Archive for June, 2011

Yoda @ Hogwarts?

Thursday, 2 June, 2011

Is it just me, or did John Williams re-use the “sparkly” bit of Yoda’s theme in his Harry Potter soundtrack score?

South America Diary: Day 4

Wednesday, 1 June, 2011

Isla Española: Punta Suárez to Gardner Bay. Monday, 18 April, 2011.

Nest GuardianOvernight the boat sailed for Española Island, in the far south-eastern corner of the archipelago and the oldest of all the Galapagos Islands. We began our day with breakfast, which included fried eggs and small cake-like objects made of plantain, with a haloumi-like cheese inside them.

The first expedition of the day was an excursion to Punta Suarez, on the western end of the island. On the beach at the landing site here we saw many specimens of the distinctively bright coloured Española variety of the marine iguana, with large patches of bright red on their flanks. Again there were also plenty of blue-footed boobies and bright red crabs, though only a few sea lions. The day was again warm and muggy, with chaotic looking clouds that threatened either rain or bright sunshine at any time.

Galapagos HawkThe first new bird we saw on our trek was a Galapagos hawk, sitting on a small rock outcrop poking out of the vegetation. It seemed completely unconcerned with us. We also saw brown pelicans, preening on rocks or flying around. And while watching from the beach we saw several boobies diving into the water to catch fish. They circled around about 10 metres above the water, spotting fish below with their keen eyes. Then suddenly one would break from horizontal flight and dive headlong straight into the water like a bullet, pulling its wings in at the last second before impact. The bird would surface a few seconds later, presumably with a fish in its beak.

William had warned us this morning to take insect repellent, but there seemed little need for it yet. As we set out on a walk across the island, another tour group appeared at the end of the loop walk we were about to take. Their leader warned us to make sure we had plenty of insect repellent, as there were loads of mosquitoes on the walk. Undaunted, we set off, crossing the scrub-covered lava rock of the island, and were soon set on by clouds of the mosquitoes. Our repellent, being 80% DEET, was the most effective of any used by the people in our group. While some others were swatting mosquitoes and busily applying more repellent, we walked through unaffected.

I forgot to mention…

Wednesday, 1 June, 2011

Tartan patternMy first professional academic publication in 16 years:

Measurement of the lens optical transfer function using a tartan pattern.

We’ve actually paid a fee to have this paper published as open access, so anyone can view the full paper, but it still seems to be behind a pay wall. Don’t pay for it – it should hopefully be released soon.