Pluto, backlit panorama

I have a raging space boner.

Pluto, backlit panorama taken by New Horizons

This is the most gorgeous photograph I have ever seen from space, and for once this isn’t even hyperbole. New Horizons took this panorama fifteen minutes after closest approach to Pluto (source). It was taken at a low, oblique angle backlit by the sun. I’m not a planetary scientist, or any other kind for that matter, but even to my eye the detail is incredible.

Variable sass self/child selector

I had a problem: I had a mixin. This mixin had a payload of rules that I wanted to pass to the selector that called the mixin. Sometimes, however, I wanted to send the code to a given child selector instead. I played around with variations on Sassmeister until I came up with a mixin guided by a blog post by Guild Hernandez. I realize this sounds dumb, but I didn’t understand that the self selector would resolve to itself if the rest of the selector is null.

My problem was with WordPress menu items. I needed to attach a style to a square span inside of a rectangular hyperlink, but I did not want to rewrite a few hundred lines of code to target it. The menu item looks like this:

<li class="menu-item facebook">
    <a href="#!"><span class="menu-span"></span></a>

The li is rectangular and the a element is set to fill this. The span I need to be square and sit centered, and it’s precise style to change based on the class of the li. The lowest level of class that WordPress allows you to change via the menu UI is the li.

@mixin selectorer($selector: null) {
    &#{if($selector, ' ' + $selector, $selector)} {
        background: center/100% auto no-repeat url('foo');

What I discovered is that &#{$selector} compile to nothing at all if $selector is falsy (null or false), but the code inside will compile as normal.

.ding {
    @include selectorer;

.dong {
    @include selectorer('span');


.ding {
  background: center/100% auto no-repeat url("foo");

.dong span {
  background: center/100% auto no-repeat url("foo");

Today I learned. I have no idea whether this behaviour is intended, but for now it suits me fine.

An Klondike

You know what? It’s been a year and the production company have yet to pay me for my day of extra-ing, and I have a scar on my foot from the godless misshapen boots I wore. I retroactively withdraw permission to use my likeness and heretofore demand one million dollars of compensation. I am, in seriousness, peeved about not getting my €75 for the day because of how messed up the day left my feet. I limped for a week after, and one blister just about turned into a big gooey sore before I cleaned it.

Grumble grumble.

Me on the set of An Klondike Me on the set of An Klondike

So, holy hell, it’s been a year since my stint as an extra on An Klondike, which is on the air at last! You’ll be disappointed if it is a review that you expect because I don’t watch television. I have the episodes so far recorded, but I’ve yet to look at them., Nós, the Irish Times and a bunch of other sites all have their “it’s not bad at all” reviews up.

I pop up in a series of photographs by Galway photographer Sean T. O’Meallaigh, who documented the set and has since shared the results on Facebook. Sean kindly granted me permission to reproduce these two photographs on the site.

The day was a lot of fun, and the best of it (me dressed in nothing but a pair of long johns and my pride) is yet to come. I met a bunch of fantastic people, made some new friends and had fully a great day. I enjoyed the opportunity to do something novel and new and get a glimpse at how a television show is produced.

Kaleidoscopic Eadaoin

Taken at the Science Gallery in Dublin on Saturday. Eadaoin’s aunt Trish and cousin Emer came down from Sligo for an event at the Tiger Dublin Fringe Festival, and stayed with us for the night.

In the end Trish and Emer (and I; I was at home writing) arrived late and missed the Gaeilge Tamagotchi event they had hoped to attend, so Eadaoin took them to Temple Bar. I met them there later at the Temple Bar Gallery Studios, where I found Eadaoin, Trish and Emer dressed up as a candycorn while they spun in mad circles. This amongst a host of other kaleidoscopic madness. I beat a path back to there door, and outside, in the sun, I questioned my atheism.

What godless universe, what chance permutation of a deterministic system, could produce such madness?

Kaleidoscopic Eadaoin at the Science Gallery

From there we went to an American candy shop and to the Science Gallery jussssssst before it closed, and to Dubray bookshop on Dawson Street. Our last stop was Massimo’s on Dawson Street, where Trish kindly bought us dinner, and then home. It was a great, fun day.