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Newsletter 39: Festive Newsletter

1. Christmas tricks on Youtube

2. Spooky Illusions

3. CERN pop-up book

4. Hammersmith show on Sunday

5. Christmas fundraising gifts

6. 2010 will be a big year

7. Old Competition Winner

8. New Competition Puzzle

1. Christmas tricks on Youtube

This youtube clip has just gone viral. It contains some wonderful science tricks that you can try at home. My favorite is the homemade CO2 flame extinguisher.

2. Spooky Illusions

This Monroe-Einstein illusion is brilliant. The earlier illusions in the slide show are slightly spookier.

3. CERN pop-up book

I twittered about this a couple of weeks ago (@SLSingh), but it is worth another mention in case you are looking for a last minute gift for the budding particle physicist in your family.

http://popupbook.web.cern.ch/popupbook/

Watch the video here.

4. Hammersmith show on Sunday

This week I am performing with Robin Ince and a whole host of scientists, comedians and musicians. Every night is sold out except Sunday at the Hammersmith Apollo. It will be a celebration of science, the universe and rationalism, so please come along. The line up includes Richard Dawkins, Dara O’Briain, Barry Cryer and Brian Cox.

You can buy tickets here.

The highlight of last night’s show was the rock god John Otway singing his scientific reworking of a 1970s disco hit. Watch, learn and admire:

[tube]eWOzQE9Isek[/tube]

5. Christmas fundraising gifts

If you are still looking for a Christmas gift and would like to donate to the libel reform campaign, then you can buy signed books by me and Ben Goldacre at:

http://www.justgiving.com/bookfund

If you place your order by Friday morning, then it will be despatched by Friday afternoon and you should receive it by Christmas. The books are expensive, but please bear in mind that all the profits go to a good cause, namely free speech.

6. 2010 will be a big year for me

There are lots of reasons for this, but the first major event will be my appearance at the Court of Appeal on Feb 22 in relation to my libel case. The court will consist of three of the most important judges in the country, namely the Lord Chief Justice, the Master of the Rolls and the formidable Lord Justice Sedley. Their decision will have a major impact on science journalism in the UK and around the world. You can read more about this at Jack of Kent’s blog.

7. Old Competition Winner

In the last newsletter we were helping Lisa with her university project. The longest words that could be Caesar shifted into other words were from Bob Ellington in Indiana. ‘Corocoro’ (town in Bolivia) is a Caesar shift of ‘Wiliwili’ (Hawaiian tree). For those who don’t like proper nouns, Bob also suggested the words ‘abjurer’ and ‘nowhere’, which are one letter shorter than ‘Corocoro’ and ‘Wiliwili’. Bob receives a copy of “Isaac Newton” by James Gleick.

8. New Puzzle Competition

The lead singer of The Cure is Robert Smith?.

Is this statement true or false?

If false, who is this person?

It true, where was he born?
Please send your answer to competition@simonsingh.net – put your answer in the subject header and your address in the body of the email. The closing date for entries is midday on December 18 – I am keen to post the prize so that it arrives in time for Christmas. The winner (picked out at random from the inbox) will receive a copy of “The Hair of the Dog (and other scientific surprises)” by Karl Sabbagh.

Merry Christmas,
Simon.