Links for you

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A page of links to stuff I thought was fun or useful. In most cases, having your computer's sound on adds a lot to the impact of the item. RIGHT-click on a link, and select "Open in new window" (or tab), and you can check out the link without losing the page you are reading at the moment. Close the new window, and this will re-appear from underneath the page you visited. With a little digital dexterity, you can achieve the same thing by clicking on a link with the wheel of many mice…. you must not rotate the wheel as you click it, though. For other tips on brilliant browsing, there are some ideas at….

(When you use the "new tab" trick, your browser may do that… open the page in a new tab… but not automatically take you to the tab you just opened. You can make it take you to the tab automatically with the browser's settings. At least in Firefox you can, and the others usually eventually copy things Firefox introduces.)

Air Traffic… 21st century style. And visualization…

Did you know that the men and women who control the aircraft using London City Airport do it from an office building 60 miles away? Give these videos a try, even if you aren't a pilot or a geek? Skip to about 1:00 in the first one if the PR messages don't interest you. What you'll see is an sublime mix of the real and the virtual…


… and… very PRETTY, if noting else!…


Online, interactive, function plotter…

Wonderful tool for seeing the line you get from different mathematical functions. Not in particular the "sliders"… drag the thumbname, and graph re-plots. The formula caluculates "y"s for all the "x"s in the range in your graph…. so you need an "x" in the formula you enter… I entered the somewhat complex formula you see in the image. You could enter "mx+c" for the formula, and you'd be invited to add sliders for m and c, and the plotter would plot a straight line. (To enter the formula in the illustration, I typed 1/a+k^-ax)


Don't get mad… get even…

It baffles me that someone would have a parcel with valuables left on their porch. But of course many people do. (Thank you Amazon for your lockers… that's one reason I buy from you, not eBay)

But of course many people do, and the thieves who are ever with us have not been slow to start "feeding" on those easy pickings.

Not all thieves go unpunished…

Brilliant YouTube exposition of prank against parcel thieves.

(Spoiler… look closely at the mailing label. Sent to Harry and Marv, Winnetka. From Kevin. Ring any bells? No cheating… but believe it or not, Google can "get it" with just "Harry MARV Winnetka Kevin". They (Google) read my mind! I don't even have to get the names right!)

Mathematical topics explained- professionally

The internet, and YouTube in particular, offers a vast menu of videos talking about "stuff". Not all of it is "professionally" produced, and often what you get is random snippets.

At 3Blue1brown (A YouTube channel) you will find a great collection of good mini-COURSES in mathematical topics.

When you think you understand it… (quantum physics)…

Great short didactic video…

Relative size of sub-atomic stuff

… shows the scale of "stuff" from quantum foam to (at least) helium molecules.

But I could only find that at Facebook, which you may (wisely) eschew.

Happily, the author also has a YouTube channel. Maybe the "particles" video will appear one day… or is already there for better searchers than me….

You Tube from Media1415

Yeah, but…

I am a fan, in general, of boarding schools. I am not, I hope, blind to the "costs" (in so many ways, apart from money).

But if you agree with me, don't be fooled into thinking that the boarding education forced upon Native Americans was anything other than part of the genocide.

A page from a site with much interesting material about this and other exterpations.

Flawed in many ways….

… but do you have a better idea?? If nothing else, this could be a springboard for discussion of many things.

Inexpensive shelters for homeless people when weather gets cold.

The Gutenberg Press… beautifully explained…

Years ago, I saw a wonderful program on TV about the Gutenberg press. And now you can watch it on YouTube, hurrah!!!…

The Gutenberg Press

Fear not… the program isn't some dreadful dull monologue by a dessicated academic. Fully professionally produced documentary, well written, etc. Among other things, along the way, a working model is made, to test the detail of what is presented.

BGT 2019 (Britain's Got Talent)…

Do watch the whole 7 minutes, please?…

I had a classmate at school who went into teaching… this guy is a clone!

(So what to you think, common acquaintances… Benny?)

Funny quips about "makers"

People who like making electronic gizmos call themselves "makers". In a forum, someone started a "You know you are a maker when…" thread. It is entertaining…

Sparkfun forum post

Samples… You know you are a maker when…
… no room for meals on the dining room table, OR the kitchen counters!
… you have a wider variety of tapes and adhesives than Home Depot.
… you get a fire extinguisher from your kid on Father’s Day… for a reason. (It was only a SMALL fire!)

You will cry…

Sorry to make you cry… if you don't, you need to ask questions… but at least it will be, sort of, for the right reasons.

Is there anyone who doesn't recognize this picture? And now, as that generation is nearly gone, an extraordinary discovery… Three of the children shown just now reunited. They'd lived not far apart. One, unaware, even taught grandchildren of one of the others.


Full story at…


Oh dear… one link led to another… Clips of great comic moments…
… Yes, Prime Minister
… Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May, the real Top Gear. Amazon Prime now offer The Grand Tour. Nominally a show for "motor heads", but the interaction between presenters is funny.
… The great Ronnie Barker, Ronnie Corbett
…. get past the first two minutes which is a dream sequence
… Rowan Atkinson, WW I Blackadder
… Tim Conway- Be sure to watch to end, and listen carefully to what the first person other than Conway to speak says.

"As never seen before…"

How often have you seen that tag line? I think it warranted for the BBC's recent programmes about Egypt, Athens and Istanbul… (This can also be reached via if you want to recommend it to someone over the telephone, say.)

