Monday, December 31, 2007

El Groupo Libros

The story continued last night at the White Rose, the Lal Qila, and The Victoria.

A good time was had by all, with no particular book being declared the winner. Constantinople, 1000 acres, and The testament of Gideon Mack all recieving some praise. We have to admit that all we could manage for Crime and punishment was half way, about 1/3 of the book, a few pages, and not at all. A worthy tome & work of genius, but perhaps a little rich for us.

the next choices (including nick's change) are above.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Unicef photo of the year

A chilling image of a 40 year old Afghan tribesman & his 11 year old bride

see more here

Saturday, December 29, 2007

posting a video to You Tube

Friday, December 28, 2007

Love Science? then gat a Science tatoo!

I;m lost for words. I thought I loved Science, but:-

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Happy New Year (2)

Happy New Year to the Lakota Nation. I hope your lives improve

From :- Descendants of Sitting Bull

The Lakota Indians, who gave the world legendary warriors Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse, have withdrawn from treaties with the United States, leaders said Wednesday.

"We are no longer citizens of the United States of America and all those who live in the five-state area that encompasses our country are free to join us," long-time Indian rights activist Russell Means told a handful of reporters and a delegation from the Bolivian embassy, gathered in a church in a run-down neighborhood of Washington for a news conference.

Via Boing Boing

Mind Blowing Physics

From the telegraph:-

'Test tube universe' hints at unifying theory

By Roger Highfield, Science Editor
Last Updated: 12:01am GMT 26/12/2007

A "universe in a test tube" that could be used to assess theories of everything has been created by physicists.

  • Time is running out - literally, say scientists"
  • Are we missing a dimension of time?
  • Are dark forces at work in space?
  • The test tube, the size of a little finger, has been cooled to a fraction of a degree above the lowest possible temperature, absolute zero, which is just over 273 degrees below the freezing point of water.

    Test tubes
    Does one of these test tubes hold a baby Universe?

    Inside the tube an isotope of helium (called helium three) forms a "superfluid", an ordered liquid where all the atoms are in the same state according to the theory that rules the subatomic domain, called quantum theory.

    What is remarkable is that atoms in the liquid, at temperatures within a thousandth of a degree of absolute zero, form structures that, according to the team at Lancaster University, are similar those seen in the cosmos.

    "In effect, we have made a universe in a test tube," says Richard Haley, who did the work with Prof George Pickett and other members of the "Ultra-low Temperature Group."

    The Holy Grail of physics is to establish an overarching explanation to unite all the particles and forces of the cosmos. But one of the complaints commonly levelled at a leading contender for a "theory of everything", called string theory, is that it is impossible to test.

    But now, according to the study in the journal Nature Physics, it may be possible using the universe in a test tube. "It was a serendipitous discovery," says Haley.

    The equations used to describe this superfluid turn up in many other branches of physics. "For instance, the internal structure of the superfluid mirrors very closely the structure of space-time itself, the 'background' of the universe in which we live," says Haley.

    "Consequently the superfluid can be used to simulate particle and cosmic phenomena; black holes, cosmic strings and the Big Bang for instance.

    "This is great for testing theories, since the equations describing helium-3 are well-established enough to say that it is the most complex system for which we already have the 'Theory of Everything'," Haley continues.

    "If the analogous experiments don't work in helium-3, then it's probably time to go back to the drawing board (or computer) with your latest pet theory."

    Since the pioneering work of Albert Einstein, the quest for a theory of everything has depended on combining theories of the very small (quantum theory) and the very large (relativity).

    One of the strangest features of such theories is that they require the universe to have more than three spatial dimensions to unify our picture of all forces and all matter. One promising candidate is supersymmetric string theory, in which ripples on strings are interpreted as particles. But, to their surprise, physicists found five superstring theories. Now the Lancaster experiments provide new insights into the phenomena predicted by these theories.

