Clarifying Ripley: The Singapore Flyer

It’s been a while since I did one of these, so I figured I’d get my restart perhaps on something a little easier. The most recent Ripley’s Believe-It-Or-Not feature comic panel notes that the Signapore Flyer is the tallest/widest ferris wheel and takes half an hour to make one complete revolution.

Singapore Flyer Official Website

Manufactured by Mitsubishi’s Heavy Industries, “the final capsule (each air conditioned and holds 28 people) was installed on October 2, 2007. The wheel started rotating on February 11, 2008 and officially opened to the public on March 1, 2008. Tickets for rides on the first 3 nights were sold out for US$6,271 (which comes to $8,888 in Singapore currency, number that predicts prosperity in Chinese culture). The grand opening for the Flyer was held on 15 April 2008,” notes the wiki article (paraphrased by me).

The wheel itself is 42 stories high, and perches atop a 3-story transportation terminal. It initially rotated one particular direction, but at the advice of Feng-Shui masters, the direction was reversed.

The following is a slightly-corny promotional video from YouTube, about the Singapore Flyer:

The Singapore Flyer was the subject of some worldwide news articles again when it suffered a power loss and trapped quite a number of people in their capsules, according to this Goldsea article. It had lost power for an hour or so at least twice since it first opened, but this particular time was a 6-hour ordeal as people waited patiently for the ride to begin moving again. Some people closer to the ground had to be lowered by ropes for rescue, while others were delivered sandwiches and soft drinks by delivery harnesses as they waited out the repairs. The ABC article for the same story has a photograph of a closeup of one of the capsules.

Flickr Pool of Singapore Flyer Photographs

A February 23, 2002 announcement published on Emporis.com notes plans for a 170-meter-tall ferris wheel to be built in Moscow, which would trump the Signapore Flyer by 20 meters, with an appx opening date of 2004, in hopes of attracting 70 million riders per year — but I can’t find any other reference to the wheel in Moscow beyond that article.

Another, larger ferris wheel is being constructed in the middle east called the Great Dubai Wheel to open in 2009, reaching 185 meters. Even still, another Chinese wheel is to be opened in 2010 reaching 208 meters, called the Great Observation Wheel according to China’s Great Wheel Corporation website.

Free 5-Issue Subscription: Cosmo

Longish-story longer: I used to work in an office with eight women, me being the only guy. I discovered I could get magazines on the cheap with eBay and various freebie offers on the web, and offered to get the ladies their magazines renewed (in my name) and I’d just bring them to work with me when they arrived instead of them giving me their addresses — so I kept an eye out for the ones they liked. I still do it even though I don’t work there anymore (largely because I like getting freebies, but also because I have a collection of un-opened perfume samples numbering over 315 because of the deal). Instead of keeping the deals to myself, however, I’ll start posting my finds ^_^

The deal with eBay is that magazines often have a readership number that they can brag about to advertisers and therefore charge higher rates for the number of people the advert is exposed to. Hence, magazines can much more easily afford forgoing the increase in paid subscriptions and give out more uber-cheap or free magazine subscriptions that will serve the purpose of bumping their subscriber rate up. That benegits us, because we can get a subscription to a magazine when they need a subscription boost. I currently subscribe to around 15-20 magazines (the paper kind you get in the postal mail, not the digital variety) and most of them are freebies. Some, instead of paying the regular 12 bucks per year, I can get for
3 dollars a year or so. VOGUE and VANITY FAIR have both been in the neighborhood of $20/year, but on eBay they run for about $8. Keep your eyes open!

ValueMag’s Complimentary 5-Issue Subscription: Cosmopolitan.

Compilation of Planes Landing Near Hong Kong

An amateur filmer cuts together shots of large passenger planes landing at a nearby airport — which might be nothing unusual, except that the airstrip is right next to a cityscape. The filmer gets shots from between tall commercial district buildings that seem as if they are almost skimming those very rooftops. I enjoyed this simple collection..

$10 Vivitar Miniature Digital Camera @ Walgreens/CVS

While I was away in Idaho this past weekend — visiting relatives for the wedding of one of my cousins, seeing my uncle finish Boise’s first Iron Man half-triathalon, watching coverage of McDonald’s fries inventor and resident potato billionaire JR Simplot’s televised funeral, and impressing the in-folk with my Scattergories rectal-extractive point-scoring techniques (“things found in the sky” for S: Sinking Suborbital Satellite, and “playground objects” for W: Wildly-popular merry-go-round) — I was in need of a digital camera.

Having seen a digital camera in a CVS back in Texas, I got another cousin to ferry me to a Walgreens to see if they had one. They did, and ten dollars later I am the owner of a new Vivitar Miniature Digital Camera. It supposedly takes 243 pictures — but those are pictures of especially rancid quality, on the lowest res setting AND in “compressed” mode. Otherwise, it will take 60 hi-res (high for this camera, that is) which I would estimate in the sub-1MP range, comparable to a cell-phone pic.

I didn’t have a lot of trouble finding reference to the camera online, but it appears many of the references are irks regarding the driver compatibility. I did install the driver CD (which had a strange music background in the installer program and no apparent mute function) before I plugged it in. It required a reboot, so after that, I plugged in the USB cord appropriately and it still did not recognize the device, so I just let the machine (XP) search and it found it just fine by itself and initialized as it should have.

