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Entries from September 2002

Mr. DeLong’s Eight Words

September 27th, 2002 · 2 Comments

Brad DeLong, a member of the Culture mailing list and professor of economics at UC Berkeley, is much famed for being an advisor to President Clinton. Everyone was suitably impressed by this, until Brad eventually admitted that he’d only said “eight words to the guy in my entire life.”
We couldn’t take a challenge like that [...]

Tags: silly


September 27th, 2002 · No Comments

An excellent article in the Times today examined the content of Prince Charles’ letters to ministers, and found them sadly lacking in logic and facts. I’m not too concerned about Prince Charles writing to government ministers since this article echoes my thoughts that the letters don’t say anything useful anyway, apart from woolly heartful platitudes.

Tags: politics · science

James Webb telescope

September 26th, 2002 · No Comments

For several years I’ve been reading about the Hubble Space Telescope’s successor, the Next Generation Space Telescope (now renamed the James Webb Telescope). I’d always assumed that it’d simply be a bigger, more expensive version of the Hubble – hardly anything worth writing home about.
I was wrong; the people at NASA have been busy and [...]

Tags: science · space

Dead Air

September 26th, 2002 · 1 Comment

I just finished reading Iain Banks’ new (non-SF) novel Dead Air. I finished it in less than 24 hours; it’s one of those books that reads very easily, unlike most of his other novels.
Dead Air was certainly entertaining enough and I never became bored, but as many others have noted, it doesn’t have much of [...]

Tags: book · review

Guardian best blog

September 26th, 2002 · No Comments

The Guardian has released the results of their ‘Best UK Blog’ competition, in which I was pleasantly surprised to see on the shortlist. Also check out the related Metafilter thread for more comments.

Tags: mefi · meta · newspaper · web

Small World Big Piano Silliness

September 25th, 2002 · 2 Comments

A conversation with my girlfriend from yesterday, paraphrased:
Me: “This is the Jools Holland album I bought the other day. I read an interesting review which was generally positive except about the silly piano flourishes that Jools always seems to squeeze into places where they shouldn’t be.”
Her: “Well, maybe people like him for the silly piano [...]

Tags: music · silly

Blind access

September 25th, 2002 · No Comments

Quite a nice article from Wired about research being done to give blind people the same kind of access that sighted people have to maps.

Tags: tech


September 25th, 2002 · No Comments

In case you’re interested, it might be worth checking out the BBC2 documentary The Dancer’s Body, on Saturday nights; I’m told it’s pretty good. An added bonus is that you should see Prof. Ramachandran on it either this week or next week, since he was interviewed for the programme while I was in the US. [...]

Tags: bio · neuro · psych · science

BBC News

September 25th, 2002 · No Comments

I’ve gotten into a habit of synchronising my lunch with the 1′o’clock BBC News, and after a few weeks you can almost predict what they’ll be showing when. For example, at roughly 1:16pm you can be sure that they’ll begin some kind of lighthearted piece that is accompanied by suitably cheesy music, unlike all the [...]

Tags: bbc · tv

On Tea

September 24th, 2002 · No Comments

While reading a book on synaesthesia (review to follow soon) I found an interesting quotation in it by Marlene Dietrich:
The British have an umbilical cord which has never been cut and through which tea flows constantly. It is curious to watch them in times of sudden horror, tragedy or disaster. The pulse stops apparently, and [...]

Tags: food