Drop the (Brindle) Bass 

It’s getting late and you need a quota photo for the blog.

Flickr? Hmm…

Instagram? Nah…

But no,  wait, has one of the kids (probably the smaller one) has left me a Prisma’d Brindle Bass (Epinephelus lanceolatus) on my phone.

Very artistic.

Yes, that’ll do nicely. Thank you.

Adventures Through the Concrete Jungle

The football on offer this week has been pretty decent. Monday was Everton at Sunderland, Tuesday and Wednesday saw the return of the UEFA Champignons League, and Thursday provided no little entertainment in the form of the UEFA Cup Europa League. And this evening, another Premiership treat with Chelsea taking on Liverpool.

However, you might not be into football. You might be searching for something which gives you a bigger thrill. I’m not quite sure what could fit the bill ahead of a Feyenoord winner 12 minutes from time, but each to their own.
I am into football, but I’m still finding time to get through this amazing redbull.tv online series: URBEX – Enter At Your Own Risk.

I’m working my way through it at the moment, and finding that the sometimes mundane personal “I just want to challenge myself” narrative is more than balanced out with some amazing footage from some amazing places. The visit to the Baikonur Cosmodrome (Episode 5) was truly incredible.

I’m not sure how much of the footage is stage managed – it’s hard to work out how some of the third person stuff is filmed – but as I say, it’s free and it’s certainly worth a look if you can spare the bandwidth.

New look

Following on and buoyed, I suspect, from his unqualified success in sorting out the Youtube issue on here, The Guru has gone wild on the coding front, redesigning the entire site (but sadly for you, not the actual writing bits). I got my first glimpse of the new look yesterday evening and it looks clean, crisp and professional (even when you include the writing bits).

It’s not quite ready yet. Initially, having read the email incorrectly, I thought that The Guru was going to do some twerking over the weekend. Knowing the sort of guy that The Guru is, I must say that I was slightly surprised by a) this choice of pastime and b) the relevance to the work he was doing on the blog.
Having looked again though, he plans to do some tweaking. This might iron out any slight issues with the new design, but it does nothing to get rid of the frankly terrifying mental images that had unfortunately already been generated.

One thing I need to try and do is make a new banner. I’m not very good at that sort of thing – the last one took 3 weeks. And look at it. Hmm. Anyway, I’ll try and get that done after my belly-dancing class on Saturday.

Look out for a radical new look real soon now, beloved readers.

From Space

Here’s an image of South Africa from space, via NASA’s Modis/Terra satellite. Modis is Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (I know – it doesn’t quite work, does it?)

With its sweeping 2,330-km-wide viewing swath, MODIS sees every point on our world every 1-2 days in 36 discrete spectral bands. Consequently, MODIS tracks a wider array of the earth’s vital signs than any other Terra sensor. For instance, the sensor measures the percent of the planet’s surface that is covered by clouds almost every day.

That’s conveniently just about the width of South Africa, allowing this sort of shot:


Click through for hugeness and detail.

You can see that we were having a wonderful day in Cape Town (although I spent it in a lab, in a car and at Tygerberg Hospital, rather than chilling at a bar by the beach).

I’m hoping to be able to get a repeat image to compare when the cold front comes through on Thursday evening (it’ll be dark, I know) and through Friday morning.

Ted Yoder Rules The World

NOTE: I would urge even those who don’t usually watch videos on 6000 miles… to watch this video on 6000 miles… 
Go on – give it a go. What have you got to lose? (spoiler: it’s time and bandwidth)

Herewith Ted Yoder. Ted is one of the world’s foremost Hammered Dulcimer players. If you don’t know what a Hammered Dulcimer is, it’s the thing that Ted is playing in the video below, defined by google as:

a musical instrument with a sounding board or box, typically trapezoid in shape, over which strings of graduated length are stretched, played by plucking or especially by being struck with handheld hammers.

And with a Hornbostel–Sachs classification of 314.122-4.

Obviously, the Hammered Dulcimer is wholly different to the Appalachian Dulcimer, which is always plucked. The Hammered Dulcimer is the one that is always hammered. It’s the Amy Winehouse of instruments.

So, without further ado – Ladies and Gentlemen: Ted Yoder! Enjoy his performance, you must.

I’ve never had that much appreciation from anyone for anything I’ve ever done in my back garden.