Category Archives: Technology

What Is This??

Saw this the other day, parked in Kwinana near the new Aldi Supermarket. Did a double take, then took some photos.

The best description I can come up with is that it looks like an armoured 3-wheeled motorbike. Very futuristic in a retro way, a la Thunderbirds. Supercool! 😄

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Got home and checked out the website stamped on the side of this strange 3-wheeler. Well, actually you shouldn’t, as the domain has been hijacked by someone and filled with spam and junk.

I did find out who the inventor is, through searching keywords on Google, specifically the name “Tracer MKIII”. There’s more than one way to skin a cat 😉.

Here’s the website where you can read more about the inventor, Mike Richardson, and find out more about his projects. He’s quite local to us, in Fremantle. I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled for more sightings of this strange but comely metal beast.

http://www.mikerichardson.net.au/major.shtml

A Quote Of Relevance

My work laptop broke the other day. Well, not exactly, but it dished out some authentication errors when I tried to hook up to the work WiFi. My work email account decided to stop syncing. I rang our IT guys, who requested that it be couriered over to them to be fixed.

Ta ta, computer. I got on to the IT guys with a list of other things to look at. They said it would be a couple or three days, before I’d get the laptop back.

I felt like I’d lost an arm or something. Day in day out I lug that beast on my back, to work and back home again. Those 2 days I didn’t have it in my backpack, I felt like a weight had gone from my shoulders. Literally.

I’m rather attached to that laptop. I’d tweaked its settings, so all the
applications I needed to do my work were lined up neatly on my screen. Every photo belonged to a labelled folder. Every document was filed away. My desktop was tidy (by my standards, anyway. There is a method to my madness).

And then suddenly I didn’t have all that anymore. I didn’t even have the physical laptop. I tried using someone else’s computer while they were away. But whilst my laptop was an Apple Macbook, the other computers at work were Windows based. I felt like I did when I first switched from an Apple mobile phone to the Android platform – rather alien, to say the least! After faffing around for a while trying to get various applications downloaded to a temporary computer, I felt like was wasting my time on a futile mission…or perhaps my time would be better spent elsewhere, doing something different. Such as with the dogs.

I guess the morale of the story is this:

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You just don’t appreciate something or someone until it or they are gone. How often do we take something for granted? Or fail to appreciate someone’s efforts? How often do we assume that thing or person will always be there for you? And neglect to let them know that they are appreciated?

I got my laptop back just the other day. More or less, anyway. There are a couple of things still not fixed on it, but that’s being looked at and at least I can start catching up on all the things I’ve missed out on the last few days. After a fashion, anyway. Not having the old ball & chain round my leg, metaphorically speaking, was quite an experience. It was like a busman’s holiday. 😉

Speaking of holidays…..

The Genetic Studies of Dr Elinor Karlsson

For anyone interested in learning how dogs can truly be Man’s Best Friend and even save his life in more ways than one, the work of Dr Elinor Karlsson is essential reading. As part of my ISCP Diploma in Canine Psychology course, I had to do some light reading on this subject. It’s exciting and intriguing, and I wish I had more Science residing in my brain cells, but hopefully here is a summary of Dr Karlsson’s scientific ambitions, in a (very small) nutshell:

Why are the genetic studies of Dr Elinor Karlsson and her team so important?

The main principle behind Dr Elinor Karlsson’s research is the premise that humans and dogs share not only many common genes but also a wide range of diseases, including cancer, diabetes, epilepsy, narcolepsy, obsessive compulsive disorder, heart disease, eye diseases, deafness etc. On top of that, these diseases also display clinical manifestations that are remarkably similar in both humans and dogs. Dr Karlsson hopes that by mapping the dog genome, and by getting dog owners to contribute towards a doggy DNA pool (the Dog Genome Sequencing Project) for further research, she and her team will be able to pinpoint exactly where diseases can occur in specific breeds of dogs, as in the exact location or loci on the dog’s genes, and how to prevent/treat/cure them, and, ultimately, how to transfer their findings to human research and testing.

