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You can find the little Doctor Who spot produced for Children in Need 2011 over here, in which we see rather more of him than usual. =:9 (The outfit, though, succeeded as a fundraiser quite well, closing at exactly £50,000) The clip - you can start at 50 seconds in, losing only some host babble - segues into the trailer for the Christmas special, which we now know to be titled The Doctor, The Widow and The Wardrobe. Why, yes, that is familiar sounding, isn't it.. =:)

I thought huskyteer might possibly be interested in this. ^_^ After all, who could say no to a loyalty card scheme named the Loyal Hare Force? =:D (I'll especially recommend their - regrettably seasonal - Festivity, an absolutely sublime porter that feels more of a rich, warming ale)

avon_deer noticed this excellent philosophical exploration of six famous paradoxes and non-intuitive concepts, in six minutes, narrated by David Mitchell, and produced by the Open University. Amusing, and very clearly put.

Some rather adorable bunny sculptures by Lake Shinji-ko, Shiname Prefecture. ^_^ (You'll need to be a member of lagomorphic - curiously, it's a locked entry. It's a gratifyingly active community, too!)

A study in depression found that "concreteness training" is highly effective in reducing the severity experienced.

People suffering from depression have a tendency towards unhelpful abstract thinking and over-general negative thoughts, such as viewing a single mistake as evidence that they are useless at everything. Concreteness training (CNT) is a novel and unique treatment approach that attempts to directly target this tendency. Repeated practice of CNT exercises can help people to shift their thinking style.
CNT teaches people how to be more specific when reflecting on problems. This can help them to keep difficulties in perspective, improve problem-solving and reduce worry, brooding, and depressed mood.

A new music video from The Real Tuesday Weld, whom you may recall from the terminally catchy Bathtime in Clerkenwell, Me & Mr Wolf.

Amongst Stanford's forthcoming online, free offerings is a Cryptography class, commencing in January 2012. "Professor Dan Boneh heads the applied cryptography group at the Computer Science department at Stanford University [and] is the author of over a hundred publications in the field and a recipient of the Packard Award, the Alfred P. Sloan Award, and the RSA award in mathematics. Last year Dr. Boneh received the Ishii award for industry education innovation. Professor Boneh received his Ph.D. from Princeton University and joined Stanford in 1997."

I've yet to go through them properly, but last Saturday's shots hopefully demonstrated to just some tiny degree just how rich in photographic potential this area is. ^_^ Just wandering down a small road off campus, past a semi-secret museum, afforded pastoral serenity belying the locale's proximity to the hubbub of the seasonal crowds just a mile or so to the west.

I finally got to see Hot Fuzz recently - and on the big screen! Volkswagen have been running a series of presentations around the UK, "See Film Differently", around the concept of highlighting the locations in which films are set, why those choices were made, and how integral such decisions are to the nature of a film. As a result, before the film, we got to enjoy a small presentation of stills pertaining to the production, along with some remarkably interesting background reading material in a "case file", plus free popcorn and a drink (Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Beck's, or lemonade) - they even covered the ticket itself, making the entire evening completely free. ^_^ As for the film, well, that's landed on my mental favorites shelf immediately - great fun, and so wonderfully British. =:D It's one I can say you're missing out on something, if you've not yet caught it. (Best watched with a sound system where you can crank the volume up without annoying the neighbors, oh yes)

I recently checked out the now-local Waitrose's booze section a few days ago, after completing another round at the optician. Unfortunately, I can't speak of their beer offerings, as I was immediately waylaid by the ciders. First, simply Sheppy's Vintage - about the best easily available cider. Then I noticed a couple varieties I didn't know they made: Kingston Black, and their Organic. And then I saw Orchard Pig as well.. !

Reprieve UK documents British governmental complicity in torture under Gadaffi's regime.

I see Chuck Moore's GreenArrays' GA144 processor is now shipping. It's an unconventional design (well, coming from the creator of Forth..), with each core being very simple, the emphasis being on extremely low power consumption; but with 144 of those cores, there's some significant potential. The instruction set is less about processing at the high level, more about the implementation of logic at a lower level.

As and when I finally get to return to Switzerland, there's no question - I'll have to visit the H.R.Giger museum's bar. Hopefully they'll have some worthwhile drinks on offer, too..

Rob Galbraith offers a detailed look at Nikon's new J1 & V1 mirrorless cameras, and why they're worth considering - as you'd expect, they don't offer the same quality as a full-blown DSLR, but being much the same size and weight as point & shoots, with far better image quality, and a choice of interchangeable lenses, they seem to make for a good "always on you" option, albeit at low/mid-DSLR prices.

