“We said ‘Hi’ to everyone and launched into ‘Lithium’. I picked up a Nirvana tab book a week before to re-learn my parts, but we weren’t up to speed at first. But then it started to flow and it got better and better. Then it hit me and I got kind of somber. I was like, ‘Oh my God. I’m playing these songs again.’”—Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic, speaking to Andy Greene (as did Dave Grohl) about the band’s reunion leading up to their Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction. (via parislemon)
“The first time we played together, it was like seeing a ghost. The second time, it was a little more reserved. And the last time we played it was like that fucking Demi Moore/Patrick Swayze pottery wheel scene from Ghost. We usually got the song by the third take. It started to sound like Nirvana. Our road crew and some friends were in the room when we launched into ‘Scentless Apprentice’ for the first time. Their were jaws on the floor.”—Dave Grohl, talking to Andy Greene about what the rehearsal process was like for the Nirvana reunion that happened for the band’s induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. (via parislemon)
In the Iron Man movies, Tony Stark uses a voice-controlled computer assistant called J.A.R.V.I.S. It manages the lights and security system in his home, helps him pilot his Iron Man suits, and even assists with his research. Some of this is…
Looks like I found yet another use for my Raspberry Pi
“At 19, I read a sentence that re-terraformed my head: “The level of matter in the universe has been constant since the Big Bang.”
In all the aeons we have lost nothing, we have gained nothing - not a speck, not a grain, not a breath. The universe is simply a sealed, twisting kaleidoscope that has reordered itself a trillion trillion trillion times over.
Each baby, then, is a unique collision - a cocktail, a remix - of all that has come before: made from molecules of Napoleon and stardust and comets and whale tooth; colloidal mercury and Cleopatra’s breath: and with the same darkness that is between the stars between, and inside, our own atoms.
When you know this, you suddenly see the crowded top deck of the bus, in the rain, as a miracle: this collection of people is by way of a starburst constellation. Families are bright, irregular-shaped nebulae. Finding a person you love is like galaxies colliding. We are all peculiar, unrepeatable, perambulating micro-universes - we have never been before and we will never be again. Oh God, the sheer exuberant, unlikely face of our existences. The honour of being alive. They will never be able to make you again. Don’t you dare waste a second of it thinking something better will happen when it ends. Don’t you dare.”—Caitlin Moran (via drizzleandahurricane)
“That’s the beauty of this discovery. If it turns out to be correct, it provides valuable evidence for two things. First, that gravitational waves really do exist. And second, that the universe we live in is a bubble that was born in an extremely rapid expansion just after the big bang.”—
After a lengthy lay off, I’m slowly ramping up my commuting again. It’s around a 50 mile round trip depending on how many hills I avoid, but that’s a lot more sustainable than the previous 90 miles before I moved house, so I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to do two or three commutes a week when the weather allows.
A large part of my reluctance to ride in the winter though is that I’m riding almost entirely in fast, blind country roads and my odds of getting wiped out are higher than I’d like. Also, being Scotland, the roads are shocking in places, with bike breaking potholes that you don’t want to come up on too suddenly.
So I have stuck on as much high viz as I can and invested in a 1400 lumen headlamp (a Gemini Duo) which I’d always thought would be overkill, but prices have dropped on super-bright lights and they should be paid for in a couple of months using commuting diesel saving bike logic.
The lights have 4 modes: blinking and 3 programmable brightness levels. I’ve left it on defaults since the “dimmest” is still slightly above regular bike light and works as a “be seen” in daylight. I’ll leave blinking for towns and then try and avoid them anyway.
I also replaced my rear light as rear LED lighting has improved hugely recently too, and I’ve been worrying about them staying on, so wanted something rechargeable.
I’m utterly paranoid about lights breaking or batteries running out, so I always have at least one spare front and back, and a bunch of batteries. And two rear lights since I might not spot one going.
So my thinking is that I can charge the rear at work then will know for sure it will always last. And I’ll keep a spare on because I don’t trust anything.
So I’ve put a Knog Blinder on the back and it seems not to be misnamed. It is so bright that I can glance at my feet and see a reassuring red glow on the road, so now I know it’s on. Which makes me happy.
So back to the front.
As dusk gave way to proper night, the default dimmest setting would have been absolutely fine for being seen and seeing about thirty feet ahead, but where’s the fun in that?
So I tried riding on the dark on a proper A Road with it on the medium setting and it was great. I’d never realised how much you normally have to strain to see on a bike in the dark. This was close to driving a car, and the pure white of the beam was so much cleaner than the normal car headlamps passing me, though they easily had the edge in sheer brightness.
