Monthly Archives: August 2010

Caution, tunnel at end of tunnel

Cut paste slide glide pull pinch push-mail enter copy file delete oops … undo save changes replace original file create new one (decisions, decisions) send reply (not to all, stupid!) octet megapixel gigabyte download upload firewire 3g wi-fi highest resolution optical fibre go to previous next up down save to disc make back-up shuffle play

Of mall-dwellers and yo-yo shoppers

Animal behaviourists researching intelligence discovered some years ago that birds show similar patterns to humans with regard to provisioning themselves. If the food source is close by (local convenience store) a bird will only take that which it needs immediately. If the food source is further away (supermarket or food mall), a bird will stuff

Gravity’s other rainbow

The European space centre’s GOCE probe has constructed a map of the world’s gravity. It can tell us, for example, that we might weigh a bit less if we moved somewhere else. Now that’s a thought! Apparently the data from this first survey of earth’s gravity field will be very useful to people who lay

Of sneezing uncles and apoplectic aunts

“Bismillah hir-Rahman nir-Rahim” – “In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate” or “in the name of God, the Beneficent, the Merciful” (there seems to be some confusion on the matter of correct translation): these words open the Quran and are probably the best-known phrase of Arabic outside the Arab world. However, they occupy

A bird in the hand …

As Miranda contentedly murmured her way back up through rural France, from village to village, from speed trap to speed trap, without let or hindrance, or any obstruction whatsoever to her sovereign, six-cylindered, twin-carb’d passage, I was forced unwillingly by announcements from the radio (an ancient and crackly Blaupunkt of the type that came out

Obama girls rule!

I’m going to keep this short. At the beginning of her long reign, Queen Victoria was unpopular, considered by many to be unconcerned with the realities of state, distant, foreign and wasteful. In order to rally and unite the nation at a time of expanding Empire and sabre-rattling abroad, it was thought best by successive

Ants around my ankles

The day had begun clear and unnaturally bright, but already by lunchtime it was oppressively close. He had walked for hours through this strange, high-altitude landscape, with its hoards of ants the size of wasps and clouds of wasps no bigger than ants. By the time he had found the mountain cabin of reputedly Byronic