Wednesday, 10 September 2008

The divine face of cheese

I'd read about the "Madonna on a slice of cheese toast" before, but I'd never really looked at it.

It's strange, why do people always insist on seeing the Madonna or Jesus in these shapes? I mean, I understand why we see faces, but why do so many interpret them as ''those'' faces?

To me, this looks much more like the image of a 40s film star. There's nothing in the image that says "the Madonna" to me. Although I would listen to an argument that it's Madonna.

But really, I think I'd have to say it's an image of Rita Hayworth. Despite a friend insisting that it looks more Greta Garbo-ish.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

The best of the worst

Sometimes bad can be so bad, it actually becomes good.

Here's a fun compilation of the worst of cinema:


Credit: Jocke_Pirat on #uncyclopedia

Monday, 8 September 2008

The educating Internet

There are a few sites I visit very regularly: YouTube, Fark, icanhascheezburger... but those sites have a tendency to send me off to other corners of the Internet to find out more (well.. maybe icanhascheezburger is a bit less likely to do so)

A comment in the hover text of the latest XKCD led me to look up this thought experiment:
A plane is standing on a large treadmill or conveyor belt. The plane moves in one direction, while the conveyor moves in the opposite direction. This conveyor has a control system that tracks the plane speed and tunes the speed of the conveyor to be exactly the same (but in the opposite direction). Can the plane take off?
Which led me to lots of argument, the inevitable Wikipedia article, and a comprehensive explanation from an exasperated blogger.

So you see it's worth reading these sites so often. They lead me to further edumacation!

Although again, perhaps icanhascheezburger is a bit of an exception.

Saturday, 6 September 2008

Message on a banknote

The idea of sending a secret on a postcard has stuck with me since I wrote about it a few of days ago. But I think that an alternative idea is more my style...

de-noted suggests writing a question on a bank note, and then spending it. Sending out a question into the world is an attractive idea, even if the answer would never come back.

And like PostSecret the idea has expanded into an of art-form, with decorated money released into the world to surprise their future owners... often with the art minus the question.

I've got to try this one.

Image © Codeine.
Used with permission.

Thursday, 4 September 2008

A man walks into a bar...

...with a newt on his shoulder. "What do you call that?", asks the bartender. "I call him Tiny" said the man "because he's my newt"

OK, not the most complex of sites, but it made me laugh.

Unlike the joke, which is one of many deliberately bad jokes flying around the Uncyclopedia IRC channel this week.

There are days when the Internet can be just too much of a good bad thing
Credit: AAA^ on #uncyclopedia

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Rule 35

I've mentioned Rule 34 before: "If it exists, there is porn of it."

A friend reminded me of xkcd's take on this:


And, of course, wetriffs.com does exist (now) and is quite a funny site in its own right.

And that leads us to Rule 35: "if it doesn't exist on the internet, it must be created."
xkcd is licensed under a Creative Commons License

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Secrets

I've come across PostSecret a couple of times. It's a strange site, showing postcards each containing a secret that someone has written and posted in.

Many of them seem harsh and depressing, which I guess is inevitable, we don't usually keep the good things in life a secret.

But they are also strangely beautiful, and very touching. It feels like a real glimpse of the inner person.

Here's more on the project:




So what would I send? Hummm... I think that will stay a secret.

Sunday, 31 August 2008

Sinister nursery rhymes

Did you know that the nursery rhyme "Georgie Porgie pudding and pie" refers to a notorious case of wanton sexual indiscretions and harassment in the 17th Century? Or how about "Mary Mary quite contrary" being all about the torture of Protestants in Queen Mary's bloody reign?

These are from another cracked.com list: The Disturbing Origins of 5 Common Nursery Rhymes.

To me, these explanations seem rather contrived, and I wonder how much the words have been fitted to the history in retrospect.

Or maybe future generations of children will be singing nursery rhymes all about the death of Diana, and the scandal of the valet and the "senior royal"

Photo by Flickr user Jacob Whittaker
Licensed under Creative Commons by-nc-sa 2.0

Saturday, 30 August 2008

Mostly female

Apparently, according to the BBC's sex I.D. quiz, my brain is mostly female.

I was actually surprised to see that I was slightly above average in spacial awareness, and that my memory for objects was good. These are both things that I know I'm not good at. But then that's "above average" compared to people idly playing online of course.

My verbal fluidity was below average though, and I didn't do well at judging emotions from photos of eyes.

It's an interesting test though, well worth a look.

Friday, 29 August 2008

A lifetime lost

Here's a sad story. Paul Mawhinney has the world's largest music collection, more than 3 million records and 300,000 CDs. But all that takes a lot of looking after, and it's not something he can do for much longer.

You would think a collection like that would be in high demand. But sadly there are no buyers. Of course, it's the maintenance that's going to be a problem, not the price. But even so, it's so sad to see that no one can give this unique resource a home.

Anyone out there with a few million and a love of music?

Source: defgrip.net
Credit: Avatar

Thursday, 28 August 2008

Where does the day go?

Time. I need more of it.

