Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Silent Library

Classic clip.
I dunno why but I get some sort of perverse pleasure when i watch this...sort of like watching clips of bones breaking during sporting accidents, only a bit different :|

Thursday, November 18, 2010

California Love

California Love?!
Except for Earthquakes, the nay-say vote on Prop 19, lack of water, the burgeoning debt and crazy ass nonsense laws...
Nice place to visit though. Good wine too.
I sit in class.
I learn about geophys/Earthquakes etc...
Oakland is due for a major one.
Have fun Cali.(XOXO to friends and family who live there tho)
California...Oakland...Califor-nay-eh. Inglewood, Inglewood always up to no good...even Hollywood tryin to get a piece baby.
California...knows how to party
Keep it rockin' Compton

Hey Chris Tucker.

Snake Plissken jumps into my head.
Escape from New York was better than Escape from L.A.

Now I have earthquakes, a barrage of post-apocalyptic/sci-fi movies and Fallout on my mind...

Monday, November 15, 2010


Someone's origami Yoda, not mine.  I made some Geisha lookin' Yoda...had a white face and a Japanese flower-esque coat.
Wanna make an origami Yoda? George Lucas may be a complete fucking c#%t-tard but that doesn't stop me from enjoying the Star Wars Expanded Universe.  Of special note is the Thrawn Trilogy (a.k.a Heir to the Empire Trilogy) by Timothy Zahn!  GREAT!  The Courtship of Princess Leia by Dave Wolverton and Tales of the Bounty Hunters among others...anyways...I digress a little.  Yoda is cool as hell so if you wanna make him here are some links to diagrammatic instructions as well as YouTube video instructions.

 Yodagami [pdf]

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Stone Forests of Madagascar

Madagascar's "Stone Forest"
Most of us have seen pictures of the limestone pinnacles and stone forests of China, but the mysterious island of Madagascar is home to some fantastic karst formations that rival those in China.  These formations are located in the Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park and Tsingy de Bemaraha Strict Nature Reserve.  The National Park is  UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

This is an area of karst plateaus (carbonate rock like limestone, dolomite etc.).  The carbonate bedrock is soluble and the landscape is shaped by dissolution of the rock when water moves over it and cuts through it creating fissures and caverns.  The erosion in Tsingy occurs in vertical as well as horizontal patterns causing the dramatic stone forests.  

Water later seeps into karst caves where it then can flow underground in "underground streams".  The water can carve out caves by dissolution and fill in other caves by precipitating minerals that are in the water (i.e. can form those cool looking needles and pillars in caves called stalactites and stalagmites).  Sinkholes are also common in a karst lanscape and form when the ground above the cave collapses into it.  In short, Karst is extremely complex.

LEMURS! Just hangin' out on the stone

The strange and fantastic geology of the area also gives rise to a glorious collection of plants, animals and other forms of life.  In many instances most of these species are only found within the stone forest. 

Included below are links to a National Geographic article and photo gallery of Madagascar's Stone Forest.
Living on a Razor's Edge: Madagascar's labyrinth of stone (National Geographic Article)
Living on a Razor's Edge Photo Gallery (National Geographic Photos)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Ol Doinyo Lengai: An Active Tanzanian Volcano with a Twist

The native Maasai people regard this mountain as the "Mountain of God" which is what Ol Doinyo Lengai translates to in the Maa language.  Ol Doinyo Lengai is a stratovolcano that is part of the Great Rift Valley located in Eastern Africa where the Nubian Plate and the Somali Plate are diverging (moving away) from each other.  The geology of this system is pretty spectacular but I am focussing on Ol Doinyo Lengai because it is currently the only known ACTIVE natrocarbonatite volcano in the world.

Satellite image of Ol Doinyo Lengai aquired July 16, 2004 while the landscape still showed effects of effusive eruptions.  Recent lava flows (white/beige areas) are days to weeks old.  
Most lavas are rich in silicate minerals (minerals containing silicon and oxygen), hence most of the earth's crust is made up of silicate minerals.  However the natrocarbonatite lava that erupts from Ol Doinyo Lengai are rich in rare sodium and potassium carbonate minerals.  The lava is erupted at low temperatures (500-600 degrees Celcius), due to these low temperatures (the lowest temperature lava on Earth) the erupting lava appears black in the sunlight unlike other lavas which have that characteristic red glow.  Natrocarbonatite lavas are much more fluid that silicate lavas and flow almost as fast as water.  When the minerals in the lava react with moisture in the atmosphere they undergo rapid weathering causing the erupted black lava to quickly turn a grey white color within a few hours.  The resulting volcanic landscape is unique from any other volcanic landscape in the world.  The last known eruptions were in 2007/2008.

