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*HUGE* pic alert, courtesy of NASA - Satellite photo of the UK, under snow.

Be warned, it's rather large.
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In what must be a first, the Barclays ATM on Chants only had £5 notes this evening... this is quite remarkable, as the poor fiver is becoming an increasingly rare beastie, seldom spotted in the wild.

Have some picspam: The Grauniad's Iconic Images of the Decade. Some good stuff therein.

I'm currently reading a John Grisham novel - I could tell you the title, but there's not a whole lot of point since they're all essentially the same story, told over and over again. I will say, though, that in painting his protagonists and adversaries, Grisham manages to make Avatar look like a subtle and nuanced film... (So why read it? 'cos it's there, and I do kinda have a soft spot for popcorn legalish thriller stuff)

Still watching The Wire, and I think I'm going to declare it my favourite TV series as of now - it's not as quotable as Firefly, nor as pretty as Heroes. It's not as heartwarming as The West Wing, nor as sexy as True Blood... but it has a subtle, understated quality with excellent acting and genuinely complex storylines. So if you were wondering, yes, it is that good.
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I didn't get very deep (no pun intended) into Bioshock, having only borrowed the game for the 360 from Colleague N at work, but was deeply impressed with what I saw.

Well, dude here went the full 9-fathoms in recreating not only a big-daddy costume, and getting his fiancée to dress up as one of the Little Sisters, but in then arranging a photoshoot in an aquarium to complete the experience.

Creepy, yet awesome (kinda like the game).
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No sooner than the the Sidekick fiasco starts to dim in the memory, we learn that a T-Mobile employee passed on customer data to other networks... Not good.

I'm feeling kinda linky: awesome industrial photography by Edward Burtynsky: check out, particularly, the Oil series (not exactly uplifting, I confess, but good, all the same).

The imminent end of the year traditionally heralds listing frenzies as magazines try to capture the essence of the past twelve months in music or whatever, but the end of a *9 year means that they can do the same for the whole decade. Stereogum has been collating the various efforts, so you don't have to: a list of lists, so to speak.

More lists over at Total Film, where they post a totally non-contentious list of the 30 killer closing lines from movies.

It's been a tad breezy in Blighty these last few days: as proof, I offer this Beeb story about kite surfers jumping over Worthing Pier.

It's been a while since I've moseyed on over to The Torygraph, but I should frequent that place more often, as this collection of wildlife photography demonstrates. They also tell us about a French hotel where you can live like hamsters... Whoa, that's like high-concept (can you imagine the pitch to the bank for the small business start-up loan?)...

You've possibly not heard of Eric Roche - he was a guitarist famed for his precussive style of play, but sadly died waaaaaaaaay to young at 37. He explains how he builds up his technique in this vid here, and as an example, here's his rendition of Drives Me Crazy. I saw him live once, at Music Live at the NEC in Birmingham, and it was just mind-blowing that one guy could induce an acoustic guitar to produce such an incredible array of sounds...

Another boundary-pushing guitarist who's tenure on this earth was all too brief, was Michael Hedges: here's his take on Drives Me Crazy, which is a verily different interpretation, but the post-chorus guitar solos are mad :D He also does an an excellent cover of that ubiquitous Bob Dylan song... And here's a different version, this time with hair!

To close, Oli Lemieux training trampoline wall Dralion Cirque du Soleil. Impressive. Most impressive.
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Absolutely stunning Martian Landscapes.
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Cartogrammar has come up with this neat mash-up, colouring maps (of Harvard) based upon the predominant colour of photographs taken at a given point. Pretty darned cool.

XKCD is awesome, and if you aren't subscribed to [syndicated profile] xkcd_feed, you really should be. That said, someone please tell me what Primer is, film-wise, because going by the line-format plot summary, it looks mind-blowing!

I mentioned to P a while back about The Wine Gum Experiment on YouTube, which features the awesome Charlie documenting the suspiciously non-uniform colour distribution in packs of sweets. P clearly felt that this subject needed further research over the weekend, and saved up enough money to buy 10 packs of Wine Gums so as to have a sufficient data set. I'll need to grab the photographic documentation from him next time he's at Castle Fox, but the executive summary is that Charlie was definitely onto something with his original video. Actually, P wasn't alone in sharing Charlie's concern: there's a veritable plethora of documentary evidence on YouTube, which P & I may feel compelled to add to at some point :D

[personal profile] ms_katonic will probably just nod sagely when I mention that a Japanese trawler was sunk by a giant jellyfish the other day.

