week in blog

Don't Buy It Before You PriceSCAN It!

Friday, April 30, 2004

April 30, 2004 

jest for pun

April'04 BlogThoughts

Every calendar's days are numbered.

  • Drinking too much coffee can cause a latte problems.

  • Don't worry have curry in a hurry.

  • Stoop and you'll be stepped on; stand tall and you'll be shot at. - Carlos A. Urbizo

  • All is well that ends well

  • Ahhh. A man with a sharp wit. Someone ought to take it away from him before he cuts himself. - Peter da Silva

  • Age does not diminish the extreme disappointment of having a scoop of ice cream fall from the cone. - Jim Fiebig (or sharing with a dog. - sv)

  • A stitch in time would have confused Einstein.

  • Great, just what I need.. another D in programming. - Segfault

  • I'd change the world but God won't give me the source code.

  • Duh! (This blog has been outsourced to India)

  • Games People Play

  • Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple, learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen. - John Steinbeck

  • Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. - Scott Adams (1957 - ), 'The Dilbert Principle'

  • In history as in life it is success that counts. Start a political upheaval and let yourself be caught, and you will hang as a traitor. But place yourself at the head of a rebellion and gain your point, and all future generations will worship you as the Father of their Country. - Hendrik W. Van Loon

  • You often hear of a good wine through the grapevine.

  • Dancing cheek-to-cheek is really a form of floor play.

  • I have been thinking that I would make a proposition to my Republican friends... that if they will stop telling lies about the Democrats, we will stop telling the truth about them. -Adlai E. Stevenson Jr., Speech during 1952 Presidential Campaign

  • Artists have to get into a good frame of mind.

  • I don't deserve this award, but I have arthritis and I don't deserve that either. -Jack Benny (1894 - 1974)

  • There are only two styles of portrait painting; the serious and the smirk.- Charles Dickens

  • This amusement never ends.

  • The original 'point and click interface' was a Smith & Wesson.

  • Artificial Intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.

  • I haven't lost my mind; I'm sure it's backed up on tape somewhere!

  • hocus pocus

  • Art is either plagiarism or revolution. - Paul Gauguin (1848 - 1903)

  • round here PHOTOBLOG

    A great collection of classy photos, which I found from the mblog homepage. Clicking unknown links is what the interweb is all about! - mistybee

    April 29, 2004

    Latte art

    Cool blog about the designs baristas can make in the foamy milk that sits on top of your caffe latte. Luigi Lupi says, "people however had never thought about creating a course exclusively planned on the preparation of cappuccinos; However, 8 years ago I had the fortune to meet Peter Merlo, “big caffettaro” with his help we had succeeded in learning all the necessary techniques for to prepare good cappuccinos and decorated with only movement of milk jug."

    Art of fine coffee is in your face: Cafe owner Chris Phillips chose an unusual medium to create art - the cafe lattes he serves by the trayful at his Richmond cafe.

    "When you pour the milk in and the cream hits, it's just like a blank canvas on which to paint," the 36-year old said.

    "Sometimes you see swirls and patterns when you're pouring the coffee in, and one day I was pouring it and I saw an eye appear," he said. "From there I just drew in a mouth and ears. I've been slowly practising since then, but have got pretty good in the last few months - every month I find ways to add more detail."

    You may want to check Caffeinated Ponderings by Shana McLean Moore Book.JPG. Shana writes with authority and panache. Her look at life, laughter and lattes is sure to leave you feeling tickled, validated and ready for a second cup..

    April 28, 2004

    Thank You!

    'Thanks' to all my readers, my friends for sharing with me my joy of being on mBlog Highlights agan. Let the close kin(blog)ship continue.

    Curry Could Save Brain Cells

    Since I'm of Indian descent, spicy foods have long been a part of my diet. The distinctive smell of curry often wafted through my childhood home as my mom prepared her deliciously spicy dishes, often served with a dose of "it's good for you."

    Curry may help fight brain diseases by enhancing an enzyme that protects brain cells from oxidative damage.

    Synthetic Life

    Biologists are crafting libraries of interchangeable DNA parts and assembling them inside microbes to create programmable, living machines

    'Laser vision' offers new insights

    "Microvision has developed a system that projects lasers onto the retina, allowing users to view images on top of their normal field of vision".

    Andy Borowitz: golf record shocker


    President’s Golf Record Under Fire

    Controversy hit the Bush campaign today amid reports that the President threw away several trophies he won while playing golf during the Vietnam War.

    For years, the President has deflected questions about his lack of military service during the war by stressing that he used that time to develop the golf skills necessary to serve as Commander in Chief.

    But the latest bombshell is bound to renew scrutiny of Mr. Bush’s golf record, as eyewitnesses at the Kennebunk Golf Club said that Mr. Bush threw away several of his golf trophies during a protest at the club in 1971.

    According to the eyewitnesses, Mr. Bush hurled the trophies over the country club’s fence to protest a decision to move up the club bar’s closing time from eleven o’clock to ten.

    When asked about the incident today, Mr. Bush acknowledged that he threw away the golf trophies but said he later climbed over the fence to retrieve them after his dad yelled at him.

    But Mr. Bush’s comments only fanned the flames of controversy, as his former golf partner Charles “Whiffy” Wiffington said that the trophies could not possibly have belonged to Mr. Bush since the President never won more than an honorable-mention ribbon while playing at the club.

    “I think he got a ribbon for ‘most improved,’ but that was about the extent of it,” Mr. Wiffington said.

    In other news, Secretary of State Colin Powell said today that he saw the plans for the invasion of Iraq “at the same time as everyone else – when I read Bob Woodward’s book.”

    April 27, 2004

    The world's database on buildings

    Skyscraperpage.com has diagrams of any high building imaginable. And unimaginable. The X-Seed 4000 vision for Tokyo outskirts reaches 4 kilometers in the Japanese sky.

    A new contender is breezing its way up to become the next world's tallest building. We offer a review of how Taipei 101 will stand amongst the other giants of the world. World's 10 tallest buildings.

    Check the Evolution of the Skyscraper, Cities and Diagrams

    Also check, Judith Dupré's Skyscrapers which is more than just another coffee-table prop.

