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

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
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

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?


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...