Put Gordon in jail

December 13th, 2007

Mark Thomas opens a column with a memorable opening sentence:

Rarely do first lines have the potential to cost thousands of pounds (outside of libel), and rarely do I get to write words quite like those that follow; so forgive me an over-dramatic opening sentence, but yesterday lawyers acting for me started an attempt to get Gordon Brown into the dock.

[…]

If found guilty he could face 50 weeks in prison – though, after serving 10 years at No 11, he should do his bird with ease. […]

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On Mechanization and Standardization

December 13th, 2007

Greg Knauss has a little speech he uses to describe the benefits of computerisation.

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Crunks 2007

December 12th, 2007

Courtesy of the Regret the Error round-up of 2007:

The New York Times:
A caption on Saturday with a picture showing a Pakistani man on his bicycle carrying a painting of his son, who he says was abducted by Pakistani intelligence agents in 2001, misspelled the name of the Pakistani capital. It is Islamabad, not Islambad.

The British press had their moments too:

Daily Telegraph (UK):
APOLOGY: In Friday’s article on Liz Hurley’s wedding it was wrongly stated that the actress is holding a pheasant shoot on the Sunday after the ceremony. Game shooting is of course illegal on Sundays and the pheasant season ended on Feb 1. We apologise for the error and accept that if any shooting is to be done it will be by the paparazzi, who have no season and do not observe the Sabbath.

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It's Dick's world, we're just living in it…

December 12th, 2007

Suddenly, the picture comes into sharper focus:

A staple of the sf I read while growing up was the visionary capable of stepping outside normal social and intellectual boundaries to pursue a goal against all opposition and in face of every objection.

This person exists in real life.

It's Dick Cheney.

   — Bruce Baugh

[Compare and contrast with this entry from four years ago.]

[Via Progressive Gold]

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Is "Sonyesque" a word?

December 11th, 2007

I thought only Sony were so schizoid as to sabotage their own hardware in the interests of protecting us from ourselves. It turns out that Western Digital are at it too:

Due to unverifiable media license authentication, the following audio and video file types cannot be shared with different users using WD Anywhere Access.

File Extension File Description
AAC Advanced Audio Coding
AIF Audio Interchange File
AIFC Audio Interchange File
AIFF Audio Interchange File Format
AMF DSMIA/Asylum Module File
ASF Advanced Streaming Format
ASX Advanced Stream Redirector
AVI Audio Video Interleave
CDA CD Audio
DVI DivX AVI
DIVX DivX AVI
FAR Farandoyle Tracker Music Module
IT Impulse Tracker
ITZ Impulse Tracker
KAR Karaoke MIDI
MDZ Cubic Player/Cross-View Music Module Description
MOV QuickTime Video
MP1 MPEG Layer 1 (Audio)
MP2 MPEG Layer 2 (Audio)
MP3 MPEG Layer 3 (Audio)
MP4 MPEG Layer 4 (Video)
MPA MPEG Audio Stream, Layer I, II or III
MPE MPEG Video
MPEG MPEG Video
MPG MPEG Video
MPGA MPEG Layer 3 (Audio Stream)
MPV2 MPEG Audio Stream, Layer II
OGG OGG Bitstream
OKT Oktalyzer Tracker Module
PTM PTM – Poly Tracker Module (Audio)
QT QuickTime Video
QT1 QuickTime Video
VOB Video Object (DVD Video)
VOC Creative Labs Sound
WM Windows Media Audio or Video
WMA Windows Media Audio
WMV Windows Media Video

That's a pretty comprehensive list of … well, of precisely the sorts of files users might want to use their 1 Terabyte networked disk drive to make available to their friends and families.

I don't think Western Digital are going to sell very many of their My Book World Edition hard disk drives.

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Message on the Bottle

December 11th, 2007

Bottoms Up!

[Via Monoscope]

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Bath time

December 11th, 2007

I had no idea a Chihuahua was capable of making a noise like that.

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Freakonomics: The Movie

December 10th, 2007

According to IGN, development has started on a film of Freakonomics:

According to Variety, Chad Troutwine (Paris, Je T'Aime) and Seth Gordon (The King of Kong) will produce the flick, with Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me), Alex Gibney (Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room), Eugene Jarecki (Why We Fight), Jehane Noujaim (Control Room), Laura Poitras (My Country My Country) and Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing (Jesus Camp) all directing 15-minute segments based on different chapters from the book.

So, the chapters from a book that's light on data and heavy on the academic imperialism are going to be turned into a collection of fifteen minute documentary segments: that'll make everything much clearer.

[Via Fimoculous]

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lolcats can has science

December 9th, 2007

So it's come to this: LOLscience.

(Mind, this one is positively inspired.)

[Via Progressive Gold]

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10 Most Bizarre Scientific Papers

December 9th, 2007

At the risk of stepping on the toes of the Annals of Improbable Research, here are the 10 Most Bizarre Scientific Papers:

9. «Ultrasonic Velocity in Cheddar Cheese as Affected by Temperature»

(A. Mulet, J. Benedito and J. Bon; Polytechnic University of Valencia; 2006)

"The most reliable temperature interval to carry out ultrasonic measurements in Cheddar cheese is identified as 0 to 17 °C."

The paper reads: "The ultrasonic velocity in Cheddar cheese is temperature dependent. This relationship can be used to make corrections when determining ultrasonic texture or to determine mean temperatures in cooling/heating processes. At 0 < T < 35 °C ultrasonic velocity was 1590 to 1696 Ms, at 0 and 35 °C, respectively. Differential Scanning Calorimetry thermograms linked the temperature dependence of ultrasonic velocity to fat melting. Three parts are distinguished in the curve as a consequence of the fat melting and the appearance of free oil. The most reliable temperature interval to carry out ultrasonic measurements in Cheddar cheese is identified as 0 to 17 °C."

[Via Seed's Daily Zeitgeist]

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