Monday, December 31, 2007
Saturday, December 29, 2007
* Elephants are apparently smart enough to be able to tell if a human is friend or foe by their scent and the colour of their clothing! They stay away from clothing worn by the Maasi who are known to demonstrate their virility by spearing elephants according to research by St Andrews University - but don't seem to mind clothing worn by Kamba folk who concentrate on agricultural, rather than elephant, pursuits.
Does anyone else think it odd that these two pieces of research into elephants have been conducted by universities in the UK where, to the best of knowledge, elephants are not native.
Among the e-newsletters I receive is one from www.ineedmoretime.com (well worth a visit) and the latest issue has 5 Steps to an Organized 2008. They seem simple enough: use a planner and write everything down; make three lists - items you need to do; meals you plan to make in the next week; groceries/toiletries to buy; declutter - and tackle this one small area at a time; put efficient systems into place; organise four areas in your house - entry, closet, kitchen and office. Seems easy enough and definitely worth a go.
And speaking of "worth a go" - here is a HAIR UPDATE. The wash hair only with water experiment lasted one whole day. At that stage it was standing up on end and uncontrollable. Verdict: more research on Nigel Marsh's experience needed.
Friday, December 28, 2007
On the brighter side, police in the US were called to a shopping center to investigate reports of two men handing out $100 notes. It was true and rather than causing a scene, it was an orderly event. The men, brothers, according to Reuters, do it every year, and wished to remain anonymous. (This reminds me of something I read recently about a Secret Santa who had done something similar, handing out money to people who seemed to need help. He had done it anonymously for years, but died recently. His work is being continued by others - not sure if the two mentioned above are part of that continuation).
Also on the surprise list - I was downloading some files from the motel where we are currently staying and reached a speed of 650Kb a second! Of course, the other surprise is that we are staying here in part for the air-conditioning - which we haven't yet had on - something to do with The Chronicle's headline: Cold snap takes the heat out of Chrsitmas. It has been described as "unseasonable weather".
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
But it would not do to "do away" with the methods, especially the explosives trace wand. I still have fond memories of S doing "trace wand tango" and of the story of a man who put out one arm, then a leg, and then his other arm - and was then told to make a noise as though he was a plane - much to the amusement of his girlfriend and mother who had come to the airport to see him off and were making suggestions to the man with the wand).
But for those of us who want to stat brain stimulation now as part of an anti-dementia strategy, word is that doing things with "your other hand" can help keep gray matter supple. (Your other hand = left if you're right-handed and right if you're left-handed.)
Given the choice, would you rather learn about God's message from a traditionally-attired clergy-person - or a clown? According to an Associated Press report, Kokomo the Clown and his cohorts, Kings Clowns, operate out of a church in the United States ... and believe people who don't talk to a preacher will talk to a clown. And Kokomo's alter-ego the Rev. Tom Rives may have a supportable insight as he's been using entertainment to promote religion for 35 years now. And he learned from the best - but it may not be who you think: it was at a workshop sponsored by Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey clowns.
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Monday, December 24, 2007
Sunday, December 23, 2007
Saturday, December 22, 2007
Santa escaped without injury and later returned to give out presents in a less conspicuous method of transport.
Friday, December 21, 2007
"We all have too much to do. Almost everyone I speak with tells me they have more to do than time permits. This says a lot of good things about you. That you have too much to do means many have entrusted a lot to you. People who seldom have enough to keep them busy and are always looking for things to do may not have earned this level of confidence from others."
Now it could just be me but that seems just like another way of saying that we should be filled with excitement and get a warm glow inside when our "competency is punished" (alas, a regular occurrence in the corporate world)!
Thursday, December 20, 2007
The reason the government is calling for this - to cut delays. Makes sense doesn't it. Will be interesting to see how the airlines cope with this. Not sure if it will translate as a loss of business/revenue for them or more difficulty getting on a flight/higher fares for the travelling public.
And on the subject of airports, word has it that Sydney's airport will have one of its runways lengthened and while this maintenance is underway, some flights may need to be diverted to other cities. And they will be changing the flight path/s. I find the "will be" interesting because I have certainly noticed more aircraft traffic over our suburb already.
The researchers had to conduct their experiments a number of times before they were confident with the results - not because they were borderline, but because vacuuming proved to be as effective as any poison and that reportedly came as something of a surprise to them.
Kind of just makes you wish for a flea epidemic so you can test it our for yourself! But you'd have to take your chance that you didn't fall victim to the plague and worms that fleas can spread. (Itchy now.)
Update 21/12/07: Well it seems that the "bitten by a shark" may not have been true. Seems Scott Wright's story may have been a little fishy (thank you Daily Telegraph): he has now been charged with several break-ins and it appears the "shark bite" may have been more a case of "broken window bite".
