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Simon's Blog - Hot news from the future!
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When you've run out of space in your brain, it's handy to be able to store thoughts somewhere else.

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Atlantis - the BBC Movie
Simon [Blogs::Simon] 11:45 28/02/10 | Comments: 2
According to this, the BBC is going to make a documentary TV movie about the Atlantis story.

Sadly it appears to be yet another retelling fixated on the idea that Thera's explosive eruption 3600 years ago is the source of the legend. C'mon, that's only ~500 years before the events of the Iliad.

One for Bruce - heavy metal sculpture
Simon [Blogs::Simon] 13:22 10/02/10 | Comments: 4
Saw some of this guy's work at the Ft. Myers Art Festival, and thought of you :-)

Eric Ober

Simon [Blogs::Simon] 17:23 09/02/10 | Comments: 6
Have returned to find the second week of the MRX well under way - heicopters all over the sky, silhouetted against the icy blues and yellows of an early February evening.
Uh oh...
Simon [Blogs::Simon] 23:31 22/01/10 | Comments: 1
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=262529242887 - is slightly worrying, nascent plans to try and hold a Stonehenge free festival in June 2012.

Bad idea on very very many levels. It could set back the open access that has been achieved by so many people's efforts, by decades.

"Cracking the Stone Age Code" - Chronicle
Simon [Blogs::Simon] 14:41 21/01/10 | Comments: 1
If you weren't around in 1970 to see this edition of the BBC programme "Chronicle" the first time around, it's now available on the BBC website.

Prof. Alexander Thom in his own words - well worth viewing.

Stonehenge Visitor Centre - Planning Application Approved
Simon [Blogs::Simon] 17:23 20/01/10
Just got back from the Wiltshire Council Strategic Planning Committee meeting where, after more than an hour's debate, approval was given to English Heritage's plans for a new visitor centre at Airman's Corner.

This is excellent news.

Ancient astronomical records
Simon [Blogs::Simon] 14:45 18/01/10 | Comments: 1
I like this article about several possible ancient records of astronomical observations because of just how old they are. http://www.environmentalgraffiti.com/featured/oldest-lunar-calendar/15204.

...over 35,000 years. Kind of brings the timescale of how long humans have been human into focus and that's why I'm fascinated by ancient oral traditions, myths and legends.

Latest on the Antikythera Device
Simon [Blogs::Simon] 15:38 16/01/10
http://io9.com/5441889/advanced-imaging-reveals-a-computer-1500-years-ahead-of-its-time - linked to the commentary of the article in SciAm rather than the SciAm article itself, which is behind a paywall.
Fox Mask for Shakehands Midwinter Day
Simon [Blogs::Simon] 13:01 16/01/10
Now the remaining foxes are safe again until next Shakehands Midwinter dinner preparations, you won't get shot if you're seen out in one of these.

So celebrate foxy's contribution to our feasting by honouring his memory with a handy dandy cut-out-and-wear mask.


Stonehenge Visitor Centre - CABE lukewarm
Simon [Blogs::Simon] 13:30 15/01/10
On the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment website there's a critique of the design for the new visitor centre. The same point that occurred to me when I first saw it has evidently occurred to them too - that roof looks a bit iffy, given the hoolies that blow in from the southwest across the Plain.
Stonehenge Hoax or what?
Simon [Blogs::Simon] 15:25 28/12/09 | Comments: 2
There's a bizarre Spanish article out there, purportedly from Jan 2010's National Geographic, claiming that Mike Parker Pearson's unearthed a conspiracy relating to the re-erection of various parts of Stonehenge.

It's peculiar in the extreme.

Interesting thread...
Simon [Blogs::Simon] 10:49 25/12/09
... on the reasons for apparent drift of the solstice date over 2000 years.


Press Association cock up picture captions, and AP picture desk clueless
Simon [Blogs::Simon] 12:49 22/12/09 | Comments: 2
Check these photos out and look at the captions.

