Tales from Urban Dilettantia


301 Days of Wikipedia

In 2011, I posted 300 Days of Wikipedia.  Subsequently, friends commented that this action was likely to get them fired, citing a sudden and overwhelming urge to spend all day reading Wikipedia.  No-one was, to my knowledge fired.  And so, in the spirit of trying ever harder, I have compiled a sequel.

As per last year’s post, a warning.  While many of the articles on this list are work-friendly and generally inoffensive, do be aware that my interests sometimes stray into the gory, morbid and pornographic, and click accordingly.  (This batch contains an article on the war photographer who helped break the My Lai Massacre news, cruel and unusual experimentation, sport, and a giant spider sculpture.)  If you come across any broken links or other errors, leave me a comment and I’ll fix them up.

001 1854 Broad Street cholera outbreak
002 1984 Rajneeshee bioterror attack
003 555 (telephone number)
004 A moron in a hurry
005 Aerogel
006 AFL siren controversy
007 Alder Hey organs scandal
008 Ali Dia (footballer)
009 American Mustache Institute
010 Andreas Grassl
011 Anglo-Zanzibar War
012 Ant mill
013 Barbados v Grenada (1994)
014 Barometer question
015 Bear JJ1
016 Bed burial
017 Bedford Level experiment
018 Benford’s Law
019 Betteridge’s Law of Headlines
020 Bicycle infantry
021 Black fax
022 Blood in the Water match
023 Blood-vomiting game
024 Body snatching
025 Bootstrap paradox
026 Boston Corbett
027 Breaker boy
028 Bugchasing
029 Bummer and Lazarus
030 Burke and Hare
031 Burst of Joy
032 Bus bunching
033 Business speak
034 Bystander effect
035 Camping (game)
036 Canadian Parliamentary Cats
037 Candy desk
038 Cargo cult
039 Casper (cat)
040 Cat piano
041 Cecil Jacobson
042 Cecil Kelley criticality accident
043 Celestial Emporium of Benevolent Knowledge’s Taxonomy
044 Charlie Brown and Franz Stigler story
045 Cher Ami
046 Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant sarcophagus
047 Chess boxing
048 Chicago Tunnel Company
049 Chicken eyeglasses
050 Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office
051 Christian side hug
052 Cliff Young (athlete)
053 Coal hoal
054 Cocktail party effect
055 Coffin birth
056 ComBat
057 Conflict of interest editing on Wikipedia
058 Contaminated currency
059 Copycat suicide
060 Coral Castle
061 Corpse road
062 Cow magnet
063 Crypt of Civilization
064 Cryptomnesia
065 Cultural cringe
066 Curse of the Colonel
067 Cute cat theory of digital activism
068 Dabbawala
069 Darius McCollum
070 Dead mall
071 Deep-sea gigantism
072 Descent from antiquity
073 Digital dark age
074 Dinner by Heston Blumenthal
075 Disappearance of Rebecca Coriam
076 Dog whipper
077 Domino Day 2005 sparrow
078 Doomsday argument
079 Drunkard’s cloak
080 Dunwich
081 Early flying machines
082 Early world maps
083 Eddie’s House
084 Elem Farm Ollie
085 Elevator paradox
086 Elisha Gray and Alexander Bell telephone controversy
087 Ellen A. Martin
088 English As She Is Spoke
089 Euthanasia Coaster
090 Exquisite corpse
091 Falling on a grenade
092 Flirty fishing
093 Floater
094 Florence Y’All Water Tower
095 Four-dimensional space
096 Fox tossing
097 Fred the Undercover Kitty
098 Gaëtan Dugas
099 General Butt Naked
100 George P. Burdell
101 Ghost army
102 Goose pulling
103 Gravity Research Foundation
104 Great Stink
105 Greg Packer
106 Greyfriars Bobby
107 Guess 2/3 of the average
108 H. H. Holmes
109 H. Rochester Sneath
110 Hairy Frog
111 Handlebar Club
112 Hansa Carrier
113 Hard problem of consciousness
114 Harold Hering
115 Hart Island (New York)
116 Hashima Island
117 Helike
118 Helikopter Streichquartett
119 Henry Box Brown
120 Here be dragons
121 Hiroo Onoda
122 History of longitude
123 Hobo
124 Hockney-Falco thesis
125 Hollywood Freeway chickens
126 Hotel toilet paper folding
127 Hubble Ultra-Deep Field
128 Hugh Thompson Jr.
129 Human experimentation in the United States
130 Human flesh search engine
131 Ice-hotel
132 Illusory superiority
133 Imber
