Science poems on London’s Underground

London’s Poems on the Underground has had poems sitting alongside ads on the Tube for many years. I always enjoyed reading one of these little verses, a bright spot in an often crowded box of sullen human cargo.

Now, in recognition of the Royal Society’s 350th anniversary, they’ve has selected six poems offering reflections on the subject of science. Read about it, and read the poems, on the Royal Society page here or Transport for London here.

Thanks to the Aussie for the tip.

Billy Gibbons talks about the Tube Snake Boogie in London

It seems Billy Gibbons, ZZ Top’s guitarist, likes being a tourist, and took the tube to Wembley before the band’s big gig last week [BBC story]. In true London fashion, the line he wanted to take was down, and he had to detour. He still beat his bandmates to the stadium.

Thanks to the Aussie for the story tip.

billy1

Live music I’ve seen in London

One of the exciting things about London when I moved here was the chance to see bands play live: awesome bands, and lots of ’em. Everyone plays London. Now that I’m leaving in a few weeks I’m reflecting back on who I’ve seen.

I have not wasted my gig-going opportunity. The list of bands I’ve seen live here (and by that I mean “from here”; a couple have been elsewhere in the UK, or in Paris) since February 2001 is below. That’s 242 band-performances in 104 months, or about 2.3 band-performances per month (not bands per month since I’ve seen some multiple times, nor gigs per month since some were at festivals). It is a list I’m pretty pleased with.

!!!
54*40
A Silver Mt. Zion
AC/DC
…And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead
Arcade Fire
Asia
Asobi Seksu
Athlete
Audioslave
Baez, Joan
Be Good Tanyas, The
Beastie Boys, The (x2)
Beck
Beck, Jeff
Biffy Clyro
Björk
Black Angels, The
Black Keys, The
Black Mountain
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (x4)
Blackie and the Rodeo Kings
Blind Boys of Alabama, The
Bloc Party
Blue Rodeo (x3)
Broken Social Scene
Buck 65
Case, Neko
Cave, Nick & the Bad Seeds
Chemical Brothers, The
Clapton, Eric (x2)
Cohen, Leonard
Coldplay
Collins, Judy
Cooper Temple Clause, The (x2)
Coral, The
Cowboy Junkies
Cracker
Cray, Robert
Darkness, The
Datsuns, The
Dead 60s, The
Dead Weather, The
dEUS
Dolby, Thomas
Doucet, Luke
Doves
Duke Spirit, The (x6)
Duran Duran (x2)
Dylan, Bob (x5)
Earle, Steve
Eels
Einstürzende Neubauten
Elbow (x2)
Electric Eel Shock
Electric Soft Parade, The
Electric Wizard
Embrace
Explosions in the Sky
Feeder
Fiery Furnaces
Flaming Lips, The (x2)
Foals
Foo Fighters
Franz Ferdinand (x2)
Garbage
Gary Numan
Genesis
Gideon, Joe & the Shark
Gilmour, David
Go! Team, The
Go-Betweens, The
Gogol Bordello
Goldfrapp
Gomez
Great Big Sea
Grinderman
Guns ‘n’ Roses
Guy, Buddy
Harcourt, Ed
Harmer, Sarah
Harper, Roy
Harvey, PJ
Hester, Carolyn
Hilmarsson, Hilmar Örn
Hitchcock, Robyn
Hives, The
Hot Chip
Hot Snakes
Idlewild
Iron Maiden
Jane’s Addiction (x2)
Jayhawks, The
Jones, Danko
Jones, Howard
Johnston, Daniel
Kasabian (x2)
Keane
Killers, The
Knopfler, Mark
Kula Shaker
Lady Sovereign
Leo and the Pharmacists, Ted
Lez Zeppelin
Lightspeed Champion
Little Lost David (x2)
Lowe, Nick
Machine Head
MacLachlan, Sarah
Madonna
Massive Attack
Maxïmo Park
McGuinn, Roger
Metallica (x2)
Metric
M.I.A.
Ministry (x2)
Mogwai (x2)
Monster Magnet (x2)
Mooney Suzuki, The
Morrison, Van
Motörhead
Muse
Nashville Pussy (x2)
New Order
Nickelback (I’m sorry, I was forced to go)
Nine Inch Nails (x8)
No Doubt
North Mississippi Allstars, The
Oasis
Osborne, Joan
Our Lady Peace
Pet Shop Boys
Pixies
Placebo
Plant, Robert
Police, The
Portishead
Primal Scream
Prince
Queens of the Stone Age
R.E.M. (x2)
Radiohead
Rammstein
Razorlight
Red Hot Chili Peppers
Regurgitator
Riders on the Storm (ex-Doors)
Rolling Stones, The
Sahara Hotnights
Santogold
Seasick Steve (x2)
Sigur Rós (x3)
Silversun Pickups
Skinny Puppy
Sleater-Kinney
Sloan
Smith, Alice (x2)
Snow Patrol
Sons and Daughters (x2)
Soundtrack of our Lives, The (x2)
South
Soweto Gospel Choir
Spearhead
Spencer Blues Explosion, The Jon
Spiritualized (x3)
Spoon
Springsteen, Bruce & The E Street Band
Streets, The
Supergrass
Teenage Fanclub
Tool
Touré, Vieux Farka
Tragically Hip, The (x2)
Tunng
U2 (x2)
Unkle
Vaughan, Jimmie
vileevils
Violent Femmes
Waits, Tom
Waters, Roger
Welch, Gillian
White Stripes, The (x2)
Willard Grant Conspiracy, The
Williams, Lucinda
Williams, Saul (x2)
Winehouse, Amy
Winter, Johnny
Wood, Ronnie
Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Zutons (x2)