    April 26, 2004

    Frank Schaeffer's Comment

    I am very thankful to Frank Schaeffer for adding some thoughts to the essay, "Frank Schaeffer: MILITARY FAMILIES".

    Please check the comments section.

    April 25, 2004

    Datt: Body bags are moving - The unnecessary Iraq war

    Body bags are moving - The unnecessary Iraq war

    (sequel to: 'The American Predicament in Iraq')

    By R. Datt

    The coffins are not only moving, but mounting in numbers each day. Last month nearly one hundred came back. GUNS blaze resistance in Falluja and elsewhere in Iraq, and suicide bombers blow themselves up with scores of Iraqi civilians and US Coalition troops. The Administration is angered by the disclosure of this reality in a photograph showing a long row of coffins. This was taken by a resourceful amateur photographer. The date of 30 June 04 is getting closer, with no reasonable expectation of a peaceful turnover of sovereignty. The advent of American Democracy in Iraq is a remote dream, under these circumstances. Saddam Hussain in his prison cell must be gleeful. The factions that he had controlled for twenty-three years are giving America and her Coalition partners a hard time within one year of invasion.

    Because of tactical and strategic blunders - not understanding the psyche of Iraqis, and not launching the invasion under the leadership of a dissident of DeGaulle's stature, those who meant to be liberators have become occupiers. Like other nations Iraqis hate foreign occupation and despise the collaborator governing council.

    Further, a provisional constitution on American lines. Non acceptance of the foreign occupation and unrepresentative and not too above board 'governing council' and a provisional constitution on American lines, have become the main hurdles. For redeeming the situation US should tip toe to UN. This at the time of writing has been done. Despite this, if a pro American provisional government is imposed and sovereignty handed over, situation will become further explosive due to insufficient trust in the ability of the new government to assure domestic law and order stability. Presence of American or Coalition forces will be no deterrent and on the contrary will further endorse its status of 'occupying forces' lacking legitimacy.

    The most important question remains: how can America withdraw with honor and Iraq peacefully proceed toward free elections and once-derided activity of nation - building. The following steps, or along similar lines, will help:

    Security -- Under the UN umbrella , at the earliest opportunity, bring law and order to the cities. This will require police forces/ peace - keeping forces from neutral Muslim countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, and Muscat (if they are willing) to replace American and British forces. Make token withdrawals of hated British and American forces, in that order. Do not bring in NATO as a proxy for maintaining the American and Coalition strategic interest. Give maximum construction tender awards to Iraqi companies (if any are still capable) to build infrastructure.

    Healing -- Provide social and religious healing to the invasion victims by building their houses / restoring economic stability; give resistance fighters generous rehabilitation and compensation for turning in their weapons, have hospitals and other relief facilities etc. Build and repair mosques in Shia and Sunni dominated areas. Withdraw or suspend the warrant against Muktada Sadr, the Shia clergyman. Use his good offices to reach a permanent cease-fire. Take Ayatollah Sistani seriously as a father figure for the governing council. Hand over the Oil and Commerce Ministries to the UN/Iraqi officials . Postpone the date of 30th June by two months. Do not insist one enforcing the Provisional Constitution yet.

    Tactical & strategically -- Make use of ex-officials of Saddam Hussain regime just as we did in Germany and Japan, since they know the Iraqi psyche .very well. Edit the provisional governing council. Get rid off Chalabi and his ilk. Suggest someone send him to Jordan too for justice. Take the charges against Tariq Aziz back. He was the most acceptable Iraqi Foreign Minister; he was popular and enjoyed worldwide credibility in the United Nation . Indeed, he is a favorite with the In's Lakhdar Brahimi, a shrewd international politician. Tariq Aziz can be expected to be neutral in the Sunni - Shia standoff since he is a Christian. Israel should be pressed harder not to carry out the wanton killings of Palestinians. To every Arab country the Palestinian cause is historically and traditionally dear both for their internal security, and because they have a Palestinian population (8 to 30%).

    Should these measure be implemented, America would possibly be seen as a well-meaning state doing its best to spread democracy and respect for human rights. It would help to defeat the belief of all third world (especially Arab) non-democratic countries that America is a bully and aggressor, after the natural resources of weaker countries, and particularly an enemy of Islam.

    ('R' Datt is an ex-business Director. Interested in Asian policy, strategic developments, and a frequent invitee to Think Tanks)

    Frank Schaeffer: MILITARY FAMILIES

    Following essay on PBS, made me think.


    April 22, 2004

    Guest essayist Frank Schaeffer, whose latest book is "Faith of Our Sons: A Father's Wartime Diary" offers some thoughts about those who send troops to war.

    FRANK SCHAEFFER: The military records of the presidential candidates are hot topics. But as the father of a member of our military, I'm less interested in the candidate's past service than in asking "Where are their children?"

    From March through December of 2003, my son, a corporal in the United States Marine corps, was facing roadside bombs and random bullets in Afghanistan. I was proud of John's service, and terrified. What our political leaders said about "supporting our troops" didn't comfort me. In one crucial respect, they and I had nothing in common. Almost none of their children were in harm's way.

    SPOKESMAN: Yesterday, December 7, 1941...

    FRANK SCHAEFFER: At one time, many of our leaders were also military parents. Jon Meacham notes in his recent book, "Franklin and Winston," that Eleanor Roosevelt wrote, "I think my husband would have been very much upset if the boys had not wanted to go into the war immediately, but he did not have to worry very much because they either were already in before the war began, or they went in immediately."

    Roosevelt's most influential advisor, Harry Hopkins, also had children who volunteered. His youngest son, Stephen, was killed in the Pacific. Many members of Congress had sons or daughters serving. Some were wounded, and others killed. A lot has changed since our political elites were encouraging, even expected, their children to volunteer.

    According to an article by Tom Ford in the "Minneapolis-St. Paul star tribune" wherein he cited two experts on trends in military service, only 30 percent of the 535 members of congress have a military background. This number is down from 1969 when more than two-thirds had served. And only six representatives and one senator are known to have children serving.

    I never served in the military, and I was dismayed when my son volunteered. And I don't mean to single out individuals, but several examples illustrate a serious dilemma: When it comes to service, our ruling class no longer puts its money where its mouth is.