They say "Winter Solstice at Stonehenge.Revellers watch druidic ceremonies and take photos near the Key Stone, away from the Stone Circle at Stonehenge as Druids and revellers celebrate the Winter Solstice".

Key Stone? They mean Heel Stone.

So what, who cares? Well, I do - enough to give the AP picture desk a quick call to let them know. They swear up and down that they've only released 3 pics today and none of them have that caption, despite me quoting the URL to them and their photo IDs.

It's in this way that misinformation gets promulgated - the wrong caption's on the BBC and (edit: BBC have fixed it) Guardian websites and by the end of the morning will be all over the 'net.


Wishing you all a Sunny Solstice
Simon [Blogs::Simon] 23:43 20/12/09 | Comments: 2
17:47 UT Monday 21st Dec 2009 is the moment of solstice, but I had to go down to Stonehenge today because the sky was perfectly clear and afforded an excellent opportunity to photograph sunset through the monument.

Actually, I've been down there every day since Wednesday this week for the International Year of Astronomy event.

Here are some photos...

(if reading on Facebork, click the 'view original post' link to read more)

UFO lands at Stonehenge Golf Driving Range
Simon [Blogs::Simon] 20:22 07/12/09 | Comments: 4
Amazing pic shows the arrival of a UFO in the middle of the Stonehenge Golf Driving Range on The Packway at Larkhill.

Oh wait, no, it's just a teeny bit of light pollution.

(if reading this summary on Facebook, use the "View original post" link to see the photo)

The "God Equation"
Simon [Blogs::Simon] 10:42 05/12/09 | Comments: 1
Bad name, poor article, odd in so many ways but still I'm going to have to take a closer look at this.
Sympathy for Ian "Harry" Harris
Simon [Blogs::Simon] 20:30 30/11/09 | Comments: 2
Have just got around to retrieving and looking at the 'hacked' University of East Anglia Climate Research Unit files - concentrating on the code rather than the emails.

Ian "Harry" Harris, author of "HARRY_READ_ME.txt" in the 'documents' tree - you have my deepest sympathy. You're the designated shit/fan interface right now, and it isn't your fault.

Stonehenge Visitor Centre Sunrise mockup
Simon [Blogs::Simon] 16:50 19/11/09 | Comments: 2

Having georeferenced the official plan of the new Stonehenge Visitor Centre in QGIS (as discussed in an earlier post) I was able to determine the coordinates for the end points of the "Avenue" through the middle of it.

Armed with my GPS, I then went out to the location and planted sticks in the ground at those end points, then walked back to the previously determined observation point and took a few photos to assemble into a panorama.

Finally, I scaled and overlaid the west elevation of the architect's drawings for the new building on that panorama to get a (rough) idea of what it'll look like.

As you can see below (assuming you've got Javascript turned on and are looking at this article on my blog rather than via Facebork), the "Avenue" is aligned almost dead on to the gap in Fargo Plantation at the western end of the Cursus.

Sunrise on April and September 6th (or thereabouts) each year will be on this alignment, and the Sun will appear to rise out of the ticket booth :-/

I stress again, this is pretty rough and ready, but it's just to give me (primarily) an idea of how it may look.

(Apologies for the wide page the panorama requires to be viewed)

CIX Google Wave
Simon [Blogs::Simon] 13:16 14/11/09
This is an embedded version of the public CIX GoogleWave.
Sunrise Dates for the new Stonehenge Visitor Centre
Simon [Blogs::Simon] 13:09 09/11/09
A while ago I said it should be possible to work out where and when to stand outside the newly proposed Stonehenge Visitor Centre at Airman's Corner and watch the Sun rise through the gap between the retail and interpretation 'pods'.

Now that the planning application's been put in and the detailed drawings are available (with OS grid refs and land levels), I've had a stab at it.

