Saturday, 8 November 2008

Fuel-Making Fungus from Patagonia.

1) Fuel-Making Fungus Challenges Oil Creation Theory
Tuesday, November 04, 2008 By Robert Roy Britt

Read the full story - Fuel-Making Fungus Challenges Oil Creation Theory - Science News | Science & Technology | Technology News

"A newfound fungus living in rainforest trees makes biofuel more efficiently than any other known method, researchers say.

In fact, it's so good at turning plant matter into
fuel that researchers say their discovery calls into question the whole
theory of
how crude oil was made by nature in the first place.

While many crops and microbes can be combined to make biofuels — including the fungi that became infamous as jungle rot during World War II — the newfound fungus could greatly simplify the process, its discoverers claim.

Researchers have suggested that billions of acres of fallow farmland could be used to grow the raw material of biofuels.
But turning corn stalks or switchgrass into fuel is a painstaking
process and the end product is expensive and not entirely friendly to
the environment."


2) The original, and on-going, research is being conducted at Montana State University, ...

... which holds the patient for "Gliocladium roseum", and is being conducted by
Gary A. Strobel,  Professor, PhD. from University of California-Davis.


"Dr. Strobel’s current work focuses on the
endophytic fungus, Gliocladium roseum, that he discovered in Patagonia.
Gliocladium roseum has been shown to produce many of the same
hydrocarbons found in diesel fuel. Strobel has dubbed the products of
this fungus “myco-diesel.” "

Listen to the podcast of Strobel talking about myco-diesel

Listen to the podcast of Strobel talking about endophytes

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Monday, 3 November 2008

Lost in translation!

Lost in translation!

Posted by Eideard in General

Swansea (UK) council contacted its in-house translation service when designing the bilingual sign.

The seeds of confusion were sown when officials received an automated email response in

Welsh from an absent translator, saying:

“I am not in the office at the moment.

Please send any work to be translated.”

Unaware of its real meaning, officials had it printed on the sign.

The council took down the sign after Welsh speakers spotted the mistake.

Comment on the US Dvorak site ..........

We have a similar problem in northern New Mexico with all the road signs being produced at the State Penitentiary.

The prevailing illiteracy makes for some fascinating reading while trying to find your way around the region.

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Sunday, 2 November 2008

AUSTRALIA will join China in implementing mandatory censoring of the internet

This is really important to all of us ......
I found this on: which is a US site and also on:,21985,24568137-2862,00.html

I think this is something we may need
to kick up a stink about.

"AUSTRALIA will join China in implementing mandatory censoring
of the
internet under plans put forward by the Federal Government.
The revelations emerge as US tech giants Google, Microsoft and
and a coalition of human rights and other groups unveiled
a code of
conduct aimed at safeguarding online freedom of speech and privacy.

The government has declared it will not let internet users opt out of
the proposed
national internet filter.
The plan was first created as a way to combat
child pronography and
adult content, but could be extended to include
controversial websites
on euthanasia or anorexia.
Communications minister
Stephen Conroy revealed the mandatory
censorship to the Senate estimates
committee as the Global Network
Initiative, bringing together leading
companies, human rights
organisations, academics and investors,
committed the technology firms
to "protect the freedom of expression
and privacy rights of their

Mr Conroy said trials were yet to be carried out, but "we are talking
about mandatory blocking, where possible, of illegal material."

The net nanny proposal was originally going to allow Australians who

wanted uncensored access to the web the option of contacting their
service provider to be excluded from the service.

Human Rights Watch has condemned internet censorship, and argued to
US Senate "there is a real danger of a Virtual Curtain dividing
internet, much as the Iron Curtain did during the Cold War,
some governments fear the potential of the internet, (and)
want to
control it" Groups including the System Administrators Guild of Australia
Electronic Frontiers Australia have attacked the proposal, saying it would
unfairly restrict Australians' access to the web, slow internet
and raise the price of internet access.

EFA board member Colin Jacobs said it would have little effect on
illegal internet content, including child pornography, as it would
cover file-sharing networks. "If the Government would actually
come out and say we're only targeting
child pornography it would
be a different debate," he said.

The technology companies' move, which follows criticism that the

companies were assisting censorship of the internet in nations such
China, requires them to narrowly interpret government requests
information or censorship and to fight to minimise cooperation.

