Friday, 24 April 2009

'The Force' Needs You

Q: Just how many Jedi's are there here in the United Kingdom?

A: The 2001 survey said:- "390,000 Jedis There Are".

Background information to the above can be accessed here via Directgov - the official government website for citizens

"Seven people in every thousand in England and Wales gave their religion as 'Jedi' in the 2001 Census".

"The Census form's question on religion - the only question where a response was not compulsory - offered a series of tick-boxes for the major religions in the UK (Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh); a tick-box for 'none'; and a free space to write in 'any other religion'. This was the first time a religion question was included in a Census".

Whilst I was and remain a Padawan (a Jedi apprentice), I was tipped off about this, and opted for "Jedi". No-one had any idea at the time of course as to how many Jedi Knights and Padawan's there were in the UK.


A number of interesting reports in the news media (here) and blogosphere (here) over the last week have homed in on "Glasgow's Finest", aka Strathclyde Police for some reason !!

Jedi Knight PC Fleming from Glasgow was the first (of at least 8) within "The Force" of Strathclyde Police to reveal their identity in public over the last 24 hours.

Stealing some blurb from one such report today:-

Meet PC Pam Fleming, the first serving police officer to come forward and admit being a Jedi copper.

PC Fleming, who has patrolled the streets of Glasgow for the past 23 years, emerged – lightsaber in hand – to say: 'I'm a Jedi and I'm proud.'

She even admitted to using Jedi mind tricks during interviews with suspects in 'an effort to achieve the truth', although she tells industry magazine Police Review that she does not use 'The Force' to influence what suspects say or do.

Jedi mind tricks are used in the Star Wars movies by Obi-Wan Kenobi, played by Sir Alec Guinness, to 'influence the minds of weak-minded sentient beings'.

PC Fleming, one of ten workers at Strathclyde Police who have listed their religion as Jedi, said her faith helped her 'fight crime and disorder on Glasgow's streets'.

'Being a Jedi is a way of life,' said the 45-year-old. 'For me, it is not a joke. I love the Star Wars films and the concept of being a Jedi.


Side Salad...., quoting from Google News:-

According to Britain's Office for National Statistics, a total of 390,000 people in England and Wales listed their religion as Jedi in the most recent census in 2001. Scotland has a reported 14,000 followers.

But it noted that this may have been largely due to an Internet campaign launched in the run-up to the census. Jedi followers are grouped under atheist.



Flickr source

If you would like to join The (Strathclyde Police) Force, please do check oot the Recruitment Section of the Strathclyde Police Website. They are recruiting right now.


As Scotland's largest police force – covering 5,371 miles with a population of approximately 2.2 million people - we're constantly looking to match our resources with the needs of our communities.

That's why we're currently in the middle of a major recruitment drive for both special and regular police officers. We will recruit over 800 new officers during this financial year together with a large number of special constables. If you're interested in joining us on the frontline, check out our police officers and special constables sections.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Prometeus - "The Media Revolution" inc. 'Me the Media'

H/T straight away to Gerd Leonhard for flagging this up 5th June 2008.


April 4th 2009, Gerd left a Tweet which showed up on FriendFeed.

That was my introduction to this most stimulating free download e-book "Me the Media" written by Jaap Bloem, Menno van Doorn and Sander Duivestein which I'm skimming through at the moment. McDawg is a slow reader.

If you want buy a physical copy of the book for about 20 bucks, go here.

OK. So shooting forward towards the end of the book, I wanted to flag up the following section.

If you would rather watch this fraction, rather than read, there are two YouTube videos.




The main reason for writing this post was to quote the following and possibly, obtain some thoughts/comments from teh blogosphere.



The Prometeus scenario is undeniably science fiction. At the same time, it contains the following elements that are more than plausible.


All started with the Media Revolution, with Internet, at the end of the last century. Everything related to the old media vanished: Gutenberg, the copyright, the radio, the television, the publicity.


The old world reacts: more restrictions for the copyright, new laws against non
authorized copies. Napster, the music peer to peer company is sued.
At the same time, free Internet radio appears; TIVO, the Internet television, allows
to avoid publicity; the Wall Street Journal goes on line; Google launches
Google news.


Millions of people read daily the biggest on line newspaper. OhmyNews written by
thousands of journalists; Flickr becomes the biggest repository in the history of
photos, YouTube for movies. The power of the masses.


A new figure emerges: the prosumer, a producer and a consumer of information.
Anyone can be a prosumer.


The news channels become available on Internet. The blogs become more influential
than the old media. The newspapers are released for free. Wikipedia is the most
complete encyclopedia ever.


In 2007 Life magazine closes. The NYT sells its television and declares that the future is digital. BBC follows.


In the main cities of the world people are connected for free. At the corners of the
streets totems print pages from blogs and digital magazines. The Virtual Worlds
are common places on the Internet for millions of people.


A person can have multiple on line identities. Second Life launches the vocal avatar.
The old media fight back.


A tax is added on any screen; newspapers, radios and televisions are financed by
the State; illegal download from the Web is punished with years of jail.


Around 2011 the tipping point is reached: the publicity investments are done on the Net. The electronic paper is a mass product: anyone can read anything on plastic paper.


In 2015 newspapers and broadcasting television disappear, digital terrestrial is abandoned, the radio goes on the Internet.


The media arena is less and less populated. Only the Tyrannosaurus Rex survives.
The Net includes and unifies all the content. Google buys Microsoft. Amazon
buys Yahoo! and become the world universal content leaders with BBC, CNN
and CCTV.


