This is absolutely my favourite single serving website ever:
As a helicopter comes in to land a great cloud of dust is stirred up; the impact of this dust on the rotor blades would quickly wear the blades down, making them unsafe. The rotors are coated in titanium to resist this damage; the sparks you see are this titanium coating being worn away (a process physicists call ablation).
Tom Loosemore fought with the laptop to bring us a foul-mouthed (“Larry Ellison’s penis extension”) tour of attempts to break the 50 knot speed barrier in sailing.
Jessica Greenwood explained that “the least interesting thing about sport is the score” and reminded us that the “technological doping” of the Speedo suit allowed a swimmer to break the world record and still only come fourth.
Robert Brook reminded us that “nobody you know the name of is a gentleman”.
Toby Barnes recalled Patrick Moore’s Gamesmaster and talked about cheating in computer games, including the Russian Mafia’s involvment in Eve Online.
Dominic Tinley‘s talk on colour was a particular highlight for me, and despite his concerns he got the physics of dichroic filters spot on. It was nice to see true violet for once.
Andy Huntingdon discussed the development of the piano keyboard as an interface.
Alice Taylor talked about merchants vs craftants and encouraged us all to put a Princess Leia on our Christmas trees.
Tim Duckett taught the entire room morse code.
Mike Migurski talked about maps and introduced me to the wonders of cross-street indexes.
Josie Fraser told tales of horrifying psychological violence in 70’s and 80’s girls’ comics and reminded us that “girls like to cry”.
Asi Sharabi told us why children’s drawings were so interesting.
Meg Pickard explained exactly why we clink glasses together when we drink and talked of toasts and “booze croutons”.
Jon Gisby began by asking “Is there anybody here who has conducted a symphony orchestra?” and went on to teach us all to do exactly that.
Jessica Bigarel talked about “Meta Meta Data Data” and showed us some Feltonesque data of her own.
Craig Smith talked about water wheels and his Dad, who “sharpens a drill better than any man in Huddersfield”. He also compared Scottish Country Dancing to House music.
Tom Fishburne explained that everything he knows about business and innovation he learned from drawing cartoons.
Naomi Alderman somehow managed to link Greek Tragedy and singing goats.
Gavin Bell gave us advice for writing a book.
Emma Marsland told us stories of “Ponies I Have Loved: Both Real and Imaginary”, which had to be the title of the day.
Nick Hand was technically in Havant, cycling around that coast of Britain and reminded us of the simple advantages of cycling: “You can stop anywhere on a bike”.
Mark Earls and the excellently named Darwinian Display Team demonstrated random drift through gestures.
Gem Spear talked of wide streets, electric trains and underground creeks.
David Smith talked movingly about teaching and the changing role of technology in education.
Matt Ward gave a rousing talk on “The Architecture of Frivolity” and his designs for “La Tour Reiffel”.
Dan Germain finished the day, appropriately enough, with talk of sunsets. And how crap they are.