Friday, 29 July 2005


"Hybrid Nanorod-Polymer Solar Cell
Imagine a barren, sunlit chunk of the Sahara the size of Sicily. Now imagine you've covered that area with solar cells. If you used your average off-the-shelf photovoltaic technology, which can convert 10 to 20 percent of the sun's energy into electrical output, you'd be able to supply the entire world's electrical needs.
"

Interesting new solar cell technology that might (with enough encouragement) find its way onto most of our homes.

"Although an endeavor on the scale of the Sahara example will probably always be prohibitively expensive..."

But why does that need to be the case? If every country put a few million into it (and that's peanuts to most European countries) I'm sure we'd get a long way. Surely its a far more useful way of spending money than, say, sending people to Mars?

Power: Hybrid Nanorod-Polymer Solar Cell

Photo copyright BBC News"Tornado homes could be bulldozed
Twenty people were injured as the high winds stripped houses of their roofs, uprooted trees, and knocked down walls. Houses hit by a tornado in Birmingham might have to be knocked down because they are so badly damaged.
"

Looking at the photos, its a wonder that noone was killed.

BBC NEWS | England | West Midlands | Tornado homes could be bulldozed

"Standards are bullshit. XHTML is a crock. The W3C is irrelevant."

This was written in January 2003 and it stands true even now. I agree completely. I'm currently trying to get a project to validate as WAI Level 'A', which is the lowest web standard for accessability. It has loads of tables, with many of their cells having set widths and varying alignments. Tags like WIDTH and ALIGN are not allowed so you have to use styles. So I make up some styles and it looks like I'm getting somewhere. Until I test it and find that even though it works in every known browser, it doesn't work in IE 6 under Windows - which is of course the most widely used (nearly said 'most popular') on the planet.

Semantic obsolescence [dive into mark]

"Taser arrests 'incredible risk'
Using a stun gun on a suspected suicide bomber was an 'incredible risk', Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair has said.

It may have been that they [officers in Birmingham] were clear there wasn't a bomb. I don't know what the situation was.
"

Perhaps you shouldn't comment, then? Perhaps officers in Birmingham have cooler heads? Perhaps they think a suspect would be more useful alive than dead? Perhaps they still believe that a judge and jury should still be the ones who decide a person's guilt?

BBC NEWS | UK | Taser arrests 'incredible risk'

The Met Commissioner said late yesterday that ABC's photos were actually leaked by a foreign (presumably US) law enforcement agency.

Thursday, 28 July 2005


"Warning over bomb pictures leak
Evidence on the London bombings leaked in America could harm UK-US relations, a leading US politician has warned. The warning from the chairman of the House of Representatives' Intelligence Committee follows the broadcast of pictures obtained by a US TV network. Pete Hoekstra said the images of a wrecked Tube carriage and a bomb hoard shown by ABC could cause suspicions.

America's relationship with the UK could be damaged if further information emerged which the British police were trying to keep under wraps, the congressman added. 'It's impossible to know how tight police are being with the details in London but if the investigation is put in jeopardy, that would be a tragedy.'
"

Ah, knew there'd be repercussions from ABC's actions. Well said, Mr.Congressman.

BBC NEWS | UK | Warning over bomb pictures leak

Image copyright BBC NewsHigh drama on the way home in the form of the most heavily escorted Police convoy I have ever witnessed - one van (of the kind in this photo), five or six police cars and a chopper overhead - heading North carrying, we can only assume, one or more of the London bombing suspects. And here's me with no camera ready (OK, so I was driving at the time).

"Implant chip to identify the dead
The carnage inflicted by bomb attacks in Egypt, London and across Iraq has raised the problem of how the authorities identify people in an emergency situation. One aid to identification advocated by an American company is the VeriChip, a small device containing a unique number injected into a person's arm.
"

Good grief - that's worse (infringement of civil liberties) than ID cards.

BBC NEWS | Technology | Implant chip to identify the dead

"Wireless hijacking under scrutiny
A recent court case, which saw a West London man fined £500 and sentenced to 12 months' conditional discharge for hijacking a wireless broadband connection, has repercussions for almost every user of wi-fi networks.

