Archive for September, 2004

Sad flamingo tries to hatch stone

Wednesday, September 29th, 2004

I’m quite busy at the moment, working on two interesting projects (of which, details soon!) and getting into the swing of the new academic year – quite a lot of really fascinating ideas coming out of this year’s dissertation students so it might be an interesting term.

But in lieu of a more substantive post on design or education, or Florida’s third world election system, I thought I’d post this article as it made me go ahhhh… There’s a lesson for us all here – not sure what it is yet, but a lesson to be sure.

BBC NEWS | England | Gloucestershire | Sad flamingo tries to hatch stone: “Sad flamingo tries to hatch stone

A lonely and confused male flamingo has caused a flap at a nature reserve in Gloucestershire.

Andy, an Andean flamingo, spent a fortnight trying to incubate a pebble which he has mistaken for an egg.

Wardens at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust in Slimbridge first thought the 40-year-old bird had injured himself.

Nigel Jarrett, a bird nesting expert, said: ‘The birds are very attentive and do make excellent fathers, but this is above and beyond the call of duty.’

Mr Jarrett eventually replaced the pebble with a wooden replica of a flamingo egg.

Two weeks on, Andy is still there, leaving the ‘egg’ for only an hour a day when he goes to feed.

Mr Jarrett said: ‘We let Andy sit on the replica in case a female flamingo for some reason rejected her own egg.

‘We could have then placed the rejected egg under Andy for him to incubate as an alternative parent.’

Breeding season

Mr Jarrett believes Andy’s broodiness is down to his body being full of hormones at the end of the breeding season.

‘He doesn’t seem to have a mate. It’s possible that he did have a partner and for some reason their egg didn’t survive as they can be snatched by gulls and crows.

‘His mate may have left after the egg disappeared, but Andy may still not have noticed and carried on, thinking the pebble was a prospective chick.'”


Thursday, September 9th, 2004

I honestly don’t know where mess comes from. I tidied up last week before going away for three days leaving the house to Pickle and the cat sitter. I got back on the Friday night to see the place as tidy as I’d left it, and smelling of vanilla air freshener.

The next morning I went to London to meet an old student (very drunken afternoon/evening as it turned out) and spent most of Sunday sitting very, very still indeed.

Monday I was up at 4.45am as I had to go to Leicester and wasn’t back until 8pm. Went straight to bed after watching Law and Order.

Tuesday I went into work and then sat at the computer all night trying to get my new Palm to work. Wednesday I spent at home trying to write a sample chapter of my new book and then went to the gym, followed by a rare early night.

Now here I am writing this surrounded by old newspapers I don’t remember buying, a pile of washing up (did I eat this week?), a fetid bathroom (personally i am clean, but when i shower it obviously just gets sprayed over the walls rather than going down the drain) and a bedroom piled high with dirty washing and a desk covered in paper, books and CDs (even though I don’t play CDs anymore, as I use iTunes streaming wirelessly to my stereo).

Where does it come from? I haven’t done anything this week!

Maybe it’s a girl thing? The messier the flat the more likely I am to get a surprise visitor who will have a go at me about the mess only for me to protest that it was tidy yesterday and it’s not normally like this, honest.

iTunes now playing: Summa from the album Summa by Part, Arvo

Buzz off…

Tuesday, September 7th, 2004

This movie apparently won first prize in the Philips Digital Art Festival. It’s rather clever – move your mouse around the image, then rest it on the guy’s nose.

I am better than your kids.

Tuesday, September 7th, 2004

It’s been a long week and it’s only Tuesday. No wonder I found myself laughing at this. I shouldn’t, but I did – take a look for yourself at I am better than your kids.

If you work in an office with lots of people, chances are that you work with a person who hangs pictures up that their kids have drawn. The pictures are always of some stupid flower or a tree with wheels. These pictures suck; I could draw pictures much better. In fact, I can spell, do math and run faster than your kids. So being that my skills are obviously superior to those of children, I’ve taken the liberty to judge art work done by other kids on the internet. I’ll be assigning a grade A through F for each piece

Consumer choice redefined

Friday, September 3rd, 2004

MSN Entertainment – Music: “How can I get MSN Music downloads to play on my iPod?

Unfortunately Apple refuses to support the popular Windows Media format on the iPod, choosing to only support their own proprietary DRM format. If you are an iPod owner and are unhappy about this, please send feedback to Apple and ask them to change their policy and interoperate with other music services.

There are more than 70 portable audio devices that support MSN Music today, and we hope that someday Apple decides to join with the industry and support consumer choice.”

Ah. That’ll be the 70% of consumers who have chosen to buy iPods then? (I was on a long train journey today and it seemed every other person was listening to an iPod).

The irony is, Microsoft’s new music download service (like Real’s, who are also pushing Apple to ‘support customer choice) doesn’t work unless you use the latest version of Windows. Could I sue, as a Mac user? I wonder…

Apple’s iPod and iTunes work on Macs and Windows, and supports MP3, WAV, AIFF, MP4/AAC as well as the DRM-enabled AAC files from the iTunes Music Store. So much for consumer choice. MS and Real appear to be attempting to create a myth of incompatability. Sadly, so many people blindly use their products as they’re automatically downloaded and installed, they might just win this one. The world’s voice, the world’s vote

Friday, September 3rd, 2004

On the radio this morning I heard the report of Bush’s acceptance speech and mention of him being re-elected as “leader of the free world”. trouble is, only a tiny proportion of that “free world” is actually allowed to vote in the election (60 days and counting).

In my book, that’s not democracy – that’s a dictatorship. Perhaps it’s time for truly universal suffrage and the extension of voting rights in this election to everyone with a vested interest.

Anyone who believes the President of the USA is the leader of the free world has a duty to vote on behalf of the free world. Looking at The world’s voice, the world’s vote the free world want’s Kerry by 71% to 10%. If Bush really believes in the God-given democratic system (and oh boy did I nearly throw up at that point), he should be praying in earnest tonight.

The Presidential election in the United States has an impact on people in countries throughout the world, yet only US citizens are permitted to vote in that election. is a Web site designed to permit people throughout the world to cast a ballot in the US election.   To learn more about the people that built this site, click on About Us at the bottom of the page.

The ballot will not count, at least in the sense that it will not help determine the outcome of the US election. But it will make it possible for you to express your viewpoint and have your voice added to those of others around the world. The results of your vote and those of all other votes will be shown,  country by country, on this site.