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Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Large Hadron Collider - First Collision

Remember this day, ladies and gentlemen. You will bore your children and grand-children with invented memories of it.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Earth Hour - Why I will not turn off my lights

The so-called "Earth Hour" is upon us again. The WWF teams up with the UN to make everybody feel guilty that we've been able to make a pretty decent living for ourselves.
I know there are people that hates having fun, a lot of these (if not all) are religious in different ways and use some made-up religious rules to guide them safely away from everything that set off the dopamine. Whether it's catholic priest swearing off the most basic urge of all, that of procreation. Or if it's the Muslims that doesn't eat, drink or have sex (again with the sex?) while the sun is up for a month.

The Ramadan of the AGW church is the Earth Hour, where everyone in the developed world (we who have access to electricity because we invented it and made it affordable) shuts off our electrical appliances for an hour. It's supposed to be a symbol, unclear what it should be a symbol for. Maybe a return to the dark-ages where religion was law for many more people. 

Black is the new black

Whether you believe in Man-Made global warming, that it will be a disaster and that it can be stopped doesn't really matter. Earth Hour is still just a farce, it doesn't save any electricity. It doesn't lower carbon dioxide emissions, possibly increasing it. It isn't any kind of symbol that makes you understand how it is to survive without electricity, as you can heat your pizza and make your coffee just before it starts and then download the tv-shows you missed afterwards. It's very easy to live without modern society when it's only for a short amount of time and you know exactly when it turns off and on.

But why am I against it? Am I only obstinate?
Well, yes I am but not only. I am also sick and tired of people trying to push their version of what's best for everybody down my throat. I am also incredibly sick of the stars of these opinions that fails to make any little sacrifice themselves. That does not compute.
For example, Al Gore took a private plane to Gardemoen to collect his Peace-prize, from Gardemoen airport he took the train in to Oslo to show his undying, real commitment to cutting carbon emissions. He couldn't be expected to bring his luggage on the train though, so it travelled in a separate Mercedes van. But it was a powerful symbol that he took the train, wasn't it?
The Scientologist and occasional "actor" John Travolta tell us not to fly, while owning his own 707 jumbo-jet (and 4 other planes) which he as a fully trained pilot fly himself from his own private landing zone in his backyard. And he does it because he loves it, like when we take our motorbike or convertible for a ride a nice spring Sunday.
John Travoltas house. I would if I could. 

The supermodel Gisele Bündchen is all about Climate Change and is a spokesperson for Earth Hour, as well as a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Environment Programme. She encourages me to turn off the 9 lamps I have in my apartment, and she will hopefully do the same. In her houses. She has houses, with a plural "s". And apartments. And flies everywhere. But she is a symbol.

The sleepy popgroup Coldplay travels around the world on their big tours, sleeping on stages everywhere on earth but still manages to speak out against travelling. At least they planted a lot of mango-trees to suck up all the carbon-dioxide they released. Sadly they all died. Well, at least they tried. And it's a symbol.

And I don't mind any of these people doing any of these things, as long as it makes them happy. Just SHUT-THE-FUCK-UP about my life when you are much worse in every single aspect.

The problem isn't the solution
In Bangladesh there are villages with electricity, there are also villages without. The villages with electricity have a 35% lower mortality rate amongst children. In the villages without electricity there are children dying because they have Earth Hour 24/7/365. The problem is that they don't have access to electricity to cook and keep their food. The solution is more electricity, everywhere.
Earth Hour is about making the problem (no electricity) the solution. And the solution (more electricity) the problem.

That's why I will have a normal electricity consumption tonight, I will have a couple of lamps lit, I will have the telly on, the computer and the amplifier. I will still use less electricity than the average man, and far far far less than the average AGW Hollywood Saint.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

The Codex Gigas

Called The Devils Bible the Codex Gigas is a remarkable manuscript.
It was written in the early 13th century in a monastery in what is now the Czech Republic and is called The Devils Bible because of two things, one is that it contains an illustration of a Devil
 a devil
And the other reason is the myth of it's creation.