It is believed to be the first case of its kind in the UK, but with an estimated one million wi-fi users around the country, it is unlikely to be the last.
"

Interesting case. "Gaining unauthorised access to a computer is an offence covered by the Computer Misuse Act" is states - but if you're using just their connection to the internet, are you actully gaining access to their computer. Well, no, you're not, are you?

"...the person installing the network, be they a home user or a business, has ultimate responsibility for any criminal activity that takes place on that network." Well that is more clear-cut. That translates to "if you don't secure your network, and someone uses it illegally, its your fault". So anyone out there running a wireless network, broadcasting the SSID and without any encryption, it asking for trouble.

On the other hand, if it comes to court, how do actually prove that your network was secure at the time of the offense? There is no log of settings (that I've ever seen) and you could simply change the settings on the router after the event - noone would know.

If this law were carried over to car theft, if your car was stolen and used in a crime, you would be liable. Fortunately that's not the case. Yet.

BBC NEWS | Technology | Wireless hijacking under scrutiny

"US joins Asians in climate deal
Six major nations - including the US and China - have announced a pact to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The six also include Australia, India, South Korea and Japan - who, with the US and China, account for nearly half the world's greenhouse gas emissions. The US-led initiative promises to fight global warming through new technology, supplied to the countries in most need.
"

But unless any of this technology actually exists, this deal does nothing.

"Unlike the Kyoto Protocol, the new compact is non-binding, with no enforcement mechanisms."

Completely worthless. Just some flag waving by the US to try to convince the world "yes, we are concerned and we are doing something" in the wake of the Edinburgh G8 summit.

"They have also made clear their concern that climate change should only be addressed without harming development or economic growth."

Unless climate change is addressed, develpment and growth are not going to be an issue to anyone.

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | US joins Asians in climate deal

"Nine more held by terror police
Anti-terror police have arrested nine men in Tooting, south London.

The first suspected 21 July attacker to be held, Yasin Hassan Omar, was arrested in Heybarnes Road, in the Small Heath area of Birmingham, at 0430 BST on Wednesday.

A Taser stun gun was used by officers during the arrest and it is believed a rucksack the 24-year-old was carrying was thrown out of a window by officers.
"

Bit of a change from being shot 7 times in the head. That officer and his family have been sent on a holiday, allegedly paid for by Scotland Yard and 'personally authorised' by the MET Commissioner. Whilst they condone his actions, I can't help thinking that they have quitely issued instructions that it not happen again. Meanwhile, the family of the Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes are now threatening to sue. A total of 8 shots would be described by a judge, in other circumstances, as a 'frenzied attack' and the shooter would be looking at 20 years.

Meanwhile, US broadcaster ABC has published a set of images they have 'obtained' - probably illegally, and certainly not with official consent - showing damage to Underground trains and some unexploded bombs. Cheque book journalism rears its ugly head, I suspect.

BBC NEWS | UK | Nine more held by terror police

Wednesday, 27 July 2005


"Consumer choice in school plans
Wider choices for individual pupils will be the priority for the next phase of education reforms, says Education Secretary Ruth Kelly. This will mean an emphasis on parental choice and individual learning - and will raise questions about how services are delivered by schools. 'Choice and personalisation' will be the key themes of a forthcoming White Paper on schools, says Ms Kelly. This could include funding transport if pupils needed to travel further.
"

That's all this government seem to be capable of saying when it comes to education - "choice, choice, choice". If all schools were up to scratch, choice wouldn't be an issue. Kids could then just go to the schools closest to them. Wouldn't that make a lot more sense?

BBC NEWS | Education | Consumer choice in school plans

Sunday, 24 July 2005


I failed to attend either cricket or motocross events this weekend. Was too busy Saturday for the cricket (fitting the extra fan in my computer - see below) and it rained rather a lot Sunday.

