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!!

An excellent chain letter

Hello, my name is Fred. I am suffering from rare and deadly diseases, poor scores on final exams, extreme virginity, fear of being kidnapped and executed by anal electrocution, and guilt for not forwarding about 50 billion fucking chain letters sent to me by people who actually believe that if you send them on, then that poor 6-year-old girl in Arkansas with a breast on her forehead will be able to raise enough money to have it removed before her redneck parents sell her off to the traveling freakshow.

Do you honestly believe that Bill Gates is going to give you and everyone
you send “his” email to $1000? How stupid are you? “Ooooh, lookyhere! If I
scroll down this page and make a wish, I’ll get laid by every Playboy model
in the magazine!”

What a bunch of crap!

So basically, this message is a big FUCK YOU to all the people out there who
have nothing better to do than to send me stupid chain mail forwards. Maybe
the evil chain letter leprechauns will come into my apartment and sodomize
me in my sleep for not continuing the chain which was started by Jesus in 5
A.D. and was brought to this country by midget pilgrims on the Mayflower and
if it makes it to the year 2000, it’ll be in the Guinness Book of World
Records for the longest continuous streak of blatant stupidity..

If you’re going to forward something, at least send me something mildly
amusing. I’ve seen all the “send this to 50 of your closest friends, and
this poor, wretched excuse for a human being will somehow receive a nickel
from some omniscient being” forwards about 90 billion times. I don’t care.
Show a little intelligence and think about what you’re actually contributing
to by sending out forwards. Chances are it’s your own unpopularity.

The point being? If you get some chain letter that’s threatening to leave
you shagless or luckless for the rest of your life, delete it. If it’s
funny, send it on. Don’t piss people off by making them feel guilty about a
leper in Botswana with no teeth, who’s been tied to a dead elephant for 7
years, whose only savior is the 5 cents per letter he’ll receive if you
forward this mail, otherwise you’ll end up like Maranda. Right?

Now forward this to everyone you know. Otherwise, tomorrow morning your
underwear will turn carnivorous and consume your genitals.

Thanks, Fred

site in flux

you may have noticed that the site seems to be doing odd stuff at the moment.

well that is ’cause I am updating the design.

at the moment most of the blog should work. there are still lots of probs with this in IE. DAMN MICROSOFT SHITE! It works fine in Firefox.

You probably can see the new site design now – hope you like it .I feel it is much better.

None of the site actually works at the moment – apart from this and the majority of my blog.

Will get it all up and running within 24 hours! argh

Programming and tennis

Today I had a rather energetic game of tennis with Tom – I feel great because of it.

Apart from that I have spent most of the day (apart from going to the Post grad open day) programming. I have got lots done – my user registration is more complex than ever and seems to work quite well. I also decided to do an online quiz to see how much I had picked up about xhtml without actually looking at any references. Either the test was easy or I learnt quite a bit as I go 17 out of 20. I reckon it was a combination of the two.


After I did the test I looked at the info on the site I did the test on. It was quite good. If you want to learn some XHTML go to: