Monday, December 24, 2007

Swimming With the Dolphins

I am not sure how many people read this blog, but for those who do, the blog is going on holiday until the 9th as we're off to Florida. Hee, hee.

Deluge: A Bittorrent client that "claims" to outsmart Rogers


Rogers' internet subscribers have always been somewhat jealous of their Bell Sympatico brethren when it comes to downloading Bittorrent files as Bell is much less nasty when it comes to filtering Torrent traffic than is Rogers. (And yes, there are legitimate reasons to downloading Torrent files. New Linux distros... well, that's all I can think of.) But the new client Deluge claims to get around all of Roger's machinations. My experience, so far, has been positive, though the client (and they say as much on the site) is a little buggy in its Windows incarnation.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

They're Making my Old Residence Co-Ed, Officially



The penis was erected by first-year student Grayson Lee, 18, during Toronto's first snowfall last month.

"I was stressed from exams and looking for something to give everyone a laugh," Lee said. "I did it in the middle of the night. It lasted a couple of days. Someone pushed it over but I rebuilt it. Then they sent a bulldozer ..."




You can read the full story here.

Hat tip: Ms. Balfe.

GS, former inmate of Gatehouse, has pointed out that Mr. Lee's excuse that he erected the snow penis because he was stressed while having a certain plausibility for snow penis Mark I, but becomes significantly less plausible with the two subsequent snow peni. Everyone gets their 15 minutes of fame and no doubt Mr. Warhol would have loved the fame that Mr. Lee is presently enjoying.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Monday, December 17, 2007

Saudi king 'pardons rape victim'


While the headline says it all, it doesn't quite capture the absurdity or the sickeningly topsy turvy culture in which the sentence, 'Saudi king pardons rape victim' could be intelligible.

Great Sleuthing: WikiStyle


By MICHAEL MELIA
Associated Press
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico --
U.S. military personnel at Guantánamo Bay called Fidel Castro a transsexual and defended the prison for terrorism suspects in anonymous Web postings, an Internet group that publishes government documents said Wednesday.
The group, Wikileaks, tracked Web activity by service members with Guantánamo e-mail addresses and also found they deleted prisoner identification numbers from three detainee profiles on Wikipedia, the popular online encyclopedia that allows anyone to change articles.
Julian Assange, who led the research effort, said the postings amount to propaganda and deception.
This is the American government speaking to the American people and to the world through Wikipedia, not identifying itself and often speaking about itself in the third person, Assange said in a telephone interview from Paris.
Army Lt. Col. Ed Bush, a prison camps spokesman, said there is no official attempt to alter information posted elsewhere but said the military seeks to correct what it believes is incorrect or outdated information about the prison.
Bush declined to answer questions about the Castro posting.
Assange said that in January 2006, someone at Guantánamo wrote in a Wikipedia profile of the Cuban president: Fidel Castro is an admitted transexual, the unknown writer said, misspelling the word ``transsexual.
The U.S. has no formal relations with Cuba and has maintained its base in the southeast of the island over the objections of the Castro government.
Comments on news stories were posted by people using apparently fictitious names to news sites -- and were prepared by the Guantánamo public affairs office, according to Wikileaks. A comment on a Wired magazine story about a leaked Guantánamo operations manual that was recently posted on the Wikileaks Web site urged readers to learn about Guantánamo by going to the public affairs Web site, adding that the base is ``a very professional place full of true American patriots.
Assange's group could not specifically identify who from Guantánamo made about 60 edits to Wikipedia entries on topics that included not only the prison but also subjects such as football, cars and television programs.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

It was sixty years ago today: The Birth of Sandstate

Ye Olde Vacuum Tube: We Will Keep the Valve Fires Burning



It was sixty years ago today,
Sgt. Pepper taught the amp to play
They've been going in and out of style
But they're guaranteed to raise a smile.
So may I introduce to you
The act you've known for all these years,
Sgt. Pepper's Transistor Club Band.
--All apologies.

Sixty years ago, on Dec. 16, 1947, three physicists at Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill, N.J., built the world's first transistor. William Shockley, John Bardeen and William Brattain had been looking for a semiconductor amplifier to take the place of the vacuum tubes that made radios and other electronics so impossibly bulky, hot and power hungry. They were so instantly certain they'd found their answer that they didn't speak a word of it to anyone for six months, until they could experiment further and apply for patents.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

'Culture not behind girl's death: brother.' The Mind Reels



'Culture not behind girl's death: brother.'


A spokesman for the Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CAN) said he is dubious of opinions that the girl's death resulted from a clash of cultures.

"Teen rebellion is something that exists in all households in Canada and is not unique to any culture or background," CAIR-CAN's Sameer Zuberi said in an interview. "Domestic violence is also not unique to Muslims."

The death of Aqsa "was the result of domestic violence, a problem that cuts across Canadian society and is blind to color or creed," echoed Shahina Siddiqui, president of the Islamic Social Services Association.



Fair enough, but last time I looked, kids across the nation were not being murdered by their father's for taking off their toques when they arrived at school

My Kind of Fun: Boeing's 12,000lb chemical laser set to fry targets from aircraft



The installation of the high-energy laser shows that the ATL program continues to make tremendous progress toward giving the war fighter a speed-of-light, precision engagement capability that will dramatically reduce collateral damage," said Scott Fancher, vice president and general manager of Boeing Missile Defense Systems. "Next year, we will fire the laser at ground targets, demonstrating the military utility of this transformational directed energy weapon.