New 3d visualisations from LIDAR scans, by BBC. Great narrative, too.

Early movie (cone) special effects- Buster Keaton

Amazing, and well edited, collection of clips from the early days of moving pictures. How were these done without CGI? And what horrific injuries were accumulated along the way. Even where you can see HOW they were done, the imagination and also the hard work involved is remarkable.

AND the site doesn't plague you with junk- pop-ups, etc.

Chrstimas- 1968 animation, Drummer Boy


"Awful" in almost every way, and yet… there's something about it. Maybe you have to be elderly to enjoy?…

YouTube clip, Little Drummer Boy

Music service- really liking Spotify

I am really liking Spotify! The free version has worked well for me for a couple of months… on a poor internet connection, in the US and UK. They offer more than I use. For me, all I want (so far!) is access to a big library of classical music. I can ask for Handel, or "relaxing classical" or "energetic choral", etc…. and it Just Works. I believe that with the modest cost of their premium service you can have two players in two rooms, coordinated… so if you are going back and forth between the rooms you don't miss any of the "broadcast"… but don't quote me on that. Just something I think you can do. If you "need" it!

Very special, but fun to watch, with it…

A "motivational speaker"… the idea of which would normally have me running a mile, AND this is a Facebook link… also a negative, my view (YouTube better)… but… give this one a try?…

See also…

The material is also available in book form, direct from his site would be best; Amazon if you don't mind depriving him of a significant part of the revenues.

Grand finale, Billy Elliot, UK/Ireland/Germany tour

Celebration of the talent of 11 v.f.s. kids, and what, with others, and with good leadership, they built with it, and blood, sweat and tears…

YouTube clip (Under 5 minutes)

See also

And you say *I* waste *my* time???

This is SO, SO wonderful!!! The many, many things that I've given WASTED HOURS to in my (quite long) life of (very?) eccentric passing enthusiasms ALL *pale* into insignificance beside this masterpiece!!! (AND I love the imagination shown.)

"Hot Wheels Road Trip" from "Fantastic Things", at FB, posted 3 June 17…

Hot Wheels

Only if you have some time to spend engrossed….

What first caught my eye… How Caliper works…

How caliper works

And this is marvelous on several levels. Look how engaged and careful the boy is…

Build DaVinci bridge

What are they up to? How did they vote

Hardly riveting reading, but go along to the link below, see what those nice people in Washington are getting up to. See how your congressman, senator have ACTUALLY VOTED, at the end of the day. Did their actions live up to their fine words? Don't forget to vote in primaries so the next Trump isn't even on the ticket. Vote in the mid-terms.

What could possibly go wrong? Amtrak snow clearance

This is just glorious! After a big snow-storm, the station staff had done a wonderful job of clearing the snow from the Amtrak platform. All the passengers were being Very Good, standing well behind the yellow line. There was "some" snow accumulated on the track, and in the "canyon" between the platforms… and then a snow plow train came through the station, moving quite quickly…

Physics of ballet. Fun

Sorry… this is the best I could do on a technical level… you click the link, and it takes you to a Facebook post. From there, you click on the arrow to play it. But I think you'll find it worth it! The audio isn't important on this one. Watch the physics! And enjoy the talent, and the joy in what he is doing. And try not to think about everything in the room which is at risk of destruction. When he was younger, he did a routine in the kitchen which was barely large enough for a non-moving Nat!

Walking the dogs… no leashes

Just goes to show what someone who understands his dependents can do. I'm guessing he isn't often pestered by muggers. (YouTube, 5 min)

Precision!… And growth.

In the following, you will see one of the Billies from the original production of Billy Elliot, Victoria Palace Theatre, London… in "stereo"! On the left, we have Elliott (two t's!) Hanna doing Electricity when he was about 10, and quite new to the show. Note the Dad seen briefly. On the right, Elliott again, when he was (a little) older in years, quite a lot older in growth- through- hard work. Could you, I don't know… chop onions?… so precisely? By the way- for a professionally done DVD of this particular Billy, just go along to and buy "Billy Live". (If you see "Jamie Bell" as the actor, you are looking at a listing for the film version. Also good, of course!) (Ummm… thank you Grammarly… the heading used to have a mis-spelling… in the word "Precision". "Do as I say", I guess?)

Elliott does Elliot- young and "old" (YouTube)

In UK? Be a superhero! Do your bit…

Worthwhile and easy way in the UK to "do your bit", well espoused by a sensible celebrity. You can be a superhero, too.

I have been on the Nolan register since its early days. At one point, I was called for further comparison between my tissues and those of someone who was dying for lack of a bone marrow transplant. "How many people on register now?" I asked. "60,000"
"And how many have you called in for further tests?" "Two others".

A thought-provoking conversation.

Today, the trust does more than it did in the early days. No blood test, these days, hurrah!

Tom Holland promotes Nolan Trust registry

What a story- the life of Roald Dahl

Everyone "knows" Roald Dahl… Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James And The Giant Peach.

But do they? Have you read his autobiography of his childhood? It's called Boy, and is staggering.

And just cast your eye down the factoids assembled at IMDB….

Dahl biography at IMDB

Unusual Penguin Migration

Human interest and biology in one story: A penguin got "lost", and contaminated with oil. Washed up in Brazil. Man took care of him. Penguin now returns annually to "visit". Article interesting for exploration of numerous issues.