The Myth
The Codex Gigas is rumoured to have been written by a doomed monk in the Podlažice Monastery that was sentenced to death for a crime too heinous to even be written down. Pleading for his life he promised the other monks that he would write one book celebrating the monastery and containing the answer to life, the universe and everything (which we all know now is 42 but they didn't back then). The other monks naturally scoffed and told him - "Okay, you have one night to finish it but if it's finished in the morning, we will wall your ass"
Knowing that walling actually meant being built into a wall with bricks and mortar, the monk got work writing at a speed that would make Ryoki Inoues jealous. When it became midnight, it was pretty obvious to the doomed monk that it would take a miracle for him to finish the book, he did what everybody in Hollywood does when the deadline is creeping up. He asked the Satan for help.
Satan being a pretty decent chap, showed up and finished the book wanting nothing more than 10% of all future revenues and the monks soul. A deal still regarded in showbiz today, as the best ever struck by any artist. So after Satan finished the book, our monk rose from his bath (probably, historians disagree) and  added a picture of Satan in a sudden outburst of bromance.
The next morning the other monks came a-knocking, spatulas ready for some old fashion wall-in, but was met a by a beaming (and probably rose-scented, again historians disagree) monk with a finished Giant Book (Codex Gigas).

The History
It is still a great debate around how this enormous manuscript ever got written but we are fairly certain that it was written by one single monk called Herman the Recluse (cool but not as cool as Stephen the King, you do understand the "recluse" part) and that it was written in a Benedictine Monastery called Podlažice and that it was finished 1229AD. After changing owners frequently, once being owned by Rudolf II, it was taken by the glorious Swedish Army in 1648 (during the 30 year war) and since then it has resided in the National Library of Sweden.
 Yes, that is a matchbox


Why it's awesome
It's absolutely massive, almost a metre high and half a meter wide. It's 22 cm thick and weighs in at around 75 Kg. The book weighs as much as me! (after I shed this holiday weight I'm carrying since x-mas).
Back then when you wrote a book, you wrote it by hand, dipping your quill in ink (which consisted of crushed insect nests) and continued to write. They haven't found a single mistake in the entire book and the ink and style is the same through it all.
New tests has shown that it would take about an hour to write one page, the decorated initials would take a couple of days each. And this is in a monastery life where you had lot's of other duties so you maybe had two-three hours a day at best, to write. Careful guesses approximate that it would take 20 years to finish it, but prefer to believe it to have taken between 25-30 years.
A big decorated initial

The Codex Gigas is the largest medieval manuscript. It's written flawlessly by one man over close to 3 decades. It combines parts of different scriptures not ever combined anywhere else. It has survived fires, wars, plunders and whatnots. It is mad and fantastic and awesome.


Links
Scanned Copy
NG documentary on Youtube
Hubpages

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Scary Wednesday - Irukandji

If you are small and live in the ocean you're pretty much fucked. There will be sharks, turtles, nosy divers, black smokers, moray eels and outboard motors everywhere just waiting to eat, poke and slice you into a million pieces. So you need something special to be successful, a gimmick if you will. Like Britney Spears who is s a pretty sucky singer, but compensate by not wearing knickers.

The Irukandji (Carukia Barnesi) is a jellyfish that's very small, very fragile and almost invisible as it swims in the ocean.

 most venomous creature in the world

So it need something better than an absence of underwear to make it. And it has, and that is, as always; poison. Extremely potent poison, designed to catch fast moving fish and kill then in a heartbeat.
When you get stung by and Irukandji you initially just feel a mild pain that you will have no idea where it came from because the Irukandji is a little transparent devil far from the big hairy spider we featured last week.  After an hour or so you start vomiting. Am I seasick? You ask yourself. Well, maybe you are but it wouldn't help if you where Captain Haddock himself, you would still empty yourself all over the Fraser Island coastline, making local birds pretty happy and local divers pretty miserable.
If you have the good luck to be close to the boat and be driven to hospital you will probably survive, although you will spend a week wishing you didn't. As the doctors pumps as much weapons-grade morphine straight into you veins as possible, you will still experience the worst pain you have ever felt. People are known to have asked their doctors to kill them to get over it.  Yes, really
In the television show Super Animal a women says this:
""It's like when you're in labor, having a baby, and you've reached the peak of a contraction—that absolute peak—and you feel like you just can't do it anymore. That's the minimum that [Irukandji] pain is at, and it just builds from there."