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Facial art

This has got to be the best beard I've even seen.


This is Willi Chevalier, the winner of the "Partial Beard Freestyle" section of the 2007 World Beard & Moustache Championships

There are some great entries for this, although I'm not quite sure what is going on with the winner of the "Full Beard Freestyle" section... is that a bridge?

This is a site I'm keeping in my bookmarks. I'm fascinated to see what they come up with next year!
Credit: ApeOnThursdays on #uncyclopedia
Image: Andy Barker. Used with permission.

Monday, 25 August 2008

Spam, Spam, Spam

Part of my job at Wikia is helping to keep the wikis free of spam. Of course, this is a never-ending task. And as soon as something new is developed to help, the spammers find ways around it.

I knew that spammers used bots, but I didn't really have a clear idea of how this was done. Or, for that matter, how effectively.

So this demonstration of a spam-bot from pandasecurity was fascinating. The bot does so much, even coping with verification emails.

Looks like it's the anti-spammers move in the never-ending chess game.
Image by Flickr user Grumbler %-|
Licensed under Creative Commons by-nc-sa 2.0

Sunday, 24 August 2008

Pointless harmony

Sometimes, one just has to ask... "why?"

Of course, the answer is always "why not?"

Saturday, 23 August 2008

Embracing the user

One of the challenges of the interactive Internet is how should a company react when content is created using their property? This is a question that's being worked out on sites, and in court rooms, as the changes in how we use the Internet come up against laws written for a simpler time.

One reaction is to take that new content and embrace it. It's not going to work for all situations, but I tend to think this is a healthy way of dealing with the new media - sort of "if you can't beat them, use them for publicity".

EA Sports reaction to a YouTube posting of a "glitch" in the game Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 08 is the perfect example of this. They took a fan made video and turned it into this:



Much better than a court case.
Credit: Aaron

Friday, 22 August 2008

A ruby ruse

When is a hoax not a hoax?

How about when you actually tell people that they are paying $1000 for an iPhone application that does nothing other than add an icon to their screen?

That's what the "I Am Rich"application did. Just add a nice little ruby to your iPhone... a sign of wealth that those of us who can't afford to spend $1000 on something so pointless can only covert.

Come to think of it, that applies to the phone as much as the icon as far as I'm concerned.

And is it a hoax? Not in my book. I have to think those that paid for this were wrong to complain - they got exactly what they paid for.

Credit: Splarka

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Paying attention?

I think this is a video that has to be seen without comment...



I liked the gorilla sitting in the background. That's a reference to another study on perception. For this one, the idea is to count how many times the ball is passed between the team wearing white.

Of course, having just seen the first video you may not see the full effect of the second. But just in case... if you didn't see anything unusual, then try again without the counting.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Emerging

I didn't post yesterday, because I was giving my first ever public presentation. It was terrifying, but I think it went well.

The presentation was at a workshop on ""emergent democracy", a complicated concept, and one that Wikipedia totally fails to explain.

Learning about this led me to Minding the Planet, and an idea to use emergent democracy to decide on the actions of a group. Each group member would agree to give 15 minutes of time a week to whatever the group decided that time should be spent on.

I like the idea... but I'm the independent type. What if I didn't want to do what the group thought I should?

But then, I think that's where real emergent democracy comes in. It's not about voting in a group for what we should do, it's about doing it... or not. The decision emerges from the actions we choose to make.

And that's when I can see why I was asked to talk about Wikipedia. I talked mostly about discussions on the site, but really it's the edits that matter.

Monday, 18 August 2008

You have to be joking...

Some days online it's hard to tell the reality from the parody.

That says a lot about the human race, if you still care enough about them to analyse it.

Sunday, 17 August 2008

The coveted keyboard

I would never have thought I would be even remotely tempted to pay $1,589.99 for a keyboard. But one with a miniature screen on every key?

The Optimus Maximus keyboard has just that. And each of those OLED screens can be programmed with your choice of font, image, or even animation.



I want.

Saturday, 16 August 2008

Statistical errors

Did you know that there is statistical proof that storks deliver babies?

Robert Matthews gathered statistics on stork populations from 17 European counties, and compared them to national birth rates. Analysing the data, he found a significant correlation... and one that was also highly statistically significant.

Of course, the purpose of all this was to demonstrate how statistics can be misleading - especially where the data is badly selected (what about the countries that don't have any storks?)

And of course, it's important to remember that 56% of statistics are made up on the spot.

Image by Arpingstone of Wikimedia Commons
(Public domain)

Friday, 15 August 2008

OMG COW!!!!11

I use YouTube a lot. That's reflected in this blog of course, there is always something to catch my attention on YouTube.

But one thing that never catches my attention are the comments. I think they must be among the most pointless and puerile on the internet - and that says a lot.

If you've never read them, don't try. Instead, all you need is this description of the classic YouTube debate from Faulty Logic.

Although according to Brad Berens at Mediavorous, the inane comments are the secret of YouTube's sucess.

