Monday, April 26, 2010

Relationship between Genes and Cognition in Schitzophrenia

I was looking for part-time work and came across a request for test subjects for a study at the Institute of Psychiatry at Kings College, London. It was a study into the link between genes and the mind in Addiction Studies.

I thought it might be something interesting and I volunteered! :) So cue me having electorodes strapped to my head as they put little cameras in my eyes while I followed moving dots around a screen. Hehehehe

Seen in London - God knows what!?

This crazy piece of sculpture was seen in Hays Galleria, on the Southbank, London. God knows what it is?! lol

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The cars the star!

In the short clip for The Message charity shoot, there was a clip of a broken-down car being pushed as an act of kindness. They put a smoke machine under it to give it that "just broken down" look :D

They only bloody asked me to use my car for it! Guess my old shit-box looked the most likely to have broken down! At least it continued my unbroken streak of myself or something belonging to me appearing in everything I've ever work on lol


On the LZ7 shoot, they also had a free-runner or Parkour guy who was bouncing around through their video. The guy really knew his stuff, and it was pretty damn cool to watch :)

We were also going to have Parkour on The Rapture shoot I did, but thank god that never came off, as we had no proper stunt co-ordinator on that shoot, nor health & safety in place. I would have hated to have been some how responsible for Danny Dyer or Lois Winstone getting killed for that shitty shoot! I even scouted a container docs in Kent for them to do it in! I had nightmares of someone getting killed before the whole scene was thankfuly cut! Phew!

Charity rappers

I've just done 3 days on a rap video/charity promo for a band called LZ7. They work with a Manchester based youth charity called The Message. They go into schools and try keep under-priviledged kids out of trouble. All good stuff really.

They were filming the video for their new song "This Little Light Of Mine", plus were also filming a promo for The Message about "Random Acts of Kindness". Which was basically showing that just because a teenager is wearing a hoody, that they're not a little thug who's about to mug an old lady. So lots of little clips of teenagers helping people in broken-down cars or delivering milk to old ladie. All good stuff :)

Its the first music video I've done, and they brought some really cool lights and stuff with them, plus hired in a Jimmy Jib, which is a sweet-ass camera-arm on track, which can do all sorts of cool things.

A pretty, damn cool few days :)

Lets hope there's nobody out there

Aliens are very likely out there, according to eminent scientist Stephen Hawking - but we should keep quiet and hope they don't notice us. Skip related content

In a new documentary for the Discovery Channel, the theoretical physicist warns against making contact with any extra-terrestrials.

Professor Hawking, who retired as the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge last year, claims such space life would only abuse Earth's resources and move on.

"We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn't want to meet," he said.

"I imagine they might exist in massive ships, having used up all the resources from their home planet.

"Such advanced aliens would perhaps become nomads, looking to conquer and colonise whatever planets they can reach."

"If aliens visit us, the outcome would be much as when Columbus landed in America, which didn't turn out well for the Native Americans."

The documentary, which begins on May 9, explores the British scientist's vision of the universe.

While most aliens were in all probability simple organisms such as microbes, Professor Hawking said it would only take a few intelligent ones to spell disaster for humans.

"To my mathematical brain, the numbers alone make thinking about aliens perfectly rational," he explained.

"The real challenge is to work out what aliens might actually be like."

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Foreign Language Syndrome

Sky News 2010

A woman from Devon has begun speaking with a Chinese accent after suffering severe migraines.

Thirty-five-year-old Sarah Colwill puts the startling change down to an extremely rare medical condition known as Foreign Accent Syndrome (FAS).

"I knew I sounded different but I didn't know how much and people said I sounded a bit Chinese.

"Then I had another attack and when the ambulance crew arrived they said I definitely sounded Chinese."

The rare disorder is thought to be caused by strokes and brain injuries and causes sufferers to lose the ability to talk in their native accent.

There have been an estimated 60 recorded cases of FAS since it was first identified in the 1940s.

Mrs Colwill, who lives in St Budeaux in Plymouth, Devon, with her husband Patrick said her accent change had been startling.

"I spoke to my stepdaughter on the phone from hospital and she didn't recognise who I was.

"She said I sounded Chinese. Since then I have had my friends hanging up on me because they think I'm a hoax caller."

After researching FAS on the internet Mrs Colwill has been in contact with doctors from Oxford University who are interested in studying her plight.

She is undergoing speech therapy to try to revert to her West Country accent.

"I am frustrated to sound like this. I just want my own voice back, but I don't know if I will get it back."

John Coleman, a professor of phonetics at Oxford University, said: "FAS is extremely diverse, almost certainly not 'one thing', not a well-defined medical phenomenon.

"It is not the kind of problem that there are any easy generalisations about."

Sufferers can develop an accent without ever having been exposed to it as it is the change in speech patterns from a brain injury which causes the lengthening of syllables, change in pitch or mispronunciation of sounds.

Experts believe FAS is triggered following a stroke or head injury, when tiny areas of the left side of the brain linked with language, pitch and speech patterns are damaged.

The result is often a drawing out or clipping of the vowels that mimic the accent of a particular country, even though the sufferer may have had limited exposure to that accent.

