week in blog

Don't Buy It Before You PriceSCAN It!

Saturday, July 31, 2004

July 31, 2004 

jest for pun (July'04)

July'04 BlogThoughts

Every calendar's days are numbered.

  • You can fool all the people all the time if the advertising is right and the budget is big enough. - Joseph E. Levine

  • fyi

  • Is coffee your daily grind?

  • We've all heard that a million monkeys banging on a million typewriters will eventually reproduce the entire works of Shakespeare. Now, thanks to the Internet, we know this is not true. - Robert Wilenksy (as spoken at a 1996 conference)

  • All charming people have something to conceal, usually their total dependence on the appreciation of others. -Cyril Connolly

  • I do not like broccoli and I haven't liked it since I was a little kid and my mother made me eat it. Now I'm President of the United States and I'm not going to eat any more broccoli. -George Bush (b. 1925) - 41st President of the United States.

  • Men will confess to treason, murder, arson, false teeth, or a wig. How many of them will own up to a lack of humor?- Frank Moore Colby (The Colby Essays)

  • Give me the luxuries of life and I will willingly do without the necessities. - Frank Lloyd Wright

  • It's the opinion of some that crops could be grown on the moon. Which raises the fear that it may not be long before we're paying somebody not to. - Franklin P. Jones

  • Oh, no! Not *another* learning experience!

  • So, where's the Cannes Film Festival being held this year? - Christina Aguilera

  • In order to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe. -Carl Sagan (1934 - 1996), Cosmos

  • fye

  • Dijon vu - the same mustard as before.

  • There is still no cure for the common birthday. - John Glenn

  • I have six locks on my door all in a row. When I go out, I only lock every other one. I figure no matter how long somebody stands there picking the locks, they are always locking three. - Elayne Boosler

  • Money, money, money Must be funny In the rich man’s world - Abba Lyrics

  • I saw a notice that said 'Drink Canada Dry' and I've just started. - Brendan Behan

  • games people play: A cannibal's favourite game is 'swallow the leader'.

  • life's like that

  • What's in a name? That which we call a rose By any other color would smell as sweet. - William Shakespeare (1564 - 1616), "Romeo and Juliet", Act 2 scene 2

  • scibbler on the screen

  • A mother is not a person to lean on but person to make leaning unnecessary. - Dorothy Canfield Fisher

  • Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. - Arthur C. Clarke

  • The ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security of all. - John F. Kennedy (1917 - 1963), speech at Vanderbilt University, May 18, 1963

  • A citizen of America will cross the ocean to fight for democracy, but won't cross the street to vote in a national election. - Bill Vaughan (1915 - 1977) American writer and journalist.

  • New York and Florida firms to combine strengths

    While the cable and satlellite companies fight for the viewers, one company which makes headway into every aspect of broadcasting has achieved another landmark. Yes, you got it right RCS.

    RCS which is celebrating its 25th this year, specializes in software for the radio industry. 25 years of sure success and a steady climb to be a leader in thier field.

    Seeking to broaden its software offerings, Radio Computing Services Inc. is making what it calls a "major" investment in Florical Systems Inc., which is known for its advanced enterprise level digital asset management systems and television automation software innovations known as CentralCasting and ShareCasting.

    Now that New York and Florida firms have combined their strengths let us hope the voters of both combine their strengths in November.

    July 30, 2004

    Subway stations in NY to be branded

    Think 'Nike Grand Central' or 'Sony Times Square'... (hope not)

    New York - "Board at Sony Times Square and take the Number 6 train to Nike Grand Central" - that's what New York subway riders may hear in the future if a new funding idea gets the green light.

    According to The New York Times, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which manages public transport in the New York region, is seeking proposals from marketing companies to develop sponsorship opportunities - and they're not ruling out the idea of selling station naming rights.

    "It's our job to figure out other ways to add revenue," Katherine Lapp, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's executive director, told the Times. "Every dollar we get from these types of sources is one dollar more we don't have to take in fares or tolls."

    Reactions from riders varied. East Village resident Wesley Hatan called the idea "insane".

    "It's a stepping stone," he told the Times. "They'll get us used to branded subways, and next will be 'the Statue of Liberty, brought to you by Microsoft'."

    Posted by SV at 06:16 AM | Comments (5) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    The big July surpise is here. Coincidence?

    Earlier this month, internal white house rumors were leaked saying that ideally, it'd be great to find an Al Queda suspect during the week of the Democratic National Convention, since the Democrats would likely be grabbing headlines. Sounds like some crass opportunism instead of truly protecting the republic from terrorists, doesn't it?

    Well, what do you know, today this message floated at the top of CNN.com, more important than Kerry's keynote. Even though the guy was caught on Sunday, we don't hear about it until today. Foxnews looks the same way (screenshot), with the Al Queda headline above Kerry's one day in the sun at Fox News. But it's all just a coincidence and we're not being played like a fiddle. Sure.

    Massive sunspot now pointing towards earth

    At 20 times the size of Earth, the largest sunspot observed since the fall solar storm onslaught is now pointed directly at Earth. Its unusually large size also means that it's now visible with the naked eye (although you should never look at the Sun without a proper filter). The implications of this spot have scientists on the edge of their seats - if the active region generates coronal mass ejections (CMEs), massive explosions with a potential force of a billion megaton bombs, it will be a fairly direct hit to Earth and its satellites and power grids.

    The last large solar events occurred in the fall of 2003 when about 17 major flares erupted on the Sun. In this case, the region (AR 10652) has generated several medium-sized flares and CMEs over the past three and a half days. These views are from the SOHO spacecraft's MDI and EIT instruments, respectively. The EIT view shows the active regions churning out massive amounts of magnetically confined plasma in small blasts. Over the next few days, the region has the potential for unleashing more and larger solar storms.

    (via NASA)

    July 28, 2004

    1968 Porsche 911 Polizei Special

    It is well known in Europe that Porsches make fine police cars. They are generally quite fast, handle like whoa, and brake with the best of them.

    A new blog on the net. Check out the entire site too.

    Posted by SV at 06:27 AM | Comments (6) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    Personality types on the Internet

    Getting back into the groove: In the corner of a California university laboratory, two men are battling against time to perfect a machine that will read old recordings - using special microscopes to scan the grooves - and software that can convert those shapes into sound. Their work could bring history to life.

    Honor Your Bug

    The Dead Bug Funeral Kit." We are saddened by your loss. We hope The Dead Bug Funeral Kit will honor your bug." Includes The Buggy Book Of Eulogies!

    Is there a remote for the drawbridge?

    Good gentles, ever wanted to have someone build you a castle?

    July 27, 2004


    Decaf coffee brews ownership controversy
    Wednesday, July 14, 2004 Posted: 9:55 AM EDT (1355 GMT)

    LONDON, England/SAO PAULO, Brazil (Reuters) -- The discovery of coffee plants with naturally low caffeine and high sales potential has sparked an international tug of war over their ownership, according to legal and agricultural experts.

    In an industry which the International Coffee Organization, ICO, estimated in 2002 generated some $70 billion in global retail sales, the stakes are high as Ethiopia challenges Brazil over the ownership of plants collected from the East African country's forests.

    International conventions regulating the ownership of indigenous plants seem to favor Ethiopia, one expert said, but the caffeine-light plants appear to have been collected well before the rules came into effect.

    "The convention is not retroactive, so the Brazilian may not be bound by it," the legal source said late on Monday.

    Paulo Mazzafera of the Universidade Estadual de Campinas in Brazil announced his discovery of the first naturally decaffeinated arabica plant in the prestigious science journal Nature last month.

