Empty your Pocket

Every now and again, I save some (possibly) interesting thing to my Pocket account so that I can either:
a) read it later,
b) blog it later, or
c) forget about it for ages until I realise just how full my Pocket account is and I dump all these (possibly) interesting things into a single blog post.

Yes, this is a c) moment. So let’s not beat about the proverbial here.

No water for Cape Town ships

I’ve made that sound worse than it is. Yes, we have got a drought, but the sea is still full. Ships can still come and go from Cape Town. That’s not a problem.
What they can’t do – for the first time in history – is stock up with fresh water for their onward travels. Because that is something that we don’t have much of. I suspect that this is only “the first time in history” thing because of the combination of a bad drought and enough actual organisation to prevent ships from taking on fresh water.
Still, it does show how bad things are.

DroneDefence is a thing
And a company.
I’m not saying that all drone pilots are as pure as the freshly driven snow. Nor that drones can’t be used for nefarious purposes. I’ve told you that already. But the fact that there are now businesses out there who are selling guns which fire drone nets and signal blockers to bring down drones seems a bit over the top. The photograph of the mysterious hooded individual with the remote control in his hand makes a welcome and sinister return.

Sheffield United keep winning
I don’t think many United fans could genuinely have believed that the Blades would start the season so well. But hey, we’ll take it. Reading were the latest victims of our currently continuing success.

And staying in the Steel City:
Sheffield gives you wings!
Yep. Soon, the plane taking you from Cape Town to Johannesbegale or Dubai might be flying thanks to wings made in Sheffield. The facility, due to open next year will make (bits of) wings for Boeing’s 737, 737 MAX and 777 planes.
Technically, the bits are called actuation system components, so if you have any systems that need actuating, now you know where to go. Sheffield. It’s Sheffield.

Is this man in a 1937 painting holding an iPhone?
No. No, he’s not. Obviously.
But, yes. Yes, it does look a bit like he is:

However, since the iPhone came out in 2007, and the painting was completed 70 years previously, you really shouldn’t need me to help you out with the obvious negative response.

Soviet Space Shuttles
If you were thinking of breaking into the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, you shouldn’t, because that would be illegal. However, reading the stories, looking at photography and enjoying the videos of people that have broken into the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan is completely legal. And you can do that using the link above.

The Soviet Union’s Buran space shuttle program stands as one of the saddest episodes in aerospace history. After NASA began working on its space shuttle program in the early 1970s, the Soviet Union conceived of its own orbiter program, the eerily similar looking Buran shuttle. Ultimately, the vehicle made just one flight, an uncrewed mission in 1988. The Soviet Union’s collapsing economy doomed the program.

Some amazing footage.

And thus ends this quick trip into my Pocket. Not because I have run out of stuff to share, but because the lab is calling. And so there may be more in the near future.
Head to the 6000 miles… Facebook page and click LIKE to stay informed. And tell your friends to do so too. I’m quietly hoping to get to a million LIKEs before the end of the year. Hold thumbs.

On this week’s show…

[Puts on Jeremy Clarkson Top Gear voice]

A boat gets rescued
Batman consults his smartphone
A spider eats a mouse
A church is turned into a swimming pool
An amazing 3D printed sundial
An academic says not to worry about burning cars

…And Richard Hammond visits a brewery in Norfolk.

[comprehensively fails to punch an Irish producer]

Tuesday Ephemera

Apparently, this is the third Tuesday ephemera post I’ve done, as you may have noticed from the URL above. Evidently, after the chaos and panic of Mondays (they always seem to surprise people, don’t they?), Tuesdays and Fridays are the days when I unbundle all of the links I’ve collected and collated in my Pocket. Today is no different, as thus, without further ado… Stuff, but with more additional comments than usual:

3 month YouGov polls show folly of campaigning:


At least, it shows the folly of competitive campaigning. I’m sure that if one party didn’t campaign while the others did, that would make a difference, but given that no-one’s percentages have really done anything very much since mid-January, think of the money, effort and tedium that could have been saved by everyone just not doing anything to woo voters.
Also, it shows the danger of having (really) crap policies – support for UKIP and the Greens having actually dropped as they revealed their plans should they score an unlikely victory.

