Here's a seventy minute audio lecture given by Charlie Kaufman, screenwriter of Being John Malkovich, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and Adaptation. It isn't a waste of time.

Having finally seen Brave - and even resisted watching the cam I downloaded a few days ago (surprisingly decent quality, too) - I'll only offer an enthusiastic and unreserved recommendation. It's amongst the best Pixar's produced, both in storyline and technical quality, and reminscent of The Lion King in being unafraid to delve into some harrowing moments. (I'd also been unaware that co-directing with/after Brenda Chapman is Steve Purcell, better known for Sam & Max!) And there's a very good interview with Brenda Chapman on the writing of Brave - the decisions made in its genesis, the process of rewriting, the inspirations for the characters, and more. You might want to hold off on it if you haven't yet seen the film, though, as there are spoilers.

It seems likely Doctor Who will be returning on August 25. ^_^ Matt Smith's said that it will get underway in August; as there's no Doctor scheduled for Aug 18, and it'd be rather surprising for it to leave the prime Saturday slot, I'll go out on a limb with that prediction.

Coming sometime to Channel 4: a documentary about the evolution of music, explained by David Attenborough and Björk. "The project follows Attenborough, whose hushed commentary is synonymous with natural history programming here and around the globe, and Bjork as the pair tell the story of how and why music has evolved. The duo also explore humankind's unique relationship with music and how technology might transform the way we engage with it in the future."

Free opera! Glyndbourne will be streaming two performances live, for free: Le nozze di Figaro on Friday, Aug 17, 1800 BST; and two short operas by Ravel, Sunday, Aug 19, 1830 BST.


Here's a truly gorgeous example of cosplay - Ginny McQueen as Madame de Pompadour, from the Doctor Who episode The Girl in the Fireplace. She notes the dress only took her two and a half weeks to make! Amazing. Presumably, quite busy days. ^_^;


DPreview ran quite an interesting look at the cameras on board Curiosity, going into some of the design decisions, and includes a look at the heat shield falling away.

I enjoy the occasional playing around with making panoramas out of landscape shots - but this panorama viewer is.. a little beyond that. The original image you'll see is of a slice of a zebrafish larva, with the eye on the right, swim bladded just left of center, and tail muscle to the left, with the organs below said bladder. It's composed from 26,434 16MP images, making for an end virtual slide of 281 gigapixels. So you can start by seeing the entirety, then gradually zoom in until you're at the electron microscope's original resolution.

Some modest photography competitions you might consider:

- Travel by Handstand's "The Shot", where the winner's travel photo gets published in their September edition, receiving $100.

- the Royal Photographic Society's Summer of Sport, with some nice Panasonic mirrorless cameras up for grabs.

- Wex Photographic's monthly competitions - August's theme being "capturing movement" - with £100, £50, and £25 in vouchers. I think there's a chance I'll put in an entry.. =:D

It seems we may already have encountered the first proof of current microbial life on Mars. "The experiment mixed Martian soil with a nutrient containing radioactive carbon. The idea was simple: if bacteria were present in the soil, and metabolised the nutrient, they would emit some of the digested molecules as carbon dioxide. The experiment did indeed find that carbon dioxide was released from the soil, and that it contained radioactive carbon atoms. Levin's team went out and bought champagne. He even took a congratulatory phone call from Carl Sagan. However, the party was ruined by a sister experiment. Viking's Gas Chromatograph Mass Spectrometer (GCMS) was looking for carbon-based molecules and found none. NASA chiefs said that life couldn't exist without these organic molecules, and declared Levin's result moot. "NASA powers that be concluded that the lack of organics trumped the positive labelled release experiment," says Robert Hazen, a geophysical scientist at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington DC. Since then, some of the GCMS team have admitted that their experiment was not sensitive enough to detect organic molecules even in terrestrial soils known to contain microbes."

