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Dr Mike J Smith
Kingston University

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September
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Department for Education puts in searing cuts
Had a meeting at the Department for Education last week. From all the press I know that cuts have been hard in government, but I hadn't expected education to be fully bearing the brunt of them. Michael Gove's office is top left.

posted on: Sat, 04 Sep 2010 | path: /fun | permanent link to this entry

New School Academies
Well it's a busy week in politics, what with a new government and the newly named Department for Education is kicking things off relatively rapidly....

posted on: Sat, 29 May 2010 | path: /fun | permanent link to this entry

More Metro Maps
A nice blog post comparing a variety of metro maps.

posted on: Mon, 15 Mar 2010 | path: /fun | permanent link to this entry

Australia is BIG
For antipodean colleagues, yes Australia is BIG. A map always puts it in to perspective!

posted on: Sun, 17 Jan 2010 | path: /fun | permanent link to this entry

Very small world map
A world map with a difference - this one is only 40 microns (that's about the same as the wavelength of thermal infra-red light) in in size! This one is done using CMOS fabrication tools and put on a chip. Nice :)

posted on: Wed, 13 Jan 2010 | path: /fun | permanent link to this entry

Importance of Geography
Nice article over at The Economist espousing the importance of Geography (with a big "g") and it's centrality to everything important that is going on in the world. Of course, I would at to that that GIS underpins a very large part of the data collection, analysis and presentation of much of what goes on in geography.

posted on: Tue, 12 Jan 2010 | path: /fun | permanent link to this entry

Christmas Every Year?
I'm sure this is a result of "middle age grouch" syndrome hitting me, but the whole "Christmas thing" seems to get bigger, earlier and glitzier each year. How refreshing to see this petition to number 10. Shame its lapsed as I would have voted!!!!

posted on: Mon, 14 Dec 2009 | path: /fun | permanent link to this entry

Degrees can cost less....
An interesting article over at the BBC about how to get a debt-free degree. Really it's about being sensible and tapping up potential sources of income during your 3 year stint. None of it is rocket science, but there are a lot of people that just don't twig. Well worth a read.

posted on: Mon, 12 Oct 2009 | path: /fun | permanent link to this entry

Financial Markets
Nothing to do with GIS, but the collapse of the financial markets has been making such headlines, even more so in the UK with the ex-CEO of the Royal Bank of Scotland being given a nice tidy 16M pension (you read that right) which he can take from age 50 entitling him to a rather pleasant 650K per year for life....

posted on: Fri, 27 Feb 2009 | path: /fun | permanent link to this entry

Credit crunch calls for a logo change
With the "credit crunch" (what an awful phrase, but it's not new!) biting hard, many companies are finding the process of readjustment painful. So what better time for rebranding than now. Take a look at these great logos to see how some companies could respond.

posted on: Sun, 11 Jan 2009 | path: /fun | permanent link to this entry

World Toilet Day
Yup, that's right its World Toilet Day! Whilst us Brits have always had a tongue-in-cheek snigger about toilet humour, typified by Adam Hart's wonderful Thunder, Flush and Thomas Crapper and, appropriately on WTD, a piece (or piss?!) by BBC News item (from TearFund) titled Britons' toilet pastimes revealed, there is a slightly more serious side that WaterAid/TearFund are trying to get across. Namely that 2.5B people worldwide don't have proper sanitation. And of course: "One gram of faeces can contain 10 million viruses, one million bacteria, 1,000 parasite cysts and 100 parasite eggs." At the very least have a go at playing TurdlyWinks. Go on, you know it makes sense!!

posted on: Wed, 19 Nov 2008 | path: /fun | permanent link to this entry

Best Training Course?
I've recently been on training courses at both Leica and ESRI UK and therefore thought it an opportune moment to compare them. And the verdict? Well, ESRI UK provide, by a significant margin, the best biscuits. No question!

posted on: Fri, 14 Nov 2008 | path: /fun | permanent link to this entry

O happy day....
Yes, it's finally happened, the student loan is fully and completely paid off. And they were so polite, thanking me for my custom. Only 18 years after I took it out. Now that was a worthwhile investment.... For my American audience. Read it and weep!

