Monday, February 23, 2009


My next job has arrived. I am Location Manager for a low budget horror feature film called Expose.

This has come about from The Rapture, more specifically from one of the producers, the brilliant and funny Jonathon Sothcott. Me and JS got on well during Rapture, and I am very pleased he thought of me when this one came up. JS is partners with Martin Kemp, who also was in The Rapture, in a film production company and this is one of their projects. Martin will also be directing it, so I have been emailing him with questions and things already.

Its a great little script - a nice mix of psychological horror, and well, real horror! lol It is mainly set in an isolated cottage that features so much that it might as well be one of the characters. And that's my job! lol Got to find me a very specific and creepy looking place.

So I will be back down south in a weeks time for a couple of weeks. Cant wait! Wish me luck!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Wedding in Paradise

One of my very best friends, Mr Dave Pitts (and his alter ego Dave-Just-Add-Alcohol) has proposed to his lovely girlfriend Art in Thailand. They are currently backpacking around Malaysia and Thailand, and are going to stay out there in Arts home country and tie the knot on the 10th May 2009.

I have been invited out there, but fear that I wont be able to afford it and/or will be working. Which is such a shame because I would hate to miss one of my best friends wedding.

But such is life. When you get to a certain age its all weddings and babies, although I don't think there will be much of that for me for a while lol

So absolutely fantastic congratulations to Dave and Art. A lovely couple and great friends. Raise your glasses and say Mazel Tov!!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Sheep and trains

After the snow finally lifted, I was able to take the crew from Pretzel films around the various railway site they wanted over the past couple of days.

They were great fun, and townies to a man (and woman) lol. I dont think they had seen that much greenery and sheep before lol.

But it was a nice couple of days, even if I did have to stand on a railway bridge in the pouring rain keeping an eye out for trains for them.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Today I pissed off a 6' 9" professional bodyguard

Who when not bodyguarding people like Nick Cage and Bollywood A-lister Govinda is also one half of Golden Dreams productions. Golden Dreams were are the company that offered me my second Bollywood feature Main Phir Aaoongi. I met Danny FBI (which stands for Fucking Big Indian, his own name for himself) when he was protecting Govinda, our prima donna star of the first Bollywood feature I did.

I did a weeks scouting for them in October, but when the Home Office refused visas for half the cast and crew the project was scrapped.

But I still did a weeks work, and used 2 tanks of petrol driving around. At no point did anyone say that I might not get paid.

He and his brother are, of course saying as they havent been paid, then so I cannot be. Thats ok if I'm on a profit sharing basis, where you defer your fee for royalties after, but that was not me. I was employed by Golden Dreams to do a job, and I started doing it. So in my mind, I should be paid.

After I contacted them again today with a final request for payment before court proceedings, I got a phonecall saying....well I think you can imagine!!! "F@*$~#ng F@*$~#ng F@*$~#ng F@*$~#ng "

Oh joy! But I have an email contract, and can prove (as best I can) that I was gainfully employed on their behalf during the time in question. We shall see.

Looks like I will be seeing the inside of the Small Claims Court soon lol, Wish me luck!

Friday, February 13, 2009

There's something in the water

Two of my friends are pregnant. Kasia, my Polish pen friend who is responsible for me ever setting up a blog, and my good buddy Lois. Congratulations to the both of them.

I'm sure that both of them will have safe and un-complicated pregnancies, unlike the lady from Los Angeles who had octuplets! As far as I can tell, neither of my friends are carry 8 babies. Which is just as well considering this is what happens when you do! lol ;)

Cheers and good health, ladies! I will do all the drinking for you from now on!

Standing Tall

A really cool picture from 1918.

Base to Shoulder: 150 feet
Right Arm: 340 feet
Widest part of arm holding torch: 12 1/2 feet
Right thumb: 35 feet
Thickest part of body: 29 feet
Left hand length: 30 feet
Face: 60 feet
Nose: 21 feet
Longest spike of head piece: 70 feet
Torch and flame combined: 980 feet
Number of men in flame of torch: 12,000
Number of men in torch: 2,800
Number of men in right arm: 1,200
Number of men in body, head and balance of figure only: 2,000

Total men: 18,000

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Slow/Snow week

Not much to report at the moment. Its been a slow week thanks to the snow. Snow, as it turns out, is not what documentary filmmakers want everywhere when they are doing a programme about trains lol. So until the snow lifts, then no filming for us.