Dogs live alongside humans and are exposed to similar pollutants in the environment. Diseases occur spontaneously in dogs, just as in humans, over the course of their lives. As dogs have a lifespan around 7 times shorter than humans, diseases of “old age”, such as cancer, manifest earlier in dogs and run their course in a few short years. Treatment for dogs necessarily proceeds more rapidly, and results are seen faster. Clinical trials that might take 5-15 years tested out on humans, will only take 1-3 years in dogs. So, it is hoped that dogs can provide a suitable testing ground for new and novel therapies. If it works on dogs, it might just as well work on humans. Dogs could REALLY prove to be Man’s Best Friend, in more ways than one.

More information on Dr Karlsson’s research can be found on this link, which makes for intriguing (if rather scientific) reading: http://www.nature.com/scitable/content/leader-of-the-pack-gene-mapping-in-700103

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(Photo of Dr Elinor Karlsson taken from this site: http://www.umassmed.edu/news/news-archives/2015/12/wall-street-journal-umms-study-of-canine-dna-may-yield-discoveries-to-help-people/ which gives people the opportunity to help Dr Elinor Karlsson’s work by contributing their own dogs’ DNA to her growing database for further research. Photo by Michael J Butts).

The Unsung Hero

Nikola Tesla had vision. No, Nikola Tesla had VISION. He envisioned a world where energy was freely available. He imagined (and created) inventions that would help the world run more efficiently, without harmful emissions, without depleting the Earth’s resources. He imagined a world with Clean, Renewable and Free energy.

And guess what, the World shut him down. Some scientists stole Tesla’s ideas and claimed credit for them. Edison (Ahem!!), Marconi (Ahem!!). What Tesla was proposing would free Society from becoming slaves to Money. Whoa!! We can’t have that, can we? So, the greedy, grasping, profiteering megalomaniacs that are the world’s “leaders” in industry, engineering, manufacturing, science and government colluded and decided to wipe Tesla off the face of the Earth. Why? Self-preservation, of course. Profits before People. Must Make Money. Why let Society have something for free, when you can control its production (by either withholding information, making the thing illegal, or deliberately mis-informing and mis-educating the public), so you can then sell it and make lots of money?

Tesla died a pauper, unnoticed, unfeted. His ideas got locked away in secret archives (too dangerous for Society’s own good??), his Science was quietly removed from school textbooks, his name all but forgotten. Everyone has heard about and studied the work of Thomas Edison…but hardly anyone knows who Nikola Tesla was.

Until recently, that is. Nikola Tesla has risen from the grave. Or rather, his spirit has touched the lives of many people who, outraged at how the World mistreated perhaps the single most intelligent and innovative scientist ever, decided to revive the memory of Tesla, and bring Tesla back to the forefront of Society’s attention. And so, once again, Tesla is becoming known now to a whole new generation of human beings, who, we can only hope, will be inspired and motivated by his work, to pick up right where Tesla left off, and continue making giant leaps in Science.

The Truth will always come out.

Here’s a 15 minute short film I found on YouTube, which encapsulates the life and times of Nikola Tesla. Under the YouTube video, there’s a long list of other videos about Tesla, that you may want to watch too. The mind boggles at how such a Big Thing like Tesla’s theories and inventions could simply get buried under a ton of capitalist shit. Excuse my language.

I believe Tesla was way ahead of his time, by centuries even…as was my other favourite scientist, Leonardo da Vinci. Yes, I said Scientist. Da Vinci too was a true Visionary, and foresaw inventions centuries ahead of his time (we’re talking helicopters and spectacles in the 15th century). If Da Vinci had had the materials and if the technology of his day had supported his ideas, no doubt he would have moved Society forward by leaps and bounds. But alas, it was not to be.

