24 December 2013

Transit of the Sun by the International Space Station caught on camera

That might not look like much, but I've wanted to try to catch the International Space Station in flight for a looong time.

This was my very first attempt, with the added complexity of it being a transit across the face of the Sun.

The alert said the viewing opportunity was centred 130 kms away from my location. I recorded for several minutes but thought I'd missed it. Until I looked at the recording the next day!

12 November 2013

A kangaroo with a knot in its tail!

I was camping out at the Orroral Valley for a night of stargazing and photography. The next morning I ran into this young lady near the old historical homestead. It didn't seem to be holding her back too much. She could hop reasonably and perch - in a rather different manner from everyone else though!

31 October 2013

Can't afford a boat trip to the Antarctic? Try this instead!

This is the view today from the bow webcam on the Aurora Australis, the resupply vessel that services Australia's Antarctic bases.

Not your average cruise ship view! Not your average webcam view either…

The ship left Australia on 15 October, and was slated to return on 16 November. The latest sitrep has them here (and it is so worth your time to zoom in and look around the shoreline on this map!):

16 October 2013

Space Shuttle Endeavour's final journey—a wonderful timelapse

Long-time manned spacelaunch photographer Scott Andrews has assembled this wonderful timelapse of that famous final trip made by the Space Shuttle Endeavour through the streets of Lops Angeles, after its last flight atop NASA's 747 Shuttle transporter from the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida.

As Time magazine explains, Andrews and a team took over 350,000 shots over 500 hours of the loading, transfer and road trip. The final video uses 9500 of those frames. My only regret is that it doesn't cover the aerial transfer itself. The flight looping over Los Angeles was pretty remarkable in its own right.

The video runs for six minutes 21 seconds and is well worth your download:

13 October 2013

It's coming right at you!

Elon Musk has just posted this hexacopter video of a Grasshopper test to 744m, hover, divert and return to the pad. The highest flight yet for Grasshopper.

It's an incredibly stable hexacopter, with a panning camera, and at one stage it really looked like it was going to be toast!

30 September 2013

Sometimes the daily cycle commute becomes a near-death experience.

I hate on-road cycle lanes, and this is part of the reason why.

The ACT Government has been fixated on them for years—obviously because they're cheaper to build. But they aren't worth this sort of risk:

25 September 2013

Pakistan earthquake: 80+ dead and a whole new giant island

Yesterday I tweeted:
This'll be bad MT @NewEarthquake: 7.4 earthquake, 69km NNE of Awaran, Pakistan. Sep 24 16:29 at epicenter 19m ago http://j.mp/16WAcc9
And it was. The severity of the earthquake was quickly upgraded to 7.8 (remembering that the Richter Scale is logarithmic, so small increases in the number equate to very big increases in severity).

Reports from Pakistan today are that at least 80 people were killed and another 80 people injured. Dozens of mud-based houses collapsed. [UPDATE: later reports have 515 people killed.]

On the flip side is an awesome testament to the power of this earthquake. A quite large island erupted from the sea about 600 metres off the Gwadar coast:

Earthquake creates a new island. Photo: https://twitter.com/NewsweekPak

NBC reports that seismologists suspect it to be a mud volcano island, but no-one's been out to inspect it as yet.

If you are interested in following earthquakes that happen around the world, you can follow on Twitter @NewEarthquake

UPDATE 30/09/2013: Here's a good article looking specifically at the new island, with before and after photos:

"All kinds of impressive" – about sums up this very cool creation

Two robots, two big screens, and a whole lot of projection mapping.

Friend Ed Brown described this: "Whoa. That's all kinds of impressive."

I have to agree.

The producers of this work describe it thus:

13 September 2013

The genesis of a new science-based political party?

Where it began. Read the full thread below

An idea that has been tossing around for some time with a friend on Twitter Paul Salanitri was resurrected amid the spectre of Sophie Mirabella as Australia's Minister for Innovation, Industry and Science.

The idea is to form a political party based on building support for Education and STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. Not a single-issue party, but a party that is unashamedly and solidly grounded on improving education, and on educating our elected representatives as to the importance and benefits that flow from an educated population.

For far too long, the major political parties in this country have targeted everything they do towards society's "lowest common denominator".

Meanwhile, so many of our nation's scientists, educators and health experts are left seething as their funding is raided yet again to pay for nonsense like marriage bonuses, and their reputations as objective researchers is disparaged in the pursuit of cheap political points.

And along the way, we've managed to make senators of a gun nut because 318,000 people didn't know the difference between Liberal Democrats and Liberal Party, an unheard-of motoring enthusiast on the back of just 3% of a quota or less than 13,000 votes, and a sports party person who got just 2070 votes! These people will hold the balance of power in the Senate from July 2014, and determine what Abbott promises make it into law...

Some people think we should just throw our support behind the Greens. But the stark reality is that many voters will not vote for the Greens no matter how much they try to portray themselves as mainstream. The recent election has clearly demonstrated that an unprecedented proportion of the voting population were casting about desperately looking for an alternative they could vote for. A full 32% of first preference votes went to parties other than the ALP, Liberals and Nationals. That's almost 3.4 million people. For Pete's sake, more than half a million people voted first for Clive Palmer's party!

1 September 2013

Amazing landslide escape—just a whisker from a right squishing!

This guy is about as lucky as you could possibly imagine. Watch this massive boulder almost kiss the side of his car.

Go full screen in HD resolution, and at the very beginning watch the hanging rock right at the very peak of the hillside as it comes loose.

According to the ABC, this happened yesterday near Keelung City in Taiwan.