Thursday, 31 January 2013

Kiss From A Rose

It wasn't easy to think of a title for this one, and i'm not happy with it to be honest.  It was rather easier to think of a title for this video though:

Tights dresses and pink.  All of these have been masculine but are now seen as feminine.  There's also a bit of twerking (booty shaking) in this.

Anyway, let's deal with these one at a time.  First of all, tights, or rather, leggings.  I am well-known for wearing these, and in fact until the eighteenth century it was normal for men to wear tights.  They only became feminine after that. Other videos on this channel go into that, so i'll drop it for now.  Suffice it to say that there's apparently something wrong with wearing lycra or spandex skintight stuff as a bloke.  Search me what it is.

Now for dresses.  Men look silly in dresses but there was a time in the middle ages where there was very little difference between feminine and masculine costume and consequently, men wore dresses, effectively.  The reason they look silly, of course, is that they're designed for women - the fact that we're unaccustomed to seeing them is probably not the only reason they look ridiculous.

Finally, there's the issue of pink.  Interestingly, this only became a girl's colour recently.  Alice In Wonderland depicts Alice as wearing a blue dress and right up to First World War times, pink, being a vibrant and reddish, rather blood-like colour, was considered masculine.  I'm not sure when it switched.  Also, velour, being a soft fabric, is also feminine, as are ribbons.  I have no idea why ribbons are, except maybe because they're an adornment.  Unisex or men's hoodies, for example, never have ribbons.  Perhaps it's because they're shiny.

I lost another subscriber, probably due to yesterday's rather sub-standard offering (or maybe what i offered in it), so i decided to up the ante.  I decided that shaking my booty on YouTube would bring in the punters, and acted accordingly.  It should get me somewhere.  What didn't go according to plan was that my leotard seems to have vanished, which is annoying, so i just carried on anyway.  It's also shorter than usual.  It's also remarkable in that it has me dancing (sort of) in it, and it's also the first time i've ever worn a complete pink tracksuit.  I'm not keen on velour, but sometimes things have such a high degree of silliness that they transcend my distaste, and this has just such extremity.

It's also according to plan, as mentioned in the previous doobly-do.  Tomorrow's video is therefore also fixed.  This is starting to make me quite nervous.  I'm really beginning to put myself out there now, in a way i also do in real life, but for some reason i was more trepid about the people physically around me and emotionally close to me making this than i usually am.

Believe it or not, this is really me trying to be myself, and also trying to adopt the audacity i show on the Big In Japan channel (the Other Channel).

One really annoying thing:  the subscription annotations wouldn't work.  I'll have another go at them shortly.

I've now decided the reason for the spike the other day was the name of the blog entry:  "The Meaning Of Life".  Therefore, if i manage to make a video of that name which is also good and relevant rather than a trick, it might succeed.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

This Is How It Feels

This video:


Welcome to the third Webcam Wednesday video.  In this video, i summarise some new activities and stuff that i'm doing.

The first is Invisible Disease T-shirts.  This is an idea a friend of mine had whose family is afflicted by various chronic illnesses and disabilities which don't affect their appearance but most definitely do impair their lives.  If you are blind or unable to walk, it's easy to notice but there are a lot of other illnesses out there which are not like that such as Type I Diabetes and Cystinuria.  The plan is to produce T-shirts which illustrate these diseases and hidden disabilities so that they're no longer invisible, and to use them to raise money for relevant charities and other groups, although i also plan to make a profit.

The second idea is the reason i bought this thing in the first place.  I plan to offer webcam tutoring on a variety of subjects, including sciences - chemistry, biology and physics - maths, classical languages, German, philosophy and various other things which you might want to suggest.  Linked to this are the videos of Big Science activities and others which i've started to put on here, of which the first is "Molarity explained with egg sandwiches".  These will be organised into playlists on the relevant subjects once i've got enough for that to make sense.

Other video activities, which you may have noticed, have included salvaging relevant material from the other channels.  I uploaded these videos, which are low-quality, over the last couple of days and it's unlikely that you'll get any more because most of the material on Handsonisbetter was deleted and is completely gone, and almost all of the material on the Other Channel, although it's educational, is unsuitable for this one.  Nonetheless, you now have "Herbal relaxants and astringents" and "Stomach and speech organ anatomy".  Meanwhile, there are two other videos from Handsonisbetter:  "Jane Austen As She Is Spoke" and the time capsule opening video, which might interest you.

Finally, on the subject of lower-quality videos, i'm aware that there are a lot of people whose internet connection is not as good as ours, and has lower bandwidth or a quota.  For those people, i've started to make low-bandwidth versions of the other videos so you can see them without worrying about that or getting endless buffering.  As uploaded, they're under 7 Mb in size and i plan to link to low bandwidth versions from the higher quality versions.  That way you get to see them even if your internet's not good.  I will also consider posting out CDs if you still have problems.

Finally, please do subscribe and share if you like my stuff, and if you dislike it, please give me feedback so i can try to improve.  Bye for now - normal video tomorrow, possibly on the colour pink or the history of the zip fastener!


First of all, there's a very high ratio of comments to views on this one.  One of the views is my father, two are from FB and i think one is an ersatz "view" of mine, so the fact that two of you have actually said something is pretty good.  However, the low number of views is problematic.  I realise it was chaotic, due to lack of time, but i needed to include both the T-shirt idea and the Skype idea (and associated stuff) and rather than have them on consecutive days, i decided to do both at once on a whim that i didn't get the chance to stifle or rethink.  Basically, i have one shot at making a video on Wednesdays or there's no video, and i've committed myself to uploading at least one a day.  So i agree with the comment about focus, i usually try to focus (though it may not show) and this is an explanation, not an excuse.  Also, thanks for the feedback!

It's been a bit irritating having to upload the four itty-bitty videos yesterday and also a bit of a risk.  It may not be connected, but i lost a subscriber yesterday.  I had to do it at some point though, and the two medical videos were originally on this account a couple of years ago - i just needed to restore them.

Right now i'm wondering how the heck people keep their uploads down to one a week, assuming they have time.  I'm constantly being assaulted by ideas, possibly not very good ones, for videos and there seems to be no let up.  Presumably my lack of self-criticism is a factor here.

Time for a bit more navel-gazing.  Here's the all-time list of popular vids on this channel:

Incidentally, numbers five and seven are deleted videos which i left up too long for the previous deletion policy.  One is probably on bandhas and the other on herbalism, incidentally, and the latter is extremely old.

While i'm at it, here's the Other Channel's list:

("...let b..."! Quelle drollerie (sp?)!)

