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Saturday, 31 January 2009
Orange Tulip


I was playing around with my macro lens this morning, on the subjects of the recent time lapse experiment. The flower looks completely open but that is only because the lens is actually inside the flower. So there is quite a bit of distortion. The depth of field is also very narrow with this lens (although I can increase it with a narrow aperture and slow shutter speed, which requires the tripod). For some reason, since taking this photo I have the song Golden Brown going around my head. Perhaps this flower is reminiscent of a poppy. Click on the photo above for a larger version or go to the original on Flickr.

Posted by bigblue on 31/01/2009 at 12:21 PM
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More on the Missing Bees

Is the BBKA too close to Bayer? from Gord Campbell.

This BBC report highlights what I had previously warned about, and the complicity of the British Beekeepers’ Association in this.  More over at the British Association of Radical Beekeepers (BARB) and Bayer Kills Bees.

In May 2008 there was a disaster in Germany where half a billion bees (!) were killed by Bayer’s clothianidin pesticide, which had been applied as a dressing to amize seed. This clearly highlighted the role that pesticides play in the disappearance of our bee populations. According to BARB:

There is mounting evidence that the Neo-Nicotinoid family of systemic neuro-toxins are having a devastating effect on bees worldwide. Imidacloprid, Fipronil and now Cloanthinidin - have all been cited in mass-die-offs of tens of thousands of bee colonies in France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and the USA. Imidacloprid - manufactured by Bayer- has been banned in France since 1998; it was banned in Germany last week - along with Fipronil and Cloanthinidin. There is mounting evidence that the global use of these deadly, highly persistent, neuro-toxic insecticides - are probably at the root of Colony Collapse Disorder. The mass colony collapses have all occurred in areas where these pesticides have been introduced as a ‘blanket solution’. Here in the UK Imidacloprid is used on approx 2.4 million hectares of Oilseed Rape, Potatoes, Peas, Beans, winter wheat and barley. In France and the USA it is the dominant pesticide on all sunflowers and maize crops.

Bonus Link: Pocket Guide to reducing dietary pesticide exposure from The Organic Center.

Posted by bigblue on 31/01/2009 at 07:22 AM
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Friday, 30 January 2009
The Mile-High Light Show

From Cities Glowing Under a Night-time Sky by Ettubrute:

On my night time flight back to SF from Amsterdam, I noticed that the lights from cities were making the clouds glow. Really spectacular and ethereal - it was really seeing the impact of urban environments from a different perspective. Each glow or squiggle represents one town or city!

Luckily the flight was half empty, so I was able to set up an improvised stabilizer mound made up of my bags, pillows, and blankets for my camera to sit on.

We were around the midwest at the beginning of the clip, and there were fewer cities once we hit the rockies. the bridge at the end is the san mateo bridge.

Technique: 1600iso; beginning - 1 (30sec) exposure / 45secs, end - 1 (4sec) exposure / 10 secs; total elapsed time: around 3 hours?

Equipment used: Nikon D300 (interval shooting mode), Tokina 12-24mm.

Music: Bloc Party - Signs

Via Guardian: The Mile-High Light Show

Posted by bigblue on 30/01/2009 at 11:22 AM
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Thursday, 29 January 2009
Last day in Munich


Here’s another photo of the white stuff. It’s been slowly building up over the last few days. My meetings and workshops went well and it’s time to go home.

Posted by bigblue on 29/01/2009 at 06:18 PM
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DEC Appeal for Gaza

This is the appeal the BBC didn’t want to broadcast.

The BBC’s area of influence is worldwide; its unhappy decision not to air the Disasters Emergency Committee Gaza Crisis Appeal is important news here on the West Coast.

I should like to add my voice to that of China Mieville and all the others protesting this confusion of political or sectarian bias with a legitimate and urgent humanitarian appeal.

~ Ursula K. Le Guin, Portland, Oregon.

Regarding the BBC’s unwillingness to support the appeal for relief to the people of Gaza:
It is unconscionable that the BBC refuses to make a distinction between “unbiased reporting” (which apparently means, bending to lobbying pressure) and supporting the humanitarian action that is so urgently needed in GAZA ... whoever may be responsible for causing the destruction.

Over 3,000 innocents in GAZA caught in the cross- fire are dead or wounded ... families have been decimated ... whole communities have been leveled ... infrastructure has been destroyed ... and you refuse to join humanitarian efforts to bring aid to them.

What is the matter with you people?  Are you blind or just spineless?

Innocent people urgently need supplies of food, water, medicines, shelter ... yes, and limbs too ... as a result of the annihilation of GAZA.  Meanwhile,  the BBC puts its corporate tail between its legs and hides behind the thinly-veiled excuse of “impartiality”. 

What’s the difference between supporting an appeal for aid to the victims of a Tsunami and supporting a relief effort to the innocent victims of war ... any war?

As an independent broadcaster, the public mandate of the BBC should be to place it squarely on the side of HUMANITY.  That being so, the BBC should be at the forefront of reporting the whole story even as it supports the greater cause of HUMANITY.
Shame on you!  You have lost my respect and until the BBC can show me true “impartiality”, the BBC can havemy TV license back.

~ David Soul - Actor

Posted by bigblue on 29/01/2009 at 04:21 PM
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Wednesday, 28 January 2009
More snow in Munich


There is a bit more snow this morning. I think that’s our taxi waiting below.

Posted by bigblue on 28/01/2009 at 07:17 AM
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Tuesday, 27 January 2009
Bits and Peace


In my hotel here in Munich I turned on the TV last night and was surprised to see Ne základnám (the No American Bases movement of Czech Republic) on the news. One would think that the message is self-evident, but I would in further and say that true lasting peace can only come through disarmament. 

Then this morning I was surprised upon waking to turn the TV on and find that it featured two naked women playing ping pong! I guess it could be seen as an extreme version of that popular spectator Olympic sport, woman’s beach volleyball.

Posted by bigblue on 27/01/2009 at 06:41 PM
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Snow in Munich


I woke up today to this scene of light snow here in Munich.

It’s quite picturesque and we have a 10 minute walk from the hotel to our (prospective) client. Unfortunately we can’t remember if we are supposed to turn left out the hotel or turn right out of the hotel (and “walk straight for 10 minutes”). So do we split up or should we all take our chances together? These are the first questions of the day.

Posted by bigblue on 27/01/2009 at 07:40 AM
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