The annual Garden Moth Count for the British Isles, until 6th July 08. Part of National Insect Week, which has a fine website // A paranoid hat-o-phobia stalks the West Midlands // “Civility wears a hat”, writes a Birmingham doctor // Forgotten Fruits. Mmm… gooseberry pie… // The joy of not knowing how to drive a car // John O’Groats to Land’s End by tractor // British boffins invent the power-steering suitcase, with built-in umbrella // In Search of the English Eccentric, a new book, published 15th June 08 // A West Midlands’ photography student, Amanda Jackson, photographs British eccentrics — and has just won a gong for one of her pictures // Sunny Snaps, the art of the commercial beachfront photographer // An Art History of British Surfing //

Typographica blog — which once sported a nameplate I designed for them, hem hem — chooses “Our Favorite Typefaces of 2007” // Elastic lists demo (some Documentation) and Elastic tags demo // Lassie, a no-programming alternative to the excellent Wintermute adventure game engine, with Flash output and pre-built Director modules to handle the required game code. I’m thinking this could be useful as part of an introductory game design course, hiding most of the scary programming from newbies. No parallax scrolling, though — you need Wintermute for that // Memory-mapping with Silverlight //

Wired reviews a new book on videogames, This Gaming Life: Travels in Three Cities. It examines: the London game mod scene; the Icelandic developers of the free-market EVE Online science-fiction universe; and South Korea’s fervent StarCraft fan culture (it’s their national equivalent of “football + gambling”) // The UK’s Retro Gamer magazine // Birmingham’s ZX Spectrum orchestra // Gamasutra has fresh European statistics on videogame players // “Virtual Cities: Digital Mirrors into a Recursive World” (PDF link) //

The Public, the new £55m+ arts centre in West Bromwich, finally opens to the public on Saturday // Birmingham’s Fused magazine has used the Issuu service — which was blogged on D’log a few weeks ago — to put Fused No.35 online for free // Now the dust has settled…. an unsurprising vacancy for Head of Performing Arts at Arts Council England: West Midlands. Deadline: 7th July 08 // Birmingham’s Electric Cinema pushes steadily toward its 100th birthday (31st Dec 09) with a £100k refit and a new sound system, with the second screen re-opening on 4th July 08 // Ballet Hoo! presents “Wrosne: an Underground Experience” (20th-25th July) — a unique new piece of local theatre, performed in the ancient caverns and canals beneath the town of Dudley // Four places are now available for the media strand of Insight Out. West Midlands applicants need 18 months of solid work experience in producing moving-image media, to apply. In March 09, trainees will have a chance to pitch for funding to complete their film. More info from: helen.brown +at+ bcu.ac.uk // Birmingham Central Library is again being mooted for ‘listed building’ status. There’s a blue-sky suggestion that it could be turned into a museum of modern art, and that the neighbouring Conservatoire / Adrian Boult Hall be demolished instead. Personally I think the ugly, cramped, stuffy and crumbling Library needs to be demolished asap — but I fear we’ll get a gimmicky and dumbed-down replacement, and sad pictures of skips full of ‘no longer wanted’ books // A new Custard Factory website “goes live on Friday”, writes Pete // Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter Arts & Designer Crafts Festival, 5th July 08 // Daden mashes Google Earth (Birmingham) into Second Life (video) // Birmingham’s Ben Neal has a brilliant new door // Laundry has new Creative Laboratories bursaries on offer to West Midlands’ artists // BINS reports on the recent “Birmingham: Second City?” debate // An American’s view of the 119th West Midlands Show. Cue the LOLsheep! //

Architects have erected a giant aggregator for their collective bloggery. No doubt they’ll soon clad it with brutalist concrete and plate glass, then scamper off to their dinky little cottages in the countryside // Telephone sex-line operators: what do they really look like? // How nerds are treated by I.T. managers, and why it has to change // France to tax the internet… to pay for… the mass digitisation of knowledge prime-time TV — “Internet companies will pay a tax of 0.9 percent of sales to finance public television”. Which is no doubt planned as a stalking-horse for 1.5%, then 2.5%, then 5% and beyond // The silent decline of school and college libraries // The coming talent-crunch // Philip Longman’s lecture on “The Depopulation Problem” (direct MP3 link) //