134 Impossible colours
135 Inattentional blindness
136 Incident pit
137 Inherited accessory nail of the fifth toe
138 Internet vigilantism
139 James Joseph Dresnok
140 Jedi census phenomenon
141 JetBlue flight attendant incident
142 Joseph Jagger
143 Karl Bushby
144 Kattenstoet
145 Kepler 22b
146 Ketchup as a vegetable
147 Kjærlighetskarusellen
148 Klerksdorp sphere
149 Kowloon Walled City
150 Kuleshov Effect
151 La Princesse
152 Laika
153 Lal Bihari
154 Language of flowers
155 Larry Walters
156 Laser harp
157 Letters of the last resort
158 Lion’s Mane Jellyfish
159 List of company name etymologies
160 List of confidence tricks
161 List of inventors killed by their own inventions
162 Littlewood’s law
163 London matchgirls strike of 1888
164 London Post Office Railway
165 London Underground mosquito
166 Lost in the mall technique
167 Lunokhod 1
168 Magic Roundabout (Swindon)
169 Marvin Heemeyer
170 Mary Ellis Grave
171 Mary Mallon
172 Matthew Robinson, 2nd Baron Rokeby
173 Mayerling Incident
174 Mercy Brown vampire incident
175 Method of loci
176 Miasma theory
177 Mike the Headless Chicken
178 Mill Ends Park
179 Miraculin
180 MissingNo.
181 Missionary Church of Kopimism
182 Moberly-Jourdain incident
183 Mobile Bay Jubilee
184 Montpelier Hill
185 Montreal-Philippines cutlery controversy
186 Moon treaty
187 Motorized recliner incident
188 Mummy brown
189 Murder of Tim McLean
190 My Way killings
191 Myrtle Corbin
192 Nail house
193 Net cafe refugee
194 New York City Subway chaining
195 Nix v. Hedden
196 Nixon’s Enemies List
197 Non-apology
198 Norwegian butter crisis
199 Octopus wrestling
200 On Bullshit
201 Operation Cornflakes
202 Orphan Train
203 Oxford Electric Bell
204 Panelák
205 Parahawking
206 Parking chair
207 Paternoster
208 Paul Erdos
209 Paul is dead
210 Peel P50
211 Pencil test (South Africa)
212 Pepper’s ghost
213 Perpetual traveler
214 Phantom ringing
215 Pink slime
216 Pit of despair
217 Pollen basket
218 Polybius (video game)
219 Portsmouth Sinfonia
220 Powers and abilities of Superman
221 Pranknet
222 Prediction market
223 Premature burial
224 Preview of the War We Do Not Want
225 Principle of least astonishment
226 Project Steve
227 Pruit-Igoe
228 Pulgarsi
229 Quine (computing)
230 Radium Girls
231 Raising of Chicago
232 Realistic conflict theory
233 Roadkill cuisine
234 Ronald L. Haeberle
235 Room 39
236 Rotten and pocket boroughs
238 Russian Woodpecker
239 Sankebetsu brown bear incident
240 Sarajevo Rose
241 Scold’s bridle
242 Season 6B
243 Seasteading
244 Sehnsucht
245 Semaphore line
246 Sexuality of Abraham Lincoln
247 Shaun Greenhaigh
248 Ship of Theseus
249 Shoe-banging incident
250 Shower-curtain effect
251 Silk Road (anonymous marketplace)
252 Sledging (cricket)
253 Smart mob
254 Sockpuppet (Internet)
255 Solving chess
256 Song-plugger
257 Sonjourner Truth
258 St Scholastica Day Riot
259 Stack Interchange
260 Stanislav Petrov
261 Strange loop
262 Sudanese goat marriage incident
263 Sugar glass
264 Svalbard Global Seed Vault
265 Tank man
266 Telegony (pregnancy)
267 Ten Pound Poms
268 The Boy in the Box (Philadelphia)
269 The Day the Music Died
270 The Hardest Logic Puzzle Ever
271 Tim Tam Slam
272 Time discipline
273 Timeline of the Future
274 Tip of the tongue
275 Tired and emotional
276 Toilet paper orientation
277 Tower of Wooden Pallets
278 Tri-State Crematory
279 Triboluminescence
280 Troy Hurtubise
281 Tube Challenge
282 Two envelopes problem
283 Unauthorized Apple Stores in China
284 Underground restaurant
285 United States Capitol subway system
286 Unsinkable Sam
287 Venus effect
288 Villejuif leaflet
289 Vinland map
290 Wanda Tinasky
291 War pigeon
292 Waterspout
293 We Can Do It!
294 Weasel program
295 Weather Station Kurt
296 Why I Want to Fuck Ronald Reagan
297 Witzelsucht
298 Wookey Hole Caves
299 Wreck of the RMS Titanic
300 Zero stroke
301 Zorbing

Old Year’s Resolutions

[2007] [2008] [2009]
For the fourth year running, behold my list of retroactive resolutions for 2010!

