30 December 2008

Peter Pan is tainted?

The money grabbing nature of some folk gives a bad name to all their products.

Take this article in the Telegraph about a legal battle between Walt Disney and Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children.

The man who created Peter Pan, J. M. Barrie, had granted rights to the play to the hospital.

Apparently they granted animation rights to the play to Disney. And later on, when George Cukor tried to make a live action movie (proceeds going to hospital), Disney threw a hissy fit. Seems like they had all the cinematic rights to the film.

A letter dated 15 Mar, 1963, from Disney’s legal adviser to Mr Sneath, reads: “Mr Roy Disney ... is frankly shocked that the Governors of the hospital should think themselves free for any reason to go back on the basic terms which were agreed for the acquisitions by Disney of live rights ... We hope that even at this late stage the governors in reconsideration will come to the conclusion that nothing not even their desire to serve charity justifies bad faith of this kind.”

I suppose it is only in US that all is about the money. Who cares about the poor kiddies in hospital as long as those who can afford it flock to Disney shows.

*crosses all Disney products off to buy list*

By the way, anyone remember Amistad?

29 December 2008

Where does the word Deadline come from?

Some of us have to work until the short break that marks New Year's festivities. Deadline and projects still looming over you.

Which made me wonder about origins of the word "Deadline". Hmmm.

According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, usage of the word in its modern "get it done by noon or else" form dates back to the early 1920s.

Seems to have come about from the good old days of newspaper bloom.

The site states this word might actually be derived from an earlier, more depressing source.

Perhaps influenced by earlier use (1864) to mean the "do-not-cross" line in Civil War prisons.

Sometimes work does feel specially bad.

26 December 2008

Snow, stargate and emo kids

Friday Links

Synthetic snow in Russia

Interesting news article.

Apparently the recent snowfall in Russia might be due to industrial activity.

Origins of the light snow which has been falling in Moscow over the last week may not be natural. According to Alexey Lyahov, head of Moscow’s hydro meteorological centre, it was formed as a result of the activities of industrial plants in the capital and its region.


Drawing An Emo Kid

Alright, so maybe you don't want to draw an emo kiddo.

But you could draw a cute goth kid instead, there you go!

This is a cool tutorial by Designious on illustrating a charming little character.

All I have to do is figure out how to do this using Inkscape and Gimp.

Davies hates Stargate?

That's a bit of angry exchange of words. Or in this case, one sided remarks about a show.

Dr Who creator (i.e. of the new ones) Russell T. Davies made a few uncalled for comments about Robert Carlyle joining Stargate Universe.

"Stargate, can you believe it?" Davies said. "That was a surprise. Has his agent watched it?"

Any chance he was trying to be witty and failed? I mean epic fail?

I can't understand him being snide about SG-1 or Atlantis. I am reserving judgement about Universe, the show that stabbed Atlantis in the back. No, I don't feel angry at all; whatever gave you that idea?

Here is the link to BBC interview which has the Davies interview.


25 December 2008

Happy Holidays!

I was thinking of doing a wacky Black Adder as greetings pic. And this is what I drew. Close enough. Or so I tell myself.

Season's greetings everyone. Enjoy your holidays!

24 December 2008

King Tutankhamun's father is .....

Experts claim they know who Tutankhamun's daddy was!

Apparently the good folks got hold of a missing bit of a limestone block that painted a clearer picture.

"The block shows the young Tutankhamun and his wife, Ankhesenamun, seated together. The text identifies Tutankhamun as the 'king's son of his body, Tutankhaten,' and his wife as the 'king's daughter of his body, Ankhesenaten,'" Hawass said.

They still don't know who was King Tut's mother. Well, looks like the DNA tests on the mummified fetuses are still going on.

As a recap, these fetuses were found in Tut's tomb and were believed to be his children. Hence, these tests will pinpoint the King's mother.


23 December 2008

From Monty Python: Money Song

How much money do they want? Just asking.

This refers to the recent tiff between Warner Music Group and You Tube.

Basically, Warner wanted corpulent amounts of moolah from YT's revenue sharing; YT's reaction was "Wait, what?".

"We are working actively to find a resolution with YouTube that would enable the return of our artistes' content to the site," Warner said in a statement, quoted by US media.

"Until then, we simply cannot accept terms that fail to appropriately and fairly compensate recording artistes, songwriters, labels and publishers for the value they provide."

