Friday, August 31, 2007

warning all bloggers!

Bloggers battered by viral storm

Google's Blogger site is being used by malicious hackers who are posting fake entries to some blogs.

nutty has some virtual blazing red hot digital chile peppers ready just in case...

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

proof that the earth is round

click on image to see full photo

technical info:

200mm lens with 1.4x extender

1/250 sec @ f/4.0

ISO 800

Monday, August 27, 2007

total lunar eclipse on august 28th

beginning at 3:54am on the east coast. sadly, sunrise will interfere with totality for us.

anyone living on the west coast will see the whole thing.

i'm going to try and get a couple of images of this and if successful, put any good ones on the blog tomorrow.

update: not going to be able to get an image using my small telescope as i can't get the camera to reach focus...(even though it should work with the adapters i have...%$!@#!), so i'll try using my telephoto lens and cropping the image to enlarge the moon.

i definitely need a beer...

Embattled Attorney General Resigns

Wannabe 'Ricardo' Bush Reaffirms His Support for Alberto 'Tattoo' Gonzales

WASHINGTON, April 24 — President Bush said today that the Congressional testimony of the fantasy island look-a-like Attorney General last week, roundly panned by members of both parties, “in a way increased my confidence in his ability to do the job.”

...hey ricardo, is that the same head gets up your arse sort of confidence when you speak of success in iraq?


a) for 'Yes'

b) for 'No'

c) for "er, who are we going to get to run up the main bell tower to ring the bell and shout "The plane! The plane!" to announce the arrival of a new set of guests at the beginning of each episode.

Friday, August 24, 2007

check this out!
GIGANTIC JETS: Think of them as Sprites on steroids: Gigantic Jets are lightning-like discharges that spring from the top of thunderstorms, reaching all the way from the thunderhead to the Ionosphere 50+ miles overhead. They're enormous and powerful.

You've never seen one? "Gigantic Jets are very rare," explains atmospheric scientist and Jet-expert Oscar van der Velde of the Université Paul Sabatier's Laboratoire d’Aérologie in Toulouse, France. "The first one was discovered in 2001 by Dr. Victor Pasko in Puerto Rico. Since then fewer than 30 jets have been recorded--mostly over open ocean and on only two occasions over land."

That's why researchers are excited by the events of Aug. 20th. On that night, amateur astronomer Richard Smedley of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, was hunting for meteors using a low light video camera when instead he caught two Gigantic Jets:

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

only the orioles can do this...

O's name Trembley manager for '08...

and then promptly...

reward their manager by losing in the biggest ever loss in major league baseball history since 1900...

i've seen some really bad games from the orioles, but this one defines losing.

texas had 29 base hits...

this is a football score: texas 30 - orioles 3

way to go o's...

michael vick

i can’t believe so many people are standing up for michael sick. would they stand up for somebody else convicted of torturing their dog to death? i somehow doubt it.

do you really think if it was an executive of verizon that was caught torturing, killing, & illegal gambling on dogfighting on his own property, people would be phoning into show their support that he should keep his job? . do you think anyone would even be discussing whether he should 'keep his job'?


america has long blurred the lines between sporting ability and hero, role model and pampered existence. this guy had the lot and apparently chose to spend his spare time gambling that one dog could maul & draw more blood than another at bad news keenelz in rural virginia, only this time, he gambled and lost.

when confronted with the charges, he did what everybody else does in the public eye does in this country does – he denied all charges. now his so-called friends (nice company he keeps) have turned on him, he had no other choice but to plead guilty in the hope he could lessen the blow to himself.

when ordinary people fuck up, they don’t get to make deals or have teams of highly-paid lawyers. they have to face the consequences of their actions. i don’t care how talented he was on the field, because now i know just what a cruel, evil cunt he is.

sympathy for michael vick? take a good long hard look at the dog's face and realise that much, much worse went on at his property.

i hope he never gets to set foot on the field again, so that he gets plenty of time to reflect that while he was busy enjoying torturing and killing dogs, he was also fucking himself at the same time.

