All posts by admin

Mixxx Digital DJ Mixer 1.12 Alpha, 4 Decks and Advanced Effects

mixxx_112-alpha

I’ve been waiting for this for a long time ! Mixxx was limited by a maximum of two channels for mixing; two digital decks, although if you knew what you were doing you could open multiple copies, but that would not give you crossfader control. But now Mixxx has a total of four, yes, 4 channels ! That opens up a lot more room for mixing. The only niggle here that which channel is on which side of the crossfader does not seem to assignable (“A/B mxing”), but seeing as this is an Alpha release that may be planned for the full release.

Another breakthrough is the inclusion of extended effects. Previously only a Flanger effect was available. Now we Have Flanger, Echo, Reverb and BitCrusher. The effect modules – highlighted with the orange circle in the screen shot above – are initially named “Effect Chains” (not visible in the image) which is a bit confusing to begin with as really only the four available effects are selectable. However this is a hint of the planned much extended effects architecture for Mixxx that includes the ability to define complex effects chains and even a facility to include externally loaded LV2 and LADSPA effects.

I’ve had all this running on my 1.8 GHZ single core CPU, really a low to medium end machine without a single audio glitch that I can hear. This is with other applications open in the background. Altogether very impressive for something playing multiple tracks and and effects ! I have not had a single crash yet and only some small UI bugs (drop down lists that are not closed properly). Very impressive for an Alpha release.

If you can, download and do all you can to support the Mixxx development team. Contribute ! Mixxx will have reached a major achievement and new era of open source music/DJ application when the full effects architecture is ready sometime after the release of 1.12. In the mean time there’s plenty of Mixxx goodness to be getting on with. I think it’s also important not to forget, especially for those new to open source, is that if you want a new feature of want to fix some niggle then the entire source can be forked, either by you or a helpful friend, and those ideas can be implemented either for your own build, or they might even be merged back into the main Mixxx release. Happy mixxxing !

 

Portugal’s Casa Pia Abuse Scandal and Resulting Prosecutions: Where is Britain’s Landmark Child Abuse Case ?

Former orphanage director Catalina Pestana embraces abuse victim Pedro Namora at the court in Lisbon yesterday (Jose Manuel Ribeiro/Reuters)

(Image source: Guilty after six-year trial, Portugal’s high-society paedophile ring )

I was just waking up this morning when I happened to hear an episode of Witness on the BBC World Service …

How nice for these Portuguese victims to get justice, I thought ! Then my feelings turned to frustration and a crystallising realisation that Britain is still very much behind on this issue. Look at the stalling government inquiry into allegations of organised child abuse by politicians. Look at how the psychiatric system is widely used to silence victims of organised child abuse … butoh wait … that’s just a “conspiracy theory” right ?

“It wasn’t that long ago that those who claimed that there was a massive pedophile ring involving officials in the highest levels of government were written off as conspiracy theorists and kooks.”

The U.K. Political Pedophile Ring Scandal is Just The Tip of the Iceberg – The Full Story is Much More Disturbing [UPDATED]

Regardless of the contents of the rest of that article, that little quote at the top got me to thinking. As a victim of these kind of abuses in the 1970’s (I was born in 1970) I have often been left thinking, even in my own mind, that I was hallucinating, or had become deluded into thinking that the abuses I had been subjected to, were exactly that – abuses.

Then a little research uncovered the reason why; what we now call Grooming.

The political atmosphere in the 70’s was one of outright political control by perpetrators of child abuse. They had infiltrated to the highest levels of political lobbying (under the name PIE – Paedophile Information Exchange) with the National Council for Civil Liberties (NCCL), a group that would one day become Liberty. Liberty have since apologised for their actions in the 1970’s, but that history still has an important bearing on what is happening today.

“‘The PIE somehow managed to convince feminists and the gay rights lobby that they had shared values and that we all belonged in the same club,’ recalls one feminist writer whose magazine was lobbied for support by the PIE after the Exchange won NCCL affiliation.”

( Source )

At its height, PIE boasted almost 1,000 members and publicly campaigned for child sex to be legalised, and for the age of consent to be lowered to four.

( Source )

If you carefully read the above you will find that in the 70’s child abusing criminal psychopaths were on the win. They were rolling forward an agenda to give them free access to children as young as four years old, with absolutely no legal problems what so ever. A backlash did start in the 1980’s with the PIE (Paedophile Information Exchange) disbanded and various former members prosecuted and jailed for offences against children … presumably under the very same act that they had tried to alter with their lobby group and the help of what would eventually become Liberty, the NCCL.

So how far did this go exactly ? Its easy to discount all this as the actions of some deluded lefty liberals in the 70’s … until you see the scans …

Document: This is the cover page of the NCCL's submission to Parliament on the 1976 Sexual Offences Act held at the LSE library, which suggests that the age of consent be lowered to 14
Document: This is the cover page of the NCCL’s submission to Parliament on the 1976 Sexual Offences Act held at the LSE library, which suggests that the age of consent be lowered to 14
Damning: On page six of the document it is argued that 'a person aged 14 or over should be legally capable of giving consent' and the age of sexual consent cut to ten 'if the child understood the nature of the act'
Damning: On page six of the document it is argued that ‘a person aged 14 or over should be legally capable of giving consent’ and the age of sexual consent cut to ten ‘if the child understood the nature of the act’
Document: This is the cover page of the NCCL's submission to Parliament on the 1976 Sexual Offences Act held at the LSE library, which suggests that the age of consent be lowered to 14
‘People of different ages being nice to each other’: The autumn 1982 edition of Rights, the in-house magazine of the NCCL. Self-confessed paedophile Mike Morten’s letter was published on page 9 (pictured centre)

“Document: This is the cover page of the NCCL’s submission to Parliament on the 1976 Sexual Offences Act held at the LSE library, which suggests that the age of consent be lowered to 14. […] Damning: On page six of the document it is argued that ‘a person aged 14 or over should be legally capable of giving consent’ and the age of sexual consent cut to ten ‘if the child understood the nature of the act'”

( Source )

I could write a lot, lot more here about the history behind all this and my feelings about being a victim and the current atmosphere. But I’ll end with this …

  • In light of the successful criminal prosecutions in Portugal, involving government and high society figures, how does the situation look in Britain ?
  • Have a few high profile prosecutions of celebrity figures been used to distract attention from what is going on at the top ?
  • Why are so many of the revelations to do with perpetrators that are now dead ?
  • Do allegations of organised child abuse at the highest levels of British government still look like a “conspiracy theory” ?
  • How educated are the general public about the reality of the nature of organised abuse and its “normalisation” into making it seem that child abusers are being discriminated against like victims of Homophobia ?
  • Why are we still using the word “Paedophile” that was obviously invented in the 1970’s by criminals in order to try and legitimise what they are doing ? As if abusing a child is like indulging in French cheeses like a  Francophile ?

You can come to your own conclusions, but from my point of view this country is living in a trance –  a dream world. Where, in order to protect some kind of “Britain stands for decency” political tag line, prosecutions and a proper inquiry are kept at bay. Of course not doing the decent thing in order to cover up indecent acts, to give an impression of decency, is just absurd. It’s time to do the decent thing and educate ourselves about the history of all this and demand that justice is done. If Portugal can do it, so can we.

Linux CLI (Bash) – Play Random Audio File, Music Track or Display Random Image

It amazing what a bit of randomness can extract from hard drive “lost” zones  🙂

These scripts are probably not the ultimate in Linux scripting elegance and may even have bugs in them that need fixing, but they do work well enough on my machine.

file=
num_files=
choice=
IFS=$'\n'
Files=`ls -D /home/djbarney/DJ_Barney_Docs/Docs_on_Fifth_Element/Forge/Compressor` 

file=($Files)                # Read into array variable.

num_files=${#file[*]}        # Count how many elements.

choice=${file[$((RANDOM%num_files))]}
echo $choice

mplayer -volume $1 /home/djbarney/DJ_Barney_Docs/Docs_on_Fifth_Element/Forge/Compressor/$choice 

exit

Usage example …

$ ./play-random-sample.sh 80

 

The number is the volume level.