Ol Doinyo Lengai 1966 eruption
Carbonatites contain niobium, a metallic element used in the production of steel alloys, superalloys, and superconducting alloys.  The unique properties of niobium make it ideal for construction of jet engines, rocket systems and airframes.  Carbonatites may also contain tantalum (used as a capacitor in electronic equipment and as a substitute for platinum), uranium, thorium, copper, iron, titanium, vanadium, barium, fluorine, zorconium, anomalous concentration of RRE (rare earth elements) and other rare elements.  Some of these elements are of economic importance for obvious reasons and therefore carbonatites are valuable resources.

Industrially important minerals associated with some carbonatites are apatite, barite and vermiculite.

Lave appears black and very fluid when it erupts

Some sources:
Ol Doinyo Lengai (Wikipedia)
Carbonatite (Wikipedia)
Under the Volcano: Roger Mitchell's Geological Research has Economic Implications for Canada and Beyond (AGORA Online)

Hello Weekend

Oh the weekend...what can I say...except time for some comedy movies and rage+contemplative music for the soul :P

Alright, so I really want to see the movie Due Date.  I could care less if it was the most terrible, I want to poke my eyes out and eat shit movie there ever was.  The pure fact that it has two of my favourite actors in it will more than make up for it.  Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis I love you guys.  I mean shit...even that dog is cute as fuck.  Honestly, they could just run around like retards (which is probably what they do) and I would be happy.

Now for another random movie...
The Big Lebowski!  Hilarious as shit (good shit)!
"Has the whole world gone crazy!? Am I the only one here who give a shit about the rules?! Mark it zero! MARK IT ZERO!"

Hell yeah Walter.

I had a nostalgic Fifth Element moment today as well.
Leeloo Minai Lekarariba-Laminai-Tchai Ekbat De Sebat.
Cheekan Goot!
Aziz light!

It's music time!

Had a bit of a foo fighters time...

Still then reminded me of Teardrop

Then I was reminded of Highway of Endless Dreams

Happy weekend!


Thursday, November 4, 2010

No Durian on the Train!

I was sitting on the train today making my way home listening to my music, just pondering and relaxing when all of a sudden...*sniff sniff*...I think to myself "NO IT CAN'T BE!"...a double take...*sniff sniff*...that smell!  It's...It's...IT's...[look towards asian lady sitting across from me]...DURIAN!  NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.  That container...on her lap...will she open it again...I turned off my music...she is chewing loudly...I am still safe.  What's this?!  The chewing has stopped?! Oh god no...don't open the conta...NOOOOOOOO.

Yes.  Sorry to those who love Durian (榴莲)...but it smells like someone shart in an old pumpkin.  It also looks and feels like uncooked chicken when you open it...or alien spawn in some sort of freaky spiked egg sac.

NO DURIANS!  Punishment...unmentionable!
I have the final solution.


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Electronic implant allows blind to see

This technology is nothing new, but it has progressed quite a bit in the last few years. Eberthart Zrenner and colleagues at the University of Tübingen have developed a microchip carrying 1500 photosensitive diodes that slide into the retina where photoreceptors would usually be. Individuals with retinal dystrophy become blind due to the degeneration of photoreceptors and this new implanted microchip allows them to see. The diodes respond to light sending signals to the brain via an external power source connected to the eye by a wire.

The New Scientist Article with video below:
Electronic implant allows the blind to see

Monday, November 1, 2010

Yousuf Karsh

Yousuf Karsh was an outstanding Canadian photographer and one of the best portrait photographers of all time. I adore his work. He was a master of studio lighting and used many different techniques to make his pictures just right. Below are samples of some of his portrait work.

Alfred Hitchcock

Andy Warhol

Anita Ekberg

Betty Low

Fidel Castro

Fidel Castro

General Dwight Eisenhower

George Bernard Shaw

Hellen Keller with Polly Thompson

Humphrey Bogart

Mother Teresa

Muhammad Ali

Nelson Mandela

Audrey Hepburn

John F. Kennedy

Albert Einstein

Pablo Picasso

finishing with what is possibly Karsh's most famous portrait, that of Winston Churchill

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Happy Halloween

Classic Halloween movie.

