Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Mildly interesting things that I have learned about recently

  1. There is a phobia of bridges, known as Gephyrophobia – and there’s a New York Times article about it, via Kottke.
  2. The platforms at St Pancras International Thameslink railway station are labelled ‘A’ and ‘B’, to avoid confusion with the main national and international platforms. This was also used at the recently-closed King’s Cross Thameslink station (which St. Pancras replaced) and at Waterloo East station.
  3. Though all Mac Pros now come with two quad-core Intel processors as standard, you can opt to have just the one processor, saving around £320 (to a total of £1442.99). You can also spend over £17 000 if you want every build option, unlimited server license and all the professional software packages bundled with it.
  4. In the past year, thieves have stolen at least two bridges in Russia for scrap metal.
  5. ‘Akbar’ is Arabic for ‘great’ or ‘greatest’. I’d be tempted to post a picture of Admiral Ackbar from Star Wars and say it is a trap, but I’ll refrain.
  6. Frederick Lorz, an American athlete, cheated in the marathon in the 1904 Summer Olympics by travelling by car for 11 miles. He was first across the finishing line but another athlete, Thomas J Hicks was declared the winner, despite him too cheating as he had run the race under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
  7. In China, ‘Dan’ is a girl’s name.
  8. VLC can use many Winamp skins – see this guide.
  9. ‘Blighty’, a slang word for ‘Great Britain’, derives from the Hindustani Urdu word ‘vilāyatī’, which variously means ‘foreign’ or ‘homeland’. It originates from the days of the British Empire when Britain controlled India.
  10. Inner Mongolia is a region in northern China, ‘Outer Mongolia’ roughly corresponds with the independent nation of Mongolia.


  1. Since I’ve lived here in the USA, I’ve met a Hayley and a Gail. Both blokes. Which was awfully confusing 😉

  2. I am not surprised to hear there is a phobia of bridges, though I didn’t think to look up the name. In the U.S., many long and/or high bridges have an “escort area.” If you are unable to drive across the bridge, you pull off into the escort area and an employee (usually of the toll plaza, but sometimes a member of law enforcement) will drive your car across the bridge for you. I assume you are allowed to cower in the backseat while crossing the bridge. Do you have this kind of thing in the UK?
    That Frederick Lorz story is funny!

  3. I’m not aware of the escort areas, but then there aren’t many big bridges here and I don’t live near to any of them.
    There are areas for very heavy or wide vehicles to pull over, so as to be escorted over some bridges – that’s all I could find. Oh, and lots of sites in the areas near bridges offering personal escort services of a salacious nature. 🙂