    Ethiopian officials reacted angrily, saying they had not been consulted and urging Mazzafera to explain under what conditions he was able to take 6,000 coffee specimens from Ethiopia in the 1980s.

    But Mazzafera told Reuters on Tuesday he "had never even been to Ethiopia" and that his find was based on plants collected by a United Nations scientific mission in 1964-65 with the approval of Ethiopia's King Haile Selassie I.

    The area was being deforested and there was concern over the survival of the native coffee plants, said Mazzafera. "I doubt these plants exist any longer in the wild."

    He said reproductions of the collected beans went to Ethiopia, India, Portugal, Tanzania and Costa Rica. "It was from Costa Rica's collection that Brazil eventually got its seeds in 1973."

    Commercial coffee originated in the high forests of southwestern Ethiopia in a region known as Kaffa, which is the eponym of the modern drink in many languages.

    Win-win solutions
    Ethiopia is hoping for a mutually agreeable solution.

    "We feel that it is possible for us to come up with a 'win-win' solution that would benefit both Ethiopia and Brazil," Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi told Reuters in Addis Ababa earlier this month.

    Mazzafera has been corresponding with Tsedeke Abate, director-general of Ethiopia's Agricultural Research Organization, to discuss possible research projects that could be carried out jointly by the two countries.

    "I've proposed searching the remaining material in the collection that Brazil and Ethiopia still have for other decaffeinated varieties," said Mazzafera. "And I would like to see new expeditions in Ethiopia to look for more wild plants."

    Experts say the find could have a significant impact on the world coffee market.

    "Naturally occurring decaffeinated coffee, rather than something occurring through a chemical process, could provide an important boost to coffee consumption," said David Hallam, chief of the tropical and horticultural products service of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation.

    Decaffeinated coffee now accounts for about 10 percent of world's
    multibillion-dollar consumer market.

    Experts say naturally decaffeinated brews could stimulate demand in today's health-conscious market, as decaffeination can involve treating green coffee beans with a chemical solvent to remove the stimulant.

    The spat has underscored the potential money at stake over the rights to genetic material of the decaf plants, even though the commercial potential of them is unknown and a product could take at least five years to get to market.

    Ownership is still unclear. By generally accepted standards, it is not possible to copyright a living organism unless it has been genetically modified, like Monsanto Co.'s Roundup Ready Soybeans.

    But determining ownership of the new beans will be key to developing them into commercially successful products.

    Legal and agriculture experts said that resolving the wrangle surrounding the decaf coffee find could also help settle the issue of compensation for developing countries for plant genetic resources found growing in their back yards by scientists from rich countries.


    (via Deesha)

    Exponential growth can be a terrifying thing. We all know the story of the king who was foolish enough to grant a boon to one who was familiar with the concept of exponential growth. To recount, the king said, "Ask and I will grant it to you."

    The man said, "All I want is a few pennies. I want one penny on the first square of a chess board, two pennies on the second square, four pennies on the third, eight pennies on the fourth, and so on till we reach the 64th square of the chess board."

    The king, like our present day innumerate kings, was immensely relieved. Here was this idiot asking for pennies when he could have asked for a ton of gold. "Done," said the king and asked his minister to make the arrangements.

    The minister soon reported that he had finished counting the total amount the king had promised and it turned out to be around 184,467,441,000,000,000 or $185 million trillion. The annual GDP of the US is $10 trillion. It would take the US about 18.5 million years to get that amount together.

    We are talking large sums when exponential growths are concerned. It does not matter what the value of the exponent is. It could be as little as 2%. In a matter of just 35 years, the world population of 6 billion would increase to 12 billion at a 2% growth rate. It is estimated that it took all of human history till the year 1804 CE for human populations to hit the billion mark. The latest billion was added to the human population in about 12 years -- a million times faster.

    World Population

    Population Year Interval

    ---------- ---- --------
    1 billion 1804 all of human
    2 billion 1927 123 years
    3 billion 1960 33 years
    4 billion 1974 14 years
    5 billion 1987 13 years
    6 billion 1999 12 years

    India's population was around 350 million in 1947. Now we have three times as many people alive in India. Bihar, UP, Rajasthan, and MP make nearly 45% of India. They are also among the poorest states of India.

    India has more people than all of Africa, North America and South America combined. And all these people, more than a billion, or around 17% of all humanity, are jammed into only 2.4% of the world's landmass.

    It is crowded as all heck and still every year we add more people than the population of Australia.

    Population in India density has risen concomitantly with the massive increases in population. In 1901 India counted some seventy-seven persons per square kilometer; in 1981 there were 216 persons per square kilometer; by 1991 there were 267 persons per square kilometer—up almost 25 percent from the 1981 population density. India's average population density is higher than that of any other nation of comparable size. The highest densities are not only in heavily urbanized regions but also in areas that are mostly agricultural. Source
    Posted by SV at 06:36 AM | Comments (0) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    July 26, 2004

    Art to Enchant

    Art to Enchant: Some of the works of Shakespeare as interpreted by various illustrators throughout the centuries.

    Posted by SV at 06:56 AM | Comments (1) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    Utterly butterly delicious

    To all my Indian friends, Utterly Butterly Bollywood. To all my global non-Indian friends, Amul makes the most delicious butter, best in the world.

    You don't need couple of crores to get Aishwarya Rai or Shahrukh Khan to promote the brands. One just needs a big idea. Sylvester daCunha, the then managing director of the ad agency ASP, did it for Amul brand way back in 1966 with the Amul topical ad campaign.

    daCunha’s campaign of topical ads is still running quite successfully (probably the longest running ad campaign ever!). The concept of playing the role of a social observer with a dash of humour has played the trick for Amul.

    This ad was based on Bollywood crime thriller Ab Tak Chhappan with Nana Patekar in the lead role.

    A pun on Ram Gopal Varma's high profile horror film Bhoot starring Ajay Devgan, Urmila Matondkar and Fardeen Khan.

    This ad was based on the concept of Salman Khan and Vivek Oberoi engaging in threatening telephonic calls (for Aishwarya Rai ofcourse).

    This was another pun based on the storyline (the fashion world meets the Underworld) of the hyped up Bollywood film Boom.

    This ad was based on censor chief Anupam Kher implementing the new censorship guideline extended to video remixes.

    Posted by SV at 06:52 AM | Comments (2) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    July 25, 2004

    Oticon marks 100 years with smarter hearing aid

    Oticon, part of a blue chip Danish company founded by an entrepreneur 100 years ago to help his hard-of-hearing wife, officially launched Synchro in about 30 countries earlier this month.

    "It's the closest thing to real hearing that I've had since 1952," Pankey said.

    Executives at Oticon Inc., which just completed a huge expansion of its U.S. headquarters in Somerset, are hoping for similar reactions from other hearing-impaired people, given that many hearing aid users eventually stuff them in a drawer, dissatisfied with their quality.

    Read complete

    Posted by SV at 06:24 AM | Comments (3) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    July 24, 2004


    The things you learn in maturity aren’t simple things such as acquiring information and skills. You learn not to engage in self-destructive behaviour. You learn not to burn up energy in anxiety. You discover how to manage your tensions. You learn that self-pity and resentment are among the most toxic of drugs. You find that world seeks talent but rewards character.

    You come to understand that most people are neither for you nor against you; they are thinking about themselves. You learn that no matter how hard you try to please, some people in this world are not going to love you – a lesson that is at first troubling and then really quite rewarding.

    (via Indo-Canadian Experiences)

    Posted by SV at 06:06 AM | Comments (3) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack


    Animusic Just saw a video from thes folks as a between shows filler on PBS. Remember Herbie Hancock's robotic music video from the mid-80s? This is classical music but even cooler--no hands used in playing--endorsed by Jon Anderson and Alan Parsons.