The XBox is currently residing up at The Farm, so I found LifeHacker's article on how to build a standalone xbmc media centre rather timely. Y'see, the main use the XBox was put to was as a media centre, and I actually have the article's Acer Aspire Revo 3600 (with extra RAM), and so decided to wipe Karmic from it in favour of XBMC, with the NVidia drivers slipstreamed in. (Don't worry, the netbook's running Karmic, and it seems pretty good so far). XBMC? It seems excellent - my only problem is that 160Gb isn't enough storage space - I'll probably swap out the current drive for something a little bigger in due course, but to be going on with, it fits the bill perfectly.

ETA: I'm not sure if I should thank [personal profile] aome, but she's certainly the one who pointed me to Twiglight Barbies...
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MSN had this article about how these floating cities could be the solution to forced adaptation to rising sea-levels as a consequence of climate change:

floating city

I think they're pretty, certainly, although oddly they put me more in mind of the Arcologies of Old Earth rather than Pernik et al of Atlantis. If that sentence made no sense whatsoever, get thee to thy Peter F Hamilton pronto (Night's Dawn Trilogy).

Getting back to the floating metropli, though, it's all sadly impractical: the cities themselves are each designed to accommodate 50,000 people. The resource cost of construction looks as though it would be massive, which suggests that these floating conurbations are probably going to end up as pseudo-gated communities for the super-wealthy. That said, I'd be tempted.

For a slightly more realistic accommodation scenario, here's Tetris being played with Berlin apartment blocks.

In other news, I've finished S1 of True Blood.True Blood S1 )
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permalink

How about the Inigo/Westley duel, though? Wouldn't that be epic?

Oh look, here it is:

Podcasts

Oct. 15th, 2009 08:44 am
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Prompted by [personal profile] carolanne5's reply to a comment elsewhere, here's the current list of podcasts to walk dogs by:

  • Americana from Radio 4 - quirky storyettes from the colonies

  • Discovery from Teh World Service - various sciency type documentaries

  • Documentary Archive from, again, Teh World Service - slightly more wide-ranging series of docs from the Beeb

  • Dan Carlin's Common Sense - American Politics by a self-styled 'independent' commentator.

  • Gadgettes from CNet - Molly Wood and co take a kinda girly look at the week's tech news.

  • FLOSS Weekly from the TWiT network - Free, Libre and Open Source Software podcast, which takes the format of a weekly interview with a package/system of choice, rather than being an open-discussion of all that's happened in the open source world in the previous seven days.

  • Football Weekly from The Grauniad which, logically enough, is published twice per week. Various Gruaniad journos discussing all of import in the footballing world.

  • Friday Night Comedy from the BBC - currently it's The News Quiz, which I find much more palatable than The Now Show, which I tend to skip

  • From Our Own Correspondent from the Radio 4 (there's a World Service version too), a collection of short vignettes from different postings, all monologues from the Beeb's reporter in $far_flung_place

  • Mac Break Weekly from the TWiT network - and I don't even have a Mac! The TWiT shows are always well produced, though, and the discussion format is suitably rambling enough for it to be entertaining, and there's always something that's worth picking up during the show

  • A Point of View: David Attenborough's Life Stories from Radio 4. 'Sir' isn't high enough an accolade for the absolute consumate skill of David Attenborough's broadcasting. Short snippets from a man's life in natural history.

  • Security Now from the TWiT network - concentrates on Windows Security issues, with side digressions into science fiction and vitamin D. Good stuff, though, although I have to work hard to keep up with some of the more technical bits

  • Stephen Fry's Podgrams from, obviously, the man himself. Always listenable, but lamentably infrequent

  • This Week in Google, the full title of which is 'This Week in Google and the Cloud', but TWiGatC was harder to anacronymise than the shorthand. Weekly discussion, heavily Google biased, of events happening in the Cloud. Can get a bit heavy, but as with all the TWiT stuff, well produced and informative.

