Monday, January 31, 2011
Sunday, January 30, 2011
It turned out to be a guy called Gwilym Simcock (born 24 February 1981 in Bangor, Gwynedd).
http://open.spotify.com/track/33eZP6JxaVALyf9fCkhHaf takes you to him as an artist on Spotify.
Here's an interview from The Guardian last week.
With a following wind I may be able to get the the launch of his new album Tuesday night.
We have a new - and very youthful - Welsh Born Icon.
(Strange to see that it is more than five years -see Icons passim - since I fell for Keith Jarrett's ivory tinkling in exactly the same way.)
Saturday, January 29, 2011
In April 2006, Crazy by Gnarls Barkley made pop history as the UK's first number one song based on download sales alone.
How long until paperbacks languish as physical singles do now?
Friday, January 28, 2011
Genghis Khan and his Mongol hordes had an impact on the global carbon cycle as big as today’s annual demand for gasoline. The Black Death, on the other hand, came and went too quickly for it to cause much of a blip in the global carbon budget.
Batty: I've done... questionable things.
Tyrell: Also extraordinary things; revel in your time.
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Amazon have just launched a limited Beta of Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) - "a web service that provides resizable compute capacity in the cloud", and I think that the ground may be shifting in our business.
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
As the country was gripped by Chilcot fever once more, I happened to be reading the recently published diaries of Wallis Simpson from 1934 and came across this eerie passage. In it, Mrs Simpson recounts a conversation with Joachim von Ribbentrop (yes, that Ribbentrop):How utterly extraordinary. Hat tip Daisy Meyland-Smith.
Ribbentrop: “…if Germany is rearming it is only because we see other nations building weapons of massive destruction and so naturally we must prepare ourselves also.”
Wallis: “What sort of weapons?”
Ribbentrop: “Ah, of course I cannot tell you precisely, but Herr Goebbels has made a dossier of them. For instance, we know that you have very many chemical and biological weapons remaining from the English War, and Herr Goebbels says that in forty-five minutes the Englanders can be dropping them on Berlin.”
Wallis: “You know this for sure?”
Ribbentrop: “Yes, yes. At least, we know that they have the programs for making them.”
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Andy Gray: Women don’t know the offside rule.
Emily Pankhurst: Offside is Law XI in the publication Laws of the Game written by the IFAB and published by FIFA. The law states that, if a player is in an offside position when the ball is touched or played by a team mate, she may not become actively involved in the play. A player is in an offside position if she is closer to the opponent's goal line than both the ball and the second-to-last defender, but only if the player is on her opponent's half of the field. Interpretation of the term "actively involved" has become the subject of complex debate.
Wendy Toms: Too much for my tiny brain. Must be damaged from nail polish fumes.
Monday, January 24, 2011
Sunday, January 23, 2011
The British Judo Association will be streaming it live on http://www.britishjudo.org.uk/live/.
I can't help but think that the Bomber has lucked out with his judo club and their winning ways.
Saturday, January 22, 2011
These three short animations by Headspace will introduce you to the concept of 'mindful' meditation. Don't miss your free guide, How To Meditate in 10 Easy Steps, with the Guardian on Saturday 22 January.I've been interested in mindfulness for a while (see Icons passim), but there is still an atavistic part of me that doesn't like the idea of the Grauniad handing out hundreds of thousands of guides to it.
To learn more about Headspace visit getsomeheadspace.com
This suggests that I am still some way from enlightenment. There is an explanation, as ever, in the "Annie Hall Sutra":
The... the other important joke, for me, is one that's usually attributed to Groucho Marx; but, I think it appears originally in Freud's "Wit and Its Relation to the Unconscious," and it goes like this - I'm paraphrasing - um, "I would never want to belong to any club that would have someone like me for a member." That's the key joke of my adult life.
Friday, January 21, 2011
Robinson Crusoe was shown every year from 1965 to 1981 in the UK. BBC Radio 4 presents a tribute, history and investigation. The story so far:
Some claim the BBC prints were simply dumped, and others maintain that they were returned to a vault in France in 1982. When, after almost two decades, interest was expressed in a video release, the only surviving copies proved to be this 13-part English edition, in material requiring extensive restoration. Crusoe was rescued only from this single, fragile source and subsequently released on VHS and, more recently, DVD. Of the original French version, nothing remained but the first episode, rendered useless by Portuguese subtitles. It did, however, reveal that the French original had a different, and inferior, music score, fortunately replaced by the music of Robert Mellin - formerly a hit songwriter in Britain - and Gian-Piero Reverberi.
