Monday, December 12, 2005

I can't run, but I can fight

I've been ill for the past few weeks, and it has been a bizzare experience, I had my appendix out and so have been in quite a bit of discomfort from the operation and my uvulva swelled up, which apparently is not serious, but so I couldn't speak or move about much.

So I spent the time laying on my sofa with my monitor at the edge of the desk, playing everquest 2, which is one of these massivley multiplayer online fantasy world games.

The bizzare bit is that, in the real world I was an invalid, but on the PC I was jumping, running, fighting, talking to people and generally being very able bodied. It's interesting now that games are starting to get quite realistic, I havent had the impression that I've been stuck indoors because I've been running through green fields and big open spaces.

I'm sure it won't be long before this sort of experience is used in the medical world for therapy (probably already is in fact) and for treating things like agrophobia, hundreds of thousands of people play EQ2, their are Cities and Towns, but you can turn it off at the flick of a switch if you get overwhelmed...

Anyway... back to the game, need to kill some orcs!

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Well it's always worth a try

In a world with new countries appearing left right and centre, a world with people starting cults, a world where art and geurilla warfare are the same thing, a world where the whole world fits inside a pc, where freedom isn't as widespread as it seems.

In this world, anything is possible, so I now have a donation link on the left, it uses paypal (which is what ebay use) so is secure.

so if you happen to be a millionaire, or just fancy being nice, feel free to donate to the continued bloggings of rob and his girlfriend, and help us pay off our debts :)

I always wondered what would happen if I had one of these, and someone really wealthy stumbled across the site and thought, "what the hell" heheh, well now's my chance :)

I'll keep you all up to date, and if someone makes me rich I'll throw a party and invite all donatees to come along ;)

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Stuff to do

Feeling stressed, pop some bubble wrap!

Feeling bored, check out the worlds first virual webcam

Feeling lucky, see if you can spot the loch ness monster

Monday, July 11, 2005

Grow Up

In the wake of the London bombings I've been asking myself a scary question, What next.

It seems that in this sensational media based age, we need more and more to really shock us and, in that respect, September 11th will set the bar for a while yet. But surely the terrorists are anticipating this, planning bigger and more shocking attacks to assault our numbed senses. In many ways the london and Madrid bombings could have been a lot more horrific than they actually were.

My girlfriend made a stunning observation;

"there's no going back, there will never be a time when these sorts of things dont happen"

So are we doomed to a life of ever escalating disasters, the ultimate arms race, will this just naturally end up being an ongoing war of terror? I don't think we can answer that, but I like to think not. I think we need to grow up, as a race. We're stuck here, on this tiny planet, billions of us struggling to survive, and it always amazes me to think what we could achieve if we worked together.

There you go... sorted...

heh, if only. But seriously, the more of us who make ourselves aware, who talk and reason, who live life with passion, and purpose. The more of us who question, communicate, who love, we can have an impact. Over 400 people have read my blog, 400 that's the beginings of an army, we need to start to move, I have no idea where, or how, but the Internet is opening up channels of communication that never existed 20 years ago. we must use them.

All of us, we need to grow up...

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Google Earth

A few pictures that will hopefully inspire you to check out google earth. Its a completley free 10MB download that (providing you have broadband) allows you to roam around the entire earth looking at hi resolution satellite photography that's mapped onto a 3d terain model of the planet. On top of that you can add roads, 3d buildings, points of interest, and a plethora of other goodies. The interface is simple, and the program is really easy to use.

I've been playing with it for about a week now and it's truly amazing, a great one for kids as it's educational to boot!! so head on over to and give it a go, like I said above, it's completely free, no strings attached.

The pictures seen here are of the grand canyon, above, the sedan crater in the nevada test range, and the "boneyard" a usaf base used to scrap planes that are no longer in service.

Google Earth also has a BBS feature where people can share their favourite places, or post a request and let other people find it and direct you to it. Happy globetrotting folks!

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Seeing is easy with eyes closed...