The initiative provides a systematic approach to "work together in

resisting efforts by governments that seek to enlist companies in
of censorship and surveillance that violate international standards",
the participants said.

In a statement, Yahoo co-founder and chief executive Jerry Yang
welcomed the new code of conduct.
"These principles provide a valuable
roadmap for companies like Yahoo
operating in markets where freedom
of expression and privacy are
unfairly restricted," he said. "Yahoo was
founded on the belief that promoting access to information
can enrich
people's lives, and the principles we unveil today reflect
our determination
that our actions match our values around the world."
Yahoo was thrust into
the forefront of the online rights issue after
the Californian company helped
Chinese police identify cyber dissidents
whose supposed crime was expressing
their views online.

China exercises strict control over the internet, blocking sites linked
Chinese dissidents, the outlawed Falun Gong spiritual movement,
Tibetan government-in-exile and those with information on the 1989
Tiananmen massacre.
A number of US companies, including Microsoft,
Cisco, Google and Yahoo,
have been hauled before the US Congress in
recent years and accused of
complicity in building the "Great Firewall of China".

The Australian Christian Lobby, however, has welcomed the proposals.
Managing director Jim Wallace said the measures were needed.

"The need to prevent access to illegal hard-core material and child

pornography must be placed above the industry's desire for unfettered

access," Mr Wallace said."

Also check out

EFA´s (... Electronic Frontiers Australia) Chair, Dale Clapperton, was
interviewed on Channel
7´s Sunrise program on 29th October about
government´s proposed mandatory filtering policy. A phone-in survey
on the program revealed that 80% of respondents
were opposed to
the censorship plan.

(Additional comment by David:)
Very much so. One of the not-mentioned aspects of this filtering scheme
is that it will also be vetting your connections to secure sites like banks
and other financial institutions, ie, your net banking username and
password will be able to be obtained by your ISP.
This is a ridiculous
scheme the government is proposing, will be almost
totally ineffective at what it is trying to do, will slow down your Internet
connection by around 30% (if you are lucky), and will block a large
number of legitimate sites.
Please contact your local federal member to
protest about this, and letters to the prime minister and minister
for communications would be helpful too.
You can get their addresses by ringing the local member's office.

Monday, 23 June 2008

Jim Bell's U3A Digital Photography Course.

This is the blog that I've set up for the U3A Digital Photography Course that I'm running, at Belmont North Community Centre, on a Wednesday.
Jim Bell's U3A Digital Photography Course.

Friday, 20 June 2008

Fuel-saver technology Premo-drive run over by budget | The Australian

Come on Kevin, we don't need this sort of rubbish from Labor.

.. I wonder if it's possible for us "Normal" people to help with this sort of thing ... 5 million Aussies .. one dollar a head through say .. PayPal or some other sort of donation system. I'd possibly even put in more than a dollar. Later on the company could give a little back some way possibly as a discount on a share purchase .. What do you think?
"PERMO-DRIVE is the sort of company that Kevin Rudd would like to believe is Australia's future - not only is it a manufacturer, it has developed innovative technology to slash fuel consumption."

"Its hybrid drive system for trucks promises to deliver fuel savings of up to 25 per cent, many times greater than the efficiency offered by the Toyota Camry the federal Government is backing with a $35 million cash grant.
From its base in Ballina, on the NSW north coast, the company secured the interest of the US army, which has subjected the technology to years of rigorous testing.
The company is ready to roll out 20 demonstrator models, and Australia's biggest trucking companies are keen to try them.
But all that promise now appears to be in doubt.
Permo-Drive chairman Colin Henson has written to the company's 1900 shareholders, telling them the company must be put into liquidation - and the Rudd Government's first budget was blamed.