Already expecting it to have especially terrible quality, I had decided I would try my hand once again at making a large mosaic of pictures after taking a grid of smaller pictures that spanned a room. I wanted to show the insides and outsides of the nice houses so I could bring back (and remember) what it was like there. I stood on one extreme corner of a room and took a “grid” of pictures starting with the top corner of the room, rotating a few degrees and taking another, all the way to the opposite wall, rotating down a few degrees, taking another, and back across the room, so I had 40-60 pictures of the room in different sections. At first I only took about 12 in three rows of four pics, but decided I might as well max out the camera on a room to ensure I got complete coverage.

I downloaded all of the pictures onto the laptop via the spiffy “my camera” proggy, and fired up Corel PhotoPaint 6, started a new file of 40″x80″ and imported all of the smaller images onto the pallette for arranging — and here’s what I’ve come up with:

Almost 360′ of My Uncle’s Deck

All said, I think it was a pretty good investment considering the total cost was ten bucks, but it takes really terrible pictures in low lighting, and the little blip sound it makes when taking a picture is extremely faint and nearly inaudible if there is any other noise in the vicinity. I’m guessing that the shutter may stay open longer if there is insufficient light, which is why so many of my low-light shots are so terribly blurry. On the lowest quality setting, the divisions of the pixels themselves are clearer than the lines they are supposed to be showing in the actual photograph, as if someone has placed a pixellation-filter over a face to blur it out — but on the whole thing.

It does come with Arcsoft Photo Impressions 4.0, but I don’t plan on using it ^_^

Digg.com’s “Visit these while our site is down” list

Digg.com’s site was down last night around 0200 Central, but they offered a list of links to check out in the meantime. Knowing the list would not be there for long, I tried a few out (also chronicling which sites were recommended), which are found below. Enjoy!

# Adam LivePlasma
# Amar Grow-a-Brain
# Anton Escher and the Droste effect
# Aubrey More crappy children’s art work
# Beth TechCrunch
# Bill Spoon
# Bob Surfline
# Brian L Rush
# Bryan W khaaan!
# Chris Blueshirt Bulletin
# Dan Black Crowes
# Daniel Top Left Pixel
# Diane Mark Morford Archive
# Dwayne The Final Countdown
# Eli GeeksOn
# Ian ampedOut
# Jay The Onion
# Jeremy We Can Solve It
# Jim B yelp
# Jim H allblacks
# Joe moonkahn.org
# John M paidContent.org
# John Q sfbike.org
# Jordan Zombo
# Kathleen Yahoo!
# Kevin Pownce
# Kurt Grouplens Blog
# Maggie The Sartorialist
# Marie Lifehacker
# Mark L Releaselog
# Mark T BAGeL Radio
# Mary Cute Overload! 🙂
# Matt E xkcd
# Matt M Yahoo News
# Matt VH Zimride
# Micah SuicideGirls
# Mike M Atom Films
# Mike N They Might Be Giants
# nbwt BBC News
# Nicole The Bastard Prince
# Noah sneakmove
# Paul Boing Boing
# Peter Route Guide for All Muni Lines
# Rebecca Fecal Face Dot Com
# Ron MadSciNet
# Scott B Blood and Bullets for Movies
# Scott W Krudmart
# Stephen C Texas Rollergirls
# Steve F Pearl Jam
# sbw Eve of Understanding
# Teo Youtube
# timeless Phun
# T.J. BBC Estudio Abierto
# Will F Machine Thinking
# All Digg the Blog

Does Adbrite’s TOS contradict the Privacy Policy?

I’ve been looking into subtle advertising resources for the site here and I was just about to sign up with AdBrite, but it’s a good thing I opted to actually read the Terms of Service agreement.

I found a particular clause in the TOS that changed my mind about signing up, especially since you’re required to give an SSN as part of the signup details:

ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATIONS PRIVACY ACT NOTICE (18USC 2701-2711): COMPANY MAKES NO GUARANTY OF CONFIDENTIALITY OR PRIVACY OF ANY COMMUNICATION OR INFORMATION TRANSMITTED ON OR THROUGH THE SITE, SERVICES OR ANY WEBSITE LINKED TO THE SITE. Company will not be liable for the privacy of e-mail addresses, registration and identification information, disk space, communications, confidential or trade-secret information, or any other Content stored on Company’s equipment, transmitted over networks accessed by the Site, or otherwise connected
with Subscriber’s use of the Services.
” (italicizing and bolding by me)

What this seems to say to me is that, although they have a Privacy Policy — which is not listed under items you must check off as having signed by entering into agreement — the part you actually sign up under as agreeing to states that they do not guarantee confidentiality or privacy of any information taken or given through the site.

I sent them a support ticket asking for clarification. Hmm…

Updatethis transcript details my conversation with them, affirming that their privacy policy is that AdBrite remain legally immune from all breeches in information security, should one occur but they’re do their best. Uhh.. no thanks.

Magnetic Field Flux = Suicidal Rate Goes Up?

There’s an interesting article on New Scientist suggesting a possible correlation between the increase of suicides and various malformations of the earths electromagnetic field in a particular region. There’s loads of remarks about it being purely speculation, but it’s certainly interesting to think about. Gives a good enough reason to wait things out before going through with it.

Does the Earth’s magnetic field cause suicides?

Tally up another point for my emotion/physical connection — in that, I presume many emotional aspects of life to be related to some simple chemical issue… such as being grumpy from an upset stomach, and such as how my allergy to peanuts, instead of making be break out, causes me to be more loose lipped than I normally would be.