    For the past three decades it has been known that strings are one member of a bigger class of objects called branes, which exist in higher dimensional space, that could be extended in more than one dimension - from strings of one dimension, to membranes of two dimensions, to those of p dimensions, dubbed p-branes. Moreover string theories and p-branes are facets of one underlying 11-dimensional M theory, which suggests that we live in a brane world: a four-dimensional surface, or brane, in a higher dimensional mixture of space and time.

    People and most particles move in the brane, while the higher dimensions provide a framework to unify all forces, from gravity to those that act between atomic particles. While experiments have begun to highlight cracks in the current best theory, called "the standard model", there is evidence that M theory's extra hidden dimensions could be revealed next year when a Geneva atom smasher - the £4.4 billion Large Hadron Collider - begins experiments. But the Lancaster team offers another route to address this impasse.

    One idea is that a collision between a brane and an antibrane could have triggered the Big Bang itself. This can now be simulated in superfluid helium within the little test tube.

    Wednesday, December 26, 2007

    For New year's eve: - The End of the World?

    thanks to George bush
    Via Boing Boing

    With some interesting footage of San Fermines. Aaaaahh the memories...

    Tuesday, December 25, 2007

    Merry Christmas!

    A merry Christmas to my reader, & let's hope for a peaceful New Year.

    The must have toy for all the little Howell's (and one or two big ones) has proved to be the Wii. Packing not much more in the way of Graphics than our ole PS2, it scores big time because of the innovative controller technology. It's a whole new experience & buckets of fun. Back to GT Pro Series............

    Monday, December 24, 2007

    FLK's et al

    Along time ago, Dr Bob (yes, again) introduced us to the term FLK, and oh, how we laughed. Now it seems that these quaint Doctor codes are sadly dying out:-

    From the Beeb:-

    Doctor slang is a dying art

    Is doctor slang on the wane?
    The inventive language created by doctors the world over to insult their patients - or each other - is in danger of becoming extinct.

    So says a doctor who has spent four years charting more than 200 colourful examples.

    Medicine is a profession already overflowing with acronyms and technical terms, and doctors over the years have invented plenty of their own.

    However, Dr Adam Fox, who works at St Mary's Hospital in London as a specialist registrar in its child allergy unit, says that far fewer doctors now annotate notes with acronyms designed to spell out the unsayable truth about their patients.

    Top medical acronyms
    CTD - Circling the Drain (A patient expected to die soon)
    GLM - Good looking Mum
    GPO - Good for Parts Only
    TEETH - Tried Everything Else, Try Homeopathy
    UBI - Unexplained Beer Injury
    The increasing rate of litigation means that there is a far higher chance that doctors will be asked in court to explain the exact meaning of NFN (Normal for Norfolk), FLK (Funny looking kid) or GROLIES (Guardian Reader Of Low Intelligence in Ethnic Skirt).

    Dr Fox recounts the tale of one doctor who had scribbled TTFO - an expletive expression roughly translated as "Told To Go Away" - on a patient's notes.

    He told BBC News Online: "This guy was asked by the judge what the acronym meant, and luckily for him he had the presence of mind to say: 'To take fluids orally'."

    Quaint up North

    Regional dialects abound, even in the world of the medical acronym.

    In the north of England, the TTR (Tea Time Review) of a patient is commonplace, but not in the south.

    And the number of terms for patients believed to be somewhat intellectually challenged is enormous.

    "I can't believe what he just called me..."
    From LOBNH (Lights On But Nobody Home), CNS-QNS (Central Nervous System - Quantity Not Sufficient), to the delightful term "pumpkin positive", which refers to the implication that a penlight shone into the patient's mouth would encounter a brain so small that the whole head would light up.

    Regular visitors to A&E on a Friday or Saturday night are also classified.

    DBI refers to "Dirt Bag Index", and multiplies the number of tattoos with the number of missing teeth to give an estimate of the number of days since the patient last bathed.

