Summer Ends?

Well what a funny year its been eh! Don’t know about where your at but in my locality the weather has been decidedly unsummer-like. Granted where I am we also don’t have to endure tornadoes, extreme droughts and other directly life threatening weather systems but even so, its been an odd one.

I guess the people just north of us in Gloucesetershire wouldn’t agree with this as they have experiences some of the worst flooding the UK has seen in decades with people literally flushed from their homes and now being told they can’t return to them for 6-12 months. having said that its nothing in comparison to what has happened in places like India but its still extreme for the people that are experiencing it in their locality.

The thing that really concerns me is the next few years … 2008 sees the start of the next Solar Maximum leading up to that ubiquitous year 2012 where the Solar Maximum is due to hit its peak … why worry about that? Well more and more scientific studies are building stronger and stronger links between Sunspot cycles (part of the Solar lifecycle) and their Earthly effects. Judging from the last Solar Maximum and the last (extremely violent) Solar Minimum scientists are saying that we are about to witness the most powerful Solar Maximum ever recorded.

During the last Solar Minimum (the period with very few or no Sunspots) we saw the continued development of some of the most massive Sunspots ever seen. These also issued forth unprecedented solar flares so large that our satellite mounted measurement instruments were maxed out. The measure flares upto X20 in power and some scientists placed the unmeasurable flares at upwards of X50 … literally, off the scale.

Well, I guess there is no point in being too concerned, our little world has been through worse in its history i’m sure … maybe it will just end up in a nicer tan?


Reading Festival …

Well, what a total mess this festival is eh! Its actually the first time i’ve ever been to a ‘Rock Festival’ and its definitely going to be the last. Its not that I have anything against Rock Music and definitely nothing to do with the types of people that like Rock Music as that includes myself as I really do listen too and enjoy every kind of music out there. That said, a large number of them add hot sun, greasy festival (and some not so greasy) festival food stalls and lots of alchohol and it all adds up to something I don’t consider to be much fun at all really.

Shame really … the site was massive. Walking in from the White car park this year at 10pm was hellish. It was like something from a refugee camp but with alcohol. The number of camp fires burning was extreme to say the least, just walking through the campsites my eyes were streaming with too much wood smoke. I remember at the time thinking just what a potential nightmare this was with the number of punters rolling around and indeed by the monday two festival goers had been set on fire … nice.

Then the weather had resulted in a massive increase in the number of mosquitoes and the proximity of the Thames river to the site meant that stack and stacks of people were bitten and needed treatment, including myself with some rather savage facial bites! I have to totally congratulate the Festival Medical Services charity as for the few hours I spent in the medical tent they were calmly and dedicated to treating all sorts of folks and problems. Thumbs up, big time!

Hey ho, at least Reading marked the end for me to the hardest working festival season yet … oh the MUD!!


Dolphines Get Prosthetic Tails!

This is just amazing … such a neat story about a female Dolphin that lost her tail in a crab trap when she was a mere nipper, even tho she has still learned to swim without one scientists have developed an prosthetic tail fin to enable her to swim even better and like a normal Dolphin. The really amazing thing is that she isn’t the first Dolphin to benefit from this technology … Fuji, a Japanese Dolphin was the first to receive this treatment …

Dolphin Prosthetics


Removing Adobe Photo Downloader

Hmm … I just downloaded and installed the latest version of Adobe Reader. Ok, its a great program no doubt about it but its getting a tad bloated these days. Not to mention the horrid little app that Adobe sees fit to bunndle with it – Adobe Photo Downloader. This little app sits in your taskbar and waits for you to insert a memory card or digital camera and then will attempt to download images from the connected devide to your hard disk. As if that was a complicated task that needed a whole new app that gets installed whether the end user wants it or not … cheek!

I serched through the options in Adobe Reader and Photoshop Album Starter Edition and couldn’t find any options relating to this feature so ended up uninstalling the whole Photoshop Album Starter Edition. I know it may all seem a bit geeky and many of you are probably either wondering what on earth i’m wibbling on about or have stopped reading entirely so, i’ll stop typing now … go forth and uninstall!! 😀


Shuttle Launch is GO!

NASA seems confident for a launch tonight at abut 22:36GMT!!! After all the recent events surrounding the shuttle like the lovesick astronauts getting hell bent on winning over the love of other astronauts! That was definitely a bit a public eye opener surely? I always thought these types of people picked for such important jobs were screened, profiled, poked and prodded in all manner of ways (not just poked and prodded by each other! haha!) to ensure their suitability?

