Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Moving research

What do toads and cats have in common? If you believe some geologist-types, it's that both species can predict earthquakes and other natural phenomonen. Just before the massive earthquake in Italy recently, garden toads were on the move in large numbers. Anecdotal (almost) evidence - from lost and found ads in local newspapers show a noticeable spike in the number of missing cats before an earthquake. These are not isolated incidents but there appears to not yet be enough empirical evidence for the wider scientific community to see the theory as credible (or is that creditable?). It's a shame really because it it is true, there could finally be a good use for cane toads - which seem to be making larger inroads into the Australian continent every year.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Where there's smoke...

Cigarettes and smoking have received more than their usual share of attention in the news today - most of it controversial. A person associated with the Victor Chang Foundation has talked in Indonesian about smoking being healthy; police have said that smoking is good for you; and someone else has come out saying that pig products are used in cigarettes (the filters) which makes then questionable for people whose religious beliefs preclude then from partaking of pork.

Don't think so...

For a moment there, the chances of going along to see "Clash of the Titans" were quite good -until I saw the ad for the 3D version at a city bus stop: with Sam Worthington brandishing a large ball of snakes. In 3D... I don't think so - but may be there's a 2D version - if not I can wait until it comes out on DVD. (Surprisingly the giant scorpion perturbs me not.)

What next?

There was a report last week of a new mode of delivering explosives which was quite frightening. Apparently suicide bombers are now having explosives implanted in their bodies - bosoms or buttocks - which means it's available to both men and women. The implants are difficult, if not impossible, to detect using conventional methods like the full-body scanners being trialled/used in the United Kingdom. Of course, whether these scanners are an effective weapon in the fight against terrorism at all, implants notwithstanding, depends on the operators using then correctly and effectively - and not to "perv" on their co-workers as reportedly happened recently.


... which is not speaking with a lisp bit rather wondering why I hadn't noticed that I repeatedly don't pronounce the 'th' is 'asthma'. I might do a little poll to see if anyone else does this. You do?

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Which ringtone are you?

When I changed from a Palm Treo 750 to Ivan the iPhone, I gave some people - the ones I was talking to as I learned how to make ringtones - the opportunity to choose their own. It started me thinking about what noise or song I would choose as my own personal ringtone. I'm still considering it; but I have chosen the default ring tone for the iPhone - "Hello Dolly" - which does make answering the phone interesting since I always want to answer "Hello" as the singing starts. Which ringtone would you choose?

A "punch" in the pants

... let's hope not. Electronic underpants are being rolled out at aged care facilities throughout NSW. Simavita is leading the change with the pants which send a text message to a central server when the wearer becomes incontinent. The seIf-alerting underwear will mean staff no longer need to conduct manual checks to see if residents are "comfortable" or in need of assistance.

Passive or active?

"Coolfacts", an application for the iPhone, suggests, as Fact #71, that the vocabulary of the average person consists of 5,000 to 6,000 words. How do they know? And how would you go about working out what your own vocabulary is - especially as we have two types of vocabulary - active (the words we use all the time) and passive (the words we know but don't use on a daily basis). Do you record yourself and count the words back? Or is there another way?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Voice activated

I downloaded Viigo for the iPhone yesterday (a birthday present) and so far I am not totally impressed with it. I downloaded an update a little while ago that is supposed to improve voice recognition/performance but will wait until I'm connected to a wi-fi hot spot before trying it. But it its amazing technology - to think that you can talk instructions and message into a device and it will "translate" it to text for you. This could do away with the need for texting while driving ... and leave the way open for emailing. Now if only it could speak your messages here like it does in the US.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Relatively speaking

When does a Sister become a Mother? Does she need to be made head of a convent or is there another path for "promotion"? And why have I never thought to wonder about this before ... and why now? I credit Mother Mary Mackillop and reports of her pending canonization.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Pesky email

Don't you just hate it when emails aren't delivered because corporate email filters won't let them through because they detect there's a photograph or two attached? So what do you do to get the email through? Any ideas?