Monday, 31 March 2008

scary cgi

This is really well done; a Brazilian company has made put online a flash animation of a woman's head and eyes following your mouse. The animation was made by a Japanese company. The scary part is that it looks 98% real! Only when she smiles you see it is an animation. Computer Generated Images (cgi) are getting to the point where you can't discern reality from fiction. We're getting to the point where -as Mythbuster's Adam Savage says- 'I reject your reality and substitute my own'.

The Astr O'Nauts

This is the first Irish moonrocket!

Sunday, 30 March 2008

summertime

Don't forget to change the clock!

Saturday, 29 March 2008

after web 2.0

Web 2.0 is all about high-gloss buttons, reflecting logos, gradients and diagonal bars in corners. It is a trend and new sites are still coming online with this look. However, there's another trend slowly creeping in which will probably overtake web 2.0 in the near future. This is the retro / grunge look. Have look at this overview of some of these trendy new sites. Do it now. I'll wait...


Back again? Good. Now look at something in our own neighbourhood: Miss Jo's home page. Do you see what's happening here?
  • Retro-Vintage
  • Warm Color Palette
  • Rich and Organic Textures
  • Grunge-Retro Fonts
  • Rough Edges
  • Ornaments
  • Stains
It is web 3.0! Here we have Miss Jo, our foremost nostalgist, as a frontrunner for a new web trend! Nostalgia must be a sign of things to come...

WTF?

I wanted to google for a problem I'm having with a phpBB2 forum. I wanted to adjust the google preferences to give me more than 10 results on a page, unfiltered. This is the answer google gave me after saving my prefs:

We're sorry... ... but your query looks similar to automated requests from a computer virus or spyware application. To protect our users, we can't process your request right now. We'll restore your access as quickly as possible, so try again soon.
Why, in the name of @#$%, do they allow you to set preferences they will not honour? Either do as I instruct of don't give me the option. Twats.

for marion

Friday, 28 March 2008

A Sign From God


A Sign From God, originally uploaded by Armante.

loosing kilos part 2

I've just discovered an old and tried method for loosing weight. I'll let you know what happened in due time.

Stowaways

Over the last half-century, the Paul E. Garber Preservation, Restoration and Storage Facility in Suitland, Maryland, has restored some of the rarest and most important aircraft in history.

Dark, dusty hangars house broken, battered pieces of equipment and aircraft waiting—often for years—for their moment to be brought back to life.

When the time comes, each aircraft is hauled out and taken apart, often down to the tiniest screw, and that is how the restoration team ends up discovering stowaways—unexpected objects hidden in nooks and crannies, sometimes dating back to the earliest days of the aircraft.

If we stopped being here

Welcome to Planet Earth: Population 0.

This is what our world would look like without people.

The images were created to illustrate what would happen if human life ceased tomorrow, if, for whatever reason, mankind was obliterated.

The question it raises is: how long would the remnants of our civilisation remain? What would remain of our civilisation? The answer, astonishingly, is: almost nothing.

Science is a heretic innovation

Every religion has got one... Every country has got one... Every village has its village idiot. We have Geert Wilders, Iraq has this guy:

Pagan Origins of the Christ Myth

You already know Christmas trees and Easter eggs were originally Pagan, and you probably know the seasonal timing of the two holidays is Pagan too. Mildly interesting. What you'll discover at POCM is that ancient cultures around the Mediterranean shared standard ideas about Gods and their powers and place in the universe—and that Christianity simply adopted those ideas and applied them to Jesus. Ancient people knew godmen did miracles. The first Christians thought Jesus was a godman, so they told stories about Jesus doing miracles. They even had Him doing the same miracles as the other godmen.

Thursday, 27 March 2008

Neanderthals wore make-up and liked to chat

In an article in New Scientist it is reported that Neanderthals wore make-up and liked to chat. I wonder if they also had Hyves, MySpace and FaceBook.

the last supper

Every variation possible of "the last supper" by Leonardo da Vinci. From Lego via the Sopranos to the Simpsons. Brilliant!