    President Bush refers to the U.S. Military as our finest young men and women; his daughters did not volunteer. As First Lady, Senator Hilary Clinton often said that she looked to Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt as role models. But there is no evidence Senator Clinton is "very much upset" by the fact that her service-age daughter did not volunteer to fight in the war that Senator Clinton voted for and Senator Kerry's children did not volunteer. Yet the fact that he did not inspire his children to serve is not seen as a disqualification for his seeking the office of commander- and, in these days of the all-volunteer military, recruiter-in-chief.

    Leaders on the right talk about the need to project American power. Where is their practical patriotism? Where are their children? Leaders on the left talk about fairness to working people. Where is their practical solidarity with the working people defending them? Where are their children?

    In Pericles' funeral oration, he says, "for a man's counsel cannot have equal weight or worth when he alone has no children to risk in the general danger." To me, this summarizes a serious moral problem: The unfairness of being led by a class that only sends the sons and daughters of others to defend us.

    Eleanor wrote of her wartime farewell to her sons, "I imagine every mother felt as I did when I said good-bye. Life had to go on, and you had to do what was required of you, but something inside of you died." I wish we were still led by women and men who could honestly identify with "every mother" and father who has experienced the heart-stopping mix of pride and sorrow attending a farewell to a son or daughter who has volunteered to defend us. If we were, this country would be fairer. If we were, our leader's words about war and peace would have weight.

    Faith of Our Sons by Frank Schaeffer

    Judith: Support our troops

    Support our troops

    By Judith

    I'd like someone to point out how vapid is the exhortation to "Support our troops". What, shall we knit socks for them? Roll bandages? Did Bush ask us to do something and we didn't? Is pasting flag stickers on our bumpers "supporting the troops"? When it comes to supporting our troops, who doesn't? Well, here's a hint: Supporting our troops has to mean something that actually makes their lives better (and more probable) like providing them good body armor in a timely way (Bush didn't) and making sure their pay and benefits are not cut (Bush cut them) and seeing to it they get rotated out while they are still alive (these guys are being prevented from coming home because we need more troops there due to the Iraqis SOMEHOW mistaking grenades for flowers) -- Rumsfeld can't admit we need more troops so the poor troops who are there can come home. Telling ME to "support our troops" is silly. All I can do is pay taxes and oppose the war that is killing our boys. Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld can actually do things that help the troops, and they are not doing them. So give me no b.s. about how I'm not supporting our troops if I breathe a word of dissent about this war. I'm doing my best FOR our troops when I do that!

    April 24, 2004

    Stinkin' Thinkin'

    It started out innocently enough.

    I began to think at parties now and then to loosen up. Inevitably though, one thought led to another, and soon I was more than just a social thinker.

    I began to think alone -- "to relax," I told myself -- but I knew it wasn't true. Thinking became more and more important to me, and finally I was thinking all the time.

    I began to think on the job. I knew that thinking and employment don't mix, but I couldn't stop myself. I began to avoid friends at lunchtime so I could read Thoreau and Kafka.

    I would return to the office dizzied and confused, asking, "What is it exactly we are doing here?"

    Things weren't going so great at home either. One evening I had turned off the TV and asked my husband about the meaning of life. He spent that night at his mother's.

    I soon had a reputation as a heavy thinker. One day the boss called me in. He said, "Skippy, I like you, and it hurts me to say this, but your thinking has become a real problem. If you don't stop thinking on the job, you'll have to find another job."

    This gave me a lot to think about.

    I came home early after my conversation with the boss. "Honey," I confessed, "I've been thinking..." "I know you've been thinking," He said, "and I want a divorce!"

    "But Honey, surely it's not that serious."

    "It is serious," He said, lower lip aquiver. "You think as much as college professors, and college professors don't make any money, so if you keep on thinking we won't have any money!"

    "That's a faulty syllogism," I said impatiently, and he began to cry.

    I'd had enough. "I'm going to the library," I snarled as I stomped out the door.

    I headed for the library, in the mood for some Nietzsche, with NPR on the radio. I roared into the parking lot and ran up to the big glass doors.. . they didn't open. The library was closed. To this day, I believe that a Higher Power was looking out for me that night.

    As I sank to the ground clawing at the unfeeling glass, whimpering for Zarathustra, a poster caught my eye. "Friend, is heavy thinking ruining your life?" it asked.

    You probably recognize that line. It comes from the standard Thinker's Anonymous poster. Which is why I am what I am today: a recovering thinker.

    I never miss a TA meeting.

    At each meeting we watch a non-educational video; last week it was "Porky's." Then we share experiences about how we avoided thinking since the last meeting. I still have my job, and things are a lot better at home.

    Life just seemed ... easier, somehow, as soon as I stopped thinking.

    Soon, I will be able to vote Republican.

    April 23, 2004

    Company Sends Ice Cream to the Dogs

    TORONTO (Reuters) - The maker of Eskimo Pie ice cream said on Tuesday it was launching cold treats for hot dogs who want to stay slim and cool this summer.

    CoolBrands International says its Dogsters ice cream for dogs is low in sugar and carbohydrate, and is better for the average pooch than normal sweet ice cream.

    "Dogs love ice cream," CoolBrands said in a statement announcing a global deal to sell the canine dessert.

    It did not say what portion of the $5 billion-a-year U.S. petfood market it hoped to capture with the new product.

    Interactive Area

    BBC Health Screensavers

    DeskerciseTM screensaver
    Take a minute to relax, unwind your muscles and rest your eyes. All you have to do is to stop working and download the BBC Health's DeskerciseTM screensaver. Try these simple exercises that can be done from your desk for an instant feeling of wellbeing!

    Diet Tips screensaver
    Trying to lose weight but find that you're in need of a little extra motivation while you're sitting at your desk? Our Diet Tips screensaver could be just the thing! Our range of tips and advice might help you to resist temptation!

    April 22, 2004

    Playing With Time

    Playing With Time is an exciting, new project that looks at how the world around you is changing over many different time periods.

    Here at the Playing With Time web site, unseen worlds of change will be revealed. You will see time sped up and slowed down, and behold the beauty of change. Time will be in your hands to witness, replay, and even create. You never know... you might not look at things quite the same way again.

