September 30, 2004

» I've moved my linklog to Furl, a really great link-sharing and archival service — here's my public archive. Recent entries still appear on the front page of my site. If you prefer, there's an RSS feed for the Furl archive. Or you could subscribe to my combined feed of weblog posts, links and photographs. Thanks for reading!
» Bush is a Big Mac, Kerry is a cafe latte

September 29, 2004

» Across America in four minutes

September 21, 2004

» The God FAQ (via)

September 20, 2004

» How Ali G lures the rich and famous

In other words, it's all fastidiously accurate, but vague. The letter is so thorough that the URL in the e-mail address at the bottom actually goes to Somerford Brooke's fictitious one-page Web site. (Potential interviewees for Baron Cohen's libidinous Kazakh persona, Borat, say they have been contacted by United World Television, which maintains a suspiciously similar site.) The producers have even gone to the trouble to make sure Somerford Brooke and their other fronts are officially registered companies—all at the same address that houses FremantleMedia, the parent of TalkbackThames, which produced Da Ali G Show for HBO and Britain's Channel 4. Repeated voice mails left with the letter's purported author, Saeeda Khanum, went unanswered; one person reached at Talkback who had heard of her said, uncomfortably, that he hadn't seen her in months. "I don't know anything, mate."

» Forbes reports on attempts to improve on batteries. Includes the startling observation that batteries are "primarily" made from elements in the periodic table - presumably with trace elements of ether and starlight

Batteries, whether alkaline or rechargeable, are made primarily from materials derived from the periodic table of elements, and "There are no new elements in the periodic table," says Dubois. "All the cathode materials [a major component in batteries] have been explored already."

» The art of Heidi Taillefer (via)

September 18, 2004

» Persons of Interest

September 17, 2004

» Frankenbites and Pelcos: the vocabulary of reality TV

September 15, 2004

» Virtual schizophrenia
» The truth about that underground Parisian cinema

To be fair, until recently very few people did have a clue about La Mexicaine de la Perforation, a clandestine cell of "urban explorers" which claims its mission is to "reclaim and transform disused city spaces for the creation of zones of expression for free and independent art".

Huddled round a table in an anonymous Latin Quarter bar, the group's members - of whom only Lazar wanted to be named - relate past exploits: rock concerts for up to 4,000 people in old underground quarries; 2am projections in a locked film theatre; art and photo exhibitions in supposedly sealed-off subterranean galleries.

» London Noise Map, searchable right down to house number. But doesn't include aircraft noise, which makes it a bit irrelevant round my way

September 14, 2004

» Should I rip this? A handy flow-chart guide

September 13, 2004

» The (disappointing) Truth about that SETI signal

According to Dan Werthimer, who heads up the UC Berkeley SERENDIP SETI project, this is a case of a reporter failing to understand the workings of their search. He says that misquotes and statements taken out of context give the impression that his team is exceptionally impressed with one of the many candidate signals, SHGb02 14a, uncovered using the popular SETI@home software. They are not.

September 10, 2004

» Another possible photo of an exoplanet; this one's apparently a more likely candidate than the last
» The best of this year's crop

September 09, 2004

» 4000 words on "How To Write An Essay" (via)
» Transformers comic "predicts" 9/11

September 08, 2004

» Bummer.

"There was a big pit in my stomach," physicist Roger Wiens, of Los Alamos National Laboratory, which designed the atom collector plates, told the Associated Press.

"This just wasn't supposed to happen. We're going to have a lot of work picking up the pieces."

The capsule impacted with such force that it dug itself into the ground. From aerial pictures taken by chasing aircraft it is clear the pod has sustained severe damage.

Interior components that should only have been exposed in a clean-room were open to the elements.

» Real underground cinema

Behind that, a tunnel held a desk and a closed-circuit TV camera set to automatically record images of anyone passing. The mechanism also triggered a tape of dogs barking, "clearly designed to frighten people off," the spokesman said.

Further along, the tunnel opened into a vast 400 sq metre cave some 18m underground, "like an underground amphitheatre, with terraces cut into the rock and chairs".

There the police found a full-sized cinema screen, projection equipment, and tapes of a wide variety of films, including 1950s film noir classics and more recent thrillers. None of the films were banned or even offensive, the spokesman said.

A smaller cave next door had been turned into an informal restaurant and bar. "There were bottles of whisky and other spirits behind a bar, tables and chairs, a pressure-cooker for making couscous," the spokesman said.

September 03, 2004

» Old Posts Revisited #1: Blind Man's Beauty, which I raved about a few months back, has just finished a run of repeats. Replays available for a week after broadcast (i.e., episode 1 will vanish on Monday 6th Sep): 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5
» SETI picks up ... something

The telescope has only observed the signal for about a minute in total, which is not long enough for astronomers to analyse it thoroughly. But, Korpela thinks it unlikely SHGb02 14a is the result of any obvious radio interference or noise, and it does not bear the signature of any known astronomical object.

September 02, 2004

» Music of the Quantum. Featuring, mind-bogglingly, the bloke out of Killing Joke

On almost every street corner in Prague, someone is handing out flyers for a concert in one of the city's historic churches. In one, it's a recital of Mozart; in another, Vivaldi. But on this balmy July evening, I join a crowd of physicists at the Bethlehem Chapel who have come to hear something less familiar: music by a contemporary composer, whose muse tonight is the science of quantum matter.


But the two performances can't claim to have achieved great outreach. Half of the audience in New York were scientists, the rest what Jaz calls "science groupies". And owing to restrictions surrounding the use of the venue, the Prague event is not open to the public. Instead, it has been organized as a cultural evening for those attending a meeting on condensed matter, hosted by the European Physical Society.

» And it still doesn't get to Barnehurst

September 01, 2004

» Muzak turns out to be good for something. Although only in Japan, natch