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Sunday, February 28, 2010

New social things!

Hi folks,

Just wanted to tell both of my loyal readers about the new toolbar that's sprung up across the bottom of this page. The idea is that it'll help you to do certain things on the site more easily as well as (hopefully) encouraging a bit more of a social atmosphere while you're at it. Please take a couple of minutes to look through the following and find out what each bit does. Or just play with it.

From left to right, the toolbar currently* has these buttons:
  • Recent posts: What it says on the tin- it provides quick links to my last however-many posts.
  • Real time stats: Click this to find out how many people are on the site right now. You can also find out other stats if you feel like exploring this feature.
  • Random posts: Click this to be taken to a random post in TeaKay's Blog.
  • TeaKay's Blog: A selection of links to different categories within TeaKay's Blog. Let me know if you'd like any other categories added (you can see tags in the word cloud in the right-hand sidebar of the blog).
  • Blogstronomy: A selection of links to different categories within my astronomy blog, Blogstronomy. Again, feel free to suggest additions to this list.
  • Subscribe: Use this button to subscribe to my RSS feed in whichever reader you use.
  • Share: If you like what you're seeing, this menu will allow you to share it via a number of popular link-sharing services, including Digg, Stumbleupon, Facebook, Twitter and Delicious.
  • Join Community: If you have Facebook, you can use those details to log in to the TeaKay's Blog/ Blogstronomy community and communicate with other readers. Please give it a shot; I'd love to see if it works! Your Facebook credentials are absolutely safe.
  • Twitter: See my tweets and post tweets about what you're reading directly from the site.
  • Join Chat: Chat with anyone else who's browsing either TeaKay's Blog or Blogstronomy and is logged in to chat. You can log in using your Facebook, Twitter or Tinychat credentials (again, these are all perfectly safe).
Please play around with the toolbar and let me know what you think and/or if there's anything you think I should look into adding to it.





* I can add, remove and change all of them, so if they're not in the same place when you come to look at this page, that's why. I'm open to suggestions as well, so feel free to comment.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Your Horoscope with our resident Astrologer, Madame Teakay: Pisces (February 20 - March 20)

Pisces - February 20 - March 20


The escapist in you really wants to do some escaping this month, but it's not sure where to or how. Maybe finding the key to your own internal padlock is the first subquest in your search for fulfilment. A friend and colleague needs you right now; it's time to pay back the loyalty that they've shown you so consistently for so long: they'll appreciate it, and the giving is it's own reward. Work may be getting you down, but your very nature restricts you from getting it off your chest, even with those you are close to. A night out on the tiles is in order, though be careful not to drink like the fish you are or else you'll find yourself swimming in circles. You're artistic and sensitive, but can't spell for toffee, so get a mate to proofread that application from before you send it off next Monday. Whatever happens from now until mid-March, just remember this: Don't pick the blue one.


Sunday, February 21, 2010

The A-Team movie (2010) trailer and comments

Without too much preamble, here's the trailer for the new A-Team. I'll talk about it a bit afterwards.


First thoughts? It looks like it'll be in much the same vein as the original TV series, but with bigger explosions and shinier effects. All of that is a good thing. The premise of the film appears to stay true to the premise of the TV show, and the characters, although difficult to discern from a single trailer, appear to pay fairly close homage to the originals. The most important cast member, the van, appears to be indistinguishable from the original. Phew! If you haven't seen any of the original series, here's a taster of what you're missing:


The IMDB The A-Team (2010) page lists the UK release date as being 30th July 2010, which isn't bad considering how long this has been in the pipeline!

Other interesting things worth mentioning: The IMDB page's cast list includes Dirk Benedict (the original* Faceman) and Dwight Schultz (the original Murdock), but it doesn't say who they're playing! I'm assuming cameo roles, then! Apparently Mr T. (the original BA) was offered one too, but turned it down**. The original HannibalGeorge Peppard, died in 1994. Also, this has been quoted to be the "Die Hard/Bourne Identity/Casino Royale" version of the A-Team, meaning that the violence will be turned up a notch, and people will die (only two characters were killed in the original series' five-season run).





