mailto: blog -at- heyrick -dot- eu


My new camera has given me the ability to look at aircraft flying overhead like never before.

This is, if I remember correctly, a flight from Marseille to Rennes. Most likely a Hop! (Air France) flight.
Looking at the exposed wheels underneath, this is either some sort of Embraer or a 737. But it's fairly easy to narrow down, Embraer place their engines at the back whereas this plane has the two mounted remarkably forward on the wings. It's a 737.

A plane with obvious wheels
The wheels are quite distinctive.


This was quite a distinctive pattern. "Plane with gingham pattern" got me a lot of girls' school uniforms (well done, Google!). "Plane with checked pattern" got me a lot of World War II aircraft. So I quickly popped over to FlightRadar24 that told me it was a Volotea flight. To Rennes. I forget where from, something like Geneva.
Not only that, but this was a new plane as the extended pattern on the rear of the plane was a special thing to celebrate ten years of Volotea (in April, if I recall).

An interesting pattern
An interesting pattern.


Looks like one of those American Stealth bombers to me. I feel like I ought to hold up a sign saying "RUSSIA THIS WAY -->". ☺

Is it a bird? Is it a plane?
American bomber cleverly disguised to look like a crow from the ground.


This is a Boeing 777 flying to Cayenne (French Guiana) this morning. An Air France flight from Orly lasting about eight hours.

Boeing 777 to Cayenne
Boeing 777 to Cayenne.


I think this was one flying to Fort-de-France (Martinique) in the early afternoon. Another Boeing 777, another Air France, another eight hour flight.

Boeing 777 to Fort-de-France
Boeing 777 to Fort-de-France.

Oh, and why is Air France flying Boeing and not Airbus? Not exactly patriotic now, is it?


That plane was quickly followed by an Airbus A350 to Cayenne. This time Air Caraïbes, and slightly slower as it looks to be more an eight and a half hour flight.

Airbus A350 to Cayenne
Airbus A350 to Cayenne.


Notice the engines are yellow? This is a Vueling A320 from Barcelona to Gatwick. A lot of planes between England and Spain and England and Spain and... fly overhead.

Airbus A320 to London Gatwick
Airbus A320 to London Gatwick.


Speaking of the multitude of routes from Spain to the UK, I have noticed an increase in dinky little private jets doing routes like Ibiza to Farnborough or Malaga to Bournemouth. Flying over right now is a NetJets flight from Deauville to Malaga, but it's a little too far to the east to get a photo (not to mention, tiny compared to a 777). NetJets recently made its flying "more accessible" with an €8,500 yearly fee and a pay-as-you-go tariff (none of which is quoted on their website). Their previous entry was a prepaid card worth 25 hours, which if you choose the Embraer Phenom 300 aircraft, is likely to cost around €169,000 (third party site, NetJets is so exclusive that no prices seem to be mentioned at all). Clearly people who aren't at all bothered by either the rise in energy prices or the environment.


Note, by the way, that the Rennes flights are around 7,000 feet altitude, and all of the rest closer to 36,000.


More messing with DALL-E

The thing about asking an AI to render a picture is that sometimes what it understands you to mean is... not really what you meant.

Let's start by taking the invading cheeseburger and cranking it up to eleven. You'll fear your next burger after this picture.

The burgers are attacking!
The burgers are attacking!

Here's an alternative picture. I love how, for some reason, the AI has splattered molten cheese on top of the burger.

Set nappies to maximum, it's game over...
Set nappies to maximum capacity, it's game over now...


So let's now try "A young girl eating a cheeseburger that is on fire". Pretty straightforward request, right?
The AI delivers a comically flaming cheeseburger.

Now that's what I call Flame Grilled
Now that's what I call Flame Grilled!

But, wait, here's one of the alternatives and in this case, it's the girl who is on fire. Um...

Poor girl may not survive the Carolina Reaper burger
Poor girl may not survive the Carolina Reaper burger.


"A woman driving a cheeseburger through a busy intersection." This one, is actually comically accurate - she is indeed driving a cheeseburger. Now, I meant it as she was driving in a cheeseburger, but it has interpreted it as she was chauffering a cheeseburger as the passenger. That's one of the great quirks of the ambiguity of the English language. If a machine can get the wrong end of the stick, how about a non-native speaker?

Yup, she's driving a burger
Yup, she's literally driving a burger...

And this... I think the AI was responding to my trolling with some of its own. It's a pretty cool image, none the less.

Who is trolling who here?
Who is trolling who here? (well played, Dall-E, well played)


"A ninja kitten riding a cheeseburger through a busy supermarket."

Cleanup crew to aisle four
Cleanup crew to aisle four, please, cleanup crew to aisle four.

And here's the alternative. The best part of this picture is the cat at the lower right. I have never seen a more "The f... dude?" expression on a cat. That's a truly withering sideways glance. We already know who's Boss Level and who's just riding a cheeseburger........which is a sentence I never expected to find myself writing.

Don't pick a fight you aren't going to win
Don't pick a fight you aren't going to win.


"A complicated circuit board drawn in the style of Picasso."

If Picasso was an engineer
If Picasso was an engineer.


"Pencil drawing of a female child playing with a kite on Mars." I like how it's stuck the flying potato (Phobos) in the background.

Even colonists need to play
Even colonists need to play.

Here's another from the same render. Much better, no?

We'll just gloss over the lack of space suit, shall we?
We'll just gloss over the lack of space suit, shall we?


"A cup of tea that is a galaxy". Not bad, but really should have kept the stars inside the cup.

A good cup of tea contains a whole universe within
A good cup of tea contains a whole universe within.

"A cup of tea that is a supernova sun", is... hot tomato soup with bits of cheese. Close, I guess.

When you order tea and get tomato soup
When you order tea and get tomato soup...


Excuse me for a mo, all this talk of tea. I must go and pop the kettle on...

And, just in case you think I'm exhaggerating and don't really get up and make tea all the times that I say I do...

Everything is better with tea
Everything is better with kittens tea.


One of the freaky things is the people that it can create. Some look a bit odd (like the eyes of the astronaut yesterday), but sometimes it completely nails it.
"A pretty girl with brown hair and a red ribbon in her hair, on a plain white background."

A brunette with a red ribbon, just as asked
A brunette with a red ribbon, just as asked.
Might need a bit of touching up to fix the Spock ear, but otherwise, it's pretty much exactly what the description said.

But you know the freakiest thing? Take this girl, age her up about 15-20 years... I work with her! The face... is so alike.

Close enough to somebody I know that it's a bit freaky
Close enough to somebody I know that it's a bit freaky.


You too can have fun with the AI artist. Find out more and sign up to the waiting list


Potato harvest

The potato saga now reaches its conclusion. Having been sown in mid-April, to poke their heads out of the ground barely two weeks later... and probably regret it in a summer of drought and intense heat...

...they obviously suffered. There were absolutely no big potatoes. If you scrunch your fingers together to make a compacted fist, the larest potato wasn't even half that size. Many, quite a bit smaller.
There were also a large number of rejects that were pea sized. They just never grew.

However, of the usable potatoes, unlike last year I only had five rejects, and these were ones that were close enough to be tainted green by the light.

As for the rest? Well...

A whole bucket of spuds
Eric Clapton might have had a spoonful,
but I have a whole bucket full.

I have not weighed this, but I think we're looking at somewhere between 8-10kg.

Clearly, given their size, peeling is out of the question (sadly). As is having them as baked potatoes. Or chips, really.
But what ought to work is to wash them, chop them, and stew them. In theory along with the leek and carrot. But I'm not sure about the carrot, which is why the "in theory" part.
Maybe, also, salt them and bake them with some butter and herbs? But, yeah, I think these days people will be looking at their oven and thinking "uh huh, nope".



Your comments:

Please note that while I check this page every so often, I am not able to control what users write; therefore I disclaim all liability for unpleasant and/or infringing and/or defamatory material. Undesired content will be removed as soon as it is noticed. By leaving a comment, you agree not to post material that is illegal or in bad taste, and you should be aware that the time and your IP address are both recorded, should it be necessary to find out who you are. Oh, and don't bother trying to inline HTML. I'm not that stupid! ☺ ADDING COMMENTS DOES NOT WORK IF READING TRANSLATED VERSIONS.
You can now follow comment additions with the comment RSS feed. This is distinct from the b.log RSS feed, so you can subscribe to one or both as you wish.

