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Monthly Archives: April 2014

I’ve just watched Zizek, The Pervert’s Guide to Ideaology, 2012  (sequel to  The Pervert’s Guide to Cinema, 2006).  I found The Pervert’s Guide to Ideaology much easier to understand than his Birkbeck lecture Violence Revisited, 2010 or any of his books.  Peter Bradshaw, writing for the Guardian, gives The Pervert’s Guide to Ideaology a mixed review.  One of the comments asks if Zizek is the hero in The Pervert’s Guide to Ideaology but I think Zizek is just the messenger of his own ideas and the film is simply didactic. Zizek references films extensively in The Pervert’s Guide to Ideaology and a list of the films can be found in Wikipedia.


Works in progress:


Working from a false colour x-ray picture of the Pleiades (courtesy of NASA) but getting lost in the image – take 2


Oh dear oh dear – looking a bit grumpy!

I’ve just spent a few days in the West Country having a look for fossils around Ilminster.  British Lower Jurassic stratigraphy:  an introduction, a defa publication, explains the stratigraphy.  Pages 23 and 24 discuss the Beacon Limestone Formation that outcrops/sub-crops in the Ilminster area.  These sedimentary rocks are Pliensbachian – Toarcian in age ie. 176 – 190 million years old according to The Geological Society of America 2009 stratigraphic table. 



Ploughed field near Ilminster.

The British Geological society have produced a Geology of Britain viewer that is very useful for identifying where outcrops/subcrops may occur.

Fossil hunting took several days.  First checking out the ground and then looking for the landowner.  I never did find out who owned and who farmed the land so I just confined my search to footpaths and the edges of fields.


Searching for fossils along the edges of fields in the Ilminster area.

One field in particular was very productive.  There were numerous fossils and broken fossils on the surface of the soil with larger rocks towards the edges of the field.


Ammonites and broken ammonites on the surface of a field near Ilminster, Somerset.

I collected numerous ammonites of several different species plus belemnites, nautiloids and bivalves.


Ammonites and nautiloids from the Beacon Limestone, Ilminster.

We also went down to Branscombe to see how the Sea Shanty Caravan Park has fared after the winter storms.  The profile of the beach had changed with a channel scoured along the top of the beach undercutting some of the cabins.


The top of the beach has been scoured allowing ground under the cabins to be undercut.



The storms have removed the pebbles at the top of the beach allowing the ground behind to slip.


Somerset was followed by a visit to the North Downs near Wye, Kent.  Again a short look around a ploughed field yielded several Creatceous echinoids, sponges and corals,  all flint replacement and of Cenomanian age, 93.5 – 99.5 million years old.


Searching for fossils in a ploughed field on the North Downs, Kent.


Fossil echinoids, sponges and corals from the North Downs, Wye, Kent.

Interestingly the echinoids appear to be crushed before the organic matter was replaced by flint.



I have a series of astronomical photographs taken in La Palma with a scientific camera.  Today I managed to stack them using Deep Sky Stacker softwear.  This seemed to work well and I was hoping to upload the result.  Unfortunately I can’t upload tiffs, psd’s or raw images – I need to transform the image into a jpeg!

Transformation sorted – had to reduce bit depth from 16 to 8 bits.


M3 compiled from scientific camera images.



M3 Globular Cluster

This is a picture of the M3 Globular Cluster taken through a telescope with a DLSR camera.  I’ve been trying to clean up the hot pixels and chromatic aberration visible in the image. This is easier said than done without loosing image details!


M1- The Crab Nebula.
Copy cropped from a DSLR image and adjusted in Photoshop.

Adjustments layers include hue/saturation global and selected areas, colour balance, brightness/contrast, curves and levels.

For comparison – here is an image of the Crab Nebula taken through the Hubble telescope.


This view of the Crab Nebula in visible light comes from the Hubble Space Telescope and spans 12 light-years. The supernova remnant, located 6,500 light-years away in the constellation Taurus, is among the best-studied objects in the sky. Credit: NASA/ESA/ASU/J. Hester

What I’ve come to realize is that these Photoshop images are extremely subjective.


Just returned from a week of astronomical observation at Tacanade observatory on the island of  La Palma in the Canaries.  Came home with loads of images of deep sky objects for processing.