roger goodell, here's your one big chance to do the right thing and send a real message to all of america.

click on the link below:

Google Earth given celestial view - e-mail to the bbc
why do you insist on calling amateur astronomers star gazers? we don't 'gaze' at anything, stars included... we peer at faint smudges that are galaxies, beautiful open clusters, balls of light that are globular clusters, bright nebulae, dark nebulae, & planetary nebulae for the most part. some of the most difficult to see deep sky objects require averted vision just to see at all.

while we do observe both double & variable stars, we certainly do not spend any of our time at the telescope gazing! the only time we'll do that is when we look up away from our equipment just to enjoy the view. time at the eyepiece isn't spent gazing.

gazing? isn't that what journalists do when they're watching tv?...

light polluted washington, d.c the way, the image used is of a very famous messier object i saw when i went away to the mountains, M51, the whirlpool galaxy (which is actually two galaxies). you don't get to see it like this though, but you do get to see it with you own eyes :)

this object doesn't belong in any of the constellations they mention in the resides in canes venatici, very close to the big dipper.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Billboard ban in São Paulo angers advertisers


e-mail to cnn

dear cnn,

i turned on the tv this morning to watch what was happening with hurricane dean.

who the hell is the twat in the studio? he is without doubt, one of the worst presenters i have ever had the misfortune to see and listen to.

“the good news is…” there is no good news when a category 5 hurricane makes landfall. a hurricane missing the united states doesn’t make it good! and people wonder why others abroad find americans offensive…this morning’s presenter possesses all the answers! the woman offers little more, but isn’t downright offensive.

his arrogant, plastic, chummy, and downright offensive drivel (which he obviously mistakes for cool charm) carried on from hurricane dean to the next news item, a story of a plane that burst into flames on a runway in japan and everyone somehow escaped.

‘the plastic’, as i shall now refer to this moron, interviews a marine that was on-board. the plastic cannot help himself and starts talking about how many tours of duty this soldier has done in iraq

at this point, i am unable to consume any more processed cheese from the plastic and turn the tv off, as i’m very close to vomiting.

get rid of the plastic!

this is why i watch the bbc…


Monday, August 20, 2007

hurricane dean bears down on the yucatan peninsula

as of late monday evening, hurricane dean is now a category 5 monster.

remember, that for each 10 mph increase of wind speed, there corresponds roughly about 10 times more damage, and 20 times greater financial loss...that's why a category 5 monster is so deadly. 

the meteorologists never tell you this on tv. all they want to go on about is wind speed and storm surge, but don't explain why those numbers are so significant, or how they relate to the other categories. well now you know.

hurricane deaths, damage and destruction are clearly not linear. think exponential.

this one, the size of texas, no less, looks sadly set to unload on the yucatan peninusla and mexico, in low-income population areas. this is sure to result in many deaths and casualties from the expected 18ft storm surge.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

er, i'm not hearing anyone thanking god for the earthquake hitting peru...

Quake Death Toll Exceeds 500, More Than 1,500 Hurt

you'd think that an officially recognised so-called 'act of god' would have christians everywhere thanking god. after all, if everyone who died has gone to heaven, they're all better off aren't they?

i understand & fully sympathise with non-believers grieving for their loss, but as for devout followers...

what i'd like to know is what was god doing making churches fall down upon hundreds of worshippers while they are in the very act of praising him?

seems rather odd...

humans can display an unflinching ability to believe in their own convictions. we just don't like to admit that we might be wrong. how many drivers do you honestly think would respond to a questionnaire with "i am a bad driver". yet road accident statistics clearly show that we are not all "good" or even "half decent" drivers.

when it comes to natural disasters and tragedy, it gets even worse. we like or choose to see the 'miracle' of the few survivors, known in the local community instead of reflecting on the enormity of the relative loss of the unknown many...there is bias in our thinking. finding a loved one alive is profoundly different than learning of fifty dead you didn't know...without fail, someone will trot out the words "it's a miracle"...