So I am sat at home rather bored and broke. Things in pipelines and on horizons are all very well, but they don't pay the bills!

Damn snow! But on a bright note, it did allow me to win a 90 person poker tournament on Pokerstars. Not big bucks, but nice to be winning at tournament poker again.

PokerStars Tournament #140031891, No Limit Hold'em
Buy-In: $5.00/$0.50
90 players
Total Prize Pool: $450.00
Tournament started 2009/02/11 10:42:18 ET

Dear ZappBrannign,

You finished the tournament in 1st place. A $123.98 award has been credited to your Real Money account.

You earned 163.19 tournament leader points in this tournament. For information about our tournament leader board, see our web site at


Monday, February 09, 2009

Teleportation aka Beam Me Up, Scotty

Warning: Big reading ahead!

Scientists have come a bit closer to achieving the "Star Trek" feat of teleportation.

No one is galaxy-hopping, or even beaming people around, but for the first time, information has been teleported between two separate atoms across a distance of a meter — about a yard.

This is a significant milestone in a field known as quantum information processing, said Christopher Monroe of the Joint Quantum Institute at the University of Maryland, who led the effort.

Teleportation is one of nature's most mysterious forms of transport: Quantum information, such as the spin of a particle or the polarization of a photon, is transferred from one place to another, without traveling through any physical medium.

It has previously been achieved between photons (a unit, or quantum, of electromagnetic radiation, such as light) over very large distances, between photons and ensembles of atoms, and between two nearby atoms through the intermediary action of a third.

None of those, however, provides a feasible means of holding and managing quantum information over long distances.

Now the JQI team, along with colleagues at the University of Michigan, has succeeded in teleporting a quantum state directly from one atom to another over a meter.

That capability is necessary for workable quantum information systems because they will require memory storage at both the sending and receiving ends of the transmission.

In the Jan. 23 issue of the journal Science, the scientists report that, by using their protocol, atom-to-atom teleported information can be recovered with perfect accuracy about 90 percent of the time — and that figure can be improved.

"Our system has the potential to form the basis for a large-scale 'quantum repeater' that can network quantum memories over vast distances," Monroe said. "Moreover, our methods can be used in conjunction with quantum bit operations to create a key component needed for quantum computation."

A quantum computer could perform certain tasks, such as encryption-related calculations and searches of giant databases, considerably faster than conventional machines. The effort to devise a working model is a matter of intense interest worldwide.

Teleportation and entanglement

Physicist Richard Feynman is quoted as having said that "if you think you understand quantum mechanics, you don't understand quantum mechanics."

Or sometimes he is cited thusly: "I think I can safely say that nobody understand quantum mechanics."

Nonetheless, here is how the University of Maryland describes Monroe's work.

Teleportation works because of a remarkable quantum phenomenon called entanglement which only occurs on the atomic and subatomic scale.

Once two objects are put in an entangled state, their properties are inextricably entwined.

Although those properties are inherently unknowable until a measurement is made, measuring either one of the objects instantly determines the characteristics of the other, no matter how far apart they are.

The JQI team set out to entangle the quantum states of two individual ytterbium ions so that information embodied in the condition of one could be teleported to the other.

Each ion was isolated in a separate high-vacuum trap, suspended in an invisible cage of electromagnetic fields and surrounded by metal electrodes.

The researchers identified two readily discernible ground (lowest energy) states of the ions that would serve as the alternative "bit" values of an atomic quantum bit, or qubit.

Conventional electronic bits (short for binary digits), such as those in a personal computer, are always in one of two states: off or on, 0 or 1, high or low voltage, etc.

Quantum bits, however, can be in some combination, called a "superposition," of both states at the same time, like a coin that is simultaneously heads and tails — until a measurement is made.

It is this phenomenon that gives quantum computation its extraordinary power.

At the start of the experimental process, each ion (designated A and B) is initialized in a given ground state.

Then ion A is irradiated with a specially tailored microwave burst from one of its cage electrodes, placing the ion in some desired superposition of the two qubit states — in effect "writing" into "memory" the information to be teleported.

Immediately thereafter, both ions are excited by a picosecond (one trillionth of a second) laser pulse.

The pulse duration is so short that each ion emits only a single photon as it sheds the energy gained by the laser and falls back to one or the other of the two qubit ground states.