The starving artistes and co. image will always live on .... only in US though.

I wonder if they realize that a number of online folk will be put off by such demands?

On the other hand, what are the chances that people will be so offended that they will boycott Warner goods?

Apparently not. So world goes on.

Oldest cave dwellers

Here's an interesting article from Science Daily.

Experts of the field have found evidence of earliest cave folk in Wonderwerk, South Africa.
Stone tools found at the bottom level of the cave — believed to be 2 million years old — show that human ancestors were in the cave earlier than ever thought before. Geological evidence indicates that these tools were left in the cave and not washed into the site from the outside world.

By the way, that picture is a snap from Google Maps, showing where Wonderwerk is. There does not seem to be much data uploaded for the maps, is there? Or perhaps this is because vast expanses are just the great outdoors?

22 December 2008

Note the am/pm

Hmm, maybe the local councillors in UK will ban a.m. and p.m. next.

I was looking at the origins of a.m. and p.m.

According to Ask Oxford, these abbreviations are derived from Latin and goes way back to the 17th Century.


These abbreviations represent the Latin phrase ante/post meridiem, which mean 'before/after midday'.

While on the topic, remember how Greenwich of GMT fame came to be?

From Online Etymology Dictionary:

Royal Observatory was set up in 1675 by King Charles II to "solve the problem of finding longitude while at sea".

It was in 1884 that representatives of 25 countries met up for the International Meridian Conference.

They decided to adopt a single world meridian, passing through the principal Transit Instrument at the observatory at Greenwich, as the basis of calculation for all longitude and a worldwide 24-hour clock.

Wyrd Sisters on stage

This is absolutely awesome.

Terry Pratchett's Discworld novel, Wyrd Sisters is going to be adapted at theatre.

TERRY Pratchett’s twisted take on Shakespeare classics Macbeth and Hamlet, called Wyrd Sisters, comes to the Towngate Theatre, Basildon, on Wednesday, January 28.

Looks like this is not the first time Stephen Briggs has adapted Pratchett's works for the stage. Wyrd Sisters in 1991, Mort and then Guards! Guards!? Nice!


19 December 2008

Friday Links

New species of dinosaurs in Africa

Exciting discoveries.

According to Science Daily,

The team [of paleontologists] have discovered what appears to be a new type of pterosaur and a previously unknown sauropod, a species of giant plant-eating dinosaur. Both would have lived almost one hundred million years ago.

Round the world in a solar taxi

Innovative ways of living. Who says everything that can ever be discovered has been, er uncovered?

Swiss inventor Louis Palmer says he has completed a round-the-world trip in a solar-powered taxi without using a single drop of fuel.

Apparently, Jay Leno and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon hitched a ride on it as well.


If languages were religions

This was fun.

What if programming languages were religions?

LOLCODE would be Pastafarianism - An esoteric, Internet-born belief that nobody really takes seriously, despite all the efforts to develop and spread it.

I had to laugh at the VB's er deity stance.


Funny animation

I am pretty sure I linked to this. Maybe I just viewed this long ago?

Well, this was a funny animation by Carlos Puertolas. I like the lopsided lines in all the background appliances. Plus the shower curtain had a nice plastic shine to it.

18 December 2008

LUCA was not pro-heat?

Fascinating study reported in Science Daily.

An evolutionary geneticist from the Université de Montréal plus with researchers from the French cities of Lyon and Montpellier published this study about the big daddy/mommy from whence all life on earth came from.

Ye, this common ancestor is referred to as LUCA (Last Universal Common Ancestor).

Read the article and related links of the site. For now, it is suffices to say that LUCA fella was not overtly fond of heat as was previously believed.

In fact, the study suggests that the organism might have found a cooler micro climate to go forth and prosper and all that.

Where does the word X-mas come from?

What, for meatball's sake, is "yoghurt with weekend feeling"? How can anyone say this and not sound like a twat?

Well, this was one of the anglicisms discussed by the language police in ... er Germany.

But the main cause for concern was the word X-Mas.

You guessed; the folks are unhappy that it takes the attention away from Christ. Although, to be fair, they also pointed out that such a commercialized concept does not relate what the festivities are about - like being with family and love and all those fuzzy good stuff.