Rock, Paper, Scissors can apparently have implications for big business. The same report details Christie's and Sotherby's playing the game to secure the business of a wealthy Japanese art collector (his suggestion). After much consultation, Christie's went with the advice of one of their director's 11-year-old daughters, a regular player (of R,P,S) who said "everybody expects you to choose rock (as your opening move)". The deal was worth $25 million - which puts a completely different complexion on "sealing the deal with a handshake".
The report in The Daily Telegraph listed 22 items carried by one woman - which fell into several categories: keys, glasses, phone, iPod, money holders, cosmetic accessories, and a camera. If I had been online I could have taken their suggestion to go to their website and "See the stars who started the big-bag trend" - but somehow I don't think that was ever going to happen.
I'm not sure if this piece of news will do the same. Parents can expect to pay out approximately $7,000 for Xmas gifts for each of their children from when they are born to when they turn 21. Given the season, and an impending rate rise in February next year, economists and consumer groups have come out warning parents not to spend more than they can afford - with at least one even suggesting that the internet is to blame for the increased cost of child satisfaction on Christmas morning - because it's making children more demanding from a younger age.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Next question: do you Google yourself on a regular basis? (That would probably be a vanity search.) It seems that only 3% of users do it on a regular basis, while (and there it is again, wonder if it's the same) 22% search on themselves "every once in a while", and the vast majority of folk (74% - and that, ahem, would include me) have only checked their online presence once or twice (well, maybe a couple more), according to the report.
But perhaps one of the best things to come out of the report were the classifications about people and their level of concern about their personal information available online and whether they do anything to limit that data:
- The Confident Creatives
- The Concerned and Careful
- The Worried by the Wayside
- The Unfazed and Inactive
Monday, December 17, 2007
If your parents had named you @ to make sure you had a distinctive name, and because the letters A and T can be pronounced in a way that sounds like the phrase “Love him” in Mandarin, would that disadvantage you in later life? For example if your email address was based on your name eg @@somewhere.com, would most mail servers reject the double @ and hence not deliver your mail. Of course before this young Chinese child worries about that, the local police, who are the name gatekeepers, will first need to agree on this unorthodox, bizarre, name.
Pecha-Kucha is a new presentation style which allows you to show 20 slides for 20 seconds each – and when that’s finished 6 minutes and 40 seconds later – so is your presentation. Wouldn’t that be a refreshing change to those ennui sessions where people read their on-screen slides and provide very little additional information. As Wired said of the medium: the result, in the hands of masters of the form, combines business meeting and poetry slam to transform corporate cliché into surprisingly compelling beat-the-clock performance art. I’d like to see that. I really would. But it might be a while before it hits the Conference Room because it seems Pecha-Kucha, invented by two Tokyo-based architects, Mark Dytham and Astrid Klein, is actually performance art – but they’re spreading so there are now pecha-nights in 80 cities around the world. Hopefully it will soon come to a city near me.
The system, the Standardized Chapel Library Project. grew out of the September 11 attacks and is a way to bar access to materials that could, in the words of the Office of the Inspector General in the Justice Department, “discriminate, disparage, advocate violence or radicalize.” Not surprisingly some see it as a violation of their rights to the free exercise of religion as guaranteed by the US’ First Amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and have started class actions. Perhaps another example of losing freedoms to ensure freedom?
A 31-year old Chinese woman is about to undergo several operations in an attempt to remove the first of 26 needles (or 23, depending on which reports you read) found embedded in her body. The theory is that they were placed there by her family, probably her grandparents, around the time of her birth because they were upset she was not a body.
The needles had not seemingly caused any distress to Luo Cuifen – until she sought treatment for blood in her urine. In the routine tests that followed, the needles were discovered. Some had penetrated vital organs – lungs, liver, kidney. They also found three pieces of one needle embedded in her brain.
So how to remove them? A team of 23 doctors was working on that - but it was considered that it would be a long, complicated procedure requiring a number of operations – the first of which would be provided free of charge by the hospital. It was estimated it would cost 170,000 yuan (equivalent at that time to US$22,500).
A search on Google revealed no follow-up to this story in the following months so there’s no news on whether Luo Cuifen is now needle-free.
P.S. I Love You - tells of a "dead guy who cared enough to plan an entire year of his widow's life" after he is diagnosed with a brain tumour. The report I read suggested it looked at the concept of love after death with a "high ick factor".
The Diving Bell and The Butterfly is a story I thought would never make it to the screen - if only because of the problem of visually telling the story of a man who is left immobile - save for his left eye - following a stroke. Based on a true story, it portrays 43-year-old Jean-Dominique Bauby, previously editor of French Elle, compoing his memoir by blinking as a physiotherapist and then a transcriber read the letters off a chart. This would easily fit into the category of a labour of love.
