Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Secret Stash

This project is about concealing valuables, secrets, bad habits and personal information in our workplaces. Here, hidden spaces/ messages were created within 8 general objects such as wood boards, lamps and disposable coffee cups.


Secret Stash from yiting cheng on Vimeo.
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Thursday, 26 July 2012

PopSpots

I think that if I lived somewhere like New York or London then Bob Egan's hobby would suit me down to the ground. It involves music, history and photography, which he combines in to the search for PopSpots. The exact spots where famous events of Pop Culture took place. Album covers, music videos, famous paintings etc. Check out his website here for the stories behind what his research has uncovered so far and follow him on Twitter to get the latest. Bob very kindly agreed I that I could post some of his pics here. Click to enlarge.

Simon & Garfunkel


Bruce Springsteen


Bob Dylan


Neil Young


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Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Agony Of De Feet

I don't normally use e-clecticism to endorse anything and it is true that this isn't even taking place in my country, but there is no denying it's a great cause and it involves a friend of mine so there. :-P

The Sears Great Canadian Run takes place in September and Daisy and some of her fellow Sears employees are contributing towards a relay to end kids cancer. Below is a video they have made to promote their efforts and each view earns them $1 so please pass it on and share it using the buttons below.


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Inception Park

I have absolutely no clue how this was achieved but the results are stunning. Black Sheep Films have turned the city of Buenos Aires in to an Inception style amusement park. It is probably best if you just watch and judge for yourself. Make sure you check out Vimeo for the New York version.


Buenos Aires - Inception Park from Black Sheep Films on Vimeo.
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Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Olympic Photography

The Olympics are about to start and as a photography nerd I was intrigued by the technology that Associated Press will using to capture things as they happen. Take a look behind the scenes.


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Monday, 23 July 2012

DX11 Demo

It is hard not to think that what you are about to watch is a not real, but it is actually a demo of DirectX 11. It wasn't that long ago that each of the frames in this clip would have taken several hours to render. Now you see them created on the fly as mouse manipulates the virtual environment. Created by Hayssam Keilany this demo squeezes every single bit of power from a Radeon 5870 using DirectX 11 hosted in a Intel Core i7-based PC.


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Sunday, 22 July 2012

Tour Of The Moon

Although the moon has remained largely unchanged during human history, our understanding of it and how it has evolved over time has increased dramatically. Thanks to new measurements, we have new and unprecedented views of its surface, along with new insight into how it and other rocky planets in our solar system came to look the way they do. Take the tour here.


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Saturday, 21 July 2012

Yesterday Shipping

I love the feeling you get when a package you have ordered from eBay or Amazon arrives, but the wait can be torture. No problem now that Amazon have introduced "Yesterday Shipping". What could go wrong?


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Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Death Buy Lemonade

A nice animated short to brighten your day. This was a film school graduation piece by Kyu-bum Lee.


Death Buy Lemonade from Kyu-bum Lee on Vimeo.
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Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Slow Lightning

A quick one today but worth it. This is an awesome looking film of lightning shot at 7,207 frames per second. A negative stepped leader emerges from the cloud and connects with the ground forming a return stroke.


Lightning captured at 7,207 images per second from ZT Research on Vimeo.
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Monday, 16 July 2012

Prisencolinensinainciusol

No really, that's the title. Have you ever wondered what the English language sounds like to non-English speakers? Italian entertainer Adriano Celentano had that thought back in 1972, when he recorded his song Prisencolinensinainciusol. Deliberately written to sound like American-English, but with no recognisable words apart from the odd "All Right!". It's surprisingly catchy.


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Saturday, 14 July 2012

Queen's Visit

Earlier this week I had the sort of opportunity that only comes along now and again. Her Majesty the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh were to visit Worcester to officially open our brand new university library. Our Sea Cadet unit along with several others from the district and beyond were invited to perform an honour guard for the visit. In our case this meant our cadets and staff lining the route that the royal entourage was to follow, acting as human barriers and saluting the royals as they went passed.

The day began with the various units gathering in best uniform with highly polished boots. We then walked down to our meeting point to be briefed by the police before taking up position.