The Little Rooster is a novel entrant into a field with.. I'd say one entrant, but I wouldn't be surprised if someone can correct me. =:) It's an alarm clock that rests by the pubic bone, and wakes you up.. pleasurably.

I see BT (the musician, not the telco) will be presenting at MacWorld in January - could be good, given his high involvement in the technical side of his music, including programming; this won't be a bobblehead affair. =:) rabitguy, foofers - will you be along? I'd love to have someone keep an eye out for any interesting photography specials at the show - if Topaz run another superb bundle offer as last time, I may well have to take advantage of that, given my initial results with the trial version of Topaz DeNoise. (Now, if only the people behind PTGui could be persuaded into a seasonal offer.. Hugin works well in many cases, but where more challenging stitches come into play, or very large panoramas, PTGui's going to pull through where Hugin will either be amusing or dead)

Interesting article Sneppid pointed out, over on Science Daily: High Childhood IQ Linked to Subsequent Illicit Drug Use, Research Suggests. It's a statistically significant finding, but not quite into the level of dramatic that the Daily Flail would require to build up a good head of righteous indignation: "When intelligence was factored in, the analysis showed that men with high IQ scores at the age of 5 were around 50% more likely to have used amphetamines, ecstasy, and several illicit drugs than those with low scores, 25 years later. The link was even stronger among women, who were more than twice as likely to have used cannabis and cocaine as those with low IQ scores."

Well, that made my day. ^_^ After spending parts of the past few weekends, and some lunchtimes, scouting around the locality for bun locations, to almost no avail (save for the one mentioned above), ambling through campus on the way back to the warren one night, kebab in paw, two buns out for some nighttime foraging themselves ran across the grass, pausing awhile, clearly in no great hurry. I didn't have the camera on me, though the lighting would've been a bit challenging anyway - but I can see myself getting back there some nights, on bun patrol, and probably getting some odd looks as I skulk around with the Bunnycam. =:D
Wasn't planning on it but maybe. I've gotten free tickets twice ( as well as with the nametag Clint Eastwood) just for fun, nut now that I actually use Apple devices, maybe itould be fun.

The Forth chip looks neat, shame it costs too much for that base Dev board. Maybe Sparkfun is working on a cheaper alternative.

Seen the major changes to autopano lately? There is a new high-quality mode that I've bused to make crisp 8,000x5,000 panos, on the iPhone.
It's actually quite good fun. ^_^ It's hardly the beast it once was, true, given Apple's disdain for exhibitions, and the rise of the net, but the various presentations can actually be very good - last year, I thoroughly enjoyed the pair of photographers discussing the art. Once they get the list up, you're probably well advised to plan with that in mind, as the show floor doesn't take long to see at all - half an hour or so!

Mm, dev boards from manufacturers are often a bit hair-raisingly priced - just the JTAG for the Blackfin cost over $1k! (Perhaps not coincidental ARM's since all but completely subsumed the embedded space.. =:)

The problem with iOS pano makers is, of course, the upper dimensions limitations - the full size of the one above is something like 24k across. I just wish the desktop pano makers were more affordable.. but, I suppose folks like PTGui are aiming at people using it for commercial purposes, where 79€ is made back in a couple sales. (Plus, my poor lil' iPhone is but a humble 3G.. very tempting to replace it next year, once the 5 appears, but it's then a choice of lots of money, vs getting locked into a contract. And that money could go to a gorgeous lens.. !)
No plans to hit "iPhone Case Expo" this year. Two years ago was just sad. Last year was worse than sad...even with a free expo pass, it wasn't worth the cost of the BART fare.
I actually had quite a bit of fun last time. ^_^ Very true, the floor doesn't take long to see - but I stumbled along at just the right time, and thoroughly enjoyed an hour-long discussion of the artof photography. The offer from Topaz was very tempting - a huge saving on the usual bundle price, ecen if they seemed to be the onlysuch vendors. (And the PTGui folks are very clear on the point that they never discount. =:P)

I wouldn't suggest going just for MW, but easily as part of a day in yon City. ^_^

(And to think, even with all those cases, no sign of the beautifully shiny More Thing "Shocking" series)
I wouldn't suggest going just for MW, but easily as part of a day in yon City.

Two words: Buckhorn Grill. Oh, and Scharffen Berger brownies. Okay, so that's like five words. Still, nom.
Pff! Nah.. you want Memphis Minnie's barbecues, up in the Lower Haight. That's the place when you feel like a hot beef injection.

