After browsing a website on the supposed early maps of Antartica, I thought the idea of mapping out the world without any of the high-tech equipment we have today to be pretty fascinating. Most of the maps look ridiculous from our point of view now, but I remembered an article in Zeit Magazin from a long time ago which had German politicians draw up maps of their country. The results were pretty funny. Now I tried to do the same, but up the ante a little bit – draw a world map from memory. I have to say, I used to be good in geography in school, but my memory for where countries are located is pretty spotty at best. There are a lot of embarassing blank spots in Africa, South America, Asia but also Eastern Europe. I don’t even know all the countries there. The result is a pretty Euro-centric map, as was to be expected … By the way, why not create a map yourself and post it in the comments section? You can add an extra challenge if you like and try to locate all the capitals. I decided not to do that because I couldn’t remember how to spell Reijkjavic Reykjavík. Now without further ado, behold! I give you the world according to me:
Posts Tagged ‘random thoughts’
Money is always short when it comes to spaceflight. While NASA does have a rather large budget in comparison to ESA for example, very little seems to come out of it if you look at the development time of the new Ares rockets which are supposed to take human beings to the moon again. If you consider that it’s already been done before a couple of decades ago, you’d think it could be repeated in a shorter time frame and with less money now since a lot of the basic research has already been done (of course, a lot of know-how has been lost as well.)
I’m back from London just in time for the first anniversary of the blog. One of the most interesting discoveries for me was a clothing store chain that sells video game t-shirts. How cool is that! I wanted to get a black Arkanoid shirt, but since they were out of stock, I went for a Bomberman motive instead. I usually hate shopping for clothes, but this was really awesome. If they had stores in Germany or Austria as well, I’d be going out on the hunt for clothes more often. HINT HINT!
Oh, I almost forgot: to celebrate the first year, the blog can now be reached via robotriot.org as well.
When looking up at the moon, it’s always this monochrome, barren disk in the night sky. The reverse view is something I still find rather wonderful and refreshing, despite having been around since the Apollo landings in the 1960s. Standing on the barren rock and looking up to a strangely coloured marble against a pitch black background — it looks so fake, yet it is a change of perspective that would do good for a lot of people on our planet when it comes to the ridiculous matters we fight for.
This is a video of Earth rise as seen by the Japanese space probe Kaguya currently orbiting the moon, taken on April 5, 2008.
Yesterday I got my 6th hit at Eurobilltracker. This is a website dedicated to tracking the paths Euro bills take around the world (derived from the US-counterpart Where is George?.) It works simply by entering the serial number of the note into the online database. Once somebody else receives your bill and enters it, you’ve got yourself a hit. The website generates a lot of statistics (did I mention that I’m a huge fan of statistics, graphs and tables yet?) and maps showing you the distance your note traveled and the amount of time it took. It’s a really fun waste of time, and a very satisfying feeling once you actually do get a hit (which will take its time at first.)
Two days ago, the United States Supreme Court toppled the gun ban in Washington DC. I am probably a bit naive, but I was shocked at how the mostly US-residents at a games forum I frequent reacted to this. They had pretty much nothing but applause for the result, even those who didn’t care much for guns stated that the freedom to bear arms is important to them. I simply can’t understand how having firearms in your home reduces the crime rate. Criminals knowing that every household has a gun in a drawer somewhere won’t turn into saints looking for legal work all of a sudden. They commit crimes for a reason, and I doubt they don’t know the risks that come with their “job.” And even if they avoid robbing homes and choose “easier” targets, as suggested in the forum thread, that doesn’t reduce the crime rate at all. It just shifts a little into other areas. And I guess it’s safe to say that the probability of firearm accidents is 100% higher if you have a gun at home than if you don’t. And of course, lifting the restrictions on gun possession will make it a lot easier for criminals to get hold of weapons themselves. It’s like an arms race between two nations. If you know your target owns a gun, you’d better be equipped with an adequate counterpart yourself. I mean, a gun is a device made to kill a living being. How can that be any good for anyone? I’ve even seen a video once of children sitting on machine guns at a firing range, with their daddies standing there right next to them smiling. WTF is wrong with this society? I think it’s time to realize that maybe, 200 years ago, things were a little different than they are now. At least other high-income countries with stricter regulations seem to have less problems with homicide as well. But I guess the constitution is just too much of a religion for the US, an infallible, untouchable holy grail of democracy.
De La Soul – Stakes is High
I found this store some time ago in a nearby town. Maybe this would be a more lucrative business for Amiga, since the company is in constant trouble ever since Commodore went bankrupt. And the current owner of the Commodore brand isn’t doing that much better either: they’re about to fold again – it’s the same old curse. I’ve lost count already of how many companies have owned the Amiga and Commodore trade marks in the last 14 years. At least Commodore is still a somewhat recognized brand, and I don’t think it would be too difficult to cash in on that by selling retro products, like the C64 DTV. That’s definitely putting the brand to a better use than selling PC towers with a C= logo slapped onto them.
