Sunday, April 30, 2006

Brown paper bag included

NASA scientists are using a 20-G centrifuge machine that can simulate up to 20 times the terrestrial gravity to evaluate the effects of hypergravity on humans. The goal of these experiments is to reduce the adverse effects that space travel can have on astronauts' physical heath but also to help the rapidly growing senior population.

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Silp of the figner....

A while ago I did a post about giving a friend the wrong url and what he found there. I said that I was lucky as some typos had been taken by pr0n sites. It seems that they are now been taken over by click sites. Try typing variations on blogger and see what you get. Yep, webpages filled with sponsored links. According to this report, Google is one of the main players in this game, which has angered others. Read it and make up your own mind.... It reminds me of another report, which said that in a survey of Google users, the majority of the did not realise that the results on the right hand side or at the top were actually paid for. The people who monitor the net where I work do though, as they're automatically blocked.....

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Grrrrrrrr, bad blogger

On the whole I like Blogger. I've read in forums tales of other people having a terrible time with it, but on the whole I haven't had any problems. With one exception. Every so often after I do some tinkering with the template, like today, it loses some of my coding. This time it's half the sidebar and the footer. Normally I catch it and just clear the changes I've done and it comes back, but this time I didn't and saved the changes. Bugger.

Tentant Time

Paying the rent this week is RockyJay. His blog certainly gave me a few chuckles. A quick warning though, some of his posts are of an "adult" nature, which is shorthand for sex and swearing....

Thursday, April 20, 2006


Sunday is St George's day, celebrating the patron saint of England. The day doesn't have the same popularity as, say, St Patrick's day (could it be to do with the fact that the latter is associated with getting bladdered? Surely not...) but it is growing, as is the sense of pride in being English, which until recently seemed to be frowned upon. So this weekend my desktop will be proudly displaying the Cross of St George. If you want it on your screen, click on the pic to get the full size version. For more information and to buy St George's day merchandise (probably too late for this year, but you can get a head start for next....) click here. You can also join the campaign to make the day an official holiday. They have over 500,000 votes so far, but another one won't hurt....

P.S Another little celebration goes with this post, as it's my hundredth. Virtual cake all round.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


While we're on the subject of Goths, meet Nemi: (click on the pic for a more readable version.)

She's a twentysomething Goth living in Oslo, and has her own views on the world. She's drawn by Norwiegian Lise Myhre, and the official site is here, though as it's in Ms Myhre's native language, most will be better off here or here. You can catch up with Nemi on the recently revamped Metro newspaper site, and there's an unofficial archive of strips here.

This Weeks Tenant

Welcome this week's tenant - Stupid People Shouldn't breed. Something I seem to be muttering more and more lately. Give them a click (after you've finished perusing my musings, of course). I chose this site because I found myself nodding in agreement to most of the postings, plus they have the excellent Emily the Strange as the header.

Monday, April 17, 2006

A Virtual Nip Tuck

Fancy a makeover without going under the surgeon's knife? Then try this, you'll be amazed by the results. Click on the browse button to start.

Easily Amused

A couple of pages I've found whilst aimlessly drifting from A to God knows where:

The first has pics from the Ceaser dog food site of owners who look like their dogs....

The second is a small but growing page of silly signs from around the world....

Click on the pics for more....

Fancy Pants Addiction

This little game has been keeping me entertained for a while now. It's fun, harder than it looks and is quite addictive. I've completed it a couple of times and gone back to improve my scores. Give it a try.... The Bullet Time on the same site keeps me going back too....

Sunday, April 16, 2006

"Busting Barflies in Bars only the Beginning?"

By Garry Reed

The Loose Cannon Libertarian

Compiled from three NBC 5 news reports, Dallas:

Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission undercover agents entered 36 nightclubs where they shared tables with suspected drunks and covertly monitored bartenders for over-serving patrons. After agents determined that some individuals posed a risk to themselves or the public, 30 people were arrested for public intoxication. Sgt. Chris Hamilton of the TABC justified the preemptive strikes by noting that some inebriated bar patrons "end up killing themselves or someone else" in drunk driving accidents. Some hotel bar patrons were staying at the hotel, but having a room is no defense for public intoxication. As criminal defense attorney Barry Sorrels explained to Channel 5 News, the key to the law lies in the potential danger. TABC officials said the sweep concerned saving lives, not individual rights.