Our first task was to line the High Street. In true British style the weather ranged from beautiful to awful and back to beautiful again in a matter of minutes, but it did nothing to dampen the excitement. A long wait was rewarded with "so close you could touch them" drive pass. Whilst the Queen had lunch we went to the local Territorial Army HQ for a hasty snack before assembling again for our afternoon duties. Two more drive-bys and we could finally make our way back to the unit.




Each of us was presented with a commemorative pin, which was a nice way to remember a very tiring but very proud day.


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Friday, 13 July 2012

The Star Wars That I Used To Know

If you're like me and hordes of other Star Wars fans and were hugely disappointed at how the prequels turned out, you should find this hilarious. A superb parody of Gotye's Somebody That I Used To Know by Teddie Films (see their channel for other great videos). A big thank you to Rob for sending it to me.


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Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Win 7 Logon Screen

login
login (Photo credit: acidpix)
Because I use Windows 7 with a logon screen image that is one of my own photographs instead of the default image that Microsoft provide, I often get asked how I managed to change it. I thought it might be nice to share it here with you all so here is my tutorial. Only try this if you are confident in changing settings on your machine. I am not responsible if you mess things up. :-) As always, click the images to enlarge them.

Firstly you need to run RegEdit and navigate to the following key.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Authentication\LogonUI\Background

Here you should see a setting called OEMBackground. If you are not able to see this value then right-click in the right pane, point to the New submenu and create a new DWORD value with this name. Set the value to 1 by double clicking on OEMBackground.


Close RegEdit and navigate to the following folder.

C:\Windows\System32\oobe\info\backgrounds

There is a chance that the folder will not exist and if that is the case you will need to create it. Now copy your desired picture to the Background folder. Remember that the picture’s size can’t be more than 256 kb. The name of image must be backgroundDefault.jpg.


And that's it! If anybody out there knows of some software that can automatically switch the image like you can for the desktop, please let me know.


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Monday, 9 July 2012

60-Second Adventures In Thought

Time to exercise those brain cells. The Open University produced a series of 60 second animated films that are designed to explore and explain six famous thought experiments, from the ancient Greeks to Albert Einstein, that have changed the way we see the world. David Mitchell narrates.


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Sunday, 8 July 2012

A Conversation With My 12 Year Old Self

I have tried to find out more about this video but I can sadly tell you very little. This guy has obviously been filming himself for some time. Here he interviews himself from twenty years ago. Don't you wish you could?


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Friday, 6 July 2012

3D From Multiple 2D Images

One of the demonstrations that was featured at this years MIX event was by Eric Stollnitz of Microsoft Research. He showed a new project that could take a set of normal photographs and construct them into a 3D scene.

The basis for the technology is MR's Photosynth. They use Photosynth to extrapolate the camera position (point cloud) from the set of images. They then use a technique that infers the three-dimensional structure of a scene from a pair of adjacent images. Finally they stabilise the camera path to achieve the smooth scrolling effect.


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Thursday, 5 July 2012

Why I Am An Atheist

Ricky Gervais at the 2007 BAFTAs
Ricky Gervais at the 2007 BAFTAs (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I have been an atheist for a number of years, however the majority of my friends (and family) would consider themselves religious in varying degrees. This has made for some excellent conversations in the past, but hopefully, because of my willingness to let others believe in what they wish, they have always ended amicably. I am willing to concede that things have not always gone well but perhaps that has been down to my inability to explain clearly why I have no faith in any deity of any kind. Luckily for me though there is a man who shares identical beliefs and non-beliefs as my own. Ricky Gervais is known for playing the clown and his irreverent character, however he is in fact a very rational and intelligent man, so let me let him explain for me.

Why don’t you believe in God? I get that question all the time. I always try to give a sensitive, reasoned answer. This is usually awkward, time consuming and pointless. People who believe in God don’t need proof of his existence, and they certainly don’t want evidence to the contrary. They are happy with their belief. They even say things like “it’s true to me” and “it’s faith.” I still give my logical answer because I feel that not being honest would be patronising and impolite. It is ironic therefore that “I don’t believe in God because there is absolutely no scientific evidence for his existence and from what I’ve heard the very definition is a logical impossibility in this known universe,” comes across as both patronising and impolite.