Anyway, this is what caught my eye from this article:

X-mas has its share of foes in the English-speaking world as well, although the roots of "X-mas" are thoroughly Christian. X stands for the Greek letter "Chi," a long-time shorthand for "Christ." According to Webster's Dictionary, the first printed use of X-mas dates back at least as far as 1551.

Fancy that.


Peter the Great's ship found

Interesting discoveries in Russia.

Archaeologists may have found one of the ships belonging to Peter the Great which incidentally was one of the ships making a beeline for Finland. For glory and conquering purposes as was the norm then (and now, but who's keeping count here).

By the way, the ship was found underwater, in the Gulf of Finland, within the vicinity of the Nord Stream pipeline.

“The ship was probably built in 1710 and sank during a raid aimed at conquering Finland,” said Sergey Kobylyansky, Administrative Director of the “Undersea Heritage of Russia” archaeological project.

Peter the Great was this dashing figure of a leader who ushered in a stellar age for Russia (1672 - 1725). You know the drill, conquer lots of land, expand the area, bring in fantastic new developments, that sort of thing.

It's exciting news, especially when you read a little bit more about the battles and fights during this leader's time.


17 December 2008

Watercolor Effect Menu

I've added them to my feeds and am drooling over their tutorials.

For now, check out this advanced watercolor effect menu by Web Designer Wall.

Flashing Russian Car

Marussia, the innovative Russian Sports Car sounds interesting. A bit of an eco-friendly car that uses nanotechnology.


Russia’s automobile manufacturers have found a niche that might help to overcome their foreign competitors: huge investments into the metal body once made by major companies, which now prevent them from utilising newer predominantly non-metal bodies. The Marussia project will now attempt to capitalise on this, by omitting the usage of wing spars, making exchangeable bodies, and developing an electric engine, but experts are skeptical.

The bit about nanotech is way at the bottom of this article. Was wondering why it was in the title of that article.


16 December 2008

Flaw in IE: same old same old

Is this the zillionth time I have seen this type of story?

According to BBC, Microsoft is warning users of a security flaw in its internet browser.

"Microsoft is continuing its investigation of public reports of attacks against a new vulnerability in Internet Explorer," said the firm in a security advisory alert about the flaw.

Microsoft says it has detected attacks against IE 7.0 but said the "underlying vulnerability" was present in all versions of the browser.

Other browsers, such as Firefox, Opera, Chrome, Safari, are not vulnerable to the flaw Microsoft has identified.

Question: if you start using another browser whilst MS fixes this problem, how many do you think will jump back to IE once they are given the all clear?

Just wondering ... how many will go back to IE once they have eaten the forbidden apples of the browser world?

Sigh, given the number of I only know how to use IE folks I know, I'd say quite a lot.

Oh hoo hooo!

I just reread the article. I thought someone has mentioned switching browsers, given how this is highlighted as a bit of a nasty affair. But read on for the MS recommendation.

Said Mr Ferguson: "If users can find an alternative browser, then that's good mitigation against the threat."

But Microsoft counselled against taking such action.

"I cannot recommend people switch due to this one flaw," said John Curran, head of Microsoft UK's Windows group.

Charming. User safety obviously comes first.

Was Dino extinction an inside job?

Researchers are now claiming that massive number of dinosaur deaths might be due to a volcanic explosion. Note that previously 'an asteroid killed them' was the popular theory amongst most scientists.

Keller and others now say more about the life-extinguishing work of a massive series of sulfur dioxide-spewing volcanic eruptions that occurred in what is now India at the time of the dinosaur-destroying K-T mass extinction (the shorthand given to the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction).

From what I read here, neither theory is either booted out or hailed as the sole culprit. The consensus seems to be a joint effort, if you can call it that.

And some naysayers say that humans have discovered all there is to be er, discovered. Pish posh.

Live Science

Review: Paranoia Agent

I recently watched Paranoia Agent (Moso Dairinin), one of the stranger anime series around.

Paranoia Agent was directed by Satoshi Kon and produced by Madhouse.

Gist of the whole series:

A number of people are attacked. The assailant is always this creepy little boy on skates, toting a baseball bat. The story follows an interesting non-linear path and finally you end up with the truth.

That is the story without giving too much away. Just a heads up though; it does not have the carefree feel of Bleach that is preferable for younger audiences. Far from it, I would recommend this for older folks as some of the sub plots can be could disconcerting.