Will also help control the spread of malaria in the third world in a cost efficient by the instantaneous and precision vaporisation of mosquitoes carrying the disease, a Boeing spokesman did not say.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Who Says the Simpsons isn't Derivative; Pig Over Battersea Power Station


An SAS marksman is apparently on hand to bring the pig down should it get ideas above its station and try to embark on a high flying career.




You can watch the pig in all its glory here.

Monday, December 10, 2007

A 5 Megabyte Hard Drive With Vacuum Tubes in 1956 Could Be Yours for $3200 a Month

Lord Tubby Gets All That He Deserves? I Don't Think So





I can ‘t seem sleep tonight.

(Oh, that was just the paper hitting the door. I think I will wait a bit to retrieve it.)

Of course I am not alone in my insomnia. But rarely do I knowingly (I presume anyway) share my sleeplessness with a Lord, as today, as everyone knows, is the day that Lord Black of Crossharbour receives his sentencing.

I would like to note I have always admired Conrad Black (and still do to a degree).

I admired Black’s books – and I am still of the opinion that the first part of his autobiography A Life in Progress and his biography of Duplessis are great books that will stand the test of time. I am not alone in this. Despite what people say about the man, the books have always been favorably reviewed.

Black was not however without his detractors and in a very juvenile way I always chalked this up to that peculiarly made in Canada jealously that has always dogged those in Canada – other than, say, my un-idols Michael Lewis or David Suzuki – who have taken a significant place on the world stage.

And I have also always thought that Chrétien (or Crouton as the long missed Frank had it and who Black secretly funded even though they coined the term Tubby for him) who is no doubt reading this morning’s papers, along with many others, with a peculiarly self-satisfied sense of ‘I told you so’ way) was being nothing more than vindictive when he invoked the long forgotten law that forbid Canadians to sit in the House of Lords for it has always been a perk of The Telegraph’s proprietor, quite often Canadian, to take a seat among the insufferable in pursuit of the inedible. Now, I imagine Crouton is feeling smug.

Today, most likely however, the Lord of Crossharbour – incidentally, where Louise and I lived for a time with a view of The Telegraph, and incidentally The Financial Times’ printing plant off West Ferry Road—will learn how long he is to spend in jail. Black’s detractors, like Crouton, will feel vindicated.

For me, though, it will be a sad vindication.

(At 63 years of age, or any age for that matter, going to jail – or gaol – cannot be a comforting thought.)

All that said, while Black certainly did not obey the spirit of the US Security laws, I still do not quite understand how he broke them. All was noted in the very fine print of the public filings and all was signed off by a board who, I do admit, ought to have been a bit more careful. In any event, what did Messrs Kissinger and Perle know about a balance sheet anyway. Perhaps I am just being pigheaded. It wouldn't be the first or the last time.

Black’s misfortune, it seems to me, was to be born in the wrong century. Had he ran his business in the 19th Century or distinguished himself on the battlefields of' the 18th (where I imagine he fancied himself) his ‘crimes’ would neither have been noted nor even considered as such.

I did get to meet Mr. Black one on one in his two story office at the top of Canary Wharf. I asked to meet him (with no reason) and he agreed to meet me. I mentioned in passing that
Encounter
magazine, which had recently folded, owed me about 6 issues. He wryly countered they owed him a lot more.... It was only later pointed out to me that he had been floating Encounter during its last days.

I would only add that in the days of the miserable Bora Bora trip, Hollinger International was trading at $12 a share. Sun Times Media Inc. (Hollinger by another name) is now trading for less than a dollar. I can’t but think this was not Tweedy Brown’s intention.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

JPK (prescient as always) has pointed out the revolting nature of the post below with this gem from The Onion


How Can We Raise Awareness In Darfur Of How Much We're Doing For Them?

What amazes me about 'The Onion' is that while the voice is always the same -- deader than deadpan -- and the form identical -- sardonic as all hell -- it's always funny (in a sick sort of way).

Let Them Eat One Laptop Per Child



None too keen on the author, but I think Mr. Alternate Keyboard has it right on this one.

Soloing the Atlantic in a Row Boat: 'We had the kids first'



December 8 2007

Paul
phoned home on his satellite phone. He has had a tough week at sea. He has been very nauseated but this is improving. The waves and wind have made living difficult. It's been too rough to light the stove and water making is difficult also. We could hear the waves splashing over the boat. Paul said "this is not about a race this is about survival"but followed this up with "how many are behind me". Dolphins are following along and a sea turtle has taken a liking to his cleaning brush.


