Sunday, November 16, 2008

Fox on the run

In Arizona a lady jogger ended up taking a fox with her - attached to her arm. The rabid fox attacked her after she´d backed away from the animal. She ended up having to run back to her car with the animal on her arm, wrench it off with a shirt before visiting the nearest medical center. It was confirmed that the fox was indeed rabid. One hell of a workout though.

Russian sabre rattling: Missiles to Baltic

Russia has responded to the US plans for it´s missile shield base in Poland and the Czech republic by saying they´ll be stationing missiles in the Baltic states. They see the anti-missile shield as a threat even though it´s only supposed to be used against rogue states according to the US. With the US being somewhat of an international bully, its good to see someone standing up them.

Lost in translation: Welsh

A translation error for the modern world. A welsh out of office reply ended up on a road sign as a translation for a ¨goods vehicles only" board. Nice one!

Giant Lego Man

Another artist has been busy. After allowing a giant Lego figure to wash up on the Dutch coast in August 2007, another one bearing the same slogan ¨No real than you are¨ was found on Brighton Beach.
Nice stunt from Ego Leonard.

Xubuntu 8.10 released

Ubuntu 8.10 Intrepid Ibex has seen the light of day and following suit the derivative Linux distributions are also out. I like Xubuntu because itś built for speed so even your five year old PC in the corner can be made useful with it. Time to try it out.

Fact: Polar warming is man made

The Nature Geoscience journal has published evidence that humans really are the cause of melting ice caps. Not that it really matters anymore. There are too many people who still argue that Gore´s climate film was unscientific, when the fact is we are feeling the effects of climate change already. It´s pointless trying to convince them when we should be focusing our energies on how to cope with these changes. Wee already screwed up the planet, so we might as well get on and see how we can best live in the mess that we created.

Beer sales slide, pub culture dying?

Could the UK pub culture really be under threat? I notice that fewer people were going out between the Christmas and New Year breaks the last few years. I thought the drop in restrictions on opening hours would help things, but now that the smoking ban has been introduced and alcohol prices in the pub growing ever higher, it seems that beer sales are suffering. Five pubs a day are shutting up shop.
Considering the fact that beer from the off-licence and supermarket is cheaper, and people have more home entertainment these days, no wonder more people are staying at home.
But the UK government´s attitude of using alcohol as the scape goat for causing anti-social behaviour doesn´t help. Even now they government are talking about banning supermarkets from selling beer under cost price. This all reminds me too much of the Al Capone years in the US when they tried to ban liquor. When will the government realise that hanging on a street corner with a tin of lager is because the youth have nothing else to do. Tackle the problem not the symptom.

Give someone a cuppa if you want them to like you

A warm drink is a great way of getting someone to ¨warm¨ to you. Primeval instincts regarding warmth and comfort are invoked if you offer someone a hot drink according to a study in Science magazine from Yale and London Metropolitan Universities.

Privacy is an illusion

Extended terrorism laws, Orwellian databases. You´re civil liberties are at risk with the new powers being imposed by the UK government. Another article describing how the UK is turning from a ¨Nanny state¨ into a ¨Big Brother¨ state.

UFO near miss and other stories

The British National Archives have release a series of UFO files online in PDF format. Interesting stuff.

Echelon in practice: Orwellian database

The British government has some wonderful ideas about how to implement the Big Brother 1984 society. As if the country doesn´t have enough to worry about with more surveillance cameras per head of the population than other European countries, now they want a database to monitor all telephone and internet traffic and store it for two years. Apparantly it will be only point to point information and not the contents of emails, but one wonders how easy it will be to extend the system once the basics are in place.
Considering how the the british government, tax office and even the military have managed to compromise hundreds of thousands of personal records through IT mismanagement (lost USB sticks, selling old servers on eBay without wiping them first, sending sensitive CDs through regular mail), they can´t really say that your personal data is safe with them. Where is it going to end.

Energy saving initiatives: The Light Blossom

Now here´s a good idea from Philips. Create a street light that acts like a flower, using the sun´s rays to charge cells during the day, rotating like a daisy to face the sun, then in the evenings release the stored energy as light. Proximity sensors mean the light only comes on when there is movement nearby, in an attemt to reduce light pollution and still be safe. Saves laying cables too so they could be used in remote areas. I think it´s quite an attractive design too in a future-urban kind of way.

Tales from the trenches of an Apple event

It´s funny hows some professions give the impression of being glamourous and full of perks. I never realised how gritty the work of an internet journalist was, called up at the last minute to grab a flight, find a room in the only available hotel and fighting to get the best seat at an event just to tell you about those promotional events. You tend to take it all for granted.

Banksy´s Pet Shop

I´m not an art buff by any means but I do appreciate Banksy´s style. Now he´s created a little shop to demonstrate the effects of factory farming on animals. I suppose it´s the next step up from the kid in school who says milk comes from a bottle out of a factory. I like the one with the chicken nuggets in the barnyard dipping themselves in sauce. Makes you think, which is what art is all about.

US debt clock runs out of figures

The US digital debt clock has run out of figures. I don´t suppose anyone saw it coming that there would ever be any more than 10 trillion dollars of debt in the US, even though they started with out with 2.7 trillion when they erected it in 1989. Now they have to use the space used by the $ sign to handle the extra digit.
Now that there is a 700 billion dollar bailout plan in action, it´ll probably be even more. Can someone explain why the US isn´t a third world country yet?