What I liked about the story:

The story telling methods and overall direction was impressive. Haunting, psychologically disturbing. Best bit is how the plot just keeps you guessing; that's right, no spoon feeding here.

On a side note, there was a side plot detailing the entire process of creating a cartoon series. That was rather informative, at leas for me.

What's not to like:

Alright, so maybe the artwork might be a tad ordinary. While it's actually quite decent, I was hoping for darker shades and bit less vexel style figures.

15 December 2008

Origins of words Checkmate

... and other such word origins.

Reading this makes me sad as to the state of the area today. It was once the height of progress and development. Sigh! This is what people with imaginary metal detectors do to a country.

The article in question is from Take Our World For It: How to Speak Arabic and Not Know It.

I knew there were quite a number of English words that were derived from Arabic (through other European languages, etc.) but I am honestly surprised by other Arabic language influences.

Coffee, mocha and sugar are examples of borrowed words. Well, they have been anglicized over time.

Zero comes from the Arabic sifr, meaning “empty” as the symbol for "zero" represents an "empty" place in the positional notation. Some scholars believe that sifr comes from the Sanskrit shunya, "empty" as the Arabs did not invent their numerals, they borrowed them from the Indians. But, to be fair, the Indians got the idea from the Babylonians so we end up back in Iraq. Even closer to sifr in sound is cipher (which has two meanings: "a code" and "zero") and the French verb chiffre, "quantify".

Check out the full article; it is fascinating to say the least.

Why can't all countries play this professionally?

They play Starcraft as a professional game? Wooooo!

Alright so they have the gaming addiction, yada yada nonsense in this article as well but here's what caught my attention.

Broadcast live 24 hours by national television networks, computer gaming is not regarded as a geeky pastime. In South Korea, the most wired society in the world, it is a real sport, with its athletes, coaches, sponsors and fans.

Sponsored by major electronic corporations, top players are on million-dollar contracts, in a country where the average annual income is just $16,000. His coach, Kim Dun Gua, says that it’s not only the money, it’s the game itself that attracts.

Finally, a sport I can really respect.

SCV good to go, sir!

Pratchett interview with Gaiman from 1985

I found an interview of Terry Pratchett dating back to 1985. This was right after he has written Color of Magic (well, before had truly dived into the whole Discworld series).

I guess it makes sense that the folks didn't know who Neil Gaiman was then. When I read it right now, I have to laugh at the introduction page: Space Voyager - Interview by some guy named Neil Gaiman, in Space Voyager, Issue #15, June/July 1985 [The Colour of Magic].

Maybe I am not getting it. Maybe whoever was writing this meant that in good humor, in a tongue in cheek manner and I just read that wrong?


Besides writing fantasy and science fiction, acting as dungeon master to his local Dungeons and Dragons group, and casting bees and locusts in precious metals (all of which he does) Terry is currently employed as a PR for the electricity board, and has been a journalist for many years.

He plays D&D!!! Sigh!

For more fun, fun, fun info about Terry Pratchett, head over to the L-Space.

12 December 2008

Copyrights, games and Stargates

Atari is back - bang or fizzle?

Oh wow. Infogrames (alright Muggles, I'll tell you. They made Alone in the Dark) now owns Atari. I mean the whole package, not just a bit of shares here and there.

Looks like they are out to release some new games and get back into the arena.

I hope they make some good decisions.

As it is, I don't know if making games out of famous movies is the way to go.

Not for the hardcore gamer.


Man denies bottle smash attack

Update on the attacker who slung a beer bottle at Jason Momoa. While I mention it jokingly, it sounded like a bit of a nasty fight.


Momoa got about 140 stitches during reconstructive surgery, according to the District Attorney's Office.

Bando suffered four injuries to his hand and got 15 stitches, according to his attorney, James Blatt.

Turns out the man pleads "Not Guilty". Right!


We put a smile on their faces

Someone tried to patent the smiley?!

Well looks like it didn't work.

”The smiley graphic symbol is incapable of individualising the products and can’t fulfill the function of a trademark, therefore it can’t be registered as one,” says Rospatent’s statement.

Earlier, Russian mobile advertising operator, Superfon, had copyrighted the famous smiley graphic image. From now on, the firm said, companies in Russia wishing to use a smiley on promotional material would need Superfon’s permission, reported business newspaper Kommersant.

