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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

What’s the well-dressed professional assassin wearing nowadays? Clothes that reflect his own essential traits of cruelty and ugliness, his abberant values and black dead heart - that’s what! You might not be a hired killer, but with the Dorcus line of Jackal Jackets you can stride onto the tarmac with a look that says: Women fall at my feet. Granted, they are usually bleeding heavily from the exit wound, but that's your style, tiger..

Note: price does not include sociopathic world view, Swiss bank account or significant dermatological scars whose humiliating disfigurement no doubt prompted your choice of career. Not available in British Caledonia at the moment, where they are still rather touchy over that matter with the visiting diplomat.

Don’t think we listen? Oh, we listen! We asked you, and you, and you: what’s the fresh new look for the season? And the answer always came back the same: you want to look like an aging French gigilo trying to blend into a harlequin convention.

Here our man Yves contemplates his next move. Dinner at the Ritz? The Opera? Servicing a married man who will throw the money at him afterwards and get angry? Je ne sais pas! Whatever the night demands, make sure your waistband is equidistant from crotch to nape. And keep a hand in your pocket where you keep the knife. The streets c’est froid, mon ami - but stylin’!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

1st Photo of Rare Rodent (Uncooked)

A feast for the eyes only, this is the first known Laotian rock rat to be photographed not on a skewer. It was a little over a year ago that a Wildlife Conservation Society scientist announced the discovery of the rodent species in a Laotian market. (See "New Rodent Discovered at Asian Food Market" [May 16, 2005].)

Lano and Woodley Farewell Tour

Drove down to Wollongong last night with Dale and Ben to see the Lano and Woodley final show. Lano and Woodley are an amazing comedy duo, in case you weren't in the know. They've actually been performing together for 20 years, which is something I didn't realise. It was great. Some very funny stuff.

Dale is a friend of mine from Melbourne that I 'met' when he was a customer for a company I was doing tech support for. We'd stuffed up the support for the laptop of one of the general managers of the company he was working for.. Anyway he the guy at their end, and I was the guy at our end. Over the course of a couple of weeks of nutting through these problems over the phone we actually became friends. So this was how we 'met'. We didn't actually meet face to face for another 3 years or so. That was when I went snowboarding in Jindabyne for a week and then went to hang with him in Melbourne for a week afterwards. Cool guy.
Hi Dale. Great to see you again. See you in another couple of years, as per our schedule ;)

Selfless, sensitive, altruistic? It's the cleaner fish

FISH are displaying random acts of kindness in the laboratory. A new study finds that some fish are altruistic simply because they want to earn a good reputation.

University of Queensland researchers say that until now only humans have been thought capable of acts that do not directly benefit themselves.

Dr Lexa Grutter said the interaction between cleaner fish and client fish is a well-known symbiotic relationship in which cleaner fish remove parasites from client fish. However, some cleaner fish are cheats and only remove mucus, which they prefer.

In the study, cleaner fish that were more trustworthy were sought out by client fish who wanted to avoid exploitation, she said. "Our research shows complicated behaviours in cleaner fish, where the benefit of co-operation was not reciprocated directly but instead gave them a good reputation," Dr Grutter said.

"This may be the important intermediate step to the more complex form of indirect reciprocity that humans are able to play, where each act is altruistic."

...from smh

Sunday, June 18, 2006

oh man, look how expensive bananas are now...

Since Cyclone Larry wiped out 90% of Australia's banana crop, what was under $4 a kg is now this.
I love bananas... but right now, i can't get no banana-y love.

Wily crows disconnect wired Tokyo

TOKYO'S futuristic image as the world's most technologically advanced broadband internet-enabled city is under attack from a vicious but decidedly low-tech foe: the crow.

Their destructive and unpredictable behaviour during the May-to-June mating season is always problematic for the Japanese capital. But this year the aggressive ink-black birds have created a new headache by developing a taste for fibre-optic internet cable.

In the past six weeks, hundreds of homes and offices have been left without high-speed internet services after the crows discovered that broadband cable can be pecked into usable strips more easily than power cables or telephone copper wire.

Crows have discovered that the broadband cables, which are strung from telegraph poles across Tokyo, are the perfect consistency for building nests.

Although the birds' appetite for fibre-optic cable was spotted last year, broadband service providers have begun reporting a sharp surge in instances of cable-pecking, in line with the rising population of crows.

