Stuff that occurs to me

All of my 'how to' posts are tagged here. The most popular posts are about blocking and private accounts on Twitter, also the science communication jobs list. None of the science or medical information I might post to this blog should be taken as medical advice (I'm not medically trained).

Think of this blog as a sort of nursery for my half-baked ideas hence 'stuff that occurs to me'.

Contact: @JoBrodie Email: jo DOT brodie AT gmail DOT com

Science in London: The 2018/19 scientific society talks in London blog post

Sunday, 3 April 2022

#Buntingmas 2022 - basically let's all put a bit of bunting up

NEW for 2022 - Heraldic shields to print and colour in for Buntingmas

#Buntingmas is a festival I celebrate with my offline pals every April after I randomly invented it one day in November 2019. I just think the world needs more bunting and my friends are nice and indulge me and either put their own bunting up or express murmurs of approval at my creations :)

"The very simple aim of Buntingmas is to 'put up' some bunting in whatever way 'put up' is relevant for you. If you hate bunting don't do that and instead you are merely encouraged to 'put up with' bunting." - me, in 2019.

The 'festival' runs from roughly 11 April to 11 September (my mum's birthday and my dad's, no longer with us) but I'm an all-year-round bunting person and I have mini paper flags from Flying Tiger perma-installed in my kitchen, plus home-made stuff scattered elsewhere around my home.

I've always liked bunting but really started to notice that I do in 2011 during a Royal Wedding when fights broke out in shops that were running low on stocks. In 2012 London had the Olympics and so the entire country broke out the Official LOCO-Approved Bunting, festooning it in town centres. Fantastic. Colourful little flags whiffling in the wind. 

The Vindolanda Trust has a 1900 Bunting Challenge for 2022, "to celebrate the 1900th Anniversary of the building of Hadrian’s Wall an open challenge has been set to knit, crochet or sew 1900 flags of bunting which will then decorate the replica section of Hadrian’s Wall at Roman Vindolanda in an exhibition between 22nd-30th October 2022."

This post includes some links to craft options in different media, and some ideas for classroom activities -
How will you celebrate Buntingmas? Craft ideas and classroom activities
(28 December 2019)

These two posts below have ideas on how to make very cheap bunting from a sheet of paper (fold following the instructions then cut or tear and bunting will emerge).

#Buntingmas (it's 11 Apr): How to make low-tech bunting from paper (1 April 2020)

An even easier way to make bunting from folded paper - no printer needed #Buntingmas (9 April 2020)

This post below will point you to ways of designing and producing some bunting based on heraldry.

Make your own heraldic bunting for #Buntingmas (10 April 2020)

Also some maritime signal flag bunting.

I also made some Celtic bunting last year, using OHP (overhead projector) acetate sheets and glass-painting paints. 

Vaguely Celtic 'bunting' for Buntingmas made from acetate OHP sheets and glass paints (11 April 2021) 

I'm expecting that 2022 is going to be quite a good year for bunting what with the Queen's Jubilee.

Saturday, 2 April 2022

Open air cinema screenings in London 2022 "Cinema Paradiso" by La Tête Krançien

Open Air Cinema Screenings in London, 2022 edition

1. List of film screenings
2. Advice for film-goers

1. List of film screenings

This list is as accurate as I can make it but there will always be smaller events that are advertised locally that I may not hear about. Grateful for any tip-offs :)

1. Version for mobile phones (scroll up/down or left/right)


2. Wider version for desktop / web (scroll up/down or left/right)

The original embedded sheet was a bit cramped. The embed code didn't include anything for height and width that would let me improve this but I found out where to add it from this post.

2. Advice for film-goers / things to bring

1. ➡️ If seeing a film in a park check if you'll be leaving by a different exit (parks often close during the film and everyone's shuttled out of 'not the gate you came in by').

2. ⏰ Check timings - most screenings have to start at dusk because you just can't see the screen until it's dark enough. Some events use LED screens which can work fine in bright sunlight. Dusk happens pretty late in June and July.

3. 🎟️ Tickets! Make sure you print in advance, or have the e-ticket visible on your device - and make sure you know where the venue actually is (!)

4. 🧥 Something warm to wear (even if it's boiling hot in the day it can be surprisingly cool when sitting outside at 10pm).

5. 💺 Something to sit on (plastic bag as a minimum, blanket or cushion better, or shower curtain / tarp) as you could be sitting on damp grass or hard stone / concrete or pavement
-- Some organisations let you bring camping chairs but many other venues don't (some venues already have seating). Some organisations hire blankets and cushions.

6. 🧢 Something to avoid rain (umbrellas are generally a bit of a no-no, I'd recommend rain hat or one of those 'pac a mac' things)

7. 🥤 🍜 Something to eat and drink and something to eat it off / drink it out of (most films are in public spaces so you can bring your own picnic, check though as some venues might not, always check the website's FAQ) - don't forget a bottle opener if you need one

8. 🎒 A bag to take away rubbish.

9. 🚽 Loo roll (public toilets being as they are...)

10. 🔦 A torch

11. 🦟 Something to put the midges off their feed.

12. 📱 Download the What3Words app to your phone (free). Some venues are starting to use this to help people find the entrance location, e.g. (scroll down the page or use Ctrl+F to search for what3). Also in larger venues you can use it to tell friends where you are. The app lets you share three words which give a very precise location. Citymapper is one of several fabulous apps for public transport wrangling and finding your way around.