* Actually, this isn't quite true. The absolute original Faceman was played by Tim Dunigan, but he was only in the role for one episode: the pilot entitled Mexican Slayride.
** Presumably because he's too busy doing this:


And this...

Saturday, February 20, 2010

New Doctor Who Trailer!

Sorry for two posts in one day, but I've just watched this and want to share it with you:




Daleks! Weeping Angels! And, at the risk of being labelled a misogynist: Amy Pond! Phwoooar.

Star Wars is real!

Star Wars is real. It's our future, and we're starting to work our way into that future already. Proof? o.k:

On 8th February of this year, the ESA-built module "Cupola" was launched into space and fixed into place as part of the International Space Station (ISS)*. From the outside, it looks like this (that cheeky monkey in both pics is NASA mission specialist Nicholas Patrick):





From the inside it looks like this (that cheeky land feature is the Sahara Desert):



Does that remind you of anything? This is the view from a Tie Fighter cockpit (not sure which cheeky monkey is the poor sap about to be blown-up roughly from behind in the X-Wing):



Woah**. The future is here.

As if these pictures aren't proof enough that we are thundering towards our own future, and that it's Star Wars shaped, how's this for a deal-clincher? Mimas is one of Saturn's moons, discovered in 1789 by William Herschel, but not properly imaged until Cassini got there in 2005 and took this:

http://bit.ly/c8sEJM


Remind you of anything? No? Well how about this:

http://bit.ly/a4cJFT

And no, the Death Star wasn't based on images of Mimas: Herschel Crater (that bloody great dent in Mimas- the 'main weapon') hadn't been discovered by the time Star Wars was made.

As always, if you're interested in any astronomy or space-related stuff, get yourself over to Blogstronomy, have a look round, and maybe even ask a question (please ask a question- that's what makes it work).





* Cupola's role will centre around allowing a better view (and therefore better control) of the ISS remote manipulator system and external viewing of Earth. If you'd like to know more about this or any other issue in astronomy, head over to Blogstronomy and ask me a question there!
** Expression of amazement copyrighted to Keanu Reeves.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Unhappy Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day is another one of those occasions that I thoroughly despise.

Don't get me wrong; I'm happily kept in check by and living in sin with the gorgeous and eternally patient MissDY6, so it's not a matter of being bitter and twisted about not having a girlfriend. I'm just a bit of a grumpy bugger and instinctively dislike most displays of organised mind control*. And, besides, every day's Valentine's Day when you're me**.

Anyway, the internet is awash with people either extolling the virtues of the day or whining about how crap it is. So I'll do neither from now on, and instead provide a couple of alternative treats for anyone in either camp.

First up, it's something for those of you for whom Valentine's Day is an occasion that makes you want to sit on your own in a dusty bar, thoroughly miserable, drinking solidly until you fall alseep face down in your own vomit, waking up only when it has upped and left again for another year. It's a gorgeous song by Queen from their News of the World album. This version was recorded in 1977 in Houston, and was performed as a part of their promotional tour for the aforementioned album. It is, for me, an exquisite example of what I like to call semi-drunken bittersweet blues***.



Next up is one for all you pro-V-Day types, especially if you're a bit of a geek as well. Tweeted by @standupmaths earlier is this Make a Mathematical Valentine's Card article from Timesonline. It details how to use the mathematical (and physical) curiosity that is a Möbius strip to make a sickeningly lovey yet still geeky Valentine's Day gift. There's an instructional 'cut-out-and-keep' instructional PDF file linked from the article at the standupmaths website right here. Don't say I never do anything for you. If you make one, please take a photo of it and show it to me!




* This one's mostly about convincing people they want to spend ludicrous amounts of money on dead (or dying) flowers and greetings cards, which admittedly makes a change from the usual Lets All Do The Same Thing days that are about convincing people they want to spend ludicrous amounts of money on dead (or dying) flowers and greetings cards and believe in magic sky fairies sitting on clouds.