The company was counting on a $5 million grant from the small business development program Commercial Ready, which was axed in the budget.
The company's executives were furious. "It seems very unfair of the federal Government to take away that opportunity from an Aussie company like Permo-Drive, yet, at the same time, announce a $35million fuel-saving hybrid subsidy to Toyota, a wealthy multinational company," Mr Henson wrote.
He told The Australian yesterday that while Toyota president Katuaki Watanabe had appeared nonplussed when asked what his company would do with the $35million federal grant, announced this month and immediately matched by a similar offer from the Victorian Government, Permo-Drive knew exactly what it would do with the $5million.
"That is the betterment of a technology that has been developed and proven in Australia," Mr Henson said.
He said a British venture capital company was prepared to put in $7.5million on condition that the business was successful in its application for the CR grant.
"A number of our potential investors were attracted by the fact that the company had the opportunity to claim under the Commercial Ready grants," Mr Henson said. "When they were scrapped, those investors evaporated."
Permo-Drive's technology is based on a hydraulic brake, which stores the energy released when a truck is slowing down by compressing gas in cylinders.
The truck then uses the power from the release of the gas when it is accelerating. It is ideal for rubbish trucks, postal vans and commercial delivery vans, which stop frequently.
Chief engineer Chris Marshall said the system was much lighter and cheaper than battery-based hybrid systems.

Permo-Drive was preparing its application for a Commercial Ready grant when the $700mil-lion-a-year program was axed in the budget. The program fell victim to the Government's razor gang after criticism from the Productivity Commission that it gave taxpayer funds to companies that would have gotten their technology to market anyway.
In its past 10 months, the program helped 125 small businesses get new products into production, ranging from a new design for orchestral harps to a mining drill.
Grants followed an appraisal by Ausindustry, provided there was matching funding from private sources. The Productivity Commission suggested the program would be improved if it were based on loans, not grants.
Coalition industry spokesman Eric Abetz said yesterday that while the Commercial Ready scheme could have been improved, it filled an important gap in small business funding.
"I would like to suggest to (Industry Minister) Kim Carr that he support Permo-Drive, but if he did that, he would be confronted with hundreds of similar requests from all around Australia," Senator Abetz said. "I have been inundated with tales of woe and concern from small businesses."
Senator Carr said the decision to chop the scheme had not been taken lightly.
"Anyone who says the budget wasn't tough needs only look to decisions like this," he said. "These disciplined savings measures will help to put downward pressure on inflation because we understand that inflation is real and it hurts working families."
He said almost three-quarters of the savings from the scheme had been earmarked for the Government's clean energy plan." - Study: Big, Carb-Heavy Breakfast Key to Weight Loss - Health News | Current Health News | Medical News,2933,368462,00.html
Eating a big breakfast, heavy in carbs, is the key to keeping slim, according to new research.

A new study found that women who eat half of their daily calories first thing in the morning lose more weight in the long term than those who start the day with a small breakfast.

And they are also less likely to pile the pounds back on.

Dr. Daniela Jakubowicz, from the Hospital de Clinicas in Caracas, Venezuela, who led the study, said: "A very low carbohydrate diet exacerbates the craving for carbohydrates and slows metabolism. After a short period of weight loss, there is a quick return to obesity."

It is thought that eating a meal packed with protein and carbohydrates helps cut cravings for sweet or starchy foods, and boosts the metabolism.

Scientists compared the "big breakfast" diet with a strict low-carb weight-loss regime.

Jakubowicz and a team at Virginia Commonwealth University studied 94 obese, inactive women and found that low-carb dieters initially lost more weight.

The strict low-carb diet caused an average weight loss of 28 pounds; the big-breakfast version cut 23 pounds.

However, after eight months, the strict dieters had regained 18 pounds. The big-breakfast eaters continued to drop weight, losing another 16.5 pounds.

Those on the big breakfast diet lost more than 21 percent of their body weight, compared with just 4.5 percent for the low-carb group.

Women who ate a big breakfast reported feeling less hungry, especially before lunch and had fewer cravings for carbs than the other women did. The big breakfast dieters ate an average of 1,240 calories per day, 610 of which were consumed at breakfast. The low-carb dieters ate just 1,085 calories per day.

The findings will be presented this week at ENDO 08, the 90th annual meeting of The Endocrine Society in San Francisco. - Study: Big, Carb-Heavy Breakfast Key to Weight Loss - Health News | Current Health News | Medical News

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Thursday, 12 June 2008

Aussie Bitten “Down Under” by Poisonous Snake, Survives

Posted by McCullough in General

Rum the remedy for snake bite on penis |

"A MAN bitten on the penis by a deadly snake has told how he used a cold rum can to soothe the pain while he rang his mother to say a final goodbye. “I thought I was gone,” Daryl Zutt said of his now notorious encounter with a brown snake during a roadside toilet stop in remote far north Queensland, The Cairns Post reported. “I thought, ‘Maybe, this is it. Maybe, I’m gonna cark it’.”

