May. 21st, 2010 04:18 pm
owl: Charlie Eppes. Geek. (geeky)
Google's homepage features a playable Pacman game for its thirtieth anniversary. This'll make for a productive afternoon....
Found Functions, photographs of mathematical functions occurring in nature.

Bus crash

Jul. 2nd, 2008 10:36 pm
owl: Northern Ireland from orbit (home)
I saw two buses colliding today. Bus #1 was pulled in (badly) at a stop. Bus #2 tried to go around it and didn't quite succeed. Bang, grind, crunch. The final ironic touch is that bus #1 was pink. How could anyone miss seeing it?

I feel sorry for the passengers. They'll never get to wherever they were going.
Is there life water on Mars?

NASA says, yes there is

By coincidence, at the minute I'm halfway through reading Blue Mars.

Result for the Fashion Style Test )
So a police helicopter chases an unidentified flying object over Cardiff.

Torchwood let that one slip through!
Magnetic bacteria could be used to target tumours.

Via [ profile] white_hart:


Today, it was announced that Terry Pratchett has donated half a million pounds to Alzheimer's research. Hearing that, it occurred to me that if half a million of us all donated a pound to Alzheimer's research, we could match his donation and make it an even million.

So whaddaya say, guys? It's a pound. That's about 2 bucks US dollars, give or take a couple of (US) pennies. You can spare that much. Go here and make your donation. Tell them it's in honour of Terry Pratchett.

Let's do it!
Eeek. Building falls down in Victoria Street. No, it didn't blow down; the storm hasn't really hit here yet; apparently it DED OF CONCREET.

I am completely TEH FAILZ at ordering birthday presents. [ profile] elerrina_amanya likes to be surprised. I'm the opposite, and in fact spent some time last weekend going 'Tell me what you bought me!' Still. Ordering the present to the house with the letterbox would be a good idea, eejit.

Bluuuu ray

Feb. 21st, 2008 10:08 pm
owl: Part of the Mandlebrot Set, in blue (mandelbrot)
So, Blu-ray is apparently the next format and HD DVD is set to go the way of Betamax.

I don't think it'll take off that well, though. For a start, DVD is good enough quality for most people, or at least the difference it's great enough that everyone is going to buy a new copy of films they already own.

Secondly, there are so many ways to play DVDs that don't play Blu-ray. Most computers will, set-top boxes and portable DVD players. It's not just a case of the VCR wearing out and replacing it with a DVD player.

And thirdly, aren't we all meant to be downloading all our visual media off iTunes, like, the week after next?
Titan has loads of liquid hydrocarbons. More than Earth's entire oil reserves, apparently.

I can just see BP and Shell and all those 4x4 drivers casting longing eyes to the sky...
Yesterday a tour bus was vandalised in Belfast.

Personally I cringe every time I see a bus driving about with PADDYWAGON written on its side. Perhaps the vandals thought they were doing a public service?

(no subject)

Nov. 12th, 2007 11:10 pm
owl: Charlie Eppes. Geek. (geeky)
I have just discovered that there is a word for the infinity symbol, &infin : lemniscate


Aug. 29th, 2007 09:47 pm
owl: Charlie Eppes. Geek. (geeky)
Link shamelessly stolen from [ profile] shallnelprin:

Map of On-line Communities.

I especially like Here be Anthropomorphic Dragons and the sunken island of Usenet.


Nov. 17th, 2006 08:07 pm
owl: Stylized barn owl (ponder)
Seen on a wall at the back of M&S:
You don't hit your weaker wife because your stronger boss hit you. I considered adding 'Who says she's weaker? but was scuppered by lack of spraypaint.

The farming newspaper reported: Mr A won the conventional ploughing competion and Mr B won the reversible ploughing competition. Technically, they mean Mr B won the competition of ploughing using a reversible plough :D


Aug. 22nd, 2006 10:59 pm
owl: And to mariners a sure haven; two-masted boat (mariners)
We went to Dundrum today and went for an enormous walk which ended up as miles and miles in the rain. There was a colony of seals, both young ones and adults, on the other side of the inner bay below the army firing range. We could hear them making sort of hooting noises, and when they moved or went down into the water they humped themselves like caterpillars. I suppose they like it there because people aren't allowed on the beach. Gunfire doesn't seem to annoy them! We started hearing guns on the other side, which scared me and sent me back into the sandhills, but not other members of my family.
We're having a meeting at church tomorrow night on the Da Vinci Code. It's a sort of evangelistic judo, to use it for starting discussions on 'how reliable are the NT documents' or 'who was Jesus, really'. I managed to miss the bit where we trek around the town (we have the Hilliest Town in the County Down) shoving invitations through doors because I was at work (it has to be good for something).

If I were taking the meeting, it would run thusly: 'Frankly, I've seen better research in the pages of the Sun, and if Dan Brown told me the earth was round, I'd want to verify it before I believed it. Oh, and the characters are cardboard, the plot has holes big enough for dolphins to escape through, and the style stinks. Any questions?'

It's a good thing I'm not, then :)

Sometimes I love my work. Today I discovered that one of the other area teams had labelled their Deductions, D[eceased] file, "The Book of the Dead".

