Archive | August 2005

Back from Reading

I’m tired, exhausted, rocked-out, wrecked and sleepy. I’ve had a great time. I’ll write more tomorrow but for now its time for bed.

Scammer Pay back time…

A friend drew my attention to [this] incredibly funny prank. It’s long but definitely worth the read. If you don’t fancy it just take a look at the front page image, I’m sure you will be intrigued to read it by that point.

Reading Tomorrow

I’m off to the reading festival tomorrow! I can’t wait. Expect there to be some rather odd images and many band reviews to be posted on my return but now I have to get ready and get prepared to carry a heavy rucksack and not go the toilet for a few days..

Last years pics can be found [here]
and last years reviews can be found at [blog page] to start with, in total there was 4 blog entries but I’m too lazy to link them all

We Are Scientists @ Club NME

Last night we went to see We Are Scientists at [Club NME] in Birmingham. This takes place at the medicine bar down at the custard factory. I’ve never actually been down there, I don’t go down digbeth too often. It is actually quite nice down there, I was surprised. My past experiences of digbeth, past the bull ring that is, haven’t been great but these have normally involved the coach station. Anyway the gig! It was ok. The room was well suited and there weren’t many people there. The first band, who I have no idea what they were called since I don’t think they mentioned their name (good publicity lads!) weren’t bad. They were entertaining, though I did have the feeling they must have taken huge influences off the Strokes and the Chilli Peppers. We Are Scientists were good. I’m looking forward to seeing them again at Reading this weekend. If I do, then it will be the first time I have seen two bands within a week! Scary thought really, but they are good. Probably my favourite song of the moment is by them “Nobody Move Nobody Get Hurt”. They were very entertaining and I’d like to get hold of more of their music.

The only problem I have with Club NME is the bands are on late as it is supposed to be more like a club but it doesn’t really turn into a club night and it means that you have an expensive journey home. Luckily for me last night – I got a lift!

SQL Random Rows Code

Time for another piece of SQL code. This might, like the [previous one], be useful to someone. What this one does it from a database in the SDSS database, with objID and plate in, returns them in a random order. Now why would you want to do this? Well, maybe, you just want to return a random sample from the SDSS without having to download the sample (due to its size it is unfeasible to download it all) and run some C program. This allows the randomization to be completed without having to download any data. The idea for this came from [].

— don’t bother with useless row counts
set nocount on

declare @rand_temp float

CREATE TABLE #temp (objID bigint NOT NULL, Ran_Num float NULL, plate int NOT NULL)
INSERT #temp (objID, plate) SELECT objID, plate FROM z_table

–assign a new random value to each key value in #temp

OPEN Random_Return
into @rand_temp

WHILE @@Fetch_Status != -1
UPDATE #temp SET Ran_Num = rand()

into @rand_temp

CLOSE Random_Return
DEALLOCATE Random_Return

–export the data from the temp table
select *
INTO z_random
from #temp
order by Ran_Num

The Euro, yes or no?

I’m not one for resisting change and I’m definitely for the Euro but I think this image says we should think about it…..


I found this image on my computer earlier today when I was tidying up. It is off the launch of the Euro. If this is the way a new major currency was launched then I think as sensible people we might want to have a rethink!

Star Wars: Empire at War

LucasArts have released the first trailer for the upcoming Empire at War game and it looks brilliant!
See the trailer at: [LucasArts]
This is to be probably the most graphically detailed space stratergy game ever made and promises a huge amount of control. The only problem is we have to wait till february.

The fun of the weekend

After all the traveling I did yesterday I thought I’d pop into the Church to say hello to my dad and gareth who were helping out with a VE Day 60th anniversary celebration party. I decided to stay for a drink and that’s when the fun the began. Firstly we had a rather wasted young man claiming he had no where to go and that he needed some money to get to town. Well we were not gonna give him any cash as he was claiming that he also needed it for a free hostel! Anyway we gave him some food and drink and he went. He then came back!! Argh, what do you do now – call the police? It was obvious by this point that he probably did need some help. In the end we called a homeless shelter in the centre of Birmingham. They said they would take him, which is what he was concerned about. So we said we would pay for him to get to town on the bus. He seemed pleased. We gave him a bunch of food and I went to take him over to the bus with a lady. As I walked across to the bus stop, BANG! A car crash. So grabbed the attention of Gareth (who later told me he though I was in some sort of trouble) as we did not want to leave the guy alone without an escort. I went running up the road. It turns out that some guy had hit two stationary cars and turned his on its side. Luckily he was ok and no one else was hurt. The emergency services were called and took care of this. I went back to see what was going on at the bus stop, got there as the guy got on the bus. Later on I found out he went one stop (as the accident was blocking the road) and ran. Well he had his chance and at least he had eaten something.

Brannel and back…

I’ve had a fun weekend. I traveled all the way down to Bodmin to give a talk to Brannel Astronomy Club. I think my talk went well, people seemed interested and asked me some interesting questions (at least they were not too random). I got asked by the organisers to try and fit something into my talk. I either had to mention “toilet seat” or “food processors”. I went for the toilet seat. Thus meaning that NGC 6822 is now known as the toilet seat galaxy! I have to say Cornwall is such a wonderful place, it looked cleaned and rather picturesque. I thoroughly enjoyed going down their, even though it did take about 4 hours on the train there and the same on the way back. At least I got a seat. The annoying thing on the way back was that Virgin’s seat reservation system was down and so I thought I’d struggle to get a seat as the train was packed. Luckily I managed to get a seat quite easily. Once back in Brum I went to Pizza hut with Kat and then to the Troc for a beer or two …which was needed after that journey. Here are a few images I took during my visit:

On the train:


Plymouth station…just got my connection


Part of the audience, I thought I’d take a photo for a change


Lovely Bodmin Parkway


Lovely Bodmin Parkway, again.


Speaking at Brannel Astronomy Society

Tonight I am giving a talk to Brannel Astronomy. If you are around St. Austell and want to hear me rant on about Galaxies then I’m sure your welcome to attend. Time for that 4 hour or so train journey…I just hope I get my connection at Plymouth on time.