Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Friday, December 03, 2010

Because I have lots I need to do, I'm doing a meme instead.

via the lovely but currently germy Ampersand Duck. Bold what you have read, italicise what you started but didn't finish and feel all smug if you've read more than six of them. So here goes. I wonder if reading them for school counts? I think so.

1 Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen

2. Lord of the Rings – JR Tolkien

3. Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte

4. Harry Potter series – JK Rowling

5. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

6. The Bible

7. Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte

8. Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell

9. His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman

10. Great Expectations – Charles Dickens

11. Little Women – Louisa M Alcott

12. Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy

13. Catch 22 – Joseph Heller

14. Complete Works of Shakespeare

15. Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier

16. The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien

17. Birdsong – Sebastian Faulks

18. Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger

19. The Time Traveller’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger

20. Middlemarch – George Eliot

21. Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell

22. The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald

23. Bleak House – Charles Dickens

24. War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy

25. The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams

26. Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh

27. Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

28. Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck

29. Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll

30. The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame

31. Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy

32. David Copperfield – Charles Dickens

33. Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis

34. Emma – Jane Austen

35. Persuasion – Jane Austen

36. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – CS Lewis

37. The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini

38. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres

39. Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden

40. Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne

41. Animal Farm – George Orwell

42. The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown (No, never not even if it was the last book on earth. Well maybe then if I was really desperate.)

43. One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez

44. A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving

45. The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins

46. Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery

47. Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy

48. The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood

49. Lord of the Flies – William Golding

50. Atonement – Ian McEwan

51. Life of Pi – Yann Martel

52. Dune – Frank Herbert

53. Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons

54. Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen

55. A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth

56. The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon

57. A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens

58. Brave New World – Aldous Huxley

59. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon

60. Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez

61. Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck

62. Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov

63. The Secret History – Donna Tartt

64. The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold

65. Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas

66. On The Road – Jack Kerouac

67. Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy

68. Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding

69. Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie

70. Moby Dick – Herman Melville

71. Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens

72. Dracula – Bram Stoker

73. The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett

74. Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson

75. Ulysses – James Joyce

76. The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath

77. Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome

78. Germinal – Emile Zola

79. Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray

80. Possession – AS Byatt

81. A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens

82. Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell

83. The Color Purple – Alice Walker

84. The Remains of the Day – Kazu Ishiguro

85. Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert

86. A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry

87. Charlotte’s Web – EB White

88. The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom

89. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

90. The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton

91. Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
So glad I didn't have to study this for the HSC.

92. The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery

93. The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
No longer the most disturbing book you will read, not by a long way but was probably pretty groundbreaking when it was written.

94. Watership Down – Richard Adams

95. A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole

96. A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute

97. The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas

98. Hamlet – William Shakespeare

99. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl

100. Les Miserables – Victor Hugo

Not too bad. More than six, well less than 100. Smug value - moderate.

Friday, November 19, 2010


Here's a DVD worth getting out, though you'll probably all tell me that you saw it in 2000 when it came out in the theaters and what do I mean I'd never heard of it...


Its got Gérard Depardieu. Its got Tim Roth (being evil, though that really goes without saying.) Its got Uma Thurman (who is a space alien, but she is a rather pretty space alien.) And its got Louie XIV, so its chock full of French cooking and frock coats and spectacle. Any of you who have ever run an SCA feast should recognise moments of the behind-the-scenes chaos.

Its all about a moment in the life of François Vatel whos really quite an interesting character. Beautifully produced. And I thought the costumes looked pretty good too, though I know little to nothing about the period.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Memorable Meals

So before they were Facebook quizzes they were blog memes, but I got done even older school than that - I got tagged by an author in a book. But I like it, so I'm passing it on. From Jonathan Carroll, via "White Apples"*:

"Describe the three most memorable meals you ever had. [One] Breakfast, [one] lunch, and [one] dinner."

This is kinda fun, and in the spirit of the book, you don't have to necessarily get it right the first time; you can change your answers if you come up with better ones.

Breakfast: I would have been about 14, camping with the Boy Scouts up on the ridge at Big Basin. The night before it was rainy and windy and we built a massive lean-to for a shelter, but by morning it had settled into a fog below us, over the ocean. One of the older guys - Tom Neer, if I remember correctly, which would be a miracle from this remove - wanted to become a chef, and did Eggs Benedict for breakfast, with real fresh Hollandaise.