The Cairns Post revealed details of the bizarre encounter two weeks ago but the identity of the victim remained unknown until Mr Zutt came forward to tell how the brown snake took a near-fatal swipe as he relieved himself. “I squatted down … I reckon I must’ve nearly sat on his head,” he said. “As soon as I felt it, I yelled.

“It really hurt. “When it happened, I knew in the back of my mind it was a snake. “I seen him coming out from between my legs.” He said he tried to remain calm as he inspected the damage. “He got me about halfway down,” he said. “I saw fang marks and a bit of blood come out.” Mr Zutt’s friend drove him to a medical centre before he was moved to a hospital for further tests which showed he was not envenomated. “They’ve been saying things like ‘It was a trouser snake fight’ and ‘He (the snake) saw the competition and got scared’,” Mr Zutt said. “Once they knew I was right, the jokes came out.”

And the joke: So the doctor tells his friend, “If you want to save his life, you need to suck the poison out.” His friend nods, and hangs up the cell phone. Aussie asks his friend “What did the doctor say?” Friend looks at him ominously and says, “Your going to die mate”.

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Monday, 9 June 2008

Gasoline thieves adopt a new drill

Heidi Perkins filled up her truck with gas for $90, then a thief used a drill to drive off with everything in her tank.

Heidi Perkins spent $90 filling up her 2002 Dodge pickup the Friday before Mother's Day and used a quarter of the tank over the weekend. So she was mystified Monday morning when the gas gauge was below "E" as she drove her daughter to school.

She pulled into the closest gas station and began to refill.

"The gas was pouring out of the gas tank almost as fast as it was going in," said Perkins, who lives in Waxahachie. "There was a hole in it. And I started to wonder if my gas was stolen."

She was right: Someone drilled a hole in the truck's plastic gas tank and drained it.

With gas prices at record highs and service stations thwarting drive-offs with pay-before-you-pump policies, gas thieves are becoming more creative.

Police and Tarrant County auto-shop owners have reported gas tanks being punctured or fuel lines being cut on parked cars, trucks and SUVs. While most mechanics say they've seen only a couple of victims each, they fear the crime will grow with gas prices.

Read the rest at
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Saturday, 7 June 2008

Flock Browser Test

This is written and posted from inside Flock
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Saturday, 24 May 2008

Lost parrot tells veterinarian his address
TOKYO - When Yosuke the parrot flew out of his cage and got lost, he did exactly what he had been taught — recite his name and address to a stranger willing to help., Police rescued the African grey parrot two weeks ago from a neighbor's roof in the city of Nagareyama, nearTokyo. After spending a night at the station, he was transferred to a nearby veterinary hospital while police searched for clues, local policeman Shinjiro Uemura said., He kept mum with the cops, but began chatting after a few days with the vet., "I'm Mr. Yosuke Nakamura," the bird told the veterinarian, according to Uemura. The parrot also provided his full home address, down to the street number, and even entertained the hospital staff by singing songs., "We checked the address, and what do you know, a Nakamura family really lived there. So we told them we've found Yosuke," Uemura said., The Nakamura family told police they had been teaching the bird its name and address for about two years., But Yosuke apparently wasn't keen on opening up to police officials., "I tried to be friendly and talked to him, but he completely ignored me," Uemura said