Depending on which one it falls into, the ion emits one of two kinds of photons of slightly different wavelengths (designated red and blue) that correspond to the two atomic qubit states.

It is the relationship between those photons that will eventually provide the telltale signal that entanglement has occurred.

Beamsplitter encounter

Each emitted photon is captured by a lens, routed to a separate strand of fiber-optic cable, and carried to a 50-50 beam splitter where it is equally probable for the photon to pass straight through the splitter or to be reflected.

On either side of the beam splitter are detectors that can record the arrival of a single photon.

Before it reaches the beam splitter, each photon is in an unknowable superposition of states. After encountering the beam splitter, however, each takes on specific characteristics.

As a result, for each pair of photons, four color combinations are possible — blue-blue, red-red, blue-red and red-blue — as well as one of two polarizations: horizontal or vertical.

In nearly all of those variations, the photons either cancel each other out or both end up in the same detector.

But there is one — and only one — combination in which both detectors will record a photon at exactly the same time.

In that case, however, it is physically impossible to tell which ion produced which photon because it cannot be known whether the photon arriving at a detector passed through the beam splitter or was reflected by it.

Thanks to the peculiar laws of quantum mechanics, that inherent uncertainty projects the ions into an entangled state.

That is, each ion is in a superposition of the two possible qubit states.

The simultaneous detection of photons at the detectors does not occur often, so the laser stimulus and photon emission process has to be repeated many thousands of times per second.

But when a photon appears in each detector, it is an unambiguous signature of entanglement between the ions.

When an entangled condition is identified, the scientists immediately take a measurement of ion A. The act of measurement forces it out of superposition and into a definite condition: one of the two qubit states.

But because ion A's state is irreversibly tied to ion B's, the measurement also forces B into the complementary state.

Depending on which state ion A is found in, the researchers now know precisely what kind of microwave pulse to apply to ion B in order to recover the exact information that had been written to ion A by the original microwave burst.

Doing so results in the accurate teleportation of the information.

Teleportation vs. other communications

What distinguishes this outcome as teleportation, rather than any other form of communication, is that no information pertaining to the original memory actually passes between ion A and ion B.

Instead, the information disappears when ion A is measured and reappears when the microwave pulse is applied to ion B.

"One particularly attractive aspect of our method is that it combines the unique advantages of both photons and atoms," says Monroe. "Photons are ideal for transferring information fast over long distances, whereas atoms offer a valuable medium for long-lived quantum memory ... Also, the teleportation of quantum information in this way could form the basis of a new type of quantum internet that could outperform any conventional type of classical network for certain tasks."

The work was supported by the Intelligence Advanced Research Project Activity program under U.S. Army Research Office contract, the National Science Foundation (NSF) Physics at the Information Frontier Program, and the NSF Physics Frontier Center at the Joint Quantum Institute.

Saturday, February 07, 2009


As in the opposite of FAIL.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009


You may have heard that Batman actor Christian Bale has recently been slammed after a recording of him completely losing with his DP (Director of Photography) after the man was caught fiddling with lights during Bales most emotional scene in the new Terminator movie.

He absolutely tears the guy a new one, while the director of the film McG (yes, thats his name!) just meekly says he didn't see anything. I am in 2 minds about this. Film sets are very highly emotional places, and the niceties of life are not always followed. But Bale did not show a good side by shouting this guy out in front of the whole crew. Still its a storm in a teacup, or should have been until someone leaked the whole thing onto the internet, and as such it has become news everywhere.

And when you're famous and get into trouble, there is always someone out there ready to make it even worse! I give you the dance remix of Bale shouting out the DP. Sheer genius!!!!!!

The skies the limit

In the shadow of Saturn, unexpected wonders appear. The robotic Cassini spacecraft now orbiting Saturn recently drifted in giant planet's shadow for about 12 hours and looked back toward the eclipsed Sun. Cassini saw a view unlike any other. First, the night side of Saturn is seen to be partly lit by light reflected from its own majestic ring system. Next, the rings themselves appear dark when silhouetted against Saturn, but quite bright when viewed away from Saturn, slightly scattering sunlight, in this exaggerated color image. Saturn's rings light up so much that new rings were discovered, although they are hard to see in the image. Seen in spectacular detail, however, is Saturn's E ring, the ring created by the newly discovered ice-fountains of the moon Enceladus and the outermost ring visible above. Far in the distance, at the left, just above the bright main rings, is the almost ignorable pale blue dot of Earth.