Lunch: January 2008, Chateau de Puilaurens. Sitting in a ruined castle, on a knife-edge of a ridge between France and Spain, with Aussie friends that we hadn't seen often enough recently enough, and with French bread and cheese and pate and wine. Awesome place, awesome food, awesome company.

Dinner: Is really really hard. There are so many! First thought was Level 41 in Sydney, for the amazing food (though to be honest I don't remember what I had... except for the potatoes au gratin made with truffle oil, which I shall carry in my heart til I die, in more ways than one) but also for the company and the view and the thrill of splashing out on something that we couldn't really afford.

But then there's Cold War, the year that we raided the kitchen for midnight cracklin off of the suckling pig that we were cooking. Which crackling is just about the finest foodstuff I have ever consumed while giggling at a Girl Guides Camp. And I think that might have been the year that Tops introduced us to the Hey-Down-Down Hoedown, so the entertainment was pretty high class too (though I may be blending Cold Wars there.) But then, I'm not sure that any part of that was really even a dinner...

And I have a special place in my heart for every Turkey Day we had in Sydney, too. Can't call it at the moment; I'll think on it some more and see if I can come up with a single Most Memorable Dinner.

Anyone else want to play?

*(Which book I'm enjoying, but am not entirely certain I would recommend. Make of that what you will.)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Political comedy and polymaths

In preparing for my imminent re-arrival into Australia (yes, I'm coming home, sorry I've been a bit remiss in mentioning this, and hooray!) and probable re-employment in some government related position, I've been reading a bunch of Australian blogs and columnists.

My most recent favourite discovery is Ben Pobjie. His recent column seems somewhat fitting for For Battle: EXCLUSIVE: Red-hot Excerpt from John Howard's memoir, "Lazarus Rising"
Especially if you are a fan of racy fiction about recent Prime Ministers. However, don't blame me if you get nightmares... Or want to stab your eyes out with a fork half way through the article...

(for what it's worth, Tony Blair DID write something akin to this in his recently released memoirs, which has had commentators over here in stitches and provided much fodder for derision)

Ben also does a weekly summary on The Drum, which has had me giggling every time.

Finally, I've discovered David Horton, who describes himself as a polymath (as did Douglas Adams and Stephen Fry), and seems to be a breath of fresh air. His blog is worth following, and a recent Drum article on addiction was just lovely.

It's lovely to be engaged in current affairs and opinion again. I suspect this confirms that coming home is the correct decision. Bring on Summer!

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Lemming childer

Oh the cute, it burns

Little boy German Little Girl German
Pattern sheetWanna know more?
I've built a doc with all the specs but have nowhere to upload it (and google docs doesn't like my format)
Drop me a line and I'll flick it across to you.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

So who gives a frac?

The purveyors of these fine classic frac biscuits do. Thanks to my mysterious importer of amusing goods....

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Before they settled on "Mr. President"...

Found this little factoid today:

In the runup to the inauguration of its first president, the republic of the United States was engaged in an earnest debate over how to address its new leader. After a month the joint congressional committee on titles came up with: "His High Mightiness, the President of the United States and Protector of their Liberties."

Dude; if I got to be a High Mightiness, I'd run...

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Monday, September 13, 2010

Little lemmings

I need a place to post little lemming frock stuff for discussion prior to little lemming frock day on 30 October.
Is here ok or will that jepodise the sekrit blah blahness factor?

Friday, September 10, 2010

The drugs don't work

Few things more annoying (at the time) than cold and flu drugs that wake you up instead of putting you to sleep. It's only a cold yet I've had a day and a half off work already, sleeping on the lounge. Yesterday, despite having the 'good' drugs - the one the pharmacist makes you hand over your licence and first born for - the pseudoephidrine only made me feel sub par rather than bouncy. Today I'm almost back to normal with drug assistance (legal that is) but have cancelled the planned three hour stomp around a paddock tomorrow. Keeling over would not be a good look me thinks.

