All entries for November 2005

November 29, 2005

Oh sweet unconciousness

Nice strip from pvp today.

November 25, 2005

Touching the Void

Touching the Void was on again last night – the story for those who don't know is pretty incredible. Joe Simpson and Simon Yates were involved in a serious accident climbing down from the 21,000ft Siula Grande when Joe fell and smashed his leg to pieces.

The story of how Simon tried to lower Joe down the side of the mountain and eventually cutting the rope, dropping Joe into a crevasse is pretty remarkable in itself. The fact that Joe was able to escape the crevasse and then crawl for 4 days back to the camp, exhausted, delerious and dragging his smashed leg behind him is truely amazing.

I went to see Joe talk about the experience at a lecture in Worcester a few years ago. Hearing it from the man directly is incredibly powerful, especially when talking about the night spent alone in the crevasse. As he says –

"You don't die of a broken leg"

One of those stories that really asks questions about what we are capable of and the limits of human endurance and sheer bloody mindedness.

November 24, 2005

Advancing up the curve

Follow-up to The Podcast learning curve from Contemplating the Frame

Latest podcast – link

I hope that the sound level is a bit better on the latest release – I played with the file in Audacity before encoding and this should have bumped up the volume. There may be additional distortion on the file, but hopefully this is minimal.

In other news, this was the first interview I have done for this rather than Richard Fern, the voice on the other two. Wow – was this an eye opener. I could not beileve the number of times I said:

  • "Ummm"
  • "Sort of"
  • "Kind of"
  • "I mean"

and the reappearance of a slight Bristol accent at points.

Most of the editing was removing my stumbling questioning – Daničle Joly was great!

Also, we are now listed in iTunes – search on Warwick and you will find us!

As this is the first non-science based release, I hope that people find it interesting.

I cannot confirm rumours that there will be a blooper reel for christmas…

November 22, 2005

See what happens when you blog

Follow-up to Belly and the moonflowers from Contemplating the Frame

What seems a long time ago I blogged about an old favourite band, the Moonflowers.

Over the last few months a few people have been posting comments remembering many wonderful things about the band, Bristol in the early to mid 90s and lots of other stuff.

There is now a fan site at with some mp3s and lots of pics.

For those who might like to try I offer link – Smile in the Face of Evil and Dance

November 21, 2005

Cooking for Engineers

Writing about web page

Consider this my public service announcement for the day

Worst toys

Writing about web page

American, but still interesting.

Mostly cited for choking hazards, but personal non-choking favourites are:


These "anti-gravity boots" fit over shoes so that children can "seem to defy gravity" and "bounce across the yard like a Gazelle!" The manufacturer's safety instructions include the unrealistic directive to "always remain in control of your motions", and to use a "protective helmet as well as gloves, knee and elbow pads during use". Children pictured on the packaging have no protective gear whatsoever.


These oversized fists, resembling those of a popular comic book and movie character, are sold to enable six year olds to "smash!" and "crash!" just like the "super strong creature." Remarkably, at the same time children are encouraged to engage in "clobberin time!", parents are warned that the toy is "intended to be used only for dress-up fantasy play", and that "serious injury could result" should it be used to strike a person or pet.

Spooky Fog

Spooky weekend.

From friday evening to monday morning the village and surrounding area has been enveloped in thick, freezing fog.

Fog was so thick at times you couldn't see across the road. Like living in a Stephen King novel (though without the ghostly pirates, zombies or flesheating bits).

The frost was fantastic and lasted the whole weekend, so the landscape was magical.

However, our neighbours and I decided that this was the weekend to have a go at the trees at the front of the drive. So we were all out nice and early in the freezing fog cutting off branches. It was ok until you stopped moving, which was when the fog really got into your clothes and froze your ass off.

It did mean, though, that for the first time I got to drive a massive bit of agricultural machinary – a kick-(frozen)ass teleplatform with hydraulic arm and cage. Sorry, but sitting at the wheel of several tonnes of heavy lifting gear and sending your neighbour high into the tree with a chainsaw was pretty cool. Not something you do everyday.

Shame that one of the neighbours got really pissy about the work we did – set her in a right strop because she thought we'd taken to much off. Didn't seem to get the idea that sometimes you have to chop quite a bit off of trees to let them grow back nice and healthy. Oh well.

November 18, 2005

The Podcast learning curve

Writing about web page

So you may have noticed a few blog entries about University podcasts. This is a new thing we are exploring and I wouldn't mind getting a bit of feedback on whether people think this is interesting, useful or any other comments. I know we've only done two, but any initial thoughts appreciated.

I am aware that there may be a few technical issues to be resolved (stero/mono gah!) – we're on a learning curve here, but I would hope that these get ironed out soon enough.

Also, I would like to add a directory of other podcasts/vodcasts being produced around the Uni. I think RAW are doing something, as are the BrassSoc – is anyone else creating these and would like to be listed?

Resolving the Blinkx thing

Follow-up to Trying to get a response from Blinkx from Contemplating the Frame

Suranga, co-founder of Blinkx, called last night, acknowledging the misunderstanding and promising to resolve the issues raised.

There remains the option for the University to consider submitting our 'University' content and I suspect that we may well explore this. At least WarwickTV will also get proper recognition now.

So that's that then.

As Kieran mentions – it's a good idea to monitor what people say about you out there. Kieran mentions Google, it's also a good idea to watch Technorati and other blog search tools. It might also be wise for some of our more renowned staff (and students?) to see what people say about them on Wikipedia – often a source of misconception, misunderstanding and general errors.

I knew it…!

Writing about web page

Apologies to Kevin Forbes for stealing his content but I just thought this was fab.

November 2005

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