Also, found this handy tool for those wishing to create their very own candidate pumpkins:
Quite frankly, this is amazing- the technology involved is incredible. I saw this article in 'The Telegraph' today, then found the video. I've previously done research for a dissertation on the history of transplant surgery, running up to (most recently) Isabelle Dinoire's face transplant. That obviously had more of an ethical and 'gross out' factor as it's a very visible transplant- also, reports state that there have been complicatons regarding rejection, although judging from the photos (in my opinion) the results have been remarkable. The heart prosthesis won't have this additional visual factor- it's purely functional. If it works, it'll be quite a milestone. This kind of thing makes me really excited to be a medical student!
So I've just been watching on of those endless re-runs of 'Top Gear' on Dave (a UK TV channel). In it, they had a feature where Jeremy Clarkson operated a car's central locking from a massive range by placing it against his head. It didn't work when just held in his hand. There are various theories as to why this works which all seemingly make an appearance on this site. I've attempted to summarise:
1) When the remote is held against the head, it is higher. This gives a better line of sight and allows more RF waves to get to the car as they've got a better 'angle of bounce' on the Earth's surface.
2) The head amplifies the signal. This would be due to 'constructive interference' in the skull. I'm dubious.
3) Holding the remote against the head boosts the electrical currents flowing through the chest and hand, which then radiate a signal "roughly four times as powerful".
4) The signal emanates at right angles to the 'head' of the key. By holding it against the head, the key is reorientated so RF waves go more in the direction of the receiver.
5) The head 'retunes' the signal slightly. According to this idea, as the remotes are mass produced, they often send a signal at a frequency just off the desired range. When held, the hand will alter the signal towards this range. The car manufacturers take this into account when tuning the receiver. When the remote is placed against the head, the signal is retuned even more than when it is placed against the hand, so the receiver is much more sensitive to the RF waves.
I'm not sure which one I believe. They all seem so ridiculous! I think I'll go with Occam's Razor- the simplest explanation is usually the right one. So that'd be the height thing. Jeremy Clarkson is quite tall after all.
... brand names entering the dictionary? There are loads of examples. From watching endless amounts of Countdown, I know that, for instance, 'vaseline' is allowable and got approved recently. So too are 'hoover', 'xerox', 'thermos', 'prozac', 'spandex', 'tampax', 'band-aid' and 'viagra' (although the site is American so I'm not sure whether they're the OED. I also left out 'jello'- that's definitely not British). Apparently, 'walkman' is also there, defined as "a type of personal stereo", and 'to google' has been added to the Merriam-Webster.
If a word describing trademarks that have become so commonplace they've entered everyday usage doesn't exist, I would like to propose one. I would have suggested 'debranding', but apparently that already has a meaning- "the removal of brand names, packaging or other material that would enable research participants to identify a brand." So instead, I'm suggesting debrandation. Does exactly what it says on the tin!
One of my latest penchants is Lego movies. Some of them are just awful but there are some quality gems, especially when you consider they're amateur productions. The one that got me going is called 'The Gauntlet'- quite good fun! I might have a stab at making one if I can find my old lego sets and some time. For more films, this site seems to be the mecca.
This morning on my way to play rugby in Regent's Park I walked through the Frieze Art Fair sculpture park. Some of them I just don't understand, but two stood out for me. Firstly, Dan Graham's aptly named 'Rectangle Inside ¾ Cylinder'. It's made from curves of a mirrored glass so you can see through it as well as your own reflection. I'm sure this probably wasn't what he had in mind, but the falling leaves and chill in the Autumn air seemed to suit the ethereal ghost-like reflections perfectly, so, to me, it really fitted in. For those interested, it also reminded me of a poem by Amy Levy called 'In the Mile End Road'. (I'm in a fairly scientific career path at the moment, so I quite like to revel in culture sometimes!).
Ok, so not quite. But Khet, the laser game, is awesome. It's not quite as cool as the video makes out, but it's still a lot of fun. All I need now is a smoke machine and some trippy techno music for a geek party rave!
In my lifetime, I've been accused many times of being a bit hare-brained. I'm the first to admit that many of my ideas have been a bit crazy, but there have some which were, in my opinion, unjustly ridiculed and mocked. The first of these was endless bread. I used to live in a boarding house, sharing with many other people. At the end of tea, the end pieces of the loaf always seemed to be left next to the toaster. I proposed the solution but got shot down by my peers. Fair enough, my method was a little mental- instead of simply throwing away the end pieces of a loaf or using them for bread crumbs or something, I envisaged a giant circular factory baking one massive donut-shaped loaf. This could be cut into individual loaves. The factory would be of such size that the curvature of a single loaf would be so small as to be unnoticable. Alternatively, there could be one long break-making machine baking a very lengthy loaf. Anyway, I had the last laugh- I found on sale at a Morrison's somewhere in Cornwall a loaf of endless bread. So there!
This morning during breakfast, I was reminded of an idea I had a while ago. Among many others, I'm sure, I've noticed how annoying it is to get butter in the marmite pot or, even worse (in my opinion), marmite on the butter pat. Additionally, the toast has to endure a double spreading which leaves it structurally weakened and, hence, a bit flimsy when picked up. The latest of my ideas is a butter/marmite spread. It would be called either Marbutter, Buttermite or, my favourite, Buttmite, and would be available at varying ratios of marmite to butter to suit all palettes.
People will laugh, but when my idea comes to fruition I shall have no sympathy.
UPDATE: I just googled 'butter and marmite spread' and found that someone else has had this idea too- all I can say is great minds...