Thursday, 14 August 2008

ARK de Triumphe

ARKive looks to be a wonderful project. The aim is to gather images, information, and video of all of the worlds creatures - starting with those most endangered.

The images and video come from professional photographers and film makers, and many are truly stunning (if a little over watermarked).

But here is where the wiki-addict in me shows. I have to think that they are making a mistake in creating this as such a closed system. The organisation and the look of the site are great, but are they really doing the right thing with the content?

Maybe they should consider what they might gain by looking at some of the work done by ordinary people contributing their own work to an extraordinary project.

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Cuteness conundrum

So why is there no English word for "kraulen"?


Image by Flickr user fraencko
Licensed under Creative Commons by-nc-sa 2.0

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

An artist's tools

Something I enjoy is playing with Paint Shop Pro to create or (more often) modify images. But I would never claim to be artistic. One thing about a really good graphics program is that it makes it easy to get great effects and good-looking images.

And I'd say that the corollary to that is that a really good artist can make something good with almost any tool. Like... say... Lipstick, or vegimite.

Or harder still, MS Paint!


Monday, 11 August 2008

Aynayda Pizaqvick

Remember the old prank of fooling airport announcers into paging for bogus names? It's even older as a phone prank of course... ask Bart Simpson.

Still, the old jokes are the best, and I enjoyed this site with recordings of announcers falling for the prank.

A little more sophisticated than "Ivor Biggun". Or at least, slightly more subtle.

Credit: Kirkburn

Sunday, 10 August 2008

Base 38 = GN8GS9I

Today I just want to celebrate having the type of friends who would work out what your name would be in base 2 to 61, starting from the assumption that "sannse" is a number in base 62.

Well, OK, maybe just one friend that would do that. But it's still cool.

In another case of that strange synchronicity, he also quoted the old joke about people who know binary, just two days after I explained the same joke to my mother.

Saturday, 9 August 2008

Toasters are interesting!

I've just arrived home from a week working in Wikia's Poland office, and am feeling rather smug that I only missed one post while away.

But with today being a day of almost internet-less recovery, I didn't have much of an idea of what to write about.

Luckily, my friends at #uncyclopedia were there to help:
<azzt|cgi> sannse: toasters
<sannse> toasters are not an interesting thing
<azzt|cgi> toasters are quite interesting!
<jocke_pirat> http://gizmodo.com/gadgets/toaster/
And it seems they are right. What a great collection...

It seems the world of interesting toasters falls roughly into three categories: new designs like the transparent toaster; devices that combine toasting with other actions; and toasters that burn designs into your bread.

Although I'm not quite sure where the "highest popping toaster in the world" fits in.

Friday, 8 August 2008

Paris for president

I can't resist another dose of political humour today.

I've never been a fan of those famous for being famous, and I can't say that I follow the whole celebrity thing enough to know what Paris Hilton actually does. But she's certainly gone up in my estimation with this little gem:



Credit: Artur

Thursday, 7 August 2008

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

From the age of innocence

I was tempted today to blog about a school computer club page with a "want to cyber?" animated gif.

But, sadly, I felt compelled to mail them about it and explain a little more about the meaning of the phrase. So I would guess that the image won't last...

So instead, I give you PongOut - the marriage of two classic games, controlled simultaneously with the mouse.

As usual with flash games, I lost pretty fast. But I do like the way two old favourites are given a new twist.

Ah, I pine for my old pong console. From the days when "cyber" really did mean "about computers".

Credit: rwg from #uncyclopedia

Monday, 4 August 2008

Steampunk revisited

Why is it that whenever you hear of a new word or concept for the first time, you start hearing it everywhere?

The first I heard of "steampunk" was the beautiful steampunk laptop. So I looked around to learn more about it, and found it a popular genre that I'd never heard of before.

Then along comes another great steampunk site. Sillof has a wonderful collection of Star Wars characters, redesigned in the steampunk style.

This is beautiful work. The makeover is carefully designed, and meticulously implemented. Each figure keeps its individual character and is fully recognisable, but the style and detail is wonderfully steampunk.

Darth Vader, pictured above is probably my favourite, but I love all of this guy's work.

Other highlights of the site are a set of 1942 Star Wars characters and the Gaslight Justice League.
Credit: #wookieepedia
Image: sillof.com, used with permission.

Sunday, 3 August 2008

Signs of the times

I've looked before at the way carefully placed two-dimensional art can be made to look three-dimensional.

Here's a very impressive example from a car park in Melbourn. In this image, the work looks like a rather abstract design of colours... attractive, but nothing revolutionary...

But as you move into the right position, the abstract reforms into signs that direct you around the car park:



Have a look at Axel Peemoeller's site for the other signs. Clever stuff.

Photos © Axel Peemoeller.
Reproduced with permission.

Saturday, 2 August 2008

Demystifying lollipops

I try to keep this blog "work friendly". And, with the amount of time I spend on the Uncyclopedia IRC channel, you can bet that means rejecting a lot of links!

But this is one I couldn't resist. After all, it's all in a good cause...

So, for those with a sweet tooth and a liking for all things female, how about buying yourself a box of vagina pops?