Anyway, that’s not to mention all the apparent incidents that have actually been blamed on active sabotage! Apparently the ‘non essential” computer that was damaged (how can anything on the Shuttle be considered ‘non-essential’ anyway?) was damaged on purpose by agencies unknown! Then there was the main cabin oxygen leak announced last week … I don’t know about you, but i’d be feeling pretty nervous about getting in that Shuttle. Considering how many people believe that it should have been replaced decades ago maybe this is a public damning of the whole job lot in order to gain public support for spending a shit load on a replacement? Then again the private sector space programs seem to coming on in leaps and bounds so maybe they are jus giving up the ghost?

Watch the Launch Live on the web!!! Go here … NAST TV.


UK Tax and the Super Rich

Hmm … this sort of thing eally pisses me off frankly. It seems that the UK is a tax haven of sorts for the super rich among us. Most contries where you live all your income is taxed at the rate of your designated country of residence whereas the UK only tax people at the UK rate for earnings actually made in the UK. In order to qualify for this non-residency tax loop hole you need little more than one grandparent living abroad.

Apparently the treasury has completed a study on the implications for UK tax in this and a small accountancy magazine managed to squeeze a figure of £1,000,000,000 a year in lost tax whereas most people that have been looking into this has put the figure higher than that.

Again we see the super rich being treated favourably over the man on the street …


Swim at your own Risk

I love this webblog, its full of interesting stories about Sharks. I know its glib and unfounded to ‘be scared’ of sharks as in fact more people are killed by chairs every year than Sharks. There is just something I find facinating about them, I guess we can blame Steven for making Jaws such a massive worldwide hit. This site also includes from pretty grim Shark/Human encounters where we definitely came off worse!

Swim at Your Own Risk


Worlds First Internet War … ?

Seems that Skynet (an actual Military virtual drone control system btw, not just a bad pun by yours truly) has taken on the country Estonia, and nearly won. Apparently in April this year a cyber attack of an unprecedented size was launch against Estonia and nearly brought its government and banking systems to a standstill by flooding its networks with bogus traffic.
Pretty scary stuff really, just as the internet has levelled many other playing fields could it also be the terrorists playground in the future where extremely small groups of very smart and organised people can hold entire countries hostage in a digital jail?

“The computer attack aimed at Estonia recently shows that the world can’t ignore the dangers of cyberterrorism any longer. It was one of the biggest cyberattacks ever launched, and it nearly brought an entire country to its knees. On April 27, traffic on government and banking Web sites based in Estonia began to increase rapidly; by the next day, the hackers began to use Russian weblogs to spread the message and instigate further participation; by then, traffic had increased nearly 1,000 times, and virtually all Web sites were down. Some have called the attacks, which spread into May, the world’s first Internet war.”

Internet War .


Hiroshima …

Today is the 62nd Anniversary of the first use of an atomic bomb. “If they do not now accept our terms they may expect a rain of ruin from the air the like of which has never been seen on Earth. Behind this air attack will follow by sea and land forces in such number and power as they have not yet seen, but with fighting skill of which they are already aware.” pretty chilling words all in all …



MySpace … Facebook

Well well … my girlfriend recently created a personal profile on MySpace probably about just under a month ago. All was well for the majority of that time until this past week where things went a little ‘off kilter’. she logged into her yahoo mail account one day and had about 28 mails from random people (mostly men …) which kind of spun her out a little bit. The next time she logged into her account a day later there were an additional 70+ MySpace emails. The the next day another 60+ she was now getting a little concerned that something had been done to her account or something else equally nefarious …

Then on thursday she logged onto her yahoo account to find no less than 265 MySpace emails, 99.9% men saying various things about her and her pictures and a few far less welcome emails to boot. I checked her MySpace account and she had received a staggering 8,500+ page views in under a month. The upshot of this is that we deleted her account completely. We both think of this as nothing less than online stalking/harassment. Needless to say she felt pretty weirded out by the whole thing and won’t be going anywhere near MySpace in the future.

She also has a Facebook account which has been a hell of a lot more friendly in general. Hurrah for Facebook!

Anyone else out there had similar experiences with MySpace?


Dead Zones …

One of the 3 largest ‘Dead Zone’ (hypoxia) ever mapped has been found this year. This is seriously scary stuff … 7,900 square miles of almost oxygen free sea off the Gulf of Mexico. Nothing can live in these dead zones basically, its literally dead sea with no life supporting ability and sea creatures are forced to live on or near the surface in order to breath.


Terra Firma wins in bid for EMI

Well well … in the world of music this could be an interesting event. Venture capitalists buying into the music industry at this stage paying £2.4bn for a company reporting £260m losses for the last financial year … I wonder what they have planned for its turnaround.

Again the reason for these losses is squarely placed at the feet of ‘digital downloading’. thing i’m wondering about is I’ve never seen any figures published about how many people have lost these digital downloads due to hardware failure and just how many songs these losses account for in any given persons collection. hmm … think i might pop off to have a look for some.