What can be learned from these lists?  Well, first of all that as a pervert, i have company.  That's the message of the second list and to some extent the first.  In fact, every video on the first top ten except for the herbalism one has potentially salacious content, depending on the mindset of the viewer (as usual).  Therefore, it's quite easy to see what gets views.  Note also the boost in autumn 2012 on the second graph.  This was, believe it or not, caused by hypnosis!  I choose not to dilate further, but it's not as dodgy as it sounds.

Therefore, it's very clear what i need to do to boost views, and it's probably quite easy to do so.  So i'm afraid you're going to have to bear with me while i introduce videos which are, shall i say, rather more daring.  For better or worse, this is who i am.  That does not mean, however, that i will lower the tone of the channel.  Let's just say i have plans.  Even the Other Channel is not your bog standard fapfest, even for what someone once referred to as "our eccentric community".  There you go, big pink neon sign for you.

Oh, what the heck:

Wouldn't it be nice to be able to pull the threads together?

Oh yeah, one more thing:  what was with that sudden blip in viewing figures on here yesterday?  Anyone?

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

The Meaning Of Life

Second one from the same Monty Python film and the animation project, as it happens, contains the phrase "wafer-thin mint".  Yesterday brought this:
It's an ancient idea that superficiality hides meaning, and that depth is in some way more significant than shallowness.  For instance, many people would approach a work of art as having a meaning beyond what's suggested by the words themselves.  They might look for irony, symbolism or a deceptively simple insight into the human condition.  A similar approach is taken to the observed world as a whole and to the details of one's own thoughts, feelings and relationships.  The idea of depth revealed by analysis exists all over the place, in literature, psychotherapy, politics and religion, to take a few examples.

However, more recently, this has been challenged.  The very idea of a world view which explains everything has been rejected by many.  Examples of that might include, in a simplistic view (but then we're talking about superficiality here) science, Marxism, ideology, politics, psychodynamics and religion.  As a result, activities which seek to uncover depths are now seen by many as futile.

If someone said to you, "we need to stop the sodomy in New York City because it could cause an earthquake", you would probably find it hard to empathise with their point of view.  Similarly, if i curse Thor, i don't expect to be struck by lightning.  On the other hand, if i underwent hypnotherapy to remove my caffeine addiction, i would expect there to be an underlying reason for that addiction which means i won't get off without some kind of adverse consequences unless the reason i'm addicted is also addressed.  Now the question is, when i think that way, is it different than expecting a thunderbolt from the gods if i do something they don't like?  Is that the way the world works?

There is another aspect to all this.  We are currently living in a situation where we are expected to disclose things and be on show.  We post a load of stuff on social networking sites like Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter, Tumblr and YouTube and are admired for confession and we are also told "if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear".  Airport staff expect to see us naked, we are expected to tell all in CRB checks, be seen by CCTV and so on.  However, going back to willing disclosure, what we reveal often seems superficial - we had X for breakfast or went shopping and bought Y - plenty of haul videos on here for example.  It seems to me that when we do that, we unfold ourselves and lay it all out in front of people, and when we do that it becomes shallow because we have removed our depths.  Is this the same kind of thing?

Nevertheless, i can't shake the feeling that there's a difference between watching Big Brother and listening to Turanalila, but i don't know what that is or why i prefer the latter.

That should explain the title.  This is in fact the preamble to last night's Drink And Think discussion on profundity and superficiality.  It's a simple video - no cuts, no need to spend ages trying to sync the audio and not a huge amount of fiddling about with start and end screens.

This was a very hard video to tag though.  It has difficulties of a different kind to the others, mainly to do with "advertising".  In any event, this video is never going to be hugely popular, so it's probably not worthwhile putting much effort into promotion.

I then ended up doing a second video, yet to be listed:

Moles often scare or confuse people but they are in fact quite simple.  A mole is simply the name of a number, like "dozen".

A mole is the number of atoms in twelve grammes of carbon 12, which is basically just carbon.  If you wanted to make a dozen egg sandwiches, you might use two dozen slices of bread and a dozen eggs, because you would be putting a sliced boiled egg between two slices of bread.  Moles are used in chemistry in the same way as the word "dozen" is used in what i've just typed.  They're just a number.

So, suppose the egg is an oxygen atom and the slice of bread is a hydrogen atom.  A molecule of water, dihydrogen monoxide, is sort of an oxygen between two slices of hydrogen.  If you wanted to make a mole of water, which is eighteen grammes, you would need a mole of oxygen atoms and two moles of hydrogen atoms.  It's the same with common salt, sodium chloride - a mole of salt, about 58 grammes, is made of a mole of chlorine and a mole of sodium.

I also demonstrate how big a mole of gas would be using the balloon.  It's about four and a half lungfuls.  However, there's no such thing as a mole of air because it's a mixture.  A mole of nitrogen molecules or oxygen molecules would be that size though, more or less.

This video is a bit long and i should probably explain the context - it's probably also inconveniently high in bandwidth requirements incidentally.  Anyway, yes, it's quite different from my originally planned video on molarity, which would've involved a vast array of burrowing mammals.  I might still do that at some stage.

What happened was, last week i did Big Science via Skype, and it seemed to go quite well.  This week i planned to do the same but hit the snag of the smartphone at the other end being inaccessible, so instead of doing that, i put my plan of sticking explicit curricular content "home ed" videos on YouTube into action.  This is the first.  The thumbnail's not up to much but will be improved.

Probably the drawback of this video other than its length and the fact it's unedited is the bandwidth and quota issue.  Unfortunately, in this case i can't realistically reduce them because of things like needing to see the details on the measuring cylinder.  You might also notice that it's in the living room rather than the front room.  This is because i was handling food.  The other thing about it is that there are trademarks clearly visible on the food packaging, which is rather unfortunate.

It occurs to me that i could equally well make a video on "Morality explained using egg sandwiches".

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Sunday Morning

The Bolshoi version, not Velvet Underground.

My problem this morning was that i hadn't made a video, so i've ended up breaking the Sabbath.  As a result, i decided to make one on a religious theme:

Are churches a waste of money?  Do they con gullible and vulnerable people out of cash they can't afford to spare and give nothing back?  My rationalisation says not!

Keeping up the fabric of a building is expensive and we all know the stereotype of the televangelist telling the poor to give until it hurts as proof of faith.  Clearly a church espousing creationism and encouraging homophobia would be in those respects hazardous and undesirable.  It's also argued that churches should not have charitable status and are a waste of money.

