Wednesday, 22 September 2010

30 Second Music Quiz!

There's no straightforward way of playing music on this blog.

But you can play videos, and windows does come with a built in movie maker.


Take 30 songs, and record exactly one thousand miliseconds from each one. (I used Creative Wave Studio, a basic sound recording program that came with my soundcard.) Then stick them all together to make a chaotic 30 second sound collage, and put this, along with a simple static picture into the movie maker and voila! You have a quiz!

These are all culled from my itunes. No artist features more than once.

_____Artist______________Song_____________Identified by

5. The Stranglers________Strange Little Girl__________ Peter
9._Billy Bragg__________Levi Stubb's Tears__________Peter
14._XTC_____________Senses working overtime______Peter
17.__ Portishead________Glory Box________________Peter
21. The Pixies __________Here comes your man________ Peter

Saturday, 18 September 2010

George Michael got to number 3

This is Highpoint Prison, between Barnadiston, Cowlinge and Farley Green in Suffolk. George's predeliction for driving under the influence has led him there. Bad boys stick together.


Anyway, it's a geo-alphanumeric goldmine! You can see a plethora of significant shapes. Most of them already sorted, but it does have a nice 3

And a nice hash sign, just in case I want to do punctuation.

Anyway. 3.

Thanks George.


The area of a circle =pi x r squared

If you're 1760 feet above ground, the horizon is about 55 miles away.

So you can see an area of 55 x 55 x 3.1415927...

That's about nine and a half thousand square miles. On a clear day anyway.

If you happened to be 1768 feet above the ground, with no way of remaining at that altitude, it would take a fair few seconds to reach the ground.

I know how you'd find the exact time, but I don't precisely know the formulae.

It's something like "The time it takes you to accellerate from rest to terminal velocity(assuming you've reached terminal velocity before reaching the ground) Plus the time you've spent at terminal velocity."

Of course, 1768 feet is to all intents and purposes the same as 50 feet. It doesn't matter much which way you land.

I've found a page on wikipedia, that lists tall structures, and it gives a few that are close to the stated height.

This one,

comes complete with orange bit on the top. It's in Cusseta, GA, and it fits the bill perfectly.

*It's taken a while to get myself back up and running on my main PC. It kept crashing for no apparent reason. When I checked, both memory and hard disks were fine. Getting windows was one thing. Getting back online was quite another. Had laptop for slightly poorer online experience, but I'm glad I've got my big fast proper PC up and running again.

The clean reboot was well worth doing. Firefox no longer crashes when confronted with any kind of flash content. The machine shuts down within moments of being asked. And it's ready to roll in half the previous time of pressing the on button.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Blunt Instrument

Somewhere along the line, I picked up something horrible on my PC. The reason that horrible something exists is so that some sad cretin somewhere can make a few bob from some other gullible moron somewhere else.

I'm fairly computer savvy. If bad things happen, I have enough of an understanding of things to know how to sort it all out. But not this time. Not completely.

I thought I'd got rid of the malware that suddenly started placing all kinds of alarming crap on my screen. But every so often, I'm getting unwanted strangeness. Browser windows taking me to unwanted places (and crashing my browser), svchost trying to change my registry, etc.

It's beyond my ability to sort out, so I'm copying anything important onto another drive, and doing a clean reinstall of windows onto my primary C drive.

Just a thought though.

I have to suffer a hundred pop ups every day without ever switching my computer on. Every time I pass a billboard.

All because some people give money to the people that are doing it.

I was going to rant more, but I have to reboot.

Not rebooted yet. Here's another one...

I haven't got a clue about Linux, except that it's an open source OS.

Also seems like a good time to try that out too.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

David Alvand's back garden as seen by the media

Nightmare neighbour

David Alvand refuses

to chop trees which

can be seen from space

Screams Australian Newspaper, The Herald Sun.

Well, let's see, shall we?

First of all, what is space?

The Fédération Aéronautique Internationale has established the Kármán line at an altitude of 100 kilometres (62 mi) as a working definition for the boundary between aeronautics and astronautics.

The United States designates people who travel above an altitude of 50 miles (80 km) as astronauts.

