Thursday, October 18, 2007

Space music!

Found a amazing video of the Cassini-Huygens probe's decent into the atmosphere of titan. The noises on the video are from the probes instruments. The image of what the probe's camera is seeing comes in in little chucks, its is crazy to think this is another world! Anyway enjoy (facebookers click here)! Charles Arthur on the Guardian Techblog makes a good point that if the Cassini-Huygens probe's instruments make a gentle relaxing tune like this Beagle 2's must have sounded like death metal!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The war on terror!

Its alright guys, the war on terror is over. Stop panicking America, put away GW Bush, pack up the army, pull out of Iraq and Afganistan, its all over. My mum whilst on a mega-tour of america has shot and killed Osama Bin Laden! Go Mum! Haha!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

The Return of Reason!

Only seems like yesterday that I was blogging about Hundred Reasons last album "Kill your Own", it was nearly 2 years ago and now here I am again blogging about their latest album "Quick The Word, Sharp The Action". The singles I have heard so far sound amazing, the 1st one "No Way Back From Here" has shot to number one on the MTV2 rock chart ahead of the Foo Fighters for god sake! The latest "I'll Never Know" was on the Radio 1 Rock Show the other day and sounded awesome! Anyway the album is out on the 15th October and the single "No Way Back" is out now (the video is posted below, for the Facebookers click here ) so go out and spend your hard earned cash on some well honed music talent!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Its funny because its true.........

Just a quick note about a new book by David McCandless (he writes technology news amongst other things) called "The Internet now in handy book form" (the website has some good spoofs on it). It is essentially a piss take of all the site we know and love, I haven't read it myself but Charlie Booker (possibly the best Media critic in the world) says "You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll realize you hadn't cried at but had simply laughed again!", so it must be worth a look. Below is a spoof of that social networking site I grace with addict-like consistency and I have to admit it does make a good point!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Join the network, save the world........

Just thought I would inform you all of a very worthwhile little tool that will allow you to be part of the further advancement of human knowledge not to mention helping to find cures for some of the worst diseases in the world.

I am sure some of you remember SETI@home, it was a screen saver program from back in the day (1990's) which when you weren't using your computer would download packets of data from SETI and processes them looking for little green men. Using this the SETI guys could process rafts of data compared with just using their own machines.

This idea has been taken to the next level by the World Community Grid, it hosts research projects for everything from climate change studies to fighting AIDS. Basically you download a client program (BOINC seems to be the best but there are loads to choose from), you then tell the client the URL of the project you want to process data for and away you go. Each project has its own graphics to use as a screensaver.

If you go to the WCG website and sign up it will guide you through the setup procedure, during this it will ask you to join a team, this is optional but if you want to join my team "Number Crunching to Save The World" then we can work to together to save the world and gets some good stats on the WCG!

Alternatively you can go straight to BOINC and download the program and then add projects yourself from their project page, which has a bigger choice than WCG (which only hosts the big ones like AIDS research). You can also add projects from this page after signing up for WCG.

The great thing about this is you can customize how you want to help. If you care more about Climate change than searching for pulsars then sign up for that project, or if AIDS research is more your thing then go for that and so on. You can run as many projects as you want at once, it is a good idea to have more than one as there may not always be data available for you to process from each project, however the more you have the longer it will take to process each data packet so it a balancing act.

I hope the above all makes sense (if it doesn't just email me) and we can get as many people as possible crunching numbers for the good of mankind!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Deadly Leathal Ninja Assassins..........

Those cheeky southern lads have done it again! Reuben have released another great track and more than entertaining video to go with it! Look out for Frank Turner playing "D" the evil scientist! Those of you on facebook click here (you know you want to!)

Friday, September 07, 2007

The coming of endarkenment........

It is something that has worried me for many years now, the growing credibility of completely un-credible "science". For example Homeopathy and other such "earth-mother will heal all" based rubbish, advocating that sticking mushrooms up your nose and meditating is better than seeing your GP, is not only laughable, it is dangerous! Of course there are homeopathic remedies that are proven to work and have real evidence to back them up, but these seem to be in the minority compared to the vast weight of unsubstantiated bovine fecease the seems, in most cases quite obviously, to be concocted by people out to make a quick buck off the not-so-bright.

This trend is even more worrying coupled with the growing belief in creationism and intelligent design, I think "The Endarkenment" (as David Colquhoun refers to it) is a good title for it . My father is a Vicar and so naturally Christianity featured heavily in my early life, he however never advocated that the book of genesis was a literal account of the creation of the earth, he made it clear to me it was a metaphor.