if a plane crashed killing hundreds of people, people would be outraged if nobody asked any questions as to how or why it happened. if the same manufacturer's airplane kept on crashing, killing hundreds, would we drop to our knees and offer prayer to the manufacturer? i hardly think so. perhaps that's because we know that the manufacturer cannot offer us anything beyond this existence...somehow religion escapes because we shouldn't ask awkward questions...what a load of bollocks!

a plane crashes killing 308 people. 4 children are found alive. i'm sorry, that's NOT a miracle! 308 people have just died in a plane crash!

no, belief systems that there is hope that there is more than this world offers is so strong that many refuse to acknowledge what they see around them. some people from pisco are actually calling it a miracle that a statue of christ didn't get crushed in the earthquake while all around them, their friends and family did.

that's some fucking miracle...

i say to them, just what evidence will it take to convince them they might actually be wrong?

there was a period of human history when such closed minds actually dominated world history; it was called the dark ages.

so in case you were fooled by the image at the top of the page,
this is what reality looks like:

Saturday, August 18, 2007

How Missed Signs Contributed to a Mortgage Meltdown
you have got to be fucking kidding me!

this is what happens in a market of greed, where rising house prices see lenders willing to do just about anything to get desperate buyers to sign on the dotted lines and into a home, never mind their ability to pay. unbelievable, incredibly low monthly payments mean only one thing - they're going up!

this sorry state of affairs might have the market in jitters, but the really sad news is that there is really only one big loser at the end of the day: the families that borrowed over and above their ability to pay, expecting the equity to rise in the value of their properties and can no longer afford their variable rate mortgages and are now forced into foreclosures because of their own short- sightedness, swayed by offers of low monthly payments and irresponsible lending policies. it is they that must pay the full price of this latest merry-go-round of american greed.

why american greed?

because in european union economies, lenders simply aren't allowed to seemingly do as they like in order to get buyers to commit. all financial lending institutions are much more heavily regulated in everything from advertising to business practices, which is why you aren't reading about this particular crisis affecting overseas lenders...

how about instead of seeing the utterly meaningless ad on tv "please drink responsibly",

how about "please borrow & spend responsibly"?

missed signs? not to anyone that works in the industry.

only morans would argue against that...

Friday, August 17, 2007

if you think the world we live in is weird, take a look at the universe...

this image depicts what we know of the universe we live in.

it shows that only 4% can be accounted for by that which we know about (atoms, etc.)

the remaining 96% has yet to be explained.

wikipedia has a reasonable introduction to this stuff, without getting too heavy. here's the link:

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

and now for something completely different...

on last night's 'women of ninja warrior'...

best line has to go to the commentator who comes out with:

"ayako miyake sets the course on fire with her flying leaps and pink hair"

and what the sky looks like from a true dark sky site...

click on the photo for a full view.

you are looking at the centre of the milky way (our home galaxy) from the outside, looking in.

technical info on photo:

canon 30D
17-55mm lens. 17mm, f/5.6 for 102 secs. ISO 1600

orion skyview pro mount

i decided not to photoshop out the car's white headlights which you can see at the bottom of the photo which forced me to stop the exposure...

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

off to the mountains!

we're going to escape the miserable heat & humidity of d.c and head off to the highest point in west virginia for a few days to do some observing with the telescope.

will attempt to try and get some photographs of the milky way from this amazing dark sky site.

if i'm successful, i'll post them soon after we get back.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

and speaking of fiasco's...

how's that democratically elected parliament in baghdad, doing george?

5 Ministers Threaten to Leave Iraq’s Cabinet

BAGHDAD, Aug 6 — Five ministers suspended their participation in meetings of Washington's puppet shoehorn (sorry) Prime Minister Nuri Kamal Al Malaki's cabinet on Monday, sending a warning signal that they may pull out of his increasingly isolated government if their demands are not met.

yes. apparently they're going to go and try and find those missing assault rifles...

the barry bonds fiasco

never have i witnessed such a willingness in all of sports media to talk about 'history' and not talk about cold, hard data, or the uncomfortable truth surrounding its beloved national pastime.

history? you call this history?

in years to come, 'history' will perhaps take a different view of what has been transpiring this past decade in major league baseball. whatever the entrys in books yet to be written, i doubt very much that the bud selig era of mlb will be remembered as one of great moral sporting fortitude.

great, a 50-game suspension... whoopie fuckin do. in cycling and athletics, it can mean the end of your whole career, and a year's salary fine. if you want to get serious bud, then get serious.

