purplecat: (lego robots)




Because Lego Rovers is now funded by the Strategic Facilities Technology Council, we have an opportunity to present it in the STFC funded marquee at Cheltenham Science Festival. Despite the fact that the STFC mostly funds particle physics and astronomy this is the "DinoZone" because, well, because Phil Manning (who I refuse to come up with a pseudonym for on the grounds the man is a minor celebrity, even if he is also a neighbour). Since it is the DinoZone, obviously, the Lego Rovers have to look like dinosaurs.

Hence Ada (shown above), named after Ada Lovelace. I also have a Grace though she doesn't look much like a Triceratops yet, and several lists of other prominent female programmers, computer scientists, and other computing professionals.

B. will also be there (he has a kinect-based make the dinosaur dance demo) and will be taking part in Variety Night: An Evening of Unnecessary Detail (for which he has remarkably few details unnecessary or otherwise).

The DinoZone will be open to the public from 3pm-6pm on the 2nd and 3rd June, 3pm-9pm on the 4th and 5th June, and 10am-9pm on the 6th and 7th June. We won't be there the whole time (there are minions) but if you are in the Cheltenham area and may drop in, let us know and we can see how timings match up.
purplecat: (dinosaur)
The work reported here was done by a former PhD student of B's, but you'll notice B. gets to comment anyway. He was filmed by the BBC on Monday (to be broadcast we don't know when but presumably one of today's news programs) and interviewed by 5 Live last night (ditto). He's just emailed to say he's also going to be filmed by Newsround later today, presumably for their program this afternoon.

He seems to have got on someone's list as a useful dinosaur pundit...
purplecat: (dinosaur)
B. spent quite a bit of time last year filming a TV series with Phil Manning. It's Phil's series but B. is playing sidekick in, we think, a couple of episodes (one on dinosaur locomotion and one on size). I gather it was pitched as "Top Gear meets Dinosaurs" and is an attempt to break away from the talking heads style of a lot of recent documentaries. It's going to be showing on National Geographic Wild channel, starting on Tuesday (3rd Feb) at 8pm. We don't get National Geographic Channel but I thought I'd flag the fact up for anyone out there who does. No idea whether B. will appear in the first episode or not.

This is a publicity page for the series

This entry was originally posted at http://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/33453.html.
purplecat: (dinosaur)
B. spent quite a bit of time last year filming a TV series with Phil Manning. It's Phil's series but B. is playing sidekick in, we think, a couple of episodes (one on dinosaur locomotion and one on size). I gather it was pitched as "Top Gear meets Dinosaurs" and is an attempt to break away from the talking heads style of a lot of recent documentaries. It's going to be showing on National Geographic Wild channel, starting on Tuesday (3rd Feb) at 8pm. We don't get National Geographic Channel but I thought I'd flag the fact up for anyone out there who does. No idea whether B. will appear in the first episode or not.

This is a publicity page for the series
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)
Article in the Daily Mail (oh! the embarrassment)

As far as I can work out, one of B's postdoc's took a video of a walking Gorilla as part of a project on modelling locomotion. B. then showed it to some people making a documentary on Bigfoot who asked if they could use it. B said they needed to ask the zoo for permission first (the original permission for filming was for scientific use only). The zoo asked if they could use it too and put it on their YouTube feed where it suddenly became surprisingly popular and attracted the attention of such prestigious publications (*ahem*) as the Daily Mail.

B. is happy anyway, Daily Mail notwithstanding.

This entry was originally posted at http://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/32982.html.
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)
Article in the Daily Mail (oh! the embarrassment)

As far as I can work out, one of B's postdoc's took a video of a walking Gorilla as part of a project on modelling locomotion. B. then showed it to some people making a documentary on Bigfoot who asked if they could use it. B said they needed to ask the zoo for permission first (the original permission for filming was for scientific use only). The zoo asked if they could use it too and put it on their YouTube feed where it suddenly became surprisingly popular and attracted the attention of such prestigious publications (*ahem*) as the Daily Mail.

B. is happy anyway, Daily Mail notwithstanding.
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)
Achilles tendon is key to evolution of human running

B. didn't even know this was going to appear. He'd actually assumed they had decided not to run the story, given the sudden cessation of all communication, but presumably they just stopped talking to him once they decided they had enough to write something.

This entry was originally posted at http://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/4555.html.
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)
Achilles tendon is key to evolution of human running

B. didn't even know this was going to appear. He'd actually assumed they had decided not to run the story, given the sudden cessation of all communication, but presumably they just stopped talking to him once they decided they had enough to write something.
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)
3D modelling recreates dinosaur running

B is interested by the rather different places this story is finding its way into (compared to the T. Rex story), and by it's much slower build. The T. Rex story was huge but had pretty much run its course after 24 hours. This one, while much smaller, continues to be picked up by places and is finding it's way into a few High Performance Computing/Supercomputer outlets which the T. Rex story didn't.
purplecat: (dinosaur)
A University of Manchester Press Release in which B. demonstrates that Hadrosaurs moved fastest by hopping like a kangaroo, but would probably have injured themselves doing so. He would be the first to point out that the results come with a lot of caveats, small sample size being one.

This is unlikely to be as big as T. Rex chasing down and eating David Beckham story, but he's been contacted by both the Manchester Evening News and the Telegraph.
purplecat: (dinosaur)
in the name of Media Stardom.