When you analyze it closely the bible gives a remarkably accurate account of the creation of the earth, told in a way that people 2000 years ago could understand. Imagine trying to tell people who lived in mud huts, who had no concept of space, planets, DNA etc that there was this big bang millions of years ago and then as everything cooled rocks began to stick together, oh yeah by the way there is this thing called gravity, then there were these monkeys, well first they were bacteria, and they slowly turned into monkeys.......It just wouldn't have worked and if attempted would probably have resulted in a rapid stoning closely followed with the scattering your body parts to all four corners of the land. So the story of genesis takes place over 6 days, the actual Hebrew translation is "period of time", so 6 ages would be a better way of looking at it. First there was darkness and light (the big bang), then the land and the sea (formation of the planets), then beasts of the sea, land and air and then man (evolution). Of course there are morality tales mixed in with it but my point stands that it is not a literal account and it scares me it is advocated as a scientific possibility let alone a theory to rival well established planetary science or Darwinism!

Anyway the underlying point behind my ill-conceived ramblings are put much more eloquently by David Colquhoun in this article for the Guardian.

I pray for the victory of common sense and the scientific process!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

32 flavours and then some!

Kudos goes out to Gill Pepper for introducing me to Ani Difranco! Who is an amazing singer songwriter, how did I not know anything about her! Anyway I embeded a live track for those who look at my blog (all 3 of you) and for those on facebook follow this link!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Just because we can, should we............?

This is a question that has been continually argued by scientists and their constantly hounding moral police for years. I remember my first real argument on this point after watching Jurassic Park, I think my farther and I were debating whether if we could bring back dinosaurs should we? I, at that age, could not honestly understand why anyone who could bring back dinosaurs would not want to (the fact I had just watched a film where lots of people had been eaten by said giant lizards not withstanding). Dinosaurs where cool, I think my farther did agree with this point but highlighted that they had died out and we should leave them where god intended them to be. He also brought out the argument often thrown at me when discussing this point, that if we could build a bomb that could destroy the world should we? I suppose at that age I couldn't really argue with this and he reminded me that technology can be turned to evil.

Now after years of forming my own sometimes convoluted opinions I am still of the firm belief that if we can (scientifically speaking) we should! Just on the whole dinosaur front the advances in genetics gained by bringing a dead species back to life would be of enormous benefit. Think if you could bring a species back from the dead you could also preserve the rapidly shrinking biodiversity of the earth, nearly extinct species could be gene mapped and saved from annihilation and then brought back when we have finally sorted out our problems with the environment. The medical advances from such a project would be great and not to mention the fact that we would have dinosaurs to marvel at. The atom bomb, while it is a dreadful piece of technology whose only function is destroy and maim, it also ended a conflict that could have gone on to kill millions more, the advance brought about by its development are far ranging and have improved the lives of millions. Splitting the atom provides power for millions and kick started a whole new branch of science that has produced great advance is medial sensor technology and treatment to name but one area. Going back to my dad's point on the bomb that could destroy the world, I imagine now that the development of such a device would lead to some pretty amazing discoveries relating to energy creation and some pretty funky particle physics which would probably change the world on their own. Of course we would also have a bomb that could destroy the earth and that is no way a great outcome but I would hope if the planet where at stake cooler heads would prevail as a device like that is a lose-lose weapon of the highest order. Anyway the point I am trying to make (yes there is one I assure you!) is that advances in science should be taken advantage of, some of the best advances have come off the back of risky lines of research. Now I am in no way condoning testing random drugs on children, breeding mutant rabbits or indeed building a bomb that could destroy the world, I am saying that sensible well regulated research should always be encouraged.

There will always be those who object to lines of research. This is usually focused around medical and biological research as those are the areas most likely to offend personal and religious views I suppose. What sparked this post is the resent decision by the UK government to let scientists use hybrid human and animal embryos for stem cell and other medical research. I think this is a landmark decision, an actual turn around in UK policy towards this type of research, not to mention going against the increasing attitude in the west (mainly from the christian right in the US) that any testing on embryos is evil and should be stopped and the scientist burned at the stake. It was a source of annoyance for me how the US was so willing to stop all research using embryos and cloning, effectively stopping their stem cell research in its tracks, I was concerned the EU would go the same way. It confuses me how the decisions on these matters are legislated by politicians who are more concerned with the views of the lay masses and not with those who actually (pardon the arrogance of this) know better. An article I read recently (again from the guardians comment is free site, a favorite haunt of mine) echoed this opinion, highlighting how research in this country should be regulated not legislated to avoid stifling vital advances.

