Monthly Archives: April 2009

Games addict creates rap about it all

A STORY in TG Daily has prompted a reformed “games addict” to compose a rap about his dreadful experience.

The rap by Journalrhymn is here, while you can find the original story here. Φ

Butterflies ain’t just for Bangalore

LOYAL READER OF THIS BOG (sic) will remember how much, when I was in Bangalore, I loved the floating flowers called butterflies – they are hard pressed in that city now what with all the demolition going on. And that.

London – described in a Channel Four Despatches documentary a couple of weeks ago as the most polluted city in Western and Eastern Europe – used to have loads of butterflies too.  When I moved there in 1973, there were Commas, Tortoise Shells, Red Admirals, Peacocks, and fritillaries of many a variety.

If you see the occasional Cabbage White these days you will be a fortunate man. But in Oxford, the butterflies still seem to be thriving. The weather has been very nice – I’ve seen Orange Tips, Peacocks, Tortoise Shells, and many of the species called Brimstone. I guess it’s because Oxford is full of green spaces, spaces which are occupied by nettles and the like, weeds to you and me.

While London is full of Borises and Johnsons and people prefer to build rather than plant. λ

Spring time hits Oxford

A BEAUTIFUL SPRING day today, and here’s some pictures of the Cherwell River – the pictures of the flowers above taken just north of the river. The first picture is the high bridge which leads to Old Marston.

oxrivone

oxrivtwo

Steve McQueen never needed to shave

WHAT A BOON! Watching The Great Escape (1963) for the umpteenth time, I noticed that Steve McQueen got periodically put in the cooler in the German POW camp for the umpteenth time and each time came out as clean shaven as he went in.

Plus his chinos needed no attention during his multiple periods of solitary confinement. The film had a heap of other actors too, including Mr Upstairs&Downstairs, Gordon Jackson.

Bullitt (1968) was a good film too with a nice SF chase. Shame McQueen died prematurely, in 1980.  The Thomas Crown Affair was a heap of fun too. I always liked Faye Dunaway. Heck, I must be getting old. At least I still need to shave. Always hated having to do that, but a beard does not suit… ♥

Silkworms could end up busting druggies

NIKKEI NET has an interesting article today on how Japanese boffins are studying insects to create cyborgs (cybugs?) that integrate electronics with bits of their bodies.

Junpei Kanazaki, of the University of Tokyo, thinks that he can use the ability of the silkworm moth to detect pheromes from a female moth over one kilometre away to detect narcotics instead.

His Frankenstein creation integrates the head of a moth with a 30 centimetre robot to detect the pheromones and point to where the source is.

Nissan is studying the bee’s ability to avoid obstacles in a hundredth of a second and hopes those principles can be applied to future motor car designs.

Mammals, according to Kanakazi, have brains that have 100 million neurons, while insect brains are hundreds of thousands of times simpler.

Kanakazi, however, should take note of Intel’s take on the humble bumble bee. According to an Intel executive in 1998, its CPUs would have enough transistors to equal the number of logical circuits of a bee family member by 2010.  The nikkei.net article is here – you will need a subscription.

If all of this comes to pass, it will be most interesting.

Ram Mohun Roy lived here, well near here

WHERE’S HERE? Bedford Square, in Londinium, a short hop from the British Museum and a shorter hop to the Tottenham Court Road, formerly the London haven for dodgy technology shops.

Who he? He was a Bengali founder of the Brahmo Samaj, and died in Bristol. He’s buried there.  He is said to have coined the English word “Hinduism” and some regard him as the “father” of the Indian nation.

Some reckon that he was also partly responsible for the Mahanirvana Tantra, a text that describes a very pale and watered down version of Shaktism.  There’s more about him, here.

Now Google tells newspapers how to do biz

THE EVER-EGREGIOUS Google has been putting its oar into the newspaper business, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

Yeah, while all around us newspapers fall – yeah unto the IT Examiner and The News – CEO Eric Schmidt has been advising suits from newspapers how to do their business better.

Schmidt, according to the Journal, told the Newspaper Association of America that publishers need to create a new format for online journalism.

That, Schmidt reckons, means creating personalised content readers want to read.

It’s readers that newspapers should always keep in mind, of course, and  experienced journalists will produce copy and headlines that catch the eye, and taste good too.

Unfortunately, too many publishers think of their journalists as data gatherers, which is why so many journalists are being laid off all around the world, in a bid to reduce costs.

Online journalism is like any other journalism, Mr Schmidt. The overheads are much smaller than those of print journalism, but readers want hard hitting stuff, not regurgitated pap and crap. The Journal article is here – you will need a subscription.  ♦