Behind the Eightball

Whoops. Unlike every anniversary since the third, I forgot to mention that this site turned eight years old yesterday. But today’s an anniversary too: it’s six years since we moved to Edinburgh. Maybe I’ll get my act together next month to write more about that, but I’ve missed my chance for yet another evening. After three hours of soothing the boy, the siren song of the DVD was too strong.

31 July 2007 · · Site News

Know Your Elephants

Sad news for lovers of extremely short podcasts: there are no more elephants for the time being. For a limited time, though, you can download the entire collection in one zip file if you’d like to listen to all twelve minutes in one hit. It’s fauna-tastic!

29 July 2007 · Site News

Herb, See Link

Ed has posted some interviews guaranteed to catch the attention of a passing Tasmanian cartoonist: Berke Breathed, parts one and two, and Richard Flanagan.

Two Hundred Bad Comics (via MeFi).

Peanuts by Charles Bukowski (via MeFi).

SF writer Charlie Stross explains the present and the future.

Rotation of Earth plunges entire North American continent into darkness.

Zotero, a Firefox extension to help collect, manage and cite research sources (via MeFi).

After 18 months with an iPod I’m finally getting around to using smart playlists: Brilliant Playlists; Creating Smart Playlists in iTunes; Greg Restall’s guide; tips from 43folders; Smart

29 July 2007 · · Weblog

Under the Volcano

My first encounter with Naples was supposed to happen twenty years ago but never did. Towards the end of our Grand Tour in the winter of 1985-86, my family had been dazzled by Florence, toppled by Pisa, and overwhelmed by Rome... perhaps a little too literally in the last case, as the combined effect of rain, crazy traffic and taxi drivers adding noughts to all those fares in lira had worn us down at the end of a long trip. But we pressed south to our ultimate destination, until the bad weather took a turn for the biblical and showered us in hailstones the size of marbles. Dad pulled off the highway into a motel, where we sheltered for the night and decided that it was time to start our return journey instead of pushing on to Naples.

The place I was most sorry to miss, though, was Pompeii, which had lingered in my imagination since I’d read the Reader’s Digest book of Strange Stories, Amazing Facts at the age of nine. Something about those plaster casts of the victims stuck in my impressionable mind, and Pompeii became my idea of the ultimate archaeological site. Sure, the pyramids were big and pointy, but Vesuvius was too, until its top blew off and spewed boiling lava over the hapless Romans, aiiiieeeee! The story of Vesuvius only grew in stature as I learned about Krakatoa and Thera, visited Hawaii’s Big Island, and followed the eruption of Mount St Helens on the news in the early ’80s. Volcanoes don’t muck around, and being part of the greatest empire of the ancient world was no protection.

So once I knew I was definitely going to Naples for a conference this June, it was no surprise what was uppermost in my mind: would there be enough time to see Pompeii? I booked a flight back on Sunday to be sure of having at least one day free. Then I saw the schedule and found I was presenting on the Saturday morning, my supposedly free day. Maybe I could get the gist in a few hours...

Read More · 21 July 2007 · · Travel

Bilk Sneer, Eh?

Where was I? Oh, right... links.

Read More · 18 July 2007 · · Weblog

Broadsheet Versus Tabloid

Headline for today’s Independent: TWO MEN, ONE TRAIL OF TERROR

Headline for today’s Times: ‘Those who cure you will kill you’

Headline for today’s Telegraph: Bomb suspects on MI5 files

Banner for today’s Daily Record: I KICKED BURNING TERRORIST IN THE BALLS

4 July 2007 · · UK Culture

←June 2007