Archive for November 2008

I like living in a city where people can say to themselves: “shall I continute to trundle along in fairly light commuting traffic, or shall I pull to the side of the road and watch the dolphins in the harbour?”

There are dolphins there, honest. A better photo might have been the horde of commuters watching.

Also, the Mitochondrion is turning out to be a bitch to video:

Massive contrast, constant motion and nothing that a camera can focus on. And that’s fine with me, coz I specifically make these things to be seen by humans, not machines.

So you’ll all just have to see it for real one day.

Me? Tease? Surely not.

“The young… overwhelm themselves with drugs and artificial stimulants. Subtly is lost and fine distinctions based on acute reasoning are carelessly ignored in a headlong jump to a predetermined conclusion.” – Spiro Agnew, Nixon’s vice president

Full speech

Hitler’s BNP membership gets leaked

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BUNUuqlG1a0
“He went to Cambridge he’s probably homosexual”

Back to where we were fifteen years ago…

The incoming US government is planning to cut emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 and cut those by 80% by 2050.

Barack Obama on climate change:
“Now is the time to confront this challenge once and for all. Delay is no longer an option. Denial is no longer an acceptable response. The stakes are too high. The consequences, too serious.”

The incoming NZ government is planning to set up a committee.

Draft terms of reference from the National-ACT agreement on confidence and supply:
“The Committee shall:
hear competing views on the scientific aspects of climate change from internationally respected sources and assess the quality and impartiality of official advice”

Why do I bother?

Well, coz:
“The early bioneer Bill McLarney was stirring a vat of algae in his Costa Rica research center when a brassy North American lady strode in. What, she demanded, was he doing stirring a vat of green goo when what the world really needs is love? “There’s theoretical love,” Bill replied, “and then there’s applied love”—and kept on stirring.” – from RMI


Courtesy of the nice people at b3ta

Background – British Nationalist Party loses entire membership list, list gets put online.

Also, BNP not just policemen, reveals secret list.

Of course, this raises interesting questions about political expression in a society of ever increasing transparency, with further questions about the enforcability of the Data Protection Act and blah blah blah…. F’it, they’re scum and now they look like idiots.

Anyways…

Unitarian Jihad!
They threaten to “begin a series of terrorist-like actions. We will take over television studios, kidnap so-called commentators and broadcast calm, well-reasoned discussions of the issues of the day.”

“…but did admit he was currently trying to build his own dragon… At the moment I’m working on a fire-breathing alligator strapped to a micro-light.”

Crap

I remember promising some tunes to someone on friday. Was it you? What did I promise? Coz I can burn them for you right now.

This post brought to you by my variable brain.

Long Gully wind farm

(For those of you not in Wellington, NZ, it’s a tad windy here. So we’re building three wind farms, two big, one small, within ten miles of the city. One is close to my in-laws’ farm. I don’t know of any other city that’s building so many, so close. Then again, there’s no other cities this windy. One is close to my in-laws’ farm.)

The Long Gully wind farm proposal is out. It’s different to the bigger projects at Mill Creek in Ohariu and West Wind at Terawhiti Station, smaller turbines, NZ-made, two-bladed not three, no major access roads to be built, feeding the Wellington local grid, not the national grid.

Still, smaller turbines, less of them, but closer to Wellington itself. It’s in prime mountain biking country. A lot more more people will be able to see it, but the turbines themselves won’t be as huge (about same size as the Brooklyn turbine). Also, smaller, fewer turbines so less elecy, 14 MegaWatt, rather than 210 MW for West Wind.

So what do people think? Good approach, bad approach? Can’t we put them in the Wairarapa? Ah, f’it, let’s burn coal instead?

There have been calls for this LJ to feature more hot n3kk1d pics of me and less geeking out. As is well known, I live life selflessly, purely for the benefit of others, so I will oblige:

cut so that ladies do not faint

All I want is a photograph of a cheetah in a bow tie, without an eyepatch.

It’s not much to ask, is it? But the internet fails me.

*fnargle*

Wrath is out (the Warcraft expansion, for those of you yet to reach the 21st Century). I didn’t queue up at midnight, but:

“Scott Hamshere, from Bromley, should have been the first person in the UK with a copy of the game. He had started queuing at 6am and was the first in line. However, as the barriers were lifted, it was all too much, and he collapsed from exhaustion.”

(You know what I said about decreasing the geekiness quota here? Yeah, well, maybe next week, eh?)