    Check out the video

    Posted by SV at 06:05 AM | Comments (0) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    July 23, 2004

    American Free Speech through the ages.

    "I have always strenuously supported the right of every man to his own opinion, however different that opinion might be to mine.. He who denies another this right makes a slave of himself to his present opinion, because he precludes himself the right of changing it." - Thomas Paine, 1783

    "Free speech exercised both individually and through a free press, is a necessity in any country where people are themselves free." - Theodore Roosevelt, 1918

    "The truth is found when men are free to pursue it."- Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1936

    "If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear."- George Orwell, 1945

    "Any time we deny any citizen the full exercise of his constitutional rights, we are weakening our own claim to them." - Dwight David Eisenhower, 1963

    "What is objectionable, what is dangerous about extremists is not that they are extreme, but that they are intolerant."- Robert F. Kennedy, 1964

    "Go fuck yourself." Dick Cheney, 2004

    Posted by SV at 06:11 AM | Comments (4) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    Olive Garden, Through The Eyes of Italy

    Italian cooking expert Marcella Hazan (featured on the cover of this month's Saveur) eats at The Olive Garden.

    "This is bad. This is really bad," Marcella says. She stares into the bowl. "This is Bolognese sauce?" She reaches for a menu in disbelief. Bolognese it is. "Poor Bologna," she sighs.

    Marcella looks distraught, unable to go on. Reluctantly, she turns to the pork. She takes a bite and suddenly brightens. "This is not bad. The meat is very tender. The potatoes are sautéed, so they catch the flavor." She stops to weigh the importance of what she is about to say. "This is a winner."

    The Hazans say the food that they have tasted bears little resemblance to authentic Italian cuisine. "But if they can come close with a dish like the pork, with the taste and presentation and the potatoes, why can't they do it with all the dishes?" Victor asks. "There is potential." He also commends Olive Garden for its decision to serve better wines. He notes that Rocca delle Macie's Chianti Classico Riserva, which costs $24, "has improved quite a bit" in recent years. Bertani's $110 bottle of Amarone della Valpolicella "is very good, respectable wine."

    But Marcella has questions. "There are 60,000 recipes in Italy. Why do they have to invent new ones like Lobster Spaghetti?" Olive Garden must "guide and teach" its customers, she says, delighting them with surprises rather than giving in to the tried-and-true.

    Posted by SV at 06:10 AM | Comments (2) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    July 22, 2004

    Dear Abby

    Dear Abby....

    Abby admitted she was at a total loss to answer these...(read on... and you'll agree!)

    Dear Abby, A couple of women moved in across the hall from me. One is a middle-aged gym teacher, and the other is a social worker in her mid-twenties. These two women go everywhere together, and I've never seen a man go into their apartment or come out -- Do you think they could be Lebanese? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Dear Abby, What can I do about all the sex, nudity, language and violence on my VCR? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Dear Abby, I have a man I never could trust. He cheats so much I'm not even sure this baby I'm carrying is his.
    Dear Abby, I am a twenty-three-year-old liberated woman who has been on the pill for two years. It's getting expensive, and I think my boyfriend should share half the cost, but I don't know him well enough to discuss money with him. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Dear Abby, Our son writes that he is taking Judo. Why would a boy who was raised in a good Christian home turn against his own religion ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Dear Abby, I joined the Navy to see the world. I've seen it. Now, how do I get out?
    Dear Abby, My 40-year-old son has been paying a psychiatrist $50 an hour every week for two-and-a-half years. He must be crazy.
    Dear Abby, Do you think it would be all right if I gave my doctor a little gift? I tried for years to get pregnant and couldn't, but he finally did it. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Dear Abby, My mother is mean and short-tempered. Do you think she is going through her mental pause?
    Dear Abby, You told some woman whose husband had lost all interest in sex to send him to a doctor. Well, my husband lost all interest in sex years ago and he is a doctor. What now?

    Posted by SV at 06:26 AM | Comments (4) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack


    Extremely funny.

    There is a political parody This Land! which makes fun of both candidates.

    It is a bit of a laugh. They have other cartoons too, but the site seems to be getting slammed at the moment :)

    Posted by SV at 06:25 AM | Comments (2) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    July 21, 2004

    Flower Power Gadget Turns Plants Into Amplifiers

    TOKYO (Reuters) - People who like talking to their plants can now enjoy a musical accompaniment, thanks to a Japanese invention that turns petals and leaves into amplifiers.

    Called the "Flower Speaker Amplifiers," the gadget made by Let's Corp is hidden in a vase or a potted plant and sends music at just the right frequency to vibrate up the stems and then be converted into audible sound by the plant as a whole.

    A device such as a CD player or radio can be connected to it.

    "Anywhere where you would want music naturally integrated with a natural surrounding," said Hirohiko Okugawa, a manager at Let's, referring to locations for the device, which he expects it to be popular for hotels and hospital lobbies.

    The inventor of the gadget, Keiji Koga, said: "We are finally able to experience plants and flowers with all five of our natural senses."

    The firm expects to begin selling the speakers by mid-August for 5,000 yen ($46) to 50,000 yen depending on the plant's size.

    And according to Koga, music is also good for the plants, which are invigorated by the constant musical vibes.

    (via Reuters)

    Posted by SV at 06:11 AM | Comments (2) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    Out of the Mouth of Robots

    A popular bar had a new robotic bartender installed. A fellow came in for a drink and the robot asked him, 'What's your IQ?'

    The man replied, '150.' So the robot proceeded to make conversation about Quantum physics, string theory, atomic chemistry, and so on. The man listened intently and thought, 'This is really cool.' He decided to test the robot. He walked out the bar, turned around, and came back in for another drink. Again, the robot asked him, 'What's your IQ?'

    The man responded, '100.' So the robot started talking about football, baseball, and so on. The man thought to himself, 'Wow, this is amazing.' The man went out and came back in a third time. As before, the robot asked him, 'What's your IQ?' The man replied, '50.' The robot then said, 'So, you gonna vote for Bush again?'

    Posted by SV at 06:09 AM | Comments (3) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    July 20, 2004

    Farming origins gain 10,000 years.

    Farming origins gain 10,000 years. Humans made their first tentative steps towards farming 23,000 years ago, much earlier than previously thought. Stone Age people in Israel collected the seeds of wild grasses some 10,000 years earlier than previously recognised, say experts.

    Posted by SV at 06:47 AM | Comments (4) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    Monsanto's chapati patent raises Indian ire

    Monsanto's chapati patent raises Indian ire by Randeep Ramesh in New Delhi The Guardian

    Monsanto, the world's largest genetically modified seed company, has been awarded patents on the wheat used for making chapati - the flat bread staple of northern India. The patents give the US multinational exclusive ownership over Nap Hal, a strain of wheat whose gene sequence makes it particularly suited to producing crisp breads.

    Another patent, filed in Europe, gives Monsanto rights over the use of Nap Hal wheat to make chapatis, which consist of flour, water and salt.

    Environmentalists say Nap Hal's qualities are the result of generations of farmers in India who spent years crossbreeding crops and collective, not corporate, efforts should be recognised.

    Monsanto, activists claim, is simply out to make "monopoly profits" from food on which millions depend. Monsanto inherited a patent application when it bought the cereals division of the Anglo-Dutch food giant Unilever in 1998, and the patent has been granted to the new owner.

    Unilever acquired Nap Hal seeds from a publicly funded British plant gene bank. Its scientists identified the wheat's combination of genes and patented them as an "invention".

    Greenpeace is attempting to block Monsanto's patent, accusing the company of "bio-piracy".