NASA's mission control uses 76 miles (122 km) as their re-entry altitude, which roughly marks the boundary where atmospheric drag becomes noticeable, (depending on the ballistic coefficient of the vehicle), thus leading shuttles to switch from steering with thrusters to maneuvering with air surfaces.

Saturday, 11 September 2010


Today is the aniversary of the 9/11 attacks. I suppose I should try to look at the event through the lens of Google Earth.

First of all, Google Earth's historical imagary for this point goes a long way back.

Right back to 1974 in fact, although what you get is just a blur.

By 1978, things are a little better. You'd probably decide you were looking at a city, rather than a mountain or forest.

Next time the image is updated is in 1994, and you can see the improvement quite clearly.

And then again in 1997...

Overlaying 3d buildings at this point, it's pretty obvious that things have changed radically. If you'd been in a coma, and had no other way of getting any information about the world than Google Earth, you could tell a lot from the next picture. It's dated September 12th, 2001. I'm surprised anyone was allowed to overfly the area, but perhaps police or military imagary found it's way onto Google Earth's database.

The time between then and now has been one of very slow reconstruction.

It's a measure of just how culturally important the attacks were that some of the most valuable real estate in the world has been pretty much undeveloped for the last 9 years. I think if the towers had been toppled due to some natural catastrophe, or an airliner had struck in a genuine accident, things would have moved on much quicker.

December 31st 2001. The clearance of the debris has been going on for several months, and Google Earth shows a clearer site, but with much work still to be done.

Six months later, and Ground Zero is staring to look more like a construction site, and less like a demolition site.

The above images show the development of the site since then. As the little red pushpins show, the image has been lifted from pretty much the same place each time. I suppose the pictures each represent a year, but they're not evenly spaced. Look in the bottom left corner for the image date. You can enlarge each image by clicking on it.

Should any truthers be reading this, I think you should know that going forward in Google Earth's historical imagary from 2009 yields a picture dated 2006. I do know why, but I'm sworn to secrecy.

Today's remembrance was overshadowed by the controversy concerning an Islamic Cultural Center a couple of blocks away from the WTC site.

From what I saw, I think many who'd lost loved ones just wished those on both sides that wanted to make political or theological capital would just go away.

So I'm not trying to make a point here, although I do have a definite and complicated opinion. I just wondered how the two places looked in Google Earth.

To keep the resolution the same, I moved the image and recaptured it, then stitched the two together to form a sort of panorama.

That's how it looked when the towers were still standing.

And this is the same image, taken from 2006.

Finally, I've been messing around with various movie making software. Specifically, Fraps and Windows Movie Maker. I thought that might give an interesting perspective.

See the video below...

Thursday, 9 September 2010

George Osborn: a bit of maths.

Back of a fag packet variety.

Save 4 billion quid by making the lazy work or starve.

So how many lazy are there?

(Link to news article)

First of all, is this 4 billion a year? Not sure. It could be over 4 years.

So let's be generous and assume it's a billion a year.


Now Job Seeker's Allowance is £64.30 a week. Multiply that by 52 to get the yearly figure...


OK. That's for over 25's. If you're younger than that, you get a bit less, but again, lets err on the side of Osborne here.

Divide the billion by the 3343 and you get about 300,000 people.

So at the most optimistic estimate, there are 300,000 people who just won't get off their arses.

Of course, if you make that 4 billion saving over one year, then you need to class 4 times as many people as too lazy to work. That's 1.2 million. And the figure rises still further when you take into account the fact that under 25's get paid less JSA.

So either these people will decide to get jobs because they're forced to. (Doing what?) Or they starve.

So what do we do with half a million starving layabouts? Here are some choices.

1. Let them starve to death.

2. Let them starve until they're almost dead and then take them to hospital, where their care will cost considerably more than £64 a week.

3. Let them starve until they're too weak to work, and then let them have incapacity benefit until they've fattened up a bit.

As Merrick Godhaven points out, There are less than half a million job vacancies. If we force the lazy to take those half million jobs, what will those people who are on the dole and desperate to work do?

Site traffic went ballistic for a while there!