posted on: Mon, 06 Oct 2008 | path: /fun | permanent link to this entry

University initiations
Following on from the previous post, the UK news has recently been covering university initiations, the so-called "coming of age" induction in to university clubs....

posted on: Fri, 03 Oct 2008 | path: /fun | permanent link to this entry

Very sobering
Donald Clark gives a thought provoking post about a recent talk by psychologist Philip Zimbardo on what makes ordinary people evil. Note that this video contains graphic images through examples from Abu Graib prison, however it does end on an uplifting note.

posted on: Sun, 28 Sep 2008 | path: /fun | permanent link to this entry

Forgotten Heroes
My local school had a vote last academic year to name each of the buildings on their campus. This was based around "inspiring" people (or even "heroes") and the following won the vote: 1....

posted on: Thu, 25 Sep 2008 | path: /fun | permanent link to this entry

Top 5 Entries
Curiosity got the better of me and I dug out the log files for the web server and, using Web Log Explorer, ran a quick analysis of the blog page requests since I started blogging back in September 2005....

posted on: Sat, 20 Sep 2008 | path: /fun | permanent link to this entry

Sony London Underground
These images did the rounds a few weeks back, but I really like them. As part of Sony's advertising campaign for the Walkman they have produce various underground maps in the style of a set of headphones. In Sony fashion, they are understated but really rather pleasing on the eye. Worth a look.

posted on: Fri, 05 Sep 2008 | path: /fun | permanent link to this entry

C5 Aviator
I have a habit of destroying watches and, over the years, have always ended up coming back to my old trusty Casio Flight Planner....

posted on: Thu, 28 Aug 2008 | path: /fun | permanent link to this entry

Enter Plan B
I came across Donald Clark's Plan B blog blog recently and have been both impressed, and quite amused by mahy of his musings....

posted on: Wed, 16 Apr 2008 | path: /fun | permanent link to this entry

Interesting factoid of the week: vinegar....
Vinegar dissolves the glue that holds the eggs of head lice to hair strands, thus making them easier to comb out. You can tell I have children . . . .

posted on: Mon, 05 Nov 2007 | path: /fun | permanent link to this entry

Castle Rising Castle... and tearooms
Whilst on holiday in Norfolk over the summer we stopped at Castle Rising Castle. Whilst not belonging to English Heritage its preservation has been, at least partly, sponsored by them, so its on the "East of England" trail....

posted on: Fri, 31 Aug 2007 | path: /fun | permanent link to this entry

.... and Whipsnade respond!
The board of Directors are looking into a possibility of removing all but disabled badge holder cars from the Zoo but first there has to be a suitable alternative transport system in place. They are still in the planning stages so watch this space for further developments. I think also the problems with bikes were that not everyone stayed on the roads and tracks provided. As they are very quiet when being ridden this is another reason for not allowing them as they can creep up on pedestrians. The wearing of seat belts is not enforced as it's not a public highway and the speed limit should be only 10mph. Whilst most people do stick to this limit I know there are others who do not.

posted on: Mon, 06 Aug 2007 | path: /fun | permanent link to this entry

Whipsnade Zoo
I was visiting Whipsnade Zoo on the weekend. It's a fun place to take kids, there's lots to do and it helps support their wide ranging conservation programme....

posted on: Mon, 06 Aug 2007 | path: /fun | permanent link to this entry

Luton Airport has a long and rich heritage in the development of flight
OK it doesn't, its just that their live flight arrivals system crashed and produced this rather fun message. I really would be impressed if this departure board was running back in 1899!!

posted on: Fri, 22 Jun 2007 | path: /fun | permanent link to this entry

It is....
... "supernumerary of fingers or toes". Or simply more than the expected number of fingers/toes. This cropped up as a result of this article. There are some spooky photos on the wikipedia page!!

posted on: Thu, 14 Jun 2007 | path: /fun | permanent link to this entry

What is Polydactyly?
Well its a great word which hit the headlines yesterday.....

