Sorry I'm Late...


News and Site Updates Archive 2006/11/18 - 2007/04/13

The news comes somewhat late, but I'm glad to hear it nevertheless.

- Malcolm Campbell

13 Apr '07 - Studies have shown that if you praise your child's effort rather than his smarts the results are more positive long-term - otherwise he is afraid to try something he is not already good at as he may no longer look "smart" and may not then be worthy of your praise.  But praising effort calls forth more effort.  Whether he is initially good at a new task or not, and this increased effort generally brings improvement...  Amazing mountainclimbing photo from the Caucasus...  Women whose marriages are collapsing will clock up an average of 6 hours per working week more than those in stable, happy relationships.  They not only want to boost their income ahead of a break-up but also want to ensure they are employable once they are reliant on their own earning power.  By working longer, perhaps moving from part-time to full-time work, they build up skills and are less marginalised in the job market.  Men respond differently.  Faced with a marriage break-up they do not throw themselves into work.  If anything, they cut down slightly on their hours...  240 pencils can be made from the carbon in the ash of an average human's cremated remains - a lifetime supply of pencils for those who might want them.  The ashes can also be made into a bird feeder...  In 2006 a huge clonal colony of Posidonia oceanica (seagrass), was discovered south of the island of Ibiza. At 8 km across and possibly up to 100,000 years of age, it may be the largest and oldest clonal colonies on Earth.  The seagrass consumes CO2 and generates oxygen; the islands of Ibiza and Formentera are noted for the clarity and colour of the water offshore.

       Nine salvaged bikes were reassembled into a single carousel formation.  The bike is modular and can be dismantled and reassembled.  It is normally left in public places where it can attract a variety of riders...  When men spend the night with someone their sleep is disturbed, whether they make love or not, and this impairs their mental ability the next day.  Dr Neil Stanley, a sleep expert at the University of Surrey, said: "Historically, we have never been meant to sleep in the same bed as each other.  It is a bizarre thing to do.  Sharing the bed space with someone who is making noises and who you have to fight with for the duvet is not sensible"...  Dehydrated t-shirt - just add water (no, really!)...  Humans are animals...  Famous recent movie bloopers...  With discreet in-suite check in, private reception desk on every floor and a brigade of highly trained butlers who provide around-the-clock attention, is it any wonder the Burj al Arab in Dubai is considered the finest hotel in the world?...  The second best could be Propeller Island City Lodge in Berlin - it is worthwhile to check out each of their 45 rooms on the site, no two of which are remotely similar.  It might be worth a trip to Berlin just to get to stay there...  More origami as art...  The Michelin Tweel - tires that are airless, deformable and flexible...  Kitchen in a column - the smallest kitchen you're likely to find - but, I suspect, not the cheapest!

       An adult tricycle? Starting at US$2000 each?  It has a cargo area so you could use it for errands...  The New England Dinner Train is for sale - only $1 million - it comes with an engine, 5 cars, a caboose, 20 miles of scenic rail rights, an experienced staff and a parking lot for guests' cars.  What more do you need?...  The name "Pando" means "I spread" in Latin and is applied to an individual growth of quaking aspen in Utah which covers more than 100 acres.  Due to the age of the aspen, the climate into which Pando was born is markedly different from that of today; it may be as much as 10,000 years since Pando last successfully flowered - yet the it continues due to the extensive underground root structure which sends up new shoots after fire destroys the above-ground portion.  Some aspens may be up to 1,000,000 years old and cover 200 arces...  An ironic World Trade Center ad from 1984...  I had never heard of Igudesman and Joo, but this 7-minute video (A Little Nightmare Music) is just funny...  4% of Americans did not eat at McDonalds last year...  The Megapenny Project is a fascinating attempt to help you visualize a million, a billion, and a trillion by using stacks of pennies.  It is worth their considerably effort...  An amazing snail...  Some of the most unusual shoes I've ever seen...  Hand painting taken to the level of art (also more here)...  World Press Photos of the Year.  To page through them all, keep clicking "next winner" in the bottom left.  If you read the captions and go all the way to the end, coupled with what you know from your day-to-day experience, you'll have a fair idea of the state of the world.

