UK snow

Ben Marsh has come up with a really neat use of Twitter. If it’s snowing in your area, tweet the first part of your postcode followed by a score out of 10 for density of snow. So the tweet “#uksnow CB3 0/10” indicates that it’s not currently snowing in my part of Cambridge.

Regularly-updated UK map here.

Lovely idea. It’ll probably be used by the railway companies to justify pre-emptive cancelling of trains, though.

Quote of the day

“I think Twitter’s a success for us when people stop talking about it, when we stop doing these panels and people just use it as a utility, use it like electricity. It fades into the background, something that’s just a part of communication. We put it on the same level as any communication device. So, e-mail, SMS, phone. That’s where we want to be.”

Twitter co-founder Joe Dorsey, speaking at a conference.

Who says Twitter is frivolous?

Heh! Here’s something to make the Twitter-deniers choke on their muesli. The Herschel-Planck space mission is now well on its way. Needless to say, it has a good website. The mission has launched two spacecraft. Herschel is the largest, most powerful infrared telescope ever flown in space. Planck is

Named after the German Nobel laureate Max Planck 1858-1947, ESA’s Planck mission will be the first European space observatory whose main goal is the study of the Cosmic Microwave Background – the relic radiation from the Big Bang.

Observing at microwave wavelengths, ESA’s Planck observatory is the third space mission of its kind. It will measure tiny fluctuations in the CMB with unprecedented accuracy, providing the sharpest picture ever of the young Universe — when it was only 380 000 years old — and zeroing-in on theories that describe its birth and evolution.

Planck will measure the fluctuations of the CMB with an accuracy set by fundamental astrophysical limits.

But now comes the really neat bit: Planck has a Twitter feed! It curently has 360 followers — and, understandably, isn’t following anyone. Probably has enough to do as it hurtles through space.

(Yeah, yeah, I know: the Tweets are done by some geek in ESA. But still… A friend of mine’s husband is one of the leading scientists behind the project. He was a bit miffed when she sent him a message this morning telling him that some complex manoeuvre had been successfully completed. She knew before he did, because she’s a Twitterer and he’s not).


I like and value Twitter, but find it impossible to keep track of everything that’s going on. In particular I’m always missing direct messages. So in the end I took the plunge and installed Tweetdeck. Looks good. Who knows, maybe one day my contacts will realise that I’m not intentionally rude.