Friday, May 31, 2002
One match in and already a major upset; if the World Cup carries on like this it’ll be great. I’d really like to see an African team go far this year. However Gazza doesn’t exactly look like a coup for the ITV analysis team. Even though he was reading straight from his notes you couldn’t really understand a word he was saying, and his French pronunciation and geographical knowledge were lamentable – apparently until this match he’d never heard of Senegal
Thursday, May 30, 2002
The Beeb reports on an awe-inspiringly stupid study of the value of time.

“Time is money. The question is – exactly how much money?
That was the puzzle economist Professor Ian Walker set out to solve with a new formula to allow Britons to calculate how much an hour of their time is worth – at home as well as work.”

Apparently he “developed a series of statistical models and calculations over six months to come up with the formula”, so I was expecting something quite impressive. But in fact he arrived at the astonishing result that the value of an hour of your time is equal to your salary minus tax, divided by the number of hours you work. Follow the links through from here to see ‘How we worked it out’.

Of course this rather relies on the fact that if you didn’t spend time cooking, brushing your teeth etc. then somebody would pay you for the work you could do instead; I suspect Professor Walker is quite amused by the hourly rate Barclaycard sponsored him for this garbage.
Saturday, May 25, 2002
Well everyone’s probably seen Google Labs by now, but my favourite is definitely Google Sets – I’d love to know how the algorithm works. I was particularly impressed when I put in “Pembroke, Magdalene” and got the full set of Cambridge colleges, then removed the final ‘e’ from Magdalene and got all the Oxford colleges. And just spotted on the discussion forum, the list you get if you enter “feck” is genius.
Tuesday, May 21, 2002
I’m very encouraged by Blair’s pro-science stand, it was about time the Government stood up against the anti-GM-foods anti-stem-cell-research anti-progress lobby, particularly after his refusal to commit to any statement against the teaching of creationism as science in schools.

Spent yesterday evening at the inaugural meeting of the Cambridge Café Scientifique:

“Cafe Scientifique is a place where, for the price of a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, anyone can come to explore the latest ideas in science and technology. Meetings have taken places in cafes, bars, restaurants and even theatres, but always outside a traditional academic context. ”

A vitally important part of pushing science forward in this country is engaging the public in scientific issues through events like these. We were treated to a very lucid talk by Dr. Adrian Pini, on spinal cord injury and nerve regeneration, followed by an interesting question and answer session. I was particularly interested to learn that salamanders and newts can regenerate nerve and brain cells while higher animals on the whole can’t. It was suggested that this is the price we pay for the complexity of our brains.

Back to more depressing news, the “no you are still in great danger, really” warnings from Cheney et al seem a blatant attempt to divert attention from Bush’s first real challenge, and nip in the bud the re-emergence of debate and dissent in the US.