  • This Week in Tech, the show that kicked off Leo Laporte's TWiT network, a weekly free-for-all discussion of the week's tech news. Can blow hot, warm or cold, but usually pretty good.

  • Ubuntu UK Podcast - exactly what it says on the tin - a UK-centric podcast covering all things Ubuntu.

  • Windows Weekly the TWiT network's Windows show, which tends to be good stuff {although Castle Fox is Linux-based, work sadly isn't, so it's helpful to keep up to speed with all things Microsoft). Plus it's not just windows, they cover XBox and other things too

  • Major Nelson's Podcast Major Nelson is some big marketing droid for XBox from Microsoft, and the podcast keeps up with releases, interviews game developers and such like


So that tends to keep me more or less soundtracked-up with the dog-walking. But the problem comes when you're in the middle of something really interesting, and decide to do another lap before heading home, just so that you can hear the ending...

Linkfest

Sep. 26th, 2009 08:40 am
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Wired had these fantastic views of glaciers from space. Looking the other way, the Discovery Channel had this image of the Milky Way which is pretty neat.

Still on the Disco channel, they had this article about Glacier retreat, which The Grauniad frets is driving polar ice loss. Google, meanwhile, are getting ready for COP15 with this post about their climate modeller that sits atop Google Earth.

In pet news, here's The Times to tell us of the world's 10 richest pets evidently living the kind of lifestyles to which I suspect Mali would very much wish to become accustomed. I know that there are all sorts of reasons why one shouldn't find domestication of wild cats over generations appealing, but I do like Savannah cats. I do firmly believe that you need a proper area of land (of the type that you bequeath, rather than rent) for them to play in, though. So not in this life for this f0x, no. The Guardian's picspam for Dog Photographer 2009 is here, but the entrants were drawn from the slightly more expansive Flickr group. And it's kind of touching, that you see the dogs trying so hard, but I'm not sure they can compete with this cat cafe in Osaka for sheer indulgence.

The NHS has a collection of Health Tools here - I've tried the BMI calculator, which suggests that I'm about the right weight for my height, but I suspect the effort lacks sophistication. However, there are other things there to play with, so worth a look if you've a moment.

The Torygraph treated us to a gallery of Calaveras: skeleton prints produced for the Day of the Dead, and also this rather surreal collision of miniature people and food. Huh.

These driftwood sculptures of horses by Heather Jansch are either beautiful or... slightly disturbing. I've been trying to find the collection of Sydney Dust Storm images, and think that maybe The Times takes the prize this time. The not guaranteed worksafe Bored Panda posted 30 LEGO recreations of famous photographs which is pretty cool (and safe). Off the same site, 33 of the world's strangest buildings (also safe).

Some infographics for you: The World's Most Important Drugs and The Death of the Newspaper. Susanna Hertich has this awesome Reality Checking Device, which is over at her website http://susannahertrich.com and over at InformationIsBeautiful (which gave me the Hertrich link) we have Disease Case Fatalities.

I don't normally read Cute Overload, OK? So, obviously, I came across this huge rubber duckie completely by accident. Honest.

Elsewhere (at The Huffington Post to be precise), concern is growing that Matthew McConaughey is unable to stand upright unaided (cinema posters provided as documentary evidence).

I like Daft Punk - they make some awesome stuff, and Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger has that certain je ne sais quoi about it that manages to put a smile on just about anyone's face. Kinda limited, lyrically, though, but that has enabled 'Daft Hands' to write the words on their, uh, hands, and kind of sign the lyrics as the song plays. Bizarre, but oddly impressive (give it some time to get into the wordy bit).
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Link Out of Sequence: every now and again I come across stuff too awesome to postpone sharing until a Saturday.

This vimeo clip of Bobby McFerrin demonstrating the power of the pentatonic scale is one such thing.

Really cool.

Linkfest

Sep. 19th, 2009 07:41 am
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It's the Frankfurt Motor Show, and everyone seems to be going electric crazy:

The Torygraph have a fun picture gallery of the show here.

