Relish Now

There is

only one





There is only right now… so whatever is happening, and whatever you are doing, relish the experience!



Enthusiastically enjoy whatever is happening and whatever you are doing.

There is only ever one thing, and only one thing to do in this reality: experience now.

Be aware of now. Experience is all there is (and some may say that is an illusion too… but I digress!)

There is only right now… so be completely aware and suck out the marrow of life.

Here’s a little example:

Tonight was a [relatively] cool winter evening for Brisbane, and was even more cold at a speed of 100km on a motorcycle. With the chilly air rushing by, my extremities were starting to feel it… but I simply relished this experience. I had one of the most enjoyable rides yet – I thoroughly enjoyed the invigorating moments of body awareness and the reminder of the wonders of being alive in and the diversity within this reality.

Relish now!

[Note: Pity the word ‘relish’ is so similar to ‘radish’, which I generally don’t find enjoyable to eat or think about… but I nevertheless will be relishing the next unexpected radish eating experience!]

Here are some motorcycle riding tips that I have learned about braking.

Maintain proper tyre pressure. Check your tyre pressure every time you purchase petrol. Some tyres or tubes (without any punctures) can lose 5 psi in a week. Without the correct tyre pressure, your ability to brake in a serious situation will be greatly diminished.

Practise. Practise. Practise.

Practise only when it is safe to do so.

Practise stopping quickly from all speeds that you travel.

Practise stopping quickly in all weather conditions.

Every stop sign or red light can be an opportunity for you to practise (once again, only when it is safe).

Alternatively, lay out some markers on a private road or deserted car park and practise.

Every time you ride, feel the way your bike handles and keep learning from it.

Perform braking in two stages. In the first stage of braking, you should react to the situation and set up the bike for safe and controlled braking. Only then in the second stage can the real braking happen safely and optimally.

Braking – Stage 1 – React and Set Up

Pull in the clutch to disengage the engine. You do not want to use the engine or gears to slow down the bike – otherwise when you do want to accelerate later, the bike will jerk.

At the same time, ease off on the throttle (otherwise you might rev the engine high).

Gently apply the front brakes. This will shift a large part of the weight of the bike onto the front tyre. When this happens, the tyre is then pushed harder and flatter onto the road surface, which will thus provide more traction and control for the second stage.

Braking – Stage 2 – Brake…

Apply the front brake as hard as you need to for the situation, without making the front wheel skid. If the front tyre does skid, don’t panic – instead just relax your right hand and ease off a little on the front brake handle. However, do not fully release the front brake – after all you are braking for a reason. A little bit of rear brake may help you to control the bike in this situation.

While braking, downshift the gears one-by-one at the appropriate time for your current speed so that you will be able to quickly accelerate if the need arises (for example, to avoid a vehicle from running into you from behind).

After the edge has been taken off of your speed, use your rear brake to also help you reduce speed, maintain control of the bike and adjust the balance of weight of your bike (but continue to use the front brake primarily).

If your rear wheel skids, don’t turn the bike and don’t panic – instead just ease off on the foot pedal, ensure that you keep your front brake engaged, and gently reapply the rear brake.

Here are some tips that I have learned for maintaining good posture while riding.

By gripping the bike with your knees, your back, shoulders, arms, hands and fingers can remain relaxed.

In order to adjust your riding position and posture, use your abdominals. Instead of using your back to bend forward, do an abdominal crunch.

While riding, if you find that you are getting a sore back, rotate the pelvis inwards and push the lower spine forward towards your abdominal area. This will help you to more correctly re-align your posture and centre of gravity.

As professional motorcycle riders know, riding in general and cornering in particular takes a large amount of skill. As a relative newcomer to the world of riding, here are some tips that I have learned to help safely perform cornering in both wet and dry conditions.

Line up the corner so that you can enter wide and exit narrow.

When approaching the corner, slow down to the speed that you can safely take for the entirety of the turn and maintain a constant amount of throttle. This small amount of throttle helps to stabilise the bike and ensure it doesn’t fall.

Have a “cornering plan”. Before you reach the apex of the turn (or each apex, if you plan on having multiple apexes), know where you will enter the turn, know where you will look during the turn and know where you intend to exit the turn.

