30 September 2008

Dominance of One language in Archaeology: Say Aye or Niet?

Here is an interesting paper about the influence of world languages like English on Minoan archaeology.

Called Language Imperialism and Minoan Archaeology, this paper talks about the ways in which the English language, through its usage and value attached to its cultural dominance, can affect Minoan Archaeology.

Do read the full paper for insight into the matter. For now here is a brief summary of the whole paper:

a) Short mention of Western languages influencing disciplines through their respective language
b) Number of languages used in this particular field; Greek & English are significant 'players'
c) Most important point: Being a native English speaker in the field or publishing in English language provides more opportunities and coverage for the research but this can be at the expense of the research in question.

Lost Seasn 5: Spoilers

How long before our next Lost fix?

Soon, Smeagal, soon.

Until then, we have to keep an eye out for spoilers like Jin making it off the blasted boat (in all senses of the word) ... be he dead as he grips the debris or alive yet unconscious in shark-fodder style is yet to be seen.

In other news, I found another spoiler site that mentions Dharma recruitment emails / tests. Goes without saying it must be the online marketing technique by Lost creators .... or a fancy and rather creative gimmick by someone with a bit of time on their hands.

None the less, the Dharma letter itself was enlightening; who's Lost4evr and what's the deal with Black Swan?

E Online
Dharma Email

Stallman == Cloud Computing

Richard Stallman has a lot to say about modern info-storing on the net and it's not good.

He states that " ...
that cloud computing was simply a trap aimed at forcing more people to buy into locked, proprietary systems that would cost them more and more over time ... [and] computer users should be keen to keep their information in their own hands, rather than hand it over to a third party. "

NB: Cloud computing refers to accessing computer apps etc through internet as opposed to good old CPU in the basement.

On one hand, he does have a point about immense amount of trust an individual has in online apps in order to store vita information online. Question is, as Stallman seems to point out, should you really grant this trust?

Sure online storage life easier, I will agree to that. But is it really better?

After all, once in a while you hear horror tales of your data being wiped out (blogger hit with cease-desist order followed by deletion of Flickr account is one good example).

Well, something to think about.

Update: moved the source link to bottom. My bad ... although some days I do hate WYSIWYG.


Slacker is free download

I've heard a bit about Slacker Uprising, the free-to-download doccie by Micheal Moore. By the bye, the free download is only available to US and Canadian residents, more's the pity (would have loved to get it here in Netherlands).

Well, Slacker Uprising has been heralded as a bit of a breakthrough where new media is concerned.


If you check Wiki for a synopsis, they sum it up as a kind of a recorded version of Micheal Moore's efforts to get young folk to vote and the feedback from this crowd.

According to Wired:

Moore's widely panned documentary about the 2004 presidential election is currently ranked No. 1 on Amazon's Video on Demand movie rentals list. And, according to Moore and his online distribution partner, Brave New Films, Slacker Uprising is currently being downloaded thrice as fast as the standard blockbuster on iTunes.

You can only hope that network executives realize the folly of their ways before the trends in new media leave them gasping and wheezing in the techno race.

Check out Slacker Uprising @ official website.

29 September 2008

Watch out for the Dust

Photo source:
Yarl @ Wiki

Got this interesting bit of news in my feed today ... on an unrelated side note: anyone unfamiliar with moern tech jargon will wonder quite a abit about that noun.

Back to topic at hand.

This Science Daily article in particular talks about Moon Dust.

It's an interesting insight into the dust problems facing astronauts who buzz off to the moon (yes, yes, the well known one and not that other one).

To make matters worse, lunar dust suffers from a terrible case of static cling. UV rays drive electrons out of lunar dust by day, while the solar wind bombards it with electrons by night. Cleaning the resulting charged particles with wet-wipes only makes them cling harder to camera lenses and helmet visors.

Christopher Judge Interview

I found an oldish Christopher Judge interview on SciFi (the Aussie one).

Here he talks about working on Stargate, behind the scenes activities, his experience as a writer and much more. From the sounds of it, he feels quite strongly about politics. I can see where he is coming from apathy or ignorance can bring people down.

An interesting bit of information from the interview - Judge might have been responsible for the zat being called a zat. The things that go on ...

Take for example, I mean - the zats - the zat'n'ikatel - basically what Jonathan Glasser did was throw a bunch of letters together. I went up to his office and asked him - how do you want this pronounced? And he says "I don't know, it's your weapon!" And I said 'anything?' However you think it should sound!" So that's where zat'n'ikatel came from.


Origin: Raincheck

Here's my arbitrary word of the day.

Where did the word raincheck come from?

How was it first used?

In my search, I came across RandomHouse which has a lot of interesting links (a bit of side info for the bookish types).

According to them, this phrase dates back to the 1880's.


The literal sense of rain check, which is an Americanism, is first found in the 1880s in reference to a baseball game. The practice of giving a rain check to a ticketholder was formalized in 1890 in the constitution of the National League.

So, when it first started out, the ticket was a sort of voucher that assured future game for those who missed game due to rain or other game interrupting circumstances.

26 September 2008

Head of Ramses II

Exciting news for the history buffs.

The head of a statue depicting Ramses II has been found in Nile Delta, Egypt.
"The discovery is important because it may indicate that the excavators are close to the ruins of a major temple of Ramses II in the area," Hawass said [antiquities supremo].

