Arty Awesomeness Photoworthy

Superific Sundogs

Our planet produces many spectacular light shows, such as aurorae (Borealis & Australis), ball lightning (including the super awesome atmospheric lighting), and the odd meteor shower. I would give certain appendages to be able to witness these in the flesh, but none more so than the splendidly epic Sundogs.

Sundogs appear to the left and right of the sun, best viewed when during sunrise or sunset. This effect is also referred to as a mock sun, due to the fact it appears to show three suns in the better examples. Unlike aurorae, sundogs can be viewed all over the world, although they are rare. So there’s a semi-good chance of viewing one, which makes me happy.

This natural phenomenon is a byproduct of hexagonal ice crystals, curiously named diamond dust (or more scientifically called clear-sky precipitation), which under certain conditions cause the effect.

What actually causes this is a bit beyond me, but the basic principle is that of refraction. Detailed explanation of sundogs can be found on Wikipedia and for those not interested in reading too much mumbo jumbo, like myself, here is a diagram of how it all works.

Some juicy photographs of this spectacle after the jump.

Featured Movies Video Clips

Socially Networked

In February 2004 the Internet was irreparably changed, and depending on which side of the fence you sit, it was either a good thing or the ruin of basic human interaction. I fall squarely in the latter group, as I feel Facebook has skewed the basic principles of what defines a friend and how we communicate.  It is a phenomenon which has taken the most ardent critic by surprise, me included. Although it would be foolish to ignore the 500 million odd users that would instantly vaporise should anything happen to their lives profiles.

So like all things popular and fashionable, a movie just had to be made about Facebook. My initial reaction was one of trepidation, as the idea of watching some varsity student plugging away at his code holed up in a dingy dorm room isn’t appealing. Guns, explosions, and gratuitous nudity are always surefire winners. The Social Network, by the looks of the trailer, will actually be a good watch despite it’s lack of mindless douchebaggery.

The Social Network is a movie which follows the birth of Facebook and the trials and tribulations that moulded it to what it presently is. The protagonist Mark Zuckerberg is played by Jesse Eisenberg, who has lent his talents to off-beat movies such as Adventureland, Zombieland, and The Village. Justin Timberlake also appears in the movie as Sean Parker, the co-founder of Napster, which I must admit I am curious that he was cast in such a role. He is not exactly the first typecast that comes to mind in context of all things webbified. As long as he doesn’t sing or dance, it shouldn’t be too much of an issue.

Some interesting and some not-so-interesting facts about Facebook after the jump.

  • People spend over 700 billion minutes a month on Facebook.
  • Of the 500 million users, 150 million access it via their mobile device.
  • Mobile Facebook users are twice as active as their desktop counterparts.
  • 50% of Facebookers are logged onto their accounts in any given day.
  • The average user has 130 friends.
  • 100% of Facebook users waste 2 gazillion man hours a year (Ok, I made that one up).

On a side note, Mark Zuckerberg was involved in some dubious shenanigans, which does make me question Facebook’s privacy policies. Wikipedia gives the low-down.

Whether one likes it or not, Facebook has changed the way people interact digitally, and probably for generations to come. Whatever happened to plain old email correspondence?

The Social Network releases in South African cinemas on November 5th.

[reference: Facebook facts]