The lifespan of a bowhead whale was once thought to be 60 to 70 years, similar to other whales.  However, discoveries of antique ivory spear points in living whales triggered further research.  Based on structures in the whale's eye, it has been concluded that at least some individuals have lived to be 150 – 200 years old.  A female was allegedly still reproductive at the age of 90...  The proper reverence due those who have gone before is an excellent site that helps to put recorded human history into perspective.  Prepare to feel small...  Cheeta the chimpanzee, the animal star of 12 Tarzan films in the '30s and '40s, celebrated his 75th birthday this month.  He is surely the world's oldest chimp...  Airline travel ettiquette...  Turn wine into brandy with a miniature distilling machine (a working version of the professional apparatus used by distilleries).

      Something to do with your old land-line phones: turn them into sheep!...  Income earned by the top 300,000 Americans equals income earned by the bottom 150,000,000 making the upper average income 500 times as much as the lower.  This figure doesn't tell the whole story, though, since comparing assets would show an even wider disparity than that.  It's not so much what you make but what you have...  A photographer with a unique creative approach (don't give up too early - display of his skill is developed throughout the flash file!)...  The Justin O Schmidt Pain Index is a scale rating the relative pain caused by different Hymenopteran (bee, hornet, yellowjacket, wasp, ant) stings.  It is mainly the work of Justin O Schmidt, an entomologist for whom the index is named (who experienced it firsthand)...  A baby duck uses its bill to feed nearby fish its leftover food.  A swan in a Chinese zoo does the same...  Spectacular photograph of lightning...  This into that: the functional art of Jim Rosenau (art with a sense of the absurd)...  Excellent small hiding places...  From the Journal of Medical Ethics, Vol 18, Issue 2 94-98 © 1992 by Institute of Medical Ethics: "It is proposed that happiness be classified as a psychiatric disorder and be included in future editions of the major diagnostic manuals under the new name: major affective disorder, pleasant type.  In a review of the relevant literature it is shown that happiness is statistically abnormal, consists of a discrete cluster of symptoms, is associated with a range of cognitive abnormalities, and probably reflects the abnormal functioning of the central nervous system.  One possible objection to this proposal remains - that happiness is not negatively valued.  However, this objection is dismissed as scientifically irrelevant."

31 Mar '07- This website is NOT blocked in China (and a really nice Chinese lady wrote to let me know).  "It is said that we are all 3 different people: the person we think we are (the one we have invented), the person other people think we are (the impression we make) and the person we think other people think we are (the one we fret about)... it [is] a lifetime's quest to reconcile this battling trinity into a seamless whole.  Maybe, but for the time being I am convinced that, in Kurt Vonnegut's words: 'You are what you pretend to be.'" - Life's a Pitch by Stephen Bayley and Roger Mavity...  In 2002 Carl Haub, a demographer at the Population Reference Bureau, a nongovernmental organization in Washington, DC, updated his estimate of the number of people that have ever existed.  Using historical growth rates and population benchmarks, he estimates that slightly over 106 billion people have ever been born.  Of those, people alive today comprise only 6%.  (No, there aren't as many people alive today as have ever lived - not nearly.)  Today there are more than 6.5 billion people on Earth.  The UN estimates that by 2050 that figure will range between 7.3 billion and 10.7 billion...  Perfect putdown: Actress Jean Harlow was once at a dinner party with British Prime Minister Herbert Asquith and his wife, Margot (pronounced Mar-go).  Harlow was seated next to Margot and kept addressing her as Mar-GOT.  Margot finally had enough and said to her "No Jean, the T is silent, as in Harlow"...  The 25% of the population in China with the highest IQs is greater than the total population of North America.  In other words, China has more honours students than the US has students...  Han Fangming, an advisor of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and a part-time international relations professor at Peking University says that in Guangzhou, the capital city of southern Guangdong Province in China, there are 1,147 people named Chen Zhiqiang.  In all of China, there are 8,700 people with that name.

