December 25th, 2012


Interesting Links for 25-12-2012


The Birds

This is the view from my parents' bedroom, looking down across the garden, the field next door, a line of trees next to the river, and then the fields on the hill opposite. Most important of all, however, is the pillar on the left, on top of which you can see the dust which is left when the birds have scoured clean the food my mother puts out for them.

When I opened the window to take that shot I counted 12 birds departing swiftly from the tree.

This shot shows the same scene from inside the kitchen, and the table where my parents eat their breakfast and lunch (when it's not warm enough to eat it at the table outside).

This is a list of the various birds that my mother saw over the course of a single day three weeks ago:
Marsh tit
Buzzard (Not at the table, but sitting on the fence. Note: European meaning of buzzard, not American)
Wood pigeon
Hedge sparrow
Nut hatch
Blue tit
Seagull (not actually on the bird table, but sitting in the field next door)
Pheasant (standing under the bird feeder that's out of shot to the left).
Pied wagtail
Tree Sparrow
Greater Spotted Woodpecker

That's not including birds that turn up intermittently, and happened to not drop by that day:
Grey Heron
Canadian Goose

I can see why my mother, who has always loved birds, loves this place. While she loved dearly the cats we owned for a while in Kent, she hated that it meant that we never had any birds in the garden. This is basically paradise for her.

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In celebration of the birth of Newton we fire rockets in the air.

Over the last few days I've seen several embeds of this video:

which shows the latest SpaceX experiments with reusable rockets. And, certainly, having rockets automatically return themselves to the ground is going to save a fortune. So a rocket going up and down is pretty impressive.

Not, however, as impressive as firing your rocket into the air, cutting the engines, releasing the drogue parachutes to throw it off balance, throwing the parachute away, turning the engines back on, and letting them guide the rocket back to its starting point:

Now that's damned impressive.

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Merry Christmas!

I've been waiting to find something that was the perfect Christmas video, picture, or similar. Something that perfectly summed up the chameleon-like nature of Christmas, how it can be all things to all people, and that anything that brought joy and laughter could_be_ Christmas, provided it brought with it a hint of the Christmas-time of our childhood, something that could transmute the every-day into Christmas.

And then, one hour before Christmas ends (UK Time) I found this:

Truly a Christmas Miracle.

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