    Visit their Gallery of Time to see amazing movies that show the changing world around us. Take a walk on the sliding scales of time. Go on an in-depth exploration of a place in time and find out what's happening behind the scenes. Or, if you are up for a challenge, check out one of their time activities. Choose from one of the links in the new navigation bar above to start. Let the games begin!

    April 21, 2004

    Sound of Music

    When the world is torn apart, when chaos and confusion reins, when UN does not want to intervene and it looks like doom is at hand. One company takes a big plunge in peace, with one station, one city, one country at a time.

    RCS has gone where no nation dares to go with their music to Afghanistan! Yes - top seven cities including Kabul. RCS is the official broadcast software for ARMAN FM in Kabul. Now the twist here is RCS is an American company, ARMAN FM is owned by an Australian, and the music they play is Indian. What better synergy can one get?

    A Break in the Road

    Unlike many Flash sites that promise entertaining diversion but fail to deliver, this musical journey takes you on an engrossing interactive pursuit. The site's intro sets the scene -- Declan, a club and music store owner, needs a musical act to fill in for the headliner. That's where you come in. He offers you the headliner's slot, but you have only one day to create the music. Several industry bigwigs are scheduled to be at the club, so you need to come up with a genius idea. You grab your mini-disc recorder, go into the city, and capture the beats, melodies, and sounds of the streets -- in a café, at the train station, on the subway -- and mix them into a tune. Take your time and explore because no matter where you turn on this site, the sounds of the city follow.

    April 20, 2004

    A, B, C, ... D! The Programming Language

    OSNews is carrying a quick introduction to a programming language under development - D. Features include garbage collection, overrideable operators, full C compatibility, native compilation, inline assembler, and in-built support for unit testing and "Design by Contract". With all the discussion about the future of GNOME with Java/Mono, does D offer hope of a middle-road? Check out the comparison sheet.

    Googol & Googolplex

    American mathematician Edward Kasner once asked his nine-year-old nephew, Milton Sirotta, to invent a name for a very large number, namely 1 times 10 to the 100th power. The boy called it a Googol.

    10 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000

    Fractals, Googols and Other Mathematical Tales by Theoni Pappas Book.JPG

    One Googol is larger than the accepted calculations of the number of elementary particles in the universe, which amount to only 1 x 10 to the 80th power. To find a number larger than a Googol, it has been suggested that if the space of the known universe was packed solid with neutrons, there would be about 10 to the power of 128 particles in it. This number at least, although it could not actually exist in this universe, would be huge by comparison.

    In an interesting use of this number, a Googolhedron has been defined to be a 3-dimensional object bounded by 1 x 10 to the 100th power similar polygons. This shape that would appear to be a sphere, and having this many sides or facets would make it smoother than any man made or natural object. Hovever, since we have just learned that there are not a Googol particles in the universe, we know that this shape, alas, could never exist.

    Almost immediately after the number Googol was coined, and as if to demonstrate how limitless mathematics are, another mathematician responded with the number Googolplex, defined to be 1 x 10 to the power of Googol, a number that truly dwarphs its predicessor.

    A Googolplex is so large, in fact, that computer scientist Frank Pilhofer determined in 1995 that, given Moore's Law (which states that computer processor power doubles about every 1 to 2 years,) it would make no sense to try to print the number Googolplex for another 524 years - since all earlier attempts would be overtaken by the faster processor.

    On the other hand, one Lucas Watson (lwatkins@scri.fsu.edu) pointed out that Googolplex could never be printed, since there is not enough matter in the universe on which to print the number.

    But then again, Paul Dourish (dourish@europarc.xerox.com) suggests that we simply switch to base Googolplex, and print it simply as 10.

    (See Frank Pilhofer's brief but engaging paper on Googolplex)

    Now imagine a Googolplexihedron.

    ...And what would we call the number 1 x 10 raised the the Googolplexth power?

    April 19, 2004

    read their thoughts

    Scientists are to implant computer chips in the brains of paralysed patients which could 'read their thoughts'.

    Also check: (One of my favorite books) Phantoms in the Brain : Probing the Mysteries of the Human Mind by V. S. Ramachandran

    Paris in the evening.

    Panoramic veiw of Paris in the evening. (remember it is panoramic view so scroll / click and move the mouse)

    Also Mount Everest - 360 degree panorama from the top of Mt Everest. Check the archives at the bottoom.

    (via mistybee)

    Space technology for skiing record

    Using technology from Europe's space programme ski maker Rossignol hopes to beat the world speed skiing record at Les Arcs Pro Mondial in France.

    April 18, 2004


    Andy Borowitz: angry osama shocker


    Bin Laden Bemoans Free Downloads of Spooky Pronouncements

    In a new terror tape broadcast on the Arabic-language al-Jazeera network today, al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden warned that free, illegal downloading of terror tapes is threatening the economic health of the terror-tape industry going forward.

    “In the past, I have been able to hire the best writers, directors, and cave designers to make my terror tapes truly chilling,” said a sterner-than-usual bin Laden on his latest tape. “But if illegal piracy of these scary tapes persists, the time will come when making new scary tapes will no longer be economically feasible.”

    According to associates of Mr. bin Laden, the al-Qaeda leader was particularly peeved that pirated copies of his latest tape, in which he offered a truce to several European nations, showed up for sale on street corners in Hong Kong and Los Angeles days before it was to be broadcast.

    “These scumbags are ripping Osama off, and he doesn’t see a nickel,” one associate said. “After all the work he puts into crafting these tapes, it’s depressing.”

    In addition, the associate said, Mr. bin Laden fears that illegally pirated clips of him may start appearing in the music videos of pop stars, further diluting their value: “The last thing Osama wants to do is make Hillary Duff richer.”

    And as bin Laden’s pirated image becomes as overexposed as Scooby-Doo, there is growing evidence that he may be paying the ultimate price: losing his ability to terrify people.

    Case in point: a new survey gauging public attitudes towards Osama shows that by a wide margin, Americans are now more afraid of Omarosa.

    Don't mess with a woman!

    After 17 years of marriage, a man dumped his wife for a younger woman. He wanted to continue living in their downtown luxury apartment with his new lover so he asked his wife to move out and get another place.

    His wife agreed to this, provided that he would give her 3 days alone at the apartment to pack up her things.

