Day 411 – Tripping hazard

Lol. A little play on words there, because this post is to announce the return of StumbleUpon – which was one of the best (ok, and occasionally worst) ways to waste time on the internet. And the competition is STRONG (PointerPointer, Geoguessr, Flickr Explore, Angry Birds on Chrome, TruthFacts, QuizUp on Android etc etc.).

I know one regular reader who might be very excited by this. (If you think this is you, well, it probably is, because there aren’t many other regular readers, to be honest.)

StumbleUpon was great, but then it moved to/got taken over by in 2018. And that site is only available via an app on Apple products at the moment. But not everyone is stupid enough to use an iPhone, and so StumbleUpon – in whatever guise or name it now exists – is unavailable to the sensible parts of the internet-using spectrum.

It’s EARLY DAYS, but now something very like it is back.

It’s not quite the same – it has a new name: Stumbled, and a new address – And it’s NEW, so there are only 1801 sites listed on there so far. But with more collaboration and more posts like this, there will be more users and more sites. It’s a project by Kevin Woblick, who is “a Web Engineer and Open Source Creator from Berlin, Germany.”

Says Kevin:

Since starting with web development in 2008, I created a lot of different projects, including a bookmark manager, an invoicing software, a web archive for video game quotes and many more.

And now this.

Time will tell if it manages to get off the ground and up and running, but it’s nice to have something like StumbleUpon back on the internet – even if it isn’t quite StumbleUpon… yet.

Day 389 – Of helicopters

Helicopter news. Firstly, tenuously, the Cape Town fire continues today. Reports that it was under control were quickly rubbished by a huge flare-up and with the South Easter continuing to pump, the City Bowl remains the place not to be this afternoon. The helicopters were doing their bit when they could, but the wind has kept them grounded for at least some of the day. The fire is heading the other way from us at the moment, but we can still smell smoke everywhere and there is ash falling in the garden. There has been a lot of damage, not least to the UCT library:

And some video here.

Elsewhere, a local radio station reported on a trail runner who was chased by the fire yesterday. She’s pretty fast.

10 to 20 km per second is rapid.
10km/s is about Mach 30.
20km/s is 72,000kph. That’s 2½ times faster than the International Space Station travels.

Lisette was very, very lucky to survive unscathed, given that running at that speed, she would likely have spontaneously burst into flames from the air resistance alone. I don’t know how she did it.

More seriously, the emergency numbers to call in Cape Town are Landline: 021 480 7700 or Cell phone: 107.

And then, another helicopter thing, this time 287.52 million km away.

It might not look like much, but I remember the first time I flew my drone. It was amazing and that was only done in my living room. It wasn’t on Mars. And I didn’t video it.

I watched the live feed at NASA’s JPL as the data from this flight came in. Absolutely incredible.

Here’s the full video. Mind-blowing stuff.

Day 351 – Presenting data

OK, this was going to be a longer post and then I had a hell of a day and now I’ve given up on anything except braai’ing and beer, so it’s now going to be a shorter post.

However, my point still stands.

And the point that still stands is this:

If you have data to present, it doesn’t matter how interesting or dull they are, presenting them in an engaging manner can still capture the attention of your audience.

For example, you might have some really dull data about lots of different types of the colour grey which you need to share with your colleagues. A pantone colour table is not going to be the way to do it. No-one cares about the difference between light elephant and rainy sky. However, if you… if you… erm… actually, this is a poor example, because off the top of my head, I can’t think of an entertaining way of presenting data about several differing tones of grey.

If only there was something…

But never mind.

Here’s the data I want to share today. And what an incredble way of doing it.

Yesterday marked 10 years since the 2011 tsunami in Japan, and I was sent this – a snapshot of all the earthquakes in and around Japan in 2011. Japan is pretty seismologically active, so there’s plenty going on, but it’s still rather grey data, right? Not if you present them like this.

You’ll need your sound on and you’ll want to watch (at least) until the 11th March (about 0:45), for obvious reasons. Keep your eye on the event count in the bottom left corner.

It’s quite something, isn’t it? What a way to present fairly basic data in a form that is easy to understand at any age and with any degree of expertise. And what a way to demonstrate the sheer terrifying scale of that earthquake on 11th March 2011.

If you want to view the whole year, it’s on Youtube here.

Day 321 – Tenuous

It’s Day 321 of the SA lockdown. And so Ted Rogers’ bizarre 1980s game show “321” (secondary presenter Dusty Bin – a er… bin) has been invoked.

Part quiz show, part game show, part variety show, it had the weirdest riddles with the most tenuous connections. e.g. 


Still, if you’re looking for really tenuous links, then come right back to the present day, with this gem (which apparently still needs explaining to some people).

Oh dear.