The non-pseud drugs, that I took earlier in the week before giving up my firstborn, were ineffective but interesting. I could sleep, sort of and by 10:30pm I had solved all the problems of the vampire fiction genre including do they sparkle or go up in flames in sunlight and how shapeshifting really works. Unfortunately I've forgotten it all so my end to all arguments book will remain unwritten and my fortune unsecured. Later that same night I also designed a system where for every one thing you owned, you would on ever need one other thing, ever. I can't remember exactly how this brilliant system to save waste worked either and anyway at about 4am I realised that it was completely open to rorting and would be horribly ineffective. I may still be able to sell it to Tony Abbott though if I can remember enough of it. I hope my need for cold and flu drugs wears off soon or otherwise the realisation each morning when I wake up that I haven't in fact solved world hunger or beauty pageants will be too depressing.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Monday, September 06, 2010

if you're going to sing about tea...

... you really oughtta sing about toast, as well...

I can't find a clip for this song, although apparently one exists. on the single cover behind Alexei you can see his band, Alexei's Midnight Runners (a pun most Lemming-worthy), from left to right, Rik Mayall, Nigel Planer, Adrian Edmondson and Peter Richardson (who I think was originally meant to be Mike on the Young Ones). there's nice scans of the cover front and back on this site. the back is especially mighty.

I have great memories of this song... it was released in 1981 and Clive Robertson used to play it all the time on 2BL on the breakfast show, in between terrorising Geraldine Doogue and Caroline Jones. it was mostly funny, but you could hear their frustration. one day, I hope they get to wreak their rewenge ;-)

Clive had a thing about toast, because there was another song he used to play a lot, but I don't know the title or the band. it was almost a proto-rap about making toast, and in the chorus was the line, "Spread that toast, boys!" with the sound effect of many knives scraping toast. I really wonder what that song is...

but in the mean time:

One: Think bread.
Two: Hands on head.
Three: Press down.
Four: Go boing.


when I say OOO you say LONG

Everyone loves rap about tea

well, does it?

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Fried Eggi Weggi

or is it Fried Eggy Weggy? the screen res ain't so great...

... but the song is timeless ;-)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Twilight Years

I mocked Twilight today.

I know thats up there on the list of news flashes with "Sky Blue: details at 11", but c'mon: sparkly vampires? Does he ride a magic pink unicorn? So when the phrase "Is there anything more romantic than Bella and Edward" passed me by, I took the cheap shot. Still, I felt bad about mocking Twilight - not because it didn't deserve it, but because I haven't actually read it (Or seen the movie. Or bought the sparkly pink folders to put my schoolwork in.) I don't like to judge things on hearsay. So as penance I did some research. On the internet.

The horror.

But if you turn on the special "no angst" SafeSearch filter in google, and look for things not written in txt spk, you can eventually find a plot summary that doesn't sparkle too much. This led me to an interesting and eye-opening discovery: Twilight isn't disgustingly angsty, or disgustingly sparkly, its just plain disgusting.

Seriously? This is a story about a hundred+ year-old guy who pretends to be a teenager and hangs out at high schools to pick up 16-year-old chikcs whom he eventually marries, murders, and has sex with, not necessarily in that order? Uhm, ew? I'm two-fifths his age and if I dressed up like a teenager and hung around high schools picking up girls - which I can think of few fates more horrible than, by the way - I would be arrested and shunned as a child-molesting freak. So, what? Its ok cuz he sparkles? Or because hes dead? Necrophilia trumps pedophilia I guess? Ew ew ew. I need a wire brush and dettol for my mind.

And that, apparently, is the great modern standard of romance. I wish I'd stayed unfair and ignorant.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Release your inner geek

It's Science Week!

And you can participate in the Sleep Survey online, which is trying to find out about all our sleeping issues as a nation. Far more entertaining than watching execrable political ads on TV....

And it may actually help The Scientists (TM).

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

To absent friends

This is Brambles:

She died a couple of weeks ago. Had to be put down. Neurological damage from distemper; she couldn't move her back legs and suffered from random seizures, which were getting worse.

This is Batina, or Bats:

When we woke up this morning, she was dead at the end of the bed. She was Brambles' sister, and she'd been a bit sick, but we thought - I'd convinced myself - that maybe she could make it. Last night she was still running across the road for a wee with the Big Dogs.


I've been walking around all day on the verge of tears. I'm going to have to stop typing in a minute, when the brine-soaked keyboard finally shorts out. We've had these guys living with us for over 6 weeks - probably half their lives - and no matter how often you tell yourself that its just for awhile, and you're going to give them back, they become part of the family. And its always "give them back... to a good home." Thats what makes it possible to do.

And after six weeks of stepping in poop, and howling in the middle of the night, and things chewed that shouldn't be, and a barely two-year-old house that smells a bit like wee no matter how much you clean, it ends like this? Why the hell do we do this to ourselves?

