Thursday, September 30, 2010

Painting With Light

Painting with light is a fun technique that gives great results. It is called painting with light because this is what you are actually doing while taking the shot - painting with light.
Light Graffiti
Here is how it's done:

Set your camera on the tripod and take a sample shot with flash / lights on. This will help you verify that your composition is OK.

Set the exposure to a relatively long value. Stop down the aperture as much as you need. If you are outside do nothing. If you are inside - this is the time to turn off the lights.

Make the click. Once the shutter is open use your flashlight to light the stuff that you want to "paint". You can use the flashlight as a brash, and "smear" the light, just like you would have done with brush and paper. Or, you can use the light as a pen, and do precise work. Areas where you go slowly will be more lit then others. Be careful not to linger to much over the same stop - you will burn it. (The machos amongst you will correctly identify this as the "I forgot the iron on the shirt" phenomena).

Once the shutter closes, you are a free person again. Inspect your image and make corrections.


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Haiku Productivity

The key to Haiku Productivity is to limit yourself to an arbitrary but small number of things, forcing yourself to focus on the important stuff and eliminate all else.
The rule of Haiku Productivity is: put limits on everything you do.
That’s it. One rule. What are the things you do? It’s different for everyone, but common ones might be: email, RSS feeds, goals, time wasters, tasks.
What limits should you set? It’s different for everyone. And it’s arbitrary (there are no logical limits for anything — it’s necessarily arbitrary) but based on your own experience and experimentation.
Read the rest of this classic post from Leo Babauta at Zen Habits


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

How To Become An Abolitionist

Open Source Activism
The major obstacle that we face in the fight against modern-day slavery is that the crime is hidden. Individuals that work in the field know that slavery is not part of the current collective consciousness. Initially, it shocks the general public to learn that slavery still exists and is widespread. It is even more shocking for them to realize that it may exist in their own backyards.

We need to shift to a paradigm that recognizes the possibility of slavery in order to be able to identify it. When the paradigm shifts, a new wave of activists will respond in creative ways. That being the case, the pioneer generation of activists against human trafficking must re-evaluate how we communicate the issue to our networks.

Communication with young people brings to light that the new abolitionists can be very sophisticated. Youths are using their own expertise in creative ways to raise awareness and fight slavery, which in turn inspires their peers to do the same. Their initiatives tend to be organic to their peers’ passion, skills, and purpose in life.

 Learn more at Not For Sale


Monday, September 27, 2010

The Sixteen

After thirty-one years of world-wide performance and recording, The Sixteen is recognised as one of the world’s greatest ensembles. Comprising both choir and period-instrument orchestra, The Sixteen's total commitment to the music it performs is its greatest distinction. Its special reputation for performing early English polyphony, masterpieces of the Renaissance, bringing fresh insights into Baroque and early Classical music and a diversity of 20th Century music, is drawn from the passions of conductor and founder, Harry Christophers.

At home in the UK, The Sixteen are "The Voices of Classic FM", TV Media Partner with Sky Arts, and Associate Artists of Southbank Centre, London.  The group promotes an annual series at the Queen Elizabeth Hall as well as The Choral Pilgrimage, a tour of our finest cathedrals bringing music back to the buildings for which it was written.  The Sixteen has recently featured in the highly successful BBC Four television series, Sacred Music, presented by actor Simon Russell Beale.


Sunday, September 26, 2010

What do you mean, "I cant find a labyrinth nearby?"

The Worldwide Labyrinth Locator has been designed to be an easy-to-use database of labyrinths around the world. Information about labyrinths you can visit, including their locations, pictures, and contact details, are accessible here, along with information about the many types of labyrinths found worldwide. Labyrinths occur in many forms, shapes, and sizes, and the Locator contains both historic and modern examples. At the current time the Worldwide Labyrinth Locator database contains more than 3500 labyrinths in over 70 countries.

And if you still come up far, far away, try the online finger labyrinth.


Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Other Powerball

The NSD Powerball is a hand gyroscope - a tennis ball sized sphere containing a computer balanced flywheel which can revolve freely inside.