    A PFO refers to a drunken patient who sustained injury falling over, while a PGT "Got Thumped" instead.

    Medical terms - A glossary
    Digging for Worms - varicose vein surgery
    Departure lounge - geriatric ward
    Handbag positive - confused patient (usually elderly lady) lying on hospital bed clutching handbag
    Woolworth's Test - Anaesthetic term (if you can imagine patient shopping in Woolies, it's safe to give a general anaesthetic)
    This is an international language - Dr Fox's research reveals that a PIMBA in Brazil can be translated as a "swollen-footed, drunk, run-over beggar".

    Doctor insult

    And much of the slang is directed at colleagues rather than patients.

    Thus rheumatology, considered by hard-pressed juniors one of the less busy specialties, becomes "rheumaholiday", the "Freud Squad" are psychiatrists, and "Gassers" and "Slashers" are anaesthetists and general surgeons respectively.

    Dr Fox is keen to point out that neither he, nor the other authors of the paper, published in the journal Ethics and Behavior, actually advocate using any of the terms.

    He said: "It's a form of communication, and it needs to be recorded.

    "It may not be around forever."

    He said: "I do think that doctors are genuinely more respectful of their patients these days."

    If that is the case, perhaps the delights of a "Whopper with Cheese", "Handbag positive" or "Coffin dodger" could be lost forever.

    Sunday, December 23, 2007

    Dinner for one

    Dr. Bob (whom god preserve, of Bradford - on - Avon) recently discovered a little gem whilst at his German class. Apparently, the Fritzes have a Christmas tradition of showing a little known TV sketch at the festive season. So much so, that the following interchange, in English, strangely, has become a national catchphrase :-
    James: The same procedure as last year, Miss Sophie?
    Miss Sophie: The same procedure as every year, James!
    You can read about it on Wiki Here

    Or watch the sketch Here

    Friday, December 21, 2007

    From Wiki:-

    We must admire the student who makes a profession of knowing and writing for they are the experts upon which our intellectual society depends. No doubt the student’s love of learning has been rooted in the work of at least one exceptional teacher. Kudos to that teacher for the spark.Kudos too for the teachers whose sparks only smoldered as their students moved on to a work-a-day world but have now been fanned into the blaze of amateur scholarship called Wikipedia. Yes, these students were also infected by a life-long love of learning and their teachers deserve kudos as well.

    Note this simple fact: the economics of electronic distribution allows part-time, self-motivated learners to write and then be read. This is a good thing. It means that one need not give up on scholarship if one is unable to make it pay the bills. One must scale one’s projects accordingly but one need not stop in their quest to produce informed and articulate literature.

    Teachers have produced more scholars than they realized. Hurray. Electronic distribution makes these scholars visible. Hurray.

    As you browse Wikipedia and find your curiosity stimulated by this work, please think kindly on the author’s teachers and the investment in their education that society has made. And, as you think of them, remember that electronic distribution has made this possible but not without some cost and that it is only our contributions that keep Wikipedia going.

    Right now would be a good time to remember your best teachers, make a Wikimedia contribution with comment recalling the spark they gave you, and then start on the writing project that would make them proud.

    Ward Cunningham invented the Wiki style of collaboration in 1995. He has been a member of the Wikimedia Foundation Advisory Board since its founding. He specifically remembers his 7th-grade social-studies teacher explaining the real politics present at the founding of Pakistan and had recently refreshed his memory on the subject reading Wikipedia. This post is his personal opinion, and does not represent an official statement from the Wikimedia Foundation.

    Sunday, December 09, 2007

    The ASE comes off the fence

    An interesting statement on creationism / intelligent design from the Association for Science Education (new member, CDH ) can be read Here

    Saturday, December 08, 2007

    the vegetable orchestraEver been stuck with what to do with those left over vegetables?

    the vegetable orchestra has the answer

    Wednesday, December 05, 2007

    My Daemon