My first question is, what do you think a church is - the building or the people?  If it's the former, and many churches have no physical manifestation, it acts as an advertisment for the Christian faith and spirituality, but also as a facility for the wider community to use and a work of art which is produced collaboratively by people, often over many centuries rather than as a self-aggrandising exercise.  People use them for rites of passage such as christenings (of which i disapprove, incidentally), weddings and funerals.  They want such days to be special and tend to express such desires through attending churches.

The buildings are also facilities for the community, social groups and others to meet.  Ours, for example, acts as an annexe for a local community college.

Looking beyond the physical building to the people, i want to present two scenarios.  The first is the church as a social asset, providing things like food and shelter for the homeless, counselling and therapy for life crises and social facilities such as parent and toddler groups.  Few charities are as wide-ranging and there are therefore economies of scale.  A church is also voluntarily supported through its members through donations and work rather than having to be paid for through tax.  Although we may support, or at least recognise the necessity, of taxation, it is often not given willingly.  Surely it's better to do that than to have to coerce people to pay for these things?  The more religious institutions do this kind of work, the less tax is spent on it.

However, here's the second scenario:  a church i'm rather less keen on.  Imagine a church which does none of these things and just raises money for itself along, perhaps, with a self-serving or empty form of evangelism.  Suppose furthermore that we Christians are all completely wrong about our metaphysical beliefs and a church of this kind is therefore not only useless socially but also nothing more than a feelgood club for its members.  In that case, it still contributes to the economy through things like building work, utility bills, employing people and so forth.  It also contributes to people's mental health and sense of well-being.  Just briefly on the question of whether we're all mad:  people with frank psychotic mental health issues are usually recognised and helped by the congregation and it is straightforward to distinguish by possibly delusional beliefs such as our own and full-blown insanity.

I used to be in a very liberal, progressive church with very right-on values, most or all of whose members were agnostic or atheist.  It was in many ways a great place, but it was also completely ineffective because it was so small.

When people get together in groups, we tend to acquire irrational beliefs and practices.  This happens in political parties, pressure groups and charities.  The Church is a group of people who got together to do good about two millenia ago and is extremely large.  As a result, it can be expected to contain a lot of consensus irrational beliefs and practices.  It's not remarkable in this respect, however, just older and bigger, so it has had more time and space for this to happen.  Obviously i don't think i have entirely irrational beliefs about religion, but if i have, i'm not unusual and there are plenty of non-religious people whose beliefs have the same status as a result of their membership of groups.  That's simply what groups do to people psychologically.

I firmly believe that churches are a force for good in the community and that this would be the case even if we were completely wrong.  It's easy to cite extreme cases but those are not representative and don't form part of a sensible argument.

This is also the result of UnaBubba's comment on me buggering off to the above building yesterday for four hours.  Incidentally, the end screen is the result of laziness.  I have twelve frames of video for each of those thumbnails which i was planning to loop but it's a big job, so there are just two.  Also, i was going to include all dozen and a quarter (i think) R&S videos i've uploaded but not deleted so far on it.

I'm now even more obsessed with views than i was hitherto, and have started playing with the figures.  Yestern's video went well, perhaps because of naked me, though that probably put a lot of people off too.

Now for something completely different.  You may be aware that i started a website in 1999 and closed it down almost exactly a decade later.  Concerning SEO, it was at the top of Google, Yahoo and other directories and search engines for most of that time for search strings including words such as "Leicester" "herbalist", "asthma", "IBS" and so forth.  I think over that decade, it got something like six dozen views - around one every couple of months.  The frequency of hits showed no signs of increasing over that time in spite of the increasing popularity both of the internet, the web and looking for services and businesses on the internet.  However, we never got an enquiry as a result of the website.  As a result, i gave up on it completely.  I have never understood why people would bother with a website if they're trying to get business out of it.  For a long time, our main sources of enquiries were the Yellow Pages and word of mouth.  Later on, the Yellow Pages completely dried up very suddenly.  It went from an enquiry every day to nothing for two years overnight, so we cancelled our account.  Thankfully, however, word of mouth still works fine.  Incidentally, in a somewhat related turn of events, on listing herbs on Ebay, which is marginally unethical of course, we didn't even get page impressions, let alone bids.

Anyway, the reason i bring this up is that despite the clear ineffectiveness of websites as a marketing tool, people still go for them.  Why is this?  Do they just not notice it doesn't work?  Is there some reason why it can be made to work for them?  I have a second issue with this, as it happens:  people who sell things like website hosting services also sell website designing services.  Why would someone be comfortable with someone else having control over that?

That's it really!  Bye bye for today, oh void.

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Naked, Young, Immensely Marvellous!

Well, this seems to have worked, at least among our coterie:

Incidentally, there's also a low-bandwidth version for people who are less addicted to their internet connection than i am:

I have yet to release it into the wild and have de-monetised it because of the nearly naked man in the thumbnail, who does not appear in the video itself.  Yes, he's me.  Here's the doobly do:

"If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear" is a popular phrase in some circles.  It's also completely wrong.  This is why.

Firstly, it assumes that the authorities work perfectly and never make mistakes, and therefore that increasing surveillance and scrutiny won't introduce problems.  For it to work, it would have to be immune from any kind of corruption and should itself be transparent to the public.  This is not so.  In fact, just as capital punishment can never be pardoned, nor can this system be expected to work perfectly.  It's also reminiscent of the policy of mutually assured destruction where nuclear arsenals are controlled by any kind of fallible system.  The fact that we are imperfect humans means such a system must be hazardous.

Secondly, it assumes that the government and the people share values, and that the law is identical with morality.  If this were so, it would mean the government was infallible morally as well as technically.  It is self-evidently implausible that such a government could exist.

Finally, this is not a party political point or a point dependent on a left- or right-wing perspective.  Libertarians exist on both the left and the right.  A right wing perspective can include distrust of authority and recommend minimal state intervention, and a left wing perspective might recommend a bottom-up syndicalist approach rather than one which places trust in state authorities, and clearly the actual situation in most Western countries would be that much of the tasks of surveillance or intrusion into privacy would be carried out by unaccountable private agencies which would be relatively large scale.  Thus this is more about lazy thinking than anything else.

For some reason, it was really, really hard to choose tags!  I ended up opting for these:

I feel that none of these really hit the spot.

Anyway, about the naked man:  I'm not going to pretend that Uddiyana Bandha and Lung Volumes were absent from my mind when i chose this thumbnail,  nor am i under any illusions that my flabby pallid paunch is going to attract anyone to this other than for a good laugh, but it's not just gratuitous nacor.  The point is really that although i have no hang ups about being naked, i'm not about to wander about outside in the dead of winter or fry some bacon without chucking on the tediously ubiquitous trackie or frock, and consequently, although i have nothing to hide, actually hiding nothing could still be unwise in some circumstances.  Politically speaking, we're frying tonite, and we need at least a pinny to deal with this.

