The plot thickens with
reports of a black speedboat being seen near the
pier early this morning, although this
might not be true. Entertainingly, the West Pier Trust have commented
that the cast iron skeleton of the pier wouldn't have been affected
by the fire (it does look pretty intact), and that all of the wood would
have had to have been replaced anyway.
Preposterously, Brighton's West Pier is on fire, as of around eleven o'clock this morning. The concert
hall at the end is ablaze, its blackened skeleton becoming more and
more visible as the roof and walls cave in. [...] And it's dying down
now, the shell reduced to a charred ribcage, the legendary "West Pier"
sign fallen and lost. The wide walkways at the sides are still untouched;
hard to tell if the flames are going to spread or not. The end of the
pier seems pretty much nigh, either way. [alerted by Chrissy]
provides mighty extrapolations of the old
binary-tree guessing game (think of a thing, answer yes/no questions until
the computer makes a guess - if it's wrong, tell it your answer, and give
it a question to ask in future to distinguish its answer from yours).
I hadn't really thought about this, but from such data it's possible to extract
number of agreed facts about an entity, based on the question path required
to reach it from the base of the tree (with points of bifurcating contention
marked as such). It's also possible to track two entities back to the point at
which they first diverged on the tree, and thus establish
difference between them.
And finally, you can play a reversed
version of the guessing game, where the computer selects a
thing, and invites you to guess what it is. If you're wrong, it tells you
the difference between your guess and the thing it had chosen, and gives you
another go based on that additional information. Excellent use of very basic data.
to get new DNA powers after being bitten by a
genetically-engineered super-spider. If the police really want a permanent DNA
store of innocent citizens on the off-chance that they might commit a crime later, they
should fund a send-in-a-swab service for the Friends-Reunited hopeful-monster
simultaneously erasing cuckolds from genealogy trees, and destroying families
"Genes Connected" isn't much less distasteful than the (presumably
rejected) "Genes Reunited", though, on reflection. But in this world of
fragmented families, random migration and Internet relationships,
maybe it'd be a handy way to check that you weren't too genetically similar to a prospective partner.
"You're making your code harder to maintain, harder to
extend, and easier to introduce new bugs into. Probably you've done
something wrong to get to the point where you need to optimise in the
"Within a century of little Kago's arrival on Earth,
according to Trout's novel, every form of life on that once peaceful and
moist and nourishing blue-green ball was dying or dead. Everywhere were
the shells of the great beetles which men had made and worshipped. They
were automobiles. They had killed everything."
Vonnegut is advertising Nissan SUVs on American television, presumably not with that quote. His appearance
may just be a silent punchline to a campaign in which a driver needs an all-terrain SUV to search city bookshops for a Vonnegut first edition, but even so, it's Kurt Vonnegut advertising big cars. The world is ending.
EasyMixing is a (potentially very harsh) take on
the hotornot system, inviting time-wasting strangers to guess
your favourite colour, how good your mental arithmetic is, what
of music you favour, how many sexual partners you've had, and
other, stranger things. This article
goes into a bit more slapdash detail; that once the site gets going,
you'll be able to ask it for photos of, say, humourless, naïve, rich people
who like the colour red (or, at least, people who look like they might
be humourless, naïve, rich people who like the colour red).