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In a holy shit moment for physics, it appears that yes, gravitational waves have been detected. =:D "The frequency of the chirp was too low for neutron stars, the physicists knew. Detailed analysis of its form told a tale of Brobdingnagian activities in a far corner of the universe: the last waltz of a pair of black holes shockingly larger than astrophysicists had been expecting. One of them was 36 times as massive as the sun, the other 29. As they approached the end, at half the speed of light, they were circling each other 250 times a second. And then the ringing stopped as the two holes coalesced into a single black hole, a trapdoor in space with the equivalent mass of 62 suns. All in a fifth of a second, Earth time.

Dr. Weiss said you could reproduce the chirp by running your fingernails across the keys of a piano from the low end to middle C. Lost in the transformation was three solar masses’ worth of energy, vaporized into gravitational waves in an unseen and barely felt apocalypse. As visible light, that energy would be equivalent to a billion trillion suns. And yet it moved the LIGO mirrors only four one-thousandths of the diameter of a proton."

I can't believe I've forgotten to mention this video! Basement Jaxx "Do Your Thing", set to an outstandingly well edited Pinkie Pie tribute by mrdeloop. It's a brilliantly bouncy, jazzy track - great for listening to (or indeed, watching) on the bus, or as morning commute soundtrack. ^_^ Or, if you're wanting something far more bittersweet - also pony based - Remembrance, by Argodaemon, is well worth viewing. Yes, you'll cry. Or! How about something much more upbeat, and very, very silly? The Last Saskatchewan Pirate, soundtrack by the Arrogant Worms. (h/t ungulata)

Within the same day or so, two significant sites took quite disparate public stances on adblocking: Wired will block adblock users, whilst Stack Overflow doesn't mind if you do or don't block ads. Tragically, Wired's claiming a mere $52/year will suffice for them to accept you blocking ads - which, compared to some $20/year for the iPad edition, might not seem like the absolute bestest deal in town. Stack Overflow, meanwhile: "An important part of the QA process is ensuring that not just the creative, but the advertiser is relevant to our audience. Every single ad to appear on any of our sites is vetted by the operations team. We check copy and content on the ads as well as the landing pages. What we repeatedly ask ourselves in this QA process is quite simple: is this relevant to users? ‘Kiss your hosting problems goodbye’ with a provocative image is not something we want on our sites, and I’m sure our users don’t either. The purpose of this heavy QA is to ensure that our users get the most out of their experience on Stack Overflow. The content is helpful-- why can’t the ads be the same?" Can we please see more of this attitude? Much as I loathe the incessant waves of advertising everywhere, with some notable exceptions, I'm happy to let Project Wonderful ads through, as I've discovered quite a few good new comics through them, and only exceptionally rarely are the ads distracting.

How to listen to radio using a weed. (The transmitter shown, now demolished, was in Brovary, Ukraine)

If you have five minutes to spare, and want something simply heartwarming, try Guess How Much I Love You, a beautifully animated version of a children's book featuring Little Nut Brown Hare trying to express how much they love Big Nut Brown Hare - and vice versa. You can also see more from the artist, Anita Jeram, over here. (Many thanks to mondhasen!)

I finally got to see Spectre. And I'm quite pleased I did. ^_^ It was a fabulously refreshing change from the recent Gritty Bond™, where humor was forbidden - instead, this felt like a harkening back to the classic flicks, or even Goldeneye. So, I can see why some folk felt disappointed, if they went in expecting something as comparatively grim as Quantum of Solace.

You might recall I mentioned the then-forthcoming Rusty Lake Hotel adventure the other month. I'd forgotten about it, but it does indeed appear to be available now, and garnering plenty of positive sentiment.

Meet Atlas, a continental giant rabbit, who may eventually grow to 1.2m long. =:D He's in need of a home, and currently being cared for by the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. So adorable!

Interesting to see the Guardian take a look at fursuiting. It doesn't cover any new ground, but does manage to stay reasonably level-headed about it all, accepting it's a lot of fun for everyone. Sadly, of the three photos, only one is actually suit-related, of a rather spiffy canid head - a link to some furcon's trailer, or fursuit walk video, would've surely helped convey the spirit of that aspect of furrydom much better. One which comes immediately to mind, f'rex, is Revit's Megaplex 2014 Con Video, very nicely edited indeed. (via supergee)

You may have seen Wendelstein 7-X produced its first (brief) hydrogen plasma recently, entirely successfully. If you've been wondering what the big deal is about the device, peer over here, for some explanations from Thomas Klinger, director at the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics.