This is the second video for which i've done a low bandwidth version, which for some reason is just as small as the other one even though the latest is in colour.

It also occurred to me that i could change thumbnails on older videos, so i did this:

Friday, 25 January 2013

Jazz Police


plus this:

Bee image from Wikipedia, copyright under Creative Commons licence.

A new emergency service.

In today's world, many new threats to our safety and security have emerged, and new services have been established to fill these needs.  Only a handful of years ago we would not have anticipated the need for the Testicular Extortion Squad, the Interdimensional Transit Authority or the National Deflation Service.  I'm here today to introduce you to a newly-established such undertaking:  the Emergency Punctuation Force.

This was established in response to two separate needs.  The first was the absence of closing paired punctuation marks in some situations.  Unclosed parentheses were responsible for 6912 accidents last year, caused by the distracting discomfort of finishing a passage of text without the satisfaction of a closed parenthesis, and failure to close inverted commas is an even more serious problem.  Victims of unclosed air quotes have been known to cease taking their entire lives literally on a permanent basis, and so far £5 million have been spent on the construction of special homes for these unfortunates.

If you have experienced difficulties of this nature, do not hesitate to contact our operatives.  We will ensure a representative will arrive at your door within ten minutes and do this:  """, this:  """, this:  "(" or this:  ")" at you so you can continue your day in safety.

Far worse than either of these, however, is that scourge of contemporary life, the inappropriate apostrophe.  If you see one of these, please resist the temptation to take the law into your own hands.  Contact us instead.  Within five minutes, highly-trained professionals will attend the site and deploy our latest weapon:  the de-apostrophising ray.

Remember, we are here for you.  Do not hesitate to contact us.  Together, we can cleanse the world of dysfunctional punctuation.

And don't forget our sister service, the Nashunal Speling Ajensee.

is today's offering, largely inspired by Hypergraffiti but with some influence from Leonard Cohen, Scott Pilgrim and Cheap Trick, and maybe a bit of Viz.  It's not terribly good of course, but i hope that doesn't interfere with the humour.  I seem to have some kind of problem with my general demeanour when i try this kind of thing which doesn't happen in real life.  I still had a problem with synching audio and video, which i've tried to fix by inserting stills.  There must be a way to do this more straightforwardly.

The thumbnail also took a needlessly large amount of work:

(Hope it fits).

Another good thing today:  one LordAzanko has said it's a shame i don't have more views because my "History Of English Backwards" video is very interesting.  I think it's partly just a very gradual plod.  I had a dream the other night that i'm climbing a very steep hill with Charlie McDonnell.  Incidentally, try this.  Go to his channel and remember the views and numbers of subscribers, then hit refresh.  You will almost certainly find that the number of subs has gone up by one or two, but the number of views takes longer to change.  I just did it and the former went up by three and the latter stayed the same.  The same thing seems to happen on all the user channels - subs update quicker than views (yes i know, grammar).

Another observation:  compare the illumination on these two frames.  Yesterday's is on the left and today's on the right.  The difference in lighting is due to today's being lit by a disappointingly feeble 20W compact fluorescent tube, which however, has a higher colour temperature than a normal one.  I'm inching my way towards three-point lighting here.

Right:  That's it for today.  Tomorrow will probably be on the theme of "nothing to hide, nothing to fear".

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Buffalo soldier/Buffalo Bill

Cruel to that Snow White:

"Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo" makes sense in English in spite of the repetition of the word buffalo over and over again.  It can be expressed as "American bisons from the city of Buffalo in New York state which are bullied by other bisons from the same place retaliate against those same animals".  A similar statement is "Police police police police police", which expresses the idea that the police whose job it is to ensure that other law enforcement agents obey the law themselves and are brought to justice when they break it also ensure that they themselves do so.

The fact that this sentence makes sense illustrates that English is a near-isolating language which expresses meaning through word order (syntax) rather than changing the forms of words (inflection) and also demonstrates the importance of intonation.  Like several other nouns, the English word "buffalo", meaning the American bison, needn't change in the plural - it's called a "zero plural" in that it is exactly the same as the singular.

In fact, the sentence "Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo" can be of any length and still make sense, so it's claimed.  "Buffalo!" can be understood as an imperative, telling someone to buffalo.  "Buffalo, buffalo!" is telling a buffalo to buffalo.  "Buffalo Buffalo buffalo" can either mean that one should buffalo Buffalo buffalo or be seen as addressing a Buffalo buffalo, telling it to buffalo.  Sentences repeating the word more than eight times are allegedly also possible, although i haven't thought of any so far.

Still images in this video are licenced under the Creative Commons, with the exception of the postcard of Buffalo, New York, which is in the public domain because the copyright has expired.

Sadly, sentences like this are rare in the wild and have generally only been developed in language labs.

The end of this video is a mess.  My excuse is that i'm tired.  The other things about this are that it reminds me of this:

and also of this guy.

In other news, i've done this too:

in response to this:

which has an interesting title.  I'm thinking of providing an online punctuation resolution service.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

The First Rule Of Success

Yeah, who's gonna remember an obscure Will Powers record?  I wanted to put something else in, like "Disappointed by success", but i can't think of a song title.

Here it is:

Doobly Do:

A response to Alex Day's (Nerimon's) video on showing us the report on fairtrade chocolate - watch his video for details.  The website for the petition itself is here:

Back in the day, i used to try to make chocolate axolotls for Easter because of the rather silly reason that both had Nahuatl (Aztec) names.  I could equally have made chocolate tomatoes and it would've been easier.  However, it never worked because i was not an expert at making chocolate axolotls - few people are.  However, for all i know i might be able to make chocolate frogs, although i wouldn't be able to grow the chocolate.  The issue, however, is time.

Because many people have little time and more money, they often use that money to buy other people's services.  These people have become expert in that particular activity, so we can pay them for it and get high-quality stuff.  However, when we do that, we hand over our responsibility and trust for ethical production to them.  This is what has happened with chocolate frogs.  There's a magazine called 'Ethical Consumer' which specialises in ethical reports on companies, and often the companies which seem to have the best ethical record are unfortunately those which disclose the least - the ones which don't "show us the report".  These are able to avoid having the ticks in the nasty boxes on the criteria such as child slavery, dealing with oppressive regimes and the like.

