Friday, 30 May 2008

Your face, our balls

This is one where the video has to speak for itself...

There is more on this at

My only question now is who in the office do I most want to smack in the face with a beach ball?
Credit: Doug

Thursday, 29 May 2008

Artur, inside and out

Artur is a great source for interesting things, but this time he is the interesting thing.

Back in February 2007 he had a tumour removed from his ribcage. And, being the citizen of the Internet that he is, he not only described the process on a blog but also had photographs taken of the whole operation to add to Flickr.

Warning: these aren't for the squeemish... but they certainly qualify as "interesting".

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Plus postage, packaging, and paper

How about buying a copy of Latin America IT Spending Patterns: The Latin America Black Book Q2 2004? A snip at just $25,000.00?

I'm not quite sure if this is a typo or the real price, but I'm certainly not clicking to buy and find out!

What really made me laugh, is the realisation that you are buying a pdf... so that $25,000.00 cost doesn't include paper and binding.
Credit: Splarka

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

The Difference 2

Yesterday I asked "Is it geeky? Or is it more nerdy?". Here's Cat and Girl to the rescue with an explanation of the difference.

Monday, 26 May 2008

I Will Derive

I think this is the geekiest thing I've ever seen. Bless...

Or wait! Is it geeky? Or is it more nerdy?
Credit: Artur

Sunday, 25 May 2008

A pointed procedure

Here's one from Instructables that I don't think I'll be trying: "elf ears" body modification. The procedure involves cutting the ears, and forcing them to heal in a pointed shape. I actually think the final effect is very attractive, but... ouch!

For those curious about the vast range of body modifications out there, try the site of the guy who did this work - Russ Foxx. You may not want to go there if you have a weak stomach!

Personally, I think if I ever have the urge to make my ears pointy, I'll stick to the prosthetic version.

Saturday, 24 May 2008

Silvered swindle

I love buying jewellery, but luckily my tastes don't run to anything expensive. I'd rather a string of glass beads than something with gold and diamonds. But I do enjoy silver, and have ended up with a pile of necklaces that desperately need cleaning.

So looking around for the best way to clean them, I came across "pristine2u", who sell "electrolytic cleaning plates". Which looked good, despite their badly spelt FAQs, until I found a handy video on YouTube:

I tried this myself today, and got great results. So I think rather than a £12 plate "specialy made from several diferant metals", I'll stick with a pound or so's worth of foil.

Friday, 23 May 2008


I can't believe I've never linked!


Thursday, 22 May 2008

Catching the moment

In a previous post I talked about Live Earth recording a house fire with their "bird's eye view", but it looks like Google Maps has topped that with this dramatic moment in Chicago.

From other views, it looks as the the incident passed without harm, but it's a dramatic illustration of the implications of Google's attempt to photograph the world.

Credit: Avatar

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Cracked humanity?

Here's one of's fascinating lists: 5 psychological experiments that prove humanity is doomed

I'd heard of most of these before, but they do look pretty damning all in a block. But maybe the fact that we have looked at these twists in our collective psyche, and so can be aware and on guard for them, is a positive thing.

I guess the scary question for all of us is whether we could break out of this wired-in pattern, and do what's right when it really matters.

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

The End

Well I knew it had to be somewhere...

Credit: AAA^ on #uncyclopedia

Monday, 19 May 2008

348 banana stickers

When we were young, my sister and I had sticker books that collected fruit stickers into their county of origin. I don't think we kept them for long, but it was fun to see where our fruit had come from.

But Barry "Wildman" Snyder has taken that much further, by making art out of these little coloured stickers. And he gets some pretty good effects out of them too.

From the look of some of the sites out there about collecting fruit stickers, it doesn't look as though he will ever run out of different colours and shapes! There's something quite enchanting about a website with 348 different banana stickers.

Photo derived from Appleofmyeye by Flickr user Bludgeoner86.
Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0

Sunday, 18 May 2008

Received Pronunciation

Living on-line, and working for an American company, I tend to flow between British English and American English depending on where I am. I usually remember whether I'm carrying a handbag or a purse, and whether I'm walking on a pavement or a sidewalk. But pronunciation of some words is harder to remember. "Router" is one that got me laughed at recently... is it "root-er" or "r-ow-ter"?

Another is pronunciation problem is "Linux". But here I'm pleased to find that my laughably "American" pronunciation is the RP. After all, the man who invented the word should know.