Local beach clean up yields skull 

The skull is hundreds, perhaps even thousands of years old – the remains of a young adult probably part of a hunter-gatherer community.

Yes. The real surprise was that it wasn’t a more recent murder victim.

This Xilent remix of Ellie Goulding’s Figure 8 is very pretty:

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/71479604″ params=”color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]


A nice piece on the memories recalled when your childhood home is sold. My parents still live in the same house that I grew up in, so I’ve never really experienced this. Also, it isn’t a massive seven bedroom Yorkshire farmhouse and we didn’t have our wedding reception there, so this is a bit foreign to me as well:

Thirty people slept in the house, with 20 more in tents in the field. Many never made it to a bed, and Mum and Dad reckon that’s the highest number of overnight visitors they have ever had.

How could there actually be any doubt? Were there other occasions when there were “ooh, maybe 49 or 51 – I can’t quite recall”? Or did they previously also own a hotel with 26 double rooms, which may once have been very nearly at full capacity?
But look, this rather bizarre statement shouldn’t detract from what is an otherwise lovely, heartfelt piece.

Finally: Sheffield now and then. Or then and now, depending on how you poke the pictures.

For me, this was interesting not just because I come from Sheffield, but also because firstly, it’s really well done and secondly, just the way that some photos showed massive differences between the old and the new, and some where there were still elements that had been preserved. Sadly, I can’t link to individual photos, but if you have the time and/or inclination the 1945 VE Day crowd outside the City Hall (about a third of the way down) is especially interesting, showing the shrapnel holes from German bombs in the columns, and the patching work still visible today.

On the downside, many of the older photos were taken in the heyday of the city’s industrial past. That’s because that was the thing that made Sheffield special then. That was what was happening, that was the interest. Essentially, that was why the photo was taken – to show that industry, not the green spaces and parks, which didn’t exist back then. The modern day equivalents of those industrial scenes are fairly depressing, in that much of that industry has gone and has been replaced by soulless office buildings or (only arguably worse), nothing at all. It doesn’t help that the present-day photographer seems to have successfully avoided getting any sunshine in any of the photos.

Historical interest 10/10.
Accurate portrayal of modern-day Sheffield: 2/10.

Still. At least it’s not Luton.

Some more Friday Ephemera

Hey, blog reader. Let’s not beat about the Baardskeerdersbos here (more of that below): you’ve had a good week on here. Well. Prolific, at least. Nine posts on here already and I’m about to add a tenth.
Forget your old adages about Quality over Quantity. You get what you’re given.
And here comes another spoonful right now. Open wide…

Let’s start with Baardskeerdersbos – it’s a tiny village in the Overberg – not too far from the Black Oystercatcher. Crazy name, crazy reason for the name…

The name “Baardskeerdersbos” in Afrikaans or “Baardscheerders Bosch” in the original Dutch literally means “Beard Shaver’s Forest”. The accepted explanation for this name is that a species of solifuge inhabits the area, and that this arachnid is referred to as a “beard shaver” because it cuts hair to use for nest-building.

Cool. What’s a solifuge?



We move on, quickly. To Nurofen, who have been accused of misleading consumers in Australia:

The products at the centre of the dispute are Nurofen Back Pain, Nurofen Period Pain, Nurofen Migraine Pain and Nurofen Tension Headache.
The consumer watchdog has alleged that making each product look like it treats a particular type of pain is false or misleading – because the tablets inside are identical.
The drugs, which are sometimes sold for different prices, contain the same active ingredient – ibuprofen lysine 342mg.

Well, just buy the cheapest one then. That was easy.