As soon as you put the flywheel spinning (by means of subtly rotating your wrist), it begins to generate an extraordinary force (otherwise known as gyroscopic inertia) which acts immediately against your fingers, hand, wrist, arm shoulder and even chest!

The ball weighs less than 300g but can pack a 40lb punch depending on the speed at which the rotor is spinning - the present world record is over 16,000rpm!...can you even come close?? :-) and will make even the fittest and strongest people on the planet burn because it is hitting muscles in the fingers, hands, arms, shoulders and chest that you simply won't have used before with conventional forms of exercise.

With 16 models to choose from, which NSD Powerball is right for you?


Friday, September 24, 2010

The Band Known as !!!

This band's name is whatever sound you choose spoken three times - popular versions are chk! chk! chk! and pow! pow! pow!

Taking up from where the classic 'Myth Takes' left off, 'Strange Weather, Isn't It?' is the fourth long-player from hip, New York post-punk collective, !!!. 

This album pulls no punches and all ridiculously infectious tunes aim squarely at the viscera, and the dancefloor.

Opening with the raw-power, of 'AM/FM', it builds to other highlights such as 'Steady As The Sidewalk Crack' and 'Even Judas Gave Jesus A Kiss' - all cleverly employing catchy pop nuances with the energy of punk.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Stepping Back in Time at the Glorious Goodwood

This past weekend marked the 3-day vintage motoring event known as the Goodwood Revival.

Imagine watching Sir Jackie Stewart getting behind the wheel and flying around the track, just as he did nearly 50 years ago.

Sir Jackie Stewart
The Goodwood Revival really is a magical step back in time, a unique chance to revel in the glamour and allure of motor racing in the romantic time capsule of the golden era of motor racing at one of the world’s most authentic circuits.

Racing for the Glover Trophy
The Revival is the world’s most popular historic motor race meeting and the only event of its kind to be staged entirely in the nostalgic time capsule of the 1940s, 50s and 60s that relives the glory days of Goodwood Motor Circuit. It is the biggest and best historic motor racing party of the year.

Sirs Jackie Stewart and Stirling Moss
The Revival offers visitors the opportunity to leave the ‘modern world’ behind and join motor sport luminaries including Sir Stirling Moss, Richard Attwood, John Surtees and Derek Bell in an unabashed celebration of flat-out wheel-to-wheel racing around a classic racetrack, untouched by the modern world.

Learn more: The Goodwood Revival


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Open Library is Always Open

One web page for every book ever published. It's a lofty but achievable goal.

What I like most about this concept is that the group doesn't want to collect, standardize and catalog; they just want to catalog and they want others to help. It's like the ultimate wiki project.

The site offers many different formats to read both online and offline, and will help you find the book in a brick and mortar library or bookstore as well. I especially like the 150+ year old versions that have been scanned in as readable eBooks.

The Open Library

Happy hunting...


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Cheap Light Tent Made From Swedish Hamper

From the Makezine archive comes a cheap light tent for photographing small items that you've been forced to sell online...

Ikea strikes again!


Monday, September 20, 2010

How to Get Out of the In Crowd

To keep a clean inbox or not to keep a clean inbox; that is the question. Whatever your preference, this method saves time either way.

"When you see a requested action in an email, don't do it immediately. It might be one of the least important things for you to do that day. Instead, immediately identify what the action is and put the email in a task folder. Change the title so that it states what you need to do, and put a due date on it and a priority level. You can do that in 15 or 20 seconds. Then you move right on to the next email. Now you'll get through your to-do email remarkably fast. Drag all of your other emails into a process folder, so you now have an empty inbox, which is a really nice feeling. The next thing you do is go to your task list and ask, "What are the most important things I need to do today?" That's the stuff that would keep you from going home at the end of the day."


Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Maine Troop Greeters

While we were in New England this summer, we viewed a documentary in our hotel about these extraordinary folks in Bangor, Maine.

The Maine Troop Greeters

"We are a non-profit group of veterans and men and women supporting our armed forces serving overseas by greeting troops who arrive at Bangor International Airport.

Day or night, rain or shine,it is our commitment to welcome each troop home from war and give a proper send off to each of the young men and women heading overseas. We accomplish this by being here to offer free cell phones to call a loved one, a snack to keep them going, and handshakes to let them know we care.

