Archive for February, 2009

Today is… Sword Swallower’s Awareness Day!

February 28, 2009

On February 28th, Sword Swallowers around the world will observe International Sword Swallower’s Day by doing what they do best – swallowing swords!

At 2.28pm Sword Swallowers around the world will attempt to swallow over 480 inches of steel swords at Ripley’s Believe It of Not! museums worldwide. That’s over 40 feet of solid steel. For more information – and a video of a man swallowing a sword- see below.

Morris: a life with bells on

February 27, 2009

Thanks to the University’s Clerk of Works for alerting TOTD to this excellent promotion for a new film about morris dancing that has been descibed as “the Full Monty with bells on”.

The film has so far failed to obtain a distribution deal, so you’ll have to travel to cinema hot spots such as Fontwell Magna if you want to see it. Meanwhile, just enjoy this excellent trailer.

Shopping trolleys

February 26, 2009

Shopping trolleys (or carts, if you prefer) have been in the news this week following the launch by British Waterways of their Trolley Report Form. Apparently 3,000 shopping trolleys are hoisted from its network of waterways every year at a cost of over £150,000.  So, if you happen to spot a trolley in the water as you stroll along the Grand Union, you can report it here:

The Stray Shopping Carts of Eastern North America: A Guide to Field Identification was voted in a draw organised by The Bookseller magazine as the oddest book title of the year in 2007. You can read about the wonderful Stray Shopping Cart Identification System here:

Pathetic motorways and wet roads

February 25, 2009

While reading the newsletter of the Society of Cartographers at the end of last year, TOTD came across a reference to the M96 motorway. You can view an air photo of it here:

“But it looks like an airfield”, I hear you say, and you’d be correct. You can learn more about the M96 and other secretive, lost, unbuilt and unfinished motorways at:

While on the subject of roads, TOTD fondly remembers as a child being taken on a detour in order to be driven at speed through the ford in Pigeon House Lane (SU649076). Ford enthusiasts will welcome this online guide to every UK ford, watersplash and tidal road:

Going bananas

February 24, 2009

This week is the start of Fairtrade Fortnight. You can get involved by taking part in  “the world’s biggest banana event”.

If you want the “latest news, information and opinions about Bananas”, check out the Blog at TOTD was fascinated to learn from this blog about the world’s largest banana museum, which rather implies that there must be at least one other, smaller banana museum! Find out more about the museum at the International Banana Club:

Since 24th February is also Shrove Tuesday, perhaps you could also indulge in a few banana pancakes (Fairtrade, of course).

Virtual Pilot

February 23, 2009

How good are you at locating European cities on a map? Well you can test your knowledge and have a bit of fun with this destination game on the Lufthansa site:

Can you beat our Map Librarian’s personal best score of 25,316?

If you need to do a bit of revision first then do drop in to the Map Library and ask for a map of Europe.

Spot the Difference…

February 22, 2009

For those of you who didn’t see “Let’s Dance for Comic Relief” last night, you missed the treat of seeing Robert Webb doing his interpretation of Jennifer Beals dancing to “What a Feeling”  from the movie Flashdance. It was an inspired performance(!) and for your amusement it appears on TOTD along with the original performance. See if you can spot the diffeence.

Here’s Jennifer’s

and here’s Rob’s


Name Days

February 21, 2009

Here in the UK we don’t ‘do’ Name Days, but I’m reliably informed that in other parts of Europe they can be bigger than birthdays.

You may be able to find yours here:

Happy Name Day.

Haiku Crazy…

February 21, 2009

Here in the Library, there has been much interest in the writing of Haikus.

If you don’t know much about this form of poetry but would like to find out more, take a look at the links below:

If reading about them has whetted your appetite and you feel you might like to have a go, here’s how they are structured.

And if you’d like to see a few examples before putting pen to paper, you can-

data visualisation

February 20, 2009

TOTD hears that this will be the “next big thing”.  We’ve looked at Wordle before but here are more: has some interesting examples – particularly the Name Voyager

and here’s a delightfully library oriented lot:

Now why can’t all data be presented in this way?!