This is why:

Thats Navarre. He's Bramble's and Bats' brother, and he's healthy as an ox. Got some blood tests today - to make sure he isn't carrying anything anyone else could catch - and then he goes back for adoption. And you know what? These guys too:

Thats a picture of every foster we've had that I could find a picture of. I don't even remember half their names. And as far as I know - and if you know otherwise don't you dare tell me - every damned crap-factory in the lot survived and were adopted into good homes. And yeah, even these idiots, who we never gave back and never will:

I'm sorry; that was a bastard of a thing to do to spring on you first thing in the whenever-it-is wherever-you-are. But it helps me to write about it. Hell, just putting that collage together made me laugh for the first time today. Not just remembering, but trying to articulate why we do this makes it real. And in a few weeks - maybe a month - when we're sure that there's nothing in the house that a new batch could catch, we'll do it again.

So y'know: sorry, but thanks.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Old Spice Man

Just watch them all:

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Football (soccer) = Twilight

I can't claim credit for this, but I think it is definitely true.

Both go for ninety minutes, no one scores, and a billion fans tell you that you just don't understand.


Friday, June 25, 2010

Vuvuzelas of Doom

Too good not to share. Thanks Lord MattressHammer.

Warning, I don't recommend drinking or eating anything while watching this. Well nothing you don't want to be cleaning off the screen or out of the keyboard anyway.


Coz posted about our fires but I wanted to show you all just how close we are. This is the view from the webcam at NAU - essentially the view out my office window (clicking may or may not get you to the current view...):

Google maps is being a pain and won't embed a copy of both of these layers at once, but this is the extent of the fire _yesterday_:

View Flagstaff fires in a larger map
And this is 2 flags - the bottom one is our house, and the top one is where we were camping on Sunday when all this broke out...

View Flagstaff Schultz Fire in a larger map
Distance from that camping spot to the fire line? About 2 km.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

PM rolled. Saucy!

This is for the Army of Flying Monkeys on Ozblogistan start crying about the Lesbian Socialist Republic that we always wanted.

In my head, our new PM always looked like this.

Note: Not really work safe link.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


no idea where it originally comes from, I found it on Wil Weaton's flickr stream.

heh. there's also a tops photo of him and Felicia Day there.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Monday, June 07, 2010


Lego is awesome, Lego robotics are great, Legoland is fun and now a genius has made Lego even better... Lego computer accesories.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Carl Sagan to music

Videos featuring Carl Sagan and a bunch of other scientists - set to music... awesome.

Monday, May 10, 2010

You know you've found a fun game when...

... you wait until the kids go to bed, then have best of five tournaments. Star Wars Guess Who is so much fun. Sometimes we even let the kids play.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Sung to the tune of "These are a Few of My Favorite Things..."

Loved the alt-text in today's xkcd:

Telescopes and bathyscapes and sonar probes of Scottish lakes,
Tacoma Narrows bridge collapse explained with abstract phase-space maps,
Some x-ray slides, a music score, Minard's Napoleonic war:
The most exciting new frontier is charting what's already here.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

(Dr) Who ya gunna vote for?

Gacked from Adina
Featuring Sean Pertwee ( Jon Pertwee's son) talking about what his father use to say and David Tennant doing the voice over at the end.
How many Dr who in jokes can you jam into one election ad? *boggle*

Monday, April 12, 2010

The new Bros, or "Where's the angst?"

They are teenagers, so by definition they should be full of angst. They are singing a song about a man cracking up under pressure. So why do I feel like this is being sung by people with big happy smiles on their faces, waving their arms in the air?

Here is how I think it should be done. Oh, and get those kids off my lawn!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Great Australian Firewall Bypass for Dummies

Those of you unfortunate enough to be within frothing spittle range when I get started on the topic will know that I have somewhat conflicted - not to deny contradictory - feelings about electronic piracy. On the one hand, I think stealing things from the creative people who make things I like is counter-productive. But I don't exactly get to take the high moral ground, because I'll happily illegally download tv shows which have been publicly aired but which the arse-hats can't be bothered to allow me to watch when and where I want. And I've been known to pirate computer games which contain DRM nonsense that I know will fuck up my computer, or stop me from installing it on multiple machines or whatever. I could trot out a glib little self-serving justification for this, but the truth is that I'm lazy: I'll do the right thing as long as they make it easy enough for me, but if they won't then my moral stand goes to shite.