In related news, Wired have an article about the Mission One electric motorbike hitting 150mph at Bonneville Salt Flats, whilst Engadget had an article on the E-Wolf e1 electric race car.

In *want* news, Dr Grordbort's Infallible Aether Oscillators - Steampunk Ray Guns! Possibly one rung down on the desirability scale from a light-sabre, but worthily cool, all the same (y'see, the problem with light-sabres is that Tesco's don't like them, quoth the Telegraph).

The New York Times has this fantastic animated panorama of one of Grand Central Station's clocks. Neat.

As I've mentioned before, Castle Fox is a Linux domain, but work remains steadfastly Windows, so this list of 'actually useful windows keyboard shortcuts' is, uh, actually useful. And very comprehensive. Possible 'cut-out-and-keep' candidate.

The Times reports that astronomers have found Caprica an Earth-like planet, Corot-7b: it's 500 light years away, so a bit beyond our range just at present, but encouraging stuff all the same. On the related subject of searching for extraterrestrial intelligence, rather than just 'life', yesterday's XKCD is spot on! :D

The Telegraph has brought some quality pic-spam to the interwebs this week: computer generated digital flowers, storm-chasers' photos of tornadoes and supercell thunderstorms, weird animals from around the world and last, but by no means least, these unbelievable photo-realistic paintings by Alyssa Monks.

In further evidence that the digital event horizon draws ever closer, The Beeb tells us that the first ever video advert in a magazine has been published. Yes. A video advert (with audio), embedded in a dead-tree format magazine.

In pet news, Teh Grauniad had an article discussing the grand old theatre cats of the West End, whilst the Telegraph told us all about a dog that fell 180ft down a mineshaft and survived for six days. USA Today, meanwhile, had this awesome photo of Kai, an 8 year old Jack Russell Terrier competing in a Surf-Dog surf-a-thon in - where else? - California as part of their week in pictures.

No Texan news this week :-( But proudly flying the flag for Pennsylvania is this tale of a burglar who got caught because he logged on to check Facebook during the break in, and then forgot to log out. The victim noticed that the profile was still logged in when she returned...

Again for [personal profile] ms_katonic, we have the Bugatti Blender and the Bugatti Digital Food Scale and toaster. Well, you want everything in your life to match, don't you? Of course, if the Bugatti's just a bit too in-your-face, you could do 'subtle' with the Lamborghini Coffee Machine.

It's been a quiet week for videos, but YouTube has this rather neat 3D visualisation of the Old City of Dubrovnik that's worth a look.

The next vid is rather long (4'), and really for geeks, but Deep Green is a pool playing robot, and the vid also demonstrates augmented reality pool. If you like the concept of pool+tech+pretty lights, GizModo had this $200,000 tricked out pool table to catch the eye, too.

To close, though, on the automative theme with which we opened, there are those who say that Top Gear isn't a proper motoring programme, and that they don't do 'proper' reviews. Well, here's Jezza to set them straight, with his in depth review of the Ford Fiesta. He goes to the shopping centre and takes a trip to the beach in it and everything :D

ETA: OK, this now rates video of the week: Ferrari have released a promotional video for the 458 Italia.
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The Torygraph set itself the rather ambitious challenge of finding the 20 worst Dan Brown sentences.

I'm torn between 'kaleidoscope of power' and 'overhanging her precarious body'.

I read The Da Vinci Code, and, once bitten and all that, will not be going near any of his other work.

ETA: Book titles if they were written today (don't forget the comments)

Linkfest

Sep. 12th, 2009 08:43 am
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I know that we frequently joke about how it'd probably be quicker to send email by carrier pigeon, at least in the office, but a South African IT company have proved it's true, says Yahoo! news. The pigeon carried a data card 50 miles in the time it took the firm's broadband connection to transfer 4% of the data contained thereon. So, pigeon 1, interwebz 0.

A couple of weeks back, The Guardian ran a piece lauding the Brits' near-universal love of biscuits. Fortunately, here's the Register on hand to warn us just how perilous this addiction might be with Custard Creams Can Kill: Official (there's that unique turn of phrase that El Reg deploys for headlines in evidence once again).