India and China have no where near the regulation on medical and biological research that we have and are racing ahead in those areas where the west is stuck in a quagmire of umming and arring! This highlights one of my main rebuttals to the "If we can, should we?" argument. If we don't pursue it then someone else will, there is of course always a risk that research no matter how benign the intentions of the scientists, can be turned into something potentially dangerous but again I make the point that who would we rather be in control of potentially dangerous scientific research, sticking our heads in the sand and pretending it doesn't exist is no defence, someone somewhere will do the research and will hold the advantage. The moral doom mongers will say this is a reckless attitude but to them I say that we have had scientific research for centuries and the planet is still here and the human race has not been wiped out by genetically engineered viruses or giant killer wheat plants.

I have faith, and I know this will draw bellows of extreme laughter from many, that the human race is capable of not destroying itself. That science holds the key to the future of our race and our world and that the conservative views of many in the places of power on our earth have, and will continue to prevent advances that could help millions. I am however aware that there needs to be a moral balance, some research can go too far, but I believe this limit should be decided by learned people of the scientific community not politicians hoping to gain the votes of a few ignorant, overzealous, perpetually scared, right-wingers.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Ethical Pharmaceuticals

On my travels around the inter-blogo'shpere I come across a lot of rubbish but now and again random scatter-shot Google searches bring up something that can inspire me to get off my arse and blog. I look at early posts on this blog and I forgot how opinionated and passionate I used to be about politics and current affairs, recently I only seem to have written about how heavy my last night out was or some song I found that I liked. Since leaving uni I seem to have developed a generally apathy to the current state of the world, an insular attitude I hope to change in near future starting with this article I found from January this year on "Ethical Pharmaceuticals".

Two Indian researchers have found a way to beat the patents of the massive multi-national pharmaceutical companies by subtly altering the chemical make up of know drugs to produce the same effects from what is essentially a new drug. As the research costs are low the cost of developing the drug is minuet compared to those of the big drug companies and so cost to the end user is dramatically smaller. This is just what the developing world needs, but also just what our NHS needs. Drug costs and the postcode lottery are crippling the Health Service and research like this could save a system that is in real danger of collapse within the next decade. Of course the article mentions that the big drug companies don't like the idea of this one bit and have their armies of lawyers ready to destroy those well-meaning few who threaten their massive profits!

One industry insider envisaged legal challenges if the new drugs were not genuinely innovative. It could become "a huge intellectual property issue", he said.

Huge interllectuall property issue! What about about a huge bonus for the all the sick and dying in the world! This really got me pissed off at the general state of the capitalist world. It is great to see academics taking hold of their research and saying that they don't want it to make loads of money, they want it to help people. Lord knows the poor of Africa and the developing world don't give a flying monkey turd about the profits of GalxoSmithKline and whether their shareholders can by another Merc or BMW this year, they care about weather their son will see the morning. It seems crazy to me how an industry whose end user is the sick and the dying are purely profit driven, I think we have reached a point now where the end product is irrelevant, not just in pharmaceuticals but in most business in the Western world, all that matters is units sold and shares traded. It is a self perpetuating systems that seems almost completely virtual and closed off from the real world, systems like that cannot last in my opinion because they increasingly cut the poorest people out of the loop and eventually there will so few inside the loop that collapse is inevitable. I just hope they take as few as possible with them when the Ivory tower comes crashing down.

Honestly I am not a communist, but capitalism scares me.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The commandments Moses couldn't be bothered to write down.......

Best lyrics to a dance/rap song i have ever heard! Preach the good word!

Thou Shalt Always Kill - Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip

Thou shalt not steal if there is direct victim.
Thou shalt not worship pop idols or follow lost prophets.
Thou shalt not take the names of Johnny Cash, Joe Strummer, Johnny Hartman, Desmond Decker, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix or Syd Barret in vain.
Thou shalt not think any male over the age of 30 that plays with a child that is not their own is a paedophile - Some people are just nice.
Thou shalt not read NME.
Thall shalt not stop likin' a band just 'cause they’ve b'come popular.
Thou shalt not question Stephen Fry.
Thou shalt not judge a book by its cover.
Thou shalt not judge Lethal Weapon by Danny Glover.
Thall shalt not buy Coca-Cola products. Thou shalt not buy Nestle products.
Thou shalt not go into the woods with your boyfriend’s best friend, take drugs and cheat on him.
Thou shalt not fall in love so easily.
Thou shalt not use poetry, art or music to get into girls’ pants - Use it to get into their heads.
Thou shalt not watch Hollyoaks.
Thou shalt not attend an open mic and leave as soon as you done your shitty little poem or song you self-righteous prick.
Thou shalt not return to the same club or bar week in, week out just ’cause you once saw a girl there that you fancied but you’re never gonna fucking talk to.

