Archive for April, 2011

Shadow on the Water

Posted in Astronomy, Personal with tags , , on April 24, 2011 by davidnm2009

It’s not my usual thing, but I took a couple of nice photos whilst in Llandudno:

Also, this one shows the advantage of visiting the Pier early in the morning – it was completely deserted:

And here’s the Great Orm, along with the far end of the sea front:

Oh yes, I also gave a talk on my research. You can see the abstract for it over here

I felt that NAM 2011 was a successful and enjoyable event.

Now, I just need to work on this whole ‘go to conference and NOT bring back viral passenger’ thing. *sneezes*

The Airlock

Posted in Art with tags on April 15, 2011 by davidnm2009

I’ve been quiet recently – work’s been manic, etc. I’ll probably be quiet next week as I’ll be at a conference in North Wales. In the meantime, have a small sketch:

Differences And Writing

Posted in Writing with tags , , on April 12, 2011 by davidnm2009

Like many people, I’m an amateur writer. I’m not brilliant at it and have a lot to learn. In particular I’m recently becoming aware of the potential minefield that is writing characters who are ‘different’ to you in some way. In particular here, I’m thinking of gender. It is a pretty fundamental thing, and it will have an impact on a character’s personality and behaviour … and as I’m slowly beginning to realise, it’s very, very easy to completely get it badly wrong.

I’ve been trying to work on my depictions of female characters, as frankly, that hasn’t been all it could be. I’ve noticed that I have a tendency to shove them into distant, unapproachable roles (such as the Inquisitor and also Kelso in The Misfits). It’s not conscious and it’s not deliberate, but that’s what I’ve found myself doing. Also, a while back I became aware of the Bechdel Test.

After the usual period of denial, I became uncomfortably-aware that a lot of my stuff fails it. And given that I like to imagine myself as a reasonably-liberal, reasonably-modern person, I wasn’t too happy about this!

The first step to dealing with a problem is admitting that you have it. *Tick* The second step is, well, trying to do something. My first experiment with that was At The Inn, which did represent some progress.

I’ve been trying to build on this, which is partly what’s incorporated into the following. It’s also where I’m putting into use the thinking I’ve been doing about alien planets and their possible interactions with human physiology. (Although that’s not so obvious in the first section, here.)

So, below, is the opening bit from the project I’m tentatively entitling ‘Shot In The Dark’. I’m not claiming to get everything right and I’m not claiming absolute success or perfect achievement with my attempts, but I am genuinely trying!

Continue reading

The Week of Electronic Death

Posted in Personal with tags on April 7, 2011 by davidnm2009

I suppose I’ve just become a case in point about how technology changes our habits.

In the last week or so, I’ve had two different mp3 players die on me. One was the iPod, which had been creaking for a long time. The other was the backup mp3 player, which croaked a few minutes ago. It appears to have crashed somehow, and the reset button doesn’t do anything. If it were a desktop computer, this would be easy to fix – yank the power cable. Unfortunately, I can’t get to the battery inside the mp3 player – which is rather frustrating, as pulling the power would probably sort it out.

It also means I’ll have no music either on the bus journey tonight, or when I go round the supermarket. I’m not looking forward to either of these things!

The irony being, of course, 10 years ago none of this would have been an issue, as I didn’t have an mp3 player to break.

Gravity, Pt. 3

Posted in Science, Speculation with tags , , , on April 1, 2011 by davidnm2009

I was going to be writing a post about the implications of differential gravity for the body’s, ah, excretory systems next. (There are plenty, as it happens.) But then it occurred to me that there was a much more basic and much more obvious problem that should be considered first. It’s called actually being able to move in the first place!

Continue reading