Limited Ed. Millenium Falcon

I wandered into the LEGO shop at Disney Springs and they’ve got a limited edition Millennium Falcon (LEGO part code 75192) for $799.99. It is like rocking horse droppings and considerably more expensive in the Uk. I asked one of the shop assistants about shipping to the Uk, they politely declined and suggested bringing it through as hand luggage … this box is absolutely massive!

And near the exit to the shop, in a glass display case, they have one built up … I think this is the largest LEGO kit I have found to date. I think the Deathstar (LEGO part code 75159) is smaller.

Too big for my collection but I can dream a little…

Updated 8th July 2018 – The local Lego store to me now has this for £649.99

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Erwin Schodinger did/didn’t live here 1940 – 1956

I was taking a walk along a riverside path heading toward St Pancras in London and spotted this plaque.

I was definately there …

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Keep the Bombe at Bletchley

An excellent crowfunded shout out to keep the Bombe on the Bletchley Park Estate. I have pledged a years membership of the TNMOC.

The link for pledging is as follows: https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/new-display/

I visited TNMOC a few years ago. In addition to the Bombe, my favorate was the WITCH. It uses Dekatron values … which operate in base 10. It is cool to see it working, it’s like you can see it thinking. 

This video is a reboot of it on 20th Nov 2012.

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Open Source Intelligence: Resources for Searching and Analysing Online Information

After some complaints about the release of the sixth edition with little or no notice, I received a number of strong recommendations so purchased the book.

It is mostly reference material, I will updating this posting once I delve more deeply into the book.

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Ready Player One

This book was recommended by a work colleague and it is an awsome read. It took me back on a nostalgic trip to my experiences with computers games in the 1980’s and on. For those who have been around a while it really catches the inner-geek. 

The book has now been made into a filmreleased 29th May 2018 and directed by Stephen Spielberg. I understand that it was problematic to get the rights to a number of the elements included in the book, but if anyone can fix this I’m sure Mr Spielberg can. I’m looking forward to seeing the film once it is released.

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Beyond Top Secret U

This is a facinating book, by Lt. Cmdr. Ewen Montagu who worked for British Inteligence during the second world war. He was involved in many covert activities notably;

The Double Cross System, where the British ran all the spies that the Germans sent to the Uk.
Operation Mincemeat, where a human cadaver carried false documents (and letters) was put into the sea near Spain. These documents succesfully convienced the Germans that an Alied attack would be made against Sardinia and Greece, instead of the real target Sicily. 

A film, ’The Man Who Never Was’, dramatised this operation. One notable change was made to the plot, was the way the Alies confirmed that Germany had taken the bate. In the film, an Irish spy was send to the UK, whereas in reality due to the Double Cross System, the Alies already knew.


Note: Cmdr. Montagu makes a cameo in the film …

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Mastering Bitcoin 2nd Edn

This book was recommended by a colleague, as I was looking to get a better understanding of the interactions with the Bitcoin blockchain. This book specifically as I have been advised that Andreas Antonopoulos ‘wrote the BIBLE for Bitcoin for the masses’. At this time I have skim read it, and as I’d hoped it is about the technical aspects of blockchain, and not another investment guide. I will update when I’ve had a chance to spend more time.

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China may be using the sea to hide submarines

Who knew ?

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Python MatPlotLib on MacOS

To accompany NumPy and PyLab we need a way of producing graphical output and the prefered route is MatPlotLib. The problem is that the ‘out of the box‘ pip installation on MacOS creates a slightly unfriendly configuration which means graphs don’t display without a ‘.show()’ command and then they’re in blocking mode so you cannot close them without a winge or two.

Assuming you are using the version of Python that comes pre-installed with MacOS. Unless already installed, install pip using:

sudo easy_install pip

There may be a complaint about the cache being owned by someone else, this is because the case is owned by you and you’re running the installer as root. I found that installing using sudo meant a smoother installation of Python libraries.

You can keep it up to date using:

sudo pip –update

Install the statistics libraries

sudo pip install numpy

sudo pip install pylab

sudo pip install matplotlib

To overcome the problem with displaying graphs, if it doesn’t already exist create a folder:

mkdir ~/.matplotlib

and create a file:

~/.matplotlib/matplotlibrc

that contains a single line

backend: TkAgg

the reason for this is the default backend for matplotlib is MacOSXwhich doesn’t seem to work.

Please note that this solution was eventually found on StackOverFlow and kindly provided by j4ck (14th Feb 2014).

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Punk Museum in Reykjavik

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Quite a find, the punk museum. Originally opened by Jonny Rotten of the Sex Pistols, for more information please visit their site: https://visitreykjavik.is/icelandic-punk-museum

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