Monday, 27 May 2013

A few things

1. I think it's quite interesting what this whole "Internet of Things" thing says about the human mind. We like to represent the abstract with the physical -- we like symbols that are more than just symbols, and are in some way actually are the thing they mean. I quite want this little printer that makes flipbooks out of gifs, even though I know both the printouts and the camera would just be more junk in my house.

2. Charlie Stross wrote something interesting about spimes a while back, pointing out that it makes a difference whether the spime was started on the internet or in what the kids call meatspace: "my cat is a spime, but she was instantiated via another cat". I like Stross's blog enough that some day I may revisit his fiction.

3. Fuzzy rainforest caterpillar looks like Donald Trump's toupee

4. There are some good weather maps on the Met Office's website. Go to the five-day forecast page -- click on "Get detailed forecast" in the 5-day forecast box on the front page, or try going straight here. (This will give you the chance of rainfall as a rough percentage, by the way, which is a bit more grownup than the usual pictograms.) Then click on the Map tab at the top of the table of information. You'll get a map with tons of different options available as radio buttons down the side. My favourites are: temp. map; cloud and rain; and surface pressure. The cloud and rain are based on satellite imagery (though of course the forecasts are predictions of the satellite imagery). For surface pressure you might need to zoom out to a UK-wide rather than a local perspective. If you click on the play button underneath the image it will improvise an animation by showing you a series of images -- it might have to do one cycle slowly before it has them all loaded up, depending on how good your broadband is. I do like to watch the Atlantic warming up the Cornish peninsula, or a band of frontal rain sweeping across the nation with little bubbles of cumulus behind it.

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