    She spent the first day packing her belongings into boxes, crates and suitcases. On the second day, she had the movers come and collect her things. On the third day, she sat down for the last time at their beautiful dining table by candlelight, put on some soft background music, and feasted on a pound of shrimp and a bottle of Chardonnay.

    When she had finished, she went into each room and deposited a few of the half-eaten shrimp shells into the hollow of the curtain rods. She then cleaned up the kitchen and left.

    When the husband returned with his new girlfriend, all was bliss for the first few days. Then slowly the apartment began to smell. They tied everything; cleaning & mopping and airing the place out. Vents were checked for dead rodents, carpets were steam cleaned. Air fresheners were hung everywhere. Exterminators were brought in to set off gas canisters, during which they had to move out for a few days, and in the end they even paid to replace the expensive carpet.

    Finally, they could not take it any longer and decided to move. They could not find a buyer for their stinky apartment so they had to borrow a huge sum of money from the bank to purchase a new place.

    The moving company arrived and did a very professional packing job, taking everything to their newhome......including the curtain rods.


    April 17, 2004

    Just so you know

    I've added two nice features on the side bar:

    Entries attracting the Most Comments / Most popular (polemical) posts

    Person offering the Most Comments / Most Frequent Commenter

    Take Me Home, I'm Drunk

    Students have come up with the ultimate university companion, able to help with both academic and social life.

    The University Leisure and Lifestyle Manager (ULL) is the ultimate student companion, helping in all aspects of life; from choosing text books, to getting home from the pub after a few too many. Hopefully it won't put an end to the traditional student pastime of waking up on a park bench after a night out, with a traffic cone on your head.

    More about the developers..


    The Family Game of Visual Perception.

    Sam's Toybox

    Back in 1998, Sam inadvertently tripped upon the fountain of youth, and he's been sharing his secret with a smile ever since. While surfing eBay, he spotted an auction for the first toy he ever owned, a Mattel Powershop. After successfully winning the auction, Sam realized he could not only stockpile a new toybox filled with items that inhabit his fondest childhood memories, but also share his haul with other nostalgic adults. Today his virtual showroom is a reflection of both Sam the man and the child he never left behind. Some of his booty includes a Hot Wheels Toy Factory, the Which Witch? boardgame, a Hands Up Harry, a Frustration Ball, and some well-preserved Incredible Edibles. He asks other toy lovers to share and share alike, and offers his wishlist for more vintage playthings.

    April 16, 2004

    On This Day

    1964: 'Great Train Robbers' get 300 years

    Some of the longest sentences in British criminal history have been imposed on men involved in the so-called "Great Train Robbery".

    Bruce Reynolds, one of the last remaining ex-robbers, is to visit a Denbighshire museum, where, among the exhibits, is one of the lorries used by the robbers.

    A must for anybody interested in history, the criminal genre or cultural icons: The Great Train Robbery Files by Alan Parker (Author), Bruce Reynolds (Author), Nick Reynolds (Author)

    CSS Resources

    There's a nice collection of useful CSS links at fortysomething. The Imposter is also useful, whilst the CSS Zen Garden shows some of the beauty and power of CSS.

    For more check out: Cascading Style Sheets: The Definitive Guide

    Dial-that-tune comes to U.S.

    Can't recognize the song? AT&T Wireless gives phones music recognition power. Just dial a few digits and hold the cell phone close to the speaker.

    Sony Develops Paper-Based Disc

    Blu-ray Disc would be more environmentally friendly. Blu-ray Disc uses a blue laser to achieve a storage capacity of around 25GB or around five times that of current DVD discs.

    If life was more like Flash

    If life was more like Flash...
    There are a variety of things I could do if life had an Actionscript API...

    function dealWithIt(){
    if (stress) {

    more ...

    April 15, 2004

    Roth Time: A Dieter Roth Perspective

    He was an iconoclast and prolific visionary, a voice that could not be confined to a single medium. As Rothko defined abstract expressionism and Warhol reflected pop culture, Dieter Roth embodied individualism.

    He sculpted with his right hand and painted with his left, produced books, composed music, and created bold statements with virtually any tool at his disposal.

    He was undoubtedly one of the most influential masters of the latter 20th century, yet outside elite art circles, the German-born talent is largely unknown.

    This MoMA exhibit presents the vast breadth of Roth's genius front and center, browseable by theme or timeline. In each brushstroke, collaboration, and experiment, you'll find the inspiration for many artists of his era, as well as the seeds of today's multimedia and graphic works.

    Roth Time: The Art of Dieter Roth by Dieter Roth

    April 14, 2004

    Datt: The American Predicament in Iraq

    The American Predicament in Iraq

    By R. Datt

    The siege of Fallujah by two plus Coalition troop divisions (Airborne and Armor)is reminiscent of' 'Operation Blue Star' that ultimately cost Mrs Indira Gandhi her life and the communal bitterness it engendered in India took many years to heal.. The massive demonstration in Baghdad has already brought full-scale war to Iraq. The Americans now look more like brutal occupiers than liberators. It is obvious that the Iraqis, whether Sunnis or Shias, have risen as one after the March 30 carnage which saw American civilians burnt and their bodies dragged through the streets and hung from the Euphrates Bridge.

    This counter offensive mounted to recapture Fallujah is a martial law-like shoot-at-sight situation. Massive shootings and arrests and summary executions may follow. It will result in a blood bath on both sides. The war-like situation will also grip other cities and used by the Americans as an excuse for not handing over sovereign control to the provisional government come June 30. Or will it be a rerun of Vietnam with soldiers and civilians dangling from helicopters as they try to fly out of Baghdad?

    The US aim of ushering in democracy in an undemocratic country that lay under a tyrant's rule for decades may be noble, but it amounts to democracy being pushed down the throats of Iraqis. Democracy has to come to birth from within, not enforced by armies on tanks and in helicopter gunships. It will be as illusive as the WMD in Iraq.