Spooky action at a distance
Simon [Blogs::Simon] 14:19 03/11/09
I love articles like this one :-)

The fact that quantum mechanics could have some nonlinearities has been soundly rebutted in past literature, but this is a new proposal which may shed new light onto the subject. It would also change the way we need to think about quantum problems: not only would the particles in a given system need to be considered, but every particle in the universe, even those that do not participate, would need to be taken into account. It would also mean that a complex problem of two or more systems would need to take into account the entire history of the universe that each subsystem exists in from the begining of time to the present to accurately calculate a result.
Milky Way Panorama
Simon [Blogs::Simon] 12:59 03/11/09
This deserves more than a passing mention on Twitter/Facebork, so let me urge you to go and take a look at Axel Mellinger's fantastic digital all-sky panorama of the Milky Way.


... and be sure to explore the zoomable Mercator projection, stunning. I mean, just *look* at all that structure!

Embedding a GoogleWave
Simon [Blogs::Simon] 11:09 23/10/09 | Comments: 7
This'll be interesting if it works.
Stonehenge Visitor Centre - er, what?
Simon [Blogs::Simon] 17:12 15/10/09
I get faintly disturbed when English Heritage's own website incorrectly labels features in the Stonehenge World Heritage Site landscape.
"God" separated, not created, the Heaven and the Earth
Simon [Blogs::Simon] 11:35 12/10/09 | Comments: 3
An article on the Telegraph website reports that an Old Testament scholar is saying that the first line of Genesis has been wrongly translated, and that "God" separated the Heaven and the Earth rather than creating them.

That'll put the velociraptor amongst the pigeons.

Stonehenge Visitor Centre - some images
Simon [Blogs::Simon] 09:34 12/10/09
Architects Journal has some images from the plans submitted for the new visitor centre at Airman's Corner.

Edit: Some more here

Google Wave
Simon [Blogs::Simon] 14:34 02/10/09 | Comments: 31
I'm about 10 minutes into the video presentation, and already I'm thinking this is what we wanted to do with CIX waaaay back when.

As a definition of how far ahead of ourselves and technology we were, this pretty much is it.

However, such a big meme needed a lot of brains to work on it so I'm grateful for two things.

1) That it's been created at all

2) That it's going to be open source

Now all I need is an invite...

Astronomical Autumn Equinox at Stonehenge 2009
Simon [Blogs::Simon] 16:52 23/09/09
Three pics from this morning's event - few people :-) but no sun :-(
Another one for Bruce
Simon [Blogs::Simon] 17:10 22/09/09 | Comments: 3
Spotted in a shop window in Salisbury... PulpMaster!
Equinox - not.
Simon [Blogs::Simon] 09:19 22/09/09
Today is the astronomical autumn equinox - one of two dates in the year when the Sun's declination is 0 degrees and it crosses the celestial equator.

It's often said that these are the days where night and day are equal - but that's not true.

In fact, depending on latitude, the dates of equal day and equal night aren't at the astronomical equinox.

This is because refraction by the atmosphere allows us to see the Sun slightly earlier at dawn and later at dusk when it is still actually below the visible horizon - lengthening the day beyond what it would be if there was no atmosphere at all.

At Stonehenge, the nearest actual September "equal night" of 12 hours (minus one minute) this year occurs on 25th/26th rather than 22nd.

Interestingly there are precise alignments at Stonehenge for the "equilux" dates, but not for the equinoxes - which is obvious when you realise the alignments are based on observational astronomy rather than our specific coordinate system.

So tomorrow morning when folk will gather at Stonehenge to celebrate the nearest dawn to the astronomical equinox, they'll be celebrating a concept of balanced day and night rather than the actuality of it.

One for Bruce
Simon [Blogs::Simon] 14:20 18/09/09 | Comments: 2
Spotted driving up the M5.
Small Business Banking
Simon [Blogs::Simon] 13:01 08/09/09
All I want is a reasonable rate of return on my company's very modest savings - why is this so hard?
Simon [Blogs::Simon] 09:22 04/09/09
Very handy resource, especially for metrologists:


The Secret Academy - we can't give it away
Simon [Blogs::Simon] 12:49 02/09/09
I've just noticed that John Neal's rewritten his website following John Michell's sad death in April this year.


The unified metrological system discovered by them both is a work of genius.

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