Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Today is Make Your Dream Come True Day

13 January is Make Your Dream Come True Day.

Thinking…

Still thinking…

Still…

Nope.

Sorry.

Tomorrow Cat

Tomorrow Cat

(This pic is nicer than 1984’s more appropriate ‘imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever’.)

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January 13, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Unconcerned cat is…

Unconcerned.

Still from this video clip.

If you have never seen the studies, the cat is in more danger from the vehicles on the road below if it does fall, than from the fall itself.

Provided they are high enough to twist their bodies get their feet below them, then their natural ‘suspension’ should protect them from the landing.

They are more likely to be injured if they are too low to complete the twist, and can’t turn to land on their feet. Their terminal velocity in air is also much less than a human’s (we manage about 120 mph at least, which is not good for our landings), and being much lighter, cats also have a lot less energy to dissipate.

Their tails are major players in this game too, as they use their tail as part of their reaction effort, so they twist in two actions, using their tail to rotate one pair of legs (tail one way, legs the other), then repeat this in the opposite direction for the other pair.

Clever.

High Cat

High Cat

January 6, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Project Yuk 2017

Project Yuk

It’s that time of year, when the squeamish probably want to avoid scrolling down and seeing today’s pic.

Project Yuk started back in 2012, when I posed the question Where does the muck come from?

It’s carried on, although I seem to have lost some result somewhere, and despite regular cleaning, and even minimising the wearing of outdoor shoes indoors, in particular quarantining shoes worn while gardening so they don’t walk mud or soil indoors, the phenomenon of muck steadily accumulating indoors continues to manifest.

While I’ve given up on daily vacuumimg (to reduce noticeable electricity use), this still happens at least weekly.

Recalling previous results (2014 and 2015 numbers were mislaid/lost):

2012 was 2,129 g (5.58 lb),

2013 was 2,542 g (5.60 lb).

2016 was 1,050 g (2.31 lbs)

2017 was 1,197 g (2.64 lb).

Interesting comparison to be seen between 2012 and 2013 with 2016 and 2017.

The first pair saw daily vacuuming, while the second pair were closer to weekly tasks.

Project Yuk

Project Yuk

There is one handy aspect this strange custom – being able to check the yearly accumulation for any small objects lost during the year, which might be recovered as the material was not disposed of.

Most, but not all ‘lost’ items seem to be ferrous, so it’s easy to drag a magnet through this stuff and find any goodies that have tried to escape.

Can’t think of anything else (practical) that might cut down this ‘invasion’.

January 5, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Shettleston church illuminated sign

This was originally just one of a series of low light or night shots, really taken just to gauge the potential of having a brightly illuminated area against a dark/unlit background. Chances of losing the background into darkness – quite high if not careful.

It came out better than expected, so it might as well get used, given the time of year.

Shettleston Annick St Lit Church Sign

Shettleston Annick St Lit Church Sign

December 24, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Today is International Dalek Remembrance Day

21 December is International Dalek Remembrance Day.

International Dalek Remembrance Day recalls the first time the Daleks appeared on Doctor Who in 1963.

Other than the TARDIS, they’re probably the most instantly recognizable features of the show.

Not often noted, but perhaps worth recalling and remembering that the Dalek’s were inspired by the Nazi’s – making them one of the few subjects that don’t require Godwin’s Law to invoke an insult.

They believe that anything not Dalek is an inferior race, and have the thought that they are the master race implanted by their creator Davros.

Terrifying, brilliant, merciless, and nearly indestructible, their personality is little more than that of a toddler in a perpetual hissy fit, liable to go violently insane when their will or ambition is thwarted.

Sounds rather like Donald Trump to me.

(Sorry. tweets don’t seem to agree with WordPress embedding.)

Back on track, here’s a handy pic I took of a proper (pre-millennial) Dalek visiting one of my local libraries recently.

Parkhead Library Dalek

Parkhead Library Dalek

December 21, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Genetic engineering at its best

Some people thing genetic engineering is a bad thing.

They could be wrong.

Want…

Baby Catbird

Baby Catbird

On the other hand…

They grow up so quick.

Maybe no so much want…

Adult Catbird

Adult Catbird

See more here:

Cat Birbs

December 15, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Templeton on the Green in the dark

I got a chance to grab a pic of Templeton on the Green recently, in the dark, as part of my pursuit of hand-held low light shots.

It turned out to be an interesting pic (for me at least), confirming a conclusion I’d come to after some recent shots which I had thought would turn out… were less than useless.