He can add this to the rhea, as yet another large bird that has tried to eat him.

He also nearly got trampled by a rhino.

B is much excited by the whole thing and has gone back again today in the name of giving the elephants their turn at trying to kill him.

It is all, needless to say, Phil Manning's fault.
purplecat: (dinosaur)
Newsnight tonight, apparently. Something to do with a fossil - she says vaguely.

EDIT: or not, as it transpires. Though I think they are still running the item - only with an American.
purplecat: (dinosaur)


No idea exactly when this was shown but B. continues to win the "does cool stuff with science" game. So far I've only been able to watch it with the sound off because I'm in a shared office so I've not gleaned much except that he's acquired a new job title "Computational Primatologist" which must have any interested viewers scratching their heads about why he's messing around with T. Rexes.
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)
B and I were surprised last night to see him in a trailer.

The Dinosaur Mummy will, apparently, be shown (reworked with a British Voice over) on Channel 4 at 9pm on Monday.
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)
From today's Telegraph

I had a few things to say about using taxpayers' money to go to London and design aliens - which B is currently treating as the highpoint of his career to date - but of course he's right that inspiring children to have an interest in science is a very good way to spend taxpayers' money. I guess I just obscurely feel that worthy things shouldn't be so much fun.
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)
Once a year the Platform Grant on which I am a co-investigator has an Advisory Panel Meeting in which we invite three of the great and the good to come and comment on our work for the year. This one was arranged at rather short notice and so I engaged in a rather rushed visit to Edinburgh today.

Everyone much excited about T-Becks. AB, my PhD supervisor, congratulated B. on his Today program appearance, in particular his failure to make outrageous claims and his ability to get his point across concisely.

It's always nice to get back to Edinburgh, much as I enjoy working at Liverpool, Edinburgh is deeply familiar; a group of people working on the same sort of problems I've been working on for the past 15 years so we understand each other easily without the need for justifications and explanations. Hopefully I'll get back to do a week's work sometime in the Autumn. I discussed a couple of specific ideas with people who were quite keen that I should turn up and we should tackle some of these. The meeting went pretty well, the advisory panel had very little comment (unlike last year when they had some concerns about the overall strategic direction of the group) although they remain concerned about the group's involvement with ITI Techmedia a "pseudo-venture capital" organisation run by Scottish Enterprise. Their concern mostly centres around the inevitable Intellectual Property tension between academics (who want to publish) and business (who want to keep secrets). There were already a few comedy moments caused by the collaboration - a demo that could be watched but not photographed (mobile phones forbidden) and talks which disolved into "we'd love to tell you more but we can't".

A good day, albeit one that could have occurred at a more convenient time.
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)
I'm going to keep editing this post as a reference to all the places we know B's 15 minutes of fame is running.


  • Today Programme (approx 6.50am)

  • BBC 1 O'clock News

  • Running regularly on BBC News 24

  • Sky News Live (approx 11.45am)

  • ITN News (time unknown)

  • Channel 4 News

  • Newsround - Whee!

  • Al-Jazeera UK.

  • Reuters is carrying the story

  • The Times (front page), The Independent, The Guardian, The Telegraph, Metro, Manchester Evening News

  • BBC Radio: World Service and 5 Live, various "Drive Time" programmes this afternoon (co-author), Radio 2 Armed Services (in which B. outrageously and entirely without evidence asserted that T-Rex tasted like chicken).

  • Local Radio: Cambridgeshire (complete with dinosaur crashing through jungle sounds), Coventry, Peterborough (co-author), Birmingham, Merseyside (co-author), BBC Scotland, BBC Wales, BBC Three Counties

  • New Scientist - not yet appeared



B. has also been told off for not mentioning the magic words "University of Manchester", "Faculty of Life Sciences" and "together with Colleagues from Earth Sciences" often enough. The University Press Officer has now met his annual quota for Manchester press coverage so is, nevertheless, a basically happy bunny.

Links I've found so far with a little help from Google News (most of the ones lower down the list are just taking it verbatim from the press release or via one of the new feeds):



Basking in reflected glory, reviewing papers and ignoring the kitchen floor.
purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)
You may recall that the plan was that we would both take this week off and lay the kitchen floor. I have just spent most of today, alone, trying increasingly desperate measures to remove the last vestiges of vinyl tiles from the kitchen floor - paint stripper appears to be doing the trick.

If you are interested in finding out why Louise will not have a kitchen floor by Summerfest then you may consult the following places:


  • BBC Worldwide and Radio 5 Live: Running the story from midnight apparently.

  • The Today Programme (approx 6.50am): B. is quite worried about this one, in addition to an entirely understandable fear of John Humphries, he's been told that the Dean listens to the Today Programme.

  • Probably any BBC Television News apart from the 10 O'Clock (i.e., Breakfast News, 1pm or 6pm)

  • The Times, The Telegraph, The Guardian and The Independent



That's not counting miscellaneous local radio shows. The New Scientist, "somewhere in Germany" and "some paper in Sydney Australia" are also "thinking about it".

The story itself is under media embargo until midnight (which makes it sound terribly exciting) but I'm probably not giving too much away if I hint that its to do with dinosaurs.

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