20130919-234553.jpgMillie has installed iOS7 on her iPod Touch before I installed it on my iPhone or iPad. Ouch.

Tomorrow marks the release of the new iPhones 5c and 5s.

You can still have that same ‘new car’ sensation without buying a new phone by installing iOS7 on your current iDevice. The new system was released today, and can be installed now on an iPhone4, iPod Touch 5, iPad2 or later releases of each.

To catch up to Millie and get with the program, you can start by

1 Updating iTunes on your Mac to 11.1. You do this by opening the Software Update (in the Apple menu) and installing the latest system update.

2. Backing up your iDevice in iTunes. (Plug your device in with a USB cable, select it in the sidebar and click update now. If you haven’t backed up for a while, you should slap yourself on the wrist.)

3. On that same screen for your iDevice in iTunes, select the Update software button. When asked, select download and install.

It is a large download, so unless you are on the NBN don’t start this just before you leave home in the morning.

More (perhaps) on iOS7 tomorrow, and (perhaps perhaps) a review of the new iPhone.

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“My task, which I am trying to achieve is, by the power of the written word, to make you hear, to make you feel–it is, before all, to make you see.”
Joseph Conrad, Lord Jim




Hat Tip – Stefahn



What I Learnt On 18th September in other years

18th September 2011 Wine TalkingWine Talking
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Shhh. The 1200 people packed into the Sanders Theatre at Harvard University put down their paper airplanes and signal to each other to be quiet. The time has come. Five genuinely bemused, genuine Nobel Laureates are about to announce the 2013 Ig Nobel Prizes for science.

Stinker 250The Ig Nobels were first awarded by the magazine ‘Annals of Improbable Resaerch’ in 1991. This year’s 24th award ceremony took place last week, under the watchful eye of the official mascot of the Ig Nobel Prizes, ‘the Stinker’ (almost by Rodin).

Ten winners are chosen each year. The journal says that’the Ig Nobel Prizes honour achievements that first make people laugh, and then think. The prizes are intended to celebrate the unusual, honour the imaginative – and spur people’s interest in science, medicine, and technology.’ I believe this is an overly generous interpretation of the criteria. Judging by past winners, it appears that the Ig Nobels are awarded to the scientists who undertake the silliest research. You be the judge.

Shh. The real Nobel Laureates are talking. The 2013 winners are…

Ig Noble Prize for Psychology

– for confirming, by experiment, that people who think they are drunk also think they are attractive. Who would have thought?
REFERENCE: “‘Beauty Is in the Eye of the Beer Holder’: People Who Think They Are Drunk Also Think They Are Attractive,” Laurent Bègue, Brad J. Bushman, Oulmann Zerhouni, Baptiste Subra, Medhi Ourabah, British Journal of Psychology, epub May 15, 2012.

Ig Nobel Prize for Medicine

– for assessing the effect of listening to opera, on heart transplant patients who are mice. Handy to know.
REFERENCE: “Auditory stimulation of opera music induced prolongation of murine cardiac allograft survival and maintained generation of regulatory CD4+CD25+ cells,” Masateru Uchiyama, Xiangyuan Jin, Qi Zhang, Toshihito Hirai, Atsushi Amano, Hisashi Bashuda and Masanori Niimi, Journal of Cardiothoracic Surgery, vol. 7, no. 26, epub. March 23, 2012. – See more at:

Ig Nobel Prize for Safety Engineering,

awarded posthumously to Gustano Pizzo [USA], for inventing an electro-mechanical system to trap airplane hijackers — the system drops a hijacker through trap doors, seals him into a package, then drops the encapsulated hijacker through the airplane’s specially-installed bomb bay doors, whence he parachutes to earth, where police, having been alerted by radio, await his arrival. What could possibly go wrong.US Patent #3811643, Gustano A. Pizzo, “anti hijacking system for aircraft”, May 21, 1972.

Ig Nobel Prize for Physics
for discovering that some people would be physically capable of running across the surface of a pond — if those people and that pond were on the moon. Bear Grylls may need this information one day
REFERENCE: “Humans Running in Place on Water at Simulated Reduced Gravity,” Alberto E. Minetti, Yuri P. Ivanenko, Germana Cappellini, Nadia Dominici, Francesco Lacquaniti, PLoS ONE, vol. 7, no. 7, 2012, e37300.