Saturday, 23 July 2005


"Sometimes We Suck
We'd like to apologize. The last few weeks have been pretty brutal for the Flickr team. Switching hardware platforms on a live site with hundreds of moving parts that's serving thousands of requests each second (literally) is hard. Unpleasantly hard.
"

You can tell these guys don't work for a for-profit organisation. For-profit organisations do not apologise like that. No way. Not unless they're up before a judge. But just how long will it be before they are taken over by a for-profit organisation. And then how long before the staff are pensioned off to be replaced by industry-standard non-caring clones?

Later...
Ah, they are part of a for-profit organisation - Yahoo - yet they appear to have been allowed to keep their independant identity. How refreshing.

FlickrBlog

Monitoring temperatures


Monitoring temperatures
Excellent freeware system monitoring software Everest has a temperature window that includes the temperature of the CPU, motherboard and hard disks (sadly not the graphics card GPU) and lists the CPU and any case fans that have the extra speed-monitoring wire. The new fan appears as 'chassis'.

Fan place


Photo from flickrFan in place
Photo uploaded to flickr 23 Jul '05, 1.15pm PST by hockeyshooter


Side panel re-fitted to the case, showing its grille on the outside, plus a row of extra ventilation holes along the top edge. The fan blows partly onto the two hard disks and partly feeds extra outside air to the graphics card, which is what, we think, had been causing the system to freeze. Given there were already two 80mm fans blowing into the case and the only outlet was through the PSU, I've drilled a row of holes along the top edge of the side.

Fan in place


Photo from flickrConnecting fan
Photo uploaded to flickr 23 Jul '05, 1.15pm PST by hockeyshooter


Connecting the fan to the motherboard via a 3-pin connector. The extra wire allows the motherboard to measure the fan speed, which in this case doesn't change since its not thermostatically controlled.

Punching holes


Photo from flickrPunching holes
Photo uploaded to flickr 23 Jul '05, 1.15pm PST by hockeyshooter


Having had my main desktop PC at home jam up, and concluding it was down to overheating, I decided to fit an extra fan to the case. I chose an Akasa 'Ultra Quiet' 120mm fan from overclockers.co.uk who I've used a number of times before. This shot shows me using a Q-Max punch to make eight 25mm holes in the side panel.

Friday, 22 July 2005


This post won't make any sense unless you're into HTML and validation. For three years now, embedding either Flash or QuickTime into a web page has resulted in a page that will not validate under HTML 4, the reason being that the <EMBED> tag, that you need to use to make the movie appear under Netscape-based browsers (like Firefox) is not part of the HTML 4 language (for no readily explained reason). After much fiddling, I've found a workaround, and that is to not put the <EMBED> tag directly into your page but to add it client-side using a JavaScript document.write - unfortunately I cannot post an example script because Blogger (very sensibly) won't accept it. Instead I've made a posting to the Macromedia 'Flash General Discussion' forum, title 'Doc Type for Flash' if you want to look it up.

Of course, if JavaScript is disabled on a client machine that's using FireFox, you won't get the movie, but my project makes extensive use of JavaScript anyway, so they probably wouldn't get as far as viewing the page if they'd turned it off.

Technorati Tags:

Thursday, 21 July 2005


"If every household in the U.S. replaced one light bulb with an ENERGY STAR qualified compact fluorescent light bulb (CFL), it would prevent enough pollution to equal removing one million cars from the road."

We should have TV adverts every evening stating facts like this. Its not enough to just put this things in the shops in the hope that people will buy them out of conscience.

Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs : ENERGY STAR

"Emergency services have been called to three Tube stations after 'incidents', Scotland Yard said."

Here we go again - possibly...

BBC NEWS | UK | 'Incidents' spark Tube evacuation

Wednesday, 20 July 2005


Yes 90125Can't say that I'm particularly impressed with the remastered version of Yes' seminal 1980s rock album 90125. I've owned the original on CD since it was first release in 1983 (and I saw them live, and I bought the T-shirt) and I was led to believe the remastered version would really be worth gettings - but I cannot tell any difference in the 9 original tracks. Of course, you do get 6 new tracks, some of which have never been released before, so if you've never owned 90125 before, this version is certainly the one to get.