This is what I see when I close my eyes, or in a dark room at night, I used to think the dots were little ufo's when I was a kid :)

I spent a while getting it right, and it's spot on, exactly what I see :)

Click it to see it proper size, and imagine it's all you see in your field of view pulsing and moving gently about

Here are some pictures that Andy Coulter used on a blog post as an analogy of what he see's with his eyes closed, definite similarities, please send me pics of what you see!!

I'd love to hear if you see the same, please click comment and let me know. You dont need an account with blogger.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Hello, my name's Rob and I'm a sudokuholic

Yes, it's online su-doku a simple yet addictive logic puzzle,
and there's a different one every day!!

ahhh, that's better

Monday, June 13, 2005

Trees and things

I've been asked to discuss a particularly interesting question.

If a tree falls in a forest, but nobody is around to hear it, does it make a sound.

I suppose I'll start by saying that there are many ways to look at this question, and it leads on to many others. The question, in it's simplest form, seems easy to answer, yes you may think, if a tree falls it makes a sound, regardless of whether there is anyone there or not.

But there are complications, what do we mean by sound, and how can we prove that the tree makes a sound. We can define sound in many ways, the oxford english dictionary defines sound as:

• noun 1 vibrations which travel through the air or another medium and are sensed by the ear. 2 a thing that can be heard. 3 music, speech, and sound effects accompanying a film or broadcast. 4 an idea or impression conveyed by words.

All of a sudden we see that the tree, by this definition does not make any sound, as there are no ears to sense it. The tree, we assume, does make vibrations in the air, but these are not sensed.

So the question brings complications based on our use of common words like "sound", and the more you think about it, the weirder it gets, imagine the tree falling now, and making that loud cracking sound, but that sound is made by the vibration of your eardrums and your brains interpretation of that vibration, and here there are no eardrums to vibrate, no ears to hear it, and because there are no ears, the tree falls in complete silence, hitting the ground without making a sound. It is only once we introduce a pair of ears that there is sound, but before, just silent soundless vibrations in the air!

However there is an even more thought provoking side to the question.

How can we be certain that an event occurs, if we do not observe it.

This question was summed up by a physicist called Schroedinger who put forward the idea for a rather interesting experiment.

Put a cat in a box, with a vial of poison, and a radioactive isotope... the isotope has an exactly 50% chance of giving of a certain particle which will be detected inside the box, and the poison will be released. The box is soundproof and there is no way to see the cat, so you have no idea if the cat is alive or dead, until you open the box.

Schroedinger postulated that the cat was neither alive or dead... but that it remained in a bizzare state called quantum uncertainty, and it wasn't until you opened the box that you brought a resolution to this state and the cat became alive or dead...

It sounds pretty far fetched, and I'm not going to go into the details (google: Schroedingers cat) but what's even more bizzare is that this so-called "quantum uncertainty" and the "collapsing of quantum waveforms" has actually, on much smaller scales than that of a cat (try individual particles) been proved correct!!!

experiments have shown that particles, in certain situations hang in a sort of limbo untill observed, and once observed snap into their observed state.

This doesn't happen on larger scales like cats and trees, but it's worth remembering that while the cat in the box does either die or live, and the tree in the forest does make vibrations in the air... things are not always what they seem, and our observing them can have implications and, on a quantum level, we cant say that something happens, even if it should theoretically have done so, unless we observe it.

To finish then, the question challenges us on many levels, it challenges our perception of reality, it's very hard to imagine that tree falling in colmplete silence, yet it does, because noone is there to hear it, and it's harder still to imagine that the very act of observing something can change it. that by us looking at the world, we alter it.

The ultimate extension of the question is this.

If there were no observers in the universe, noone to see anything happening, would the universe exist.


Sunday, June 05, 2005


A clip from a conversation

> Imagine a detective. His job is to find the truth, who dunnit. Then one day
> he becomes a philosopher and now he asks "what is truth?". The discussion
> lasts for decades and does not get resolved. How does philosophy help
> him to do his job?

Philosophy is the means by which we understand how to think. And to make sense of the world around us.

> What is your purpose in doing philosophy? Do you have a purpose for
> doing philosophy?

To understand the world around us and to learn how to think better. To find meaning to my existence.

> If a question in philosophy did get resolved, what would you do? Would
> you keep on arguing? Would you find a practical application? Or what?

