Archive for the 'text' Category

Cougars and Bears, oh my!

Going to Vancouver Island next week, hoping to do some camping so reading up…

“There is no guaranteed minimum safe distance from a bear – the further, the better”

“The cougar’s secretive habits and astounding predatory abilities – a cougar is capable of killing a 270 kg (600 lb) moose – have resulted in a wealth of misconceptions and irrational fears. If a cougar attacks, fight back! Many people have survived cougar attacks by fighting back with anything, including rocks, sticks, bare fists, and fishing poles.”


“Never trust any artist ever telling you any bloody thing, they’re all a bunch of liars. An artist absolutely, on any subject, is always talking drivel, because the work is the statement, right?”

Brian Duffy

Airbus A380

What a great plane the Singapore Air A380 is… quiet, big screens, those old flash games, nice food. The flex in the wings is rather impressive too!

Stop motion movies on my mac

I spent a wee bit of time getting this right… but it’s easy enough to make a stop motion movie like this one from a bunch of still frames. Previously I’ve used FrameByFrame, which is pretty good, but one can also do it on the command line with the ImageMagick command convert and mpeg2vidcodec, which you can get with Fink (with rsync). Then the command is:

convert *.jpg -quality 50 mov.mpeg

Aperture 3

So I went out and bought Aperture3, it’s nice and shiny and this time I was allowed an upgrade from the academic versions I’ve been buying. It seems nice with a few improvements.

One thing though, the Faces stuff allows the same person to be a photo multiple times. I can see where that might happen one in a while with reflections, but really? Only allowing a person to appear once would get rid of a lot of wrong suggestions for possible matches, which might help considering it seems to have enough trouble discerning between people and car tyres, trees, walls, anything…

On the upside, I identified Queen Victoria once (the statue with the new nose outside Buckingham Palace) and sure enough Aperture found her in another photo!

[I should add that there were absolutely no issues with upgrading my library (~10,000 images, ~100Gb) from Aperture2. Everything came over just fine, and I’ve not experienced any of the memory leaks being reported by others.]

Climate change opinion change?

There is a BBC article today, noting how a recent poll shows an increase in the number of people who don’t believe in climate change (what we used to call global warming). Apparently three months ago, 15% of people in the UK didn’t think climate change was taking place, now 25% think so. The conclusion is that recent events, a “series of high profile climate-related stories, some of which made grim reading for climate scientists and policymakers” has caused the change. However, 73% of folk aware of said news hadn’t let it change their minds, apparently “people tend to make judgements over time based on a whole range of different sources.”

So people can be swayed by news and change their minds on the existence or otherwise of global warming or otherwise in three months, yet at the same time get a feeling for what’s happening over longer timescales. Somewhat contradictory conclusions? Yet the results are obviously “very disturbing” and “action is urgently needed.” Action to educate that global warming is real that is.

Indeed, I agree more education would be great, and with that how about some education about critical thinking? While the surveyors note that it’s “very unusual indeed to see such a dramatic shift in opinion in such a short period,” they still take the results at face value, rather than wondering if perhaps the differences between the two surveys are an indication of their error due to some systematic effect. While there may have been some real change in the number of (landline owning) people (try running it monthly and looking at the scatter), I find this blind faith in the results being representative of the real world a bit hard to swallow.