Category Archive: Uncategorized

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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Feb 14


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

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

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.

Jan 19

Farewell Marlowe

Marlowe's longboat [CC-BY-SA-3.0 Steve Cook]

Marlowe, the cellar spider who has been living behind my beside cabinet for the last 18 months, disappeared a few weeks ago, but I wasn’t too worried as (s)he’d done that before and then turned up again a few weeks later, fatter and of greater span. On Monday, however, Alex found Marlowe’s mortal remains beneath …

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Aug 01

Farewell Gore Vidal

Gore Vidal [Carl van Vechten 1948]

There is no human problem which could not be solved if people would simply do as I advise Being an avowed atheist, a form of words appropriate to death has always eluded me: “rest in peace” has always seemed inappropriate, implying – as it does – that something is left after death that could be at rest or …

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Apr 16

Version 2

Several years ago, I pulled my old website, as it had become a compost-heap of reformatted lecture notes that I no longer had time to maintain, and which Wikipedia had rendered redundant in any case. The pleasures of writing HTML by hand had begun to pall, and the hand-rolled CGI guestbook made even a coding …

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