Tram Town
Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Category: Who knew?
In Hawaii SPAM is very popular. Look at this page which notes:
Isn't Spam sushi a culinary crime? Not in Waikiki.
There's also some enlightening reading on this page.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Category: Obesity
Sp!ked has another magnificent panic/don't panic article here. We'll have to keep an eye on that link because it doesn't look like it will last long in its present form. Sp!ked rocks!

Saturday, January 27, 2007
Category: Panama
Over at the Popular Mechanics site is a scanned article from their December 1913 issue about the Panama Canal. I found out about the scan while listening to the Popular Mechanics podcast the most recent of which is described thus:
Popular Mechanics editor-in-chief Jim Meigs brings his father, A. James Meigs, to Panama to learn more about plans to expand the biggest engineering project in history. A. James Meigs grew up on on the canal: his father, Al Meigs, helped to build, and later operate, the Miraflores locks at the Pacific end of the canal.
True or false: The Panama Canal flows from the Pacific in the East to the Atlantic in the West? Look on a map or type Panama Canal in to Google Earth!
Also, while listening to the podcast I learnt a new term: panamax. In Australia it is a brand of paracetemol - not so in the shipping world.

Category: Warmening
The good folk over at Diogenes' Lamp have an interesting post entitled Climate change update: more human sacrifices demanded. Pointed at from there is this paper by William Gray entitled HURRICANES AND CLIMATE CHANGE: Assessing the Linkages Following the 2006 Season. As it happens, while I was walking on Thursday morning, I was listening to an interview with Doctor Gray on the Weather Brains podcast. One of the regulars on Weather Brains is James Spann who is currently involved in a bit of a blue with Heidi Cullen from the Weather Channel. Heidi Cullen was the inspiration for the Diogenes post. Heidi Cullen, it seems, is a very learned idiot.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Category: Godlessness
I have only been to church for the odd wedding or funeral. I managed to do better than DB anyway...
You know the Bible 79%!

Wow! You are truly a student of the Bible! Some of the questions were difficult, but they didn't slow you down! You know the books, the characters, the events . . . Very impressive!

Ultimate Bible Quiz
Create MySpace Quizzes

Give it a go, Jack, and let us know how you go!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Category: God
Those of you who know me know that I am a devout Lapsed Catholic, likely agnostic -- yes...wishy-washy. I just took this quiz and got this:
You know the Bible 73%!

Wow! You are truly a student of the Bible! Some of the questions were difficult, but they didn't slow you down! You know the books, the characters, the events . . . Very impressive!

Ultimate Bible Quiz
Create MySpace Quizzes

Bugger, there goes whatever cred I had left.

Saturday, January 20, 2007
Category: Chupacabra
I am NOT making this up!
The Chupacabra is "an animal said to be unknown to science and systemically killing animals in places like Puerto Rico, Miami, Nicaragua, Chile, and Mexico". That pointer is an interesting read. I had never heard about this beast but it was mentioned on a Penn Jillette podcast and I had to fight a bit to find the proper spelling before I could find out about it on the net.
When I did find it I was pleased that it led me back to The Skeptic's Dictionary (shouldn't that apostrophe be after the s so that the article refers to the dictionary rather than some singular skeptic?). The dictionary has a lot of good reading and it is a good reference.

Friday, January 19, 2007
Category: History
Slatts pointed out this article by Greg Sheridan in the Oz about his recently deceased father. Well worth the read, Jack!

Thursday, January 18, 2007
Category: Must read
Why the green lobby must be treated as a religion
By John Kay

Category: TTT
Tim Blair pointed at this post on Word Around the Net about Terry Lane's latest childish criticism of Dubya.
"Terry lane is now officially deemed a Google-dodger."

Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Category: Apple
Mike Elgan reckons that the iPhone is a bucket of rubbish.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007
Category: Data
A Periodic Table of Visualization Methods.