The script was written for a single directory full MP3 and WAV samples. As I found out, it does not work too well for anything bigger than that – like a directory hierarchy full of various music albums. So I did a bit of rewriting …

file=
num_files=
choice=
IFS=$'\n'
dir=/media/djbarney/fifth-element/Music
Files=`find $dir -type f`

file=($Files)                # Read into array variable.

num_files=${#file[*]}        # Count how many elements.

choice=${file[$((RANDOM%num_files))]}
echo $choice

mplayer -volume $1 "$choice"

exit

The script does not check the file type so if you have pictures and so forth along with your audio files it might try to play those. If so, just run it again.

$ ./play-random-track.sh 80

I’ll return later with a version that can show a random image.

Oil Price Drop is Direct Result of Massive Shift in Energy Technology

Ameritrade Oil Futures Chart, September to 14th November 2014
Ameritrade Oil Futures Chart, September to 14th November 2014

(Chart source: Is the Oil price the Prime Indicator of LENR (Cold Fusion) breakthrough? ).

I woke up this morning and, while drinking my coffee, started doing my usual internet search. What is usually an interesting but fairly mundane activity turned into a major Eureka! moment for me.

First I hit this article that appears to have predicted why the oil price has dropped (which I explain below). The article appears to have been produced in November 2011 according to what is the final paragraph …

Oil companies braced for E-Cat developments

This provided the insight for that Eureka! moment …

Suddenly the fear of running out of oil is gone. The fear of running out of nickel is many years, if not centuries, in the future. The expected market price of oil would be no more than the price that would make energy from oil the same price as energy from the E-Cat. If even the most easily extracted oil cannot be extracted for a competitive price, OPEC will almost certainly react by pumping a lot more oil and charging a lot less.

(My emphasis).

What we have seen is a process going on from the beginning of when the E-Cat, Cold Fusion and LENR technology first emerged. From the beginning we’ve seen many who just “get” that something real is going on, or their instincts and experience tell them that Rossi is no “con man”. Through the years and many tests the technology has been subjected to much scepticism and outright attacks. But as time has gone on the evidence has built up.

With Peak Oil and the once all pervasive atmosphere of Global Warming rhetoric and scare mongering, the world has been aware that it has a problem. Many reports predicted increasing conflict due to diminishing resources and a diminishing ability to extract oil. All that builds up into fear.

But now the E-Cat and other LENR technologies are proving themselves we are seeing this major response in the oil markets. But why lower the price ? Now here I had my second Eureka! moment …

If the price of oil remains high, the world will inevitably convert to E-Cats faster than they would otherwise. If the price of oil drops rapidly, then the energy price benefit expected from the E-Cat is achieved almost instantly. The general expectation is that the price of oil will start to fall as soon as the real potential of the E-Cat becomes clear.

Could oil companies by buying E-Cat like there’s no tomorrow … hence the deliberate reduction in the old price due to increased production by OPEC ? Are they protecting their investment by making it less desirable to convert to E-Cat due to the reduced oil price, so that people keep using their oil ? Actually there’s good evidence for this.

E-Cat is a technology that the oil companies are interested in taking up, not to replace oil, but to reduce their extraction and storage costs. This is not my assumption. This approach has been revealed in documents produced by Breakthru Technologies ( breakthru-technologies.com, ecat.com – Roger Green who is part of the Rossi team) …

PDF: E-Cat Technology, A New Age of Energy Production.

Applications of this 1MW E Cat Heat Power Future 200 400 Degrees Celsius

[…]

  • Tar sands process steam for oil extractions

E-Cat Technology, A New Age of Energy Production. p18.

This means initially we are in the marketplace in competition with industrial boilers or steam.

E-Cat Technology, A New Age of Energy Production. p5.