This site describes 10 of Tesla’s inventions. Some were credited to other scientists, but generally known to have originated from Tesla. Makes for an interesting read.

Another interesting website about Tesla’s work.

This site describes in detail some of Tesla’s “Lost” inventions. It’s written from a scientific point of view, and will appeal to tech boffins reading this post.

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(Images sourced from Google)

Social Observations: The New Religion

I was just scrolling through my Facebook feed, having read another shared post about the latest Apple vs Android debacle, followed by another one about some pastor who’s asking his congregation for a few million dollars so he can buy his own private jet…and suddenly my mind just made a connection between the two hitherto unrelated posts.

Apple fans have long been against Android fans, even more so against Samsung users, as Samsung is Apple’s main competitor. To say they hate each other is perhaps putting it mildly. I’ve owned both Apple iPhones and Android mobiles, so I can appreciate both sides of the coin. But I’ve lost friends on Facebook because I dared compare the long, snaking queues to buy the Apple iPhone 6, back in September 2014, to the bread queues of the Recession. Yes, really…one of those so-called “friends” on Facebook called me a hypocrite for using an iPhone and liking tech devices and gadgets, while at the same time “slagging off” Apple for pandering to consumers’ greed and egos.

It’s widely accepted that diehard zealots of Apple are members of the “Cult of Apple”, and that they will defend Apple’s products with their lives. Even when shown hard bare facts that some of Apple’s products are not as good as their competitors’ products, or not worth the bang for their buck. Even when shown how Apple devices are made using what’s tantamount to slave labour, in Chinese factories where workers never see the light of day and where suicides are a common occurrence. These Apple Cultists will gratefully swallow whatever expensive, non-essential new piece of bling Apple spews out.

I went to see what the big fuss was about, when the Apple Watch came out recently. (I wonder why it isn’t called the iWatch, with the “i” prefix, like all Apple’s other products?). The Apple rep at the store was waxing lyrical about this and that, even though I pointed out that 1) it doesn’t take or make calls 2) it doesn’t take photos 3) you can read your emails, sure, but you can’t reply unless it’s with a short previously prepared message 4) it’s going to pose a real driving hazard because drivers who get pinged while driving will be taking their eyes off the road to look at their wrists 5) why the obsession with counting heartbeats and steps? If you’ve been running, or if you’re excited, of course your pulse will be racing. So what? 6) Apple claims there’s a watch for everyone. Wow, like Joe Bloggs the hardworking blue-collar worker with a wife, 2 kids and another one on the way, can afford to fork out $500 for something that a $50 watch can do better? And, in this day and age, who can afford to splash out on a $24000 gold Apple Watch? When the same $24000 can feed Joe Bloggs’ entire family for a whole year?

But, as with iDiots, there will always be some rich people with no care for their community, environment, family, but only for themselves, who will buy that $24000 Apple Watch.

Just because they can. And just because it has the Apple logo on it, that they can show off. The world can go burn in hell, for all they care. It’s their money, they can buy what they like with it. What global warming? What climate change? What rainforest? What drought? What hunger? What poverty? What homelessness?

So…

Back to where I first started. If we were to compare Apple and Android to religion, then you could say that Apple is Catholicism, and Android is Protestantism. (Meaning no disrespect to Catholics and Protestants here, just using the religions as analogies).

Apple considers itself The Best, The Most Righteous, Catholic God, while Android fans are Protestants because there are so many different brands out there, all with their own good and bad points, but they just can’t agree amongst themselves so the schisms keep happening.

My two cents’ worth? Don’t follow the blind leading the blind. Find your own way, make your own path, follow principles that sit true with you and you alone. Buy products or follow brands that are ethical, guilt-free, GM free, organic, sustainable. Don’t just follow the Emperor, for the Emperor has no clothes.

