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I was doing some RNA-FISH today and was using some random fluff to find the focal plane when I came across this fella - kind of looks like a heart, no? Except it's about 10µM across (roughly 10,000 times smaller than a human heart)
I don't change my work desktop wallpaper very often, and when I do I'm usually very picky. I spent a while digging around deviantART yesterday and came across a new one by ~pr09studio called It's my turn.
Think this one's a keeper...
I like Internet Explorer 6 because...
- I enjoy a good challenge
- I like surprises
- It makes me think about people who are not like me
- It gives us [website designers] bonding power
I have to say, I like how even his blog posts are displayed in an innovative and interesting way...
We've had some brilliant weather in the UK recently, plenty of opportunities for rally-style handbrake turns on the way to work and lots of snowball fights!
The BBC have got a great photo up of Britain covered in snow, seen on the right. You can see their page here.
Fairbairns is a head race on the river Cam that takes place at the end of Michaelmas term every year. As I had taken the morning off work to race, I headed down to the river a little earlier to see our senior women's VIII row. I remembered to take my camera this time and got a bit trigger happy, taking photos of nearly every crew that went past. You can see the whole lot on flickr and an abridged album of selected shots on facebook.
The results of the Fairbairn cup can be found the Fairbairns website.
Cambridge Canadian Club
A few days ago I got an email from the president of the Cambridge Canadian Club asking if I'd be interested in being the official photographer at their Annual Dinner. I said yes because I was in a bit of an impulsive mood at the time, and any experience is good experience. Besides, I got to meet His Excellency James R. Wright, the Canadian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom!
The dinner happened tonight, and was great fun! I learnt some pretty good lessons as I went over the photos - namely to not bother trying to shoot without flash inside at night (I thought I might be able to rescue the photos with post-processing, but the photos were so noisy that I had to discard most). I also definitely need a wide angle lens - anyone have a spare £400 burning a hole in their pocket?
Anyway, enough of the waffle - as per usual, I've put the photos up on flickr and facebook. I've also temporarily put the full resolution files up on the web here. I've also put the un-tampered photos up, straight off the camera (there's quite a lot in here that I haven't included in the other sets, because they're rubbish) here.
Cheers for the opportunity though guys, I hope you're happy with the results!
BP Expedition to Antarctica
I was forwarded an email today asking for entrants to a competition being run by BP, who are hosting a 12-day expedition to the Antarctic Peninsula. The event is focussed around generating ideas to combat climate change and energy security. After seeing glacial retreat in the Alps this summer, I'm keen to get involved in projects like this, and travelling to Antartica would be a life ambition fulfilled.
Part of the event seems to revolve around participants using the experience as a launch ramp to go on to share the experience. If I get through the initial selection, I'm planning to build a mini site where I'll keep everyone updated with my progress, as well as running a forum to stimulate some discussion on the topic.
So, I'll start this discussion off by linking to a previous post on this site, with an excellent YouTube video.. You can see it here...
Aguille Du Midi
I keep putting more and more of the Alps photos up on the web, I'm slowly getting through them. I've just put up the shots taken when we went up to Aguille Du Midi, next to Mt Blanc at 6.30am. It was a phenomenal place to be, and the photos go some way to doing the views justice. You can see them on Flickr here, in my Alps Collection...
Being there was amazing, and I definitely want to return armed with knowledge of mountaineering so that I can actually get out on the mountains! After some altitude training anyway... :)
Well, I've finally moved down to Cambridge to start my PhD! House and PhD both seem good, plenty of friendly people and that familiar gravitational feeling of being pulled towards rowing...
I've had a very brief chat with my supervisor about my project, and it seems that I'm not going to be working with mice, but humans.. Good news after reading this article on the BBC!
SET Awards - Results
In a previous post, I wrote about how I was a finalist in the 2008 SET Awards (Science, Engineering & Technology Student of the Year). The interview and presentation gala was held in London yesterday, and amazingly, I won my category!
It was a fantastic evening, very glamorous and glitzy! I barely remember the presentation of my award, it passed in such a blur. Photos taken by mum are up on flickr here.
What a brilliant end to my studies at Bristol!
Some time ago I entered into the national Student and Engineering Student of the Year Awards with my lab project into the Best Biology & Biotechnology Student category (I was invited by the uni to enter, that's how i got a hint that I might get a first).
Anyway, it being a national competition and everything, I'd pretty much forgotten about it (I put my chances down as slim to nothingt), but the 2008 shortlist came out today, and I've been selected as one of three students to attend interview for the final judging!