And still on the subject of cigarettes, a new advertising campaign by the NSW State Government is trying to get people to think about their "relationship" with cigarettes. "Imagine if smoking was a friend: they send you out in the middle of the night, keep you away from your mates, take a few hundred off you a month."
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Of course, if neither of the claims is true, the whole experience could be a little short of exhilarating.
Friday, December 14, 2007
All in all, excellent work from the Viigo team. It's great to know there are software companies out there who take pride in making sure the application works, and works well, for the end user. Bravo Viigo! (Which sounds a bit like a aircraft call sign - but that's okay because I'm on a high from the experience.)
Of course, it doesn't end there. A new iteration of Viigo has just been released for my phone's platform and I'm eager to give that a go ... and yes, Deb, we still need to have that talk about getting Viigo on your Blackberry.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
The study also made a distinction between heroes. Eager heroes enlisted; reluctant heroes were drafted (and were probably not the ones carrying out fragging cf a previous post). So what's the practical application? Apparently understanding the range of heroic qualities can be useful to people who recruit and train soldiers ... as well as firefighters and police - perhaps with the payoff being that you're more likely to end up with people who put the group first (? perhaps to their own detriment). As the article I read noted "A hand grenade falls on the floor and leads you to do something other than if you didn't know who these guys were and didn't have a commitment to them". (And if you're ever in that situation - and let's hope none of us ever is - remember that the Mythbusters have tested and support the hypothesis that the safest way to absorb the blast is to throw yourself - or, and they did not suggest this, someone else - on top of it!)
In the meantime, all Rodriguez can do is continue to write letters pleading his case.
It may well be that Ms Barin gave permission for her name to be used - but it perhaps raises the question about how private are any of our details. And do we have a true understanding of what "privacy" means in day-to-day life?
Monday, December 10, 2007
That said, there is no proven link between cancer and night work. There may be other factors that shiftworkers have in common, like constant disruption of their body's biological clock - the circadian rhythm. As well, melatonin, the hormone which can suppress tumor development, is normally produced at night - and it may be that it can only be produced in the absence of light.
And it's not just shift workers who can be affected; it may be anyone whose light and dark schedule is often disrupted - including frequent long-haul travelers or insomniacs.
So, how to reduce the risk? Try not to flip between day and night shifts; sleep in a darkened room; and, if you can, work under lights with the color which seems to least affect melatonin production - red! (Red, incidentally, is the same colour they use for viewing nocturnal animals/birds, or for not disrupting views of the night sky.)
Saturday, December 08, 2007
Other carriers are planning to test broader internet services in coming months - but you'll have to pay for the privilege.
And, the same as it is now, you won't be able to do any of this while taking off or landing!
The cobra measures nearly nine feet and has enough venom to kill 15 men. Naja Ashei, as the new species, with unique DNA, is known, is named after James Ashe, now deceased, who founded Bio-Ken snake farm and was the first to find the area's gigantic spitting cobras.
In announcing the new species, WildlifeDirect said the cobras were the world's largest. (The group's chairman is Kenyan environmentalist Richard Leakey ... also known for his archaelogical work including the 1978 find of an intact cranium of Homo Erectus and the later find of the skull of a new species, Australopithecus aethiopicus.)
The group is looking to the discovery of the new species as a way to excite people about the need for snake conservation. As Reuters were told by phone: "People don't care about saving snakes. They talk of saving dolphins or cats, but never snakes!"
Friday, December 07, 2007
Thursday, December 06, 2007
But it seems the more likely scenario is: co-worker, accidentally, in the quarry, with a drilling vehicle. The theory is that the co-worker then set the man's mobile phone on fire and moved the vehicle to cover his tracks. It's good news for the phone's manufacturer who had been adamant from the outset that their phone was not the "culprit".
"(We) rigorously tests all the products not only for functionality and design, but safety as well," the company said in a statement.
We can all rest a little easier - safe in the knowledge that our phones won't hurt us!
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
The reason for the survey was unclear - although it's likely that it related to/damaged mobiles. It would have been interesting to know (a) the reason for the survey and (b) what phones were more accident-prone and (c) the number of phones that meet an untimely demise each year. (The design has probably improved over time but I remember a couple of years back just sitting a certain brand of phone near a whiff of water was enough to kill it.)
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
But I did manage to get some pics - both inside, and outside.
And while we were waiting for the concert to start - we were there a little early - I tried out two of Chaim's inbuilt features - cropping and labeling - just a pity the beer bottle couldn't be erased though.
Monday, December 03, 2007
Of course, I only screamed "and you've got the engine turned off" in my head because I didn't want to startle the rhino. It also occurred to me that this was one thought I would never have to write down in order to remember it. Which makes me wonder if terror/fear has the same effect for everyone - and how horrible that would be -to be able to so clearly remember exactly those things that you would most want to forget.