Log in

No account? Create an account
Recent Entries Friends Archive Profile Tags My wildlife photography
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.

Mama, ooh,
Didn't mean to make you cry,
If I'm not back again this time tomorrow,
Just reload, just reload as if nothing really happened.
Too late, it's time to go
I've got to make a run
And I need to skim the sun
Goodbye, everybody, I've got to go,
Gotta leave you all behind and try to dock

Mama, ooh (no docking computer),
I don't wanna die,
I sometimes wish I'd started with more dough

I see a little sliver of an entrance
Scaramouche, Scaramouche, will you do the Blue Danube?
Thunderbolt and lightning,
Very, very frightening me.
(David Braben) David Braben.
(David Braben) David Braben,
David Braben Figaro

I'm just a pirate and nobody loves me.
He's just a pirate from a poor family,
Spare him his life from this humility.
Easy come, easy go, will you let me go.

Bismillah! No, we will not let you go.
(Let him go!) Bismillah! We will not let you go.
(Let him go!) Bismillah! We will not let you go.
(Let me go) Will not let you go.
(Let me go) Will not let you go.
(Let me go) Ah.
No, no, no, no, no, no, no.
(Oh, mama mia, mama mia) Mama mia, let me go.
Elite: Dangerous has a Cobra put aside for me, for me, for me.

So you think you can shoot me and ECM my missile,
So you think you can target me and destroy me in style.
Oh, baby, can't do this to me, baby,
Just gotta get out, just gotta get right outta here.
Nothing really matters,
Anyone can see,
Nothing really matters,
Nothing really matters to me.
Any way the trade goes.
A watch...in the era of the smartphone...brave.
Not a bad idea for a poll, come to think of it. ^_^

Do you wear one? I haven't, since.. probably around 1999 or so. I figured I usually had some kind of time nearby, so didn't really need to have something on my wrist. (Though I do miss my Lola Bunny watch, regardless - stopped working after a couple years, unfortunately) These days, I just peek at the iPhone (or iPad, or D90).

I'd say a watch like that's a viable proposition, simply for the beautiful style of it. Others in that vein might add features like linking to one's phone, to tell you who's calling, without having to fish the device out of one's pocket first. (I'm not a classicist in chronographs, as you know - I can certainly appreciate the craftsmanship of a fine Swiss watch, but the functionality I can gain from these other devices, leaving the money free for things that accomplish tasks I can't achieve any other way, like a particularly long lens)
I have not worn a watch since I started using mobile phones.
Quite a few people wear watches, still; you don't always want to fish out your phone just to take a look at the time, and a watch can also be a fashionable accessory, or (in some cases) a status symbol.
I propose that "to fish out" gain an additional meaning, similar to "bling out" or "pimp up", whilst maintaining its literal nature. Goldfish motifs would probably be the natural choice of chavs. (What's the German equivalent? Is there one?)

I'll admit the watch is very tempting, as I love the style, but I just can't justify it. Unless I come up with some kind of cyberfur outfit à la Gem from TRON: Legacy, in which case I'd be ordering one tomorrow. =:)
Goldfish? I have to admit that that bit's lost on me. :)

Yeah, there's such a thing as chavs in Germany, too, at least insofar as that there's a stereotype of lower-class youths and that a significant number actually seem to conform to said stereotype, too — in their choice of dress, at the very least, but also in behavior, attitude, cognitive abilities etc.

But it's independent of the whole "chav" thing and doesn't map to it 1:1.

As for the watch... yeah, I'll say it's quite stylish, but I'd probably not go for it myself.
(Deleted comment)
Mm, it's a difficult balancing act - make it cheaply, and it loses what makes it particularly appealing; make it more expensively, and it's the owners for whom the shine dulls. The maintenance, of course, is the big thing. If they can offer a service plan that doesn't add much to the purchase price, that could help - even better if they could include some period in the price.

If only there were venues that could be relied upon to be sympathetic, and welcome them in.. I wonder about bowling alleys as well as D&B. It's not uncommon, after all, for such places to have attached arcades.

I suppose it's all going to come down to the guy's charisma - if he can land the sales, and get the machines out there, then they're at least in with a fighting chance. And gods know, I'd love to put my money into a physical table again, even if I am hopeless at it. =:D (One benefit of iPad pinball games =:)

It'll be interesting also to see how they do fare for maintenance needs. I suppose the big weak points are the solenoids, but one would think manufacturing's gradually improved over the years.
I think the problem I see with the board is that it's just too over crowded with stuff. It's suffered from "design by enthusiast", and has a ton of stuff thrown in there that's "cool". This has obviously ramped up the cost, but also makes it risk being something that will just confuse and disorientate new players who try it out, lose their ball after not understanding any of the multiple goals they're supposed to achieve. Too much feature gimick cluttered onto the board, and an attempt to repeat Pinball2000's full screen display...

In contrast, Heighway Pinball's design for "Circe's Animal House" has a much clearer board, and promise that if they work it out they can turn the glass top into a transparent display. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V6e9exky6z8

Plus, furries.
Altho, I note that they've changed the name and theme for the board now, and it's going to be a motor bike themed "Full Throttle". So no people transforming into donkeys.


Edited at 2013-01-11 02:35 pm (UTC)
Aww! Damn, that's annoying. What a dreadfully dull concept! Still, maybe it'll help bring in money for future games.. but my personal interest has largely evaporated, for now. *sigh*
Wellll - we'll just have to see how it actually plays. Or have there been reviews already? Presumably there are some folks who've been able to play it, though with the caveat that it hasn't been fully baked yet.

