Sunday Things - MORE SPAAAAAACE edition

posted in Links by Cargo Cult on Sunday July 22 2012

First of all, let's get the particularly SPAAAACE-oriented link out of the way:

Spheres that insist on going into space are inferior to spheres that don't.
Wheatley in Spaaaaaaace! - laser-etched Wheatley on a panel being carried by the Japanese HTV-3 supply craft. Disclosure: I worked on Portal 2. INSERT MONEY HERE BWUHAHAHAHA.

Now on with the merely space-oriented linkage:

Mir in haitch-dee!

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IMAX: Mission to Mir - the other evening I was looking for decent imagery of the inside of the sadly departed Russian Mir space station. After sifting through fuzzy, low-resolution contemporary JPEGs and MPEGs I found the mother-lode - a 1990s IMAX documentary uploaded to YouTube in glorious 1080p. Extra: Soviet space-fungus!

Not a sarlacc pit. (I hate Star Trek.)
A Hole in Mars - caves on the moon and Mars utterly fascinate me. The idea of human-navigable spaces untouched for perhaps billions of years - I really really really want to see inside. via unofficial APOD RSS feed

Significantly cleaner and more spacious than the real thing.
Making of Moon - the film, that is. Fascinating blog from the film's visual designer, who thanks to the implausibly low budget and limited resources was involved with everything even remotely visual. Splendid results - beware spoilers. via laura

Bonus Peculiar Cartography corner:

  • Strange Maps - "all kinds of intriguing maps - real, fictional, and what-if ones". (By the way, I love maps. Scattered around my flat: a huge nautical chart for the San Juan Islands, a geological map for where I grew up in the coal-mining East Midlands, 1950s geological maps and plans for mineral mines from Central America (a box filled with the things courtesy of Powell's Books!), an old walker's map of the Lake District, large-scale maps of Brussels, etc. etc. etc. - then I make fictitious ones in my day-job. Nice.) via isoma
  • Baarle-Nassau - ridiculously complicated border between Belgium and the Netherlands. There's a bit of the Netherlands surrounded by Belgium surrounded by the Netherlands...
  • Geological Investigation of the Alluvial Valley of the Lower Mississippi River, Part IV - I think I'm going to be printing out these maps...

Sunday Things - Sunday edition

posted in Links by Cargo Cult on Sunday July 15 2012

Sunday mornings are for reading the Sunday Papers, drinking tea and planning new photographic excursions.

Instead we got online tax returns, cheap tat from China and videos of cats on YouTube. The real future's crap.
Film Programme for Fritz Lang's 1927 Metropolis - "Depicting Scenes, Story and Incidents in the Making of the World's Greatest Modern Spectacular Film Masterpiece".

Is using a 3D printer cheating?
Geometric Sculpture from a George W. Hart. Maximum mathematics!

This is also what the future was supposed to look like. :-(
Soviet Passenger Hydrofoils - straight from an alternate Communist future. Like me, Dark Roasted Blend has an obsession with hydrofoils and ekranoplans.


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1936 Fairbanks Morse Model 32D - huge old earth-shaking locomotive engine belching fumes and blowing smoke-rings. Extra: stop-motion Triumph engine rebuild.

DZIWNE PRZYGODY KOZIOŁKA MATOŁKA - occasionally something completely inexplicable arrives via one's RSS feeds. This is one of those things.

Bonus Weird History corner:

Timelapse-o-Tron™ 9000, part 1a

posted in Photography by Cargo Cult on Tuesday July 10 2012

I'm still writing up parts two (and three) of my how-does-my-intervalometer-work series of articles, but in the meantime have a summery, Space Needle-y, Sunday Seattle sunset sequence that I shot the other day:


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Seattle Sunset Timelapse - 1700 shots, one every 2.5 seconds, stitched together with Lightroom 4.1, LRTimelapse and a self-compiled command-line ffmpeg binary.

Apparently it's good enough to appear on the Cliff Mass Weather Blog - home of gloriously in-depth discussion and analysis of the weird weather we get in the Pacific Northwest.

I'm rather proud of it - and I've still got loads more to upload from Sunday. It was a particularly productive day of photography...

Volunteer Park Conservatory - has lots of cacti, bromeliads, epiphytes and all sorts.

And orchids. Why does nobody ever explain the etymology of that name? They had a not-yet-flowering Amorphophallus titanum too. Ditto.

Thunder and lightning! Very very frightening!
Unforecast thunderstorm early in the morning - go read Prof. Cliff's blog for details.

Sunday Things - miscellaneous edition

posted in Links by Cargo Cult on Sunday July 8 2012

First, we celebrate CERN's discovery of the Higgs boson and their gloriously inappropriate use of Comic Sans! At last, the world of physics has cast aside the dreadfully tedious Computer Modern and replaced it with the idiot's font of choice.

Flipping 'eck!
RP FLIP - FLoating Instrument Platform - ludicrous research vessel which upends itself, turning from a long and skinny ship to a hugely stable vertical platform. Extra: Wikipedia article, video.

Note the use of available light in all the shots.
Stanley Kubrick was a photographer - seriously, watch his films as photography. Visually they make perfect sense. He's undoubtedly spinning in his grave at the use of this font, too.

Anyone else feel hungry?

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Exposure Render - extremely fancy GPU-powered renderer, available for download - complete with CT scans for maximum offal-exploration. Needs a beast of a GPU to work quickly, but gives surprisingly decent results on my old 8800 GTX.

ESA Astronaut with a Flickr account - annoyingly, I only discovered it after he returned to Earth. Extra: his NASA crewmate was doing educational physics experiments on YouTube too...

Bonus Horrifying Biology corner

  • Symbion pandora - tiny parasite of Norway lobsters' mouthparts with a fantastically complex life-cycle. It even includes a Prometheus larva. Thought the xenomorphs were complicated? Think again! Also, New Scientist has an entire blog of similarly peculiar beasts.
  • Facetotecta - crustacean known only by its common larval stage, nobody knows what the adult form is. "In 2008, a juvenile form was produced by treating y-larvae with the hormone 20-hydroxyecdysone, which stimulated ecdysis and the transition to the next life phase. The resulting animal, named the ypsigon, was slug-like, apparently unsegmented, and limbless." Possibly another parasite, similar to...
  • Sacculina - a barnacle that foregoes the usual immobile, armoured lifestyle and instead lives as a parasitic castrator of crabs, growing as a tendril-like mass through the host crab's body. Extra: gratuitously high-resolution shots of a related barnacle's protruding gonad - 1, 2, 3 - via LOLRhizocephalans.

Now, has all that biology dislodged this particularly hideous parasite, that of Comic Sans? We can only hope so. ... Wait, we're free! At last! The agony is finally over! Oh crap.

Antiquated Polish Explorations - Modlin

posted in Photography by Cargo Cult on Tuesday July 3 2012

Finally getting around to uploading photos I took nearly four years ago - here's a wider selection from the Modlin Fortress, a vast 19th century fortress north of Warsaw.

Next time, we'll get further inside...

Hopefully coming within another four years - more from Gdańsk!