Mount Everest from the ISS

Mount Everest from the International Space Station. Also, spotting Everest from space.

Excellent Slugy


She’s the tops

Wow. My girlfriend, Julie, has spent the last six months training to be an RSPCA Inspector – a tough course to get onto, and a tough course to complete. Well, I’ve just heard that she’s the top student this year. Go Jala!

Wallpaper-sized climbing images

Some lovely wallpaper-sized climbing images.

Is the X-box failing? (No, as it turned out.)

Is the X-box failing? [robot]

Cringeley on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome – incredible

Remarkable Cringeley on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome [robot].

British aquaria!

The plural of aquarium is, of course, aquaria.

IQ test with salary checking

Here’s an IQ Test which also tells you if you’re too smart for the salary you’re earning.

I got a cash/cleverness coefficient of 11, and “Your IQ is significantly more powerful than the average for your salary bracket. Demand a pay rise while you still have your faculties.”

That’s kinda nice, but what does it say about my ambition & drive? ;-)

Ah yes, the Banach-Tarski Paradox

Ah yes, the Banach-Tarski Paradox. Of course.


Ozzy stumbles into, knocks over huge display rack at carpet store.

Python Quick Reference

Python Quick Reference (also now in sidebar).

I think it is a joke, yes

In the words of Max Headroom, “I don’t know if it’s a joke or not”, but I’ve just read on popbitch that Bob the Builder and Atomic Kitten are going to release a duet for charity, called You Can Fix My Hole Again. :-)

Time to stop eating bread, crips, and chips

Time to stop eating bread, crisps, and chips, then. [null]

The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences

The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences by Eugene Wigner (1960), and The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics by R.W. Hamming (1980).

Go Elmo!

Elmo tries to eat microphone on Capitol Hill.


Last night I dreamt that I met Guido van Rossum and he told me to write a book on python aimed at schoolchildren learning to program for the first time. Wacky!

More search proxying

Necessity being the mother of invention, I’ve added a MySQL documentation search to the search proxy.

Ctrl-R – nice one bruvva!

Wow. I’ve just discovered what happens when you hit Ctrl-R in bash. Go on, unixers, try it. Fantastic, eh? Damn, I love this stuff.

man 3 readline.

w3m – oooh

Remarkable… w3m is “just another” text-based web browser, until that is, you factor in w3m-img [ntk] which patches it to display images – in your xterm! – and – even geekier! – emacs-w3m, which turns your emacs into a web browser. Hey, who needs Opera?

The Association For Free Software

The Association For Free Software, “an organisation set up in the UK to promote Free Software to users, business and Government. The AFFS seeks to secure the status of Free Software within the UK and increase public understanding of Free Software among developers and users alike.” [ntk]

Get your maps here

Funkin’ excellent shop for maps: Castle Street Books, 23 Castle St, Hay-on-Wye, HR3 5DF. The proprietor is not just an obvious and unashamed cartophile, he’s also as mad as a hatter – though of course the two are often closely related. Respect.

Python documentation keyword search engine

Excellent. A natty little Python documentation keyword search engine. I’ll have to hook this into my search proxy (ie the search box in the right-hand sidebar) some time, but not right now as I’m too busy working towards my long sought-after stomach ulcer. :-)

Later: OK, that’s done, thanks to my remarkably capable coding techniques which made it possible to add the search in about a minute. Damn, I’m good. ;-)

Even later: Since that’s just a keyword search, I thought I’d better proxy the “full-on find this word anywhere in the python documentation” search as well – so I’ve done that. The search proxy list is getting quite long now…

Spot those planets

Spot those planets. [robot]

The ecstasy debate

Much of the scientific evidence showing that ecstasy damages the brain is fundamentally flawed and has been mistakenly used by politicians to warn the public of the dangers of the drug, a report said yesterday. [null]

“The research involved brain scans with a radioactively tagged chemical probe that latched on to the serotonin transporter proteins that ecstasy targets. The thinking was that brains damaged by ecstasy would give off less radioactive ‘glow’ than those where the serotonin cells were intact.”

“But two independent experts told New Scientist there was a key flaw. They said the way brains reacted to this kind of scan varied enormously with or without ecstasy.”

“Some healthy brains glowed up to 40 times brighter than others and even a number of ecstasy users’ brains outshone ecstasy-free brains by factors of 10 or more.”

The library cats map

The library cats map [null] – cool. There’s a load in Penzance.

Plas y Brenin

Plas y Brenin, an outdoors-activities training centre in Snowdonia. They’ll take your money and turn it into good clean fun. :-)

Goban screensaver

Cool – the goban screensaver, which plays classic games of Go for your pleasure and elucidation.