Back in the 1980s, i avidly boycotted very many companies because of their poor ethical record.  I stand by this now as well, and certainly support the petition to Warner Bros to show us the report.  However, i also try to take the maximum responsibility for what i do, and to do this i do things like bake my own bread, home educate and so forth.  To some extent this is a luxury i have because i am time rich and money poor, and i realise many people can't take that option.

So, i wholeheartedly support the Harry Potter Alliance in its insistence on getting this report out in the open, and clearly few people are going to support child slavery morally and many or most would support fair trade, but this is what happens when people hand over the responsibility for making and doing stuff to other people.  Unfortunately, that's what happens when we have more money than time.

This is what i think has happened.  Sorry:  let's step back a few paces shall we?

A few days ago, Nerimon posted this:

I think it was on Saturday (today being Wednesday).  Clearly i missed the boat, which i realised before i even made the video, but it was this or "Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo" and i basically made a stab in the dark and opted for this.  There's nothing essentially wrong with the other one and it'll be tomorrow's, probably, but i happened to choose this one.  It was approved as a response to this video, yet it only has five views.  My conclusion is that automatic approval must be turned on, and i hereby present Exhibit A:

I'm not sure that fits in the space.  If not, it merely illustrates what i've said before about the internet:  there's no need to worry about invasion of privacy because being noticed at all takes a huge amount of effort and luck.  This is a list of responses to Nerimon's vid on chocolate frogs and fair trade.

In fact, i want to dilate on this point.  People worry a lot about stuff they stick on the internet being "spied on" in various salacious or otherwise dodgy ways.  As someone who had a website for a decade which had about six dozen views in that entire time in spite of spending the majority of it at the top of Yahoo's and then Google's search rankings for search strings such as "Leicester herbalist" and a number of combinations of common ailments and phrases such as "alternative therapy", "complementary therapy" and so forth, i have long since ceased to worry about this. Two things about this:

1) Anything you put on the internet is the electronic equivalent of a postcard, or rather you should assume it is.  For instance, i have been entirely open about certain kinks at great length on it, not because of being exhibitionist but because i often feel that i'm not telling people the whole story but am torn between secrecy and inappropriateness.  What i mean by this is that just as anyone might read a postcard, anyone might become aware of what you've sent across the internet, so you shouldn't do anything you wouldn't like to be widely known.


2) It's an avalanche of postcards, with each postcard the size of a snowflake.  There are, to be sure, programs designed to sniff out dodgitude, but if there was really any danger of being noticed, people wouldn't get paid for SEO or marketing.  If it were really that easy or dangerous in that way on the internet, they'd be perpetrating a con trick almost as big as the virus one on an unsuspecting public.  Whereas that's plausible in itself, there's really no difference in that respect between the internet and the West in general - we are a mass society on a huge scale for this tiny blue speck, though clearly not compared to even the smallest hypothetical Phase Three civilisation, and the activities of marketing and advertising, unlike memes, are not altered substantially by the existence of the internet, or even the Web or anything on top of that.

Therefore, when people worry that something is public, it gives me pause, not because i don't, although of course i don't, but because i know that actually getting attention for what you want is practically impossible and the vast ocean of apathy is in this sense our friend.  There's no need for concern because - Gott sei Dank - nobody cares.

Oh yeah, just regarding quotas and bandwidth, i've put together a demo version of my video "The Most Depressing Day Of The Year" which is only just over six and a half Mb in size.  It's unlisted, but here it is:

 By the way, you will notice that as usual there are no tags on this entry.  Apart from the fact that i don't care if anyone reads this blog, the above facts ought to tell you that actually making this easier to find is a pretty futile activity because whereas it may previously have had a probability of 0.000000001% of being read by a random stranger, adding tags, even if they multiplied that probability by a million, would still only get me to 0.001%.  Yes, those are made up stats, along the lines of the numbers used in Hindu cosmology.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now

It so happens that i'm not, though i have no idea why.  Here's today's video:

And the (looks up spelling...) doobly doo (thank you, Urban Dictionary):

If you are depressed right now, please remember that you can guarantee that your life will never get better if you end things now.  There are people out there who love you and will do anything to help.  Please, just get in touch with the Samaritans or another supportive group.  Their address is here:

If you want to talk to someone, their numbers in the UK and Ireland are on the website here:

21st January is said to be the most depressing day of the year, because Christmas and New Year are over and there's a long, hard slog to the next big event.  Also, the credit card bills have started to come in, it's cold, grey, dark and damp, and basically not at all fun.  Unsurprisingly, therefore, people get depressed.

This video is mainly about depressive realism, which is the idea that depressed people are realistic compared to emotionally well-adjusted people, i.e. the so-called "happy" people of which we hear so much.  Research suggests that depression sometimes involves an accurate assessment of reality.  For instance, in one study showed that depressed people were more aware of their lack of control over a light switch which they were told controlled a lamp unreliably than people who were not depressed.  However, the mere fact that we deceive ourselves less than others doesn't mean it's OK.  If you were "in touch with reality" because you had no skin, you would swiftly be dead.  Therefore, we may need to have positive illusions, such as religion (though I am of course religious) in order to function well.  Moreover, for some reason i don't understand, people tend to reflect negative feelings back on you, so when you're depressed, you're more likely to have depressing experiences from others such as bullying or being ignored.

However, the way in which people focus on ideas in depression is remarkable.  They sometimes get depressed about the "wrong" things when there are plenty of other reasons which seem to be better reasons to be depressed.  For instance, if a number of worrying medical findings arise from tests, a depressed patient may focus on a result which seems to be less threatening than the others and blow it out of all proportion while ignoring other findings which most people would find more worrying.  This means that depression can make you ignore important negative facts which it's important to address.

There are other aspects to depression, even cognitively, such as the cognitive triad, learned helplessness and the amine theory of depression and anxiety, but depression is a big subject.

Right now, for some reason i don't understand, i'm not depressed.

 It was probably a bit over-ambitious to try to cover depressive realism in one five-minute video, and in fact it seems that to me, depression is a big subject, so it's more of a series thing than five minutes.  I'd like to have added something about the value of stoicism in the context of depression.

Here's the thumbnail:

It's desaturated and some method acting was involved - i had a letter from the Inland Revenue on my lap when i took the photo.  Also, the lettering is close to indigo, as in "mood".  Not that close though, because "indigo" as in the web colour, is quite a bit closer to "violet" (actually purple) than what i think of as indigo.  You can see the difference here:

Indigo is on the left, the colour of the text on the right.

Tomorrow will be the second "Webcam Wednesday".  I've got a couple of ideas but they're not particularly firm.

Monday, 21 January 2013

It Was A Slow/Snow Day...

...but the Sun's not beating on the soldiers by the side of the road, although on the other hand today seems to be a day of miracle and wonder and there's a short-distance call coming up.

