Phew, just found my joke I contributed to the xs4all Science Jokes site wayback in March 2001. Now it looks like a joke about #thinslicing, in part because it includes concepts borrowed from my travels – heterogeneous organisation of data – comes from talking to a group of computer scientists at a First Tuesday meeting in 2000:
Q: How do you find a needle in a haystack?
Scientist says: One draws up a research and development proposal for a new and improved device, costing $100m in budget and just under $200m on final completion. The device can harvest for needles in any given haystack in any terrain at any time, and operated by remote or even hands-on control.
Chaotician says: Faced with such a heterogeneous organisation of data you assemble a bunch of friends (say ten or less, or maybe more if there is free alcohol) and hold a party on the haystack. Someone will be bound to find the needle by stepping or sitting on it. Or if they don’t something much more strange + interesting will appear, so that the needle is classified as a variant hay-straw. And the new discovery classified as the strange attractor.
So I hear Grove Lodge, once the home of Charles Darwin’s wife Emma Darwin, could be demolished to make way for a bigger car park. As a visitor to Grove Lodge in the mid 1980′s I’d like to raise an issue, particularly as I also was an undergraduate at Christ’s College, Charles Darwin’s very own college.
Indeed Christ’s in 2009 celebrate the unique experience of Darwin the student with the public opening of his student rooms and an unveiling of a specially commissioned bronze sculpture of “Darwin as a young man contemplating the origin of our existence”. Yep, looks kind of serious doesn’t he?
Anyhow with ’Murray Edwards College’ embarking on what appears to be what they regard as ‘environmental improvements’ I wonder if now’s a good time to ask the college authorities to take a closer look at their collection of valuable oil paintings in formal hall. I believe one at least was accidentally decorated during a mid-1980s food fight; but due to the artist’s post-modern choice of colours managed to successfully camouflage the additional textures until now? The organic matter will still be present, and no doubt represents a health hazard after all these years!
PS: Latest news suggests the threat of demolition has been averted while plans for an art gallery are being considered. Finger’s crossed.
Thanks to Dalai’s PACS blog, which I still follow despite a change in jobs, I came across this great free film service where you can watch documentaries for free called SnagFilms. Yeah, and share them web 2.0 style. Except I can’t as the widgets won’t display.
Read more: “The stories in these [comic] books, says David Hajdu, author of the new book, “The Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic-Book Scare and How it Changed America,” were unlike anything kids had seen before. They told tales of superheroes, but also of murder, crime and illicit romance. The illustrations could be shocking, and sometimes, the good guys didn’t win.”
It just occurred to my trivia-obsessed brain that I work just round the corner from the Bank of England (see front) and live just round the corner in Barking where Elizabeth Fry is buried (see back). Five pounds please.