Photo © ParamountI bid a fond farewell as Star Trek's Montgomery "Scotty" Scott, played by Canadian actor James Doohan, heads for the great engine room in the sky. Born in Vancouver in 1920 (same year as my Mum), Doohan lost a finger in action on 'D'-day and survived a plane crash in Holland. He enjoyed a lucrative old age, making guest appearances at SciFi conventions, but did not have a successful screen career after the role for which he will never be forgotten.

"Teflon firm faces fresh lawsuit
US chemicals giant DuPont is facing a lawsuit accusing the company of failing to warn consumers about the health hazards of Teflon non-stick coatings.
"

I guess a big warning on the packaging saying "this saucepan may cause you cancer" wouldn't exactly be good for business...

"DuPont denied the claims, stating its products were safe and has vowed to vigorously defend itself."

First I've heard of this. Europe is always quick to bring in legislation to ban something that might, just might, be a hazard to health (like the vitamin supplements millions of us have been taking for years with no apparent side effects).

"Teflon was invented in the 1930s by DuPont, the US firm which uses it today to make non-stick cookware, and also markets it as a coating for clothes and carpets."

So it wasn't a product of the US space race after all (as we were always told!).

"'DuPont has known for over 20 years that the Teflon product and the PFOA chemical it contains causes cancer in laboratory animals,' said Miami-based lawyer Alan Kluger."

Yes, all my rats use Telfon® saucepans *.

BBC NEWS | Business | Teflon firm faces fresh lawsuit

* Note: I don't have any rats and even if I had rats I wouldn't put them in a laboratory, even if I had one, which I don't.

Tuesday, 19 July 2005

Ducks from above


Photo from flickrDucks from above
Photo uploaded to flickr 19 Jul '05, 3.28pm PST by hockeyshooter


The recent BBC4 series 'Digital Picture of Britain' where poor, unsuspecting professional photographers have a digital camera of varying capabilities thrust into their grubby hands, provided the inspiration to try taking some more shots this afternoon with my Nokia 6230 camera phone (or shouldn't that be phone camera?). OK, so the image quality is absolutely naff, and you have no control over focus, etc. but it is very liberating to actually use such a simple device to capture what you see as you walk along.

"Fraser Speirs: Flickr Export Plugin for iPhoto"

Works, too. Shame iPhoto is so painfully slow on this G4 Powermac...

Speirs.org :: Flickr Export Plugin for iPhoto

"Speed of Apple Intel dev systems impress developers
The speed of Mac OS X running on Intel hardware is impressing some developers who've been privy to one of Apple's first Intel-based developer transition systems.

The systems started shipping to Mac OS X developers three weeks ago, each equipped with a 3.6 GHz Intel Pentium 4 processor with 2 MB L2 Cache, 800MHz front-side bus, 1GB of 533MHz DDR2 Dual Channel SDRAM, and an Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 900.
"

The first of these machine have apparently now reached the UK. WinTel dedicates are going to be laughing up their sleeves at how long Mac devotees have always claimed their PowerPC CPUs were actually faster. So, were we being fed a line by Jobs all along?

"Developers sources say the early version of Rosetta, a dynamic binary translator that is designed to run unaltered PowerPC applications on Intel Macs, is also impressive. "Rosetta is completely 100 percent seamless and nothing like the Classic environment used to run older Mac OS 8 and 9 applications under Mac OS X," one source told AppleInsider."

This is good news because I hardly think Mac users would want to update all their applications, to suit a different OS, again.

AppleInsider | Speed of Apple Intel dev systems impress developers

Photo gallery now posted from Sunday's motocross event at Toddington. It must have been about 28 deg.C, in the driest summer since 1973, so the dust was everywhere.