Thou shalt not put musicians and recording artists on ridiculous pedestals no matter how great they are or were.
The Beatles - Were just a band.
Led Zepplin - Just a band.
The Beach Boys - Just a band.
The Sex Pistols - Just a band.
The Clash - Just a band.
Crass - Just a band.
Minor Threat - Just a band.
The Cure - Were just a band.
The Smiths - Just a band.
Nirvana - Just a band.
The Pixies - Just a band.
Oasis - Just a band.
Radiohead - They're just a band.
Bloc Party - Just a band.
The Arctic Monkeys - Just a band.
The Next Big Thing - JUST A BAND.

Thou shalt give equal worth to tragedies that occur in non-english speaking countries as to those that occur in english speaking countries.
Thou shalt remember that guns, bitches and bling were never part of the four elements and never will be.
Thou shalt not make repetitive generic music, thou shalt not make repetitive generic music, thou shalt not make repetitive generic music, thou shalt not make repetitive generic music.
Thou shalt not pimp my ride.
Thou shalt not scream if you wanna go faster.
Thou shalt not move to the sound of the wickedness.
Thou shalt not make some noise for Detroit.
When I say “Hey” thou shalt not say “Ho”.
When I say “Hip” thou shalt not say “Hop”.
When I say, he say, she say, we say, make some noise - kill me.

[Ah, forgot where I was, hang on]

Thou shalt not quote me happy.
Thou shalt not shake it like a polaroid picture.
Thou shalt not wish you girlfriend was a freak like me.
Thou shalt spell the word “Pheonix” P-H-E-O-N-I-X not P-H-O-E-N-I-X, regardless of what the Oxford English Dictionary tells you.
Thou shalt not express your shock at the fact that Sharon got off with Brad at the club last night by saying “Is it.”
Thou shalt think for yourselves.

And thou shalt always, thou shalt always... kill.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Lets talk about the weather!

Yes lets talk about the weather! How random has it been lately! I was in Bournemouth this weekend, on Saturday (after purchasing some fine knock-off aviator style sunglasses) we hit the beach and showed off, to one and all, our astounding frizbee skills. After a few hours of diving catches and some close calls involving the heads of nearby children we had well and truly caught the sun! I had to wear sunglasses the whole way back to Suffolk because of the sun with the windows down because it was so warm, however literally 5 minuets after I got through the door the sky went from blue to gray and there was a blizzard! I don't know if you have ever seen "The Day After Tomorrow" but that kind of rapid change freaks me out a little! Global warming....... or mad scientist with doomsday weather machine...... answers on a postcard/text message/email/Myspace comment/Facebook Wall (Check my multi-contactability)

In other news the line up for Reading and Leeds is amazing, dare I say better than V2007. I would rather not dare to say this however as I have already brought V tickets, attracted as I was to the Foo Fighters, Editors, Snow Patrol, Basement Jaxx and the mighty Goo Goo Dolls! However Reading & Leeds has The Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Klaxons, Kings of Leon, Biffy Clyro and Funeral for a Friend to name a few! Boooooooooo! Oh well V will be great because all my friends are going, but still you would think the festivals could announce there line ups well in advance of the tickets going on sale! Again I reassert my previous Booooooooo!

Finally I thought I would put up a bit of comedy in this post, a section from the wonderful mock the week, if it doesn't appear (those of you on facebook) click here! It features that fabulous welsh lanky star, Mark Watson, whose final episode of his quest to make the world substantially better is on Radio 4 tonight at 6:30pm! Listen to it! Bloody hilarious!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Another Web 2.0 social networking spare time sucking sign-up!

Ok, first it was blogger, then myspace, then faceparty (for about 5mins until I realised it was rubbish) and now facebook! Which to my suprise is quite a tidy little site, the profiles are neater than myspace and the social networking is much more refined! But the main advantage I found was that nearly all my uni friends are on there! Myspace is better for music, facebook is better for keeping in touch, plus the photo utilities are miles better! Anyway, join facebook I say! Or better yet get myspace and facebook to merge creating a uber social site called Myface.....or I like Myface better! Let the joining begin!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Sightly more than a mouthful!

Wooo! What a weekend! A 12 hour bender! It's like being a student again!

