27 March 2009

Friday Links

Hurrah! It's Friday! Now to make it through the day ...
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

Terry Pratchett interview

----(click here for full article)-----

I found this via link. It was an absolute delight to read. Especially that bit at the end about Foul Ole Ron's famous saying.

Ooh and guess what? He is working on Unseen Academicals! It's set for an October 2009 release.

I've mentioned that before, haven't I?

Hot tea is bad

As is putting your hand in a tub of boiling water, giving your baby the feeding bottle thingy without testing it on your wrist and of course, the age old crossing the road without looking both sides first.

Well, some people spent a lot of time doing this research and found out that hot tea could make it even more likely that you get a kind of cancer.

"The British Medical Journal study found that drinking black tea at temperatures of 70C or higher increased the risk." [BBC]

... Seriaas?

Best way to create a generation of half-wits

Ok, folks I am against GCSE in general, be it iGCSE (I know, I know) or that other local one.

So this "Science for local GCSE is devalued" article does not surprise me.

Why in my day .... imagine a big monologue about how lessons were harder and kids were smarter.

Most of them ... some of them. A few.

I was watching BBC and one of the rather indignant folks ranting on about GCSE's falling standards in science actually pointed out that there was a question about a mobile phone/device in the papers.

Oh dear.

And while I shake my head in disbelief, I come across this article. Apparently, kids will be taught twittering and blogging and podcasting ....

I believe the modern reaction is ROFLMAO!

*sings* Do doo Do doo Do ...

By the way, is there a bounty out for traditional education? Is she covering in a corner somewhere, desperately trying to get hold of Mr Anderson?

26 March 2009

Copyright Police


Dude, you should not be doing scummy stuff during a recession. *pause* You should be doing scummy stuff at any given time.

Ok, my original point is that you don't want to annoy customers in a time when people are less inclined to spend money.

There has been a lot of crackdowns, in one way or another, from the copyright brigade.

* Last.fm has gone medieval on their non-US/UK/German listeners.

* The German publishing association of sorts held up the proverbial piece of paper that will change the word and yelled, "No P2P in our time."

* And now there is rumor that AT&T and Comcast just might be honoring the 3-strikes and then you will have internetlessness rule.

That second analogy will make me rather unpopular, won't it?

25 March 2009

Copyright is tiresome

This is rather sad, all the more so since the copyright law in US protects property over the civil rights. Well, the overwhelming evidence (read: buttering up RIA) points in that direction, doesn't it?

Back to main story. It appears that 9 disability groups have written to major publishers "urging major publishers to activate the computerized voice that reads digital books out-loud on the Kindle 2."

Wow, the publishers must look like the Grinch now.

The issue of copyright/intellectual property is so absurd. Remember the time cops had a chat with a charity organisation just because they were playing the radio loudly (read: violated copyright).

Better yet, read about this story about the Irish kindergartens being nagged for royalties!


Going back to a better time?

This is an interesting article, in a helpful writing guide sort of way.

Two things.

Firstly, a lot of clients get all iffy about sentence structure like that and that can be a bit disappointing if you have just come up with a super duper sentence.

But then they pay for and own the written product so they can specify as much as they want. Thus, save the lengthy prologues for personal blogs.

Secondly, and this is actually the first thought that occurred to me, .... isn't this how the more eloquent British authors write? It's a style of writing that already exists; it's strange to see people hype about it as a mega discovery.

On that note, check out Helen Cresswell's work.

20 March 2009

Friday Links

Photo Source: aimee.craze

It's Friday! Woohoo!

Alright, so what's been making the news this week?

Ruby Ruby Ruby

That was cheesy and so so wrong. I blame BBC; a presenter on the breakfast show made a similar joke (yes, yes, I thought it was funny but I didn't think the twitter hoax was funny so ... go figure).

Anyway, I found this interesting little intro to Ruby on Rails. Consider me intrigued. Now, to actually sit down and learn it. *notes it down for next week*.

It ain't over til it's over?

Speaking of procrastination and to-do lists ... folks have been passing around this funny little article called Cult of Done manifesto.

So true. *signs up*

What's the slogan? Because I'm worth it?