Not quite n3kkId pics

Day off for no good reason! Woohoo!

“Dan Carter, of Prime Minister’s Security Detail, breakfasted on the fish he’d killed with the limo at dawn, cooked on the engine cover, flavoured with blackberries he’d plucked from the side of the road at 140ks, and garnished with what his partner said were saffron threads, but Dan suspected were back hairs plucked from the last ginger that the PM had shaken hands with. They took samples, sometimes for DNA analysis, but mainly because they could.”

Brain is in random, freewheeling, post-sinus infection mode. The rest of the day will involve, in rough order: hammers, nails, new laptop, silicone glue, boiling water, basic logic, I2C buses, voltage dividers or vref diodes (still haven’t decided that one), and some sandpaper.

400 grit.

XP downgrade

Anyone have XP install disks I can borrow? I’m about to downgrade a laptop from Vista to something sensible.

(Also, my blog is looking really geeky right now. I shall have to post more n3kkId pics.)

New Horizons is about the size of a grand piano and it’s on its way to Pluto. That’s pretty awesome.

It set off in 2006 and it’ll get there in 2015. That’s nine years of just cruising along in deep, empty space.

Right now, and for pretty much all of it’s travelling time, it’s doing nothing. Just sitting there, trucking along, spinning to keep itself stable, radioactive decay to keep the electronics warm and maybe singing the Doom song. It’s racked up 1,840,000,000 kilometres so far, and it’s got 2,990,000,000 kilometres to go.

Given that this is possibly the most boring awesome thing in existance, with approximately nothing happening each day, week, month or year, why in hell does it have a Twitter feed?

Also, Mars Rover Beginning To Hate Mars. Unmanned Vehicle ‘Bored Out Of Its Mind’.

M3.4.5 progress

This pic is job number 38 of version 3.4.5 of the Mitochondrion. That square chip is the dinky little computer that runs everything. It connects to the outside world through all those pins. Those pins are at 0.8 mm spacing, 0.4 mm between them and yes, this is the hardest thing I’ve ever soldered. It came out quite nicely:

The secret to really hard soldering is to do a bunch of moderately hard soldering first.

(For the geeks, it’s a Picaxe 40X1, which is really a PIC16F887 running a BASIC interpreter, in a 44-pin QFP package. 7 ADCs, I2C two-wire bus, external oscillator overclocking it to a whole 16 MHz!!!w00t!!!)

I’ve found a new thing that my phone can do. It makes a passable microscope, zoom factor 4 or so.

Now, the really hard part – getting the little sod to work, then to work with all the other bits, then to keep working…

(Couldn’t not try it sunday night – yup, not working. Chip has power and connection to the laptop for programming, but reset line is misbehaving, or at least doing sufficiently complicated things that, on a sunday night, I can’t work out if what is it doing is what it should be doing. Possibly, chip is permanently resetting. This is solvable, but not right now. Curse you, paid employment!)

This seems appropriate, from eight years ago:

“Bush: ‘Our Long National Nightmare Of Peace And Prosperity Is Finally Over'”

Job number 38 (the hard one) done.

New spam/virus

I get an email with a random zip, that I’m never going to open, but what made this one special? The text of the email:

“Your photo, uahhh…. , you are naked!”

This blog has recently discussed shed-built electronics, land speed record cars, trampolines, taxes, economic growth theories, osciloscopes, digging trenches, and logic tables.

Obviously, the internet thinks I’m female.

Kindly disregard the lunacy of this and comment with the kind of post you’d expect if I was female.

Mitochondrion 3.4 progress

36 jobs out of 46 done.

Most of this weekend was spent checking over things to be made next weekend, seeing if bits fit and if things will be connected up properly, when they are connected up.. Yup, there were bugs. There are now less bugs. Is it right? We will find out. And assorted other little jobs, where many little jobs add up to lots of time:

Checking for fit, before making a real circuit board, not a paper one. Shit, the pins on the 40X1 (the square chip) are tiny:

If you look carefully, you can spot the BMSAF.

(Okay, so the hardest job is number 38, requiring extreme soldering skills. But hey, I like to live life on the edge, especially when soldering.)
(And once the hardware is done, I need to rewrite the software, coz it currently runs some shonky test code I threw together without really thinking, and it does approximately a hundredth of what I’d like it to do, while taking up a third of the memory space. Obviously, this isn’t good enough. But hey, I’ve only got 4k of program memory to fill, how long can it take to write 4k of code…?)