Since we began greeting flights in May of 2003, the Maine Troop Greeters have greeted over 4900 flights with more than 1,000,000 service members and 235 military dogs. And it is our pledge that as long as there are U.S. armed forces serving overseas we will be here to greet them."


Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Numbers Game

So my buddy from the Space Station Kia UnBuckled Synchronicity post and his family were driving ahead of us on a mini-holiday and we were supposed to call them once we were underway. When we called, it turns out they were only a minute ahead of us on the highway. He said to his wife, "That will show up on his blog as synchronicity" and she said "Isn't it more serendipity than synchronicity?" He explained the Space Station Kia post and then she understood why he had said it.

She returned to the book she was reading about a woman who was selecting a gift to bring to someone she was to meet in Japan. She read that one must be careful to choose the number of items related to the gift as some numbers could actually offend. For instance the number 4 is sometimes pronounced as shi, which means death.

As she was reading this, the commentator on the radio was introducing the business report and started off by saying, "Now we turn to Wall Street where we have some very bad numbers to look at...."


Friday, September 17, 2010

Fol Chen

[ new music friday ]

"In Ruins" is the first song I heard from Fol Chen and it made me look for more. You can download their work from Asthmatic Kitty Records.

“In the spirit of I’m From Barcelona, Loney Dear or Boy Least Likely To, Fol Chen employs all my favorite electro-fey devices: cheesy ’80s keys, propulsive beats, sporadic strummy guitars that bounce between channels and, of course, xylophone. Beginning with understated, low-register vocals, that keeps building, layering on more instruments and even tossing in a key-change for good measure.” - Paste Magazine


Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Great Food Truck Race Finale

Get ready for the $50,000 showdown Sunday September 19, 2010 between the undefeated Nom Nom Truck and the unstoppable Grill 'Em All as both Los Angeles teams compete in New York City.

Nom Nom Truck brings fusion and traditional Vietnamese sandwiches and tacos to the masses, using fun recipes and fresh ingredients. After meeting at UCLA, Misa Chien and Jennifer Green jumped at the idea to take Vietnamese cuisine mainstream, and David Kien, impressed by the truck's concept, quickly joined as manager. Smart, savvy and dedicated, they know they will be tough to beat because all anyone can say as they eat their food is "nom nom nom."

Grill ‘Em All combines a love of heavy metal and culinary arts into a victorious marriage: a concert on wheels serving up gourmet hamburgers. With backgrounds in the culinary and marketing worlds, self-proclaimed "... bad kids on the food truck block" and childhood friends Ryan Harkins and Matt Chernus take Los Angeles by storm, accompanied by friend Joel Brown. For these three, going on the road with their truck is like going on tour; they plan to do nothing short of rocking the competition.

 Checkout all the details at: The Great Food Truck Race on


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Japanese Zen Gardens

Stress relief can come by participating in a number of different physical and mental activities. Raking stones or sand in a Japanese Dry Landscape Garden is one of those ways.

Most people refer to them as Zen Gardens due to the association to their use in Zen Buddhism and presence at Zen temples of meditation.

Here is a Photo Gallery of Japanese Zen Gardens

and a Virtual tour of the Zen Gardens in and around Kyoto.

If you are looking for a desk sized rock garden to de-stress your workplace, then you should check out this collection at Office Playground.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Do you like your Yuanyang hot or cold?

Personally, I prefer mine hot but if cold, then blended with ice..

I had never heard of this style of drink but did consider the concept once when running low on coffee with an abundance of tea.

Also known as "Honk Kong Style Coffee"...

1 cup black coffee
1 cup black tea
Milk and Sugar to taste


Monday, September 13, 2010

How to relax with a mandala

The word "mandala" comes from Sanskrit, meaning center or circle. Designs may vary, but all mandalas have a center and some form of symmetry, which means balance. 

You don't need to know how to create one or even subscribe to any of the religious aspects of it use to enjoy them.

Simply coloring inside the lines of a mandala can help you relax, improve focus and concentration. It's like coloring for grownups.

You can get started at 102 free Mandalas where you can download PDF's to print or colour with a graphics program.


