Hi, just to say, there’s a great piece in this month’s .net magazine about www.nerdydaytrips.com, the crowd-sourced dorky-days-out Why-Don’t-You project I built with Applecado, Aaron Rudd, and Jo Brodie.
Tanya Combrinck: Tell us about your ideal kind of day trip.
Ben Goldacre: I’m not really interested in guide book stuff, I’m interested in stuff that’s off the beaten track. There’s a really great abandoned slip road off the M1 around Hendon which has this strange, otherworldly quality, it’s like something out of a zombie movie. The plants are pushing up through the concrete and it’s huge, but it’s just been left to rot because it didn’t fit in with whatever the road plan was. So places like that, or abandoned nuclear bunkers that haven’t been turned into museums, that’s the sort of thing I’m interested in, and it’s the sort of thing you only get from local knowledge rather than guide books. That’s the kind of thing I want people to post on nerdydaytrips.com.
TC: What else is there in the UK?
BG: The Royal Observatory Core built a network of underground bunkers laid out at seven mile intervals that covered the whole of the UK. They’re very tiny underground bunkers which somebody would live in, and in the case of nuclear attack they signalled how much radioactive fall-out there was by blowing fireworks out of the top – so three bangs meant “Run away and hide, you’re all going to die!” and so on. Lots of them are still around, they’re only about 15ft by 6ft, and if you know where to find them – they’re often just in a farmer’s field somewhere – you can lift up the hatch, climb down the steps and you’re inside.
So that kind of thing is totally optimal to me. Or another great one is The Romney Hythe and Dymchurch Narrow Gauge Railway. It’s a narrow gauge railway that starts off being a really dinky, nice kind of touristy sea-side attraction, but then after a while you start going through slightly awful council estates, and then you end up in this barren wasteland until you’re finally dumped at the bottom of an enormous nuclear power station in Dungeness. That’s quite good.
I’ll be posting the backlog of bad science columns soon. Might also have some interesting other news in a while.