Monday, January 15, 2007
Category: Audio
For the life of me I can't work out whether this is a good thing or a complete waste of a 5.25" slot. Less clutter I suppose. Doesn't seem to run on the recessive platform but.
UPDATE: Hmm, the Firebox gang also has this on their site.

Category: Apple
It's the new iPhone Commercial.

Sunday, January 14, 2007
Category: Oils
YouTube of the [insert time period here] -

Category: Humour
Pulled from comments over at Tim Blair's joint:
Another term for Drummer: Musician’s Labourer.

Friday, January 12, 2007
Category: Credibility
I'm now reading The God Delusion and I was interested in the first sentence of the back cover blurb which reads:
Richard Dawkins was recently voted one of the world's top three intellectuals (alongside Umberto Eco and Noam Chomsky).
Now I'm certainly not an intellectual but if I was I don't think I'd be particularly keen to be mentioned in those despatches.

Thursday, January 11, 2007
Category: Apple
An interesting analysis of the iPhone -- I've only skimmed it tonight but will read it more fully tomorrow(ish).

Category: RDC
Lily Munster. Vale.

Category: Science Nature Drugs
Youtube video of the week...

Actually, you will have to click here because "The owner of this video does not allow embedding".

Category: Potboiler II
Potboiler I has been enhanced by allegations that one of the participants is a liar.

Category: WHWTMSitW
It's a slow news time of year when we get fed this pap: Beauty just a waist of space:
Scientists analysed almost 350,000 works of fiction from Britain and the US, then repeated the experiment with ancient Indian epics Mahabharata and Ramayana between the first and third centuries and Chinese dynastic poetry between the fourth and sixth.
Did they say scientists? And following immediately:
Bossoms bobbed up most frequently, with 219 references. But only 16 of those referred to shape or size.
There were however 66 references to waists and every one specified a slim waist.
So, in 350,000 (presumably × 3 to include the Indian and Chinese repeats) documents, they found 219 references to "bossoms" (I'm not sure what this typo is referring to) and 66 references to waists. From this they concluded that they entire world likes hour glass figures. Mind you, their conclusion may well be right but science it is not.
And the local angle is just beauiful:
It's not good news for the average Aussie woman, whose shape is leaning more towards apple than hourglass.
Thanks are due to Dr Devendra Singh of the University of Texas and also to the lightweight and anonymous journalist at News who brought this news to us.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Category: Measurement
NASA finally drags itself into the 21st. Century -- I'm not holding my breath for the rest of the US to catch up but.

Category: Apple
First impressions from San Francisco...
Apple TV is only 720p so let's call it medium defintion. I'm not sure of a lot of other details. For example, Does it require an 802.11n hub? It looks a bit like all content has to come from your computer; the spec doesn't seem to allow for recording from an external tuner. If it has no video ADCs we are going to need to keep our PVRs so this device will be just one more input into the mess that is our home theatre. I was kind of hoping for some switching capabilities. Whatever, it's not going to be available to us for a while anyway.
Also not available (until at least 2008 as far as I can tell) is an 8GB phone that can play some of your music. When it is available, Apple will do us the favour of deciding which carrier we will use and what plan we will be on. Thanks Apple.
Waiting for corrections, DB.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007
Category: Potboiler
This story of intrigue from the Sydney Daily Tele would make a terrific threepenny novel.
The one-time mistress of the late Sydney car yard king Peter Warren has made a secret statement to police backing Marcus Einfeld's claims a phantom driver is to blame for his alleged speeding offence.
And that's just the tip of the iceberg!

Monday, January 08, 2007
Category: OS's
There's been a lot of talk about Microsoft Vista and some have commented about how it's a bit superficially similar to Apples OSX. I reckon that's just rubbish, but Pogue and Welch seem to disagree!

Category: Flying
From Jumbo Joke comes this story from an SR71 pilot. The King of Speed

Sunday, January 07, 2007
Category: Apple
Given that Apple's Mac World is next week (and I'm not going this year), I hadn't bothered to post about the changes that Apple have made to their web site -- very mysterious indeed!!". But now a commentator of no known repute has a theory. Now, that's newsworthy!

