Tag Archives: bbc
Video series on Youtube. Showing once again that Richard Feynman was a genius and a brilliant communicator.
Hardly need to say much more than what is said already in the news item.
I don’t usually get up early enough to listen to Thought For The Day, but I happened to catch it this morning, and it reminded me just how ludicrous and out of place this segment is in the otherwise sober and serious Today Programme on Radio 4.
(Don’t just believe me, listen to the nonsensical ramblings of Akhandadhi Das [MP3] from their podcast)
Oddly I find myself in agreement with AN Wislon (warning: Daily Mail link). Don’t put an atheist “counterbalance” on this program. Just abolish it altogether. There’s no place for it in a news programme.
This happened because I used to have a spam archive, collecting every spam email I had received since c.1997. I don’t exactly know how the interview came about — I was just contacted on the morning of the interview by a researcher from Radio 4. But being a big fan of the BBC of course I was happy to come in to London and talk to them.
I expected to be in a studio discussion, perhaps with others, but that wasn’t quite how it happened. About an hour after I arrived, I was shuffled into a small booth and connected up to Eddie who was “on the line” in some other London studio. Nevertheless we had a conversation about spam and other things. What was finally broadcast was heavily edited and condensed down to about 4 minutes, from an original which must have been 10 minutes or more.
I still to this day collect every email — spam or otherwise — that I receive, but I no longer put them online because that caused all sorts of problems. My total mail archive is 11 gigabytes, of which 7.5 gigabytes is classified as spam [note this is just a "du" of various compressed files]. The earliest spam is from Oct 2 1997 (an advert for “Teeth Bleaching and Whitening”), and the latest is almost certainly from about 1 minute ago, whenever you are reading this posting.
UK usersUsers from anywhere in the world can download all of them with get_iplayer:
./get_iplayer --type=all --get 'in our time'
At around 30 minutes per programme, there’s about 250 hours of excellent entertainment here.
The full listing is after the break …
I just watched 14 Days in May on Youtube. Actually I watched it again, since I remember it from the first time it was broadcast on the BBC in 1987. It’s an extraordinary documentary about the murder by the state of Mississippi of a young man who was probably innocent.
The same user on YouTube has also uploaded “Welcome to North Korea”, which was also interesting.
Also a good time to point out youtube-dl which is a great little tool for downloading youtube videos.
Update A timely BBC 4 / Open University documentary about explosives.
When I was a kid we made HMTD-based bangers at home. It’s an easy explosive to make from hydrogen peroxide and hexamine tablets (the kind of firelighters used to start toy steam engines). It’s also relatively safe if you use low strength hydrogen peroxide.
Now they want to “ban” hydrogen peroxide, one of the main ingredients, because bad people do bad things with it.
(Hairdressers still need the strong stuff and there are like a million hairdressers in the country, so I confidently predict any ban is going to either be completely ineffective or is going to cause much stress to peroxide-blonde teenage girls everywhere).
I think this is a sad day for fun and for geeks.
You still can’t easily download all the MP3 files from the website in a useful way, eg. as a ZIP or tarball, but I processed their RSS feed to get the raw URLs and with a simple shell loop and wget you can grab them easily.