Category Archives: Entertainment

Understanding movie and video game ratings

If you’re a parent in the UK and you want to understand EXACTLY why a movie/DVD/Video Game has been given the rating it has, so you can make rational decisions about what your kids watch, then the parents site for the British Board of Film Classification is an amazing resource (although it contains a pile of spoilers if you haven’t seen the movies or played the games as well).

It might even be a good resource for US parents, too. Even if the classifications aren’t the same, the site gives a good sense of the adult vs. child themes within each production.


Royal Institution Christmas Lectures 2008

This year’s Royal Institution Christmas Lecture will be given by Microsoft Research’s very own Chris Bishop. This is a massive honour, continuing a tradition started in 1825, and following in the footsteps of Faraday. The lecture’s goal is to make science accessible to the public, and are focused primarily on the young, but are very accessible to anyone of any age. They’re famous for their interactivity, using demonstrations that are very playful.

Chris will be giving his lectures around the theme of “Hi-tech Trek – The Quest for the Ultimate Computer”, dipping into a bunch of areas related to computing. They will be shown in the UK on Channel Five (see dates below) and then be available on DVD.


The Royal Institution of Great Britain | Christmas Lectures 2008

” Join us and Prof Chris Bishop on a hi-tech trek to explore the science behind the digital revolution in search of the ultimate computer.

Get an advanced preview of this year’s lecture by visiting our Christmas Lectures 2008 homepage, and play our game ‘Cats and dogs’. Computers are very good at doing calculations super-fast, but they’re actually really bad at telling the difference between cats and dogs. Help our computer learn which is which to beat the mystery guest in the lecture broadcast on Friday 2 January.

The Christmas Lectures bring alive scientific research for the whole family and are broadcast on Channel Five in prime time. This year, the lectures will be shown as follows:
Monday 29 December at 7.15pm Breaking the speed limit
Tuesday 30 December at 7.15pm Chips with everything
Wednesday 31 December at 7.15pm The ghost in the machine
Thursday 1 January at 7.15pm Untangling the web
Friday 2 January at 7.15pm Digital intelligence

Royal Mail Games

Really liked this project by Harriet Russell testing the capabilities and, to some extent, sense of humour of the Royal Mail. She sent 130 envelopes each of which represented an address in some cryptic way, from crosswords (see below) to anagrams. Only 10 didn’t get through.


“Despite fears of a Royal Mail backlash, Russell found the system more than willing to play her game.  The crossword edition was returned completed with the comment “Solved by the Glasgow Mail Centre”

Mail Games: Testing the System | PSFK – Trends, Ideas & Inspiration