I have to get myself down to London for Sept. 26th where I attend an interview, then get dressed up (if I'm not already!) to go to a presentation evening to see how I've done - I'm terrified already!
I'm back! I've been away in the alps for a month, hence the long period of silence. The good news is that I've got loads of lovely photos to put up for everyone's enjoyment. The bad news is that there are so many photos (~2000) that they may take me some time to sort out... :)
4 years of degree work culminated in a single mark today, and I got a First Class Honours!
Off to Cambridge I go...!
Update: I later found out that I got the top mark in my year of 69 - I won the William Edward Garner Prize of £150 for it!
I was reminded of an awesome website today called TokyoPlastic - they're a production company that do 3D animation and stuff for TV adverts with ridiculous 3DSMax skills.
The website is a few years old but is a brilliant example of flash animation with good sound integration. The movement of the characters is so fluid, I love it! Check out the drum machine and their archive of animations...
I realised that the deadline for the UKClimbing advert competition was fast approaching so I'd better get a move on and finish my entries.
I didn't like my La Sportiva flash advert (mentioned in a previous post) but I stayed with the Petzl flash banner (with a couple of tweaks) and made three new static image banners.
You can see them using the links below (launch popup windows)
La Sportiva Testarossa - 800x300px
Petzl (Flash Banner) - 728x90px
Petzl Spirit - 400x600px
Beal Top Gun II - 120x600px
Photos on Flickr!
Since I got my Flickr Pro account, I've been uploading photos pretty much every day. I wanted to upload everything worth uploading from September 2007 until now - I'd wondered how long it would take me and my housemates kept mocking me for my revision procrastination.
My last exam is tomorrow, and I just uploaded my most recent album :)
Check them all out here - I'm in the process of re-writing my flash photo at the browser at the moment so that it can take photos from multiple sources, one of which will be flickr. Watch this space!
Walking in the Lakes
Ok, have finally put up the photos from Pete and my trip to the Lake District before Easter. You can see the album here.
For those that are interested, our main expedition was up to Lingmell, then Scafell Pike (highest peak in England, not that that's saying much) then on to Broad Crag, Ill Crag, Great End and Allen Crags before wild-camping at the foot of Glaramara. A (very) early start then got us up to the top of Glaramara to see sunrise before pottering back down to the car. Apart from the incredibly cold night it was a fab trip! Woke up to find all of our stuff frozen, including the apple i was planning to have for breakfast. Appreciated my lovely new sleeping bag!
No reason, I saw this and it made me laugh quite a lot so I thought i'd post it. Came from here...
Photos from Dec 08
Feel like I've abandoned my site a bit recently, things have been fairly busy lately with a lot of work, and all free time taken up with going away doing fun things outdoors.
Anyway, term has finished and I've finally sat down and sorted out a month's backlog of photos, so a few new albums have just gone up... Enjoy! :)
Just on the offchance that there's a millionaire with money burning a hole in his or her pocket, I've added a little link to my Amazon Wishlist!
Just hit the Buy me stuff! button down on the bottom right and you can see all of the lovely things that I want but can't afford...
New Camera (again)
It's not as bad as it sounds - it's just a film SLR body cheap off ebay, Canon so that I can share the lenses that I use for my digital SLR...
This is good, because now I can shoot black and white film as well as digi without having to take about 10kg of stuff with me, and also my fisheye lens will actually be fisheye because the film is 35mm rather than my smaller digi sensor.
I recently updated a few of the programs that I use on a regular basis (dreamweaver, flash, photoshop etc) and noticed a program I'd not heard of before - Photoshop Lightroom...
Anyway, I downloaded a trial, and I have to say that it's awesome! I've been taking a fair few BMX photos lately, and Lightroom takes them from looking good to looking awesome.
First, I go through my newly imported photos, flagging flagging good ones. Then i view only the flagged photos and go through each photo cropping and then changing the lighting and colours. The lightroom presets are always a good place to start if looking for inspiration, and you can download loads for free if you look around...
Anyway, the more time I spend using it, the more I like it - go play!
Since I've been back home, and then down in Bristol with my mate Will i've been really getting into my photography again - especially bmx photos...
Anyway, since reading through a few bmx magazines and getting increasingly frustrated at how far away i have to stand to get everything in shot (and therefore the bmxer becomes a speck in the photo). Enter stage left, the MC Zenitar 16mm fisheye lens. Found this beast on eBay, better than the nasty screw on fisheye adapters you can get, but nearly off the bottom of the scale in terms of the cost of real fisheye lenses. A compromise. It's a full frame fisheye (ie. the images will be the same size as a normal photo, not a circle)
I seriously cannot wait until it arrives - expect plenty of shots to appear with it asap (if it works anyway ;)
yeah, getting pretty good at revision avoidance. This post is a pretty good example actually. Photography, website design, computer games, waiting for everyone else to come home from work, there's just so much other stuff to do!
But yeah, go buy Colin McRae DiRT, it's awesome.
how do i do this again?
I moved back to bristol a couple of weeks ago, as I was finding it pretty impossible to actually get any work done at home. I've done a lot more down here, mainly finishing my project report of my year in industry but I'd kind of forgotten how hard revising is!
Must admit I'm a little nervous about starting lectures again...
Bumps Diaries - Day 1
If i'm honest, sat on the start line waiting for a cannon to go off nearby, I was finding it a little difficult to keep my cool. Harder still when XPress starting coming up with us and a minute or two in I was convinced that we were going to be bumped. XPress were bouncing around behind us, at one point less than a canvass off our stern (3ft?) and yet they didn't bump us. A short while later and I saw Simoco who were ahead of us come past as they had bumped, so I knew that we'd have to hold off Xpress for the whole course. The rating settled a little, and we started getting the cover that we should have had from the start, the pressure eased a bit and by the top of the reach XPress put one last ditch push in. I saw this and we pushed and we trampled on them in style. Coming home settled and relaxed I feel fairly confident about them chasing us tomorrow...
What are you talking about?
For those who have no idea what bumps is, it's a race that happens in Cambridge and Oxford because their rivers are too small to have two boats side by side. All boats start off in a line, about one and a half boat lengths of clear water apart and a cannon signals the start. If you can catch the boat in front you must touch their stern with your bow, and both boats stop, the next day you start off in front of the boat that you bumped. The Cambridge Town bumps (for town clubs instead of colleges) is happening for four nights this week, until the last day on friday.
nano2hybrids in New Scientist
As those of you who know me will know, I've been working on a large website job since about Christmas called nano2hybrids. We launched the website officially a week or so ago and sent out a press release to everyone that we could think of. We've had a few publications so far - Chemical & Engineering News, Spiegel and now New Scientist!
Must say that I'm quite smug about the last one - I've now been involved in publications in both Nature and New Scientist in the last month...
Think it might be time to start re-writing my CV...
To say that I am happy with the results is an understatement - I am totally in love with this new machine and the results are simply awesome. In fact, I'm so pleased with the results that I've been spurred into action and have started writing the new photo section of this website (thinking a lot about filesize and storage!).
The photo section should hopefully be pretty special, so in the mean time I've hand selected a couple of my favourite photos from the weekend which you can see by clicking the thumbnails on the right...
Today is a good day. Today is the day that I've finally bought a digital SLR. I've wanted one essentially since I bought my first digital camera about six years ago. My thirst grew when dad let me use his old Pentax ME Super film SLR a few years ago. Anyway, I got paid for a website job a couple of weeks ago and have had a digital SLR on my mind since. Today I was looking at prices, and decided that if I didn't go and buy one soon, they money would disappear and it would be another six years until I had enough to buy one. So I went to Jessops.
I've always liked the Canon EOS range, I nearly bought the EOS 300D when it first came out a few years ago. The latest in the range is the EOS 400D with a 10MP sensor and larger 2.5" LCD amongst other things. My old camera can take photos up to a resolution of 1600x1200 with it's 2MP sensor (was awesome when I got it) which is the same number of megapixels as most modern mobile phones. This beast's images go up to 3888x2592 pixels, two and a half times bigger. Big enough to print on a piece of A3 without getting very pixelated.
Anyway, I'm off to go and play :D
Noo! Car Crash!
Well, I did indeed meet up with the nice fella who returned my phone after the gig. I was just coming back home feeling good and pleased that there are some nice people in the world when a car came out of no-where and crashed into my front-left corner.
It happened just after a pedestrian crossing, and he said that I jumped the red light, but I maintain that it was changing, but not red yet. Luckily I was only doing about 25, and no-one was hurt so it could have been a lot worse.
Anyway, it's all been sorted now and I got my car home, dealt with the Police etc and now just have to let the insurance companies fight it out. I'm not sure about my car yet, hopefully with a couple of scrap yard replacements and a bit of tough love it'll make it through... Let's all cross our fingers!
Went to see Biffy Clyro play in Cambridge last night, and what a good gig it was... Worth special note were the support acts which really surpassed my expectations - to the degree that I bought Frank Turner's Album, Sleep is for the week at the the end. Seriously, the guy is like a modern day Bob Dylan, lyrics were awesome.
