The Cantabits tree…

As you may have noticed over the last few years, since becoming Cantabits the image at the top of this blog rapidly evolved into a monthly image of a particular tree near Cambridge. As the seasons changed, so did the image. Recently, I decided that it was time for a change – since December 2013 I’ve been uploading different images. Already, with photos of the Cambridgeshire Guided Busway1, the East Coast Main Line2 and a road leading into Thetford Forest3, a transport theme seems to have emerged. However, I expect this to evolve further over time and there’s no longer a need to keep updating the image regularly.

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  1. See this here. []
  2. See this here. []
  3. See this here. []


“3 guys, 44 days, 11 countries, 18 flights, 38 thousand miles, an exploding volcano, 2 cameras and almost a terabyte of footage.”

Check out the result below.

Website of the month, February 2014…

The website of the month for February 2014 is, a website that gives information about Brian Boru (“Emperor of the Irish”) and links to information about the events being held this year to mark 1000 years since his death. There is a nice summary of events taking place, for example, here. It’s amazing that a man from Thomond made such a mark on history that he inspires such events a millennium later.


This photo of Killaloe, where Brian was born, has been one of the images that shows on the homepage of for a number of years.

I think Brian Boru’s story and Irish mythology in general (for some details of Brian’s life, such as how he died, have descended into legend) is ripe for dramatisation, like recent films and television series such as Thor, Robin Hood and Merlin.

Future Mobility…

One of the things I have been busy doing recently was a talk for the University of Cambridge about ‘Future Mobility’ at the European Student Science Parliament held there. Specifically, I was talking as an expert (due to my work building up to and resulting in Cambridge Automated Metro) about the future of sustainable transport options in cities with historic cores, like Cambridge. This was my third time giving a talk like this12, and I quite enjoyed it. Like the blog post that preceded Cambridge Automated Metro, it’s fun to have an excuse to research one’s ideas further and wrap up the results into a good summary. A talk is a particularly good format to convey this summary in, as it can be adjusted to suit the audience and feedback from the audience is normally genuine and useful.

The River Cam

The River Cam is a potential thoroughfare that didn’t feature in any ideas I suggested or heard.

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  1. The other talks I have given were not on this subject, so there was a lot of preparatory work I needed to do. []
  2. I had talked about Cambridge Automated Metro to a local newspaper and on regional TV and radio. []

Please don’t stop the echo…echo…echo…

Here’s an interesting bit of news from the world of sound: a decommissioned underground oil storage depot in the north of Scotland has been found to have the longest echo of any man-made structure anywhere in the world. Echoes in the Inchindown tunnels have been found to last for as long as 112 seconds1 with the broadband reverberation2 time for the tunnel lasting for 75 seconds.

Below you can hear an echo from Inchindown. The original sound is a pistol being fired a third of the way into the tunnel, and the microphone is the same distance from the far end.

Amusingly3, the last claim for the longest echo in a man-made structure was supposedly also from Scotland: in 1970 the echo of the solid bronze doors of the Hamilton Mausoleum slamming shut was found to last for 15 seconds.

  1. This is for a 125Hz sound. []
  2. This is the measure used in the official world record. It’s a measure across a range of frequencies rather than just one. []
  3. On another amusing note, the title of this post is a play on this. []

Cambridge Computing at 75, revisited…

If you were interested in my previous posts about the 75th anniversary of the University of Cambridge’s Computer Lab (and celebratory publications, lectures and other events), you might be interested to know that much of this content is now available online.

The Computer Lab and University Computing Service

Currently, the Computer Lab occupies the West Cambridge Site’s William Gates Building (right) and the University Computing Service recently relocated to the Roger Needham Building (left).

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Score Spider-Man 2…

Over the last few weeks, an interesting opportunity has been available: to sit in on the final composing session (with an orchestra) with Hans Zimmer as he scores The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Entering the competition to get this opportunity required a donation to Not On Our Watch, a nongovernmental, international relief and humanitarian aid organization.

The video below gives details of the competition, the film and the cause, contains some good shots of his strange studio and is the first YouTube video scored by Hans. While the competition is now over, the cause continues and would appreciate your help.

On a related note, there’s a day of screenings of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl coming up at the Royal Albert Hall, with a live orchestra. Another unusual event, though one that you don’t have to be lucky to go to.