It's called; the Irukandji Syndrome.
It's a lovely little state where you vomit, sweat profusely, cramp, kidney pain, burning skin, massive headaches, feel very agitated, you have a very high blood pressure and you heart pumps like it's trying to escape your body. Basically like Shane Macgowan feels every morning. But this lasts for days and days.

most hungover creature in the world

Very little is known about the Irukandji, partly because is nearly invisible, partly because it's very hard to handle. You can't even keep it in an aquarium cause it will break apart if it even touches the wall. It's not the rhinoceros of the seas, exactly.
What we do know is that it lives around Fraser Island north of Australia, they are related to other box jellyfish and they kill everything that touches it so they are probably lonelier than Mike Tyson.

When it stings the stingers that cover both it's tentacles and bell uncoils and millions of minute poisonous stingers (nematocysts) that travels in through you skin and releasing poison all the way through, even from the tips deeply imbedded in your flesh. Like you're gulliver but instead of ending up on the beach you find youself in a container of the Lilliputs discarded hypodermic needles. They also break off the Irukandji and continue to pump poison even after the initial contact is over. Bastard...

Oh, and there is no antidote.

Links
timsaxon
Youtube
Official Site
Discovery Channel - Killer Jellyfish

Friday, 19 March 2010

Malin

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that 's best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellow'd to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.
One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impair'd the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o'er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.
And on that cheek, and o'er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,  
A heart whose love is innocent
 - Lord Byron                                      

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Aston Martin Carbon Black Edition

Some of my favourite words are "Aston Martin", "Black", "Carbon" & "Special Edition".
So if Aston Martin decided to make a Carbon Black edition of their beautiful DBS that would be pretty awesome. It would be like a peanut butter & jelly sandwich but with doughnut as bread and whipped cream on top. And you had it in a bathtub of custard. With Miranda Richardson and Kirsten Dunst. While Enya was singing in the background.

Then feast your eyes on this:

This is what the devil drives while on earth harvesting souls

This is the Aston Martin Carbon Black Edition.
It has the same wonderful 510 bhp engine as the normal DBS, with a touchtronic gearbox and is available in both Coupe and Volante (convertible) versions. There is also a V12 Vantage.
It has Obsidian black leather seats (of Kevlar) with silver stitching (hand stitched) and the car itself is handpainted (sort of) in a black colour that takes 50 hours per car to paint and quality check.
While you're cruising down the Stelvio Pass and you're getting tired of only listening to the glorious roar of the engine you must be insane, but if you are insane there is a brilliant 700w Bang&Olufsen stereo to drown out the V12 with Colony 5 (it's possible to listen to other bands but C5 is recommended)


This is pure art

So what's the price of this mid-life crisis? Well, nothing official yet but the rumour is 5% more than the standard versions which seem like a bargain with all that extra blackness.

Bespoke wheels

Beside the cosmetics and a few gadgets it's pretty much the same car as the normal DBS. 
There is a 5,9l 48-valve V12 delivering a 510hp through the back wheels and will reach 100 km/h in about 4,2 sec.
It was launched 2007 to replace the Vanquish S and is designed by Henrik Fisker and sort of premièred in the James Bond movie Casino Royale. 


Links


Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Scary Wednesday - Brazilian Wandering Spider

So why is this scary? Because it’s an effing spider, of course. All spiders are the spawn of Satan and should have the common decency to stay out of everyones view.
This is my war face

This also extra scary because of several reasons,
First of all, it’s a wandering spider. That means it will fool you to think it’s less scary due to the fact that these spiders doesn’t make webs. And we all hate spiderwebs (except in photos with the morning dew covering it as the sun ascends),
 Not so scary

but that also means that you have no idea where it is. It’s not confound to a large web inside a remote forest. Spiders in webs are also pretty particular on what they attack. If something too big (i.e. you) rips the web, it stays hidden and wait for you to curse, wipe the web of your face and continue with your day, only slightly more aware of your surroundings.  When you are gone they set out to repair the damage and wait for insects to feast on. That’s a sweet deal between spiders and humans.

