Thursday 15 October 2009

You are Noel Edmonds and I claim my prize!

The quantum physicist and Manhattan Project veteran, Richard Feynman, in his seminal 1959 talk "there's plenty of room at the bottom", the talk that gave birth to the concept of Nanotechnology, offered two prizes. The one for an electric motor less than 1/64 of an inch was won within a year, but the other -"take the information on the page of a book and put it on an area 1/25,000 smaller in linear scale" wasn't achieved until the mid 1980s, when some PhD student took time off their thesis to use the Scanning Tunneling Electron Microscope to lay down a bit of Dickens in very few atoms. There are some interesting lessons there.

One: any technology which can be defeated by a skilled person with access to electron microscopes or similar technology only needs an investment of slightly more than the hourly income of a PhD student with access to the aforesaid technology. If the person with the 4am shift on "The Beam" or "The Facility" earns $10/hour, you only need to pay $20/hour for them and the machine time. Make the problem more interesting than a thesis and they may do it for free.

Two: really interesting awards take a while to be earned.

We are reminded of this by a comment by Old Holborn on our this site is not a spoof posting, a comment that provided hard proof that Noel Edmonds is still alive, and driving round the bus lanes in a car that is not an official Bristol taxi.

Having got over the shock of Noel E's continued existence, we think this is good. It ensures that all of us tax payers -including payers of TV license fees- are not held up by Noel Edmond in the taxpaying lanes of our streets. It also ensures that Noel has a future career, with the main capital investment -the motor- out of the way.

But it does worry us that we have another Tier-2 TV personality on our streets to deal with, and it reminds us of our challenge to readers from the spring: to find a photo of Carol Voerderman taking full advantage of our city's parking opportunities. The thought that our regional champion of unrestricted parking is now joined by a Noel Edmonds' one-man stand against bus-lanes chills us. How long before the entire daytime-TV-presenter portfolio of the South-West ends up on our streets, in our bus-lanes, parking on our zebra-crossings with the hazard lights on?

Someone needs to monitor this, and as the data-driven, evidence-based, metrics-centric traffic monitoring site of Bristol, the job falls to us and our many correspondents.

We have already been looking for a photo of Carol V., now we are creating the Official Bristol-Traffic-TV-hasbeen-Award. We will buy a pint of beer from the Cornubia pub (maximum price £3) to whoever sends to bristol.traffic at gmail dot com new photos of Carol or Noel pootling round the city. For Noel, we will double this to two pints of beer (maximum total price £6) if they bring his fake taxi's wing-mirror (which must have been detached from the vehicle on the road, not while parked). We will issue an award of equivalent value if you can get a video of Noel getting really frustrated at the bike in front of his fake taxi pootling along at 10 mph in the bus lane. If he goes over into road-rage, we will not award anything, as we do not endorse violence. However, if Noel Edmonds does end up being put away for a number of years from a road-rage we will at least celebrate his absence from the second-tier sky and freeview channels.

There is no hard deadline for the submissions; the award will be issued once the criteria has been met. However, the ceremony will be timed to be on the same date as a scheduled Bristol Cycling Campaign meeting (first Thursday of the month, apparently), so as to guarantee an audience.

So let's keep an eye out there for Noel E in a taxi cab -it's worth beer!


Old Holborn said...

"The star risked a £60 fine if caught by council detection units, which are soon to be activated."

Council Detection Units

I like the sound of that

Old Holborn said...

Council Units for Non Traffic Stars

Adam said...

You have to have pity for him. He has to live with himself being Noel Edmonds every day. That and the fact that "the ravers" are trashing his derelict Mr Blobby theme parks.

I've a sneaking suspicion that this is all just a desperate PR stunt. It's working, he's being mentioned everywhere.