Battles of Evermore/Pellenor Fields

The Battle of Evermore and The Battle of Pelennor Fields.

rsync and Debian

rsync and Debian. Neat.

Heard of sheep?

Heard of sheep? (Ta, Jon).

Five Things You Probably Didn’t Notice in The Shining

Five Things You Probably Didn’t Notice in “The Shining”. [girl] To be honest, I only found numbers three and four interesting, but I found them interesting enough to put the link here. :-)

What Phil Greenspun’s up to these days

What Phil Greenspun’s up to these days.

J.G. Ballard on Aldous Huxley

J.G. Ballard on Aldous Huxley. [robot]

The Universe within 12.5 light years

The Universe within 12.5 light years [charlie] – very reminiscent of Elite. :-)

Which online personality test are you?

Which online personality test are you? [ntk] (I’m the Which James Bond Villain Are You? test).

That’s more like it

That’s more like it. [ntk]


The FAQ.

It’s OK, I learnt it three years later

Damn it, I missed The Truth About Lesbian Sex last night.

Voting by SMS and internet?

Local U.K. governments in Liverpool and Sheffield are gearing up to allow citizens to vote using SMS (Short Message Service) text messages and the Internet in elections 2 May 2002. [risks]

Full story.

More student annoyance – grrrrr

Another sleep-deprived night thanks to the local students. If I could move out of Cardiff today, I would. Still can’t quite understand why this is more of a problem this year than previously. Is it just that I’m older? Or are they just stupider?


SpecTix, a development environment to build cross-platform applications using the Tk GUI toolkit with multiple target languages, including python. Sounds awesome, wish I had time to try it out…

Misc b/w photos

Some miscellaneous black & white photos I took over Christmas: A big wheel in Plymouth.

My parents’ cat Blossom in her natual habitat.

Emma, Rich, Ab, Gareth, Jala & Simon in the Claude.

Jala & Tip at Jala’s sister’s place.

Jala reading at our place.

Phoneboxes in Princetown, with Dartmoor prison visible.

A detail from a painting by Simon’s brother, Toby (yes, the painting’s very colourful!).

A tractor in the snow at Princetown.

I should really upload these to but I can’t be arsed… :-)

MEMS Exchange Architecture

I finally got round to reading The MEMS Exchange Architecture today, something I’ve been wanting to do for quite a while but hadn’t because it’s quite long. It describes the architecture of a major project written in python, including several freely released components of the project, most notably the Quixote web application development framework. I’m still looking for some way to move away from Blogger and towards something where my blog entries are held by me (not on some server in California or something), and if I’m going to write my own (which I’ll probably have to, being an anally retentive perfectionist), Quixote looks interesting.

Goodbye, working class

Goodbye, working class.

“The assertion that the working classes no longer exist is being made by a property company which wants to develop a site in central London for luxury housing, despite a 1929 covenant which states that the land may only be used to provide housing for the working classes. The clause goes on to say that they must have stone cladding and a satellite dish on the front, a car stacked up on bricks in the front garden and a doorbell that plays an electric version of Maybe It’s Because I’m a Londoner.”

Who is the “Disco-naut”?

Who is the “Disco-naut”? Very silly, really…

Aleister Crowley and the Star Wars movies

Aleister Crowley and the Star Wars movies. [robot]

Gawd bless yer, ma’am

In loving memory of Her Royal Highness, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother.

OK, so I should go to Glastonbury, then


Now to get a ticket…

Something else to blame Walt Disney for

Something else to blame Walt Disney for.

Who’s playing Glastonbury this year?

Who’s playing Glastonbury this year? The organisers won’t announce until they’ve sold all the tickets, but this page has a round-up culled from artists’ own sites. Especially pleasing: Banco de Gaia, Richie Havens. Orbital still a rumour. Oh please… Oh please…

Gimboland search proxy

I think people were using the Gimboland archive search thinking it was still the old Google search I used to have, so I’ve implemented a handy-dandy little search proxy which can be used to search Gimbloland, Google, Google Images, and the comp.lang.python archive on Google. Nice.

Roll on APril April and May

April and May are going to be good months for planet-gazing. [Thanks, Michelle].

You just don’t play loud music at 3AM. You don’t do it.

