Scientist: “We can live to be 1,000 years old”

The BBC have published an article by Cambridge University scientist Dr. Aubrey de Grey who claims that someone aged 60 years old today could live to be 1,000 years old.

Of course, many have claimed such science fiction will turn to fact in the past, but this guy appears genuinely convinced. And since he leads some of the work in this field, he seems qualified.

He states many of the hurdles have solutions already in the works, and that in the next ten years we should have the medical advances necessary to keep someone going and going and…

Anyway, if you can draw your eyes away from the beard, the fascinatingly uncomplicated article can be found over on BBC News.

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Chelsea 4 – 0 Wycombe (Agg: 5-1)

Andriy Shevchenko shone tonight in a powerful performance against brave Wycombe who had no answer.

In an apparent attempt to silence the recent barrage of criticism leveled at Jose Mourinho’s squad, the speed of the game from start to finish was far faster than recent games in which the opposition, smelling chances, have taken points off the Champions. Passing was also much sharper, crisper, although still not quite level with their performances of last season.

Shevchenko scored twice for the first time in a Chelsea shirt, both in the first half. I strongly suspect there’s more to come as the confidence begins to return with his form and – importantly – the team working better together. More fluid than ever before, but with a gear or two left in reserve that the manager will be keen to expose in this second half of the season.

Frank Lampard also appeared to have been stung by recent criticism – his performance was much brighter too, with two goals of his own in the second half which did nothing to dampen the enthusiam of the League Two side who refused to back themselves in front of their own goal. Indeed it was a welcome return for Ricardo Carvalho who showed that it isn’t just John Terry Chelsea rely so heavily on.

It was a must-win game for the Blues having been crushed away to Liverpool recently. This weekend’s fixture with Nottingham Forest will prove whether this was a one-off return to the form that has won Chelsea two consequtive Premiership trophies.

Forest may just be feeling a little bit of an earthquake based on tonight’s performance.

Why recycling is still a bit pathetic

I asked recently when would be a good time to empty our now full shredder into the recycling bin outside, which I’m sure to most people in today’s environmently conscious world would be a natural job.

I was told I couldn’t. Stopped in my tracks, I asked why. Apparently it screws up the recycling machines so we’re asked not to include it.

Gobsmacked.

So, today we’re being strongly advised to shred any personal details supplied on paper, and to recycle to help save the planet, yet we can only do one or the other. I decided today to look the matter up, and sure enough Recycle for Norfolk has a web page answering questions, and funnily enough this matter is top of the list.

“Q. Why can’t shredded paper be recycled and what should I do with it?”

“A… When arriving at the facility it will have been mixed up with the other recyclable materials and the machinery has difficulty in separating out the shredded paper, causing inconvenience and extra costs. This all means that shredded paper can’t actually go in your kerbside recycling collection.”

I kid you not. Apparently it’s inconvenient and it costs more.

Wait… Surely the inconvenience of re-homing thousands of people due to flooding when King’s Lynn and surrounding areas disappear as projected will cost a tiny amount too? Or did we give up on them? Cause I’m pretty sure you’ll still find people constructing and buying homes there.

There’s a wider issue here too – whilst our bottle and paper recycling bins at home are full, so remains the “landfill bin.” What about the used tissues, surely there should be put in for recycling. And the plastic trays that held microwave ready meals? The yoghurt pots we eat from?

“There are many plastic items marked as recyclable which are not accepted for recycling in Norfolk. These include such things as yoghurt and margarine tubs and plastic fruit and meat trays.”

Apparently this is due to a lack of “stable end markets” for the recycled product. So because we don’t have a buyer, let’s dump that lot in landfill too, shall we? Codswallop.

To end this insanity we need to cut through the bullshit with a really sharp instrument. Industry must accept that if they manufacture something the left-overs must be reclaimed and recycled – all of it. If you sell to Tesco one million ready meals, you’d better cost up the collection of the paper and plastics in the packaging, then wash it and re-print it with another load of ready meals. Now that would cause them to consider necessary packaging, as opposed to pretty packaging.

The public is already faced with increased bills due to the problems of not having a 100% recycling policy; combined with the long-term effects and costs on the planet you have to wonder if a radical world-wide shift in industry culture may save us individually a lot of money and our health.

But of course, individuals have no power over such things, the company shareholders do.

TinyMCE and Scriptaculous – Grr

Thought I’d post this as a reminder, having spent an hour staring at web page source code wondering why TinyMCE wasn’t turning my textarea in a full editor for non-technical staff to use.

It seems that if you use Scriptaculous on the same page, TinyMCE must come first in your ordering of script tags, else you get a lovely weird error:

Error: tinyMCE.baseURL has no properties...

Useful. I very nearly chucked something at my TFT screen after that.

When is a coat, not a coat?

I set out today to get three things done. The first, a haircut, not a problem. The second, look for coats, became complicated thus I left to do more research. The third, get a UV filter for my new Sigma 105mm macro lens, which I forgot to do due to other distractions in Jessops leaving my buying absolutely nothing bar my barber’s time.

This afternoon I sat down to watch Tamworth FC play Norwich City FC hoping the much publicised “banana-skin” event wouldn’t materialise. It didn’t, and so I settled down to mother Google and asked it for some coats to compare.

About fours later and I now know that a coat really isn’t a coat any more. Indeed, for a bloke who’s oudoor life generally consists of walking to the car and back, the outdoor web sites really aren’t helpful. Instead of “keeps you warm outside, lets your breathe while inside” I am hit by a bewildering array of brand names and technical jargon. Some sites even have explanation pages which are in truth not particularly enlightening either.

I set out with the intention of around £80 budget. It seems though that for a good quality coat / jacket for all-year use I may need both a fleece and a jacket. So I thought may be spent a little more, but use one or the other based on the weather. Then I see the “BERGHAUS QUAD 4 WAY WATERPROOF JACKET.” The what-a-whater? That’s right a quad 4-way jacket. Sounds a bit like those cosmetics advertisements with fancy technical terms that mean absolutely nothing.

Well, I now know that Millets and Blacks are in fact the same, and other than in the sales both appear to sell goods at their full retail value. A quick check reveals the super-duper jacket at a significant discount elsewhere. Perhaps I should check it at my local store then buy online? I think considering the cost, that may be wise…

Fun with text_field_with_auto_complete

I’ve spent the past few hours trying to get my head around Railstext_field_with_auto_complete. Rails, from a PHP background is totally different paradigm and text_field_with_auto_complete illustrates this more so than usual.

So I have a web site home page /home which has a controller named ‘HomeController’ amazingly enough. I also have a complete MVC ‘WebSite’ for listing of web sites. I wanted a search field on the home page to type in a url and have it autocomplete.

Now it turns out that the solution was incredibly simple, and I used this autocomplete blog entry by Cloves Carneiro Jr as my starting point. But I just had to complicate things unnecessarily. I assumed that the autocomplete box should query the ‘WebSitesController’ as that’s what handles the MCV work for that class. Natural, except I was wrong.

The key was that when the autocomplete makes an AJAX request it HTTP GETs /home/auto_complete_for_model_field or in my specific case, /home/auto_complete_for_web_site_url. At the top of HomeController all I needed was the following line:

auto_complete_for :web_site, :url

I needed no method definition, no view, and no helper. Nothing, zip, nada. Reloaded the page, hit the ‘h’ key and all listed websites appeared. Of course, the next job is to optimise!

Note: Debugging this was made massively easy thanks to FireBug (1.0 beta rocks).