The open source framework Qt has been acquired in its entirety by another Finnish company, Digia. "Following the acquisition Digia becomes responsible for all the Qt activities formerly carried out by Nokia. These include product development, as well as the commercial and open source licensing and service business. Following the acquisition, Digia plans to quickly enable Qt on Android, iOS and Windows 8 platforms."

Whilst the Bay already has Frolic on a regular basis, there's also the annual Masquerotica, which could be rather fun to add some furriness to.. ^_^

A friend of goldkin, silverback2001, could use a little financial help right now:

This will be triggery for some, and for that I apologize.

As some of you know, I do nude figure modeling for artists. This includes photographers, as well as painters etc.

The other day a client attempted to rape me, and until I get through this, and until my leg heals from the resulting injury, I am unable to work.


From the weekend, an aircraft even I recognise. ^_^ I'm hardly a military sort, but there's no denying the role these craft, and their pilots, had in helping fend off the most dire political threat to freedom of the past century. Now, they can play. =:)


lupestripe pointed out a regrettably brief review from the LSE on Princeton University Press' "Exceptional People: How migration shaped our world and will define our future", making a good case for the power of migration. "Today, immigration is unpopular in rich countries because people overestimate its costs and underestimate its benefits. Yet international migrations pay dividends to sending countries, receiving countries and to migrants themselves. Migrants reap the welfare benefits of higher wages, better education and improved wealth when they moved to relatively more developed countries. Receiving countries benefit from migrations through more innovation, superior economic growth, enriched social diversity and higher taxes and contributions. Even emigration countries end up benefiting when their brightest citizens emigrate. According to the World Bank, workers from developing countries remitted no less than $325 billion in 2010, seven times the amount of aid flows. In some countries such as Lebanon or Nepal, remittances represent more than 20% of GDP."

Here's an article that contends that heroin is not the demon it's portrayed to be.

Things living here have taught me #8495: the difference between a Croque Monsieur and a Croque Madame. =:9 (And where to find the most sublime Eggs Benedict, in tremendously elegant surroundings. Perhaps not the cheapest, but quite excellent. A chamber quartet completes the gentle beauty of the moment)

This TV spot drhoz uncovered is mere thirty seconds long, entirely silent, and features a convenience store, a luchador, and ostriches. Apparently, it's related to gum.

loganberrybunny may already know of The Dandy facing possible closure. It's a difficult time, of course, for all print media, with even simple comic printing now seemingly ruinously expensive. Is it marketing, or a shift in comic tastes? The Dandy's never really been my style, I'll admit - I was much more easily lured in by 2000AD - but I'd barely even been aware it was still around.

Behold: Alexander the Great, a 1968 TV movie, starring William Shatner in the title role, and Adam West as Cleander. I haven't seen it, but I feel I ought to change that. Perhaps I can lure patch_bunny into buying a copy, with a view to a future MFT episode.. =:)

An interesting observation: Paying Users are Your Nicest Users. "When I finally flipped the switch to add paid subscriptions to Obsidian Portal, I was terrified of the coming support nightmare. I reasoned that if people were angry and demanding when it was free, they would be infinitely more angry and demanding after they had paid. Instead, what I quickly learned was that the paying subscribers were vastly more polite, understanding, and patient than the free users." The posting's quite short, but worth a moment of your time, as are the comments; one notes "For about 18 months I had a $1 app on Apple’s Mac app store. I tried the free pricing, $1, and $2 tiers. Recently my dev membership lapsed, and it was just a side project, so I’ve let it die for a bit. I proved I could create a useful app and sell it, albeit for very little. That was satisfying enough. I noticed the exact same behaviour. I get 4-5* reviews when charging money, 2-3* reviews when free. This is a common thread with indie developers. You’ll find similar posts on many blogs. People are rude and whiny for free products, but assume inherent value in something paid for. Something that is free seems to lose value. Rather than being a good deal, it’s seen as a worse product, and open to criticism."