    "It is theft of the results of the work in cultivation made by Indian farmers," said Dr Christoph Then, Greenpeace's patent expert after a meeting with the European Commission in Delhi.

    "We want the European Patent Office to reverse its decision. Under European law patents cannot be issued on plants that are normally cultivated, but there are loopholes in the legislation."

    A spokesperson for Monsanto in India denied that the company had any plan to exploit the patent, saying that it was in fact pulling out of cereals in some markets.

    "This patent was Unilever's. We got it when we bought the company. Really this is all academic as we are exiting from the cereal business in the UK and Europe," said Ranjana Smetacek, Monsanto's public affairs director in India.

    Campaigners in India say that there are concerns that people might end up paying royalties to Monsanto for making or selling chapatis.

    "The commercial interest is that Monsanto can charge people for using the wheat or take a cut from its sale," said Devinder Sharma, who runs the Forum for Biotechnology and Food Security in Delhi.

    The potential market in developing countries is huge. Rice production in India alone exceeds that of the American maize market.

    The number of patents relating to rice issued every year in the US has risen from less than 100 in the mid-1990s to more than 600 in 2000.

    Mr Sharma says there is little hope of the Indian government intervening to prevent the chapati being patented by Monsanto.

    It simply cannot afford the legal fees, having spent hundreds of thousands of dollars fighting a US decision to grant a Texan company a patent on basmati rice in 1997.

    That case became a cause cerebrum for the anti-globalisation protests of the 1990s, and was only settled when the patent was watered down.

    "The ministry of commerce sent a circular out last year which said that there is no money to fund these cases any more," said Mr Sharma.

    Posted by SV at 06:36 AM | Comments (1) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    July 19, 2004

    Stories about the lives we've made

    Making the Modern World brings you powerful stories about science and invention from the eighteenth century to today. It explains the development and the global spread of modern industrial society and its effects on all our lives. The site expands upon the permanent landmark gallery at the Science Museum, using the Web and dynamic multimedia techniques to go far beyond what a static exhibition can do. Terrific wrapping, excellent content.

    Posted by SV at 06:45 AM | Comments (1) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    July 18, 2004

    Lickety splits!

    Today is ice cream day and 100 years of banana split.

    The banana split quietly observed its 100th birthday this year. It was invented in 1904 in Latrobe, Pa., when a soda fountain apprentice sliced a banana lengthwise, placed it on a dish, added a trio of ice cream scoops, topped them with marshmallow, maraschino cherries, pineapple slices and crushed nuts, then drenched the whole affair with syrups.

    Read while you have a split, The Banana Split Book: Everything There Is to Know About America's Greatest Dessert by Michael Turback Book.JPG

    Posted by SV at 10:37 AM | Comments (2) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    Keep it short, sweet and memorable

    Brits Give Best Awards Speeches

    By Lynn Elber
    Associated Press

    Come Thursday, newly announced Emmy nominees will have two months to think about the acceptance speeches they might get to deliver.

    A bit of advice: Start acting British. Please.

    British award winners offer short, witty, self-deprecating remarks. Or, if they're in Laurence Olivier's league, they might recite lushly poetic monologues that leave us both agog and entertained.

    Americans, on the other hand, can be garrulous, humorless and intent on thanking every one except their dog sitter and the valet who parked the limo.

    Freed of scripts and cue cards, finally given the chance to speak for themselves, they appear intent on demonstrating why writers will always have a job in Hollywood.

    continue reading ...

    Posted by SV at 06:44 AM | Comments (1) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    Gaffes quotes

    Isn't Halle Berry the most beautiful woman? I have a film I'd like to be in her with. I mean, I'd like to be with her in.
    - Ewan McGregor (As spoken to an interviewer at the 2002 Golden Globe Awards)

    Interviewer: 'Can you name the President of Chechnya?'
    Bush: 'No. Can you?'
    Interviewer: 'Prime Minister of India?'
    Bush: 'Er...The new Prime Minister of India is...er...No.'
    Bush: 'The new Pakistani General, he's just been elected...He appears he'll bring stability to the country.'
    Interviewer: 'And can you name him?'
    Bush: 'General, I can Name the General.'
    Interviewer: 'And it's...?'
    Bush: 'General'
    - George W. Bush

    If I could drop dead right now, I'd be the happiest man alive.
    - Samuel Goldwyn

    I would like to spank director Spike Jonze.
    - Meryl Streep (Meryl misreads a faxed acceptance speech at the 2003 Baftas)

    An oral contract isn't worth the paper it's written on.
    - Samuel Goldwyn

    Posted by SV at 06:33 AM | Comments (2) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    July 17, 2004

    Mt. Erebus from space

    Mt. Erebus from space. NASA's Autonomous Sciencecraft Experiment software, which controls the Earth Observing-1 spacecraft, took some amazing images of the lava lake of Antarctica's Mount Erebus volcano without any human interaction.

    Posted by SV at 06:44 AM | Comments (2) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    Apples anyone?

    In North Carolina they tell the story of a young man from a humble farming family who went off to the city to attend college. On his return he walked from the bus station down a dusty road toward home. As he passed by a field, he came across an old family friend leaning on a fence next to a small, scraggly tree.

    "Well, hello," said the old man. "How was college?"

    "I learned a great deal!" was the young man's reply.

    "What did they teach you up there?" the old man asked.

    "Well, I learned that for many years now we've been doing things the wrong way here in the valley."

    "Have we now?" said the old man with a gleam in his eye. "Tell me about it."

    "Well," the young man began, "we're not rotating the crops here as often as we should. Our fertilizer mixture is all wrong; it certainly won't produce much growth. For instance," he said, gesturing at the tree, "this apple tree won't produce fruit long into the third season because of the poor soil aeration. Notice how the leaves are too small, indicating the sap hasn't got enough nitrogen to create a larger growth." He stood by, proud of his newly demonstrated knowledge.

    "Well, you're certainly right about that," the old man said. "This tree will probably never produce too many apples. This here's a pear tree!"

    Life is a bit like that. Having pure theoretical knowledge without experience and without understanding how things work at the core can produce some pretty embarrassing results.

    Posted by SV at 06:32 AM | Comments (2) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    July 16, 2004


    The Forbidden Library.

    This site features books some people consider dangerous.

    The books listed on my site were all challenged on some grounds by groups who wished to impose restrictions on them. Some were removed from reading lists, some were removed from school or public libraries, some were burned in bonfires.

    Posted by SV at 06:59 AM | Comments (2) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    typo graphic illustration

    Music That Paints a Picture
    Whether you're a fan of Biggie or Dylan, this Flash project has you covered.

    Posted by SV at 06:52 AM | Comments (3) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    Animation Training

    In case you want to learn animation from home.

    Posted by SV at 06:50 AM | Comments (0) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    July 15, 2004

    Greek Food: A Complete Guide

    Greek Food: A Complete Guide - information about food, wine, ouzo, restaurants, and culinary traditions.

    Warning: Don't view this site on an empty stomach. Compiled for your culinary edification by Greek-food enthusiast Matt Barrett, an on-and-off expat, this site whisks you through dining hotbeds of the Greek Isles one minute, gives a lesson in restaurant etiquette the next, then introduces you to some of the friendly locals. Then it's off to the olive stands for a quick respite before partaking in the true Greek snack: sardines. Take heart, your guide makes sure you wash it all down with a good wine or a proper ouzo.

