2012 — 2 December: Sunday

Another overnight frost1 makes it abundantly clear that Gaia or Mother Nature has it in for my rosebuds. Poor things:


You can ascribe any motion blur to the fact that I was shivering out there. One of my "dusty bins" looked quite furry, too:

Bin laden


... I dropped the round tuit before getting around to noting yesterday's votive offerings from Mr Postie:


Right! Any new business, or shall I get some breakfast?

Well, "acting on information received" last night (thanks, Len) I proceeded a few minutes ago to the vicinity of the BBC iPlayer and attempted to watch the first 10 minutes of yesterday's "Click" as it had an item on the NHK development of 8K TV systems (Super Hi-Vision). Since there had been a Firefox patch only yesterday, taking it up to 17.0.1, I once again downloaded the very latest Flash plug-in, and (of course) thus once again watched it crash as soon as I'd navigated to the iPlayer page. So (of course) I once again uninstalled it and simply used Microsoft's IE10 browser instead. Poor show, Mozilla and Adobe.

I've actually already been keeping a bit of an eye on these next-generation attempts to part us from our money for retina-testing resolutions. I've even seen a demo (at Gecko) of Blu-ray upscaled to 4K on a fancy projector. But doing that to "Zulu" served only to show up the awful nature of Hollywood makeup and effects in the 1960s. Now, what about that breakfast?

Wait! It gets worse, Len tells me:

Zulu — ahhh. Next time you see it look carefully at the lines of Zulus who appear on the hilltops. They couldn't get enough extras so each group of warriors consist of two guys carrying a wooden frame between them on which are mounted shields, spears, headdresses etc. The giveaway is that they have no feet.

Date: today

"Bring on the empty horses" indeed.

Existential risk

Or, I suppose, the next big thing to worry about...

Many scientists are concerned that developments in human technology may soon pose new, extinction-level risks to our species as a whole. Such dangers have been suggested from progress in AI, from developments in biotechnology and artificial life, from nanotechnology, and from possible extreme effects of anthropogenic climate change. The seriousness of these risks is difficult to assess, but that in itself seems a cause for concern, given how much is at stake.

Various in CPER

I have my doubts about that "soon" given the existing nuclear arsenals that many idiots seem to think are keeping the world safe. I say "let the ants try". There's a related 80-minute lecture by Jaan Tallinn as a podcast here. And a 56-page PDF of light reading here.

Couldn't resist adding this.

"This is nothing like as quick as the human brain," Terrence Stewart, post-doctoral research associate on the project, told The Register. "It's got to be speeded up a massive amount before it even comes close — right now the system takes two and a half hours for the equivalent of a few second's thought."

Iain Thomson in El Reg

I can identify with that. [Pause] Time for a spot of lunch, methinks. It's 13:21 and has soared to a balmy +3C out on my little porch.

I think the next time I get interrupted by Indian-sounding "John" from "Accident Investigation" (or by any of his far too numerous cousins) I shall ask him if he's found Jesus. It might work.

I don't understand...

... Scott Walker's music, but I've just heard a track from his new album "Bish Bosch", out tomorrow, and Jarvis Cocker is chatting to him as I type. Interesting to hear that he's now on the 4AD label. That had some very weird sh1t on it in earlier times. Good... but weird. Bovril! It seems that iTunes...

Scott Walker

... has yet to be talked into believing that I also have — somewhere — the "Scott sings Jacques Brel" album. Either that, or I have yet to be talked out of believing that I bought it. [Pause] And now I've just downloaded "Classics and Collectibles", not least because I've only just discovered that he did a version of the song "Come Saturday morning" from Alan Pakula's first film "Pookie" aka "The sterile cuckoo". It's based on the 1965 novel by John Nichols, stars Liza Minnelli, and I would dearly like to see it again. Or, better yet, see it issued on a Blu-ray. I've been waiting over 40 years, after all...

Mortal (una)musings

Once I'd met Christa, my 'game plan' for Life became very, very simple: grow old (preferably slowly) along with her. Of course, that particular plan had to be scrapped in late 2007. And now, as I catch sight of the "birthdays calendar" in the kitchen (having just flipped it over to December), I discover I'm about to be the uncle of a 40-year-old nephew over in Germany. How on earth does that sort of thing manage to creep up on you? I don't mind my young relatives getting older, but I do object when the same thing happens to me, dagnabbit.

Safe House? Well, if you translate "action" as murder, mayhem, corruption, guns, car chases, and lies all set in South Africa, you'll get the picture soon enough.

Core (non)function?

In its — sadly, finite — wisdom, Apple has removed the "Show duplicates" function from its latest version of iTunes. On the grounds, I assume, that the upload to cloud (paid for) function won't allow you to upload duplicates. So, if I want to clobber the (relatively few) remaining duplicates (still somewhat over a thousand 'songs' last time I checked) I have to pay, upload, and re-download? I don't think so. Not with my monthly broadband cap, that's for sure. Well, unless I don't mind the job taking three years.

It's enough to give you the pip. That, and the occasional track it simply overlooks when adding files to the library...



1  Still only -4C as I supped the first cup that cheers shortly after 09:00. I was in need of cheer; there was an irritating outbreak of noisy / noisome revellers returning home at 04:00 or so who, for reasons to do with either their microcephalic development or their alcohol blood (sic) levels, seemed to feel it was necessary to shout at one another. In fact, there seems to be a whole new generation of Young Turds slowly moving in hereabouts and, no, that's not a typo. I shall just have to out-last them, as I have everybody else on this little estate. The latest departure (from #26, just two days ago) was its fourth or maybe fifth(?) set of occupants — depending whether I include the extremely well-heeled Iranian tenants whose "grannie" nearly burned the place down when doing some good ol' home-cooking on a stove on their living room carpet (sand is less combustible, dear) in the mid-1980s. Not that I actually ever spoke to them. Or any of their predecessors, come to think of it...