Friday, April 24, 2009

Negative scanning.

I have invested in a negative scanner. I know, the negative of 'scan' is 'print' but that's not what I mean. This little device scans the negative, not the photo, and then presents a positive image on screen.

It looks ideal. I can take photos with film, scan the negatives into the computer for enlarging, cropping, adjusting, and no matter what I do, I'll have an untamperable negative as basic evidence that the photo wasn't added to or otherwise faked. It's also cheaper than paying for prints and enlargements which are then fixed as to brightness, contrast etc.

I'll put up some samples once I've passed through the inevitable period of 'fiddling around with new gadget'.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Memory and phones.

Years ago, I had a Sinclair ZX81 computer with one kilobyte of memory. I bought the expansion that made it 16K because that made it an actually useful computer. Even so, I could write a program that was too big for it, but it took so many hours to type in that it was rarely an issue.

I then bought an Amstrad PCW, a machine that ran CP/M, not MSDOS, and which boasted an astounding 64K memory. From there, I moved to real PC's running MSDOS. The first one had two whole megabytes of memory and a twenty megabyte hard disk! Funnily enough, it was all I needed to contain my written reports, draw graphs and so on. It whizzed along at, if I remember correctly, around 40 MHz.

The computer I'm sitting at now has 512 megabytes of memory. It has a 160 gigabyte hard disk. It's powerful enough to run a small country and it's far from being top of the current range of machines out there.

Why? I type no faster than I did before. I can't even argue that the increased storage is to look after my years of accumulated knowledge because with all the changes in format and programs along the way, most of the old stuff is only accessible in its printed form anyway. So what's it all for? I have barely made a dent in this 160Gb disk. What do I do with the rest of it? If it breaks down, I'll be unlikely to be able to buy another this small!

This train of thought has come about because I've just replaced my phone. Mobile to the Brits, Cellphone to the Americans. I bought a basic model, very cheap, because I have no interest in websurfing or emailing from a phone and don't care about the camera either. I just want it for phone calls and texts. That's it.

This basic phone surfs the web, checks Emails if I let it, is capable of acting as a radio and MP3 player and I've no idea what else.

It has TWO GIGABYTES of memory! It's a phone! What does it need all that memory for? How many people does it think I know? I could get every phone number in the UK into that memory. The last mission to the Moon had far less computing power than this. Heck, the Mars rovers aren't as powerful as this little phone.

I must be getting old. I can't see why I could run a research project perfectly well using a computer with 2 Mb memory, but now I have to have 2 Gb in my phone. Expandable, I might add, to 4 Gb, presumably in case I need the entire population of France in there too.

I'm not one to turn away gadgetry. I love gadgets but I prefer them to have some practical use. I see no reason for a phone to have gigabyte-sized memory. I see no reason for it to take photos and video either, but there's no escaping that these days.

There must be a limit to information. Once every scrap of information in the universe fits on your phone, what's left to do?

Perhaps we could go back to just making phone calls with them.

Update - it gets worse. I cannot persuade the phone to just go 'ring'. It insists on playing a ridiculous tune. Don't they even make phones that sound like phones any more? Sometimes I despair.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Using ghostly energy.

Theories of how ghosts obtain energy are many and varied. There are as many theories as there are people interested in the subject, or so it seems.

Assuming that ghosts are subject to the thermodynamic laws, and there is no sensible reason to suppose they would not be, then in order for them to do anything - appear, make sounds, move things - they must use energy to do it and therefore must obtain energy by some means.

As far as I know, there is nothing to suggest that ghosts eat, or that they have any form of digestive system. Therefore they don't get energy in the same way as the living. I've wondered about electromagnetic energy, heat energy, even light, although that last one is unlikely because if ghosts obtained energy from light, they'd be more active by day.

Science, as always, sends an inadvertant hint my way. There is a lot of research into harvesting the energy that's loose all around us in the form of electromagnetic waves, vibration and heat to power electronic devices. Such devices would not need external power nor would they need batteries. They'd pick up energy from the environment.

Such mechanisms might hint at how ghosts do it. Although it does open a whole new question:

How much energy does it take to power a manifestation?

Perhaps these devices will give a clue to that, too. How many such devices would reduce a ghost's activity to undetectable? That would tell us how much power that ghost uses.

Of course, we'd first have to work out which form of power we're talking about. Nothing is ever simple.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

One hundred years...

I'm late posting this. I should have done it before midnight.

On April 6th, 1909, the North Pole was discovered, or so my informative calendar tells me.

Does that count as a discovery? I mean, it's not like they had to search for it. Just keep heading north until you can't go north any more. If it starts getting warmer, you've gone too far.

I wonder how they felt? Wandering through snow and ice to a patch of snow and ice that looks like all the other patches of snow and ice except there's no direction but south when you stand on it. Were they disappointed to find it wasn't marked with a stripy pole? Did they install one? I think they should have.

Sometimes, when I'm awake all night in cold drizzly weather, I think I have it rough. It's things like that north pole expedition that make me realise I have it easy. I can, at any point, give up and go home. I've never been faced with the realisation that 'give up and go home' means walking back hundreds of miles through freezing, dangerous conditions and even not giving up means walking back anyway. No rescue helicopters in 1909.

Then there's proving it. Imagine walking all the way to the north pole, walking back again, and being faced with someone who didn't believe you. After you've smacked them one, how do you prove you did it?

I don't think you can. There were no GPS systems in 1909 either. Nothing to pinpoint and record their position.

I routinely come across people who don't believe I've seen ghosts. It's irritating, and it's even more irritating because there's no way for me to prove it.

But putting it in perspective, at least I didn't have to risk frostbite, permanent injury and death on the way. I didn't have to trek for hundreds of miles through horrible conditions, then trek all the way back, only to be faced with disbelief and not be able to prove it.

It does make me feel a little more relaxed about the sceptics. Even if they don't believe me, I didn't risk my life to get the knowledge I have.

Some people do.

Friday, April 03, 2009

The same ghost?

Another photo from the same place, taken 32 years ago, seems to show a ghost at a window too.

This link is a Yahoo news page, which tend to scroll away after a few days. I haven't found a more permanent link yet.

I'd like to visit the place and see whether there are any accessible areas behind those windows. It's a ruin so it's not certain from the photos, although the window in the earlier one (previous post) was barred, and there's no reason for that unless it's to stop visitors falling through it. So in that one, there probably is an accessible area. In the 'new' image, it's not so clear. Accessible areas raise the possibility of someone wandering past and being photographed unintentionally - or of someone fooling around.

There are similarities in the images, but neither is clear enough to be sure. Maybe better quality copies will appear eventually. I hope so because if the images are very similar and taken 32 years apart, it will be stronger evidence. With luck, more people will come forward with more images.

Anyway, must get back to my own investigations. I have been lax for too long!