     Sumela Monastery in Turkey was founded in the year 386 by two Athenian priests - Barnabas and Sophronius.  During its long history, the monastery has fallen into ruin several times and been restored by successive Emperors.  It clings to the wall of a steep cliff facing the Altindere valley in the region of Macka in Trabzon Province, Turkey...  The world's ugliest, but safest, car has been restored in Dorset, Britain. (What I want to know is what will the owner do if that odd-looking front windshield ever gets broken?)...  Highest paying jobs that don’t require a university degree...  What's in a Twinkie? (make sure you want to know) - ingredients list...  Found on the web: "When I was a naughty lad the way to get round the ink tags was to stick the whole garment in the freezer so the ink froze and you could remove the tag with no danger..."  Radical radiators for the future (for your wall, not your car)...  SmartFinder helps users locate lost items.  It comes with 4 colour-coded receivers which can be attached to keys, wallets, purse, mobile phones, eyeglasses, TV remotes, pets, etc.  The remote control transmitter sends a radio signal through walls and floors to activate the 85 decibel alarm on the receiver, locating items up to 25 metres away.  2 receivers come with keyrings and 2 with double sided adhesive pads...  Recent studies of university student evaluations have found that students tend to give good reviews "to instructors who are easy graders or who are good looking," and lesser reviews to women and instructors born outside the US.  The largest such study, at Ohio State University, finds "no correlation between professor evaluations and the learning that is actually taking place." -, 29 January 2007...  Bloomframe - a window that folds out into a balcony which can be installed in existing apartments...  American workers get a median of 10 vacation days after one year on the job and 15 days after 5 years of work.  One in 3 Americans doesn't use all their vacation, and barely one in 10 takes a break for 2 weeks straight, according to the non-profit research firm Families and Work Institute...  Rites tend to be born in situations which recur, and in which humans are faced with a crushing sense of powerlessness, not knowing whether they should opt for fight or flight.  The most obvious example is death.  (On that note I will say goodbye.)

4 Mar '07 - "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.  The world in arms is not spending money alone.  It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children." - Dwight Eisenhower.

     Four pages I liked: the juxtaposition of foreground and background to give interesting effects, dogs who look like their owners, photos with interesting 3D effects, and the deepest pool in the world...  What foods help you sleep?  Try bananas (melatonin, serotonin, and magnesium to relax muscles), warm milk (tryptophan and its helper calcium), baked potatoes (neutralized acid), oatmeal (melatonin), almonds (tryptophan and magnesium), and turkey (tryptophan).  Apparently oatmeal with bananas and honey or a turkey sandwich on whole-wheat bread plus a glass of warm milk with either are almost guaranteed to put you to sleep...  "A man earning $500,000 a year is not usually 10 times as happy as a man earning $50,000 a year.  The $50,000 earner still enjoys most of the conveniences of the modern world.  Even if more money makes people happier, it appears to do so at a declining rate, which places a natural check on the inequality of happiness ...  The broader philosophical question is why we should worry about inequality — of any kind — much at all.  Life is not a race against fellow human beings..." - Tyler Cowen, New York Times, 25 Jan 2007...  How to easily unlock your car if you have an electronic locking system and you accidentally locked your keys in...  Think twice before visiting this page - although it IS interesting: Lenin's body getting spiffed up.  This apparently happens several times a year...  How to get rid of a "stitch" in your side: Most runners exhale as their right foot hits the ground.  This puts downward pressure on the liver (which is on your right side), tugging at the diaphragm and creating a side stitch.  If you get one, try exhaling on a left foot strike for a while, or simply alternating which foot strike you’re exhaling on.  Chances are, it will be gone in a jiffy.

I'd like to recommend the aerial photography of Georg Gerster.
His photos remind me a great deal of the aerial photos of Yann Arthus-Bertrand.
Some of his shots don't look as if they could possibly be real - except, of course, they ARE...

For most of us nothing is more powerful than the desire to protect and provide security for the people and things we care about.  We often react to perceived mistreatment with anger and resentment, and an urge to right wrongs and punish those we hold responsible.  We tend to divide the world into those who are trustworthy and those unworthy of our trust, in an effort to avoid harm from people with hostile intentions.  We frequently aspire to be better than others in some important way — perhaps in our accomplishments, or our morality, or our destiny.  Finally, we strive to avoid the experience of helplessness, and instead do our best to control the important events in our lives.  Politicians shamelessly exploit this." - Roy Eidelson, "How Conservatives Exploit Our Five Core Concerns"...  The Nanpu Bridge Interchange, also called the Shanghai gyratory...  Buy yourself a set of Interchange tiles.