Rather than being an aid, street lights can ruin a shot by pouring TOO MUCH light into one area. This can knock back the whole scene exposure and drive dark areas even further into the dark.

I’ve recently found better results in places where adjacent street lights had all failed – the overall exposure may be longer, but the more even light (non-light?) leads to an improved and more even ‘illumination’ of the scene.

But back to the Templeton catch.

I don’t like a lot of processing, even more so if it begins to produce odd effects that make it obvious, but I think this scene was largely recoverable, and doesn’t end up with any really objectionable results after processing.

Templeton On The Green Night

Templeton On The Green Night

A hint at how this arrived…

Templeton On The Green Night Original

Templeton On The Green Night Original

December 9, 2017 Posted by | photography, Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Today is Pretend to be a Time Traveller Day

Time Travel

These ‘Days’ are getting more questionable as more appear.

I’m not sure if it’s particularly good, or bad, that the success of science fiction shows and films have made plausible (and I use the word loosely) presentations of  time travel.

On the downside, the usual candidates jump on such things as ‘proof’ or ‘evidence’, selectively forgetting they are citing little more than special effects and fiction, while on a positive note, it’s no bad thing to provide inspiration.

These days, I’ve taken to looking at the theoretical physics of the universe (sounds grand, but since we live in the universe, that really just means looking at current theory here), and the realistic view is that apart from a few special cases (travelling into the future is easy, we all do it every day), suggestions of time travel via some sort of machine, or even by taking a quick dip into a black hole, well, they are fantasy.

Even the black hole ideas conveniently forget they upset a number of laws, and that you’d be dead as the gravitational forces within ripped your atoms apart. Even if you did somehow manage to time travel that way… you’d never know.

That said, I did come across an interesting and serious presentation that appeared to overcome many objections and limitation to time travel.

There was only ONE serious problem the proposers could not see a way to overcome.

It required a PAIR of machines  – one at the departure point (easy), and one at the arrival point, not so easy, to receive the happy traveller.

Solve that minor hassle, and it looks as if time travel will be set to go.

So, if it’s (probably) not going to happen, what better way to celebrate the idea – than by having a day dedicated to pretending to be a time traveller?

Enjoy.

December 8, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Take the High Road is back (at last)

If you were watching the repeat of ‘Take the High Road’ on STV Glasgow some months ago, you may have been disappointed when the loss of this channel from Freeview (replaced by the depressingly inferior STV2) saw this disappear from the schedule for a while.

Contacting STV brought forth the news that the arrival of the ‘new’ channel had not sounded the death knell for the repeat, and I was promised it would return after a few weeks delay.

While this was true, what I had not been told was that the series would not simply pick up from where it left off, or be daily, with a weekend omnibus.

Instead, the (re)starting point was months behind where it had stopped, and was now ONLY to be a single broadcast of FIVE episodes on Saturday mornings.

That would have been largely fine, but I had already had a number of email exchanges with STV – as I had come to depend on the double broadcast of each episode every week, since I was finding that despite having set the series to record, I often found the episode had NOT actually been recorded when I checked, despite having been visible in the recording schedule before the broadcast.

Catch up

For anyone who may not have been as patient as me, I thought it might be worth mentioning that the broadcast episodes finally reached the point at which the STV Glasgow offering ended.

We have, at last, caught up with the point the series had reached some months ago.

Granted, it’s also reached plot lines which suggest advertisers, sponsors, and special interest groups had managed to get their claws firmly embedded, and some of the plots had become truly cringe-worthy, ruining the simple pleasure of the earlier series, there’s still the occasional chance of catching the local scenery – and that kind of makes up.

But, it’s still a shame that TTHR management saw the need to join the truly rubbish ‘Soap Club’ which somehow seemed to deem it necessary to make its characters miserable typecasts of some of the least desirable member of any society, and suffer as they served as a vehicle to highlight some of the worst moral issues of the day.

Early episodes may have been ‘twee’, but at least they were more reasonable, and not full of angst.

I did give up watching the original broadcast for a while, so am catching up on what I missed way back then.

And while I will admit to being sad when it was ended – I really wasn’t surprised, as what I could call ‘Soap Disease’ had ruined it.

(I thought I had a TTHR frame, but can’t find it, so have a nice pic of Luss from some years ago.)

 

December 2, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Oops…

Wonder what the various ‘Nat’ morons might make of this?

(Not mine! Found online.)

