Pages tagged “meta”

22 Nov 2018

More TV tunnels

Thanks to a recent generous gift - I am the owner of an Oculus Go VR headset - and thanks to a recommendation from a friend, I’ve been thinking about TV tunnels again. I was already following Matt Parker, standup mathematician, but when I heard that Matt was publishing videos about the spherical Droste effect, well, I couldn’t resist. These two videos are great fun: definitely best viewed in VR.

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22 Nov 2018


I think I got/stole this idea listening to the Adam Buxton podcast a while back. It sort of nearly happened in real life, but not quite. Background: Gogglebox, like battered Mars bars, is one of those things that when you first hear of it - if you’re me, anyway - you dismiss. Watching people watching TV? Why would that be any good? If you haven’t watched it, give it a go.

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19 Dec 2016

A Cock and Bull Story

This is a short post bringing together my recent ramblings on TV tunnels with my love of meta. “A Cock and Bull Story” is one of my all-time favourite films, if not my all-time favourite. It’s a film about making a film of a book about writing a book, in which Steve Coogan plays (a version of) himself. There are so many circles within circles: one beauty is a cameo from Tony Wilson, played by Coogan in “24 Hour Party People”.

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30 Sep 2016

Toy fish and noisy x-rays

Iris is 123,456,789 seconds old next Tuesday - she’s getting on - and is starting to learn about reading. Parents are encouraged to get involved in the process, and so I’m finding my way around the “phonics” system (with the help of Anki of course). The sounds of letters, and of groups of letters, are associated with actions as a memory aid for the learner. I’m having a little trouble with some the associations from the “official” list (I’m not sure if it really is official, but it’s the one used at Iris’s nursery.

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19 Nov 2015

Cam coffee cams

I’m lucky to work with a great friend who is one of the inventors of the webcam. I spend quite a bit of time on video calls with him - obviously, though a webcam. The original application of the webcam was, as is well known, looking at a coffee pot. Today I was pleased to have an opportunity to use this coffee-related invention to capture a mugshot of its inventor drinking coffee from a mug which commemorates the invention.

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19 Oct 2015

A photo of a photo of a model of a model

Following our recent trip to an infinite village, I am now the owner of a planned photo of a photo of a model of a model. Thanks to Sarah the patient wife and photographer.

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17 Oct 2015

On infinite villages

Just behind the New Old Inn (a name I particularly like) in Bourton-on-the-Water is a model village, modelled on the village of Bourton-on-the-Water. The model makers must’ve been my kind of people, and shared my love of “meta” because they made it a member of the set of things that describe themselves, a bit like this sentence would be, if it talked about itself. Which it does. Anyway, what I mean is: they included a model of the model inside the model, and a model model model inside it.

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21 Aug 2015

A level 4 meta-story

Iris is really into Frog & Toad at the moment. Last night we read “The Story”, in which Toad remarks to Frog that he’s looking a bit too green. Frog takes to bed and asks Toad for a story, but his dry-skinned buddy can’t think of one. Toad pours water on his head, stands on his head and does various other things to his head to no avail. He just can’t think of a story.

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16 Apr 2015

A model of a model of a model - and a plan

I’m not the first to notice this, but it’s so close to something I independently thought of I had to reblog it. Village has a model village which contains a model model village which contains a model model model village… It’s a story from boingboing about Bourton-on-the-Water in Gloucestershire, which contains a model village - modelled on Bourton-on-the-Water. True to the spirit of infinite recursion, the model village has a model model village, and so on.

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06 Feb 2015


What is your favourite list/category on Wikipedia? Mine’s been deleted - or rather, merged into a parent article, which is kinda disappointing. List of exclamations used by Captain Haddock It still exists on the marvel that is the world wide web, though - and in reading about it, I have learned a little bit about what a Bashi Bazouk actually is. Here are a couple of other good lists/categories: Counterintuitive pronunciations - whose research led me to pen this tiny post Fictional donkeys - with thanks to my friend Alasdair Lists of lists - Mmmm, all metay and self-referential, too.

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13 Sep 2014

Three 'meta's in a row

I really am going over the top with this. I’ve created a (small) website about websites: iwannawebsite This one serves a purpose, I hope, and it was doubly useful for me - an exercise in using Jekyll and Github pages. The interested reader can discover, re-use and contribute to all of its source code here.

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18 Aug 2014

A metaqueue

A queue for a queue. Credit to my good friend Billy for spotting and sharing it.

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18 Aug 2014

A metablog

A blog post about blogging. Not long ago I helped out a good friend by building a website for The Linacre Institute. It’s a great charity which aims to help talented and disadvantaged students at northern comprehensive schools reach the UK’s more competitive universities. I’m building them a blog at the moment, using Ghost. I’ve built a custom install script for ghost on Webfaction which should simplify backups and upgrades. Check it out if you’re a Webfaction customer like me.

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17 Jun 2014

A metahat

A hat with its own hat. Seen in the Hermitage museum, St. Petersburg.

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01 Mar 2014

A new metaword

My entry for “word of the year 2014” is a metaword, in the sense that it describes itself. I humbly propose “participling”. The word describes the irksome and increasingly common process of taking a well known noun, artificially turning it into a verb, and then going one step further, adding “-ing” to get to a present participle. My friend Jo provided the inspiration for “participling” when she spontaneously and slightly ironically used the word “counterexampling”.

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13 Sep 2013

More meta

Turns out my understanding of the word “meta” could be, er, better. Its use as an adjective post-dates its use as a prefix by quite a bit. One of my favourite authors, Douglas Hofstadter, popularised its modern meaning: X is “meta” if X can be about X. My love of metaphotography falls within this sense of the word. Yesterday I discovered another branch of meta: laws about laws. I particularly like Stigler’s law of autonomy, which, like a sentence that asserts its own veracity, obeys itself.

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06 Sep 2013

Two bits of metajournalism

I quite like all things meta. Metacomedy and metaphotography especially. Anyway, I wonder if it’s a coincidence that these two articles were published on the same day: Opening paragraph just repeats the headline, claims journalist - NewsBiscuit My ‘shameful secret’: I’ve learnt to love clichéd journalese - Daily Telegraph

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17 Jun 2013

Two more metaphotos for my collection

I’ve mentioned my liking for metaphotos before. Now, with the hugest of thanks to photographer extraordianaire, Quentin, Sarah and I have a great set of photos of wee baby Iris. Equalling Iris’s toy collection in size and quantity but probably surpassing it in terms of expense, the contents of Quentin’s photographic kit bag were put to deft and skilful use, and the results are brilliant. Grannies/grandmas/granddads reading this: we are deliberately witholding the full set, but don’t worry, just be patient!

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17 Dec 2012

Iris unimpressed by the concept of a metaphoto

I have a liking for photos of photos. It is clearly not (yet) shared by Iris. Sarah’s “photo of a photo being taken of a photo being taken of a kangaroo” is one of my all time favourites (click for full size version)…

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