Category: Astronomy
Zoe Brain has found a fascinating fast motion video of the moon over the whole of 2006.

Category: Rubbish
From the Daily Mail in the Unhinged Kingdom comes this article about rats and rubbish.
With many councils now removing bin bags only once a fortnight in order to meet Government-imposed recycling targets, a new type of bait-resistant rodent has evolved among the millions of tons of rubbish left rotting in streets and gardens.
You should have a look at this, Peter P. but you are probably already aware of it. The Sun ran this in yesterday's edition as news and the original article is dated 16th of September last year. That's a strange way to run a newspaper.

Category: Consensus
I was lead to believe that the science of global warming was in but an article in The Age that Slatts made mention of suggests otherwise. Professor David Day writes:
After making his alarmist claim about the drought being the worst in 1000 years, Flannery leaps from one insupportable conclusion to another, with his claim that this supposedly "extraordinary drought" is a "manifestation of the global fingerprint of drought caused by climate change", and his implication that Australians need to prepare for a state of permanent drought. In fact, Australians would do better to prepare for the floods that will almost certainly follow this drought as they have done in the past.
As Slatts says, "what the heck is [that] doing in The Age?".

Saturday, January 06, 2007
Category: DRM
On the latest Security Now podcast (whixh can be found here) Steve Gibson gives a nice potted history of DRM and then refers to a paper about the implementation of DRM in Vista. The "Executive Executive Summary" of the paper reads as follows:
The Vista Content Protection specification could very well constitute the longest suicide note in history.
The paper is well written and, while long, is TramTown-recommended reading for all IT professionals.
Amongst the surprises:
Say you've just bought Pink Floyd's "The Dark Side of the Moon", released as a Super Audio CD (SACD) in its 30th anniversary edition in 2003, and you want to play it under Vista. Since the S/PDIF link to your amplifier/speakers is regarded as insecure, Vista disables it, and you end up hearing a performance by Marcel Marceau instead of Pink Floyd.
It all smells a bit like a FUD campaign but it certainly warrants a watchful eye for a little while before buying a news PC. I wonder how the uglier aspects of this stuff will work in Parallels???!

Anyway, I heartily recommend Security Now. If you need a primer in anything security it is worth going through old episodes to find relevant material. Just One Guy's Opinion™.

Category: From the TimesOnline comes an article about a very sensible charity:
Sense About Science, a charity that promotes the importance of scientific evidence, warns that celebrities are prone to backing theories and therapies that make no scientific sense and offers them the chance to check their facts first.

From rec.humor.funny:
A physicist, a biologist and a mathematician sit in a sidewalk cafe, looking at the building across the road. Two people go into the building, then three people come out.
Physicist: "This must be a measuring error!"
Biologist: "This is proof of procreation!"
Mathematician: "If one more person goes into the building, it will be empty!"

Thursday, January 04, 2007
Category: Pitchers
A silent short of the whole Star Wars thing.

Category: War
Rewriting the Rules of War by Col. Tom Snodgrass is a fascinating take on the notion of limited war as practised* by the post WWII US. It will take a couple of re-reads and a bit of research before I can really comprehend all he has to say.
* I think I have determined that the verb should be 'ise' at least according to British english spelling.

Category: Drought
I had missed this article in the Oz by Geoffrey Blainey but, luckily, John Ray pointed it out over at his Greenie Watch blog. John has a few blogs that act largely as aggregators and I follow them quite closely. Amongst them: Dissecting Leftism, Political Correctness Watch, and Eye on Britain.

Category: Vehicles

Some people have a little too much time on their hands.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007
Category: Fillums
Really nice 5 minute stop-motion fillum. The first fillum I made at fillum school was stop-motion -- "The Bin That Time Forgot" (it wasn't very good)

Category: Fillums
4th. Indiana Jones fillum now has a script and shooting will start this year.

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