Article from "Independent" (UK Newspaper)

Fun nod to 15th anniversary, Billy Elliot FILM.. and the wonderful Mog

In England, the Christmas ads of the big department stores, etc, are "important" the way Superbowl ads are "important" in the US. In 2015, two such particularly caught my eye. The first, about "Mog" is just lovely, and doubly so for the very light touch imposed by the people who paid for it. Emma Thompson, I think, as narrator helped, of course. I actually did a shop at Sainsbury's, AND bought the Mog book by way of "thank you"

… and then there's….

Burberry's did a wonderful ad for their clothes… with a Billy Elliot, the film, theme. (For the Unwashed among you, the visuals mimic the opening minutes of the film.)

Watch it… but be ready to "pause" the playback near the end, just after the flowers on the wall start exploding, when the first text appears on the screen. (The credits are about to roll.)

Who did you recognize in the film? Answer appears as "Billy Answer" a little way down THIS page.

Of course, I like the Billy celebration… the film went out 15 years ago… but it is also, I think, a very clever way to photograph the clothes, make them look "alive", "exciting".

One cloud in the otherwise sunny sky… what does it say about our society that ANYONE would pay $650 (about $1000) for A SCARF? (Any scarf.)

From NASA, smoke from wildfires goes around the world ——

NASA's stuff always great, of course… one of the top URLs for Good Stuff. E.g….

(The smoke matters… affects weather.)

Want to preserve free speech, get Google-snoop-free email?

$upport Quick, easy… go to site, click on link, send $5 via PayPal. Every little bit helps. Better yet, get an account, use it. Much like any other web-based email… but your messages not scanned by Google, etc, going out and coming back. There are SOME extra hassles, but maybe worth it? Worried that the Bad Guys will use it? I hate to tell you, but they have robust secure communications already, without ProtonMail.

Good view of feeding hammerhead

Oh yes… three people had lucky days… the photographer and two waders. If that little fish had not had a (last) bad day, who knows?

But remember, people, more people are killed by lighting each year… lots more… than by sharks.

I have a shark phobia. But once a hammerhead… bigger than the one in the video, I think, passed over me while I was diving… and it was so awesomely beautiful that my heartbeat slowed down, if anything. (He was, as it happens, swimming away from us when I first saw him. Probably helped.

Billy Answer….

This is the "answer" to the question in one of the items above, "Who do you recognize in the Burberry ad?"

The boy is not one of "the London Billys", alas… but I see the sense of it. It IS the youngest son of David Beckham and "Posh Spice". (Beckham: celebrity soccer player, if you live in the US and know NOTHING about UK soccer. Which, for a start, is called "football".)

Also in the clip: Elton John, who, on seeing the film, set in motion the creation of the musical.

Julie Walters: The person who did such a PERFECT job of creating the first Mrs Wilkinson. I ALMOST didn't go to the musical, in the (wrong) belief that no one could "follow" her in that role. Huge shoes to fill, but the various BETM Mrs.W's have done great jobs.

The blessing of dental treatment… experienced by a lion

Three cheers to Fixodent for funding some major dental care for a gorgeous lion at the Kevin Richardson Wildlife Sanctuary on the outskirts of Pretoria, South Africa. The video pulls no punches in filming the dental treatment, but I think you need to see it to fully appreciate the agony the lion was spared.

By the way: Root canals. Yes… once in a long while they "go wrong". And that is Very Bad. But I've had many… and one was less fuss than an ordinary filling! Yes, you are in the chair for a while… but you don't need to fear having one. Not having one when you need it can be life-threatening… the infection may spread, and get out of control. It's worth it… really!

Seemed like a good idea at the time…


… for details of an amazing illustration of just how mean a mother Mother Nature can be when you mess with her.

And dramatic images of huge "forges" burning for 40 years, naturally.

A snippet from the Wikipedia page: "The Door to Hell is noted for its natural gas fire which has been burning continuously since it was lit by Soviet petroleum engineers in 1971."

Sir David does it again…

Another moving, without portentiousness or bombast, affirmation of life by the legendary David Attenborough. (Trailer for BBC's new-in-Oct14 series "Life Story")

Stunning photos… girl with eagle

Short "article" by BBC, with stunning photos, of a Kazak girl just learning the ancient art of falconry… with a golden eagle.

Interesting note on the Kazak answer to achieving sustainability. Rather silly comment on PC issues and over-inflating the importance of today… but I'll forgive anything for the photos, two in particular.


There is a genuine "mystery" surrounding possible buried treasure… the Beale Papers started it. (Use Wikipedia to learn more. Search in Beale PAPERS)

Someone decided it would be fun to pull everyone's legs, put up a few web-pages claiming the treasure found. I wouldn't mention this, but I thought the site well done, for waht it was setting out to do…

Wild Animal Trusts Human

Extraordinary. Not since the Roman boy took the thorn out of the lion's paw…

From a golden age of radio…

For 58 years, until his death in 2004, Alistair Cooke broadcast a "Letter from America" weekly. It was a weekly guide to life in the US. It was the longest-running programme of its kind in the world… deservedly so, in my opinion. I listened most weeks for many years, and not just because of my special interest. You can now listen to may episodes. The era I knew best is on…

(Note that you can either download a podcast, or simply listen directly, from the menu at the right. The one on the Supreme Court gives you a good idea of what the Letters were like, and is interesting even today.)