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Nuns On Barstools

Ok, don't ask me why, but this shot always makes me giggle.


Saturday, September 11, 2010

Formula 1 at Monza This Weekend

Regardless of which side of the "team orders" row you find yourself, don't let it spoil this weekend's action in Italy.

Monza is regarded by many as the embodiment of Formula One racing. Not only is it a fantastic example of a track that combines speed with skill, it also has a heart and soul all of its own. It has seen some of the finest races of all time, but also some of the sport's worst accidents. The names of great drivers and the sounds of engines from years gone by linger in the grand old trees surrounding the track in the royal park.


Work began on the circuit in 1922 and was completed in under six months. After Brooklands and Indianapolis, it was the third permanent race track in existence. With a banked oval incorporated into the design of the road racing circuit, the total track length stood at a whopping 10 kilometres.

The list of famous victories and horrifying accidents is long, and all combine to make Monza one of the most magical places on the Formula One calendar. For many there is nowhere that encapsulates the sport better than this circuit. The Italians call it 'La Pista Magica', the magic track, a description few would disagree with.

Check out all the details at The Official F1™ Website

...and to feed your inner geek, check out their mobile phone experience

...and to feed your inner geek some afters, check out what you would look like pulling a few g's on the track.


Friday, September 10, 2010

Peggy Sue Live This Weekend!

Peggy Sue will be playing the Open House Festival in Belfast this weekend with Seasick Steve!

Sunday 12th September
Festival Marquee, Custom House Square, Belfast

Access to food court, bar, funky festival sideshows and No Alibis book tent from 7pm
Marquee doors 8pm // Unseated // Over 16s only - please bring photographic ID such as drivers license, passport.

Tickets £35.00

Book online

PEGGY SUE on MySpace Music


Thursday, September 09, 2010

The Espresso MiniFAQ

Every time I order espresso, I think, "What exactly is espresso?"

Espresso is a highly individual, subjective, and opinionated thing. And like most other serious espresso aficionados, I have my own opinions. And I'm asked often for them - especially by people who see me rave about how great espresso is, and they want to know more. So I've compiled this mini-FAQ to answer some of my most heard questions via email. Enjoy, debate, but also learn to develop your own opinions - it's something that comes with a lot of trial, error, and experiments.

CoffeeKid - The Espresso MiniFAQ


Wednesday, September 08, 2010

How to Create the Ultimate Exercise Playlist

Studies show that the rhythmic speed of your music influences your athletic performance. Here's how to use that information to create the ultimate playlist for your workout.

While it's no surprise that fast-paced music is a good and popular exercise companion, a study published last year discovered a direct correlation between fast-paced music and athletic performance. Volunteers in the study were given popular music to listen to while riding a stationary bicycle. For the first ride, the music was played as-is. In subsequent rides, the some volunteers received music slowed down by 10% and others received music sped up by 10%. The riders were not informed of the change, yet their performance changed nonetheless:
"When the tempo slowed, so did their pedaling and their entire affect. Their heart rates fell. Their mileage dropped. They reported that they didn't like the music much. On the other hand, when the tempo of the songs was upped 10 percent, the men covered more miles in the same period of time, produced more power with each pedal stroke and increased their pedal cadences. Their heart rates rose. They reported enjoying the music - the same music - about 36 percent more than when it was slowed. But, paradoxically, they did not find the workout easier. Their sense of how hard they were working rose 2.4 percent. The up-tempo music didn't mask the discomfort of the exercise. But it seemed to motivate them to push themselves. As the researchers wrote, when "the music was played faster, the participants chose to accept, and even prefer, a greater degree of effort."


Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Cooking For Engineers - Step by Step Recipes and Food for the Analytically Minded

The tagline from this site reads, "Have an analytical mind? Like to cook? This is the site to read!"

Cooking For Engineers was started in June 2004 by Michael Chu as a place for Michael to store and share the recipes that he likes to use as well as some kitchen notes.