    Posted by SV at 06:34 AM | Comments (6) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    Joy of Soup

    Joy of Soup - weblog encouraging people to sit down and enjoy a nice bowl 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, and the questionable Jellied Madrilene (something like a beef Jello). Site visitors often submit their own recipes -- Charles' Spanish Stew is sure to make your mouth water, while D's Lime Steak Soup sounds like a huge flavor sensation. The Soup Lady occasionally offers readers something other than broth-based goodness -- among the tasty treats to be found here are Turnbull's Famous BBQ Roast Beef and Pumpkin Butterscotch Cookies.

    The archives are packed with delectable creations, so heed the Soup Lady's advice to "sit down, and have a nice bowl of soup."

    Posted by SV at 06:33 AM | Comments (2) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    July 14, 2004

    It's been a year

    Wish me a happy blog day. Yes it's been a year. I started blogging with blogger last July and continued with them till March of this year. After which I moved to mBlog.

    It is hard to say which ones are my favorite posts. Since I like them all as a mother would love her children or artist his art. As instead as a recap from July of 2003 below are some of my posts which my readers have liked:
    - ELLA WHEELER WILCOX (American Poet & Journalist & Free Thinker)
    - Solve this and be among 2%
    - St. Francis of Assisi
    - The Earth is Art, the photographer is only a witness. - Yann

    Feel free to tell me which ones you liked.

    Posted by SV at 06:36 AM | Comments (8) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    Blog - originally name of a cocktail!

    Bartendar, I'll have a blog, please! from evhead Via: BoingBoing

    You should be aware that Blog was originally devised by British fans in the 1950s. There were two versions. A Liverpool fan named Peter Hamilton came up with the recipe for Blog Mark I, which consisted of "a brandy and egg flip base, to which was added black currant puree, Alka Seltzer, and Beechan's Powder. It effervesced." A second, simplified version (Blog Mark II) was produced by hotel barmen at the first Kettering Eastercon (1955) and consisted of "a half-pint of cider and a measure of rum."

    No wonder it’s so addictive! Also - what can act as a better social tool than a great cocktail?

    So, it’s proven – Blog is the Ultimate Social Software, period.

    Posted by SV at 06:35 AM | Comments (0) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    July 13, 2004


    Outfoxed, a documentary detailing Fox News's Republican bias, is being shown at house parties organized by MoveOn next Sunday amidst concerns about its extensive use of Fox News footage.

    Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism. An amazing documentary about Fox News and the danger of corporations controlling news.

    Check out the article in today's NYT Mag section or sign up to host a screening at your house. I haven't seen this yet, but the stuff I've read on it makes me think immediately of this film.

    Posted by SV at 06:46 AM | Comments (1) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    Robert Nozick: Why Do Intellectuals Oppose Capitalism?

    It is surprising that intellectuals oppose capitalism so. Other groups of comparable socio-economic status do not show the same degree of opposition in the same proportions. Statistically, then, intellectuals are an anomaly.

    Not all intellectuals are on the "left." Like other groups, their opinions are spread along a curve. But in their case, the curve is shifted and skewed to the political left.

    By intellectuals, I do not mean all people of intelligence or of a certain level of education, but those who, in their vocation, deal with ideas as expressed in words, shaping the word flow others receive. These wordsmiths include poets, novelists, literary critics, newspaper and magazine journalists, and many professors. It does not include those who primarily produce and transmit quantitatively or mathematically formulated information (the numbersmiths) or those working in visual media, painters, sculptors, cameramen. Unlike the wordsmiths, people in these occupations do not disproportionately oppose capitalism. The wordsmiths are concentrated in certain occupational sites: academia, the media, government bureaucracy. continue...

    Posted by SV at 06:35 AM | Comments (0) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    July 12, 2004

    Should our presidential election ever be delayed because of a terror attack?

    Should our presidential election ever be delayed because of a terror attack?
    July 12, 2004, Monday

    Some background:
    From Newsweek: American counterterrorism officials, citing what they call "alarming" intelligence about a possible Qaeda strike inside the United States this fall, are reviewing a proposal that could allow for the postponement of the November presidential election in the event of such an attack, NEWSWEEK has learned.

    Homeland Security Secretary, Tom Ridge claims that there are no specific terrorist plots, yet officials fear that attacks like that Madrid Railroad bombings in March which influenced Spanish elections, might serve as a predecessor to attacks right before the November president elections. Click here to read the Newsweek article.

    What do you think? Should our presidential election ever be delayed because of a terror attack?

    Posted by SV at 02:00 PM | Comments (2) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    Cost of Living Survey 2004 - City Rankings

    Tokyo remains the world’s most expensive city, according to the latest cost of living survey by Mercer Human Resource Consulting. London moves up five places in the rankings to take second position, followed by Moscow which moves down a place this year. Asuncion in Paraguay is the least expensive city in the survey... read more.

    via Mahalanobis and Die Presse

    Posted by SV at 06:28 AM | Comments (3) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    cool foreign exchange map

    (via the alpha and omega)

    Posted by SV at 06:20 AM | Comments (0) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    July 11, 2004


    These questions about Canada were posted on an international tourism website:

    1. Q: I have never seen it warm on Canadian TV, so how do the plants grow? (UK)
    A: We import all plants fully grown and then just sit around and watch them die.

    2. Q: Will I be able to see polar bears in the street? (USA)
    A: Depends how much you've been drinking.

    (via Explorer)

    3. Q: I want to walk from Vancouver to Toronto. Can I follow the railroad tracks? (Sweden)
    A: Sure, it's only 4,000 miles. Take lots of water.

    4. Q: Are there any ATMs (cash machines) in Canada? Can you send me a list of them in Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton, Halifax, (UK)
    A: What did your last slave die of?

    5. Q: Can you give me some information about hippo racing in Canada?(USA)
    A: A-fri-ca is the big triangle shaped continent south of Europe.Ca-na-da is that big country to your north.Oh, forget it. Sure, the hippo racing is every Tuesday night in Calgary. Come naked.

    6. Q: Which direction is north in Canada? (USA)
    A: Face south and then turn 180 degrees. Contact us when you get here and we'll send the rest of the directions.

    7. Q: Can I bring cutlery into Canada? (UK)
    A: Just use your fingers like we do.

    8. Q: Can you send me the Vienna Boys' Choir schedule? (USA)
    A: Aus-tri-a is that quaint little country bordering Ger-man-y, which is ... oh, forget it. Sure, the Vienna Boys Choir plays every Tuesday night in Vancouver and in Calgary, straight after the hippo races. Come naked.

    9. Q: Do you have perfume in Canada? (Germany)
    A: No. We don't stink.

    10. Q: I have developed a new product that is the fountain of youth.Can you tell me where I can sell it in Canada? (USA)
    A: Anywhere significant numbers of Americans gather.

    11. Q: Can I wear high heels in Canada? (UK)
    A: You are an American politician, right?

    12. Q: Can you tell me the regions in British Columbia where the female population is smaller than the male population? (Italy)
    A: Yes, gay nightclubs.

    13. Q: Do you celebrate Thanksgiving in Canada? (USA)
    A: Only at Thanksgiving.

    14. Q: Are there supermarkets in Toronto and is milk available all year round? (Germany)
    A: No, we are a peaceful civilization of vegan hunter-gatherers. Milk is illegal.

    15. Q: Please send a list of all doctors in Canada who can dispense rattlesnake serum. (USA)
    A: All Canadian rattlesnakes are perfectly harmless and can be safely handled and make good pets.

    16. Q: I have a question about a famous animal in Canada but I forget its name. It's a kind of big horse with horns and it is in the cartoons. (USA)
    A: It's called a moose. They are tall and very violent, eating the brains of anyone walking close to them. You can repel them by spraying yourself with your own urine before you go out walking.

