Friday, April 27, 2007

Random musings

  • How close to your own reality would another dimension need to be for you to stay? Reference Homer Simpson's world without donuts - but perfect otherwise - and Mallory Quinn's where everything looked okayn except that in this reality his father was still alive.
  • If you lost your pressurised suit in space, apparently you wouldn't explode - yes, you may bloat a bit, but besides that you'd be preserved forever. Well, that's what they say, but, really, how do they know?
  • I'm not sure if the ultime leap of faith would be letting someone else pack your parachute - or rolling your own.
  • What moment in your life has been the "most cinematic"?

Just taking a look

Amora, an erotic museum has just opened in London - joining a growing list of major cities with one. So what are the others? Best not to try to find out from the work computer - especially using 'erotic museum' as the search string. A sure way to have the corporate filter kick in.

A thought ot two

Mortin Williams, a Californian psychologist, said of the recent Virginia Tech massacre that Cho's ramblings were similar to those of Charles Manson but unlike Manson, Cho had no ability or inclination to organise or inspire followers.
Initial media coverage of the event: was it the "girl who sparked a massacre" or the "victim - 18 year old country girl"? (Police now report that there was no apparent link between the gunman and his first female victim.)
The death toll from Virginia Tech - 32 or 33. The number varies depending on whether that particular media outlet is counting the gunman's death in the total.

Appearance opportunity

Kate Moss will pose as a mannequin in a shop window in London to launch her new range of clothing. As she was paid $7 million for the range, guess that makes her no dummy.

Superman is a Serb ...

Kryptonite, or something very like it, has been found in Serbia - prompting proud countryfolk to claim Superman as their own. Granted, that they also took it as scientific proof of their being God's children may have been a trifle excessive but the discovery of sodium lithium boron silicate hydroxide was cause for celebration. Pity though that the newly discovered mineral is white, not standard Kryptonite green and that the new find cannot be called Kryptonite. Under international naming rules, that's already taken - by krypton the gas (a real element on the Periodic Table).
NOTE: this is not the first time there have been rumours of Superman in Siberia. Way back in August 2005, Ananova carried reports of a
Serbian Superman.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Quote of note

Each month in our corporate Thinking Matters! publication, there's a section called: Ingenuity Quotes of the Month. I thought I'd share one from this month's:

"A good photograph is knowing where to stand": Ansel
Easton Adams, American prolific black and white photographer, 1980.


On the occasion of my parents' 50th Wedding Anniversary it's no surprise to realise that relationships are seldom lasting that long these days. What will be a surprise is that if you're in Berlin, and wanting to end a relationship, you can engage the services of one Bernd Dressler, who will deliver the message that "it's over" to your not-so-anymore-loved one. The service will cost you 50 euros - and as he told the Berliner Morgenpost newspaper (as reported by Reuters) he's ended 200 relationships in the last 11 months. Breaking the bad news only takes about three minutes and often leaves the message recipients in a state of shock, said Dressler, a trained economist. People wanting to dump their partners in person can make use of coaching sessions given by Dressler, who also offers help for those wanting to save their relationships or apologize for going astray.
So what ever happened to breaking up by text message?

Out of Order

I chanced upon Law and Order: Criminal Intent while I was checking out our new digital set-top box last night - and saw a familiar face. After some time trying to work out who the actor was, it finally dawned that it was in fact Michelle Trachtenberg who played Buffy the Vampire Slayer's sister Dawn . In the Law & Order ep, she was playing Weeping Willow - an aspiring actress - which is strange because one of the other characters on Buffy was called ... Willow. Very confusing! But at least my facial recognition skills are improving (a little). Could it be that the Advanced Brain Training program I purchased for the Palm is starting to work - after only 3 days!?
I have thought about buying a Nintendo DS for a while - it's a handheld computer game - because it has a "brain training" program so when I received a promotional email from PalmGear earlier tbhis week with an for Mobile Brain Trainer - I thought it was worth a look. But talk about frustrating! It has 3 modules when you start - and the choice of two coaches - each with different styles. (But if it's working ....)

