once was, turns the ignition, and the stub-nosed coupe silently rolls toward an open stretch of pavement. Suddenly he punches the pedal, and the car takes off like a shot, the AC motor instantaneously transferring power to the wheels. The only sound is the squealing of tires as Willums throws the little car into a tight turn and barrels back to where he started.

Willums's pitch is this: He's not just selling an electric car; he's upending a century-old automotive paradigm, aiming to change the way cars are made, sold, owned, and driven.
The company will sell cars online, built to order. It will forgo showrooms and seed the market through car-sharing services like Zipcar. Every car will be Internet-and Wi-Fi-enabled, becoming, according to Willums, a rolling computer that can communicate wirelessly with its driver, other Think owners, and the power grid.

Think plans to sell the car but lease the battery as a way to overcome one of the biggest conundrums of electric cars. The battery is by far the most expensive component of the City, which will list for about $34,000 in Norway. Take the battery out of the equation, and Willums says he can sell the car for about $15,000 to $17,000 in the United States, with a "mobility fee" of $100 to $200 a month that might also include services like insurance and wireless Internet access.

This looks sweet, I want one.


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Tuesday 17 July 2007

Huge Homer

PAGANS have pledged to perform “rain magic” to wash away cartoon character Homer Simpson who was painted next to their famous fertility symbol - the Cerne Abbas giant.

A giant 180ft Homer Simpson brandishing a doughnut was painted next to the well-endowed figure today in a publicity stunt to promote The Simpsons Movie released later this month.

The 17th century chalk outline of the naked, sexually aroused, club-wielding giant is believed by many to be a symbol of ancient spirituality.

Many couples also believe the 180ft giant, which is carved in the hillside above Cerne Abbas, Dorset, is an aid to fertility.

Homer has been painted with water-based biodegradable paint which will wash away as soon as it rains.

Ann Bryn-Evans, joint Wessex district manager for The Pagan Federation, said: “It’s very disrespectful and not at all aesthetically pleasing.

She added: “I’m amazed they got permission to do something so ridiculous. It’s an area of scientific interest.” Via

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Saturday 14 July 2007

Oldest Intelligence

Recent research shows that the child rasied as the eldest sibling in a family is likely to have the highest IQ.
A Norwegian team found first born children and those who had lost elder siblings and had hence become the eldest, scored higher on intelligence.
Experts have disagreed for decades about how birth order might influence intellect and achievement.
Supporters of the theory argue the eldest child gets more undivided attention from their parents from an early age.
Others claim differences occur in the womb before birth because with each subsequent pregnancy the mother produces higher levels of antibodies that may attack the foetal brain.
While others claim the relationship between birth order and intelligence is false, being biased by family size - historically, couples with lower IQs have tended to have more children than couples with higher IQs.
Frank Sulloway, of the Institute of Personality and Social Research at the University of California, has been studying how upbringing influences personality and intelligence. He told the Daily Telegraph the higher IQ in the first-born could, in part, be gained by their tutoring of younger siblings.
via BBC
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Wednesday 11 July 2007

Facebook mobile

I don't know about you - but I have fairly recently discovered facebook. Unfortunately the powers that be at my work have a fairly draconian web filtering tool called websense. Websense does not like facebook, I suppose that is understandable to a certain degree – they are paying me to work after all.

Today it has come to my attention that Facebook has quietly launched its own WAP site that’s accessible to users of every operator. You access it by pointing your mobile browser to I’m actually very impressed.