At 3 A.M. the faint but persistent sound of distant bass slowly penetrated my dream and dragged me awake. Ah, the students are having fun. Working on the principle that if it was capable of waking me up I’d be unable to get back to sleep, off I went to tell them to put a lid on it. Imagine my susprise when I realised the sound came from not next door (as is usually the case), but two doors down. Standing outside their front door I could truly appreciate the grandeur of the excellent drum & bass being played – but alas there was work in the morning, so I rang the doorbell and did the deed. Fair play to them, there was no fuss, which may have had something to do with the thick pungent smoke hazing the hallway behind the red-eyed chap who answered the door. Enjoy it while you can people, for nine-til-five is beckoning.

Of course, then I was completely wired and had to read for fortyfive minutes before I could get back to sleep. So now I’m really knackered. Urgh…

All Your Brand Are Belong To Us

All Your Brand Are Belong To Us [milk] – Right this very second, chances are there is a marketing team somewhere trying to hijack “All your Base Are Belong to Us” in order to sell you something. Doing this makes their job that much harder.

I particularly liked Tommy Hilfiger (“All your surface area are belong to us”) and Benetton (“All your shame are belong to us”).

The Toaster

The Toaster [milk]

“The Toaster is a large picture, seven metres long and four and a half metres high, totally made from bread toasted in different temperatures and for different lengths of time to reach the different nuances that occur between black and white, ochre and rust.”

Praise the bungee

Praise the bungee. [milk]

From the same site – don’t miss these: I have no idea what this is about, Aqua Dog saves the day, Thunderbears are go!. Fantastic.

Science shouldn’t work like this

A keynote research paper showing that Middle Eastern Jews and Palestinians are genetically almost identical has been pulled from a leading journal. [lev]

24 Hour Party People

24 Hour Party People reviewed at the good old B. B. of C. [null].

Gimboland’s amazing rotating logos!

Gimboland now has nine banners – the one in use should change at random every fifteen minutes. More to come! Collect the set! etc.

Toolbox PC

Beautiful – a PC in a toolbox [slashdot].

Please let us drive faster, Mr Government

Looks like an interesting read: The Association of British DriversSubmission for the Raising of the Motorway Speed Limit.

Cuddling for enhanced profitability

Firm boosts profits by asking staff to cuddle. [blitzed]

Borg preferable to Singleton?

Here’s an eloquent, lengthy, highly technical and somewhat philosophical argument in favour of using the Borg pattern in python instead of Singleton: Simple python non-patterns. Nice.

(And, complementing that page, Design patterns in python, which I’ve almost certainly linked to before, but what the heck).

The secret technology behind Google

Don’t miss this: the secret technology behind google.

Python implementation of Dijkstra’s shortest path algorithm

Python implementation of Dijkstra’s algorithm for shortest paths – got to be grokked. Also see Guido’s essay on the subject.

Britney Spears is binary presets

Cool… Britney Spears is an anagram of Binary Presets. There are, of course, many other ways to spell her name, all of them wrong. [popbitch]

Just spotted this in someone’s .sig on uknot: – international calls for the cost of a UK call – over 60 countries. No subscription, no commitment, just dial 0871 9000000 and then your destination.”

No idea if it works or not, is legit, etc. – but might be interesting to someone. Ed? :-)

Two-headed snake found

Two-headed snake found, news at 11.

Wise words from Marky the Bot

Wise words from Marky the bot.

Sad story

Sad story (via uknot).

Guardian Israel coverage redux

Praise be to Rich for pointing me at The Guardian‘s excellent Israel coverage, and in particular, a timeline of events in the region since 1881. Nice.

Apparently, I’m an Oread

Apparently, I’m an Oread [hamster]. Now to find out what an Oread is… Ooh, it’s a nymph. Well, I knew I was a nympho already… ;-)

I’m also a girlie duck.

Lioness adopts third baby antelope

Lioness adopts third baby antelope. [robot]

Chinese spacecraft lands in Inner Mongolia

Chinese spacecraft lands in Inner Mongolia. [robot]

Principia Discordia

It’s about time I linked to Principia Discordia, I think…

CAGE, a cellular automata engine for python

CAGE, a cellular automata engine for python. Only does 1-d and 2-d automata though – boo! – a handy dandy utility for identifying undocumented parts of the python distribution. Cool.

GvR interview

An interview with Guido van Rossum, creator of python.

The Random Masturbation Synonym Generator

The Random Masturbation Synonym Generator – fantastic! [wotever]

The sad end of an era

Sigh… Nice weekend, but somewhat melancholy. My parents retired, closing the family business after 73 years of trading – not bad. We gave it a good send-off though, and I think they’re looking forward to some well-deserved travel and hardcore gardening. :-)

Quote of the weekend (from me): “You could have drawn a second bean to indicate plurality.”