Ok, this is the last one for now, I promise. Not that anyone cares anyway.
I have been thinking about the purpose of MS Paint. Yes, it’s nice to have a primitive way of quickly creating something graphical when there’s no “real” software installed. Yes, I know you can actually do awesome pixel art with Paint. Yes, I am aware of The Power of Paint. However I’m pretty sure that 97% of the time, MS Paint is used for one purpose and one purpose only: slapping crappy, waggly mouse-drawn lines in glaring 0xff0000 over photos, screenshots and maps, usually padded with gigantic JPEG artefacts. Most of the time, it’s an arrow.
Call me guilty as charged.
PS: Yes it’s actually 0xff7e00, I know.
Here’s another thing that came to my mind a moment ago. I’m currently kind of in a low-motivation phase. I go through that sort of thing rather often. I’ve actually got work to do, but I just become frustrated with it very quickly, because it just doesn’t work out the way I want it to be. That’s why I allow my mind to stray and turn to the vastness that is The Internet. I’m really good at browsing forums for hours, wading through discussion threads several pages long, and finding joy in other people fiercely argueing about random issues. I guess I shouldn’t write this on a publicly accessible page, but for some time I was active on the forums of The Flat Earth Society engageing in pointless arguements on how to proof to people who are either completely ignorant or just trolls (I’m still not sure to this day) that the Earth is indeed spherical. It’s fine to challenge things we take for a fact, but it’s incomprehensible to me how people can take it so seriously. It’s just generally true that argueing on the internet is pointless, since nobody will ever change their opinion (usually anyway.) Still, I find it somewhat fun to engage in such activities.
Another forum I was spending too much time with the last couple of days was Toytown Germany, a website targeted at English-speaking folks living in Germany. There’s a topic on their forum called Germans: why are you here?, asking why Germans are active on this forum, which is particularily targeted at US/UK/AUS/CAN etc. citizens. The original poster argues that he doesn’t want to see any Germans on the board, because he already has to deal with them on a daily basis in real life. He just wants a place where he can freely express his (negative) opinion about Germany, without Germans jumping in, starting to explain and defend themselves. I’m not planning on registering at that forum, but I know that I’ve spent a lot of time on there, because I’m really obsessed with wanting to know how others view “my country” (damn this sounds pathetic, I’m not really a patriot.) I remeber reading somewhere in connection with the World Championship 2006 that that’s the case for a lot of Germans actually. They are really concerned about how they are perceived by others in the global community. Well, I just find it interesting to get another perspective on things which I’m taking for granted.
Ok, so this is the point where others would possibly turn this blog entry into something really deep and interesting. I, however, am not that kind of person.
Hello dear non-existent reader.
So I decided to start a blog. I know I will probably never update it or only like once a year, so there’s really no point in having it in the first place. A simple website would do the job as well. It’s not really a rational decision, I just felt like doing it. Maybe because everybody else does, too.
The thing is, I’m no good at writing at all. I usually never have much to talk about. However, sometimes I somehow feel the urge to just write down some random things that are occupying me. Things nobody will be interested in anyway. But hey, I don’t care.
One reason for doing it might be that I want to work on improving my English. That’s why I’ve decided to write in English for now instead of German. I’m fairly good at reading/understanding English, but I really don’t write/speak that much English anymore. I realized it today when helping out p4 with an English application. I’ve become way too slow at forming sentences in English.
So, what else is there that I can bore you with. Oh yes, I finally came around to uploading a couple of new photos to Wikipedia again today. They’re pretty boring pictures of old-ish cars actually. But fear not, I certainly won’t spare you all of the details why I’m doing this! One day, I decided it would be nice to actually contribute something to Wikipedia. I use it fairly often, reading up … stuff. Since I don’t feel qualified enough to actually contribute whole articles to specific topics, I thought I could at least provide images. I’m not entirely sure how I came up with photographing classic cars. I’m not that into cars actually, I don’t have one and I don’t like driving. Maybe it has to do with my obsession with toy cars as a child. I think it’s also partly because I like to collect things. I sometimes specifically go outside to spot old cars. It feels like going on a hunt, scouting out the best locations for my photographic prey. Must be some relic from the stoneage, hunting and collecting. It sounds stupid, but it just gives me a little bit of satisfaction when I find some vehicle worth photographing, and adding it to the Wikipedia gallery. I’m weird.
On another note, this blog here is the first time ever I successfully installed a PHP application. Until a couple of weeks ago, I didn’t even know my webhost had PHP/MySQL. My account only includes one database though, with a 100MB quota. I’ve been thinking about installing a PHP-genealogy software, so this would probably conflict with my blog.
I’m still trying to come up with a witty name for this blog. I’ll probably just change it whenever I feel like it anyway. I’m inconsistent like that. Anyway, I think it’s due time I’m ending this entry. If you made it all the way to this sentence, there must be something seriously wrong with you. Do something productive!
PS: I sure enough edited the hell out of this entry. Why do I never realize typos earlier?