Personally unfamiliar with this species, I awoke to their rhythmic screeching thinking that a white cockatoo was dying. What a pleasant surprise to find these giant birds outside my window instead.
Although listed as least concern on the threatened species list, their numbers are declining.
Their scientific name funereus comes from their black plumage, as if dressed for a funeral.
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I grew up on the space shuttle. Not literally, that would be weird. But as a young boy in the 1980's my deep seated love of technology and science was firmly grounded in NASA's shuttle program. I watched as Challenger disintegrated in the sky, and I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning to watch Discovery's launch, the first since Challenger. I recorded it on VHS and watched it over and over until it was almost TV static again.
Then, after Columbia exploded dramatically on re-entry, I watched Discovery return America to space once more, after another long break and political soul searching. Discovery is "my" shuttle. Just like some people have celebrity girlfriends, I have my shuttle.
I desperately wanted to see the last launch, Atlantis, but missed my chance. So when I won a trip to San Fran to see the Googleplex (another nerdy story), I took an extra week off work and high tailed it to NASA, Cape Canaveral and the Kennedy Space Center. I spent the entire day by myself going on tour after tour, exhibit after exhibit, drinking in the NASA story and melting in a warm bath of nostalgia.
The climax of course was seeing the newly opened Atlantis space shuttle exhibit where I stood face to face with the beautiful great hulking beast of a spaceship, weathered and worn like a weary soldier. Despite her years, despite her faded tiles and retro consoles I still think of the space shuttle as one of the great icons of my lifetime. The shuttle is a bit like the De Lorean.. kind of timeless. If you saw one in operation today it wouldn't be out of place at all. It's still the past, it's still the future.
Although the shuttle has flown over my head countless times, there's nothing quite like standing directly in front of one. I think I must have stood there gaping for about an hour while groups of tourists flushed past me. NASA insists that the next manned spacecraft is around the corner, but either way, an important era has passed in the history of space travel.
Photo : Nikon D5100, ISO 3200 Handheld at 1/40 - 10 exposures merged into panorama.
I spent several hours walking through Golden Gate Park in San Francisco today. I must say, it is a massive expanse of parkland for a city. I was hard pressed to walk the entire 5kms. Let's be honest, "park" is a bit of an understatement for this sized tract of woodland in the middle of a city. Some of these trees are over 100 years old, and the park is featured in Charlie Chaplain movies, Dirty Harry and even Bugs Bunny cartoons.
Stepping into the various groves like this one and you quickly forget you are in a city at all, and expect druids, or bears, to come wandering past at any moment.
An repeated email just went out from an older post … this is what was meant to go out...
Hello old photoblog-I-haven't-used-in-months. I'm dusting you off momentarily to share maybe a photo of two from my travels in the United States of Amazing. Today I woke up in my motel in the ghetto, packed my things and ran for dear life to my upmarket accommodation a few blocks up. After dropping off my luggage I got voluntarily "lost" in the city streets (being truly lost is difficult with a smartphone). I found my way serendipitously to a small staircase that wound up the sheer cliffs to Coit Tower, an art deco concrete phallus that crowns the city nicely. On the way back down I couldn't help notice this little studio / office with commanding views of the bay. I imagine I'd get a lot of work done in an office like that. Or not. Maybe some light reading and a bit of guitar?
Here my lovely wife Anna does her best impression of a mermaid at the local Byron pool. An impression she's all to willing to convey, over and over, until I have to pull her from the water. I am still playing with the cheap underwater enclosure (Digipac) for the Nikon DSLR which is working pretty well. I also tightened the levels for better contrast in post, but didn't otherwise alter the colour too much.
This is a test of a new Digipac enclosure I bought for my Nikon DSLR. I took a leap of faith, and without testing, assumed the $100 case would protect my $2000 camera. Happily, it worked as intended. (Phew.)
My results were mixed. Conditions weren't great and I'll need more practice if I'm to get a nice barrel photo. The case and nikons menu system mean it's very difficult to change ISO and focus. I switched between Auto and Manual focus but auto means you can't fire off a volley of shots quick enough. Being a poor swimmer doesn't help either. Still, it's a good excuse to get out among the sand, sun and surf. Hopefully, more of this sort of thing to come with some practice!
Remember when we landed a man on the moon on a rocket called Apollo?
The Apollo Guidance Computer (AGC) that landed man on the moon had 36k of read-only memory and 2k of “ram”.
To put it in perspective.. here is a JPG photo of a kitten that is almost equivalent in file size to the entire computing power on the Apollo spaceship that landed man on the moon.
Think about that next time you complain your first gen iPhone 3G is only 16 gigabytes .. about 440,000 times more capacity than the computer that landed man on the moon.
Every year they drop the yellow pages on my doorstep and every year I’m filled with bitter disappointment for the sheer volume of waste this bygone era of information delivery has wrought on the world.
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Donald E Brown, an American anthropologist and scholar, took the time a few decades ago to compile a list of things that all human races appear to have in common. I remember finding this list online a few years ago and pouring over it.
One of the topics that has always interested me is the question of what it means to be human. This list doesn’t answer that question and these things are not uniquely human, but we do appear to share them across disparate cultures. The modern office worker and the Eastern Eurpean cave man’s commonality is documented here, and it’s wonderful.
From the prehistoric cave walls, to ancient roman graffiti, to modern art and culture.. is there nowhere on earth that isn’t improved with the addition of an impromptu phallus, complete with vein lines and pubic scribbles?
So I know it must seem like I’ve been pretty quiet. I used to give you guys the excuse that I had to study, but now my masters is finished I’ve no such excuse. I can say however that behind the scenes I had spent some time in negotiations for my business, DNA Digital a local australian web design company.
Rather than explain it, I’ll just link the Northern Star’s reporting of it. (Click Here to Read “Couple Weave’s Own Web” from Northern Star Newspaper) There was an official press release you can find on the DNA Digital site too. The only things I’d clarify is that I’ve been in business for 10 years, not 2 and Your Name was not a “rival”, but run by a great colleague and peer of mine.
Suffice to say running the business from Byron Bay this last year has been excellent. Mostly because of the food. I must have put on 4 kilos. Such GOOD food mere footsteps from my office is a dangerous thing to my health. No packed lunch for me. I often walk on the beach before, during or after work and love that clients are all too happy to drop in when they are on holiday. I think I see them even more regularly now than I used to!
I’m going to try and write more often. Even if it’s just interesting tidbits here and there, and not necessarily rambling discourses. Take it easy!