Short Thriller.

and then there is Indian Thriller...

and then there is German Techno Indian Thriller...

When zombies take over...

Bill Murray you are awesome!

I laughed so hard when I first saw this. Well...good bye ghostbusters.

Happy Halloween people!  Oh, I watched "How to Train Your Dragon" last night.  I thought it was pretty good...I love toothless (the black dragon).

Speaking of of my favorite clips from the boondocks.

now for something mildly Halloween of my favourite Venture Bros. clips

Saturday, October 23, 2010


One of my best buddies sent me this.  Made me smile.  Awesome. not trust fireproof curtains.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Sherlock Holmes

I really liked the "recent" Sherlock Holmes movie (I know a lot of people didn't but meh that's fine), so I felt like posting a couple of my favorite scenes.  Robert Downy Jr. is one of my favourite actors too so I am a little biased, but nothing wrong with that ;)

As shitty,lonely and/or frustrating as my days may get these scenes always bring a smile to my face.

Sherlock Holmes fight scene.  Link below since embed disabled.
Sherlock Holmes Fight (YouTube link)
The fight scene is great.  The fighting is superb and it shows the clever, calculating intellect of Holmes.  Also I like the scence right before this where Holmes analyzes Mary only to end up eating steak by himself. 

The bed scene (for kicks)

I always liked casually reading the Sherlock Holmes stories as a child, there was always something about them that brought me back.  There are many times it seems I can relate to Holmes, perhaps this is what brings me back to reading the stories or watching the shows/films (as terrible as some of them may be). 

I can appear to be a melancholic, cold, aloof asshole but if I am in the middle of a grand adventure or into something I truly love then I am beaming and passionate...regardless of what mood I appear to be in.  I am observant, perceptive, precise, deductive, knowledgeable, and logical.  I like to learn many particular skills as long as I deem them useful.  Logic and science are my life and anyone I have trusted has betrayed me or left me in the dust, usually at the worst possible time.  I am very weary of the opposite sex and even of the same sex so therefore I am a loner who divulges in my own self interests to ease /shield the pain and make life more enjoyable and interesting.  I can still be decently appealing and charming to the opposite sex (even though I am a little eccentric), but time has told me I have bad luck and should remain alone.  There is that one however, there is always that one.  I love the intrigue and espionage involved in the adventure.  Oh yeah, can't forget Canne de combat (French cane fighting), don't know that one yet but its fucking awesome.

Of course there is always a needed "side-kick", even for a loner.  Someone who keeps me going even though they may not know it (because I can be an arrogant, stubborn ass who doesn't admit it).  I may be moody and cold but there is always a strong bond between my Watson and I.  My Watson calls me when I sleep in or when I do not show up when I am supposed to.  My Watson kicks me in the ass when needed and tells me to get my act together, but at the same time is also calm and encouraging.  We go on great adventures together and have quite a grand time.  All in all I love my little Watson. 

Oh yes...and the dog...well there isn't quite a dog yet...or I have accidentally done away with the thing...maybe it's time for a new dog.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Nut-cracking Monkeys and Random Creatures of the Deep

One of my favorite scenes of the BBC Life Documentary shows the Capuchin Monkeys of Boa Vista, Brazil using stones as tools to crack open a nut.
Also:Nut-cracking monkeys find the right tool for the job (New Scientist Article)

I love the Blue Planet, Planet Earth and Life documentaries. Enjoyable study/work breaks.

Deep sea stuff is crazy too and at least directly related to what I am studying.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Diamagnetic Levitation

An oldie, but I love it.  Apologies for short, sporadic posts in the next few weeks.  I tad bit busier than usual I'm afraid.

Diamagnetic Levitation. High Field Magnetic Laboratory. Nijmegen

Levitating Frog

Levitating Strawberry

Yeah leviating frogs and strawberries with diamagnetic levitation is fucking cool, but it actually is quite useful/important. They can test the effects of weightlessness on living things. Pure, large protein crystals grow much better in a microgravity environment so diamagnetic levitation is also useful in this regard.

New Scientist: Magnetic gravity trick grows perfect crystals [Article]

Also, I have just been informed as I am writing this that Benoit B. Mandelbrot (The father of fractal geometry) has passed away (1924-2010).  At least he lived a decent and relatively long life.

In memory of Benoit Mandelbrot here are pics of the Mandelbrot set (each image is a magnification of the image before it)