Intestinal flora… gut bugs…

Whatever you want to be true, you can find on the internet!

I wouldn't normally be "recommending" an internet page, unless from someone like the Mayo Clinic, but I'll make an exception for the following. Not because I believe all it says… but because I find much of what is there interesting.

(My interest in the topic arose after an unfortunate encounter with some microscopic organisms on a trip in early 2014. I'm usually sucessfully careful… but not this time!)

In particular, I was interested in the idea…

"An appendectomy (the removal of the appendix) also increases the risk of disbacteriosis, because the appendix preserves the “starter” culture when diarrhea occurs."

Now: I will still be listening to my doctor… but I have wondered for some time, "Are we missing something? Does the appendix really do "nothing" for us? When I was a child, tonsils were whipped out at the first hint of inflamation. Nowdays, I gather, doctors are more reluctant to remove them.

- - -
How's your latin/ greek?

Have a read of…

… if you have a strong stomach, and can see through the doctor talk to understand what they're actually talking about. Not a pretty business, medicine! (But note that the article comes from the excellent Mayo Clinic, so it should be taken seriously, but with a BIG "do not try this at home" label across it!!)

Christmas "must see"

Westjet's Merry Christmas will, I hope, go down in the annals of Great Pranks, and be remembered and appreciated for a very long time indeed. The idea was inspired, the execution breathtaking. Please watch and promote… it is very deserving… and will help you remember what men and women of good will, with a lot of hard work, can do. (And there's even a "bloopers" short to enjoy after the main item!)

Jacquie Lawson e-Cards

Many years ago, the Sussex artist Jacquie Lawson produced an animated electronic Christmas card. It was… and is (you can still view the first card… scroll down to "Christmas Cottage") delightful, and especially marvelous, given that it was her first. Since then, she has done many more, and they are enchanting.

You CAN, if you wish, give her a friend's email address, and the friend will receive an email, inviting them to "open" a "card" from you. Might I suggest that instead, you send the friend the link below, and tell them which card you would have sent? No everyone appreciates having their email address put on yet another mailing list. Ms. Lawson is pretty good about not abusing the information, apart from being pretty persistent with "reminders", if you don't choose to follow the link in the email… but others are not so benign. It's just a bit of Good Internet Manners, I think.

PLEASE NOTE: If you adopt the approach of "send link, rather than give friend's email address to Lawson site", you are, in effect, stealing… unless you sign up with the Lawson site as a member. You can't "send" cards for free, from there. You would be jeopardizing the current happy situation where casual visitors to the site can enjoy browsing it, if you use it without paying. The site accepts credit cards and PayPal, so what more would you ask them to do to make it easy for you to pull your weight?

Sample from IMDB- Lassie

I hope you visit IMDB when you see a film you like? The "trivia" entries in particular. I recently caught the last ten minutes of the 2005 Peter O'Toole Lassie… wonderful… and picked up the following:

"One thread that connects all the Lassie projects is Lassie herself. Every one of the long string of Lassie productions has featured a collie directly descended from the original canine star, a dog named Pal. The new film was made with 8-year-old Lassie the ninth (and three other non-related collies)…"

(I imagine you already knew that the first "Lassie" was actually a Laddie?)

Music for the deaf

For a very long time I have been saying that "someone" ought to harness the power of the computer to make visual displays of music. The need for this is most acute for the deaf among us. However, even as someone who has listened to music for many years, watching the visualizations below has been helpful. I can now hear things that I'd failed to notice when experiencing to the music with only my ears.

These are not just glorified virtual versions of the light boxes of the 1960s.

Stephen Malinowski ("smalin", has created something I find fascinating.

By the way… the three links illustrate three quite different techniques. They are not just three things all will the same treatment.

As with any YouTube clip, you can go "full screen" with the button at the lower right corner of the animation, and return your screen to normal with the "Esc(ape)" key.

Vivaldi, "Winter" from the Four Seasons

Chopin Nocturne, in E-flat Major, opus 9 no.2

Hmmm… twenty minutes later, still haven't found the third type… in Smalin's output. Maybe he hasn't done this sort….

Music with a circle (Beethoven Sonata 29)

Now… the emphasis in the above is on pitch and duration. Somewhere… I'll have to leave it to another time… someone did something clever in the same vein, but with more emphasis on the rhythic structure of music.

- - - -
Now… just one more…

Pachelbel, Canon in D

Do you know about "ground basses"? Ever hum along with this well known piece? Watch the bottom line in the visualization. For the whole duration of the piece, the cello plays an 8 note sequence over, and over, and over…. Had you heard that? Did you know? Watch the video, and see that I'm telling the truth.

Oh dear… one more "one more"… This time the intervals in the music are revealed with color coding. I'm sure a good musician would know the intervals… but, even though I'm not deaf, I don't hear them. Only my eyes and Smalin's graphic make it clear.

Chopin, Nocturne, opus 27 #2

- - - -
I imagine Smalin knows all about the following, and I suspected it could be done… but here's how you marry musical and optical "harmony"… (And don't worry… your computer hasn't died… this particular video has no sound.)

The Artist's Color Wheel and Acoustic Harmony

- - - -
It's like this… my original plan was to show you three quite different approaches Smalin has used. In trying to find an example of each, I kept finding more and more good stuff. When I say "good", it has nothing to do with the piece of music being performed. I don't care if you don't like Rite of Spring… try the following for how it has been portrayed visually….

