Peeing in The Colours of the Rainbow

09/09/07 | by Nimble | Categories: Distractions, Science

Why must it always be the same colour, anyhow?

Well, different colours is usually a bad sign, but who knew there was such variety?

With appropriate health warning provisos, here is a list of things that can make your pee change colour. Doing it on purpose seems, for the most part, to be very nasty.

A few drops of methylene blue seems to be a favourite science prank from time to time, though.

Phenolphthalein... well, it's a laxative on top of everything else.

Safe peeing, everyone.

 

Kicking Horse Pass bridge open

09/08/07 | by Adam | Categories: Potpourri

Link: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/calgary/story/2007/08/30/kicking-horse.html?ref=rss

When I drove through to Golden, BC, a few weeks back the new bridge was mostly built but not open. This meant I got to drive underneath it on the old highway. It's really very impressive to look up and see this huge thing towering above you. The photo on the CBC's site doesn't give a sense of scale -- the bridge is extremely high and those are very substantial pillars holding it up. Once you're on the bridge it'll probably look rather less impressive which is a bit sad. While the old road through the pass is quite beautiful, I would agree that it's treacherous and needed to be replaced.

 

Happy 1st Birthday to "Ready, Aye, Ready"

09/07/07 | by Adam | Categories: Potpourri

It's a bit of a belated wish; "Ready, Aye, Ready" turned a year old some time back in August when I was out of town. Alas I didn't get around to noting it then. Sorry, kiddo.

Come to think of it, I'm not quite sure when the blog turned a year as we lost all the posts from then due to the site being destroyed by a vandal. I do recall that it was some time in August 2006 when I started after getting bored of deleting the spam from Ritchie's comment files.

A year is far longer than I've ever kept a journal or diary active before so perhaps this blogging thing may have some longevity to it. Well, let's see if I can keep going for another year doing this...

 

An Even Better Moon Landing Anti-Conspiracy Site

09/07/07 | by Nimble | Categories: Thoughts, Common Sense, Science

I really enjoy Phil Plait's Bad Astronomy site, and it has much to recommend it apart from its eminently sensible anti-hoax pages, including its oft-updated blog, notes on good and bad astronomy and really good forums.

My new favourite on the anti-hoax front specifically for the moon landings, though, has got to be the Clavius site. It's even more penetrating than Plait's site, and goes into great detail on the individual photographs, the failure of studio lighting as an explanation, the silliness of presuming flat surfaces, and countering the ever-present "but all the photos look so good" with a bevy of the not-so-good that quite frankly don't make for great newspaper material... and that's just a small sample of the photography section. All that, and it's done without the angry tone I know I'd find it hard not to impart.

It's not just good for the anti-hoax pieces. You get to learn quite a bit about the equipment, how they prepared to take footage of the first step, radiation and how much radiation the Apollo missions got, etc.

Fondly remembering Buzz in one of his more recent, righteous moments.

 

Apple's iPhoto Books

09/06/07 | by Adam | Categories: Technology, Macintosh

Link: http://www.apple.com/ca/ilife/iphoto/prints.html

This probably isn't news to the true Mac'o'philes but it was for me: iPhoto, the photo manager that's part of the standard iLife suite included with every Mac, has the ability to generate books of photos. When I say books, I really do mean books and not simply thumbnail sheets or individual pages out of one's inkjet. These are hardcover, glossy and look absolutely amazing.

Full story »

 

End of an era: bye bye MUSE

09/03/07 | by Adam | Categories: Games

Link: http://www.youhaventlived.com/qblog/2007/QBlog310807A.html

On QBlog, Richard Bartle has announced that MUSE, his company created to license MUD amongst other things, is closed. For me this is very much the end of a period. I started playing MUD (aka "Multi-User Dungeon", a text-based but extremely sophisticated multi-user fantasy game) back in the early 80's using British Telecom's "Telecom Gold", a proprietary service analagous to Compuserve. MUSE came into existence around the same time. I played MUD on and off for years using various technologies so for me MUSE and MUD represent a growing understanding of computers and data communications which heavily influenced my subsequent career.

I don't play MUD at all any more but I still have a somewhat nostalgic feeling towards it. A seminal part of my youth? Yeah, I think so. Thank you MUD, MUSE and Mr Bartle.

 

User Friendly on software license activation/verification

09/02/07 | by Adam | Categories: Copyright

Link: http://ars.userfriendly.org/cartoons/?id=20070901

And here's another data point of the general inanity of continuous license verification (not the comic specifically but what it refers to.) I think Illiad makes the point quite well.

 

TomTom One

09/01/07 | by Adam | Categories: Technology, Reviews, Macintosh

Link: http://www.tomtom.com/products/product.php?ID=259&Category=0&Lid=22

Summary: stand-alone car navigation system

I picked up a refurbished TomTom One earlier this year when Future Shop had a special on them. While it's worked pretty well inside the city of Calgary, I wanted to give it a good run for its money and the recent trip around Canada was a good test.

Basically the unit works well but the map data isn't so hot.

Full story »

 

Playing music in a car without an aux-in

08/31/07 | by Adam | Categories: Technology, Music

While planning my photo trip around western Canada, high up on the priority list was what to listen to and how I was going to listen to it. I've moved on from tape and CD so try to use line-in where I can. Compared to every other method outside of playing an actual CD, this is about as good as it gets. The source material for this trip was my MacBook running off an inverter with an awful lot of MP3s. I'm trying to be responsible, so it wouldn't be sitting on the passenger seat next to me but in the back where I couldn't look at it! Fortunately the MacBook comes with the little remote allowing tracks to be changed without taking one's eyes of the road.

Having now spent the last fortnight driving around western Canada in a borrowed 2000 VW Passat, I have to say it's a very nice car. Comfortable, relatively economical, lots of oomph and doesn't look half bad either.

Full story »

 

The definition of "depressing"...

08/30/07 | by Adam | Categories: Whining

Link: http://www.flickr.com/photos/9880510@N02/

...is uploading your most excellent photos to Flikr, geotagging them, and then making the mistake of looking at everyone else's much better shots of the same content.

 

Game copy protection goes one better (worse?)

08/29/07 | by Adam | Categories: Copyright, Games

Link: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/08/24/draconian_bioshock_drm_eased/

I'd not heard of this one until going through the Register's RSS feed. 2K Games (they of Civ 4 fame amongst others) put some copy protection on one of their new games that went a little above and beyond the usual. These days games typically have one or more of the various types of copy protection:

  • CD cannot be copied
  • CD must be in the CD drive to play
  • Game must be activated over the internet (STEAM is a good example)
  • Game won't run without some keyword being used (manual, license key)

Full story »

 

George Kenney's Halton Arp Interview

08/24/07 | by Nimble | Categories: Thoughts, Science

Link: http://nimble.nimblebrain.net/arp_interview_june_1.html

George Kenney of Electric Politics interviewed Halton Arp back at the beginning of June.

I have transcribed the interview here.

Here is the original podcast.

Arp was a little hard to make out in some spots in the interview, so if you know any of the names I missed or spot a transcription mistake, please leave it in the comments section.

(I'll have plenty to say about the interview later on :)

 

From Nigeria to U.S. Soldiers

08/24/07 | by Nimble | Categories: Internet, Spamming

Oh boy - the sources of free money just keep moving around, like some sort of Quantum Leap scenario. Who's got tons of cash and somehow needs me as a willing partner in crime this time?

Full story »

 

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