ChipWits – the story continues (a little bit)

January 10, 2006

I discussed the classic computer game (and stealth teaching tool) ChipWits first many months ago. Well since then, the discussion on is still going – some nine months later! Both the original authors of the game have made comment there, and are struggling to find the time to update ChipWits for these modern systems we are using these days. Hopefully their effort will be fruitful – I would love to pay real money to play this again – and teach my kids some programming on the side 😉

Shame Discovery Channel, Shame

January 10, 2006

Ian writes

“Community radio station volunteers at 2SER 107.3FM have been served with a “cease and desist” order from the lawyers of the USA based Discovery Channel”

Are we getting this petty now? Sure there is a little more room for this than when the World Wildlife Fund sued the World Wrestling Federation for using the intials WWF – like anyone could get those organisations confused!

Anyway, I pity the Discovery channel and hope that the community radio station volunteers at 2SER 107.3FM can find a suitable way out of this mess.

Aquarium cooling

January 10, 2006

Another new item in the aquarium is a small glass thermometer. It is to replace the ‘digital’ strip thermometer (you know, the type that ‘lights up’ the number of the current temperature – and was all but useless for my tank.)

Well the new thermometer shows the tank is running at around 302 k(elvin) – where it really should be in the range of 296 k to 301 k. (Is it just me, or is this starting to read like a retirement savings system?)

Of course the room (like the rest of the house) has no air conditioner, so it isn’t surprising that the tank is at room temperature. However I’d be happier if it were cooled a few degrees – if for no other reason than it will improve the level of dissolved oxygen in the water.

Naturally I turn to the web for hints – here are two pages with similar ideas for aquarium cooling. They tend to focus on marine tanks – which are more fragile, but the ideas are just as valid for freshwater tanks.

Beat the Heat: Aquarium Cooling Methods and How to Keep Your Aquarium Cool both have a range of sensible suggestions ranging from the obvious (buy an air conditioner) to the expensive (buy a refrigeration unit for the tank.)

However I am going to be trying some of the less expensive options first – like leaving open the flap in the hood that is used for feeding. This will accelerate evaporation and naturally provide some cooling. If that isn’t effective enough, I’ll move on to raising the hood a couple of centimetres (while making sure the fish don’t jump out) and possibly setting a small CPU or computer case fan to blow some air across the water’s surface.

There’s a good chance that I’ll keep updating here with progress, so you may eventually find out what works best here in sunny Sydney.