Rite Of Spring

- - - -
This one shows you the keyboard players hands as the music is performed….


- - - -
So… what do you think? Would the videos be better than nothing, as a way to enjoy "music"… if you were deaf?

- - - -
P.S.: I'd shut down the window for editing this before finding the following, which you REALLY ought not miss…. MADE FOR the technique ('though of course it wasn't….)

Flight of the Bumblebee

You do realize that "the bumblebee" is more than a bumblebee?….

Ah! At last… I found this weeks after previous efforts… ALSO try…

Circular Bach

(If you want to know more about that one, go to…

… where you will find the score, and an interactive version: Bring your mouse pointer near one of the rotating balls. It will get a bit bigger, to say "seeing mouse". And be "attracted" to the mouse. (Move the mouse away again quickly). The rhythm will be disrupted, but eventurally return to the steady rhythm Bach intended.

Note: The piece consistes entirely of semiquavers (16th notes)… any difference in note length is an artifact of the computer rendering. But does it sound like equal length notes? Bach was a magician!

I thought I'd lost that one. Spend, I hate to say, probably hours looking for it the first and second times I tried to create this section. (Hence the so many "just one mores"). Then, weeks after having given up, I turned on my Android, and there it was, as the "last page visited" in my web browser there! I don't even remember looking at this on the Andriod!

Make you think?…

The link below will take you to a collection of forty maps which may give you interesting insights into the world we live in. I liked the editor's willingness to mix the fun with the serious.

Domesday Book (1995) Back From Data Black Hole

In one of the first examples of "citizen science" and "cloudsourcing"… before "the internet" took hold, and when computers were primitive, the BBC organized a digital survey of the UK…. but put the results on sort of a "super DVD". The players were expensive, and as far as I know, no other "document" of any general interest was ever published in the same format. Imagine buying a device to play, say Blu-ray DVDs, if only one movie were available in the format the player was for!

It looked like the Digital Domesday Book (started in 1985, but produced to celebrate the millenium) was lost.

But, hurrah, it is found again… and some fun "then and now" comparisons have been added.

("Data Death Black Hole"? Some argue that in 200 years' time the period c. 1990-2010 will be frustrating to historians because many data from the period will have been lost, as we have moved from ink-on-paper to electronic record keeping, but had not yet implemented sufficiently robust data conservation practices.)

Please watch this one…

Autism is a fearsome syndrome, and what we don't know is so scary… This clip tells the story of one remarkable case, with huge implications for improving our understanding…

Answer me this: How did the child who couldn't speak, couldn't function anywhere near "normally" learn to read and write when her carers were just trying to get her semi self-caring? I'm not sceptical… one of the fascinations of autism is the incredible feats of talent which crop up. But amazed. And awed by the persistence of her family. AND there's the twin angle. (Twinship has always fascinated me, too.)

… just one more…

("Happy ending" story… but lessons for teaching "normal" kids… which will NEVER be understood in the "schools" (small person detention centers).

The achievement that is Billy Elliot, the musical

Not only is "Billy" an amazing experience for the audience, but watch this 135 second clip to the end, and see what you think about the impact in this boy's life of being part of the show…

… and for his performance of "Electricity", with a nice montage of stills for the visual side…

(And there have been many other Billys, Michaels, Debbies, Marigolds, Small Boys, Tall Boys given a chance to excell that few kids today get… I picked Ryan's clips essentially at random.)

Ah! But since I posted above, I've come across a fun thing someone put together celebrating twenty five of the Billys who have danced the part so far…

And, "can I tell you one more thing, Billy?" (to almost quote the line that leads into what you will see in the video… no, I didn't see all of them myself. (Many of them… but not all. "Grandma must've moved them.")

They make it look so easy…

Have you heard of "tweening"? Simple enough idea. And if you watch the YouTube clip, it might look as if getting amazing results is easy. I suspect that the video took many, many hours to get to where it is.

A word of warning: The clip takes you from one famous movie star's face to another, and another and another. But as it is called "Pretty women", or some-such, you will find YouTube offereing you all sorts of other videos, not all of which will be as delightful.

New Nasa pictures, earth at night

One could spend a week hopping around the NASA site… but here's one that is worth the risk of looking at "just one more", then "just one more", then…

… wonderful world…

The BBC did an ad celebrating "the opus" of David Attenborough. Have a watch, and see if the lyrics of "It's a wonderful world" don't take on a whole new meaning…

One of the great blessings of my life has been to live during the time Sir David has been producing his sublime and erudite documentaries. And I have even been favored with a small personal contact along the way.

If you find online the ad aired in 2012 which was built around clips of his photography, and a soundtrack saying "We met him in 1952… I met him in 1957… We met him in 2008…" I'd love to have that link! I don't know how others reacted, but I suspect the intent was that listeners would percieve the "We met him…" to mean "We, the audience out in TV land". Only after I'd seen the ad a few times, only half listening to it, as you do, did I realise the text was cute: It was supposed to be the animal or animals saying "… met him." The date being, of course, when the photo was taken.

Thought you "knew" about the bombing of London, 1940/41?…


It sometimes returns "not found"… no doubt because it is so amazing, it may get overtaxed. Just try again later.

Now THAT's a model train…

Actually, I should say "trains"… there are 890 of them in this amazing layout in Hamburg Germany. Created by twin brothers. If YouTube clips aren't your thing, at least check out the Wikipedia link?