Ramses II was pharaoh of Egypt from 1304 to 1237 BC.

Banned Books Week 2008

I've known about Banned Books Week for a while and with the week for 2008 around the corner, I was curious as to its background.

If you read the Wiki page on it, you'll see that Banned Books Week (celebrated in the last week of September since 1982) is largely focused in United States. In fact, it was an awareness movement sponsored by "...
sponsored annually by the American Library Association (ALA), the American Booksellers Association, American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, American Society of Journalists and Authors, Association of American Publishers, National Association of College Stores, and endorsed by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, in an attempt to protect freedom of speech by celebrating banned and challenged books."

It's interesting that a major first world country, a western world nation to boot, seems to have a tendency to favor censorship and banning of books.

By the way, if you are looking for more information on banned books, check out the ALA website.

According to Banned Books Week, the most challenged books of 2007 are;

1. And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
2. The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
3. Olive’s Ocean by Kevin Henkes
4. The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
5. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
6. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
7. TTYL by Lauren Myracle
8. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
9. It’s Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris
10. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

I can't believe people consistently put Mark Twain and Alice Walker's classic books on that list!

Wonder what books Sarah Palin wanted to ban.

I am curious to read the books on that list (cept for 4-6 which I have read & honestly see no problem with). *runs to nearest library*

Amanda Tapping Interview

I found an old interview of Amanda Tapping ... back in the good old days when Stargate SG-1 was still the most talked about Sci-fi show. It's still just as brilliant ... just not current news anymore.

Anyway, in this interview she talks a little bit about her co-stars (who's most like their character), future of the show (the rather ironic 'Would you do a movie based on the show') and of course, my favorite:

GR8Writer: What's the funniest ad lib you've ever done that made the final cut?
AT: Probably, actually, in the pilot when I did the MacGyver line. It shocked me that they kept it in. And there was another one, I can't remember the episode, when the guys all had something really important to say to General Hammond, and I said, "But I was there," because they didn't give my character anything to say, and they kept that in, which I thought was great.


24 September 2008

Sleeping Buddha found in Sri Lanka

Exciting news .... for avid archaeology news seekers.

A statue of a sleeping Buddha has been found in Sri Lanka.

According to this site, the temple might date back to the 15th Century.

Interview with Gary Jones

Gateworld had an interview with Gary Jones - the one and only Walter from Stargate SG-1.

In the interview, Gary Jones reminisces about playing Walter in SG-1, talks a little bit about this book he is penning down, mentions his last week in Atlantis and of course the tell-all, how he got the name Walter!


That's where it came from. Don Davis' pronunciation of the word "airman" turns into Harriman. And I'm Walter Harriman. It was the most patchwork, piecemeal way of getting my name together. And of course in "2010" when Richard calls me Walter. Everyone goes, "his name is not Walter." He goes, "Well, it is now."

Check out the rest here!

Turmeric is good for ya

First of all, did you know it is spelled turmeric, with an r after the u? So t-u-r-m-e-r-i-c!

Okay that said, I found a Science Daily article that states that intake of this spice "...
not only lowers your chances of getting cancer and Alzheimer's disease, but may reduce the size of a hemorrhagic stroke ..."

Second-year medical student Jay McCracken is working with Dr. Krishnan Dhandapani, neuroscientist in the MCG School of Medicine, using animal models to study curcumin's effect on intracerebral hemorrhages, bleeding in the brain caused by ruptured vessels.

Looks like they are still researching the dosage and as yet, still trying to understand how curcumin does, what it does.

At least this is a more interesting research topic than some of the rather questionable ones I have been seeing recently. *mumble mumble*

23 September 2008

Night of Living Dead: Review

I saw Night of Living Dead (1968) by George A Romero the other night.

And I must say, wow!

They don't make movies like they used to.

This was a classic 'zombie takes over an area' movie. And done in artistic style.

The glaring differences with modern movies are startling.

Its thrills do not depend on slash and gore; rather, the shock factor is in the matter of fact, bland camcorder style depiction of zombies eating flesh. It is the implied that scares the viewer more than the blatant portrayal of skin being torn asunder, spluttering of blood, etc.

Also interesting that the lead character was a black man, especially since this movie dates back to the civil rights movements. Note how no one in this movie ever refers to him by his race. What a difference from today when you have to describe the ethnicity or race when refering to a non-white person.

I am all geared up and ready to watch the next movie in this series.

Stonehenge younger than previously thought

So this what BBC was talking about.

To start in a roundabout manner, BBC had this news brief yesterday on the telly where the presenter said something along these lines ... researchers exploring the site found bits of rock that looked like rubble. I forget the exact words but it was a poor way to start the whole news story. But then, some of their science and archaeology news have been a bit on the sensational side of late ... don't know if you can blame the news agency or the general public for this take.

Anyway, this particular news alert was about a new discovery regarding the mysterious Stonehenge.

To summarize what BBC website says:

a) The Stones date back to 2300 BC
b) They were believed to be healing stones
c) Corpses found near site and how they relate to point (b)
d) A link to Amesbury Archer (who was he again?)

Read the full article for the details.

By the way, the bits of 'rubble' mentioned on telly referred to rocks extracted after a dig that was taken for carbon dating. And hence the conclusion about the date of Stonehenge.

19 September 2008

Dollhouse is still on track? Not canceled?