"Court Rejects Effort by States to Force Bush Administration to Regulate Greenhouse Gases
States lost a bid Friday to force the Bush administration to regulate heat-trapping industrial gases that have been blamed for global warming.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia said the Environmental Protection Agency acted properly when it rejected a nonprofit group's petition. The group had asked EPA to impose new controls on carbon dioxide and other automobile pollutants that scientists say trap heat in the atmosphere like a greenhouse.
"

Its getting to look like Bush is getting increasingly isolated in his own country on his head-in-the-sand environmental stance. The case was rejected by legal footwork and not the issues at hand.

ENN: Environmental News Network | Court Rejects Effort by States to Force Bush Administration to Regulate Greenhouse Gases

Monday, 18 July 2005


Late to the motocross at Toddington yesterday. Photos should be up tonight.

Friday, 15 July 2005


"With at least 20,000 disused mill sites in the UK, there is vast untapped potential to harness river and stream power to help meet Government renewable energy targets. But that is starting to change. A group of pioneering mill owners in South Somerset is working on Britain’s first micro-scale watermill hydro-power project, generating enough electricity to supply 150 homes in the area, with surplus energy sold back to the power companies."

Interesting article. When I holidayed in Austria, the town of Jenbach where we stayed was situated on a small, fast-flowing river and many of the houses had their own small generators giving them free electricity.

BBC Radio 4 - Open Country - 9 July 2005

You have received a new message


Photo from flickr"You have received a new message" says flickr as it once again looses the subject line I carefully added to the MMS I sent this image with.
Photo uploaded to flickr 15 Jul '05, 1.50pm PST by hockeyshooter


"Message text" it says, instead of whatever it was I typed in to the phone. At least the image upload worked, after Vodafone duffed up the settings it took me so long to get working. Life's not supposed to be easy, though, is it?

Photo shows our backgarden (again) in more hot, evening weather.

"Food movement 'harms environment'
The distribution of food across the UK in cars and lorries adds to pollution, congestion and climate change, a report by the government says. It said the environmental cost of moving food was as much as £9bn a year, around half of it due to congestion. The quantity of food moved by road has doubled since 1974...
"

At the end of the day, one significant cause of this is free trade. Like manufacturing, we have 'exported' a big chunk of our food production and sold off good farming land to build more houses. And the governments policy of allowing large numbers of massive supermarkets to be built outside towns around the country (often on green belt land - not fogetting that certain wealthy families behind some of the biggest chains are significant contributors to party funds) has meant many more car journeys.

I'd like to buy English apples all year round, but the EC destroyed most of our apple-growing industry with the massive subsidies they pay to fruit growers in other countries, notably France.

BBC NEWS | UK | Food movement 'harms environment'

Thursday, 14 July 2005


"Record traffic to BBC News site
Visits to the BBC News website rose sharply as people went online to find out more about the bomb attacks in London last Thursday. The site had a record estimated 115 million page views, more than five times the average daily figure.
"

Kinda puts my my own photography website, which has achieved 3.2 million page requests in 938 days, in the shade. But then I don't tend to feature such tragic news. I guess they do some nifty load balancing - I never noticed any slowdown in their site.

BBC NEWS | Technology | Record traffic to BBC News site

Hey, its bright sunshine outside. Why do we need the lights on? Stop wasting energy.

Sunday, 10 July 2005


"'No evidence' Iraq led to attacks
Home Secretary Charles Clarke has said there is no evidence the attacks on London were carried out because of the UK's role in the Iraq war.
"

Well, I don't suppose there's actually any 'evidence' that it was carried out by or on behalf of Al-Queda, but there's got to have been a reason. I guess Clarke is just being diplomatic. If he states what everyone accepts - that it was in retribution for our Leader's choice to support the US - then he is effectively criticising Blair. Which he really shouldn't do - unless he wants to become the new Robin Cook.

Outspoken MP George Galloway said, "We argued, as did the security services in this country, that the attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq would increase the threat of terrorist attack in Britain."

I'm glad someone's got their head screwed on right. Comments in the press today suggest that the bombers could well have been English. So ID cards and/or biometric passports wouldn't have done any good in stopping them.

