Spaced-OoooO-Out
   


About

Dr Mike J Smith
Kingston University

Email me

Mike Smith


RSS FeedRSS Feed


Categories



Links


Calendar

May
M T W T F S S
       
25 26 27 28 29 30 31


       

Durness to Dover
I'm turning 40 this summer (body feels far older!) so to "celebrate" I thought I would do a BIG bike ride. In the UK, Lands End to John O'Groats is the most common one as it connects to two farthest points on the UK mainland, however that seemed at bit "common". So instead the idea of "top-left to bottom-right" emerged (rather than "top-right to bottom-left"). I needed a co-conspirator (Adam) and from there a route and some dates emerged. I've set up a website over at Durness-to-Dover where we give some background blurb and a map of the route. And if you feel inclined, please do sponsor us for the worth East Anglian Air Ambulance where you literally will save a life.

posted on: Tue, 19 Apr 2011 | path: /fun | permanent link to this entry

Just another Fedex delivery....
The Journal of Maps had a shipment of atlases delivered to Canada recently (our 2010 Best Map winner)....

posted on: Mon, 04 Apr 2011 | path: /fun | permanent link to this entry

Humax HDR T2
I bought a Hummy PVR late last year principally to get HD reception. Of course HD isn't quite available in my area (strength of crystal palace transmitter just too weak) so just got to wait until april....

posted on: Tue, 08 Feb 2011 | path: /fun | permanent link to this entry

Population swap?
Really nice map and explanation over at Strange Maps..... "what would happen if the world were rearranged so that the inhabitants of the country with the largest population would move to the country with the largest area? And the second-largest population would migrate to the second-largest country, and so on?"

posted on: Mon, 22 Nov 2010 | path: /fun | permanent link to this entry

Mapping European Stereotypes
Something in this for everyone: http://alphadesigner.com/project-mapping-stereotypes.html Funny.

posted on: Mon, 20 Sep 2010 | path: /fun | permanent link to this entry

Yes another story about OS monopoly
This time though its the Monopoly boardgame and OS have created a modern map showing the locations of monopoly squares in London....

posted on: Wed, 08 Sep 2010 | path: /fun | permanent link to this entry

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

AeroPress Coffee Maker
Came across the AeroPress coffee maker recently (thanks bro). Looks a very interesting take on coffee making by using a mix of a filter and plunger. However the plunger is an air plunger to create even pressure as the brewed coffee passes through the filter paper. Supposedly to create a smooth filtered taste, but with greater flavour. And, to boot, its portable.

posted on: Wed, 25 Aug 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

Ciao Bella, Bloomsbury
I had a very pleasant meal at Ciao Bella, a wonderful "little" Italian restaurant in the heart of Bloomsbury and at the north end of Lamb Conduit Street. We went early evening when it was relatively quiet, but apparently it gets packed out and needs to be booked in advance. The food was excellent and, amazingly, you can get a two course meal for 2 for under 30 (without drinks). Highly recommended.

posted on: Fri, 01 May 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

Where can you get a good coffee??
A good question indeed and there seems to be a worry amongst coffee aficionados that the "big three" are suffocating independent (quality) coffee shops in the UK....

posted on: Fri, 25 Jan 2008 | path: /fun | permanent link to this entry

Peyton and Byrne @ St "Meet me at" Pancras
I met a colleague at St Pancras recently and we decided to grab a quick coffee so headed to the nearest coffee bar which happened to be Peyton and Byrne, "a British Bakery". All I can say is that if this is the state of British bakeries, please o please bring on the French. A luke warm cup of coffee, followed by a rock hard sandwich for my colleague was enough. And to cap it all off, someone walked off with my cuppa leaving a half-finished hot chocolate. Cheers!

posted on: Tue, 11 Dec 2007 | 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

Dunstable Downs
I've been carrying out the further testing to the kite rig at Dunstable Downs (Note: whilst Mastermap might be up-to-date, the Landranger maps displayed at Steremap most certainly aren't!). This offers fantastic views out over the Vale of Aylesbury, is wonderfully windy and hosts the internationally famous Dunstable Kite Festival (which incidentally is TOMORROW). It's well worth a visit and now has the new Chiltern Gateway visitor centre. Designed to be eco-friendly and blend in to the landscape, it offers fantastic views out across the Vale and sports a reasonable cafe/restaurant.

posted on: Sat, 28 Jul 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

(Not so) Upper Crust
Pondering what to do at Gatwick airport whilst waiting to fly out, what better than to sit down and ponder life over a pleasant coffee....

posted on: Sat, 19 May 2007 | path: /fun | permanent link to this entry

Geography is a flavour
I recently came across the somewhat dated (well 2006) Starbucks advertising, Geography is a flavour (why the Americans can spell flavour correctly, but not colour is beyond me). Its interesting that the ad campaign focuses on the "where" and "why" of geographical thinking for understanding coffee tastes. It also moves away from the more recent trend in categorising purely by taste, as per many modern wines (e.g. Sauvignon Blanc). However I think the last word has to go to the YouthBlog (you need to scroll down for the entry) which read the tag line slightly differently. And Ken, the last line was almost written just for you!!!

posted on: Mon, 23 Apr 2007 | path: /fun | permanent link to this entry