I love the look of the overlay! Of course, how that'll add to the game remains to be seen - like any other element, it's open to abuse by overuse, but there are plenty of nifty possibilities!

And the theme does sound positively intriguing. =:D

Any idea what timeframe they're aiming for regarding release? ('Course, where I'd be able to try it out is another matter, but hopefully someone in London or San Francisco will pick one up for public use!)
My problem with this world's thinnest watch is the need for a NOT thin NOT even pocketable base station in order to get full functionality from the thing. Seriously, having to have a thing that to all appearances is a random misshapen lump of plastic... just to wear a watch? No.

Then again, it's obviously a piece of jewelry and obviously non-utilitarian, so maybe being high-maintenance is actually a selling point? *chuckles*

Edited at 2013-01-11 06:43 pm (UTC)
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

That's really quite neat! I wish they'd not done a graph with a suppressed zero on the vertical axis; graphs like that are pretty useless for actually getting an idea of how strong an effect was. Sure, it LOOKs big, but that's only because it was scaled to "fit the paper", as it were.

Still neat, of course.

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.

This one was neat, too. :)

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.

That would certainly be very nice; I've always liked pinball back in my day, and it's sad that it's not more common anymore these days. 'course, I preferred it on the computer, since let's face it, arcades are more designed to separate you from your money than anything else. :)

Regarding U.S. foreign politics, it's pretty much like all foreign politics conducted by any nations: all the talk of noble goals is just that; talk. In reality, it's always about looking out for your own nation's best interests, and ethics and such concepts as "right" and "wrong" don't factor into it. If anything, it's about what you can get away with.

Of course this is true in politics no matter what, but it's particularly pronounced in foreign politics, I think.
So much many goodies!
-crow balloon tale.... fun!
-power generation and water... funny and interesting!
-Djinni... wow.... I just heard about that a few hours ago, and it turns out they did one of me recently too!! (gift art... *blushes happily*)
-thin watch... very cool!... tho I no longer wear wrist watches... just pocket watches..
-Warner news.. WOW.... let's hope they folow thru! *flaps excitedly!*
-Bowie.. radio stations here had birthday tributes a few days ago :> !
-poem....hehheh! *hums the familiar tune....*

*scritches u widda talon*... thanks for the overflowin' fun!
I need to try finding out where that balloon tale came from! I simply stumbled upon it, when it was already on imgur, unfortunately. (So, so often, people repost images, and don't mention whence it came. I want to know who, when, why!)

The power generation link came from a discussion on this clip looking at the apparently unique to Britain phenomenon of the surge in power demand at the end of particularly popular TV shows, as millions of kettles get turned on nearly simultaneously.

Ooh, I'll want to see how your icon turns out. ^_^ He always does such wonderful work. (Do wish he'd accept some other forms of payment than the terrible PayPal, but so it goes)

Actual pocket watches, or cellphones? ^_^ The latter effectively are the return of the pocket watch, after all.

I'd love to see Warner genuinely recommit to animation, both dramatic and comedic. Yet, like so many companies, they often don't seem to learn from their successes, let alone their mistakes - Tiny Toon Adventures was very well received, as was Animaniacs, yet they all but closed things down at that point, beyond Pinky and the Brain. Nothing more since, as far as I'm aware, though I may well simply be overlooking some.

'Course, what I'd really like to see is animation from a big Western animation studio that isn't aimed at a younger audience, but adults. It's a medium - why must it always be reserved for all-ages fare? Anime has no such qualms, after all, and indeed, the original Merrie Melodies weren't targeting children.

I do wish David Bowie would tour again, though. ^_^; I never took advantage of the opportunity while he was (nor, indeed, Queen.. *sigh*) - ah well. Maybe he'll offer up a surprise gig in some tiny venue, just for the fun of it? (A fully scheduled event, but still, Orbital in the Hollywood American Legion was brilliant - quite a compact venue, and because there was *gasp* drizzle that evening, everything was running late, so we wound up at the very front, between the speaker stacks. Sub-bass has never felt so good =:)
I always love your bunny photos. I could make a more meaningful comment on one of the many other things you posted but, really, I just feel like telling you how great the bunny photos are. :)
"a group of space explorers going through a wormhole"

I was very happy to find Tarkovsky's Solaris very cheaply on DVD a while back. Compared to some of his others, it has rather less 'bum ache' (even if the opening sequences are too long) as well more imagination and skill than Prometheus can dream of. I am still baffled as to why anyone rates that for anything other than looking good.
Ugh, I'm sick of timepieces that don't show seconds. It would be fairly impossible on today's e-ink, anyway, due to the grotesque screen wipes (or, otherwise, a build up of artifacts) that e-ink is stuck with.
I can't seem to put seconds on my phone, either; the usual lock screen doesn't have that option, and apparently Samsung's newer TouchWiz skin doesn't allow a good many things, including lock-screen widgets. I found an app (just one!) that allows me to view the seconds, but only if I launch it.
The best thing I can do right now is to buy another watch, since my last one finally broke.

I've thought on and off about wristwatch computers, but when you get right down to it a phone is about as small as you need and as big as possible while still being able to be carried around everywhere. The moment you go any smaller, you lose too many features and it becomes too bulky.

So that leaves us with either simple time-pieces or some kind of notification connection. If it's constantly updating or putting out light, the battery will drain really fast. I just wouldn't stand a watch that I had to charge more than once a month. Just a simple, regular watch that I charge once a year and which just receives a couple bits of data from the phone every once in a while (simple notification icon, maybe time synchronisation) would be good enough.