Turn the head to face in the direction of where you want to go. Keep the eyes up facing forward in the distance. Use your peripheral vision to navigate around close-by obstacles. Do not focus on the obstacles, otherwise you will more than likely end up hitting them…

When turning the head, keep the chin tucked down. This naturally helps to lower your centre of gravity.

With the chin tucked down, when you turn your head the rest of your body follows (e.g. hips) without any conscious effort on your behalf in order to naturally keep balance.

Do the “cornering dance“ – rotate the hip and from the thigh push your outside foot down on the peg (like in skiing). This helps to adjust your hips into an optimal position for the turn, lowers your centre of gravity and shifts weight onto the outside of the bike which aids to increase traction and control.

Keep the outside knee (at least) tucked in tight against the bike. This helps you maintain your ‘oneness’ with and grip of the bike and means that your back, shoulders, arms, hands and fingers can remain relaxed.

From your elbows (not shoulders), push the handlebar with your palms. If you want to turn left, push forward the handlebar with your left hand / palm. If you want to turn right, push forward the hand bar with your right hand / palm.

During the turn, your hands and all fingers should be gently wrapped around the hand grips (knuckles facing upwards), keeping a constant amount of throttle, and not playing with the clutch or brake.

If you have misjudged the turn and have not reduced your speed enough (bad), gently use the back brake – which will also help to keep the bike in control. Applying the front brake during a turn can result in a lack of control, especially if the front wheel skids.

On the exit of the corner, smoothly apply the throttle for a clean and fast escape. Although I was warned, I can confirm from personal experience on a closed circuit that applying too much throttle on the exit of the turn while the road surface is wet can result in the back of the bike sliding out from under you.

Side note: as I was writing this, I found it interesting that so many aspects of these tips remind me of various biomechanical lessons that I have learned in martial arts… Let those who have ears listen…

Reflections on Thought

A thought focused on or reflected onto itself produces an absence of thought. The only thing that remains is pure awareness.

Life Clichés

Many people in recent years (especially Generation X and Y, and also within the singles dating scene) believe in and also think it is popular and trendy to say such clichés such as:

  • Work hard, play hard;
  • Live your life to the fullest; and
  • Work to live, don’t live to work.

While the sentiment may be reasonable – desiring a better work / life balance -every time I hear someone repeat these phrases I cringe and almost have to leave the room… but I guess I am just highlighting my own psychological issues with some societal trends…🙂 Moving on!

You see, if you find that you repeat a bunch of clichés about a work / life balance, then perhaps you are missing something more inspiring.

What if your work was your play?

If you could arrange your work so that it was about your interests, then you could be playing all the time!

Perhaps I live in a dream. I understand that this may not always be feasible – but at least it is a worthy goal to strive towards. Maybe one day we could remove the word “work” from our language?

And facetiously, if this concept becomes the norm, then we could say and cringe at a whole bunch of newer and possibly more exciting clichés… such as:

  • Work is play;
  • Work as play;
  • Play at work;
  • Hard adult playwork;
  • Go hard;
  • Live hard;
  • Be hard; or even better
  • Just be (Trademark pending!).

NASA have dedicated a few web pages to ‘explain’ various the artefacts / interesting images that we see. In addition they also ‘explain’ the cause of the 2-3 day change of images.


Not everything visible in STEREO images is related to the Sun or the solar atmosphere. Some features are caused by the telescope optics, the cameras used to capture the images, or how the STEREO spacecraft are operated. These features can be quite confusing, and require some explanation.


STEREO has two separate telemetry streams coming down from each spacecraft, the space weather beacon telemetry, and the science recorder playback telemetry. The beacon telemetry contains the most recent data and images, and is transmitted 24 hours per day. A volunteer network of antenna stations around the world collect as much as possible of this real-time data stream, and send it to the STEREO Science Center for processing. However, because the beacon telemetry rate is very low, the images need to be compressed by large factors, and are thus of much lower quality than the actual science data.

The science data collected by the STEREO spacecraft are written to the on-board recorder, which is then read out and transmitted to the ground during daily telemetry tracks using the NASA Deep Space Network. These data are of much higher quality than the beacon data, but take several days to reach the STEREO Science Center website. Thus, the most recent images on the STEREO Science Center browse toolwill always be beacon images. These are replaced with the full-quality versions as they become available, generally about 2-3 days later.