Trains and cars and boats and airplanes!

Surprise concert

An old idea… but well executed… Beethoven's 9th, in Spain…

Seems like a good idea… Eat Goat!

Goat's cheeze is becoming popular. So goat herds are growing, and the goat birthrate is up… but you can't milk a billy goat…

So what can the farmers do with them? Sell them… if they put the price low enough.

You get cheap meat… very similar to lamb. Everyone gets less waste.

Not in the butcher case at your supermarket. Have you ASKED for it? Or….

… will supply.

More on the question at…

… which can also be reached via…

Spread The Word… and… pass the goat!

Amazing "portrait" of a wonderful person

60 years on the throne. Queen Elizabeth II, a inspiration to many, many people.

A wonderful sequence of photos of her, very skilfully morphed one into the next…

I have a theory, which I have frequently argued with people, and never, at the end, had anyone disagree: I believe that no other person in human history has been seen, and remembered as seen, by as many other people, as the queen has. Think about it… all her tours around the world. How long she has been doing it. How big the world's population is today.

Two amazing robots, one amazing "film"

As I imagine you know, the military is increasingly using "robots" to keep humans (on our side) out of harm's way. What else are the remotely flown aircraft which drop bombs on Pakistan?

However, in rugged terrain, the infantry are still… at least for a little longer… still having to go where robots cannot be sent. And carry huge packs to take what they need.

But the scientists are at work!…

I think it is rather sweet, bumbling along? For me, the clip brought Eeyore to mind. And elsewhere, I read of a robot in the works with a back that flexes, implementing the way all of the fast quadrupeds, most notably the cheetah, run. Amazing. And to think that I remember the days when robot "mice" to run mazes were cutting edge!

_ _ _

The following is a 7 minute tribute to the team that put the explorer on Mars. Part "real" video, showing scenes in the control room, part computer generated images. Start is a bit "slow", hang on, if you aren't drawn in from the beginning.

Wonderful panoramas

Visit the following for access to amazing scrollable panoramas, some from aircraft. I started at Taj Mahal… blew me away.

The "low res" image more than adequate, and won't tax your computer or internet connection the way the better one will.

"Amazing photos" site… open pit mines example

Warning… some of the collections are dumb, some of the text childish… but some of the photos stunning, so I'll list it!…

Google TV ad for their "circles" and "Google Plus"….

God bless You Tube….

The following really lovely, an ad Google ran….

When you get a chance to REALLY watch it, in a calm and quiet moment, do, and think about what you've seen. Familiar in some way? THEN read the "Google TV ad… part 2" below. (I think the use of "Tom" at the start coincidental!! But, given Google's creativity, maybe when George views the clip, "George" will appear!

Of course, I particularly liked the "schoolboy… shining morning face" bit. (Check out the photo matched to that phrase!)

I've only seen it on TV once… pity. Wonderful ad. Hence my appreciation of the YouTube option. The brief "broadcast life" a bit like a wonderful ad Jaguar ran a few years ago, which, again, I only saw a few times. (ARGH! I'm sad. Just spent Too Long looking for that. If you can send me the link, please do! Jag pulls into small Italian village square. Man gets out to have a snack. Small boy bounces football off car. Man has flashback when he, in England, as small boy, "met" Jags for the first time, long ago, in sepia, etc. Better than it sounds!)

Front Fell Off… Monty Python. Who's on first…

Mock interview between journalist and Australian legislator, in the wake of a supposed oil spill due to damage to a tanker. Will, I hope, become a classic… certainly deserves to, I think. Right up there with Monty Python sketches and the great "Who's on first?" routine.

Tele-chess… with a difference

When I saw a link to a YouTube video about a device to let two people play chess across the internet… but with real boards… I though: "Why bother? Can't they just play on the screen?" None- the- less, of course, I went off and looked. And came back amazed. You might too!

(Caught my eye because the "brains" behind the boards is one of the little processors I have fun with, the "Arduino".)

Google TV Ad, part two…

This is the "answer" to a puzzle posed above. When you watched the Google ad, did you recognize the source of the script? I missed the "All the world's a stage" at the start. If I had heard Shakespeare read like this, I might have realized sooner how wonderful his writing is! ("As You Like It", 2/7)

Not an LBJ in sight!

Ever travel (or live!) with any birdwatchers? Here's a cure, well done little YouTube in which a birder pokes fun at the incomprehensible (to some people) things that birders say and do.

One little observation: It's all in the inflection. When you are traveling with a group you haven't traveled with before, and a possible bird sighting occurs, eventually one or more people say "Oh, it's flown off." Now then… on the written page, that conveys only half of the information it conveys in real life. In real life, the tone and inflection also immediately identify the speaker as One Of The Enlightened… or as one of the non-birders. Funny how few people there are in the middle ground!

Just before the clip's URL, a little plug for something related….

If you are even a casual birder, in the USA, but (like me) like making lists, I suggest that you pay a visit to…

With just a LITTLE effort on your part to "do it right"… you don't have to do your birding very differently… you can make a significant contribution to what science knows about our birds! (See….
… for "what you have to do differently"… it isn't onerous.)

And so back to where this started: the "Things Birders Do" clip… be sure to check out the credits. Including one for "Worst Boy". I still don't know what the "Best Boy" is, and now there's a "Worst Boy"???