It serves up a front page with your news feed of what friends have been up to, status updates (including a box to tap in what you’re doing right now), plus links to your friends’ photos, notes, and your groups and events, and a search box. It is supposed to sign you in automatically after your first visit – but that doesn’t work on my phone Sony Ericsson W550i.
The site is the way it focuses on the key bits of information and content that you might want to access on the go – you can tell someone’s thought hard about how and why someone might use Facebook on their phone. It loads up quickly, and works seamlessly. If you’re into Facebook – and it’s picking up a helluva lot of steam at the moment – this should be a bookmark on your phone.
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Thursday 5 July 2007

Unholy Smoke

Reverend Anthony Carr, of East Peckham walked into a police station in Tonbridge and started smoking. He said he flouted the ban to protest against the erosion of civil liberties.
The Police said they did not arrest him because it was an environmental health issue.
He added: "There are many things which are said to affect our health. You can't really regulate the minutiae of people's individual lives like that."

Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council said the law protected public health and they would follow up any reports of the smoking ban being broken.

A spokesman for the Bishop of Rochester said: "We regard this as a personal matter - the church would not wish to comment on the incident.

"Officially, the church doesn't condone breaking the law."
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Monday 2 July 2007

Credit for Clergy

One of South Korea's top banks has rolled out a new credit card for Protestant clergy that will give them breaks on Bible purchases and allow them to gather bonus points they can turn into donations for their churches.

The state-run Industrial Bank of Korea said on Friday it had introduced its "I am Pastor" card that will give clergy the equivalent of a few dollars off when they purchase religious books or other texts at certain authorized Web sites.

"Pastors are usually not issued credit cards, because they do not meet credit requirements," said bank official Kwon Han-sup. "We do not expect to make much of a profit out of this."

The pastor card also allows users to have discounts when purchasing petrol or movie tickets and allows them to collect points that they can use for donations to charity.

The bank said it introduced the card to better help serve religious leaders.

It plans to release similar cards for the other main religions in the country after working out products targeted to Buddhist and Catholic leaders.

"We wanted to make one type of card for all of them but realized the clergy of these different religions have different needs," Kwon said.

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Tuesday 26 June 2007

Boyfriend pillow for Japan singles

Japan's single women (and I suppose Men) are being offered the ultimate sleeping partner - a comfort to cuddle up to, but one which does not snore or make demands.
The Boyfriend's Arm Pillow, shaped like a man's torso with one sturdy arm, has been on sale since December and has so far been snapped up by 1,000 singles.
The pillow is only available in Japan, where it costs about 8,500 Yen ($80), and is available in blue, pink or green.
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Wednesday 20 June 2007

No Vroom at the Inn

What makes drving a car (or owning a car) sinful?
Well, according to the Vatican several things. The Vatican has issued its own rules of the road, a compendium of do's and don'ts on the moral aspects of driving and motoring.
Thou shall not drive under the influence of alcohol. Thou shall respect speed limits. Thou shall not consider a car an object of personal glorification or use it as a place of sin.
"Cars tend to bring out the 'primitive' side of human beings, thereby producing rather unpleasant results," the document said.
A 36-page document called "Guidelines for the Pastoral Care of the Road" contains 10 Commandments covering everything from road rage, respecting pedestrians, keeping a car in good shape and avoiding rude gestures while behind the wheel.
The document's Fifth Commandment reads: "Cars shall not be for you an expression of power and domination, and an occasion of sin."
It appealed to what it called the "noble tendencies" of the human spirit, urging responsibility and self-control to prevent the "psychological regression" often associated with driving.
Asked at a news conference when a car became an occasion of sin, Cardinal Renato Martino said "when a car is used as a place for sin."
One part of the document, under the section "Vanity and personal glorification," will not go down well with owners of Ferraris in motor-mad Italy.
"Cars particularly lend themselves to being used by their owners to show off, and as a means for outshining other people and arousing a feeling of envy," it said.
It urged readers not to behave in an "unsatisfactory and even barely human manner" when driving and to avoid what it called "unbalanced behavior ... impoliteness, rude gestures, cursing, blasphemy ..."
Praying while driving was encouraged [just don't close your eyes].
Vatican City, the world's smallest sovereign state, doesn't have many of the problems listed in the document.
It has about 1,000 cars, the speed limit is 30 kph and one Vatican official said the last accident inside Vatican City's walls was about 1-1/2 years ago, resulting in minor damage.
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Tuesday 12 June 2007

Development pornography

What is development pornography? I don't want you to get the wrong idea, DvP is pictures that are shocking, pull on your shamelessly pull on your heartstrings and often, as Reuters puts it, “still perpetuate a colonial idea of incapable Africans waiting passively for help from their white saviours”. This obviously doesn't just apply to Africans but to folks from all developing nations.

