Artists:— One of my dissertation ex-students, Natalie Ann-Hinchley, had her film “The Animal Book” (Second Home Productions) show at the Edinburgh Festival. The website has a trailer for this new West Midlands-made film, and Channel 4’s 4 Talent also has a profile of the studio // Two new biographies — On Some Faraway Beach: The Life and Times of Brian Eno (book) and What Remains: the Life and Work of Sally Mann (feature-length documentary) // A new photoset from West Midlands’ photographer Ben Sutton, Bicycling women in Oxford //

Quirk:— A day in the life of a cat-cam // Listening to Birds, a two-year AHRC project to examine how we understand birdsong in the UK. And with strange synchronicity — “Sunbeams giving the air a kiss”: Birds in contemporary art runs from 25th July — 6th Sep 08 at Southampton University. This follows the similarly-themed 2007 show The Parrot in Art: From Durer to Elizabeth Butterworth at the Barber in Birmingham // ‘Whoniversal’ Appeal: An Interdisciplinary Postgraduate Conference on Doctor Who. 14th-15th November 08 at Cardiff University // Kinky brits //

Publishing:— The wraps come off Google Knol. Google’s expert-powered closed-source answer to Wikipedia goes public today // Blog search, still crap? Perhaps not — Twingly holds out hope // The book Whatcha Mean, What’s a Zine?: The Art of Making Zines and Mini Comics // Another new UK zine, Gatehouse Gazette. It’s free online (6mb PDF) // MapJack //

Futures:— 2154: the future of time design // The collected artifacts from the future, from Wired magazine //

Games & worlds:— Fantasy cartography blog, featuring scans of maps from fantasy and science-fiction novels, role-playing packs, and videogames // Dare To Be Digital picks a West Midlands team for the finals. They’ll design a new videogame for the Wii // Warwick is to double the size of its new digital lab, making it a £120-million project //

West Midlands:— Dave Harte has more information about how Channel 4’s 4IP investment fund will operate // The top 5 best & worst shops in Birmingham // WordCamp UK reports: a long one from Simon Wheatley plus Blog Relations, Holly, Daily Novel, RKW, and a photo from Masterpiece // WordPress UK Midlands, anyone? // WordCamp UK 08 on Flickr // Probably one of the many “all mouth and shaky funding” government proposals, but there’s to be a Birmingham HEFCE consultation event on 23rd-26th September 08, on where and how to set up 20 new ‘higher-education centres’ by 2014 //