Oooh more and more folks are talking about a business model for online journalism. Like this one.

It could work. It might not work. Who knows.

Is it because these are two such divergent schools of thought - sharing vs. payment per idea?

It's still strange to see how some folks (especially from the print media) are at a loss on handling the internet. *has flashbacks to annoying online marketing tactics*

19 March 2009

Rhianna Pratchett's portfolio and other links

Ooh I didn't know Rhianna Pratchett worked on the Overlord games? I believe she was scriptwriter for one or more of the Overlord games as well as contributing to a number of other games.

Well, I found out all that (and more) via the Joystig. They also have links to her official portfolio.

She reminds me of Susan from Discworld.

Source: Rhianna Pratchett via Joystig

She's a witch, she's a witch, burn, burn!

Or so, the copyright gurus seem to say.

Er, this might not be the best way to fight off decreasing sales in the book industry.

Seriously, why else would you come up with ideas like this one?


German book publishers' association leader Alexander Skipis announced his group will sue thousands of Internet users who share literary files online. (Source)

He actually called P2P file sharing 'organized crime'.

Look Mister, I don't download books et al but if you want throw an American style hissy fit about it, you can be sure I will boycott any books by that association.

Sadly, my list of stuff that I snub is getting really long. WMG seems to be top of the list.

16 March 2009

A classic wtf moment

Somedays you don't know whether you should laugh or cry.

Take this latest bit of news about Scifi channel. Apparently they are going through an image makeover and hence will call themselves Syfy instead of Scifi.


"... to move away from the genre’s association with geeks and space aliens."


Obviously the concept of niche audiences is a strange notion for these folks.


13 March 2009

Friday Links

200 years later, he is still annoying anti-science folk

Why is anyone surprised about this incident? I've heard about Wordpress being blocked so this incident is a minor bump on that very long road to censorship. Tragic but hardly surprising.

The incident in question is the removal of a Darwin-related story from the Bilim ve Teknik magazine in Turkey.

Excerpt from RT:
The removal of an article devoted to Darwin from a Turkish scientific journal just before publication, as well as the dismissal of its chief editor, has sparked criticism over ‘censorship’ and ‘politization’.

Again, why is anyone surprised?

Happy Birthday WWW

Guess what else is celebrating its birthday? The world wide web, apparently. I found this interesting article about some of the geniuses behind the development of www.

Well, for a more descriptive version of the birth of www let me refer to another group of unsung heroes - the good folks at Opera. Their little web curriculum package is fantastic and an absolute must for any self-respecting web developer. Point is, they also had a little bit about the history of the internet.

And yes, CERN did save the day. Apparently some folks, in true American style, wanted to charge royalties and the guys in CERN saved the day. Hurrah for open source!

Linux to the rescue

Speaking of open source (boy, the stories are just flowing into one another today), seems like the good folks in France have seen the light. And they just ran for it. Towards it, with the sound of a Windows software package breaking into pieces behind them. Or just hanging there, waiting for the Ctrl-Alt-Del motion.

Alright. Story is that the French police adopted Ubuntu and found that they saved tons of money. No more blue screen nonsense for them, no sir.

Surely it makes more sense to open source stuff now that expenses are shooting through the roof?

10 March 2009

Six thousand indeed ... take that and that!!

For shame! Maybe this chimpanzee does not like the paparazzi style observation of his daily life. Especially by visitors!

Excerpt from BBC:

Keepers at Furuvik Zoo found that the chimp collected and stored stones that he would later use as missiles.

Hmm ... wonder if he found out all the theories about human origins going around ... and decided to put in his 2 c's worth.

09 March 2009

By Jove, what was I saying?!

Whilst watching Jimmy Doherty in Darwin's Garden the other night (by the bye, part 2 is on 12th March), we came across the idiom "By Jove".

So after a little debate about its origins, I set about to look for it.

We figured it might have some amount of religion connotations, at least in early usage.

Well, it was not what we expected.

Excerpt from Dictionary.com:

1325–75; ME <>Jov- (obl. s. of compound nom. Juppiter father Jove), akin. to deus god; c. Gk Zeús (gen. Diós) Zeus

And it makes sense when you think about it now.