His name is Brandon. This picture was taken by AIDG, AIDG had installed a biodigester at the orrphanage and in summer 2005 visited to check on it, they took this photo.
What is it about the pic makes me feel a bit … you know… manipulative? It’s the fact that he is a this super-cute dewey-eyed earnest-looking kid. It also makes me feel a bit naughty because but just as “Sex sells” in advertising, I know kiddies sell in development. A big reason is that when I think of “sustainable future”, all I can think of is children either reaping the benefits or suffering the consequences of our decisions today. Yeah, it’s not a particularly innovative association.

“Upwards of 90% of the images of the majority world that are seen in the western media are produced by white photographers from the USA or Europe. This results in a one dimensional view often driven by a negative news agenda or the need to raise money.”

It does beg the question as to whether a lot of what is now considered DvP is related to general laziness. Photo-editors and marketers are just falling back of easy associations to get their point across, wringing every last dollar out of imagery of the long-suffering developing country person until donors stop responding. They are failing to realize or underestimating the negative impact that the repetition of this type of imagery can have. When someone says Ethiopia, the first image in most peopls minds is famine. Despite their tireless work, many NGOs have done their target populations a serious disservice by leaving their donors with a similar knee-jerk association.

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Thursday 7 June 2007

A bit on the dark side?

This is probably not something you'd want to leave around for your gran to see (unless she likes this kind of thing)
It does require a certain sense of humour to appreciate this. I have to admit it is kind of fun (in a ghoulish way)
The Idea is to replace the light pull switch with Hanging Harry. He is made of Silicone Rubber (so he is ideal for the bathroom) and comes with 2m of cord (you don't even have to tie the noose). Only £7.50 - bargin.

I'm not sure if this style of design is necessarily good but I do think it is fun. I suppose the real question is what does that say about me and my appreciation of the value of life etc.

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Wednesday 30 May 2007

Sky high sales of no smoking signs

No smoking signs, get used to them because they'll be everywhere from 1st July. But this simple sign is causing controversy. Why?

The ban will become nationwide when it is introduced in England on 1 July, cementing the sign's standing as one of the most used and most recognised nationally.

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) sets the worldwide standard for everything from "mind your head" signs to the nuts and bolts that keep a Boeing 747 in the air.
It is a niche of product regulation that is a mystery to average folk, but impacts on our lives nearly every second of every day.

This is where the controversy starts. The government has decided on a new design for no-smoking signs - the smoke rises slightly higher than before and the cigarette angle is different - but it breaks ISO guidelines. The Govermant also wants them put at the entrance of every enclosed public space - regardless of what the building is.

You really have got to be kidding - making these signs compulsory? Do we have signs saying 'No murder' 'No theft'? - totally unnecessary because everyone knows they are not allowed

Suggestions for other silly signage requirements anyone? Link

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Tuesday 29 May 2007

Too much skill or too much time?

Some people have too much time on their hands

Or is it just that they are very skillful. I have to admire this peice it really is incredible. These guys have done some fantastic work.
I am a great fan of the Alien series of films, Sigourney Weaver really made these films for me, there was a kind of barely suppressed terror that was quite palpable - along with a confident - never say die attitude. Fantastic
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Thursday 24 May 2007

Free computer virus

Would you click on an advert that said "Is your PC virus-free? Get it infected here!" Computer specialist Didier Stevens put up the simple text advertisement on the Internet offering downloads of a computer virus for people who did not have any.

