State Of The Map 2009 – signed up


I just signed up for the State Of The Map conference for 2009. If it’s anything like last year it’ll be a fun-filled map fest, but actually I predict it will be even better. The OpenStreetMap community is getting pretty massive nowadays (100,000 users), and it seems like clever new uses of OSM data are springing up on a daily basis, so the conference should be pretty amazing. But also it’s in the middle of Amsterdam. Awesome location! It’s going to be really fun to go there and meet hundreds of other OpenStreetMap enthusiasts.

Doug Ammons kayaking talk

Doug Ammons
I went to see a talk by super-kayaker Doug Ammons last night.  He flicked through slide photos of amazing wilderness locations and big rivers, while talking about his philosophies and the mindset needed for taking on these big whitewater challenges.  It was interesting and slightly hypnotic  (I think Francine found it more hypnotic than interesting)

Photos don’t really show the scale of things well. That’s why seeing fireworks for real, is always more impressive than photos of fireworks.  It’s true no?  But it works for landscape scenery too, and seemingly also for really big rivers.

There is also a classic problem, even when looking at a river for real, that if you’re viewing from really high up the valley side, it’s very difficult to judge whitewater. You see white rapids and you’re always tricked into thinking “Yeah that looks like it could be some nice whitewater” (when if fact you’re looking at a terrifying honking great deathfest)

A lot of Doug’s photos were from quite high up,  and although he had quite a few pictures with kayakers in, showing scale, it only really registered when he showed some video.   …”Ok so it’s *that* kind of whitewater we’re talking about“. …Absolutely insane. I won’t be paddling the Grand Canyon of the Stikine any time soon.

At the beginning he also showed a beautiful photo of “Agua Azul”. Amazing light blue colour of the water. That looked more tempting. Hang on….  no maybe not.

I’ve never been to a kayaking talk before, although I have been invited to a few (river rats used to organise a lot) Quite liked it. It’s a different way to spend a Friday night.

Odd photos on my way to work

Yesterday as I was walking to my office from Waterloo I saw this lady (or is it a man?). Now I’m no great follower of fashion, but…
Crazy clothes lady 2 Crazy clothes lady 2

Then this morning on the roundabout just by Waterloo a fire engine had toppled over.
Toppled Fire Engine
It might’ve been my physics teacher who told us that fire engines have an extra stability problem created by the water sloshing around in their tanks. Modern fire engines have perforated plates called “baffles” fitted inside their tanks to reduce this effect. In this case though, it wasn’t a normal fire engine it was some kind of fire equipment truck. Anyhow they were obviously taking the roundabout a bit too quickly! So I took this snap and sent it to the BBC. To my surprise they phoned me back a minute later to check if it was OK to use it. So here’s my photo on the BBC site. Only made it onto the ‘extra’ photos section, but I’m surprised they were interested in it at all. It’s not actually a very good photo.

The joy of spring …poo

Apparently spring starts next weekend, but it felt pretty springy today. We dusted off the roller-blades and headed to Hyde Park. Perfect weather for it.

Just now I also ventured into the garden and had a good look at it for the first time in months. As I prepared to give the lawn a trim I discovered it was absolutely full of evenly spaced piles poo from the neighbours’ cat. Hadn’t noticed this during my dark winter trips to the compost bin, but no doubt trod in them a few times!

All cleared up now and the lawn is looking glorious.

Post Poo Lawn
…hmmm well as glorious as it ever does using a strimmer.