Deal breaker

The wandering spiders haven’t signed that deal though, they walk around and just wait for a fleshy human foot to sink their teeth in. Just for the hell of it…Oh, and they are nocturnal so you don’t even have a chance to see them. And during the day they hide, in your shoe or under your breakfast banana. And they have a leg span of 15 cm. And they attack everything that wakes them up with the ferocity of a demon with parent-issues.
But God can’t be so mean so that he made this angry, big spider that likes to inhabit the same places as humans poisonous, can he? That would be pretty sick of him, wouldn’t it?

 Phoneutria Nigriventer

It would, and it is.
The Phoneutria Nigriventer is arguably the most poisonous on earth (and by that, probably on any planet).
6 micrograms of Nigriventer posion kills a labrat where it takes 110 micrograms of Black Widow poision to kill it's mate. They actually blend strong neurotoxins with serotonin. This shock and awe cocktail shuts down your nervous systems and cause intense spasm, tremors and incredible pain. And it inflicts you with priapism (It's what you get when you ask for Viagra in hell).






Next time you see a spider, I suggests RUN!



Links
Video
The Spider Catalouge
Pics of Wandering Spiders

Monday, 15 March 2010

Formula One - Bahrain

Fernando Alonso Ferrari - © Getty Images

So here we are, the 2010 season under way and four world champions in competitive cars.  All was set for a fantastic race, and all we got was a procession. The refuelling ban meant that there was no strategies at all. 
It also meant that the drivers looked after their tires to the point of not daring to push. The first lap looked like a warm-up lap of GP2 cars, and it didn't get any better from there. 
Sebastian Vettel started from pole in his RedBull Racing and should have easily won if one of his spark plugs hadn't broken which meant he lost a lot of power and was subsequently passed by Alonso, Massa and Hamilton and cruised home to a bitter fourth place.Worth noting is that his fastest lap was half a second faster than Alonsos.
The F1 poster-boy Michael Schumacher looked to be pretty well adjusted to F1 speeds in his Mercedes but was outpaced by his team-mate, it will be interesting if he will be able to get on top after 3-4 races.

To be fair, Sakhir is a funny track so the real test for these new rules will come on the 28th in Australia. 
 2009 Sakhir track


2010 Sakhir track


 
Australias Melbourne circuit is a more conventional track and the drivers have one race-distance (well, not Chandok, he managed just 5 laps over the entire weekend) in their backs so maybe they dare to push a little harder next time. Button said that he had been over-cautious with his tires so he at least, will be a lot braver next race. 

Congrats Alonso (for the win) and SaintMagnus (for the win on the bet I put down). Sorry to all the F1 fans that should have seen an awesome race, but watched paint dry in 350 kph.

Fernando Alonso, Felipe Massa, Lewis Hamilton - © Getty Images

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Vettel

Red Bull Racing seem to have given Sebastian Vettel the car he has been waiting for. Tomorrow is gonna be extremely interesting. It down to this:
  • Who can conserve their tyres best
  • Who is fast directly in a heavy car with cold tyres
  • Who built the best compromise between low-fuel and high-fuel speed
Mercedes and McLaren (feels funny to separate these two) will be chasing the Ferraris and RBR:s in the end, I reckon. But my money is on Vettel holding it together.
The RB6 Racer

Friday, 12 March 2010

Movie Review - The Hurt Locker

We (me and my superpartner) watched The Hurt Locker, partly because I was really interested in it. I thought I'd like it cause of the way it was filmed and that it felt like a documentary so you didn't have to sit and wait for the storyline to be played out before you. And partly because it won so surprisingly many Oscars.


We both felt it really delivered. It lacked the tedious clichés, it had A-list actors in small roles, it had brilliant actors in lead roles. It had the documentary feel with the hand held cameras without the seasickness of overly-shaky presence-hunting shots (hello Bourne 3). It also didn't bother with a film-school beginning-middle-end structure that "every story needs" according to all film school teachers I've ever met.
It sort of just continued, like you got to hang with the men for a while and then they went on trying to turn Iraq from a dictatorship to a democracy, and you continued with your life.
If you pull it off, it's awesome. And they did. With the direction, cinematography and acting being top notch, they certainly pulled it off.