Latest news on EW is that Fox is still on the Dollhouse bandwagon and is still committed to the whole idea. Or something along those lines.

Note this comment from EW:

And after the bow of Fringe (9.1 million viewers), there’s a growing fear that shows with dense mythologies may have a hard time succeeding.

Firstly, 9.1 million sounds like a great number; it's what niches are all about.

Secondly, the more you hear about general US network's attitudes towards creative genres like science fiction and fantasy, the more it seems like these guys are shying away from concepts that fall outside the tried and true, and might I say, 'accepted' norms in US?

Bottom line is, perhaps writers and creators need to a) consider fans outside the US because they make up a considerable amount of the science fiction fan base, and b) bypass networks who seem to want 'ghost' writers and directors who should develop a formulaic story based on the network's idea of acceptable and what not and hence reel in tons of money for the bigwigs.

Yes, I am still smarting about SGA being canceled.


Related articles:
* Is network interference killing Dollhouse?
* Dollhouse Spoilers
* Whedon Interview about Dollhouse
* Whedon's new show

Spoilers for Lost Season 5: Newbies and returnees

Lost will be shown on your telly (if you have been dishing out oodles of cash for cable services) sometimes in 2009.

That said, here are some spoilers about Season 5 of Lost!

Okay, two newbies have been cast for fifth season, one of whom is somewhat vital for final bits of Season 6 (News from EW).

One is Zuleikha Robinson who will play Illana; is it worrying that she has been compared to Joker? Perhaps a frightening note for the rest of stranded folk ... or escapees, who can tell.

Next is Said Taghmaoui; he plays Cesar, which from the description given by the producers might be a man to be reckoned with.

The producers, who were the main source of info for this article, also hinted that the strange and wonderful folk from the Freight will be in the new season, in one form or another. Ghost or flashback who knows?

What is more likely is this other guest appearance. According to this source,
Michelle Rodriguez has nudged and hinted that she will be there somewhere in season 5. Well, we can be pretty sure that it must be a flashback or dream? Hurley's hallucination (perhaps hate rage from his side cos she snuffed out his lovelife in the form of Libby).


18 September 2008

Oktar Blocks Dawkins Site after criticism of his book?

This was a strange case, for a number of reasons.

Apparently a Turkish author, Adnan Oktar, got his lawyers to convince Turkish Telekom provider to block Dawkin's website on the grounds that
... he [Oktar ] and his creationist book 'Atlas of Creation' had been defamed by comments made by Dawkins on the site.

Wait, he has done this before. In 2007 he pushed a court to order blogs hosted on Wordpress to be blocked.

Either his lawyers are straight out of Law and Order and exceptionally persuasive or the power granted to this one single person in Turkey is frightening ... and wrong.

How can one person be capable of blocking so many sites? Where does he get the influence and the power? And more importantly, what right does he have to decide what millions of Turkish people should think or watch online?

By the way, read this bit on the Wordpress blog. It has communication from Oktar's lawyers and reasons why they wanted to block Wordpress.

I am going to quote the bit at the end:

There is a lesson which all blog services and internet service providers should take from this judgement. Blog services, especially the ones that give free service, should be careful about the sites that are illegally active through their firms. These services should not remain insensitive to the complints that they receive and especially to the judgements. It is certain that the services which behave opppositely will meet with the same enforcement that Wordpress met.

Lesson all must learn? Isn't this country part of EU? How can they repress freedom of speech like this and issue such threats?

The world makes less sense everyday.

Loan words in English

I was browsing through loan words, words borrowed from other languages, in English.


angst: Acc. to Etymology Online, is derived from German word angst, meaning "neurotic fear, anxiety, guilt, remorse". Apparently the latter is derived older German word referring to anger.

kindergarten: I think we all knew this word had German roots. Yes, yes, it does originally mean child's garden. Here's what is interesting - Quote from EO: Coined 1840 by Friedrich Fröbel (1782-1852) in ref. to his method of developing intelligence in young children.

gesundheit: Apparently it goes all the way back to the early twentieth century. And unlike it's current usage of meaning may the Lord bless you and what not, the German word referred to your health.


Amok: Interesting bit of background history on EO. Apparently this quaint word is of Malay origin which in itself meant "...attacking furiously..." that dates back to the 17th Century. Seems like at ne point it even referred to a frenzied Malay. Oh dear.

ketchup: Another good word. And once again, originally a Malay word. Quote from EO: kichap, from Chinese (Amoy dial.) koechiap "brine of fish." . The bit about US trying to Anglicize it sounded sad. Catchup? No one caught up that phrase.

boondocks: Turns out this was originally from the Philippines. Initially it referred to a mountain, bundok. It was apparently adopted by US soldiers and came about once again when the soldiers had to run amok in wild landscapes.

17 September 2008

Where do Pyjamas come from?

Here's your little arbitrary fact of the day.

Did you know the word pyjamas has an Indian origin? According to Etymology Online, it dates back to the 19th century and was originally called "
pai jamahs 'loose trousers tied at the waist,' ".

Apparently some European bloke saw a local wearing it and thought, "Hey!!!" ... in a why don't I do that sort of manner and not at all in a "hey you in those pants" kind of incident.

For further reading, check out the discussion list and links on this site. There are a number of links to foreign loan words from Asia into the English Language.