Mickey's last supper

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

loosing kilos

An article in Nature claims the old wisdom that to loose a pound (roughly 0.5 kg) you need to burn 3500 calories (shouldn't that be kilocalories?) more than your intake. Then they make the case that less obese people need to burn less calories to loose the same amount of weight. I've been calculating my intake at around 1500 kcal/day, where the normal intake should be 2500 kcal/day. This gives me a ~1000 kcal/day deficit, or ~7000 kcal/week. This should equate to loosing about a kilo every week. And whaddya guess? Since I started the diet I've lost on average 1 kilo per week. It seems the old wisdom does hold true (for me, at least). UPDATE: I've just checked the original article in the Int. Journal of Obesity and they do indeed mention 3500 kilocalories (32.2 MJ kg-1)

The Adelaide trainstation

Vincent accepted the challenge and made a photo of the Adelaide trainstation as it looks now. So did Nicole. The station hasn't changed much since the 1940s. Vince, if you need anything photographed in Amsterdam, just let me know!

price per kilo

Whilst surfing aimlessly on the interwebtubes, I found Leon Brook's blog by accident. Leon is from Oz and in 2005 he wrote a blog entry on the price per kilo of some foodstuffs available in the Perth supermarkets. The list Leon produced is not only entertaining, but also thought provoking. He makes, for instance, the following observation:

It always surprises me that people will pay extreme rates for boring/everyday food, but flinch when it comes to paying the same or lower rates for exotica.
And then goes on to give a long list of examples. This inspired me to check the receipt I just got at Albert Heijn's an hour ago. The most expensive item (per kilo) on my shopping list is probably also one of the more expensive items in the shop. What is this exotic food you may ask. This:
16 grams (two boxes) for € 1.77 or € 110.63 per kilo.

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

more breaking news

On 3 March 2008, in a popular TV show, Sanal Edamaruku, the president of Rationalist International, challenged India’s most “powerful” tantrik (black magician) to demonstrate his powers on him. That was the beginning of an unprecedented experiment. After all his chanting of mantra (magic words) and ceremonies of tantra failed, the tantrik decided to kill Sanal Edamaruku with the “ultimate destruction ceremony” on live TV. Sanal Edamaruku agreed and sat in the altar of the black magic ritual.

Om lingalingalinalinga, kilikili…
Curious about what happened?

breaking news

A lot of noise outside just now, so I looked and saw a guy getting arrested by every cop in town.

I think he was trying to swallow drugs.
They do put a lot of blue on the street...

Vincent, this is your mission...

... should you accept it. Find this place in Adelaide and post a photo of what it looks like now from the same spot.

Adelaide Railway station 1940

snow again

This morning when I got up it had snowed again. This time the snow was not as wet as the last few days, but rather more solid.

Monday, 24 March 2008

Johnny Moynihan on bouzoukis

I was watching a BBC documentary on the history of Irish music today and this quote by Johnny Moynihan, the man who introduced the bouzouki to Irish music, just jumped out.

session at mulligans

For the first time in a few months I've been to the sunday session in Mulligans. Great craic was had by all. There were some new faces and some old ones that I hadn't seen in a long time. Severine had come from Maastricht to visit Ali and made it to Mulligans in the evening. It was good to see her again. She invited me to a campfire party she's giving on the 10th of may.

Miriam and Gertrude were working the bar.

Saturday, 22 March 2008

How to get Vista SP1

The long-awaited OS update from Microsoft arrives, but can you get it? Short answer: no. Longer answer: it depends. Computerworld has the gory details about Microsoft's ineptitude in delivering working software.

Party DJ

For your next party, consider hiring the Shellac Sisters. They are four glamorous retrochics who dress in all things vintage and play 78rpm records on 1920s wind-up gramophones.

real homer & mario

Brilliant! Check this out soonest.

shooter

On Nicole's blog, Vincent mentions he doesn't like guns. I know Vincent likes to build things, so maybe this is something he would like to build. A fireball shooter from Make magazine (which I know Vincent reads). The only thing: they mention a butt splice is needed for the project?!?! Ouch...

GRB 080319B

Left: X-ray view. Right: optical view.
Scientists have discovered a record gamma-ray burst, a massive explosion that occurred halfway across the universe but was so bright that its optical flash was briefly visible to the naked eye. [...] The team calculated that, had the explosion had gone off in the centre of the Milky Way, it would have appeared as bright as the noon-time Sun.