Of course, you can replace the various country names with your own favourites now, thanks to the Global Market and the Internet.

Being British

Being British

November 19, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Babylon 5 is back

 

Babylon 5 Montage

 

It was the dawn of the third age of mankind, ten years after the Earth-Minbari war. The Babylon project was dream given form. Its goal: To prevent another war by creating a place where humans and aliens could work out their differences peacefully. It’s a port of call; home away from home for diplomats, hustlers, entrepreneurs, and wanders. Humans and aliens wrapped in two million five hundred thousand tons of spinning metal, all alone in the night. It can be a dangerous place, but it’s our last best hope for peace. This is the story of last of the Babylon stations. The year is 2258. The name of the place is Babylon 5.

As someone without satellite/cable/DVD etc etc, I rely on terrestrial repeats of my favourites (I do have some collections, but have never watched them, and don’t even understand those who watch their favourites dozens of times over).

So I can look forward to things such as the forthcoming run of Babylon 5 which will start with ‘The Gathering’ (film) on Freeview channel Pick on Monday 03 November at 19:00.

The only downside I can see is that they will burn through the entire 5-year arc in record time, since they show the episodes daily from Monday to Friday, rather than as the original weekly schedule, as seen from 1994 to 1998.

This was, for me at least, the first TV series that made its way from start to finish of its story arc AND was ‘live’ on the Internet.

Yes – some of us actually had the Internet all those years ago. And, yes, it was via dial-up, or ISDN for a lucky few, and yes, it cost a fortune as you PAID BY THE MINUTE for being connected. I think one of our company bills was around £3,500 for phone access one year. And that was a bargain compared to the leased-line charge for a 24/7 ‘always-on’ connection.

We were able to follow weekly reviews, summaries, and analysis of the episodes as they were broadcast, and follow writer and creator J Michael Straczynski (JMS) as he gave a running commentary and posted updates of his struggles with not only the plot, but also the backers, as they began to push for cancellation and dump him and his series before the arc was complete.

It was intriguing to read JMS’ regular accounts, especially  towards the end, where he showed how even successful viewing and audience figures were not enough to satisfy the TV execs with the money, as they demanded not only good viewing figures ‘TODAY!’, but also wanted to be backing shows that were going to provide them tomorrow. From what I read back then, it seems they WERE willing to ‘Cut their noses off to spite their face’, and drop a show that was currently performing well in favour of one they thought would perform better NEXT year, even if it was unknown today.

Fortunately, it seems that JMS had more than one ‘Friend in the industry’, and was able to find others who would buy his idea, and kept the series alive until its conclusion.

I can’t recall the year(s), but there was one previous rerun on normal TV, not long after the original.

Just as well, since I almost didn’t catch it all first time.

I never saw any teasers or previews before it arrived, and only found out by chance, having had a hint from a fan, and spotting it in a schedule, identifying it as a science-fiction series.

Having missed the opening episodes I had no idea what I was looking, or what the plot was. It was so colourful, and the characters so diverse, I almost thought it was a spoof at first. But, something made me go online and do some quick background reading, and that seemed to be much more serious than my first impression had suggested, so I went back, paid proper attention, and realised I had been missing something good.

I also loved the SFX, early CGI, and I think it comes in for appreciable flak from some quarters not because it is poor, (which they seem to claim) but because it’s so good, and I suspect the truth is really that some are jealous of what was achieved back then. I, for one, don’t particularly like much of today’s hyper-realistic effects, which are almost less convincing. B5’s space battle scenes developed nicely throughout the run, and the Vorlon ‘living ships’ looked great.

It’s hard to pick anything particularly representative, as the 5-year arc and changes in plot emphasis between each of the series led to many variations.

I might also add that for fans of ‘The Prisoner’ there are a number of reference to be found, mainly arising from Psi Corps and around a telepath (see ‘Bester’). It’s also been said that Prisoner fan JMS had hoped to persuade Patrick McGoohan to appear in the final series.

Sad to say, but the series is now so far from its original inception that, like Patrick McGoohan, many of its stars are no longer with us:

Richard Biggs, Michael O’Hare, Andreas Katsulas, Jeff Conaway, Jerry Doyle, and Stephen Furst. Apparently JMS noted almost all died at age 59/60 with Biggs being the exception at 44.

But, there was a 20-year reunion.

There are many notable quotes, and I picked a couple that stood out for me.

 

And there was also…

 

 

Babylon Cat 5

 

 

November 12, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

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