The disappearance of the honey bee

07/23/07 | by Adam | Categories: Potpourri

Link: http://www.slate.com/id/2170305

There's a quote which has been circulating some time, purportedly from Alfred Einstein, which goes something like this:

"If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe then man would only have four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man."

Slate has a fairly straight forward commentary on why that's not the case -- mostly due to honey bees not being the only capable crop pollinator - but all the same why it's still a concern in a more general way.

(Via Liberalism without Cynicism)

 

High Tea

07/22/07 | by Adam | Categories: Potpourri

Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_tea#High_tea

I know that Wikipedia can be dodgy on its information, but goldarnit, it's absolutely correct with this definition:

High Tea (also known as Meat Tea[1]) is an early evening meal, typically eaten between 5 and 6 o'clock in the evening. It would be eaten as a substitute for both afternoon tea and the evening meal. The term comes from the meal being eaten at the ‘high’ (main) table, instead of the smaller lounge table. It is now largely replaced by a later evening meal.

It would usually consist of cold meats, eggs and/or fish, cakes and sandwiches. In a family, it tends to be less formal and is an informal snack (featuring sandwiches, biscuits, pastry, fruit and the like) or else it is the main evening meal.

[..]

In recent years, High Tea somehow became a word for exquisite afternoon tea.

So, you ersatz-Anglophile reprobates in Victoria, B.C., please don't do this in the future. If Wikipedia's got it right, there're no excuses.

 

Jerks And Their "Malware Scanners"

07/22/07 | by Nimble | Categories: Thoughts, Ethics, Internet

We show no referrers to the world, but we still get referral spam, i.e. something pretends to have visited your site through someone else's clicks. Referrals used to be a fun way to show who was visiting you. Spammers have crapped all over that feature.

I went to ban a number of them that have come recently from blogggest.com, which doesn't even seem to have decent cover as a free hosting site, never mind anything for bloggers. I accidentally launched the site in question instead (probably blinded by my rage over discontinued dinnerware patterns) and got treated to the loveliest set of lies I think I've seen on a web site in a while.

Full story »

 

Cool Dinnerware Always Doomed

07/22/07 | by Nimble | Categories: Distractions

Okay, okay, I'm exaggerating, but I feel the sting of lines of dinnerware and flatware being discontinued because it seems to affect the stuff I really like... disproportionately.

When you're on the hunt for plates and such, you generally have choices of kitsch, flowery, arse-plain, or every now and again, 'interesting'.

Full story »

 

Nut On The Run

07/22/07 | by Nimble | Categories: Thoughts, People, Religion, Science

Wired picked up on the saga of an overly-enthusiastic off-kilter creationist making escalating insults and threats to University of Colorado professors, as well as a few other folks online.

Well, he has absconded.

Full story »

 

Oh well. I tried.

07/21/07 | by Adam | Categories: Silly

Link: http://www.cbc.ca/arts/books/story/2007/07/20/harrypotter-helpline.html

Just days after I said I wouldn't, here's another Potter related post. I couldn't resist wondering about this statement from the CBC Arts page:

The book was attracting scores of fans dressed as Ron, Hermione, witches, Death Eaters and Muggles

CBC, dear, "muggles" are the normal human beings of the Potterverse. Given the non-existence of Ron, Hermione, witches, Death Eaters, wizards and magic, it probably means the Potter fans were in mufti.

 

Irregular Webcomic

07/20/07 | by Adam | Categories: Silly, Reviews

Link: http://www.irregularwebcomic.net/1636.html

One of my favourite places to visit online is "Irregular Webcomic". The strip runs several independent plotlines which sometimes overlap, including Shakespeare as a modern technical writer, an incompetent fantasy-world adventuring party, an entirely amoral spacefaring group, aliens invading Earth in groups of three, Mythbusters parodies, Terry Pratchett-like incarnations of Death, and many more. In many respects, it's a fairly standard jokey comic with a strong fondness for puns and the absurd but with a couple of signficant differences.