Immediate -­‐ 1 -­‐ 10 Years: The Conventional option Period

This is a time where, for those who are familiar with triage, society adopts fusion for immediate needs. We will see businesses that need cheap energy to stay afloat as the first to implement the technology. As an example, in a conversation with an oilman from Midland, Texas, it was revealed that the local utility was charging them $10,000 per well to operate the electric motors for the pumps. He has 100 wells, and it was costing him a million dollars per month to bring the oil to the surface. He also mentioned that this cost was passed on to the consumer, resulting in higher oil prices going to the refinery. This was causing his business to lose its competitive edge. The same is true for tar sands. Those companies need a heat source to liquefy the tar, and as petroleum prices rise, it was no longer becoming economical to use their own fuel. I know that environmentalists are gnashing their teeth at the prospect of the Rossi Eat becoming defiled through this application, but fret not -­‐ in later years this source of energy will be relegated to the backburner.

(My emphasis) E-Cat Technology, A New Age of Energy Production. p20.

As you can see there has been a definite forward thinking plan here. This has not been an approach of “invent a technology and unleash it on the world and see what happens”. That would have been irresponsible. We are dealing with millions of people’s jobs and life’s here. A potentially disruptive energy technology such as the E-Cat could have caused unpredictable reactions in markets where billions upon billions of dollars is at stake. Using an irresponsible approach the success of the E-Cat would have likely been held in jeopardy and possibly even suppressed or kiboshed by huge energy companies unable to fit E-Cat into the industry.

So is this why Industrial Heat have been so quiet over the last few months ? I suspect so. It is highly likely that deals are being made with the oil companies by IH, and possibly other companies, to introduce E-Cat as a way to make oil extraction viable in extraction areas that were, up until now, just too expensive to go into. Those deals also establish an intent on the part of the E-Cat inventors and marketeers that shows the oil companies that they are not out to destroy their business but actually intend to support it. This may seem like heresy to the environmentalists but even the oil companies know that oil will not last forever, and this approach, in the meantime, allows them to diversify and take into account such a massive new step in energy technology such as E-Cat/LENR.

So with all that in mind the futures chart at the top of this article should make more sense. The oil price drop is not just  in response to “fracking”. There are some very real forces at work here …

  1. Reduction in fear in investment markets due to reality of E-Cat/LENR coming to fruition. This shows the reality of at least one alternative to oil, and causes psychological changes that make many realise that these things are possible … hence the reduction in fear; and remember that Capitalism is based on expecting continued growth and healthy societies … not increasing conflict based on limited energy sources.
  2. Rossi/Industrial Heat and Breakthru Technologies engaging with oil companies to sell them this new technology to reduce costs of oil extraction rather than going into direct competition with them.
  3. A deliberate policy by OPEC to reduce oil prices by increasing production in order to make E-Cat less desirable … why ? Basically “because we want it” (the oil companies) to reduce costs of their extraction (see quote above from the PDF … “Immediate -­‐ 1 -­‐ 10 Years: The Conventional option Period”) … and keep us buying it, at least in the meantime.

What we’re seeing here is something quite extraordinary. After a 100 years of reliance on oil the world is starting to move into a new phase. That, ironically, could at first see an increase in oil production due to the opening of new oil fields due to the reduced costs of extraction from using the E-Cat technology (and presumably, including products made by E-Cat competitors).

Here is the way through the “Global Warming” climate change crisis. If you believe that to be caused by CO2 or increased Sun activity. Either way its obvious that we need to change our ways. Now we have a way through … Eureka!

Optimisation Guide for Wolfenstein The New Order

WolfNewOrder_x64 2014-10-15 21-43-57-80
Wolfenstein The New Order. Not included to show how pretty it can be (see below). Click for larger.

Wolfenstein The New Order on the ID Tech 5 engine.

Carmack did it again !

The thing with this engine is that it’s totally different to Cryengine, Unreal, Frostbite and other engines. It takes a while to get used to the “look” of the environments and the feel and technology behind the engine. As I found out, this can lead to a lot of confusion when trying to tweak for your individual system. The engine  completely changes the art direction and graphic design because of the large textures that can be used. It ends up looking much more like a free form painting or environment rendered in Maya or Blender because of the lack of restriction on texture size. For example in the screen shot above notice how each part of the external surface of the building, in the upper middle part of the image, is slightly different. As you’d expect weathering and so forth would effect each part of the building differently. Now look at this screen shot from Crysis Warhead.

Crysis 2014-09-14 20-46-59-07
Click for larger.

