Archive | November 2004

Snow Patrol Gig.

Last night was the Snow Patrol gig at the Birmingham Academy. It was absolutely wonderful. From the moment they came out to the contact music from close encounters of the third kind I knew that this was going to be special. They mostly played their latest album, “Final Straw”, but they also throwed in some excellent older ones. The crowd were bouncing for most of the gig which was interesting as I did not expect the reaction to be quite as energetic. It was good though. It was definitely worth the money. One thing that wasn’t worth the money was the rank Carling sold at the gig.

The support bands, “Morning Runner” and “the Gears”, were good. Morning Runner were excellent with a nice combination of piano and guitars and The Gears were good with a few different styles and a bald front man getting into it like Jack Black wood – musically not the best but entertainment value had to be a 10/10.


Does starnaming = fraud?

While I was sitting around, not doing my Astronomical Data Analysis techniques assessed problems, I for some unknown reason started thinking about the issues of naming stars. In the past stars were named after gods and imagery. On occasions stars are named after people, such as Barnard’s Star. This does not happen often though. Astronomers prefer to use catalogue numbers since it is much easier to use. Obviously names are appropriate for the brightest stars. I can imagine standing with a group of people observing and saying “look that’s HIP 27989!”. I am sure no one would be at all impressed but if I said “look that’s Betelgeuse!” I am sure I would get a better response.

This actually brings me on to my little rant – star naming companies. If they are trying to pass on that naming the star is more than a novelty item then they are fraudsters. I can see that this would be a nice novelty gift but a word of warning to anyone thinking of actually purchasing the rights to a name – IT MEANS NOTHING! It will not be recorded anywhere apart from in the naming companies database. No Astronomer (amateur or professional) will ever use it. You are not likely to EVER see it. It is bound to be a star which is too faint to see with your eye and also very hard to see with a telescope. To see it you are bound to have to be a skilled amateur astronomer. So please don’t do it if you really think you have named that star. If you want to spend money on this as a novelty then I am sure it would make a good present to the right person. Rant almost over 🙂
The only people who can name stars are the International Astronomical Union . Oh a good rant on this topic can be found at So I think star naming = fraud. Maybe time the astronomical community took action.

busy, busy

Gosh I am busy. I am in working really hard… for once. Astrosoc went well tonight got all the scopes out. We are going to buy a 10″ one 🙂
As for being busy well I am kind of enjoying it. Well it is stressful at times and don’t think I will get everything done (I will – that is my nature!) but I have to say I am learning lots. Well time to make a few changes to the RAS NAM 2005 user registration system and then off to bed. Don’t you just love MYSQL – well I do.. at times!

The Manchurian Candidate

The Manchurian Candidate was an excellent film. I saw the trailer a while back now and heard about its release in the states and was very eager to see it. I went to watch it yesterday. I would highly recommend seeing it though I feel it might not have the same impact as it could have had around the USA Presidential election.

I don’t do Astrology!

The other day I was informed of an article of our exploits for the Venus Transit. Oh I was shocked to find out that my department has also changed name. According to the Alumni magazine of the University of Birmingham we are now the School of Physics and Astrology! ARGH!

Alumin mag, oh dear!

good dog

Today my dog Max died. It is like losing a best mate because at times that is exactly what he was. He was not just a dog but a member of the family.
I honestly don’t think I can remember a time clearly when he was not present. I will miss him. (oh sorry Mom if you read this and upsets you – same to dad and melissa). Max aka Macca aka Maxwell and various other names that he has been called over the years was always a silly dog but a loyal one to. I remember a time when he bit a little shit after he kicked my dad. All I have to say is that Max was hard and at times a bit of a wimp. Whatever he will be missed.

Max, the dog

Site, programming, SQUIDS and Rice

Firstly site news! I hope everyone likes the new design.
I am very pleased with it. I think it looks nice and neat which I guess can be argued as a bad thing. I like it. I especially like the new now playing feature. I still have a few problems. These are mostly in IE and range from problems with sizing the page correct on small resolutions, this is also apparent in Mozilla but to less of a case – when I get change I will play with this – not for now though. The other problem is the “white space” issue with IE. For some reason if there are nested DIVs (I wont bore you with the code) present IE puts in stupid space. This is a problem with the majority of my blog posts. It will not be a problem from now one. I am going to go back and fix the problems when I can be arsed. If anyone spots any problems please contact me.

Today I started to work heavily on my project programming. I am stuck – I have decided to give it a rest for today. I am going to Warwick tomorrow so this should be fun! Well it is their open day, time to see if I can get on a PhD program! I want to stay in Birmingham but well I have to have backup options.

Finally yesterday I had one of the funniest lectures in a while. It was on SQUIDS – yes Superconducting QUantun Interference Devices. The titles was funny. SQUIDS can basically be used to measure very sensitive magnetic fields (fractions of the Earths – which is very small). In fact they could in theory be used to measure the magnetic field of your brain. That’s when the first funny comment came from my excellent lecturer – “You can put a SQUID on brain to measure your brains magnetic field”. This was followed by the term “SQUID ENGINEER”! And then finally him informing us of the problem they had with a logo (a picture of a SQUID) telling demonstration kits to American Uni’s. This problem was that it was holding a beer and the Uni’s didn’t like this since they can’t drink beer (legally) till they are 21! What a stupid law. Ok jibe at America over for today! Well maybe not… Condoleezza Rice … enough said! Well maybe not I can’t believe that this lying cow is now America’s top diplomat. I think George W has paid her back for what she said about September 11th 2001! Bye bye foreign policy. ARGH!!