Thursday, September 30, 2010

Skywatch Friday

Evening sky walking home earlier this week.

Gazillions of lovely skies at Skywatch Friday

Ryan, six weeks away from 10

Does he look like his parents?

British storm chaser and extreme weather photographer Roger Coulam - Telegraph

These images show the work of Roger Coulam - the UK's best extreme weather photographer. Adrenaline junkie Roger, 45, who lives in Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, loves dangerous weather and throwing himself into the path of huge tornadoes, violent electrical storms and coast-battering waves to get the perfect shot

Lightning over Budapest, Hungary, in July 2001

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There Is A Qantas Plane On The Moon | Gizmodo Australia

No, this incredible image is not a Photoshop montage, and that’s not Batman’s plane. It’s a Qantas Dash 8 Q 400, a twin-propeller passenger aeroplane passing in front of the Moon in Australia.

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First World War officially ends this Sunday

The final payment of £59.5 million, writes off the crippling debt that was the price for one world war and laid the foundations for another.

Germany was forced to pay the reparations at the Treaty of Versailles in 1919 as compensation to the war-ravaged nations of Belgium and France and to pay the Allies some of the costs of waging what was then the bloodiest conflict in history, leaving nearly ten million soldiers dead.

The initial sum agreed upon for war damages in 1919 was 226 billion Reichsmarks, a sum later reduced to 132 billion, £22 billion at the time.

The bill would have been settled much earlier had Adolf Hitler not reneged on reparations during his reign.

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Bouncing to the light of the silvery moon

Colin 372, originally uploaded by theclutterbells.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

My Didgeredoo

Colin 503, originally uploaded by theclutterbells.

This is my personalised Didgereedoo. I spent hours in my dark times writing personal stuff on it.

Scientists teach endangered birds how to fly - Telegraph

The critically-endangered Northern Bald Ibis birds are being taught to follow microlight planes to try to familiarise them with their old migration pattern.
The aim is to teach the birds, which have an aversion to flying and bad sense of direction, the instinct to fly the 400-mile journey to Tuscany, Italy, in autumn and back to the Austrian Alps in spring on their own.
Not sure why I find this inspiring, but I do.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Google’s Vision of the Future? Bicycle Meets Monorail | Epicenter 

Two years ago Google launched the 10^100 project to give millions to fund ideas that will change the world. After being overwhelmed by 150,000 ideas, Google finally announced five winners on Friday.

One of the top five is a company appropriately called Shweeb that proposes building a monorail made of little clear capsules powered by people pedaling recumbent bicycles. Google is giving the company $1 million to fund R&D to “test Shweeb’s technology for an urban setting.”

The others seem a bit more conventional.

Read More http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2010/09/googles-vision-of-the-future-bicycle-m...

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60 Stunning Satellite Photos of Earth | Webdesigner Depot

I love these types of shots of the earth. Just so spectacular, when our day to day lives can be a bit mundane.

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Maximidia Vintage Seminars | The Inspiration Room

Australia - A Humorous Cultural Perspective

Australia is a very confusing place, taking up a significant amount of the bottom half of the planet. It is recognisable from orbit because of many unusual features, including what at first looks like an enormous bite taken out of its southern edge; a wall of sheer cliffs which plunge deep into the surrounding sea. Geologists assure us that this is simply an accident of geomorphology and plate tectonics, but they still call it the 'Great Australian Bight' proving that not only are they covering up a more frightening theory, but they can't spell either.

The first of the confusing things about Australia is the status of the place. Where other landmasses and sovereign lands are classified as either continent, island, or country, Australia is considered all three. Typically, it is unique in this.


The second confusing thing about Australia are the animals. They can be divided into three categories: poisonous, odd, and sheep. Australia has a large proportion of the world's poisonous arachnids, and more than its fair share of venomous snakes - there would probably be even more snakes if the spiders didn't keep eating them! But even the spiders won't go near the sea (see below). Any visitors should be careful to check inside boots (before putting them on), under toilet seats (before sitting down) and generally everywhere else. A stick is very useful for this task.

Strangely, it tends to be the second class of animals (the odd) that are more dangerous. The creature that injures the most people each year is the common wombat. It is nearly as ridiculous as its name, and spends its life digging holes in the ground, in which it hides. During the night it comes out to eat worms and grubs.