To think US keeps talking about their differences; looks like making money out of patents caught on rather well.


Watch out for Bull Visiting hours

I honestly don't know much about the creators of this cartoon. But this worth blogging about.

This is a Russian cartoon; according to YT user who uploaded this, the cartoon is called Latex.

It's crazy and funny. A conniving bull gets more than he bargained for!

11 December 2008

Lion's head on the Sphinx

Much as I fear linking to a somewhat sensationalist news, this does provide a bit of fun thought.

According to Daily Mail, researchers are claiming that the Sphinx, at one time, might have had the head of a lion.

A bit of an anti-climax there, isn't it?


Researchers also discovered that the Sphinx’s body and head were disproportionate, suggesting it was not originally a pharaoh.

Historical architect Dr Jonathan Foyle, who worked with Mr Reader on the project, said the head and body were massively out of proportion.

He said the reason for this could be that the Sphinx originally had an entirely different head - that of a lion.

According to this theory, the statue was later re-carved to be modelled on Khufu.

Bleach Avatar

You know I could have sworn I had a bleach avatar list somewhere on my blog ...

Well, turns out I am growing old and I can't quite remember what I was upto.

So here is a list of my favorite spots to hunt for Bleach Avatars.

1. Avatarist

A bit of Renji pics, some of Byakuya ... I've used this site a few times to get some nice, pretty avatars.

Granted, there doesn't seem to be too many choices here but this will do for now. Who knows, these guys will probably update their site and add more goodies.

2. Iconator

Another supper collection.

I notice it also has a few group shots as well.

3. Free Avatars

Great thing about this site is its mega collection.

By the way, do note that some of the same avatars lurk in each site. Guess they are the most popular ones. However, many do have their own little unique touch.

A fun Terry Pratchett interview

I came across a Terry Pratchett interview on Terry Pratchett Books website. Hooray!

I think this is an old interview but there can never be one too many interviews of the master writer! *laughs the evil Igor laugh*

Well, click here to visit the site.

10 December 2008

House on the Haunted Hill

Tick off one more movie from my list of movies to watch.

This one is the 1959 version of House on the Haunted Hill which was directed by William Castle. People may recall the 1999 remake with Geoffrey Rush which was a bit of color and blood-fest bonanza. The best bits about that movie was Rush and Manson's song in the credits.

The 1959 Haunted movie is same as the new one. Bottom line: Stay in this house overnight and you get tons of money, hooray!

Only thing is people get killed off. Well, not in the older version.

The William Castle one didn't pot off everyone until one or two remained of all folks hankering after all that moolah. In fact, this movie focused on potential hauntings, everyone wondering if someone was going to die. Then it turned into a whodunnit of sorts.

What I liked about movie:

Everyone looked normal! I mean really. All characters had an untainted look that said this face has not been to the plastic surgeon. It was impressive to see distinct features on each character, something that I would say is lacking today.

Another noteworthy bit is the storytelling. The unfolding of the story is subtle and the tale itself flows at a comfortably slow pace.

Might I add that no one at any given point turned around after a dramatic moment and spit out the words "Take that motherf****r!" Thank chilly beans for that!

Some annoying bits:

The movie did have its jarring bits. I always get annoyed when something is just randomly introduced at the beginning of the story. Then you know it's going to play a role later on. Enter the pool of acid. Ah yes, wonder when this will be used.

By the way, last time I heard hosts hid embarrassing little facts about the house so as to look amiable in the eyes of the guests.

Second bit to note. That secretary whatchamacallit was considerably irritating. She had one too many hysterical screaming moments. Wonder what her audition consisted of. To be fair, the other woman who was part of the contest was a bit more pragmatic. And less likely to grip her hair in her hands, shriek and then dash out of the room.

All in all, a good movie.

Micrsoft and Blizzard go ad-hopping

Is it just me thinking this or has Microsoft being making some wise moves lately?

First there was the sponsoring of The Guild and now a Microsoft subsidiary, Massive, made a mega deal with Blizzard.

Blizzard signed up today with Microsoft's in-game ad subsidiary Massive Inc. for a mulit-year deal naming them the exclusive advertising service provider for Blizzard's Web sites and Battle.net in the U.S., Canada, Europe, and South Korea.

They are making some very smart decisions here.

