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Archive for December, 2008

Red bells

Wednesday, December 24th, 2008

IMG_4189

License Update

Wednesday, December 24th, 2008

I have updated the License for all the content on this site to the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported [creativecommons.org] license. Have fun.

Oldies but goodies

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008

A blast from the past; images I created for my desktop when I was living in London long ago. Not so amazing when I look at them now but maybe someone will find them interesting. Long ago they were available here on Confusion for download. Now they are back. So, here you go, with the original explanations too… ‘Cause like I said ‘the internet never forgets‘ [confusion.cc].

Remember that everything below is from 2002… exercise extreme caution when trying to wrap your brain around anything I said.

Nebula
This was the first set of backgrounds I made, the “nebula” image is actually a color inverted cutout from a NASA image take by the Hubble Space Telescope. (The original image is here) Personally I think the first background is the best, the puzzle idea is cool, but I could not get it to work the way I wanted…

  • nebulaGrid_thumb.jpg
  • nebulaPuzzle_thumb.jpg
  • nebulaJigsaw_thumb.jpg

Anomaly
I was just playing around with the “render” filter one day because I was board with the background I had and these three are the results. Kind of based on a “analysis” of deep space anomaly you would see on some computer screen in Star Trek. (The code in the images is some Lisp I wrote for a school project.)

  • flameAnalysis1_thumb.jpg
  • flameAnalysis2_thumb.jpg
  • flameAnalysis3_thumb.jpg

Plasma
This set is fairly simple, using the “render –> clouds –> solid noise” filter and a little color manipulation. The second image then uses the “distort—> whirl and pinch” filter, I think it needs a little something more, but it’s nice. The third picture is another “analysis” type idea—a patterned gradient and a little text.

  • plasmaPlain_thumb.jpg
  • plasmaSwirl_thumb.jpg
  • plasmaAnalysis_thumb.jpg

Star Birth
A couple of nice space themed backgrounds, one with “new” stars one without. Ohhh, space, simple and classic.

  • starBirth_thumb.jpg
  • starCloud_thumb.jpg

GM

Monday, December 22nd, 2008

Maybe the government should attach some requirements to giving GM (and other US car makers) bailout money; like, say; ‘stop making cars. ‘Cause you’re not good at it.’ Maybe they can make wind turbines or something—use the governments money to retrain their people and reconfigure their plants to make something useful.

Once, when I was a child…

Tuesday, December 9th, 2008

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Novosibirsk, Russia — November, 2008

Sunday, December 7th, 2008

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Novosibirsk [wikipedia.org], dead smack in the middle of Siberia, is not some place I think I would normally travel to. So, why did I go to Siberia… in November? Work. Unfortunately I showed up, so I’m told, in the three week gap of “nastiness between the beauty of fall and the beauty of winter.” That means something about the fall leaves color and the winter wonderland of permanent snow. When I was there everything was gray and mud, rain and wind. But it was not all that bad.

I actually spent most of my time in what could be called a satellite city to Novosibirsk, called Akademgorodok [wikipedia.org]. During the days if the Soviets this was the larges of a number of purpose built closed towns filled with the brightest brains of the Soviet world. Akademgorodok is filled with large academies of every possible discipline; Math, Physics, Geology, Chemistry and the piste-de-resistance the Nuclear research academy. Wide roads, tree lined boulevards and parks must have provided a happy escapist world for the scientists.

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Too bad it did not last. Since the end of the USSR Akademgorodok has seen better days. The end of government money funding pure research seems to have hit Akademgorodok hard. Recently foreign money has started to make its way in and local entrepreneurs have started a ‘Silicon Forest’ of high tech companies.

I only spent a single day in Novosibirsk itself—and a winters days is not long enough to see everything I wanted to see. But what I did see is an interesting hodgepodge of a city. I felt the same hectic uncontrolled pace that I felt in Shanghai. Novosibirsk is a city that has grown too fast to keep up with itself.

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One of the things I wanted to see but did not get photos of is the Novosibirsk train station—a big stop on the Trans-Siberian Railway [wikipedia.org]. Unfortunately I did not get to take the train to or from Novosibirsk, it takes three plus days to Moscow or Beijing, the bosses thought that was too long. Oh, and it’s not cheap. I did see the big green exterior of the station, but it was after dark in a car on the way back to the hotel in Akademgorodok. So no photos. Maybe next time.

Speaking of the railroad, Novosibirsk has a rail history museum. Everything from steam powered pre-soviet era locomotives to trains make in Novosibirsk in the ’90s.

I did see the Nikolai Chapel, (sorry no link for this one,) once supposedly the geographical center of the Russian Empire. Now, not so much, the Kazakh border is only a few hundred kilometers south.

And what Soviet city would be complete without a statue of Lenin?