Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Martin Sewell's Web Sites

Did you read recently about the laws preventing people registering web names similar to popular domains with the intent of deceiving people ? The new American law was first used successfully against a particularly pernicious character who registered hundreds of domain names similar to childrens programs. www.tellytubbies.com ( the real one is found at www.telletubbies.com. These fake sites would then redirect visitors (often children) to pornography sites. He would receive a commission for each visitor he redirected...... Thankfully under the new law he has now been shut down and prosecuted.

Weeeeeeeeeeelllllll.... remember googlewhacking that I blogged about before christmas ? (Welcome back - I hope you had a good one by the way....). Well the link at the top of this page is to the 'googlewack' website... (no 'h' - my colleague found it by mistake). It's the webpage of a 'gentleman' called Martin Sewell and it's very odd, and got some very odd links on it... certainly worth 'a gleg'...... Unblinking wombles is still my favourite googlewhack by the way........

Damn.... from domestic bliss to domestic strife and a sleeping problem in a few days... I've fallen out with one of the guys we share a house with *and* can't sleep at the moment... very odd........ oh well - I'm sure life throws this sort of stuff at you on purpose :-)
posted by Mike Foord on Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Googlewhacking and Books You'd Rather Not Read
Hole Books
GoogleWhack - Sphincter and Jellybaby

What a way to start the day.
I keep getting these e-mails asking me to link to websites. They're usually obviously 'form' letters.. 'I've seen your website and it has a lot in common with mine, please link to me and I'll exchange links with you'... and then it turns out to be a website selling fire engine welding gear or something...... I got this one today that didn't look like a form letter, it was sent from yahoo for starters... and it was from a book company called 'Hole Books'. I had a look and they sell the weirdest, pretty much the sickest collection of books I've come across. Have a look and see what you think.

Today is my last day in before the break. I have stuff I *must* get finished today. Unfortuantely fate intervened last night and thrust before me the *most* certain distraction.... Last night I discovered the sport of googlewhacking. They say google indexes approximetely 3 billion webpages and searches them all for the words you give it in approximetely 3 hundredths of a second.... give or take a few pages and a couple of nanoseconds. The sport of googlewhacking means finding a combination of two words for which goggle only returns one page.... Soudns easy - it's harder than it looks... fishmonger and spleen : 137. cistern and poleaxe : 5. poleaxe and wombat : 4. Finally my friend Alan hit lucky...... Jellybaby and sphincter - 1 result GOOGLEWHACK... hit the link above if you don't believe me.... oh - and don't waste too much time ;-)
posted by Mike Foord on Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Monday, December 22, 2003

Nuclear Secrets
Slashdot Article with link to the FULL pdf

Who says the interent is making the world a more dangerous place ? Not only did, a while back, I post a link on how to make a DIY Cruise Missile (using onboard GPS and a commercially available jet engine) - but now they've approved for public release a document called 'The H-Bomb Secret, How we got it and why we're telling it'... a planned magazine article from 1979 that was originally supressed by the US government.

Cool.... the secrets of making a nuclear bomb have been publicly available for *years* of course. I remember reading a book in our school library about it - in fact their funky drawings of little atom shaped characters largely formed my understanding of nuclear physics at the time. Natural uranium mainly occurs in the form of U-238 which is stable.... a small percentage is U-235 the 'good stuff'. The numbers refer to the atomic weight - and Uranium 235 has too *few* neutrons in it's core to be stable. Every second, minute, hour a few atoms in a lump of U-235 will break apart. This is radioactive decay. If you put enough together then the fragments of the break-up will collide into other atoms of U-235, causing them in turn to break apart... this quantity needed to cause a chain reaction is the famous critical mass !

Now *I thought*, that all you needed to turn a 'normal' nuclear bomb (which is made by forcing together enough uranium-235 to form a critical mass) into a Hydrogen bomb - was to surround the whole thing in a *lot* of hydrogen. The nuclear reaction involving hydrogen is fusion (a joining together) rather than fission (a breaking apart - like the U-235). When two hydrogen atoms join together to make helium the resulting atom actually weighs marginally less - the missing mass is given off as heat (remember E=mCsquared ? - E is the energy given off by, the missing mass m times the speed of light squared - don't ask me why... because I don't know :-)

Obviously this reaction only normally happens at very high temperatures and pressures - like inside our sun...... But unlike nuclear fission both the fuel (hydrogen) and the waste (helium) are 'safe' and hydrogen is plentifully available. That's why there was so much excitement over the cold fusion 'hoax' (waits for potential controversy and moves on...). In the resulting heat and pressure from a nuclear explosion the hydrogen starts the process of fission....