Ig Nobel Prize for Probability
– for making two related discoveries: First, that the longer a cow has been lying down, the more likely that cow will soon stand up; and Second, that once a cow stands up, you cannot easily predict how soon that cow will lie down again. They get back down, they get up again.
REFERENCE: “Are Cows More Likely to Lie Down the Longer They Stand?” Bert J. Tolkamp, Marie J. Haskell, Fritha M. Langford, David J. Roberts, Colin A. Morgan, Applied Animal Behaviour Science, vol. 124, nos. 1-2, 2010, pp. 1–10.

The other five winners are at the Improbable Research Site.

Are there any scientists you would like to nominate for the 2014 Ig Nobels?

What I Learnt On 17th September in other years

17th September 2011 Take a Nap! Change Your LifeTake a Nap! Change Your Life
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ShakespearesIts about the journey, not the destination.

Alex, my eldest daughter, was exploring a rather rambling bookshop on the left bank of the Seine yesterday.

The bookshop was a tangle of small rooms, connected by steep staircases, and all overflowing with books. Out of a small door in one of the rooms came a rather eccentric young Paris madame. “Come in here. That’s right, in you come”, she said, and whisked Alex into one of the back rooms of the shop. To her surprise, Alex found herself part of a Sunday afternoon tea party.

Sylvia, for that was madame’s name, insisted that Alex read aloud what she had written to the assembled group. Alex protested that she didn’t have anything to read.

“Nonsense. Of course you do. Out with it”.

Sylvia was not to be denied. And she was right. Alex did have her journal in her bag, which she obediently read.

Was this a Mad Hatter’s tea party? Had she met the Red Queen?

‘Shakespeare and Company, a bookstore, was opened in Paris in 1919 by American Sylvia Beach (as you will see, not the same Sylvia that Alex met) It became a gathering place for expatriate writers, and in the 1920s became the epicenter of Anglo-American literary culture. It was frequented by Ernest Hemingway, Ezra Pound and F. Scott Fitzgerald. James Joyce used it as his office. You could buy a book such as ‘Lady Chatterley’s Lover’, too naughty for Britain, and Sylvia Beach herself published Joyce’s ‘Ulysses’ in 1922 when he could not find another publisher.

In 1940, the bookshop fell victim to the German occupation (I guess English books weren’t welcomed by the Nazi’s). Sylvia was interned during the war, but managed to keep her books hidden.

In 1951, another expatriate American called George Whitman opened a bookstore at 37 rue de la Bucherie. It also became a focal point for literary culture in bohemian Paris, and was frequented by many Beat Generation writers, such as Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs. When Sylvia Beach died in 1964, she left her books and the name ‘Shakespeare and Company’ to George. He must have been very grateful, because in tribute he named his shop after her shop, and later named his daughter after her. The store continues to operate in the same location, steps from the Seine, and a short walk from Notre Dame. Like its predecessor, it is a regular bookstore, a reading library, and a home for young writers. You’ll often find people curled up asleep in a corner of the shop, but if you are a writer and willing to work for a couple of hours a day you may be able to use one of the 13 beds. George said that over 40,000 people have slept in his shop over the years. He described the bookstore’s name as “a novel in three words”, and called the venture “a socialist utopia masquerading as a bookstore”.

George’s daughter, Sylvia Beach Whitman, took over the running of ‘Shakespeare and Company’ in 2003. George died in 2011 at the age of 98. Sylvia runs the bookshop in the same style as her father. It was this Sylvia who gathered Alex into the Sunday afternoon writer’s tea. With genes like her fathers, she will be fostering the careers of young visiting writers for a long time yet.

You must call in and say ‘Bonjour’ when you are next in Paris. You’ll find ‘Shakespeare and Company’ just across the river from Notre Dame.

You never know, you may also fall down a rabbit hole into a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party.

What I Learnt On 16th September in other years

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It’s not about the nail!

I don’t need you to fix things, I just need you to listen.

hat-tip Hat tip to Brendan



What I Learnt On 15th September in other years

15th September 2011 Reptile WorldReptile World
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