     Mailboxes, including possibly the best I've ever seen...  The story of the rabbit-proof fence...  What my bird does when I go out (sadly not MY bird because it is absolutely brilliant)...  "'Is it the position of this administration that it possesses the authority to take unilateral action against Iran, in the absence of a direct threat, without Congressional approval?' the Virginia Democrat, Senator James Webb recently asked Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.  Rice said she'd get back to him." - Alexander Cockburn, "Will They Nuke Iran?"...  Feb 6 was a bad day for driving in the Minneapolis region.  The State Patrol reported that 290 cars were damaged during morning rush hour, plus 177 vehicles went off the road, 60 vehicles stalled, and 48 injuries were reported - this includes a 40-car pileup on the Interstate...  What do Ukrainian students do to amuse themselves?  (Requires Flash)...  Contemporary Russian design...  Photographs of Moscow in 1890...  Traffic in St Petersburg (in case you were thinking of going for a drive while you were there)...  Water weighs one ton per cubic meter.  An increase of 31mm on a flood barrier adds a significant amount of extra weight.  On a stretch of water a kilometer wide, that means another 31 tons is pressing on each square metre of the barrier.  This matters...  Computer mods are not really my "thing" - but I thought this steampunk keyboard mod was several cuts above merely ordinary...  Clever, interesting animation illustrating cell wrapping and DNA replication (if you're into that sort of thing)... The average family of four uses 1,500 plastic shopping bags a year.

     Strange Houses around the World...  Statistics tend to feel abstract and anesthetising, making it difficult to connect with and make meaning of 3.6 million SUV sales in one year, for example, 2.3 million Americans in prison, or $12.5 million spent every hour on the Iraq war.  The Running the Numbers project visually examines vast and bizarre measures of American society, in large intricately detailed prints assembled from thousands of smaller photographs...  "There is no compassion in the system ... no mercy ... when you are spending ... $30,000 a year on a prisoner and $4,500 per student in elementary school there is something wrong ... to have in the US two million people behind bars for a lengthy time is just not working." - Supreme Court Justice Anthony M Kennedy...  It is hard to make a man you kill look evil.  He looks vulnerable.  You look evil.  Because you kill.  And you don't wipe out "bad" killing with "good" killing, you echo it...  Freethinker - one that forms opinions on the basis of reason independently of authority; especially : one who doubts or denies religious dogma...  The cartoon laws of physics...  Bob Hope's longtime handyman recently died - he was in his 90s.  The handyman had been so close to Bob that the Hopes buried him in their private plot.  This handyman's eternal home is now in the San Fernando Mission - next to Bob's.

31 Jan '07 - An interesting thing happened to me in the past month - I discovered that I have an older half-sister that I never knew about.  As a matter of fact, until I learned that, I would have bet that I was one of the least likely to discover a family skeleton of that magnitude.  I was delighted.  The problem is that she seems to have recently moved and I cannot find her new whereabouts.  If anyone reading this is from Sandown, Isle of Wight, please send me an email.
     Eyepatches as a fashion accessory?  A creation by French designer Adeline Andre as part of her Spring-Summer 2007 Haute Couture fashion collection in Paris 22 January...  According to, a site specializing in population statistics, there are around 3,248,080,000 males on the planet and around 3,214,983,000 females.  That translates to men accounting for 50.25% of the population.  Interestingly, ratios vary from country to country.  For example, the US has around 4.8 million more females than males.  However, in China, males outnumber females by nearly 36 million.  In Cuba, the number of males and females is about equal, give or take a few thousand (via I Did Not Know That Yesterday!)...  The longest street in the world is Yonge Street, which is 1,178 miles (1,896 km) in length.  It starts on the Toronto lakeshore and winds its way northwesterly along Highway 11 to Rainy River, Ontario, at the Minnesota border...  Bullets can’t penetrate more than two metres of water...  Top pet names in the US, Australia, and NZ.  (Apparently every dog in NZ is named Max and all the cats are either nameless or uniquely named - so no cat name is "most" popular)...  Supposedly, the 100 greatest guitar solos - I say "supposedly" because the list does not contain Roy Buchanan in the top 100 at all, much less putting him at #1 where he should be.  Don't believe me?  Listen to this...  Iceland has the highest concentration of broadband users in the world...  A massive resource list for all autodidacts...  A Boeing 747 airliner holds 57,285 gallons of fuel.