Future news stories to be watching for:

A crack team of undercover Center for Disease Control operatives apprehended 57 allegedly overweight men, women and children consuming suspected high-calorie junk food in the food court of a Washington DC area shopping mall. "It's necessary to stop suspected obese people from gaining additional weight before they become a risk to themselves or the public," explained a department spokescrat while justifying the preemptive operation. "Just because people don't intend to get Heart disease, high blood pressure or strokes is no excuse for public obesity." Also, under America's de facto system of socialized medicine, all taxpayers suffer from other people's obesity. Another potential danger identified by anti-corpulence activists is that public obesity "sets a bad example for The Children, which justifies all regulation." A teenage fast food worker was also arrested for over-serving corny dogs to observedly portly patrons. "We're here to protect lives, not rights," the spokescrat concluded with smug self-importance.

In Seattle, the city's newly formed Decaffeination Task Force made its first arrest as seven covert operatives tackled a young woman dressed in a business suit, wrestled her to the ground and handcuffed her in a busy downtown Springbok's Upscale Coffee Salon. "We got her just in time!" one operative crowed proudly. "She was clearly over-caffeinated. She could have bitten someone's head off if she had made it to the street." The squad's leader explained that his officers, dressed as young, hip urbanites, had been staking out the establishment when one officer observed the unidentified suspect purchasing a triple triple chocolate latte with extra foam. "This is a perfect example where public safety trumps individual rights," the department's commander asserted. "We have to be proactive. Otherwise, good young socially conscious whale-savers could turn into caffeine freaks and run amok in their offices, hurting the feelings of their coworkers and embarrassing all young liberals in general."

In a much less fashionable but still self-satisfying stealth police action, a secret agent for the Davenport, Iowa, animal control agency cited an unidentified dog-walker and took his giant Belgian wirehaired schnauzer into custody. "Oh, sure, he was legally walking the canine in question on a leash," Officer Doggonette explained, "but in my personal opinion as an experienced animal control officer, the leash just didn't look adequate for the purpose of public restraint." The city dog pound backed up the officer's unilateral action, explaining that the animal could have broken loose or jerked the tether from the owner's hand and then run about barking, awakening nightshift workers who sleep during the day, or even nipping at or otherwise frightening children. "This is a good example of our 'Anticipated Crime' law," the pound decreed, "which was passed recently by the city council specifically to protect The Children."

Libertarians and others concerned with civil rights have long debated whether "shouting fire in a crowded theater" should be protected speech under the First Amendment. Armed agents of New York City's clandestine Arts and Culture Corps are making the point moot. "We have to prevent it," a squad leader stated doggedly. The little-known unit has been secretly infiltrating agents armed with state-of-the-art listening devices into any venue that falls under the definition of "theater." Hours of surveillance finally paid off last Saturday night in Carnage Hall when a corporate CEO was allegedly heard to utter, "I may have to fire my assistant." He was tactfully arrested and taken away in handcuffs. "He didn't holler fire," a department PR flack conceded, "but someone might have misinterpreted what he said and panicked."

A member of the Writer's Prior Restraint Strike Force, threatening to arrest anyone who revealed his identity, said, "What could be more ego-fulfilling than getting paid to legally harass people?"

(Garry Reed is a freelance writer living in Ft. Worth, Texas. His articles have appeared in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the Jefferson Review and LP News Online.)

If the TABC tried that in our city centre on a Friday or Saturday night they'd have to hire a warehouse or two to hold everyone! Mind you, with the smoking bans due to be put into force (or already in force in some parts of the UK and Ireland), it may only be a matter of time.....


Put my musings up for review at italk2much. If review is the right word. Go here and you'll see what I mean. They take no prisoners, put it that way. Still, I knew what to expect when I submitted, so I can't whine at the results. The comments aren't the most flattering, either. At least I got one slap, even if it was only for my wolf. Others fair much worse, as you'll see if you read the critiques. But an objective view has its uses, and after licking my wounds I have changed some things. Whether I'm brave enough to resubmit I'm not sure....