posted on: Tue, 12 Jun 2007 | path: /fun | permanent link to this entry

Shrek Just Snorted in My Bath
I think the photo says it all....

posted on: Wed, 18 Apr 2007 | path: /fun | permanent link to this entry

The Brompton Mean Machine
Being a commuter I have a mission to find the best way to get in to work. In fact, being a GIS lecturer seems to involve a mandatory long commute....

posted on: Tue, 10 Apr 2007 | path: /fun | permanent link to this entry

Horsepower: what does it all mean?
I was flicking through my Land Rover Enthusiast this weekend and saw an article on torque and horsepower....

posted on: Mon, 02 Apr 2007 | path: /fun | permanent link to this entry

Hot Cross Buns
My 6-year old daughter asked me this week why we have hot cross buns. Before I had a chance to look at Wikipedia and explain that they are symbolic of Jesus dying on the cross and are typically made without dairy products during Lent, she promptly informed me that Jesus died on a hot cross bun!! If only all things in life were so simple!

posted on: Sat, 31 Mar 2007 | path: /fun | permanent link to this entry

Autoresponders, email and alias'
I contacted a well known GI company this week, sending an email to what (obviously) was an alias. My expectation was that this would get routed through to the person dealing with queries related to this alias and respond appropriately....

posted on: Fri, 30 Mar 2007 | path: /fun | permanent link to this entry

What do PIN and GIS have in common?
Well not much really, except I can't stand people saying PIN number. IT'S NOT A BLOODY "PERSONAL IDENTIFICATION NUMBER NUMBER"!!!! Just as it isn't a geographic information system system. It's PI number, PIN, GI system or GIS. Definitely NOT PIN number.

posted on: Fri, 30 Mar 2007 | path: /fun | permanent link to this entry

Smashing Headline
Definitely my favourite news story of the week, titled: Mashed potato causes road smash I don't know who came up with the title, but its great!

posted on: Thu, 29 Mar 2007 | path: /fun | permanent link to this entry

Toilets of the World
I saw this in my local bookshop and had to buy it. This obsession with toilet books harks back to 1997 and Adam Harts quite fantastic Thunder, Flush and Thomas Crapper: An Encycloopedia....

posted on: Mon, 26 Mar 2007 | path: /fun | permanent link to this entry

Relative Values
We all know that inflation increases the actual cost of a product over time, whilst the relative cost (to, for example, earnings) remains the same....

posted on: Fri, 16 Feb 2007 | path: /fun | permanent link to this entry

House re-wiring.... not really in the "fun" category
I've had my house rewired recently and used Instalec, an electrical contractor in the Luton area. I was particularly concerned that a good job was done (I had had some good recommendations of several contractors) and, of course, that the quote was as low as possible....

posted on: Wed, 17 Jan 2007 | path: /fun | permanent link to this entry

Who needs an address anyway....
This story, originally reported in The Sun, has been doing the rounds on the GIS blogs, but its such a great item I couldn't resist putting it up. In short a guy couldn't remember the address of his friend, so instead of writing the county and nearest town (which is what most of us would do after having phoned directory enquiries!), he drew a map instead. And, of course, the Royal Mail actually delivered it!!

posted on: Fri, 05 Jan 2007 | path: /fun | permanent link to this entry

Humax Personal Video Recorder
Santa was good to me this year and delivered a shiny new Humax 9200T PVR. For those not familiar with PVRs, they are hard disc based digital video recorders....

posted on: Tue, 02 Jan 2007 | path: /fun | permanent link to this entry

Virgin Mother
I irregularly have meetings at the Geological Society in Picadilly (London). Burlington House also contains the Royal Academy of Arts and whilst I've never actually been in, there is usually something interesting to look at in the courtyard. Last week I was confronted with the accompanying image. A strangely disturbing sculpture that is quite fixating (and somewhat reminds me of old school biology books!). Not surprising then, that I have subsequently discovered it was produced by Damien Hurst. By the way, the accompanying image was taken by LondonRubbish over at Flickr.

posted on: Sun, 04 Jun 2006 | path: /fun | permanent link to this entry