This blog is now rarely updated, but remains as an archive of bits and pieces I've collected from around the internet. To see what's caught my eye more recently, find me on twitter.

Saturday 2 April 2011


Some cool things from Wired. First, these city posters are just wickedawesome:
Go check out the rest.

Also, in this month's edition, they give advice on how to discover new species. My dreams of discovering a new species of tiger and calling it the SuperAnt live on.


Blue Peter gets a little bit sneered at these days, but its been enthusiastically encouraging young people for so long, and I like this story:

A boy called Anthony, from London (NW11... that's where I live) wrote to Blue Peter asking for help in his attempts to "make people or animals alive". He is now a record-breaking tissue engineer, and says of Blue Peter's reply:
If [Biddy Baxter's] letter had shown any hint of ridicule or disbelief I might perhaps never have trained to become a medical scientist or been driven to achieve the impossible dream, and really make a difference to a human being's life. I remember being thrilled at the time to have been taken seriously. Actually, even nowadays I am thrilled when people take my ideas seriously.
It's all just lovely. Here are the letters (from Letters of Note):
Dear Val, Jhon, Peter and Lesslie,

This may seem very strange, but I think I no how to make people or animals alive. Why Im teling you is because I cant get the things I need.

A list of what I need.

1. Diagram of how evreything works. [inside youre body.]
2. Model of a heart split in half. [both halvs.]
3. The sort of sering they yous for cleaning ears. [Tsering must be very very clean.]
4. Tools for cutting people open.
5. Tools for stiches.
6. Fiberglass box, 8 foot tall, 3 foot width.


7. Picture of a man showing all the arteries.

Sorry but in number 6 in the list the box needs lid. If you do get them on 1st March I can pay £10, £11, £12, £13 or £14.

Send your answer to me,

Love from Anthony,
London, NW11


Dear Anthony,

Thank you very much for your letter. It was nice to hear from you again after such a long time and we are sorry we have been delayed replying.

We are receiving over 4,000 letters every week and are having difficulty answering them as quickly as we would like.

We were interested to hear that you think you know how to make living people - and your list of necessary items intrigued us!

We are sorry we can't help you at all, but we wondered if you had thought of talking to your family doctor - he might be glad to help you with some diagrams and other information.

We are sending you a photograph of the "Blue Peter" team - it has been signed specially for you.

With best wishes from Valerie, John, Peter, Lesley and all of us on the programme.

Yours sincerely

B (Biddy Baxter)
Blue Peter
I hope they are still taking the time to reply to letters as personally as this - just look what difference it can make.


In completely unrelated news, what a great use of facebook this is:
The Smithsonian had too many fish to classify, so crowdsourced it, and got 5,000 samples identified in 24 hours.
They created a photo album of the catalog of the specimens they had collected on Facebook, and asked their fellow colleagues for help. Of course, these weren’t any kind of friends. “The majority of people commenting held a PhD in ichthyology or a related field, and hailed from a great diversity of countries including the United States, Canada, France, Switzerland, Colombia, Peru, Venezuela, Guyana and Brazil,”


Finally, technology like this is incredible:

I can't wait till I can order my very own Iron Man suit.

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