"Blimey!" I thought.

"I'm going to have to make sure my posts are really high quality now."

None of this "I had chips for tea and I'm going to see Dave tomorrow" or similar prosaic inanities.

Most of the attention is due to StumbleUpon, because Vicky added the alphabet page to the photography stumbles.

Fortunately, it's just as quickly subsided, although traffic is still 4 or 5 times higher than normal.

The woman with three breasts post that's previously garnered most of the passing interest has been well and truly swamped.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

The Whole Damn Alphabet...

Clicking the red letters will make Google Earth zoom in to the places.

A Thailand Supreme Court, Bangkok

B A lake near Letchworth in Hertfordshire, England.

C A building just a bit south of Cape Canaveral (I liked the allitteration!)

D A Swimming pool in Coronado, California

E Two Blocks down from C! Also Cape Canaveral, Florida

F A building in Hafnarfjörður, A town a few miles south of Rekjavik, Iceland.

G A building in Paris, France.

H A building in Ezhva, in the Republic of Komi, part of the Russian Federation.

I They dumped these rocks here to stop the shoreline at Sea Palling, Norfolk, England, being eroded so quickly. A common thing in that part of the world.

J Trees and bushes in Heswall, England. On the banks of the Dee Estuary.

K The sloping rooves of a building in Kew, a suburb of Invercargill, New Zealand.

L A building on an industrial estate a few miles south of Solihull, England.

M A track around a field in Lancashire, England. The nearest town is called St Cuthbert Without.

N A path up a steep bank near Plymouth, England.

O The Colliseum, in Rome.

P A building in central Liverpool, England.

Q The overflow pipe for a reservoir in Balderdale, Co. Durham, England.

R Upper case R's are rare on Google Earth. So I had to settle for something quite tenuous. This one is in Palmerstone North, in New Zealand, and the image has been updated since I captured the letter. Use the history bar to see it as it was.

S A computer and communication centre in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

T A letter formed by removing vegetation. It's near Newton On Trent, South Yorkshire, England.

U A building in Copenhagen, Denmark.

V A field of rapeseed near Bording, Denmark.

W A building in San Fernando, Venezuela.

X A swiss flag, painted on the roof of a building in La Caroline, on the shores of Lake Geneva, in Switzerland.

Y A building in Corno, on the shore of Lake Garda, Italy.

Z Tracks made by ekranoplans and hovercraft in Kaspiysk, on the Caspian Sea.

Finding these letters has been a staple of this blog since it started a couple of years back. As the idea developed, I put together some loose rules.

First of all, I couldn't use real letters. It had to be something that looked like a letter, but which was not really intended to be a letter. I couldn't use the giant letters in the famous Hollywood sign, for example.

Secondly, each letter had to be self contained. So I couldn't use a winding road as a Z or an S, because the road would continue outside this. A couple of the letters don't fully comply with this rule. I am looking for replacements.

Thirdly, I've tried to make the letters come from a wide range of places and things. I once found a golf course where many of the bunkers looked like letters. If I use the course, I will only use one letter from it.

I could have made life a lot easier for myself by not using the rules above, but I've enjoyed the challenge. I want to find all the lower case letters now, and the numbers. I'm not going to go as far as umlauts and apostrophes.

driving lessons wallasey

N!!! It's an N!!!! ENNNNNN!!!!!!!!

Funny old whole damn world, innit?

One minute I'm posting about a bloke with an overgrown garden, the next I've let GE gently waft a few miles and suddenly, I stumble upon the letter that has eluded me the longest!

It's near Plymouth, and it's a zig-zagging path (that should of course be nig-nagging) up a steep bank.

So that's the full set of 26 upper case letters. I need to go back and find better examples of a couple of the letters, but I've sort of achieved what I originally set out to do.

Apotheosis! Good times!


Hot Computer!

My PC kept suddenly shutting down without warning.

It felt like something was getting too hot, and sure enough, when I looked, one of the case fans wasn't spinning. It wasn't a loose wire. It was a buggered fan.

I have one winging it's way to me right now courtesy of Ebay, but until then, my little fan heater (set to cold) is doing the job perfectly well.