    17. Q: Will I be able to speak English most places I go? (USA)
    A: Yes, but you will have to learn it first.

    Posted by SV at 12:26 PM | Comments (3) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    July 10, 2004

    Crimson Room

    If you have nothing better to do Saturday morning, try this (addictive) game.

    (via sof)

    "I won't tell you much about the game here, it's just very tantalizing and attracting especially once you get started on it and get stuck, lol. Start with the Crimson Room first, and then try the newly released Viridian Room. Good luck! (and if you escaped the Viridian Room, gimme some hints, I'm seriously clueless :( right now....)" - sof

    Posted by SV at 06:06 AM | Comments (1) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack



    If screenshotyou think Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 is an adventurous production, take a look at Disinfopedia. This site uncovers and investigates major corporate deceptions and publicity ploys. Its mission? To produce a directory of wayward public relation firms, think tanks, and political and industry leaders. In Spin of the Day, read about the latest public subterfuges and the organizations responsible for them. If you seek the real meaning of "collateral damage" and "Bush bashing," peruse this list of doublespeak blathered daily. Ever wondered how the truth gets distorted? Look through more than 50 propaganda techniques. The Truth isn't out there, but it may be in here.

    Posted by SV at 06:05 AM | Comments (1) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    July 09, 2004


    People ask, "How can you be friends with someone you've never met?"

    I tell them,
    " You've never been online I bet!"
    It's something people offline
    will never understand.
    You open up your heart to friendship
    with your typing hands.

    It's a world full friendship at your finger tips,
    there is so much online,
    it only takes a heart to reach people
    with your touch.

    First you start out online, surfing all around.
    Next thing you know a great friend will be found.

    You will chat a lot and surf cyber space.
    Soon it will be your second home,
    a comforting, special place.

    A Friend to share your dreams and your tears
    and to help each other wipe away life's fears.

    You will share life together
    and help each other along
    You will make it thru bad weather
    because friendship is so strong.

    No matter how far apart you go,
    your keyboards will keep you together,
    and in your heart you will know
    you don't need a face to be a true friend forever.

    So, How do you explain this to people
    who've never been online?
    I guess it takes a gesture of friendship
    & a little bit of time.

    So let's start by sending this around
    and passing our special touch.
    A smile, a website, a gesture starts it all
    becoming friends doesn't take much.

    Posted by SV at 06:30 AM | Comments (8) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    They're Made Out of Meat,

    The author is Terry Bisson, and his story originally appeared in OMNI Magazine. It was nominated for a Nebula Award.

    Imagine if you will...
    The leader of the Galactic Survey Unit #5 speaking to the Galactic Survey Commander via encrypted trans-dimensional light beam.

    "They're made out of meat."


    "Meat. They're made out of meat."


    "There's no doubt about it. We picked several from different parts of the planet, took them aboard our recon vessels, probed them all the way through. They're completely meat."

    "That's impossible. What about the radio signals? The messages to the stars."

    Bears Discover Fire and Other Stories by Terry Bisson Book.JPG

    "They use the radio waves to talk, but the signals don't come from them. The signals come from machines."

    "So who made the machines? That's who we want to contact."

    "They made the machines. That's what I'm trying to tell you. Meat made the machines."

    "That's ridiculous. How can meat make a machine? You're asking me to believe in sentient meat."

    "I'm not asking you, I'm telling you. These creatures are the only sentient race in the sector and they're made out of meat."

    "Maybe they're like the Orfolei. You know, a carbon-based intelligence that goes through a meat stage."

    "Nope. They're born meat and they die meat. We studied them for several of their life spans, which didn't take too long. Do you have any idea the life span of meat?"

    "Spare me... Okay, maybe they're only part meat. You know, like the Weddilei. A meat head with an electron plasma brain inside."

    "Nope. We thought of that, since they do have meat heads like the Weddilei. But I told you, we probed them. They're meat all the way through."

    "No brain?"

    "Oh, there is a brain all right. It's just that the brain is made out of meat!"

    "So... What does the thinking?"

    "You're not understanding, are you? The brain does the thinking. The meat."

    "Thinking meat! You're asking me to believe in thinking meat!"

    "Yes, thinking meat! Conscious meat! Loving meat. Dreaming meat. The meat is the whole deal! Are you getting the picture?"

    "Omigod... You're serious then. They're made out of meat."

    "Finally, Yes. They are indeed made out meat. And they've been trying to get in touch with us for almost a hundred of their years."

    "So what does the meat have in mind?"

    "First it wants to talk to us. Then I imagine it wants to explore the universe, contact other sentients, swap ideas and information. The usual."

    "We're supposed to talk to meat?"

    "That's the idea. That's the message they're sending out by radio. `Hello. Anyone out there? Anyone home?' That sort of thing."

    "They actually do talk, then. They use words, ideas, concepts?"

    "Oh, yes. Except they do it with meat."

    "I thought you just told me they used radio."

    "They do, but what do you think is on the radio? Meat sounds. You know how when you slap or flap meat it makes a noise? They talk by flapping their meat at each other. They can even sing by squirting air through their meat."

    "Omigod... Singing meat. This is altogether too much. So what do you advise?"

    "Officially or unofficially?"


    "Officially, we are required to contact, welcome, and log in any and all sentient races or multibeings in the quadrant, without prejudice, fear, or favor. Unofficially, I advise that we erase the records and forget the whole thing."

    "I was hoping you would say that."

    "It seems harsh, but there is a limit. Do we really want to make contact with meat?"

    "I agree one hundred percent. What's there to say?" `Hello, meat. How's it going?' But will this work? How many planets are we dealing with here?"

    "Just one. They can travel to other planets in special meat containers, but they can't live on them. And being meat, they only travel through C space. Which limits them to the speed of light and makes the possibility of their ever making contact pretty slim. Infinitesimal, in fact."

    "So we just pretend there's no one home in the universe."

    "That's it."

    "Cruel. But you said it yourself, who wants to meet meat? And the ones who have been aboard our vessels, the ones you have probed? You're sure they won't remember?"

    "They'll be considered crackpots if they do. We went into their heads and smoothed out their meat so that we're just a dream to them."

    "A dream to meat! How strangely appropriate, that we should be meat's dream."

    "And we can mark this sector unoccupied."

    "Good. Agreed, officially and unofficially. Case closed. Any others? Anyone interesting on that side of the galaxy?"

    "Yes, a rather shy but sweet hydrogen core cluster intelligence in a class nine star in G445 zone. Was in contact two galactic rotations ago, wants to be friendly again."

    "They always come around."

    "And why not? Imagine how unbearably, how unutterably cold the universe would be if one were all alone."

    Posted by SV at 06:20 AM | Comments (2) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    July 08, 2004

    Go Bob Go!

    Bob, a 70 year old extremely wealthy widower, shows up at the Country Club with a breathtakingly beautiful and very sexy 25 year-old blonde who knocks everyone's socks off with her youthful sex appeal and charm who hangs over Bob's arm and listens intently to his every word.

    His buddies at the club are all aghast. They corner him and ask, "Bob, how'd you get the trophy girlfriend?"
    Bob replies, "Girlfriend? She's my wife!"

    They're knocked over, but continue to ask. "So, how'd you persuade her to marry you?"
    Bob says, "I lied about my age."

    His friends respond, "What do you mean? Did you tell her you were only 50?"
    Bob smiles and says, "No, I told her I was 90."

    Posted by SV at 06:14 AM | Comments (5) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    July 07, 2004

    Roses are blue?

    Roses are blue? : The world's first 'blue rose' developed by Japanese brewer Suntory is displayed during a press conference in Tokyo. (AFP/Toru Yamanaka)

    Posted by SV at 06:57 AM | Comments (7) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    ebay sells rare New York Post blunder


    Latest news Winning bid:US $107.50

    Posted by SV at 06:47 AM | Comments (2) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    presidential campaign TV commercials

    Huge gallery of presidential campaign TV commercials dating back to 1952.