Following a ten year, £4.2 million refurbishment, the Flying Scotsman is back!

With spam filtering now taking care of a lot of 419 scammers automagically, I see almost none these days. But, they do nonetheless manage to ensnare some folk, and milk them for as much cash as they can muster. So, it was with some relish I read this worthy list of ten legendary scambaiting operations. (My favorite probably remains one I read a while back, involving a rather well carved replica of a Commodore 64)

Until I read of it in Wanderlust's reader awards, I hadn't even known about the four part "Stephen Fry in Central America" travelogue. In it, he travels through from El Paso to Panama, through as diverse landscapes and economic scenarios as is possible to imagine, from a junior football team in Honduras, where he asks (as kidnapping is rife thereabouts) who's seen a dead body, and finds just about everyone raises their hand, to the region's sole billionnaire, setting up the region's largest solar energy plant. Easily recommended. ^_^
 
 
 
 
 
 
Thanx for the mention.
No prob. ^_^ The article had its flaws, certainly, but - interesting to see a good faith attempt at covering one of the nifty aspects of furrydom. To which I hope to contribute within the coming year or two, in bringing my SL self into RL. ^_^
Remembrance, by Agrodaemon

Argodaemon. :)

Interesting to see the Guardian take a look at fursuiting. It doesn't cover any new ground, but does manage to stay reasonably level-headed about it all, accepting it's a lot of fun for everyone.

Nice, and a decent article, though it's news to me that unclekage is actually fursuiting as a samurai cockroach. :P (Then again, he well might and I'm simply not aware of it.)

The technical realization of a stellarator is very difficult. Many colleagues said that the idea was nice but no one would be able to build it. Today they say: nice idea but only the Germans can build it.

Heh. I guess you really do have to be a bit crazy, and that's something the Germans were always good at. ;)

I firmly believe that we will be grateful for the option of nuclear fusion. The supply of fossil fuels will inevitably dwindle, perhaps much sooner than the low oil price would have us believe. Moreover, we want to stop climate change. Nuclear fusion offers us the possibility of building climate-friendly power stations that are capable of providing a consistent energy supply, are far less risky than nuclear power plants and do not pose any problems in relation to final waste disposal.

That guy's making it sound as if we don't ALREADY have a huge fusion reactor in the solar system which has got all of those problems solved, which will run forever for all practical purposes, and which is sending vastly more energy than we could hope to use to us, every single day, for free. If he's really so concerned about climate change and the future of energy, perhaps he should take a look at that. :)

(Alternatively, I hear there's a lot of energy underground, too. Some even say Earth is basically liquid, with only a thin layer at the top having cooled down enough to solidify.)

Jokes aside, it's an interesting interview, though.
D'oh! Spelling corrected. ^_^;

though it's news to me that unclekage is actually fursuiting as a samurai cockroach

Hmm! I wonder. Could be rather spiffy if so, though. =:D

I love that kind of willingness to engage in far-sighted projects. I know ITER's been plagued by political troubles, but - if it weren't that way, it probably would never have even come close to existing. (Meanwhile, we're happy to throw money down military dead-ends, especially where the US is concerned, with no budgetary end in sight for Afghanistan, Iraq, etc, and the F-35 may someday accomplish its goals, for eye-popping degrees of being over budget that even Douglas Adams might have had to made special accommodation for)

I love solar power. ^_^ It's long been a mystery to me why European homes aren't covered with photovoltaic panels, with so much energy just going to utter waste at the moment - even at these latitudes, there's a lot of energy there, let alone in Spain, Tunisia, or the wild lands of Arizona and New Mexico. =:) It's quiet, clean, no fleets of vehicles bringing raw materials or waste in or out, let alone from dodgy dictatorships or theocracies.

Oh, historians of the 22nd Century, please don't judge us all harshly.
Oh, the physics are fascinating, absolutely, and I do agree it's good to see research into the midlands, as it were, the vast gray area between immediate application and the fundamental and foundational (like the LHC).

And perhaps the guy needs to make this pitch to secure funding. Still, I maintain that if we'd really want to solve our energy problems present and future, we'd best stop accepting the gift of vast amounts of free energy we're being given every single day.

