Category Archive: Uncategorized

Dec 15

A queen’s Christmas message

Well, at least 2:8 is plausible. 2:1 And it came to pass 10 years after the death of Herod the Great, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world – except those irrelevant bits that the Romans hadn’t conquered – should be taxed. 2:2 (And this taxing was first made when Quirinius …

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Jun 20

Half a life

Ecology 1996

As of today, I will have spent precisely half of my life at $PLACE_OF_WORK. I first arrived at what would become my workplace as a badly coiffured youth in 1995 to do a biology degree. South Kensington seemed a great improvement over Croydon, where I had endured my previous 18 years: there was a refreshing absence of casual street violence, and a greatly …

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Apr 23

Bagging botanic gardens

Kew gardens temperate house [CC-BY-2.0 Alex Lomas]

I’m not sure whether bagging botanical gardens is better or worse than bagging Munros, Michelin stars or the numbers off of rolling stock, but it keeps me off the streets… London (Kew) Just ten stops down the District Line from $WORK lies the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew. The gardens have three enormous glasshouses, a number of smaller …

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Sep 02

Youth of today

Neptune [public domain, NASA]

One consequence of being an evolutionary dead-end is that I do not get exposed to new cultural touchstones through watching crap children’s telly with offspring I haven’t produced. As an alternative, monitoring the dwindling intersection of history I share with my incoming undergraduates serves the same salutary purpose of reminding me how out-of-touch I am. The …

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Aug 09

The wisdom of crowds

I tried this about five years ago, with more or less the inverse of these results. The nerdy grammar fascist bit of me is pleasantly surprised by the improvement, but poor Karl Albert still has some way to go… Fischer projection: About 38,800 results Fisher projection: [sic] About 8,090 results Lineweaver Burk: About 234,000 results Lineweaver …

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Apr 25

Lacklustre butterworts

Pinguicula agnata [CC-BY-SA-3.0 Steve Cook]

I’d like to be more excited about this than I am, but Pinguicula agnata is not the most crowd-pleasing of my butterworts, even whilst in flower (as it currently is). Ho hum. Strange specific epithet though. No idea why Casper (whoever s/he might have been) thought it appropriate. Could be worse though, I guess.

Apr 10

The kraken wakes

Pinguicula cv. Tina (awakening) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 Steve Cook]

My butterworts have been waiting with unbaited breath for the long, slow arrival of the spring. In winter, they cut their losses and produce small non-carnivorous leaves as there’s not enough prey around to justify investment in glue. In spring, they awaken and start making larger, insecticidal leaves again. Tina has already captured a fungus …

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Feb 14

Exterminate

Dalek chromatic t-shirt [by J. William Grantham]

Love my new Dalek t-shirt: This is also relevant to my interests.

Jan 21

More butterworts

Pinguicula cyclosecta winter rosette [CC-BY-SA-3.0 Steve Cook]

After the trip to Königssee, I was inspired to retail therapy and bought myself as many butterworts as Hampshire Carnivorous Plants could supply: They did me proud over this summer, with two of them flowering despite the root disturbance (on which butterworts are not keen), the chunky cultivar ‘Tina': and the daintier species P. esseriana: In …

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Jan 21

I gone done made me a satire

Instant Hipstagrammatic [CC-BY-SA-3.0 Mark Zuckerberg, I mean Steve Cook]

Tortured artists have tuberculosis, not iPhone apps.

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