A pocket full of horses.

February 29, 2008

This is mighty:

Damn. I wish I was George Washington.

[Thanks to Lucy for bringing this fascinating documentary to my attention]


I should have been a fighter pilot…

February 29, 2008

Ok guys, you have until March 23rd to beat my high score on Times Online’s Brain game thingy:


Twenty simple maths questions. Can you beat my average of half a second per question?

Ha! Thought not!

Been having a fun tussle with this so-called ‘JoeIT’. I think I have finally vanquished him though.

Superstudio & the future

February 28, 2008

A couple of years ago I went to the excellent Superstudio exhibition at the Design Museum, London. Active in the 1960’s, Superstudio were an exciting architectural practice who never actually built any buildings- and who liked celebrate the death of architecture. Being Italian, they clearly took their manifesto driven approach from their equically radical forebears, the Futurists.

Like the Futurists, they also produced great graphic work, and like the Futurists what they predicted actually seems to be happening now.

Look at this building proposed for Dubai:




More superstudio:


More Dubai:



More Superstudio:


Now you are fully briefed, you can say whether this is Dubai or Superstudio:dubai4.jpg


February 25, 2008

Ever since I got rid of my lumpen old 19″ CRT monitor, our cat Magnus has had great difficulty in finding a good sleeping spot. The old CRT was great (from a cat perspective): it was warm and had a lovely large flat top he could sit on and watch all the procedings in the studio. However, ever since I upgraded to a lovely (from my perspective) LCD display, he’s really been getting in the way, as there’s just no other suitable surface in here.

He’s tried the monitor, which has the TC Electronic Konnekt 24D on it:


He’s tried sitting in front of the controller keyboard:

He’s even tried hiding behind the Moog: (cue lots of hi-larious puns relating to mogs and moogs)


An Access Virus, is hugely comfy too…

Or he just tries to sit on my lap, which is no good either, when you’re trying to simultaneously play keyboards, hit record and twiddle the Behringer rotary controller thing.

This has gone on for ages, and I’ve felt a bit bad that I’ve taken his favourite sleeping place away and the situation has not been fun for either of us.

But today, I had an epiphany! Cats are boxophiles! Put any shoebox, suitcase, cardboard box, somewhere in a flat, and they will sit in it. I looked around – and there was a nice MacBook box, just begging to be used as a cat recepticle. Placed it open on the floor, and voila! 3 minutes later, problem solved – Cat-in-a-box!

I have the secret plans

February 25, 2008
There’s a whole heap of roadworks going on outside my front door. Or ‘road improvements’ I should say. They’re probably a good thing (bye bye stupid road humps, hello nice paving), and Lewisham council did tell us they were going to happen, so no complaints on that front. But I was a bit unsure about the exact nature of these improvements…that is – until I found the secret plans carelessly left next to a shovel!
So, without any further ado I am going leak them to the public (click for hi-res version):

And I’m delighted to see that we’ll be getting white lines scheme No.1009:


Here’s what the mess outside our front door looks like now:


I’ll update this when it’s finished. I know you’ll be itching to see.

Pretty much everything is nothing

February 22, 2008

And I have the proof goddamit!

Light is made up of photons. Which is crazy. What the hell’s a photon? No one really knows, they go quite quickly and are quite small. Stuff, on the other hand, is made of atoms, arranged in 3 dimensional space – well done Atoms. Then they stick together and turn into the things around us, tables, cats, lego, etc. (Thanks electro-weak force & quantum-chronodynamics – nice one!)

And the atoms are quite far apart – relative to their size – and are mostly comprised of empty space. A rough estimate is that the radius of an atom is 10,000 times the diameter of the nucleus. So, you have a few electrons whizzing round a vast empty atomic ‘solar system’ with a tiny nucleus of quarks at the centre. (this is a completely misleading and inaccurate description of the so-called reality of it all, but will do for now)

So a lot of these tiny quick photons of light pass straight through matter without even touching the sides. This is why tons of light passes through my finger and is picked up and converted to signal by the charge-couple device in my iPhone camera!

Look – these are photos taken with my finger over the camera hole:

Tip of finger Bulky bit of finger

tip.jpg body.jpg

Finger joint Palm

joint.jpg palm.jpg

Crazy eh? I guess I was just surprised that there was so much light flooding through my finger it could picked up easily by the camera. I can assure sceptical readers that I entirely covered the camera hole. For comparison I tried my wallet, but that really did block all light, and I discovered that the iphone won’t take a pic if the image is black (which is another nice little feature of this magical device!)

Of course, us puny humans are entirely transparent to longer wavelengths of radiation from radio-waves up to microwaves, so stay tuned for my next exciting experimental pictues involving a dismantled microwave oven and some Polaroid film.

Ooh Lovely

February 20, 2008

 Allow me to Geek out for a brief moment…

Intel Penryn

So what is this? Landscape photgraphy? Some lego? No, silly, it’s a microchip die (the wafer of silicon before packinging into a chip). Yes, I know you already knew that, it’s bleeding obvious, innit?

This particular one is the Intel Penryn, a quad-core chip found in the latest Apple Pro. As the Apple has two of these things, that makes it an octo-core computer – great crikes!

The transistors in this thing are 45 nanometres across, which is quite small considering there are a billion nanometres in a metre. Not to mention the fact that a typical bacterium is 2000nm across and the usual benchmark, the human hair is 90,000nm. These transistors are 45nm.

And can switch on and off 300 billion times a second. (These stats from Intel)

Quite apart from the staggering feat of engineering they represent they look good too. I often find that suitably purposeful pieces of industrial design have a fascinating aesthetic quality to them. Anything from Watt’s steam engines to Babbage’s Difference Engine, and from Ive’s sublime designs for iPods to this exquisite example of Communist Architecture: