16 December 2008

Warning for Internet Explorer users!!!!!!

Users of Microsoft's Internet Explorer have been warned of a flaw that could let hackers gain access to their computers and steal personal data, and have been to swap to a rival browser.

The flaw was spotted last week when hackers started attacking users of IE 7. The flaw, however, has also been found in earlier versions of Microsoft's browser, IE 5 and IE 6.

Because IE is used by seven out of every ten computers in the world, the flaw is potentially very serious. So far, however, it only seems to have been used to steal computer game code from rival gamers.

Microsoft is trying to put together a patch, but in the meantime computer users have been advised to update their security settings or switch to unaffected browsers such as Firefox or Opera.

The latter scored highest in a recent set of tests of how browsers deal with password security, by security consultants Chapin Information Services. Firefox came second with IE mid-table. Google's new browser, Chrome, and Safari 3.2 for Windows tied in last place.

The flaw in IE allows criminals to gain control of computers that have visited a website infected with malicious code designed to exploit it. While restricting web surfing to trusted sites should reduce the risk of infection, the malicious code can be injected into any website. Users do not have to click or download anything to become infected, merely visiting an infected website is sufficient.

Antivirus software specialists Trend Micro believe as many as 10,000 sites have been hacked to exploit the flaw. Sites that have been compromised so far, however, are mostly Chinese and the attackers seem intent on stealing people's computer game passwords in order to sell them on the black market rather than looking for personal details such as bank accounts.

It is known as a "zero-day" attack because it exploits a security vulnerability on the same day that the vulnerability became generally known. Usually there is a "window of vulnerability" between when the flaw is discovered and when the vendor issues a patch. The hope is that the vendor issues the patch before writers of so-called "malware" can exploit the flaw. If the malware writers have the flaw first, then the vendor has "zero days" to create a patch.

"Microsoft is continuing its investigation of public reports of attacks against a new vulnerability in IE," the company said in a security alert updated yesterday. "We are actively investigating the vulnerability that these attacks attempt to exploit. We will continue to monitor the threat environment and update this advisory if this situation changes."

"On completion of this investigation, Microsoft will take the appropriate action to protect our customers, which may include providing a solution through a service pack, our monthly security update release process, or an out-of-cycle security update, depending on customer needs."

What should Internet Explorer users do?

• Change the program's internet zone security setting to "high". This should protect against all known exploits of this vulnerability by disabling scripting and disabling less secure features in IE. It is, however, likely to slow down a user's web experience.

• Log out of your computer and create a new user account which has limited rights to change the PC's settings. Log in as that user. This should reduce the chances of anyone being able to exploit the flaw should your computer become infected.

• Keep antivirus software up to date. This is likely to have only limited effect as most antivirus software packages only investigate files that are downloaded from the internet, rather than looking at every page visited.

• Switch to another browser, preferably Firefox. This is by far the best option.

15 December 2008

Important Health Information for Christmas!

Here's some important health information which should help you to enjoy Christmas even more:

Q: I've heard that cardiovascular exercise can prolong life; is this true?

A: Your heart is only good for so many beats, and that's it... don't waste them on exercise. Everything wears out eventually. Speeding up your heart will not make you live longer; that's like saying you can extend the life of your car by driving it faster. Want to live longer? Take a nap.

Q: Should I cut down on meat and eat more fruits and vegetables?

A: You must grasp logistical efficiencies. What does a cow eat? Hay and corn. And what are these? Vegetables. So a steak is nothing more than an efficient mechanism of delivering vegetables to your system. Need grain? Eat chicken. Beef is also a good source of field grass (green leafy vegetable). And a pork chop can give you 100% of your recommended daily allowance of vegetable products.

Q: Should I reduce my alcohol intake?

A: No, not at all. Wine is made from fruit. Brandy is distilled wine, that means they take the water out of the fruity bit so you get even more of the goodness that way. Beer is also made out of grain. Bottoms up!

Q: How can I calculate my body/fat ratio?

A: Well, if you have a body and you have fat, your ratio is one to one. If you have two bodies, your ratio is two to one, etc.

Q: What are some of the advantages of participating in a regular exercise program?

A: Can't think of a single one, sorry. My philosophy is: No Pain...Good!

Q: Aren't fried foods bad for you?

A: YOU'RE NOT LISTENING!!! .... Foods are fried these days in vegetable oil. In fact, they're permeated in it. How could getting more vegetables be bad for you?

Q: Will sit-ups help prevent me from getting a little soft around the middle?

A: Definitely not! When you exercise a muscle, it gets bigger. You should only be doing sit-ups if you want a bigger stomach.

Q: Is chocolate bad for me?

A: Are you crazy? HELLO Cocoa beans! Another vegetable!!! It's the best feel-good food around!

Q: Is swimming good for your figure?

A: 'If swimming is good for your figure, explain whales to me.

Q: Is getting in-shape important for my lifestyle?

A: Hey! 'Round' is a shape!

Well, I hope this has cleared up any misconceptions you may have had about food and diets.

And remember:

'Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways - Chardonnay in one hand - chocolate in the other - body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming 'WOO HOO, What a Ride'

AND......

For those of you who watch what you eat, here's the final word on nutrition and health. It's a relief to know the truth after all those conflicting nutritional studies.

1. The Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

2. The Mexicans eat a lot of fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans..

3. The Chinese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

4. The Italians drink a lot of red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

5. The Germans drink a lot of beers and eat lots of sausages and fats and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

CONCLUSION:

Eat and drink what you like.
Speaking English is apparently what kills you.

12 November 2008

Shannon Matthews Mother on Trial

The case of Shannon Matthews, the schoolgirl who prompted a huge search when she disappeared early this year for almost a month, came before a jury this morning.

Ten-year-old Shannon's mother, Karen, is accused of kidnapping, false imprisonment and perverting the course of justice by pretending to West Yorkshire police she had no idea where her daughter was.

Alongside her in the dock will be 40-year-old Michael Donovan, who faces the same charges. Donovan is the uncle of her partner. Both defendants will plead not guilty in a trial that is expected to last four weeks.

Donovan abducted Shannon as she was on her way home from school in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, by telling her he was taking her to a fair. He gave her Temazepam -- a type of sleeping tablet and travel sickness pills and kept her tethered to an elasticated strap attached to a roof beam through a loft hatch when he went out. The strap was discovered by officers searching the first-floor flat following Shannon's discovery. It had a large loop at the end which, at full stretch, would reach around most of the flat but not permit anyone who was restrained by it from leaving through the front door. Donovan would have used it to restrain Shannon when he left the flat to go shopping.

Meanwhile Karen Matthews kept up a "wicked and dishonest lie" as her daughter became the subject of a massive police search operation and a reward fund offered by a local newspaper grew to £50,000. Apparently Donovan planned to release Shannon and then "discover" her.

The trial continues tomorrow.

3 November 2008

Google pays peanuts for digital rights to every book in the world!

Last week literary and publishing history was made when Google managed to barter a deal with the publishing world, in the form of the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers, that will change the whole landscape of access to academic libraries.

Four years ago, Google embarked on a stupendous project to make digital copies of some of the world's largest university library collections and incorporate the texts into its vast web index. The goal was to enable anyone, anywhere, to tap into these huge academic libraries, some with texts dating back centuries.

Google signed up four major universities - Stanford, Harvard, Oxford and the University of Michigan - plus the New York Public Library - as partners in the programme, estimating it would take six years to scan and index more than 10 million books and periodicals. At Stanford, Harvard and Oxford, it agreed to scan only samples (albeit large ones), but at Michigan they did every book and periodical, partly because Google co-founder Larry Page is a graduate, and partly because Michigan has one of the best university collections in the US.

It's a staggering project costing about $10 per volume scanned, and one that was thought to be impractical, until Google embarked on it. 'Going as fast as we can with the traditional means of doing this,' said John Wilkin of the University of Michigan in 2004, 'it would take us about 1,600 years to do all seven million volumes. Google will do it in six years. If we were to do this job ourselves, it would probably cost $600m- that's just the human cost of preparing the material for scanning, packing it up and sending it out to vendors and then quality-control checking of the results. Nothing has been conceived on this scale. It's access to a research collection we never would have dared imagine possible.'

Enter, stage right, US book publishers, many of them incensed by Google's presumptions. Who did these techies think they were, casually scanning and indexing other people's texts? Google responded that (a) copyright holders were protected because when searchers found a book under copyright, they would see only a catalogue-type entry providing basic information about the book and a few sentences of text surrounding the search term, and (b) scanning and indexing constituted 'fair use' under US copyright law.

Pshaw! said the publishers (and the Authors Guild) and called m'learned friends. It would have made an interesting trial and probably have gone all the way to the Supreme Court. But last week the parties reached a deal in which Google will pay $125m to settle the lawsuits, thus clearing the way for it to make millions of out-of-print books available for reading and purchasing online. The deal also outlines a framework for a new system that will channel payments from book sales, advertising revenue and other fees to authors and publishers, with Google taking a cut.

This is a big deal. Of the seven million books Google has scanned so far, between four and five million are still in copyright but out of print. Any arrangement making those easier to access has to be good news. Google can display up to 20 per cent of the text free of charge and make the entire book available online for a fee. The company will take 37 per cent of the resulting revenues, leaving 63 per cent for publishers and authors. (So authors can earn revenues from works their publishers have declined to reprint. Imagine what would have happened to the music business if record labels had negotiated a deal like this.) And if Google sells ads on texts it displays, it will split the revenues on the same basis. It gets all this for $125m, the smallest of small change to a corporation with annual revenues touching $20bn.

The most significant aspect of the deal, though, is that universities, libraries and other organisations will be able to buy subscriptions that make entire collections of those books available to their visitors. Governments could buy national subscriptions for all the public libraries in their jurisdictions. We've taken a giant step towards a world that once seemed an unattainable dream - where everything that has ever been published can be available to anyone who has the desire to read it.

And the downside? Google becomes the conduit for everything in print and pays peanuts for the privilege. Heads it wins, tails it wins.

25 October 2008

The only way is UP!

I got this in my inbox this week and thought it worth sharing.

Lovers of the English language might enjoy this. It is yet another example of why people learning English have trouble with the language. Learning the nuances of English makes it a difficult language. (But then, that’s probably true of many languages.)

There is a two-letter word in English that perhaps has more meanings than any other two-letter word, and that word is ‘UP.’ It is listed in the dictionary as being used as an [adv], [prep], [adj], [n] or [v].

It’s easy to understand UP, meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list, but when we awaken in the morning, why do we wake UP?

At a meeting, why does a topic come UP ? Why do we speak UP, and why are the officers UP for election and why is it UP to the secretary to write UP a report? We call UP our friends and we use it to brighten UP a room, polish UP the silver, we warm UP the leftovers and clean UP the kitchen. We lock UP the house and som e guys fix UP the old car.

At other times the little word has a real special meaning. People stir UP trouble, line UP for tickets, work UP an appetite, and think UP excuses.

To be dressed is one thing but to be dressed UP is special.

And this up is confusing:

A drain must be opened UP because it is stopped UP.

We open UP a store in the morning but we close it UP at night. We seem to be pretty mixed UP about UP !

To be knowledgeable about the proper uses of UP , look the word UP in the dictionary. In a desk-sized dictionary, it takes UP almost 1/4 of the page and can add UP to about thirty definitions

If you are UP to it, you might try building UP a list of the many ways UP is used. It will take UP a lot of your time, but if you don’t give UP, you may wind UP with a hundred or more.

When it threatens to rain, we say it is clouding UP . When the sun comes out we say it is clearing UP. When it rains, it wets UP the earth. When it does not&n bsp;rain for awhile, things dry UP.

One could go on & on, but I’ll wrap it UP , for now. My time is UP.

Oh…one more thing:

What is the first thing you do in the morning & the last thing you do at night?

U......P!


23 October 2008

Happy Halloween!


17 October 2008

Why we see spooks, ghouls & long leggety beasties!

Vampires, ghosts and witches are all utterly real – at least to those who witness these horrifying apparitions, explains Roger Highfield.

In pagan times, the last evening of October was "old-year's night", when disembodied ghouls and spirits staged a carnival, and bonfires were set on hilltops to scare them away.

'Vampire legends are quite widespread, although current Western ideas about vampires appear to have originated in a kind of vampire-craze in the 18th century'
The souls of the dead revisited their former homes, while ghosts, witches, hobgoblins and demons roamed far and wide. Today, science can shed new light on the darkest horrors of Hallowe'en.

The legends and superstitions are remarkable because they are not fantasies - the latest research shows that the terrifying creatures that populate the annual celebrations are utterly real to those who see them.

They are the bizarre products of flawed and faulty neurological processes, holding up a distorted mirror that allows us to glimpse the stranger recesses of the human mind.

Take vampires, ghosts and witches. One clue to their origins comes from studies of sleep paralysis, a penumbra of consciousness when sufferers sense the presence of a nearby threat, either in the process of falling asleep or awakening.

Some sufferers hear indistinct voices and demonic gibberish, while others experience hallucinations of humans, animals and supernatural creatures. The condition gets its name because a common element is a striking inability to move or to speak, or the sensation of a weight on the chest.

This is because the brain paralyses the sleeping body to stop us acting out our dreams. Not surprisingly, these bizarre experiences are accompanied by terror.

Recent studies suggest that sleep paralysis may strike about 30 per cent of us at least once. One expert, Allan Cheyne, of the University of Waterloo in Canada, has studied around 40,000 cases from around the world.

He finds that there are often reports of a "sensed presence", such as a spectral figure or ghost, or even an elderly person dressed in an old-fashioned costume. This phenomenon, Professor Cheyne believes, is as old as humanity.

In Newfoundland, sleep paralysis is called "old hag", because it is linked with visions of an ugly old woman squatting on the chest of a paralysed sleeper.

The Chinese refer to it as "gui ya", or "ghost pressure", while in the West Indies there was "kokma", when a ghost baby bounced on the sleeper's chest and attacked the throat.

In ancient Japan, a giant devil was blamed. In fact, sleep paralysis probably gave us the term "nightmare".

The monsters we now associate with Hallowe'en arose, then, because people made sense of this experience by drawing on what seemed plausible in the culture of the time. Hundreds of years ago, witches, demons and ghosts got the blame. In the 1980s and 1990s, people were more likely to report alien abductions.

"Aliens have become merely the latest actors in the ancient drama of the sleep paralysis nightmare," says Prof Cheyne, though he adds that most sufferers "conjure up rather ancient and traditional demons and ghosts".

But how about the vampire - the most familiar night predator of all, condemned to rise from the grave to feast on the blood of sleeping victims?

"Vampire legends are quite widespread, although current Western ideas about vampires appear to have originated in a kind of vampire-craze in the 18th century," says Prof Cheyne.

"In contrast to the suave and urbane vampires of fiction portrayed by Bram Stoker, however, vampires of legend are typically described as repulsive, bloated, and unshaven, with long nails, and tattered funereal clothing." His survey of sleep paralysis revealed hundreds of cases of such vampire imagery, "though a small percentage of the total".

In 1998, the Spanish neurologist Juan Gomez-Alonso linked the Dracula legend to rabies, caused when a virus invades the nervous system and inflames the brain. Symptoms include insomnia, an aversion to water, mirrors and strong smells (though not specifically to garlic), and an increased sex drive.

And rabies, of course, is transmitted by bat and other animal bites, reflecting how the victims of vampires usually become vampires themselves.

"This plausibly accounts for things associated with the 17th- and 18th-century scares," says Dr Tim Taylor, an archaeologist from the University of Bradford who appears in a Hallowe'en documentary, Real Vampires (Discovery Channel, 9pm tomorrow). "The light-sensitivity and fear of water lead to shunning the village priest, with his shiny crucifix and holy water."

Dr Taylor has come up with an even more intriguing idea to explain why we remain fascinated with vampires: it is hard-wired into our brains because our primate ancestors used to show their fangs to demonstrate their status and say: "I am an alpha male and I want sex!"

Gorillas and chimpanzees still do this today, he points out, although humans "now say 'Look at my Jag' instead". Men don't bare their incisors any more because big teeth are, as Dr Taylor says, anatomically incompatible with the evolution of our big brains two million years ago.

But the memory of this evolutionary throwback lingers, not least in the sexier Dracula that prowled around the Hammer Horror films.

Other monsters, such as ghosts and witches, are born in parts of the brain that make sense of what we see.

This has been revealed in studies of people losing their sight who are untouched by the brain diseases, such as Alzheimer's, that are known to cause hallucinations: their visions are conjured up when the brain attempts to make sense of degraded visual information.

These are called Charles Bonnet hallucinations, after the Swiss naturalist who reported his grandfather's strange experiences and later went on to suffer the hallucinations himself.

Dominic Ffytche, of the Institute of Psychiatry in London, found patterns in these visions. Rather than witnessing anything and everything, the patients' apparitions usually fall into a handful of categories, including distorted faces, costumed figures and other bewildering apparitions.

"I'm sure ghosts, fairies and witches all relate in some respect to these disembodied hallucinations," he says. Phantoms were typically small and wore period clothing - 40 per cent saw figures in costume.

"These could be Edwardian costume, knights in armour, military uniforms, Napoleonic uniforms and First World War uniforms," says Ffytche.

"They often wear hats." As for why these apparitions seem to like the same costumes, whether witnessed by patients in India or in Britain, "it is something to do with the brain's visual representation of the human figure - but we do not yet know what".

The disembodied, or distorted face of a stranger with staring eyes and prominent teeth is seen by about half of patients, sometimes only in an outline, like a cartoon. The faces "are often described as being grotesque, or like gargoyles," Ffytche says.

As the brain is starved of sufficient information from an eye that is going blind, it compensates with abnormally increased activity and conjures up hallucinations from the random firing of nerve cells.

His suggestion is that the hallucinations occur when the brain's lateral occipital region alerts us to the possibility that what we are looking at might be a face, an idea backed by brain scans at Yonsei University College of Medicine in South Korea.

This region detects a face's component features - eyes, nose, lips and chin - but does not register where they are. It does not care if a chin is on the forehead, or a pair of eyes under the nose.

Unusual activity in this region seems to make it insensitive to the position of each feature and, says Ffytche, creates "the characteristic distortions of the gargoyle and the over-emphasis of facial features, such as the prominent staring eyes".

People who suffered from Charles Bonnet hallucinations centuries ago bequeathed us the banshees, goblins and crones that stalk Hallowe'en today.

So on a dark Winters night, when you hear things go bump in the night or see shadowy figures, don't be afraid - it's only your mind at work!

14 October 2008

The Spoiled Under 30 Crowd!

When I was a kid, adults used to bore me to tears with their tedious diatribes about how hard things were when they were growing up; what with walking 25 miles to school every morning ... uphill BOTH ways …yadda, yadda, yadda.

And I remember promising myself that when I grew up, there was no way I was going to lay a bunch of garbage like that on kids about how hard I had it and how easy they've got it!

But now that I'm over the ripe old age of thirty ( and how!), I can't help but look around and notice the youth of today. You've got it so easy! I mean, compared to my childhood, you live in a Utopia! And I hate to say it but you kids today you don't know how good you've got it!

1) When I was a kid we didn't have The Internet.
If we wanted to know something, we had to go to the library and look it up ourselves, in the card catalog!

2) There was no email!!
We had to actually write somebody a letter ... with a pen! Then you had to walk all the way across the street and put it in the mailbox and it would take like a week to get there!

3) There were no MP3's or Napsters!
If you wanted to steal music, you had to hitchhike all the way to the record store and shoplift it yourself! Or you had to wait around all day to tape it off the radio and the DJ would usually talk over the beginning and mess it all up!

4) We didn't have any fancy Call Waiting!
If you were on the phone and somebody else called they got a busy signal, that's it!

5) And we didn't have fancy Caller ID Boxes either!
When the phone rang, you had no idea who it was! It could be your school, your mom, your boss, your bookie, your drug dealer, a collections agent, you just didn't know!!! You had to pick it up and take your chances mister!

6) We didn't have any fancy Sony Playstation video games with high-resolution 3­D graphics!
We had the Atari 2600! With games like “Space Invaders” and “Asteroids” and the graphics were horrible! Your guy was a little square! You actually had to use your imagination! And there were no multiple levels or screens, it was just one screen forever! And you could never win. The game just kept getting harder and harder and faster and faster until you died! Just like LIFE!

7) When you went to the movie theater there no such thing as stadium seating!
All the seats were the same height! If a tall guy or some old broad with big hair or a hat sat in front of you and you couldn't see, you were just plain out of luck!

8) Sure, we had cable television, but back then that was only like 15 channels and there was no onscreen menu!
You had to use a little book called a TV Guide to find out what was on!

And there was no Cartoon Network either!
You could only get cartoons on Saturday Morning. Do you hear what I'm saying!?! We had to wait ALL WEEK for cartoons!

9) And we didn't have microwaves…
If we wanted to heat something up, we had to use the stove or go build a fire...imagine that! If we wanted popcorn, we had to use that stupid Jiffy Pop thing or a pan with HOT oil and Real popcorn kernels and shake it all over the stove forever.

10) When we were on the phone with our friends and our parents walked-in…we were stuck to the wall with a cord, a 7-foot cord that ran to the phone - not to the phone base, the actual phone. We barely had enough length to sit on the floor and still be able to twirl the phone cord in our fingers. If you suddenly had to go to the bathroom - guess what we had to do.....hang up and talk to them later.

That's exactly what I'm talking about! You kids today have got it too easy. You're spoiled. You guys wouldn't have lasted five minutes back in 1980!

13 October 2008

God has a problem granting a wish!

Found this great story over at Greenrose, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did :-)

A man riding his Harley was riding along a California beach when suddenly the sky clouded above his head and, in a booming voice, the Lord said, "Because you have tried to be faithful to me in all ways, I will grant you one wish.

The biker pulled over and said, "Build a bridge to Hawaii so I can ride over anytime I want." The Lord said, "Your request is materialistic, think of the enormous challenges for that kind of undertaking; the supports required reaching the bottom of the Pacific and the concrete and steel it would take! It will nearly exhaust several natural resources. I can do it, but it is hard for me to justify your desire for
worldly things, take a little more time and think of something that could possibly help mankind."

The biker thought about it for a long time. Finally, he said, "Lord, I wish that I and all men could understand women; I want to know how she feels inside, what she's thinking when she gives me the silent treatment, why she cries, what she means when she says nothing's wrong, and how I can make a woman truly happy?"

The Lord replied, "You want two lanes on that bridge or four????

9 October 2008

A House Break In!

A man breaks into a house to look for money and guns.. Inside, he finds a young couple in bed. He orders the guy out of bed and ties him to a chair.

While tying the homeowners wife to the bed the convict gets on top of her, kisses her neck, then gets up and goes into the bathroom.

While he's in there, the husband whispers over to his wife: 'Listen, this guy is an escaped convict. Look at his clothes! He's probably spent a lot of time in jail and hasn't seen a woman in years. I saw how he kissed your neck. if he wants sex, don't resist, don't compl ain.....do whatever he tells you.. Satisfy him no matter how much he nauseates you. This guy is obviously very dangerous. If he gets angry, he'll kill us both. Be strong, honey. 'I love you!'

His wife responds: 'He wasn't kissing my neck. He was whispering in my ear. He told me that he's gay, thinks you're cute, and asked if we had any Vaseline. I told him it was in the bathroom. Be strong honey. 'I love you, too.'

8 October 2008

The Latest Ig Nobel Awards: Slime moulds can solve puzzles and other astonishing research honoured!

Slime moulds can solve puzzles! This astonishing revelation is one of 10 pieces of real research honoured this year with Ig Nobel Prizes. The spoof alternatives to the rather more sober Nobel prizes were presented in a ceremony at Harvard University.

Other winners included studies that showed Coca Cola was an effective spermicide; and that fleas on dogs jump higher than fleas on cats!

Marc Abrahams, editor of science humour magazine Annals of Improbable Research, which co-sponsors the awards, said: "The prizes are intended to celebrate the unusual, honour the imaginative - and spur people's interest in science, medicine and technology." All the research is real and published in often prestigious journals. Unlike the recipients of the more illustrious awards, Ig Nobel winners get no cash reward.

The full list of winners is (to see fuller articles on each, click on the white text):-

Nutrition: Massimiliano Zampini and Charles Spence for their study showing that food actually tastes better if it sounds crunchier.

Peace
: The Swiss Federal Ethics Committee on Non-Human Biotechnology and the citizens of Switzerland for adopting the legal principle that plants have dignity.

Archaeology: Astolfo Gomes de Mello Araujo and Jose Carlos Marcelino for demonstrating that armadillos can turn the contents of an archaeological dig upside down.

Biology: Marie-Christine Cadiergues, Christel Joubert and Michel Franc for showing that fleas on dogs can jump higher than fleas on a cat.

Medicine: Dan Ariely for demonstrating that expensive fake medicine is more effective than cheap fake medicine.

Cognitive Science: Toshiyuki Nakagaki, Hiroyasu Yamada, Ryo Kobayashi, Atsushi Tero, Akio Ishiguro and Agota Toth for demonstrating that slime moulds can solve puzzles.

Economics: Geoffrey Miller, Joshua Tyber and Brent Jordan for discovering that the fertility cycle of a lap dancer affects her tip-earning potential.

Physics: Dorian Raymer and Douglas Smith for proving that heaps of string or hair or almost anything else will inevitably tangle themselves up in knots.

Chemistry: Sheree Umpierre, Joseph Hill and Deborah Anderson for discovering that Coca-Cola is an effective spermicide (it was shared with C.Y. Hong, C.C. Shieh, P. Wu and B.N. Chiang who showed the opposite).

Literature: David Sims for his passionately written study "You Bastard: A Narrative Exploration of the Experience of Indignation within Organizations."

6 October 2008

The Sarah Palin Flow Chart

I came across this on ph33r and loathing and several other blogs and thought it was just too good not to share :-)


2 October 2008

Making a Memorable Exit!

The Mexicans may have their Day of the Dead, but the West is more cagey about the idea of kicking the bucket. It's something we all have in common but it still takes us by surprise. A new book 'Thinning the Herd', celebrates the sublime and the ridiculous that happens when a life ends. In extracts from the book, we tip our hats in particular to the famous - and the sometimes unusual ways in which they met their end.

ATTILA THE HUN(406-453)was one of history's most notorious villains. By 450 he had conquered Asia, destroying every village in his path and pillaged the countryside from Mongolia to the outer edges of the Russian Empire. He died of a nosebleed on his wedding night. The men who buried him and his treasures in 453 were put to death immediately so that the feared barbarian's grave would never be discovered.

British actor GEORGE SANDERS(1906-72) won an Acadamy Award for his role as a sarcastic theatre critic in All About Eve. He also played the lead in the 1956 film Death of a Salesman, and a schoolteacher who takes his own life in Village of the Damned. According to the short note found in his room where he died, he killed himself because he was bored.

After having been shot in battle, Mexican revolutionary PANCHO VILLA(1878-1923) turned to a journalist who was nearby and shouted: "Don't let it end like this! Tell them I said something!"

General JOHN SEDGWICK(1813-64), Union commander, was killed in battle during the US Civil War. His last words were: "They couldn't hit an elephant at this distance".

As JOAN CRAWFORD(1905-77) lay on her deathbed, her devoted housekeeper - and probably her one true friend in the world, fell to her knees and began to pray out loud for the legendary actress. Crawford turned to her immediately. Propping herself up, she said: "Damn it, don't you dare ask God to help me!". She was dead before her head hit the pillow.

ALBERT EINSTEIN(1879-1955) spoke his last words on his deathbed but we will never know what they were - his nurse didn't speak German.

The daring French philosopher VOLTAIRE(1694-1778) frequently refuted the fiercely held religious views of his times, despite the strict censorship laws of 18th century France. When a priest at his deathbed asked him to renounce Satan, he replied: "Now, now, dear man, this is not the time to be making enemies".

French grammarian DOMINIQUE BOUHOURS(1628-1702) was a stickler to the end. His last words were: "I am about to - or I am going to - die. Either expression is acceptable".

In the last years of his life WALT WHITMAN(1819-92) searched the depths of his soul for something glorious, a few brilliant and patriotic words to leave behind as his legacy for all of humanity. He gave up, finally, uttering only one word before dying: "S***".

Extracts from 'Thinning the Herd: Tales of the Wierdly Departed' by Cynthia Ceilan (Michael O'Mara Books, £10 - now £6.60 from Amazon).

1 October 2008

One for the ladies :-)

Question: What is the difference between men and puppies?
Answer: Puppies grow up.

Question: Why do men always have a stupid look on their faces?
Answer: Because they are...

Question: What do men have in common with ceramic tiles?
Answer: Fix them properly once and you can walk all over them - Forever.

Question: If you drop a man and a brick out of a plane, which one Would hit the ground first?
Answer: Who cares?????

Question: What did God say after he created man?
Answer: I can do better than this! And then he created woman!!!.

Question: What's the difference between an intelligent man & a UFO?
Answer: I don't know, I've never seen either.

Question: What are two reasons why men don't mind their own business?
Answer: I) no mind ii) no business

Question: Why did Moses wander in the desert for 40 years?
Answer:! Because even back then men wouldn't ask for directions.

Question: What is the difference between men and pigs?
Answer: Pigs don't turn into men when they drink...

Question: What makes men chase women they have no intention of marrying?
Answer: The same urge that makes dogs chase vehicles they have no intention of driving.

Question: What do you do with a man who thinks he's God's gift?
Answer: Exchange him!!

Question: Why do men like smart women?
Answer: Opposites attract.

The Aussie Builders Joke!

Two Aussie builders (Phil and Eric) are seated either side of a table in a rough pub when a well-dressed man enters, orders a beer and sits on a stool at the bar. The two builders start to speculate about the occupation of the suit.

Phil: - I reckon he's an accountant.

Eric: - No way - he's a stockbroker.

Phil: - He ain't no stockbroker! A stockbroker wouldn't come in here!

The argument repeats itself for some time until the volume of beer gets the
better of Phil and he makes for the toilet. On entering the toilet he sees that
the suit is standing at a urinal. Curiosity and the several beers get the
better of the builder.

Phil: - 'Scuse me.. No offence meant, but me and me mate were wondering what
you do for a living?

Suit: - No offence taken! I'm a Logical Scientist by profession.

Phil: - Oh! What's that then?

Suit: - I'll try to explain by example... Do you have a goldfish at home?

Phil: - Er... Mmm . Well yeah, I do as it happens!

Suit: - Well, it's logical to follow that you keep it in a bowl or in a pond.
Which is it?

Phil: - It's in a pond!

Suit: - Well then it's reasonable to suppose that you have a large garden

Phil: - As it happens, yes I have got a big garden!

Suit: - Well then it's logical to assume that in this town if you have a large
garden then you have a large house?

Phil: - As it happens I've got a five-bedroom house...built it myself!

Suit: - Well given that you've built a five-bedroom house it is logical to
assume that you haven't built it just for yourself and that you are quite
probably married?

Phil: - Yes I am married, I live with my wife and three children.

Suit: - Well then it is logical to assume that you are sexually active with
your wife on a regular basis?

Phil:- Yep! Four nights a week!

Suit: - Well then it is logical to suggest that you do not masturbate very
often?

Phil: - Me? Never.

Suit: - Well there you are! That's logical science at work!

Phil: - How's that then?

Suit: - Well from finding out that you had a goldfish, I've told you about your
sex life!

Phil: - I see! That's pretty impressive...thanks mate!

Both leave the toilet and Phil returns to his mate.

Eric: - I see the suit was in there. Did you ask him what he does?

Phil: - Yep! He's a logical scientist!

Eric: - What's that then?

Phil: - I'll try and explain. Do you have a goldfish?

Eric: - Nope.

Phil: - Well then, you're a wanker..

10 September 2008

Why we are superstitious

People have evolved to be superstitious because it pays to take a "better safe than sorry" approach to life, a new mathematical study suggests.

Researchers at Harvard University say history has taught people that it is better to interpret a rustle in the undergrowth as a threat just in case it is a bear, a member of a rival tribe or another real danger.

Although in the vast majority of cases it will be nothing of the sort, responding to the potential threat by always acting to ensure we protect ourselves remains the best strategy as it means we will not be caught out when the danger is real.

"In an uncertain world, natural selection can readily favour making all kinds of associations, including many incorrect ones, in order to make sure that the really important associations are made," says Dr Kevin Foster of the Centre for Systems Biology, Harvard University, near Boston, Massachusetts.

"Perhaps the easiest example to understand is the use of medicines that are not proven scientifically to actually work," explains Dr Foster, who reports the study with Dr Hanna Kokko of the University of Helsinki in the Proceedings of the Royal Society, Biological Sciences. "This occurs both in small-scale societies and in our own societies in the form of alternative medicine.

"It is clear that many medicines in these contexts do not work, but some do," says Dr Foster.

"Therefore, it may be evolutionarily advantageous to adopt the general strategy "believe that alternative medicines work" because in doing so, one will benefit from the few that are effective and suffer little cost from using those that do not work."

He adds that humans are not alone and that many other creatures are superstitious too. "Any decision making organism faces the same challenges of identifying causal relations, that is, will event A mean that event B is coming soon?

In the case of a prey species fleeing from loud noises, "it is clearly advantageous to run from all sorts of loud noises - including many that are not associated with predators - to make sure that when a predator comes, they are in a burrow or other such safe place."

The results are clear: superstitions are a part of adaptive behaviour in all organisms as they struggle to make sense of an uncertain world.

Dr Foster emphasised that the evolution of superstition is more than the natural selection of genes that linked with touching wood, crossing fingers and other superstitious traits.

"We are heavily affected by culture and learning as well, and so the specifics of any one example of superstition in humans will be affected by these factors as well."

By Roger Highfield
This article first appeared in the Telegraph.

9 September 2008

What is it with these guys? Another Fritzl case is revealed!

Just when you thought the Fritzl case was a one off, another bloke, this time in Poland has just appeared in court charged with imprisoning his daughter for six years as a sex slave - a chilling echo of the Austrian cellar fiend Josef Fritzl.

The girl, now 21, was tied up, locked in a room without a door handle and repeatedly raped. She gave birth to two of his children.

The 45 year old dad watched over both births in hospital - then forced her to leave the kids, now aged 3 and 20 months, and return to her dungeon, police said in evidence.

The girl escaped the home in the village of Grodzisk, eastern Poland last week, and went to police with her mum - who is being quizzed over how she did not know what was going on. The dad tried to flee to Italy - but was caught at atrain station. He is denying the rape charges, but refuses to talk to police.