     Losing your hair?  Instead of a combover, consider a tattoo...  Since 1982 the US Mint has produced 910 pennies for every American.  Last year there were theoretically 8.23 billion pennies in circulation - or more than $27 in pennies per person.  Where are all these pennies?  Raw material prices in general have skyrocketed in the last 5 years, sending copper prices to record highs of $4.16 a pound in May.  Copper pennies number 154 to a pound.  You do the math and take a guess...  How NOT to rob a liquor store...  Blood-spattered Bran Castle (former home of Vlad the Impaler, otherwise known as Count Dracula) is for sale for a mere £40 million.  It was built in 1377, has 52 rooms and is said to be a bit hard to heat in winter...  What can Trackstick do for you?  Find where your kids have been.  Verify employee driving routes.  Review family members driving habits.  Know where anything or anyone has been.  (Are you sure you want to know these things?)...  Mortgage borrowing now accounts for 42% of take-home salary...  The Earth weighs around 6,600,000,000,000,000,000,000 tons (5,940 billion billion metric tons)...  One of the most spectacular photos ever - a drop of coffee covered by a drop of milk...  Fish Faces (probably not what you think) (via grow-a-brain).

     The most artistic-looking toaster I've ever seen...  The word "time" is the most common noun in the English language, according to the latest Oxford dictionary...  In the mid-1980s, it was predicted that by 2000 there would be 900,000 mobile phones worldwide.  That year came, and 900,000 phones were sold every 19 hours...  A map showing cannabis laws around the world (if you care)...  There are 200 million blogs which are no longer being updated, say technology analysts...  A graphics-and-text-capable waterfall combines marketing images and words with kinetic graphic artwork.  Since it is modular, it can be displayed in different sizes and configurations and can be custom-ready for show use in about 2 months from initial contact (click on the "videos" tab on the site to see it in action)...  The Mona Lisa once hung on the wall of Napoleon’s bedroom...  For every 10 successful attempts to climb Mount Everest there is one fatality...  Small, fold-out metal sculptures...  Fewer than half the people with garages actually use them for parking a car...  Capital punishment laws of the world...  The Philadelphia mint can produce 26 million pennies in a single day...  A low-impact woodland home built with 1,000-1,500 man-hours and about £3,000...  Left-handed people are better at computer games...  A pan specifically for making brownies...  In 2030, it is estimated that the world will have 1.2 billion automobiles...  Uncredited statistics largely from here.

30 Dec '06 - I've finally finished school, but my sons have one more semester.  After that, we're moving back home to Wellington.  But before then, I must edit our 45-minute animation to have it ready for festival deadlines beginning in March - back to 12-hour days and giving this website too little attention.
     Hurricane winds rip apart nailed-together walls, and earthquakes shake houses so violently that a nailhead can pull straight through a piece of plywood.  Since we can’t stop natural disasters, Bostitch engineer Ed Sutt has dedicated his career to designing a better nail.  The result is the HurriQuake, and it has the perfect combination of features to withstand nature’s darker moods...  Women under stress who hold their husbands' hands show signs of immediate relief, which can clearly be seen on their brain scans.  16 married women were subjected to the threat of a very mild electric shock while they by turns held their husband's hand, the hand of a stranger (male) or no hand at all.  The results showed a large decrease in the brain response to threat as a function of spouse handholding, and a limited decrease in this response as a function of stranger handholding.  Moreover, spouse handholding effects varied as a function of marital quality, with women in the very highest quality marriages benefiting from a very powerful decrease...  A new study found that almost half of smokers who have surgery to remove early stage lung cancer pick up a cigarette again within 12 months.  60% of patients who start smoking again do so within 2 months of surgery.  Researchers found no link between the quantity of smoking and the ability to quit and they were also surprised to discover that higher education was associated with a greater likelihood of smoking after surgery.  It wasn’t the number of cigarettes smoked daily that determined who couldn’t quit, but rather how long they continued to smoke prior to surgery.