    There is a growing belief worldwide that America is in Iraq as part of its quest for cheap energy and oil resources. Americans are six percent of the world’s population but they consume 21 percent of its oil. Expatriate Iraqis like Ahmed Chalabi got themselves ensconsed in the right places in America, taking advantage of the establishment’s hatred of Saddam Hussein, who was once an ally. Chalabi convinced the Americans with such predictions as, “Your liberating armies will be welcomed with garlands.” There was no al Qaeda in Iraq. Saddam may have been a monster but he was a secular monster. There were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and Washington knew that all along. The decision to go into Iraq was taken long before it was implemented in defiance of the US and European and Third World opinion. Never had in its history an American president behaved so arrogantly. The “staff scenario” worked out by the Bush neocons has exploded in their faces. The Iraqis are fighting back and they do not seem to be afraid of American might and muscle.

    The troops sent to Iraq were trained to operate in a terrain such as Afghanistan’s. They were also ignorant of Islamic traditions and cultural norms and sensitivities. Their ignorance of the Iraqi Muslim psyche, their lack of knowledge of written or spoken Arabic language, their lack of respect for women and the Iraqi dead were bound to alienate them from the people they say they have gone to liberate. No one likes foreign occupation. The Iraqis are no exception. The US should have jettisoned Chalabi and his ilk but it placed them in positions of power, infuriating the average Iraqi.

    The disbanding of the elite Republican Guard was a tactical mistake made by Paul Bremer. He unleashed an armed, trained and out of work force on the country. Those now fighting in Iraq are mostly those demobbed soldiers, not terrorists, as propagated by Washington.

    It is also to be pointed out that while the American casualties have been widely publicized to gain public sympathy at home, to date no count of Iraqi military and civilian dead has been provided. The Iraqis who are seen cooperating with the Americans are being targeted by nationalist elements since they consider them traitors and quislings.

    It was easy to get into Iraq; it is not going to be easy to get out of it. The Iraqi misadventure has cost America dearly and if the situation does not improve – which it is unlikely to – it will also cause George W. Bush the election.

    ('R' Datt is an ex-business Director. Interested in Asian policy, strategic developments, and a frequent invitee to Think Tanks)

    (Continuation: Body bags are moving - The unnecessary Iraq war)

    April 13, 2004

    America in 1904

    What a Difference "A Century Makes"
    The year is 1904 , one hundred years ago... what a difference a century makes..

    - Here are the U. S. statistics for 1904 ....
    - The average life expectancy in the US was 47.
    - Only 14% of the homes in the US had a BATHTUB.
    - Only 8% of the homes had a TELEPHONE.
    - A three-minute call from Denver to New York City cost $11.
    - There were only 8,000 CARS in the US and only 144 miles of paved ROADS.
    - The maximum speed limit in most cities was 10 mph.

    - Alabama, Mississippi, Iowa, and Tennessee were each more heavily populated than California. With a mere 1.4 million residents, California was only the 21st most populous state in the Union.
    - The tallest structure in the world was the Eiffel Tower.
    - The average wage in the US was $0.22/hour.
    - The average US worker made between $200-$400/year.
    - A competent accountant could expect to earn $2000/year, a dentist $2,500/year, a veterinarian between $1,500-$4,000/year, and a mechanical engineer about $5,000/year.
    - More than 95% of all BIRTHS in the US took place at HOME.
    - 90% of all US physicians had NO COLLEGE education. Instead, they attended medical schools, many of which were condemned in the press and by the government as "substandard."
    - Sugar cost $0.04/pound. Eggs were $0.14/dozen. Coffee cost $0.15/pound.
    - Most women only washed their HAIR once a month and used BORAX or EGG YOLKS for shampoo.
    - Canada passed a law prohibiting POOR people from entering the country for any reason.
    - The five leading causes of death in the US were: 1. Pneumonia & influenza 2. Tuberculosis 3. Diarrhea 4. Heart disease 5. Stroke
    - The American flag had 45 stars. Arizona, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Hawaii
    - And Alaska hadn't been admitted to the Union yet.
    - The population of Las Vegas, Nevada was 30.
    - Crossword puzzles, canned beer, and iced tea hadn't been invented.
    - There were no Mother's Day or Father's Day.
    - One in ten US adults couldn't read or write.
    - Only 6% of all Americans had graduated from HIGH SCHOOL.
    - Coca Cola contained cocaine.
    - Marijuana, heroin and morphine were all available over the counter at corner drugstores. According to one pharmacist, "Heroin clears the complexion, gives buoyancy to the mind, regulates the stomach and the bowels, and is, in fact, a perfect guardian of health."
    - 18% of households in the US had at least one full-time SERVANT or domestic.
    - There were only about 230 reported MURDERS in the entire US.

    More added by readers:
    - Women did not have the vote.
    - Dangerous places did not have guardrails.
    - There were no laws to protect workers, not laws to protect food and drugs, no Social Security, Unemployment benefits, Welfare, or income tax.
    - also no minimum wage, fire safety code, or health insurance. you were pretty much on your own.
    - No toilet paper, sanitary napkins, Kleenex, indoor flush toilets, central heating, any kind of air conditioning whatever, elevators, refrigerators, good mattresses, radio or TV.

    Fifty Years of Amazing Facts!

    Fortune magazine: The triumphs, the failures, the milestones..

    April 12, 2004

    The Solution Was Sake

    How can wood be made pliable enough to form into loudspeaker cones? That question stumped engineers for decades until Satoshi Imamura discovered the answer: Sake (rice wine).

    Chasing Venus

    Observing the Transits of Venus 1631 - 2004

    Periodically the planet Venus passes directly between Earth and the Sun, appearing as a small black dot on the Sun's disk. Since astronomers first became aware of them in 1631, these "transits of Venus" have fascinated astronomers because of their rarity and their potential to help scientists measure the solar system. The expeditions that set out to observe transits from remote locations paved the way for a new era of scientific exploration - yet never managed to unlock the transits' secrets.

    "Chasing Venus" tells the story of astronomers' pursuit of this phenomenon, through rare books and articles written on the subject over the last four centuries. The exhibit also marks the sixth observed transit of Venus, in June 2004.

    April 11, 2004

    Dancing Robots!

    4 Sony QRIOs get jiggy with it. ('right-click & save as', note it is a 7mb file) (via mistybee)

    QRIO is the product of cutting edge artificial intelligence and dynamics technology. An entertainment robot that lives with you, makes life fun, makes you happy.

    QRIO can gather information and move around on its own accord.