The wombat injures people in two ways: first, the animal is indestructible. Digging holes in the hard Australian clay builds muscles that outclass Olympic weightlifters. At night, they often wander the roads. Semi-trailers (road trains) have hit them at high speed, with all nine wheels on one side, and this merely makes them very annoyed. They express this by snorting, glaring, and walking away. Alas, to smaller cars, the wombat becomes an asymmetrical high-speed launching pad, with results that can be imagined, but not adequately described.

The second way the wombat injures people relates to its burrowing behaviour. If a person happens to put their hand down a wombat hole, the wombat will feel the disturbance and think 'Ho! My hole is collapsing!' at which it will brace its muscled legs and push up against the roof of its burrow with incredible force, to prevent its collapse. Any unfortunate hand will be crushed, and attempts to withdraw will cause the wombat to simply bear down harder. The unfortunate will then bleed to death through their crushed hand as the wombat prevents them from seeking assistance. This is considered the third most embarrassing way to die1, and Australians don't talk about it much.

At this point, we would like to mention the platypus, estranged relative of the mammal, which has a duck-bill, otter's tail, webbed feet, lays eggs, detects its aquatic prey in the same way as the electric eel, and has venomous barbs attached to its hind legs, thus combining many of the 'typical' Australian animal attributes into a single improbable creature.

Last of all is the fact that the sheep, a particularly innocuous animal, outnumber the humans by an extraordinary ratio. Australians have an affinity with sheep, some would say a relationship that is a trifle worrying, and the love of this animal is expressed so strongly that a huge concrete monument has been erected to honour the animal in the city of Goulburn. Sheep are almost as important as beer to Aussies. But not quite.


The last confusing thing about Australia is the inhabitants. First, a short history: some time around 40,000 years ago, some people arrived in boats from the north. They ate all the available food, and a lot of them died. The ones that survived learned respect for the balance of nature, man's proper place in the scheme of things, and spiders. They settled in, and spent a lot of the intervening time making up strange stories.

Then, around 1770ish, Europeans arrived in boats from the north. More accurately, European convicts were sent over, with a few deranged and stupid people in charge. They tried to plant their crops in autumn (failing to take account of the reversal of the seasons when moving from the top half of the planet to the bottom), ate all their food, and a lot of them died. About then the sheep arrived, and have been treasured ever since.

It is interesting to note here that the Europeans always consider themselves vastly superior to any other race they encounter, since they can lie, cheat, steal, and litigate (marks of a civilised culture, they say) - whereas all the Aboriginals can do is happily survive being left in the middle of a vast red-hot desert, equipped with a stick.

Eventually, the new lot of people stopped being Europeans on an extended holiday and became Australians. The changes are subtle, but deep, caused by the mind-stretching expanses of nothingness and eerie quiet, where a person can sit perfectly still and look deep inside themselves to the core of their essence, their reasons for being, and the necessity of checking inside your boots every morning for fatal surprises. They also picked up the most finely-tuned sense of irony in the world, and the Aboriginal gift for making up stories. Be warned.

And then...

There is also the matter of the beaches.

Australian beaches are simply the nicest and best in the entire world. Although anyone actually venturing into the sea will have to contend with sharks, stinging jellyfish, stonefish (a fish which sits on the bottom of the sea, pretends to be a rock, and has venomous barbs sticking out of its back that will kill you just from the pain), blue-ringed octopuses (cute little things that can kill you in a second) and surfboarders. However, watching a beach sunset is worth the risk of all of these.


As a result of all this hardship, dirt, thirst, and wombats, you would expect Australians to be a dour lot. Instead, they are genial, jolly, cheerful, and always willing to share a kind word with a stranger, unless they are an American. Faced with insurmountable odds and impossible problems, they smile disarmingly, and reach for a stick. Major engineering feats have been performed with sheets of corrugated iron, string, and mud.

Alone of all the races on Earth, they seem to be free from the 'Grass is greener on the other side of the fence' syndrome, and roundly proclaim that Australia is, in fact, the other side of that fence. They call the land 'Oz', 'Godzone' (a verbal contraction of 'God's Own Country') and 'Best bloody place on earth, bar none, strewth'. The irritating thing about this is they may be right.

