Time to go through some things lurking in open tabs that I found interesting / cool / funny / neat, etc. I’ll leave it up to you to decide which was which.

I visited Uno earlier this year to visit Naoshima with my mum and her friend. We stayed at an excellent guesthouse called Uno Slope House. The proprieter is a Japanese fellow named Max, who has opened up his parents’ house for visitors, as well as trying to open up the area around Uno to more tourism. The Uno/ Naoshima area is trying to reinvent itself as an destination for artists. The museums and installations on Naoshima are certainly well worth a visit. As for Max, he’s a filmmaker, and is also one of the main organisers of a film festival that takes place in August every year in Uno. This year’s is going to be held over the first two weekends, so if you’re keen, try to head down there and enjoy some real Japanese hospitality along with the art. They’re also trying to raise funds to run the event, so if you’re feeling generous, there are some goodies in it for you as well. I might see you there!

This photo tour of an abandoned amusement park in the USA caught my eye. I could add it to the list of ghost towns I want to see. If I had the time and money, I would love to get more into astrophotography. I spent a short while up the top of Norway last Christmas and saw the aurora, which was phenomenal, but these pictures from Australia were also amazing. This photoset captures in great detail the stark reality of North Korea – a sterile showcase of perfection that somehow has stripped almost all vestige of humanity away from its citizenry. I’ve never seen such emptiness. (I still want to go there by the way…)

If you can force your way through it, you should try to read Umberto Eco’s Travels In Hyperreality. In particular the section on post-modernism and The Last Supper. It’s true, there are bizarre versions of it everywhere! The internet is also a great place to see the collective creative genius at work.

I’m glad to say that I’ve seen quite a few of these great films that have no plot.

I’m getting more and more into whisky, particularly 10 year-old single malts, but also the Irish varieties have caught my eye – as well as tastebuds. I have also recently been spending some time with some very naughty beers from Belgium and Germany. These are the sorts of beers that I wouldn’t mind taking on a dirty weekend somewhere….

I’ve tried a couple of these coffee hacks, such as buying a French press and adding a pinch of salt to the brew. Yummo.

I wouldn’t mind opening a tea house though.

Love Hotels are not just for Japan any more. Auckland says hello to its first.

I have enjoyed Sean Bean’s work for quite a while. He has the ability to play the kind of character who can be a badass but also be frail at the same time. Think of his roles in Lord of the Rings and Ronin. Last week they played Patriot Games on satellite TV and his character was just a one-way ticket to Hell and he didn’t care who he took along for the ride. Awesome. Now you’d think such a man might be a bit of a douche/chav in real life, but not if you’re a lady. He went out for a few drinks with an Italian Playboy model one night (as you do) and some punter started to insult her honour. He took the fella aside to have a quiet word. Later, when Sean went outside to have a cigarette, he got stabbed in the arm with some broken glass for his trouble. Did Sean Bean go to the hospital? NO. He walked back inside and ordered another drink. All hail!

You think your TVs big? Try this one on for size! You could try to get it in see-though format as well. That window/TV is not too far away.

The Swedes are funny. Really.

There has often been a lament about the lack of women in science and engineering. Some women have made an enormous difference to our understanding of our world and the universe. Dads, if you have daughters, I’d recommend you buy a microscope to go along with those toys. A great example in point is of Amelia Fraser-McKelvie. She was on a six-week internship at Monash University when she solved part of the riddle of the missing mass of the universe.

The story behind one of the greatest images of the Civil Rights movement.

A little roundup of things that have caught my eye…

India launched its own mission to the Moon recently –  a satellite that will make the highest resolution map on our closest extra-terrestrial neighbour yet. Apparently we have better maps of Mars than the Moon. Whoops. It sent back some nice shots of Earth recently – featuring Australia in all its glory.

NASA also recently made available some spectacular shots of one of Saturn’s moons, Enceladus taken by the Cassini orbiter.

I have this fascination with North Korea… Call it playing on my fetish for industrial decay, as well as my interest in power and the way it has been used and abused over the centuries. There’s nowhere on Earth like it, so I think I would like to visit there if I had the chance. I stumbled across this site showing photos of the theme parks of Pyongyang – an spooky notion if ever there was one!

The fascination continues across abandoned hotels, towns and cities. There’s even a place close by in Japan I would like to visit.

The Capri Theatre has made a book on 500 places to see before they disappear. The Capri is decorated in the art deco style and has been meticulously restored. It is also one of the few places where you can catch a performance on an eye-popping and entertaining Wurlitzer theatre organ. Highly recommended.

One place not on the list will be Berlin’s Templehof Airport which has shut down. You should have a read of Wikipedia’s entry on the Berlin Airlift to get an idea of how important this airport was in history.

Ssssh. The protective shield of the sun is shrinking.

Quietly, under the radar of the US election hysteria, a story about a drug resistant form of TB. Not good.

Also, quietly whispered, a chance for peace in Kashmir, as a trade route opened across the fractured divide.

I now have an itinerary for when I go to Ireland. Also an idea of what I would like to do if I could ever open a business. I swear I’m not an alcoholic.

Finally – flying car!

Some bright spark with a good sense of irony has documented China’s rise as an economic superpower through images of its people sleeping. Someone needs to do this for Japan too – although my friend, Vince, certainly put forth a great effort.