Well, as long as my druid doesn't have to wear a 'I like Windows' t-shirt in WoW ...


Episode 3 of The Guild

Ooooooh Episode 3 of The Guild is out!!!

It was hilarious. The focus has moved onto Vork; you get to see his humble abode in this one.

The comment about his neighbor having an excellent wi-fi connection as excellent.

*repeats* He has Alzheimer's and an excellent wi-fi connection. :)

Now please scurry away from whatever boring page you are reading and go watch The Guild.

09 December 2008

A place called home: Turtle

Took me long enough to read this news article but it was well worth it.

A fossil found in SW China has led to this brand new revelation - namely something to do with the turtle's shell and how the little guy ended up with it.

Alright, it's not brand new concept; apparently it was a debate amongst scientists for years now. Wonder if there was an occasional scuffle in the canteen as the debate got a bit heated?

In a study to be published Thursday, scientists report on the discovery of a missing-link species -- Odontochelys semitestacea, for "toothed, half-shell turtle" -- whose outer shell emerged directly from the ribs and backbone and not from the skin, as some have argued.

Read the rest at YahooNews. Just a fascinating little story.

What not to use

I came across this Scifi Article via Whedonesque.

I can understand why they are poking fun at this concept.

Your article takes a beating when you quote YouTube comments. By the way, is that were she got all the fan quotes for her article?

Makes you cringe doesn't it?

I am sure she has other sources to use for the article. But at the same time, since she did quote YT, I also wonder if social networking was a bit new to the writer.

I maybe assuming too much but when I read articles like that, I wonder if these writers are grappling with new media as this big daunting task.

Lost Trailer: Season 5

Lost sneak peek for Season 5.

Who are the mysterious folk popping up to bother Karen?

YT via Ask Ausiello

08 December 2008

Money woes for Cheyenne

The guys who are developing Stargate World, Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment, have been facing tough times. I mean they claim that everything is moving forward with the glaring hiccup of employee payments.

Namely that some folk in the company have not been paid for close to 24 days.


These are difficult times indeed.

Excerpt from Gateworld (quotes from company):

We continue to move forward on the Stargate Worlds project. We recently completed a successful phase of closed beta testing and we will start a second phase early in 2009. We invite all of your readers to come to our site, check out our fantastic community and sign up for our beta


Plural of Pizza

This page in the Ask Oxford website is one to bookmark ... at least in the case of peevologists and prescriptivists.

Someone asks that age old question - do you add an apostrophe in the plural form of pizza?

The answer was a vehement no.

Do read the full answer, it is fascinating.

By the way, did you know dos, exes, yesses are acceptable plural forms for the words - do, ex and yes? And that no = noes?

05 December 2008

Friday Links

This one's for web designers

This is a must read!

25 Tutorials for Advanced Freelance Web Designers (Freelance Folder).

Some of the stuff you might already know but there are quite a lot of interesting ideas and concepts floating around here.

Plus it helps when a lot of useful links are compiled in one blog post.

So little time, so much web research!

Who's got a .tel?

Hmm, check this out.

Domain names with .tel top-level domain have been put on sale for businesses and organizations purchasing their trademarks.

It is intended to be used for pages that contain contact details for individuals and companies, although websites using this domain will not be available for everyone to purchase until March 24 of next year.

There does seem to be quite a lotta folk signing up for it already.

Source: Wikinews

Funny comedy site

Funny or Die is the name. It has got tons of funny videos, some made by comedians, made exclusively for FOD and some interesting ones created by users. Something to watch out for.

Check out this conversation between Jon Stewart and Will Ferrell (impersonating President G. W. Bush).

I came across the site via PZ Myers's blog which, by the way, features a hilarious video called Prop 8. Incidentally in that one watch out for little song and dance by Dr Horrible himself!!

The Bunjies

Remember No Room for Gerold? That was a cute and quirky animation by Film Bilder. Well, here's one more crazy and cute as hell animation by the same folk(s).

This is their official website which has a nice list of all their works. Definitely worth checking out!


04 December 2008

Citadel found in South America

Exciting news!

A Pre-Inca citadel has been discovered in the Amazonian forest.


The main encampment comprises circular stone houses overgrown by lush jungle over an area of five hectares (12 acres), said archaeologist Benedict Goicochea Perez, quoted by the official Andina news agency.