More detail perhaps than you need, but food and drink to me. "Of the original French version, nothing remained, " is as good a summary of the 20th century as you can get.
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Monday, January 17, 2011
Astronomy instructor Parke Kunkle has generated a wealth of online and watercooler discussion in the US and elsewhere.All these years I thought I was Cancerian - considered a "feminine", negative (introvert) sign - it turns out I was a "masculine", positive (extrovert) Gemini.
He pointed out in a Minnesota newspaper that a wobble in the Earth's rotation meant that the stars were in a different position - as viewed from Earth - than they were 2,000 years ago when the Zodiac was drawn up.
Sunday, January 16, 2011
The Bomber picked up a bronze at yesterday's judo tournament.
The rite of passage however, is that he got on the minibus with the rest of the team at seven o'clock in the morning and went to a competition without me or his mother for the first time.
Hand on heart, it may well be more of a rite of passage for me than for him; my ten year old seems all gwowed up.
Saturday, January 15, 2011
Toxic Waste brand Nuclear Sludge Chew Bars have been recalled by Circle City Marketing and Distributing, doing business as Candy Dynamics, Indianapolis, Ind. The product is imported from Pakistan."It does exactly what it says on the tin."
A recent test performed by the California Department of Public Health indicated that some cherry flavor of the bars had slightly elevated levels of lead. No illnesses have been reported to date in connection with this problem.
Friday, January 14, 2011
They live in a society that prizes the development of career skills but is inarticulate when it comes to the things that matter most. ..... Nor, for all their striving, do they understand the qualities that lead to the highest achievement. Intelligence, academic performance, and prestigious schools don’t correlate well with fulfillment, or even with outstanding accomplishment. The traits that do make a difference are poorly understood, and can’t be taught in a classroom, no matter what the tuition: the ability to understand and inspire people; to read situations and discern the underlying patterns; to build trusting relationships; to recognize and correct one’s shortcomings; to imagine alternate futures. In short, these achievers have a sense that they are shallower than they need to be.
David Brooks' essay (excerpted above) is far from a triumph, what one may term the Childe Harolde portion of it in particular is close to embarrassing, but he has his finger on the pulse.
Icons passim seem to reveal a lineage. In 2008, it was his Neural Buddhists piece set me on the path to reading up on brain plasticity, via taking pleasure in the apparent efficacy of compassion meditation.
I'm starting to conclude that we human beings (as I'm led to believe Auden observed) can never become something without pretending to be it first, which means that if we pretend hard enough we can trick ourselves into genuinely being better than we suspect we are.
Michael Corleone: That's a terrific story. And we have newspaper people on the payroll, don't we, Tom? And they might like a story like that.
Tom Hagen: They might, they just might.
Thursday, January 13, 2011
I think I will be needing this spare parts link for running repairs if it gets used as heavily in future as it was last weekend.
Prodnose: The purpose of the Daily Helicopter Operations Briefing/Debriefing Checklist is to provide the Helibase Manager with the means to brief all helibase personnel, including pilots.
Myself: Sir! Yes sir!
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
The omoplata (referred to in Judo as ude-garami or sankaku-garami, 三角緘, "triangular entanglement" or ashi-garami, "leg entanglement") is also a commonly featured shoulder lock in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. The locking mechanism is similar to the kimura lock, but instead of using a figure-four, it is applied using a leg. The omoplata can be applied from the guard, by placing one leg under the opponent's armpit and turning 180 degrees in the direction of that leg, so that the leg moves over the back of the opponent and entangles the opponent's arm. By controlling the opponent's body and pushing the arm perpendicularly away from the opponents back, pressure can be put on the opponent's shoulder. It is also possible to put pressure on the elbow joint by bending the leg entangling the arm, and twisting it in a specific manner. Though an effective lock, it is more difficult than other armlocks to successfully apply. The technique called a monoplata is a similar armlock that resembles juji gatame or spiderweb position yet has a mechanism like a omoplata.