Friday, 21 March 2008

spring again

You probably can't see it very well in this photo, but we're having wet snow at this moment. Not the right moment to take a virgin into the fields... The smurf also doesn't want to go to the post office at this moment.

Spring time

The first day of spring was once the time for taking the young virgins into the fields, there in dalliance to set an example in fertility for nature to follow. Now we just set the clocks an hour ahead and change the oil in the crankcase. ~E.B. White, "Hot Weather," One Man's Meat, 1944

Thursday, 20 March 2008

More on the $$$ crisis

In breaking news, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation has an explanation for the sub-prime mortgage problem.

In the news

Normally most of the spam I receive is for penis-enlargement medication. This get junked right away since I don't need it... Imagine my surprise when I read this article in the Algemeen Dagblad (in Dutch only).

mail from apple

I've bought a new MacBook just over three weeks ago and had to leave my email address at the Apple shop. They sent me an email today trying to sell me a new laptop. Don't they know I've just bought one? Apple's mail program on my MacBook thought it was junk mail...

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

the dollar crash

Here's a exerpt of a VPRO programme that aired a short while ago about a theoretical event: the crash of the US dollar. It looks like we're now entering that theoretical event...

time travel

I've just been reading the wiki of the International Association of Time Travelers. Anybody feel like doing Geert Wilders? Or would SilverFox316 intervene again? Speaking of Wilders: most of the gobshite that dribbles out of his mouth is racist and hate-inciting IMHO. This is punishable under Dutch law, but the Public Prosecution Office is dragging their feet bringing him to court. If he got convicted, he'd just be another criminal, go to jail and we could ignore whatever he's saying. Maybe we should ignore him even if he doesn't go to court. Anyway, next saturday there's a big anti-Wilders demonstration called for on the Dam in Amsterdam at 13:00h. The Committee of Approval (Comite van aanbeveling) for this demonstration reads like a Who's Who in the Netherlands.

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

The Vincent smurf

Nicole, here's my smurf; now show me yours!

A trip to Mulligans

Today I've been to Mulligans for the first time in weeks. Jud was in Amsterdam and wanted to meet for dinner. We went to the Soenda Kelapa Indonesian restaurant in Utrechtsestraat where we pigged out on a brobdingnagian rijsttafel. Afterwards back to Mulligans for a drink.

It wasn't very crowded in Mulligans around 18:00

Monday, 17 March 2008

St. Patrick's Day

I abstained this year apart from wearing a green fleece sweater. Nobody noticed... In other news: all the smurfs at Albert Heijn are gone. Today the supermarket chain declared that all 29 million smurfs they were giving away are now all gone. 29 million smurfs... I've only got one, which makes me a smurf pauper in Holland as I should have 1.77 smurf on average.

Sunday, 16 March 2008

The 'boekenweek' train trip

Every year in the Netherlands, the collective booksellers give away a booklet written for the occasion by a "literary giant." This action week is called the Boekenweek, Bookweek, and is sponsored by the DUtch railways NS. On the sunday at the end of the Boekenweek you can travel anywhere in the Netherlands for free on every train. You just have to show the booklet to the ticket inspector. Since my parents moved from Amsterdam to the quaint village of Musselkanaal in the north-east of the Netherlands (Groningen Province) they've complained that I only visit every now and then. I told them that if they wanted me to visit more often they should have moved to Vladivostok instead since it is faster to get there by public transport than to Musselkanaal. The nearest trainstation is Assen (two hours from Amsterdam) and from there by bus another 2.5 hours for the 30 km trip... My sister lives not too far from my parents and she owns a bookshop so she sent me the booklet with the imperial command to come and see my parents. She would pick me up at the Assen trainstation. This morning i dutifully got on the train to Utrecht where I had to change to the train to Assen. Nice quiet Utrecht train; plenty of seats, iPod softly crooning in my ears en reasonably at peace with the world. Until I got to Utrecht. Everybody in the Netherlands who has bought a book in the last week and therefore had aquired a free booklet aka trainticket had gathered on Utrecht CS to take the train to Assen. It seems there was this "very important" exhibition of Chinese art in a museum in Assen and these culture lovers wanted to see the exhibition without paying for the train. The NS in its infinite wisdom had only put up a three wagon train to the north, so when I finally made it into the train there was standing room only. All the way to Assen, standing room only. Two hours of standing in a train with a gazillion people reading their free booklet since it was also their free ticket. And my iPod crashed and wouldn't start again. No music for two hours standing.