I was also wary of dazzling oncoming cars, so fiddled around for a bit with range and beam height. If the duo has a downside, it’s that the twin lamps make it harder to work out if you are dazzling oncoming traffic or not as you light up the sides of the road too, but it’s a minor quibble.
I didn’t get flashed at anyway on the medium setting but again, I was putting out less than a car on dipped beams.
There is, of course, a complete double standard at play when drivers complain about you being one of “those [redacted] cyclist with their bloody annoying blinking lights”. It’s that or your one of those cyclists that ride about with no lights that they moan about too.
But of course, it’s fine to keep full beams on when you are approaching a cyclist because they can’t retaliate with the power of a exploding sun (or BMW Bi-Xenon photon cannons as I believe they are known) and anyway, they aren’t going as fast as a car so don’t need to see anyway.
And they probably want the extra light or something.
And anyway, everyone hates cyclists….
Which brings me to full setting on the Gemini.
The last part of my trip is twisty little single track roads with huge potholes, downhill sections with nasty drops and the occasional tractor, cow, deer and rabbit.
So I turned on full beam and the hedges caught fire. It’s almost like a car and I’d say probably better than my old motorcycle headlamps, but that might just be because it was white LED. I’m probably exaggerating.
It was the first time I’ve been able to just ride in the dark down those sort of roads as though it was daylight.
I did, of course get flashed at but I checked and it wasn’t that they were dazzled, it was just bright. And a bike. And they were old, so probably just angry anyway.
Also, I think that this level of brightness on bikes with two lights is so unusual that people will see them and think it’s either something else, like a far off car (there was a ruling against twin lamped motorcycles in the UK a few years back because motorists might misjudge their distance, but it won’t apply to bikes as we won’t be overtaking cars all that often).
But generally I think that I got dazzled less than normal. I’d get all preachy and say it might be that with equal lights, you become a more equal road user, but it might just be that I was spotted in the first place.
Which was pretty much the point.
One footnote is that the bright front beam silhouettes you on the bike too, so even from behind the front light makes you far more visible.
If this was a proper review and not a Sunday morning ramble, I’d give the lights 9/10 and only drop a point for no USB charging, a worryingly easy to lose rubber band to hold the lamp to the bars, and maybe a contradiction between the marketing blurb and the instruction manual. One said that it was a smart charger that was supplied to protect the battery and one said that you couldn’t leave it plugged in once fully charged.
You can guess which is which.
The Knog gets 10/10 so far too. Charging is a doddle, it looks and works really well so far and seems to be really well put together and the different blink settings include a pulsing one that is super-annoying. Which should make it more noticeable…
I stopped wearing a watch a few years ago when the strap broke on my irreplaceable Spoon watch. I really loved that watch, it had 50’s Astronaut styling, needed a button press to show the time but had a fragile rubber strap.
I did try an iPod nano for a while, but again, the strap didn’t last very long.
So, I’ve clearly got none of the reservations most people have about strapping a hulking great lump to my wrist and should have been interested in a smart watch, I suppose. But wasn’t in the slightest.
I’ve got used to pulling my phone out my pocket to tell the time and check a message so glancing at my wrist and pressing a button seems about the same.
But then someone mentioned a heart rate monitor. And apps.
And suddenly a Strava enabled cycling computer attached to my wrist with personal heart rate data and voice call handling when I’m out on a ride seems like the most genius idea ever.
Even if the app is just a cut down display for Strava or passes on heart rate info, that would be quite exceptional. If it could measure blood sugar levels and prompt you to refuel before you bonked, that would be awesome.
And since cyclists love science and data and statistics, it could bring many cyclists over to using Apple if no one else is doing this.
I’ve read that the blood sugar level sensors are still very hard to do though and not expected in a version 1.0. I’d guess they would work on some optical or capacitive sensing rather than sticking in a needle, but it’s all a bit out there at the moment.
Even a heart rate monitor would be a huge deal, as most people wouldn’t get one in isolation. I know very few people who’ve ever used one, but if it was part of a more general purpose device, then the barrier to entry would be lessened.
Upgrading to Strava premium would probably be mandatory too, so the benefits to them could be substantial.
As a pedometer and (sorry, I’m going to say it) “life coach” that can advise on what and when you eat, how you sleep and when and how you you exercise the training benefits for more serious cyclists are pretty clear. But if average people with no normal inclination to training could get that sort of advice as a byproduct too, there may be a bit of a revolution in health and wellbeing coming soon too.