Of course, I understand the rationale of demystifying the vagina as a way to promote women's strength and the validity of their sexuality.

But still... vagina pops... *giggle*
Credit: Mitch on #uncyclopedia

Friday, 1 August 2008

The humour of politics

I can't claim to be that interested in Politics. It may be an influential and essential part of our lives, but it's also.... silly.

So I think The Daily Show is the best way to understand American politics. Here's their take on the "don't ask, don't tell" policy in the US military.



I wish they wouldn't beep out swear-words though... either say them or don't!

Thursday, 31 July 2008

The minimalist comic

I have a couple of web comics that I read regularly, xkcd being my favourite. That's one that certainly doesn't get by on the artistry of its panels, although it must take significant skill to get expression and meaning out of stick figures.

But now I've come across a comic with even less reliance on imagery. Here's one from Minimalism Sucks, by Mandaliet:


It took me a while to really get Minimalism Sucks. But after reading a few with a slight air of bemusement, I started to get in tune with the strangeness. It's certainly one I will revisit.

Mandaliet is also an Uncyclopedian by the way. His work there is well worth checking out too.

Credit: Kalir on #uncyclopedia

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Stoned spiders

Some time ago, I read about experiments that tested the effect of various drugs on the web building abilities of spiders. Cannabis.net has some photos of the original webs. My version on the right is what I think they should have found.

I always thought this seemed like pretty pointless research - drugs have an effect on ability... now there's a surprise... Although the ex-scientist in me is insisting that of course it had to be tested, how else would we know.

But either way, I'm glad to hear the Canadian Wildlife Service has taken this research further...

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

The illustrated internet

Matthew Inman at 0at.org has drawn up a great collage of the State of the Web, Summer 2008.

There's also a 2007 version. Ah memories...

I'd love to see more of these and see if the same events would be chosen as the key events of the year. Probably others would choose something completely different.

Credit: Kalir and EnzoAquarius on #uncyclopedia

Monday, 28 July 2008

A plane with a view

I stumbled upon a wonderful gallery of photos taken from the cockpits of aircraft. The one shown here was taken during a mid-air refuelling manoeuvre by a KC-135A Stratotanker and an F-15 Eagle aircraft. An amazing view.

But I think my favourite is the wonderful image showing the controls of the cockpit of a Boeing 747-200. It may not be taken in flight, but it's a great shot.

Although, stunning as the photo is, it does make me wonder how any pilot can possibly know what's going on with all those controls. Scary.

Image by Flickr user James Gordon
Licensed under Creative Commons by 2.0

Sunday, 27 July 2008

Blocked

What to write about when you can't think of anything to write about? Writer's block seems to be the subject of the day...

I write about links I've been given or come across in my random wanders around the Internets. So my usual strategy, when nothing I already have is inspiring me, is to go walkabout.

StumbleUpon is great way of doing that of course, but entering something random into Google can take you interesting places too.

So I tried "writer's block", and discovered that everyone has a solution... but I'm not convinced that anyone has a cure.

So instead, I'll give you a song called "Writer's Block". If you can't beat it, ignore it.

Friday, 25 July 2008

Moe-ing the lawn

This makes me want a garden:


It looks as though it needs quite a bit of refinement: the "baaa" is fun, the "squeeeeksqueeeek" would drive you crazy. And although it has a blade in its mouth to cut grass, it doesn't seem to be doing so particularly well. But it's still cute!

There's more about this over at BotJunkie.

Credit: Avatar

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Lines of illusion

I almost feel it's lazy to introduce an another illusion as my Interesting Thing for today. The problem is I find all illusions interesting, and it would be far too easy to fill this blog with them.

But I couldn't resist this one. The question is, are these two pictures the same?


The answer of course, whatever your eyes may be telling you, is that they are identical. The photographic version of this illusion shows the effect more clearly.

Credit: Avatar

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Fingers alive

I view many wikis as I move around Wikia, and have to admit it's easy to get distracted by an article or two as I go.

Recently, it was an article on Muppet Wikia that pulled me away from being productive. That lead me to Leo Petersen's site, with his wonderful finger puppets. I think this one was my favourite:



I don't know how he can make such expressive little stories with so little. Clever stuff!

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Parlez-vous sprechen English?

I'm highly embarrassed at my lack of language skills. I remember a school French exam, where I repeatedly told the examiner that "J'habite dans la mer"

So I totally understand anyone who gets fed up with native English speakers expecting everyone to speak English... and this made me giggle:



Of course, the link came from a native German speaker. Thanks Avatar! (I think...)

Monday, 21 July 2008

The steampunk laptop

Yesterday I considered the idea of a gold plated eeePC. But instead of that, how about an antique-style laptop with a brass keyboard and a wooden case?

I love the wind-up mechanism for the on/off switch, that's a beautiful touch. And the whole look is very special... if not very practical. I think the one part I really covet is that beautiful etched brass keyboard.

This is "steampunk" at its finest. Transforming or creating modern objects in a style based on Victorian technology. The concept is to show what modern day objects would look like in a fantasy reality where technology hasn't moved on from steam (or has fallen back to that level).

