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Thursday, 29 March 2012

Empire




Has anyone been watching this series on BBC 1? The series, presented by Jeremy Paxman, just came to a close this week. I must admit, I’m a bit of a Paxman fan. Just ask the fam - I won’t miss Hard Talk at 1am for anything lol. I’ve got a lot of respect for his journalism and his manner of grilling guests on his shows. He has a way of prodding them from all angles until they’re cornered and are forced to admit to their misgivings.

I really rate Paxman for reporting on this issue. The British Empire isn’t easy to talk about. Although I’ve got some pretty strong views about it, I feel like opinions on this subject aren’t always very well received. As a Zimbabwean man, the story of empire is one that’s close to my heart. I attended David Livingstone Primary School, named after one of the first Westerners to make the journey to Africa. Personally, I don’t think British colonialism is addressed enough but I always get the impression that people are tired of hearing about this part of our history. If you check this article from The Daily Mail, you’ll know what I mean: link.

As for the positive aspects of the empire, well those are obvious aren’t they? Power, wealth, resources. But at what cost? I am in no way saying that Britain should apologise for what happened – after all, the slave traders are all dead now right? I guess what I’m trying to say is that, for me, imperialism is less about assigning blame and more about learning my history. I’m not fussed about casting Britain as ‘the bad guy’.  It’s now one of the most democratic and tolerated countries in the world…doesn’t mean I don’t wanna know the dirty laundry though right? Every country has history it’s not proud of. Why should we overlook ours?

Check out Empire on BBC iPlayer. Don’t forget to let me know what you think. What are your thoughts on Empire? – the program and the history.

Selby

PS: Jeremy sure got a nice holiday out of it...shame he couldn't stop by in Zimbabwe...from what I hear, Bob doesn't think much of the BBC ;)


Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Space Shuttle Discovery

After gliding through our atmosphere it then ejects a parachute that gracefully drags it to stop.
Does anyone agree its a Hybrid machine?

Trip to Southend

You know it's spring when your days start earlier, the clocks go forward and you're left with an hour less sleep! So anyways, I woke up Sunday morning and it was nice and sunny. Hmm. What to do? I know! Eureka. Let's drive down to Southend and make the most of the rest of this glorious weekend. Somehow, it didn't quite happen this way.

The drive down was pleasant enough. Barely any traffic and the sun was still giving us a smile here and there but by the time we were pulling up to the sea front, I started to see clouds. Lots and lots and lots of clouds. 'Don't worry' I told myself, 'it's just a lull, the sun'll come back'. Note to self: do not waste time on positive thinking. Nevertheless, I parted with my parking fee and began to deal with the first order of business. I pulled my phone out, opened the Foursquare app and checked in. Shh...you know you do it too! What I intended to be a leisurely stroll along the beach soon turned into a brisk walk as the chill seeped in. I was getting increasingly desperate to pile into the nearest centrally heated building. I wasn't built for the cold. However, the camera-phone-photographer in me had other ideas. He couldn't help but snap a few pics of the architecture. And then of course get a few of the family since we had already made the drive down :)












Check out that huge grin.



I stupidly let myself be convinced by the rest of the family that it was 'going to be a nice day' and 'no' I '...wouldn't need that jacket'. It was 'far too warm for that'. This'll be the last time I listen to that lot I promise you! So after snapping a few cheesy, touristy photos, we headed for the nearest fish and chip cafe on the seafront only to realise that we should've taken cash out beforehand. No one was accepting cards. So we trekked in the direction of the shopping centre to find a cashpoint but soon gave up on the idea of lunch by the beach and dived into the nearest Wetherspoons. All in all, we had a good day. I know it's a cliche but it was nice to have a day out with the family.

You can also see what I get up to by following me on EyeEm.

How did you spend the weekend?

Selby

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Hollywood Director James Cameron

Image From: Link


Got a link for you to check out: Link. Or if, like me, you're not the keenest reader, click play and watch away!