06 March 2009

Friday Links

Green thumbs

Spring is around the corner and my little Evergreen, sorry, our little Evergreen looks droopy. So I am looking up gardening info. Here's hoping I can add a bit of eco-living to the hope. And not qipe them out.

So here's Starting Seeds Indoors.

Another Mickey Mouse move?

Excuse me. Eh ke ke ke! That's my impression of a Gargamel laugh.

This is regarding Illinois and the Pluto planet status.

Any other attempts to dispel other scientific facts using riff raff arguments?

And are people really justifying this?

Excerpt from The Register:

A minor detail, though, because Illinois clearly feels local pride has been dented by the by the IAA vote "in which only four per cent of the International Astronomical Union's 10,000 scientists participated".

Art tutorial

And a cute little tutorial about facial expressions. I was really looking for something about cartoon figures.

Interesting nonetheless.

Source: Karen-Rox

05 March 2009

Lizards are executive transvestites?

I have been meaning to link to this article for a while now.

Apparently Augrabies flat lizards 'pretend' to be female lizards until they have got their skills high enough to fend off a well-endowed, aggro older male.

Excerpt from News24:

They [researchers] found that young male Augrabies flat lizards delayed displaying the extravagant coloration of sexually-mature males until they were able to defend themselves adequately.

Izzard would be pleased, me thinks.

Black holes.... going round and round

Here's an interesting article about binary black system.

Excerpt from News24:

Data from Apache Point Observatory in New Mexico provided the best evidence to date of two black holes orbiting each other, according to astronomer Todd Boroson of the National Optical Astronomy Observatory in Tucson, Arizona.

Opera: Good Touch

I like!

04 March 2009

And people ask why I don't go to the movies anymore

I wonder if I can bang a shoe on a table, Khrushchev-style?

I just read that Robert 'Ironman' Downey Jr. will play Sherlock Holmes! Check this site; look at the pictures!


It looks like Oliver Twist grew up and became a hobo, for meatball's sake!

No, no, no! Will the stupid crass moneymaking machines of Hollywood please leave all the classics alone?

Actually, why don't you stick to stuff you are really good at, stuff that bring out the essence of that movie industry?

That's right, just stick to High School Musicals; that works out really well and it offends less fans.

Maybe less adaptations will be made now that countries all over the world are facing a recession?

03 March 2009

No intelligent design here

How strange is that?

According to BBC, the Vatican might host a Darwin conference ...

While that article let me with a "Eh, what?!" feeling, the last bit of the article was the most interesting.

Apparently at the aforementioned conference Prof. Francisco Ayala will talk against intelligent design.

This is sure to upset a lot of people. Especially as the point of this conference is to discuss "compatibility of Darwin's theory of evolution and Catholic teaching".

My my, even the Vatican is a bit more progressive than certain nations.

When you are alone and life is making you worry,

Facebook nearly twitterpatted the microblogging site!

Ok so I made up that verb but apparently the mega people linkage site nearly bought out Twitter.

So, any thoughts, feelings, gag effects on hearing this news?

It is funny that just the other day I was pish-poshing any future plans to join identi.ca. Not that it was a bad site; on the contrary, it is pretty and smooth flowing. And I've heard lots of good stuff about it.

Point is, if Twitter is run over, I mean acquired by he who shall not be named, I will have to say a sad little bye bye to my account.

I know tons of people praise it (just replace the word downtown in the song by same name and you get their motto) but I still liken it to the cheap and easy means for the twats from my high school to find me. No thanks.

02 March 2009

Words for food, yummmmm

I have not looked up an interesting word origins for a while. Well, today is as good a day as any to start again.

Firstly, what did I have for lunch? Noodles!

According to Online Etymology Dictionary it has a) Germanic origins, and b) meant something about a dried up bit of flour mixture. Charming!

What about macaroni then? Well apparently it might have Greek origins, thus hinting at something conjured out of barley mixture. Of sorts! The Macaroni Club reference was interesting.

As for lasagna ... funny how the word started out as a pot with feet.