All entries for July 2006

July 31, 2006

Bikers vs Clubbers

Thanks to Warwickshire police directing Global Gathering traffic through our village all weekend we've had a steady stream of morons and idiots parading their clapped out but modded to the max citroen saxos up the A3400.

We get this twice a year – once for Global Gathering and once for the Bulldog Bash.

The bikers who go to Bulldog generally are a fine lot. Noisy, but they stick to the speed limits (knowing that the police are all over them…), don't treat the roads and verges as their own personal toilet/rubbish dump and are good for a laugh or two in the pub.

The clubbers, on the other hand, are generally obnoxious louts who seem to think it's fine to lob half empty beer cans out of windows, hurl abuse at locals and speed through at whatever their 1.1 saxo can manage.

I think next year I may get a load of stickers made up and change all the signs to 'Chav Gathering'. The self–centred idiocy of the GG lot really gets me annoyed.


July 26, 2006

Ramsey slaughters eel and Jonathan Ross eats its still beating heart – Yes!

I am sure that Ramsey is going to get some stick over his latest programme. If you missed it a Japanese chef killed a live eel with a quick blow to the head, a metal spike through the head. Following this the chef cut out the heart which Ramsey and Ross argued over who was going to eat it.

Earlier in the show Ramsey interviewed a lady who pointed out some of the worst elements of the indusrtrial pork industry – cramped, awful conditions and pretty awful practices.

Compare this to the respect the japenese chef paid to his eel. 'This is a strong fish' he declared and he made sure that whatever could be eaten was. He handled the fish carefully, having spent 5 years learning how to cook just that type of fish. Problem is though, you can bet that the graphic picture of the fish getting the chop and the beating heart is going to cause more of a storm than the treatment of the factory pigs.

We seem happy to chomp away on the pigs but treat the representation of the eels death as terrible and something to deny, hide away from. This seems horribly hypocritical and just wrong.

I come back to a point raised before – we have to take responsibility for the food we eat. This includes making sure that the production is ethical in the acknowledgement that something must die for us to eat meat. Ramsey has done well in reminding us of this.


Academic Posters

Writing about web page http://www.swarthmore.edu/NatSci/cpurrin1/posteradvice.htm

Some advice from Colin Purrington, Department of Biology, Swarthmore College on how to create scientific posters.

Now, I'll admit to have never really seen the point of these and the weird ritual of the 'Poster Session'. However, I know many academics are rather keen on these so if you are going to do them, better do'em'right as it were.

I like Colin's description of a typical poster session:

The best general advice I can give a first–time poster constructor is to describe the circumstances in which a poster will eventually be viewed: a hot, congested room filled with people who are there primarily to socialize, not to look at posters. Because poster sessions are often concurrent with the (free) "wine and beer" session, chaos is further increased by hundreds of uninhibited graduate students staggering around hitting on each other.

Sounds like fun, huh! On reflection, perhaps this is preferable to listening to 50 undergrads/postgrads stumble through presentations on their latest research – I think I begin to see the value to the academic…


July 25, 2006

Gigs you didn't go to

You often hear people talk about the best gig they've ever been to. Here's three gigs I could have gone to but didn't – more fool me!

1. Nirvana play the Bristol Bierkeller just before they went massive – oops!
2. Sonic Youth Dirty tour – why did I not go to this one?
3. Smashing Pumpkins – crappy nobodies from the states – well, they won't go anywhere will they…

And a notable mention to a school friend who was a massive Morrisey fan – we bought tickets for his solo tour which happened to coincide with the last day of term. Unfortunately said friend got drunk in the afternoon and passed out in a park. We carried him home and left him to sleep it off whilst we all went off to see the mozz. Boy was he annoyed the next day – I believe he may have punched a hole through his door.


My Bloody Valentine – aah, the golden age of shoegazing…

Just listening to Loveless which I put on the iPod the other day.

What a great band MBV were. They were the first band I went to see at the Bristol Student's Union when I was a mere sixth former back in 1991.

Great gig notable for being one of the few bands to generate so much noise the sound wave made my clothes move like they were caught in the wind.

Plus they had a flute with reverb – awesome.


July 21, 2006

Some numbers about online video

A few stats:

Youtube – 100 million downloads per day, 65,000 uploads per day, 20 million unique users per month (source)

On average, US consumers spent close to one hour per month viewing Internet video from work locations during March (source)

158 million broadband subscribers across OECD countries (source)

Some graphs from the OECD on Broadband connections

Overall Visits to Video Search Sites Up 164% (source)

Note that the above source has some interesting stats on average visit length for main video aggregators

"24 percent of internet users access video at least once a week, while 46 percent watch video at least once a month. News leads the way in frequency of viewing, with 27 percent of online video viewers watching at least once a week, followed closely by funny videos (26 percent watch at least once a week). Not surprisingly, online video viewing is very common at home (39 percent of those with home internet access watch at least once a week) compared to 19 percent of those who watch at least once a week at work." (source)


July 20, 2006

Sarah Beeny and her amazing elastic pregnancy

I find Sarah Beeny's pregnancies very odd.

Apart from the fact that she seems to be fertilised simply by being on telly (seriously – have you ever seen a series where she hasn't been pregnant at some point? I think medically it's called the Davina McCall syndrome.) her pregnancy seems to expand and contract within the programme.

For example, last night she seemed to be more pregnant half way through than at the end!

Kind of gives away the programme editors art a little don't you think.


July 17, 2006

The Campaign Starts Here! No More Ties

Ok, so I haven't worn a tie for quite a while now, but I feel it is my duty to spearhead a campaign to consign this outdated item of clothing to the dustbin of history.

Seriously, what is the point of this strip of cloth other than to make you feel uncomfortable and dull.

I am not suggesting we let all hell break loose in the area of workplace clothing. However, why do male workers have to put up with such a nonsensical item of clothing when our female counterparts don't have to accomodate any equivalent.

So take up the call – no to ties!

Edit – I have retracted certain statements regarding business shorts. As John Dale points out – why not go the whole hog and go for business shorts as well. Let's make the work place a comfort place!


July 14, 2006

Playing about with Digg

Writing about web page http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/newsandevents/pressreleases/NE100000021440/

For the last two day's I've been mucking about with adding links to Digg (and del.icio.us) to Press Releases.

Why bother I don't hear you ask! Well, the story about Sleep deprivation and obesity had about 2000 hits yesterday – half of these came from Digg.com and BoingBoing (which picked up the story from Digg).

I think that demonstrates the value of these services in terms of communications activity.

So, to make life a bit easier I've added a few links to the Press Release. Firstly a link that lets you submit a story to Digg. Secondly a link that lets you submit a story to del.icio.us. Finally a counter that tells you how many people Dugg this story and a button that let's you register a vote too!

Unfortunately this last only seems to be working in Firefox, which is a pain, but I will endevour to resolve this for IE next week.

I have warned my colleagues in the office not to Digg their own stories as this would be evil. Hot coals have been prepared just in case!


Warwick Podcasts – Critics choice in the Independent

Following on from our listing in the Guardian I've just found out Warwick Podcasts made Critics choice in the Independent on wednesday.

What a great week this is turning into.

So, Robert Moss, wherever you are – thanks for the listing!

Next up – can we crack the right wing press?


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