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Easter Treats

Here's a couple of easter bunny wallpapers. Click on the images for the larger pictures. May all your eggs be large ones. And boo to the father I heard that told his kids they weren't getting easter eggs because they all had to be boiled due to the bird flu.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Tit Monday

Found on this site:
Ah, Tit Monday. It’s not that far off now you know, that glorious day when, heading into work on the bus, or walking to the Tube, or sitting on the train, you find yourself suddenly chirpier than you have been in months.
You find yourself smiling at strangers again. There is a mild involuntary tumescence in your trousers that comes and goes throughout the morning with the comforting regularity of a heartbeat.
And then you get a text around lunchtime from a mate which says: “At last, Tit Monday!” And you instantly understand why you are so happy.
For Tit Monday is that special day in the year when, for the first time, the temperature rises above that magical point which causes girls getting dressed in the morning to decide to show a bit of skin.
After months of dull colours and chunky knit, the world’s birds suddenly dive into last summer’s wardrobe (they’ve not had chance to buy this season’s stuff) and chuck it on without a thought. Your urban landscape is suddenly lightened with acres of naked arm and leg and, after many dark months of burrowing, breasts rising to the surface like moles at dusk.
Big breasts in white work shirts straining at the buttons. Small breasts braless in vest tops, the nipples frotted by ribby fabrics. Breasts in summer dresses bouncing in the distance so that they catch your eye before you even notice there is someone wearing them. Breasts nudging out from the crowd at traffic islands, quivering to cross the road…
And you know it is nearly summer. For previous generations, the arrival of spring was heralded by the sound of the first cuckoo. For us, it is Tit Monday.
Not that it always falls on a Monday. Like Easter, Tit Monday is a moveable feast. Last year it fell on a Friday. Friday 29 April, to be precise, when temperatures maxed out at 22.1C after nothing much above 16C all year. It last fell on a Monday in 2004, when temperatures leapt to 22C on 24 April.
And then, of course, there is Tit Monday Night. You see, in early summer, temperatures drop off very dramatically when night falls (Tit Friday 2005 dropped away to a parky 11.8C). But the dollies are not prepared. Slightly stunned by the morning heat, they drag out the summer clothes but forget to bring a cardie (a mistake they will not make again until next year), so that
when they’re all standing outside All Bar One after work celebrating the arrival of spring, their barely covered nipples have no protection from the cold. It’s like a Bring-and-Buy sale where everyone has brought hat pegs. It’s
like a prog-rock gig where, instead of lighters, everyone is holding up nipples.
So when will Tit Monday fall this year? Will you be the first to text your mates with the announcement? Do not shoot your bolt too early. There will be false starts. You will smell fresh cut grass and see a couple of early starters and feel compelled to declare Tit Monday. But your more level-headed friends will tell you to hold your horses, keep your powder dry, don’t fire until you
see the whites of their bra straps As the poet said: one bold Northern slapper in a bikini doth not a summer make.

Rental of the week

This week's guest spot goes to Universal Bones. He's writing a novel, which is more than I'm doing at the moment, so give him a click and some encouragement. After you've done that, come back and check out the top ten from further down the sidebar...

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Racked Off

On a trawl for something completely different in google (honest!) I came across an entry entitled Rate My Rack! Out of mild curiosty (really, honestly! No drooling at all...) I gave it a click. Oh, the disappointment.....
(If this leaves you puzzled, click here....)

I know I don't

Donald Rumsfeld once said as part of a speech:"Reports that say that something hasn't happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns -- the ones we don't know we don't know. And if one looks throughout the history of our country and other free countries, it is the latter category that tend to be the difficult ones." It came to mind while I was reading the article below. Maybe he wasn't talking gibberish. Then again....


In general we know what we don't know.
I know that I don't know the weight of a migrating swallow, the maximum temperature yesterday in Prestatyn, or the telephone number of Nicole Kidman.
There are some things that I don't know that I don't know. There are many plants and animals that I am wholly unaware of, and I don't know the color of plant X because I don't know that plant X even exists.
But because I know that I don't know all of the plants and animals on the planet, I am comfortable with the knowledge that I don't know about them. There is a generic lack of knowledge and within that is a whole swathe of specific lack of knowledge. I am aware of the generic lack, and so the specific lacks seem okay.
So far, so good.
But what about the stuff we used to know, but don't know now. Lost knowledge.
We don't know what we no longer know, and have to rely on lost knowledge being exposed.
I was occasioned to look at a statistics paper last week. I used to know and understand statistics - as part of my degree I took a one year statistics course and got a first. But it was like reading greek (a language I know I don't know).
When did I lose that knowledge? Did I lose it as a result of learning something else? Did I lose it in stages or all at once? Have I had a stroke? Do I even exist? Is this a dagger I see before me?
It seems fair to presume that there is a finite limit to knowledge. Learning means forgetting. This should be advertised more.
"This course in beginners' French will take 10 weeks and cost £29 (£29 ($50)), plus you will forget the Superbowl winners from 1970 to 1984."
If only it was that easy though. Instead we can't know what we will soon not know.
"The next chapter of this book will cost you several memories. The publisher cannot be held responsible for any loss suffered."
This is the sort of thing that costs me a night's sleep.

