Category Archive: Uncategorized

Jan 08


Recursion [CC-BY-SA-3.0 Steve Cook, Andreas Thomson, Frank Vinzent]

Jan 07


Bark [CC-BY-SA-3.0 Steve Cook]

Jan 06

Wisley in Winter

RHS Wisley heather garden [CC-BY-SA-3.0 Steve Cook]

It’s not really a botanic garden, but the Royal Horticultural Society’s gardens at Wisley is near enough as makes no difference. We visited in what should have been the dead of winter, but which in reality was this weird sprautumn mash-up that is now December in the UK. The heather garden was particularly pretty, despite the wind: At £12, the entry …

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Dec 22

Bagging botanical Brussels

Brussels botanic gardens [CC-BY-SA-3.0 Steve Cook]

The last time we went to Brussels, I got terribly excited that the hotel we were staying in was right next door to the Botanical Garden of Brussels. Unfortunately – as we discovered in short order – at some point in the 1930s the plants had mostly been shipped off elsewhere, leaving the garden not very botanical, and Dr …

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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.

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