Look at the side of the harbour wall. Each section is the same texture repeated. We have been so used to seeing this in video games for almost twenty years that it’s, as I found, surprisingly difficult to accept something different. There’s only been one previous game using this technique, RAGE. Now Wolfenstein has really pulled the stops out, but some gamers seem confused and angry judging by the comments out there, which I don’t think is entirely surprising seeing the groundbreaking move Carmack has made with this engine. So ground breaking it seems to have left some gamers a bit out in the cold.

Frustratingly ID/Carmack/game developers have not done a massively clear job of explaining how the engine is different and what the graphics settings actually do and how they effect performance. I think this has been needed because so many gamers have been used to using traditional engines for so many years and are used to the various “tweaks” and what they mean. However I won’t get into a lesson about ID Tech 5 here, you can read up on that yourselves. Let’s get to the settings !

In Wolfenstein The New Order I struggled for hours trying to get stable settings. It was not until I just kept the view still that I noticed what was going on. While keeping the mouse and movement still, frame rate stabilises to 60. As soon as the view is moved then frame rate drops. This is even more noticeable when you move the view and run around. I had been noticing a few “missing frames” every so often (its as if everything went “wobbly” for a moment) but could not work it out, or fix what was happening until I did the above experiment. Try it yourself in game. Stand still. Don’t move the mouse. Watch as the frame rate stabilises to 60 frame per second. Now move (either mouse, WASD, or both) and watch the frame rate drop. Stay still again, it goes back up to 60. This is the texture streaming at work and directly translates to the settings in “Advanced Video Options”.

WolfNewOrder_Video_Options_Advanced
Click for larger.

The core of the advanced settings is “Max PPF”, and, as I found out, this is the culprit behind choppy frame rates.  I don’t know about other gamers but I was not clear if “lower is better”, or “higher is better” in terms of performance. It was not until I did the standing still test above that why setting “Max PPF” to low stabilised my frame rates finally made sense.

Here’s the first Video Options settings page.

WolfNewOrder_Video_Options

So give Carmack and ID Tech 5 a chance ! It’s new and so ground breaking that it will confuse you ! However its worth taking the time to understand. It can be frustrating not being able to get to grips with the settings, but once your there you’ll really be able to appreciate what Carmack and ID, as well as MachineGames are really doing here.

EDIT (Oct 17th, 2014): I neglected to add that a major performance boost was also added by making sure the engine creates its cache file. This was also a reason for frame rate drops while looking around and moving. I also turned off any power saving or CPU scaling functions in my bios, but have not yet examined specifically if that’s actually providing any performance boost.

Sup ? Catch A Ride ! Britains Aircraft Carrier

Sources …

Red Arrows: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/defence/10946189/A-proud-moment-for-thewhole-of-Britain.html

Graphic: http://richardwillisuk.wordpress.com/category/defence/

Queen images: http://royalista.com/19878/queen-elizabeth-names-uks-biggest-warship-after-herself/

Food: https://storify.com/DefenceHQ/hms-queen-elizabeth-named

Busses & posing in front and other pictures: https://storify.com/NavyLookout/hms-queen-elizabeth-naming-ceremony

Keep Calm And Carry On Stopping Ritual Abuse

Keep-calm-and-stop-ritual-abuse_websize

(Download print size 600dpi )

Keep Calm and Carry On (KCACO). This meme certainly has its amusing and playful side to it. For example my local Indian produced one that says “Keep Calm and Curry On”. Very good !

But something has always bothered me about it, I just hadn’t had the time to check the background. According to the Imperial War Museum the original 1940’s poster run was never publicly displayed, partly due to the failure of similar posters with the public.

“With its message of paternal reassurance Keep Calm and Carry On was intended to allay public fears in the wake of predicted German air raids at the outset of the Second World War.” (Source)

The poster was meant to refute the idea, presumably being pushed by the NAZI’s and their sympathisers in propaganda broadcasts of the time, that they would in no short order be bombed from the air in their own cities …. “Keep calm and carry on” … as …. “We think it unlikely at the moment that you are about to be bombed”.  Crucially, 10 months after these posters were designed the Germans did bomb real live people in British cities.

