week in blog

Don't Buy It Before You PriceSCAN It!

Sunday, November 30, 2003

Iraq war = business opportunity 

Walid Mahmoud smelled an opportunity when his hometown fell to the Americans this past summer. He knew Americans loved pizza, and he knew that most Iraqis had no idea how to prepare it..

Saturday, November 29, 2003

Between saying and doing many a pair of shoes is worn out. 

An ongoing examination of the history and development of footwear and shoemaking techniques until the 16th century.

Friday, November 28, 2003

Charles W. Cushman Photograph Collection 

Well-known masters of American photography have shared their work on the Internet for many years. Though the name Charles Cushman may not arouse even a flicker of recognition, this unsung camera jockey documented life in America from 1938-1969. Thanks to his donation of 14,500 photos to Indiana University, we all have a chance to savor in the glory of his work. Cushman was an inveterate shutterbug, snapping sweeping vistas and decrepit buildings in his travels across the U.S. He was drawn to the countryside as well as the city, and his work reflects a time when American life seemed slower and simpler. Jump in the time machine and let Cushman's photos transport you in a way words can't.

Thursday, November 27, 2003

Turkey Derby 

Which bird is the best?
There are better-cooking birds than turkeys. Take chicken, for example: Roasted in high heat for about an hour, it becomes a delicious paradox, at once moist and crisp.

Mind your language Mr. Governor! 

I love Thanksgiving turkey...it's the only time in Los Angeles that you see natural breasts. - Arnold Schwarzenegger

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Fareed Zakaria: We Need to Get The Queen Bees 

‘When America and Europe are divided, when Japan is hesitant,’ Lee cautions, ‘the extremists are emboldened’

Comment from a very good friend of mine:

"this is sensible and desperately important but George W. Bush & Co. is not capable of hearing it. Here is what I think: we are at the beginning of the end of an era, as big a deal as the end of the Roman Empire, and civilization as we know it is starting to fall. It may take a few hundred years or it may be cataclysmic, but what Zakaria says is probably the only way to save it, and this Administration is absolutely incapable of doing it, prevented by their own constricted world view and arrogant biases (shared by a lot of people) from grasping that this must be done. Of course I could be wrong on either count and I hope I am wrong on both.

On the other hand, if civilization simply falls apart, without atomic holocaust, and descends into barbarity and dark ages, it will mean everything human suffers, but the rest of life on earth will get a chance to recover."

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Green Means Go 

Andrew Gumbel has an article at The Independent titled, "Infra-red device gives drivers the green light."

Are you a cunning linguist? 

Some common words such as Hello and Thanks in hundreds of languages!

Monday, November 24, 2003

Coolest Inventions 2003 

While many of us deskbound types have spent the past year surfing the Web, filling out spreadsheets, and eating Cheetos, brainy inventors have been hard at work coming up with many amazing inventions to make our lives even cushier. In the animatronics category, we find dander-less lap cats, bi-pedal personal agents, and the perfect beach-blanket companion, Robo-lobster. For a truly 21st-century crib, you'll need an intelligent oven, a handy CD-ROM shredder, and a glow-in-the-dark pet fish. Speaking of which, new-fangled bikinis will have you doing the best fish-out-of-water impersonation yet. Stop traffic as you tote an illuminated purse, and sport spy-cam shades while zipping off on your ice bike en route to a big-air day. Is all this really necessary? Of course not. But you can't blame them for dreaming.

Sunday, November 23, 2003

Take this McJob! 

Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary includes the definition of a McJob: "low-paying and dead-end work". Of course McDonald's isn't too happy about it.

New range of curry translates as "arse" 

Sharwoods promised the "deliciously rich" sauces based on a traditional northern Indian method of cooking would "change the way consumers make curry". Unfortunately, 6m TV campaign was spent on a name that means..er...a human behind.

Saturday, November 22, 2003

Who said it? 

- When was the last time you saw an Iraqi in a f***ing helicopter?
(UK pilot after US marines fired on his Chinook Helicopter)

- I ain't saying the customer service in my bank is bad, but when I went in the other day and asked the clerk to check my balance...she leaned over and pushed me.

- Heaven is where the Police are British, the Chefs are French, the Mechanics are German, the Lovers Italian and it's all organised by the Swiss.
Hell is where the Chefs are British, the mechanics are French, the lovers are Swiss, the Police are German and it's all organised by the Italians.

- The right half of the brain controls the left half of the body. This means that only left handed people are in their right mind.

