Before i Forget : Simon Jones's blog

November 2006

Found on the webSaturday, November 18th, 2006, (7:30 am)

It was my friend Anne’s Birthday yesterday (Happy Birthday Anne) so, as one does, I decided to call her up and wish her a happy birthday. I actually sang “Happy Birthday” to her which is never really a good thing, but it’s the only time I feel I can get away with singing to another person without the risk of them asking me to please stop.

Anyway, while on the phone with her, and for no real reason at all, I decided to Google her name, Anne Metz. She did the same in one of those ‘this conversation is being only kept alive by machines’ kinda ways, and pretty soon we were both looking at the same page. A blog by another Anne Metz.

Now ordinarily I wouldn’t write about such a thing, but while I had Anne on the phone we both explored the other Anne’s website out of nothing more than namesake curiosity.

Then we found her video post about Avogadro’s number. Now I’ll admit that I have never heard of Avogadro’s number but thanks to (the other) Anne I can now talk about Avogadro’s number and make like I’m one of those clever people who would know about such a thing.

As I watched the post (the other) Anne then said she was about to sing a little number about the big number to which I said out loud with a smile on my face “Oh no!” Other uninhibited public displays have in the past ended in seemingly never ending embarrassment and, one would assume, lives of seclusion for those involved (lest we forget the Aicha song). So I grimaced as (the other Anne) began her little number, fearing that things were about to become ugly.

Fortunately for her she managed to pull it off. Her little performance actually endeared me to her and her cleverly large numberness. I’ve had to watch the video a few times so that I can now sound as clever as her when I tell people that Avogadro’s number is the something scientist use to figure out the atomic atoms that are in the avocados element… no wait, that’s not it… it’s a scientist who used avocados to invent the atomic… no no, that’s not it either. It’s the number of avocados that any number of atoms can weigh, yep, I’m pretty sure that it.

In any case, I decided to share the video with you all and use this as an opportunity to wish my friend Anne, who isn’t the Anne Metz in this video but who is every bit as clever as any avocado and more, a very happy birthday.

The other Anne Metz’s blog
Avogadro’s number
6.0221415 x10 to the power of 23
The Aicha song

Creative MediaFriday, November 17th, 2006, (5:57 pm)

Advertising is, if you ask me, an art unto itself. I can appreciate an ad that breaks out of the confines we usually apply to advertising messages, and if they’re done well they can be extremely effective.

Pictured below are two examples of an ingenious poster campaign by MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving). The text on the posers read; “If you don’t stop your friends from drunk driving, something else will.”

GeneralTuesday, November 14th, 2006, (8:08 pm)

I know what you’re thinking. “Simon, you’re a guy.” And I tend to agree with you. All my dingily dangles confirm to me that I am indeed male. But according to a proposed new rule being considered by the Board of Health in New York City I could actually be a woman.

The rule will let New Yorkers change the sex on their birth certificates without going through the inconvenience of actually changing their bodies. This has been greeted as good news by America’s growing transgender community which argues that gender is more complex than genitals and that some people simply don’t have the money to have sex-reassignment surgery. At the recent final public hearing about the proposed rule various advocates and transsexuals suggested that commonly held definitions of gender, in particular its reliance on medical assessments, should be set aside in favor of a more open minded view of what defines a persons gender.

But for a Steve to become a Steph there will still need to be a number of steps before he can legally consider himself a new woman. Affidavits from a doctor as well as a mental health professional will need to be provided explaining why their patients should be considered members of the opposite sex. For this to happen Steve will need to have lived as Steph for at least two years, plus he will be required to legally change his too.

Speaking for the New York Transgender Rights Organization 52 year old lawyer, Joann Prinzivalli, called the new rule progress and was encouraged that New York was playing a significant part in changing America’s misguided fixation on genitals as the basis of a persons gender identity. “It’s based on an arbitrary distinction that says there are two and only two sexes,” said Ms Prinzivalli who has lived as a woman for the last six years.

The rule looks almost certain to be passed in December and will put New York state among a small number of states that already do not require surgery for an individual to request their gender be changed on their birth certificate.

New York Plans to Make Gender Personal Choice
Among the Transhumanists

Found on the web and MusicMonday, November 13th, 2006, (11:11 am)

Think you’ve got great hearing? Well now is your chance to prove what great shape your ears are in with a handy online tone deafness test posts a simple flash test for tone deafness.

The test, which checks for overall pitch perception ability, was devised by blogger and musician Jake Mandell while he was working at the music and neuroimaging lab at Beth Israel in Boston. The way it works is quite simple. You’ll hear two musical clips back to back and you have to press a “same” or “different” button at the end of each clip.

According to Mandell the test is actually quite difficult in places and excellent musicians rarely score above 80%. I’m feeling rather proud of myself with a score of 83.3% though I’m sure some of you out there can beat that. Have a go and let us all know how you did.

Take the tone deaf test (Flash and speakers required)

Art and Found on the webSaturday, November 11th, 2006, (10:00 am)

Earlier in the week I wrote about Jackson Pollock’s painting, No.5, 1948, and how it has now become the worlds most valuable painting. Pollock’s work often leads to comments like “I could do that” from onlookers who art critics might argue don’t understand the complexity of the artists work. Be that as it may, now is your chance to try your hand at your very own Jackson Pollock style painting.

Earlier today I created my own masterpiece (pictured right) which I’m hoping will one day earn me a fortune, though I feel it’s far more likely that my artistic talent will go undiscovered (oh the tragedy of it!).

Thanks to the Greek born artist Miltos Manetas, you can take a few moments out of your day to create your very own Jackson Pollock style painting without actually having to get yourself covered in paint.


Below is a blank canvas waiting your touch of artistic chaotic brilliance. In a matter of seconds you could add to what New York art critic, Harold Rosenberg, once called ‘apocalyptic wallpaper.’ Just move your mouse over the canvas and the paint will drip and swirl as you direct it. To change paint color simply click your mouse button and another color will appear.

The price of genius
Wiki : Jackson Pollock
Miltos Manetas
Miltos Manetas’

Creative MediaFriday, November 10th, 2006, (3:52 pm)

Sony’s Bravia TV has been advertised in some very creative ways but these 4 optical illusion ads make me feel a little woozy.

If you haven’t seen the ‘colored balls’ TV ad for the Bravia shot in San Francisco then may I suggest you check it out. The 250,000 multicolored balls bouncing down the streets of San Francisco is, in my opinion, one of the most visually stunning ads I’ve seen in a long time. The beautifully fitting music accompanying the ad is José González’s cover of ‘Heartbeats’ by Swedish band ‘The Knife’.

A UK soft drink maker spoofed the ad wonderfully just a few weeks after the Sony ad first aired.

Sony’s recent TV ad shows color exploding in Glasgow. The cleverly filmed commercial essential sets of a 60 second firework display where the explosions aren’t fireworks, but instead are explosions of paint.

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