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Where's Charlie?

(No, that's not a really bad photoshop crop job! This HDR nighttime shot with creative illumination is brought to you in lieu of some actual content. Normal service will be resumed next week. Photo credit: Feòrag.)



I see Her Majesty was in residence... had you just popped in for tea?


See you in the pub this evening, we hope!

BTW: We all know Charlie claims to be a republican, but I managed (I think) to frighten him with an even worse prospect than "president Thatcher" .... President Blair!


Where's Charlie? Plotting the downfall of the monarchy it seems ;)

Oh, and there's two words that make any politician sound better: Sarah Palin.


Well, that's BP isn't it.


Sorry I haven't made any of the events you're at this visit - seems to be my week for family stuff (birthdays etc.) and work issues. Hope to catch up with you at Eastercon if you can make it.


As much as I love your work Charlie I'm not too sure if your take on where's wally will be such a hit...took me 4 seconds at the most to find you


phuzz @ 3 Aleksandr Lukashenko? Kim Il-(almost anything) ..... Though these last are "god-kings", not presidents

Who's supposed to be in charge of DRC these days?


Caption: "And then, children, the Shoggoth reeeached out towards the Queen..."


That's a Good Photo .. Nice Composition, and so Well Done Feòrag - and this from a former Professional Photographer from long long ago before electronic photography.

Now, if I were to use C.S.I. ... London/Paris/ Edinburgh rather than Miami et al ... TV soap opera type Photo-Magical fantasy image enhancement would I discover a Tumbrel parked at the door of Buck House and a later-day, handily portable, version of Antoine Louis (February 13, 1723 – May 20, 1792) wonderfully Scientific Device parked in the shadows?

And where is The Revolutionary Mob ? ... There's never a MOB when you want one!

" Louis is credited with designing a prototype of the guillotine. This device however, is named after French physician Joseph Ignace Guillotine (1738–1814), who was an advocate of a more humane method of capital punishment. For a period of time after its invention, the guillotine was called a louisette.

Another name for the sternal angle is the "angle of Louis", which is the point of junction between the manubrium and the body of the sternum."


He is obviously outside in the dark. What kind of prize do I get ?


"Where's Charlie ?" Maybe having a beer with Carmen Sandiego.


Very nice - you are looking positively Kirlian in that snap. Would you or Feòrag care to amplify on how the creative lighting was arranged?


You reminded me of another BP, this time the oil spillage affair, Cthulhu version:

Quite strossian


He's at the lower right-hand side.


Charlie's on the left, where's he's always been.


Hail comrades and welcome to the Soviet Republic of the United Kingdoms!


in Soviet Russia the palace poses with you!


That might not be a photoshop, but this is.

It's the first thing that came to mind with that photo ...


The one with the pope-pope rather than the antipope-pope looks a lot less photoshopped.


You made snapple come out of my nose.


The creative illumination is probably a strategically placed Jesusphone.


Or maybe an Android.


One problem with HDR images is that our computer screens are not.Partly because of reflections, partly because of tech limits, the brightness range we can see is usually a bit less than even an ordinary JPEG can encompass.

The one use I have for HDR is lighting for CGI. The trick is to use an HDR image of a reflective sphere to record the lighting in the real-world scene. This picks up the effects of reflected light from the scenery, brightness, colour, and direction, and then the 3D model is lit in a way which matches the scene. In this case, direct light from many assorted lights, plus diffuse reflections from the Palace walls.

There are still the usual problems with compositing the shot: a foreground object such as Charlie or the courtyard fence can be tricky. At least Charlie can be a green-screen shot.


Having seen the item in question - jPhone.


Oh, hey, welcome! What brings you to Helsinki?


Hmm, you don't think that's the Tsarina's Stone, do you?


you sir owe me a new... (insert peripheral of choice) superb. gentle applause.


I know Charlie well enought to be pretty much certain it was a jPhone, but I coouldn't resist.


@9 There was a revolutionary mob out there, central London is a big place. Assuming this was taken on Saturday night the old nick were playing British bull Dog through Mayfair with the tail end of the EMA protesters. Its a bit difficult to kettle teenagers when you are going to sweep thousands of foreign tourists/shoppers up in your cordon, but there were a good half dozen police vans lying in wait at oxford Circus at 6PM. Some people have to learn the hard way.

FYI: EMA ( Education Maintenance Award) is £30 / week, paid to students in England (and Wales?) for homes on low incomes to allow them to continue in education post 16 ( When education is not longer compulsory.).The Tories have just scrapped it. It's got a lot of 14 year olds interested in politics and therefore makes day trips to London fun. You think you are going to get used to the low flying helicopters, but you don't. Old nick were wearing yellow so at least you could see them coming, not pleasant. There was another protest on Sunday as well, but I don't remember the details.