Friday, November 21, 2003

American RadioWorks: The President Calling 

Did President Kennedy really say that? You betcha! We're all familiar with how presidents speak in front of the media, but what do they really say behind closed doors? Here's your chance to eavesdrop on some of the most critical conversations ever held on the taxpayer's dime. Three U.S. presidents -- John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Richard M. Nixon -- willingly bugged the Oval Office and tapped White House phones, leaving behind an audio legacy that captured thousands of conversations from our country's most critical and mundane hours. See how each worked the phones using their verbal weapons: Kennedy his charm, Johnson his forcefulness, and Nixon, well...he was prolific in his taping. It's said while Kennedy was usually a smooth talker, a lot of quick "yeahs" and "uh-huhs" signaled apprehension. Vietnam presented some of Johnson's most tense talks, and Nixon's choice of William Rehnquist provides fascinating insight into High Court hijinks. Ready to hear how your leaders kept office hours? Roll tape!

Thursday, November 20, 2003

The Invention of the Aerial Age 

In 1903, two ordinary bicycle mechanics did the impossible. They gave humans wings. You know their names, but find out how Orville and Wilbur Wright gained the edge over rival inventors. In a word? Family. For 300 years, the Wrights placed great emphasis on achievement. Their father taught that family loyalty was the bedrock of life, and this philosophy gave the brothers the immense self-confidence to see them through many business ventures and aeronautic false starts. With no formal science training, they began toying with loftier ideas in 1895. They boned up on reference materials -- poring over previous flight accomplishments and failures, looking for a breakthrough. It came in 1899, when their wing-warping concept led to the Wright Kite. Over the next four years, test after test ultimately led to triumph at Kitty Hawk. In 1905, the Wrights finally mastered the practical airplane, formally propelling us into a century of flight.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Flu season: Time to ship the kids away - DAVE BARRY 

Winter's here, and you feel lousy: You're coughing and sneezing; your muscles ache; your nose is an active mucus volcano. These symptoms -- so familiar at this time of year -- can mean only one thing: Tiny fanged snails are eating your brain.

Armani go and play with ESPN and stop bothering L'Oreal 

Americans are increasingly turning to the world of popular culture to name their children, a study has found.

"It is no different from the 19th century when parents named their children Ruby or Opal... it reflects their aspirations " - Professor Cleveland Evans

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

For Matrix lovers 

Everything about Matrix: Audio, Video, Images, Screensavers, ...

Navigation is little tricky. Select your bandwidth and follow the explanation below:

Monday, November 17, 2003

Sir Winston Churchill (1874 - 1965) 

- A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject.
- History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.
- Golf is a game whose aim is to hit a very small ball into a even smaller hole, with weapons singularly ill-designed for the purpose.
- Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened.
- Personally I'm always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught.
- When I am abroad, I always make it a rule never to criticize or attack the government of my own country. I make up for lost time when I come home.
- Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.
- The empires of the future are the empires of the mind.
- Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.

Sunday, November 16, 2003

Mathematicians before 500 A.D. 

And you thought math was a new science!

Surround Sound with one speaker, using time of arrival at ear as an algorithm!  

Single speaker unit creates surround sound.

Saturday, November 15, 2003

Sacked: Jake the police dog! 

Jake the police dog proved himself man's best friend - by refusing to bite criminals!

Cracking the hacker underground 

Computer hacking communities and their tools are not hard to find on the net.

Friday, November 14, 2003

NOVA: Magnetic Storm 

Something potentially earth shattering is brewing deep within the planet's molten core. As much as we hate to admit it, some acts of nature are firmly beyond our control. Case in point is the possible magnetic storm headed our way. PBS offers this timely look at our mysterious magnetic field and how this necessary component to life on Earth could reverse, or even disappear and wreak untold havoc. Our dynamic magnetic field allows many things to happen; auroras to glow, birds to migrate, compasses to work, ATMs and checkout scanners to function, just to name a few. In our geologic history, the magnetic field has harmlessly reversed directions many times. However, scientists have found evidence of dramatic weakening, signaling a potential end to the magnetosphere. If that happens, our sole protection against lethal cosmic rays and solar winds would be gone. Our fragile ecosystem would flounder, and humanity would literally be left high and dry. Doomsday nonsense or the beginning of the end? Only nature knows the real answer.

Airs on PBS November 18, 2003.

Thursday, November 13, 2003

Andy Goldsworthy 

A new kind of poetry is created when Andy Goldsworthy works with stone, wood and water — our world never looks quite the same again.

Goldsworthy regards all his creations as temporary. He photographs each piece once right after he makes it. His goal is to understand nature by directly participating in nature as intimately as he can. He generally works with whatever he notices: twigs, leaves, stones, snow and ice, reeds and thorns.

