Corsican Panoramas

A little while back, I wrote about experimenting with panoramas. I’ve since become firmly convinced that they are the best way to capture a landscape. I think a lot of people have come to the same conclusion, given the number of point-and-shoot cameras that offer some panorama creating feature, including my own, which allows you to “record” as you pan across a landscape and then stitches the panorama together on-board.

With this in mind, here are 2 panoramas from Corsica, taken recent on my summer holiday:

Calvi Harbour


The town of Porto

Regulation of Old Wives’ tales-type medicine?

Handing out diplomas

This morning, Voice of Young Science stood outside the Department of Health on Whitehall, assessing passers-by and awarding them diplomas in “Traditional Medicine of Old Wives’ Tales”.

The reason for this is a little bit protracted, but bear with me and I’ll explain why they were doing it, and why it is important to take notice. The story started over a year ago when the Department of Health published this document, a consultation on the statutory regulation of a number of Traditional Medicine Systems. This seems to have sent alarm-bells ringing for a number of people, for a number of reasons:

  • the proposed registration scheme doesn’t require a practitioner to have any training
  • the scheme doesn’t require evidence of efficacy (that the treatments work), merely that they are traditional
  • registration from a Government body such as the Department of Health or a subsidiary implies endorsement and legitimises these treatments.

These concerns are found in the Sense about Science submission to the consultation (from October 2009) and in the flyer for today’s event.

It is the first point which VOYS have taken the most issue with: lack of training and the implication that “[traditional] practitioners have the knowledge, skills and attributes of qualified medical practitioners”. This leads on to today’s exploits, which aim to show just how little knowledge is required to proclaim Old Wives’ Tales-type traditional medicine – so little knowledge, that even I got a Diploma:

My traditional medicine Diploma

I’m not entirely sure what the significance of today is, as other than the original consultation, I haven’t been able to find any more on the matter from the Department of Health, not even a response to the consultation. There has also been a little bit of criticism over the choice of “Old Wives'” as the type of traditional medicine portrayed here, as ageist, sexist and failing to take account of historical context, when conventional medicine wasn’t exactly evidence-based. I also think that the way today’s event was done, it looked more about the ease of obtaining a qualification rather than about regulation in traditional medicine.

However, none of these snaggles should stop us from being seriously worried at the point made today though. Regulation and accreditation of alternative medicine only serves to legitimise this sort of pseudoscience and helps it to gain another foothold in society, similar to the platform that traditional medicine courses in universities has provided. We must make every effort to ensure that money isn’t wasted on regulations that could ultimately hinder medical care.

Night at the museum

Once a month, on the last Wednesday, the Science Museum opens its doors at night for adults only until about 10pm. Not only are the general exhibits open, but there are also special events and a recurring silent disco (in between the space exhibits!) and a pub quiz. Another notable additions include a number of bars and DJs being set up in exhibition spaces which adds to the relaxed atmosphere. Each month also has a theme and last night’s was “Genius”.

This was my second Science Museum Lates and the first one I’ve brought my camera along to, so here are a few photos documenting what we got up to last night:

Adult table football (Sadly I don't have any pictures of us)

Firstly we played this somewhat hilarious game of 5-a-side “table football” where we were all attached to sliders along scaffolding tubes for 5 minutes. Not entirely sure how this relates to genius; I guess through the tenuous link of “footballing genius” to remind us that a genius doesn’t have to be about academic intellect, but it was fun none the less. We lost 6-2!

Fun with the bubblewall

More bubble wall fun

Then it was off to play like children in the LaunchPad, as you can see we were particularly fascinated by the bubble wall thing! Before going to see a demonstration of Newton’s laws, as they related to rockets!

Newton's 3rd law in action via a human rocket.

Culminating in a hydrogen balloon explosion. 😀

After all that LaunchPad fun it was off to test our brains in a massive genius-themed pub quiz (complete with colouring competition!). We didn’t win either I’m sad to report – despite a valiant colouring attempt mounted by 2 of our teammates followed by a brief look around the plastics and the Islam exhibition rooms.

A few more of my photos are in this Flickr set and photos from myself and other participants across the other Lates nights are all in the Flickr group ‘Science Museum Lates’.

My only complaint (if you can call it that…) is that with so much going on, there is so little time to look at the exhibits! Maybe it should be another hour longer! Otherwise this is a great idea and definitely gets people into the museum who wouldn’t otherwise have gone, hopefully teaching a bit of informal science too and being a great fun night out.

The next one is 30th June – theme TBC I think. See you there!

My first Panorama

Boston Harbour

The view from Long Wharf at Boston Harbour

I’ve finally got around to making my first panorama! As I was walking around Boston I saw the opportunity for a panorama, even though I had not the faintest idea how to go about. Anyway, memory is cheap so I took the shots and figured I’d work it out later if I got time.

Inspired by seeing the original shots come around this afternoon on my digital photo frame and seeing a friend upload some panorama’s from his trip abroad this evening, I decided to get down to work.