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

In rubble, Chinese couple clung to each other, and to life

In rubble, Chinese couple clung to each other, and to life

SHIFANG, China: At the moment of greatest despair, Wang Zhijun tried to kill himself by twisting his neck against the debris.
Breathing had become harder as day turned to night. The chunks of brick and concrete that had buried him and his wife were pressing tighter by the hour, crushing them. Their bodies had gone numb.
Then there was the rain, sharp and cold, lashing at them through the cracks.
"I don't think I can make it," he told his wife, Li Wanzhi, his face just inches from hers, their arms wrapped around each other.
She sensed he was giving up. "If God wants to kill us, he would have killed us right away," she said. "But since we're still alive, we must be fated to live."
And they lived. They were pulled from the rubble of their collapsed six-story workers' dormitory 28 hours after last Monday's earthquake, spared the end met by at least 32,000 others.
Their tale of survival is also one of a rekindled love, of two people who might have died had they been trapped alone.
They whispered to each other. They talked of their 14-year-old daughter — who would take care of her? They recalled their life together, the shape of it before and the shape of it to come, all the changes they would make if they ever got out alive.
Days after their rescue, they lay in separate beds in Shifang People's Hospital, a loud place with too many patients and too few doctors. Wang's stout body was covered in cuts scabbed over with blood and pus, and he drifted in and out of sleep while talking to a reporter.
Li, 38, her petite frame dressed in a pink nightgown, spoke softly and stared at the ceiling with tears in her eyes. A white blanket covered her left side, where her arm had just been amputated. She had pleaded with a doctor not to cut it off, but there had been no choice: It had turned gangrenous after being trapped beneath Wang in the collapse.
Yet they were both thankful. "My colleagues said, 'You're the lucky one. You don't know how many people died,' " Li said of the reaction of her fellow factory workers.
Of the 28 hours, Wang said, "It was more terrifying than facing the god of death." Like for millions of Chinese, the life they knew was completely eradicated at 2:28 p.m. last Monday, when the 7.9-magnitude earthquake sent wave after wave of tremors through the river valleys and glaciated mountains of Sichuan Province, one of the most beautiful corners of China.
Wang, 40, had just returned home two days earlier, after traveling around the country for half a year and trying his hand at small businesses. He had lost a lot of money. He and his wife rarely spoke. He spent the Chinese New Year in the city of Guangzhou by himself, skipping China's most important family holiday.
Wang is the kind of itinerant worker found in China by the millions, wandering from city to city in these boom years, and so it was chance that brought him home two days before the earthquake.
Li was raising their daughter, Xinyi, on her own while working at a chemical factory in the town of Luoshui. "My husband doesn't have a stable life," Li said. "He goes wherever he can get a job. I told him, 'Why don't you have a rest? Stay away from business. Just try and enjoy life for a while.' "
Last Monday, she and her husband had just sat down in her fourth-floor apartment to watch a police soap opera on DVD when the dormitory, which houses dozens of factory workers, began shaking violently.
He flung an arm around her as they sprinted for the bathroom eight feet away. The entire building collapsed right as they got there, knocking them to the ground. The wooden bathroom door slammed against Wang's back. Clouds of dust filled their lungs.
They were frightened but did not feel any pain at first. "In our minds, everything was clear," Li recalled. "We were buried in the rubble.
"As a woman, as a mother, my first thought was, 'What about my daughter? Who'll take care of her if I die?' " she said.
They lay entwined on their sides, not knowing whether they were bleeding or any bones had been broken. A large chunk of concrete loomed inches above their heads. Shifting their bodies, they knew, could cause it to drop down on them.
Li's left arm was wedged beneath her husband. The pain was excruciating at first, until the arm went numb.
"My mobile phone is in my pants pocket," said Wang, who was wearing a tracksuit. "See if you can get it out."
With her free hand, Li managed to fumble it out, but there was no signal. She thought she heard her cellphone ringing elsewhere in the rubble. It rang over and over for a while. Family and friends must be calling, she thought. Then it stopped.
They tried yelling, even though it was hard to breathe. "Save us! Save us!" they screamed. They yelled whenever they heard any noise outside. Li told her husband, "We need to keep our heads clear and pay attention to what's happening."
Li tried to focus her mind on only two things: How can I get out? How can I stay alive? But of course she and Wang thought of their family and friends, whether they were suffering in the same way. Their daughter was at school when the earthquake hit. Their parents and siblings, mostly farmers, also lived in the area.
"I want you to make it out," Wang said. "We have a child, and I want you to raise her."
Through a crack in the rubble, they could see the light fading. The rubble was moving. It was pressing down, slowly crushing them. They no longer felt any pain because their entire bodies had gone numb. Nor did they feel hunger and thirst.
They had to take turns breathing. When Li took a deep breath, her chest expanding, Wang held his breath.
Li looked at the cellphone at 11 p.m. Still no signal. But at least they had the phone, their one lifeline. They kept it on. The battery meter showed one bar of power left.
The cold rain started sometime during the night. Wang could hear it pounding the debris like a drum: da-da-da-da-da. It came down through the cracks. Wang also heard other noises, stones crashing against stones. Were those landslides?
They looked again at the cellphone. The battery had died.
"I gave up hope that night," Wang recalled. "No one was going to save us." He thought about what it would be like to die slowly, minute by minute, and he made a decision. "I tried bending my neck against the wall to kill myself," he said.
That was when Li told him that since God had not killed them right away, they were meant to live. She also told him he was born in the Year of the Monkey, and monkeys can live for 500 years. She said he had to remember their daughter.
Maybe he would spend more time at home, he said. Settle down, see more of their daughter.
"Let's try to get some sleep and save our energy," she said.
But they were too terrified to fall asleep.
Then slowly the daylight began coming back through the crack. Hours later, they heard crunching footsteps on the rubble. Their voices were hoarse, but they began yelling again.
Someone shouted back, "Who are you?"
Li recognized her boss's voice. "I'm Li Wanzhi," she said.
Then came the words, "Hold on, we're going to save you right now." A constellation of voices, some familiar, swirled overhead. They could not understand what was being said, only that the people were weighing different plans.
At last, they heard rumbling of heavy machinery, which went on for perhaps five or six hours, the couple guessed. Afterward, a straw came down through the crack, and they took turns sipping sugar water.
"They were using their hands now," Wang recalled. "The crack was getting bigger." Then they heard rescue workers say that only one of them could be pulled out at a time. That risked rubble collapsing onto the other. But there was no other way.
The workers told the couple they were going to pull Li out first. "I can't feel my legs, so I think I'm stuck under something," Li told them. "You should get my husband out first."
Two pairs of hands grabbed him, and within minutes he was out of the hole and being led to an ambulance, where his sister was waiting.
The rubble had not collapsed farther into the hole. On the contrary, Li felt a sudden expansion of space when her husband was lifted out, and now she could breathe more easily. But her lower body was still pinned down by heavy bricks. "Can you get some tools to pull me out?" she asked.
They said no. And at that moment, beyond exhaustion, she gave them the signal to get her out any way they could: "Well, I can't feel anything anyway."
She felt hands gripping her. After a powerful tug, she was out, just like that. In the ambulance, she was put down on a bench opposite her husband. "I wanted to hug him, but I couldn't move my body," Li said.
Nearly a week after the rescue, both were still in tremendous pain. Wang said it felt as if his heart were being squeezed. He still cannot sit up on his own.
Every aftershock terrifies Li. She thinks of being buried alive again. No one has told her how many of her co-workers were killed. But their daughter was unhurt, and she refused to leave their side in the hospital.
They have no home to return to, but that is another problem for another time.
"The only thing we had was each other," Wang said. "We encouraged each other to live on, and we said once we got out, we'd live a good life and care for each other. Now we have a new start."