    "Television ads are a way of having a big town meeting, but letting 60,000,000 people hear all the questions and answers." -Planning memo for Dwight D. Eisenhower's 1952 campaign

    Posted by SV at 06:10 AM | Comments (0) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    Michael Moore: Pirate my movie, no problem

    Fury as Fahrenheit 9/11 director backs illegal not-for-profit downloads by Iain S Bruce, Online Editor

    Controversial film-maker Michael Moore has welcomed the appearance on the internet of pirated copies of his anti-Bush documentary Fahrenheit 9/11 and claimed he is happy for anybody to download it free of charge.

    The activist, author and director told the Sunday Herald that, as long as pirated copies of his film were not being sold, he had no problem with it being downloaded.

    continue reading ...

    Posted by SV at 06:07 AM | Comments (2) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    July 06, 2004

    The Scribbler

    Every so often we happen upon a web site that is just too cool to ignore. The Scribbler falls into that category. It takes "simple vector based input... and creates its own drawing on top of it based on a number of simple rules." Confused? Basically, you create a drawing using your mouse, and the Scribbler randomly chooses a few numbers that determine what the drawing will eventually look like. If you're a control freak, you can adjust the transparency, thickness, color, and "scribbliness" of the line that the Scribbler uses. Before you get started, check out some creations in the gallery for inspiration. You'll be amazed that even the simplest drawings result in beautiful and intriguing creations

    Posted by SV at 06:50 AM | Comments (3) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    The Computer Minds the Commuter

    Computer models of traffic flow have become more accurate now that they incorporate human psychology into their cellular automata rules.

    World without end. A computer model for the formation of traffic jams mimics the real world when it assumes drivers anticipate what is about to happen. Driver behavior in previous models was harder to justify, say the researchers.

    Posted by SV at 06:45 AM | Comments (0) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    a photolog in five easy steps

    now we just have to make that even easier.

    Posted by SV at 06:32 AM | Comments (1) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    July 04, 2004

    TIME GOES BY: What it's really like to get older

    Yesterday I stumbled on an amazing blog. It is well-written, perceptive and realistic. It was late, but I could not help myself; I read as many posts as I could. Have a look at 'TIME GOES BY: What it's really like to get older'. After reading Ronni Bennett's blog I feel I would be honored to have this woman as a friend. Indeed, I almost feel as if I know her. She reflects the thoughts and pain I sometimes have felt.

    Her series on her Mom 'A mother's final, best lesson' is a realistic account of giving personal care to her dying mother. Don't let this put you off. The tone is matter-of-fact and you won't be depressed or grossed out; you will be fascinated and you will learn something about human beings. It may prompt you to evaluate your situations and re-evaluate your relationships. See for yourself.

    Posted by SV at 03:09 PM | Comments (2) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    July 03, 2004

    What Should I Do if the internet goes down?

    Every year we grow more and more dependent on the Internet. But would you know what to do if your connection suddenly went down?

    No one knows when the Internet will fail. It could happen at any time, leaving you bereft of your e-mail, your sports scores, and your Blogs. Therefore, it's important that you and your family have a contingency plan for just such an emergency. If your connection to Cyberspace were to ever get severed, you should at least be prepared. We have included a few key points that should assist you if that were to happen.

    1. Panic!
    An excited, agitated state will give you that heightened sense of awareness and will increase your thought processes allowing you to come up with rational solutions. Panic is just nature's way of putting your body into over-drive. It's a defense mechanism that gives you an edge when dealing with potentially harmful situations, such as a severed arm or the loss of your Internet.

    2. Find A Telephone
    Do you have access to a telephone line? Early computers connected to the Internet using a dial-up device along with a hardware device known as a "modem." Since this technology is obsolete, it will be of no use to you. Instead, use your telephone to call your friends to see if their connection is also down, as you will have lost the ability to send an email or an instant message. You can also use a telephone to call 911, an emergency service that will first tell you to calm down, and then will send out specially-trained technicians to find the source of the Internet's failure.

    3. Use Your Back-Up Computer
    It's always good to have an emergency laptop handy, in case you need to harry over to a buddy's place where the Net is still up. If there is still no Internet at that location, at the very least you could connect to a small network or LAN (Less-than Adequate Network). Laptops can also be placed on tables at coffeeshops, while you sit around with a latte, nervously waiting for your connection to be restored.

    4. Install A Game
    In emergency situations, installing a single-player computer game can occupy your down-time. While it won't replace the adrenaline rush of intense networked multiplayer action provided by the Internet, a quick game of Sim City or Flight Simulator may distract you long enough for your connection to return.

    5. Perform Routine Maintenance
    While programs such as Norton Antivirus have removed most of the tedium of computer system maintenance, nothing could help pass the time faster than cleaning out your hard drive, emptying your cache, or organizing your celebrity fake porn collection. Take the time to stare at your screen while you perform a defragmentation. The time will literally fly while you barely notice your separation from the Internet.

    6. Turn On A Television Or Radio
    Televisions, strange boxes that sit in your parents' living rooms, were once used to provide entertainment, long before DVDs and Playstations were invented. Televisions have the capability of broadcasting streaming information similar to the content on multimedia websites. With a "remote control," a wireless device that is like a small one-handed keyboard, you may be able to surf a limited number of "channels," while you deal with the loss of your connection. Unfortunately, television is only a one-way media.

    In ancient times, radios were also used to entertain. A radio allowed you to listen to news, sports, and music, much the same way that you listen to live streaming audio on a Shoutcast server. Like the television, a radio will only have a limited selection of listening stations, and no video. Hopefully your separation from the Internet will be brief.

    7. Read
    People in pre-Internet times used to read "books" and "magazines", written materials once created in printable format to pass the time. Some e-books are still available on paper, and may offer a short-term solution until your power is back and your broadband is restored. If reading is not an option, as a last resort, you may wish to try doing "chores," or try your hand at cooking. While these activities cannot replace the Internet, they may be able to make the down-time a little more tolerable.

    8. Go Outside
    The idea of leaving your workstation may seem a little extreme, but you can perform errands that you normally get parents or spouses to do: grocery shopping, drycleaning, etc. Leaving your dorm room, basement, or above-garage apartment suite, may be risky, but again, the time may afford an effective distraction from your Internet woes. NOTE: Be careful to avoid the sun, because your pasty white skin will not be used to the exposure.

    9. Spend Time With Your Spouse
    Communicating with your wife or girlfriend may seem like a radical suggestion, but the time investment may offer long-term rewards. Spending any amount of time talking about your "relationship" may free up more Internet time for you later on, when your ADSL or Cable link to the World Wide Web has been restored. WARNING: These will probably be the longest hours of your life.

    10. Use Your Emergency AOL Disk
    If you find that your connection to the Internet is going to be longer than you can possibly stand, as a last resort, pull out an emergency AOL CD, the one with 910 free hours of connection to the AOL service. Take the CD in one hand...and slash it across your wrist! Suicide will probably be a better alternative than connecting to that service.

    Hopefully some of these Internet alternatives will be able to assist you during an offline crisis. Emergency radio broadcasts will likely advise you of the state of the Internet and be able to predict when your bandwidth will be restored, but remember to have an emergency plan in case your digital detachment is longer than you expect.

    (via SH and The Toque)

    Posted by SV at 06:43 AM | Comments (5) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    Andy Borowitz: outsourcing shocker


    Calling Center in Bangalore to Harass Detainees

    President George W. Bush attempted today to explain a newly released White House memo outlining a controversial plan to outsource prison abuse to India.