    QRIO not only walks on two legs, it can also manage uneven surfaces, dance, recognize people's faces and voices, and carry on conversation.

    -QRIO Conducts an Orchestra
    -QRIO Participates in the Sony Open in Hawaii

    April 10, 2004

    Democracy In Action

    Below are comments from a 'Republican friend' site.

    "I guess it’s not exactly news that political ads often distort reality. But the latest ads from MoveOn.org step over a couple of lines.

    This is just more preaching to the choir. Expensive preaching, and therefore, a waste of resources. MoveOn.org seems to greatly enjoy what they’re doing, but they don’t seem to grasp, this isn’t about “fun.” This isn’t about rallying your own troops with gleefully mocking ads. This is about converting people, changing minds, and swaying those in the center.

    I think this is another in a decade of examples where hatred of a political opponent has completely blindered someone to “the better path.” They are so caught up in making their attacks as vicious as possible, they don’t see how their obvious frenzy negates their underlying message. Their tactics void their strategy."

    Check this out

    This is really funny! Please keep the volume down.

    Political Friendster

    As election season heats up, this cheeky parody exposes the corporate affiliations, clandestine societies, and secret handshakes that connect the world's political and financial elite. Who hasn't used Friendster and made face-value judgments based on the mugs in someone's social circle? Now you can judge the likes of FCC Chairman Michael Powell, director Michael Moore, National Security Advisor Condi Rice, and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on their network of political friendsters, or lack thereof. Can you figure out the high roller who did business with Enron, Harken Energy, and Bin Laden's peeps? And which spiritual leader moonlights for the CIA? If you've got the genuine 411 on other movers and shakers, send in your submissions. Jacques Chirac could use some friends right now.

    April 09, 2004

    Enchanted Ceiling

    As a metaphor, the sky stands for the great unknown, the space unexplored by our earthbound feet. The rapture of a beautiful outdoor vista is often difficult to describe.

    Enchanted Ceiling compiles photos that let the colors of the sky's palette do the talking. Fluffy clouds float by in many of the shots, inspiring viewers to gaze at their amorphous forms and truly get lost in their beauty.

    Some pictures are saturated with hues of purples and oranges, while others display the majesty of distant peaks looming on the horizon.

    There's nothing corny about any of these photos, although some of them are quite dreamy. You'll have nothin' but blue skies from now on.

    Check the archives and one of my favorites.

    Just so you know

    A new link 'Goodies / Links' has been added after 'Recent Entries' on the side-bar. 'Goodies / link' pops-up another window which has BlogRolling, location finder and total readers online amongst other things. The reason they are in another window is due to the slow loading time for them.

    For those who don’t know BlogRolling, it is a one-stop linklist manager for the blog or journal, helping to manage the ever-evolving linklist with ease. Simply put it keep tracks of the Blogs I Read.

    gmail revisited

    Now that privacy advocates urge Google to suspend Gmail, there is another option Spymac. Each Spymac account includes 100 MB of free web space. The free email accounts, which can be used with any operating system, do not rely on keyword scanning or advertising, it said in a posting on the Spymac site.

    What's more, each member gets his or her own blog that can be accessed at http://membername.spymac.net/blog.

    April 08, 2004

    Thank You!

    Thank you all my readers who are my friends now for sharing with me my joy of being in mBlog Highlights. We have a close kin(blog)ship now.

    April 06, 2004

    Vintage Geishas

    Have you ever heard of the word geisha?

    The direct translation of geisha is entertainer, and these women perform various cultural arts at banquets and other events. Their performances of songs, shamisen (a traditional three stringed Japanese instrument), games, and other traditional arts from their vast repertoire make the banquets enjoyable. Up until recent times, the most famous images of Japanese culture and of Japan itself were Mt. Fuji, samurai, and geishas.

    Immortal Geisha has interesting articles on history, traditions, lifestyles and great vintage photos and woodblocks

    In her book Geisha : A Life Mineko Iwasaki. Book.JPG writes about her life. Now in her 50s, Mineko Iwasaki was one of the most famed geishas of her generation (and the chief informant for Arthur Golden's Memoirs of a Geisha). Her ascent was difficult, not merely because of the hard, endless training she had to undergo--learning how to speak a hyper-elevated dialect of Japanese and how to sing and dance gracefully while wearing a 44-pound kimono atop six-inch wooden sandals--but also because many of the elaborate, self-effacing rules of the art went against her grain.

    A geisha "is an exquisite willow tree who bends to the service of others," she writes. "I have always been stubborn and contrary. And very, very proud." And playful, too: one of the funniest moments in this bittersweet book describes a disastrous encounter with the queen of England and her all-too-interested husband.

    Do not dry clean or re-elect

    The last three lines of French instructions on a bag read, "We are sorry that our President is an idiot. We didn't vote for him."


    "It looks like the best chance I have of getting broadband access is to go out and rob a car..."

    April 05, 2004

    Consolidation hits monitoring companies

    Two companies which make their living by tracking what radio stations are airing are becoming one.

    Aircheck Logo.JPG
    They sure do know!
    AirCheck LLC announced that it has acquired Media Monitors Inc. (MMI) on undisclosed terms. "MMI's remarkable experience in the radio advertising market will be boosted by an order of magnitude when combined with the patented technology of AirCheck," said Philippe Generali, President of AirCheck and its parent company, RCS Inc. The announcement said that MMI's former principal owners, John and Anita Selig, will stay on as executives of the new MMI, which will be a division of AirCheck.

    RBR observation: This is a marriage of the old and established, MMI, with new technology, AirCheck. MMI has staffers log in spots from a random sampling pulled from broadcasts one day a week in each of the radio markets it tracks. That data is then sold to agencies, advertisers and even broadcasters. AirCheck uses digital fingerprinting to identify spots and music, then tracks actual airplay in markets where it has electronic monitoring stations. That data is then available to subscribers on a same-day, online basis.

    Note: AirCheck Broadcast Monitoring service was awarded The Annual Cool Stuff Award by Radio World Magazine on location last week at the NAB Convention in Las Vegas by a team of writers from the international trade magazine.

    Logic from chaos?