Then again this guy's a nuclear physicist, right? His own personal interests probably lie elsewhere — as does his source of income.

I love solar power. ^_^ It's long been a mystery to me why European homes aren't covered with photovoltaic panels, with so much energy just going to utter waste at the moment - even at these latitudes, there's a lot of energy there, let alone in Spain, Tunisia, or the wild lands of Arizona and New Mexico. =:) It's quiet, clean, no fleets of vehicles bringing raw materials or waste in or out, let alone from dodgy dictatorships or theocracies.

Well, Spain was a dodgy dictatorship until fairly recently. :) And Tunisia only shook of those chains a few years ago.

But yeah, it's a mystery. Solar panels are not unheard of here, but they're still fairly uncommon. Why? I can only speculate.
I'm using Firefox with ABP and have no prob browsing or opening stories on Wired. I also have Wired loaded in to the Newsstand app, so I can get their content regardless if I want it. And I subscribe digitally, so they are getting money from me.
Oh, I imagine Wired hasn't actually implemented anything yet. I sort of wonder what kind of feedback they've been receiving, following the announcement.. ^_^;

You mean the iOS News app? I wonder what kind of arrangements Apple has with the publishers that appear there. One would hope they are receiving some kind of revenue share, or perhaps it's just an un-blocked venue open to them.

I'd be half tempted to subscribe, but even publications I know are packed with great stuff, like the BBC Wildlife magazine, I'll usually leave unread for ages - there's just so much calling on everyone's time these days; I certainly don't regard myself as anything special in that regard. ^_^ (Plus ones I wish did offer digital editions, like Private Eye - quite a pity, as that can be a very entertaining read. But, AFAIK, they're steadfastly print-only, with a minimal website serving mostly to lure you into buying the paper edition)
What we repeatedly ask ourselves in this QA process is quite simple: is this relevant to users?

Were that LJ were so dedicated... I only use adblock because sites have become so sluggish due to the quantity and obnoxiousness of their advertisements. LJ has been posting those "Tricks that Doctors hate" garbage and other winky, blinky spam. Advertising is the last great refuge for marquee and blink... My iPad is almost useless now on LJ due to their junk, and this may be my exit cue.

Glad you like Jeram's works :o) She's does those 'feel good' type illustrations that I find so endearing in picture books.
I'd really hope you don't leave, of course - I enjoy your postings, and replies. ^_^

They really offer that kind of low-grade advertising? Egad. =:P Not that it should be necessary, but do you have any ad blocker installed? That's transformed my browsing experience on my iPad. (In my case, Safari Adblocker, though there are plenty of others out there)

Do you see advertising on everyone's journals? I'm wondering if you do on mine, as I've maintained a paid account since.. not all that long after I arrived. I don't think they were using any advertising at that point, but it just felt correct - advertising's always felt like a rather tenuous source of income for websites, and the recent sea change following iOS' offering of content blocking rather proves the point. Patreon's a good help, but that's more for supporting creators. (I've loosely thought of setting one up for my photography, though I'm not sure what I could meaningfully add as perks. Prints, perhaps, for upper tiers, given there'd be printing and postage to consider, plus the fun of coordinating which labs to use to avoid more international postage than necessary)

More broadly, I really hope sites of all stripes begin to offer some kind of Flattr-like micropayments scheme. It's quite tragic Flattr's never really found traction, when it solved the issue years ago - the key there being that you control how much money per month you want to budget for tipping, so you know precisely how much you're spending, rather than getting lulled into many more tiny transactions all adding up. With Flattr, you just click on the site's button, and they're given a slice of your pie. At the end of the month, your money's then split out across everyone you've Flattr'd. (You can also click more than once, if you want to give them more than one share) FSM knows, I'd love to see Flickr offer something like that!

Mmm, she's got a great feel for poise - and even accuracy, with the hares being quite distinctly naturalistic, with just a smidgen of anthropomorphising on the arms.
Most advertising is above, next to, and between entries on my friends page, but also on my posting page. Your jorurnal is devoid of ads, happily.

I've got an Adblock type web browser on the iPad but it no longer receives updates. It also has a nasty habit of double posing my replies to blog sites. And it only has one window and no tabs.

*cough* I remember when... ISPs were experimenting with ads: they were asking if it was worth free or reduced cost service if they placed some ads along the highway. But that was before AOL dropped the $20 Unlimited Access bomb. I'm sure there are other folk with a much clearer memory of that than I...
Urgh! Sad to see they've gone with such low-grade advertising, though.

