Tuesday, 7 December 2010

I work for NASA

Your looking at that title and saying to yourself " Bullshit", but it is true, well partly. Let me explain...

You know that big ol' telescope orbiting Earth called Hubble, well over the last 15 years it has taken millions of photos of distant galaxies. Now all these galaxies get categorised by a computer but only into the most basic of classifications. This is because the algorithms that they use aren't sophisticated enough to tell more than the basics such as overall shape, colour etc etc.
   So that's where I come in, well me and about 100,000 other people. The human brain can process information at a far greater detail than even the best computers, they can also make intuitive leaps that a computer can't. So NASA have created a crowdsource website, where any old Joe ( like me, only I'm a Thomas) can log on, look at images of Galaxies and answer simple questions about that image. This gives a far more accurate classification and the good thing about this is even if i make a mistake, the fact that it will be classified by thousands of people means that the overall mean answer will be almost certainly the correct one.

Why do I do it? Well it gives me a sense that I'm helping advance the knowledge of the human race even if it is in the smallest of ways but even an avalanche starts with a snowflake. ( very apt analogy rite there)

So if you have a spare 5 mins every day why not look at a few pictures and who knows you might get a celestial phenomenon named after you like one guy has. This is from the website - 

"Hanny Van Arkel, a Dutch schoolteacher and Galaxy Zoo volunteer, posted an image to the Galaxy Zoo forum and asked 'What's the blue stuff below?' No one knew. The object became known as a Hannys 'Voorwerp' — Voorwerp being Dutch for 'object'

You can't say thats not stunning. It's about 30,00 light years away. Incidently that big green thing is a  Hannys Voorwerp!

This is the place to go - http://www.galaxyzoo.org/

Other news... 
  • Introduced my girlfriend to my Da or Dad if your not Irish - That says it all really, Kylie came down for Sunday lunch. She's met everyone else except him.
  • Nearly crashed at a roundabout - Slight hill leading to a roundabout, no grip because of the snow. Had to avoid the car in front by sliding out onto the road. Thankfully there where no cars coming round.
  • Built a snowman (see below)
  • Destroyed a snowman....Mwuhahaha!
  • Had venison sausages for the 1st time - They where ace. My da's a game hunter, he culled a stag and sold it to a local butcher. We got a ton of free meat and sausages out of the deal.

That's about all the note worthy news for this time. I think the next blog will be a round-up of the year!

Monday, 6 December 2010


Well I guess I spoke too soon. As we had a fresh layer of powdery snow today and I was able to build this boyo. Meet Mr Steven Norman Oswald William Mann...

The dog is looking at me and thinking, WTF! Humans are Crazy!

Saturday, 4 December 2010

I am the Stig!

Whatever snow we had, has now turned to ice. Meaning that any of the roads that go unsalted, are as smooth and slippery as bottles. This may sound bad but trust me its actually the opposite.

Icy road + car + machoness = handbrake turns. (N.B Machoness not actual word...)

So off I went to some abandoned roads to do my thing, some slides here a couple of turns there or Diffing as we manly types call it. All's good, I get my half hour of fun in, think to myself I've pushed my luck enough and head home. So obviously this day of testosterone fuelled tomfoolery had built my confidence up and on the commute back from work the next day I was at it again.
   Like last time it's all going well, right up to the last corner that is. Literally 100 yards from my front door and BAM! Too fast and too hard, and I slide sideways onto a grass embankment where I got well and truly stuck. No damage done except to my pride. Front wheel was spinning on the grass, back wheel was spinning on a sewer grating, I was going nowhere.
   In the end up I had to swallow that broken pride and ask the neighbour for help. We managed to get it free with a push. It wasn't until the next day i realised I now have a big ol' dent where we had been pushing it. So consider this small but important lesson learned.

Christmas is a coming, Christmas is a coming....Coca Cola. Do Do DO DO DO Do DO DO Do DO!

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

American TV

I don't plan to update this often, but because this is a new toy the novelty hasn't worn off yet! So onward we trundle through the minefield that is my conscious/sub-conscious and at times unconscious.

I love American TV, but why is it they can produce such high quality entertainment compared to the British? I got thinking this today when I was wondering which one of my shows was on tonite. (turns out it was SGU and Fringe).

In my humble opinion I guess it boils down to a few main points.

  • There are more Americans - With a larger audience more advertisements get seen and thus more money  is generated for the production of said shows. With these high revenues, companies can pull in the big names they need to make the shows work. This also means stealing the good actors/directors/writers from the U.K. hindering our abilities. 
  • They have a whole micro economy built around it and they have a culture based on it - Its viewed as a legitimate business thus goin to uni to study film and media is seen as a viable career. This in turn churns out 100's of writers a year coming up with story lines that British TV just cant match.
  • Hell, having all the cast in these show being sexy probably helps as well!
Even saying all this there is always exceptions, Red dwarf, QI, Being Human, Top Gear, Celebrity Juiced, Rab C. Nesbitt and (I'll say it quietly, I'm partial to a bit of shameless...Shhh!). This may seem a lot but compared to the American shows that i follow this is nothing.

Americans also do a good remake as well. I disliked the British version of The Office but think the American one is hilarious. A show that's screaming out for an over the pond remake is Doctor Who. Although better than average i think the Yanks could do the show justice with their big budgets and their sexy people! I cant help but think if the 2 countries could find a way to work together on shows they would be frikken amazing.

That's my lot for this rant. Who knows what the next post will be, because i haven't got a clue.

These are the two shows that started it all! Since then it has evolved to a good 50 or more!