Thursday, 10 May 2007

Earth fire

I've talked before about the wonders of Virtual Earth. With such detailed images there are bound to be a few anomalies and special points of interest. Many are gathered on Bird's Eye Tourist, a blog dedicated to finds on Virtual Earth. I think my favourite so far is this aeroplane in flight.

But for a moment captured in time, the latest post shows views (depending on the direction chosen) of a house before, during and after a fire.

Wednesday, 9 May 2007

Wonderous water

Here's an amazing water feature made for Jeep. It's programmed to release water in such precise amounts and with such precise timing, that it forms distinct patterns as it falls. The video is not the best quality, but the effect is stunning none the less.

Tuesday, 8 May 2007

Use the force

A light saber that lights up when you concentrate on it?

All I can say about this is, "I want one!"
Credit: Splarka

Monday, 7 May 2007

The motherlode of cuteness

If I were ever tempted to turn this into a blog of cuteness, then I would have to admit that it's already been done... to excess.

A link to this little guy:

Lead to the scarily cute Cute Project. I highly recommend it for a good dose of the "aahhh"s, but suggest caution. That much cute might just have serious physical and mental consequences!
Credit: Braydie

Sunday, 6 May 2007

Personal space

Social rules are fascinating. I've often watched people and tried to see which of the actions we do automatically are part of the social rules we grow up learning. It's interesting to watch tourists too. Sometimes you can see where the social rules here are different from those they have at home.

Recently I've noticed a new social rule here in England: "when someone is typing in their PIN when paying at a checkout, others present should look away in a very obvious way".

Apparently, some of these social rules have crossed-over into cyberspace. The Bryant Park Project looked at how the rules against staring and standing too close apply just as much in Second Life as they do in the 3D world.

Perhaps that shows just how much people identify with their avatars.
Credit: GreenReaper

Saturday, 5 May 2007

Trust in the spiders

For someone that can find decisions as hard as I (the pink flash memory stick? Or the red?) the Universal Decision Maker is very handy.

I found it actually worked in helping me with decisions. Not that I followed what the spiders told me to do, but I found myself willing on one or the other... which sort of showed that the decision had already been made.

(I got the red one, by the way)
Credit: Sansanna on #wikia

Friday, 4 May 2007

I've lost Kyrgyzstan again

I'm a bit embarrassed to admit how badly I did in this map game from Rethinking Schools.

I started off quite well, with Israel, Palestine, Egypt and Turkey fitting in nicely. Then I got Pakistan after a bit of confusion as to where India had got to. I knew Afghanistan bordered Pakistan, but it still took two tries. And then Iran, Iraq and Syria fitted in without too many problems.

But then I pretty much got stuck. I figured out where the 'stans should go, but had no idea which was which. I was convinced Saudi Arabia was a small country somewhere, goodness knows why. And I must have tried Libya in every position in the map before finding the right spot.

The only thing this game is missing is a final score. After all, everyone should get there eventually, but how fast? and with how many mistakes?

This is a great way to learn though, at least I should have some idea of where Mauritania is in the future.

p.s. I missed yesterday! Oops! Ah well, the (mostly) unbroken run was never going to last forever.

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

Where in the world...

xkcd has done it again...

The Map of Online Communities is a wonderful piece of work. I've already put in my pre-order for the poster \o/

I'm definitely a citizen of the Internet, I spend more time online than off... although my own home island seems not to have made the map yet. I guess it would be somewhere between Wikimedia and the Blogipeligo, with an easy route to the IRC Isles.

I can't wait for my poster to arrive.
Credit: Ace_NoOne on #Wikia, Mandaliet on #Uncyclopedia, & TDO.

Tuesday, 1 May 2007

When the cat's away, the mice will PARTY.

Here's a nice site from the University of Utah.

Mouse Party allows you to look inside the brains of (animated) mice on various recreational drugs. It's very simplified, but a nice way of showing some of what goes on at a molecular level with these substances. Neatly animated too.

Monday, 30 April 2007

(Almost) all my own work

A complete cheat today. Not something I've found or been shown from around the web, but my own work (or at least, mostly my own work - thanks Olipro and Mhailie!)

"The British Class System" is my third article for that wonderful site Uncyclopedia.

I hope you like it.

Sunday, 29 April 2007

Going down?

Here's another great illusion, from

I think I would have to close my eyes to be able to use that elevator, the painting looks amazingly realistic.

Saturday, 28 April 2007

This horse goes into a bank...