     Roads that certainly require a keen concentration on driving...  Earlier this year, Denmark came top in a world map of happiness.  For more than 30 years it has ranked first in European satisfaction surveys.  What makes Danes so content?  The key factor that explains this seems to be that Danes have consistently low (and realistic) expectations.  So the key to happiness may lie in the fact that if you lower your expectations enough you might feel a bit better.  (This is good advice?  Maybe a little unhappiness is preferable)...  "What has happened here is not war in its traditional sense.  This is clearly a crime against humanity.  War crimes are crimes which happen in war time.  There is a confusion there.  This is a crime against humanity because it is deliberate and intentional killing of large numbers of civilians for political or other purposes.  That is not tolerable under the international systems.  And it should be prosecuted pursuant to the existing laws...  We're not re-writing any rules.  We don't have to re-write any rules.  We have to apply the existing rules.  To call them 'terrorists' is also a misleading term.  There's no agreement on what terrorism is.  One man's terrorism is another man's heroism...  We try them for mass murder.  That's a crime under every jurisdiction and that's what's happened here and that is a crime against humanity." - Benjamin Ferencz, former Nuremberg Prosecutor, speaking 19 September 2001.

Sona si Latine loqueris.  -  Honk if you speak Latin.
Vacca foeda - Stupid cow
O! Plus! Perge! Aio! Hui! Hem! - Oh!  More!  Go on!  Yes!  Ooh!  Ummm!
Fac ut vivas. - Get a life.
Ventis secundis, tene cursum. - Go with the flow.
     Wonder why older people forget things more easily?  Researchers have found that stem cells in aging brains are not reduced in number, but instead divide less frequently, resulting in dramatic reductions in the addition of new neurons in the hippocampus. In young rats, approximately 25% of the neural stem cells actively divide, but only 8% of the cells in middle-aged rats and 4% in old rats were dividing.  This decreased division of stem cells is what causes the decreased neurogenesis, or birth of nerve cells, seen with aging, the scientists said.  It takes a new neuron to hold a new idea...  You've no doubt heard of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) - but did you know that there is also a SADS (Sudden Adult Death Syndrome)?  It affects 1⅜ people per 100,000, mostly men.  One in 5 of the families affected by SADS have an inherited genetic heart defect, which makes them prone to severe abnormalities in heart rhythm, and sudden death.  When such a death occurs, other family members should be screened.

     Parenting Made Easy: No longer is a cot simply a wooden cage with a mattress - now you can use Intellicot to develop a regular sleeping pattern with automatic rocking, help keep your child cool in summer with air circulation, reduce parents' bending and back strain with the built in lifting system, and keep an eye on your child from anywhere in your house with the integrated video monitor...  Approximately one in 10,000 people in the general population lives to the age of 100...  How accurate is Wikipedia?  If you think "not very", you may be surprised...  A young man with a flare for the dramatically stupid in 1980 boarded a flight from Sea-Tac airport to Portland.  He wore aviator sunglasses, said he had a bomb in his briefcase, and demanded $100,000 and two parachutes.  The plane never left the taxiway, however - after the stewardess slipped him a couple of Valiums, he let all the passengers go and reduced his demands to a rental car and 3 cheeseburgers before giving himself up...  Autumn in Japan...  Top 5 Most Common Comic Book Writer Medical Errors - One example: When the heart goes into asystole (a term for when it stops beating and has no electrical activity), the treatment is NOT defibrillation.  To restart a non-beating heart, the recommended treatments are CPR, epinephrine, atropine, and transcutaneous pacing.  Defibrillation does more harm than good...  Need an idea for a unique gift?  How about regular coins that have been shrunk by extremely powerful magnetic fields?

     Cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg.  The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy.  It dn'seot mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae.  The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm.

