July 30, 2003

When rain stops surgery

Scientists in Israel used a solar radiation laser thingy to perform a successful (but curiously unspecified...) liver operation on a rat. Well, successful as far as they could tell: the rodent 'appeared to function with no complications'. Until they killed it.

The good news is that one of these devices costs 100 times less than a laser generator. The bad news is that you can only use the solar device when it's sunny, so the next time a surgeon says they're 'waiting for optimum conditions' for your laser operation, they could be waiting on Michael Fish to give them the go-ahead.

Seeing as how you'd hope that surgeons would have a backup for poor weather when performing delicate laser surgery, and that the said backup would probably have to be one of the expensive laser generators, they're actually spending $101k instead of $100k on equipment.

Can anyone explain why we should be excited about this technology?

July 28, 2003


Saturday was my first blog meet and drink, and I really enjoyed it. Having never met any bloggers other than Stu in person, I was looking forward to making some new friends.

The actual meeting-up part was a little shakey. Not knowing what the people you're meeting look or sound like was always going to make life a little difficult and Kevin and I spent about half an hour sitting two benches apart in Regents park without either of us speaking to each other. The realisation later that this could've led to a highly amusing, Trigger Happy style 'are you greenhamster?' scenario was incredibly frustrating!

Having failed to rendevous with anyone in the park, despite my highly conspicuous 'all-black-in-the-middle-of-summer' attire, I caught up with everyone [Aquarion, Lonecat, Kevin, Mrtn, DVD, Cathy, Stuart and Mole] in the pub, where we met and drank, as per the plan.

Anyway, my complete failure to rise yesterday morning (it was a long, wet trip home) and an early start today means that Cathy, Kevin and DVD got to tell the story first (and considerably better) than me means that I'll be lazy and wave you off in their general directions.

July 25, 2003

'You are part of the rebel alliance and a traitor...'

Several people have expressed a desire to see the fruits of Wednesday night's creative activities. However, given this BBC article this morning, and also Younis' comment on Wednesday's entry, this probably isn't the smartest move in the world.

I've never been very smart. Younis, this one's for you...

July 23, 2003

Forced by nature

Everyone has their little character flaws. One of mine is that when someone puts an idea in my head, no matter how ridiculous, pointless or stupid, I have to follow it though to conclusion. Because of this, I've spent a large part of the evening photoshopping my friends into pictures of Star Wars characters. It's all Matab's fault.

I need to get out more.

July 21, 2003

Happy Birthday Blography

Today is the first birthday of Stu's Autoblography!

'Here's to a hopelessly ambitious further 100 years...'

Ambitious? I don't know Stu, be careful what you wish for: 'Fancy living another 100 years, or more?'

On love online

In one corner we have Microsoft encouraging online infidelity in Internet chatrooms, and in the other we have Evesham PCs encouraging students to have safe sex. Wherever you look people are getting it on online.

At least the students get to do it for real.


After an eventful two hour operation, the kitchen sink now has a new tap, complete with fully twisty handles (well I was excited). The kitchen seems eerily quiet without a constant dripping sound. Guess I'll have to find something else to annoy me at three in the morning. Anyway, I now have hot water, clean hair and no stubble. You can all come back now.


July 20, 2003

Remember grunge?

Back in high school, a friend of mine was convinced by some article that if they didn't wash their hair for long enough, after a while it would start to clean itself. So, how long does that take, and does it work for your whole body, or only the hair?

Just planning for the worst...

July 19, 2003

The tide is high

I could well be in over my head. Last night the kitchen tap decided it was going to start running, whether I liked it or not. This afternoon's mission to find a new 'regulator assembly' (that's how the manual refers to a couple of bizarre looking springs and washers) for it ended in the realisation that the random italian company that manufactured my taps doesn't do so any more. So I need a new tap.

However, until the landlord calls me back I have to keep the water turned off to avoid submerging the kitchen. No cleaning, no shaving, no showers and no flushing the toilet. Things may get quite unpleasant quite soon...

July 15, 2003

"Come on Thailand...'s past your bedtime". Seems the Thai government has decided that this online role-playing game is having an ill-effect on it's youth. Tsk! And I thought video games were supposed to be good for you?

Oh well, they'll have to go home, play XBox, eat junk food and listen to Marilyn Manson instead. That'll be better for them.


Could be that I'm a little distracted at the moment, or it could be that all the rooms in our office are the same style now, but I keep having this really odd sensation at work:

There's one particular room where whenever I leave it, the room on the other side just doesn't feel like it's the one I was expecting. It's most disconcerting. I remember seeing something similar once in an episode of Star Trek, but that's just me being a bit sad.

It's probably just that I'd rather be somewhere else. Too nice to be indoors.

July 10, 2003

Toasty, but no beans

Being warm as it is, I'm doing as little as possible. I think it's the climatic equivalent of a rabbit stuck in the headlights of an oncoming car, only without the impending doom. Rarely do we get more than one day in a row where the weather is actually nice, and my body just isn't dealing with it.

I know I really should move. I should make the most of this lovely sunshine and long evenings,'s hot...

*futile swipe at play button on walkman*

July 07, 2003


I've come to the conclusion that sunglasses are something of a mixed blessing: both functional and extremely cool, but never at the same time. For example, I wore mine while watching morris dancers down on Southsea front yesterday afternoon. Because of this I was able to see things in the bright sun without squinting, but later I took them off and realised that I looked like a red panda with a hair deficiency. Functional, but not cool.

On the other hand, if I were to wear my shades while kung-fu fighting five really big guys, dressed in black leather, I'd probably look quite cool. But assuming I'm not 'The One', they're just gonna fall of and break. So cool, but not very functional.

I will now be sleeping under a glow lamp to try and even my face out.

July 04, 2003

Bad for business

I always wondered whether or not the guys who made Spam would would object to having their brand associated with the mess that festers on the fine mesh screen guarding my Email inbox. Well, finally they have.

Their specific complaint is against having the word 'Spam' in another trademark. You have to kind of see their point. After all, it has been their trademark for sixty-odd years, but they've not complained too much up until now. I guess this is why Google are getting their objections in early.

Many happy returns

Today is James' birthday. To celebrate he's invited all of his friends to join him in throwing ourselves off a crane with a bit of bungee cord around our ankles.

He's an odd one, but we love him. Happy birthday!

July 01, 2003

Doctors to use viruses on patients?

Western medicine may soon adopt an Eastern European method of treating bacterial infection: using viruses, according to this Wired article. Each strain of bacteria killing virus, or 'phage', attacks one specific type of bacteria, stopping the infection. The idea is to overcome bacterial resistance to antibiotics.

The science makes sense to me, as I can't think of any creature on the planet that doesn't have some kind of natural preadator. That being the case it occurred to me that if there are phages out there that eat staph or pneumonia, there must also be a phage out there that kills those 'friendly' bacteria in Yakult and Actimel.

Imagine the horror: a strain of virus so terrible that it can reduce the nutritional value of a pro-biotic yoghurt drink to that of a strawberry fruit corner. Surely only a madman would even contemplate such evil?