Cool graphic of assembly of International Space Station

(Requires Flash Player)

My Blackberry

This is a classic you have probably seen… but if you haven't, it is a prime example of clever British humor at it's best, both in the writing and in the performance. Ronnie Corbett is in the greengrocer, not very happy, as his blackberry isn't working, but the greengrocer is happy to give him an apple to make amends….

How big? How small?

A stunning interactive display which helps you understand how an electron's size compares to that of the known universe… and things in between…… and beyond!

A wildlife encounter

Wow… I landed at Heathrow 10 hours ago, after a wonderful trip to Africa. Just by chance the following YouTube link was waiting for me in an email… no, it was not my group that had the encounter with gorillas in the clip!

A different "take" on 9/11….

This is a beautifully crafted account, narrated by Tom Hanks, directed and produced by Eddie Rosenstein. It tells the story of the heroic actions of New York's maritime community, which came together, without preparation and evacuated 500,000 people from lower Manhatten in 9 hours.

That's 925 people per minute, by a non-planned cooperation between the professional ferry operators, the tug operators, civilians. The behavior of the rescued must also be taken into account.

The famous evacuation from Dunkirk at the start of WW II moved 339,000 trained soldiers in 9 days.

(Video quite high resolution, 12 minutes.)

If it doesn't leave you feeling choked up, think a littler deeper, maybe.

Wow! Extreme sports / Extreme photography

I was having trouble "waking up" this morning. The following You Tube video certainly helped! It is only 5 minutes long, but it seems much longer. Good soundtrack. Superb photos, many interesting effects, of some amazing sporting activities. Some "predictable"… but good examples… others less so. Titled "People are Awesome"…

Not your mom's Mr. Rogers!

Do go along to….

… for a science lesson like you never had before. Be sure to play it to the end, and to try some of Sylvia's other videos. Watch closely and you will see the happy non-polar molecule become sad!


I will only say that you should only visit the following if you have about 5 minutes to "waste"… but it is fun! A "new" idea, something that re-defines "interactive"! And food for thought… scripting something like this would be an interesting challenge.

Exquisite- gymnastics

What were you doing when you were 16? Have a look at what the Russian Victoria Komova is achieving…. … be sure to watch beyond the first part…

(Later in the clip, the replays give you an overhead shot, and an amazing shot where you can see her eyes as she comes out of a swing, and looks to the bar to re-connect.)

Her parents were gymnasts, too.

Not only did she win the gold on the event the clip shows, but her patent delight at a team-mate's bronze a little later was wonderful to see.

While looking for the clip I quote above, there was one of a practice session. She fell straight down from above the high bar, landing on the back of her neck, not on the "extra" cushion in place for landing. Oddly enough, a little before seeing that terrible sight, I'd been thinking that maybe my longtime respect for people who will work the beam should come second place to those working the uneven bars. She took a moment, with dignity, to recover her breath, and then went straight back, picked up where the routine had been interrupted.

Some humans are capable of so much.

Wait 'til you SEE the Halleluia Chorus, from Messiah!

While this is something you have to see… be sure to have your sound on too…

… and, I would guess inspired by the above… a less polished, but more fun, more imaginative alternative version…

Two inanimate "lifeforms"

The first, Theo Jansen's Strand Beest, has no silicon brain or other electronics. Mostly PVC tubing… but it walks up and down a beach! ("Strand")

The second realised an ancient dream… see Leonardo's sketchbooks for a start… a man- made bird, explained on TED by Marcus Fischer.

Cephalopod camouflage

Video clip- Somewhat patronizing narration, but amazing photos, ordinary and through microscope of cephalopods hiding.

Fun maths..

Take Tom Lehrer's sardonic classic "New Maths", add some modern graphics, and enjoy a little light relief…

Baby hummingbird..

Lovely video showing the raising of an orphan hummingbird. Good soundtrack, but just music to set mood.

(The carer must have been very dedicated… hummers need vast amounts of food (energy)… not videos, but more on the subject….

.. and if you want more…

… "body temperature can drop almost 50 degrees. The heart rate may slow from 500 beats per minute to fewer than 50, and breathing may briefly stop"…

… and…

… or….


The images we can see of our world are amazing. There's, of course. Two others you may enjoy….

… gives you a view of the earth showing where the sun is currently shining, above the clouds anyway, and it shows you current cloud cover. The image at this site enabled me to see, after many years of wondering, why in 2D sunlight maps, the sun falls on a "U" shaped area.

And then there's….

… from NASA. Warning (if not too late)… only go there if you have some time to spend! The intelligent interpretation, and collecting of related images adds a lot of value to this site.

Middle Eastern Geography

We hear (some of!) the names on the news all the time. Do you know where Iran, Libyia, etc actually are?

The following is a neatly done little exercise…

I was happy with my early answers… but partly by knowing how to do tests. I have to admit, after picking the low hanging fruit, I was left with…

Mauritania (I thought that was a ship?? (Joke) Sorry Mauritania, especially as someone from there visited my website!)
Tajikstan (I thought that was Tajik-i-stan?)…. and

I know quite a bit about most of them, and knew most were in one of two places, e.g. I wasn't sure which way around the 'Stans went… but now I know more. Wikipedia is all well and good… but it helps to have a few things in the grey cells for instant access.

What?.. The devil?..