     Department of Inverse Relationships: Researchers have determined that self-esteem is a key factor in a person's level of materialism.  People with lower self-esteem value possessions significantly more than those with higher self-esteem.  Moreover, heightened materialistic values are directly related to "a severe drop in self-esteem"...  Ryan and Dave are the most unique identical twins you'll ever meet.  After tiring of piercing, tattoos, and implants about 3 years ago, they began exploring much heavier surgical modifications.  Dave had spent 2½ years in pre-med at Queens University in Kingston, and using contacts made both there and online he and his twin brother have changed themselves in ways far beyond anything anyone else has ever attempted (if you believe them, that is)...  A 65-year-old Quebec man who received a new long-term mechanical heart last month is being described as the only living Canadian without a pulse.  Dr Renzo Cecere implanted the "Heartmate II" mechanical heart into Gerard Langevin in a 3-hour operation in November.  Officials at the McGill University Health Centre say the device, which is about the size of a flashlight battery, could last up to 10 years...  US county formation from 1643 to the present - a surprisingly entertaining animated gif...  A new kind of ocean-going catamaran...  Providing a strong pay-for-performance link for bonuses rather than giving merit raises has the greatest potential benefit - predicted to improve employee performance by nearly 20%, ten times that of a merit increase.

Frequently mispronounced German terms in English

Adidas™ - AH-dee-dass
Bayer™ - bye-er
Braun™, Eva Braun - brown (not 'brawn')
Dr Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel) - soyce
Goethe, German author, poet - GER-ta ('er' as in fern); applies to all oe-words
Hofbräuhaus in Munich - HOFE-broy-house
Loess/Löss (geology), fine-grained loam soil - lerss ('er' as in fern)
Neanderthal, Neandertal - nay-ander-tall
Porsche™ - PORSH-uh
Gerhard Schröder, German chancellor - shrer-der ('er' as in fern) not shro-der!
Nike™ nyke (silent e) or nee-ka (German vowels)


Makeup of the world in 2005 according to Volunteers in Medicine:
     * 57% are Asians
     * 14% are from the Western Hemisphere
     * 8% are Africans
     * 52% are female
     * 70% are non-white
     * 30% are Christian
     * 6% possess 59% of the entire world’s wealth
     * That 6% would live in the US
     * 80% live in substandard housing
     * 70% are not able to read
     * 50% suffer malnutrition
     * 1% are near death
     * 1% are near birth
     * 1% have a college education
     * 1% own a computer

Can this be true?  80% of wealthy people do not have a college degree?
What does this imply?

The Z-machine at Sandia National Laboratories has such extremely high voltage that the power feeding equipment is submerged in concentric chambers of 540,000 gallons of transformer oil and 600,000 gallons of deionized water, which act as insulators.  However, the electromagnetic pulse generated when discharging the electrical energy causes impressive lightning which can be seen around all conducting materials in the room...  "Organic" Lichtenberg Figures, called Lightning Flowers, are sometimes formed beneath the skin of humans who have been struck by lightning.  The unfortunate victim will often have one or more reddish radiating feathery patterns that branch outward from the entry and exit points of the strike (see photo middle of page - also the photo of the pattern made when lightning struck a grassy field and other fascinating things).

The Unjustly Punished Child

The child screams in his room. Rage
heats his head.
He is going through changes like metal under deep
pressure at high temperatures.
When he cools off and comes out of that door
he will not be the same child who ran in
and slammed it.  An alloy has been added.  Now he will
crack along different lines when tapped.
He is stronger.  The long impurification
has begun this morning.

                                         - Sharon Olds
18 Nov '06 - I have only three weeks until the semester's over.  I have given this website short shrift lately and for that I apologise.  I'm taking 6 classes so that I can finish a semester early, which will save me thousands of dollars, but right about now, I'm wondering if it is worth it.  It will be wonderful to be finished.
     "...the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders.  That is easy.  All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger.  It works the same in any country." - Hermann Goering, Hitler's chosen successor for ruling Nazi Germany during World War II; quote from the Nuremberg Trials 1945-1946...  "To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." - Theodore Roosevelt, US Republican president, 1918...  A map of oilfields in the Persian Gulf...  "Preventative war ... I don't believe in such a thing, and frankly I wouldn't even listen seriously to anyone that came in and talked about such a thing. "  - Dwight Eisenhower, US Republican president and Allied military chief in World War II, 1954...  Who has controlled the Middle East over the course of history?  Pretty much everyone.  Egyptians, Turks, Jews, Romans, Arabs, Greeks, Persians, Europeans...the list goes on.  Who will control the Middle East today?  That is a much bigger question.  See 5,000 years of history in 90 seconds...