He's not the only one....

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Acceptable price?

It was announced yesterday that there has been an increase in road deaths amongst young drivers despite a fall in the number of young drivers passing their tests. It came on the heels of two young drivers jailed for eight years for the death of four girls after their cars crashed while they were racing. We've had the usual hand wringing and waving that Something Must Be Done. But will it? For years, motorcyclists have had to take and pass a Compulsary Basic Training course before they are even allowed on the road, and then take their theory and practical tests within two years or they have to take the course again. Even after passing all that, riders under twenty-one are restricted in the size of bike they can ride for a further two years. Can you imagine similar sorts of restrictions being put in place for car drivers? The perception is that driving a car is a right rather than a privilege, which is why so many people carry on despite bans and the like. Car lobbists will resist any change, citing cost and jobs. Plus any radical change will be seen as political suicide. It seems all round that road deaths are an acceptable consequence of the freedom of driving. The sentences the young men recieved are the exception. This is the norm.


If, like me, you discovered Writely just after Google took it over and stopped new registrations, you may be interested in ShortText. The idea is simple: When you get to the site you're greeted with large text box. You put in what you want, then click on the create url button. This gives you a unique url that you send to others for them to view what you've written. You have the option of giving the text a passcode to make it private. Not making it private means anyone can come across what you've written, which may not be a good idea. For a small fee ($2) you can create a custom url with an address of your choice. The faq gives numerous ideas for uses of the site. I use it as an online scrapbook.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Penguin Rescue

Windows XP has been pissing me off lately. First there was the missing soundcard. Then Explorer decided to crash every five minutes, making it practically unusable. A wipe and reinstall was in order, but I had quite a lot of stuff I'd did want to dump, but the thought of trying to move it all with Windows in the state it was wasn't a happy one. Then I remembered the Knoppix DVD I'd got awhile ago with Linux Format mag. I, like many of you I guess, are intrigued by Linux but hesitant. Well, I gave it a go, and true to its tagline It Just Worked. Found all my devices and booted in couple of minutes with no fuss. All the main progs you need to function are included in the bundle so there's no messing about and you can get to work straight away. The GUI isn't as polished as Windows, and some things have to be done differently, but I was so impressed I kept using it for over a week, and got all my transferring done before I redid Windows. If the interface had been a bit better and I could've run my favourite progs under it, I may never have gone back. In fact, there's a prog called Wine that runs Word and the like, so you never know.....

Maximum Volume

Just read that Apple are to release a patch that will allow the user to set a personal volume limit on their ipods. Now call me dim, but surely that's what the volume control is for, right? The patch will also allow parents to lock the volume limit of their offsprings' ipods. Greg Joswiak, Apple's IPod marketing vice president, said it was responding to "increased attention in this area. We want to offer customers an easy to use option to set their own personal volume limit." Part of the increased attention is a chap called John Kiel Patterson, of Louisiana, who is suing Apple in the US District Court in San Jose, California. He says his iPod is capable of generating more than 115 decibels, a dangerous noise level, and is not safe for prolonged use. It's a bit like suing Ford or Peugeot claiming their cars can go well above the speed limit and are not safe for prolonged use. It reminded me of the Tommy Cooper classic: "Doctor, my arm hurts when I do this." "Don't do it then!"

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Indie movement

A chap called Chris Pearson is trying an experiment on viral campaigns. He wants people to link to lesser known blogs using a link that he will track in search engines and the like to see how quickly and widely it spreads. So here's my twopenneth: The Indie Virus. Click and see where it gets you....

Random Irritations and Joys No 113

Random irritations of life..... Cillit Bang ads - it seems if you use their products they affect your vocal chords so you can only shout...... More4 chucking the ads in just after the opening titles of West Wing..... Not being able to reinstall Windows - I get three parts through then it just blue screens on me.... Blogs with fonts so small they send your eyes funny (Blogcharm's templates seem prone to this)....

Random joys of life..... The Apprentice. I'm rooting for Ruth - but I think Paul will win.... Coming across a song or piece of music I haven't heard before, or rediscovering something I'd forgotten about.... Sunday morning lie-ins....