People I've talked to say that it was a good movie but that it wasn't worth all the Oscars, I say; fuck the Oscars. It's all politics for retarded idiots and inbred ass-holes that only need to pat each other on the back to feel good about making millions of dollars every year to pretend to do stuff. It's the same with Live Aid, Live8, Hope for Haiti or whatever name of the event the Popstars/Actors/models/whatevers lend their names to and take their private jets to this week to feel good about themselves. Enough ranting :)

The problem I have with the Oscars are these:
In 1974 Al Pacino was Michael Corleone in The Godfather II. If you have talked film and roles with friends you have probably ended up talking Al Pacino, and probably The Godfather. So he must have won the Oscar, right? Wrong. So he must have had brilliant opposition then? Yes.
That same year Jack Nicholson did the role of his life as JJ Gittes in Chinatown. So he won then? No, he didn't. Cause the jury in all it's wisdom found that Art Carney was the logical choice for his role in Harry and Tonto (he sits on a train with his cat). I bet you and your mates haven't spent hours taking about that film! The key here is that he was due. He should have had it before so his time was up.

In 1992 Al Pacino was due, because the role he really was worth and Oscar for, went to somebody else who was worth it before, so he got it for Scent of a Woman (where he is blind, charming, drives a Ferrari and shouts everything and that is incidentally way he still shouts every line).

I also loathe the "Oscar" movies. You know those movies that you just know will be nominated even though they weren't especially good or popular. Like Chariots of Fire (students running on the beach to the music of Vangelis) who won the same year Raiders of the Lost Ark was released. May I be so bold as to say that Raiders pretty much changed cinema?
So the Academy can't recognize a truly great movie right before them, and they also lack the skill to recognize a future classic. So pretty much as useless as the UN.

In 1990 Goodfellas was released. That is the movie every director speaks about. It's at place 14 over the best movies ever on IMDB. It's so good that you actually remember it winning the Oscar. But it didn't, cause in 1990 the epic (and when I say "epic" I mean "personal insult to my backside forced to sit here and growing carbuncles to watch this putrid adolescense slush") Dances with Wolves *vomit sounds* won.

At least Pulp Fiction won, that one rewrote the book on how you make movies (and made John Travolta able to buy some new jumbojets he can fly around alone in telling people not to fly).
No wait, it didn't. Which isn't strange because it came out the same year as The Shawshank Redemption which is forever nr1 on IMDB (yeah I think the Dark Knight pushed it down for a couple of days but that's a parenthesis inside a parenthesis). So it lost to a really good opposition, at least. No, it lost to Forrest Gump ("life is like a box of chocolates" smilies and fake ping-pong).

And I must end where my hate started, when Saving Private Ryan lost to Shakespeare in Love.
When Saving Private Ryan was released in 1998 the art of war movies made a giant leap. It got the old veterans cry like school-girls. When Shakespeare in Love won the Oscar I cried like a school-girl because that was the night that I understood that even in fantasy-land, politics is just around the corner.

Stay tuned, tomorrow it's gonna be less angry and more Formula One.
Cheers

Links
http://www.cracked.com/article_18460_5-reasons-oscars-matter-even-less-than-you-thought.html
http://www.imdb.com/

Film Review - Sherlock Holmes

Last night I finally got myself to go and see the new Sherlock Holmes movie by Guy Ritchie. Being a huge Sherlock nerd it was with anticipation and dread I seated myself and I must be honest, I didn't expect to like it.
But I did! It was awesome. Okay, it wasn't the slow costume-drama the Granada series with Jeremy Brett gave us, but let's be honest. Who would have wanted to see a 2 hour version of those episodes, no matter how much you absolutely love it.
I still feel Jeremy Brett did the best portrayal of Holmes ever, and that will never change.


I've read all of the stories, and to be honest they are not Nobel-prize material, and they are pretty short and empty of details. So that leaves lot's of room for interpretation, and this film; Sherlock Holmes,  is Guy Ritchies interpretation of the classic old English superhero.