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Perhaps I will get him an Olympic Judo 50p.
Monday, January 10, 2011
All hail Lay out Lou with liquid legs and a lisp.
Sunday, January 09, 2011
It's going to take me forever in the best way, because when he starts talking about learning his trade from Jimmy Reed records, I fire up Spotify, crack open my guitar case and learn right along with him.
When you read the book, you can hear Richards' inimitable (though I do imitate it) voice drawling the text in your ear. It reminds me in that way of my beloved Dizzy Gillespie To be, or Not... to Bop and there is no higher praise.
(I'm playing more guitar lately, I know not why. One night in the week I was picking along with Leonard Cohen and was genuinely impressed with my own irascibility when I was sincerely outraged to find that Anthem was in C# rather than C and I didn't have a capo.)
Saturday, January 08, 2011
Whatever, http://video.pbs.org/ is on the side of the angels.
Friday, January 07, 2011
Arm Holdings is the pin-up of the UK technology sector. The Cambridge-based group, whose chip designs feature in electronic devices made by international brands such as Samsung, Sony, Nokia and Apple, has seen its share price rise more than 150 per cent in the past 12 months as investors bet big on the group’s growth potential.
On Thursday Arm shares rose by as much as 13 per cent after Microsoft told visitors to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas that Arm chip designs would feature in a new version of the Windows operating system.
ARM is the only stock I held on to after my foray into the world of shares in 2001. I had half forgotten about it until I read of Microsoft's initiative, and blowing the cobwebs off Yahoo! Finance I see that I am now healthily in the black after years on the red side of the ledger.
The fact that ARM is still trading well below the price it hit 2000 however shows jsut how spectacular the crash of a decade ago was.
Thursday, January 06, 2011
Prodnose: Hook. Poppin' bottles in the ice, like a blizzard. When we drink we do it right gettin' slizzard. Sippin' sizzurp in my ride; in my ride, like Three 6. Now I'm feelin so fly like a G6.
Entire Company: Like a G6, Like a G6. Now, now, now, now, now, now I'm feelin so fly like a G6. Like a G6, Like a G6. Now, now, now, now, now, now I'm feelin so fly like a G6.
Wednesday, January 05, 2011
Large groups of drinkers should forgo the long-standing tradition where each one has to buy a drink for the entire party to try to cut down on binge drinking.
The suggestion was made by Richard Thaler, a professor at Chicago University, and a key adviser to the Prime Minister on behavioural economics or “nudge” policy.
He said he had discussed the plan with a senior official in the Cabinet Office. “These are the kinds of things that policy makers and publicans should be thinking about,” he said.
Tuesday, January 04, 2011
Monday, January 03, 2011
LONDON—"Brace yourself for five piping-hot minutes of inertia," said William Barrett. Then he began reciting the names of every single one of 415 colors listed in a paint catalog: damson dream, dauphin, dayroom yellow, dead salmon…and on and on and on."Have you ever heard of 'The Wars of the Apathetic'? Or 'the persecution of the apathetic by the bone idle?"
Mr. Barrett's talk was titled, "Like Listening to Paint Dry," and to judge from the droopy faces in the audience, it was a hit. He was speaking, after all, at a conference of boredom enthusiasts called Boring 2010, held here Dec. 11.For seven hours on that Saturday, 20 speakers held forth on a range of seemingly dreary diversions, from "The Intangible Beauty of Car Park Roofs" and "Personal Reflections on the English Breakfast," to "The Draw in Test Match Cricket" and "My Relationship With Bus Routes." Meanwhile, some of the 200 audience members—each of whom had paid £15 (about $24) for a ticket—tried not to nod off.
Sunday, January 02, 2011
A group from the University of Southern California has created what sounds like the coolest Xbox Kinect hack yet: gesture-based spell casting and controls for World of Warcraft. This interests me strangely as the Bomber is still a keen WoW player and updated to the latest Cataclysm expansion pack on New Years Eve.
USC’s Institute for Creative Technologies has created and released FAAST, or the Flexible Action and Articulated Skeleton Toolkit. It’s a middleware toolkit that helps integrate full-body motion controls for games via the Kinect’s sensors. Essentially, ICT makes it possible to map full-body gestures to different keyboard commands.
Saturday, January 01, 2011
Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Strive to be happy.