Hmmm... of course for those who want to try it in their back gardens the main obstacle is the process of extracting the U-235 from the U-238. Because U-235 is slightly lighter - an industrial centrifuge can be used to 'enrich' the levels of U-235 present to useful proportions..... as to how *that* is done... I guess that's the real secret... but I doubt we'll be doing it in our back gardens. The real danger of course is (as is well publicised - just so *everyone* knwos how to do it) the prospect of the *dirty* bomb. The mixing of convential explosive with medium grade radioactive waste (perhaps available from hospitals, nuclear facilities with poor security or the north sea) - this doesn't involve any nuclear reaction... just scattering the waste over as wide an area as possible..... yummm.. tasty :-)
posted by Mike Foord on Monday, December 22, 2003

Friday, December 19, 2003

Voidspace - Counter and Statistics Tracker

Yeeeas.. it's official - I'm now 'acting sales manager'... or in true The Office style I think it might be team leader. The other sales bloke is currently recovering from an operation, so at the moment I am commander in chief of - myself and the new guy.... When Micky returns - my fiefdom will include two whole minions to grind underfoot nyahahhaaha... the only practical difference is that I now need the permission of the general manager to take any time off :-(

In other equally mundane news - I've changed the web tracker of voidspace - the statistics *should* be public... I think they probably show about three people having visited..... :-)
posted by Mike Foord on Friday, December 19, 2003

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Science breakthrough: proof of our exploding universe

"Welcome to the dark side. Around 73% of the universe is made not of matter or radiation but of a mysterious force called dark energy, a kind of gravity in reverse. Dark energy is listed as the breakthrough of the year in the US journal Science today. "

If you read the likes of Stephen Hawking in A Brief History of Time you can get the impression that our understanding of the universe (particularly the early moments of the universe) is *almost* complete. Stephen makes it sound like the groups of theories - comprised of special relativity, quantuum mechanics and superstring theory - are very close to being unified in the physicists holy grail of the GUT... the grand unificatin theory.....

He clearly lays out discoveries, like stellar red shift and the cosmic background radiation, of last centruy that first led to our discovery that the universe was expanding - and the way that radically changed our picture of the universe.

However, certain facts stubbornly refused to be reconciled to these theories - and in the last few years the picture has started to change again - dark energy is a different concept to dark matter, as the guardian article explains.... and once again we are in the position of not *really* knowing what on earth is going on in outer space..... *sigh*
posted by Mike Foord on Friday, December 19, 2003

Wednesday, December 17, 2003


Just a randomn link on William Burroughs.... although I'm less and less inclined these days to appreciate weirdness for it's own sake.......

Whilst I was visiting my sister in York I watched Terminator 3... man, Arnie always picks the hard acting parts to play doesn't he - such comlex emotions to portray :-)

In actual fact I was really worried - the hippies revere Termiantor 2 as a semi-prophetic comment on society - having watched it at the cinema tripping I kinda agreed and have much sentimental baggage attached to the film. The critics panned number 3 - all effects, no storyline... copy of number two...... etc etc

I always thought there was an opening for a new film... although at the end of number two it looks like they've won for good..... wiped out the 'intended future' or whatever you could call it. But if reality is to have any meaning (which is possibly debatable) - the fact that any of it happened at all - means that it *had* to happen in some form or other.... and you know what - I thought T3 rocked.... story made sense and remained true to the plots of 1 and 2... great... takes you right up to judgement day itself - leaving it wide open for numebr 4 of course where they take on the machines in the future - WOW... cool...

What's perhaps even more amazing is that I got my wife to watch number 1 - and she liked it so much we watched number 2 together as well..... cool........

If I edit this and add another URL I've found... I bet it posts it to the Void-Shockz message group again.... sorry guys.....

The New Selfishness is breaking apart our Social Codes
posted by Mike Foord on Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Friday, December 05, 2003

Done the first update to Voidspace for many months.. and hopefully there will be more to come over the coming weeks. Hopefully I haven't broken anything in the process - if you discover anything that doesn't work please let me know.



thank you to Venturer of fuchsiashockz.co.uk for doing the FTP for me, as I have restricted access from work.

The main change is a new article in the voidspace section - my HTML tutorial that will teach you the basics of building web-pages... It won't make you an expert, but it will get you going !! The presentation isn't finished and in the next few days I'll probably add a few examples into the code... but it's not bad !!! If you need any help then feel free to email me.

Babak Memari has also done an update to his website which is hosted here at Voidspace. It's mainly computer, biology and Iranian related links - but there's lots of useful links there. Check it out at Babak Memari.

Guardian Unlimited | Papers get their teeth into cannibal trial

I guess you' have heard of the bizarre cannibal case in Germany ? One of the bizarrer (if there is such a word) facets to the case is that there is no specific law against cannibalism in Germany... not only that but they have a specific crime called 'manslaughter-on-request' which carries a much lower penalty than murder... and this gentleman is hoping he may get away with a conviction for this crime.... far out...... Germany certainly seems to have it's fair share of 'Gothic' type weirdos......

