First off, I'd simply like to raise two fingers to the Russian DDoS idiots behind LJ's recent troubles. No, I'm not going to cease reading LJ, as I greatly enjoy reading about my friends, and going somewhere else would merely fragment things - they can go screw themselves. And that's all I have to say about that. Well, okay, I'll also point to this Moscow Times story.



Wildlife & furriness

To help promote their 50th anniversary, the WWF has produced a five minute short, Astonish Me, showcasing some of the wondrous diversity in the natural world.

In less inspiring news, the BBC's Wildlife Trust, an independent charity, is under threat of closure by the BBC. IUCN-UK has launched an appeal to reverse this decision. If you watched Wild Night In last year, you'll have seen the breadth of variety of conservation projects the Fun supports, in the UK and around the world. Do have a look, and consider signing.

Bit of incidental fun for Monster Hunter fen within reach of Japan: a temporary feature at Universal Studios Japan will feature a life-size - 20 meters - Rathalos, a silver dragon. Or, for those of us outside Japan, the folks behind the touring show based on the BBC series Walking with Dinosaurs will next be turning their attentions to a similar production based on How to Train Your Dragon.. and if you liked HTTYD, and are in SL, you ought to know about Kinzart Midnight & Dawn Dragons, which really are nice work, retaining the original's feel surprisingly well.

On that note, Flayrah noted the debut of Legend of a Rabbit, a new CG feature from China. I think I might try to catch it. ^_^ (Also got around to seeing the final Harry Potter the other day - I'm not a gigantic fan of the series, so much as simply enjoying them a good deal, and in that context, I felt it was a very well-crafted ending, with an interesting twist or two)

avon_deer noticed this mammals timeline, courtesy of the BBC. It's a PDF of extreme scale - at normal page size, it resembles a cybernetic eye. But zoom in, and you get to see where species diverged evolutionarily. You'll notice a remarkably impressive representation from our rodent cousins, and not a bad - though far smaller - showing by lagomorphia.


Rather a neat coin ysengrin found: a Canadian quarter featuring Mishepishu, an aquatic lynx of Ojibwe legend.

For lovers of Shiny™: a RestrainedLove-compatible skunk av in SL, completely free - and it seems you're also able to transform others into more of your kind. =:D

If you like bunnies - and that's surely everyone ^_^ - have a look at the rabbiteering community. It's specifically for folks interested in the wonders of wild rabbits, whether visual or written: "It was created as a place for those who like to watch rabbits in the wild to share their feelings. Whether it be a lone rabbit you keep an eye on from your window (lucky you), or a local rabbit warren you crawl about at 5am in the morning to be near. Talk about your experiences here with wild rabbits, or what it means to you to just be with them. Share your photos and stories with us all."

Here's a trailer for an animated feature to look out for, though you'll likely have to either avail yourself of Usenet/BT, or have a particularly good arthouse cinema nearby: Leafie, A Hen into the Wild. The animation looks simply gorgeous, with a storyline based on a popular Korean children's book. It's currently on release in its native Korea, and China.



A few OS X tidbits.

If you need Java for OS X Lion, you can download it here. Note that you'll likely have to separately enable the Java plugin for browsers - on first hitting an applet in the wild, you'll see an "inactive plugin" message. Click on that, and you'll be presented with a dialog asking permission to enable it. As for Lion, it apparently hit the million downloads mark within the first day. Hint: if you're finding the font size in the Finder and Mail sidebars a bit large, you can tweak that in the General prefs - there's a new setting there for "Sidebar font size", which appears to default to Medium. Also, ~/Library is now hidden by default from Finder windows, presumably to try keeping numpties from messing up their systems; to reveal it again, open a shell and execute chflags nohidden ~/Library/.

I encountered a curious lag issue with Lion some time after upgrading, and was on the brink of the Microsoft solution - reformat and reinstall - when I thought I'd try a safe boot, to help identify the problem. Whilst Aperture didn't work properly, being dependent on the now-disabled GPU assistance, it was as responsive as it should be, with no mysterious pauses in launching any files. Back to normal booting, and.. it was still perfect. ^_^ I'm a little puzzled, but it's not impossible something in one of the old font caches was causing indigiestion - a few years ago, I experienced certain badly formatted fonts could give rise to surprisingly egregious performance deterioration.