Difficult to believe but true. The above is from the blog of Paul Attalla, a friend of the family, crossing the Atlantic by himself in a Row Boat. He wanted to take the family dog but his father put his foot down.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Dalton48 has both shown us that I have it right and provided us a translation of the legend

Black - Agrarian Party

Magenta - Citizen's Power

Cyan - Democratic Party of Russia

Purple - Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF)

Burgundy - Union of Right-Wing Forces

Green - Liberal-Democratic Party of Russia

Light Blue - Just Russia (as in justice)

Red - Patriots of Russia

Aquamarine (?) - United Russia

Putin Supporter Turnout v. Turnout by Supporters of Other Candidates



If I understand the above graph correctly -- and I stand to be corrected -- the blue dots show the percentage of Putin supporters that showed up for the last election. Each dot represents a single voting district. All other coloured dots show the percentage of supporters for other candidates that, supposedly, could not be bothered to bundle up to vote. Absolute numbers of supporters are not shown. I am not saying that the percentage of voters who arrived at the polls for each candidate ought to be perfectly equal, but certainly -- if everything during the last election was on the up and up -- the correlation ought to have been much, much closer.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The Chinese have Successfully Photographed the moon with their new Lunar Orbiting Spacecraft but had to add a Crater?



Now this is an odd story. Last week, the Chinese showed off a new high resolution photography of the Moon from their new Lunar Orbiter. Loons -- less than eager to give the Chinese credit -- quickly called foul. Further examination by the eagle eyed revealed that the photo was a new one-- the Sun shone from a different angle than the 40 year old Nasa photo that these moonies claimed the photo was taken from -- but there was something a little odd. The Chinese had added a crater with Photoshop? So the picture is (sort of) legit? Realer than the real thing?

Monday, December 3, 2007

First 100 Domains Registered (TOAD.COM anyone?): Where are they Now?

SYMBOLICS.COM
BBN.COM
THINK.COM
MCC.COM
DEC.COM
NORTHROP.COM
XEROX.COM
SRI.COM
HP.COM
BELLCORE.COM
IBM.COM
SUN.COM
INTEL.COM
TI.COM
ATT.COM
GMR.COM
TEK.COM
FMC.COM
UB.COM
BELL-ATL.COM
GE.COM
GREBYN.COM
ISC.COM
NSC.COM
STARGATE.COM
BOEING.COM
ITCORP.COM
SIEMENS.COM
PYRAMID.COM
ALPHACDC.COM
BDM.COM
FLUKE.COM
INMET.COM
KESMAI.COM
MENTOR.COM
NEC.COM
RAY.COM
ROSEMOUNT.COM
VORTEX.COM
ALCOA.COM
GTE.COM
ADOBE.COM
AMD.COM
DAS.COM
DATA-IO.COM
OCTOPUS.COM
PORTAL.COM
TELTONE.COM
3COM.COM
AMDAHL.COM
CCUR.COM
CI.COM
CONVERGENT.COM
DG.COM
PEREGRINE.COM
QUAD.COM
SQ.COM
TANDY.COM
TTI.COM
UNISYS.COM
CGI.COM
CTS.COM
SPDCC.COM
APPLE.COM
NMA.COM
PRIME.COM
PHILIPS.COM
DATACUBE.COM
KAI.COM
TIC.COM
VINE.COM
NCR.COM
CISCO.COM
RDL.COM
SLB.COM
PARCPLACE.COM
UTC.COM
IDE.COM
TRW.COM
UNIPRESS.COM
DUPONT.COM
LOCKHEED.COM
ROSETTA.COM
TOAD.COM
QUICK.COM
ALLIED.COM
DSC.COM
SCO.COM
GENE.COM
KCCS.COM
SPECTRA.COM
WLK.COM
MENTAT.COM
WYSE.COM
CFG.COM
MARBLE.COM
CAYMAN.COM
ENTITY.COM
KSR.COM
NYNEXST.COM

Wet Snow and PC Problems have alas kept you Hanging on the Edge of your PC desks

The Onion

Entire Blogosphere Stunned By Blogger's Special Weekend Post

NEW YORK—In what is being called a seminal moment in Internet history, a rare weekend post by 25-year-old blogger Ben Tiedemann on his...

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Blackberries soon to be available in the CCCP; Felix Would Be Proud





Tue Nov 27, 2007 12:35 PM GMT147

In October, MTS launched the BlackBerry in Ukraine, first among the twelve former Soviet Union states. In Russia, corporate clients are able to use the BlackBerry devices with foreign SIM-cards via roaming.

Apart from Russia and Ukraine, MTS, controlled by services conglomerate Sistema (SSAq.L: Quote, Profile, Research), operates in Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Armenia and Belarus.

Vimpelcom, owned by Russian Alfa Group and Norway's Telenor (TEL.OL: Quote, Profile, Research), services clients in Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Armenia, Tajikistan and Georgia.

A Vimpelcom spokeswoman said the company had been cleared to ship 1,050 of the 8700 model, versions of which RIM (RIMM.O: Quote, Profile, Research) has been selling for several years.

MTS spokeswoman said the company had been allowed to ship around 1,000 phones. Shamolin said MTS would sell in Russia all BlackBerry models available on the market.

The companies will be able to start shipping the handsets after they are certified by Russian regulators.