BBC NEWS | Politics | 'No evidence' Iraq led to attacks

You have received a new message


Photo from flickr
[You have received a new message] was the title flickr added to this - not the subject I gave the MMS message on my phone
Photo uploaded to flickr by hockeyshooter


[Message text] appeared here instead of the big block of text I painstakingly typed into my phone to go with the above photo. Either there's a fault with the template, or flickr could not separate the text from the image in the original message...

Not at all impressed with War of the Worlds last night at Cineworld in Milton Keynes. Found the film immensely annoying. 4/10.

Saturday, 9 July 2005


Greenpeace marks Rainbow Warrior bombing anniversary

Photo © BBC"The 20th anniversary of the bombing of the Greenpeace flagship Rainbow Warrior in Auckland harbour will be marked on 10 July.

The bombing, carried out by French secret service agents, was an attempt to sabotage the 1985 Greenpeace campaign against Pacific Island nuclear testing.
"

I remember this happening with incredulity - how the French could have the nerve. But they essentially got away with it.

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Greenpeace marks bombing anniversary

Friday, 8 July 2005

Home computer


Photo from flickrHome computer
Photo uploaded to flickr by hockeyshooter


Here's another image from the phone, uploaded via MMS to flickr, then using the flickr website to post an entry into Blogger. Clever stuff! This time I've edited the template that flickr used to create the posting - with some knowledge of HTML its pretty easy to do. I guess it won't be long before Blogger starts up their own image hosting service - or buys out someone elses...

At last!


At last - MMS!

Back garden
Originally uploaded by hockeyshooter.
I've finally managed to configure my second-hand Nokia 6230 to be able to send images aa attachments to messages (MMS) via GPRS. I found that by dialling *#335738# I could delete settings from the phone - it had gotten full and wouldn't accept the ones Vodafone were sending me. With a visit to the Vodafone website, I was able then to download settings for web browsing (WAP) via GPRS (which worked straight away) and then MMS (which in the end for some reason I had to enter manually).

This is an image of our back garden, shrunk by the camera from its default resolution of 640x480 before transmission. Obviously if you were sending images to, say, the BBC News website (as people were doing in London yesterday) you'd need to send it larger than that. Its not a bad picture though, considering how dark it was when I took it (21:35).

Shame on the London hotelliers who doubled their rates last night in order to cash in on the terrorist attacks yesterday morning. People who did things like that during the war were called spivs.

Wednesday, 6 July 2005


Cypher DVDBought, via eBay, the DVD of a film I'd never even heard of before, having seen it listed as one of the movies of the delectable Lucy Lui. Billed as "Matrix-like", whilst it can't match it for pure style, it is nonetheless a very good movie and I'd recommend it to fans of the genre. 9/10.

Software patent bill thrown out
"European politicians have thrown out a controversial bill that could have led to software being patented.

The European Parliament voted 648 to 14 to reject the Computer Implemented Inventions Directive.
"

Well, it wasn't thrown out for the reasons we all wanted, but at least its been binned. One in the eye for the big software companies that rip us all off with their bloatware.

BBC NEWS | Technology | Software patent bill thrown out

Binning Flourescent Tubes Becomes Illegal
"In July 2005, when a European directive becomes law, it will be illegal to deposit used fluorescent tubes in landfill sites, crushed or otherwise!

The reason for this is because there is enough mercury in one 6ft flourescent tube to pollute 30,000 litres of drinking water.
"

Did you know that? News to me too!

Fluorescent Recycling From Commercial Lamp Supplies

Photo © BBC NewsHappy 70th Birthday to the Dalai Lama.

BBC NEWS | World | Asia-Pacific | Dalai Lama marks 70th birthday

London Wins 2012 Olympics Bid
"London won a two-way fight with Paris by 54 votes to 50 at the IOC meeting in Singapore, after bids from Moscow, New York and Madrid were eliminated."

Wel,, I'm quite surprised by this. I don't really think London is up to coping with this, neither in terms of its transport infrastructure (which as any regular commuter will tell you is pretty lacking) but also going by how long (and how much) its taking to rebuild Wembly Stadium.