You can probably imagine if this poster had been used after people had been bombed. A family having lost loved one’s emerging from a bombed building only to see “Keep calm and carry on” in front of them. Obviously that would have been upsetting, patronising and could have got the Ministry of Information in some trouble.

What relevance does all this have to our modern world ? I saw a line in an article that I can’t track down at the moment …

“In our world of imagined fears and made up threats” (paraphrased)

There can certainly be a problem with this in the way parts of the media jump on the latest “threat” in their hyperbolic and often shambolic way. Bring in the institutionalised “Mental Health Profession” and we can add the scaremongering associated with the attitude towards those who are simply expressing trauma or distress. Predictions of economic woe’s as well as environmental eschatology can also build up stress that is on the most part unnecessary. How many people I wonder have got worked up about something only to find later that it was based on faulty information or outright patently untrue ? This is probably a common human experience. There’s an old Chinese Buddhist story … “Who’s to say what’s good or bad”  (Source). When does a threat edge over that boundary from simple circumstances into a “clear and present danger” ? This is what has been upsetting me about this “KCACO” poster.

In a way I am one of those people emerging from my bombed house with family members who have been hurt and lost their lives. I was subjected to what is known in professional therapeutic circles as Ritual Abuse.

Source1: See page 3 of this PDFNAPAC Newsletter 2012″.

Source2: End Ritual Abuse, The Website of Ellen P. Lacter, Ph.D.

Now a case in point here. The Wikipedia article about this will tell you …

“Satanic ritual abuse (SRA, sometimes known as ritual abuse, ritualistic abuse, organised abuse, sadistic ritual abuse and other variants) was a moral panic […]” (Source)

Was, not “is” you see. Quite an extraordinary statement. I know this. I was subjected to it ! I have spoken to qualified experts and practitioners in the field who absolutely confirmed my suspicions about what I had been subjected to. So when I see this poster “Keep calm and carry on” it makes me want to run around and actually create some panic (I say some) because I think that would be more appropriate and would encourage some action to be taken. Ritual Abuse is an unpleasant subject that many people would rather not look at, and who can blame them ? It is a thing that should not exist, but it does. I have been aware of it since I was a six year old. I have done extensive research into its origins and the psychology behind it. Essentially it is what is known as Necrophilia in psychological circles (as defined by Eric Fromm et al). An obsession with sex and death. Ritual Abuse also has cult like elements to it that are very similar to Fascism and Religious Fundamentalism. Think of the Taliban and your’re in the right area.

So in my world I have been “bombed” by Ritual Abusers and I emerge to see this “KCACO” poster so you can imagine how it makes me feel. However there is another side to this. One of the ways cults and especially Fascist cults and “terrorists” work is to try and spread terror and fear. So I’m aware that “Keep Calm” may actually be an entirely appropriate response to Ritual Abuse. I wonder if I am fully appreciating the wisdom of many people out there when it comes to this area. But there is very little action in my opinion when it comes to responses to Ritual Abuse. There are certainly many support groups and practitioners out there willing to help victims. But compared to responses to Terrorism and The Taliban for example the responses to Ritual Abuse are woefully inadequate.

Look at the response to some of the violence surrounding the Mod subculture phenomenon of the 60’s …

“Newspaper editorials fanned the flames of hysteria, such as a Birmingham Post editorial in May 1964 which warned that mods and rockers were “internal enemies” in the United Kingdom who would “bring about disintegration of a nation’s character”. (Source)

According to Wikipedia an academic response to this period actually created the term “moral panic” …

“The mods and rockers conflict led sociologist Stanley Cohen to coin the term moral panic in his study Folk Devils and Moral Panics, which examined media coverage of the mod and rocker riots in the 1960s.[49] Although Cohen acknowledges that mods and rockers had some fights in the mid-1960s, he argues that they were no different from the evening brawls that occurred between youths throughout the 1950s and early 1960s, both at seaside resorts and after football games.[50]”(Source)

Ritual Abuse involves behaviour carried out by real “internal enemies” and the response to that should be appropriate. It’s all very well getting used to palming off various threats as moral panics in a world beset by imagined and manufactured threats and “issues”. But at some point somebody has to discern, not just classify everything as “not really there”. After all that would be absurd. Yes, in the early part of the Second World War this country was, naturally, worried about panic over, at least at that point semi-real threats of being bombed. But that situation did change and people did have to face the fact that they were really were being bombed. Ritual Abusers don’t use bombs (at least, not that I’m aware of) but their extreme acts are equally as damaging and traumatising. So yes, lets keep and calm and carry on, but let’s keep calm and carry on removing Ritual Abuse from our world !