In this week's It Could Only Be Texas news, here's the Marfa Prada Store, 150 miles Southeast of El Paso, it's actually a piece of installation art: a Prada shop sitting in the middle of Texas nowhere.

However Ohio, not wanting to miss out on the action, offers us this tale
of an armed robber returning to his victim a little later on to ask her for a date. And Pennslyvania counters with this story of neighbourly love, whereby a guy 'accidentally' fires a cannonball through his neighbour's wall.

This week's infographic comes via Teh Grauniad, and is an interactive graph of the number of nuclear warheads in the world, from 1945 to the present day. It is vaguely heartening to see that we're on the down slope... Wired had this graphic about ATMs in the US of A.

For all those sceptics who thought that Rodents Of Unusual Size didn't exist, proof finally surfaces in Papua New Guinea. They have fanged frogs, too. OTOH, these mice are neither large nor fanged, but they fly. Well, more 'float' than 'fly', per se, courtesy of some NASA wizardry with electromagnets. But still, how cool is that?

The whole energy equation in the UK has been looking dubious for a while now. Expect, then, more articles like this Times one predicting power cuts within the decade. The obvious *need* that the population will have for the message toaster, a device that imprints text messages onto toast clearly doesn't help matters.

Although seemingly disconnected with the Rise of the Machines, these exoskeletons developed in Japan could prove the building block for our machine overlords in the near future. More positive thinking over at The Times, where they enumerate 10 ways that technology could kill us all.

But not all tech is evil: witness the new pics from the repaired Hubble space telescope, which are awesome.

The Telegraph had this gallery of paintings drawn solely on the basis of StreetView, but I thought these glass sculptures of bacteria and viruses were cooler. And to cap off the picspam, The Grauniad has a gallery of entries for the CIWEM Environmental Photographer of the Year 2009, which has some good stuff.

This week's stupid YouTube vid is this synchronised effort of four Pugs tilting their heads. Another clip I rather liked was Al Franken drawing a map of the United States. I highly suspect that he's already got a chalk outline to copy or something, but it's still impressive.
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Halo the dog playing Pool over at YouTube.

I think he'd beat me at the game...

Linkfest

Sep. 5th, 2009 08:18 am
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Link via [personal profile] soupytwist: Neil Gaiman's library. *covets*

Here's a Guardian photo gallery of Obama's Staff, and another one of the top 25 British films, which I mostly don't pick holes in, even if I think there may be some omissions.

The Times continued the film theme with its nominations for the 10 most historically inaccurate movies of all time, not to mention the 50 best movie villains.

Continuing the pic-spam, the Guardian's coverage of the Californian wildfires manages to convey the scale of the fires to us Brits, who've never had to contend with anything like that magnitude. I hope all those of you affected are OK :-/

The Telegraph had an article claiming to show how 20 popular websites looked when they launched. The web was a little plainer back then, that's for sure. The Torygraph's Euroscepticism might explain them latching on a pair of feuding Paris mayors declaring the same one way street in opposite directions...

Wired had how the telegraphs ran on electric air in a crazy magnetic storm back in 1859. Awesome stuff.

In this week's It Could Only Be Texas News, and not at all related to my sudden Sookie Stackhouse obsession enthusiasm, the Telegraph reports that two men believe that they have found the body of a Chupacabra in the Lone Star State. On the other hand, the State of Illinois is represented by this fine, fine Register story, the moral of which must surely be never use a cigarette lighter to check how full a petrol can is.

The petrol station at the end of my parents' street is serving up unleaded at £1.089/litre, which partly explains why the British government might have come to a deal involving trade and oil when releasing the Lockerbie bomber. Not impressed.

Best accidental headline of the year ever. Surely someone's head is going to roll over that one?

Speaking of headlines, you've got to admire El Reg's ability to wring the utmost sensation from the most prosaic of texts. Witness 'Exomoonologist': NASA can detect forest moon of Endor, and even the link itself (Exomoonology_is_go).

In pet news, kinda, take a look at this awesome pencil drawing of a cat from the Telegraph. Meanwhile, the Telegraph told us how a burglar may have left his dog at a crime scene, and the police are therefore hoping that in reuniting the hound (which, like all domestic dogs, is apparently descended from a single wolf pack on the Yangtze river) with his owner will solve the crime, too.