There are some traps for the unsuspecting traveller, though. Do not under any circumstances suggest that the beer is imperfect, unless you are comparing it to another kind of Australian beer. Do not wear a Hawaiian shirt. Religion and politics are safe topics of conversation (Australians don't care too much about either) but sport is a minefield. The only correct answer to 'So, howdya like our country, eh?' is 'Best [insert your own regional swear word here] country in the world!'.

It is very likely that, on arriving, some cheerful Australians will 'adopt' you, and on your first night will take you to a pub where Australian beer is served. Despite the obvious danger, do not refuse. It is a form of initiation rite. You will wake up late the next day with an astonishing hangover, a foul taste in your mouth, and wearing strange clothes. Your hosts will usually make sure you get home, and wave off any legal difficulties with 'It's his first time in Australia, so we took him to the pub', to which the policeman will sagely nod and close his notebook. Be sure to tell the story of these events to every other Australian you encounter, adding new embellishments at every stage, and noting how strong the beer was. Thus you will be accepted into this unique culture.

Most Australians are now urban dwellers, having discovered the primary use of electricity, which is air-conditioning and refrigerators.

Typical Australian Sayings

  • G'Day!

  • Ken Oath!

  • She'll be right.

Tips to Surviving Australia

  • Don't ever put your hand down a hole for any reason whatsoever.

  • We mean it.

  • The beer is stronger than you think, regardless of how strong you think it is.

  • Always carry a stick.

  • Air-conditioning.

  • Do not attempt to use any Australian slang, unless you are a trained linguist and good in a fistfight.

  • Thick socks.

  • Take good maps. Stopping to ask directions only works when there are people nearby.

  • If you leave the urban areas, carry several litres of water with you at all times, or you will die.

  • Even in the most embellished stories told by Australians, there is always a core of truth that it is unwise to ignore.

See also: Deserts: How to die in them, The Stick - second most useful thing ever and Poisonous and Venomous arachnids, insects, animals, trees, shrubs, fish and sheep of Australia, volumes 1 - 42.

1 Don't ask what the first two are.

Australian animals can be divided into three categories: poisonous, odd and sheep.

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Saturday, September 25, 2010

20 Things Worth Knowing About Beer - The Oatmeal

Stunning Pictures from China - The Big Picture

Photo Hunt:: Natural


Vintage Tokyo subway manner posters ::: Pink Tentacle

14 Cool Vending Machines from Japan

Japan has the highest number of vending machines per capita, with about one machine for every 23 people.

I liked the beer pouring one at the airport in Tokyo.

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Gatsby in Scott Fitzgerald's handwriting - Roger Ebert's Journal

It is his birthday today. Interestingly you can read it online courtesy of the University of Adelaide.

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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Skywatch Friday

Tonights evening walk with Spotty looking up towards the end of our walk.

More nice skies at Skywatch Friday

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

What are little boys made of?

Colin 229, originally uploaded by theclutterbells.
What are little boys made of?
Snips and snails, and puppy dogs tails
That's what little boys are made of !"
What are little girls made of?
"Sugar and spice and all things nice
That's what little girls are made of!"

Happy Birthday Mr Cohen

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

'Smelly people, 'commies' and 'dirty porn': Europe mapped by national stereotypes - Telegraph

Yanko Tsvetkov, a Bulgarian designer and illustrator living in London, has produced seven maps in which countries and regions are labelled according to the stereotypes of their inhabitants held by the people of other nationalities.

In a map titled Europe According to USA, Russia is blocked out in red and labelled "Commies" while France reads "Smelly People" and Germany reads "dirty porn". Britain is simply labelled: "Mummy".

Now for the politcally correct bit?

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Saturday, September 18, 2010

We welcome our Robot Overlords

Humans are one step closer to being replaced by machines after Japanese researchers unveiled a model they hope could lead to humanoid menial workers.

Kawada Industries and the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science (AIST) this week revealed the HRP-4 robot they hope will lead to easing greying Japan's looming labour shortage.