Today's vid:

Dooblydoo (must learn how to spell that!):

Snow days for families whose children go to school are fun for the children and a problem for the parents.  This emphasises the childcare function of schools.  Many parents are simply unable to spend the time they want to with their children because they have jobs outside the home to which their children can't go and can't find other childcare.

We take this for granted, but think for a moment about how bleak and negative that might be.  It means you can't control your own time, where you go, when you go there, it means your workplace is not child-friendly - i'm not talking about creches - and it means you haven't got friends, family or neighbours who can have your children.

Meanwhile, for children who go to school, a snow day is fun as it means time off from the daily grind of lessons and the like.  That also means lessons and learning are a chore for them.  This should not be so.

As home edders whose children didn't go to school, unlike the majority of home edders whose children do, we didn't have these problems.  This video was made in my workplace, i.e. my consulting room, and the children are welcome to use it whenever i'm not seeing a patient.

Moreover, schools find it hard to accommodate these kinds of opportunity into their working routine.  There was an annular solar eclipse when i was at primary school and everyone ignored it, even the pupils, except for me.  It was like they didn't even care it was happening.

Snow is an opportunity for learning.  I have something of a science bias so in this video i mention Archimedes principle, the oddity of water being denser than ice and the mathematical formulae for calculating the volume and surface area of a sphere, but there are many other chances for learning and enjoyment with it, such as sculpture or other arts and crafts projects.  For me, it's also a good source of particularly pure water.

I realise there are rewarding and worthwhile careers which cannot be child friendly, but there are also a whole load of things which could be done another way, and what kind of message are we giving children if a break from school is actually a happy occasion for them rather than a disappointment?

We need to do things differently and some of us already do.

For once, this is almost a transcription of what i'm saying because i read it.  There's some ad libbing around the point where i throw the snowball into the water.

To be honest, maybe i should just give up trying to monetise, but we'll see.  This time, there's no proper intro or outro because i'm testing if those are the problem.  However, i've also muddied the waters by including a public domain image of a snowflake, taken in the nineteenth century, in the thumbnail:

Incidentally, this thumbnail, unlike the previous ones which are screenshots from the video itself, is an actual frame from the video extracted using Avidemux, which is admittedly slow on this PC but much more precise than Windows Live Movie Maker.  I'm planning to make a video on video making in a bit.

Another interesting thing about this video is that it faces outward and i turned the light on to do it, so it's closer to having three-point lighting than usual and it's also gratifying that i'm not a silhouette in this image.  This position was achieved by moving the thankfully upright piano against the mantelpiece, so the front room is currently in a bit of a peculiar configuration but is at least quite a bit lighter.

Another camera-related event:  having tested the webcam avec les enfants dans le Bosvorth de l'Homme, i'll be holding a session on chemistry revision this aften on electrolysis and equation balancing.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

What The Heck?

Another query about commercial content.  So what i'll do is, change the intro and outro again and see what happens.  This is really bugging me - i simply cannot see what i'm doing wrong unless you can't use Windows Movie Maker for commercial purposes.  The intro and outro screens use NASA content, i'm using the GIMP and Audacity to do the graphics and the audio respectively and the fonts are all Open Source.  I am getting close to being completely stumped.

Just checked WMM and it's fine.  Next thought is the font used for the subtitles.  I bleeped the use of the word "Skype", so that's not it, and i carefully avoid any appearance of trademarked logos in videos, to the extent of sticking labels over clothing.

Unfortunately i don't feel it's likely that i will get an answer from YouTube itself, so i'll just have to keep trying and see what happens.

The chief problem is of course not monetisation as such because it's virtually impossible to derive an income from YT advertising alone, but the problem of what happens if the terms of service are violated by it.

No video today of course (except for tonight's, which is the one causing the problem and apparently won't work until this evening):

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Lily The Pink

Two more queries over commercial content which i've not really understood.  The Aunt Marge video got one, but so far as i can see that's just an extension of fandom and my review of the John Green book didn't get one.  The "ums" video, which wasn't even listed, also got queried and unless that's because of the spine of 'The Fault In Our Stars' being visible, i have no idea why that happened.

Rather more brightly, this:

is rather blue-looking, and has been approved, probably automatically, by Wheezywaiter, as a response to this, his video:

So that was good, even if it was without his intervention.

The doobleydoo (a word i must learn to spell) for my contribution is:

This is a response to Wheezywaiter's 'Trying To Make The Good Stuff', though it also stands alone.

It's about why i became a herbalist.  Basically, many years ago, a friend of mine went vegetarian for reasons of tropic levels and this persuaded me to go veggie myself.  Later on, i went vegan, and in order to ensure i stayed healthy, i did a lot of reading up on diet and nutrition.

A few years later, i was looking for a career which i could believe in and was fulfilling, and chose herbalism because it was self-sufficient, ethically very positive, interesting and could not be undermined by skepticism to the same extent as other complementary medicine might be.  I was also attracted by how practical it was, over which it scores considerably compared to my "main thing", which is philosophy.

The main drawback with it is that i can't really make a living with it, although ironically i am now better at doing that than i was before i abandoned the idea of doing that!

As i said, i was careful not to make it simply a response to his own video, but as it happens he was also quite helpful and thoughtful in making that choice because it is in fact quite easy to fit into what i'm doing, and this is probably also true of other people's stuff, so that was well-considered.  It's part of his "secret poject" (sp?) as it happens.

Tomorrow's video is also ready, since it'll be Sunday.  Here it is:

My plans for Big Science.  I intend to continue using this channel as before - there will not be major changes.  However, i also plan to add content which covers the kind of subject which is covered in the explicit curriculum of secondary schools, in particular science and maths, with demos, graphics and animation, and to back this up for anyone who wants it via webcam.  This does not affect Big Science.  I will still be doing Big Science sessions as normal, because there's no substitute for hands on.  Even so, on the one hand there is plenty of really excellent quality content on YouTube for educational purposes at secondary school level, but on the other, there should also be face-to-face support for this material, so the idea is that i will be doing both.  There's also a little bit about snow in this video, which is one of the factors which makes Big Science hard to manage on occasion.  I will also, of course, still be uploading documents to Scribd to support the rest of the project.

The materials on here will of course be free, as will the Scribd content, but i plan to charge £2 per family (not per child) per session for what i do via webcam.

Also, i'll continue organising uploads into playlists so that people can easily find what they want.