Over at YouTube, the AutoTune folks have come up with another instalment (number 8). For mindboggling skill on rollerblades, though, watch this clip of Korean freestyle rollerblading - she starts rolling at 0:50.

However, video of the week goes to The Great Office War.

And finally, video games too complex? Can't remember all those weird button mashing combinations? Distracted by constantly having to check which keys you're pressing for movement? CANABALT is the answer! A single key platformer :-) Enjoy...
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The inevitable conclusion of Cats + Video + Internet: auto-tuned cats!!!

Linkfest

Aug. 29th, 2009 07:39 am
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Partly for [personal profile] anotherpenguin, here, allegedly, are four perfectly round circles. Partly for [personal profile] ms_katonic, here's the Bugatti kettle!!!!!!!!!!

The Times had an article about how UFO sightings increase after television shows about aliens. The Beeb countered with how it was down to hotel lights, whilst, the Register prophecised that the MOD's declassification of a third tranche of UFO sightings would surely lead to a media-parlysing feedback loop (gotta love El Reg's particular headline style).

InformationIsBeautiful.net has some fantastic infographics (time travel in films), but this representation of media scares since 2000 is particularly awesome.

Scientific American had an article that suggested that c90% of US banknotes tested positive for traces of cocaine. Which is an astonishingly high proportion, isn't it? Especially, as the article notes, that's up from a 'mere' 67% two years ago.

Robot news: more dextrous robots suggest that the Rise of the Machines is gathering pace. And here, courtesy of Wired, is a video of a robofish swimming. Can you imagine a swarm shoal of these? Kinda related, in the whole machine/human interaction scheme of things, Sony has put forward a patent for emotion tracking using the PS3. Kinda disturbing concept, not at all helped by the supporting illustration. Which, whilst less useful, is possibly less immediately dangerous than your mobile phone being able to turn your oven on for you, as relayed by the New York Times. But it's not all sinister stuff: here's robo-bear to help nurse you back to health.

For those who wish to sear disturbing images across their retina, it's an Angel/Baby/Pinnochio/Witch/Webcam mashup. I'll bet you never even knew you needed one until now. this word-based clock, however, is much more tasteful.

In this week's pet news, Wired had a round up of artificial pets, most of which were underwhelming save for the $6000 baby harp seal. Alternatively, if you're still after something exotic, but perhaps a little more carbon-based, how about a poodle 'disguised' as a peacock? It'd certainly get the neighbours talking... As if Poodle/Peacocks weren't bad enough, there are pandas and camels, too. I offer this photo gallery of cute baby animals as something of a mind-scrub to compensate for the previous horrors.

Not really a pet, but has Google Earth found the Loch Ness Monster?

Capitalising on the singular 09/09/09 date (that works on both sides of the pond), rumours surround Apple's upcoming iPod event, even if the much anticipated tablet launch isn't expected to take place until 2010. For those of us currently not on the fruit bandwagon, here's a guide to running OSX on a vanilla PC. And you only need to buy a £170 BIOS chip, and spend ages tweaking and hacking, plus pay the licence fee and sort of ignore the EULA to get it working.

[personal profile] carolanne5 pointed me to this magnificent sand animation over on YouTube the other week. Soothing :-) And sort of related, in terms of using light as a visual medium, DVice had this post on LED graffiti cans that spray light instead of paint. Obviously you need a long exposure, and that Michael Bosanko light graffiti I've pointed to before refers, but still pretty cool.

This week's It Could Only Be Texas news is perhaps a little less... Texan in spirit than usual, but I thought these 30-foot-tall solar sunflowers were kinda cool - especially since they illuminate a bike-path at night (forgive me, but doesn't the idea of a bike path in Texas* seem like some kind of philosophical paradox?). Talking of bikes, and the colonies, yay for cycling in New York.

Is it terribly, terribly wrong of me to find this Hello Kitty XBox 360 strangely appealing? Actually, Microsoft kinda cut the price of the 360: I say 'kinda' - the cheap one went up by £30, the middle one's been ditched and the expensive one's come down by £30.

