Little Monsters

I will never tire of saying that the zombie comedy is a genre that just won’t die and Little Monsters, the latest addition to this subgenre looks like a lot of fun.

Lupita Nyong’o stars as a teacher looking after her class of young charges on a field trip to a farm. She’s accompanied by a washed-up musician (Alexander England) who has taken a liking to her and whose intentions are complicated by the presence of the world’s most famous kids’ show personality and competition for Miss Caroline’s affections, Teddy McGiggle (Josh Gad).

One thing none of them bargained for, however, is a sudden zombie outbreak. Will Dave rise to the occasion and have a chance at Miss Caroline’s heart, or will the zombies get there first?

The trailer is a superbly funny mix of horror and humour and looks like a lot of fun. I have no idea when the film opens in Belgium, but is certainly one that’s worth watching out for.

The Trailer

Five Things Four

How to walk a human being. A guide for dogs from The Oatmeal.

Staying with dogs for a moment, Wes Siler has some thoughts on how to pick the right dog for you. This is a subject that we keep returning to.

Hotter European summers and more frequent and recurrent heat waves have spawned a proliferation of wildfires around Europe. Portugal has a simple, low-cost and environmentally sustainable solution: goats. Now they just need more goatherds.

Allison Kinney remembers working at a roadside produce stand, selling “local” food to arrogantly ignorant foodies from nearby cities.

And finally, Oliver Franklin-Wallis looks into what really happens to all that plastic you carefully sort into separate bins.

Welcome to Tumbleweed

At the start of this year, I treated myself to a new PC. The first thing I do with any new PC is to scrape Windows off it and replace it with some variation of Linux, and this time I ended up going with openSUSE Tumbleweed.

I like openSUSE: it’s an unflashy and very solid distribution that reliably handles whatever demands I make of it. It comes in two flavours, Tumbleweed being the rolling release version and I’ve been hooked on rolling releases ever since I tried Sabayon way back in 2010. With a rolling release, you never need to reinstall or upgrade your operating system because the constant stream of updates keeps you completely up to date.

And so to Monday evening when a whole bunch of updates came down the pipe, including a fair bit of Gnome-related stuff. So I updated everything (which, I should note, is always a reliably quick process) and, to check that everything was still working as expected, I rebooted my PC.

At which point, this popped up on my screen.

Tumbleweed_Welcome_Screen
Welcome to openSUSE

Obviously, this is not my first time using openSUSE but the welcome screen is a nice touch. It’s a very friendly way of pointing you towards the documentation you are likely to need as well as where to find help if you need it. It’s also very consistent with my experience of openSUSE to date: friendly, helpful and (if I uncheck that ‘show on next startup’ option) completely unintrusive.

And I love the pirate gecko.

Enchoperation Update

Back in February I attempted to cut down a tree. It’s quite a big tree and the branches were stretching over the road, managing to cause problems for anyone trying to bring a van down the street. I say attempted because, although (with some help) I managed to remove the branches, the trunk proved too much of a challenge for my underpowered chainsaw and borrowed ladder.

And now it’s gone. And yes, I did have a lot of help.

The original plan was to remove the root as well but, given the risk of causing our wall and the neighbour’s drive to collapse, we decided that it would probably be best to leave it where it was. So this stump is all that remains of the almighty tree.

This means, of course, that I shall be spending the next few weekends chopping and clearing. I think we’re going to have enough firewood for the next three years.

2650 to go

According to The Brussels Times roughly a third of the electric scooters in Brussels have been withdrawn, leaving only about 2650 of these accidents waiting to happen.

These things are a scourge: too fast for pavements, too slow for the rad and too much clutter to fit on a bike lane. And people just abandon the damn things when they stop, turning even the shortest walk into an assault course.

As for their benefits: there aren’t any:

Using life cycle assessment, we quantify the total environmental impacts of this mobility option associated with global warming, acidification, eutrophication, and respiratory impacts. We find that environmental burdens associated with charging the e-scooter are small relative to materials and manufacturing burdens of the e-scooters and the impacts associated with transporting the scooters to overnight charging stations.

The linked study found that a one mile scooter ride emits more greenhouse gasses per person than a bus, a bicycle or a walk. Walking and cycling are, of course, both better for your health as well.

The environmental problem with electric scooters stems from the fact that they are very resource-intensive to build but have a very short lifespan once they hit the streets.

The need for someone to drive out evert night to find and recharge the things doesn’t help either.

The report suggests that scooter emissions can be reduced by using more environmentally friendly vehicles to collect and recharge them and by using more recycled materials in their production.

Of course, it is possible to reduce their emissions to zero by just banning the things outright.