Did you enjoy your walk in St James park , Charlie? I guess the pelicans would have gone to bed by then.


The creative lighting came courtesy of a small LED torch that Charlie always seems to have at least one of about his person.


Sarah Palin doesn't even hold office. If you want some real laughs about the general cluelessness of those actually holding office, all one needs to do is listen to the brilliance of Senator Charles Schumer, who stated recently that the United States has three branches of government...the House, the Senate, and the President...

Of course the Vice President is currently holding the lead telling the nation's 14.5 million unemployed to "hang in there"...

How we yanks keep electing and re-electing these people is beyond me.


"14.5 million unemployed"

Assuming you believe the US government statistics, which only count those who have been unemployed less than a year and don't count those who are technically working but not making a living. Only about 90M people have incomes above $20,000 in the US at present (BLS and IRS statistics), vs. 43.2M as of 10/2010 on food stamps. The yearly federal deficit using GAAP calculations was nearly $50,000 per household. The kind of protests seen from Albania to Iceland to Yemen may not be that far off in the US.


Thorne, it's glaringly obvious how you keep electing them; it's because you don't watch enough Monty Python.


Ah ha, I thought it was an LED torch, it has that bright white intensity to it.
They're really good these days. My good one runs on 1 aa battery, has 3 brightness settings and survived 2 months outside over the snow and ice when I lost it last year. So small it is easy to lose.

I liked Ian #17 photoshopping as well.


I have three (and used one when the power was out for two hours last Wednesday). They all swap from one LED to three LEDs to off, have a radio, and are charged by hand-winding. I have one at my desk, one in my bedroom, plus one in the van. (The van also has a hand-winding charger for my cell phone.)


Yep, we seriously need a Ministry of Silly Walks. WIthout it we're completely noncompetitive.


Like Mr. and Mrs. Concrete, we thought the problem was the rats, but it's really sheep that are the issue.

(And the "Secretary of State striptease" idea from the same episode would just make things worse in the US, I'm afraid - Palin would be a shoo-in for that.)


If it's a choice between seeing Caribou Barbie doing a strip-tease, and seeing Hillary Clinton doing one, I'm going to come down on the side of seeing CB doing one! :->

NB - This is not meant to be PC, or a comment on my politics!


Yellow card: sexist, derogatory comments belittling women are not welcome here. The gender ratio of commenters on this blog is skewed enough as it is, and I'm not going to tolerate talk that makes the few female comments feel excluded or objectified.


I fear my preferences in a strip-tease race may have been warped by a certain American comedy actress.

I just hope nobody picks up on this and makes a TV show based on celebrity pole-dancing. Felicity Kendal, maybe, but Ann Widdecombe?


Apologies. You're welcome to delete the offending comment if you wish.


Dave, see comments 37 and 38 above. This means you, too.


Thank you, Charlie. I don't always comment because my degree is in English and my science education is 50 years old. I keep up, and I have loved sci-fi since I first touched Space Cadets at age 8; therefore, I read the speculation of your more learned posters with interest. I have always felt that you do a great job of moderating the blog and I'm certain Paws was only taking off on the Python thread.

I've done a bit of Python thinking myself lately, hoping to see a platoon of the US Army doing the "Swanning About" skit.


Thanks for the support; that's how it was meant, but I'm happy to accept that that's not how it was received, and have already offered an apology and come as close as I can to deleting the post.


Sorry if that had the effect of trolling. The script specifies the stripper as: "a man in city gent's outfit".

Come to think of it, there's something to offend just about everyone in that sketch - men, women, Turks, politicians, farmers, free trade advocates, exotic dancers, Black Rod and his transvestite groupies...


Talking of palace revolutions ..... Egypt is getting VERY interesting. The "opposition" groups are coalescing into a Pop Front holding-movement, it seems, and according to recent posts. The Israelis' have changed their tune to "We welcome a new democracy, provided it respects the peace treaty".

And ... from lunchtime Beeb news, the expression that "They've cut off our internet, how dare they, long live the revolution!" Or words to that effect. Which I find most interesting. It supports the Wikileaks/Assange view, that once you've GOT the 'net, you are not going to give it up, without a fight .....


Greg, S&P just downgraded Egyptian bonds to BB.

Autocrat ordering the army to shoot demonstrators on the streets? That's not a problem.