The sound is rather messed-up on this one, unfortunately, and i ended up doing a voiceover with some of it.  Also, having in mind YT's attitude towards the commercial content, i bleeped or otherwise omitted references to Skype.  I like how blue it looks, which is accidental and due to the snow.  It would be interesting to make it even bluer.  Sadly, it probably means it won't stand out, but i'm sort of talking to my own lot here, so i'm sure it won't get a load of views but that matters not one jot.  I am, however, hoping that it'll be seen by the people by whom it's likely to be perceived as relevant.

I am transferring skills here, because if i do manage to animate and provide graphics, i'll be using what i've learnt on the Other Channel, which is good.

Just tried to draw a graph freehand, incidentally, which would've appeared below, but it was too fiddly and i've changed my mind.

I still have to do a good thumbnail for tomorrow's video.

Oh yes, there's also this (which is obviously not mine):

Lily the Pink's medicinal compound is in fact the kind of thing i could whip up easily in the front room.  The rather flimsy reason for the title of this blog entry is that it's about how i became a herbalist.

Friday, 18 January 2013

Knitting! (Didn't expect that, did you Katharine?)

Yes, i went there.  I went there because it's hidden but not secret.  Today has two videos.  One of them is scavenged from yesterday's:

I am now acutely conscious of how often i go "um", which is probably a good thing.

The other is this:

At the time of writing, this has been up two and a half hours and has twenty-one views in spite of being unlisted.  This is probably because of where i posted it.  It'd be nice if i could find somewhere as friendly to views as there.

Oh, the dooblydoo:

Harry Potter, Aunt Marge and the Harry Potter series, with all associated ideas, depicted events and settings, along with the Prisoner of Azkaban, are copyright J K Rowling.  The books are published by Bloomsbury, the film series produced by Warner Bros.  No infringement intended.

J K Rowling's website:

OK, now this is about the physics of Aunt Marge.  Is it physically possible for someone to be inflated to the point of being lighter than air?  Well, obviously not - it would be magic.  However, if she were infinitely elastic, she would have to be over five metres in diameter.  This also means that in order to be lifted by a hydrogen balloon, that would have to be at least that size, ignoring the mass of hydrogen involved.

This is based on two assumptions:  Pam Ferris as Aunt Marge and the idea that Aunt Marge has a BMI of about 35, i.e. that she weighs 90 kg.  Rather surprisingly, Harris tweed is quite a suitable fabric for inflation because it has a lot of give in it due to the twill weave, which skips fibres and is therefore quite loose and open compared to tabby weave.

The minister for magic claims that she was punctured and her memory altered.  This seems to imply that she didn't pop but deflated relatively gracefully.

As you can see from my diagram, the whole idea is a bit far-fetched, but maybe a bit of Wingardium Leviosa was involved.

 This is of course almost entirely about someone else's intellectual property, but then there's a lot of that on YouTube.  I've stuck in the necessary acknowledgements, so if anything this acts as free publicity for them, hence the links to Pottermore and the like.

Some maths were involved, and maybe i should've included more of that.  Incidentally, this video has confirmed my suspicions about the inherent bias of Wikipedia.  Here's a still from the video:

As it says on there, that's almost definitely not herringbone twill.  Something which even I know about in the area of textiles, and about which i am not competent to write an entry, is mentioned only cursorily in Wikipedia.  This brings up the whole Knitting Problem:  i really think there are whole classes of people who seldom or never contribute to Wikipedia.  Now, i annoyed a lot of people by deleting my wiki, but this is the reason i did it:  systemic bias.

I am unsurprisingly by no means an expert on knitting, though i have a lot of respect for it.  When i look at Wikipedia articles on textiles, i can't really comment on whether they're accurate or have enough detail.  I also suspect that most people who edit Wikipedia are not very into knitting.  As a result, although i can't tell i would be surprised if there weren't subjects such as knitting which are either highly biassed or just plain missing.  I can sometimes see this happening, for instance with herbalism and home ed.  Also, the thing about Wikipedia is that once you submit something to it, it gets copied all over the web and then, when you look for confirmation, that will at first appear to be copious until you realise that all those references may have been made after the Wikipedia information was added and you have warped the very fabric of the Universe and messed with the collective mind of Homo sapiens instead of checking your sources.  Hence it's probably quite important to contribute accurate information about knitting to Wikipedia.

The irony of all this is that looms and knitting machines share a common ancestor with computers, and it's the nerds who are into the latter, with the result that there's rather little on the former on Wikipedia.

OK.  Now there's this diagram, which is a bit naff:

There are various problems with it of course.  Enough said.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

They Shoot Horses, Don't They?

First of all, there's this:


Horsemeat has been found in beefburgers in British and Irish supermarkets.  Although the issue is primarily to do with tracking food sources and the food chain, the peculiar horror this creates is more to do with food taboo among the German people stemming from horse worship, as evinced by the Uffington hill carving and horse burials than it is with that.

For some reason, we won't eat horsemeat but we will eat other meat.  Well, i won't of course because i'm vegetarian.  This is more like kosher and halal than anything else.  It also reflects the fact that horses are more useful to us alive than dead and that we establish a relationship with them by riding on their backs.

This is my third attempt to upload this video.  It's also to demonstrate that i now have a webcam which hasn't broken yet and will be Skyping for Big Science and herbal stuff, and probably a load of other reasons, so you won't just end up seeing me on YouTube but we can talk face to face.  But it's no substitute for hands on of course.

This is, i hope, the first in a series i'm going to call "Webcam Wednesdays".  Wednesdays are rather hectic and i get little time to make a video, so i've decided to make webcam videos on that day every week instead.  This also serves to advertise the fact that for the time being, we have a webcam.  This is something like the fourth webcam which has entered this house because they very rapidly get trashed, usually by falling off the monitor.  A previous webcam can be seen in this video, incidentally:

The horsemeat vid only processed correctly on the third attempt, so it ended up not saving as much time as i'd hoped.  There seemed to be some problem with Chrome, and in fact Chrome seems to be a bit of a mess in that respect.

Speaking of messes, today's is this:

There are various problems with this video, which i shall now explain.  The biggest one is the audio.  Once i'd recorded it, i realise i was umming, er-ing and clearing my throat all the way through it.  Since i can't seem to find a way of keeping audio and video synched in Windows Live Movie Maker, i went through it turning the volume down on all of them.  The result is an annoying audio track with blanks in it.  Also, the above thumbnail is inserted at a random point in the video.  It's really not very good and i wish i hadn't made a hash of it.

Yesterday's video is doing fairly well so far, which is both a joy and to be expected in a way, although we should of course expect the unexpected, which often happens with this.  The trouble with doing topical videos is that they do well at first, then drop off the radar as the news changes.  There's presumably a way round that.

