January 11th, 2013

Presto and Alec Azam

Printed meat

Of geek interest: all the up-to-the-minute data on UK power generation you could want, including sources (nuclear, coal, wind, etc), demand, prices, power transmitted, and much more. Works in Firefox, but not Safari.

So, what happens to water consumption in Edmonton when there's a big (well, okay, Olympic) hockey game going on? Now, you have the answer. =:D

Here, have a small story as a very tall strip. ^_^ It's the tale of a girl and a crow, who are invited on a journey by a boy with a hot air balloon - and an adventure naturally springs forth.

Christopher Nolan's apparently got his next film underway: "The new film, titled Interstellar, is said to be based on scientific theories developed by Kip Thorne, a theoretical physicist, gravitational physicist and astrophysicist at Caltech, the California Institute of Technology. Described as complex and multilayered, it will centre on a group of space explorers who travel through a wormhole."

It's time for more free icons! (With tips, of course, always appreciated, though still only via P*yP*l) djinni's opened up Icon Day 24. ^_^

As you may have read, UK photographic chain Jessops has gone into administration. It remains to be seen what will happen to the circa 190 stores, and the staff. They were, arguably, guilty of going down the Currys route, but, they did sometimes offer good prices - when looking around for the TC17E-II, they were amongst the cheapest of the authorised dealers. (Unfortunately, this does presently mean no returns or vouchers are being accepted)

With pinball manufacturing at what could politely be termed an ebb, one guy's trying to enter (and expand) the market, with a rather wonderful Wizard of Oz table. The tables aren't cheap, though - it'll cost an operator $7,000, and have to compete against all the other options that caused the game's collapse originally. But, with this degree of enthusiasm and charisma, perhaps this could be the person to help bring it back.

Kickstarter of the day: CST-1: the world's thinnest watch, using an e-ink panel for its display, it's 0.8mm thick, 12g, to be available in black or white. It's already passed its target of $200k to enter production, perhaps not overly surprisingly.

Today in irony: the leader of the English Defence League is jailed for using a false passport to enter a foreign country, having previously been denied admission.

In a press release from Warner Brothers, announcing the formation of a "feature animation creative consortium", I noticed one of the projects, Storks, is going to be directed by Doug Sweetland, responsible for what I'd call Pixar's best short, Presto. As for the accouncement itself, we'll just have to see - handled correctly, this could put WB back at the frontier of animation, after rather an uneven time, including poor promotion of The Iron Giant, and the burial of Cats Don't Dance. (Whatever is Mark Dindal up to these days, anyway?)

There's a campaign to raise funds for a statue (life size in bronze, if the full target of £50k is met by Jan 31 2013) at the Natural History Museum of Alfred Russel Wallace, one of Darwin's contemporaries. "Not only did he co-discover the process of evolution by natural selection with Charles Darwin in 1858, but he also made very many other significant contributions, not just to biology, but also to subjects as diverse as glaciology, land reform, anthropology, ethnography, epidemiology, and astrobiology. His pioneering work on evolutionary biogeography (the study of how plants and animals are distributed) led to him becoming recognised as that subject’s ‘father’. Beyond this, Wallace is regarded as the pre-eminent collector and field biologist of tropical regions of the 19th century, and his book The Malay Archipelago (which was Joseph Conrad’s favourite bedside reading) is one of the most celebrated travel writings of that century and has never been out of print. Add to the above that Wallace was deeply committed to and a vocal supporter of spiritualism, socialism, and the rights of the ordinary person, and it quickly becomes apparent that he was a man with an extraordinary breadth of interests who was actively engaged with many of the big questions and important issues of his day." As an incentive, they're also offering some nifty goodies in a prize draw, with donations accepted by UK or IBAN bank transfer, cheque, or P*yP*l, including tickets to the unveiling, which they're hoping to be marked with a lecture by Sir David Attenborough, and attended by the campaign's patron, Bill Bailey.

You've surely heard already, given word seems to've spread with remarkable rapidity, but regardless, it is cause for celebration: David Bowie has a new album coming in early March, The Next Day, with the first single out now on iTunes (deluxe version), Where Are We Now? =:D

Britain's National Wildlife Crime Unit (NWCU), which leads the fight against the burgeoning illegal wildlife trade, may be facing the axe. The National Wildlife Crime Unit (NWCU) is a British national police unit that gathers intelligence on wildlife crime and provides analytical and investigative support to police services.

Wildlife crime of all types is rapidly growing across the world, with elephant and rhino poaching both hitting new highs in 2012; organised crime is increasingly involved. Illegal bird trade, smuggling amphibians, raptor persecution and rhino horn are key operations.

A mere £136,000 has yet to be signed off by Home Office and funding expires 31/3/13. DEFRA have agreed their share.

Add your name in support.

Wednesday was a good day. Not just a (frustratingly uncommon) bright, largely sunny day, but also the first time since about late November that I encountered buns at my usual spot locally. ^_^ And not just one by themselves, but up to four, busy with leporine interests, one or two occasionally trying to approach another, only to be rebuffed, even a fleeting chase or two. Oh, it felt so good to be witness to their lives again! (And with the teleconverter, I can get that bit "closer" to them. It's not a perfect option, of course, but a good one nonetheless!) Of course, I still have to work against the winter weather, ranging mostly from cloudy to overcast, but if they're really starting to be out and about during the late afternoon again, I'll be doing what I can to record such snatches of their lives as I can. ^_^ Here's one shot that turned out particularly well, of a spontaneous tiny leap:


Time taken between noticing that Tarkovsky's Solaris was indeed available on iTunes (US only) and buying it? About two minutes. ^_^; Frustratingly, the Blu-Ray is also US region coded. Why do studios and distributors so love to make it more difficult for people to give them money?

Whilst few in power have openly acknowledged why Iraq was invaded, I noticed there have indeed been a few frank admissions: "I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil." – Alan Greenspan; "Of course it’s about oil, it's very much about oil, and we can’t really deny that." – Gen. John Abizaid, former commander of CENTCOM.

A toy train company wrote to the Department of Transport, asking to run the West Coast mainline, and received this wonderful reply.

Courtesy of Dave Woods on the Elite: Dangerous Kickstarter comments thread:

Is this the real life?
Is this just fantasy?
Caught in a wormhole,
No escape from reality.

Open your eyes,
Look up to the skies and see,
I'm just a pirate, I need no sympathy,
Because I'm easy come, easy go,
Little high, little low,
Any way the traders go doesn't really matter to me, to me.

Mama, just crashed again,
Tried to dock with my eyes closed
Missed the entrace, now I'm hosed.
Mama, life had just begun,
But now I've gone and thrown it all away.

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