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Lights Out for YouTube

My computer's far too wussy to play YouTube videos in full-screen mode. The problem with watching the videos on a page with a bright white background is that apart from the glare, the midtones are shifted towards the black end of the dynamic range presented in the video. This is because the photoreceptors in the human eye roughly obey a power law of a gamma somewhere between 2.5 and 3.0 (so that a light twice as intense as one that is already intense doesn't appear very much brighter) while the effect of the iris adapting to the overall brightness of the scene is linear.

To remedy the problem, I wrote a Greasemonkey script to style the page in a dark colour scheme.

The script can be located at


Actually, if you had one of those plugins to force custom stylesheets upon specific pages, you could just extract the stylesheet embedded in this script and use your plugin instead.

A Script to Make Rugby Fabulous!

In response to a complaint about the Stuff-cones newspaper site displaying a profoundly annoying and unmovable R.W.C. section at the top of the front page, I wrote a Greasemonkey script.

Initially I intended to make the R.W.C. thing disappear entirely but decided instead to make it merely easy to ignore by moving it close to the bottom of the page, painting it a fabulous shade of pink and erecting an S.E.P.* field around it. I also made it so that paragraphs containing a selection of rugby-themed words appeared pink, allowing the reader to skim past rugby-themed escapees from the Sports section.

The script can be located at


A harsher form of the script, which renders rugby-themed items nearly invisible, exists at:


If you have Greasemonkey installed already, just visiting the link will cause GM to ask if you want to view the script or just install it.

  *The S.E.P. field is a method of effecting psychic invisibility in the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.

By Daniel J. Neville


I couldn't resist buying the eye-catching Easter 2007 issue of The Listener with a mugshot of Jesus, captioned in big letters In the name of God and Is religion dangerous? The article, written by Keith Ward was particularly lame. The crux of it was the hoary old argument that atheist philosophies are more dangerous than religious ones because Hitler and Stalin were atheists. Hang on! Wasn't Hitler Catholic? Isn't burning vast numbers of Jews, Christians and women a well-practiced pastime of the Church? Shouldn't Hitler's and Stalin's awful toothbrush moustaches be a consideration?

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The two parts combined contain about 248,000 words in about 720 pages. (350 words per page seems like a reasonable figure.)

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SVA Day 4

It's been a rather productive day again with the Student Volunteer Army, helping to clear silt from properties affected by the 6.3 quake that devastated much of Christchurch on the 22nd of February. This is my third day of SVA activity (I attended Days 1 and 2 but skipped Day 3 to have a decent rest). The wild, rugged, longhaired and bearded men were an especially awesome sight and were most pleasant company! They're a good example of the kind of guys one often meets in New Zealand.

Thanks to Mark Winton for the loan of his shovel and Sara Pitcaithly and Mark for giving me early morning lifts to Ilam University.

Today, I accepted a donation of mini Mars bars, Twix bars and Moro bars from a kind Asian cyclist I met while unloading the ute. They went down very well with the volunteers waiting in line for lunch. Especially the women. :)
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A pair of Joo Janta shades for Twitter

In response to the complaint of a Twitter user about another Twitter user who is interesting except in relation to a boring topic, I decided to write a Greasemonkey script named Shades that would implement what I like to call Joo Janta* filtering.

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Goodies! Goody Goody Yum Yum!

While searching more another set of DVDs of The Goodies, I stumbled upon this petition:


I'm deeply fond of the Goodies. Bill Oddie in particular was my adolescent-hood hero, being wild and hairy, scruffy, morally courageous and delightfully smutty. I have two DVD sets already, 8 Delicious Episodes and A Tasty Second Helping.

Some classic scenes from unreleased episodes (off the top of my head) I'd like to see again:

  • The segregation in South Africa's aprtheid system. The keys of a piano are all black at one end and all white on the other. Pedestrians have to keep to the proper white or black stripes. A guard holding a black and white reference card decides the mud-soaked Baddies are black and immediately proceeds to beat them senseless with his baton.
  • The pillar-box shaped robot that tried to take over the world in the name of the United Kingdom. Tim destroys the robot by playing Pomp and Circumstance on his crummy old cassette player, causing the robot to get all warm and excited until it ejaculates a shower of sparks from its domed head.
  • The musically inclined villain who unleashes various instruments that double as weapons of war. A pipe organ, for instance, lowers its barrels and fires shells like a pom-pom gun.
  • Dougal from The Magic Roundabout trying to take over the world. I've never seen this episode yet. I really want to, 'cos Dougal is cute and hairy.
  • Graeme is taken to a remote cabin in order to treat his addiction to technology. Given a teaspoon, he asks Where's the switch? It might be the same episode in which Graeme dances in the woods hand in hand with his computer.
  • The Bunfight at the OK Tearooms.


Steam Locmotives are Delicious!

I've had lots of fun making treaclebread bits for the train-shaped cake willowtreegypsy is baking for Baby Alex's first birthday.

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Atheist Billboard Photos

I managed to get some reasonably good photos of the atheist billboards in Christchurch. Hopefully we'll see the posters on the busses, as originally planned.

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Mad Science Party

It was most pleasant to have Cryo Phil a.k.a. funranium and his lady Araina visit us at the Mad Science Party last Friday.

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