A judge has ordered that he be held in prison for three months while detectives investigate the case. A police spokesman said that the picture the girl had painted was horrific.

This case mirrors the plight of Elisabeth Fritzl, aged 42 - who was kept in a specially built underground dungeon for 24 years! in Amstetten, Austria. She gave birth to seven children by her dad, Josef Fritzl, aged 74. Fritzl selected three of the children to live upstairs with him and his wife Rosemarie, 68, while the other three remained incarcerated with their mother in the cellar dungeon until they were released by police in April.

One of the children, a baby boy called Michael, died shortly after birth and Fritzl burned his body in an incinerator.

Fritzl, who is awaiting trial, faces a string of charges including manslaughter, and up to 3,000 counts of rape, abuse and incest.

3 September 2008

Man stuck trying to have sex with bench!

I found this amazing story over at Super Mae's blog.

A "lonely and disturbed" Hong Kong man had to call police to try and free him after his penis got stuck in a park bench he had apparently tried to have sex with, reports said.

Emergency workers took four hours trying to free Le Xing after he attempted to use a hole in the exercise bench to masturbate in a deserted park after dark, the Apple Daily and other papers reported.

Eventually they had to take him to hospital with the bench's 2.5-metre-long metal base still attached to him after attempts to free him by draining blood from his penis failed.

Doctors said the 42-year-old was lucky to still have a penis after the embarrassing incident, reported in lurid detail by several Chinese-language papers here.

Photographs showed rescue workers carrying him to an ambulance on the metal sheet, covered in a red blanket. To see the photo's and get some great comment on this story pop over to Super Mae's.

Site Lines: If you just can't get enough funny . . . check these sports humor sites


2 September 2008

Manta Ray joins Georgia Aquarium

The Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta is now home to a new manta ray from South Africa — making it one of the few aquariums in the world with enough space to house one of these giant creatures. The video of this beautiful animal is below.

The ray, named Nandi, was rescued from shark nets along the South African coast last year, and becomes the only one on display in the United States. It joins rays on display in just three other countries: Japan, Spain and the Bahamas.

Most aquariums cannot house a manta ray because of how large the animal gets — up to 26 feet (7.9 meters) across and weighing about 6,000 pounds (2,700 kilograms).



The Georgia Aquarium says it has the largest tank in the world, a 6.3-million-gallon (23.8-million-liter) salt water exhibit that has plenty of room for Nandi, who is about 9 feet (2.7 meters) from the tip of one wing to the other and still growing.

Aquarium officials chartered a jumbo jet to fly Nandi the 9,000 miles (14,500 kilometers) from uShaka Marine World in Durban, South Africa, to Atlanta, after she outgrew her tank, aquarium spokesman Dave Santucci said.

On Friday, Nandi was released to test the waters before her official public debut Monday.

Manta rays are listed as a threatened species. The mammoth diamond-shaped animal has a black top and white bottom with wings that move gracefully up and down as they swim through the water.

26 August 2008

How to scare a telemarketer! :Tom Mabe video

This is just so funny! Do you ever get bothered by telemarketers? (silly question I know - who doesn't!), well I found this great video on Sjeltur's blog and just had to share it. Here's how to really scare a telemarketer the Tom Mabe way!

21 August 2008

How to take a shower!!!

I was going to keep this for the Monday Merriment post, but I can't wait that long - it's just too good not to share :-)

PART 1: HOW TO SHOWER LIKE A WOMAN:
*
Take off clothing and place it in sectioned laundry hamper according to
lights and darks.
*
Walk to bathroom wearing long dressing gown.. If you see husband along
the way, cover up any exposed areas. Look at your womanly physique in the
mirror, make mental note to do more sit-ups/leg-lifts, etc.
*
Get in the shower. Use face cloth, arm cloth, leg cloth, long loofah,
wide loofah and pumice stone. Wash your hair once with cucumber and sage
shampoo with 43 added vitamins.
*
Wash your hair again to make sure it's clean.
*
Condition your hair with grapefruit mint conditioner.
*
Wash your face with crushed apricot facial scrub for 10 minutes until
red.
*
Wash entire rest of body with ginger nut and jaffa cake body wash.
*
Rinse conditioner off hair.
*
Shave armpits and legs.
*
Turn off shower.
*
Squeegee off all wet surfaces in shower.
*
Spray mold spots with Tilex.
*
Get out of shower.
*
Dry with towel the size of a small country. Wrap hair in super absorbent
towel.
*
Return to bedroom wearing long dressing gown and towel on head.
*
If you see husband along the way, cover up any exposed areas.
*
PART 2: HOW TO SHOWER LIKE A MAN:
*
Take off clothes while sitting on the edge of the bed and leave them in
a pile.
*
Walk naked to the bathroom. If you see wife along the way, shake willy
at her while making the woo-hoo sound.
*
Look at your manly physique in the mirror. A dmire the size of your willy
and scratch your butt.
*
Get in the shower.
*
Wash your face.
*
Wash your armpits.
*
Blow your nose in your hands and let the water rinse the snot off.
*
Fart and laugh at how loud it sounds in the shower.
*
Spend majority of time washing privates and surrounding area.
*
Wash your butt, leaving those coarse butt hairs stuck on the soap.
*
Wash your hair. Make a shampoo Mohawk.
*
Pee.
*
Rinse off and get out of shower.
*
Partially dry off.
*
Fail to notice water on floor because curtain was hanging out of tub the
whole time.
*
Admire willy size in mirror again.
*
Leave shower curtain open, wet mat on floor, light and fan on.
*
Return to bedroom with towel around waist. If you pass the wife, pull
off towel, shake willy at her and make the woo-hoo sound again.
*
Throw wet towel on her pillow.
*
If there is anyone among you who did not laugh at the truth behind this,
there is something SO very wrong with you.
*

* *
Have a great day!
* *

*
Oh, and... **Woo-hoo!!!

20 August 2008

No 10 Downing Street & Jeremy Clarkson for PM video plus Clarkson & the worlds smallest car video!

Staff at No 10 Downing Street have made a YouTube video in response to an online petition on the No 10 website, which had nearly 50,000 signatures backing a call for Motoring broadcaster Jeremy Clarkson of the BBC programme Top Gear to be made Prime Minister.

The clip thanks everyone who signed the online petition and says officials have "thought long and hard" about it. The camera then pans up the famous Downing Street stairs, showing photographs of former prime ministers, before focusing on an image of Mr Clarkson.

The Jeremy Clarkson for PM petition is now closed but more than 100,000 people have joined a Facebook group calling for the outspoken presenter to be installed in Downing Street.

Mr Clarkson - whose views on motoring and the environment have earned him a cult following - recently confessed he would be a "rubbish" prime minister, adding that the government should be in charge of "building park benches and nothing else".

A new Downing Street petition urging the government not to bestow a knighthood on Mr Clarkson "until he has done something truly worthwhile and of benefit to the UK" has received so far 34 signatures.

For anyone not familiar with Jeremy Clarkson here is a hysterically funny video of him driving the worlds smallest car around the streets of London (not to mention the BBC offices!) If you've never seen this you'll be amazed :-)

18 August 2008

Jesus appears on Turtle Shell - for sale on eBay!

