Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Phenomenal photos of Earth from space

"This spectacular “blue marble” image is the most detailed true-color image of the entire Earth to date. Using a collection of satellite-based observations, scientists and visualizers stitched together months of observations of the land surface, oceans, sea ice, and clouds into a seamless, true-color mosaic of every square kilometer (.386 square mile) of our planet. "

"This is one of the most famous photographs ever taken. It was captured by NASA astronaut Bill Anders as Apollo 8 was orbiting the Moon. This was the first time that humans had ever gone into orbit around another object in the Solar System. Seeing the entire Earth as a tiny ball hanging in space was nothing short of life changing."

This is a photograph of Tokyo, Japan - the biggest city in the world - imaged by International Space Station astronaut Dan Tani on February 5, 2008. The brightest part of the city is the center, with ribbons of light stretching out of the city center following roads and public transit routes.

"South of Khartoum, Sudan, where the White and Blue Nile Rivers join, a dizzying arrangement of irrigated fields stretches out across the state of El Gezira. The several bare-looking patches are small villages. This image was captured by the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) on NASA’s Terra satellite on December 25, 2006."

"...houses and streets in bustling Las Vegas, Nevada are seen in this image from the commercial IKONOS satellite taken in September of 2004."

View them all here.

Courtesy of @guykawasaki

Saturday, 16 May 2009


Delicious, clean, and distinctive flavours. Vegetarian dining, friendly service, good music (mostly), tranquil ambiance complete with old clocks with old-school chimes on the quarter hour, wifi and Non-Smoking! I have found my new haunt in Shanghai.

Kazu, a lovely Japanese lass, and Fela, a friendly Pommy lad, and chef Sayaka, opened Annamaya approximately one week ago.

I have, over two visits, enjoyed the quiche with salad, and the Japanese set with cold soba noodles (delish) and onagiri (rice ball jobbies - also delish). Interesting, vaguely unidentifiable, tasty soups were served in beautiful ceramic mugs and bowls . Yummy blends of fresh juices on offer include pear and green leaf, and carrot, apple and ginger. The Earl Grey tea cake is divine and reminiscent of the best cake I have savoured in life to date - the poppyseed cake at Blue Elephant, Prahran, Victoria, Oz circa 1994. I will soon sample the apple pie, and ginger scones (3 scones for RMB15), and maybe even the eyebrow-raising tofu cheesecake (hmmm...). Lunch set RMB50, dinner set RMB70. Cakes RMB30, tea RMB25, juices RMB35.

I am a big fan of the larger tables for spreading out laptops, books and what not (during quieter times).

A great place to park and read or scribble.

Thank you Kazu, Fela, and Sayaka for this wonderful oasis in Shanghai.

3 Taojiang Lu.
6433 4602
11:00am - late.
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Friday, 15 May 2009

Amazing spacewalk photos

"Bruce McCandless II took the first untethered space walk in February 1984. Here we see him from Challenger, floating above Earth."

More at Wired courtesy of @stephenfry

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Random Tidbits

Came across an interesting section in The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives and thought to share it:

"Could it be that publishing success is so unpredictable that even if our novel is destined for the best-seller list, numerous publishers could miss the point and send those letters that say thanks but no thanks? One book in the 1950s was rejected by publishers, who responded with such comments as "very dull," "a dreary record of typical family bickering, petty annoyances ad adolescent emotions," and "even if the work had come to light five years ago, when the subject [World War II] was timely, I don't see that there would have been a chance for it." That book, The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank, has 30 million copies, making it one of the best-selling books in history. Rejection letters were also sent to Sylvia Plath because "there certainly isn't enough genuine talent for us to take notice," to George Orwell for Animal Farm because "it is impossible to sell animal stories in the U.S.," and to Isaac Bashevis Singer because "it's Poland and the rich Jews again." Before he hit it big, Tony Hillerman's agent dumped him, advising that he should "get rid of all that Indian stuff."

Those were not isolated misjudgments. In fact, many books destined for great success had to survive not just rejection, but repeated rejection. For example, few books today are considered to have more obvious and nearly universal appeal than the works of John Grisham, Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss), and J.K. Rowling. Yet the manuscripts they wrote before they became famous - all eventually hugely successful - were all repeatedly rejected. John Grisham's manuscript for A Time to Kill was rejected by twenty-six publishers; his second manuscript, for The Firm, drew interest from publishers only after a bootleg copy circulating in Hollywood drew a $600,000 offer for the movie rights. Dr Seuss's first children's book, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, was rejected by twenty-seven publishers. And J.K. Rowling's first Harry Potter manuscript was rejected by nine. Then there is the other side of the coin - the side anyone in the business knows all too well: the many authors who had great potential but never made it, John Grishams who quit after the first twenty rejections or J.K. Rowlings who gave up after the first five. After his many rejections, one such writer, John Kennedy Toole, lost hope of ever getting his novel published and committed suicide. His mother persevered, however, and eleven years later A Confederacy of Dunces was published; it won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and has sold nearly 2 million copies."

Friday, 8 May 2009

Breathing in Shanghai

Just changed the Blue Air purifier filters in the apartment. Above photo shows 3 filters: leftmost is the new filter, the other two are filters from the last year (they are replaced every 6 months).

Filter for the smaller machines (e.g. for bedrooms).

I never open the windows - but there is circulation since the seals on the doors and windows aren't the best. So, I imagine one would have to change the filter every 3 months or so if windows / balcony doors are regularly opened for extended periods of time.

Hmmm... maybe I should change the filters every 4-5 months rather than 6.
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