Archive for September, 2006

Hail Eris

Tuesday, September 19th, 2006

Dwarf Planet UB313 Gets a Name

A new name has been bestowed on the “dwarf planet” whose discovery in 2005 rocked the solar system, sparked debate over “What is a planet?” and ultimately led to Pluto’s removal from the planetary family. The dwarf planet, formerly known as 2003 UB313, is now called Eris, after the Greek goddess of discord and strife.

Stealing Fish

Friday, September 8th, 2006

I’ve been spectacularly slow at posting any of my pictures from Wales this year. My excuse for the last month or so was that Plusnet were being crap, but they connected it over a week ago, so I’ve been crap. Sorry. Here’s a picture I took on our last day, which would have been Saturday 22nd July.

An Atlantic Gray Seal

It’s a bull grey seal, and a particularly cunning one at that. Bull seals like this chap can weigh up to about 300kg or 47 stone, so they’re the biggest native mammals found in the British Isles. We spotted him diving and surfacing every few minutes a few metres off Wooltack Point, which is the closest point on the mainland to Skomer Island [1] where quite a few seals breed. There is a shelf under the cliff there that’s a favourite spot for sea fishermen - on this particular day there were three or four casting for mackerel underneath us on the cliffs. We waited and watched for a while and then, under the cliff, everything kicked off. One of the fishermen hooked something and there was an tremendous splashing sound as the seal charged him in an attempt to steal the mackerel from his line before he could reel it in. The seal had been biding it’s time underwater and waiting for the fishermen to catch something. This time the fisherman got away with his catch, but it was a spectacular charge to watch.

I’ve yet to get to dive with a seal, but this year whilst diving with Ant I found a lobster pot full of crab shells following a seal raid. They’re cunning, inquisitive beasts.

[1] Mysteriously, Skomer Island doesn’t appear at all on Google Maps. If you switch to their satellite view it’s pretty obvious that they’ve cocked it up. Skokholm, the smaller island to the South of Skomer, appears as normal.

Wes Clark for President?

Thursday, September 7th, 2006

“Broken Engagement ” by Gen. Wesley Clark

Democracy can come to a place only when its people rise up and demand it.

Looks like a potential leader that can write, think and has a plan reaching beyond the next couple of years. Do you think America is ready?

Sketchup & Ruby

Sunday, September 3rd, 2006

I’ve been playing around with Google’s noddy-but-free 3d editor Sketchup this weekend and was quite surprised to find that it comes out of the box with a ruby console (and documented api!) with hooks into all the drawing functions and a framework for extending its capabilities.

So should you want to play with a quick and dirty programmable 3d graphics generator for any reason, Sketchup might be a good place to start.