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πŸ‘‹ I was a radio astronomer - I looked at distant galaxies with ground-based radio telescopes πŸ“‘ and echoes of the Big Bang from space πŸ›°. I co-authored a book of space-related infographics. I’ve cycled across the US and Europe. These days I mostly work with open data in the UK. I like to make things.

UK folks, there's an ISS pass starting at 22:20 lasting 7 minutes. This is your 5 minute warning.

Second parkrun since having covid. Don't know what my time was yet but it was better than the other week. I'm building up slowly.

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My favourite swipe typo of the day: "Norse cancelling headphones". Presumably that means Bluetooth is turned off.

Keeping the hexes in state blocks and separating the states works better than trying to keep the whole country contiguous as it distorts it less.

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I've worked on hex maps (strictly, cartograms) quite a bit over the years particularly for election visualisations where constituencies really should have equal weight but often they have very different visual weight on a geographic map. It's good to see that Australia's ABC have made a hex map for Australia.

Mhairi Black with a very good speech in the House of Commons
"This is just little England elites drunk on the memory of a British Empire that no longer exists".

For some reason's homepage includes a massive image of Lancaster/Morecambe Bay.

And, yes, there are astronomers who hoard data or publish in pay-walled journals. But, compared to lots of the "real world" I've experienced, astronomy is much further along a journey of openness.

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That's based on the number of astronomers/astrophysicists I've known who are very keen to share what they do (and why) with the general public. As they should.

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In a call, to contrast the difference, I've just massively over-generalised astronomy as "astronomers will share their data with you even if you don't want them to".

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I have an astronomy/astrophysics background. When I shifted to Open Data with gov/local gov/companies/orgs it was shocking how little that should be open actually gets shared and shared well. It made me realise how much astronomers (in general) actually do share with each other in consistent formats.

Leaflet is definitely my go-to library for online maps but I like to have some very light-weight alternatives for specific use cases.

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Been making a very tiny JS library to show static SVG maps made from several data layers. No zooming/panning but elements can be hovered and the styles are customisable so I can make the maps fit different looks. I'm also pleased with the solution I came up with to trim place labels (hide smaller places first) to avoid them overlapping.

Stuart boosted

This is a great article laying out the broad case against crypto (via @Naich). I’m particularly taken with Weaver’s Iron Law of Blockchain: β€œWhen somebody says you can solve X with blockchain, they don’t understand X, and you can ignore them.”

I've been asked how I managed to create "neat" URLs on a website. For the website in question I literally just created some directories and HTML pages. I think there's a lot of people these days who can only imagine having some big framework or fancy "solution". I'm basically neolithic.

Optimising pages lowers CO2 emissions. It also reduces the data allowances needed by your citizens. Please don't make someone with 1GB of data per month use a day's worth of data just to check their bin times or pay their council tax.

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Anyone on here involved in UK local gov? Here's the CO2 emissions of council homepages If you are in higher education here's the CO2 of learning provider homepages And here's central gov organisations Click through to your org to get more specific advice on how to reduce your homepage size. I'd like to see the worst offenders improve.

I have a "smart TV" but I won't let it connect to the internet. I don't trust TV manufacturers not to do dodgy stuff.

Add in that I'd made a special trip to a specific PO yesterday that the PO website had told me did driving licence renewal and was open only for that PO to tell me they didn't do driving licences on a Sunday. This all built on top of the tiring chain of events to get a passport photo (including needing to get my bank to issue a new bank card because the photo booth only took contactless and it had stopped working) that turned out to be pointless. So I'm annoyed at the PO and the DVLA now.

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Open social media for the UK