Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Walk Score

A very neat site that shows you the "walkability" of your address. I thought, "Uh-huh, bet it just works for New York or the US," but typed my street address and suburb in anyway. I also omitted the fact that I was in Australia.

And it still found me. Amazing.

Some of the business details it picked up are incorrect and it missed a few places, but I'm still impressed.

The two addresses I put in had a walk score of 8 to 17 out of a hundred, this is to be expected in suburban Perth, where people's legs don't work properly and we are all expected to have cars.

Go to, type in a street address and suburb, e.g. "12 Walker St Walktown" and watch it go!

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Animal Crossing story

This is a little story that is making the rounds on the Internet, about a game called Animal Crossing, and a boy and his mother. I will admit that it made me a little teary, especially since I fell asleep last night thinking about my parents, and how life is too short--we should be using it to spend more time with the people we love*.

* I'm looking at you, Nathan Fillion.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Saving energy - a little restraint goes a long way

I was just outside hanging out the washing (and yes, I know it's almost midnight, but it's nicer to hang out your laundry in the cool night air, than the rotisserie that is daytime Perth) and I noticed that one of the neighbours had turned on their refrigerative air-conditioner.

This reminded of an article I read the other day about the energy problem (this is what we fancy science folks like to call it). Basically, the premise was, instead of looking for ways to make more energy, perhaps we should use less. I know this sounds incredibly simplistic, and there are factors like a growing population, industry, and so forth, to consider.

You know, I'm not the sustainability saint. Far from it. But I switch lights off when I'm not in a room, I don't like clothes dryers, and I know that in Perth we get a few hot nights where you stick to your mattress when you lie down, but tonight is not one of them.

It is delightful outside, and quite pleasant inside. I don't even need the fan on in my room. And I'm working with a laptop that's pumping out hot air through its side vents.

People just reach for that air-conditioner switch too easily these days. Can you wear a cooler shirt? Open a window? Turn on a fan? Have an iced drink? Do you really need to refrigerate the entire house?

The worst of summer is yet to come. Why not delay that gratification a little?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Great Moments in Science #1

You know, rabbits can be an endless source of entertainment.

Well, in our sad, small, easily-amused household they are ...

Glen: Hey Angie! Look what happens when I shine the torch on Mao's head!

Glen: The light goes right through his skull!

Glen: Hahaha!



Mao: (One day, I will kill you all ...)

(But first I'll destroy these important documents!)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Easy 10 dollars

Today my brother received the easiest 10 dollars he's ever made.

Let me start by saying that there is a haunted castle in my fish tank.

I saw it on eBay and thought it looked absolutely wonderful. Then it arrived, and it was a little smaller than it looked in the picture (aren't they all?) but no less enchanting.

I thought the fish would treat it like their aquatic Hogwarts, but instead it is the fish equivalent of the Elephant's Graveyard.

The fish population started swimmingly (hee), with three female swordtails in the tank at the beginning of the year.

Then swordtail #1 went missing six months ago, and one day, while I was cleaning the tank, I lifted up the castle and a half-decomposed corpse floated to the surface, in the tradition of all the best horror stories.

There was a grinning head, and from the fins down, a sharp, bare spine. The tail was still attached, but was torn and bedraggled and coming to bits. The eyes, one hanging on by a thread of flesh, stared at me. Accusingly.

I fished swordtail #1 out with a net, gagging a little, and yelled at the other fish for not letting me know about the body stashed in the castle.

Then a couple of weeks ago, swordtail #2 started ailing. It looked like the lower half of its body was paralysed, and then one day it began to hover listlessly at the bottom of the tank and I suspected the end was in sight.

The next day it disappeared, and I knew the castle had claimed another victim.

So I asked Glen if he wanted to do me a favour. "Easiest 10 bucks you'll ever make!"

"What's the catch?"

"You have to lift up the castle, find the body, and dispose of it. No body, no money. No disposal, no money. If I even catch a TINY glimpse of it, no money."


Sometimes little brothers can be very useful.