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Kind of expensive, but way cool

The thing on the left is actually the thing on the right. They reclaimed the image using a freaking particle accelerator.

It’s a daguerrotype and it sounds this particular technique (or variant of the technique) only works with daguerrotypes, because the images were developed using a mercury vapor. The machine finds and maps the mercury. Though I don’t see why it couldn’t be done with silver or platinum or any other photographic emulsion. On the other hand, I’m not a partical physicist.

It is, as you might expect, REALLY EXPENSIVE to rent a particle accelerator and it took eight hours per square centimeter. So, you know, don’t go digging out grandma’s daguerrotypes just yet.

Here’s the item in Science News. And here is a heavier, boringer version in Nature.

I used to subscribe to Science News. I loved that rag. It was a tiny weekly — a dozen pages, maybe? — with short, interesting but not dumbed-down science items. Then they disappeared up their own assholes with globular warming and gender studies.

SJW’s — is there no wholesome thing they cannot pervert?

Have a good weekend, y’all!

July 13, 2018 — 10:20 pm
Comments: 13

drought archaeology

We haven’t had rain in weeks and weeks now. They got the hay up in June — earliest ever — and my lawn is a sad, pale, yellow shadow of Springtime green.

But it does interesting things like this. Traces of humans leave impressions on the land for thousands of years and generations of farming never fully eradicate them.

This is a late stone age henge, in a part of Ireland that is weirdly full of henges. Seriously, they’d love to know why there were so many in this one narrow place. This one’s unusual for its double ring wall, but it’s on private land and there’s no intent to dig at the moment.

There is more archaeology turning up across the UK, thanks to a confluence of the drought and all the drone photography.

But not here. Not in my yard. Though we are miles from the sea now, the patch we live on was reclaimed from the water in late Medieval times. I live on weirdly new land!

July 12, 2018 — 10:01 pm
Comments: 8

Fruit head guy

Twitter tells me it’s Giuseppe Arcimboldo‘s birthday. You know, the fruit head guy. I always thought his stuff was super creepy. I literally recalled his name by going to Google and typing “fruit head painter”.

I got a notification from Twitter earlier that “Your Chickens have tweeted for the first time in a long time.” Turns out Your Chickens is a magazine.

Anyhoo! Anybody here use CBD oil? I have a friend back in the States strongly recommending it for my elderly cat. To improve her (probably) kitty arthritis and general quality of life. It hurts to watch her walk now.

I spent hours Googling around to find if CBD is legal to import to the UK. Turns out, legal to own, but not so much to import. Modern Britain is stuff full of ambiguous laws and I live in fear of tripping over one and getting my elderly ass deported.

Anyway, one of our major vitamin chains carries it, so that’s alright. But I know nothing of dosages or effectiveness or difference in brands.

I’m tempted to dismiss it as snake oil, I get so much hyperbolic spam about it. But too many people I know personally swear it’s done a world of good for their animals.

July 11, 2018 — 9:43 pm
Comments: 12

Spoiler: it’s empty

This is cool: the maritime museum in Greenwich owned Sir Francis Drake’s treasure chest. Problem was, it was locked and they didn’t have a key.

Here’s a neat short film of the conservator making a key for it, starting with a blank and observing where the mechanism rubbed against the metal.

I’m sure they knew there was nothing in it before they started, but internets got to clickbait.

July 10, 2018 — 8:40 pm
Comments: 7

Computer trouble – posting from my phone

I didn’t know I could post from my phone. I feel quite sure I never gave the phone my password. What infernal corner of Google is quietly storing my personal shit?

July 9, 2018 — 9:22 pm
Comments: 18

I could change it to Weaseltown

An entire Welsh village is up for sale. The white thing you can just make out in the upper left corner is a slate mine, active since the Sixteenth Century, and the village was for the workers.

Sixteen cottages with tenants and a bunch (they don’t say how much) farmland. At £1.25M it would take a while to pay for itself, but it would be a helluva lot more fun than blue chip stocks.

But the name Aberllefenni? That’s got to go.

Have a good weekend, everyone!

July 6, 2018 — 10:04 pm
Comments: 15

Effing gooseberries

Now the harvest. I hate picking fruit. I come from a long line of people who got other people to pick their fruit, by force if necessary. I guess this is karma.

Some things have done very well this year, despite drought (the raspberries). Some, just okay (respectable yield on the red gooseberries, but they’re awfully small). We’re just beginning, but it’s an early beginning.

They began harvesting the hay on the 30th of June this year – the earliest on record.

Gooseberries are a bit of a hate object. Sour as a bastard, nasty thorns, and you gotta ‘top and tail’ them before they go in the freezer.

Uncle B did that last bit. Troo luv.

July 5, 2018 — 9:43 pm
Comments: 11

Happy Fourth!

Uncle B’s put a bottle of champagne on ice to celebrate. Shhhhh…don’t tell him that’s not a Fourth of July thing. I really like champagne.

After a fourteen hour fast, it turns out my bloodletting appointment is actually next week. So I get to do it again next Tuesday night. Yay me!

I don’t care. I have champagne. Have an excellent Fourth, y’all!

July 4, 2018 — 8:28 pm
Comments: 11

Gaming the system

Mmmm…oatmeal! Behold, my dinner. (No, I’m lying. I stole that picture off the internet. I was too lazy even to take my own oatmeal picture).

I have a blood test tomorrow, and it’s the stupid 14-hour fasting one, so that’s my last food until noon. I’m going to turn in early and hope to sleep through.

See, I really, really don’t want to be put on statins. On the other hand, I HATE arguing with doctors. So far, the oatmeal trick has worked pretty well.

There’s no cholesterol in beer, right?

July 3, 2018 — 9:13 pm
Comments: 20

Mmmm…my favorite!

That there is Maya the jaguar, star of a recent BBC documentary. Don’t know if they played it over your way. She was a leetle orphling keeten in the show. Not so little now.

And the thing she’s licking? A blood popsicle! Mmmmm!

It rarely gets above mid 80s here. When it gets there, it rarely stays for long. We rarely go a week without rain. But we’ve had weeks and weeks of drought and a couple of weeks of hot. It even stayed hot at night the last few, an unheard of thing.

Everything is yellow and dry. The chickens are panting like dogs. There is no end in sight.

I mean, it ain’t Baton Rouge in August hot (why the hell did we always go visit Grandma in August?), but it’s hot. I’d forgotten how much I hate hot.

July 2, 2018 — 10:21 pm
Comments: 9