But at least I'm not kidding myself about it. Which is why I generally consider the Pirate Party movement to be full of tools, despite the cool name. Its one thing to nick a few things because you're lazy, and another altogether to try to claim that stealing stuff is some kind of unalienable basic human right. All of which background is just to say that I am not a Pirate Party fanboy by any stretch of the imagination... but when they get off the issue of actual piracy, there are some folks there who have some useful things to say about freedom of information, and I want to give them some credit for that.

Australia, I love you like the born-again convert that I am, but our government's views on censorship are fucked. If someone wants to make information which they have created freely available on the internet, and I want to view it, then the only pirates involved in the transaction are anyone who tries to hijack that information twixt the cup and the lip. The fact that said pirates are doing so out of some supposedly high-minded attempt to protect me from myself doesn't make it ok, it makes it insulting in addition to a grievous imposition on my right to communicate with others. The fact that the people doing it are elected officials who claim to be representing me would be laughable if it wasn't so sad. The fact that they are spending millions of dollars of _my_ money to do this to me heaps ironic salt by the barrow-load into the papercuts of annoyance. And while it could be considered some consolation that they are doing it with such thorough and comprehensive incompetence that its more a matchstick across my path than a firewall, I find that doesn't make me feel any better about the Australian government's rush to emulate the Chinese model of freedom of information. So I was mightily pleased to see this guide to bypassing the Great Australian Firewall written in simple language for the non-technically-inclined, put out by the Pirate Party. Good onya guys; way to find an issue that actually has a moral leg to stand on, and do something concrete about it.

See? Even the tools can do something good once in awhile...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

what happens when you get a better script writer...

from Very Demotivational. there were soooo many good ones, but this tickled my fancy, ever so. you can also get it on a Threadless shirt (well, actually, the shirt came first, I think, but you know what I mean...)!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Sick of Being Lied To

I'm sick.

And of course I was sick over the weekend. But it gets better: I had a day off scheduled and a three-day weekend lined up to go camping, and even managed to get out of work a little early on Friday. I was home by 3:30. At 3:45 - I kid you not - I cleared my throat while walking the dogs and thought for the first time "hmmm... thats a bit sore..." Feeling a bit better today - due back at work tomorrow morning. But I didn't start a post just to winge about being sick (well not _just_, anyways) but rather to pass along a couple of little tidbits I learned along the way.

Yesterday morning I woke up at about 6am in full sick mode. My head felt like it was stuck in a vice. A vice being dragged on a chain across a World War II battlefield behind a tank. With a gamy clutch. Driven by an epileptic. Not good, is the impression I'm trying to get at here. So I stumbled into the bathroom and fished around in the Drawer Where Aging Meds Go To Die, and found some miscellaneous things with no product or usage label on them shy of a string of dihexa-shrexa-bobexa-flourides. But I was 95% certain that they were the leftover cold medicine from last time I got sick, so I took two and went back to bed.

A couple of hours later I woke up not dead, feeling quite a bit better, and rational enough to wonder whatinhell that was I took. Hi ho trusty Internet! Here's what I found:

Acetaminophen is a Paracetamol is a painkiller by any other name. Actually, in my more coherent later state, I recognised that one.

Phenylephrine is a decongestant. No worries there. In fact, even less worries because there is some doubt as to whether it does anything.

is a cough suppressant. But here's the interesting bit; dig a little further in Wikipedia and find that there's a fairly huge amount of evidence pointing to the fact that cough suppressants don't do _anything_. Not just this one; none of em. And I don't just mean one study, I mean a meta-study by an independent volunteer organisation collecting the data from 27 different experiments on over three-and-a-half thousand people could find no significant improvement over a placebo. The conclusions in the study itself seem a little more wishy-washy - they say:
"This systematic review confirms the lack of evidence for or against an effect of OTC cough preparations despite using an extensive search strategy"

- until you realise that they are generalising to ALL over-the-counter cough medicines. They found some ambiguous support for the usefulness of expectorants. (Personally, when I've got one of those really tight hard-to-breathe chest colds I go looking for something with an actual expectorant (and its always hard to find something) and I find them helpful in those cases, but that ain't science... It certainly wouldn't surprise me to find them not useful on different sorts of colds.) For cough suppressants, they could find nothing even ambiguous to say.