Arrogance is another accusation. Which seems particularly unfair. Science seeks the truth and it does not discriminate. For better or worse it finds things out. Science is humble. It knows what it knows and it knows what it doesn’t know. It bases its conclusions and beliefs on hard evidence -­- evidence that is constantly updated and upgraded. It doesn’t get offended when new facts come along. It embraces the body of knowledge. It doesn’t hold on to medieval practises because they are tradition. If it did, you wouldn’t get a shot of penicillin, you’d pop a leach down your trousers and pray. Whatever you “believe,” this is not as effective as medicine. Again you can say, “It works for me,” but so do placebos. My point being, I’m saying God doesn’t exist. I’m not saying faith doesn’t exist. I know faith exists. I see it all the time. But believing in something doesn’t make it true. Hoping that something is true doesn’t make it true. The existence of God is not subjective. He either exists or he doesn’t. It’s not a matter of opinion. You can have your own opinions. But you can’t have your own facts.

Why don’t I believe in God? No, no no, why do YOU believe in God? Surely the burden of proof is on the believer. You started all this. If I came up to you and said, “Why don’t you believe I can fly?” You’d say, “Why would I?” I’d reply, “Because it’s a matter of faith.” If I then said, “Prove I can’t fly. Prove I can’t fly see, see, you can’t prove it can you?” You’d probably either walk away, call security or throw me out of the window and shout, ‘’F—ing fly then you lunatic.”

This, is of course a spirituality issue, religion is a different matter. As an atheist, I see nothing “wrong” in believing in a god. I don’t think there is a god, but belief in him does no harm. If it helps you in any way, then that’s fine with me. It’s when belief starts infringing on other people’s rights when it worries me. I would never deny your right to believe in a god. I would just rather you didn’t kill people who believe in a different god, say. Or stone someone to death because your rulebook says their sexuality is immoral. It’s strange that anyone who believes that an all-powerful all-knowing, omniscient power responsible for everything that happens, would also want to judge and punish people for what they are. From what I can gather, pretty much the worst type of person you can be is an atheist. The first four commandments hammer this point home. There is a god, I’m him, no one else is, you’re not as good and don’t forget it. (Don’t murder anyone, doesn’t get a mention till number 6.)

When confronted with anyone who holds my lack of religious faith in such contempt, I say, “It’s the way God made me.”

But what are atheists really being accused of?

The dictionary definition of God is “a supernatural creator and overseer of the universe.” Included in this definition are all deities, goddesses and supernatural beings. Since the beginning of recorded history, which is defined by the invention of writing by the Sumerians around 6,000 years ago, historians have catalogued over 3700 supernatural beings, of which 2870 can be considered deities.

So next time someone tells me they believe in God, I’ll say “Oh which one? Zeus? Hades? Jupiter? Mars? Odin? Thor? Krishna? Vishnu? Ra?…” If they say “Just God. I only believe in the one God,” I’ll point out that they are nearly as atheistic as me. I don’t believe in 2,870 gods, and they don’t believe in 2,869.

I used to believe in God. The Christian one that is.

I loved Jesus. He was my hero. More than pop stars. More than footballers. More than God. God was by definition omnipotent and perfect. Jesus was a man. He had to work at it. He had temptation but defeated sin. He had integrity and courage. But He was my hero because He was kind. And He was kind to everyone. He didn’t bow to peer pressure or tyranny or cruelty. He didn’t care who you were. He loved you. What a guy. I wanted to be just like Him.

One day when I was about 8 years old, I was drawing the crucifixion as part of my Bible studies homework. I loved art too. And nature. I loved how God made all the animals. They were also perfect. Unconditionally beautiful. It was an amazing world.

I lived in a very poor, working-class estate in an urban sprawl called Reading, about 40 miles west of London. My father was a labourer and my mother was a housewife. I was never ashamed of poverty. It was almost noble. Also, everyone I knew was in the same situation, and I had everything I needed. School was free. My clothes were cheap and always clean and ironed. And mum was always cooking. She was cooking the day I was drawing on the cross.

