Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Data mine Google books with Ngram

Graph shows that writing about varroa, a disease in honey bees, started around 1970.

What does the Ngram Viewer do?
When you enter phrases into the Google Books Ngram Viewer, it displays a graph showing how those phrases have occurred in a corpus of books (e.g., "British English", "English Fiction", "French") over the selected years.

Have a go - ask your own question

My question, which produced the graph above was "When did we start talking about varroa?". It's a bit of fun. Try it, run your own little mini-research using Ngram. Maybe you will gain an unexpected insight. 

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

3 links to explain Big Data

Wikipedia definition of  "Big Data"
  1. Big data is a broad term for data sets so large or complex that traditional data processing applications are inadequate. Challenges include analysis, capture, data curation, search, sharing, storage, transfer, visualisation, and information privacy. 
Big data has arrived in New Zealand according to EMC survey

Common sense definition of big data - WARNING more than one definition on this page!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Take a walk on the wild side

Alan relaxing in the Southern Alps
Literally do take a walk! Tramping in New Zealand has got to be one of the best things to do in the world. There's so much to see and such great access.

Bladeless wind turbines. "Asparagus" power plants.

Nature inspired buildings in the middle of cities. Pretty neat.

"Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo
Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo
Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo
Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo
Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo
Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo
Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo" - Lou Reed

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Danger danger (or just caution, caution)

Yellowstone tourists get in a bit of trouble practicing bear photography. It always seemed to me that wild bears would look better from inside a car.

It's amazing how really simple design changes can make things so much easier. These easy additions to the NYC subway stations make life much more straightforward for visitors and locals alike.

Cyber crime in New Zealand is on the rise. Not really major news as everyone is becoming more an more connected all the time but a good reminder to stay cautious online.

"The enlightened ruler is heedful, and the good general full of caution." - Sun Tzu

Tuesday, June 09, 2015


Gecko Foot: Bjørn Christian Tørrissen CC BY-SA 3.0

What's your management style? Are you more of a Stannis or a Daenerys? (I'm a Tyrion)

For everyone who needs a break but at the same time desperately wants to keep working. A new type of holiday, the Jobbatical.

An organisation should be an adaptable team of adaptable teams apparently. Makes you listen a little more when it's a retired US Army general saying it though.

"There can be no life without change, and to be afraid of what is different or unfamiliar is to be afraid of life." - Theodore Roosevelt

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Neat stuff

Get a live link to anything happening anywhere. Assuming someone there is using the same service and filming of course.

Still struggling with mornings? This alarm clock for heavy sleepers sounds like a pretty heavy duty solution.

I kind of want one of these. A suit and a onesie all in one. Perfect for those who prefer to sleep in a suit, or work in pyjamas.

"It's hard to let new stuff in. And whether that admits a weakness, I don't know." - Martin Scorsese

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Rhino crisis!

© 2013 Agneta Juodenaite. Licensed under CC-BY.

A massive explosion in poaching in South Africa is causing a crisis in the world's largest population of Rhinos. In the last decade the number of Rhinos poached yearly has gone from around 10-15 to over 1,200.

New techniques for reducing the demand for Rhino horn. Making it easier to detect and mildly harmful if ingested.

South Africa is beefing up it's investigative teams. Using DNA testing to link poachers back to specific poached rhinos.

"I like using animals because they help suspend my reader's disbelief. We have certain ideas about dentists. We don't have many ideas about rhinoceros dentists." - Yann Martel

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Mix and match

Animals, Taylor Swift and David Cameron as a Marvel supervillain. Things you might have missed last week.

What your favourite map projection says about you! According to XKCD at least. I know I couldn't assess someone's personality based on map preferences.

What happens if you ban cars from a neighbourhood for a month? This South Korean suburb decided to find out.

"God help me if I ever do another movie with an explosion in it. If you see me in a movie where stuff is exploding you'll know I've lost all my money." - Ben Affleck

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Clever inventions

Nose jobs nearly 500 years ago? Sounds quite uncomfortable.

A seatbelt for working at your desk. This looks like an interesting idea.

Create your own perfect colour palette. This nifty little generator is surprisingly fun to play with.

"I never did anything worth doing by accident, nor did any of my inventions come by accident; they came by work." - Plato

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Small ideas, big results

Make your own Kindle cover from an old book. Just made one similar style to this myself (but not nearly as neat).

Flys bothering you? Well this salt cannon is clearly the best way to deal with them. I want one so badly.

Micropreneurs becoming millionaires. Starting on Ebay or Etsy and making it big.

"No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world." - Robin Williams (Dead Poets Society)

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Seeing red, or something at least

Image: Gavin Schaefer

Sounds like this computer had it coming. Eight rounds should be enough to finish off anyone's difficult computer.

No one wants iPads anymore! Well only 12.62 million people did last year, practically no one.

Getting a hand from Big Brother to help with writing emails. Potentially useful, definitely creepy.

"Red is such an interesting colour to correlate with emotion, because it's on both ends of the spectrum. On one end you have happiness, falling in love, infatuation with someone, passion, all that. On the other end, you've got obsession, jealousy, danger, fear, anger and frustration." - Taylor Swift

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Moving into the robotic future (Also dinosaurs...)

"ASIMO Conducting Pose on 4.14.2008" by Vanillase - CC BY-SA 3.0

Slow cars and the robotic future. Driving is such a waste of time anyway.

Google robots performing surgery?

Dumb robots, smart robots. How do we get there?

"In the twenty-first century, the robot will take the place which slave labor occupied in ancient civilization." - Nikola Tesla

Also, Dinosaurs!!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Flying here, flying there...