A desktop manager I haven't tried, but looks rather nicely thought through: Raskin.

A little free menu bar utility: gfxCardStatus. It shows which GPU is in use at the moment, allows switching between them on the fly, and whether it should switch based on whether it's running on battery or not. Protip: SL works better with the discrete GPU enabled. ^_^;


Okay, you can wake up now.

The Parkway probably won't be reopening this year, as had been hoped, and not at the former location - following many months of negotiations, the new managers-to-be chose to offer an ultimatum, which wasn't accepted. So, the hunt is on for new premises, somewhere in the Oakland area, ideally within half a mile or so of a BART station.

Visiting YouTube recently coincidentally showed me Pogo (né Faggotron) is touring the US in Sep/Oct 2011, with 30 venues. The promo video is rather cute. ^_^

This is a book, but not on paper. See what you make of its trailer: The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, courtesy of a gentleman formerly in the employ of Pixar. I do recommend a look.


Might anyone know more about this tiger?

Some geek amusement, if you're in a mildly cynical mood: Our security auditor is an idiot, how do I give him the information he wants? Quite superb. Perhaps my favorite comment on the article: "I find it incredibly suspicious that everything he asked for is either designed to be impossible or somewhere on the security scale between telnet and a Post-It with a password stuck to the monitor."

This selection of early color photographs is very well worth a look. It includes the very first , a scene of Angoulème in 1872 - not a cheat of any kind, but using a subtractive process, as with latterday color film. Also included are some gorgeous scenes from Czarist Russia, captured using a simple (if fiddly!) system of exposing three plates with different filters for each, which can be simultaneously projected onto the same location, reconstituting the full color image.

Memo to self: recreate this! Hawaiian pizza, plus Cumberland sausage and smoked "cooking" bacon to bump up the meat factor; garlic powder and rosemary; some tomato chili sauce, and a little extra Cheddar; with some lemon thyme as a surface garnish. Works particularly well.

Ah, how time passes.. looks like my iPhone 3G's battery's finally coming to its twilight years. I suppose three years of good usage isn't a bad run. Now to ponder whether to go the cheap route and replace it myself, or send it in, on the off-chance they'll find it simpler to replace it outright with an iPhone 3Gs.. =:D (The differences aren't huge, but the GPU in the latter supports OpenGL ES 2.0, whereas the 3G's only offers 1.1. That leads to some developers not bothering to support the older device - and a 3Gs will run iOS 5.0, whilst the 3G is forever stuck at 4.3.2, and 5.0 is rather a nice advance)


Food! I'll note this down, as it turned out especially well - best I've done in months. I took a little pork tenderloin, rubbed it in a bit of garlic powder and pepper, and plopped it into the slowcooker, plus a good amount of cheap cider, and left that for a few hours, while I went out inviting lapines to pose for the camera.

Originally, I was thinking of adding a bit of black bean sauce and plenty of mushrooms, but then I remembered the half-used mango in the fridge, and thought that'd go particularly well with the pork and its cidery influences. So, I cut off the rest into chunky slices, and tossed that in as well, for another hour or two, to let the fruit's nature seep out, and soften it up.

Then, I hit on the idea of ginger - and miraculously, we still had a bit, even if on the elderly side. Chopped that up finely and added it, to lend the sauce a touch of sharpness. To serve it, I just thickened the juices up, as the slowcooker had kindly already done the job of reducing it to just the right level, using a teaspoon of arrowroot, and added a tablespoon of Greek yoghurt for a touch of creaminess.

To go along with it all, four carrots, plenty of asparagus sauteed lightly with a slice of sundried tomato finely sliced up, and four Brussels. Only about a teaspoon of oil used in cooking the asparagus, thereby leaving the whole shebang delightfully light in calories, whilst also being highly nutritious, and severely tasty. =:9

And that's how to lose, going by the first three weeks or so, about 10lb/month. =:D