Although I think it's more about having the chance to make something beautiful and fun.

Credit: Splarka
Image: datamancer.net, used with permission.

Sunday, 20 July 2008

All that glitters

Most people at the Wikia office seem to prefer Macs, something I've never coveted. But how about a 24-karat gold plated Mac? Now that would top Gil's Macbook Air...

Or maybe I should go one better? What about if I got my eeePC gold plated? That would be even better than its current cute pink!



Credit: Nef

Saturday, 19 July 2008

A self portrait in flash

Whenever I come across sites that allow you to build an avatar or face from a choice of parts, I have a compulsion to try and make a "me" that's as close to the real me as possible. So I have a lego me from Reasonbly Clever and a South Park me from South Park Studio and even a Simpons me automatically generated from a photo by simpsonizeme.com

Ultimate Flash Face is rather more realistic, and is remarkably flexible. I think my self-portrait here is pretty close.



The choice of parts could do with being expanded, I couldn't find any suitable short, curly, female-looking hair... and the mouths tended to be far to serious for me. But overall, I thought this was a fun one to play with.

Especially the bit where I could make my face thinner... and all without giving up chocolate!

Friday, 18 July 2008

Dancing counter-clockwise

I could easily fill this blog with illusions, they fascinate me. But strangely, since I had an operation to fix a detached retina, I find it harder to see them.

The spinning lady illusion is one I had problems with. Sometimes I can look at it for ages, and just see a lady spinning clockwise. But when my brain suddenly decides she is spinning the other way, the effect is amazing.

It's one of those illusions where you really start to think it's a trick... or rather a trick played by something other than your own mind.

Thursday, 17 July 2008

ANGER

I was curious to find out the story behind the Angry German Kid. What could possibly make a child react that way? Why was he being filmed? Where where his parents?



The first explanation I found was from Encyclopaedia Dramatica (sorry, I'm not linking there!). Obviously this isn't the best source available, and what wasn't satire was wrong. But eventually I found a useful YouTube translation with a comprehensive explanation in the notes (click in the side panel to read).

Once I'd read that this was a very talented young actor commenting on the absurdity of media reports about the affects of video games, it made a lot more sense. But once again it raises the question of what's "real" on the internet... frequently the answer seems to be "not much".

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Japan explained

To Western eyes, many of Japan's cultural practices seem strange, even bizarre. So here's Japan for the Uninvited to explain to us, in a very clear and helpful way, just why the Japanese invented the square watermelon.

I'm not sure why Japan in particular has come to be seen as the epitome of strange cultural practices... we accept what we know, but there are aspects of every culture that would seem as odd to any other.

In the 80s, TV shows started to pick out Japan and it's extreme game shows as something to mock and wonder at. It turns out that the Japanese were just ahead of us there... with Fear Factor and Big Brother, such shows now seem (almost) normal to us.

Maybe the same will soon be true of shark fin ice cream

Image by Flickr user solution_63
Licensed under Creative Commons by 2.0

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Watching the best

How many of IMDB's top 250 movies have you seen? I think I'm on about 45, not even close to halfway.

250guy on blogger has watched 130 so far, and at the rate he's going it looks like he'll be at 250 remarkably quickly.

I think my problem would be those movies that I really don't want to see. I started watching Trainspotting once, but couldn't get through it. I think I'd rather see most of the worst 100 than try that one again.

Monday, 14 July 2008

No internet?!

Yesterday was my personal International Internet-Free Day. A few months late, and not voluntary (stupid router) but still, every little counts... right?

But despite the frustration of the 100 times I thought of something I needed to "just look up on-lin...oh", I would say I got through the day comfortably.

After all, I know I'm not addicted... the Internet told me so!

(OK, so I scored 49, perhaps a little close for comfort)

Saturday, 12 July 2008

Dear me, this is you

What would you say to the future you?

FutureMe.org allows you to write an email to yourself, to be sent at some future date. Want to remind yourself of how you were? Or send a message about where you should now be? This is the site for you.

Looking at some random emails, it seems most people aren't prepared to wait very long to receive their message from the past, many choose a year or so. I think, despite the risk of the message getting lost, I'd want to choose a much longer delay.

Then again, I'm not sure I will want to hear from the now-me. Time moves on, and maybe the past is best left to memories.

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Mmmm... bacon

I love bacon as much as the next perpetually dieting woman. But a bacon-scented bacon-print tuxedo? That's just... wrong.

Although looking around, it seems there are a lot of stranger things to be done with bacon. How about the bacon bra? Shouldn't that be cooked first?

Or maybe you fancy some bacon vodka? I'm hoping to take a trip to Poland soon... I wonder if my Polish friends would like to have a try of that one?

I also came across a recipe for a bacon martini, as seen above, which somehow seems even worse than the vodka.

But for the real bacon lover, I think the best invention may be the bacon alarm clock. Waking to the smell of freshly cooked bacon every morning... mmmm....