(Though the wiki gods do hold out this hope: "Recent studies have found that theobromine, a compound found in cocoa solids, is more effective as a cough suppressant than prescription codeine. This compound suppresses the "itch" signal from the nerve in the back of the throat that causes the cough reflex. It is possible to get an effective dose (1 g, though 0.5 g may be sufficient) from 50g of dark chocolate, which contains 2 to 10 times more cacao than milk chocolate.")

So whats my point? Know what you're taking, he says, ensconcing himself firmly in the do-what-I-say-not-what-I do-camp? Yeah, some of that. But my story had another side too; those mystery drugs _did_ help me. Am I telling you this just to ruin the placebo effect for you? No, torturing sick people isn't _that_ funny. But don't let yourself get sucked in by expensive cold drugs - a couple of painkillers and some good chocolate will probably do you just as well. Even if that's just the placebo effect now too, at least its a _chocolate_ placebo...

Monday, March 15, 2010

Navel Fluff hypotheses and other odd papers

For the past few months, I've been enjoying the UK version of WIRED magazine. They have articles on all sorts of interesting geeky topics. Including this one:

Pigeons as ultimate art critics anyone?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Volunteers illuminate Hadrian's Wall

how cool is this?

if anyone can work out how to imbed that video into this post, feel free, I couldn't.

Friday, February 19, 2010

shady shadiness

Shady URL

Getting dodgy looking url's for websites has been amusing for far too many minutes.

such as

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Xin nian kuai le!

As you can see, sleep's a little hard to come by at the moment...

...but we're having a blast!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Oh noes! Its a shortage!

""In 2009, New Zealand had fewer than eight sheep per person," explained agriculture statistics manager Gary Dunnet."

- Adam Gabbatt, in an article for the Guardian.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Monday, January 18, 2010

Ripped off

The Australian Tax office Scam page has this one up, but the one they have offers 30% instead of the paltry 19% I'm being offered here. Bastards.

The Cut Off Taxes Program

The Cut Off Taxes Program (COTP)
If you want, from 01.15.2009 you can register for the The Cut Off Taxes Program (COTP).
This means you could get 19% back from all your 2009 taxes.

Remember to keep your receipt.

They will help you calculate your refund and you may be required to show them as proof of purchase.

Get register Now

* Online Tax Refund is so secure guarantee we`ll cover any losses it there`s ever any unauthorized use
of your account . In fact , we even guarantee that every payer will be paid on time or we will cover late
fees Payments are guaranteed as long as all payment information is entered correctly.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Nerdy danger science experiments

For those of you science nerds here, have a look at this article.

Its a cute explanation of film boiling, where a surface gets so hot that a liquild will float on a film of gas rather than contacting the hotplate. All of this would be rather boring except for the second half of the article where the author begins DOING SCIENCE!!!!

First experiment: Putting your hand into molten lead
"I must also confess that my first several attempts failed because my brain
refused to allow this ridiculous experiment"

...I think my EHS person at work said that this is usually a BAD indicator of an experimeant.

"Could I possibly touch the lead with a dry finger without suffering a burn? Leaving aside all rational thought, I tried it, immediately realizing my folly when pain raced through the finger. Later, I tested a dry wiener, forcing it into the molten lead for several seconds."

Yep, this is the way we do it...start with live human testing. If that fails then go on to inanimate objects :-)

Experiment 2: Gargling liquild nitrogen.

"The moisture in my cold breath condensed, creating a terrific plume that extended
about a meter from my mouth. However, on my last attempt the liquid thermally contracted two of my front teeth so severely that the enamel ruptured into a ‘‘road map’’ of fissures. My dentist convinced me to drop the demonstration."


Experiment 3: Fire walking

"I have walked over hot coals on five occasions. For four of the walks I was fearful enough that my feet were sweaty. However, on the fifth walk I took my safety so much for granted that my feet were dry. The burns I suffered then were extensive and terribly painful. My feet did not heal for weeks.
My failure may have been due to a lack of film boiling on the feet, but I had also neglected an additional safety factor. On the other days I had taken the precaution of clutching an early edition of Fundamentals of Physics to my chest during the walks so as to bolster my belief in physics. Alas, I forgot the book on the day when I was so badly burned."

I love this, "my feet burnt because I was not holding my physics bible"

He then goes on to argue that science students should walk across hot coals instead of a final exam to proove their faith in Physics before they are allowed to graduate...however, I ask science about faith?