Beacon images can always be recognized by having the character "7" near the end of the filename, e.g. "n7euA", while the full resolution images will have the character "4" in that location.


The high compression factors used for the beacon images can cause cosmic ray events to be significantly distorted, as shown in the sample images below. Even the full resolution data have some compression applied to them, resulting in a small amount of distortion of the brightest cosmic rays.



On the surface, the explanation sounds reasonable and satisfies many… but I’m not convinced that easily – so I’ll investigate for myself.


Below is a recent Beacon image from my post here which depicts various artefacts, especially at the bottom left of the corona.


Let me zoom in on the bottom left again:



I downloaded the original Beacon fts data file from here, and used the FITSView application to view the image and save it as a BMP image that I can more easily use in my favourite graphics editing program.

n7 beacon

Let’s zoom in on the bottom right… and we see almost nothing.


I compressed this image to 50% as a jpeg and not surprisingly there were no artefacts visible.



Then I went to download the high-resolution instrument data. However, I noticed that in that particular download area, there was both a ‘n4’ (high-resolution) and an ‘n7’ (low-resolution) image.

Let me quote NASA again:

Beacon images can always be recognized by having the character "7" near the end of the filename, e.g. "n7euA", while the full resolution images will have the character "4" in that location.

Why is there a “7” Beacon image in the download area for the instrument data?

I don’t know, so I downloaded both in order to perform a comparison.

The other ‘n7’ Beacon file that shouldn’t be in the instrument data area can be downloaded from here.

n7 insdata

If we zoom into the bottom left of this image, we can see there is more detail (a few bright areas) than available in the image downloaded from the proper Beacon file download area.


So now we have two different ‘n7’ Beacon images of the same thing – one with less detail than the other.

Out of interest, the high resolution ‘n4’ instrument data image I downloaded from here.

n4 insdata

And let’s zoom in on the bottom right:


And if we brighten up this image, we get a few more bright spots which could possibly be stars in the background.


So now we have the full resolution image showing detail that the alternate ‘n7’ image appears to also have, while the supposedly proper Beacon image does not have that detail and cannot have produced any artefacts.


Out of interest, I decided to compress the alternate ‘n7’ image that has a few innocent looking bright pixels here and there.

When saved as a jpeg, artefacts do appear… but they are however nowhere near as detailed as the ones in the NASA image.

Below are the artefacts produced with 40% jpeg compression:


Below are the artefacts produced with 50% jpeg compression:


Below are the artefacts produced with 60% jpeg compression:



I noticed that with FITSView I was unable to modify the brightness or scale of the image in order to make the corona appear as large as those seen in the NASA images. You can tell this because the third artefact in my image that is closest to the corona actually appears within the corona in the NASA images.


So I changed from using FITSView to use the application MicroObservatory. Other fts viewing software can be found here. I loaded the alternative ‘n7’ Beacon image and used the Adjust Image functionality with “Log” algorithm and a Max value of 1396 and a Min value of 62. That produced a corona that appeared very similar in size to that in the corresponding NASA image… and here is the result.


Here is the same image with a little green added:



These artefacts are strikingly similar to the original Beacon images posted on the NASA website that I have previously labelled as being “interesting”. Scroll back to the top of this post and compare for yourself…



– The supposed original Beacon fts data file does not have the bright spots and could not have produced the artefacts when saved as a jpeg image and posted on the website;

– Only the alternate Beacon file that appears to be a scaled down version of the full resolution instrument data file could have possibly produced some artefacts when saved as a jpeg file;

– It appears NASA is removing minor information from the original Beacon data files that may cause erroneous artefacts to appear when the fts data file is processed.

– Image artefacts do occur when at least one of the following two conditions are met:

(1) An image is saved with lossless compression as a jpeg image; and/or

(2) More relevantly, the fts data file is processed to make the corona of the Sun larger and more visible.


In conclusion:

The “interesting” images that I have posted legitimately can be caused by the low-resolution of the Beacon data when the fts image is processed to increase the appearance of the Sun’s corona.

This also explains why I have never seen an “interesting” artefact directly in front of the Sun and not only within the corona.

There is no cover-up.