2011-12-30

Film Licensing For The Internet Age


Have you seen Sintel? Apart from being an excellent short animated film, it's licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution licence. That means that it's an Open Source film, nobody holds a monopoly over it. I hope and expect that this type of licensing will become more popular, as it has with software. Hurray, licensing for the internet age!

2011-12-17

Birthday Balloon

It was my 40th birthday on Wednesday. I went out for a meal in the evening to Yak Yeti Yak. Julia brought this helium balloon, and made me close my eyes and sprinkled glitter in the shape of '40' all over the table! I got a brilliant card, and excellent presents. Thanks everyone!

Science Cafe: What Happens When We Run Out Of Oil?

On the 12th December, we went along to the Bath Science café, to watch Prof. Chris Rhodes give a talk on What Happens When We Run Out Of Oil? We actually managed to get a seat, these events are always packed out. Perhaps it should be moved to bigger premises? Anyway, this isn't an objective summary of the talk, it's infused with my own strongly held views!

Two things stood out in the talk. Rhodes explained that not all oil is the same. Light oil has low viscosity, and heavy oil has high viscosity (bitumen being the heaviest). On another axis, sweet oil is low in sulphur, and sour oil has high sulphur content. Rhodes reckons we've used about half of the total oil in the earth, but most of the stuff we've used is light and sweet, and most of the oil left is sour and heavy.

The thing is that light and sweet oil is easy to extract and use. Heavy and sour oil is hard to extract and refine. In the worst case (bitumen) it takes 3 barrels to extract 4 barrels.

The other thing that I hadn't properly realized was that wind turbines need rare earth elements (REE) in their manufacture. Rhodes says that China has 97% of the REE in the world, and they need all of that for their own turbines. He opined that scarcity of REE would be the thing stopping the expansion of wind turbines. Is that true?



Cream Tea

The greatest sight in the world, a cream tea waiting to be eaten! This is at Charlotte's, with Lou in the background.

Redemption Ark

If I had regular readers, they'd know that I think that Alastair Reynolds is a genius. I read his series all out of order. Reading Redemption Ark, I gradually realized that I'd read the succeeding book in the series, Absolution Gap. I'm not very good at navigating around the country by car. As a passenger, I'm aware of gradually recognizing the destination. I got this feeling as I got to the end of Redemption Ark, gradually recognizing the beginning of Absolution Gap. Most people are horrified that I read books out of order. It's not out of choice, I'm just not organized enough. Please don't hate me for it!

Glossy Black

At the work pre-Christmas drinks evening, Emily painted the nails of my right hand black! Very glossy.