Premiere of Stargate Atlantis Movie

Seems to be quite a bit of inquiry about this - the premiere date for Stargate Atlantis movie.

Well, I scooped around a bit and here's what I found on Gateworld.

Season Five will go out on a cliffhanger, with "Enemy At the Gate" expected to premiere in January.

The show will go on, though, with a 2-hour movie that will air on SCI FI in 2009, and be released on DVD by MGM.

I like to think that the numerous inquiries about SGA means fans want to keep the show on telly? Perhaps a passionate attempt to save the show.

I could be way off and this just might be folk looking for EMI albums or something.

But if you are die-hard fans, do check out the Stargate Atlantis petition at this site. I did sign the petition as well but the cynic in me doubts networks will care. :(

Maybe it is just conservatives who hate Google

I don't get it. When social trends dictates that it is more acceptable to hate one unit of society more than others, people seem to happily flock to that bandwagon. And run with the flow, feeding that stream of hate rather than reasoning it out.

Currently it is cool to hate Google. And I seriously don't get it.

The main argument is there Google is everywhere and it is taking over the world. Your privacy is at stake, they will dictate your lives and some other random balooney that I don't have the energy to reiterate here.

Why is it cool to hate Google?

I mean think about it.

A presence that is more prevalent than Google are our communication service providers. If you don't like Google, you can change to some other gizmo wizard. Heck, you don't even have to use half these apps if you don't want to.

But what about other service providers? Those who require your details so that you can buy a house, get a credit card, open a bank account and, keeping in mind the current trends, dictate whether you can board a plane or not.

How many of them guard your details? How many of them know everything about you, shares it unbeknowst to you, with 3rd parties? Can you opt not to give up your details? Do you have a choice in 'trustworthy' service providers? In order to be part of a functioning society you have to share your details with so many organisations and institutions.

And yet, everyone loves to rant about Google. Why aren't these same folk complaining the loss of privacy and world domination of other, scarier forces?

The world economy as a whole depends on a power that is systematically violating human rights of its own citizens, cutting down on their civil liberties and methodically taking over countries in the name of defending world peace which involves the imprisonment of non-white non-Christian human beings in secluded centers that seemingly fall outside the jurisdiction of their own constitution and of world regulating bodies.

Is this not more frightening than a web-based organisation that has to abide by the laws of their country and is anwerable to a court of law?

Perhaps worrying about real world issues is more important than bitching about Google?

Say no to Creationism

Ack, no ... Not in UK as well!!

Why does UK have to emulate everything that US does? It's like that elbow sucker fish type gals who hover around the popular gal hoping something will rub off on them ... I love a lotta British arts and culture but news like this does depress me.

What am I rambling on about?

Well, BBC had this news titbit about Prof. Michael Reiss resigning from his position as Dr. of Education in Royal Society about his recent comments about creationism.

Seems like he suggested (not declared as a compulsory must, mind you) that creationism should be discussed (not 'taught') in schools if the students bring it up.

I don't understand why creationism should be discussed in any scientific medium - include it in theology, philosophy or what not, but I oppose including creationism in a science class where it's about rational thougt and logic .... wait, so it can't be philosophy either, can it?

At least the Royal Society had a no-nonsense attitude to such comments.

"As a result, Professor Reiss and the Royal Society have agreed that, in the best interests of the society, he will step down immediately as director of education - a part-time post he held on secondment," it said in a statement.

This one was my favorite:

Professor Chris Higgins, vice-chancellor of the University of Durham, said: "There should be no room for doubt - creationism is completely unsupportable as a theory, and the only reason to mention creationism in schools is to enable teachers to demonstrate why the idea is scientific nonsense and has no basis in evidence or rational thought."


I came across this hilarious animated video, Krapooyo. I love that bit at the end when he wonders, hey what about this ..?

This animated video is made by Yanim Studio Animation. Check out their website for more information about the studio.

The website itself is worth a look for web-dev surfers - a clean, easy to navigate site. I liked the tree structure that pops up as you explore the world of Krapooyo (krapooyo web link on same site) and then move onto the "guest" section.

16 September 2008

Joss Whedon's Dollhouse - Network Interference is Killing it?

Have you heard the latest?

The buzz going around that Joss Whedon has halted production on Dollhouse so that he can work on / rewrite / brush up scripts for the show?

Okay, so maybe he has not had time to do a cool number on Dollhouse yet. And he needed time to get the creative juices flowing. Maybe that's the story.

Then again, I have read other stories, ones that imply network interference as well as a bizarre implication that people might find show a bit hard to follow.

Why would Fox make a fuss of Dollhouse, especially with the show concept of programmed human beings, while time and time again other movie-makers have come up with the same notion (think Matrix, the terrible Dark Angel series, to name just a few)? Only difference here would be Joss Whedon's portrayal of the whole concept and perhaps it does not fit into the generic formula evident in most telly shows right now.

It would be a dumb move from the side of Fox to mess around with yet another work of Joss Whedon (remember Firefly) - he has a large fanbase and Dr Horrible is setting the stage for more material to be launched online. So what happens if Joss Whedon turns his full attention to new media? I am not going to complain but the biggest loser here would be networks like Fox.