First of all the set direction and production design was fantastic. You became instantly transported into 19th century London, with it's dirty smelly back alleys and mix of beggars in scruffy clothes and the upperclass with beautiful dresses and suits. We even have a half-built Tower bridge, and the brilliant thing is that I was not once sucked out of the environment due to a bad CGI (hello Alice in Wonderland). I've later read that there was some small mistakes in the background but there was nothing obvious that really bothered you.

Sherlock is played by Robert Downey Jr here and it's a bit of a shocker, isn't it? An American playing the most quintessential of Brits?  Well, it sort of works and it all comes down to this new take on the Holmes character they have chosen. Where Jeremy Brett almost always had every hair in the right place and was clean shaven, Downey Jr is a mess. His place is not even a creative mess, more a mess. But for me, it works!

       Jeremy Brett - A clean cut SH                                     Robert Downey Jr. - A scruffy Holmes

The movie also kept its momentum all the way through, I never once looked at my clock or let my mind wander. And I also thought it kept itself on the right side of silliness, and the homo-erotic tendencies some people found speaks more for themselves. It actually IS possible to make a modern film without making it gay, and gay doesn't make movies automatically good (hello Brokeback Mountain).

I also liked Jude Law as Watson, though the Watson-Holmes relationship was strange and different from what I've used to but totally believable. And the man looks good in a stache, what's up with that? Only Stalin, Kaiser Wilhelm and Magnum ever looked good in a moustache.

There are some plot holes and some mistakes but all in all a pretty sweet movie, and I wouldn't mind a second if there was ever a good script.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Lahar

I was thinking on starting at least one reoccurring theme. And I thought that at Wednesdays I would write about stuff I fear. The plan is to also have one day a week to someone awesome. We'll see...

So we start this Scary Wednesday theme with a the Lahar. You may have heard of it, and you may think it's pretty scary. But the worst kinds of Lahars are nothing short of avalanches from hell!

A Lahar is like a mudflow, and that's not something you wanna find yourself in the path of. I mean even a normal flood can be pretty horrific when it come crashing down on you, and that is just water.
A mudflow packs a considerably harder punch due to what it consists of, like mud (duh), trees, unlucky bystanders, cars or whatever it swallows down the road. Mudslides crashes bridges my tearing their foundations apart by pure pressure, destroys houses and generally screw up everyone's day.
 The bus will probably not arrive today

So a mudflow isn't a picnic, so what if that mudflow consists of pyroclastic material? Yes, pyroclastic, as in volcano! You see, lahars are volcanic mudflows.
They can move up to a 100 kph and it can be more than 1000 degrees C hot and flow more than 300 km. It's made up of molten rock, water, trees, hot ash, boulders 10 meters across and bombs. It actually grows about ten times as it speeds down the mountian and towards your house just with all the debris it picks up.
It's basically incredibly hot cement with the single purpose of killing everything. 


 This is the time of reckoning

  As it hits a river the hot ash heats the water to a steam, which makes the pyroclastic flow move even faster on the superheated steam surface.

So this is one crazy-train from the twilight zone that will incinerate everybone in its path, asphyxiate everybody that dodged it with deadly gasses, crush all the buildings it will ever meet and eventually stop and cover entire cities all with a sort of hard cement that will never be home to life again.
So it's no surprise that Lahars are the most dangerous volcanic hazard there is, more people die of Lahars and Pyroclastic Flows than anything else the volcanoes can throw at you.


Links

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Mars Trek

So what are the problems of going to Mars? Well, first of all is distance. When Mars is at it's very closest to Earth, it's still 56 million km away, which is a pretty long trek by any-ones standards. But when it is at it's farthest from earth, it's 400 million km in the distance. So we need to build a pretty good spacecraft, which is what we are doing.
The Orion, built by Lockheed Martin. Designed by Nasa 
to put people back on the moon and onwards to Mars
(Project Constellation) 

The second problem is landing. Mars having twice the gravity of the moon, the spacecraft will be travelling at Mach 27 when it approaches Mars puny atmosphere. Heat Shields will slow it down to somewhere around Mach 2 and then we need some way to slow it down considerably more for a "safe" landing. And even when we solve that problem we're going to land pretty blind anyway, and probably in a big boulder-field with big mean stones just waiting to break a fuselage. So maybe elevators are the solution?

