Sunday, 29 June 2008

The Tunguska Event at 100.

On June 30, 1908 (NS) *, at 7:14 A.M., a massive explosion occurred in the taiga forest deep in Siberia, near the Tunguksa river, leveling trees up to 30 km away from the centre of the blast, and causing global climatic and geophysical sequelae.

This event has captured the enduring interests of scientists, both professional and laymen, and has intertwined itself in popular culture, science fiction, and conspiracy theories.

The devastation, as recorded by Leonid Kulik during expeditions beginning in 1921, would remain unparalleled until the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.

While the immediate effects of the explosion were confined to the swamps and forest within 40-50 km of the centre, the blast caused a number of global atmospheric phenomena, e.g., noctilucent clouds which made it possible to read the newspaper, or take photographs at night, in London. Seismometers read tremors that would register in the 5s on the modern Richter scale, and microbarometers recorded a shock wave that traveled around the globe at least twice before dissipating.

The local tribesmen thought that the wrath of the thunder god Agdy had been brought down by a neighbouring tribe's shaman. Peasant villagers sent a delegation to the local archpriest to ask how the preparations for the end of the world were coming along. Scientists in the European capitals tried to connect the phenomena of the atmospheric and geologic activities.

In this modern day of instant access to all manner of information (I am currently watching lightning-strike data superimposed on a Doppler radar loop, as storms approach from the west), it is hard to imagine that an event of the magnitude of Tunguska could occur without some knowledge of just what happened.

Over the next few days I will be presenting some further discussion regarding the event, which connects to several points of our collective Victorian/steampunk experience.

* The local date was June 17 using the so-called "Old Style" Julian calendar. The majority of the west had already adopted the Gregorian (or "New Style") calendar, but the Russians, being, well, Russian and Orthodox, did not take well to innovation, especially innovation coming from the Bishop of Rome. But that is clearly a story for another day.

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

'The World is Just Awesome'. Plus, Kate's sister.

In the event that you, dear reader, have not yet seen this, I pass along a link to the Discovery Channel's infectious 'The World is Just Awesome' promotion.

I cannot take full credit for finding it; that goes to Mr J J Drinkwater.

If you find yourself humming it all day long, well, don't say that I didn't warn you. Infectious!

The good people at have provided a method by which one may download the MP3 file, the video, and ring tones for one's portable telephone.

Now, here is the surprising part: at about 30 seconds in to the film, I do believe I spotted my dear sister Sophie*:

She "loves Egyptian kings", as the lyrics go. As I am the (slightly) more squeamish of the two of us, I'm more than happy to allow her to do all the up-close corpse work.

Now in case you cannot see the obvious family resemblance, I offer this crude figure which may clear things up a bit:

Not only is she the smarter one, her eyesight is better, leaving me the only one in the family requiring spectacles. Oh, and she's a soprano, too. None of this alto-register business for her.

I do think the glasses look grand on her, though, and I'm glad she is aging gracefully, since this is what I suspect I will look like in another *cough*-mumble years. Did I mention that she's the older sister?

In any event: do yourself a favour, and, next time you need re-affirmation of just how awesome the world is, listen to the song. Even helps put one's mind off sibling rivalry, mostly.



* N.b.: Naturally, she isn't really my sister; I haven't the foggiest idea who they found to play Sophie's part in this advert. Incredible likeness, though, and the voice is spot-on.

Friday, 13 June 2008

Photograph of the day: mainland advertising.

This is what I believe the mainlanders term an "ad farm" :

The effect of such surroundings on the prevalent real-estate values is substantial, I fear.

Sunday, 1 June 2008

Additional notes from the field.

Okeanos Magic, Tanarian Davies, Audrey Fotherington, Bryndal Ellison, Jayleden Miles and Galactic Baroque have contributed further notes from their outings, again advancing our understanding of Nature here in the Realm.

The wiki ( continues to be updated by divers mycophiles as well.

G. Baroque has provided some interesting data regarding the timing of the appearance of species, and thereby has raised an interesting point: with enough data, could one construct an algorithm for predicting the appearance of a particular species in a particular period of time?