Related articles:
* Dollhouse on track?
* Dollhouse Spoilers
* Whedon Interview about Dollhouse
* Cast for Dollhouse
* Whedon's new show

Vampire Avatars - Part 2

I had a link to Vampire Avatars a while back. Whilst looking for more wallpapers etc, I thought it was time to revisit the crypt! And thus I found *drum roll ... or a howl of a wolf, whatever* :

Generic Vampire Avatars

This is a Russian site, called GameGuru (?) with plenty of artwork. My main focus was the male and female Vampires featured on the site. A lot of them are quite impressive; I especially liked the girl with bloody hands, vampire with with forked tongue; the page with male art figures are not as plentiful but interesting nonetheless. The rather delicate looking vampire with a frilly neck-tie was questionable but I am sure he is the devil personified when confronted in a dark alley. The gargoylish shape silhoutted next to the moon was awesome.

By the way, if anyone can tell me the name of the site, I would be much obliged.

On another note, I don't know if the artwork is done by Game Guru or are collections from all over the web. I have this nagging feeling I have seen the first artwork in the Male Vampire Picture. Just a thought, would love more info.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Avatar / Icon

Second one is an arbitary Buffy-based avatar or a group of it at least, that I happened to come across in Fan Forum. Check it out, see what you like. My eye was caught on the second and fourth one, by Forgotten-by-the-Sun (remind me what episode that is from?).

By the way, there is a whole lot more on the forum, so browse around a bit. :)

Vampire Hunter D Avatar

And finally, avatars from the anime Vampire Hunter D on AnimeServe.

There is quite a wide selection of avatars here, some of which include animated ones.

Other than the ones I got for the screencap (above), my favorites are 20b and the one with Vampire D dashing through the trees.


Related articles:

Vampire Avatars - Part One

Where do Towels come from?

For some obscure reason, I started to wonder about the origin of the word "towel".

I must admit, whilst there seems to be a number of sources pointing to the origin of this word, most of them regurgitate the same facts. All of which were quite useful but I was hoping for something more in-depth.

Anyway here goes ( I am quoting only one since all sites had the same info ):

The Online Etymology Dictionary
dates it back to the 13th Century. The site traces how the word, in its noun form, was derived from different languages, leading it to be of Germanic Origin.


... from O.Fr. toaille (12c.), from Frank. *thwahlja, from P.Gmc. *thwakhlijon (cf. O.S. thwahila, M.Du. dwale "towel," Du. dwaal "altar cloth," O.H.G. dwehila "towel," Ger. dial. Zwehle "napkin") ...

12 September 2008

Buddhiest Statue of Bamiyan

This news article is about the discovery of a Buddhist statue and other relics of the time.

These treasures, as they will be for a history buff, were uncovered in Afghanistan, close to the spot where the two gargantuan statues stood. On a side note, read this article for background info on how the Taliban blasted the massive Buddhist statues. The world mourned as a whole that day, the cultural ones more than the others.

To continue with this article, the recently uncovered statue is 62 feet and created in a sleeping pose. Perhaps such significant historical artifacts will now be given the protection they deserve.

Another paragraph of this same article is also noteworthy.

Scientists said in April that they had found conclusive evidence the world's first ever oil paintings were in caves near the two destroyed giant statues of Buddha in Bamiyan, hundreds of years before oil paint was used in Europe.

The historical sites and artifacts of this country is so vital the arts and culture of world history, it is heart breaking to this it is still struggling.

Elvellon: Stargate Atlantis Avatars

I came across this fan page via Ringsurf.

Elvellon is fan art and other goodies dedicated to Stargate Atlantis.

I liked some of the Link Me banners, especially the group photos.

In amidst the fan art are some interesting sketches. A few are very well done and I'm somewhat sad the creator is not updating the site anymore.

Also note the Wallpapers - my favorite is the one with Rodney and Mckay.

I really liked some of the avatars, especially the Rodney and Carson ones. The main pic is one of the cool Rodney avatars done by the artist.



Terry Pratchett talks about Science and Faith ... a bit

I read this feature article by Terry Pratchett from the Daily Mail.

He talks about the rumor that he had found god; takes us on a journey exploring the mindful wanderings of Pratchett the young boy in his quest to find answers to the Bigger question.

Fun and delightful to read. Typical Pratchett style with hint of wry humor.

This is my favorite bit ... basically Pratchett points out that he did not suddenly become a believer in god (science is his thing) but he does feel the need to make fun of believers either.

It's that moment, that brief epiphany when the universe opens up and shows us something, and in that instant we get just a sense of an order greater than Heaven and, as yet at least, beyond the grasp of Stephen Hawking. It doesn't require worship, but, I think, rewards intelligence, observation and enquiring minds.

I don't think I've found God, but I may have seen where gods come from"

10 September 2008

Tim Kring interview: Season 3 of Heroes

Okay, more about Season 3 of Heroes.

According to Syfy Portal, here's what Tim Kring has to say about the new season:

" ... one of the goals of this season -- because we'll have been off the air for nine months - -we didn't want to drag a lot of story behind us, and we didn't want to feel like you had to have watched two years of this show to catch up. So we wanted to answer things really quickly so that you could move forward on this volume and have a kind of clean path in front of you ... "

Read the full interview
at their site.

There were some serious flaws in Season 2 and thus his remarks are welcome at this point. However, I do remember the X-Files guys saying that you didn't need to be a fan to enjoy the new X Files movie. This better not be along the same lines.

This sounds

Google goes LHC crazy

I just had to get a screencap of Google's Logo today. Nice!