"Basically, I started the site as a place to store all the food related stuff that I didn't want to have to carry around in my brain, but I would want to reference later. Sometimes people ask me (or quiz me) about cooking and there's a tendency for me to smile and respond with, 'I wrote it down so I wouldn't have to remember!'" - Michael Chu

Before starting Cooking For Engineers, Michael had been looking for a way to store his recipes for some time. Michael used to store his recipes (some of which were laboriously tested and perfected over many trials) on his Palm handheld device. For backup purposes, Michael began to synchronize his Palm handheld to the Outlook service at his work. Due to a misunderstanding on server storage policies, three months after the first synchronization, the server deleted all his recipes (except for Tuna Noodle Casserole). Since then, Michael looked for a way to permanently store his recipes and notes.

In June, Michael noticed that Blogger was providing free server space as well as unlimited image storage for users of the newly released Hello! image messaging software. Always interested in taking advantage of a deal, Michael started a blog with the intention of uploading as many pictures as possible. After uploading a few handfuls of completely unrelated pictures, Michael lost motivation (especially since the pictures were relatively low-resolution and he had no theme going). One evening, Michael got bored and decided to photograph the steps involved in making a version of Cook's Illustrated Magazine's Salsa Cruda recipe. The rest, as they say, is history.


Monday, September 06, 2010

New Live Performance Video for School of Seven Bells

Check out the entire set at


Sunday, September 05, 2010


God answers sharp and sudden on some prayers,
And thrusts the thing we have prayed for in our face,
A gauntlet with a gift in it.
Source: Thrust | Inward/Outward


Saturday, September 04, 2010

Six Pack Jug Band

Here's one for the "Why didn't I think of that?" file:

It's little secret that most people enjoy music when they're drinking, but what about making music with their drinks? Tuned Pale Ale ($TBA) is an ingenious microbrew that features a vertical note scale on the edge of the label — just drink down to your desired note, and blow on the top. In addition to having up to six "blow" notes, the backs of the bottles sport ridges for Latin-style percussion, and the box flips upside-down to reveal a tongue drum that produces six different tones, one for each of the bottle slots. It's like Rock Band, only a lot cheaper, and with a much higher alcohol content.


Friday, September 03, 2010

Neko Case

There's a special challenge to being an artist in this increasingly fractured cultural age; a delicate balancing act, between being of your time, and striving for timelessness. Few contemporary artists even try. Neko Case is an exception.

Case's last album, 2006's Fox Confessor Brings the Flood, brought her to that nexus where critical acclaim meets commercial success. But Case's impact can't be measured merely in chart placements or press plaudits. It's her ability to connect - on an uncommonly deep and meaningful level - with her audience. She's one those artists, you see: the kind whose songs linger in your head, your heart and soul long after the record has stopped spinning.

While Case's creative evolution has made for an impressive story so far, she's about to write the most remarkable chapter in that continuing saga with the release of her sixth studio album, Middle Cyclone.


Thursday, September 02, 2010


Ordinary people have a voice, and interesting things happen when you aggregate those voices and visualize the results. Surprising information and insights can be found. 

Crowdmap is a tool that allows you to crowdsource information and see it on a map and timeline. It is the Ushahidi platform, built by the team who created Ushahidi as a way for anyone to run their own crowdsourcing site without having to know the intricacies of running their own server. It's free and it's yours to use.

What Can I Do With Crowdmap?

  • Monitor Elections Use the power of the crowd to monitor and visualize what went right, and what went wrong, in an election.
  • Map Crisis Information Whether it's a natural disaster, epidemic or political crisis, Crowdmap was built for it.
  • Curate Local Resources Crowdsourcing isn't just for emergencies, you can use it for local knowledge and business too.
  • Document A Zombie Invasion How else will you survive the coming apocalypse?


Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Should public transportation be free?

In Paris, an underground group is posing that question. They dodge fares, not to save money, but to spark a debate over whether public transportation should be free or not.

Kai Ryssdal: A single ticket on the Paris Metro costs 1.70 euros -- about $2.15 at today's rate of exchange. Not bad as fares go for a major world-class city. But for some Metro riders in Paris, the actual amount isn't really the point. They don't want to pay at all. It's not about skipping out on the fare itself. It's about whether urban transit ought to cost anything to begin with.

From down in the Paris Metro, John Laurenson reports.