I've also put extra thumbnails linking to the previous and following video on the outro for the last couple of days.

Rather annoyingly, YT counted the views from mobile devices wrongly on Monday, overestimating them considerably.  Until they told me that, i was under the impression i'd had five hundred views on that day.

On a different topic, i've rethought the contention that i put no effort into the Other Channel.  Although i only upload to it infrequently, the actual amount of work i put into some of the videos is considerable.  For instance, the hypnosis video, of which incidentally there are meant to be three sets, did involve writing a fairly elaborate script, pacing it carefully, compiling slides, tracing images and so forth, and the current animation project is taking weeks, for a seven-minute video.  Therefore, i suppose in a way i do put in the effort there.  The difference is that on that channel i'm, frankly, driven by primal urges and therefore don't notice the effort, just as one is often unaware of the work one puts into parenting.  I'm able to continue on this channel while pursuing activity on the other.  Therefore, it seems feasible that given the right ideas, i could still produce pretty good videos on the main channel, taking even several weeks over them.

I'm sorry man, no tags today.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

The Drugs Don't Work...

...but they should just be legalised anyway:

Gach!  Weird thumbnailing again!


Drugs should be legalised, particularly if you oppose their use.  Clearly i'm talking about "recreational" drugs here such as Cannabis/hash/mariajuana, cocaine, heroin and acid, and actually one thing i forgot to mention is that some drug use is self-medication and some is due to the fact that it's illegal making it taboo and therefore attractive to some.  However, that can wait.

Organised malevolent drug pushers, and those are not the only kind of course, have the most to gain from drugs being illegal, because they then have complete control over prices and quality control.  This leads people to commit crime to feed their drug addiction, and also to act immorally in other ways.  The freedom to adulterate the drugs also means dosage is unreliable and a lot of harm can be done to the body as a result of adulteration in drugs, particularly if they're injected.

I am emphatically not in favour of drug use in most circumstances.  I have known people who have become aggressive and violent under the influence of drugs, i've seen drugs take over people's lives and kill them, for instance through sharing needles, and in most cases drugs are purified even if they're adulterated, and pure drugs are much more likely to be bad for you.  The same kind of thing happens with alcohol and caffeine, and to a much lesser extent tobacco, but that's a subject for another video.  However, Prohibition was notoriously counter-productive and it seems entirely clear that the situation with drugs which are currently illegal is very similar.  Keeping them illegal does far more harm than legalising them would.  There is more organised crime, rape, violent crime and more harm to the health this way, and it can actually encourage people to take drugs.

The other aspect of this is the strong tendency of government policies and laws to be made in spite of strong evidence to the contrary, which is very much the case here.  Therefore, this is a much broader point, and politicians and civil servants often do not seem to make the right decisions because of an apparent lack of familiarity with such things as the scientific method and statistics.

I admit this is not a particularly original or sophisticated opinion, but there are limits to what you can manage in four and a bit minutes, and on that topic this is a fairly careful attempt at being topical.  It's missed the actual report by the House Of Lords itself by a couple of days, as is typical of me, and i failed to anticipate the report, but one thing i have succeeded in is to make it more general as well as topical, something which failed with other things because i focussed too much on the specific incident.  We shall see.

The views stats seem not to filter through very fast for some reason, which reminds me of the "301" phenomenon.

This was quite a simple video to make as it just involved getting raspberry leaves and washing powder and putting them in polythene bags.  The hardest parts were getting the pose at the start right so that both "drugs" were clearly visible in front of me, and i only partly succeeded even there because the raspberry is out of focus.

There are a lot of white powders in the world, incidentally, and many of them are dangerous when you put them in your body.  Alkaloids such as cocaine and opiates are only one category.  It's a little like sweet things, which usually seem to be dangerous.  One reason they might be dangerous is that in order to be white, they are quite likely to be pure.  This harks back to colour spaces again, believe it or not, but this time it's the CMYK model:

This is where the idea of blue and yellow making green comes from.  It also means that mixtures of three or more substances are much more likely to be brown, or at least have a brown tinge, than any other colour.  The other thing is that granular substances are more likely to scatter light indiscriminately regarding wavelength, so powders tend to be white.

Finally, theintrostealer has holpen me with black-bordered letters, so i can now do this:

Monday, 14 January 2013

Just remember that you're standing on a planet that's evolving...

I'll do it in a minute.

For now, there's this:

Optimised for 16:9, obviously - sorry.

This took longer than usual and screwed up at the end because of Windows Live Movie Maker, which seems to dislike splitting video files too much.  I guess this is because of key frames getting lost.  However, in this case it led to the usual problem of a twice-saved video file coming out milky, i.e. with greater value and less saturation.  This strikes me as odd because, like the "inverted" video, the nature of the change seems to make more sense in the HSV colour space than the RGB one, though maybe there's a straightforward relationship between the two i can't see.  This has of course made me curious.  Anyway, here's the doobleydoo:

The site itself is here: - look at galaxies nobody's ever seen before and classify them.
Write your name in the stars here:
Zooniverse: - the other projects i mentioned.

Galaxy Zoo was started in 2007 to help astronomers identify and study galaxies, as there were too many for an individual to examine.  They're quite easy to identify - spiral, barred spiral, elliptical or irregular - and the friendly community around it has made new discoveries such as Hanny's Voorwerp, named after its Dutch school teacher discoverer and previously lit by a quasar, and "green pea galaxies", which are small (about 16000 light years or less across) greenish galaxies which are that colour because of the ionisation of oxygen atoms in them.

If you're not interested in Galaxy Zoo, i don't really understand why.  No offence, but it's awesome!

I also took advantage of the ability to separate the soundtrack and video by inserting stills without breaking up the audio, though this required careful timing.  I also made a transition at the start which was supposed to be a page turning but wasn't much good, and was also supposed to be a transition from the thumbnail, which i decided to change because the originally intended thumbnail, which was "Write your own name in the stars" written as galaxies, was rather inconspicuous.  As a result, the thumbnail was as above.

One graphic i'm fairly happy with is this:

However, the borders around one of the photos is rather obvious and repeated several times.

I also had to splice in a still lasting an entire second when i would've preferred to composite it, but i can't manage that yet.  Right now, compositing is a major priority for me.

I also got a webcam today, which i'm planning to use for tutoring.  I'm rather worried about dust though.

Oh yeah.  About green wireframe graphics used in videos:

This video tempts me to discuss my current project on the Other Channel, which is quite labour intensive and involves something similar to the graphics on the Galaxy Song, but i'm not going to talk about that.

I'll probably talk about drugs tomorrow.