Science Online London 2009: the sessions

I attended Science Online London 2009 on Saturday.

As I mentioned before, I’m disappointed that I wasn’t able to make the social events before or after. Because I don’t actually work in science it’s not so important for me to network, but it is fun.

The sessions I did attend were interesting, though. Highlights for me:

  • Legal and Ethical Aspects of Science Blogging. I’d heard a lot of this before at a London Bloggers Meetup last year, but it’s always good to hear real-life case examples.
  • Online communication of science by institutions and organizations. I liked hearing what the Nobel org, Cancer Research UK, and Ask a Biologist do to overcome organisational inertia and measure what success is for each of their online ventures.
  • Citizen science – How the web enables anyone to be a scientist. Good talks from people from Wikipedia and GalaxyZoo on how most contributors are amateurs who like being part of something original.
  • Some participants attended via Second Life, and this worked better than I thought it might.

You can get some other views on the conference from Nature Network or from checking out Twitter.

The Royal Society’s 2009 Summer Science Exhibition

Penrose tiling: how nature and art fill spaces

If you’re in central London tonight, or during the day this week, you should find a few moments to stop by The Royal Society. The national academy of science of the UK and the Commonwealth is staging their Summer Science Exhibition. Not only are they putting on a week of exhibits from the cutting edge of science but also featuring involved scientists themselves for you to ask questions of.

What a cool opportunity. This is a direct public-engagement event. You can look at items and exhibits and models lots of places, but how often do you get a chance to ask questions of a real, live scientist? There’s a list of exhibitshere, along with writeups that indicate which ones might be good for kids.

From their site:

We’ve got over 20 fascinating, diverse and interactive exhibits. Fields of study range from how fluorescent fish could provide better understanding of human diseases, to a chewing robot that can help us develop dental technology, to how new space missions could help to unlock the history of the universe.

There’s also a good writeup at Nature Network’s London blog about the exhibition.

You can find info on how to get there and what their hours are here.

Pirate radio bootlegs and mixtapes from the mid-80s

all_tapes400

Check out Mastermix.org. It:

focuses on the mid-1980s London soul radio stations which introduced the mastermix genre to the UK. The sounds on this site are predominantly taken from FM pirate broadcasts, recorded to cassette. Often the recordings suffer from interference, drop outs, print-through and occasional ‘record button’ accidents. But generally they have a warm, authentic quality to them.

There are dozens of mixes for listening or download. I spent the mid-80s in Canada, not London, but the nostalgia is still there. They’ve even got recordings of radio jingles and adverts from the era. Fun.

Elephant and Castle: centre of the musical buzz?

This article in the Guardian makes the case that Elephant and Castle – which they generously describe as “(permanently) up and coming” – has a strong up-and-coming arts and music scene.

I don’t get down to that part of the city much, though I have been to the Coronet a few times over the years (to see M.I.A., and a very early appearance by Franz Ferdinand). Anyone else agree that there’s an exciting undercurrent in E&C? Maybe I’ll go sniffing ’round.

Field Day 2009: what a lineup!

The UK has too many music festivals; I can’t keep track of them all. For instance I’ve only just found out about Field Day, a one-day in-London festival in Victoria Park, and then only because a mate is getting a bunch of guys together for a stag do.

Check out this incredible lineup for only 30 quid! I just got my ticket.

Eat Your Own Ears Main Stage

EAT YOUR OWN EARS DJs
ERRORS
FENNESZ
FINAL FANTASY
FIRST AID KIT
MOGWAI
SANTIGOLD
SKREAM
THE HORRORS

Adventures in the Beetroot Field Stage

APES AND ANDROIDS
FOURTET
MICACHU AND THE SHAPES
MYSTERY JETS
S.C.U.M

Village Mentality Stage

JAMES YORKSTON
JUANA MOLINA
MALCOLM MIDDLETON
THE THING
TOUMANI DIABATE
WET PAINT
WOODPIGEON

Bugged Out! Stage

AEROPLANE
EROL ALKAN
FAKE BLOOD
LITTLE BOOTS

PLUS MORE TO BE ANNOUNCED