I've heard a lot of jokes of the "a horse goes into a bar" type. But here's a horse that went into a bank.

It sounds quite implausible, but...

Credit: Ace_NoOne on #Wikia

Friday, 27 April 2007

A superhero in purple

I had a go at creating my own superhero today:

I used the Hero Machine on UGO, which has an amazing number of options. It also has an overly handy blank-all button - which I managed to hit twice. But other than that little annoyance, it's a nice little toy.

Now all I need is a name for her...
Credit: slif3rjam on #uncyclopedia

Thursday, 26 April 2007

The feet-kicking joy of broccoli

It's cute time again!

How about this video of a baby hamster filling his pouches with his first taste of broccoli.

Ok, so the presentation of this is rather too cute, even for me. But who could resist those little feet?

Credit: Datrio

Wednesday, 25 April 2007

New phone, new features!

Well, I finally found my new phone (no, I didn't get that one), and that bought to mind one of my favourite articles from my favourite wiki, Uncyclopedia.

This article spawned a wonderful thread on SomethingAwful... got to love it when a joke goes wizzing overhead like that.

Tuesday, 24 April 2007


Japanese TV often seems particularly strange to Western eyes. Here's a great dance that originated on a Japanese children's show:

But then, we invented the Birdie Dance...
Credit: Braydie on #uncyclopedia

Monday, 23 April 2007

Meanwhile, at the Joker's hideout

I love the way language changes over time. It's something I would love to find out more about. Words reverse their meaning, become more or less offensive, and lose all connection with the meaning they once had...

YesButNoButYes listed the Top 15 Unintentionally Funny Comic Book Panels. Now there a great way to study the changing language. Wonderfully funny too.

Credit: SimonRC on #Uncyclopedia

Sunday, 22 April 2007

Cornflour tentacle monster

I've played with cornflour (corn starch) a few times, mostly when I was supposed to be mixing it up for cooking. It's strange stuff.

Here it's taken a few steps further (or tentacles further?) with cornflour vibrated at 80Hz.

There are a lot of these games with cornflour on YouTube, culminating in a swimming pool of the stuff, allowing people to actually run over the top of it. I think I'd like to try that.

Saturday, 21 April 2007

Watch out, or the bunny gets it

If I didn't damn myself with the God FAQ, I'm sure to with this one.

Here's a clever little game, very flashy of course, but I'm feeling twisted enough this evening to find it funny.

Sadly, I lost. Several times in fact. I wonder if I can lose again...

Friday, 20 April 2007

Beautiful instability

There's no way I could be described as an adrenaline junkie. In fact, I couldn't be further away from the species. So storm chasing is not a hobby for me.

But when you see some of the amazing photography that's out there.... wow! makes me want to go looking for dangerous skys!

This one is from

I also have some new wallpaper from the same site. Stunning.
Photos ©
Reproduced with permission.

Thursday, 19 April 2007


A lot of my friends are geeks, but I was told today that I will never be one. OK, so I misspelt "perl" as "pearl", but still... never? I can learn!

But maybe he's right. After all, I don't think I will ever consider a titanium spork, or a Yoda plush backpack as "essential gear".

Although the LED faucet lights are something I will have to seriously consider buying.
Credit: Datrio

Wednesday, 18 April 2007

Religious argument

Some might find this a bit offensive, but after managing to get myself in a religious argument today, The Official God FAQ made me laugh.

I'm not quite so sure about the octopus animation from the same site...

Tuesday, 17 April 2007

Three dimentional two dimensionality

Or should that title be the other way around?...

Julian Beever is an artist who works largely in chalk on pavements. His most fascinating work uses anamorphosis to give the illusion of three dimensions.

His gallery is wonderful, so many clever works. This pool is one of my favourites:

And this shot shows how the actual drawing is distorted to give the impression of 3D when viewed from the correct spot:

I would love to see one of these in situ. Fascinating.
Photos and art © Julian Beever.
Reproduced with permission.

Monday, 16 April 2007

The geek's lunch box

Here's a nice idea for recycling:

A toasted bagel and avocado in a CD spindle. Such a clever idea!

Although, as the comments point out, they probably don't make CD spindles out of food-safe plastic.

Photo by Flickr user pwka. Licenced under the Creative
Commons Attribution NonCommercial NoDerivs 2.0

Sunday, 15 April 2007

Want to go to work tomorrow?

I work flexible hours, and love it. It's great to be able to arrange my own day and decide when and how I get my work done.

