Thursday, January 31, 2008

Sixth Douglas Adams Memorial Lecture - With Hitchhikers Bonus!

REMINDER: The Sixth Douglas Adams Memorial Lecture will take place at the Royal Geographic Society in London, on Wednesday 12th March 2008.

The lecture will be presented by psychologist Steven Pinker, the Johnstone Family Professor in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University. His subject will be "The Stuff of Thought, Language as a Window into Human Nature", with proceeds going to Save The Rhino.

And in some exciting new news, the lecture will be followed by a very special LIVE 30th anniversary performance of material from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy radio scripts which will hopefully reunite many original cast members such as...
Simon Jones as Arthur Dent
Geoffrey McGivern as Ford Prefect
Mark Wing Davey as Zaphod Beeblebrox
Susan Sheridan as Trillian
Roger Gregg as Eddie
Stephen Moore as Marvin The Paranoid Android
With a Very Special Guest as the Voice Of The Book
Stephen Fry?

Stephen Fry's X-Rays, and he has podcasts coming...

Poor Stephen Fry has posted x-rays of his badly broken arm (a "spiral fracture of the right humerus") on the Stephen Fry blog. That's the best excuse for irregular blogging I've ever seen, much better than my recent laziness. Get well soon Stephen. Be prepared to set off every airport security alarm in the world. My plated leg sets them off EVERY time.
Quite a smash as you can see and it has taken me some time to recover both tissues and spirits.

Over the next month or so I continue the American documentary, filming my way up from New Orleans to the Great Lakes for Leg 3 which begins on the 3rd February.

I will be posting new blogs, both in audio podcast form and in traditional text blessay mode.
Now, that's cool! As much as I love the blessays, a Stephen Fry podcast is bound to be entertaining!

I notice "Richard Madely" commented on Stephen's post, and after following the link back to Madely's blog, you'll discover that Stephen has been staying with Richard and Judy for a while, and featuring in lots of Richard's posts. Interesting.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The hidden meanings behind gorilla grunts

The BBC's gorilla diary by Diddy and Innocent has a nice article and video this week about their work understanding the grunts of the gorillas that they follow around.

Link: BBC Gorilla Diary

Friday, January 18, 2008

Stephen Fry Injured While Filming Last Chance To See

The BBC reports that Stephen Fry has broken his arm while filming the TV version of Last Chance To See down in Brazil. How terrible, but equally how fabulous that the filming is now well under way. Get well soon Stephen!
A BBC spokesman said Fry was treated at a local hospital before being flown to the US for further treatment and then back to the UK.

He would receive more treatment and hoped to be fully recovered to film later in the year, the spokesman added.
[...]
Fry was on location in Tefe to film the release of an endangered Manatee into the wild.
Feel free to use this post's comments as a "Virtual Cast" to sign your get well wishes to Stephen...

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Saturday, January 12, 2008

Stephen Fry: Big Feet and a Big Memory

In an interview for the Manchester Evening News, Stephen Fry says that his apparent knowledge about practically everything (readily on display during every episode of QI), is as much down to simple curiosity as it is to his colourful formal education. Fry's autobiography "Moab Is My Washpot" covers his school days in hilarious detail, and is highly recommended.
For some reason, I am greedy for knowledge about all things. It's not in order to show off, although it often looks as if it must be. It is a genuine excitement, a thirst for knowledge.

So I tend to stop and pick things up more than others will. But as far as intellect and wisdom and other such things are concerned, I'm not sure I can compete with many others.
The interview took place in Miami, where Stephen is currently filming a documentary covering all 50 States in America.
As well as finishing his US film, Stephen, 50, is travelling to South America, Africa and China for a documentary on endangered species, inspired by Douglas Adams' book Last Chance To See.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Three Gorges Dam: Assessing the Impact

Thanks to Gwen, who pointed me in the direction of NPR's 3-part series on the impact of the Yangtze's Three Gorges Dam. Episode 1 details the concern over the rising waters in the reservoir, which are expected to reach their maximum height during 2008. There's an 8 minute audio download associated with the article.
Beijing has long touted the dam — the biggest hydroelectric plant in the world — as a way to stop flooding, increase river shipping and generate clean power.

But in September, officials publicly admitted that the project could lead to environmental disasters, prompting speculation that China's leaders wanted to distance themselves from the project.
See NPR: Concerns Rise with Water of Three Gorges Dam for more information.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Raz the Aye-Aye Born at Bristol Zoo

Please welcome new born Aye-Aye lemur "Raz" to the world. Raz was born in captivity at Bristol Zoo about two months ago, and is being hand-reared by his keepers. Sky News has the story.
His name is short for Razafindranriatsimaniry - a Malagasy name meaning "son of a Prince or noble man who envies nobody".

One of his keepers, Caroline Brown, said: "We made the decision to hand rear this infant in advance of his birth because his mother has not had much success rearing her babies.

"So far he is doing well. He is gaining weight and seems strong. Aye ayes are quite slow developing babies and require an intensive feeding regime.
(Image from Sky News and Bristol Zoo Gardens)

Sunday, January 06, 2008

David Attenborough: Life in Cold Blood

The Telegraph is running a very nice feature on the life and works of David Attenborough. He has spent more than 50 years making Natural History programmes and his "Life" series of epics comes to a close with "Life in Cold Blood" which starts on 28th January on BBC One. The show should feature the Komodo Dragon in some detail.
Now 81, Sir David Attenborough has spent most of the past 50 years 'getting the behaviour of animals', as they used to call it in the Natural History Unit of the BBC. Here, he looks back at significant moments from more than five decades of definitive natural history programmes, beginning with Zoo Quest in 1954, and ending with his forthcoming series on reptiles, Life in Cold Blood, the final chapter of his overview of life on Earth.
Way back in 1957, David visited the Komodo Dragon for his "Zoo Quest For A Dragon" series and things were a lot more primitive back then.
The only way to get to Komodo was by sea; Attenborough and Lagus found a surly-looking captain willing to take them from the port at Maumere in a single-masted prau that was only 20ft long. They came across tidal races that plunged the boat into whirlpools and eddies, and drove them towards reefs that they avoided only by pushing themselves away with bamboo poles. They later found out that the captain was a gun-runner from Java who smuggled arms to rebels.