It would appear the latest appearance of Jesus is on a turtle shell, which has been compared to the face on the Turin Shroud, and it's now on sale on Ebay starting at 99c and already had one bid on it! (Update: bidding has now finished - sold for $34.77!)

To quote the seller "Instead of going to church on Sunday a few months back I very selfishly decided to make some extra needed income at the local flea market.

As I took a break from my booth to do some personal shopping I came across an old lady selling turtle shells. I had never seen anyone selling these things before, so I curiously scattered through the box of hand size turtle shells to see why the heck someone would buy a hollowed out turtle in the first place. So I grabbed a couple of shells and looked at them. I wasn't too interested until I put them down belly side up and I noticed a silhouette of a face...JESUS...the Shroud of Turin Jesus was looking right at me. (Even if you look at the other side you can see a likeliness of Jesus as well).

I thought to myself " MAN! Just because I'd rather make a little extra cash on Sunday instead of going to church, God rubs it in my face by showing his Son's face on a turtle??" So I bought it because I was actually going to get it blessed and make some kind of religious art with it."

If you fancy putting in a bid for it yourself the link is HERE.

Some Monday Merriment: cause we all need a smile!

Two Irishmen were standing at the base of a flagpole, looking up.

A blonde walks by and asked them what they were doing.

Paddy replied, 'We're supposed to be finding the fook'n height of this
flagpole, but we don't have a fook'n ladder.'

The blonde took out an adjustable spanner from her bag, loosened a few
bolts and laid the flagpole down.

She got a tape measure out of her pocket, took a few measurements, and
announced that it was 18 feet 6 inches. Then, she walked off.

Mick said to Paddy, 'Isn't that just like a blonde! We need the fook'n
height and she gives us the fook'n length.'

***********************************************************************
It was late and Charlie was about to climb into bed when his wife informed him that there was a light on in their garden shed. Charlie started to go outside to turn off the light but noticed some people in the shed who were busy stealing his things.

He ran back inside right away and called the cops, who asked him "Are there any intruders in your house?" to which Charlie replied no and explained his circumstances. The cops told Charlie that all patrol cars were otherwise occupied, and that he should just lock his door and a uniformed cop would be at his house when one was free.

Charlie answered, "Alright," hung up, waited 30 seconds, and then called the cops again.

"Hello, I just called a short while ago because there were people stealing things from my shed. I want to let you know that they're not a problem anymore because I've just shot every one of them."

Charlie then hung up the phone. In five short minutes, three patrol cars, a SWAT team, and an ambulance arrived, and of course, the cops caught the burglars in the act.

One of the cops snapped at Charlie: "I thought you said that you shot every one of them!"

"I thought you said there were no patrol cars free!" Charlie answered.

***********************************************************************
This is supposed to be the transcript of an actual radio conversation between a US naval ship and Canadian authorities off the coast of Newfoundland in October 1995. The Radio conversation was released by the Chief of Naval Operations on Oct. 10, 1995.

- Please change your direction 15 degrees to the North to avoid a collision.

- Recommend you divert YOUR course 15 degrees to South to avoid a collision.

- This is the Captain of a US Navy ship. I say again, divert YOUR course.

- No. I say again, you divert YOUR course.

- THIS IS THE AIRCRAFT CARRIER ENTERPRISE, WE ARE A LARGE WARSHIP OF THE US NAVY. DIVERT YOUR COURSE NOW!

- This is a lighthouse............Your call!


Is a computer male or female?

A SPANISH Teacher was explaining to her class that in Spanish, unlike English, nouns are designated as either masculine or feminine.

'House' for instance, is feminine: 'la casa.'
'Pencil,' however, is masculine: 'el lapiz.'

A student asked, 'What gender is 'computer'?'

Instead of giving the answer, the teacher split the class into two groups, male and female, and asked them to decide for themselves whether computer' should be a masculine or a feminine noun. Each group was asked to give four reasons for its recommendation.

The men's group decided that 'computer' should definitely be of the feminine gender ('la computadora'), because:

1. No one but their creator understands their internal logic;

2. The native language they use to communicate with other computers is incomprehensible to everyone else;

3. Even the smallest mistakes are stored in long term memory for possible later retrieval; and

4. As soon as you make a commitment to one, you find yourself spending half your paycheck on accessories for it.

The women's group, however, concluded that computers should be Masculine
('el computador'), because:

1. In order to do anything with them, you have to turn them on;

2. They have a lot of data but still can't think for themselves;

3. They are supposed to help you solve problems, but half the time they ARE the problem; and

4. As soon as you commit to one, you realize that if you had waited a little longer, you could have gotten a better model.

The women won.


17 August 2008

Create a word cloud graphic with new WORDLE!

Gotta tell you about this really great fun site I have discovered thanks to J.H. of TPVSWP. Its called WORDLE. Wordle is a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes. The images you create with Wordle are yours to use however you like. You can print them out, or save them to the Wordle gallery to share with your friends. There are loads of combinations of fonts, colours, layout styles & background colours (Colour/Edit custom palette) you can create.

Try putting in the URL of your blog or website and see what it generates, or a favourite piece of verse or text, such as the words to a song or poem (just copy & paste into the box). Keep hitting the randomize button until you find a look you like or customise with the options provided. If you have Vista you can use the Snipping Tool to create an image file to save to your hard drive, which you could use on your blog or website (Just bear in mind it will be a graphic so won't be searchable). Browse the gallery to see what others have created. Here's some I have created from my blogs, plus one from the words to the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam!




The Most Exciting Venues of Beijing Olympics 2008

Are you following the Olympics? Have you been impressed by the stadiums and venues we've seen? Like to know more? Then visit this website for some great details, statistics and pictures of the Bird Nest Stadium, the Watercube and the Rowing-Canoeing Park plus another 10 of the best. It's pretty impressive.

16 August 2008

Win FREE AdSpace on 10 blogs!

I can't wait to tell you about The AdSpace Contest I found!



The idea is simple and easy: Get as many entries as you can (very easy to do) over the next 30 days. The more entries you get, the better chance you have of winning! At the end of the 30 days, they announce the winner.

The prize?

A 125x125 pixel ad spot (above the fold) on at least TEN DIFFERENT BLOGS that will run for one month. That's at least a $100 value!

Who is co-hosting?





How do you enter to win?

1 Entry - Subscribe to any one of the blogs above via email.

10 Entries - Write a post about the contest (must include links to all 10 hosts OR use the suggested text)

25 Entries - Offer up an ad spot on your own blog for one month as part of the prize package

Simply put, you could subscribe to all 10 blogs, write a post and offer up your own ad spot for a grand total of 45 entries!



Be sure to include your details in the comments HERE and when and how you've entered to ensure that your entries get counted.

Olympics '08: Michael Phelps Swims Into History


14 August 2008

WordPerfect Helpline Conversation (an oldie but a goody!)

This is reputed to be actual dialogue of a former WordPerfect Customer Support employee, apparently he was subsequently dismissed and sued the company for 'unfair dismissal'! Whatever the truth I'd like to think this conversation actually took place :-)

"Ridge Hall computer assistant; may I help you?"