Big Fish

There is so much doom and gloom in the media at the moment, that it's interesting to see the stories that aren't making the front pages:
Miami - Sharon Touchton, 50, canoeist was found injured face-down in the water in Florida's Suwannee River recently. When asked what had happened she simply said "big fish". Chalk up another one - bringing their total to 11 - for the local sturgeon, which jump out of the river, hitting people. Sturgeon can grow to 2.5m long and weigh 91kg - so you know when you've been hit in the face by one!
London - Omar Abdel-Gowd, 26, has amassed an impressive shoe collection - unfortunately some of it from robbing women of shoes they were wearing. Apparently Omar, a footwear fetishist, turned to robbery after moving to London and finding more "fashionable" women there. He walked free from court yesterday with a suspended sentence despite having a wardrobe "crammed with hundreds of shoes" when he was arrested.
Somewhere on the net: It's been said that the problem with global warming will be water - too much of it (flooding) or too little of it (drought). But the answer could be as simple as "look to the skies". Water has been detected for the first time in the atmosphere of a planet outside our Solar System. Now we just have to work out how to get it back here.

Seeing the light

The man at the next table at the cafe this morning was wearing magnifying glasses - the kind you can buy in a small tube from chemists or optometrists (or in an oversized pen if you're at OPSM at Pacific Fair on the Gold Coast). They have standard magnifications eg 1x, 1.25x etc and they can cost up to about $50. So as I sat there I found myself thinking "that's a lot of money for a pair of glasses" - and then I remembered how much I paid for my last pair! No contest.

No bones about it

If only I'd know it was happening, and had a spare half a million dollars lying around, I could have now been the proud owner of the skeleton of a prehistoric mammoth. I wonder if it's like Ikea furniture - and you have to assemble it yourself? And how much would it cost to ship?
The $421,200 paid for the lot at a Christie's auction was a new world record.

Thursday, April 19, 2007


  • The number of Australians who went on a cruise last year (up 18% on last year; 90% since 2002) - 221,000 to be exact.
  • The number of people ticketed in New Jersey for last year for not wearing a seatbelt - 271,182.

Death tolls

In the news: 33 people dead following the Virginia Tech massacre; another 100+ dead from suicide bomber attacks in Iraq. Which is the greater tragedy? Could either have been prevented?

Day One

Today's Daily Telegraph carries the story of a 17-year-old plumbing apprentice's first day on the job in the UK. His soldering efforts turned to smoldering efforts after a spark from the torch he was using caused a fire which left the $12million mansion gutted. Even though his co-workers refused to say who was responsible for the conflagration, local residents had no such reservations. It's unclear whether the owner still plans to convert the house into a luxury hotel.

All quiet on the water front

Lloyd Godson, marine scientist, 29, emerged from a steel box at the bottom of a lake near Albury NSW yesterday. He had been there for 12 days, using solar panels (not sure how underwater) and pedaling a stationary bicycle to generate his own electricity (for his laptop for watching videos and using a wireless internet connection to communicate with schoolchildren around the world) and growing algae to convert carbon dioxide into oxygen. But at least he had food and drinking water delivered - so he didn't just have to rely on recycling his urine and waste. And thanks to his efforts, he has won nearly $42,000 in the Australian Geographic "Live Your Dream" competition. Good one!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Jeepers Peepers

Details are sketchy, and mildly confusing, but it's good to know that Mr Peepers (the duck) came out of it all okay, despite being thrown in front of the getaway car. It all started in Seattle when Kenneth Blaine Quinlan and his girlfriend went to a Lynnwood shopping center, taking her duck with them. She went to one store (with her duck), he went to another - and apparently shoplifted an iPod speaker system. A guard chased Quinlan to where his girlfriend was - with the car keys, although it appears she was not aware of the circumstances when she handed them over. When she exited the store, she found Quinlan driving off and as she tried to stop him from driving away - still not aware of what was happening - she was knocked by an open car door, she dropped the duck. A store employee saw what was happening, that Mr Peepers was in danger of being run over, and ran to save him - only to have the car run over her instead, inflicting serious injuries including broken bones in her foot and ankle. The girlfriend and the guard fared better, and were not seriously injured. Mr. Peepers was OK. Quinlan was charger with two counts of third-degree assault and one count each of vehicular assault and hit-and-run. (More details here.)

Cleaning it up a bit ...