The citadel sits atop a chasm that the former inhabitants may have used as a lookout to spy on approaching enemies, said Goicochea Perez.

Experts speculate that this might have belonged to/were built by Chachapoyas civilization. Roughly meaning Cloud People (and thus bringing out a whole new term for Cloud Computing), these folk might have pre-dated the Incas; they were later conquered by Incas who later faced germs and steel in the form of Spanish invaders.


Moist: Dr Horrible's Henchman

Moist is out!

No, that was not quite what I was going for ....

Point is, Dr Horrible comic about Henchman Moist's humble beginnings is now out.

Dark, somewhat sad story of what made him who is he today. Sweaty palms and all.

Good job folks! I meant for the comic and not character Moist.

03 December 2008

Afterworld: Review

I finally finished watching Afterworld. At least I think I did. I eagerly rushed through the first season (130 episodes of approximately 3 mins) only to be left in the lurch.

Where, oh where, is season 2?

What is Afterworld?

Afterworld is a scifi webseries that depicts life after The Fall. It's not chirpy life after autumn or anything else that sounds like an 18th century historical romance set in September *shudder*.

Rather, it follows the story of Russel Shoemaker, a techno expert who woke up one morning to find the rest of the world had disappeared in a puff.

This series was a thriller to the end; the main protagonist embarks on a quest to find out why almost everyone disappeared. Almost every episode brings that much closer to the truth as well as putting him in life-and-death situations.

Almost all episodes. They seemed to lose their lustre closer to the end. As if the writers were a bit busy or perhaps had a bit of writer's block?


Nonetheless, there were some noteworthy points about this webseries:

a) A nice departure from big budget over-the-top science fiction series we are force-fed on telly (Joss Whedon's work are and will not be included in that run-of-the-mill list).

b) A thoughtful look at how a country tries to survive when all the rules, laws and insitutes that uphold are no longer in place. The human dynamics portrayed made a bit of social commentary - neither the very religious, academically minded or educational folk could rebuild the world on their own. Moral of story - there are extremists in all of these social spheres.

c) The 80s video game style story telling was fabulous. It brought back memories of Sierra games and Alone in the Dark (the Infogramme one and not the bastardised versions now).

Some shortcomings:

a) An overall fatalistic tone. That in itself is alright and a lot of people will probably not mind. This one is a personal preference where 'everything happens for a reason' is a theme I can tired of.

b) Another religious paralell - is it just me or are there comparisons or inspirations from Christian religion? I suppose if it was aimed at US audience that makes sense.

c) And perhaps a more realistic portrayal of women? Every female looked like a puberscent boy's fantasy.

Is there are season 2 of Afterworld?

I honestly don't know. I would welcome any input on this matter. Is there going to be a season 2? Will it be on telly? Did the writers get a tad greedy and sell out the story to networks? Or did they simply want to move on to newer projects or life get a tad busy?

Will keep you updated.

Joss Whedon and Womb Envy

An interview with Joss Whedon on Mother Jones.

I am not so sure about his comparison of Telly - feminine and movies as masculine but I did find a lot of his comments refreshing. Not like the typical "I love this corporation, they are my best friends, he was a great actor to work with..."

By the way, did you know he was one of the writers for Toy Story?


MJ: In the second-to-last season of Angel, the hero actually takes a job with Wolfram and Hart, and eventually he just loses it and brings down the house.

JW: Well, you know, I'm sure I'm going to bring down News Corp with Dollhouse. Hmmm—maybe you shouldn't quote that. I'm not a huge fan of Mr. Murdoch's politics, God knows, or his methods. But I've been at Fox on and off for practically the whole of my career. Am I the biggest hypocrite in the world for taking their money? Am I doing any good? Or am I working for Wolfram and Hart? I feel at the end of the day, I'm doing some good. They're letting me tell my stories. We'll see if the stories on Dollhouse actually come out the way I plan them to.

It moves, it moves!

I'm developing my site on the side and thus been looking up various CSS tips and tricks on the side.

In the midst of my search I came across this fantastic tutorial - CSS+Javascript power. Fancy menu.

That rollover effect is fascinating (a water bubble, dollop of rain, a pretty caterpillar or some snot?). Not making fun of the effect but thinking of all possibilities!

Must implement this somehow.

Devthought via CSS Globe

02 December 2008

What happened, years ago, today?