Dance Drug Falls Out of Favour

I include a link to this article purely out of nostalgia...... My first introduction to the unfortuante world of narcotic abuse was ecstasy and I still have sentimental memories of my 'ecstasy honeymoon' - when all seemed right with the world. ( See the film Human Traffic for an excellent depiction of the UK ecstasy culture). Seems like ecstasy is on it's way out... it's not like it was in the old days ;-)
posted by Mike Foord on Friday, December 05, 2003

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

NSSDC Photo Gallery: Nebulae

Ok - I admit it, it's another pointless little blog extolling the virtues of someone elses website - (more mental junk food) - but this one is truly spectacular... (link sent to me by DJ Devid.. one of my mad Dutch friends)... I can even claim it's vaguely educational... lot's of awesome pictures from Hubble.. including the 'eskimo nebula' - eskimos in space.... whatever next.

Apparently they're goign to have to bring the hubble down early... not because it's misfunctioning any more than usual - but because the shuttle program is coming to an end... Althoug h the next generation telescope is planned it will have to wait for the next generation shuttle (whatever that may be) - so there will be a few years without a space telescope :-o And you can thank Nigel.. our dark haired, dark-natured money man for that snippet of space news :-)

Unlucky about the eggs Justin (for those who wonder what on earth I'm on about you'll have to check out the Void-Shockz message group).
posted by Mike Foord on Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Tuesday, December 02, 2003


My blogs seem to have turned more into adverts for other people's websites than any kind of record of my inner being..... To be fair that's probably lucky for you !

This website is great - and is typical of my great problem with the internet => there are too many amazingly talented and creative people. You can happily spend all your life browsing (like grazing on mental junk food) other peoples creativity. There has to come a time when you say - no matter how fun and interesting it is - that this is shallow and it's time I produced something myself.......... Hmm......

They say everyone has a book in them - Garfield looked down at his bloated body and said "I think I may have an entire library in here"...... seriously I read a great quote from an author about writing books - unfortunately I can't remember it, so instead of a neat, concise snippet of truth you're about to receive a half digested, badly worded half truth ! HA... but then lifes like that.

Anyway this author said that people tend to think writing a book is easy - all you have to do is use your lifes experience. But he (or she or it) said - it's not like that... for source material we all have every experience, every snippet of half heard conversation, every thought and emotion we've ever had. Writing a book is like sifting through tonnes and tonnes of garbage - looking for the odd precious gem. I like that - I'd still like to write, a book of fiction and a book on christian meditation and spiritual life (about really experiencing God)... but I'm aware it takes dedication and determination.. I just hope I get there.

One thing gives me consolation though (stop me if I've told you this before). A few years ago my Mum went through a period of depression after her Mum died. My Dad still wanted to have friends round for dinner - so he had to learn to cook, at the age of 50 odd..... A few years later he is now a *cracking* cook.... really good. It's inspired me - that if I ever want to achieve something with my life - it doesn't matter if I leave it until I'm fifty........
posted by Mike Foord on Tuesday, December 02, 2003

Monday, December 01, 2003

Middle Earth Atlantis

Apparently interest in my website is increasing... very odd as I haven't made any of the changes I kep promising in quite a few weeks. The thingy doo-dah I use to track my web traffic says I've had about 10000 visitors in November... bizarre... uhm... but hello... Oh and someoen signed my guestbook again... at last - it was hardly a roaring success in terms of increasing communication between me and my vistors - but then I did use a free one hosted on someone else's server...

The web-tracker thingy also points me to people who are linking to me. I found a link to an interesting variant on Atlantis (hey - interesting to me alright...). One of the aims of the Atlantibot project I work on is creating 'autonomous bots' that will play Atlantis themselves.... They could then be used to introduce story-lines into the games. Well someone has just started a game based on quite a custom build of Atlantis - with a 'Lord of the Rings' story line... itneresting. Lots of variations on the normal ruleset - and they even link to my beginners guide. I won't have time to play of course.

This weekend was a momentous occasion. We finally switched on the electric blanket we got for our wedding.... divine... I definitely believe in divine intervention now.... Our room is in a big old stone building - and has three outside facing walls.... and the radiators don't work.... so it gets a bit cold.

It seems like having the latest piece of technology is no longer cool.... About 96 percent of british teenagers have mobile phones - which is phenomenal in itself - but having the latest one is not a fashion symbol. The real fashion statement is to have a big bill (!) - but no-one wants to be the turkey caught shelling out for a dead turkey like WAP. This, in part explains why 3G has had such a low uptake in the UK...... Sensible if you ask me... (not that you would...)

British Yoof Spurn Mobile Technology
posted by Mike Foord on Monday, December 01, 2003