Mining the Sky: The Blockade Runners

I discovered the book Mining the Sky over a decade ago when I started getting into what I call an abundance mindset. John Lewis points out the way many population resource analysis fail to figure in resources outside the earth. Since the beginning of the space age we have proved that we can get into space, so why ignore what’s out there ?

At one point Lewis covers the enormous amounts of nickel and platinum in some asteroids. Sometimes up 99% ! It reminds me of a film I saw as a kid called Moon Zero Two. in the film mining entrepreneurs crash a pure sapphire asteroid on to the moon in order to mine it. Nickel and Platinum also just happen to be some of the ingredients for the “Cold Fusion” reaction or what is now called Low Energy Nuclear Reactions.

John Lewis is starting a company with other people with some formidable credentials (Deep Space “mine”?, NasaSpaceFlight.com forum). The chances are that, with Space X now proving commercial access to space is viable, that many industrialists will be getting very excited about having access to the resources “out there”.

I think we’re now well beyond some kind of threshold that was preventing all this from happening. But I can’t help being reminded of the Trade Federation in Star Wars …

vlcsnap-2014-04-13-20h36m45s17
Running through the Trade Federation blockade in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace

With the enormous amount of resources “out there” we would all get to benefit. But it is sometimes like there is kind a blockade, at least in the way we think of Earth when it comes to figuring in all resources, a point Lewis makes well in his book. It’s like there’s an invisible barrier, or sphere, around Earth when it comes to calculating population models. Of course unchecked expansion, as we all know, can eat up limited resources. But up until the last century, that was taking place in a world where we were unable to get into space. Now the sky is literally no longer the limit. It makes sense to pursue space mining if there is going to continue to be large human populations.

A last important point here. It has been shown that people have more children when in poverty as a kind of guarantee of as many resource gatherers as possible. This makes sense if we look at nature. Some sea animals come to mind that produce millions of eggs to try and maximise their survival. As prosperity increases population levels reduce because people have less children. This is called the Demographic-economic paradox;

“Development is the best contraceptive.”, Karan Singh

Access to resources in space can give us that prosperity.

Blender Command Line (CLI): Dynamic Rendering of Text for WWW and More

Had a bit of a “Eureka!” moment when I discovered this …

Blender command line …

blender -b cube.blend -o //file -F JPEG -x 1 -f 1

“cube.blend” is just the default blender scene saved to a .blend file.

The CLI output …

djbarney@djbarney-anubis ~/Pictures
$ blender -b cube.blend -o //file -F JPEG -x 1 -f 1
Read new prefs: /home/djbarney/.config/blender/2.69/config/userpref.blend
AL lib: UpdateDeviceParams: Failed to set 44100hz, got 48000hz instead
found bundled python: /home/djbarney/Installations/blender-2.69-linux-glibc211-i686/2.69/python
read blend: /home/djbarney/Pictures/cube.blend
Fra:1 Mem:4.83M (0.00M, Peak 6.26M) | Preparing Scene data
Fra:1 Mem:4.83M (0.00M, Peak 6.26M) | Preparing Scene data
Fra:1 Mem:4.83M (0.00M, Peak 6.26M) | Creating Shadowbuffers

[...]

Fra:1 Mem:4.86M (9.98M, Peak 15.26M) | Scene, Part 133-135
Fra:1 Mem:4.86M (9.93M, Peak 15.26M) | Scene, Part 134-135
Fra:1 Mem:4.86M (9.93M, Peak 15.26M) | Scene, Part 135-135
Fra:1 Mem:4.74M (9.89M, Peak 15.26M) Sce: Scene Ve:8 Fa:6 La:1
Saved: /home/djbarney/Pictures/file0001.jpg Time: 00:01.27 (Saving: 00:00.43)
Blender quit

The result …

file0001

This introduces some interesting possibilities.