Perhaps try a new style "content blocker"? It's the result of some careful thinking on the part of the WebKit team, making for much less bandwidth consumed, and energy too, than more "traditional" (rather sad I can even make that link..) ad blocking, plus zero risk of leaking just what's being blocked to the developer of the blocker. I use Safari Adblock, which apparently morphed into Refine. Works well, with the slightly irksome caveat that it isn't iPad optimized, so it appears as a magnified iPhone app. Silly, and easily fixed by the developer, but - it works fine, so I've left it be. ^_^ (I volunteered as a beta tester before iOS 9 went fully public. I was verycurious to see if the content blocking mechanism could work as well as advertised - and indeed, it does. Perfectly easy, and entirely private)

Indeed, there are a few ad-supported cellular outfits, even now - not so bad for really low usage folk, especially given the expensive nature of US cellular plans. (Amusingly, that came up in conversation with a Czech programmer recently - he lamented how expensive even low-end plans were in the US, versus anything like mine. I'm currently with GiffGaff, who are sort of a corporate polyp of O2/Telefonica. The lowest "goodybag" is £5, but I usually go with the £7.50 option, for 250 mins, unlimited texts, 500MB data. Not a lot, but more than I need, given I basically only call my mother - everyone else knows email/LJ/etc is the best way to reach me, and the data consumption's taken by the iPad, which can be on either 1GB for £7.50 for a month, or 10GB for £15, again completely without contract)

I've always enjoyed trying to seek out good ISPs - sometimes cheap, sometimes not. Back in San Diego, f'rex, I began encountering difficulties with my NeXTstation connecting over PPP with abac.net - they were happy to help delve into their logs to try finding the source of the problem. In Bath, I had a wonderful time dealing with Xilo, who were happy to tweak individual customers' ADSL ports on the exchange for optimal throughput, and would respond with actual replies, by email, posting below the original message, within up to an hour, even on Sunday nights. Brilliant company. ^_^

(Now, it's under the roomie/landlord's control - BT's not a great ISP, but 40-50Mbps down/5Mbps up is ferpectly acceptable, even if service does blip out for a minute or two during the nights sometimes. Thankfully, calling support has only been necessary once or twice - outsourced, of course, to the archetypical script drones. I let him deal with them =:)
The Flying Scotsman was awesome to see.

For a new take on B'rer Rabbit and friends, see
"Jump!" and "Jump again": http://meep.us/fox_stuff/
Oh, my! I just read about The Wren's Nest last week in a book entitled "Who's Afraid of the Song of the South?"
It's easy to see why folk would make such journeys just to see that magnificent beast again. ^_^ The closest I've come was a couple years back, on a rather extraordinary journey, on part of the Underground - by steam. =:D (I hadn't thought such would even be practical, but, nope!) I really ought to post a photo or two from that day. ^_^;

Ye gods and little fishes, whomever was responsible for those new illustrations so caught the story's essence. I'll have to include those in my next entry, no question! I so hope the tale can finally be welcomed back into American culture, and by Disney - it's not an easy part of history, to say the least, but merely shuffling it all into the back room doesn't serve anybody well, least of all when Disney's production included such superb animation, and that beautiful song which they might currently wish people would forget. =:)
That coalescing black hole event is just mind boggling. Half the speed of light, each dozens of times heavier than the Sun, converting three times the mass of the Sun into energy in an instant. The result was just a near-undetectable wobble in the LIGO mirrors. How much energy is there in gravity? Can gravity be expressed as a function of energy? Twilightpony: "Don't ask me to explain gravity. Nopony has that figured out yet."
It's all just a bit mind-boggling. Even something like the size of the Sun is a bit more than my bunny brain can truly conceive of, beyond a merely mathematical representation. And here we're looking at this incredible final waltz, with those masses circling at (to us =:) half the speed of light, resulting in gravitational waves of hundreds of hertz, a billion years later, at such nigh infinitesimal magnitude - but present, and detected. =:D

Humanity has many faults - but we can also accomplish some quite amazing things too. ^_^

(And then there's the whole weirdness of quantum mechanics, especially quantum chromodynamics, getting into the very nature of these subatomic particles, not so much real, specific things, as the result of lots of other smaller particles just sort of popping into and out of existence, with mass coming along for the ride)