I can't quite get over this kid. He's just awesome. I've assembled some additional facts about him from various sources all over the place:
1) He started watching Countdown at the age of 2. This was one of the ways he learnt the alphabet and the English language.
2) He could beat his parents and grandparents at Scrabble at the age of 6.
3) He already has a B grade in AS Level Maths.
4) His Mum styles his hair.
5) Some anagrams of his name are 'I'm a kind lad' and 'A dim, anal kid' (but I'm not sure that second one really applies!).
6) When he grows up, he wants to be a footballer or an inventor.
7) Kai stated that some of his fellow contestants were "a bit miffed at being beaten by a school boy". Well, to be honest, I would be (especially if I was a teacher like one of his victims!).
8) I believe he plays football for the Oak Warriors Under 12s. However, this is unconfirmed.
9) If Jack Bauer and Kai were ever to have a fight, Kai would win. This is because he'd use his enormous lexicon to confuse and confuddle his opponent whose brain would explode. FACT.
Ok, so I made the last one up. It could be true though- nobody can prove me wrong!
I will admit it, I'm a fairly materialistic chappy. The other night, when walking back from Chinatown, I espied in the window of Urban Outfitters the most awesome clock ever. I'm particularly fond of Rubik's cubes- this is due to the fact that I once had a maths teacher who claimed he could solve one faster than the class could do a matrix problem. I then proceeded to learn how to do it to challenge and destroy him. Nerd, moi? Incidentally, this guy seems to be an uber cubist. Shame I can't understand his site!
Poor, poor Jonny Wilkinson. Broken again. Just as well Cipriani's ok! I found this illustration on the BBC website- very enlightnening!
(13) - May 2008: Shoulder operation. Misses England tour to NZ
(12) - Sep 2007: Twists ankle. Misses first game of RWC
(11) - Nov 2006: Suffers kidney damage. One month on sidelines
(10) - Sep 2006: Knee ligament injury. Misses autumn Tests
(9) - Jan 2006: Torn abductor muscle
(8) - Nov 2005: Groin operation
(7) - Sep 2005: Appendix operation
(6) - Jul 2005: Shoulder/arm injury v NZ. Misses third Lions Test (5 )- Mar 2005: Injures same left knee on comeback
(4) - Jan 2005: Knee ligament damage. Two months out
(3) - Oct 2004: Haematoma in right arm. Misses autumn tests
(2) - Feb 2004: Shoulder operation. Misses Six Nations
(1) - Dec 2003: Shoulder injury
I hate G-Wiz cars. They look puny and stupid. Yes, I know that one day they'll save the planet, but, quite frankly, if you can't run the windscreen wipers and headlights at the same time it's just not worth buying.
I was invited to attend a housewarming toga party the other day. I despise toga parties. They smack of stereotypical American frat bros downing kegs of cheap beer before vomiting in a bush and passing out on the sofa while everyone writes hilarious jibes on their faces in marker pen. I will admit that's just me being slightly prejudiced; I'm basing my views on numerous typical teen comedies. Anyway, I said I'd go provided I didn't have to wear a toga. My host said it was either that or I could go as a Spartan warrior. I pondered aloud that Greek garb would be out of place among Romans, and I'd probably be attacked. He surmised that we'd all look very similar. Dodgy costumes aside, the conundrum was born- what did the ancient Greeks wear?
A quick search later revealed the solution. Apparently, the Greeks admired the human form and despised luxury, hence preferred to dress in a minimalist style. For this reason, men would often just wear a chlamys, a sort of cloak thing draped over their shoulder. Romans, on the other hand, liked to show off their wealth and so would wear multiple layers. Greek women, according to wikipedia, wore a loose robe called a peplos. Both sexes could also wear a tunic instead called a chiton, which would fall either to the knees for men or the ankles for women. On top of this lot, they could wear a winter cloak called a himation. Finally, women could jazz up their ensemble with a shawl known as a epiblema, and men could don a broad-rimmed hat called a petasos.
A few years ago I went to Kenya on (guess what!) safari. It was really awesome, despite the ridiculously early morning starts. One day, we went to visit a Maasai Mara tribe, where I discovered they ate a diet based on their livestock- they'd 'tap' and drink blood, eat the meat and also have curdled milk. That was pretty much it.
This morning, whilst at med school, I had a practical session on the importance of ascorbate- vitamin C. It basically has an important role in reducing Fe3+ back to Fe2+ so this process called hydroxylation can occur in which proline is converted to hydroxyproline, which can then be incorporated into collagen. This holds our cells together. Without collagen, we get scurvy.
Now, I asked this morning why none of the Maasai people I saw seemed to have any scurvy. After all, they don't seem to eat any fruit or vegetables. I was told by our expert nutritionalist that there is ample vitamin C content (and other vital minerals and stuff, presumably) in meat- after all, the livestock graze on grass which should contain enough of the good stuff (incidentally, wikipedia disagrees, saying they don't get enough vitamin C, but doesn't address why they don't seem to have any extra health issues. I'm inclined to go with Dr. B) .
So I was out by a factor of 100 or 1000 or something. I wrote:
Now, I have in front of me 100ml of Colgate. On the ingredients, it says it's 0.32% NaF, which works out at 0.32mg. So, your 85kg chappy would have to eat 12500 tubes of Colgate to die- that's 1250 litres!
0.32% of 100ml is 0.32g, not 0.32mg. So that's where I went wrong. I can't be bothered to redo the sums- best forget about this one.