  • Rendering of 3D images for WebGL sites that want their 3D data to be seen by non-WebGL browsers. WebGL has a software rendering mode but that can be very slow. A rendered image is guaranteed to display.
  • 3D rendered titles and other text where the text is dynamic. The text can be taken from the date and time and other sources of text that change, like stock market figures or number of page shares.
  • 3D rendering of sources of dynamic data that can be rendered into 3D graphs, visualisations and other graphics.

Blender could be implemented in this way using the “cgi-bin” which is available on most hosts, although I have not tested this yet.

Altering the 3D scene is achieved using Python. This can be included as part of a Bash script or any other kind of scripting.

I’m currently working on a script to put a 3D time and date on my desktop background.

I’ll post that here when I have time. I made some time. Here was my previous background image …

dynamic-background-dreamchaser

Here it is now with the current time added to it in 3D !

dynamic-background

Blend file … text_6.blend.

Python. Already in the Blender text editor. Adjust the font path if necessary …

import bpy
import datetime
import math
from math import pi
from time import gmtime, strftime
# delete any meshes or text in the current drawing
def removeObjects( scn ):
 for ob in scn.objects:
 if ob.type == 'FONT' or ob.type == 'MESH':
 scn.objects.unlink( ob )
scn = bpy.context.scene
removeObjects( scn )

# create several materials - each text line will use a different material
def makeMaterial(name, diffuse, specular, alpha):
 mat = bpy.data.materials.new(name)
 mat.diffuse_color = diffuse
 mat.diffuse_shader = 'LAMBERT'
 mat.diffuse_intensity = 1.0
 mat.specular_color = specular
 mat.specular_shader = 'COOKTORR'
 mat.specular_intensity = 0.5
 mat.alpha = alpha
 mat.ambient = 1
 return mat

def setMaterial(ob, mat):
 me = ob.data
 me.materials.append(mat)

red = makeMaterial('Red', (1, 0, 0), (1, 1, 1), 1)
blue = makeMaterial('BlueSemi', (0, 0, 1), (1, 1, 1), 0.5)
green = makeMaterial('GreenSemi', (0, 1, 0), (1, 1, 1), 0.5)
yellow = makeMaterial('YellowSemi', (1, 1, 0), (1, 1, 1), 0.5)

mytime = strftime("%Y-%m-%d %H:%M:%S", gmtime())

# Create and name TextCurve object #1
bpy.ops.object.text_add(
location=(-3, 0, 3.6),
rotation=(90, 0, 0))
ob = bpy.context.object
ob.name = 'Text1'
# TextCurve attributes
ob.data.name = 'TextData1'
ob.data.body = mytime
fnt = bpy.data.fonts.load('/usr/share/fonts/truetype/ttf-liberation/LiberationMono-Bold.ttf')
ob.data.font = fnt
ob.data.size = 2.75
# Inherited Curve attributes
ob.data.bevel_depth = 0.1
ob.data.bevel_resolution = 5
ob.data.extrude = 0.5
setMaterial(ob, red)
bpy.ops.object.convert(target='MESH', keep_original=False)

The commands required to make the background image …

#!/bin/bash
#
# Tell MATE which image to use for the desktop background.
gsettings set org.mate.background picture-filename /home/djbarney/Pictures/dynamic-background.png
#
# Render the current time 3D text. Blender must be in system path ($PATH).
blender -noaudio -y -b text_5.blend -o //3d-time -F PNG -x 1 -f 1
#
# Trim the surrounding pixels from the render.
gm convert -trim 3d-time0001.png 3d-text-trimmed.png
#
# Place the text on the background image, using the original image source. Creating the image using
the image name you gave to MATE will dynamically change the image.
gm composite -geometry +275+700 3d-text-trimmed.png dynamic-background-dreamchaser.png dynamic-background.png

The bash script could be run every minute or so from cron or in some other way.