Guys you best watch this space in the next coming days and weeks. This dude, James Cameron is taking movie making to a whole new level. It's exciting. He could die doing this incredible but daredevil leap into uncharted territories. 7 miles underwater. The deepest known point on the planet. Damn. That's bravery. Truly admirable. I should probably feel sorry for the guy but let's not lie. I can't wait to sit back with my salty popcorn and watch the footage he will beam back to the surface from the Deep Abyss.





Below are some extraordinary images of the Abyss.

Image From: Link

Image From: Link


image from: Link 






Mission accomplished. James Cameron made it to the Abyss. Can't wait for the results.1: Link 2: Link

Watch The Return of James Cameron. So exciting to imagine what he has just achieved.




Listening to the initial review of the the Abyss from James Cameron felt a bit disappointing because my  expectations were too high. Expected to hear that "i saw a Giant Alien Squid " or something. From what  I gathered so far the Abyss is barren, dead and almost lifeless but I know there is life down there and obviously I have to be patient, wait for the footage to be compiled from the several complex camera's mounted on the craft and also its only the first dive . However I appreciate what he has accomplished having made a successful dive to the Abyss. I have no doubt James will teach us something new about the Abyss.


To listen to the brief interview after his return click the Link

 NB! added 28/03/12

A brief video of the Abyss by James Cameron.




image from: Link


Be sure to follow this daredevil documentary and adventure. Let's all comment and discuss the new things that we will be seeing!  

Selby

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Top Planes

You would be quite right to assume that I like planes. I like planes a lot. Ok, so I won’t be flying one anytime soon (although this doesn’t stop me dreaming) but I try to get my fix anyway I can. I must have seen every episode of Air Crash Investigation and every aircraft-related episode of MegafactoriesSuperstructures, Breaking Up The Biggest ever aired. I could go on and on about how the plane is the greatest invention of modern times, how amazing it is that something so huge can get off the ground and how beautiful they are. That's right. I did just say beautiful. The smooth curvature...the way they move. Don't know why it's only boats that are referred to as 'she'. What can I say? I'm an enthusiast.

Wright Brothers' First Flight. Image From: Link 

We've come quite a way since the first airplane - an altitude of 10ft and a distance of 120ft. It's a safe bet that the Wright Brothers would be more than a little shocked at how we roll these days. Had to start somewhere though right?

Figured I'd show you a few of my favourites. Ready for the countdown?

At no. 6 we have the Concorde.
Such a shame it was scrapped. Easily one of the best planes ever made. Needless to say, it had a sleek and slim design and speed unrivalled in the aircraft world, except for the space shuttle of course! It was the only commercial supersonic airliner in the world. Only 20 were made. Like I said, such a shame that between France and the UK, they couldn't save this plane. Not necessarily as a profitable venture, but just for pride.

Concorde. Image From: Link

Concorde. Image From: Link 

In at no. 5 is the Space Shuttle. All five of them. They've gone to space and back...I couldn't very well leave them out of my top 6!

Space Shuttles. Image From: Link

At No. 4 we have the Stealth F-22 Raptor. This one almost looks like something out of Star Trek!

Stealth F-22 Raptor. Image From: Link

They look similar, no? Image From: Link

No. 3 is the Airbus A380. This is the way to fly. With 50% more floor space this means comfort. Just ask the Saudi prince, al-Waleed bin Talal, whose custom-built private Airbus A380 comes with a steam room, a Turkish bath, a concert hall, a boardroom and his own luxury suite. And there's me hoping for that the air hostess in Economy will take a shine to me and hand me an extra packet of peanuts!

Airbus A380. Image from: Link

Now we're getting somewhere! At No. 2 is the Boeing 747-8. The 747 series is the most well-known on the planet. The 747-8 model has been long awaited as it was delivered a year after the expected date but oh well, I can't wait to get myself on one!

Boeing 747-8. Image From: Link 

Boeing 747-8. Image From: Link

And the big no. 1. Who else but the Antonov 225? There's only one in the world. The world's largest and heaviest plane - and also the reason I am writing this post. How this gets off the ground is beyond me. It really is. Anything weighing 640 tonnes gliding through the air is laughable. And yet it does.

