clicking loaches!

Our little clown loaches were clicking like crazy after I fed them tonight. It sounds like tapping a tiny pebble against the glass. It was only today that I discovered where the noise was coming from!

calculator porn

For no good reason, I think I need the new HP 50g calculator, if only because it’s so absurdly large. Mind you, since I recently found my 49G again, I don’t think I can justify it.

to work, and back again

Biked to work today, and just got back. Maybe not the smartest choice of a day — second hottest of the year, with thunderstorms threatened — but I made it. Going there was rather slow, as I got lost a couple of times, but coming back was faster than transit.

If I felt really nerdy, I’d post my route as GPX, but it’s a bit twisty.

loaches!

We are troubled by water snails, so Mike at Finatics suggested some clown loaches. We now have four Chromobotia macracanthus zooming around, and they’re the only ones that’ll stand up to the algae eaters.

And I get to say loach again: loach!

people are stupid

There’s going to be some ranting here, so I advise folks to look at this nice picture of a monarch butterfly I took at Bluffer’s Park today, and move along:

monarch butterfly - spotty!

In the park there was a gull that wasn’t moving like the others. I got close to it, and discovered there was a large fishing lure lodged through its beak. I had no way of helping it, and a nearby parks crew couldn’t do anything either. It could fly, just, but the big lure slowed it down, and the trailing fishing line mad it stumble.
I know gulls are often seen as nuisance birds, but no animal deserved
this fate. There’s no fishing and no kite flying in this park because there are so many birds. I’m angry that someone could be so thoughtless.

There’s a picture below the fold. You probably don’t want to see it.

Continue reading “people are stupid”

deadfish

We lost one of the platies last night. I couldn’t see anything wrong with it; its eyes and scales were still bright, but it was definitely dead. The water’s clean, and has very low nitrite and ammonia levels.

Poor wee fish.

say no to NO2

clean water, happy fish; checked the nitrite and ammonia levels, and they’re way low. The water’s sparkly clear, so I think things are slowly settling down in the tank.

Rum Do At WindShare

WindShare‘s having a special general meeting tonight to discuss the following resolution:

Moved that the Board of WindShare recommends to the WindShare I membership at their general meeting of June 7, 2006, the merger of WindShare I and WindShare II for the purpose of entering into the activities necessary for the development of the proposed Lakewind Proposal.

This is quite an important step, and since I’m still in Pittsburgh, I’d hoped to vote by proxy. I was informed by the WindShare administrator that this wasn’t possible; the Cooperative Corporations Act does not allow proxy voting.
I’m annoyed by this, as it looks like WindShare is going to merge its capital with a 10MW project being built on a site with a 6.5 m/s mean wind speed. I wouldn’t develop a project on a site with this low a wind speed, so I asked the following of the board:

Can you clarify, please, that the vote can only be carried if a majority of WindShare members are present at the meeting? It would be grossly unfair if an important vote like this one was carried by a minority.

I would also like to have questions brought to the board, and if possible, the meeting itself. The LakeWind information package states that Bervie has “an average wind speed of 6.5m/s … making this an excellent site for Ontario”. I would not consider a site having this wind resource to be excellent, and it would certainly not be one that would attract a commercial developer. So my questions are:

  • Is it in the membership’s best interests to develop a relatively low wind site? WindShare made their political point with the ExPlace turbine, and now we must show that community wind is economically viable.
  • Would either of the potential sites be forced to curtail output when/if the extra Bruce units come online? While LakeWind would be connecting to local distribution, any generation in that area might be subject to queueing limitations.

So far, I’ve heard nothing, which makes me uneasy.

Danish Modern in Ringkøbing

I’m currently checked into a hotel which reeks of 70s Danish modern — blonde wood, bare brick, smoked glass surfaces — and, like many places in Denmark, cigarette smoke. Being in the presence of an authentic Beocom phone makes up for it though:

Beocom Phone

Also, there’s a cute little wind farm outside; a few Vestas V27s (or smaller) on lattice towers at 56° 7′ 22.11″ N, 8° 13′ 48.94″ E:
Little wind farm near Ringkøbing, Denmark

a sneaking respect for convolvulus

Our front garden seems to be mostly convolvulus; that sneaky bindweed that trails white or pink trumpet-shaped flowers. It grows so fast, I’m wondering if you could harvest it for biomass energy.

I really dislike gardening, except for growing sunflowers. There are a bunch coming up quite well. I wonder if anyone else would like to use the rest of the garden, or suggest things to do with it?

… until someone puts an eye out, of course

Can I just say that styrofoam plate + cocktail sticks (the ones with the little fletches on them) + milkshake straw = teh fun blowdart game?

i saw saws

You have got to see these folks! The Singing Saw Shadow Show were amazing the other night; wild raucous lo-fi that had me on the edge of my seat. I must get the old saw out and rosin the bow.

The support were interesting. Pyramid Culture, while better than Better Than Everyone, are okay if you want to learn about the perils of artificial sweeteners, face transplants and parasitic foetal twins. Faun Fables produced their art-rock pantomime The Transit Rider; fun, and with a fab rendition of The House Carpenter, too.

But go and see this Singing Saw Shadow Show if and when you can. They will blow you away.

the commitments

When I was testing BlackBerry typed-alike words (dactonyms?) I found that sqlite was averaging about 1 insert per second. This is by no means good.

It turns out that, under Perl, sqlite auto-commits after every write. This slows things down terribly. Here’s how to fix this:

When opening the database handle, turn AutoCommit off:

my $dbh =
DBI->connect( “dbi:SQLite:bberry2.sqlite”, “”, “”, { AutoCommit => 0 } )
or die “$!”;

Then, only commit occasionally — say every thousand writes:

while ( … ) {

…$id++;
$dbh->commit unless ( $id % 1000 );

}
$dbh->commit;

It works out about 1000 times quicker this way.

best beat neat nest

Beware, nerdiness follows: I generally like my BlackBerry 7130e, but its multiple letters per key can sometimes give the wrong result. Using word frequency lists from the British National Corpus, sqlite, and way too much programming time, I determined that the key sequence with the most possible word results (81?2) produces best, beat, neat or nest. The device itself suggests also brat and bray, so I should try a longer word list — in my copious free time, of course.
The longest (common words in the corpus) that have the same key sequence are employers and employees, which might briefly cause hilarity in an HR or legal context.

blackberry lost and found

GPS is good. I was walking this huge field, and somewhere in the middle dropped my BlackBerry. I can’t follow tracks for toffee, but with the GPS track map set to high resolution, I found it.

i see…

Blue skies, crops growing, grasshoppers hopping, wind turbines turbing, blue-winged swallows over my head.

In short, it’s a beautiful day in Kingsbridge.