After several pints whilst watching our brave chaps giving the Italians a swift and resounding kicking at the rugger we decided to go for an afternoon's constitutional and take in the sights and sounds of Camden Town's bustling bazaar, however after only a brief foray into the early evening sunlight we decided that the strain was too much and we would have to have "one for the road" in a passing public house. One, it seems means, three and a "constitutional" appears to imply staying in the pub and reading random tombs from yesteryear in some form of bastardised, alcohol fueled, Jakanory session, including expertly read passages from such literary masterworks as "Dude Woman" and "A Piper's Remorse"! After we had had our fill of popular literature we decided there was still time for our brisk walk in the nations capital, however our minds changed quickly when we realised it was dark and we couldn't be bothered. Instead we decided to gather the various constituents required for a game created only the previous night by several of our party who evidently had far too much time on their hands.

This game of skill was know only by the mysterious title of "Slightly more than a mouthful"! After buying a six pack of that bastion of drinking games, Fosters and a large quantity of vodka of a dubious quality we head back to the flat. Upon arrival the rules of the aforementioned game where spelled out to us in all their complexity. The complexity being you had to sit on the sofa, hands on knees with a tumbler in front of you on the floor, containing, as one might expect, slightly more than a mouthful of beer. The challenge was to drink the slightly over-sized shot down and place it back on the floor in the shortest time possible, a feat which sounds simple in theory but I assure is much more difficult in its execution!

Needless to say this game coupled with the dubious vodka lead to a comfortably high position on the funky inebriation scale. We soon left the flat and headed to what can only be described as the greatest club I have ever seen, a barely converted opera house with the worlds largest disco ball.

In the words of some great dude " 'nuff said ", anyway after some crazy dancing,

a game of stick in the mud, and large amounts of cheap sambuuca,

we returned home.

The next morning, to our utter shock, no one had a hangover. Proving once and for all that dancing and alcohol are good for you!

I rest my case!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Sia - Breath me

Not brand spanking new but a great chilled out tune! Nice to see she has made beautiful music away from Zero 7. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Hi, I'm a Twat and I'm a PC!

The recent Mac TV ads with Michelle and Webb are blatantly condescending and portray the the Mac user as somehow socially superior to us lowly PC users, I could go on a massive rant about this but Charlie Brooker beat me to it! read the hilarious rant here!

Monday, February 05, 2007

David Ford - State of the Union

The web 2.0 in a nutshell!

Found this video on a tour of youtube! Really interesting description of how the new shape of the web came about and how it will change things! Anyway watch it and make up your own mind!

The legacy of Salford......

Ahhh well that was another great weekend in London! Come on England! About time we beat someone at something! Was good to see Mike again, we schemed more about moving to Manchester and starting a property empire and also managed to book up every free weekend of mine from now until I move to Manchester! I hate free time anyway I never know what to do with myself, a legacy of Salford uni I guess! God I am so glad I never have to go through that hell ever again! WoooooHooooo!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Any excuse

We rarely need an excuse to party! Last weekend I was in Cambridge with Lou, Ben, Alice and Ruth and this weekend I was there with Mike, Lou and Ben! We had a f'in excellent time, went to a rock club, alienated Lou's friends (who to be fair ain't the rocking type) the preceded to mosh our rocks off to fall out boy and disturbed! Haven't had that much fun since the days of the Leicester fan club! More of it I say! MMMMMMMMMWWWAAAAAHAHA!

Friday, January 05, 2007

From hectic to boring and back again via a lot of procrastination!

Yes it has been awhile and yes I always say I will blog more but that last few months have been all over place, from hectic to boring and back again via a lot of procrastination. My last post was just after me and my girlfriend had broken up. That was a confusing time, went though the classic "We're gonna be the best of friends" phase to the "I hate you so much right now" phase and then through the protracted "I really should have a reason to be angry at her so should rehearse as many arguments as possible" (that one was a brain melter!) to finally excepting that us breaking up was for the best and things are much better now than they would have been if we'd dragged it out (flogging a dead horse and all that).
So that mental fuzz boxing went on for a few months and in the mean time to my great surprise I passed my driving test (with 2 minors - Get in!), moved to Suffolk, started my job and finished my dissertation! That was a horrendous experience in itself. I came home from work every night, made dinner, watched the news then sat at my desk and crunched numbers. It was decidedly half arsed number crunching however, when I finally managed to secure a week off work to "write up" the results of my 3 months of computations I realised that they were all completely useless! So in classic student style I researched, analysed and wrote up my entire dissertation in a week. 20,000 words of grade A bull digestive by-product! Handing it in felt surreal though, that year in Salford was really hard work at time I didn't think I could take anymore but I made it, 2006 generally will be a year I will try hard to forget but there were some good bits!
So anyway here I am sat in my own house, on my own sofa, with my own shiny laptop blogging away listening to Gilles Peterson's (the legend that he is!) minimal house mix, thinking "funny how things work out"!