I was sitting at the kitchen table when my brother came home. He was 11 years older than me, so he would have been 19. He was as smart as anyone I knew, but he was too cheeky. He would answer back and get into trouble. I was a good boy. I went to church and believed in God -– what a relief for a working-class mother. You see, growing up where I did, mums didn’t hope as high as their kids growing up to be doctors; they just hoped their kids didn’t go to jail. So bring them up believing in God and they’ll be good and law abiding. It’s a perfect system. Well, nearly. 75 percent of Americans are God-­‐fearing Christians; 75 percent of prisoners are God-­‐fearing Christians. 10 percent of Americans are atheists; 0.2 percent of prisoners are atheists.

But anyway, there I was happily drawing my hero when my big brother Bob asked, “Why do you believe in God?” Just a simple question. But my mum panicked. “Bob,” she said in a tone that I knew meant, “Shut up.” Why was that a bad thing to ask? If there was a God and my faith was strong it didn’t matter what people said.

Oh…hang on. There is no God. He knows it, and she knows it deep down. It was as simple as that. I started thinking about it and asking more questions, and within an hour, I was an atheist.

Wow. No God. If mum had lied to me about God, had she also lied to me about Santa? Yes, of course, but who cares? The gifts kept coming. And so did the gifts of my new found atheism. The gifts of truth, science, nature. The real beauty of this world. I learnt of evolution – a theory so simple that only England’s greatest genius could have come up with it. Evolution of plants, animals and us –- with imagination, free will, love, humour. I no longer needed a reason for my existence, just a reason to live. And imagination, free will, love, humour, fun, music, sports, beer and pizza are all good enough reasons for living.

But living an honest life -– for that you need the truth. That’s the other thing I learnt that day, that the truth, however shocking or uncomfortable, in the end leads to liberation and dignity.

So what does the question “Why don’t you believe in God?” really mean. I think when someone asks that they are really questioning their own belief. In a way they are asking “what makes you so special? “How come you weren’t brainwashed with the rest of us?” “How dare you say I’m a fool and I’m not going to heaven, f— you!” Let’s be honest, if one person believed in God he would be considered pretty strange. But because it’s a very popular view it’s accepted. And why is it such a popular view? That’s obvious. It’s an attractive proposition. Believe in me and live forever. Again if it was just a case of spirituality this would be fine.

“Do unto others…” is a good rule of thumb. I live by that. Forgiveness is probably the greatest virtue there is. But that’s exactly what it is -­‐ a virtue. Not just a Christian virtue. No one owns being good. I’m good. I just don’t believe I’ll be rewarded for it in heaven. My reward is here and now. It’s knowing that I try to do the right thing. That I lived a good life. And that’s where spirituality really lost its way. When it became a stick to beat people with. “Do this or you’ll burn in hell.”

You won’t burn in hell. But be nice anyway.
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Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Elephant Painting

I am still not entirely sure that this is for real but it appears to be. An elephant paints an image of an elephant holding a flower. She focuses very precisely on her work and seems to enjoy the approval of the audience. ExoticWorldGifts.com now supports, "Starving Elephant Artisans" by selling their paintings so they can continue to have a new life in Thailand.


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Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Sound Of The Past

I find this story astonishing. The oldest sound recording known, the muffled voice of the father of the gramophone - Emile Berliner, was thought to be lost until a painstaking re-creation was made from a printed version found in a magazine.


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Monday, 2 July 2012

Outrunning An Avalanche

Having done a fair bit of skiing in my time I am well aware of the dangers of an avalanche. Usually you do your very best to stay well clear of them but not everyone thinks the same way apparently. Matthias Giraud and Stefan Laude actually purposely start one to capture this amazing footage. Heroic or stupid? I'm not sure.


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Animated Rebuild

I'm sorry about the lack of posts over the last few days. Not just busy this time but I managed to break my laptop and I have only just got round to sorting it out. A big thanks to my good friend Al and in turn his friend  costkid for this one.

A chap buys a second hand engine to replace the one in his Triumph Spitfire. Taking photographs as he strips, cleans and rebuilds it, he finally creates a superb animation.


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