Autocrat resulting in the national treasury losing its credit rating? Now that is going to cause ripples. After all, the Autocrat is only Autocrat as long as he can afford to pay the Army.

Oh, and taking Egypt off the internet has (a) shut down the Cairo stock exchange, and (b) will shortly shut down the Egyptian banking system and the credit card settlement systems. Basically, in a half-assed attempt at censorship the regime has crippled the economy.

This is not, as they say, a stable situation.


Essentially, he's decided that the short-term economic losses are less important to him than staying in power.

I don't believe that's a particularly wise decision, and I really don't believe it can last for long. Which means that if the opposition can keep this state going for more than a day or two longer, things get... difficult for him.

(The other problem is that even if he comes out of this still in power, he's demonstrated to everyone else he's willing to cause them pain to maintain that. That's not going to sit well with a lot of the purse-holders, and that will have long-term effects that won't support him being in power.)


Autocrat ordering Army to shoot demonstrators on strees ... and army says "shan't". Which has already happend. That, plus screwing with the transport and money supplies, translates as ... oops. I don't think Mubarak can last, unless he's prepared to use the "police" and security services against the Army as well as the crowds. Which is itself, not a stable or probably even tenable situation.



The creative lighting came courtesy of a small LED torch that Charlie always seems to have at least one of about his person.

I carry one most of the time myself, something with a strong bluey-white glare. It's my eyes. If I can't find something I've dropped or misplaced right off, I've found that a strong actinic light really helps. This seems to be age-related; there have been occasions when three of my peers have looked into the same drawer to find something only to come up empty, and which I've subsequently unearthed from the same location, thanks to the powers of the Magic Flashlight.


I prefer to speculate that short wavelength light is better at collapsing the wavefunctions of lost objects, objects which weren't quite really there until you used the Magic Flashlight. 8~)


And he's 82. Even if he doesn't have any more health problems, he's not likely to live much longer. Particularly if other countries won't let him visit their hospitals.


Apropos of nothing, the world's oldest person as of yesterday now lives a few miles from me in Georgia. Besse Cooper, aged 114 years, 159 days, (born August 26, 1896) was a former schoolteacher who married in 1924 and has 4 children, 11 grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren and 1 g'g'grandchild. She has credited her longevity to "minding her own business and not eating junk food".

(Being born before 1896 has proven uniformly fatal - so try not to do that.)


The world's oldest man, Walter Breuning of Montana, is still sharp. His 1907 class photo from 7th grade, just over two years before he left school, filled with promising and handsome kids, makes me think of the tens of billions of dead. Walter might say with Job: "and only I am escaped alone to tell thee" or Melville's Ishmael: "and I alone am left to tell the tale". Wikipedia quotes him as saying: "Breuning referred to this time [before his family broke up in 1910] as 'the dark ages', as his family lived without electricity, water, or plumbing, describing it as 'carry the water in, heat it on the stove. That's what you took your bath in. Wake up in the dark, go to bed in the dark. That's not very pleasant'."

During his 113th birthday celebrations, [9/21/2009, when he had been the world's oldest man for 2 months] Breuning said:

Remember that life's length is not measured by its hours and days, but by that which we have done therein. A useless life is short if it lasts a century. There are greater and better things in us all, if we would find them out. There will always be in this world - wrongs. No wrong is really successful. The day will come when light and truth and the just and the good shall be victorious and wrong as evil will be no more forever.


Thank you Charlie. I work in IT so I am quite use to blokey talk, its a relief to hang out with some men who dont think that sort of talk is cool. Feòrag is a lucky woman.


Last news here suggests that Mubarak will step down voluntarily in September.

The army are asking, not forcing, demonstrators to leave the streets.


Not a problem.

I reckon about 50-60% of my readers are female. It would therefore be very stupid of me to permit a misogynistic culture to flourish here in what is effectively my most public marketing vehicle. (Not to say morally inexcusable.)

I've been very concerned about the huge gender imbalance among the commenters here for a long time now -- but it's hard to fix a cultural imbalance once it becomes established: short of scrapping my web presence and staring over(!) all I can do is try and maintain a safe space by bringing down the moderator's hammer when necessary.


I'll echo this!

I work in the live music field, and even if you ARE a girl, you have to be blokey to survive. I'm quite used to all the banter, but its nice to get away from it and around people who don't think its perfectly alright to call you "darling" and hand you a brush to sweep the stage at the end of the gig.


Oooh! Where's Charlie? Inside Charlie's body, of course!



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This page contains a single entry by Charlie Stross published on January 30, 2011 11:45 AM.

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