My selection of other interesting sites

Here are a few random, and interesting links from my collection: most are just personal favourites, while some are pages I have created myself. Enjoy....


Music and Literature:

  • I sing with the C.U.M.S. chorus (highlights for me have been Mahler 8 in the Albert Hall, and the Vaughan Williams Sea Symphony in the Sheldonian), and have also sung with with Cadenza (a small A Capella Jazz choir), and Trinity Hall Chapel Choir. Also, I have played flute in the ever-inebriated West Cambridge Symphony Orchestra. I also built the CUMS Instrument Hire System, TIMPANI.
  • Classical MIDI files can be found at The Classical MIDI Archives. A select few orchestral works are on show at The Virtual Philharmonic. Algorithmic music is at The Sound of Mathematics - personally, I rather like the sound of Pi. If you like Christmas MIDIs of one sort or another, some great ones are to be found here, or here.
  • AstroCappella are a barbershop group at NASA singing "astronomically correct songs"! Star wars fans should listen to Weird Al's version of "American Pie" Or, learn how to play the flute with Trevor Wye. For amusement, you may enjoy this Animated version of Tom Lehrer's song, "The Elements".
  • The shows of Mike Maran are highly recommended: he is a brilliant storyteller. I can particularly recommend Song and Dance Man about Gustav Mahler.
  • The Creative Commons is a solution to the problem of Copyright vs Creativity. Further ways to enjoy the Public Domain are texts from Project Gutenberg and Audio Books from Literal Systems. For example, the excellent series of Sherlock Holmes. Cory Doctorow writes, and publishes some most enjoyable stories; his story i, robot can be downloaded for free. The Creative Commons also extends to movies: try out Star Wreck.
  • Magnatune is a non-evil Internet Music Label. iRATE is an unusual way to discover more enjoyable and unknown music, by using collaborative filtering. also deserves a mention here (a fair deal for authors, and worldwide publishing of any book, without going out of print.)


Friends and Family

These links are devoted to the online homes of my family and friends. Some have written extensively, others far less. If I've missed you out, please tell me.




  • Mike's Electric Stuff: Striking photos and information on glow tubes, neons, valves, old light bulbs, and also wonderful tesla coil photos. Speaking of old bulbs, lifespan is proportional to voltage ^-12: this one has been running for 100 years!
  • The Microwave Phenomenon Page - how to create ball lighting in a microwave. There are all sorts of unwise microwave oven experiments you can do. What is really surprising is when you put a grape in the microwave...
  • Also, take a look at Powerlabs - a fascinating site dedicated to all things for the pyrotechnically inclined such as tesla coils, rocketry, microwave experiments, and a coil gun... All written up in detail by one Mad Scientist for another.
  • Get your very own Kleinbottle. A guaranteed non-orientable, boundary-free manifold, with exactly zero volume. Of course, as with all physical objects, obey the product warnings carefully!
  • You can interactively explore the earth with Google Earth [Mac,Windows,Linux via wine], or view Google's amazing Satelite Maps [web browser]. There are also maps of the Moon [zoom in closely]. And to view the stars and the night sky, I recommend the excellent Stellarium [Linux,Mac,Windows]. Also, NASA produce some amazing images, such as this whole-earth "blue marble" image.
  • The Integrator: This does difficult integrals symbolically, and is very helpful indeed!
  • The Biefeld-Brown effect with high voltage, asymmetric capacitors has been claimed to be a source of antigravity. Actually, it's almost certainly just due to the ion wind, but neverthless, one can construct some great demonstrations. A lifter is easy to make, and can even be made steerable.
  • There is no evidence that Speed Cameras improve safety. Furthermore, the investment in cameras is done on the basis of some badly flawed statistics: regression to the mean makes most analyses completely wrong.
  • The Annals of Improbable Research, who award the yearly Ig Nobel Prizes for "achievements that cannot or should not be reproduced":
    • The 1996 Ig Nobel Prize for Chemistry went to George Goble, for his innovative (and spectacular) way of Lighting a BBQ. 3 gallons of liquid oxygen are dumped onto 60 lbs of charcoal, and the grill ready to cook in about 3 seconds! [Don't try this at home.] (This is partly reproduced here.)
    • In 2002, the winner was Theodore Gray for his complete (wooden) Periodic Table.
    • As for Physics, the highlight has got to be the 1996 winner: Tumbling toast, Murphy's Law and the Fundamental Constants, published in the European Journal of Physics 16 172-176 1995.
  • Juggling in a cone - an interesting demonstration of orbits in conic sections. Also, there are many intriguing bits of physics at
  • Of course, Scientists do have a sense of humour - if one could only understand it! Watch out: here's how to make an atomic bomb! Also, try here and here.
  • Some neat demonstration videos: The Rubens' tube (theory), Floating a boat on SF6 (Sulphur Hexaflouride), and Brainiac's demonstration of alkali metals (Cs,Rb) in water. Also, how to make diamonds in the microwave (not really!).
  • Random factoid: the rather contrived unit of 1 attoparsec/microfortnight is almost exactly equal to 1 inch/second. The units program on Linux is extremely useful for this sort of conversion.
  • And no page on science would be complete without a reference to the Genius, Dr Richard Feynman. Not only a great physicist, but also a practical joker, painter, and centre of many amusing tales (read "Surely you're joking, Mr Feynman").