Surprisingly, he found as many as 409 people clicking on the ad during a 6-month advertising campaign on Google's Adword.

There was no virus involved, it was an experiment aiming to show these kind of advertising systems can be used for malicious intent, Stevens told Reuters.

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Wednesday 23 May 2007

Goodness gracious great balls of mud

Hikaru dorodango are balls of mud, molded by hand into perfect spheres, dried, and polished to an unbelievable luster. The process is simple, but the result makes it seem like alchemy.

A traditional pastime among the children of Japan, the exact origin of hikaru dorodango is unknown. Professor Fumio Kayo, of the Kyoto University of Education, used them as a means to study the psychology of children's play. Kayo developed a simple technique for creating dorodango.
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Tuesday 22 May 2007

Gardening, Rambo Style

Have you ever felt that gardening is too sedate? or that the humble trowel is no macho enough?
Now you don't have to worry this tool looks like a 12″ long field knife — and it is a great way to accidentally scare the living crap out of your neighbors while gardening.
One side of this digging tool’s scoop is deeply-serrated (and sharpened!) to aid in cutting roots and vines. It is a bit overpriced for what it is, but I'm sure some people would really get the most out of it.
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Monday 21 May 2007

Total History

Today, I can pick up about 1Gb of FLASH memory in a postage stamp sized card for £10. fast-forward a
decade and that'll be 100Gb. Two decades and we'll be up to 10Tb.

10Tb is an interesting number. There are roughly 31 million seconds per year, that means 34kb of data every second.
If I assume that I spend 8 hours a day sleeping then that's enough to store a live DivX video stream — compressed a
lot relative to a DVD — of everything I look at for a year, including being in the bathroom.

Realistically, it puts a video channel and a sound channel and other telemetry —
a heart monitor, say, a running GPS/Galileo location signal, everything I type and every mouse event I send —
onto that chip, while I'm awake. All the time. It's a life log; replay it and you've got a journal file for my
life. Ten euros a year in 2027, or maybe a thousand euros a year in 2017.

History today is not that well defined. I can't remember either of my grandmothers - one died long before I was born the other when I was just 5. I knew both of my grandfathers although one has now died. Going back further, to their parents ... I know very little beyond names and dates, a few photographs.

This century we're going to learn a lesson about what it means to be unable to forget anything.
And it's going to go on, and on. Barring a catastrophic universal collapse of human civilization or the
second coming whichever comes first we're going to be laying down memories that will outlast our bones,
and our civilizations, and our languages.
We don't need much storage, in bulk or mass terms. There's no reason not to massively replicate it and ensure that it survives into the deep

We're also in some danger of losing the concepts of privacy, and warping history out of all recognition.

Our concept of privacy relies on the fact that it's hard to discover information about other people. Today,
you've all got private lives that are not open to me. Even those of you with blogs, or even lifelogs. But we're
already seeing some interesting tendencies in the area of attitudes to privacy on the internet among young people,
under about 25; if they've grown up with the internet they have no expectation of being able to conceal
information about themselves. They seem to work on the assumption that anything that is known about them will
turn up on the net sooner or later, at which point it is trivially searchable.

Total history, by analogy to total war — is something we haven't experienced yet.
I'm really not sure what its implications are, but then, I'm one of the odd primitive shadows just visible at one
edge of the archive: I expect to live long enough to be lifelogging, but my first thirty or forty years are going to
be very poorly documented, mere gigabytes of text and audio to document decades of experience.
What I can be fairly sure of is that our descendants' relationship with their history is going to be very
different from our own, because they will be able to see it with a level of depth and clarity that nobody has
ever experienced before.

I freely admit I have copied my ideas (and some text) from here
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Thursday 17 May 2007

Safe Cycling?

Do you think that wearing a cycle helmet makes you safer on the road?
A researcher in Bath thinks that it actually makes cycling more dangerous. He found that helmeted cyclists inspire more dangerous driving from the cars around them.

