Archive for the ‘Zeitgeist’ Category

Cat pubs

Cat pubs, hopefully soon to become as a much of a trend as cat cafes… “Bristol’s Bag o’ Nails pub has over a dozen cats roaming around the establishment and they are all happy to join you for a convivial pint.” Perhaps one could make a temporary ‘cat pub’, if a group all brought their […]

The online shop, or not

Do you ever fill up your online shopping cart with goodies, only to then abandon the site without buying them? You’re not alone. While the people of the West Midlands are the most prolific gift-givers in the UK at 2015 (an average of 17 Xmas presents, given to more than eight family & friends), we’re […]

World Map of Stereotypes

Amazingly detailed and complete, a new World Map of Stereotypes…

Course in the sight reading of Spanish?

Why are there no adult courses in “sight reading of Spanish” and other similar-to-English written languages? Not in speaking the language, not in writing it, but just in being able to sight read it — to the level where one doesn’t need to puzzle over the surreal Google-isms of Google Translate. Such a course would […]

Search across all national and local newspapers in the UK

A handy new Google CSE search engine for all national and local newspapers in the UK. Though setting up RSS keyword alerts for Google News is probably a lot less work, if you’re regularly tracking a set of topics.

Latte artist-of-the-day, delivered by robots

It seems that the robot coffee-froth-art baristas are on their way, though not quite yet in kitchens on the High St. Once the bots are proven in the chain coffee shops and have a central database of latte art designs to choose from, could chains then have a curated “artist of the day”? With the […]

Drone Races

The new, underground sport of first-person drone racing. Don’t forget to take the air-sickness tablets, guys…

Amateur Creativity

A two-day free symposium on Amateur Creativity is to be held at the School of Theatre, University of Warwick (on the outskirts of Coventry) on 17th – 18th September 2015. It… “aims to challenge perceptions of amateur creativity and contribute to debates about the cultural significance of the amateur”.

PGP encryption for Facebook

Nice. Zuckerberg is ahead of the looming policy curve, and is now offering PGP encryption for Facebook. Just upload your public key.

Surprising ways to improve your eyesight

Interesting New Scientist special supplement (23rd May 2015) on improving one’s sight, “Good looking: 6 surprising ways to improve your eyesight”. The measures suggested, as well as innovative lenses and surgery, include… * Veggies. No, not carrots. “Trials have shown that people in the early stages of the disease [yellow spots in the eyes of […]

The Economist on universal income

The costs of a ‘basic universal income’ are concisely outlined of in the latest edition of The Economist. Too expensive, they fear, at least using the Swiss approach. But at the end of the article they point out that Alaska already gives all its citizens $1,900 a year dividend from its oil fund. So might […]

The hipster effect

A scientific paper on “The hipster effect: why anticonformists all look the same”. Basically: the intense peer-pressure of youth + being too lazy to keep up with the evolving microtrends = they just copy each other. I recall the useful lesson taught by John Foxx in the 1980s: that whatever is fashionable, the true hipster […]

The perfect storm

Pushing the super-accurate period of the UK Met Office weather forecast from 12 to 24 hours is set to save billions of pounds by 2020. The Mail reports savings of “£200bn by 2020”, which seems to be mis-reporting. The BBC seems to more realistically suggest a saving to the nation of £2bn from Sept 2015 […]


Kalev Leetaru has uploaded 2.6 million public-domain scanned pictures to Flickr, with automatic tagging. Now, if only the new Flickr was actually usable for anyone without superfast broadband…

Rise of the bots

Our Work Here is Done: Visions of a Robot Economy, a new free ebook from the UK’s NESTA. PDF only: no bot can yet convert it to .mobi format for Kindle ebook readers. Which is kind of ironic. Or hopeful, depending on your point of view.

“Use the Universal Translator, Spock…”

Microsoft is set to bring real-time audio translation to its audio/video chat application, Skype, by the end of 2014.

Survey off

Superb design, instantly ruined by a stupid survey pop-up that loads within milliseconds of you landing on the page. The sooner we have pop-up blockers that can reliably blank all this “oh, oh, take our survey!” and “take a look at another article, before you’ve finished reading this one!” cruft on magazine and newspaper websites, […]

Break the frame

The great bard of Northampton is on the job of making open source, open access comics, with a little nudge from some of NESTA’s Digital R&D Fund dosh… “we are assembling teams of the most cutting-edge creators in the industry and then allowing them input into the technical processes in order to create a new […]

Jobs of the future

Jobs of the future. A list that panders rather too heavily, for my taste, to the affluent eco-worrier / health faddist / quack psychotherapist (‘Cognitive Behavioural Therapist’, blugh) brigade. But here are the new job possibilities that I found most interesting… Rewilder (Undoes environmental damage, removes fences, repairs ecosystems, genetically recreates extinct species etc) Nostalgist […]


Awesome new Labour policy on Internet use…