(Reporting by Maria Kiselyova and Anastasia Teterevleva; writing by Maria Kiselyova; Editing by David Cowell)


I love a number of things about this story. First, that there could be a company called Vimplecom. (Try pronouncing that in the style of Dr. Evil.) Second, Blackberries -- surely a device that no self-respecting kleptocrat could be seen without -- have so far been unavailable for 'legal' sale in the CCCP, I mean, Russia. Why? Because the KGB, I mean, the FAS, were unable to eavesdrop on Blackberry to Blackberry traffic (listening in on Blackberry to something other than a Blackberry was never a problem.) Third, that Putin no longer feeling uncomfortable at the prospect of an email exchange that he could not be a party to (did the Lizard or the Basilisk turn over the codes or did FAS crack the network themselves, I am betting the former) finally allowed his subjects the opportunity to thumb their mistresses, so to speak, during important meetings. And lastly, that the Ochrana, perhaps the model for all future intelligence agencies, the author of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which began under Peter the Great is still very much in beezness. Russia may change its name, its spots, form of government, leader, and choice of motor car, but it will always remain Russia. I would almost like to say that there is something comfortable in that notion, but for the tragic fact that most Russians (and have no choice in the matter) have no where to go.

True or False?



The photo is what it appears to be: Hawaiian Spam Musubi. That said, I am not sure this this could be true.

A favorite Hawaiian way to eat Spam is in the form of a musubi (pronounced moo-soo-bee, with no accent). It is a fried slice of spam on rice pressed together to form a small block, then wrapped with a strip of seaweed. A special kitchen gadget, known as the Spam Musubi Maker, is responsible for the proliferation of this treat. It is a special plexiglas mold with the outline of a single Spam slice. The Spam musubi is eaten as a sandwich, and it is perhaps the Island's favorite "to go" or snack food. Spam musubi is literally everywhere in Hawaii, including local convenience stores, grocery stores, school cafeterias, and even at the zoo. Eating a Spam musubi seems to serve as a rite of passage for newcomers anxious to attain "local" status.


Seems rather a waste of the rice, but if your appetite has been whetted click here.

This 1949 Soviet Glimpse into to Immediate Future Out to Embarrass Ridley Scott

Toronto in 2056? (That's the CN Tower isn't it?)



The above (1956) is from an amazing collection of Soviet Block art here:

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The New York Times Coverage of the Grey Cup; Kramer Would Not Be Pleased


The bar in Brazil, # 6 sounds great.

1. PRO FOOTBALL; Underdog Back Under Center
...highway to San Jose State. He set team passing records there, then went to the Canadian Football League, where he won a Grey Cup championship with the Calgary Stampeders in 1998. The San Francisco 49ers lured him close to home again, and he was soon...
December 16, 2006 - By JOHN BRANCH - Sports - 750 words

2. PRO FOOTBALL; Life Shaped by Tragedy, Built on Resolve
...college. When the N.F.L. did not want him, he played for five seasons in the Canadian Football League and won the 1998 Grey Cup. When the 49ers, the Browns and the Lions no longer wanted him as a starter, he found a spot as a backup in Philadelphia...
January 5, 2007 - By JERÉ LONGMAN - Sports - 1388 words

3. PLUS: C.F.L.; Late Touchdowns Give Lions Grey Cup
Robert Drummond and Damon Allen scored fourth-quarter touchdowns to power the British Columbia Lions to a 28-26 Grey Cup victory yesterday over the Montreal Alouettes in Calgary, Alberta, giving the Lions the Canadian Football League championship.
November 27, 2000 - 90 words

4. PLUS: PRO FOOTBALL; Stampeders Capture Fifth Grey Cup
...Calgary Stampeders upset the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, 27-19, before a crowd of 65,225 yesterday in Montreal to win the Grey Cup. The Stampeders, who went 8-10 in the regular season, won their fifth Canadian Football League championship. They...
November 26, 2001 - 134 words

5. PLUS: PRO FOOTBALL; Montreal Victorious In C.F.L.'s Grey Cup
Anthony Calvillo threw two touchdown passes, including a Grey Cup-record 99-yard toss to Pat Woodcock, as the Montreal Alouettes held off the Edmonton Eskimos, 25-16, in Edmonton for their...
November 25, 2002 - 126 words

6. NEXT STOP | BELO HORIZONTE, BRAZIL; A Town Where All the World is a Bar
...clink of bottles -- not a D.J. -- provide the soundtrack; grey hair and what in the United States would be underage youth share...serves a limited but creative menu, like mulled wine, or a cup of squash, mozzarella and chicken soup (3.50 reais), a...
October 28, 2007 - By SETH KUGEL - Travel - 1214 words

7. SPORTS BRIEFING: PRO FOOTBALL; C.F.L. QUARTERBACK VISITS JETS
Ricky Ray, who led the Edmonton Eskimos to the Grey Cup championship in the Canadian Football League, will visit the Jets today and could be considered a backup quarterback candidate...
February 12, 2004 - By Judy Battista - Sports - 112 words
8. Players Banished From N.F.L. Find Refuge in Canada
...the league's championship, the Grey Cup. Williams quit the Dolphins before...businessmen. A marketing push and a Grey Cup victory in 2004 boosted average attendance...Argonauts' vice president who has won six Grey Cups as a coach and executive, sees...
May 24, 2006 - By JOHN BRANCH - Front Page - 1357 words
9. PLUS: C.F.L. -- Grey Cup; Toronto Captures 2d Straight Title
...Saskatchewan for its second straight Grey Cup, the championship of the Canadian...in the third quarter, including a Cup record 95-yard kickoff return by...crowd of 60,431, third-largest in Grey Cup history, saw Flutie throw touchdown...
November 17, 1997 - 201 words
10. PLUS: FOOTBALL -- GREY CUP; Hamilton Captures The Championship
...open the fourth quarter -- to give the Hamilton Tiger-Cats a 32-21 victory over the Calgary Stampeders to win the Grey Cup in Vancouver. McManus, who completed 22 of 34 passes for 347 yards, was the outstanding player in the C.F.L. championship...
November 29, 1999 - 142 words

I watched the game with my father until he fell asleep just after Lenny Kravitz’s highly misunderstood cover of ‘The Guess Who’s’ American Woman – a song as much misogynistic as knee jerkingly anti-American – during halftime.