"Yes, well, I'm having trouble with WordPerfect."

"What sort of trouble?"

"Well, I was just typing along, and all of a sudden the words went away."

"Went away?"

"They disappeared."

"Hmm. So what does your screen look like now?"

"Nothing."

"Nothing?"

"It's blank; it won't accept anything when I type."

"Are you still in WordPerfect, or did you get out?"

"How do I tell?"

"Can you see the C: prompt on the screen?"

"What's a sea-prompt?"

"Never mind. Can you move the cursor around on the screen?"

"There isn't any cursor: I told you, it won't accept anything I type."

"Does your monitor have a power indicator?"

"What's a monitor?"

"It's the thing with the screen on it that looks like a TV. Does it have a little light that tells you when it's on?"

"I don't know."

"Well, then look on the back of the monitor and find where the power cord goes into it. Can you see that?"

"Yes, I think so."

"Great. Follow the cord to the plug, and tell me if it's plugged into the wall."

".......Yes, it is."

"When you were behind the monitor, did you notice that there were two cables plugged into the back of it, not just one?"

"No."

"Well, there are. I need you to look back there again and find the other cable."

"....... Okay, here it is."

"Follow it for me, and tell me if it's plugged securely into the back of your computer."

"I can't reach."

"Uh huh. Well, can you see if it is?"

"No."

"Even if you maybe put your knee on something and lean way over?"

"Oh, it's not because I don't have the right angle - it's because it's dark."

"Dark?"

"Yes -the office light is off, and the only light I have is coming in from the window."

"Well, turn on the office light then."

"I can't."

"No? Why not?"

"Because there's a power cut."

"A power... A power cut? Aha, Okay, we've got it licked now. Do you still have the boxes and manuals and packing stuff your computer came in?"

"Well, yes, I keep them in the closet."

"Good. Go get them, and unplug your system and pack it up just like it was when you got it. Then take it back to the store you bought it from."

"Really? Is it that bad?"

"Yes, I'm afraid it is."

"Well, all right then, I suppose. What do I tell them?"

"Tell them you're too f-----g stupid to own a computer."


13 August 2008

Chinese left with egg on face after truth emerges!

Ha! So now it turns out that the pretty little girl singing at the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony was only miming (despite wearing a mike)- and not even to her own voice. Some poor little seven year old provided the voice but was deemed not pretty enough to project the right image the Communist party head honcho's wanted to portray.

Not only that, parts of the fireworks displays were either recorded earlier or actually graphically created on a computer! This has now all emerged after the Chinese Music Director for the ceremony was interviewed by the state radio station and confessed everything while denying it was his decision to replace the little girl. H had been made to do it he said.

Thats the problem with these types of regimes, image is everything and it's all about saving face. Unfortunately when it all comes out ( and it will, sooner or later - in this case it probably was a bit sooner than they expected) then they are left having to wipe a lot of egg off their faces and people no longer have any trust in them. And all you are left with as an observer is a bad taste in the mouth!

11 August 2008

Cake or Bed?

A HUSBAND IS AT HOME WATCHING A FOOTBALL MATCH WHEN HIS WIFE INTERRUPTS,

"HONEY, COULD YOU FIX THE LIGHT IN THE HALLWAY? IT'S BEEN FLICKERING FOR WEEKS NOW."

HE LOOKS AT HER AND SAYS ANGRILY,
"FIX THE LIGHTS NOW? DOES IT LOOK LIKE I HAVE "POWERGEN" WRITTEN ON MY FOREHEAD?
I DON'T THINK SO!"

"FINE!"

THEN THE WIFE ASKS,
"WELL THEN, COULD YOU FIX THE FRIDGE DOOR? IT WON'T CLOSE RIGHT"

TO WHICH HE REPLIED,
"FIX THE FRIDGE DOOR? DOES IT LOOK LIKE I HAVE "FRIDGIDAIRE" WRITTEN ON MY FOREHEAD?
I DON'T THINK SO!"

"FINE!" SHE SAYS
"THEN YOU COULD AT LEAST FIX THE STEPS TO THE FRONT DOOR? THEY ARE ABOUT TO BREAK"

"I'M NOT A CARPENTER AND I DON'T WANT TO FIX STEPS", HE SAYS, "DOES IT LOOK LIKE I HAVE "TAYLOR WOODROW" WRITTEN ON MY FOREHEAD? I DON'T THINK SO! I'VE HAD ENOUGH OF THIS, I'M GOING TO THE PUB!!!!"

SO HE GOES TO THE PUB AND DRINKS FOR A COUPLE OF HOURS................

HE STARTS TO FEEL GUILTY ABOUT HOW HE TREATED HIS WIFE, AND DECIDES TO GO HOME

AS HE WALKS UP TO THE HOUSE HE NOTICES THAT THE STEPS ARE ALREADY FIXED.

AS HE ENTERS THE HOUSE , HE SEES THE HALL LIGHT IS WORKING

AS HE GOES TO GET A BEER, HE NOTICES THE FRIDGE DOOR IS FIXED.

HONEY, HE ASKS, "HOW'D ALL THIS GET FIXED?"

SHE SAID, "WELL, WHEN YOU LEFT I SAT OUTSIDE AND CRIED. JUST THEN A NICE YOUNG MAN ASKED ME WHAT WAS WRONG, AND I TOLD HIM.
HE OFFERED TO DO ALL THE REPAIRS, AND ALL I HAD TO DO WAS EITHER GO TO BED WITH HIM OR BAKE A CAKE."

HE SAID, "SO WHAT KIND OF CAKE DID YOU BAKE?"

SHE REPLIED, "HELLOOOOO.., DO YOU SEE "MR KIPLING" WRITTEN ON MY FOREHEAD? I DON'T THINK SO!"


10 August 2008

2008 Beijing Olympic Games Opening Ceremony

For anyone who missed the opening ceremony of the Olympics in Beijing I've posted this slide show. It's the best I could find on YouTube, sadly all videos of the ceremony have been taken off for copyright reasons. But this is very good and will give you some idea of the colour and scale of it.
Unfortunately I don't think the music used is suitable (I happen to like Enigma - just not in this context!) so if you find it annoying just turn the sound down and enjoy the slide show. (If you do like the music its Sadeness by Enigma - Video here.) I have now found another superb slide show (this time with Chinese music) HERE.

8 August 2008

A Few Thoughts on Cat Baths.........by the Cat!

Cat Bath 1
'But You Said You Loved Me!'
Cat Bath 2
'You will pay, as God is my witness, you will pay.'
Cat Bath 3
'You call this water warm???'
Cat Bath 4
'I don't think I like you anymore.'
Cat Bath 5
'You SUCK!!!!!!'
Cat Bath 6
'E.T. phone home......quick!'
Cat Bath 7
'No, I'm not your Good Little Kitty anymore.'
Cat Bath 8
'Traction....I'm losing Traction!'
Cat Bath 9
'I want my Mommmmmmyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!'
Cat Bath 10
'No, no, no, no.....NOOOO!!!!'