It gives street cleaning a whole new meaning ... and it's pretty amazing that it has happened in two US cities within a couple of days. The event - soap foam filling streets in cities in both Idaho and Alaska. In Boise, sudsy citrus-scented foam erupted from manhole covers like geysers after a linen company accidentally released 167 gallons of "harmless but concentrated" detergent into sewer lines. Meanwhile, in Wasilla, Alaska, foam spewed from the city's sewer lagoon, due, it was suggested, to ice thawing and the possibility that the treatment plant may have gotten a "good jolt" of soap residue. (For further details - Yahoo US News)

Women like to watch

News out this morning suggests that women are more interested in admiring (the Daily Telegraph used the word "ogle") body parts than men. In a study where US scientists used eye-tracking technology to pinpoint what people looked at when shown sexy photos (although there was no definition of what constituted a "sexy photo" in the report I read) it seems men were more likely to linger on the face. There was also a hormonal link with women using hormonal contraceptives looking more at the genitals. It is unclear how the study results would extrapolate to the wild (also known as "the real world") but I know one person who will feel that their long standing views are vindicated by this piece of research! (Hi T!)

Monday, April 16, 2007

Sea creatures

A 13-year-old girl is recovering in hospital following an attack by a sea lion. She was on a surfboard, being towed behind a boat, when the sea lion struck. She sustained a broken jaw, lost teeth, and a wound under her chin when the sea lion leapt out of the water and "went for her throat". The boat's driver is reported as saying that he thought the Perth (WA, Australia) teenager would die in the attack - likening it to a white pointer jumping out of the water. Previously, sea lions had been better known for their playfulness rather than savagery. Until, that is, the US Navy recruited them - and dolphins - as part of a program to detect terrorists and mines (underwater). Both species can find mines and spot swimmers in murky waters. Working in unison, the dolphins can drop a flashing light near a mine or a swimmer. The sea lions carry in their mouths a cable and a handcuff-like device that clamps onto a terrorist's leg. Sailors can then use the cable to reel in the terrorist. About 75 dolphins and 25 sea lions are housed at Naval Base Point Loma in San Diego Harbor as part of the anti-terrorist program.

Band-Aid fix

He was known as the Band-Aid Bandit - and he's now been found guilty of robbing Florida banks of half a million dollars in league with his brother-in-law. I will probably need to go and find out more about this, but the short piece I saw on this at the Yahoo site suggested he wore bandages during robberies to hide a distinctive mole. Apparently the disguise was not effective - or perhaps there was another reason for his identity being uncovered.

Hard Act

A recent item in the Scotsman website told of "film bluffs" rather than "film buffs". Apparently 1 in 10 Britains lie about movies they've seen to appear more intellectual. Films they might say they had seen included Schindler's List, The Godfather and Apocalypse Now. They also hide their fondness for Dirty Dancing or Ghost … so perhaps its really about their not wanting to admit they like Patrick Swayze films! I was rather taken with the "bluffs" play on words - so much so that I almost missed the funniest thing about this - but, thankfully, it was pointed out by two commenters. "10% eh? Slow day then." and "Lazy space filling nonsense. If I want to read rubbishy pointless muck, I'll subscribe to The Daily Record."

Friday, April 06, 2007

Hell on earth

Well for all who welcomed Pope John Paul II's advice that Hell did not as such exist - the less than encouraging news is that the new Pope, perhaps as a small gift to all at Faster, has now said that the fire, brimstone and sulphur version is in fact waiting, if not outright calling, for sinners. Hard to reconcile this image with the God portrayed in the New Testament; not such a stretch for the Old Testament version. But is that not what Easter and the giving of the life of His only begotten son was all about? The gift of life for those who followed?

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Gold Coast holiday

This may look like just a picture of the beach but it's really to show that the Tsunami warning that we woke to yesterday morning was unfounded for this part of the world. Tragically, it has had a catastrophic impact on the Solomon Islands. It served though to show how unprepared Australia seems to be for a major disaster. It was difficult to get up-to-date news about what was happening, whether there was a tsunami at all, and whether we should evacuate. We are currently on holidays on the Gold Coast, in a 15th floor apartment on the beachfront, so the idea of looking up and seeing a wave surging in held little joy (although, if one could count on the structural integrity of the block, I do acknowledge that there may have been a photo opportunity there). If the tsunami had hit the Gold Coast - and further points north and south, I don't know how we as a country would have coped with such widespread destruction and loss of life. Thank goodness we didn't have to.