American woman, said get away
American woman, listen what I say
Don’t come hangin’ around my door
Don’t wanna see your face no more
I don’t need your war machines
I don’t need your ghetto scenes
Coloured lights can hypnotize
Sparkle someone else’s eyes
Now woman, get away from me
American woman, mama let me be.


I then slipped off into the night. I understand from Google that the Saskatchewan Rough Riders won. Winnipeg fans may find some solace in the fact that ‘The Guess Who’ originated in Winterpeg.

Dalton48 on Snapping Turtle Said it First


Krugman in yesterday's NYT.


“What were they smoking?” asks the cover of the current issue of Fortune magazine. Underneath the headline are photos of recently deposed Wall Street titans, captioned with the staggering sums they managed to lose.
Skip to next paragraph

The answer, of course, is that they were high on the usual drug — greed. And they were encouraged to make socially destructive decisions by a system of executive compensation that should have been reformed after the Enron and WorldCom scandals, but wasn’t.

In a direct sense, the carnage on Wall Street is all about the great housing slump.

This slump was both predictable and predicted. “These days,” I wrote in August 2005, “Americans make a living selling each other houses, paid for with money borrowed from the Chinese. Somehow, that doesn’t seem like a sustainable lifestyle.” It wasn’t.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Anyone know the spread for this weekend's Grey Cup: Thought Not!

All Apologies to Betjers (When short of ideas, recycle)

Come friendly snow and fall on Toronto!
It isn’t fit for humans now,
There isn’t grass to graze a cow.
Swarm over, Blizzard!

Come, snow and blanket Toronto with invisibility
Those air -conditioned, bright canteens,
Tinned fruit, tinned meat, tinned milk, tinned beans,
Tinned minds, tinned breath.

Mess up the mess they call a town-
A condo for ninety-seven k Canadian down
And once a week a half a loonie, worth US$10.4
For two thousand years years.

And get that man with double chin
Who’ll always cheat and always win,
Who washes his repulsive skin
In women’s tears:

And smash his desk of polished oak
And smash his hands so used to stroke
And stop his boring dirty joke
And make him yell.

But spare the bald young clerks who add
The profits of the stinking cad;
It’s not their fault that they are mad,
They’ve tasted Hell.

It’s not their fault they do not know
The birdsong from the radio,
It’s not their fault they often go
To Buffalo to shop.

And talk of sport and makes of cars
In various bogus-English Pubs And daren’t look up and see the stars
But belch instead.

In labour-saving homes, with care
They frizz their dogs with peroxide hair
And dry it in synthetic air
And paint their nails.

Come, friendly snow and whitewash TO
To get it ready for the plough.
The cabbages are coming now;
The earth exhales.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Cutting Edge News from CKTB: Bee Mystery Solved


Bee Mystery Solved
Wed, 2007-11-21 12:57.
Stephanie Sabourin
A 35 percent loss of bee colonies last winter had Ontario beekeepers worried.
Ontario Beekeeper's Association's Allison Skinner says they've now discovered it was a combination of disease and environmental factors.
She says the good news is it can be fixed.
Skinner says bee keepers are working to reduce the stress on the bees which lead to the disease.
She says it's important to keep bee numbers up because they not only provide honey but pollinate many fruits and vegetables.


Makes sense. Happier bees. More bees.

Refren - Krzysztof Kieslowski (1972)



I don't really know what's going on in this film, but I can't keep being reminded of that poor Polish bastard that 5 (count 'em) RCMP officers killed in Vancouver Airport.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Worth a Listen


Stephen Fry and the Former Prime Minister

That's Mr. Fry in the Middle

I May Have Got Grey Cup Weekend Wrong, But I am Sure about This


From Popular Science: How to Cook the Perfect Turkey

Happy cooking! The Perfect Bird
The centerpiece of the dinner has a puzzle built right in. You have a 15 or so pound object—the turkey—made of two different types of meat that must remain stuck together, at least until after a dramatic table presentation just before serving. The white meat, or breast, is delicate, low in fat, and is at its juiciest at about 155ºF. The dark meat doesn't begin to get tender until its collagen-rich connective tissue turns to gelatin. And that doesn't get going until around 165º. So how can you get both in the oven at the same time, take them out at the same time, and keep them at the correct temperatures throughout?
Food-science expert Harold McGee, author of the encyclopedic culinary reference On Food and Cooking, has come up with the answer. He builds in a temperature differential before putting the turkey in the oven, giving the leg meat a head start at heating up.
Here's how he does it: A couple hours (no more than three) before cooking, he moves the turkey from the fridge to the counter and places sealable plastic bags filled with crushed ice on the breast. As the legs warm up, the breast stays cool. When the breast meat is around 40º and the leg meat is close to 60º, he puts the bird into the oven. It's done when the breast meat reaches between 155º and 160º and the dark meat around 180º. Both meats are perfectly cooked. For perfect browning, McGee applies some final touches to the skin with a heat gun.