Credit: Brian
Image by Flickr user &y
Licensed under Creative Commons by-nc-sa 2.0

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

BOOM!

Remember all those movies where cars explode at the drop of a hat? It seems it gets worse. Apparently wooden carriages with no apparent explosive cargo will also explode if dropped off a cliff.



This is one of Cracked.com's "5 Most Baffling Explosions in Movie History". Which is a list I'm sure can be expanded.

Fire pretty, rationale not required.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Finger sized cuteness

It seems about time for a bit of cute.

Very-bored.com has a nice gallery of finger sized animals.

Some on the list seem a bit of a cheat, after all you could have almost infinite images of insects no bigger than a finger... but still, it's a cute gallery.


Image by Flickr user Tambako the Jaguar.
Licensed under Creative Commons by-nc-nd 2.0

Monday, 7 July 2008

IRC Poetry

A bit of a variation today... I just couldn't resist sharing this profound poem from KiptheDip on #Uncyclopedia IRC:
His leg still hurts.
The cake is a lie.
My mum is asleep.
I mean, just contemplate that for a while... so full of feeling... so full of meaning...

Well either that, or the replies to the questions:

<Olipro> how's your poodle?
<lj|recording> how's your cake?
<Olipro> how's your mum?

Ah the wonders of Internet randomness

Sunday, 6 July 2008

Dungeons and Rings

Yesterday I linked to Darths and Droids, a very clever webcomic based around a Star Wars themed game of Dungeons and Dragons.

I'm really looking forward to reading this from end to end, but the friend who introduced me to the site insists that first I need to read the original: DM of the Rings. This is the same premise, but with Lord of the Rings as the scenario.

I've never played Dungeons and Dragons, although I know enough geeky types to know the basics. But I think this would be funny even without that... brilliant!

Credit: Splarka
Image by Flickr user John Shao.
Licensed under Creative Commons by-nc 2.0

Saturday, 5 July 2008

Jar Jar, you're a genius

An interesting tale of the spread of a new mini Internet fad...

On July 3rd Darths and Droids published an episode ending with the phrase "Jar Jar, you're a genius" - and commented that it was a phrase with no Google hits.

Just hours later, it was on Google's Hot Trends list (peaking at #40) and now has 349 hits.

Sadly some of those links lead to malware, and no doubt others will be pure spam. It seems the bad guys always jump on the new trends fastest.

Credit: Splarka

Friday, 4 July 2008

Holiday? When?

I've been a little grumpy today about all the "Happy Independence Day" wishes. After all, it wasn't that good a film!

But perhaps I'm being unfair to our American cousins... so by way of apology, I tried an Independence Day quiz.

I only got half the questions right, but at least I did know who the current president is.

I'm also aware what day Independence Day actually is. But, if you should need them, then here's a link to the dates for Independence Day 2008-2020

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Memories of Morten

Sometimes the Internet isn't about moving towards the future, but about revisiting the past.

Here's the original version, for those of an age to remember it as fondly as I do.


Credit: LordKaT

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Choosing colours

I think colr.org is a site I will visit and use often. It allows you to generate colour schemes from Flickr photos (or your own).

I love to play with colours and design, but sadly I'm not very good at it. This looks like a fun way to get some help.

One thing the site taught me about design that I'm sure wasn't intentional... if a page seems to end at the "fold", then people won't think to scroll down. It took me a while to notice that there was more to see down there.

Credit: Ose on #wikia

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

A diet for the non-dieting

I have to admit, I've always wanted to taste a deep-fried Mars bar. Although that's one of those crazy ambitions that you know you would regret if you ever actually tried it.

Now Newsweek has added to that ambition with a gallery of the most unhealthy carnival foods.

Mmmmm... funnel cake...

Image by Flickr user Joe Shlabotnik.
Licensed under Creative Commons by 2.0

Monday, 30 June 2008

Chocolate covered Sannse

I usually say this isn't the "what I had for breakfast" kind of blog. But for once, it's going to be the "what I did at the weekend" kind.

That's because the wonderful chocolate making workshop I went to, also inspired me to start uploading to Flickr. I consider this to be one of the necessary steps for true Internet Citizenship.

I plan to upload more photos to Flickr, but maybe first I should work on my reputation as a chocoholic... maybe by visiting one of several museums of chocolate? Or by buying the world's most expensive chocolate? Or how about a chocolate bath?

I think it's about time I went on a diet.

Sunday, 29 June 2008

Boom de yada

Xkcd confused me today, I had no idea of the reference. But a quick link from a friend sent me to the source... this wonderful advert for The Discovery Channel:



As another friend said, "first meme I've actually been around to see explode". Which probably means we will soon be as fed up of "I love the whole world" as we are of "Rickrolling".

But still... I do love the whole world (Boom de yada, Boom de yada)

Credit: Splarka

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Buyer beware

Craig's list has got to be one of the strangest places on the Internet. On the one hand, it's simply a mundane listings site for classified ads... and yet it's also a home for the truly weird.

Like an ad offering $350 to anyone prepared to be an arch nemisis. It seems you can buy anything now, even your enemies.