Try to guess what this TV commercial is promoting before it plays to its end. No, not a remake of the Exorcist… harder…

Science activities for 6-12 year olds…

To quote from the site I will cite:

As the old saying (almost) goes, science starts in the home. Try our fun science activities, which parents and their kids ages 6-12 can do together with household items in just a half hour or less. Teachers might like to incorporate them, too.

Flower Clocks- Telling time by which blossoms are open

You don't have to be a gardener to enjoy these… but I will admit that maybe they aren't the best links on this page. The first takes you to a discussion full of information on flower clocks in general. The second reviews the work on flower clocks of the great Swedish scientist, Carl von Linné, usually known as "Linnaeus" as a nod to his establishment of Latin as the language used by scientists in the binomial nomenclature system he invented. The Wikipedia article, which the link above will take you to, is worth it just for the picture of this great man.

Time Lapse of Space Shuttle Preparation and Launch

Wonderfully done time lapse sequence of the joining of the shuttle to the fuel tank and SRBs, movement to pad, final prep, etc.

One way to help deal with the sadness of the passing of the program. I hope that you, like me, at some point in the past thirty years made the trek to Florida to see a launch? If not, consider very seriously making the effort before it is too late.

Help with real science

Not for everyone, but if you have an altuistic bone or two, check out…

Join a community of, they say, 445,000 lab techs helping advance the frontiers of science. I've been invited onto a beta project… I've just checked four photos from a telescope, and marked in what I thought were Kuiper Belt Objects in those images, and several asteroids, too. My work will be checked by others. The aggregate of all of that will determine the final path of one of the interplanetary explorers. As of 05 May 2011, 22:42, 109,965 images have been checked for KBOs and asteroids. Only 2,243,803 images still to be checked… but I don't have to do them all myself. Just as many or as few as takes my fancy.

There are many projects, and you participate in as many or as few, as hard or as superficially, as you wish.

(Wow! Who says no one listens?! The point of a beta test is to find things that need tweaking. I mentioned something, and within 15 minutes, before I'd even finished my session of testing, the thing I'd mentioned had been corrected! Kind of spooky… I'll never meet the person who read what I said, acted on it… I don't even know what continent he/ she is on…)

Think you can hide in a crowd? Think again!…

This is the story of an amazing photomosaic and the superb web interface to it.

You used to be able to get lost in the crowd, but not anymore. Double-click on any area in the picture to bring the person closer. Or, just click the mouse and use the mouse wheel to bring them closer.

This is a photograph of 2009 Obama Inauguration. You can see IN FOCUS the face of EACH individual in the crowd !!!

You can scan and zoom to any section of the crowd… it works rather like the excellent As you zoom in, the resolution increases.

The picture was taken with a robotic 1474 megapixel camera (295 times the standard 5 megapixel camera). Every one attending could be scanned after the event, should something have gone wrong during it.

Click on:

Behind Jimmy Carter - to the left of the president- in a brown cap- is a man with a split head. (There are other examples) It's amazing to me that more such "seams" don't show… I suspect that the "stitching" software may have a "don't break up a face" element… or maybe a face is just a blob that it wouldn't split any more than it would split ANY blob.

Care to guess/ work out how many faces can be seen in the picture? That would be a fun challenge, don't you think?

A YouTube "text"….

Before you view this, know that there is something very clever about to happen.

You heard of palindromes? ("Madam I'm Adam")… things that "work" forwards and backwards. Well, this video "works" forwrds and backwards! See if you can figure out what I mean by that before you reach the half way point, and start watching it in reverse!!

After you've seen it, try to devise your own text along the same lines.

Data brought to life. History in graphs

An academic with a flair for presentation prepared some graphs showing life expectancies (y axis) and income (x axis) for 200 countries in 1810. (Each country gave rise to a dot. The dots color coded to indicate the regioin of the county, e.g. Europe)

He then did it again and again, each graph being for a different date. The graphs were then used to create an animation, and you can see amazing things, as your brain integrates the data for you. For instance, the flu pandemic of 1918 is very easy to see.

All this, plus a brilliant narration, and the graphs done very cleverly, not as boringly as the above description might make you think.

Do turn your sound on.

Artistic anatomy

Ever wonder why artists study anatomy? Have a look at this….

If they could talk

Take some stunning wildlife video clips from the BBC. Add a different soundtrack…

The three wise(?) motorheads go to Bethlehem

The Christmas story… told via modern technology… be sure to turn on sound.

Christmas lights

Christmas lights… a little over the top? I can't decide if this is a computer generated spoof, or a genuine video of something you could see, if you went to the relevant street. Either way, it is an amazing "creation". If a spoof, I believe it probably at least started with a house nearly as extravagently decorated as the one you see…

Beautiful nature

Frazil Ice… a short YouTube-like clip showing and explaining an unusual "slush" that flows like lava… be sure to turn on sound. If you want to know more, Wikipedia has a page, but it misses the beauty of the Yellowstone frazil ice.

Beautiful earth

Breathtaking collection of photos from space…

Amusing musical boy

Three year old Jonathan conducting to the 4th movement of Beethoven's 5th Symphony

Either just enjoy watching a kid having fun, or look a little more closely and ask yourself if this kid has a gift….

The great classic

The great Border collies/ sheep-with-LEDs classic… if you don't know what I mean, watch this…

Not all YouTube clips dumb

The story of the Kiwi who dreamed of flying… the clip that gave YouTube its first credibility with me. There's an awful lot of JUNK there… but also some gems…


(Just ignore the following one one… something I put up as a test of something!)

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