How to kill Mold

As a hay-fever sufferer with occasional asthma problems, I welcome this bit of info.

The Green Guide in the NatGeo site has some helpful tips about getting rid of gory green - the organic way to snuff out mold.

Tools for the trick? White vinegar and perhaps tea tree oil.

Read on for full tips.

A window to words

There was an interesting discussion about the word fenster / venster last night. The subject of the topic revolved around its usage in French and the Afrikaans language.

According to Dictonary.com, it is "
an erosional break in an overthrust rock sheet, exposing the rocks that underlie the sheet ... and "also a window".

They do provide a bit of background about the word. Apparently it dates back to the 1920s and might have its humble beginnings in the German language. I wonder if OHG is alluding to Old High German? They also point out it might go all the way back to the Latin word - fenestra.

The Woxicon elaborates just a tad. They state that fenster is a German word, the English equivalent is the word window and the French is fenetre.

On a side note, here is the origin of the word window for English language (dictionary.com) is stated as follows:
[Origin: 1175–1225; ME windoge, windowe <>vindauga, equiv. to vindr wind1 + auga eye]

Another somewhat related sidenote - the name for the swing/tilt windows found in Europe is called das Dreh-Kipp Fenster.

Wiki has an excellent bit about the etymology of the words window and fenster.

Window is first recorded in the early 13th century, and originally referred to an unglazed hole in a roof. Window replaced the Old English ‘eagþyrl’, which literally means ‘eye-hole,’ and ‘eagduru’ ‘eye-door’. Many Germanic languages however adopted the Latin word ‘fenestra’ to describe a window with glass, such as standard Swedish ‘fönster’, or German ‘Fenster’. The use of window in English is probably due to the Scandinavian influence on the English language by means of loanwords during the Viking Age. In English the word fenester was used as a parallel until the mid-1700s and fenestration is still used to describe the arrangement of windows within a façade.

09 September 2008

Dollhouse Spoilers?

I've been meaning to put this up for a while. I found the link to this video through Watching Dollhouse, hence you know this post is about Dollhouse.

The video basically covers spoilers about Dollhouse from Tahmoh Penikett. You can't really call the spoilers, maybe insights into what you already know.

In other news, io9 has titbits of an interview with Amy Acker and how she ended up playing the role of dr Claire Saunders. I don't mind same actors crossing over to different series. I do have a problem with same actor playing different roles in the same series - without the diginity of wearing a face hiding mask as well. Think SGA.

As the website aptly pointed out, Joss Whedon does seem to be a bit of a Matrix fan. Or Matrix is the flick that comes to mind as you hear more about the story - that all 'Dolls' have skills and personalities downloaded into their memory.

Penikett also notes that the Dolls are working for money and hence are mecernary killers, with a technological twist I suppose.

I am actually wondering if Matrix was not the main inspiration for the series but perhaps the general idea of storing your personality in a computer (think the Napster incident in Futurama).


Related articles:
* Is network interference killing Dollhouse?
* Dollhouse Spoilers
* Whedon Interview about Dollhouse
* Cast for Dollhouse
* Whedon's new show

The Amazing Kon Tiki Expedition

Have you heard about Thor Heyerdahl and his Kon-Tiki Expedition?

Most stories of epic adventure can only be found within the pages of fictional novel or the latest Russell Crowe extravaganza, depending on your source of merriment.

Well, this Norwegian man lived it; fun, excitement, adventure, you name it!

Thor Heyerdahl believed that the ancient folk of South America had explored and settled in Polynesia. Hence, the humble beginnings of the good people of Polynesia was the adrenaline driven tale of sailing the high seas for some blokes from South America.

It was a disputed theory and a lot experts had their doubts about it. In fact, this seems to be a widely debated theory today - who were the original Polynesians, could they have come from South America or did Polynesians settle / travel to South America?

Good content for an epic story lurks amidst those questions.

Point of this blog post is Thor Heyerdahl's brave journey in 1947 on a raft from South America to Polynesia.

The raft, called Kon-Tiki, was made of material similar to material used by the ancient folk of the time and the methods for construction were akin to the processes of that era. Hence, this was sort of what they were thinking "let's build what the South Americans might have built and see if we can sail off to Polynesia".

I don't think they made it the full way through, as is suggested by this wiki article. Seems like they ran into a reef which certainl halted their plans.

Nonetheless, it did prove that journey between Polynesia and South America at the time was possible. The question of who arrived first is yet to be answered. There is continuous reserch to find an answer. A recent article quotes archelogist David Burley as stating that they may have found the birthplace of Polynesia (Mukuleka, east of Tonga). Did this imply that colonization in ths regard was an west to east movement (from Asia towards Pacific)? In another equally interesting study, scientists disputed the claim that Polynesians may have been the first to introduce chicken to South America.

If this blog post piques your interest, here are few things to check out.

* The original raft used by Thor Heyerdahl which is now housed in the Kon Tiki Museum in Oslo, Norway.
* Kon Tiki, the book, by Thor Heyerdahl is a record of the journey
* And of course, Kon Tiki, the documentary directed by Heyerdahl himself.

All Agog In Rotterdam

I came across the word 'agog' in th Terry Pratchett's latest merry-making novel.

We keep hearing that word but what are the origins of that word?

This was not a in-depth search on my side. I looked up handy speed dial tools - Etymology Online and Dictionary.com.