...exactly what does that lone blue dot suggest to you?

in any other normal data sample, that strange, lone blue dot would not be 'worshipped' and would instead be seen as an anomaly.

the question then asked by rational individuals seeking an explanation is what accounts for such anomalies?

in the case of barry bonds, are such anomalies really part of 'history'?

"o.k. now listen-up class... has anyone seen 110,000 assault rifles?"

WASHINGTON, Aug. 6 — The Defense Department cannot account for 190,000 weapons, including more than 110,000 AK-47 rifles, issued to Iraqi security forces, a new report by government investigators says.

...if anyone finds them, can you please tell the man in charge. he's very easy to recognise.

he's a dick.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

what america WON'T be watching tomorrow...

World Superbike Championship
rd 10, Brands Hatch, Great Britain.

Aussie Bayliss, 38, edged out James Toseland by just under three-tenths of a second on his Xerox Ducati 999 in a dramatic superpole session.

Reigning World Superbike champion Troy Bayliss produced a perfect last-minute lap to claim pole position for Sunday's races at Brands Hatch.

...and even though i'm a big ducati fan, nutty is rooting for james toseland to win at home before moving to motogp next season.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Alonso punished for Hamilton move, nice image guys...

Fernando Alonso has been stripped of pole and moved five places down the Hungarian Grand Prix grid after impeding Lewis Hamilton in qualifying.

...blocking your own team mate?! bet that went down real well with ron dennis.

...should make for an interesting F1 race tomorrow morning 7:30am on speed channel.

Friday, August 03, 2007

the immigration nightmare - when politics fails
The college bill attracted renewed interest this week because of Juan Sebastian Gomez, a student who just graduated with honors from Killian Senior High School in Miami. On July 25, immigration agents in Florida detained Mr. Gomez, 18, his brother and his parents, all illegal immigrants from Colombia, and prepared to deport them. Immigration officials delayed the deportation on Wednesday after a group of Mr. Gomez’s high school friends roused support in South Florida and then flew to Washington to pound on doors.

The friends pointed to Mr. Gomez’s academic record — a near-perfect 3.96 grade-point average — and top scores on 11 Advanced Placement exams. They said he should not be punished for his illegal status because his parents brought him to the United States when he was 2.

“We call it the Nightmare Act,” said Representative Brian P. Bilbray, a Republican from California who leads the Immigration Reform Caucus in the House. “We’re giving status to immigrants based on the fact they are here illegally. It really sends a mixed signal to both legal and illegal immigrants.”

...and what message are you sending, brian?

it matters who you are and not what you are...? just how far back in brian bilbray's family tree can he go without finding an immigrant?

i presume this republican and his like-minded brethren were not born native american indian.

Mr. Gomez’s case has given Washington a vivid illustration of the issues behind the illegal immigrant student measure.

An affable teenager who attracted friends at Killian High by tutoring classmates in subjects as diverse as European history and biochemistry, Mr. Gomez seemed likely to be an exceptional college candidate. A volunteer at a neighborhood homeless shelter, he often did his schoolwork on the computers of friends because his parents could not afford one.

Barbara Gonzalez, a spokeswoman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said Mr. Gomez’s parents applied for legal status but were denied in 2002. They have been facing deportation orders since then.

The family was arrested as part of a nationwide immigration agency operation to track down immigrants scheduled for deportation, agency officials said.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Cheney insists Iraq surge working

US Vice-President Dick Cheney has insisted that the recent increase of US troops in Iraq, or "surge", has improved security there.
"At least 67 people have been killed and almost 100 have been wounded in two separate bombings in Baghdad, Iraqi police have said."

...obviously much better....