** Quite blatantly it isn't, but where's the harm in letting me think it?

*** A musical genre which, at the moment, includes just this song. Any others out there?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Infinity and other stuff - a couple of things worth watching

I'm watching Horizon's latest offering, To Infinity And Beyond, and I just have to write a short blog post about it: I couldn't forgive myself if I let this one get past you all.

If you're into thinking about the biggies- those questions that really make you think, then this is for you. This is the biggest of the biggies: Infinity. It explains the concept of infinity and its relevance to our world, our lives, and our universe. I won't say too much about it here because I won't do it justice, or I'll end up plagiarising, but if you're at all interested in mathematics, space, astronomy, cosmology, physics or any other aspect of science, then you really, really should set aside an hour to watch this. Go here to do so:


Thanks to Vivien (a maths teacher colleague) for bringing my attention to this! It's available until Wednesday 7th April 2010 and, I'll say again, really is worth it if the Big Questions are your bag.

For me, the concept of infinity is one of the most beautiful and most mind-bending aspects of mathematics, and one which is at once accessible and impossible to grasp. It can be explored by post-doctoral mathematicians and discussed by primary school children, amazing, engaging and baffling each in equal measure. I challenge anyone with any kind of intellectual curiosity about life, the universe and anything to not be intrigued by such a discussion.

And, just because I know this post will go out of date eventually, something to keep it alive! The following embedded video is absolutely bloody brilliant, clever beyond measure, and pant-wettingly funny. A few of my kids at school think that this is way beyond sliced bread in the 'things that are pretty darned good' category. Avoid viewing it at your peril:

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Dream Queen album- the results

For background on this poll (and to add your vote), please go to this post: Calling all Queen fans! If you're viewing in a reader (or on a mobile), you may need to navigate to this blog in your web browser to see the results.

First up is the track listing including the fans' favourite non-single track from each album in order, then there are some charts offering a breakdown of the votes for each song on each individual album. Comments? Post below. Disagree? Add your vote to the poll, and this article will update itself accordingly.

And as an extra incentive to post a comment, how about some ideas for a title for this entirely fictitious Best Of Queen album?

The Track List


Individual Album Breakdowns






























Thursday, February 4, 2010

Calling all Queen fans!

*** Note: If you're viewing this post in a reader, you may not be able to see the poll! Please navigate to http://bit.ly/9bMtsN in your web browser to take the poll! ***

Towards the end of last year, Queen released a 'new' album: Absolute Greatest. As an enormous Queen fan, I was... disappointed. It seems to me that Queen have sold out, re-releasing the same songs on what is essentially the same album over and over again every few years. A conversation with a friend who is possibly even more of a Queen fan than I am revealed much the same feelings.

We can't be the only two! Our displeasure stems from the fact that we know that Queen have so much more to offer from their back catalogue than the same old radio-friendly previously-released single offerings that we all hear time and time again. Also, surely everyone already has Queen's greatest hits in some form or other knocking around their mp3/ CD/ cassette/ vinyl collection?

So, a few beers later we embarked upon the monumental task of picking just one unreleased* album track from each studio album (see the bottom of this post for titles, album covers and a link to Amazon) in order to produce a definitive and original** alternative introduction to Queen: A Dream Queen album, if you will.

Being a sad git, I have decided that I'd like to include a larger portion of Queen's fan base in the discussion, and this is where this blog post comes in: Below, you should find a form on which you can make your selection from the remaining album tracks (after UK single A-sides have been removed) for each of Queen's studio albums (I've omitted Flash). Please fill it in and pass it on to any other Queen fans that you know, and hopefully we can produce a plan for the definitive Queen non-singles 'best of' album. I'll write a results post at some point in the future if I feel I've had enough responses for the result to be unembarrassing!

Feel free to comment if I've omitted anything, or if you believe any non-album or live tracks would be worthy of inclusion as extras!









* Unreleased, that is, as an A-side on a UK single.
** As original as it can be, that is.