Credit: Bill

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Pop!

It's one of those lazy days... which generally means it's time for cute animals! So here's a dog with the strange party trick of balloon-popping:



Credit: Bill

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

"Anything that happens, happens"

I'm linking to another big read today, but one that's well worth looking at. It's a transcript of a talk from 1998, given by Douglas Adams.

Half way though I had one of those real moments of enlightenment... it's wonderful to read something that gives such a clear sense of surprised understanding.

The talk is also full of great quotes. I think my favourite has to be: "Without a god, life is only a matter of opinion."

Credit: Splarka

Monday, 23 June 2008

Censorship

collegehumor.com is a bit less.... family friendly... than my usual links. But with the recent death of George Carlin, it seems appropriate.

I went to CollegeHumor to find the famous "Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television". And I stayed to watch this very fun censor bar dance:

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Ascii Sanncii

I've been looking at ascii art generators this evening. There's quite a few out there that will take an image and generate an image... I got the best results from ascii.ws - a nice interface too.

I tried photos of a rose and a Gatekeeper butterfly, but it seems that faces work best. So here's an image of me in ascii


###*####@@@@########################*####***####**
########@@@######@@######*##**############***#****
#######@@#####@@#@###@@########**####***#*********
######@@######@@@#@#@######***********************
######@###@@@@@@@@@@#@@@@##******#****************
#####@@#@@#@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@***********************
###@@@@@@@@####@@@@@@@@@@@@#**********************
@##@@@@#@#######@@@@@@@@@@@@***#******************
#@##@#@*#####*#*#@@#@@W@@@@@*****##******+********
###@@##**#@##**#*#W@#@W@@@@@#**+*#**********##**++
@##@@@++***@#*#*#**###@WWW@W+.,...,........:++:,.,
#@@@#@**++*##*********#@@@@@#:::..:::::::.,.,,.,,:
#@@@#@**++++**+*****#***@WW@@::+:::.:::::+:,.,.,,.
@@@@***++++++++***#@##@*#@W@#:+++:::::+:::.++,:.::
@@@@#+++++++****#@#***###@W@#:*.+::::+*+.,,...::.+
@#@@+++:++*****##*#@@#*#**@##***:::+++++.,:......+
@@@@+::######**###*@#*+***@##*+*+::*+*+...*+:.:+++
#@@#++#*******+*#*###*++++##**:**++***+++*++++*+.:
+@@#++*+*@@@*#++#**+***++++#+:++****:***+#+*+:+:.:
+@@@#++*#*##**:+****+++++++@++*****#++*+**+**++.::
:*@@*+*:*#*+*::++***+++******+*#*****+++*+**+*++::
**##+:::++*+++:++**#*******+***+*******+*+:*+**.::
*+++*:::::++*:+**####******+#**#***###*****##*++::
***+#::::++*#*#*###*##*****+*+*+##**#*****++#***::
**++::::++**#********##****+**####@#*#++*##*+#*+++
*+++*::++**##*+**#@#@@#*****#*****###****#*##*#++*
+++++::++**#**#**+**@#*******#*#*****#*+*##*###***
:+++++:+***##@+:++###*******#######***##**##**#*##
:+++++:++**#*@#**#*#*******#@@##**#*#####*####**@*
++++***++++**+**##*********@@@@#@@######**@*#***++
*++++*#:+++**+++***+*******@@@@@@@######*#########
:++++***+++*+++++++++****#*#@##########**##**#****
:+***+**+++*++++++++****#**@@W@@#******#**#*####**
******+##+*++++++++**##****++@@W#######*******@@@@
****###*+***++++****##*****+++##@#######*******@@@
*******+**:*******###*******++*##@########*****##@
+*****+***.+*****************++*#@##########***###
*******#**#:+***************++++*##############**#
*******##*#:+****************++++#################
*+**#*###*##+**************++++++############**#*#
#**####*#####++***********+++++:+**#######****####
##*######*###**+++***+++*+++++::+#*#*###****###@##
##*###########++++++++++++++++:::#*##*****####@@##
##*###########*+++++++++++++:::::**#***#####@##@##

Friday, 20 June 2008

Movies for the ultra-busy

This is what I need! Movie-A-Minute. All the movies I need in a form I can get though in less than a minute each!

I've been meaning to watch "It's a Wonderful Life", but now I don't need to. All I needed was the ultra-condensed script.

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Seeing the sound of cellos

I remember a discussion with a friend about a bottle of yellow bath foam she had just been given as a gift. As she passed it to me she said "It doesn't smell very yellow"... I smelt it and agreed, "no, it smells a lot more blue".

I still remember the look of utter amazement on another friend's face... blue smells?!

This was association rather than actual synaesthesia, which is a condition where senses are combined so that stimulation of one sense triggers a reaction in another. The idea of hearing smells, or tasting numbers is a fascinating one... so here's a glimpse of what the sound of a cello looks like


The image is by Marcia Smilack. She is an artist who uses her synaesthesia to create photographs of reflections... watching the moving water until she hears that the image is right.