Two Articles on Two Consecutive Days that Dis Lada



(The Only Green Lada I could Find for Sale)


More older vehicles going the extra mile
Tony Van Alphen 2007/11/22
The number of vehicles 10 years old or older has increased steadily during the past decade, but statistics now indicate the numbers are accelerating dramatically.
Longer-lasting cars hurt climate: Report
2007/11/21

Vehicles are lasting dramatically longer than even a few years ago, with 43 per cent of passenger cars built 15 years ago still on the road, and this is bad news for the environment, industry analyst Dennis DesRosiers reports.


So what are we supposed to take for this? We should all go and splash out on new cars -- with the resultant pollution and energy caused by producing a new car -- or keep on driving what we have in anticipation of keeping cash in the bank for the coming depression, noting that the sunk cost of energy and pollution caused in your old banger's production (say 10 years ago) will most likely offset any lower mileage per gallon and higher carbon emissions of a new Toyota? I know what GM would think. Health care! But what is The Star thinking? Oh yeah, ad revenue. It's a shame old newspapers don't keep their utility like old cars do.


For the record:



Longest-lasting cars

The proportion of passenger cars 11 to 15 years old still in use averages 60.6 per cent across the industry but varies widely among manufacturers. The latest numbers from 2006, according to DesRosiers Automotive Consultants with data from R.L. Polk Canada:

Porsche 98.7%
Volvo 87.2%
Lexus 83.8%
BMW 83.6%
Mercedes-Benz 82.6%
Jaguar 81.4%
Toyota 78.2%
Audi 76.5%
Honda 76.5%
Acura 75.9%
Cadillac 74.6%
Lincoln 72.8%
Saab 72.2%
Saturn 69.2%
Buick 68.8%
Chrysler 68.8%
Oldsmobile 67.2%
Infiniti 65.8%
Mazda 64.8%
Volkswagen 63.1%
Nissan 61.0%
Subaru 59.1%
Mercury 54.9%
Dodge 54.6%
Pontiac 53.6%
Ford 53.6%
Plymouth 52.5%
Eagle 51.6%
Chevrolet 48.6%
Hyundai 32.8%
Suzuki 30.8%
Isuzu 19.8%
Lada 5.1%
Industry Average 60.6%
Canadian Press

Of course, a Lada driver is perhaps likely to take less care of his eminently more practical Niva than a Porsche 911 Turbo as well as put much less miles on it, but who am I to say? I haven't seen a Niva for yonks.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Saw this Headline in the paper this morning: Lada is Nada



In all seriousness, I have always wanted a Niva. However, I do understand that the joke that a Lada is a Fiat built in the dark is not wholly untrue.

Monday, November 19, 2007

How to be Annoying from Someone Who Knows

1. At Lunch Time, Sit in Your Parked Car with Sunglasses on and point a Hair
Dryer At Passing Cars. See If They Slow Down.
2. Page Yourself Over The Intercom. Don't Disguise Your Voice.
3. Every Time Someone Asks You To Do Something, Ask If They Want Fries with
that.
4. Put Your Garbage Can On Your Desk And Label It "In."
5. Put Decaf In The Coffee Maker For 3 Weeks. Once Everyone has Gotten Over
Their Caffeine Addictions, Switch to Espresso.
6. In The Memo Field Of All Your Checks, Write "For Smuggling Diamonds"
7. Finish All Your sentences with "In Accordance With The Prophecy."
8. Don t use any punctuation
9. As Often As Possible, Skip Rather Than Walk.
10. Order a Diet Water whenever you go out to eat with a serious face.
11. Specify That Your Drive-through Order Is "To Go."
12. Sing Along At The Opera
13. Go To A Poetry Recital And Ask Why The Poems Don't Rhyme
14. Put Mosquito Netting Around Your Work Area And Play tropical Sounds All Day.
15. Five Days In Advance, Tell Your Friends You Can't Attend Their Party Because
You're Not In The Mood.
16. Have Your Co-workers Address You By Your Wrestling Name, Rock Bottom.
17. When The Money Comes Out The ATM, Scream "I Won!, I Won!"
18. When Leaving The Zoo, Start Running Towards The Parking lot, Yelling "Run
For Your Lives, They're Loose!!"
19. Tell Your Children Over Dinner. "Due To The Economy, We Are Going To Have To
Let One Of You Go."
20. Blog Forwards Like This One

David and Sophie Get Down with Nintendo

 
Posted by Picasa

Oh No, Mr. Bean's Stuck in Snow




Of course, little England has slowed down to a stand still. What's more, 'it's the wrong kind of snow' for British Rail.

Kramer Would Have Known; Yesterday was only the bid to get to play the Grey Cup



I have always admitted to being a fair weather sportsmen. This year, I was premature. Mea Culpa.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Cosmo Kramer Does Not Subscribe to the New York Times for its CFL Coverage


(Note: It's Broken.)