But a company in California has gone several steps further, by not regulating what days their employees work. Vacations are flexible, both how many and how long. All they monitor is whether you get the work done.

It's a fascinating idea, and I wonder how far it could go. I can see it working at Wikia - I know I haven't taken all my holiday allowance this year, and I'm sure many of my colleagues haven't either. At Wikia we tend to work far too much, because it's fun!

But I can think of past workplaces where this would not work. Try this at the UK Ministry of Agriculture, and all you would have is empty rooms.

Credit: Ace_NoOne on #Wikia

Saturday, 14 April 2007

That's not egg...

This has got to be the strangest kitchen item I've ever seen:

Could you really eat meringues after using that?!

If you are strange enough to want one, they are available here.
credit: Nefretete

Friday, 13 April 2007

The last word is triumphant

This website is a fun one. It's to promote the book No One Belongs Here More Than You by Miranda July. I've got to admit, the site works as a promotion, I want to read this now! I'd be interested to hear if anyone has read her stuff before... and if it's any good.

credit: Nefretete

Thursday, 12 April 2007

The unharmonous sannse

I'm trying out StumbleUpon at the moment. The second page I got was a rather cute little noisemaker.

Of course, I tried writing my name on it, but the tune was not pretty. Funnily enough, it seems my birth name is more harmonious than "sann".

(p.s. Oops, I forgot to post this last night. So I'm cheating and backdating. Baaad)

Wednesday, 11 April 2007

Manual work

With my currently dodgy Internet connection, I know just how these two feel.

Tuesday, 10 April 2007

War of the worlds

Somehow it feels... wrong... to be writing about Microsoft here. Maybe I hang around with geeks too much, I've picked up their ritual disgust at anything M$.

But Microsoft's answer to Google Earth is just amazing. Virtual Earth has a "bird's eye view" that uses spectacular aerial photography rather than satellite images.

Unlike Google Earth, which has quite poor images for England, Virtual Earth is doing well at mapping it. One of the places that's been fully mapped is my home town. There are great views of the pier, the town center, my old school... you can even see the reservoir for the new fountain in progress.

They seem to have tried to keep people out of view by photographing early, but the east view seems later, with more people around than the other views.


Credit: TDO

Monday, 9 April 2007

Berlin Bear

Gosh.. no cuteness for days!

How about this little fella?

This is Knut who was born in Berlin zoo and is being used as the symbol of global climate change. It sounds to me as though he has become the victim of far too much political manoeuvring, but then he's not going to know that. And besides... cute!

Credit: Reike
Photo by Jens Koßmagk. Licensed under the Creative
Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0 Germany License

Sunday, 8 April 2007

Missing the obvious

So here's a question that, it's said, American pre-schoolers managed to answer correctly. I didn't, and I'd love to find some kids to try it out on to see if they really see the answer so easily.

"In which direction is the bus pictured below travelling?"

Any idea?

The answer the children gave was: "left. Because you can't see the door".

Now why didn't I think of that?
Credit: Datrio

Saturday, 7 April 2007

Your showing you're self up now.

I have to admit, there are days on IRC When I think Internet Access CAPTCHAs would be a great idea.

I refreshed a few times to see the various examples, but I didn't see my own pet hate, the Greengrocer's apostrophe. Oh the temptation to kick when I see that... and I don't just mean a virtual kick on IRC!
Credit: Datrio

Friday, 6 April 2007

Pooh of Borg

What do you give a friend who is a fanatic about both Star Trek, and Winnie the Pooh?

A borg-assimilated Pooh of course!

Now do I love this? Or am I horrified?
Credit: Bp of #memory-alpha

Thursday, 5 April 2007

"Congratulations, you have passed"

I just took a mock driving theory test on the AA driving school site. And amazingly, I passed! "Amazingly" because I've never driven, have had no lessons, and hadn't even looked at what the test was like before. Is it really that easy?

Some of the questions were just silly:
You want to turn left at a junction. The view of the main road is restricted. What should you do?

A. Stay well back and wait to see if something comes
B. Build up your speed so that you can emerge quickly
C. Stop and apply the handbrake, even if the road is clear
D. Approach slowly and edge out until you can see more

If the theory test is that unscary, guess it's time to book those lessons.

Wednesday, 4 April 2007

On with the feminist boots

Now here's a conflict... I'm shopping for a phone. I want a clam style phone that's attractive, distinctive, that works well, holds a charge and is tri or quad band. As you can guess, it's not been easy finding The One.