"We designed a working robot in the image of a lean but well-muscled track-and-field athlete," said Noriyuki Kanehira, robotic systems manager at Kawada at a press conference to unveil the blue-and-white robot.

Read more: http://www.news.com.au/technology/hrp-4-worker-robot-made-to-replace-humans/s...

Thanks Cameron Reilly

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Photohunt: School

Hannah making some healthy snacks during an after school activity.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Skywatch Friday: First Leaves of Spring for One Tree

More skies at the Skywatch Friday Site.

Ratbag dumped by Ratzinger

Cardinal Walter Kasper, a senior aide to the Pope, has pulled out of the Pontiff's visit to Britain after saying the country resembled a “Third World country” where “aggressive new atheism” is rife.

Great lesson in PR.

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Lonely And Rich: American Life As Seen By A Haitian Visitor : Planet Money : NPR

It's so amazing how people can be so lonely in the U.S. You can be living in a neighborhood without seeing the neighbors at all. Your closest friend or family could be several miles away.

It's also amazing how automated things are: ATM bank machines, highway toll stations without cashier, gas stations without pumpist, or a car wash station without car washers.

Some people go out so underdressed! Guys wearing sandals and shorts to go to work, eating and drinking while waiting for a bus or while walking along the sidewalks.

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Monday, September 13, 2010

The universe of Blade Runner versus Star Trek

So first of all we have the Blade Runner universe that for me is one of the main dystopian worlds that comes to mind, certainly it may not actually be the best example however it certainly is one of the more popular. In the film there is an almost oppressive backdrop enforced by the constant gloom and the weather. There is little left of nature, even the animals are all robots and there is the ever present police. Rather than explain in any great detail the nature of the Blade Runner universe the atmosphere throughout allows us to form our impressions through the imagery.

So first of all we have the Blade Runner universe that for me is one of the main dystopian worlds that comes to mind, certainly it may not actually be the best example however it certainly is one of the more popular. In the film there is an almost oppressive backdrop enforced by the constant gloom and the weather. There is little left of nature, even the animals are all robots and there is the ever present police. Rather than explain in any great detail the nature of the Blade Runner universe the atmosphere throughout allows us to form our impressions through the imagery.

Me I much prefer the dysfunctional world of Blade Runner, although I quite like Scottie.

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BibliOdyssey: The Cephalopoda

In 1898, the steamship Valdivia left Hamburg for a nine month scientific voyage to the Atlantic, Indian and Great Southern oceans [map]. Known as the German Deep-Sea Expedition, the mission was led by Leipzig University Professor of Zoology, Carl Chun and investigated chemical, zoological and physical characteristics encountered in the oceans during the voyage.
The Valdivia was equipped with state of the art biological and chemical laboratories, a first-class scientific library and ample storage space for marine specimens collected while at sea. With these specialist ship fittings and overall expedition objectives as well as vessel size, the Valdivia resembled the famous HMS Challenger from the 1870s, which had essentially established oceanography as a scientific discipline.
And like the Challenger expedition, the German Deep-Sea Expedition gave rise to an extensive series of post-voyage scientific publications. Professor Chun contributed a book on cephalopods (with a corresponding illustration/photograph atlas) to a multi-volume work called 'Wissenschaftliche Ergebnisse der deutschen Tiefse eexpedition auf dem Dampfer Valdivia' (From the Depths of the World Sea: Descriptions of the German Deep Sea Expedition).
Setting some of the groundwork for people like David Attenborough and his fantastic series, Life, these illustrations are fantastic. Watching the Humboldt Squid and the the Fried Egg Jellyfish last night gave me pause about resuming my diving career.

Eye See You

A photograph of the back of my right eye taken this morning by the Optometrist. Apparently still in good shape, although I have some issues reading now. Signs of age I suppose. Pretty complex thing the eye.

Giant spider eating a bird caught on camera - Telegraph

The pictures show the spider with its long black legs wrapped around the body of a dead bird suspended in its web.

The startling images were reportedly taken in Atheron, close to Queensland's tropical north.

Despite their unlikely subject matter, the pictures appear to be real.

Joel Shakespeare, head spider keeper at the Australian Reptile Park, said the spider was a Golden Orb Weaver.