The concept of static information—books, articles, images—changes and is transformed into knowledge flow.


The publicity is chosen by the content creators, by the authors and becomes information, comparison, experience.


In 2020 Lawrence Lessig, the author of Free Culture, is the new U.S. Secretary of Justice and declares that copyright is illegal.


Devices that replicate the five senses are available in the Virtual Worlds. The reality could be replicated in Second Life.


Any one has an Agav (agent-avatar) that finds information, people, places in the
Virtual Worlds. In 2022 Google launches Prometeus, the Agav standard interface.


Amazon creates Place, a company that replicates reality. You can be on Mars, at the
battle of Waterloo, at the Super Bowl as a person. It’s real.


In 2027 Second Life evolves into Spirit. People become who they want. And share the memory. The experiences. The feelings. Memory selling becomes a normal trading.


In 2050 Prometeus buys Place and Spirit. Virtual life is the biggest market on the planet. Prometeus finances all the space missions to find new worlds for its customers: the terrestrial avatar. Experience is the new reality.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Friday, 10 April 2009

TED Talks. David Pogue: Cool new things you can do with your mobile phone

In TED terms, I was aware of the name David Pogue although apart from viewing a short clip of him playing a keyboard & singing at a TED Conference in 2006, didn't know much about him, until now.

TED Speakers Profile for David Pogue.

Watched the following this morning and simply had to spread the word. It's another TED Classic....

About this talk

In this engaging talk from the EG'08 conference, New York Times tech columnist David Pogue rounds up some handy cell phone tools and services that can boost your productivity and lower your bills (and your blood pressure).

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Top 10 Measurements for Transparency Success

Here at McBlawg, I've covered Open Access related issues fairly extensively.

This is my first post relating specifically to Open Data however (although this has been alluded to in some links on previous posts).

Cue the good folks at The Sunlight Foundation (who I first became aware of here back in 2007) for the following.

Ten Measures for Transparency Success from Gov 2.0 on Vimeo.

1. Open data: The federal government should make all data searchable, findable and accessible. ...

Quoting from here

"The following video was created at 's un-conference "Government 2.0 Camp" and talks about ten factors for effective transparent governance.

Explanation by Andrew Rasiej of

Live mural graphic by Diane Cline of

Video recorded by 's laptop and publish with NO RIGHTS RESERVED".


For further reading about this video and background, please do go here to this post on the Sunlight Foundation's blog.


Here in the UK, we still seem to be somewhat rather behind the times, however and have a lot of work to do:-

UK Parliament
, earlier today. They talk a good game but only disclose data by accident.

Bla bla bla bla bla bla bla cough bla bla bla bla bla sniff bla bla bla bla.....

Spotted subject matter via this post on Open Access News.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

The Beagle Project Blog: The first Beagle Project podcast...

The HMS Beagle Project launches Podcast #1

I don't believe it....

Despite my new-ish interest in all things Charles Darwin related, I've yet to write a blog post relating to Darwin although I continue to assist in the construction process of a short Darwin related film project.


Let's set the scene for this post, then.

5th April 2009
- "Dr Karen James (director of science, The HMS Beagle Project) working hard on depleting the world's coffee stocks and the new website while surrounded by laptops and Flip video recorders. All very web 2.0. We are working, honest".

6th April 2009 - The first Beagle Project podcast....

"The first Beagle Project podcast is an interview with Dr. Karen James, the BP's director of science. It goes all the way from low earth orbit to the classroom. So whether you want to know what a 170 year old ship has to do with science, why we'll be talking to the International Space Station and why a biology student in a classroom on a Tuesday afternoon should get excited about us, listen in.

It was recorded in the garden of BP director David Lort-Phillips on a lovely spring evening, and you can hear the local birds enthusiastically getting in on the act.

We're going to make podcasts a regular feature of the Beagle Project, so if you've got any ideas for podcasts, any comments, if you want to take part drop us a comment or email. OK. To establish a podcast feed, do we need the podcasts on a discrete blog? I've established a feedburner feed here, but don't want people getting fed whole blogposts when they're just looking for audio. Suggestions/solutions welcome until we go mad and establish The Beagle Channel".

Keep up with Beagle Project news via their website , blog and here on Twitter.

Better still, 'if you share their vision of a new Beagle inspiring the next generation of scientists, please donate. UK taxpayers can now top up their donations with Gift Aid, and we will shortly be able to accept tax exempt donations from US taxpayers'..

Sunday, 5 April 2009


This is so bad ass bad, it's good....

Marks my first blog post based upon a finding on FriendFeed.


Enzyme, whatcha doin’ today?
I said, Enzyme, want to make DNA?
I said enzyme, show me your binding way
Let me mix you with some primers

Enzyme, time to build a new strand
I said enzyme, 'cause I know that you can
I said enzyme, these letters also spell DAN
All we need to get things started…

Is just a little bit of GTCA
Is just a little bit of GTCA
I can build DNA
I can be a big star
You’re the key to my PCR
That’s right I’m talkin’ ‘bout...

Enzyme, you have come a long way
But in my lab, demands are higher today
I said enzyme, now it’s time to go fast
We have got to increase throughput
Enzyme, I think I found what I need
It’s an enzyme, it gives me much higher speed
It goes so fast, when it builds DNA
All we need to get it started…

Is just a little bit of GTCA
Is just a little bit of GTCA
I can build DNA
I can reach for the stars
I can do faster PCR