One of the first reported cases was in 1941 when a Norwegian woman developed a German accent after being hit by bomb shrapnel during an air raid.

As a result, she was shunned by her community, who falsely believed she was a German spy.

In 2006 Linda Walker, 60, woke from a stroke to find that her Geordie accent had been transformed into a Jamaican one.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Selling you soul for a game?

Fri Apr 16 04:25PM by Yahoo! UK Games Editor

Answer this question honestly – do you read the small print when you buy games on the internet?

High Street retailing giant GameStation decided to put this to the test and inserted a new clause into their terms and conditions earlier this month that granted them legal rights to the immortal souls of thousands of their online customers. Here, in darkest legalese, is how they got away with such a heinous act:

"By placing an order via this Web site on the first day of the fourth month of the year 2010 Anno Domini, you agree to grant Us a non transferable option to claim, for now and for ever more, your immortal soul. Should We wish to exercise this option, you agree to surrender your immortal soul, and any claim you may have on it, within 5 (five) working days of receiving written notification from or one of its duly authorised minions."

GameStation’s fiendish clause specified that they might serve such notice in “six foot-high letters of fire” too, but also offered customers an option to opt out, rewarding them with a £5 money-off voucher if they did so.

Alas, hardly anyone noticed the clause, let alone the substantial bonus for spotting the gag. More to the point, the fact that it passed more or less unnoticed raises an important issue – too few people actually read the small print when they make online purchases.

According to GameStation, around 7,500 customers carelessly signed their souls away on the day. Were you one of them...?

Monday, April 12, 2010

What looks like a strawberry yet tastes like a pineapple?

A Pineberry, of course!

The pineberry is white and covered in red pips and has the same genetic make-up as the common strawberry but with a flavour and ''extraordinary'' smell closer to that of the pineapple, Waitrose said.
The supermarket will sell pineberries in 45 stores across the UK for the next five weeks while they are in season.

The pineberry originated in South America as a wild variety of strawberry but was threatened with extinction until seven years ago when Dutch farmers began growing it commercially, according to the retailer.
They are grown in glasshouses, turning from green to white and are ripe when the seeds turn dark red.
Nicki Baggott, Waitrose fruit buyer, said: ''Pineberries offer our customers the chance to add a new fruit into their diet and the berry's bright appearance can add an unusual decoration to sweet dishes.
''As the summer unfolds we won't be surprised to hear that our customers are inviting their friends over for pineberry pavlovas, punch or serving them up with yogurt for a lighter alternative.''
A 125g punnet of pineberries will cost £2.99 until April 13 and then sell for £3.99.

Seen in London - A Kick-Ass Red Mist mustang

Parked up at Elstree Studios was Red Mists car from the film Kick-Ass (which I am desperate to see). Whats a guy to do when faced with such a cool car? Pose, of course! ;)


I did my possibly first bit of DIY ever! I built a bed! lol Nowt to it ;)

Astronomy pics

I've been slacking on the pics recently. Here's a batch I've been saving for a while.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Seen in London - A floating city

I visited a friend who lives in Canada Water in London. I'd never been there before. All I can say is I want to move there now!

What a beautiful part of London. Wonderful old docks that have been converted into cool flats and modern living, but in the middle was a wonderful marina, just full of the most interesting houseboats and barges, where loads of people live fulltime.

And the wonderful Canary Wharf looms over in the background! Its quiet and beautiful, and I've always wanted to live near the water. I'd better start saving now!

Picture wrap!

And we finally wrapped on Booked Out on Wednesday. It was hardwork, but a great shoot. And I got to work with a load of brilliant people again.

I've spent the last few days overseeing the decorating, cleaning, and waste removal from our main location (3/4 tonnes of trash!!). And then back to Harrogate for Easter and to get the last of my stuff before I move down to London permanently.

So still all bloody go!

The winners of this year's International Earth and Sky photography contest

The winner: 'Temple Night' by Chris Kotsiopoulos, presents a panoramic view from the Poseidon temple in Cape Sounion of Greece with a starry sky in one direction and immense light pollution of Athens toward the other horizon

Observatory and Capital' by Mahdi Zamani: The Iranian night sky photographer made this panoramic image from Byurakan Observatory near Yerevan, the capital of Armenia

Lights of Los Angeles' by Ali Douraghy: This panoramic photo shows the lights of this metropolitan as seen from the Griffith Observatory. Judge David Malin, said: 'What a spectacular waste of energy! And what a spectacle, all the way to Santa Catalina Island.'

First prize in the Beauty of Night Sky category - 'Full Moon Rainbow' (left). The photo is taken from the Yosemite Falls of California in a moonlit night. 'Starry Night of Croatia' (right). This wide-angle photo is taken in black and white mode and shows the starry sky above Sjeverni Velebit National Park in Croatia

'Lights vs .Stars' by Fredrik Broms: This image is taken near Kvaloya in Norway

'Light House and Stars' (left) was a runner-up. The photo was taken from coast of Oregon in USA, framing a seaside starry night and strong rays from a light house 'Stargazers' (right) was taken during a public observing night above a hill overlooking Targoviste, Romania