Archive for January, 2007

Linux humour, I think

Friday, January 26th, 2007

Brenda has a message for you 🙂

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52 Proven Stress Reducers

Thursday, January 25th, 2007

Relax and enjoy life with 52 Proven Stress Reducers from the American Lung Association. No worries, as they say down here.

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Thomas Dolby & Michael Brecker

Tuesday, January 16th, 2007

I have always enjoyed Thomas Dolby’s music and periodically delve into his blog to have a look at what he is up to. Tomorrow sees the release of a bonus last episode of his ‘extra material’ video podcasts which were culled from his recent Sole Inhabitant tour footage. Although I don’t have a video iPod, viewing the videos on the iBook gave a nice peak into Dolby’s live shows, offering updated versions of earlier hits and the back story behind the lyrics.

In one of those quirks that occur when blogging, checking the link to Dolby’s blog took me to his latest post, in which he mourns the passing of Michael Brecker. Along with his brother, Randy, Brecker made up one of the best brass sections of the last fifty years, a fact borne out by his 713 entry discography. While never a big fan, I first heard Brecker on Joni Mitchell’s 1980 Shadows and Light live album and have always enjoyed hearing him play.

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Gladwell on Enron, intelligence and information

Saturday, January 13th, 2007

OPEN SECRETS, a New Yorker piece by Malcolm Gladwell, a thinker and writer whose work I really enjoy and who Time magazine named as one of the 100 Most Influential People a few years back. If you enjoy this piece, I recommend his books as essential reading for those interested in how we react and function in society, consciously and unconsciously.

The Tipping Point is a great way to grasp social epidemiology – the why and how of things changing.

In Gladwell’s own words: “It’s a book about change. In particular, it’s a book that presents a new way of understanding why change so often happens as quickly and as unexpectedly as it does. For example, why did crime drop so dramatically in New York City in the mid-1990’s? How does a novel written by an unknown author end up as national bestseller? Why do teens smoke in greater and greater numbers, when every single person in the country knows that cigarettes kill? Why is word-of-mouth so powerful? What makes TV shows like Sesame Street so good at teaching kids how to read? I think the answer to all those questions is the same. It’s that ideas and behavior and messages and products sometimes behave just like outbreaks of infectious disease. They are social epidemics. The Tipping Point is an examination of the social epidemics that surround us.”

Blink will make you think about how you think (particularly rapid cognition) differently from now on.

In Gladwell’s own words: “It’s a book about rapid cognition, about the kind of thinking that happens in a blink of an eye. When you meet someone for the first time, or walk into a house you are thinking of buying, or read the first few sentences of a book, your mind takes about two seconds to jump to a series of conclusions. Well, “Blink” is a book about those two seconds, because I think those instant conclusions that we reach are really powerful and really important and, occasionally, really good. You could also say that it’s a book about intuition, except that I don’t like that word. In fact it never appears in “Blink.” Intuition strikes me as a concept we use to describe emotional reactions, gut feelings–thoughts and impressions that don’t seem entirely rational. But I think that what goes on in that first two seconds is perfectly rational. It’s thinking–its just thinking that moves a little faster and operates a little more mysteriously than the kind of deliberate, conscious decision-making that we usually associate with “thinking.” In “Blink” I’m trying to understand those two seconds. What is going on inside our heads when we engage in rapid cognition? When are snap judgments good and when are they not? What kinds of things can we do to make our powers of rapid cognition better?”

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Behold, a blogging Bishop

Saturday, January 13th, 2007

Mike Hill is the The Bishop of Bristol’s blog – an interesting read for believer and heathen alike.  Started to record the recovery of the Bish and his wife after a car accident, it has broadened in scope considerably.  Dave, he of the excellent The Cartoon Blog, recently pointed to Mike Hill’s site and wonders if he is the first CofE bishop to blog.

Iraq casualties: which people are paying the biggest price?

Thursday, January 11th, 2007

Unquestionably, Iraq has suffered the largest death toll per 100,000 of population with 504 deaths based on a low end estimate of 53,101 deaths from a population estimated by the CIA to be 26,783,383. However, you might be surprised by the people who follow. According to the US Marine Corps Times website, 10.4 American Samoans per 100,000 of population (65,000) have lost their lives in the conflict compared, say, to 0.77 per 100,000 of the population of New York State, which has a population of nearly 19 million. That’s some sacrifice, especially when one considers that persons born in American Samoa are United States nationals, but not United States citizens. Samoan is the fourth largest ethnic group (20,730) in Auckland, following New Zealand European/pakeha (206,937), Chinese (30,285) and Maori (29,139).

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What’s in my bag these days

Sunday, January 7th, 2007


Although the ‘What’s in my bag?’ meme is well past it’s first flush of youth, I do find it mildly diverting to look at what folks carry around. The photos that people add to the ‘What’s in my bag?‘ and ‘Every Day Carry‘ Flickr groups give a small window on the global community’s changing habits; the common themes, the emerging and receding social trends and the plain strange. For what it is worth, the changes in my workaday needs, modes of transport and personal productivity habits can be traced from November 2004, through my off-duty bag in March 2005 and in August 2005 during my last work weeks in the UK before emigrating.

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Baby, this is so money!

Saturday, January 6th, 2007

For anyone who has seen ‘Swingers’ and ‘Sling Blade’, the YouTube video, ‘Swing Blade’ will be so money. Those that haven’t will just scratch their heads. It’s a one-joke deal but me? I spluttered tea and toast hooting over this breakfast-time find.

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Inkless pen

Friday, January 5th, 2007

Jason has blogged an awesome find – a pen made entirely of metal that marks paper permanently without any ink whatsoever. Christmas is a long way off but this is going on the list.

Performancing and ScribeFire: a new twist

Friday, January 5th, 2007

As I mentioned a few days back, PFF, the free blog editor for Firefox is moving to its own domain and has been rebranded as ScribeFire. However, today it was announced that the Metrics part of the Performancing package is to go Open Source after the deal proposed by PayPerPost went south. Metrics, the free blog statistics part of the package will be given back to open source in the hope that the developer community will pick up the code and work with it. Here endeth the twist.