"Normally they prey on large insects… it's unusual to see one eating a bird," he told ninemsn.com.

Mr Shakepeare said he had seen Golden Orb Weaver spiders as big as a human hand but the northern species in tropical areas were known to grow larger.

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Blipfoto :: Abstract Eyes :: 9 September 2010

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Fierce Humboldt Squid

Humboldt Squid are carnivorous marine invertebrates that move in shoals of up to 1,200 individuals. They swim at speeds of up to 24 kilometres per hour (15 mph/13 kn) propelled by water ejected through a hyponome (siphon) and by two diamond shaped fins. Their tentacles bear suckers lined with sharp teeth with which they grasp prey and drag it towards a large, sharp beak.

Although Humboldt squid have a reputation of being aggressive, the only reports of aggression towards humans have occurred when reflective diving gear or flashing lights have been present as a provocation.

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Friday, September 10, 2010

Photo Hunt: Anniversary

You can be sure that these two cars celebrate their anniversary at the same time. In South Australia, you can tell the exact date of the registration of cars from the number plates. These two were registered at the same time.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Skywatch Friday

Some nice evening skies this week after some bleak and miserable weather last week.

More lovely skies at the Skywatch Site.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Bob Katters Favourite Book

Early Morning Sunshine

Colins Camera 604, originally uploaded by theclutterbells.

Monday, September 06, 2010

The Weather Changes in South Australia

The rain has moved on and we have beautiful clear blue skies this morning.
Ovi Mail: Making email access easy

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Saturday, September 04, 2010

Ry Cooder - Paris Texas

I love this film and can identify with the major character. I also quite like the western scenery.

Our Current Weather. Very Driech and I got Drookit

Yesterday was one of the most Scottish days I have had since moving to South Australia. Rain, wind, thunder, lightning, grey skies.......

People here think that they have died and more. The reservoirs in South Australia are over 90 percent full, for the first time in years. Water is flowing in the Murray River. Farmers are happy. Sun potentially on the horizon for later in the week. What is there to complain about.

I quite liked it in small measure. I was inside most of the day, but I did get the chance to walk in the rain and get soaked. It gave me the chance to use driech and drookit. Rare conditions in South Australia.

Until the next time....

Photohunt: Hot

Hot chillis on a driech day.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Skywatch Friday: Large Gum Tree in our Neighbourhood

We have had one of the wettest Augusts for a long time here in South Australia. Some miserable and cool days. Now that it is spring we can expect warmer weather.

More nice skies at Skywatch Friday

Frank Munger - Cutaway Drawing of Aircraft Specialist Bites the Dust

The technical artist Frank Munger, who has died aged 90, specialised in cutaway line drawings of aircraft, their engines and missiles. His work was published in Flight International magazine for more than 40 years. Frank managed to make a seemingly complex subject readily understood, even down to the pilot's safety harness.

Using pen and ink on art board, he opened up aeroplanes, ranging from the lumbering Vickers Vimy bomber of the first world war to the supersonic Concorde. In the aftermath of the Concorde crash in 2000 in Paris, Frank's cutaway showed the relationship between the fuel tanks and the plane's undercarriage. (A metallic strip found lying on the runway had burst one of the plane's tyres, and the resulting rubber fragments punctured a fuel tank that caused a fire.)

Frank's detailed knowledge of how aircraft were constructed was gained during the second world war when he was in the RAF. He was born at Walters Ash, near High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, and attended Naphill primary school. He grew up with a passion for drawing, mostly horses and internal combustion engines. He learned to dismantle and reassemble the motorbike engines of his friends and neighbours, and at the outbreak of the war was managing, without any formal engineering training, the servicing of food lorries. He volunteered for the RAF, and, to his delight, was posted to a course for engine fitters at Squires Gate, Blackpool.

Frank was then posted to a Vickers Wellington bomber squadron before moving in 1941 to Singapore. With few aircraft to service, and knowing that Japanese forces were about to strike, he and his fellow airmen spent their time destroying anything that could be of use to the invading forces. He boarded the Empire Star shortly before the fall of Singapore in February 1942. Sailing for Sumatra, he and his comrades, armed with rifles, lined the decks to shoot at Japanese bombers that were attempting to sink the vessel.