    According to the memo, the White House has been actively exploring the possibility of establishing a telephone calling center in Bangalore that would harass Iraqi detainees at all hours of the night with highly annoying telemarketing inquiries.

    The memo details a scenario in which telemarketers from India would instruct Iraqi prisoners to remove their clothing and then would badger them with complicated offers involving their long-distance phone service.

    The Bangalore callers would also subject Iraqi prisoners to lengthy consumer research surveys about their breakfast cereal and television viewing preferences, the memo said.

    With Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld at his side, President Bush defended the unorthodox interrogation procedures, arguing, “We know that telemarketing is a tool of last resort, but we are at war.”

    Charles Claybourn, a spokesman for the human rights group Amnesty International, attacked the White House proposals: “This wrongheaded plan involves not only calling prisoners, but also placing them on hold for forty-five minutes or longer with Celine Dion music, in clear violation of the Geneva Conventions.”

    On the campaign trail in Ohio, presumptive Democratic nominee John Kerry blasted the proposal to send American torture jobs overseas, telling his audience, “With our fragile economy, we can ill afford losing even one prison abuse job to India.”

    Mr. Kerry said there were “more effective ways” to get prisoners to talk, such as repeatedly playing them his stump speech about health care.

    Posted by SV at 06:39 AM | Comments (1) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    July 02, 2004

    Andy Borowitz: Congratulations!


    Andy Borowitz has received the National Press Club's first-ever prize for humor, for The Borowitz Report. He will be honored at the National Press Club banquet on Monday, July 12 in Washington, D.C.

    Posted by SV at 06:59 AM | Comments (1) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    Journalist on journalists

    Christopher Hitchens collects check from Microsoft, calls Moore a coward.

    By Matt Taibbi

    To describe this film as dishonest and demagogic would almost be to promote those terms to the level of respectability. To describe this film as a piece of crap would be to run the risk of a discourse that would never again rise above the excremental... Fahrenheit 9/11 is a sinister exercise in moral frivolity, crudely disguised as an exercise in seriousness. It is also a spectacle of abject political cowardice masking itself as a demonstration of "dissenting" bravery.

    —Christopher Hitchens,

    Slate.com, on Michael Moore

    Well, that's rich, isn't it? Christopher Hitchens crawling out of a bottle long enough to denounce Michael Moore as a coward. I can't imagine anything more uplifting, except maybe a zoo baboon humping the foot of a medical school cadaver.

    All journalists are cowards. Hitchens knows it, I know it, everybody in this business knows it. If there were any justice at all, every last goddamn one of us would be lowered, head-first, into a wood-chipper. Over Arizona. Shoot a nice red mist over the whole state, make it arable for a year or two. A year's worth of fava beans and endive for the children of Bangladesh: I dare anyone in our business to say that that wouldn't represent a better use of our rotting bodies than the actual fruits of our labor.

    Continue reading....

    Posted by SV at 06:49 AM | Comments (2) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack


    Speaking at the NATO conference in Turkey yesterday, President Bush said, "15 months after the liberation of Iraq...the world witnessed the arrival of a free and sovereign Iraqi government." [1] The reality, however, is much different.

    The same day that U.S. administrator Paul Bremer officially ended the occupation, U.S. prosecutors refused to abide by an Iraqi judge's order acquitting Iraqi citizen Iyad Akmush Kanum of attempted murder of coalition troops. [2] Instead, the prosecutors returned Kanum to the infamous Abu Ghraib prison, claiming that "they were not bound by Iraqi law."

    In the days leading up to his departure, Bremer "issued a raft of edicts" in an effort to "exert U.S. control over the country after the transfer of political authority."[3] Specifically, Bremer empowered a seven-member appointed commission "to disqualify political parties and any of the candidates they support." Bremer also "appointed Iraqis handpicked by his aides to influential positions in the interim government" with multi-year terms to "promote his concepts of governance" after the handover.

    Iraq remains plagued by violence and "the primary military responsibility for fighting the insurgency remains as much in American hands as it did yesterday."[4] As a result, the New York Times concludes it is "ludicrous for administration officials to suggest that America's occupation of Iraq has now somehow ended."

    1. "Remarks by President Bush and Prime Minister Blair," Whitehouse.gov, 6/28/04
    2. "Prisoner 27075 learns limits of sovereignty, Financial Times, 6/29/04
    3. "U.S. Edicts Curb Power Of Iraq's Leadership," Washington Post, 6/27/04
    4. "A Secretive Transfer in Iraq," New York Times, 6/29/04

    Posted by SV at 06:48 AM | Comments (1) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    July 01, 2004

    Charley Reese: VOTE FOR A MAN, NOT A PUPPET

    The following article was just written by Charley Reese of the Orlando Sentinel. If you know the writer and his strongly conservative reputation, you should find it eye-opening. Note in particular what he says about John Kerry. Other conservative journalists such as Robert Novak and William Kristol are expressing similar sentiments.


    Americans should realize that if they vote for President Bush's re-election, they are really voting for the architects of war - Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and the rest of that cabal of neo-conservative ideologues and their corporate backers.

    I have sadly come to the conclusion that President Bush is merely a front-man, an empty suit, who is manipulated by the people in his administration. Bush has the most dangerously simplistic view of the world of any president in my memory.

    It's no wonder the president avoids press conferences like the plague. Take away his cue cards and he can barely talk. Americans should be embarrassed that an Arab king (Abdullah of Jordan) spoke more fluently and articulately in English than our own president at their joint press conference recently.

    John Kerry is at least an educated man, well-read, who knows how to think and who knows that the world is a great deal more complex than Bush's comic-book world of American heroes and foreign evildoers. It's unfortunate that in our poorly educated country, Kerry's very intelligence and refusal to adopt simplistic slogans might doom his presidential election efforts.

    But Thomas Jefferson said it well, as he did so often, when he observed that people who expect to be ignorant and free expect what never was and never will be.

    People who think of themselves as conservatives will really display their stupidity, as I did in the last election, by voting for Bush. Bush is as far from being a conservative as you can get. Well, he fooled me once, but he won't fool me twice.

    It is not at all conservative to balloon government spending, to vastly increase the power of government, to show contempt for the Constitution and the rule of law, or to tell people that foreign outsourcing of American jobs is good for them, that giant fiscal and trade deficits don't matter, and that people should not know what their government is doing. Bush is the most prone-to-classify, the most secretive president in the 20th century. His administration leans dangerously toward the authoritarian.

    It's no wonder that the Justice Department has convicted a few Arab-Americans of supporting terrorism. What would you do if you found yourself arrested and a federal prosecutor whispers in your ear that either you can plea-bargain this or the president will designate you an enemy combatant and you'll be held incommunicado for the duration?

    This election really is important, not only for domestic reasons, but because Bush's foreign policy has been a dangerous disaster. He's almost restarted the Cold War with Russia and the nuclear arms race.

    America is not only hated in the Middle East, but it has few friends anywhere in the world thanks to the arrogance and ineptness of the Bush administration. Don't forget, a scientific poll of Europeans found us, Israel, North Korea and Iran as the greatest threats to world peace.

    I will swallow a lot of petty policy differences with Kerry to get a man in the White House with brains enough not to blow up the world and us with it. Go to Kerry's Web site and read some of the magazine profiles on him. You'll find that there is a great deal more to Kerry than the GOP attack dogs would have you believe.

    Besides, it would be fun to have a president who plays hockey, windsurfs, ride motorcycles, plays the guitar, writes poetry and speaks French. It would be good to have a man in the White House who has killed people face to face. Killing people has a sobering effect on a man and dispels all illusions about war.

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