Full story »

 

M.A.S.S., "The Music Of Alan Parsons"

07/19/07 | by Adam | Categories: Music, Reviews

Link: http://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B0000C9V7R/701-1857698-2505115

Oh, it's bad. I knew it was going to be weak, and then it managed to be even worse than that. This frisbee is a rendition of the instrumental works of the Alan Parsons Project performed on what sound like some remarkably cheap synths by an anonymous German. I'm not even convinced there's a second person involved as perhaps they might have had an opportunity to destroy the recording before it was committed to a harddrive, never mind a 5" silvery plastic disc.

Full story »

 

Wired reviews the spells of Harry Potter

07/18/07 | by Adam | Categories: Silly

Link: http://www.wired.com/culture/lifestyle/commentary/alttext/2007/07/alttext_0718

Lore Sjöberg, Wired's resident humourist, takes a look over the various spells from the world of Harry Potter.

This will be my only Potter-related link ever, promise. Ritchie, on the other hand, will happily post reams on why magic is entirely unscientific and therefore only marginally more believable than string theory.

 

Obsolete already?

07/17/07 | by Adam | Categories: Technology

Link: http://www.popgadget.net/2007/07/love_your_lumix.php

The Panasonic Lumix TZ1 is my newest digital camera. I bought it new after a bit of careful research (well, kinda), examining the competition and cocking an eye to upcoming releases. I've now owned it for probably ten months at this point.

It therefore seems appropriate that not only is it now obsolete, but it's two generations so. Oh well, at least it still takes nice photos.

 

That's pretty cool

07/16/07 | by Adam | Categories: Technology

Link: http://news.wired.com/dynamic/stories/I/ICE_COOLING?SITE=WIRE&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

Punny title aside, this Wired News article on some New York buildings using ice instead of (or in addition to) air conditioning systems is nifty. It's like reaching back into the 1800s and their ice cellars for a solution to a contemporary problem. Given how utterly miserable tall closed buildings become without some cooling and decent ventilation, it's great that someone's come up with a more energy efficient way of providing it.

 

Books on demand

07/15/07 | by Adam | Categories: Technology

Link: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2007/6/prweb534914.htm

I can't decide if this print-on-demand technology is going to improve matters or not. It's fun to pop into a bookstore with a huge collection and browse the aisles. This is going to kill that. On the other hand, I usually can't find what I'm looking for in most bookstores (although typically I pick up a bunch of other stuff instead.)

The downside is that all it'll print at the moment is content in the public domain, presumably so there's no issue with author-based compensation or existing publishing contracts. However, given the pricing structure on the machine, I suspect this going to send a very very big ripple through the publishing industry.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to seeing how this one plays out.

(Via Wired)

 

Dem bones, dem dry bones

07/14/07 | by Adam | Categories: Games

Link: http://news.wired.com/dynamic/stories/C/CHINA_WARCRAFTS_SKELETONS?SITE=WIRE&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

The Chinese implementation of World of Warcraft has replaced all mobile skeletons with live humans and bones with tombstones. The9 Ltd, WoW's Chinese licensee, claims that they did it on their own accord and that the government was not involved. Ya reckon?

It's not clear whether the more fleshy skeletons that comprise the Forsaken faction now have a more healthy pallor or what effect this would have on the back story of the Scourge. I, for one, am waiting to see the dual-handed wielding of cellphones.

 

On pies, cream pies

07/13/07 | by Adam | Categories: Canadian, Calgary

Link: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/calgary/story/2007/07/13/pie-bronc.html?ref=rss

The linked-to article is about Calgary's Mayor Bronconnier commenting on the use of the cream pie as a medium of dissatisfaction, or as he puts it:

"the method of choice" of those who want to make a political statement.

Full story »

 

Time to get out that atlas, CBC

07/12/07 | by Adam | Categories: Silly

Link: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/montreal/story/2007/07/13/algaue-cowansville.html?ref=rss

This CBC article caught my eye solely because I know the area; while Cowansville is indeed south east of Montreal, it is no more in southeast Montreal than Red Deer is in northern Calgary.

 

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