What's happened to the setting Sun? An eclipse! Two days ago, the Moon eclipsed part of the Sun as visible from parts of Africa, Australia, and Asia. In particular the above image, taken from the Mall of Asia seawall, caught a partially eclipsed Sun setting over Manila Bay in the Philippines.

Why is there methane on Mars? No one is sure. An important confirmation that methane exists in the atmosphere of Mars occurred last week, bolstering previous controversial claims made as early as 2003. The confirmation was made spectroscopically using large ground-based telescopes by finding precise colors absorbed on Mars that match those absorbed by methane on Earth. Given that methane is destroyed in the open martian air in a matter of years, the present existence of the fragile gas indicates that it is currently being released, somehow, from the surface of Mars. One prospect is that microbes living underground are creating it, or created it in the past. If true, this opens the exciting possibility that life might be present under the surface of Mars even today. Given the present data, however, it is also possible that a purely geologic process, potentially involving volcanism or rust and not involving any life forms, is the methane creator. Pictured above is an image of Mars superposed with a map of the recent methane detection.

If every picture tells a story, this one might make a novel. The six month long exposure compresses the time from December 17, 2007 to June 21, 2008 into a single point of view. Dubbed a solargraph, the remarkable image was recorded with a simple pinhole camera made from a drink can lined with a piece of photographic paper. The Clifton Suspension Bridge over the Avon River Gorge in Bristol, UK emerges from the foreground, but rising and setting each day the Sun arcs overhead, tracing a glowing path through the sky. Cloud cover causes dark gaps in the daily Sun trails. In December, the Sun trails begin lower down and are short, corresponding to a time near the northern hemisphere's winter solstice date. They grow longer and climb higher in the sky as the June 21st summer solstice approaches.

Have you ever seen the band of our Milky Way Galaxy? In a clear sky from a dark location at the right time, a faint band of light becomes visible across the sky. Soon after your eyes become dark adapted, you might spot the band for the first time. It may then become obvious. Then spectacular. One reason for a growing astonishment might be the realization that this fuzzy swath contains billions of stars and is the disk of our very own spiral galaxy. Since we are inside this disk, the band appears to encircle the Earth. Visible in the above image, high above in the night sky, the band of the Milky Way Galaxy arcs. The bright spot just below the band is the planet Jupiter. In the foreground lies the moonlit caldera of the volcano Haleakala, located on the island of Maui in Hawaii, USA. A close look near the horizon will reveal light clouds and the dark but enormous Mauna Kea volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii. If you have never seen the Milky Way band or recognized the planet Jupiter, this year may be your chance.

Tomorrow, a few lucky people may see a "ring of fire." That's a name for the central view of an annular eclipse of the Sun by the Moon. At the peak of this eclipse, the middle of the Sun will appear to be missing and the dark Moon will appear to be surrounded by the bright Sun. This will only be visible, however, from a path that crosses the southern Indian Ocean. From more populated locations, southern Africa and parts of Australia, most of the Moon will only appear to take a bite out the Sun. Remember to never look directly at the Sun even during an eclipse. An annular eclipse occurs instead of a total eclipse when the Moon is on the far part of its elliptical orbit around the Earth. The next annular eclipse of the Sun will take place in 2010 January, although a total solar eclipse will occur this July. Pictured above, a spectacular annular eclipse was photographed behind palm trees on 1992 January.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Superbowl spots

Its the Superbowl today in US. So why am I bothered about that? Not because I am a fan of that crappy poor-mans rugby for girly-men, but because during the commercials they famously show the best trailers for the upcoming summer blockbusters. They also show the very best commercials too. This is because it is the most watched thing on US television - and as such the advertising is the most expensive going. I think its in the region of millions of dollars for one 30 second commercial. So at those prices everyone puts their very best things on display.

So new trailers for Star Trek, Transformers, Up, GI Joe, Fast & Furious, and some other movies just coming onto my radar. Like Harold Ramis (Ghostbusters) new film Year One, and Will Ferrells new comedy Land of the Lost.

Enjoy the flashy pics, and decide whether you will be spending any of your hard earned bucks this year at the cinema. And whats GI Joe doing looking so good? lol. But Transformers was a terrible movie in my opinion, regardless of its FX budget. So even though the next one looks quite cool, I do not hold much hope of it moving beyond piss and fart jokes for 12 year olds. *sighs*