13. 🎧 Some screenings are done as a 'silent disco' where everyone wears headphones. Others just use speakers.

🎬 📽️ 🎞️ 🍿


Friday, 21 January 2022

All the Wordles I know about (including some I didn't), and some other games

A modern Wordle made from various sizes of coloured Wordle tiles

Here's a list of Wordle games. Back in the old days a Wordle was a word cloud with the size of the word indicating its prominence (how often it appeared) in a piece of text. Not any more...

NEWER: Worldles - all known Wordles so far. 177 entries ordered by 70 different languages and a table for variant English-language Wordles with varied gameplay. Does make my list below seem a bit pathetic haha

NEW: Word Race - play a Wordle with a stranger

A. Wordle type games

1. Wordle
The original, one a day. Play it on a browser on your desktop or on your phone (here's how to add it to your phone's homescreen).

2a. Wordle Archive
Play previous Wordle games online

2b. Word Race
Compete with a stranger against the clock to uncover the same word

2c. Six letter Wordle

3. Word Master
As many Wordles as you like a day. If you click on the settings cogwheel on the left (I didn't even spot it as using a laptop not phone) you can change the difficulty level.

4. Sweardle
Not surprisingly, this game features four letter words. And all of them are sweary

5. Primal
A number version - each 5 digit guess must be a prime number. Hate it ;)

6. Absurdle
You can have as many guesses as you like. The computer is trying to stall you and might change the word until the dwindling letter combinations available force a particular word to emerge (info).

7. Qiktionary
App for iPad, guess the four letter word.

8. HelloWordl
As many goes as you like and as many letters as you like (up to 11). Good name. You can also get a link to share to an individual puzzle to challenge a friend.

9. Lewdle
Rude words only.

10. Queerdle
Words vary in length between 4 and 8 characters and do not contain spaces or punctuation. Occasionally two words may be put together if I feel like it. Queerness cannot be contained! Letters can be repeated."

11. Wordle Unlimited

12. Ordle
Norwegian-language version. Choose between Bokmål and Nynorsk language variants. (See also B3 for other languages)

13. Brdl
Bird codes and banding codes are four-letter nicknames for birds" - if you know these then this is the game for you. More explanation here

B. Round-up articles about Wordle and variants

B1. The 7 Best Wordle Alternatives to Get Your Puzzle Fix
This post introduced me to a few others I'd not encountered including Letterle (guess the single letter!) and Byrdle (5 letter words that are choral themed).

B2. Wordle Alternatives
References several above and others I'd not heard of including Evil Wordle (possibly quite similar to Absurdle) and Worle (guessing UK town names).

B3. Play Wordle in Other Languages
At time of writing it's French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Swedish and German.

B4. Worldles - all known Wordles so far. 177 entries ordered by 70 different languages and a table for variant English-language Wordles with varied gameplay.


C. Other free online games

C1. Sudoku
Plenty of other free online versions of this game, and phone apps too.

C2. Solitaire
Just type Solitaire into Google's search engine and a mini player will appear (possibly not if you have ad blocker switched on though, so you may need to disable that).

C3. Google's games compendium
Type in dreidel to spin the dreidel, Pac Man to play..., tic tac toe, snake, spin a fidget spinner etc. Click the down arrow below the game to open up more options, including a big list of animal sounds.

Thursday, 23 December 2021

"Please reply "STOP" to stop receiving these messages" - naming organisations who spam academic email addresses

As someone with an email address I am regularly added to mailing lists without my permission. The first time I'm aware of it is when I get some spam and it ends with something like -

"Please reply "STOP" to stop receiving these messages."


"You have received this email because you have subscribed to The Bridge to Success LLC as [my email address]. If you no longer wish to receive emails please unsubscribe."

Since I've not signed up to receive these messages in the first place I suppose, by definition, I'm unable to unsubscribe ;)

I've had two of these today so am naming the organisations who spammed me here.

  • The Bridge to Success LLC (web address includes thebridgesuccess)
  • EdifyOnline

I've no objection to people emailing me to tell me about their organisation and invite me to join their mailing list but adding me and requiring me to take action to remove myself is guaranteed to get me irritated enough to start a new blog post about it. 

Naturally I searched on Twitter to see what others had to say about either of these organisations.

Twoogling also indicate that MIT and EdifyOnline are collaborating so it seems to be a legitimate organisation, but I still hate being spammed.



Monday, 22 November 2021

Where you can watch the film Elf in London in 2021

Elf screening, London 2021 (written in the same font - Curlz MT - used by the film Elf!)

It's almost but not quite Christmas and thoughts turn to seeing festive favourite Elf in the cinema (it's not on UK terrestrial TV this Christmas). Every year, from about October, I start to collect together all the London cinema listings I can find and the 2021 Elf db (spreadsheet) is here, or you can view it in its embedded forms below.

This list is as accurate as I can make it but there will always be smaller events that are advertised locally that I may not hear about. Grateful for any tip-offs :)  ← short link

There's a special edition of John Debney's score on CD and this article, from Art of the Title, about the creation of the film and its opening sequences is amazing.

1. Version for mobile phones (scroll up/down or left/right) 


2. Wider version for desktop / web (scroll up/down or left/right)