Anne Fine, former Children's Laureate, has been bemoaning the 'gritty realism' of modern children's books. So I wonder what nominations she'd put forward for Awful Library Books? To redress the balance, The Grauniad had Malorie Blackman's top 10 graphic novels for teenagers, which contained some interesting markers for me to look up (I've pondered procuring Maus many a time).

This sounds pretty cool: Artists have created a greenhouse of horrors at Edinburgh's Royal Botanic Gardens as part of the festival with a series of light and sound installations.

Maintaining our ocean watch, The Discovery Channel is reporting that Alaska's oceans are turning acidic, due to increased greenhouse gas absorbtion. Which is, in turn, bad news for the fishing industry there. The same site also ran a report suggesting that the warming oceans could induce the Earth's pole to shift by the end of the century (not that much, I hasten to add, and geological record indicate that the Earth's pole has literally flipped several times through the ages, but still...). There's also this piece on how the ocean's 'deserts' are becoming more lifeless - I should confess at this point that the concept of an ocean 'desert' had passed me by until I read James Lovelock's Gaia stuff.

Bad news for those of us with *counts* 14 windows open: researchers at Stanford are suggesting that multitaskers are more easily distracted and less able to ignore irrelevant information than people who do less multitasking.

Here's a Telegraph article about the top 50 Wikipedia searches for 2008 and 2009 (wait: is 2009 over already?). Some things stay constant, some things change.

As Unruly Media are letting me down with this week's viral videos (the best of them seems to be this legomation homage to 8-bit computing), this week's final link is Q-Block - on-line 3D pixel art creation.

* I promise to stop mocking Texans as soon as they stop making it so easy

Linkfest

Aug. 22nd, 2009 06:46 am
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The Windows 7 buzz is warming up: ZDNet has the happy news that Windows 7 is to sell in the UK for half the US price: apparently £65 for Home Premium (of all the variant flavours, this is the one to go for, apparently). If you've recently bought an HP with the 'free Windows 7 upgrade', however, El Reg are on hand to warn that 'free' might not be as 'free' as you might expect at £22.

Wired ran a rather poor 7 reasons to avoid 7 article, which basically seems to amount to them suggesting that people not buy Windows 7 because it's not OS X.

If you do plunge for 7, you should probably install Firefox on it: what better endorsement could there be than this report from El Reg that suggests that exploit operators overwhelmingly use Firefox themselves?

In It Could Only Be Texas news, one police officer was fired, three others suspended for taking a photograph of a scantily clad (there are clothes, honest) waitress posing on the boot (trunk) of their police car, holding an assault rifle.

In It Could Only Be Texas Except This Time It's Wisconsin news, USA Today had this article about 'rednecks' deliberately launching their cars into the air and thus crash into a gravel pit. It's the brainchild of one Bob Moravitz, who laments "You don't get to do this kind of stuff very often."

I mentioned The Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy back in my Geekology of Series posts, but only recently stumbled across news that Eoin(pronounced 'Owen') Colfer has been writing the sixth book of the trilogy, And Another Thing.... Unfortunately, despite Colfer's track record, the early word on Book 6 of 3 is that it's... poor. Shame.

The Torygraph, having let me down last week, is back with its crop circle coverage, this time claiming that a 400ft owl in a Wiltshire field is obviously Hedwig. *blinks* I suspect that Steve Killick's tongue was very firmly in cheek when he observed "It is very exciting to think that there are fans of Harry from other galaxies."

In this week's pet news, a kitten survived a 20 mile car journey trapped under a car engine. A slightly more heroic (alledged) tale is recorded in The Sun, which regales its 'readers' (srsly, I doubt anyone 'reads' that rag) with the story of how a guy was rescued from a fire by his neighbour's cat. For those of you unfamiliar with The Sun, let's just say that their fact checking department can sometimes be found a little... wanting (which is not to say that it didn't happen, but just be aware of the source). Putting some points on the board for the dogs are Diesel, a Staffy who caught two trains in search of his owner and Angel, a boxer who 'fell off the back of a lorry in a B&Q car park' after a 1,300 mile trip from Spain. And lest you actually believed that rubbish the other week about how dogs are smarter than cats, El Reg brings us the news that Oreo the cat has been awarded a High School Diploma, and thus conclusively wins that particular argument, methinks.