I wanted to post a bit of history news or at least a few links to some interesting history news.

And then I found that I depended on Yahoo & Wikipedia to gather up bits of info. Both of them are excellent sources but I was hoping for a more indepth, I've spent 50 year writing in this journal whilst investigating this museum, sort of sources.

Basically a few blogs or sites written by historians.

I came across a few, after resorting to trusty old Google (was too lazy for Hakia).

Is it me, or are most of these first few searches written by Western folk, based in perhaps the US?

Some of this made interesting reading, some sounded a bit one-sided.

My quest for more History blogs, sites continues.

In the meantime, I stuck with Wikipedia.

Here are some important events (general ongoings and turning points in people's lives that occurred on Dec 2) :

[Note: comments in square brackets are from me]

International Day for the Abolition of Slavery - United Nations ! [ Hooray! ]

1409 - The University of Leipzig opens. [Woot!]

1930 - Great Depression: US President Herbert Hoover goes before the United States Congress and asks for a US$150 million public works program to help generate jobs and stimulate the economy. [Bit of scary de ja vu].

1971 - Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Fujairah, Sharjah, Dubai, and Umm Al Quwain form the United Arab Emirates. [Am I too old for thinking UAE is a young lad of a nation?]

1988 - Benazir Bhutto is sworn in as Prime Minister of Pakistan, becoming the first woman to head the government of an Islam-dominated state. [Awwhh. Just remembered her tragic death.]

European agency against stem cells? Or is it?

I know they are making it out to be a pro-life sort of argument or at least it seems that way to me.

But isn't this story really about patents and copyrights? And the whole deal being that the rest of the world does not agree that R&D and gathering money is not directly or indirectly linked to how much money you can squeeze out of it?

Gist of it:

An appeal panel at the European Patent Office upheld a June decision to reject a patent application regarding the use of stem cells filed by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation in 1995.

And this was the most glaring comment within the article:

The problem for companies looking to profit from technology using stem cells is that without patent protection there is little incentive to pour money into research.

Like I said, a lot of countries and cultures have other incentives for technological enhancement.

What about knowledge for the sake of knowledge and for the development of humans in general?

Source: YahooNews

Stars really do smile down on us

Photo Source: Wadde @ Flickr

There was a bit of excitement around the world as the moon looked all happy and smiley and the dish ran away with the spoon ... no wait ...

Jokes aside, this was quite a fascinating moment in the dynamics of astral bodies.

YahooNews mentions this in passing "A rare positioning of planets Venus, top left, and Jupiter, top right, and the crescent moon of the Earth provides a 'smiley' effect ... "

Would we have called it a smiley if this was not a tech savvy world? Sure it would still be a beaming 'face' of sorts but the word 'smiley' itself tells a lot about us, don't it?

Pic via Wadde via Flickr

01 December 2008

New Buffy Movie in the works?

Is Joss Whedon gonna make a Buffy movie?

Seems to be quite a lot of rumors going around in the past few weeks.

I for one would not complain, as I strive to collect the entire collection of Buffy & Angel (special in stores now; goodbye Mr Wallet).

Kind of lame that everyone is gushing about Twilight and then thinking, hey. Maybe we should bring out a Buffy movie.

Whether it is stake season is and should not be dictated by mainstream moviegoers.

Ye, for the record, Joss Whedon's vampire series will make a great movie, any day.

If he is still the director & writer.

And Fox does not barf all over it, as they seem to do with most of his projects.

Someone should ask Whedon ... have you considered finding a producer outside of US?

Origins of bicycle, taxicab and train

How about a few words about transportation? Something we all take for granted ... until there is a strike and we are stranded in the snow. Or, in modern day circumstances, Thai airport.

Cab (taxicab)

Apparently this was an old Italian word, referring to, of all the things, a goat!

Apparently the old bouncy carriages was reminiscent of young and free goats, running amok.


This seems to be derived from the noun version of train, meaning a procession or pulling of something or the other.

The reference to a means of transport using the good old railways dates back to 1824, much later than the generic 'draw', 'pull' references.


Huh. This word has quite a strange background.

Alright, so there is the reference to two + wheels, yada yada, etc.

What got my attention was the penny farthing: bicycle with a small wheel in back and a big one in front. The one we all know and love (or hate) today was called a safety bicycle, dating back to 1877.

Etymology Online
Etymologically Speaking