According to the latter, it means "
full of excitement or interest; eager, keen". Actually it can be used as an adjective or adverb and thus the meaning will vary just a tad, depending of the usage.

And Etymology Online states that the word derives from Old French - " ... en gogues "in jest, good humor, joyfulness," from gogue "fun," ..."

08 September 2008

Where do Gnomes come from?

After picking up a cute little autumn figurine (a gnome holding a cutsy ladybird), I wondered about the origins of the word 'gnome'.

Well, according to Dictionary.com, it could be mythical creatures that lived inside the soft mouldy bits of Earth or, this is funny, it could be a know-it-all where money matters are concerned.

I see that is how J.K.Rowling got idea for gnomes as bankers in the Potter series. Nice!

As for the etymology of the word itself, the site was not very clear. It seem to date back to the 18th Century where the word might be derived from Latin word gnomus.

Run along to Etymology Online and it gets weirder.

... from Fr. gnome, from L. gnomus, used 16c. in a treatise by Paracelsus, who gave the name pigmaei or gnomi to elemental earth beings, possibly from Gk. *genomos "earth-dweller."

I love this bit.

Garden figurines first imported to England late 1860s from Germany.

Who came up with this ingenuous plan? No one is complaining, least of all me with my brand new adorable gnome statue but nonetheless you do wonder about the business side arguments that led to this decision.

Of course I had to go look that up as well. According to Wiki, it was not a business maneuver as such but a shopping whim on the side of Sir Charles Isham.

No Room for Gerold

This was an extremely funny animation. Not only does it have a good sense of humor but the events of the story unfold in a subtle manner. And kudos for using animals to show a grown-up story and not dumbing it down.

No Room for Gerold by Film Bilder
! Check it out.

05 September 2008

Still Flying - Firefly Fan site

I could spend an entire day browsing Fan Art / Fan Listings!

Today I came across a fan site dedicated to the space western Firefly.

What caught my eye at first was the header. Nice colors and love the font.

I don't know if the site is still being updated (the character section is still waiting :) ) but there is some interesting content for die-hard fans - quotes, pictures, screen caps and bit of episode guide.

I loved the quotes.

Kaylee: I'd sure love to find a brand new compression coil for the steamer.

And I'd like to be king of all Londinum and wear a shiny hat.

Ooh and the linkback buttons are awesome.

Bad Horse Chorus

Dr Horrible has officially reached cult status! Such an awesome show!

Speaking of cool webisodes, the sixth episode for Legend of Neil is up and running. Check it out!

Zombies like peeping in

photo © Michael Jastremski for openphoto.net CC:Attribution-ShareAlike

When I read this article about 'Zombie' machines, I knew somewhere along the way one well known fact would pop up.

*Scans paragraph* "
More than 450,000 computers are now part of zombie networks ..."

*Reads some more* "Most spam or junk mail is routed through the hijacked machines forming a botnet...."

Wait for it, wait for it ... there it is.
The vast majority of machines in these botnets will be PCs running a version of Microsoft Windows.

Some people never learn.

04 September 2008

Interview with David Hewlett

Gateworld had an interview with David Hewlett (Rodney from Stargate Atlantis).

Don't worry, I won't quote too much from the interview. Hewlett talks about hi views on SGA cancellation,what he is looking forward to and his feelings about working in SGA for so long.

I must admit I got all 'waily' and misty eyed when he mentioned Richard Dean Anderson. Sigh.

But it was neat. And I tell ya, there's something about having RDA say, "I'm sorry that you won't be coming back next year" that kind of makes it worthwhile. I don't know why, but of everybody who said anything to me about it, I felt like he knew more than anyone what it was like to have to walk away from a character like that.

All in all, a very touching interview.
His attitude towards cancellation is realistic and practical. You have to give him credit for being mature about it. I still have trouble accepting it.


[Laughter] I'm not going to pretend that I'm not upset about it, because I am. But at the same time, you have two choices. You can either pick up and carry on, or you can wallow. And I'm not going to wallow about it.

Who invented Nachos?

This one is for my husband who is a big nachos fan ... it might be the cheese that drives this love of nachos but I know nachos is on the top ten favorite food list.

Adriana P. Orr is a researcher for Oxford English Dictionary who writes about her search for the etymology of the word nachos.

Short form? It dates back to 1940s and it was named after a chef from Eagle Pass. And apparently 21st of October is the International Day of the Nachos.

Do check out the full article, it is a absolute delight to read.

03 September 2008

Discovery of Statue Head

I read about this in BBC news and decided to google for more information. And am I glad I did.

I came across Archaelogy.org which had a more indepth coverage of the find, along with a little bit of historical background.

The story in question is the discovery of a statue head of a Roman Empress dating back to pre-200 A.D.

The description of the statue, its location and significance make a refreshing read, when compared to the somewhat tabloid-ish coverage in BBC.

SciFi channel: Trashy channel

Is it one of life's ironies that the American Channel that goes by the name of SciFi Channel secretly hates good science fictions shows?

Is this a mad hatter's plot to replace entertaining shows with utter rubbish?

While I am still smarting from the cancellation of Stargate Atlantis (I feel your pain, crew!), I came across this article in Geeks of Doom.

Who is latest victim? The fabulous and thought provoking Battlestar Galactia.