Looking for the spread for today's Grey Cup in the Sports Section of The New York Times -- I felt like a wager, it was the only way for me to take an interest -- I couldn't even find a mention of the Grey Cup, the most important sporting event in the Canadian calendar?

In other news, I hear that US CFL players who as a condition of their contracts had it that they be paid in US$, now wish to be paid in loons. As my old roommate would say, "Unlucky."

PS What is the spread anyhow? No matter. No bother. Going to make some Onion Soup with my new super duper broth pot.

Our Man Harland




Contrary to Harland's own imaginings, he did not serve in the Civil War or in fact was a commissioned officer of the Union Army. He was, however, by all accounts a true 'Southern Gentleman' (whatever that's supposed to mean).

Weirdly, someone in Nevada made an image of the Harland that can be seen from space.

A Note From the Real Colonel Saunders



Click for a better look.

Alternative Carbon Fuel Sources; Something Very Russ Meyers About This




Personally, I am on occasion a friend of the Colonel and still regret missing his first 'store' when we were passing through Kentucky. Wikipedia includes this helpful note:

To this day, the Colonel's secret flavor recipe of 11 herbs and spices remains one of the best-kept trade secrets in business. According to a profile of KFC done by the Food Network television show Unwrapped, portions of the secret spice mix are made at different locations in the United States, and the only copy of the recipe is kept in a vault in corporate headquarters.


That said, the fried chicken available at Publix Supermarket in Naples is very, very difficult to beat. I should be ordering my breasts and steamed Gulf shrimp (both served chilled by me) for pickup on boxing day.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose



Remember this from Great Expectations?

"Oh-h!" said I, looking at Joe. "Hulks!"

Joe gave a reproachful cough, as much as to say, "Well, I told you
so."

"And please what's Hulks?" said I.

"That's the way with this boy!" exclaimed my sister, pointing me
out with her needle and thread, and shaking her head at me. "Answer
him one question, and he'll ask you a dozen directly. Hulks are
prison-ships, right 'cross th' meshes." We always used that name
for marshes, in our country.

"I wonder who's put into prison-ships, and why they're put there?"
said I, in a general way, and with quiet desperation.

It was too much for Mrs. Joe, who immediately rose. "I tell you
what, young fellow," said she, "I didn't bring you up by hand to
badger people's lives out. It would be blame to me, and not praise,
if I had. People are put in the Hulks because they murder, and
because they rob, and forge, and do all sorts of bad; and they
always begin by asking questions. Now, you get along to bed!"

I was never allowed a candle to light me to bed, and, as I went
upstairs in the dark, with my head tingling - from Mrs. Joe's
thimble having played the tambourine upon it, to accompany her last
words - I felt fearfully sensible of the great convenience that the
Hulks were handy for me. I was clearly on my way there. I had begun
by asking questions, and I was going to rob Mrs. Joe.


Seems hulks are back in (albeit Dutch) fashion:


Dutch float 'migrant prison' scheme
By Dominic Hughes
BBC News, Zaandam

In the middle of an industrial estate in Zaandam, just north of Amsterdam, stands the newest prison in the Netherlands.

Zaandam's floating prison
The prison is built by the side of an old wood yard

But the word "stands" is not quite right, because this prison is in fact moored on one of the country's many waterways.

And the inmates in this floating prison are not criminals but illegal immigrants, guilty of what the Dutch call an "administrative offence".

This is the answer to a problem the authorities faced in the late 1990s - how to separate illegal immigrants from ordinary criminals when you already have overcrowded prisons.

"It's easier to get a place on the water than to find land, plus it's easy to build," says Erik Nijman from the Dutch ministry of justice.

And he says a floating prison is also more flexible: "If we have a problem for example in Amsterdam, we can transport them over water."



I suppose the fact that these new hulks are for illegal immigrants whereas the hulks in Dickensian England were mostly populated by captured French sailors makes all the difference

Full story here:

plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose

Friday, November 16, 2007

Funny That


In an ironic twist, a British team operating a World War II codebreaking computer has been beaten in a cipher-breaking contest by a German.


More info here.

Don't Throw Out Those Old Bike Keys, They May Come in Handy

From the BBC:

Bicycle lock key

With the help of Brian Burnell - a researcher into the history of the British nuclear weapons programme who once designed bomb casings for atom bombs - Newsnight tracked down a training version of the WE 177 nuclear bomb at the Bristol Aero collection at Kemble.

Tornado and earlier V-bomber crews trained with these, which were identical in every way to the live bombs except for the nuclear warhead.

To arm the weapons you just open a panel held by two captive screws - like a battery cover on a radio - using a thumbnail or a coin.

Inside are the arming switch and a series of dials which you can turn with an Allen key to select high yield or low yield, air burst or groundburst and other parameters.

The Bomb is actually armed by inserting a bicycle lock key into the arming switch and turning it through 90 degrees. There is no code which needs to be entered or dual key system to prevent a rogue individual from arming the Bomb.






I understand that the above image might not be completely appropriate to this blog entry, but I really do like these stamps. As Socrates remarked in The Symposium soldiers that love each other stick together. Socrates having done his Athenian military service, we can only conjecture, would have known.





More info here:

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The LBR Photography Website is Live and Kicking!