Credit: Uberfuzzy

Saturday, 17 May 2008

Camouflaged controversy

I've had this wonderful invisible octopus in my YouTube favourites for a while.

That has to be one of the best camouflage jobs possible, wonderful!

Today I found that the images come from a talk by David Gallo at From the title of the talk, it seems he is making a point about "intelligent design", a theory I've always thought has more to do with our lack of imagination than anything else.

As Sir Arthur Eddington said, "Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine."

Friday, 16 May 2008

Marks for a perfect marriage

This week the Telegraph published a page from a 1930s leaflet marking women on how good they are as wives. The leaflet as a whole has been published on Flickr, showing the corresponding questions for men on how good they are as husbands.

I found this interesting from two perspectives. First, simply in the changes in values and expectations over time. It would be fascinating for someone to create a 2000s version of the leaflet with the qualities we look for in a partner now. With so many points relating to irritating habits like "squeezing toothpaste at the top", I suspect the general trend would actually be quite similar.

The second thing that struck me, is that the Telegraph chose to mention only the wives half of this. Ignoring the similarly outdated and archaic requirements for a good husband. Seems to me this says a lot more about current sexual attitudes than those of 70 years ago.

Thursday, 15 May 2008

Off-line? There's an off-line?

With my Internet connection currently very unstable, disappearing for hours at a time, I've been doing a bit more old-fashioned book reading.

Oliver Sacks writes about the fascinating variations of the human mind. Specifically focusing on what the changes caused by illness or injury can teach us about the mind's capabilities.

For example, looking at the effect of brain injuries in one part of the brain has shown it's key to recognising faces. Not paintings of landscapes, or species of beetle, or fabric patterns, or any of the millions of other complex things we recognise. Just faces. Damage there can leave someone unable to recognise those closest to them, but still fully able to tell the difference between a Constable and a Gainsborough.

The book I'm reading now is Musicophilia, all about music and the brain. As with faces it seems that aspects of music are quite specifically recognised by certain parts of the brain. Oliver Sacks talks of musical hallucinations, amusia, brainworms, and the beneficial effects of music on various disorders. It's fascinating both for the case-studies of disorders, and for the insight they give into everyone's mind.

I almost look forward to my next enforced off-line time (Arrghh!)

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Worthy work

Worth100 is the best site I've seen for Photoshopping (are we still allowed to call it that?) Their contests showcase beautiful, and technically amazing work. I've often browsed and wished I could do that.

Probably my favourite is this minature kitten (cute alert!) As with so many of the images, the detail and care given to making this look right is very impressive.

The image here is my own best attempt at this sort of image manipulation. Most of mine are made for Uncyclopedia, and sometimes bad quality is actually intended. But still, I aspire to Worth100.

Monday, 12 May 2008

The mathematics of beauty

Or maybe the beauty of mathematics?

A link from Artur led me to

The artist uses various algorithms to generate growing and changing images. These are fascinating as they change and get more detailed over time. The still snapshots of these animations can also be spectacular.

I can't say I fully understand what he is doing here, but these are definitely pictures I would love to have on my wall.

Image © 2004 Jared Tarbell
Reproduced with permission.

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Beware, life is dangerous!

A sad story on Fark about a tourist being killed by a falling rock, and her family's questions on whether it could have been avoided, led me to a wonderful disclaimer by the Nelson Rocks Preserve.
"The other people in the preserve, including other visitors, our employees, agents, and guests, and anyone else who might sneak in, may be stupid, reckless, or otherwise dangerous. They may be mentally ill, criminally insane, drunk, using illegal drugs and/or armed with deadly weapons and ready to use them. We aren't necessarily going to do anything about it. We refuse to take responsibility."
Sounds fair to me.

Saturday, 10 May 2008

A year of silence

It's exactly a year since I stopped updating this blog. But 46 days, almost without misses, was definitely the longest I've ever managed to keep up any kind of diary or journal. Every attempt as a child petered out after just a day or so.

So here goes for another try. Can I beat 46 days?

According to Guinness World Records the record for keeping a daily diary is 91 years. Ernest Loftus of Zimbabwe began his diary in 1896 at age 12, and kept it until his death at 103. I'll be happy if I manage an almost-daily blog for 91 days!

By the way, you won't find that record on the GWR site. As they say on search "our website features only a small selection of the 40,000 records listed in the Guinness World Records database." A great shame in this information age.

But at least they do include the information that the longest ear hair is that of Radhakant Bajpai of india, at 13.2 cm (5.19 in).