The second half of the final season has not been scheduled where the series finale might air as late as April 2009!

Arrrgh! Seems like SciFi has learnt a thing or two from Fox's dastardly treatment of Firefly. And that is not a path they want to venture down.

Adams Douglas is quoted as saying "
and the SCI FI Network sucks,”

Hear, hear.

Seriously, who uses IE anyway

Any decent web deveoper wil deccry that non-compliance of standards that is inherent in Microsoft web browsers. If not, it is just sad and a rant worthy story for another day.

This particular article I am linking to points out how Microsoft's IE8 seems to have already broken the promise about web standards compliance.

Ye, apparently the default view is not the standards compliant view AND an icon of a broken page is visible for any standards compliant page accessed by IE8.

It is frustrating to insert new features into your web design and then go through the whole rigmarole to find hacks, choppy code inserted just so it will work in IE.

I am at a point where I am going to insert browser detection into the code so that a cutsy message will promptly tell any users why the page doesn't work and direct them to the useful Save The Developers site.

If vegetarians can use passive-aggressive tactics for their cause, so can embittered web developers.

Non-toxic methods of cleaning

I have been meaning to include / link to 'Green Living' articles for a while. So here goes.

I came across Focus Organic which has a great list of non-chemical ingredients you can use for everyday cleaning.

They are:

Baking Soda
Club Soda
Plain Old Soap

I must admit Baking Soda is a lifesaver at the best of times. However, it has not been that effective at clearing out the drains. But then, perhaps the process needed to be repeated a few times to work efficiently.

Censorship, US learning from China?

Stories decrying the possible censorship of the internet has been doing the rounds for a while. This particular article is one of them

According to this site, MySpace is an attempt by media moguls to herd the public onto a government controlled system where information can be monitored as well being the perfect tool for spying on the general public.

I don't know how much of this is paranoia and general assumptions but I am willing to consider all the options.

After all, he does make a good point about ARPANET; the world might be similar to the one described in this article if some well-meaning folksat CERN had not released the source code for WWW to the public a few years ago.

02 September 2008

Shock Doctrine

Dr Horrible webcomic: Everything Moist

More goodies from Joss Whedon's Dr Horrible. Or shall I say 'Baddies'?

The first Dr Horrible webcomic is out (hilarious!) and so typically Capt. Hammer. I love the four framed bit at the end.

Well, news around the block is that Whedon is working on the second webcomic and this one will be about the not-so-evil and rather-damp-around-the-gills Moist.


“I’m interested in exploring how Moist became Moist,” Whedon said. “It’ll be ‘Moist: Humidity Rising.’ He is so far from making it into the Evil League of Evil, because he really isn’t that bad at all.” (Instead, Moist is in the Henchman’s Union, because he accumulated enough hours “assisting evil people, and inconveniencing people. It doesn’t take much,” Whedon said.)
Check out the first webcomic @ Dark Horse.


Dark Horse

01 September 2008

Prank on 200th Episode

Bill of rights for gamers

It is about time that someone came up with this. A Gamer's Bill of Rights.

These are vital points that Stardock and Gas Powered Games are making.

Some of the Rights agreed upon by the aforementioned people:

5. Gamers shall have the right to expect that the minimum requirements for a game will mean that the game will adequately play on that computer.

8. Gamers shall have the right to not be treated as potential criminals by developers or publishers.

Gamers shall have the right that games which are installed to the hard drive shall not require a CD/DVD to remain in the drive to play.

Sigh. I know I get tired of looking for CD/DVD to play the game. What if your drive is busted and you have to wait a bit before you can fix it (money, work, three headed dog guarding the store ... ).

And the agony that is the minimum requirements lie. Hear, hear.

I wonder what the general reaction to this Bill of Rights will be.

Heroes Season 3 Trailer: Also Seth Green & Breckin Meyer

I'll admit, I am not the most ardent Heroes fan and have no idea whatsoever what surprises lurk in season 3 of Heroes ('What? There is a season 3? So they didn't get the Grand Spank of Cancellation?' - a few thoughts that scrabbled across my sleep mind).

Anyway, for some reason I cannot fully comprehend, I took it upon myself to check out their trailer ('How bad can it be?').

There it is. I am not sure what to make of it. I might watch season 3 ... you won't see me queuing up for the boxset though. At first glance, it looks pretty ... ordinary.

I mean, Claire seems to have become unhinged and someone somewhere became really inspired by the concept of a hybrid between Dollhouse-style assassins and the rather unfortunate Dark Angel killers. So nothing new here.

I am pretty sure I caught a glimpse of Nathan Petrelli (Adrian Pasdar) and Sylar (Zachary Quinto). So what is the policy on killing off people on the show? As much as the die hard fans will be jubilant, no one wants to be David Arquette's character in Scream series ... do they?

By the by, I also read somewhere that Seth Green and Breckin Meyer are will be making guest appearancesin season 3 of Heroes. As comic book 'experts' of sorts who share their years of comicky knowledge to one of the super-powered main characters. Bet it won't be Nathan Petrelli's mommy.

This could go rather nicely or turn out to be a really bad career move. But then Seth Green has partaken in some interesting ventures like Greg the Bunny and Robot Chicken. Not to mention Buffy. So only time will tell.

Well, don't take my word for it. Watch the trailer, watch the show. Apparently it starts 22 Sept. 2008.