(no subject)

May. 18th, 2006 08:53 pm
owl: (smudgey)
On Tuesday there was a woman on the bus with a cat in a carrier. Today she was back, with another cat in the carrier, and in a bed in a wire box a queen and four tiny wee kittens. They were three weeks old or so, with their eyes just open, and they kept trying to swim up the sides of their bed. Their claws were still unretracted and they had those paddle-shaped feet that very young kittens have. They were simply adorable.

We took our cats for a walk (we wanted to see the bluebells in the fort down the road), and a family passed us on bicycles and Smudge (see icon) hid in the hedge for ten minutes. I was also out on my fungicidal mission again. It seems to be well mixed into the flowerbed.

Oh, and the Home Office is cracking down on illegal immigrants—the ones that were working as cleaners in the Home Office that is. You couldn't make this up. They should come to us to see our pile of rejected applications for medical cards. Reason for coming to UK: higher standard of living. Sorry, no visa, no medical card.

In the news

Mar. 30th, 2006 09:36 am
owl: Stylized barn owl (liberydies)
The release of Abdul Rahman is very good news; but in context, only a small victory. The real one will be when the law in Afganistan is changed to make this situation—where a man is sentenced to die for converting from Islam—impossible. After all, we invaded Afganistan to stop that sort of thing, alledgedly. Even more difficult will be to change the hearts of the local population, who according to one of the judges in the case were ready to form a lynch mob. We heard in the last few days a great deal from representatives of Islam in the media, telling us that the Koran does not require the death penalty for conversion. It isn't the largely secular population of Britian they need to be telling this to; it's their fellow Muslims. If that were being preached in mosques in the Middle East, rather than jihad, we'd have a lot fewer problems. I heard one commentator explain that everyone is born Muslim, some have the misfortune to be brought up in other religions. By that system, every non-Muslim male in the world deserves death.

At home, some bloke from Tyrone with more money than sense has paid £80 000 plus VAT for the numberplate BIG 1. He also bought BIG 2 and BIG 3, leaving him with a total bill of £150 000. That's the price of a small flat.
And in the department of You Can't Make This Up, a plane mean to land at Derry City Airport landed instead at the airstrip of the nearby Ballykelly army base (I drove a tank there once), the pilot having apparently becone lost in midair. To paraphrase one of the passengers: The pilot apologised for landing us at the wrong airport. I thought he was joking until I looked out the window and saw half the British Army running over taking photographs.

Trivia post

Dec. 19th, 2005 09:54 am
owl: Stylized barn owl (Default)
We're all going to be smoshed by an asteroid in 2029. Or perhaps 2036. But the article quoted my old astrophysics lecturer, which tickled me.

This is the most amazing fifty-pence piece ever. It quotes from Johnson's Dictionary!

Image behind cut )
Why is it that estate agents seem to be incapable of writing English, but instead produce pamphlets full of their own weird jargon?

First of all, the thing they are selling is always a 'home'. Not a house, a home. Sometimes it's a 'comfortable family home', but the horror can increase, as sometimes it's a 'prestigious home' or a 'unique home', or worse yet, an 'almost unique home'.

Then there's the main body, so to speak, of the copy. Usually it's semi-literate, with the most basic errors of spelling, punctuation and grammar. The thing to remember about this part is to take it with a liberal amount of salt.

For example:
Mature garden=overgrown wilderness à la the Sleeping Beauty's castle
In need of renovation=in need of demolition
Convenient to [major road]=built beneath the underpass
Quiet rural setting=back end of nowhere, reached by twelve miles of unmetalled lanes
Spectacular views=perched on cliff edge

and so on.

The end is in sight when you see a floor plan. However, there are still the labels: 'lounge' and 'sun room' or possibly 'reception area' or even 'vestibule'. Did anyone ever call a room in their own house a 'lounge' or a 'vestibule' when they meant sitting-room and hall? (Even in an airport, 'departure lounge' seems to me a shabby wriggling out of 'waiting room', in an effort to suggest the passengers are enjoying themselves. No-one could lounge on those chairs, and the carpet's too thin to do it on the floor.) As for sunrooms, that's a little over-optimistic in Northern Ireland, don't you think? Surely 'weather room' or 'windowed room' would be more appropriate? I suppose it's a minor improvement on 'conservatory' meaing 'PVC lean-to with own muggy micro-climate'.

Usually there's a photograph, or for 'new builds' (what has the poor gerund ever done to estate agents to be so rejected?), an artist's impression. Of course it's to be expected that the artist's impression should bear little relation to the muddy building site, cluttered with bits of rafter, heaps of topsoil, concrete blocks, assorted rubbish and Portaloos, of reality, but how do they work those photographs? Surely they can't all be taken on the three days of fine weather per year? And the ones of the gardens always seem to be taken at ground level to give a Borrowers-eye-view of the size of the place.

Prawn fishermen out of Kilkeel and Clogherhead have been fishing up bottles of Carolans Irish Cream liquer complete with presentation glasses. It seems their container fell overboard in a Biscay storm. The slightly surreal effect is completed by the last paragraph of the article:
None of the fishermen who made last week's discovery could be contacted yesterday. They were back at sea fishing the same area.
In the hope of more bottles, presumably.


owl: Stylized barn owl (Default)
only a sinner saved by grace

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