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Unflappable

Yesterday, took some things to my favourite picture framer.

A single black feather.

A set of faked bank bonds.

Some pins – hat, sewing etc. – mounted on a red velvet display board.

He didn’t bat an eyelid. I think he’s getting used to Discworld!

Posted in Discworld.

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My new hat

I’ve just bought a hat. The label reassure me that “Italy has always been synonymous with style and design”, which is nice. Unfortunately, elsewhere on the label it says “Made in China”.

Posted in ASOF.

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Google Goggles Blind Spot

Google Goggles is an impressive bit of software. It’s hard to describe all it can do, but I think if it had legs it would probably travel back in time and kill John Connor. It uses the camera in your phone (Android or iPhone) to recognise things with a spooky accuracy. I showed it a £10 note – it showed me pictures of other £10 notes. I showed it a copy of Simon Singh’s Code Book and it recognised that. I thought “Ah, but books have titles – it’s just OCR” so it covered up the words and it still got it right. It isn’t always spot on – I showed it a Green Lantern action figure and it brought up a selection of DC Action figures, but it’s often scary. Show it some text and it’ll offer to translate into a large range of languages. Show it a sudoku and it’ll not only recognise it for what it is, it’ll offer to solve it for you. Now I have nothing to do over breakfast.

But I’ve found one blind spot in its repertoire. It can recognise logos very well – except the Apple logo. I’ve tried the logo on my iPad, the box it came in, the box of an Apple keyboard and a copy of the logo from Wikipedia. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. “No close image matches found.” How could this be? At first I thought it was just Google getting at Apple – but they’ve released Goggles for the iPhone.

I can’t see a reason. Can you?

Posted in ASOF.

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How To Get Thrown Out Of Medical School – part 1

This is the blog post to which ASOF owes its existence. I had the idea for it about two years ago and thought “That would make a good resource for students. How to get it to them? Oooh, I could start a blog!” I never got around to it. But then I was asked to deliver a five minute talk at a Betta Kulcha meeting – and used this topic. You can watch the video or just read on…

The first step towards getting thrown out of medical school is, of course, to get thrown in. Each year we receive about 3700 applications for 220 places – about 16 applications per place. Other medical schools report the same sort of ratio. Most of our applicants use all four of their UCAS places to apply to medicine, so that means there are four “real” people for every place on a medical course – competition is intense!

Over the years we’ve honed our admissions proceudres – every application is assessed independently by two trained members of academic staff, and from that we choose who we’ll interview – about 600 in all. A panel of three (including a current student) then see this cohort and on the basis of their opinion, we make around 400 offers. You may wonder why we make more offers than we have places; remember most applicants have applied to multiple schools and may well get more than one offer. And, unfortunately, not everyone gets their expected A-level grades. There’s no magic equation for this – it’s done on years and years of experience!

So you can see that we put a lot of effort in selecting who we think are the right candidates for our course. But every year, we get one or two who don’t really want to be here. Usually, they’re been pressured by family or their school but would really want to be somewhere else, doing something – anything – else. They can’t just walk away – they have to be seen to have been ejected unwillingly. This guide is for them.

Posted in MBChB, Medicine.

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The Discworld

No one would have believed, in the last years of the Century of the Fruit Bat that human affairs were being watch from the magical realm of the Disc. No one could have dreamed that we were being scrutinised, as someone with an Omniscope studies the creatures which swarm and cough in a drop of Ankh water. Few men even considered the possibility of elves, or even dragons, and yet, across the planes of reality, minds disturbingly like our own regarded the earth with curious eyes. And slowly, and surely, they decided that…. someone really should do something about it. Quite soon. After lunch perhaps. Or tomorrow at the latest, although come to think of it I’m quite busy tomorrow. Who’s got the Faculty diary? Stibbons? STIBBBBOOONNNNSSSSS! Be a good chap and sort this out will you? I’m off for a spot of huntin’….

OK, I do Discworld a bit. I’m in control. I could give it up tomorrow.

But not today!

Posted in Discworld.


What is the sentimental value of something?

One hundredth of what you think it’s worth.

I’m here all week. Try the fish.

Posted in ASOF.


Hello world!

So here I am, free of the 140 character limit of Twitter!

The page is a bit big, isn’t it?

Help…

Posted in ASOF.




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