every soul was reading their book
people were even sitting on the little tables the other side was jampacked too
Any way, I got to see my parents for about two hours before I had to go back if I wanted to come back on the same day. On the train back to Amsterdam the crowd wasn't too bad; I managed to get a folding seat on the balcony and there were only five or six people standing in the car. After Amersfoort station luxury erupted: allmost everyone got off and there were seats to sit on and legroom to stretch legs in! I made it to the ThaiCoon restaurant around dinner time and had a great meal. The female chef there advised me to shave more often. She likes it better that way. I've adjusted the poll accordingly.
almost empty on the way back...
UPDATE: according to the TV news tonight over 200.000 people travelled today on their free booklet/ticket. There were also two trains with jazz orchestras playing on the train. The one I was travelling on you couldn't fit a skinny guy with a mouth harp...

Saturday, 15 March 2008

calling adelaide from beukenplein

The sun was shining today; it was really warm (about 13 C) and people were sitting out on the Maxwell terrace on Beukenplein.

Here's one for Juf Jo

Nostalgic modern products.

ceiling cat

every room needs one...

Thursday, 13 March 2008

installing gphoto2

Warning! Geek content follows! This evening I was trying to install gphoto2 on my MacBook, using MacPorts. It failed because the downloaded version of libexif-0.6.16.tar.bz2 was zero bytes. I only found this out when I looked at the actual file. I then downloaded libexif-0.6.16.tar.bz2 from the libexif website and replaced the faulty file with the newly downloaded one. The installation then went without a hitch. After attaching my Nikon D50, gphoto2 didn't want to make a picture. It turned out that when you connect a camera, there's an Apple application that wants to grab it. You have to kill /System/Library/Image Capture/Devices/PTPCamera.app/Contents/MacOS/PTPCamera first and then gphoto2 will happily snap way. The command to grab some pictures is gphoto2 --capture-image --interval 15 --frames 10 -P --filename=%y%m%d_%H-%M-%S.%C This will snap 10 pictures with an interval of 15 seconds.

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

my inner Shrek

Having had a beard for almost 40 years now, today I decided a midlife crisis experiment: shaving. I bought 5 disposable razors at AH, some shaving foam and had a go at it. Here's the result:

my inner shrek...
As you can see, I got in touch with my inner Shrek. It took the combined effort of an industrial strength hair trimmer, 2 of the 5 disposable razors and 45 minutes to get this result. And my chin is still not as smooth as a baby's bottom... Besides, after shave lotion stings like hell. It smells nice, though. Conclusion: too much effort for too little gain. I think I won't shave for another 40 years.

the car crash

At the shooting range tonight one of the guys, T., said goodnight to all and left. About two hours later my friend J. (who always gives me a lift to the range) got a call from T. He'd ran his car into a crash barrier at 120 km/h and was now in hospital for tests. Could we please go and tell his wife since she didn't pick up the phone? So, off we went in the middle of the night to the quaint village of Velsen-Noord, which is halfway to the arctic circle. T.'s wife was woken up and told to phone hubby on his mobile, which she did with lots of tears flowing. Until of course she found out that there was basically nothing wrong with him at which point she got sort of angry. That was the moment we decided to leave again.

31 Km from the range to Velsen

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

the headache

Today I stayed home from work with a fierce headache.
this is how I feel

Monday, 10 March 2008

Monday @ Maxwell's

It looks like the monday night at Maxwell's is becoming a tradition. Participants tonight were Stephen, Daan, Henrik and Joeri. Thai food at the ThaiCoon and then off to Maxwell's for drinks and bitterballen. Very enjoyable.

Here are some mugshots of tonight (via my shoephone):
Collins looking thoughtfull
Joeri looking smug (after a bitterbal)

Factum est!

The Annual Report is on its way to the printer. If you'd like to see what it looks like this year, you can download it. It is only 17.9 Mb and in a format suitable for printing on a low-res printer.