  • I agree with Laplace "I have no need of that hypothesis" and Carl Sagan "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence" about religion. If necessary, I could be classed as a Discordian, although I also like Douglas Adams' distinction of radical atheist compared to agnostic. Humanism is a better alternative. My own philosophy page is here.
  • Some of the arguments are at The Non-Believer's Page and also at the excellent [The Non-believer's page has vanished. It may reappear at, but for now, try the archive at the wayback machine.]
  • There's also an interesting discussion of The Jesus Puzzle - was the "historical Christ" in fact a mythical figure? This is a very detailed argument, but there is a quick introduction here. Further discussions of The Jesus Puzzle are here (another summary), here (an academic review) and here (Wikipedia). Wikipedia also outlines the history of Christianity.
  • Some "religions" aren't just misled, they are downright evil. In particular, one should beware of the "Church" of Scientology: they coerce their members, and harass their opposition. For instance, Keith Henson had to claim political asylum in Canada after being arrested in the USA for a posting to Usenet. Furthermore, their "beliefs" are ridiculous, being based on bad science-fiction. Scientology is also fronted by Dianetics, the so-called "Modern Science of Mental Health". Dianetics is particularly insidious because it appears to be self-help psychology, and the connection with scientology is usually not obvious. I witnessed this first hand: the Cambridge University newspaper, Varsity was tricked into allowing pamphlets to be included within one issue. [Fortunately, when the connection was pointed out to them, the second pamphlet was not distributed]
  • The paranormal seems unlikely to me, at least on the basis of current evidence. Some of the claims are investigated in detail by The Committee for the Scientific Investigation of the Claims Of the Paranormal - CSICOP. James Randi offers a prize of 1 million dollars to anyone who can prove, in a controlled setting, that they have "super" powers. To date, it has not been claimed. Here's an interesting explanation of ghost phenomena. An explanation of how TV psychics work is provided by The Straight Dope. The Electronic Voice Phenomenon seems perhaps worthy of some further investigation.
  • This site, arguing that Idiot-Savants are proof of the Holy Spirit just Wallops the Cod! Even madder, a Creation Museum has now opened, complete with exhibits of Adam and Eve with dinosaurs. Notwithstanding the first 4.5 billion years, the world was only created recently, at "nightfall preceding October 23, 4004 BC".
  • A friend of mine is trying to convince me (unsuccessfully so far) about the potential for "Free Energy" courtesy of machines such as those developed by Methernitha. What puzzles me is that there is so much "smoke without fire", especially as there are some technical details available of such a machine. I've not had time to build one, but surely, if it works, there's money to be made, and if it doesn't, then it's demonstrably flawed.
  • I recently read Philip Pullman's trilogy "His Dark Materials". As well as being an extremely gripping read, it's interesting both linguistically and theologically. Highly recommended. Here are some other excellent sites: Bridge to the Stars, Heat and Dust, some "Rarely asked questions", and an interview with the author.
  • The Da Vinci Code is another book which raises some interesting questions. Yes, it is a novel, and mainly pure entertainment. But there are some serious ideas there. I discuss this further on my philosophy page.
  • Less seriously, The Onion describes God as "an illegal monotheopoly" [archived], and claims he should be "broken up into smaller deities". And, there is a suggestion of a religious merger. Here is a list of 281 tricks to irritate an atheist. Lastly, there is the Official God FAQ.


There are many current threats to our freedom and democracy.


PIC Microcontroller Programming

Humour and Jokes

  • Some of the Funniest email jokes that I've been able to pass on - all worth another look!
  • Humour related to that much maligned (and rightly so!) group of "musicians:" viola players.
  • The Other Place (Oxfraud) has a vast humour archive, including computer and lawyer jokes!
  • Even if you think you can't work a computer, no one can possibly be this stupid, can they....? Oh yes they can!
  • That's why they deserve the BOFH: rm -rf * "In disk space, no one can hear your files scream."
  • Really hard questions can be submitted to the Internet Oracle, via his priest Zadoc. Be sure to give a good grovel.
  • Don't have enough time to read? Try these Ultra-Condensed books.
  • The Hampster Dance is also good for a bit of fun.
  • At last: a use for AOL CDs: the AOL Throne.
  • What is it that cats think about? Here are ur latest lolz.
  • I really can't justify putting this into the 'Science' section - although it is a brilliant demonstration of how to re-create the fountains of the Bellagio with just diet coke and mentos!