Anyway, Biffy lived up to all expectations again, mostly playing the old well known tunes, with about three tracks off their forthcoming album Puzzle. Crowd were good too, with a nice slam pit opening up towards the end.
Only negative point of the evening was that I lost my phone. Whilst I was stood 2 people from the front, unable to breath due to the crush. I found the other contents of my pocket after the end of the gig, smeared in a waffer-thin pulp.
However, in a stroke of ridiculous luck, when we got home my housemate got a text message and someone found it and wanted to return it to me! I'll stave judgement until I'm actually holding it in my hand, but suffice to say that I am extremely grateful!
Paid my first visit back to City of Cambridge for a while yesterday, for the 'City Sprints' - a fun sprint regatta held after the head2head event every year. Despite the rain, it was still properly good fun, especially in our first race which was fantastic :)
Anyway, have put the photos up that I took (no editing - sorry!) but as I haven't written the new photos section of the site yet, I've put them on my old site. Anyway, if you click here it should load up...
Today I decided that I wouldn't go for my usual 6p instant noodles from Asda, or even my 8 rashers of bacon with avocado and salad cream on toast (which, by the way, is awesome). No, today I would go to Sainsburys and get some proper ingredients. That and use up some of the stuff lurking in the back of my cupboards anyway.
Anyway, skip to the end - I made lasagne. Lots of it, and damn tasty it looks too. I'm currently waiting for it to cool to an edible temperature. Let's hope it tastes as good as it looks.
I know lasagne isn't exactly ground breaking revolutionary new food, but for little old me who usually can't be arsed with 'real' cooking, I'm actually quite proud :)
Edit: That was damn tasty... The decision to double the quantity of garlic suggested in the recipe was definitely a good one. Not like I need to talk to anyone in the next few days anyway...?
Highlander Mountain Marathon
Recently my sister and brother in law raced in a 2 day mountain marathon in Scotland and did pretty well - Tim won the elite class, getting a huge sword as a prize, and Jen came about 4th or 5th in her class... It's about 15 miles north of Inverness and it's essentially an extended orienteering race. Everyone has to race in pairs and have to take everything they need for the night.
Anyway, both were featured in the BBC Scotland program 'Adventure Show' which you can see with the bottom left link of this page (link). However, I don't think that it'll be there for long, so I managed to record the whole program and you can download it here - link (right click > save target as)
Unfortunately, the sound isn't great, so you'll have to turn your volume right up and pay close attention :)
Edit: did another version of the download (link), this one has a much worse picture quality, but you can hear what they're saying. Perhaps you can get both playing at the same time, and mute the large one?! :)
Edit again: Videos taken off to save server space, 28/06/07
Saw Yann Tierson play at Thekla in Bristol last night - was an excellent gig! He played from 8 straight through till about 11, almost on a par with The Mars Volta in terms of endurance...
Top marks for his violin playing, and the guitarist's unconventional playing techniques, which involved holding an electric drill against the strings and changing the speed (and therefore pitch) along with the music.
It was a little more 'bandy' than I expected - he didn't play any piano music, and it was more of a band performance as a whole than the individual performance with support that I was expecting.
Overall a top night though! Recommended!
Haiku from a Japanese garden in Nantes
A joint project between my brother an me as we ate our picnic in the Japenese garden in Nantes at the weekend:
Some cherry blossom
Some lands in my waiting cup
Cherry blossom cup
Hmm, puts me in the mood for a beef haiku.
I seem to be gathering up personal project sites to do "when I get time". First there was pspflashgaming.com (which still needs loads of work done on it), then Jake and me agreed to make a sister site, wiiflashgaming.com for flash games aimed at the wii.
As if these two aren't enough to fill all available time, i've just bought mixcdswap.com as a potential project for a port of the "mix cd swap experiment" group on facebook.com by Tim Hayward.
To be continued....
As i write this, i should be near Calais. I should be sat in a nice comfy chair, reading my book with a gin in my hand. I should be sat on the eurostar.
I am, however, sat in my friends flat in Paris. Turns out that if you get on the wrong metro line by accident, it takes a really long time to get where you are meant to be going. Turns out that getting to the station 3 minutes before your eurostar train leaves isn't early enough.
If this wasn't bad enough, on my way to Paris I managed to leave my passport in Cambridge. I didn't remember until I had passed through security and was stood in front of the passport control. Ended up getting into Paris roughly 5 hours late.
The one good thing in this plethora of poor organisation is eurostar - they have changed my ticket in both directions for no extra charge. I even managed to get to cambridge and back to london for free, using my old ticket. I love being jammy.
Serioustly though, only me :oP