Antonov 225. Image From: Link

Check this out. The amazing shuttle landing. Hard to imagine how this thing gets up to speeds of 25,000mph! Just imagine...some dude engineered this thing. Oh to be that engineer!



NB!
Check out this Jet. A fan send me this image.


image from: Link 


As you might have gathered from a previous post, whenever I'm at the airport -taking a flight myself or just dropping someone off- I can't help but make myself comfortable in the hope of spotting a 747 or an A380! Anyone else the same? 




Selby







Saturday, 17 March 2012

For the Nature Lovers

Prof. Iain Stewart. Image From: Link

Just came across this nature program on BBC2 the other day: How to Grow a Planet featuring Prof. Iain Stewart. How have I not come across this dude before now?! Unfortunately it shows at stupid o' clock in the morning. 0310 to be exact. My suggestion? Catch the first episode Life From Light on BBC iPlayer here. It's definitely an hour of your life you won't regret. Wish I could say the same for the time I spend washing up and taking the bins out!

I don't wanna jump ahead of myself here but he could very well find himself a spot in my hall of admiration next to Sir Attenborough. Gotta love that voice and the Scottish accent. Wasting no time, I've already managed to get on Amazon and buy the Blu-Ray for one of his older series How Earth Made Us here. Being the obsessive that I am, I had to have all the episodes in my possession but you can always click here where you can stream them.

Be sure to check this one out and let me know what you think of it? Or are there any fans out there already? I'm a bit late on this one!

Selby

Monday, 12 March 2012

David Attenborough

Image from http://earthfirst.com/whos-who-in-green-sir-david-attenborough/

I thought I should talk about one of my role models - a man that truly inspires me, Sir David Attenborough. I'm sure most people already know him from his TV documentaries (on nature) and perhaps some of you have had the pleasure of meeting this influential man?

In my eyes, Sir Attenborough is up there with the other inspirational individuals of our time - people like Nelson Mandela, Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, J. K. Rowling and the late Steve Irwin. Over the years, I have religiously followed his documentary series especially The Life Series. I am yet to find someone who can present such a great deal of understanding on the subject in such a down-to-earth way and with a voice which is so in tune with the subjects he interacts with.

Image from http://www.eface.in/rare-and-most-beautiful-birds-in-the-world/

The sheer passion and dedication he gives to his profession is unparalleled. David's rivals in the world of nature documentaries pale in comparison. Don't get me wrong. I love them all. But he is by far my favourite. He highlights the connections between the natural world and our own. Sir Attenborough has opened my eyes to a whole new dimension of our planet that is not always recognised as much as it should be. David identifies the traits we associate with man and shows how these are no different in the animal world. Rivalry is competition, ambition is survival, ownership is territory, sex is mating, commitment is loyalty, family is being part of the herd. This all seems pretty straightforward, right? When it comes to plants, he shows how even their lives are a series of decisive motions. In our own day to day lives it's hard to think of them as anything other than something pretty that sits on the windowsill or a bit of green to brighten up the garden. Attenborough shows how their colours, their scents, their textures are all determined according to their environment and their need to survive.

Image from http://www.terraforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=123251

I applaud the man. I really do. His work sure isn't easy. I can't even begin to imagine the difficulties involved. The film 'Escape from Alcatraz' comes to mind. If you haven't seen it, picture being locked inside a prison with your own hope of escaping relies on you digging an escape tunnel armed only with a kitchen fork!

I have made a short video to demonstrate the passion i am now developing.I have also learned to have a keen eye to my surrounding and appreciate amazing things happening without anyone taking any notice.

video
 CLICK PLAY

Anyone else as much of a fan as me?

Selby


Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Plane Spotting

Plane Spotting by selbizs
Plane Spotting, a photo by selbizs on Flickr.
Plane Spotting at Heathrow T4. Wish they would arrange a place where plane spotters could just sit and enjoy.

Could have done with an armchair...a few chilled drinks and a steak maybe...just saying.