Monday, 28 April 2008

Fat inmate sues over weight loss |

By staff writers
April 28, 2008 09:11am
AN obese inmate awaiting trial for murder is suing authorities after he lost more than 45kg because of the prison food.

Broderick Lloyd Laswell has filed a federal lawsuit which says Benton County Jail in Arkansas doesn't give its inmates enough food after complaining he was down to 140kg after eight months inside.

He is accused, along with another man, of fatally beating and stabbing a man then setting his home on fire.

According to the suit, Mr Laswell weighed 187kg when he was jailed in September, the Associated Press reported.

"On several occasions I have started to do some exercising and my vision went blurry and I felt like I was going to pass out," Mr Laswell said in his lawsuit.

"About an hour after each meal my stomach starts to hurt and growl. I feel hungry again."

He said he should not be losing weight because he did little exercise.

"If we are in a small pod all day (and) do next to nothing for physical exercise, we should not lose weight," the suit said.

"The only reason we lost weight in here is because we are literally being starved to death."

The meals, provided through Aramark Correctional Institution Services averaged 3000 calories a day, jail spokesman Hunter Petray told The Morning News of northwest Arkansas yesterday.

A typical Western diet consists of 2000 to 3000 calories a day.

Monday, 21 April 2008

When bananas ruled the (American) world

Very interesting article about the not so sweet history of the banana and it's relation to North and South america.
"April 19, 2008 | On a trip to Honduras, journalist Dan Koeppel caught the banana bug. Researching an article for Popular Science about attempts to breed a disease-resistant banana, the American journalist wandered the grounds of the old Chiquita compound, amid the fading colonial mansions and golf course, where he stumbled upon the cheery yellow fruit's unsavory past."
"When local leaders threatened taxes or complained about the company's abysmal labor practices, such as paying workers exclusively in company scrip to be spent only at the company store, United Fruit threatened to leave the country, taking its business next door. Mere bribes to local officials were strictly junior varsity in this jungle."