I've always considered myself a 'commercial philosopher,' in which I want answers to solve my own pressing issues and the issues around me. I'm not interested in 'ivory tower' or 'intellectual' philosophy, I want things that work here and now, not discussions of what 'here' and 'now' are and whether or not they exist.

If a particular software package gets developed, it doesn't stop someone from developing something else. There are lots more questions.

What happens when we die?
Is there life after death?
What happens before we die?
Is there life before death?
Why does it feel like I am the only person in the universe?
Is there more than one universe?
Is there intelligent life outside of earth? (Is there intelligent life ON earth?)
What is my purpose in life?
What is the purpose of life in general?

Monday, May 30, 2005

Eye Eye

been reading a book about cave art, and it talks about common visual hallucinations and so, whilst browsing the net about this I stumbled upon a couple of detailed definitions of things I just take for granted, Interesting stuff, the sort of thing we all experience, but hardly ever talk about to each other.

Floaters are little "cobwebs" or specks that float about in your field of vision. They are small, dark, shadowy shapes that can look like spots, thread-like strands, or squiggly lines. They move as your eyes move and seem to dart away when you try to look at them directly. They do not follow your eye movements precisely, and usually drift when your eyes stop moving.

In most cases, floaters are part of the natural aging process and simply an annoyance. They can be distracting at first, but eventually tend to "settle" at the bottom of the eye, becoming less bothersome. They usually settle below the line of sight and do not go away completely. Most people have floaters and learn to ignore them; they are usually not noticed until they become numerous or more prominent. Floaters can become apparent when looking at something bright, such as white paper or a blue sky.

Floaters occur when the vitreous, a gel-like substance that fills about 80 percent of the eye and helps it maintain a round shape, slowly shrinks. As the vitreous shrinks, it becomes somewhat stringy, and the strands can cast tiny shadows on the retina. These are floaters.

'Phosphenes' are signals from the neurons of the retina to the visual cortex of the brain which are interpreted by the brain as lights and visual patterns, but are not caused by visual light. They can be produced by neurons randomly firing (similar to what causes muscle twitches) and a variety of other causes, including pressure to the eyeball and (less commonly) various diseases of the retina and nerves. Phosphenes are most easily noticed with the eyelids closed, or in a darkened environment. Category:Visual system

Sunday, May 22, 2005

A word for you

Main Entry: 1su·per·la·tive
Pronunciation: su-'p&r-l&-tiv
Function: adjective

1 : of, relating to, or constituting the degree of grammatical comparison that denotes an extreme or unsurpassed level or extent
2 a : surpassing all others : SUPREME b : of very high quality : EXCELLENT
- su·per·la·tive·ly adverb
- su·per·la·tive·ness noun

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Distortion, Deletion and Delerium

Communication is an interesting subject, so let's go there today...

The mind is incapable of digesting and storing everything it sees, so there are processes which make it possible to get the gist of any situation while not having our heads explode from information overload.

one of these processes we shall call filtering.

when you enter a situation, lets say your first day at a new job, you take in masses and masses of information, and as we've said, you can't possibly keep all that information in your head, (think back to last thursday and try to remember as many details as you can about the hour of 12:00 till 13:00 and you'll see that you remember much less than an hours worth of information)

so somewhere along the way, one of the things that you do is filter out and store only the information that is important to you.

but herein lies the rub.

How do you define what is important to remember and what isn't, on that first day how do you build up your impression of the Job, who chooses what you will use, and what you will discard.

we all have many filters, and they are running all the time, as you read this, you've already started filtering, you get the gist, but lose the detail.

a good example of a common filter is Positive / Negative.

some people filter there experiences for negatives, ask them about their job and they'll tell you the negative aspects, ask them to describe a rusty car and they'll tell you it's an pile of junk.

others filter for positives, they'll tell you all the best bits of their job, they'll tell you that the car is a classic waiting to be restored.

their situations are identical, yet their filters change their perception and lead them to different conclusions, different versions of the truth, yet they're both right.

let me give you another filter to play with.

get a pen and paper, and answer the following question.

