Saturday, 28 March 2015

coincidence? you decide

8:45. Phone rings.  Foreign accent, claiming that they are calling from Italy.  (I think not.) Wanting to talk to me about something to do with my kitchen.  I say “Do you know what time it is!” and hang up.

Another day, another scammer, I think.

10:45. Phone rings.  Foreign accent: “Are you getting unsolicited marketing calls from overseas?”  Turns out, they are trying to sell me a device that stops overseas calls that my membership of the Telephone Preference Service doesn’t stop.

“So, you are making an unsolicited call to sell me something that will stop people making unsolicited calls to sell me something, because you know I don’t want unsolicited calls to sell me something?”

What a coincidence this happened so soon after an unsolicited call to sell me something, at an unusually early time, where that first caller very carefully emphasised they were calling from overseas.

Second scammer called from 08451297936.


11:50. Phone rings.  Local accent (makes a change).  “Hello.  We’ve been informed someone at your address has been in a car accident.”

“Absolutely not.  You’re a scammer.”

Third scammer called from 02037695670.

It must be the (slightly) warmer weather bringing out all the creepy crawlies.

sequestering carbon, several books at a time XLII

The latest batch, all fiction.

There’s a few new series/authors we are trying out, plus some stalwarts.

Including a new Jo Walton!  Yay!

All we have to do now is find time to read them.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

a different sort of eclipse

A colleague dashed in my office and said “have you seen the balloon?”  Well, there are often hot-air balloons in the sky, but he seemed quite insistent, so I got up to have a look.  And immediately went to grab my phone to take a photo.

17:34 GMT: the balloon has gone down
(Our windows at work don’t open more than a crack, for safety reasons it seems, so I had to photograph through the glass almost into the low afternoon sun, hence reflections.)

We all stood around watching and wondering, and then the eclipse started:

17:37:39 GMT: note the thinning at the base of the red giant,
as its internal pressure can no longer support it
17:37:57 GMT: the eclipse/collaspe is well under way
17:38:09 GMT: it disappears so suddenly
17:40 GMT: last contact

Sunday, 22 March 2015

sequestering carbon, several books at a time XLI

The latest batch:

The Jo Walton is a collection of her great SF reviews, many of which I’ve already read on the Tor website.  I can now read them again in proper dead tree format.

Saturday, 21 March 2015

TV review: Arrow, season 2

So, Oliver Queen sort of saved his city from Malcolm Merlin’s plot (apart from the big disaster that essentially was the plot), but totally failed to save his friend Tommy. Now that his raison d’ĂȘtre plot is over, what’s a Vigilante to do?
My name is Oliver Queen. After five years on a hellish island, I have come home with only one goal – to save my city. But to do so, I can’t be the killer I once was. To honor my friend’s memory, I must be someone else. I must be something else.
Well, he can reform (not be the killer he once was, that is, he was just last year), get a new name and a proper mask, and still go after bad guys to “save his city”. Save it from what precisely is not initially explicit, but soon enough a new Big Bad appears, and Oliver is now hampered in his fight by his new morality. And by the ever-increasing number of people who know his “secret” identity: a regular Scooby Gang’s worth.

The villain of the week, plus the arc, are again fun. People fight. People agonise over fighting and over putting their loved ones at risk (hint: keeping someone in the dark about Important Facts in order to Protect Them never works). People become super-strong psychopaths. Some people die. Other people stop being dead. Yet again, the best bits are the flashbacks to The Island, and what happened there to make Oliver Queen the recovering psychopath with superior archery skills he is today.

Worth watching.

For all my SF TV reviews, see my main website.

Friday, 20 March 2015

and then the sun came out

Here is the solar PV data from dawn to dusk, plotting production against time.  The orange background is what we would expect with a clear sky (no cloud) and full sun (no moon) at this time of year.  The black line shows the production today.  It is way down in the morning, due to the clouds.  But that dip: that’s the eclipse!

And then, for the rest of the day, almost perfect sunshine!  The black line goes up almost vertically, as the sun comes out just after 11am, and stays out for the rest of the day.

the eclipse ends, and the clouds turn to light haze


fabulous Faroes

I had thought that I would have been disappointed to have travelled to the Faroes to see the eclipse, only to be clouded out. Then I saw this.

[via BoingBoing]

For all my social networking posts, see my Google+ page