Ian Walker, an avid cyclist, attached ultrasonic sensors to his bike and rode around Bath, allowing 2,300 vehicles to overtake him while he was either helmeted or naked-headed. In the process, he was actually contacted by a truck and a bus, both while helmeted—though, miraculously, he did not fall off his bike either time. Link
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Wednesday 16 May 2007

Getting Mii exercise

Have you every found getting enough exercise to be a problem ? Maybe it is just a side effect of being a software engineer - or maybe I'm just lazy but exercise always seems a to be hard to do on a regular basis.

I read this story about a guy who used his Wii to exercise - he actually lost 9 pounds.
I could do with losing some weight - so I'm gonna try it. I'm not going to modify my diet, I am going to test the fitness of my Mii every day (unless I'm away from home).

I'll let you know how I get on.

Read the original results

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Monday 14 May 2007

Guilt Offsetting

You've probably heard of Carbon Ofsetting - where you pay some one to plant trees or not to emit lots of carbon dioxide in order to allow you to carry on without changing your lifestyle.

Have you heard of the adultery equivalent

"Five ways that Cheatneutral is like carbon offsetting:

   1. Cheatneutral tries to make it seem acceptable to cheat on your partner. In the same way, carbon offsetting tries to make it acceptable to carry on emitting excess carbon.
   2. Cheatneutral doesn't really do much to reduce the amount of cheating in the world. Carbon offsetting does very little to reduce global carbon emissions.
   3. It seems impossible to measure how much harm cheating on someone does. With carbon offsetting, there is currently no practically feasible way of measuring how much carbon offset projects actually save.
   4. Having Cheatneutral's services available could actually encourages you to cheat more. If the carbon offsetters persuade you that it's possible to offset your emissions, you'll carry on emitting excess carbon through your lifestyle rather than think about reducing your emissions.
   5. Cheatneutral is fundamentally the wrong way to go about solving problems with your relationships. Carbon offsetting is fundamentally the wrong way to go about tackling climate change"

What do you think - is it tongue in cheek - or a serious idea? Do you think it will work?

I'm really not sure what I think of the idea, it seems like another way to benefit from a stable relationship. However might it encourage 'cheating'?

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Party Part 2

The weather was ok for the party - it rained beforehand and it rained afterwards.
However it did not rain whilst the kids were all there running around the woods.
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Saturday 12 May 2007

Army Party

Today is going to be a really busy day - hopefully fun too. Frineds of mine are having an Army party for their 7 year old. We're going to spend the morning running round in the woods, playing silly games.
We did it a couple of years ago and it was great. They've asked me to help out again (cool)
I love being a big kid! - but then again don't all men :)

We're praying the weather will stay dry - grey is ok- wet is not, come on God
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Wednesday 9 May 2007

My MOTor

I have a small car, a Fiat Seicento and last week I realised it was due for an MOT, no problem - car is in pretty good shape (apart from a problem applying the handbrake)
So I ordered a new handbrake cable from a place on the web, I also ordered a set of brake shoes ('cos if I'm going to take apart the brakes I may as well do the shoes whilst I'm about it)
The parts arrived next day and I put the car up on stands and started the job, getting everything off - no problem. Putting the shoes back on took me forever (ok about an hour and a half).

Took the car to the test centre on Friday and it failed :(, apparently it had a leaky shock absorber. New one was installed - and it passed. The staff were very friendly and helpful.

The garage forgot to charge me for the shock absorber and just charged for the MOT, I was sorely tempted to not bother to tell them, but I'm mostly honest, I rang to let them know I'd pop back in this week to sort it out.

If you'd like a bit of info to help your car pass it's test then there are a load of places you can google for. I quite like this one

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Thursday 3 May 2007

The Next Best…Ding!

Waffles may have come and gone in the UK but the ones that are on sale at the Soul Survivor festival are fantastic (I can’t wait)

Designer Chris Dimino though has decided that instead of eating loads of them, he’d create a waffle maker for geeks, with keyboard shaped waffles.
He’s taken an old typewriter and cleverly re-used it to create one-off waffles for us proud and starving nerds. And it looks great in the process. In his own words:

Problem: Typewriter - Take this now useless item and give it a new life then it was intended to have.

Solution: The “Corona-Matic” a typewriter turned into a waffle iron that makes keyboard shaped waffles. Part of: The Next Best…Ding! A travelling exhibit on the reinvention of the typewriter.

Chris obviously has the key to recycled design that stands on its own merits.

Fleeing the cubicle for the kitchen, this iron lets you cook up a keyboard of tasty waffles every time you fancy a snack. Designed as part of a group exhibit for the School of Visual Arts, the typewriter iron represents the best of reinvention: an obsolete product, minimally modified, is given a completely new function. It just wouldn't be as fun (or as green) if the typewriter's metal and plastic were just recycled. Chris’s site has loads of other things he has produced.

The Corona-Matic

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Wednesday 2 May 2007

Sorry climate, I had to dust my keyboard

Keyboards are disgusting

Have you ever realised that your keyboard was full of dust and crumbs and hair and other kinds of nasty stuff?
Ever used one of those 'compressed air dusters' to clean out all the bits?

Do you realise that the propellant HFC134a has nearly 3000 times the greenhouse effect of CO2?

That means one duster can accounts for half the CO2 emmisions of my annual motoring!

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Tuesday 1 May 2007

Do you like coffee?

Pro-coffee T-Shirt tweaks Mormon Church, Church responds with trademark threat
A Utah coffee-shop made a funny t-shirt that showed coffee being funnelled into the trumpet of the Angel Moroni (a sigil that tops Mormon temples -- the Church bans hot drinks). The LDS Church threatened to sue for trademark infringement, so they got an even better design:

It shows a giant hand from the sky pouring the java - which the LDS Church urges its members to abstain from drinking - into a disembodied trumpet. The caption: "The Lord giveth, and a church taketh away." Store owners Ed Beazer and Van Lidell insist it's just harmless repartee, albeit a tad one-sided. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints isn't talking about the new design and whether it violates the trademark.

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Monday 30 April 2007

All show and no sting

Do you have a swimming pool? Ever wanted something really cool to put in it?

Floating Jellyfish Pool Lights
unleash a kaleidoscope of color as they float in the water. For larger pools, unleash a flotilla to create a crowd-pleasing effect.
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Thursday 26 April 2007

Fascist America, in 10 easy steps

From Hitler to Pinochet and beyond, history shows there are certain steps that any would-be dictator must take to destroy constitutional freedoms. And, argues Naomi Wolf, George Bush and his administration seem to be taking them all

Tuesday April 24, 2007
The Guardian

Last autumn, there was a military coup in Thailand. The leaders of the coup took a number of steps, rather systematically, as if they had a shopping list. In a sense, they did. Within a matter of days, democracy had been closed down: the coup leaders declared martial law, sent armed soldiers into residential areas, took over radio and TV stations, issued restrictions on the press, tightened some limits on travel, and took certain activists into custody.

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Wednesday 25 April 2007

House of Flying software?

Why "The House of Flying Software" as my blog title?

Well, I really like films and one of my favourites is "Shi mian mai fu” or “House of Flying Daggers” I am also a software engineer for an aerospace company so my software actually does fly.

The landscape in the first couple of scenes is in mellowed brown, yellow and pale green. Then come the lush green hills and the dreamy world of the bamboo forest. Towards the end, we have a white birth forest and, for no apparent reason, are given a frame of only two seconds of a fiery stretch of fall colors. In the finale, the ominous dark clouds eventually produce a winter wonderland, to receive profuse splashes of crimson blood. The soundtrack is equally well put together and I would advise anyone watching it to listen to the original voices with the subtitles on – it works so much better than the dubbed version.
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