     Americans, representing less than 5% of the world's population, consumed roughly 25% of all the electricity generated in the world in 2003; and fully a third of that, according to Energy Bulletin, an independent energy information exchange, went towards power for air-conditioners.  That's 8% of the world's total electricity supply.  Meanwhile, air-conditioners in American vehicles use 7 billion gallons of petrol a year, equivalent to the total oil consumption of Indonesia with a population of 240 million.  Air-conditioning remains hopelessly inefficient.  In a typical unit, as much as 40% of the energy used is lost in the form of heat...  "Mouse print " is the fine print in advertising, in a contract, or on a product label, often buried out of easy sight.  In the worst cases, the mouse print changes the meaning of, or contradicts the primary claims or promises being made.  Sometimes, the catch is not even disclosed.  In other cases, the fine print is merely an unexpected surprise for the reader.  Fine print is not inherently illegal., focuses on an ad’s asterisked fine print footnote rather than the headline - the goal is to help educate the public about the "gotchas " in disclaimers.

     Ballroom dancing robots - for those of you who lack a partner - only $300,000 - they anticipate your every move but the battery lasts only about 30 minutes...    Adam Smith pointed out that a major goal of business is to deceive and oppress the public.  One of the striking features of the modern period is the institutionalization of that process, so that we now have huge industries deceiving the public — and they're very conscious about it - the public relations industry.  Interestingly, this developed in the freest countries — in Britain and the US — roughly around time of WWI, when it was recognised that enough freedom had been won that people could no longer be controlled by force - so modes of deception and manipulation had to be developed in order to keep them under control. - Noam Chomsky...  A tiny mite, less than 0.4 mm long, lives in your pores and hair follicles, usually on the nose, forehead, cheek, and chin, and often in the roots of your eyelashes.  It has a wormlike appearance, with legs that are mere stumps.  People with oily skin, or those who use cosmetics heavily and don't wash thoroughly, have the heaviest infestations but most adults carry a few...  The Neitzsche Family Circus, basically a random quotation from Nietzsche, paired with a random Family Circus cartoon.  Reload it a few times if the first one doesn't immediatly appeal.  (Well, I found it amusing, anyhow.  I will grant that it's at least possible that not everyone will find it so)...  Someone who is good at everything is not outstandingly good at anything.

      Triple Directional Viewing LCD, a display that controls the viewing angle so that the display can show different images simultaneously.  Using a proprietary parallax barrier on a standard TFT LCD, the screen splits light in 3 directions — left, right, and centre — displaying 3 separate images on the same screen at the same time.  So while driving you can see the GPS navigation, your kid at the backseat can enjoy Ace Combat on his PS2, and your wife in the passenger seat can check out tourist sites and restaurants - all in full-screen view on the same screen...  A higher level of testosterone increases sex drive and attractiveness of males, leading to more offspring and increased evolutionary fitness; it also weakens the immune system, amplifies stress, and encourages recklessness.  (Is it worth it?)

        The floor of an elevator has been painted with an illusion that there is no floor.  A sign at the entrance cautions the people that go in about work in progress.  Would you be brave - or take the stairs?...  How to read a poem aloud...  The American president's job in his own words...  How to stay warm at home without a heater...  Swim with a polar bear?  How to regain control of a spooked camel...  Modern Man Eater - Your or your loved one's body will be separated into its discreet components then dried, distilled, and processed into vitamins, minerals, and food additives that can sStrengthen your entire Family for years to come!  Sanitary and food-grade quality - good for your body, feeds your soul...

The Internet has exceeded our collective expectations as a revolutionary spring of information, news, and ideas.
It is essential that we keep that spring flowing.

- Chris Cannon

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