BBC SPORT | London beats Paris to 2012 Games

Batman BeginsWent to see Batman Begins last night with some friends from Northampton. Was a little skeptical about it given how poor the Batman franchise had become after the first movie, from 1989, that cast Michael Keaton in the title role (that I notice Amazon are listing at an absurd £20, with Play.com at a far more sensible £9.99). Instead, Batman Returns turned out to be brilliant: well cast, well acted, lots of action, and a detailed examination of how Bruce Wayne's alter-ego came about. I felt its plot was a little over-complicated (Liam Neeson's character) but I'd still rate it as 9/10.

Tuesday, 5 July 2005


"Bloggers Fight for 'Shield' Law
If enacted, the measure could protect journalists from jail terms for refusing to give prosecutors the names of anonymous sources. But, depending on the wording of the final bill, it may not apply to online reporters, including legions of unaccredited bloggers."

Well, I guess you've got to draw the line somewhere? Of course you do have to wonder why they need laws like this in the first place in a country that is so proud of its freedom of speech.

Wired News: Bloggers Fight for 'Shield' Law

"Revealed: how drugs war failed
The report [only half of which the government has deemed to publish] says the annual cost of crimes committed by an estimated 280,000 high harm drug users to support their cocaine and heroin habits has reached £16bn a year..."

Good grief. That's a lot of crime - and a lot of victims. Of course, the removal of the Taleban in Afganistan (oppressive regime that they were), lead directly to a big in increase in drug production by that country.

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Revealed: how drugs war failed

"DVD shortfall sparks slump fears
A shortfall in global sales of DVD releases such as The Incredibles and Shrek 2 has sparked fears of a downturn in the DVD market.

One million too many DVD copies of The Incredibles were shipped out by makers, while Shrek 2 producers DreamWorks overestimated sales by 10 million.
"

OK, I admit it, I'm partially to blame: I bought The Incredibles - but I drew the line at Shrek 2 in protest to the change of voices.

BBC NEWS | Entertainment | DVD shortfall sparks slump fears

Just what we all needed - a wooden iPod:

"...the mercurial magician of modding, ZapWizard aka Joshua Driggs, has created a modern masterpiece, dubbed the Wood iPod. In his words, he'll talk you through its construction."

He says "the wood I am using is African Padauk. It is a high quality hardwood that is very easy to work with, and naturally red in color." - now does that come from a sustainable source, I wonder...?

bit-tech.net | Real Wood iPod by ZapWizard

"Can a man own a word?
And can he sue to keep other people from using it?
"

I could barely believe this story. What dipstick allowed the guy to actually trademark a word of the English language?

"Eric Goldhagen, a member of the InterActivist Network, said that members of his group planned to talk to lawyers and others who have received letters from Mr. Stoller to discuss ways to deal with his 'stealth' claims. 'The fact that somebody, just by claiming to own a word, can intimidate large companies and powerful law firms shows the damage, to an extent, is already done," he said. "If people like Stoller are allowed to get away with this unchallenged, there could be ripple effects to every form of public mass media.'"

He Says He Owns the Word 'Stealth' (Actually, He Claims 'Chutzpah,' Too) - New York Times

Walking Fuel-Cell Powered RobotAn advance in technology, certainly - but it looks a bit frightening. Kids will love it, but few will be able to afford it!

Monday, 4 July 2005


Photo © BBC"US space agency (Nasa) scientists are celebrating after seeing a probe crash into the heart of a comet."

Anyone want to start a sweepstake as to when the comet takes revenge by crashing into Florida...?

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Nasa probe strikes Comet Tempel 1
"President George W Bush has ruled out US backing for any Kyoto-style deal on climate change at the G8 summit."

Can't say I'm at all surprised by this. Since he's heavily involved with the oil industries, its hardly likely he would commit his country to doing anything that might affect their income.

BBC NEWS | World | Americas | Bush rejects Kyoto-style G8 deal