David Pilling, 28th August 2022, 13:35
ISTR reading that France wants to ban private jets, and is looking for other countries to get involved. 
The plane photos are good, I wonder if AI could automatically snap them, maybe in combination with the radar data. 
AI pictures are impressive. Does that mean artists are out of work when illustrations are needed. 
Potatoes, you can boil without peeling, a lot of small potatoes are sold these days at a premium price just for that. In M&S smaller equals more expensive - about four sizes. 
我們都香港人, 28th August 2022, 13:39
Aieeyaaa! You don't peel fresh potatoes! Just cut them in two and chuck 'em in boiling water for a few minutes.
David Pilling, 30th August 2022, 12:52
BBC "Undeclared pools in France uncovered by AI technology" 
See if you can spot the spy planes/drones. Opportunity to construct something that looks like a pool/patio/veranda but is not. 
Different attitudes to privacy. There was a new detective drama on ITV "Murder in Provence", anyway they're all madly mobile phoning one another, and I'm thinking surely the police will just look at the phone records to sort this out. 
Rick, 30th August 2022, 14:07
Undeclared pools? Pools need to be declared? I hope they mean full sized ones. 
Or maybe I'm just lucky putting mine in a tent below trees... ;)
Rick, 30th August 2022, 14:12
Ah, it's for tax cheats. Won't concern me then. 
It's a harder challenge than might first appear. You'd think you could do it optically (look for patches of blue) or thermically (look for areas that are a different temperature to the surroundings, noting *lower* temperatures (to avoid being tricked by hot rooves)), but when you consider the wealthy tax cheats are likely to want to hide a pool inside some sort of structure, it suddenly gets harder. 
Rick, 30th August 2022, 14:30
The police can get a list of telephones in a certain area at a certain time (more or less, in the country the captive area of a mobile transmitter is quite large), but it has to be done as a part of an actual investigation. This isn't America, fishing exercises don't work. 
However, while technically all phones need to be linked to an actual identity, most pay as you go operators give a month's grace between activating the SIM and sending off the identity paperwork. Since you can buy basic handsets with a SIM for fifteen euros, it's possible to do that and be a criminal and simply toss the phone into a river afterwards. 
To the point where I'd say only a stupid criminal would take their actual phone with them on a job. 
(this sort of shady crap is, sadly, something a lot of American women may have to learn - getting burner phones to go seek out information on abortions...), to make it harder for bounty hunters to catch up. 
Rick, 30th August 2022, 14:33
Reading the first comment, I really think that's an AI desperately searching out a problem to solve. 
Aircraft *MUST* carry transponders, they *MUST* broadcast their identity and location, and in many cases they also file flight plans to the origin and destination airports are known. 
In other words, stuff the AI, just employ a school leaver to stare at FlightRadar24!
David Pilling, 30th August 2022, 22:38
The Register has discussed the pool story by now. One comment said the pool had to be above 10 m^2. An interesting thing here in the UK is the appearance of large temporary pools in people's gardens. Will be taking a lot of water to fill. 
I was thinking the AI could spot the plane and frame up the camera. Assuming the radar data tells you there is a plane around but is not accurate enough to point the camera. 
If you could track the plane with the camera, you could take multiple photos and combine them to get better quality. 
Murder in Provence - UK actors, speaking English. The hero is an investigating judge. Very stylish people. But the "murders" are a bit humdrum, accidents and the like. It's the stylishness we're watching not the murders. 

Sorry, comments cannot be added at this time.
Please try again later.


French flagSpanish flagJapanese flag
«   August 2022   »

(Felicity? Marte? Find out!)

Last 5 entries

List all b.log entries

Return to the site index



Search Rick's b.log!

PS: Don't try to be clever.
It's a simple substring match.


QR code

Valid HTML 4.01 Transitional
Valid CSS
Valid RSS 2.0


© 2022 Rick Murray
This web page is licenced for your personal, private, non-commercial use only. No automated processing by advertising systems is permitted.
RIPA notice: No consent is given for interception of page transmission.


Have you noticed the watermarks on pictures?
Next entry - 2022/08/28
Return to top of page