Crows are drawn to Tokyo because of the large quantities of discarded food available. Every year there are reports of the birds attacking domestic pets or small children.

Clean living may make us sick

"Gritty rats and mice living in sewers and farms seem to have healthier immune systems than their squeaky clean cousins that frolic in cushy antiseptic labs, two studies indicate. The lesson for humans: Clean living may make us sick.

The studies give more weight to a 17-year-old theory that the sanitized Western world may be partly to blame for soaring rates of human allergy and asthma cases and some autoimmune diseases, such as Type I diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. The theory, called the hygiene hypothesis, figures that people's immune systems aren't being challenged by disease and dirt early in life, so the body's natural defenses overreact to small irritants such as pollen..."

"Your immune system is like the person who lives in the perfect house and has all the food they want, you're going to start worrying about the little things like someone stepping on your flowers"

...from Wired news (full story here)

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Geek vs. Nerd

I found a good, quick summary here about the (extremely important) differences between a geek and a nerd.

The Geek

"A geek is someone that uses their field for productivity or pleasure, and has accumulated - through a desire to enjoy their experience more or become more proficient at a task - an extensive knowledge of a subject.

Geeks that are involved with machines (cars, computers, stereos, etc) tend to see these things as tools, and by gaining more knowledge about - and hence control over - them they intend to maximise their use of the tool. Be it driving better and for longer, or being able to code an efficient web page without looking at a reference book. The result is the same in terms of difference to a layperson. This type of geek will often know lots about the construction of their area, and can be excited by the prospect of upgrading a small part that may seem insignificant to an outsider, but it impacts (or the geek feels it impacts) the performance of their tasks.

Geeks tend to be concerned with issues in a broader scope than nerds, and are certainly more focused on issues that affect them (this journal for example - web design, and similar issues) and less with the minutiae of details.

The Nerd

A Nerd is someone that has taken their use of a tool or discipline and raised it so that they no longer value the result of it more than the tool or discipline itself. It is the subject that is their love. A geek might know a lot about computers, but it will be what they need to know. A nerd will learn everything they can about computers, but gain no practical benefit for this. Moreover they will experiment with things that will take a lot of time and have no real benefit to them - just because they are learning about the subject.

Nerds tend to be even more fanatical about improving in their subject than geeks, but have a more holistic approach. Rather than improving in their area they must improve overall in all areas.

Nerds are usually the more preachy and anal of the two (though this does depend to some extent on personality - a geek can be an arse too!) and are more prone to nitpicking small irrelevant details and using this as an excuse to junk the rest of the information. This is related to that Nerds are often the hardest group to teach, as their knowledge is sacred to them - and so can never be proved wrong. Sometimes even when presented with overwhelming evidence to the contrary a nerd will still claim that their knowledge is correct.

Nerds are the more annoying of the two, and the most observed. They are highly critical, and tend to put down people rather than help them (as most geeks will try to do - until they lose patience). Often the distinction is missed between these two groups, as the Nerd is usually heard the most."

see also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nerd

These above definitions are the ones that I thought I subscribed to...Now I'm not so sure.

Nerd always seemed to have that additional connitation of the lack of social skills. I didn't realise that there seems to be great deal of differing agreement as to these definitions.... I think this is kind odd, surely if there was to be a subset of the population that could come up with a definitive, unwavering definition of these terms, then the geek and or nerds would be that? Right?

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Kung fu fan tries to stop train

A 17-year-old boy surnamed Liang almost died when he tried to use a kung fu movement to stop a running train in Laibin Railway Station in South China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region on Tuesday, Nanguo Jinbao reported.

Liang was pushed to safety by a railway policeman just as he was about to be knocked down. Liang jumped down to the tracks and wanted to use Xianglongshibazhang, a famous kung fu posturing described in many swordsman fictions, to stop the running train.

He was taken into custody for breaking railway rules and said he wanted to test whether or not he could use kung fu to stop the train. Liang is a great fan of swordsman fiction and has also learnt martial arts.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Finally, I bought an iPod.

Picked it up last Saturday from JB hiFi at the Macquarie Centre. Loving it. SoOo nicely designed. One thing that surprised me was the quality of the video on it. Before actually seeing it I considered it something that was a bit of a novelty, but I could actually see myself using it if I had a job that involved public transport. I don't currently, but one can dream.

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