It certainly seems to work, the images are beautiful. I think this one resonates because I can almost see the music myself.

Image © Marcia Smilack.
Used with permission.

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

The musical cat

I want to get a theramin, and a cat, just to try this...



To hear this strange instrument being played with a little more skill, try this performance by Thomas Grillo

Credit: Bill

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Quiz: from the Latin "qui es"

I have another quiz to offer today: Etymologic... which claims to be the toughest etymology game on the web.

I got 6 out of 10, which I don't think was bad for a mostly-guess. My stratergy was to go for the least likely answer. Which seemed to work.

Incidentally, Wikipedia tells us that the etymology of etymology is: "from the Greek ἔτυμον (étymon, true meaning, from 'etymos' true) and λόγος (lógos, word)." Just in case that comes up in the quiz.

Monday, 16 June 2008

When is a meme not a meme?

According to this Timeline of Internet Memes the first Internet meme was back in 1996... and the most recent is this year's Rickrolling

I'm not really clear on when a meme is a meme, some of these seem to just be popular sites. The Wikipedia article on the subject is horribly dense, and it's hard to pick out exactly what the defining characteristics of a meme are.

Personally, I'd call these "fads". Although the concept of "meme" is connected to the concept of "gene", and I swear that the hamster dance has a life of its own...

Credit: Avatar

Sunday, 15 June 2008

A challenge to the senses

I've just tried the BBC's "senses challenge". I didn't do too well, just 12 out of 20, but then a lot of the questions are ones that our senses are designed to fail.

Still, I always knew there was something very wrong with parmesan.

Image by Flickr user Joaoloureiro.
Licensed under Creative Commons by-nc-nd 2.0

Saturday, 14 June 2008

Fool's penguins

I've long missed April Fool's day, so I won't even try to pretend this is real... but it's a wonderfully convincing piece of work.



There's also a short video on how the effect was achieved. Yet another reminder that what we see is not reality.

Friday, 13 June 2008

The future


I want the future too. I think it might be shiny.

Credit: Nef
Cartoon © hugh of gapingvoid.com

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Intuition

The stuff I usually link to is quite... instant. Maybe it's the nature of the Internet to like quick snacks of interest, or maybe it says more about my own attention span.

But today I was shown an article on "intuitive design". A longer article than I usually link, but well worth reading.

Wikis have changed a lot since I started using them. When I first hit the edit button, I got an obvious box of text with very little code. It was easy to see what change I needed to make, and how to make it.

Wikis now are much prettier, but also contain much more complicated markup. I seriously wonder if I would be where I am now if that initial "knowledge gap" had been wider.

Credit: Brian

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

The digital toy shop

Zefrank.com is a site I've been meaning to explore more for a while. There is a wealth of interesting things to play with, from pretty toys to classic games to... well... the strange stuff.

Somehow it all reminds me of a wonderful old-fashioned toy shop in Cambridge I used to visit as a child. With each tray and shelf holding another shiny thing to explore.

The flower above was created using his flower maker, and I was rather pleased with it. I wanna look at the train sets next!

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Kitten compensation

I'm very keen to keep up with this experiment of an (almost) daily blog... but life, and Wikia, can make that hard...

So, in compensation today, I give you.... a overly cute kitten!


Photo by Avatar. Licensed under the
Creative Commons
Attribution-Share Alike 2.0

Sunday, 8 June 2008

Two legged dogs

A picture in the last issue of Fortean Times of a dog with no front legs intrigued me. The dog was said to have been born with just two legs, and to walk ably on its hind legs.

I wondered at first if the image had been manipulated, but it seems it's not the only able two legged dog out there. There's also Faith, who also lacks both front legs.

But Dominic the two legged greyhound seems even more impressive, because he has only one front and one back leg. And yet it doesn't seem to slow him down at all:




Bless...

Saturday, 7 June 2008

Personal crowd

I talked last year about personal space and how the social rules for keeping your distance carry over into virtual worlds.

But this image of a Japanese wave pool, and the related YouTube video, graphically show the variations in social rules in different cultures. The idea of choosing to be in a pool with that many people is highly disturbing to my English notions of necessary personal space.

With the Internet being such a cosmopolitan place, I wonder how much these cultural variations in social rules affect us. It's not something I've noticed clearly, although I have certainly noticed that online the rule tends to be "tolerate difference, or go make a niche"
Image: © kilian-nakamura.com, used with permission.

Friday, 6 June 2008

Issues of trust

I read Fortean Times magazine cover to cover every month. But I hardly ever look for similar content online.

And I think this picture of a ghost in a hospital illustrates why. It's a stunning image - if it's genuine. But who can assume that with the quality of image manipulation out there.

Thursday, 5 June 2008

Slooow down Bob

For an unusual product that I won't be trying, how about "Drank" - the "anti-energy drink"

This is the exact opposite of all those stimulating caffeine drinks out there. Instead it's designed to calm you with melatonin, valerian root and rose hips.

I know a lot of all-night IRCers who could probably do with this, but I think the last thing I need is a soporific

Credit: Splarka