And you know what else? If you really sit down and think about it, you don’t even really need a mobile phone. Not even the most basic model. People were perfectly fine before mobile phones came along. Now look at us. Tied to technology, not for any useful purpose, though, just to distract us from facing reality. Stuff you can and should do at the office at work, has now come home to us. As adults, we now have Homework again. Why not leave work at work, and go home and enjoy quality time with your family and children instead? Don’t be a slave to Technology, just like we are slaves to Money.

Me? I love my gadgets, to be sure…but nowadays I’d rather be in my studio making Art.

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Playing with Diana

Haha…bet that made you wonder who Diana is and what sort of play I meant. Wink, wink!

Since we are in polite company, I shall resist the temptation to make salacious remarks and put my double entendres away. (I’m sure there’s meant to be a comma in there somewhere, oh there you are 😄).

The “Diana” in question here is not a person but a camera. A cheap plastic camera made in Hong Kong in the 1960s, which caught the imagination of enthusiasts even after being discontinued, so much so that there has been a resurgence in its popularity and a renaissance in its production. To own an original Diana camera today is a sign of enthusiasm for photographic nostalgia (not to mention money). Luckily, because modern-day Dianas are easily available, you can get your dirty hands on a new one for less than $100.

Yes, it’s delightfully analogue! It even uses Film! It’s untouched by Apple or Android, it doesn’t know what an App is! Actually, that’s not quite true true…because, even though the Diana remains analogue, and relies on film rolls (what are those, I hear some of you ask), there are many websites and online forums devoted to Diana photography, and there are also Apps showcasing Diana cameras and other retro plastic cameras.

Personally, my introduction to mobile photography came about via Lomography, or lo-fi photography from the likes of the Diana and other plastic cameras. I remember playing with my iPhone 3 back in 2010, and discovering Apps with Lomographic filters and effects. And just like that, I was hooked. I didn’t go as far as to buy a modern Diana camera, though they were easily available online on eBay and at retro shops such as Pigeonhole in Australia. What put me off was the fact that the camera relied on actual film, which needed processing at a camera shop, and that meant trips to the shops, which meant money to be spent on processing and on film. Do you know how hard it is these days to even find analogue film? And don’t forget to factor in the cost of processing film. Also, with me being digital on the iPhone, I could see at a glance whether a photo would be retained or simply deleted from my camera roll, and I could choose which photos to develop. Not so with the Diana, where you don’t get to see what your shots look like, before they are developed.

Having said that, today’s Diana offers pinhole functionality, where you basically remove the lens and use a pinhole filter instead. The resulting image is captured onto the film. This makes for an array of interesting effects such as blurred images, colour bleeds, double exposures, haloes and strange blobs. Very retro chic indeed. Hmmm…maybe I should get a Diana after all, just for this function…or I’m sure there’s an App for that, right?

I downloaded an App the other day called aptly enough, “Diana Photo“, which is happily available both on Android and Apple iOS. The user interface is simple enough – you simply load up 2 photos from your smartphone, then choose what effects you want to use for blending them. Now, this is different from standard photo editing blend modes (screen, difference, multiply, overlay etc). You can’t tweak any of the parameters, so it really is pot luck whether a blend works or not. Here’s a screenshot of the user interface:

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Yes, it’s all in square format. Instagrammers will love this App.

Here are the different blends available on Diana Photo. There are 21 in total (sorry, they wouldn’t fit on just one screenshot):

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I was just playing with this App when it struck me that these “accidental” double exposures were beautiful in their own right, and it would be a waste not to to create a Lenormand divination card deck using this App.

And so I have. The “Diana Lenormand” by AlyZen Moonshadow is now in production as I write this. When I get the printed copy I will share the results with you all.

Meanwhile, here are some examples of the type of images the Diana Photo App produced:

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Cymatics

Awesome video! And based on fact, not fiction. Science meets Music meets WOW!

http://youtu.be/Q3oItpVa9fs

Cymatics is the study of visible sound. It was first pioneered by Dr Hans Jenny, a Swiss scientist. Today there are a growing number of fans and proponents of this fascinating new(ish) genre in music. Nigel Stanford is an electronic musician based in New Zealand, who specialises in trance and ambient music. The video above of Nigel’s, which I first saw on a friend’s Facebook wall, ably demonstrates the physical manifestation of music. Also remember to check out and download Nigel’s other tracks.

