Archive for September, 2004

A couple of bits and pieces

Friday, September 17th, 2004

Entertainment of today has been us setting off the fire alarm, and causing a complete evacuation of our office complex, halting work for everyone for about half an hour, calling out the fire brigade and generally causing a fuss, all because Dave was making toast. The best part is that we’d only had the toaster for 20 minutes, and it was the first time it’d been used.

I’ve just replaced the batteries in my graphical calculator (a venerable and much-loved TI-85) for the first time since buying it, nearly ten years ago. It amuses me, therefore, to see that the batteries that are in there and have lasted all these years are labelled “Sainsbury’s Extra Long Life”.

Brief quiet period

Friday, September 17th, 2004

Life is quite busy at the moment, so updates will be scarce for a while. I’m off down to London again this weekend, to go and make another film on a ludicrously short timescale, and to try and visit an old friend before she buggers off to America for three years. I’ll let you see the film once it’s finished.


Wednesday, September 15th, 2004

I always find it kind of quaint and almost naive when I get some spam offering to sell me something that’s actually legal, tangible, useful and non-pornographic, at a reasonable price. It’s, like, “Aww, bless. You haven’t really figured this bulk-mailing thing out yet, have you?”.

Todays spam-for-something-useful was for towels, at the bargain price of only $2.99 each. Bargain, if you ask me.

Pick a number

Tuesday, September 14th, 2004

So, anyway, I wanted to pick an album to listen to, but couldn’t work out what kind of mood I was in, so I asked the inhabitants of a couple of talkers to pick a random number between 1 and 43, and tell me. The way it worked meant that they didn’t know what numbers the others had picked.

Exactly half of the respondants (and there were more than two, before you ask) picked number 27. I therefore conclude that at least one of the following is the true:

  • UA has finally produced a hive-mind
  • Human beings are incapable of original thought
  • Somebody, somewhere out there really wants me to listen to My Life Story.

In the end, though, the first reply I got was from an AI, and he chose Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, and that’s what I’m listening to:

parmbert %Pick a number between 1 and 43 {HALChat}
HALBot %parmbert> Number five alive. {HALChat}

People and computers

Tuesday, September 14th, 2004

On two occasions I have been asked [by members of Parliament!], “Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?” I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question. — Charles Babbage

And that set the tone for the general public’s experiences with computers for the rest of time.


Monday, September 13th, 2004

It concerns me that, given a clean mug, some instant hot chocolate powder and some boiled water, a thin layer of grease can form across the top of my mug. Have they found some way to dehydrate fat now?

Hypochondriac’s meme

Monday, September 13th, 2004

I have necrotizing fasciitis, apparently. What about you?.

Very, very special people

Saturday, September 11th, 2004

Have your say on the MMR vaccine

Proof, if proof be needed, that people who don’t know a goddamn thing about what they’re talking about shouldn’t be allowed to have an opinion on it.

I am a parent of two autistic children, one of them was diagnosed 4 years before having the MMR, the other has not had the MMR. I still have no doubt that my children were damaged by multiple vaccination.

Er…. what?

Just because no evidence supports a link between the MMR vaccine and autism does not mean a link does not exist.

I bet you think there are WMDs in Iraq, too, don’t you? Hey, just because we haven’t found them yet, doesn’t mean they’re not there.

Fortunately, it’s not all idiocy, though:

It amazes me how people who would never think of arguing with, say Stephen Hawking, about astrophysics, suddenly decide that they are better informed than the experts in the medical field after reading a few tabloid scare stories.”


More Lomo

Friday, September 10th, 2004

I’ve been adding a few more bits and pieces to my lomohome. You might like to go and have a look.

I will pay £500

Wednesday, September 8th, 2004

some kind of gadget to compress time and make it 6pm now. Today is going so very slowly.