    Chaos, in the mathematical sense, is not unpredictability: chaotic systems can behave in a predictable and reproducible way. The catch is that the evolution of a chaotic system depends very sensitively on its starting conditions, which leads in the long term to behaviour that is ultimately unpredictable. But by choosing those starting conditions carefully, and only letting the system evolve for a short time, Dr Ditto thinks he can harness chaos to be computationally powerful.

    Check out:
    Chaos: Making a New Science by James Gleick

    "Gleick's Chaos is not only enthralling and precise, but full of beautifully strange and strangely beautiful ideas."-Douglas Hofstadter

    Reality Mining

    MIT believes that our modern foundation of mobile communications and processing power will support an exciting new suite of business applications: reality mining.

    April 04, 2004

    Feeling smarter yet?

    Brain Cramps

    Question: If you could live forever, would you and why?
    Answer: "I would not live forever! , because we should not live forever, because if we were supposed to live forever, then we would live forever, but we cannot live forever, which is why I would not live forever," -Miss Alabama in the 1994 Miss USA contest.

    "Whenever I watch TV and see those poor starving kids all over the world, I can't help but cry. I mean I'd love to be skinny like that, but not with all those flies and death and stuff." -Mariah Carey

    "Smoking kills. If you're killed, you've lost a very important part of your life," -Brooke Shields, during an interview to become Spokesperson for federal anti-smoking campaign.

    "I've never had major knee surgery on any other part of my body," -Winston Bennett, University of Kentucky basketball forward

    "Outside of the killings, Washington has one of the lowest crime rates in the country," -Mayor Marion Barry, Washington, DC.

    "I'm not going to have some reporters pawing through our papers. We are the president." -Hillary Clinton commenting on the release of subpoenaed documents.

    "That lowdown scoundrel deserves to be kicked to death by a jackass, and I'm just the one to do it," -A congressional candidate in Texas.

    "Half this game is ninety percent mental." -Philadelphia Phillies manager, Danny Ozark

    "It isn't pollution that's harming the environment. It's the impurities in our air and water that are doing it." -Al Gore, Vice President

    "It's no exaggeration to say that the undecideds could go one way or another" -George Bush, US President

    "I love California. I practically grew up in Phoenix." -Dan Quayle

    "We've got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need?" -Lee Iacocca

    "I was provided with additional input that was radically different from the truth. I assisted in furthering that version."-Colonel Oliver North, from his Iran-Contra testimony.

    "The word "genius" isn't applicable in football. A genius is a guy like Norman Einstein." -Joe Theisman, NFL football quarterback &sports analyst.

    "We don't necessarily discriminate. We simply exclude certain types of people." -Colonel Gerald Wellman, ROTC Instructor.

    "Traditionally, most of Australia's imports come from overseas." -Keppel Enderbery

    "Your food stamps will be stopped effective March 1992 because we received notice that you passed away. May God bless you. You may reapply if there is a change in your circumstances." -Department of Social Services, Greenville, South Carolina

    "If somebody has a bad heart, they can plug this jack in at night as they go to bed and it will monitor their heart throughout the night. And the next morning, when they wake up dead, there'll be a record." -Mark S. Fowler, FCC Chairman

    April 03, 2004

    Removable Media for our minds

    Getting forgetful? What if you could watch your entire life flash before your eyes with the click of button? The possibility is not as far fetched as one might think.

    Allah ke naam pe de dae baba

    This is no story of Corrupt Corporate America but of turning Bangladesh's Beggars Into Businessmen

    Allah ke naam pe de dae baba (In God's name give).

    Dreams are...

    ...where our thoughts go when we try to put the thoughts out of mind.

    April 02, 2004

    The Museum Of Hoaxes

    The Museum Of Hoaxes weblog. An almost daily weblog about hoaxes, pranks, and fakery of all kinds.

    Check out:
    - The Museum of Hoaxes by Alex Boese Book.JPG
    - Urban Legends Reference Pages
    - HoaxBusters

    India: Emerging for Your Dollars

    An overview of India's economy, the risks therein, and good investment choices available to U.S. investors looking to diversify their portfolios by owning part of the world's largest democracy.

    Also /. has comments on How India is Saving Capitalism

    Sun settles with Microsoft, announces layoffs

    Sun settles with Microsoft, announces layoffs? Shouldn't it say Sun settles with Microsoft, Hires more people? I mean they just got $1.95 billion. Shouldn't they be hiring more people and putting their energies on Java platform to ward off the .NET Threat?

    (via Thinking in Visuals)

    Adopt a Blog project

    Have some extra server space? Want to help out Banned China bloggers? ADOPT A BLOG!

    The Adopt a Blog project began in response to the second major blocking measure taken by the government of the People's Republic of China against blogging services. The first such measure was taken against Blogger's free Blogspot hosting service on January 8, 2003. That block is still in place today. The more recent block of Typepad blogs began on March 25, 2004, and is also still in effect.

    The Adopt a Blog project is not a political agenda seeking to oppose the PRC or its policies. It is not confined to any particular country. It was founded strictly to uphold free speech, regardless of content. Its main idea is: we spread out our blogs, and when they block a blog, we move it elsewhere.

    April 01, 2004

    Rare Vermeer

    She sits at a keyboard, in her white skirt and yellow shawl -- until now, a woman of mystery.

    Yesterday, auctioneers at Sotheby's said the painting of a young woman that was once dismissed as a fake has now been confirmed to be the work of 17th-century Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer.

    Rare Vermeer to ignite auction fever.

    The first painting by Dutch Old Master Johannes Vermeer to go on public sale in more than 80 years comes to auction in July with a starting price of three million pounds ($5.5 million) and no sign of a ceiling.

    check out:
    - Vermeer & the Art of Painting
    - The Complete Works

    Google plans rival e-mail service

    Google, the world's most popular internet search engine, plans to offer a free email service, offering 1GB of storage for each account, called Gmail in a bid to rival Yahoo and Microsoft's Hotmail.

    Judge: Sharing music via networks legal in Canada

    Making copyrighted music available for sharing on a computer network is not illegal in Canada, a federal judge rules, handing the record industry a sharp setback in its fight against file swappers.

    Canada's music industry can't force Internet service providers to identify online music sharers, a Federal Court judge has ruled.

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    what blogs are good for, aside from ego expression... Sort of like putting your face, life story and personal opinions on a milk carton so other people can see them.