August 27, 2004

» "Super-Earth" discovered. Though sounds rather more like an Ultra-Mercury to me

August 26, 2004

» Scientists' favourite SF. Blade Runner, 2001, Star Wars. No surprises there, then

August 23, 2004

» Ladies and gentlemen, introducing the hexapounder! In other news, there's apparently some sort of obesity crisis or something happening

August 22, 2004

» The elusive Mr Pipes

August 20, 2004

» Will China be the first country to get old before it gets rich?

Things could get much worse. In the coming years, the customary Chinese way of dealing with expensive medical crises - borrowing from family and friends - will become more difficult as the proportion of elderly citizens in the population rises steeply. The UN predicts that by 2040 China will have only two working-age people for every person over 60, compared with 6.4 in 2000.While ageing populations are common in the developed world, the Centre for Strategic and International Studies said in a recent report that China may be the first major country to grow old before it becomes rich.

August 19, 2004

» Real-life cutaway ships. Why are all the really cool picture sites from the Low Countries?

August 18, 2004

» Economists, having already sorted out everything from crime to the environment to, uh, the economy, now turn their attention to the prescription of antibiotics. God help us all
» Now that's a big bridge
» The tube map overlaid on London
» One man's media paradox

August 14, 2004

» London's New River. Not new; not a river.
» People just don't date their old partner's current partner's old partner. Apparently.
» Cluster ballooning. If I only had any guts ...

August 13, 2004

» FontShop - over 25,000 fonts, FontBook, and FUSE
» Making phone calls visible. No, not that way
» Okay, so what does a Chevy Bel-Air look like when it's travelling near light speed?
» Why moving your capital city is a bad idea
» The Shooters Hill water-tower has been turned into a luxury home. I'd rather it had been turned into something more community-minded, but better this than to let it continue to decay

The glass and steel section is connected at the first floor (there are eight levels of living space) by an enclosed glass bridge. A double-height entrance and a shocking pink lift and staircase should grab visitors' attention. The highlight, however, has to be a steel box observatory at the top of the tower that replaces an old water tank, boasting 360-degree views of Crystal Palace and the windmills of Kent.

"On a good day," according to Loates-Taylor, "you can see five or six counties."

But the restoration of the tower had problems from day one. "We had to get rid of a colony of pigeons," explains Loates-Taylor. "Special pest-control guys in breathing gear and suits had to clear away a couple of tons of pigeon poo, which is really toxic, asbestos-like stuff. There are still a few pigeons that keep coming back looking a bit puzzled. When you are mucking about with old buildings, they always surprise you."

Sandblasting has cleaned up this old edifice on Shooters Hill, which now boasts white and chrome Philippe Starck bathrooms, walnut and stone floors and bespoke lighting from Kevin Shaw Lighting in Glasgow. Another feature that breaks up the utilitarian brickwork is aluminium, powder-coated windows so beloved by architects these days. Loates-Taylor jokes that architects only see the world in grey and silver: "We introduce little flashes of colour every so often to show we can."

August 12, 2004

» Al-Qaeda thinks it'd be unfair to kill more than four million non-combatants or render more than ten million homeless. So that's alright, then.

In killing Americans who are ordinarily off limits, Muslims should not exceed four million non-combatants, or render more than ten million of them homeless. We should avoid this, to make sure the penalty [that we are inflicting] is no more than reciprocal. God knows what is best.

» Doping in sport: inevitable, universal, increasingly subtle and increasingly undetectable - isn't it about time to concede defeat in this particularly spurious corner of the "war on drugs"? At least they don't use whiskey and strychnine any more

August 11, 2004

» If Microsoft 0wn3d Nintendo

August 10, 2004

» Life imitates the Museum of Techno.
» If London Were Like Venice (via)
» Should New York secede?

Consider: If New York were its own country, its army, the New York City Police Department, would be the twentieth-best-funded army in the world, just behind Greece and just ahead of North Korea. Its GDP, $413.9 billion, would be the seventeenth largest, just behind the Russian Federation and just ahead of Switzerland. With more than 8 million residents, it would be more populous than Ireland, Switzerland, or New Zealand; roughly half the countries in the Middle East (including Israel); most of the former republics of the Soviet Union; and all the Scandinavian countries besides Sweden.


Wed be a great trading hub, the city Hong Kong was before it was handed back to China; an international capital of media and entertainment where news, books, and watchable films were peddled and made; and a diplomatic outpost, mediating between that lone superpower the United States and the rest of the globe. But best of all, wed be able to define ourselves. Gone would be the days as a neglected appendage to an indifferent nation; instead, wed be an antenna to the world, as Shashi Tharoor, an undersecretary-general at the United Nations, once gorgeously described us. And New York Cityhome to 600,000 Muslims, cauldron of more than 160 foreign languages, birthplace of Jonas Salk, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the brothers Gershwin, the telegraph machine, the hot dogwould no longer be identified with a country the rest of the planet hates, fears, and cannot understand.

» Is there life on Earth?
» Space is a place
» The Earth is becoming radio-silent. I've been saying this for years, but then I'm not Frank Drake, so no-one listened

The Earth is gradually vanishing from the view of any aliens that might be looking for us, because we are using fewer technologies that leak radio waves into space.

This is the view of one of the pioneers of the SETI project (that stands for Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence, in case you just crash landed), Frank Drake.

His remarks cast doubt over the current search methods employed by SETI in their hunt for little green men, but, he says, also suggest a reason for the deafening silence out there.

According to New Scientist our transition from radio tranmissions to cable TV could mean that our window of detectability is no more than 100 years.

» Japan deploys solar sail
» Now nothing can stop them! Nothing!

Hungry sheep on the Yorkshire moors have taught themselves to roll 8ft (3m) across hoof-proof metal cattle grids - and raid villagers' valley gardens.

August 09, 2004

» Bone-devouring worms found in the deep sea

Two worm species discovered in the dark recesses of the deep sea could rival the macabre beasts of your childhood nightmares. Scientists have named a new genus, Osedax, which is Latin for "bone devourer", for worms that thrive by excavating the bones of fallen whale carcasses.

» Los Alamos shutdown jeopardises Pluto mission
» Those missing stars from the Apollo 11 pictures, revealed by the magic of Photoshop (maybe).

August 08, 2004

» Truthful album covers

Fake Autechre Cover

August 05, 2004

» New survey says many of Britain's yoof think Gandalf defeated the Spanish Armada. In other news: yoof make up stupid answers to stupid survey questions

Almost half of 16- to 34-year-olds questioned in a BBC poll did not know that Francis Drake led the English fleet against Spain. One in five 16 to 24-year-olds thought it was Columbus, while one in 20 said it was Gandalf, the wizard from Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings.


Showing the impact of Hollywood on history, 15 per cent of 16- to 24-year-olds thought that when Orangemen march in Northern Ireland on 12 July, they were celebrating victory at Helmsdeep, a battle at the end of The Two Towers, the second novel in Tolkien's trilogy.

August 02, 2004

» Hyote Mangy fox captured!