Scharffen-Berger brownies? Ooh. Where? =:9 (Such a pity they sold out, so it's basically all made in Illinois somewhere. Still, it doesn't seem to've impacted the quality in the least - did you try their Vietnamese cocoa bar last winter? It might still be around - indeed, maybe they've made it part of the regular lineup. Difficult to describe what was so good about it, but it was worth making a point of obtaining - and wouldn't you know it, the liquor store across the road carried it.. that was an awful hall of temptations, let me tell you)
I have to assume that adult illicit drug use is not correlated to *adult* IQ level, since that information would have been available to these researchers, and they would have mentioned such a finding prominently if they had found it. Childhood IQ and adult IQ do not have a correlation of 1.0 - it is more like 0.63, at least as far as I can see online...
The curious thing about the study is that they don't seem to have IQ data for the participants at 30 y/o. They basically have drug use and 'highest educational attainment' at that timepoint, and they don't seem to look for relationships between childhood drug use and adult educational attainment.

That's kind of a big omission, but if they don't have the data they don't have the data. The main purpose of the study is to look at the effect of IQ on how likely a person is to take drugs. To ask the reverse question, 'what impact do drugs have on adult IQ' is going to be more dependent on the specific substance. For example, heavy current marijuana use negatively impacts IQ while light or former use does not (in very young adults) http://www.cmaj.ca/content/166/7/887.short . The safest thing we can say from other work is that long term use of illicit psychoactive substances rarely appears to be associated with beneficial effects, only deficits - though that might be a bias of where researchers have been looking.

What isn't commented on in the paper (possibly as it's out of scope) is that lack of impulse control/delay of gratification is also related to adult drug use, and that this is a greater predictor of later 'success' (professionally, relationships etc) than IQ.

I've seen a few people seize on this article as an attempt to champion drug use. While it would be hypocritical to admonish drug use (for obvious reasons :p), I don't think it's a great idea to take the relationship presented and use it to champion that behaviour - getting kids to believe that taking drugs shows they're "smart" would be pretty reckless (and incorrect) as a public health message!

Chance x
No disagreement with what you said, but I wanted to make sure that I had made the following point clearly:

The main purpose of the study is to look at the effect of IQ on how likely a person is to take drugs.

And they missed that goal, because Childhood IQ and Adult IQ are two different things.
Adult IQ is a measure of how intelligent a person is past maturity.
Childhood IQ is a measure of how rapidly the intellect of a child is developing - ie: how intelligent they are versus their age.

One may be excused for initially thinking that one inevitably leads to the other, but the reality is that it isn't true. I have certainly seen enough examples personally of people who failed as adults to live up to the expectations that were set by their IQ as measured in childhood. Typically they continue, as adults, to claim that their IQ is 160-200 even as they work at McD's and have no higher education than high school and half a year of university. I gather that some suspect that this group may be skewing the results of this study.

I'm not saying that the drug use has lowered their adult IQ from their childhood IQ level (though it is almost certain to have occured in some cases), I'm saying that rapid development doesn't always lead to a smart adult. People just naturally mature at different rates, and that's a major flaw in the whole concept of measuring the IQ of kids as a predictor of their future development, and a major flaw in any study based on those numbers.
All the kids I knew in college with 4.0 averages were doing more drugs than a chemist shop. One of them said their favorite thing to do, was drop acid then go into the produce section of the local grocery for all the colors and shapes.
They'd have love Romanesco broccoli. =:D (Really nice, too! Rather more of a flavor than the usual cauliflower - mildly nutty. Rather a pity it's not more widely available - it does pop up in supermarkets, but not as a routine item)

Programmers and psychoactives aren't exactly a null set, either. =:) Though, for the most part, that seems to be more a matter of exploration and discovery, than habit, with the mainstays being more just pot and good ol' ethanol, the latter typically in great beer and fine wines.

(And the ciders I'm enjoying tonight.. Yarlington Mill and Orchard Pig medium. Really rather good both, from modest sized farms, but apparently just big enough to supply one of the local supermarkets, which does please me. ^_^)
Well, that puts Switzerland squarely on my "must visit" map.
*grin* Easily worth seeing, of course, even just en route somewhere cheaper, like Slovenia. =:) The sorts of views you can witness from the Alpine passes are just stunning. Wish I'd had any sort of camera or camcorder then! Maybe I'll have to seduce njrabit into ferrying me around the continent. =:)