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Tuesday, 18 December 2007


Only just under a week to go before Christmas - and that means the usual kinds of jokes you get in crackers, all over again! Here's a substitute, my favourite elephant joke ever:

What's grey, and sings the blues?

Answer in ROT13 : Ryrcunagf Trenyq

If you don't get it, try saying it aloud. If that doesn't help, click here!

Tuesday, 11 December 2007


I found this beautiful, early Russian animation, "The Insects' Christmas" on YouTube. It's an absolute delight, and remains surprisingly undated.

Thursday, 6 December 2007


Okay, Christmas is getting pretty close now, and this is the time that I usually start assessing whether I have enough stocking fillers, so I thought I'd do a little post on some smaller and lower-priced things that physics and maths geeks in particular might like.

Moodicare Colour Changing Alarm Clock
I've had one of these for two years now, and I'll honestly never tire of it. It's utterly beautiful, and you can tell the time at night to any necessary accuracy without being able to see the face, simply from the colour. Anyone who wakes up in the night bleary-eyed will wonder how they ever managed without it. See also the Water Powered Alarm Clock

The Physics of Christmas
Two of the most wonderful things in life, Physics AND Christmas - what more could anybody want? See also the Glow in the Dark Solar System

Plasma Ball
How wonderful are these? They never stop being beautiful, no matter how many times you see them. Nobody could possibly have too many of them, and these days they're affordable.

The Penguin Book of Curious and Interesting Numbers
Every mathematician knows that there are no uninteresting numbers, and some can even give a proof. This is a fantastic compendium of the most interesting - a delight for mathematicians, and a source of inspiration to all those who simply wonder at the beauty of numbers. See also The Colossal Book of Short Puzzles and Problems and Irresistible Integrals

T-Shirt: No I will not fix your computer
The shirt that saves a thousand words. Let the whole world know when you are off-duty. See also I don't work here

Dynaflex Powerball Gyroscope
Fantastic gyroscope on acid, with built in bright blue LED and capable of rotation upto 15,000 rpm.

Squid LED Flexible Light
Gorgeous little flashlight with 3 white LEDs. See also the Glow Mini Lizard

The Best of the Annals of Improbable Research
This latest compendium includes a listing of the Ig Nobel prizes, annually awarded "for scientific achievements which cannot or should not be reproduced," and some of the prizewinning papers, such as "Failure of Electric Shock Treatment for Rattlesnake Envenomation" and "Of Mites and Man." There are also plenty of groundbreaking original studies from AIR: "How Dead Is a Doornail?" "Furniture Airbags," and "The Medical Effects of Kissing Boo-Boos."

The Best of MAKE
384 pages of the best projects from the first 10 years of MAKE magazine.

T-Shirt: Generic Humanoid Carbon Unit
This T-shirt accurately announces the life-form of its wearer, distinguishing it from the silicon-based variety it keeps closest company with. From the brilliant ThinkGeek - see also the WIFI Detector T-Shirt, and Bow before me, for I am root.