Archive for the Amusing Category

Clearly, I’ll Be Going To Nerd Hell, Then!

Posted in Amusing, Personal with tags , , , , on March 9, 2012 by davidnm2009

So, I’ve recently discovered the ‘Mass Effect’ series of games; I’ve been playing a lot of them recently. I’ve been trying to avoid spoiling myself for the later games, and haven’t really succeeded. At all. Anyway I saw one of the trailers for ME3, and was surprised by how much of late-22nd Century London is apparently still recognisable. Then it got me to thinking, if great British institutions like Big Ben and the London Eye are still there … what about newspapers?

And what about the Daily Mail? What would the dear old Daily Mail have to say about a Reaper invasion?

Well, fear no more, because I know what the Daily Mail would have to say … egregious Photoshop’ing below the cut!

(Just so we’re clear; I like the Mass Effect series. I don’t much like the Daily Mail!)

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Drinking Contest

Posted in Amusing, Art with tags on November 14, 2010 by davidnm2009

(Yes, I was bored earlier – I had plenty of better things to do, before you ask, but no, I wasn’t doing any of them!)

(Larger and more detailed version here, as usual.)


Posted in Amusing with tags , , on August 28, 2010 by davidnm2009

…is apparently a place where you see things like this:

It’s a miniature Stonehenge that also apparently doubles as a water feature. I haven’t yet managed to make up my mind whether this is cool, weird or just slightly sad!

I saw this at a shopping centre that’s close to the place where I’m staying, and couldn’t resist taking a quick photo. (I know it’s a rubbish photo…)

NHS Homeopathy – Satire Time

Posted in Amusing, Social Concern with tags , on August 16, 2010 by davidnm2009

Via MatGB, slightly absurd news that an NHS trust are advertising for a homeopath, despite budget cuts which have seen hundreds of more-useful staff sacked. (Now this is one place where budget cuts would actually be a good idea … just set the NHS homeopathy budget to a big fat zero…)

People are being encouraged to write bogus applications for this position, as a form of rebellion. Here are my suggestions…

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The Mad Scientist’s Lair…

Posted in Amusing, Astronomy, Personal with tags , , on August 15, 2010 by davidnm2009

…because it wouldn’t be cutting-edge research without post-it notes!

In all seriousness, telescopes aside, astronomy research departments are surprisingly mundane places.

Occupational Hazards

Posted in Amusing, Astronomy with tags , , on July 20, 2010 by davidnm2009

Astronomy has some very odd occupational hazards.

  • At the Mauna Kea observatories, you’re banned from going to sleep(!). The problem is that, at high altitude and an air pressure of ~ 600mb, some sleepers don’t wake up again.
  • There’s a radio telescope facility in India. A colleague of mine who did some observing there was warned not to go outside at night, due to the risk of being attacked by panthers(!).
  • The Roq de Los Muchachos Observatory is the most scenically-beautiful that I’ve yet been to. It’s also the most convenient, being (in principle) about 4 hours’ flight from Europe. (It’s longer from the UK because there aren’t any direct routes – you change at either Madrid, several places in Germany or in Tenerife.) But, it also has just a bit of a body count. The week before I was there in 2008, someone fell to their death off of the back of one of the MAGIC telescopes. Also, people keep driving straight off the roads – and the roads zig-zag up a very steep hillside. Going off that will hurt.
  • Although I’ve never been there myself, apparently the safety advice at the VLT in Chile is something to the effect of ‘Don’t go outside at night, because if you fall over and break something you’re in the middle of nowhere and there’s no way to get help to you’.
  • I imagine that if you visit the South Pole Telescope, there might be just a small problem with hypothermia. (Oh, and maybe rabid zombie penguins too…)

Basically, observing is less sedate than you might think.

Also (perhaps sadly) we don’t actually look through the telescopes any more. In fact, I’m not aware of any research-class instruments that have an eyepiece attached. (You can usually see the output on a screen in the control room, though.) Saying that, I think there is an old finder-scope bolted onto the side of the INT, but I’m not sure if anyone’s used it in a long time.

An 8-metre with an eye-lens would be cool … until it accidentally points at anything bright, that is, and the unlucky viewer gets blinded, of course.

Best PR Fail Ever?

Posted in Amusing, Writing with tags , on July 19, 2010 by davidnm2009

I was just reading this very old thread from Making Light on the subject of the dreaded Rejection Letter (which is just the occupational hazard of would-be published authors, when you get down to it). The thread is equal parts hilarious, depressing and informative, and thus well worth a read.

However, this comment in particular caught my eye.

Ummm … meat products in the post? Meep?

I can understand that PR people do need to be ‘innovative’, for all that sounds like the worst sort of pseudo-managerial BS. But there is a fine line between ‘innovation’ and ‘dementia’. I think plans that involve mailing meat to people really are tipping toward the dementia side!