write 9 bullet point sentences comparing how things are going in your job this year compared to how things were last year



ok, so now lets look at what you wrote, we're checking for a specific filter the same / change filter, on the paragraph check how many times you said something was the same as last year, and how many times you noted that something had changed.

if you've more things that changed, that's an indication of a person who filters for change, someone who likes change and a changing environment

and if you've listed lots of things that are the same then that indicates that you filter for sameness, and like knowing where you stand and similarity.

of course this is only a little test and there are many other factors, and it's a scale, so you could be in the middle, and be equally comfortable with change or sameness.

but it gives you a starting point to explore your filters.

the really interesting thing is what happens when two people have opposite filters.

let's take an example

Jane filters for sameness, and John filters for change.

John wants to get Jane to come on a holiday with her and he, being a change person, pitches it like this.

"It'll be really amazing, nothing like our normal holidays, you've never seen anything like it, honestly. There are loads of different things to do, things you've never done before, a great new hotel and a whole new world of adventure"

OK so maybe he's gone a bit over the top :) but the essence is there, he filters for change, so he's telling her things that excite him, the differences. but she won't buy into this, she filters for sameness, he'd have more luck with something like.

"It'll be really amazing, There'll be you and me, as always, and there's plenty of things to do, even some things you've never done before, we're in a lovely hotel like last year, and out the window is a whole world of adventure"

he's telling the same story, but dropping out a few of the change specific bits, and adding some sameness that Jane can relate to.

so if we are aware of others filters we can communicate on their wavelength. someone who filters for negative for example isn't necessarily a negative person, it's just that positive things aren't as obvious to them, they will describe the glass as half empty not because they are negative, but because they honestly see the glass as half empty.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

fun and free games

ok a few little web gems for you

Chaos theory
a lovely little game, you get three rounds and in each round 50 balls are thrown up on the screen, you must click once to cause an explosion that will destroy as many balls as you can, the highest score is 150, my high score is 129

Make a Flake
remember at school you made snowflakes out of.... look just have a go, it'll all come back

Just solitaire
This one's for my mum, around 10 different free solitaire games you can play on the web

I'll add a few more tomorrow

feel free to comment

Sunday, May 08, 2005

An excerpt

I'm writing a Sci Fi story at the moment, it's set in a world where our sight is augmented by computers to such an extent that we lose track of what's real and what's computer graphics...

here's a very small excerpt for you to have a look at, feel free to comment. I may post a larger piece later.


Often, when I meet people for the first time, if they recognise my name and realise who I am, they ask me, in hushed tones, looking guilty, “What’s it like”.

I don’t mind the question; to be honest I enjoy the opportunity to shock, and to educate.

“At first it’s like being blind”

They pause, uncertain, waiting for more.

“Everything is bland, pale, no colours as such, and there are no numbers, not one” They usually recoil or gasp at that.

“And things get in the way, I can’t see past walls, or trees, or anything, even you… I can’t see anyone’s tags, I have no options, none, I have to talk to everyone, face to face” more horror on their faces, but I smile at them now

“But everything, absolutely everything I see is real… and I see it with my eyes, mine … no lies, no tricks, no blips or virg, no verts, heh, no spamverts… that alone makes it worthwhile”

My smile broadens.

“The sun is so bright it hurts my eyes… but it’s supposed to… I see the world as it is meant to be seen”

I can’t help but laugh

“And it’s a beautiful sight”

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

a Pawn

found this while geocaching?

leave a comment and let us know where he's ended up :)

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Nice Weekend

Spending the weekend in Norfolk with first family, then friends.

having a lovely time, and have just discovered the fun of Geocaching, check out

It's a really rather interesting idea, basically a giant treasure hunt across the whole world :)

Kez and I found our second cache this weekend and mum and dad enjoyed it too.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

how many people

I'm really intrigued as to how many people actually stumble across this blog while clicking "next blog"

is it loadsa people?

or are blogs lost amongst the multitude?

Please add a comment just to say hi, and to let me see how many of you are out there, blogsurfing :)



OK, so I'm sober now, and do I still think the same as i did in my DrunkenBlog a couple of posts down?