Here are some Cybergoths (yes, they are a thing), dancing to the theme music from Thomas the Tank Engine.

Let’s be fair, you can make most anyone look a bit silly by simply changing the soundtrack on a video of them dancing, and the further you go from the original, the sillier it looks. I think it’s reasonable to suggest that the gap between Industrial Aggrotech Power Noise and theme from animated kids’ TV programme about a talking steam train is about as far as you can get, and therefore we may have already reached peak silliness in this particular video format.


Intelligence news now (or rather lack of intelligence news, lol).

After the State Security Agency joined the long line of spy shops to become a laughing stock, the government is fighting back. On Thursday afternoon, they warned us of an espionage plot hatched by a CIA superspy team comprising Julius Malema, Lindiwe Mazibiuko and Thuli Madonsela.

Seems legit. No, really, it does seem totally legit that our brain-dead State Security Agency thought that this might actually be true.


This is scary. The Anatomy of a Hack.

In the early morning hours of October 21st, 2014, Partap Davis lost $3,000. He had gone to sleep just after 2AM in his Albuquerque, New Mexico, home after a late night playing World of Tanks. While he slept, an attacker undid every online security protection he set up. By the time he woke up, most of his online life had been compromised: two email accounts, his phone, his Twitter, his two-factor authenticator, and most importantly, his bitcoin wallets.

Basically, it all stemmed from the hacker gaining control over Davis’ email account. The rest was fairly simple. If you take one thing away from this post, it should be those cybergoths dancing to the Thomas the Tank Engine music. However, if you take two things away from it, then the other thing should be to make sure that your email password is as uncrackable as possible.


This quote (via Sign with a E):

When Bulletproof coffee looks like the answer, the odds are you’re asking the wrong question.

It’s from this article, which isn’t anti-LCHF in the manner of being pro-anything else in particular, but is more about not looking for the one magic diet to make us live forever.

…the truth, as always with diet, is more nuanced. The doctor David Katz, a leading expert on public health who runs the Yale Prevention Research Centre, points out that when it comes to food, there is something worse for us than either sugar or saturated fat: “It is mostly stupidity that is killing us.”

Yes. Sadly, just not quickly enough in some people’s case.


Finally, a link I tweeted earlier this week – Shawn Benjamin’s photos of the Cape Town fire.


There are obviously a lot of shots around of this weeks events, but I particularly enjoyed this set because of the way that Shawn has captured the human element in so many of his photos. Then, just for balance, there are dramatic fire pictures, smoky ones and a whole heap of helicopters.

What’s not to like? (Apart from the widespread destruction of wildlife and property, obviously.)

Saturday ephemera

I do one of these ephemera posts every now and again when my Pocket fills to near bursting point. This are one of those times.
Here’s some stuff to look at over the weekend.

Automatic beehive is better for bees, better for you (if you’re a beekeeper).
Everyone wins.

The clever invention works by providing the bees with a partially-completed wall of honeycomb cells that they then complete with their own wax. After they fill these cells with honey and cap them with wax, the beekeeper can open the other end, allowing the honey to flow out into a tap without ever disturbing the bees.


High speed photos of liquid splashes “look like floating sculptures” (or just “like liquid splashes”, IMHO) (but they’re still rather cool).



Here’s Nickelback’s discography (not sure what happened here).

Eight studio albums, two compilation albums, one EP, thirty-five singles, and five video albums.


The Poke’s brilliant The Week On Twitter.


Werner Herzog motivational posters tell it like it is.



Jacques’ post on the “scientific journalism” of BizNewsdotcom this week was superb:

If you only get your news from people and places that agree with your pre-existing view, then you are living in a filter-bubble. This is not a good thing, as it means that you’re (relatively) impervious to discovering any errors in your beliefs, while simultaneously getting constant affirmation that you’re “right”.


And finally, I like Ed Browse’s Instagram feed.


That’s your weekend sorted then, right?