Sticks and stones may break my bones. Photo by Nasa Mars Pathfinder
 
So if we land, what then? Well we need pretty good spacesuits, the UV light passes right through the little remains of atmosphere that Mars still holds and would burn us to crisps if not properly protected, as does some sorts of ionizing radioation. Temperatures as low as -140C has been observed. Still the spacesuits would have to be a lot less cumbersome than those of today are, if the astronauts are to do some work there. 
 
There are of course many other obstacles to over win, so why go? There are some reasons to choose Mars over other planets.
It is relatively close to Earth, it's the most like Earth, it has water ice, it's day (sol) is almost exactly as long as on Earth, it's almost exactly as big as Earth if you remove all oceans and lakes. 
It's also pretty spectacular with the highest mountains and awesome canyons, it's sky is red during the day and turns blue before sunset. So colonization isn't totally impossible, if improbable at the near future. 
Another more important reason is to find the second genesis, if we find life there in any form, it's one of the most important findings mankind has ever done. 
It could also be that it is the first genesis. We may all be martians who long ago, through a meteorite or by some other means, life on earth may come from Mars!
 May be Martian.
 
And on that bombshell, I wish you goodnight. Tomorrow is Wednesday and that is Scary Day here on SaintMagnus.

Sick, tired and hopeless

to paraphrase The Cardigans.
The bitter clutches of the common cold have finally caught me, so I have time to ponder things. Which is probably the most worthwhile thing you can ever do.

This mornings pondering is about Mars, the neighbouring planet. It is said that we are now closer to a manned landing on Mars than we where a manned landing on the Moon in 1961. And we all know that only eight years later Neil Armstrong put his hind-leg on the grey surface.

Mars

This afternoon I will write about some of the problems with going to Mars. It's too early and I'm to sneezy to be negative.

Picture: NASA/JPL-Caltech. Mars Rover Spirit (Jan 16 2010)

Monday, 8 March 2010

And the winner is...

It seems like the Oscars became a little more interesting than first believed, would have been pretty boring if Avatar got all of 'em, right?
So here are the winners:

  • Best Picture - The Hurt Locker
  • Best Director - Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker)
  • Best Actor - Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart)
  • Best Actress - Sandra Bullock (The Blind Side)
  • Best Supporting Actor - Chrsitoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds)
  • Best Supporting Actress - Mo'Nique (Precious)
  • Best Original Screenplay - The Hurt Locker
  • Best Adapted Screenplay - Precious
  • Best Animated Feature - Up
  • Best Foreign Language - El Secreto de sus Ojos

So I didn't get the movie right, but I'm happy for Hurt Locker. I did get what I wanted for Director, Actor, Animated and Foreign Language. And I guessed right on Supporting Actor, Original Screenplay and Adapted Screenplay.

The Academy Awards

 
Here are my prediction on the Oscars

Category                           What I think will win                    What I want to win
Best Picture                        Avatar                                            Up
Best Director                     James Cameron                               Kathryn Bigelow (Hurt Locker)
Best Actor                         Jeff Bridges                                     Jeff Bridges
Best Actress                      Gabourey Sidibe (Precious)               Gabourey Sidibe (Precious)
Best Supp. Actor               Christoph Waltz (Ingl. Basterds)        Stanley Tucci (The Lovely Bones)
Best Supp. Actress            Maggie Gyllenhaal (Crazy heart)         Maggie Gyllenhaal (Crazy heart)        
Best Orig Screenplay         The Hurt Locker                             Up
Best Adap. Screenplay      Precious                                         District 9
Best Animated                   Up                                                 Up
Best Foreign Lang.            El Secreto de sus Ojos                   El Secreto de sus Ojos

Saturday, 6 March 2010

 
unhook the stars
make them rain down on us
like the Gods own raindrops

Friday, 5 March 2010

Earl Magnus

I was a friendly man that refused to take part in fights. A good Christian who ruled the Island of Orkney with my cousin Haakan.
However Haakan became a little envious of my popularity (instead of just basking in my magnificence).
Well, push came to shove and we decided to settle things in a duel, and when I say duel I don't mean the old man-to-man rapier nonsense. Oh no! Each man could bring 2 ships with the best hooligans available.
  I arrived at the island of Egilsay, filled to the brim with confidence, God on my side and a hankering for blood only to find that I brought a knife to a gun-fight.
My devious cousin had brought 8 ships and forever ruined the art of respectful war for everyone.
I was offered two alternatives; exile or imprisonment. But before I could even make that choice the chieftains decided that only one Earl can rule Orkney and one had to be killed.
  Haakon (being a coward) ordered his standard bearer Ofeigr to handle the execution, but he refused. Being a practical man Haakon told his chef Lifolf  to pick his best axe and put it in my head.



St Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall opened in 1137, built by Earl Rognavald to the memory of his Uncle; Earl Magnus. In 1917 a cavity was found in a column, containing a box with bones including a damaged skull.
These where the bones of St Magnus.

This history became a part of folklore on Orkney and the beautiful name "Magnus" became a popular name there. The founder of Highland Park whisky distillery bears this name, and it's rumoured that he is of Swedish ancestry


Highland Park Earl Magnus Edition 1

Earl Magnus Edition 1 is a 15 y.o. cask strength single malt (52,6%). The Whisky is a mixture of specially selected barrels, where the youngest is from 1994.
The bottle and the label is inspired by an old bottle from the 19-th century that's been in the distillery's archive.


Tasting Notes

  • Appearance: Golden honey, clear and bright.  
  • Nose: Cedarwood and lemon. Mango chunks with hints of ginger and cinnamon bark.  
  • Palate: Vanilla, balanced smokiness, milk chocolate and crystallized ginger. 
  • Finish: Medium sweet with lingering spiciness.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Post Alice in Wonderland

  • English actress as Alice - Fail
  • Fantastic CGI - Not often enough (and some where embarrasing)
  • Made me feel like a kid - Still a grumpy old man
  • Tea & Cake - Check (but could always be more)
  • Beautiful Queen - Fail
  • Stephen Fry - Check
  • Miranda Richardson - Fail (happy birthday yesterday)

Final judgement:                       

Breitling for Bentley

Two of my many passions are Watches and Cars. They also have a long standing relationship with many watch companies releasing car-themed editions or car makers choosing luxury brands as a feature in their cars. Now Breitling are making a new series of Bentley watches in honor of W.O Bentley.

 
And it's a thing of beauty!

It has a perpetual calendar with the capacity to calculate an extra day in February during leap years.
As a further tribute to Walter Owen Bentley, the cover of the case has an engraving where the master car maker can be seen at the wheel of one of his racing automobile

  
the watch features around 700parts


Alice in Wonderland

Tonight me and my Fermion are gonna sink into the new Tim Burton adventure.
Looks like it's gonna be sweet! Will miss Miranda Richardson as the Queen of Hearts, though.

Until then;Spotify and Alice in Videoland

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Bubbles


 


Okay, I just inverted the image cause with white background it fits snugly into the blog design. But this is just a first baby step towards a great journey of photographing bubbles. 
My last grand plan was to photograph chimneys, but got bored after a couple. I still love the way the smoke slowly rises form them a very cold day though, almost defying physics (at least questioning it sharply)

But now, it's bubbles for a while. Until bored...

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Tired at ten

Tonight I was absolutely knackered as early as ten, what's up with that?
Well, here is the explanation: The day just got 1,26 millionth of a second shorter thanks to the earth quake in Haiti.
(well there is a Very Long Baseline Interferometry calculation going on but my bet is on shorter)

Men Who Stare at LCD:s

Here in my Car - I feel safest of all

It seems like Jeremy Clarksons pessimistic adieu to supercars on the last episode of Top Gear may have been a tad premature. Look what's in the pipeline!


Lamborghini Gallardo LP570-4 Superleggera
 
Koenigsegg Agera


Porsche 918
Aston Martin One-77

In sync/Out of sync

This morning I woke up 4 seconds before the alarmclock was set. = In Sync
Too bad I'd set it an hour late = Out of Sync

About Me

My photo

Member of the band Colony 5, also producing music under the names Moonboy & 200OK.
Rides a Kawasaki ZX6R
Loves movies, books, whisky, pipes and an open fire. 
Father of two girls; Enya & Leia 
Fiancé of Malin
 
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