Yep :)

I'm throwing this out for comment, these are some thoughts, and I'm open and willing to revise my ideas, but it makes for interesting debate.

In my humble and not much read opinion we seem to be in denial of our roots as a species.

Primates, the species from which we evolve, have been on earth for over 200 million years
The earliest known toolbearing man, Homo Habilis was around about 2 million years ago
Homo sapiens, our species, have been here 40,000 years or more
Yet back in 5000 BC, a stones throw away in evolutionary terms, we were still hunter gatherers. the occasional small village existed, but no cities, no civilisation, no laws as such, other than survival of the fittest.

In fact, most of the worlds major civilisations only realy started to grow and advance after around 1200 BC

So we live in a world with a 40,000 year old species, that has a 2oo million year old family tree, that has decided that they are not animals but civilised humans, in the last 3000 years.

And we expect that decision to change us, in evolutionary terms.

we expect it to remove impulses as old as the species, rage, lust, envy, hate, fear, even joy in some societies.

We condition our children not to hate, because it is bad, or fear, because it shows weakness, not to lust for it is evil, and that rage is harmful, we condition them in many ways that they are not animals "you're behaving like an animal". But we are animals, and these are survival traits that have been with us, and within us forever.

And now that policing is better, and the chances of getting caught higher we are starting to see that these traits cannon be removed.

Crime and violence are not on the rise in many civilised countries, we just detect it better now, crime and violence are inherent in us as humans, we are a violent species, why do you think we are fast becoming the only one left.

It's just that thousands of years ago acts of violence weren't deemed wrong, violence was a part of life, and crime too, survival of the fittest, steal, kill, eat, reproduce, survive.

And now we deem them as wrong, we try to suppress our natural instincts, and to build a better society, but is it possible, are we that strong.

And should we even try?


A Really rather good reply to my theory, by Memphis Man

Monday, April 18, 2005

Nine Inch Nails

Nine Inch Nails new single "The hand that feeds" is currently getting a lot of stick for being the Trent Reznor Sell Out Single, well, I've listened to NIN since Pretty hate machine and I love it :)

Commercial rock / pop is always something that Trent has flirted with, many's the time that a really catchy NIN tune has been thwarted from chart success at the last minute by a plethora of swearwords or a violently grating dischord.

So what if one slipped through the net, it was the catchy tune just waiting for a chance to escape :)

Trent, congratulations on the one that got away...


So third blog...

5 bottles of stella later, and I'm compelled to ask,

Are we really more than just animals pretending to be civil.

I mean, let's take a long hard look at our ancestry...

Do we really think that we are alone on the earth in some mystical chosen role, as the only species that has transcended the animal kingdom?

Or are we just really clever animals who are pretending to be civilised "human beings"?

When it really comes down to the line, in your darkest thoughts, the ones that you won't even admit to yourself, are you some higher species, or are you just an animal?

Is crime really an abberation, violence, vandalism, social disorder.

Or are these the symptoms of trying to force a bunch of animals to behave in a way that they just weren't programmed to behave.

Story Time

An old short story of mine for you, enjoy :)

The Gazebo

There was a tribe I visited once, on my travels. I forget where they lived, the Amazon I think, anyway, their village was dominated by trees, they lived in hollowed out gnarled trunks, their sky was a green canopy of leaves, but everywhere were paintings and pictures of sunsets, sunrises, and clouds.

The nearest clearing was probably over a hundred miles away, so I asked the elder where the pictures came from.

The elder took me through the undergrowth to a very strange clearing, there were fewer trees here, but still the sky was the green of a million leaves. In the middle of the clearing was a very strange tree (or so I thought) it’s four thin parallel trunks stretched up through the leaves above, almost geometrical branches in weird patterns, linked the trunks. And the tree was obviously very old, so covered in creepers it was.

“it’s beautiful” I said, admiring this strange specimen, at this the elder burst into a fit of deep, booming laughter, and as he lead me to the many steps, he told me a story. A story that ended when we reached the top, and I saw the most incredible sight I have ever seen in my entire life.

One normal day in the village a man woke up. He sat bolt upright in his bed, and let out a great cry


The village fairly shook with his cry, and soon the elders of the tribe were gathered around his trunk, questioning him deeply.