All of these, obviously, pale in comparison to the beasties that may be found at CuteOverload.com (warning: VERY cute!), although the leading pic in the Grauniad's summary of the Silly Season Stories runs it close.

The Beeb had this awesome pic of a King Penguin chick examining footprints in the sand: palpable thought process evident, good, good pic.

Now we're on picspam, take a look at this amazing 3D pavement chalk-art stuff from the Telegraph. The same paper also provides this rather calming set of smoke pictures, created by photographing smoke from Joss Sticks. Slightly less ephemeral than smoke patterns, celebrity faces created as sculptures using phone directories (it is rather galling to find that the Telegraph's website is actually rather good).

ABSOLUTELY HUMONGOUS PAGE LOAD ALERT (but so worth it): click here and look carefully. What you're seeing are not photographs: they're composite, blended photos of sequences of pictures all taken from the same place, but merging different people into the end shot to meet a given theme (all dressed in black, all carrying a jiffy bag, all wearing caps etc). Some of the themes I haven't quite placed, and some of the final images are a bit odd. But intriguing stuff.

Remember the teeeeny, tiny turtle? Well here's a teeeeny tiny bat!

[profile] chinawolf mentioned the mathematical model of a zombie infection (PDF) in a post earlier this week, and The Times and The Telegraph both got in on the act. Plus TWiT were talking about how the podcast contributors that week were totally prepared for the Zombie Apocalypse, but perhaps not other, possibly more likely, scenarios. Back to the zombie paper - one of the contributors is called Robert J Smith? - yes, with a question mark at the end of his name.

And [personal profile] carolanne5 pointed me at excellent YouTube video of Bach's Fugue in G Minor - what's cool is the graphical representation of the music (aside, obviously, from the coolness that is the magesterial presence of J S Bach), definitely worth a look!

Following on from Selfridges' early start to Crimbo this year, we learn that Rochdale's Christmas lights are up (but not switched on).

From Engadget, how about this steampunk mouse??? Would go perfectly, they suggest, with this Frankestein casemod: look at the size of that thing! Feasting upon Engadget's Steampunk tag actually pulls up some magnificent finds, such as this mechanical cheetah!

On the infographics front, I found this long exposure photo of the path a Roomba takes as it hoovers a room.

The Discovery Channel had this article noting that the ocean temperature hit the highest recorded average temperature in the last 130 years last month. The Grauniad warned that the Nile Delta is under threat from rising sea levels and ever-neutral Switzerland has invaded Italy, because the watershed that determines the body twixt the two nations has moved up to 150 metres because of melting glaciers and snow fields.

In film news, I was gratified to learn that Hollywood is embracing apocalyptica: they namecheck 2012, The Road, The Book of Eli, 9 and the mysteriously titled Zombieland. Wonder what that one's about?

In slightly less apocalyptic fare, LEGO is developing a live action/animation movie (yes, kill me now). Here's some Grauniad pic-spam of the stuff through the ages, and here's Jonathan Glancey musing on the stuff's popularity. James May's House of Lego is old news, but as part of the same TV series he's recreating the 2.75 mile Brooklands circuit with Scalextric!

Following on from all that business about Canada pretending that Northumberland was part of its own fair territory and Stratford 'borrowing' parts of Shropshire in their respective tourist stuff, The UAE have apparently appropriated Durdle Door, in Dorset, for one of their own. Durdle Door is pretty cool, actually, and worth a look, should you be in Dorset (but not the UAE, nor, as the article closes, Turkey nor the US!).

Geekologie had this post on HP's triumphant reclaiming of the Aboxalypse Now Crown which had, perhaps briefly, been held by Sony (see p5 of the Reg link). Nice try Sony, but what you've got to remember, when taking on HP in the Aboxalypse, is that they started it.

And finally, [profile] chinawolf, in an epic post of VividCon recommendations, linked to [livejournal.com profile] charmax's Seven Nation Army vid: Terminators, Agents, Cylons, Cybermen, Daleks, Transformers and, um, Robots all set to a White Stripes remix. Awesome.

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