I used a recently downloaded version of Hugin to stitch it together and it seemed relatively straight-forward although I didn’t delve into most of the settings. If anyone has any pointers, I’d be most pleased, but I’m pretty happy with it!

A trip across the pond

Massachusetts State House, on my first day in Boston

Beautiful buildings and trees at Yale

Beautiful buildings and trees at Yale

So this last week I took a trip to the US, staying in Boston and New Haven. This whole America place is still quite new to me, having only been to New York and Orlando previously, but I must say I was pleasantly surprised by both places. Boston is particularly nice, having a great feel about it that takes the best bits from both New York and London compiled into the same place. I didn’t want to leave.

The weather was also fantastic, which combined with the scenery of almost everywhere we visited made for some great fun photography, which I’ve put in this Flickr set. I’d love to put them all in the post, but I think that’d get boring fast, so above is just a glimpse of all the beautiful places in that area of the world. I’ll definitely be going back: good job my host is on a 3-year course!

I also made it my mission to sample as many American things as I could, which I think amounts to the following:

  • Mountain Dew
  • Dunkin Donuts coffee/iced coffee/donuts
  • Nutter Butters
  • M&Ms (to be fair we have them in the UK too)
  • Chicago Uno Pizza

Not bad, I’d say.

Also, I couldn’t resist but buy a cheerleader uniform for my toy monkey Streetleyina, so here is me posing with her back in the UK when I dressed her up this morning!

Streetley with Streetleyina in her New England Patriot Cheerleader Squad get-up

Photosharing on Flickr

Finally taken the jump and started to use my Flickr account to display my photos, after deciding that Facebook albums weren’t really the best way of doing it. You can find my Photostream here and I think it will be the future repository for all my photos, and I’ll try and backdate some old ones on to it as well.

So far I’ve put up the photos from this month’s events that I have already blogged about, so the dodgeball photos are in this set and the varsity ones are here, in addition to appearing on Facebook as per the previous posts.

I’m Burlington Bertie…

UCL Mens 1st XV celebrating the Varsity win over the "Poly"

Yesterday was that highlight of the sporting year, the London varsity (well, the only one that counts), between King’s (Strand Poly) and the mighty UC. The rivalry between King’s and UCL is pretty well known and well established (it even has its own Wikipedia entry!) and supposedly stems from their differing establishing aims and objectives. The animosity has been strong ever since, especially during the first half of last century according to the Wikipedia article. It is even mentioned in UCL’s chant of Burlington Bertie:

I’m Burlington Bertie,
I’m short, fat and dirty,
My college portrays my high class. (high class!)
I walk down the Strand,
With my cock in my hand,
And I wave it at King’s as I pass.
Oh Bert, Bert,
I come in my shirt,
At least I go to UC . (UC!)
There’s one thing I’m sure of,
Strand Poly are wankers,
I’m Burlington Bert from UC.
That’s me! And him! And him! And her!

I’m glad to report (as if there was any doubt), that UCL won both matches; Women’s 22-0 and Men’s 15-0, so WELL DONE!

Aside from being a vocal supporter complete with facepaint and yelling Burlington

Wearing some war paint for UC!

Bertie at the top of my voice, I took the opportunity to do a little more sports photography. The results are in the following Facebook album.

Turns out the sports photography in the dark with very bright floodlights everywhere is quite challenging… Who knew!?..</sarcasm> But I did have a lot of fun, am quite happy with the results despite the lens flare and the winning didn’t hurt either!

UCLU Dodgeball 2010

Dodgeball in the UCL QuadToday was the annual inter-society dodgeball tournament at UCL. This is one of my favourite events of the UCLU calendar (others being the MODO Fashion Show and the Summer Ball) because the atmosphere is great, the weather is always great for it and I love what it says about UCL and UCLU. It is so much fun to watch and play such a fast-paced and rebellious game in such fantastic surroundings and the fact that UCL tolerate is to their credit. This juxtaposition of fun and frivolity with ostentatiousness and occasional pretensiousness is captured neatly in the tournament and sums up what I like about UCL; it is both progressive and world-leading, but with the right amount of tradition and ceremony as well.

Aside from my waxing lyrical about my alma mater (and soon to be my current institution as I begin a new course in September), the real reason for this post is that I went down there to photograph the event. I haven’t had a proper outing with the camera for ages, so it was good to get out and take some photos, which you can find on my Facebook, as well as my obligatory establishing shot at the beginning.

For those wishing to find out more about the tournament; I gather around 50 teams entered and the almighty winners were the UCLU Snowsports Society. More photos, information and results are on the UCLU website. From what I could see, it was definitely the most successful Dodgeball to date.

Humble Beginnings

Still trying to sort through the photos that I have taken since buying the 450D.

I think I have what might loosely be called “assignments” coming up which will be exciting, covering UCLU doing the Superhunt and then the Mandy Walker Games.

At some point in the near future I must set up a Flickr account and start sharing some of these photos. Hopefully after my weekend of shooting!