Refrain from triggering apocalypse.
Acquire chickens.
Become a better photographer.
Run a half-marathon.
Complete a 60km bicycle ride.
Make more genuine friends at work.
Visit Penguin Island.
Visit Rottnest Island.
Become more assertive & confident about my needs, wants & boundaries.
Make time to enjoy gaming again.
Compete in a short-course triathlon.
Do things outdoors. Go camping. Go hiking.  Go snorkeling.  Go fishing. Go geocaching.
Feed a chameleon.
Compete in a 24 hour rogaine race.
Sail a mini-catamaran on the river.
Become a UK citizen.
Learn to celebrate and embrace introversion.
Find a good psychiatrist & work on treatment options.
Survive working on those treatment options.
Go flying in a two-seater plane while said plane does aerobatics.
Begin learning about shibari, in practice & in theory.
Gleefully paint & draw on willing victims.
Complete my Chartered Accountancy qualification.
Cement & grow friendships of intimacy, trust & support.
Get a cleaner once a fortnight & learn to stop feeling guilty about it.
Reconsider my diet to minimise farmed and/or unsustainable meat.
Make more art; sell some of it.
Improve & expand my DIY skills.
Learn to be more comfortable in my own body.
Give away more things.
Be an election enthusiast & electoral education activist.
Nurture, support & engage with my strange little city.
Become a better cook.
Make some fantastic & interesting new friends.
Become less tolerant where tolerance is not warranted, and more where it is.
Learn about negotiating relationships with love, communication & integrity.
Start working on a collaborative short film.
Be more honest.

Spread more love, more of the time.

Swooping and Diving

Welcome Swallow

Welcome Swallow

Welcome Swallow

This year, none of my half-drafted text posts have yet come to anything, but I’ll have you know that they’re sitting there in the dusty attic of a hard drive, waiting to be unleashed.

In the meantime, I’ve posted some more birdwatching photos to Flickr, including the Welcome Swallows pictured above.  Wings are exciting; I’m having fun times (and sometimes frustrating times) learning to photograph wings.

My excuse for not having written anything of substance – one of my excuses, anyway – is that I’m buried not only under unpleasant work, but under an avalanche of side projects.

Some of the side projects include doing a triathlon, getting my diving certification, building a barrel garden, harvesting the local laneway/vergeside fruit, looking for a new job, soaking up as much of the summer cricket as possible, and two secret things.  One secret thing is is about tentacles, the other is about maps.

Somehow I think spending time at the beach needs to be on the projects list, but isn’t. It strikes me that this is a terrible oversight.

Old Year’s Resolutions

[2007] [2008]
In the grand tradition of previous years, behold my list of retroactive resolutions for 2009!

Refrain from triggering apocalypse.
Spend more time involved in activism of various flavours.
Find and buy myself a house.
Consume less, recycle, gift away and reuse more.
Watch far, far less television.
Help a dear friend give birth.
Learn even more about being self-sufficient on a bicycle.
Become fitter – run, bicycle, roller skate, box, walk and lift free weights.
Plant a vegetable garden.
Begin to learn to ask for help.
Make a large number of new (and lovely) friends.
Read about non-violent and more effective communication.
Retain a job throughout the GFC.
Draw more, and for more collaborative projects.
Improve my ability to set boundaries and ask for space.
Learn about the care and keeping of rabbits.
Work on and further improve my photography skills.
Attend Quaker Meeting with interest and open-mindedness.
Sit on and actively participate in a committee for Perth’s future development.
Be honest and forthright regarding my philosophy and thoughts on life, the universe and everything, and learn to be more open when talking about these things with others.
Learn to joyfully be in love without expectation, possibility or reciprocation.
Learn to wait patiently, when being impatient will not help.
Learn to love and accept my analytical and rational leanings (they that have me saying things that often attract a ‘wow, that’s cold‘ response) as fundamental and functional parts of my character, not as defects.
Do many, many things that terrify me.

Spread more love, more of the time.


  • LEGO Shinkansen
  • Collaborative LEGO snake
  • LEGO redback spider
  • Collaborative LEGO snake
  • Collaborative LEGO snake
  • Collaborative LEGO snake
  • Collaborative LEGO snake
  • Collaborative LEGO snake



I like animals with too many or too few legs.