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. 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 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


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:, 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

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


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? 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


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'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. 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 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