26 May.

Lovelace (Rezzer L - A-D)
B. camelopardis, leopardis 13:10 local/22:20 SLT
B. dalmatia 15:46/22:56, 17:22/23:20, 18:24/23:31, 18:36/23:32, 19:46/23:38, 00:42/00:02
? 01:30/00:06

Bellambia, 05:26 lcl/00:26 SLT (2nd one of that night)
Davanicus, 06:00 lcl/00:29 SLT, 06:36 lcl/00:31 SLT

Elf Ear, 01:52 ( ), 09:33, 09:50
[Previous nights' Winterfell observations courtesy, in part, of Audrey Fotherington and Bryndal Ellison]

Cutie, 08:32, 08:57 and 09:05 (Bryndal Ellison), 10:09

27 May.

B. tigris, 20:45? lcl / 15:39 SLT
Eyre, RCT, 02:20 lcl/23:22 SLT

29 May.

Eyre, Davanicus: no specific local times, all between 18:00 and 02:00/11:55, 12:00, 12:07 SLT

Lovelace, B. tigris: 02:00lcl/20:09 (Fawkes Allen)
Eyre, Davanicus: 03:45lcl/20:15; 05:04/23:23

One Night in Lovelace
Okeanos Magic, 2008-05-30 10:04:22
In the interest of scientificalism , I passed an entire night cycle in Lovelace, and scooped up EVERY SINGLE mushroom that rezzed. This was the local night session that begins around 7:30 AM SLT. I arrived at the Lovelace ring at 5:52 PM and my computer crashed just after 7 AM local time (roughly 8:45 AM SLT)

My tally for the evening is as follows:
B. camelopardis: 22
B. dalmatia: 11 (exactly half as many as the camelopardis - interesting)
B. leopardis: 19
B. tigris: (and pardon me for getting unscientific for a moment) a big fat stinking ZERO!!!!!!

Yours in service to the society,
Okeanos Magic


Galactic Baroque shroom notes 1
Monday, May 26, 2008

Caledon Eyre (rezzer 1)

Eyre species appear on a day/night rotation. Dr. Bob in Glengarry (rezzer 2) also confirmed a shift in species at sunset.

I took timemarked notes for 379 consecutive minutes. Because of the day/night roation, I conjecture that probability per cycle is more significant than the time interval since last appearance. However, I can send you the time marks if you are tracking those.

Also significant is an apparent "clock" with a one minute interval. The second hand on my watch was nearly always in the same position when a shroom appeared, lag could account for the very very few exceptions. So, one may also count a 25th outcome, "none," when calculating probabilities.

Partial Day cycle: 140 minutes, 103 shrooms
(species/shroom count count/percentage by shrooms count/percentage by clock count)
Caledonus 65 63.11% 46.43%
Xenobiologus Horgidae 14 13.59% 10.00%
Darkle's Bane 14 13.59% 10.00%
Devil's Minion 5 4.85% 3.57%
RC Toadstool 4 3.88% 2.86%
RC Death Cap 1 0.97% 0.71%
none 37 n/a 26.43%

Full night cycle: 65 minutes, 50 shrooms
Booomslang's Toadstool 20 40.00% 31.25%
Caledons Ordinalis 16 32.00% 25.00%
Morte Velox 7 14.00% 10.94%
Nicholas Shroom 5 10.00% 7.81%
Fungus Davanicus 1 2.00% 1.56%
Bellambia 1 2.00% 1.56%
none 14 n/a 21.88%

Full day cycle: 175 minutes, 125 shrooms
Shrooms Caledonus 72 57.60% 41.14%
Xenobiologus Horgidae 26 20.80% 14.86%
Darkle's Bane 13 10.40% 7.43%
Devil's Minion 9 7.20% 5.14%
RC Toadstool 4 3.20% 2.29%
RC Death Cap 1 0.80% 0.57%
none 50 n/a 28.57%

Random sightings
2 Elf Ears about 9:06pm , Absinthe
Death Cap for Cutie, 9:55p, Laudanum

Galactic Baroque shroon notes 2
2008-05-27 04:31:31
The night brought much excitement as a new patch with 4 new species was discovered in Lovelace.

partial day cycle count:

Byronium camelopardis 18
Byronium leopardis 13
Byronium dalmatia 5
Byronium tigris 0

full night cycle count:

Byronium camelopardis 17
Byronium leopardis 15
Byronium dalmatia 17
Byronium tigris 1 (12:04 am)