Friday, 29 February 2008

New Idea slammed for revealing Prince Harry duty in Afghanistan

"LONDON - Britain's army chief has slammed an Australian women's magazine for leaking news that Prince Harry was fighting the Taliban on the front line in Afghanistan."
"Australian women's magazine New Idea says it did not knowingly break an embargo on news of Britain's Prince Harry serving in Afghanistan, but was simply unaware of a media blackout."
I was even disgusted enough to look up the editors email and express my disgust!
Email contact directly to editor =>
List of New Idea contacts =>

Friday, 22 February 2008

How to narrow a search down to a particular site

Tip of the Week from the "Security Now" podcast.

"...if people want to data-mine the Security Now! transcripts, Google
can help. ...  You type "site:" and then you can narrow its search
down to a site. So in this case, if you type "" and then
the word "transcript," which will narrow it down to transcripts, and
then whatever keywords you want, boom.

What this means is that if you want to find some specific things on one

1) -start google..

2) -in the search type "site:" then the internet site you want (eg )

3) -next put a space and follow that with the word or term you are
searching for.

For example:

"site: phone"

This will get me directly to my article about the Romanian internet
scammers that got their just rewards.

Great tip if you know there is some info on a site but can't remember
where it was!

Monday, 11 February 2008

Catch of the day: Cocaine

Don't want to go there but it's interesting to know that it exists!!

"Catch of the day: Cocaine - 09 Feb 2008 - Oceans news - NZ Herald

At first glance, Bluefields in Nicaragua looks like any other rum-soaked, Rastafarian-packed, hammock-infested Caribbean paradise. But Bluefields has a secret.

People here don't have to work. Every week, sometimes every day, 35kg sacks of cocaine drift in from the sea. The economy of this entire town of 50,000 tranquil souls is addicted to cocaine.

Bluefields is a creation of the gods of geography. Located halfway between the cocaine labs of Colombia and the 300 million noses of the United States, Bluefields is ground zero for cocaine transportation. Nicaraguan waters are near Colombian territorial limits, making the area extremely popular with cocaine smugglers using very small, very fast fishing boats...."

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Welcome to America ... You're Under Arrest

Tales of a Pakistani immigrant dealing with racial profiling, the Patriot Act and the INS as he tries to make a life in New York City.
This is a fascinating read.

It was about five years ago. I was returning from Pakistan and standing in the immigration line at JFK, completely exhausted after a 20-hour flight. When my turn came up at the counter, the INS agent looked at my papers, typed a few things into his computer, and then asked me to follow him to a large room at the side of the immigration hall. I was informed that I was being detained. 

Saturday, 2 February 2008




George Phillips of Gold Coast, Australia was going up to bed when his wife told him that he'd left the light on in the garden shed, which she could see from the bedroom window. ( Boy does this sound familiar! ) 

George opened the back door to go turn off the light but saw that there were people in the shed stealing things. 

He phoned the police, who asked "Is someone in your house?" and he said "no". Then they said that all patrols were busy, and that he should simply lock his door and an officer would be along when available. George said, "Okay," hung up, counted to 30, and phoned the police again. 

"Hello, I just called you a few seconds ago because there were people stealing things from my shed. Well, you don't have to worry about them now because I've just shot them." Then he hung up. 

Within five minutes three police cars, an Armed Response Unit, and an ambulance showed up at the Phillips' residence and caught the burglars red-handed. 

One of the Policemen said to George: "I thought you said that you'd shot them!" 

George said, "I thought you said there was nobody available!" 

(True Story) I LOVE IT -
 Don't mess with old people!!

Thursday, 31 January 2008

Pentax adds HDR capabilities to their latest DSLRs | APC Magazine

Ever wondered how some photographers can take a shot with amazing detail and colour even in the darkest and brightest areas?

It's a technique called High Dynamic Range (or HDR), where multiple exposures of the same scene are captured (allowing the dark areas to be photographed brighter, and very bright areas to be photographed darker in various exposures.)