Today I came across the Samsung E570. It looks gorgeous. It comes in pink or a beautiful dark purple, the functionality and stand-by time look good, it has good reviews, it's triband, it's expensive but within range, even the camera is a lot better than most I've been looking at.

So what's stopping me?

This little list of features:

  • Pedometer
  • Fragrance Type
  • Biorhythm
  • Height/Weight ratio
  • Calories counter
  • Shopping list
I've heard of niche marketing but this is amazing. They are marketing this to a stereotype. This thing even has a specific scheduler to monitor your menstrual cycle!

But... oh it's shiny...

Tuesday, 3 April 2007

I Robot

Synthetic Artificial Nullification and Nocturnal Sabotage Entity

"Nocturnal Sabotage" eh? Sounds fun...

Monday, 2 April 2007

Dance Monkey Dance

I've been on a funny track for the last few posts, so here's one that's a bit more thoughtful.

Ernest Cline is, says Wikipedia, a comedian, spoken word artist and screenwriter. This piece is one that makes me sit and think every time I see it. It's something I've had in my bookmarks for a while, and won't be clearing out.

Sunday, 1 April 2007

Because you can read, and we have a web site.

Here's one that definitely can't be said to be new and exciting. In fact it closed down five years ago. But SatireWire was a jewel of a site, and I wish it were still producing new articles like: Scientist Splits Atom, Finds Toy Prize Inside and Study Finds Women Who Drink Way More Fun To Study.

Or how about the article on the unsuccessful merger of Hinduism and Judaism:
Hinjew leaders today conceded the merger of Hinduism and Judaism has not worked out as planned, as instead of forming a super-religion to fight off the common Islamic enemy, they have instead created a race of 900 million people who, no matter how many times they are reincarnated, can never please their mothers.
Classic stuff.

Saturday, 31 March 2007

The Difference

xkcd is my favourite web comic. It's geek humour (again) but it's also sensitive, clever, and just plain funny. This one I particularly liked, because it's me... as my dear father pointed out as soon as he saw it.
The archives are well worth exploring if you don't know this guys work. (Or revisting if you do.)

Credit: TDO
xkcd is licensed under a Creative Commons License

Friday, 30 March 2007

Beauty and vandals

Drawball is amazing. At first sight it looks like a confusing mess, but zoom in and there are some real gems. Faces seem popular, especially women's faces, but the variety is wide.

Since I last looked at this, they have added a year's playback, which is quite hypnotic.

But I think my favourite part, is watching a single image being created from scratch. This wonderful sea scene is built up, tweaked and improved, into a great piece of work. And yet in the process, others scrawl across it, trying to ruin the work in progess.

Near the end, the already beautiful and almost finished image suddenly has a large blue penis right the way over it. And yet the artist simply goes back to fix it up, and finish his art.

So why draw here? What makes this talented person choose to draw where his art is not only drawn over while in progress, but also has no chance of surviving (at least on the ball itself) once he's finished it? It can't be the medium, drawing is not easy in this format (especially with the amount of ink they give you). And there are plenty of places to showcase your work online without the risk of vandalism.

I guess it's about being part of something larger. The feeling of adding to and improving a work that others are working on at the same time as you. Cooperation, collaboration and sharing - some of the same motivations for those of us addicted to wikis I think.

What motivates the blue penis guy, that I can't say.

Thursday, 29 March 2007

Geek humour

Another one for the "it's scary I find this funny" file

Ah well, I suppose it carries on the hugs theme...

Wednesday, 28 March 2007

From cute to hugs

I'm not sure I like the direction this blog is going...

Now I'm not a great one for hugs, but it's striking how much some of those people really seemed to need a hug.

There's more on this at

Credit: BillK and Rieke

Tuesday, 27 March 2007

Overdose of cuteness

Just so much cuteness online...

This beautifully 'chopped miniature kitten is probably my all time favourite, but this cat foot comes a close second:

Monday, 26 March 2007

We Didn't Start This Website

"It was always twisted, since the site existed"

I understand far too many of the references in this... scary.

Sunday, 25 March 2007

A blog for interesting things

I think this will be a blog for all the interesting bits and pieces I see in the wonderful world of the Interweb.

Right now, I throw them in my ever-growing bookmarks folder (2725 links at last count), or show them to a friend or two, or link them on IRC...


So now I'm going to experiment with adding them here - see what it looks like.

Of course, what's interesting to me may be boring old hat to you.