Friday, 20 March 2009

Why I love humans: extreme sheep LED art

On the soon-to-be-formally-rebooted Data Not Shown, one of the things I intend to post on a regular basis is a category of items I like to call "why I love humans". These are examples of when we use our creativity to make good things out of bad, to amuse each other in unexpected places or ways, and generally to lift each other up using our higher social faculties.

Here is my first entry, from the Guardian's weekly Viral Video Chart:

Sunday, 8 March 2009


Hello again, world! I'm just about to reboot this here sadly neglected blog, but before I write my big comeback post I thought I'd break the ice by posting this rather exciting little missive. Let's call it a 'preboot', shall we?

We might also call it "Karen's femtosecond of fame" though it's really more like a few flashes of curly hair on either side of a close-up of my hands preparing DNA samples using white Whatman FTA cards, spread across a three-minute segment squarely in the middle of the hour-long first episode of a three-part series. Under normal circumstances this might not even be noteworthy at all, except that IT'S THE BBC, BABY, and no matter how bit my part is, I will always be proud to be associated with the network of David Attenborough.

The series is called Darwin's Garden and this episode, Dangerous Ideas* , is available to watch until the 26th of March. The segment I'm in, about a project I'm involved with through my work at the Natural History Museum to resurvey Great Pucklands meadow at Down House, runs from 30:10 through 33:15:

That's me on the left, squishing bits of our voucher specimens onto FTA cards for DNA sequencing later.

*You'd think that someone, somewhere in Beebdom would have noticed and bothered to mention to the filmmakers that Andrew Marr was planning on using the same title for his three-part BBC series.