I like all his work but one of my favorites is 'Wall'. Come walk alongside Andy Goldsworthy's extraordinary Storm King Wall. Created over a two-year period, the 2,278-foot-long site-specific sculpture was made using stones gathered from the Art Center property. The first part of the wall weaves in and out of trees, following and extending the path of an old stone wall that had existed previously on the site, meandering downhill to a nearby pond. The wall's second section emerges out from the other side of the pond, continuing its westward "walk" uphill. According to historical maps, another wall originally existed in this vicinity, but its remnants are gone. The wall's full extension physically links disparate areas of the property, from the trail overlooking Moodna creek to the south fields and the western border.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

The new Boeing 7E7 

The new Boeing 7E7 jet, if launched as planned, will be the 25th commercial airplane model unveiled by the Western world, and the 11th jet from Boeing or McDonnell Douglas.

The year and the gear that was! 

The top 100 technological innovations of 2003, from aviation to defibrillation, GPS to Wi-Fi, rotary to rockets!

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Tact is, after all, a kind of mind reading. - Sarah Orne Jewett (1849 - 1909) 

A couple goes on vacation to a fishing resort in northern Minnesota. The husband likes to fish at the crack of dawn. The wife likes to read.

One morning the husband returns after several hours of fishing and decides to take a nap. Although not familiar with the lake, the wife decides to take the boat out. She motors out a short distance, anchors, and continues to read her book.

Along comes a game warden in his boat. He pulls up along side the woman and says, "Good morning Ma'am. What are you doing?"

"Reading a book," she replies, (thinking "isn't that obvious?")

"You're in a restricted fishing area," he informs her.

"I'm sorry officer, but I'm not fishing, I'm reading."

"Yes, but you have all the equipment. For all I know you could start at any moment. I'll have to take you in and write you up."

"If you do that, I'll have to charge you with sexual assault," says the woman.

"But I haven't even touched you," says the game warden.

"That's true, but you have all the equipment. For all I know you could start at any moment."

"Have a nice day maam", and he left.............

MORAL: Never argue with a woman who reads. It's likely she can also think.

Monday, November 10, 2003

Words of choice: a selection of words with unusual origins 

Oxford Dictionary says language isn't all about the obscure. Lexicographers don't have 'favourite' words, but here are a few old chestnuts which are both common (for the most part) and have a story to tell..

Star Wars 

Clone Wars

Sunday, November 09, 2003


Plants are in a perpetual state of change -- buds develop, leaves sprout, branches grow, and flowers bloom. This evolution occurs so slowly it is undetectable to the human eye in real time, but thanks to time-lapse photography, we can now observe the undeniable growth of plants. The results are incredible. The QuickTime movies found here capture a series of images, which are then shown in rapid succession. Three-and-a-half hours in the life of a passion flower document it slowly rising to attention, and then powerfully bursting forth in an explosion of purple and white petals. Watch as the leaves of the Mimosa plant quickly close when lightly touched with a flame, and then see sunflower seedlings dancing and swaying to an imaginary rhythm. Proving once again that nature's beauty is truly boundless, this unique view of garden life grabs you from the start and doesn't let go.

Saturday, November 08, 2003

Book it 

When looking to buy a book on the web, this free service scans over 70 bookstores in just a few seconds, and finds the book stores with the lowest prices, usually at a discount of 30% - 80% off the list price.

Today in Literature  

What do a couple of former English teachers do in their spare time? They share clever quips and juicy tidbits about literary history, of course. And they are happy to share this esoteric and amusing knowledge with you, gentle reader. This site doesn't list the mere birth and death dates of classic authors -- instead, each day features a witty anecdote about a writer or a book. Consider the unconventional attitudes of Oscar Wilde's mother, enjoy Groucho Marx's description of dinner with poet T. S. Eliot, and learn how gothic writer Edgar Allan Poe influenced Vladimir Nabokov's controversial Lolita. Recent stories are available in full, as are excerpts of the author archives. Or, you can register for free to read everything.

Friday, November 07, 2003

New York hosts Indian film festival 

Some 18 feature and documentary films are being shown at the festival, which runs from 5 - 9 November.

Let your fingers do the talking 

Throw away your earpiece, soon your finger could be helping you make and take calls via your mobile phone.

