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By TheophileEscargot (Tue Oct 20, 2009 at 07:46:19 AM EST) Reading, Watching, Consumerism, MLP (all tags)
Reading: "Fever". Watching: "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus". Consumerism: "Canon Powershot SX200". MLP.

What I'm Reading
Finished Fever by Sean Rowe. Very Elmore Leonard like novel about a former FBI agent getting involved in the hijacking of a cruise ship.

Not bad, brisk and fast-paced, but somehow it didn't really click for me. Just seemed a bit too derivative and mechanical: Rowe doesn't seem to have found his own voice. Almost seems to have too much plot, with too much melodrama crammed into too little space.

Still, the twistiness keeps it entertaining and it's a diverting way to pass the time.

What I'm Watching
Saw The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus at the Electric cinema. Not bad overall. Gilliam seems to have embraced digital effects, and the dreamscapes are great. However, the plot plods along, and the "imagination is good" message is one he's done many times before.

The gimmick used to compensate for the death of Heath Ledger is just about workable, but the film misses his absence: I think it would have been better if he'd been around for more filming in the base-universe.

Ate nearby at the famous Mexican cafe Taqueria: can't judge how authentic it is, but the food was devilishly good. Some of it's fiercely hot though. I'm a wimp, but R's used to hot curries and was astonished to find her dish almost too hot for her

Ignored everyone's advice and bought the Canon PowerShot SX200 camera. Looks pretty decent so far. The 12x optical zoom is impressive, and I'm hoping the bigger aperture will help with the blurry-as-hell night shots I kept getting from the Ixus. Has full manual control without any firmware fiddling. However, it does feel a bit flimsy, especially the pop-up flash, the cable-connector cover. Has a lot of little protrusions unlike the Ixus where everything is nicely flush.

It's quite a bit chunkier than the Ixus, would fit in a bag or a jacket pocket, but not shirt pocket. Will probably keep the Ixus as my wandering-around-with camera, and just use this for holidays and trips.

Here's a picture of a bird with the zoom on, taken handheld:
Heron with zoom

And the zoom off:
Heron without zoom

Size comparison:

Random. Mood tail. Speed reading tool (via). Regender websites (via). Ayn Rand fashion.

Socioeconomics. sex trafficking exaggerated. Job market OK, considering. Zombie sociology, (via).

Science. Modern humans puny. Capacitor bus.

Video. Powers of Ramsey. Creepy graffiti stop motion. 5 seconds: Dude Bro Party Massacre 3.

Articles. Problems with geoengineering. Do the Tories have the stomach for localism?

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Good sharp pictures, those by nebbish (4.00 / 1) #1 Tue Oct 20, 2009 at 08:05:04 AM EST
I think you can tell the difference already. Looks like a really good little camera.

I used to be of the opinion that most compacts were pretty much the same, but found there was a massive difference in lens quality even between the Ixus 85 and the Ixus 860is.

It's political correctness gone mad!

Modern humans puny by gazbo (4.00 / 1) #2 Tue Oct 20, 2009 at 10:07:46 AM EST
From the Bad Science forum:
Searching the internet turned up hundreds of copies of similar press releases, but not much else. I did find a reference to the original work, not by the book's author, on the calculation of running speeds (, and the speed quoted for the fastest runner was about 20 km/h, not 23 mph (37 km/h) - not slow, but not fast enough to trouble Usain Bolt, or enable the the author to publicise his book all over the world.

I recommend always assuming 7th normal form where items in a text column are not allowed to rhyme.

Aha, good catch! [nt] by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #3 Tue Oct 20, 2009 at 10:14:29 AM EST

It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?
[ Parent ]
current reflections ... by BlueOregon (2.00 / 0) #8 Tue Oct 20, 2009 at 03:02:05 PM EST
  • ... the linked article: provocative in a way, but:
    • indicative of typical, crappy "science" reporting
    • a wonderful place for ignorant creotards ("It's a shame people call these made up evolution ape-man stories 'science'. They should just call it 'the religion of atheists'. [David Thomas, North Wales, 20/10/2009]) and similar morons ("There's no need to go back that far, how about 60 years ago. Now, men walk toy dogs, boys play with dolls, and discussing 'sensitivity' the sign of masculinity. I thank God we have a traditional community who live without the PC nonsense, used guns and knives as items of utility - your world is only as safe or as dangerous as YOU choose to make it." [gishere joan, phoenix, usa, 20/10/2009]) to show up, as usual, in the comments.
  • ... the provided PDF by way of Bad Science: more restrained yet also more interesting in its details and reasoning (thanks for the link), such as:
    • "The presence of footprints from so many individuals representing all sizes and ages is a clear indicator of the collective activities of adults, adolescents, and children at the site."
    • "The footprint site widens our perceptions of a past society more graphically than other forms of archaeological study. It also presents an added dimension to our understanding of the morphology and physical capabilities of Pleistocene humans that is not implicit in osteological studies."

I have to admit that occasionally -- okay, often -- I get a kick out of really stupid people posting things to the intarwebs, so the Mail article did provide some laughs.

[ Parent ]
Mexican by ucblockhead (4.00 / 1) #4 Tue Oct 20, 2009 at 10:52:00 AM EST
The name "Taqueria" is amusing because it definitely has a low-rent feel.  In San Francisco, a taqueria is a place where you go up to a counter and they assemble your food to order in front of you. Often very good, but the sort of place you go for a quick lunch, not a nice dinner.

The menu seems to be missing the burrito section.  It also seems to be a variety of different styles, but I suppose one would expect that.

Good Mexican food should be hot, but not as hot as Indian or Thai.
[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman

They're definitely going for that sort of vibe by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #6 Tue Oct 20, 2009 at 12:12:47 PM EST
It's furnished more like a cafe than a restaurant, and they don't take bookings on the busy days.

The prices aren't that bad by London standards. My friend went to a terrible chain Mexican restaurant in a very unfashionable location and paid pretty much the same.
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?

[ Parent ]
Not quite the same by ucblockhead (4.00 / 1) #7 Tue Oct 20, 2009 at 01:05:29 PM EST
There are no waiters at a taqueria.  You walk up to a counter, say something like "Super Veggie Burrito".  The girl says "Beans?"  You say "Black".  The girl says "spicy?"  You say "Yeah".  She makes it, gives it to the cashier who then puts it in a bag with chips and charges you $5.

It's nothing like a cafe, more like fast food.  (Except good.)

Not to say that the place isn't authentic food-wise, but it sounds nothing like a SF style taqueria.  (When I was in San Diego, they had similar restaurants, but didn't call them taquerias.)
[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman

[ Parent ]
(Comment Deleted) by yicky yacky (4.00 / 1) #5 Tue Oct 20, 2009 at 10:54:21 AM EST

This comment has been deleted by yicky yacky

The problem with localism. by ambrosen (4.00 / 1) #9 Tue Oct 20, 2009 at 04:01:34 PM EST
Is that idiots who lead initiatives in strictly local organisations get ambitions to be nationally important: cf.:
NHS Bristol has embarked on an exciting Organisational Development journey which will enable it to strive towards becoming the UK leading PCT.

Seen in the blurb for ajob description today. The actual job description contained the phrase "world class".

What exactly are world class local facilities?

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