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Here’s Wikipedia’s definition of Cymatics:
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cymatics

Cymatics is exciting, as it is happening Right Now. And it continues to be researched and developed by different people from different walks of life, each with an aim of their own – scientists, mathematicians, visual artists, musicians. And when everything comes together, that’s when pure Magic happens.

Happy Christmas, everyone! May 2015 bring all your dreams and aspirations to fruition.

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More Videos of my Lenormand decks

Yesterday I posted up videos of 3 of my Lenormand divination card decks. Since then, I have created slideshows of 3 more of rhe decks I’ve made, using the moviemaking App “Videoshow”.

And here they are, for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy! (All rights reserved AlyZen Moonshadow).

1) The Time-Worn Lenormand

2) The Geometrical Lenormand

3) The Eclectic Lenormand

All my Lenormand cards were created using only my Samsung Galaxy S4, Android Apps, and my own photographs or images from the public domain and clipart.

These decks are, or will shortly be, available for you to purchase on my eBay and Etsy store listings. Just search under AlyZen Moonshadow, AlyZenM, or simply type in the names of the decks. 🙂

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http://www.alyzenmoonshadow.wix.com/alyzenmoonshadow

It’s a bird, it’s a plane…

…it’s a plane. On Saturday 25th October 2014, as I was out in the garden watering my plants, I heard the drone of a plane overhead. Where we are it’s not uncommon to see biplanes and vintage planes flying over, and on celebration days like Anzac Day, the jets that fly past Perth often go over Rockingham first. Nearby Garden Island houses Australia’s largest naval fleet, and sometimes we hear their jet engines.

But this day was rather different. As I looked up, expecting to see one of the usual suspects, what I saw instead was something quite different, and something I’d never encountered before. My son’s best friend, Cooper, was over for a playdate that afternoon, so I called both boys out to witness the strange plane in the sky. Cooper is quite an aviation buff, but this had even him scratching his head.

This is what we saw (yes, I had to Google it until I found it, as I didn’t have my camera or mobile phone on me when it happened):

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Weird, huh? Like a kite.

I’m sure you’ll agree it’s not something you see every day. After finding the image on Google, I still had no idea what this plane was. I couldn’t make out it if had 2 or 4 engines, it was too far away, and I only managed to find some images on Google after searching under several possible keywords (some of them being such as “plane with diamond-shaped struts, plane with cables, kite-like plane”).  But at least I was in the right area. I decided to search under the name on the tail – Fugro, for more information.

Turns out it’s a “Geophysical survey aircraft, undertaking magnetic and electromagnetic surveys for mineral exploration companies” (Source: http://www.airliners.net) This particular model is the CASA C-212-CC40 (or possibly CC50). Not much information is forthcoming from the internet, but judging by the look of the cables suspended in a diamond-shaped configuration between the head, wings and tail of the aircraft, one would assume perhaps they are to aid in the collection of data or geological mapping of the ground.

Sounds about right. Western Australia’s most important industry is the mining industry.  I Google “Fugro” and found the company’s website. I found some information about aerial mapping from this link.

Well, there you go.  You learn something new every day!

I can hardly contain myself!

Well, I couldn’t help it, you know I love puns. I also like recycling and repurposing, and some time ago when I was researching beach huts and garden sheds, I also noticed a proliferation of container houses. It’s an intriguing idea alright. Perhaps some day…

Pinterest, my favourite go-to for visuals (Google for text based articles, Pinteresr for images), generously dished out these gems. Enjoy!

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http://www.alyzenmoonshadow.wix.com/alyzenmoonshadow