Friday, 27 May 2011

Blog posts that have impressed me today

Mr C at MCR Cycling of Manchester has written a piece which thoughtfully draws parallels between the promotion of waste recycling and the promotion of cycling, showing "the limits of elective behaviour change".

Over in Copenhagen, unfortunately, they are suffering from a new bout of "road safety promotion" – that strange phenomenon which seeks to place the responsibility for avoiding crashes squarely on people trying to negotiate the roads without being encased in a metal box, rather than attempting to mitigate the source of danger, the fast-moving and carelessly-operated metal boxes themselves. This is what Mikael Colville-Andersen calls classic "ignoring the bull messaging", i.e. the car as the "bull in society's china shop". That latter post is a "classic" and worth a read if you have not read it before.

Finally, if you are familiar with the documentation that has gone with cycle campaigning in the UK in recent years, you will likely have seen before the photograph that Freewheeler of Waltham Forest, in his usual brilliant fashion, looks into closely, establishing its vital true context. It turns out, it was really quite misleadingly used, and this sheds a light on CTC's understanding of cycle facilities and safe cycling conditions. Another great public service done by Freewheeler.

I am off for 5 days to Geneva now, to see CERN. I will leave any readers with something almost as remote from cycling in the borough of Brent as it is possible to get, though in fact the picture was taken from Brent.

This is the North America Nebula, NGC 7000 (the only NGC number I can ever remember), with the Pelican Nebula (IC 5070) to its right, some 1800 light years away in the constellation of Cygnus, taken early on Wednesday morning. I am very pleased with how this image has turned out, as it was taken with relatively cheap equipment: an ordinary 66mm ED refractor, focal reducer, and a Canon EOS 400D DSLR (astro modified by removal of the IR filter) and with internal light pollution filter, that I bought 2nd hand for £350. Plus of course the mount – that was the expensive part. Also it was taken with only 28 minutes exposure in 2 minute subexposures from highly light-polluted Edgware with the sky already lightening towards dawn. Yet it is the best picture I have achieved of this object, which just shows how good the commercial DSLRs are now: almost as good as CCDs.

You can see the full-size image here if you wish. My other astrophotograhy is on this site.

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