A morning commute in a flying car, 1940

How do flight tracker apps work? Lots and lots of people..

Personal drones are getting smarter. Everyone needs a drone right?

Not the best way to travel I imagine. Worker in the US gets trapped in the cargo hold of a plane.

"He who would learn to fly one day must first learn to stand and walk and run and climb and dance; one cannot fly into flying." - Friedrich Nietzsche

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Wild Weather

Hurricanes' origins in the Sahara. I wonder if there are a lot of butterflies there..

Flooding is becoming more and more of a threat across the world. See where is most at risk.

Weather satellites. More than I ever knew about them.

"Climate is what we expect. Weather is what we get." - Mark Twain

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

What's the theme?

Image: Luca Galuzzi - www.galuzzi.it CC By-SA 2.5
Everest. It doesn't look all that high right?

What a career. Vettori's change over the years.

French guys see how many people they can cram in a car. Not sure what else there is to say about this... Well done them anyway.

"While on top of Everest, I looked across the valley towards the great peak Makalu and mentally worked out a route about how it could be climbed. It showed me that even though I was standing on top of the world, it wasn't the end of everything. I was still looking beyond to other interesting challenges." - Edmund Hillary

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

What's this? What's this?

Image: Jon Bunting

If you've got some spare cash lying around then have a look at some classic cars sold recently.

Bringing back balance. Top predator returns to this ecosystem.

How well do you know this famous logo? Apparently it's harder to remember than you might think.

"He was a wise man who invented beer." - Plato

Friday, March 13, 2015

The future is now?

Another example of Apple leading the way into the future... Or jumping the gun and putting new tech into it's products before we need it. Depends on your point of view.

SXSW is a collection of film, interactive, and music festivals and conferences that happens yearly in Austin, Texas. This year they have a new gimmick. Rescue dogs for dying phone batteries...

Architecture of the future? It looks pretty amazing anyway.

"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams." - Eleanor Roosevelt

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Trivia and Quizzes

The history of trivia. Looking back at where it all began.

Corporate quiz. The humble pub quiz has become big business apparently.

Trivia of the future? Quiz on your phone of course.

"My idea of relaxation is not lying down by a beach. I have to move around, do stuff. Though I'm a massive quiz show person." - Daniel Radcliffe

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Live long and prosper

Image: Pa-he
Leonard Nimoy. I like the bit about his autobiography published in two volumes, "I am not Spock" and "I am Spock".

Feel the need for some more Trek? A guide for binge watching TNG.

Star Trek class. Teaching ethics to engineers.

"Space... the final frontier"

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Secret spaces, hidden gems

Image: Kelisi 

Amazing photos of buildings you'll never be allowed inside.

How to hide a subway system. The bits that poke above ground level at least.

Sometimes secret sometimes not. Some of Scotland's most unusual buildings.

"The only secrets are the secrets that keep themselves." - George Bernard Shaw

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Easy, easier, easiest

A not so easy walk. Milford Track 2014 Image: Alan Watson. 

Reboot a bad day in ten minutes. Looks pretty easy to me.

Chairs that assemble themselves. Making life easier? Well, not yet but someday.

Life hacks anyone? 100 little tips, some of which even look useful.

"I'm trying to find myself. Sometimes that's not easy." - Marilyn Monroe

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The end of Flash

Image: kitty.green66

Youtube dumps Flash as the default player. Cat videos now will be viewed with HTML5 as predicted by Steve Jobs years ago.

Kittens, kittens everywhere!

Check out this list of the most viewed videos of all time on youtube.

"New open standards created in the mobile era, such as HTML5, will win on mobile devices (and PCs too). Perhaps Adobe should focus more on creating great HTML5 tools for the future, and less on criticizing Apple for leaving the past behind." - Steve Jobs, 2010

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Gadgets and Gizmos

Image: Morio CC-BY-SA 3.0

Wacky tech gadgets. Eye massager anyone?

New gadgets for 2015. Anything you might need?

And most importantly, a 3D chocolate printer.

"My first transistor radio was the heart of my gadget love today. It fit in my hand and brought me a world of music 24 / 7." - Steve Wozniak

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Interesting and Amazing

Dragonfly009: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Amazing_Eagle.jpg
Looks like 2015 will be a bit longer than a usual year. But only just.

The first computer programmer was born in 1815 apparently. And was the daughter of Lord Byron.


"There is more to life than increasing it's speed." - Mahatma Gandhi

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Tuesday Trivia: Seas and Oceans

Giants of the ocean shown to scale. Wow these guys are big.

Wave heights in the North Sea can now be monitored from space. Dangerous waves could be forecast, could this make the seas safer?

A gallery of colossal sea creatures. A gathering of weird and wonderful ocean leviathans.

"The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever." - Jacques Cousteau

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Tuesday Trivia: The Final Frontier

Commercial spaceflight is a good thing? A solid defence of it.

Testing a potential Mars spacecraft. Where will Orion go in the future?

Virgin Galactic getting geared up to send us all to space, more or less.

Our solar system spiralling through space. Amazing!

"Space exploration is a force of nature unto itself that no other force in society can rival." - Neil deGrasse Tyson

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Tuesday Trivia: It's 2015, are we living in the future?

Photo credit: Damien Jemison/LLNL
Green tech predictions for 2015. What do we have ahead of us?

Barefoot shoes that look relatively normal, no creepy foot gloves.

Amazon Echo, just like the computer in Star Trek. Sort of...

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." - Arthur C. Clarke