It transpired, that he had been visited by Timor, the tribes god of the sky, and had been instructed to build a strange monument for the villagers, a monument by which they were to worship the sky.

The elders were excited, visions such as this were rare, and the instructions the young man had revealed were very explicit.

The young man had been instructed to build the “Gazebo”, in a clearing some 500 meters from the village, he enlisted the help of most of the rest of the village, and work commenced immediately. 4 of the tallest trees in the vicinity were found, and after an elaborate 3 day blessing, chopped down. Over the period of the next month these trees were raised in the centre of the clearing in a relatively small square. As the work continued food began to deplete in the village, and certain people were taken off the project to gather berries, and hunt wild boar.

Next work began at the base of the trees, securing and building platforms, during this time a neighbouring tribe realised that the majority of the time the village was vacant, and took to raiding the village more and more frequently. About half the workforce was removed, to guard the village from such raids.

Next, steps were constructed leading up the inside of the gazebo, and more platforms were created, though it seemed that each step placed saw the loss of a worker, either to injury, or necessity. By the time the steps reached halfway up the gazebo, only the inspired original tribsman remained, he now laboured alone to complete the monument.

Months passed, steps were placed, people forgot, the elders now talked of new wonders, a magical stone had been found, and Timor, the Gazebo, the lone tribesman, paled into comparison… the stone was blue.

But yet he worked, never lagging, sleeping on steps, eating grubs, and dreaming of the sky.

If anyone had visited they would have seen him climb ever closer to that green canopy, day by day, step by step, and they would have seen him stop, exactly a year after his vision, and pluck a leaf, a green leaf from that canopy, with tears in his eyes.

Then they would have seen him place more steps, slowly disappearing into the trees.

3 months later they would have seen him appear again, and slowly walk down the steps, a stunned look of wonder on his face, his ravaged, thin sunburnt body barely able to support him, they would have seen him walk from the clearing, towards the village.

They did see him approach, mistaking him for a stranger, all guarded looks and aggressive actions, until he collapsed some feet from his hut.

he awoke in a small trunk, one of the village girls by his side, the village elders huddled around the doorway.

“It’s beautiful” they said, the girl and the elders almost in unison.

He smiled “the gazebo?”

They nodded.

The village was transformed. The gazebo had changed their lives, they could worship the sky, and the gods were pleased, everyone was so happy. As he walked through the village people applauded him as a hero, “It’s beautiful,” they cried “so beautiful”. He could hardly speak, so choked with emotion he was. The impact it had had on their lives was so obvious, he had seen the sky too, and he knew exactly how they felt. Nothing else could affect people like this. Such powerful wonders nature held.

He walked towards the clearing, the villagers followed him, yet as he came through towards the gazebo, the villagers formed a circle, around it, their backs pressed up against the trees at the very edge of the clearing, at first he was puzzled by this, but then he realised that they were letting him walk to the sky on his own, he supposed as a kind of gesture of thanks..

He placed his foot on the first step..

The villagers all started to murmur.

He placed his other foot on the second step..

The murmuring grew to a concerned chatter.

As he placed his foot on the third step the elder cried out to him, and rushed across the clearing.

“Wait, Wait”

As the elder reached him both men looked puzzled

”What is the matter”, asked the tribesman

“Where are you going?” asked the elder in obvious distress.

The elder took the tribesman by the hand and lead him off the steps and back across the clearing, pressing his back against one of the trees he stared up at the gazebo.

“I think you’ll find you can see it best from here, look….” The elder pointed at the Gazebo “It’s Beautiful”

Sunday, April 17, 2005


well, my first blog...

hi everyone, or more likley noone...

Started writing my first sci fi short story today, been researching it for a couple of weeks, tho the ideas behind it have been in my head for years, so we'll see how that goes.

I'll post some of it up maybe, and I'll assume no feedback is good feedback ;-)

Currently Listning to NIN the hand that feeds
Currently reading Hard Sci Fi Renaissance Anthology
Currently watching Hustle on BBC1
Currently playing Darwinia Demo

will have a proper ramble later on, but for now, bye bye