Thursday, July 30, 2015

Dying Factory Owners

An Indian Supreme Court case involving water pollution caused by dyeing factories is often (mistakenly) cited in other judgments as "Tirupur Dying Factory Owners Association".

For me the typo always conjures up images of aged factory-owners, some on saline drips or life support systems, gathering weekly to talk about succession plans, business prospects, and their own approaching mortality.

Then I wonder, how close to death does a factory-owner need to be, in order to join this association? Which in turn reminds me of a scene from the movie Whatever Works:

Boris: I'm dying! I-I'm dying!
Jessica: Should I call an ambulance?
Boris: No, not now! No, not tonight, I mean eventually!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Millwall Fire Station (Then & Now)

Across the street from where I live, there is a restaurant called the Old Fire Station Bistro, where I have drunk many a cup of filter coffee.

The first photo you see below was taken today. The second photo is one I stumbled upon while exploring the archives of the Museum of London. It was taken sometime in the 1970s when the building was still a fire station, on a day when the firemen were on strike.

Among other changes, it appears that the signage at the top, which used to be relief lettering in an old-style serif typeface, has been replaced by painted lettering in a transitional serif typeface. As you might expect, I prefer the older version.

Image copyright: Henry Grant Collection/Museum of London
Used by kind permission of the Museum of London

Monday, July 13, 2015

Courgette-Flower Timelapse

Encouraged by the overwhelming response I received when I posted a photo of a courgette flower (0 comments), I now bring you a timelapse video (effective speed 720x) of courgette flowers blooming.


The video, like the photo, is of male flowers, but I'm pleased to note that our courgette plants are now also producing female flowers and, more excitingly, baby courgettes.

Full disclosure: The flowers open very early in the morning when the light is not very good, and close up during the day. So I actually photographed the flowers closing and played the video backwards, which to me looks more dramatic.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Jupiter–Venus Conjunction

Venus and Jupiter, the two brightest objects in the night sky (excluding of course the Moon), were very close tonight – just a third of a degree apart (for reference, the full Moon is about half a degree in diameter). We will not see a closer Jupiter–Venus conjunction until 2039.


I positioned myself at a spot whence, I calculated, I would see the two planets set over the Shard. But my trigonometric efforts were in vain; clouds obscured the view while the sky was still quite bright and the planets some distance above the horizon (at the upper left in the photo below). Oh well, I'll try again tomorrow.

Whenever I see Venus in the evening sky, I think of these lines from Terrapin Station by the Grateful Dead:
Counting stars by candlelight / All are dim but one is bright / The spiral light of Venus / Rising first and shining best...

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Courgette Flower

Lately I have been remiss about posting because of my exams (which end in four days), but I couldn't let summer solstice pass by without comment. So here is a photo of our courgette flower, opening up to the midsummer sun.


We only planted the seeds in late spring, but the plants are already producing male flowers. Hopefully we will soon have female flowers, with fruits to follow.