Eye Do 

Thursday, November 06, 2003

Vindolanda Tablets Online 

In ancient Europe, all roads led to Rome -- even in England's far north. In this region of the Roman Empire, the garrison of Vindolanda was home to hundreds of people, primarily soldiers and administrators, plus some families and traders. The daily lives and the military significance of the fort are preserved in a cache of postcard-sized wood tablets that Oxford University discovered and put online. Start with the Exhibition section for a comprehensive look at who carved the tablets and why. You can also browse the tablet database and search by topic. The reference section provides detail on aspects of Roman life and terminology such as currency, weights and measures, and the calendar, which are all mentioned in the tablets. These Vindolanda artifacts offer a remarkable reconstruction of life in one community on the edge of the Roman world.

Online sale of Scottish castle closes with two million hits 

The online sale of a Scottish castle, Lee Castle, has closed after its website attracted more than two million hits, worldwide interest and nearly 40 formal offers.

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Oddly Enough  

Underwear Shoppers Get Striptease Lessons - November 05, 2003 10:51 AM ET
A Paris department store is offering women free "lessons in seduction" this week as it opens what it calls the world's largest underwear store.

Teen Joyrider Nabbed Driving Train - November 05, 2003 10:49 AM ET
BERLIN (Reuters) - German transport authorities said Wednesday they needed to tighten internal security after a teen-ager previously convicted of joyriding with public transport managed to gain control of a Berlin train full of passengers.

Police Open Roads Around 'Spiderman' Protest - November 05, 2003 10:45 AM ET
LONDON (Reuters) - Police reopened roads around Tower Bridge in London after mounting public outcry over traffic gridlock caused by a protester dressed in a Spiderman suit.

The Hacker's Diet 

The Hacker's Diet, notwithstanding its silly subtitle, is a serious book about how to lose weight and permanently maintain whatever weight you desire. It treats dieting and weight control from an engineering and management standpoint, and provides the tools and an understanding of why they work and how to use them that permit the reader to gain control of their own weight.

Joy of Soup 

When you're the self-proclaimed "Soup Lady," you'd best know your way around the bowl. And by the looks of her scrumptious weblog, this chowder chick knows more than the average soup slurper. Start with her many Plogs (soup + blog) where you'll find Soups to Lose Weight By, the timely Pumpkin & Potato or Spicy Lentil & Pumpkin soups. The archives are packed with delectable creations, so heed the Soup Lady's advice to "sit down, and have a nice bowl of soup."

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

NOVA: The Elegant Universe 

Could the Theory of Everything boil down to some really good vibrations? That's the word from today's top cosmologists. Astrophysicist Brian Greene argues that the utterly elegant yet mind-boggling string theory explains the very fiber of time, reality, and the universe at large. Despite stellar credentials, Greene and others couldn't resolve the incompatibility between quantum mechanics and general relativity (as currently understood, both can't be correct). But by envisioning the smallest particles as loopy, vibrating strings rather than separate point particles like atoms and quarks, all is reconciled. This watershed notion leads to further possibilities that will turn your head, like the existence of 11 dimensions and parallel universes. I'm not as smart as Greene and posse, so I won't even try to explain it all. Instead I'll let you watch with wonderment as the cosmos is presented in an intriguing nutshell. Isn't science grand?

Airs on PBS November 4, 8-9 p.m

'Emotional' robot goes on display 

The machine, called eMo, will greet and interact with visitors to Birmingham's Thinktank.

Monday, November 03, 2003

Michael Moore's New Book, "Dude Where's My Country?" 

Michael Moore has written a book that seeks not to defeat the Bush people next year, but to have them removed from Washington right now.

Second week at #1 on The New York Times bestseller list.
Check it out.

New switching rules may trash millions of cell phones 

If predictions hold true, millions of cell phones will be put out to pasture starting in late November under a new rule allowing people to keep their phone numbers when switching cellular carriers.

Sunday, November 02, 2003

Unsafe at any seed? 

A new consumer revolution could change the way we label food.

Corporate America 

Bush election donors share $8,000,000,000 Iraq reconstruction bonanza - Suzanne Goldenberg, The Guardian

Major donors to George Bush's election campaigns were the main beneficiaries of an $8bn (£4.7bn) bonanza in government contracts for the rebuilding of Iraq, an investigation published said.

Saturday, November 01, 2003

Doctor slang is a dying art 

The inventive language created by doctors the world over to insult their patients - or each other - is in danger of becoming extinct.

I rest my case! 

One has a greater sense of intellectual degradation after an interview with a doctor than from any human experience. - Alice James

A woman tells her doctor, 'I've got a bad back.'
The doctor says, 'It's old age.'
The woman says, 'I want a second opinion.'
The doctor says: 'Okay - you're ugly as well.' - Tommy Cooper

First the doctor told me the good news: I was going to have a disease named after me. - Steve Martin

When I told my doctor I couldn't afford an operation, he offered to touch-up my X-rays. - Henry Youngman

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