Selby

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Emergency Phone Charger

Guys, I just found a must-have app for your smart phones - Solar Charger. Installed it on my Samsung Galaxy S2 and my Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc and the app seems to be working well so far. This will come in handy on those unplanned trips I take when I haven't charged my phone adequately and when I've forgotten my extra battery and portable charger. This app does what it says. Stick your phone under a light or in the sunlight and it'll charge your phone. The app works in good light - it will work with the main light in a room or even a small lamp is sufficient. I love it. Can't get over the ingenuity. This is the kind of 'green' I can get on board with....energy bulbs, not so much (they take so frickin' long to come on and when they do, they give so little light you may as well have lit a candle). However, I have read several reviews on this app which testify to quick results. I don't totally agree with them yet. My phones aren't charging as fast as they say. But it's something everyone should try. Don't get me wrong, I am not going to get rid of my extra battery charger any time soon.




It's taking an awfully long time to reach full charge. 
Would be nice to know what everyone else thinks...     


Emergency Charger by selbizs
Emergency Charger, a photo by selbizs on Flickr.


Got that charger for £4.50 and it's worth every penny. Very useful for the price. But you really have to shop around. This could easily cost you more than what I paid. You can get them in a variety of colours to suit your taste and it's compatible with almost every phone on the market today.

The charge time is the same as what you get with your original phone charger and its longevity will depend on what AA battery you put in the device. Its pretty good for the price. The links below takes you where i got mine. The price may vary! Here's where I got mine - link 1 and link 2.

Let me know what you think if you've already got one of these or if you end up trying it out.

Selby

Monday, 5 March 2012

Aerial View of NW1



Aerial view of NW1 by selbizs
Aerial view of NW1, a photo by selbizs on Flickr.

The view of London from a high point is breathtaking, the mix of predominantly old and the new is perfect. I love it.

Selby

Escalators

Escalators by selbizs
Escalators, a photo by selbizs on Flickr.
This is one of the best Costa Coffee shop I've ever been to. And the fact that this particular one is inside Tesco Extra (Gallows Corner) is an added bonus. If you don't fancy Costa's sometimes overpriced muffins, go pick up a multi-pack for the same price in the main shop then stroll up the escalator and have a nice coffee of your choice.

Selby

A Little Intro

Hi, I'm Selby. I'm 36, I'm a computer hardware engineer and I live in London. How did I end up starting a blog? Let's just say I'm a dude with a lot of opinions and I want to share :) So now, when I'm trying to figure out what category this blog will fall into...I'm having trouble. I'm one of those people who is into a LOT of things. I guess this blog will be a place for me to post about my passions of the moment which usually revolve around: aircraft, architecture, films, National Geographic, photography, politics, technology, TV. 

Since I'm new to this, I figured I'd start by talking about the movie I just finished watching, The Kingdom. I guess I should tell you that this isn't the first time I've seen it. Since it was released 5 years ago, I've watched it at least 6 or 7 times and I'm yet to be bored by it. I think it's a great movie, an intense gripping portrayal of the aftermath of 9/11. It takes you into the minds of the people directly affected by this atrocious attack on America, but also the world. The choice of actors was excellent Jamie Foxx, Chris Cooper, Jennifer Garner, Jason Bateman, Ashraf Barhom. Each of them very famous but also likeable and each good actors in their own right. Ashraf Barhom was the only one who I was not familiar with but his performance in this movie was impressive.



The movie is very realistic. That is perhaps what I love the most about it. It's almost a documentary in it's informative nature and non-fiction style. It gives insight into the realities of the wars and conflicts we hear about on the news everyday - the suffering on each side of the divide. It would have been easy for the Director to tell the story from the Western point of view, but I was pretty impressed by the angle he took in documenting the 9/11 aftermath. Rather than showing a bunch of super soldiers go in an destroy the enemy, he told the story through normal but experienced investigators who did not use force but worked with the locals in order to reach a solution. Its a must see movie for those who have not already seen it and I would definitely recommend this as an addition to your DVD collection.

Selby
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