Must see site!


LBR Photography's Must See Site.

http://www.lbrphotography.com

*(While this may look like as a piece of spam, I would like to remind the reader that I have no pecuniary or other interest in the advertised site and as I conveniently see it am innocent of the charge. The random fact that I am married to the proprietor of LBR Photography, a fact of which I still have difficulty believing said proprietor agreed to my proposal of marriage, is purely, I can't emphasize enough, coincidental. I must also add that my relation to the model pictured is, similarly, a coincidence.)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Fancy Taking a Crack at 1940s (albeit classified) Technology?




Turing is the one standing on the bus's steps.

Conservatively, the code breakers, Alan Turing a terribly tragic example, at Bletchley Park shortened the war by over a year. (Winston Churchill, who would know about these things, certainly thought so.) Fancy, however, using your 2.66 GHZ Quad Core screaming Meany to take on the Bombe a computer that employed over a thousand vacuum tubes (valves in UK parlance?

More info here.

and here.

If I can recommend a book or two on the subject, Sebag-Montefiore's Enigma (2002) is great for the overview, while Andrew Hodge's biography of Allen Turing, Alan Turing: A Biography (1992) is about as tragic a biography as they come.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

This Revolver Goes to Eleven (really!)





From the Shooting Times: (not that I read such gun porn

The Model 500 from Smith & Wesson is the biggest, heaviest, most powerful factory-production double-action revolver in the world. It's built on an entirely new and massive S&W frame size. It fires the new .500 S&W Magnum cartridge, which is the most powerful factory load ever developed specifically for handgun use. The gun and the cartridge are both impressive product accomplishments, beyond the industry norm, and both moved together from concept to reality in less than a year.


So that's all right then...

In other news, Winchester was rescued from Chapter 11. Apparently, there's an appetitie for small arms ordinance in Iraq and Afghanistan these days.

More UberDollar Fun (for those who live in the Trailer Park, Ricky Excepted)



Ricky cries in Julian's Rye and Coke after exports to US collapse with sinking greenback.

Good news, however, for domestic consumers.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

On a More Serious Note: Kristallnacht




1938 Interior of Berlin synagogue after Kristallnacht

Tomorrow marks the 69th anniversary of Kristallnacht (and coincidentally the day of my Aunt's birth). It's bad history to give exact dates for the start of such horrific man made tragedies. (Earthquakes are another matter). But Kristallnacht should have been notice enough to the world of the Holocaust that was to follow and warning enough to the Jews that could to up sticks from the lands that they had become, in some cases all too, comfortable in.

What's past is of course often as not seen in 20/20 as it is forgotten, but I can think of at least three other Kristallnachts (with the exception perhaps of 9/11) that have gone unremarked.

From the Onion, Where Else?


Cheney Regrets Buying Bush Laser Pointer

It's True: The Moon is Made of Cheese


Cheese Moon


Wait for it!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Wedgie Proof Underwear



It's been a busy week.
Let's rephrase that, it's been a crap week.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Watch Wilkipedia in the Making

Watch Wikipedia in the Making

Not quite as boring as some have suggested. I just learned about Manny Santos:

M
anuella "Manny" Santos (born August 15, 1989)is a fictional character in the Canadian teen drama television series Degrassi: The Next Generation, portrayed by Cassie Steele. Created by Yan Moore and executive producer Linda Schuyler, Manny was one of the series' original characters, appearing in its first episode, "Mother and Child Reunion" on October 21, 2001. Manny began as a flat character in the first two seasons of DTNG, more or less playing Emma Nelson's sidekick. In season three, Manny debuted a shocking new look and personality. Since then, she has developed the reputation of being the "school slut", being called that by almost every student at one point or another, as well as her own father. Drama has seemed to follow this young girl everywhere around the halls of Degrassi.

Currently, Manny is still attending Degrassi Community, she is in her senior year along with Emma Nelson, Liberty Van Zandt, Toby Isaacs, Peter Stone, Spinner Mason, Ashley Kerwin, Jimmy Brooks and Sean Cameron.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Our New Arrival




Bamboo. Hatched October 28th 2007

Kettle? Pot on Line 2.

Henry Kissinger once called Donald Rumsfeld the 'rottenest' person he knew in politics. Both are now war criminals abroad and unwelcome in the land of the cheese-eating-surrender-monkeys.


Already facing war crimes charges in Germany, Donald Rumsfeld—like Henry Kissinger before him—now runs into a spot of legal bother in France.

Former US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld fled France today fearing arrest over charges of "ordering and authorizing" torture of detainees at both the American-run Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and the US military’s detainment facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, unconfirmed reports coming from Paris suggest.

...

Anti-torture protesters in France believe that the defense secretary fled over the open border to Germany, where a war crimes case against Rumsfeld was dismissed by a federal court. But activist point out that under the Schengen agreement that ended border checkpoints across a large part of the European Union, French law enforcement agents are allowed to cross the border into Germany in pursuit of a fleeing fugitive.

"Rumsfeld must be feeling how Saddam Hussein felt when US forces were hunting him down," activist Tanguy Richard said. "He may never end up being hanged like his old friend, but he must learn that in the civilized world, war crime doesn’t pay."




Full story here.

Sunday, October 28, 2007