Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The origin of coffee - Telegraph

Civet dung

The most expensive coffee in the world comes from the droppings of the Asian palm civet, a small catlike animal that loves to eat coffee cherries. The cherries only partially digest and the seeds are excreted intact. The droppings are washed and the beans, sold as Kopi Luwak, can cost hundreds of dollars per pound. The partial digestion process is supposed to add a wonderful musky flavour.

Posted via web from poobumwee's posterous

'Lough Ness Monster' devours ducks at popular lake - Telegraph

The creature is believed to have killed at least three fully-grown birds at the lake, leaving only a smattering of feathers as evidence of the crimes.

Witnesses have so far been unable to identify the perpetrator, although pike, catfish and even mink have been suggested as possible culprits.

Local councillors are now warning schoolchildren not to go paddling at the site, and dog owners have been being asked not to let smaller animals swim in the waters.

One dog walker described her horror at seeing a mallard disappear into the water at Stonebow Washlands in Loughborough, Leicestershire, never to be seen again.

She said: “I saw two mallards and the female was flapping her wings. I thought she may be cleaning herself, but she was quite frantic and was going up and down. Next thing I knew she was gone.

“I went over to have a closer look. The male was still there and I was about 30 feet away watching him intently. I stood there for two or three minutes and then in a flash all that was left on the water was a few feathers.”

The number of ducks on the lake have dwindled since the killer creature started terrorising the area.

Posted via web from poobumwee's posterous

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The concentration test for Men

Tittilating stuff from Facebook

A popular social networking site is being criticised for its decision to take down photographs of a breast-feeding baby and a topless grandmother.

Photographer Gemma-Rose Turnbull says she posted the images from her current exhibition on her Facebook fan page.

She says two were taken down by the site administrator, but others showing topless Sexpo workers, a wet tee-shirt contestant and a breast enhancement were left up.

Ms Turnbull says the site's no-nudity policy is being applied hypocritically.

"I've spent five years doing this project and it really has validated it for me that mainstream media says that young, sexualised breasts are okay and that breasts that fall outside those dimensions are not okay," Ms Turnbull said.

Posted via web from poobumwee's posterous

Monday, March 29, 2010

Blame it on the rain: why Scots favour ginger - Times Online

Ever since Tacitus, the Roman historian, noted with awe the flame-headed natives of Caledonia, observers have wondered at the prevalence of ginger hair among the Scots.
Now a genetics research student has stumbled on an explanation based on another remarkable feature of Scottish life — the weather.
Emily Pritchard, 26, revealed her insights in an article about her sister’s red hair for a University of Edinburgh magazine.
Her formula — genetic mutation + bad weather = red heads — “was speculation rather than scientific study, but it is plausible”, she said.
It is certainly plausible enough to explain an over-population of fiery red-headed Scottish footballers — Billy Bremner, Alex McLeish and Gordon Strachan — or to account for the red-headed singer Shirley Manson and the television presenters Jackie Bird and Ann McKevitt. Nor are these famous names exceptional, for while redheads amount to 1-2 per cent of the European population, an estimated 8 per cent of Scots and Irish are ginger.
Although human beings probably evolved in Africa 1 million to 2 million years ago,red hair appeared only once they had settled in Europe, possibly as recently as 20,000 years ago.
Ms Pritchard’s explanation of this trait is based on well-established scientific theory. Its foundation is the premise that ginger hair is genetically less advantageous because redheads have fair skin and are more prone to sunburn and skin cancer — unhelpful characteristics in hunter-gatherer societies. In large populations in sunny climates, the ginger strain would tend to die out. In Ancient Europe, however, small tribes broke away from bigger societies, and moved north and westwards, into areas where summers were shorter and winters longer. These smaller groups effectively formed genetic bottlenecks, small gene pools in which chance mutations such as red hair were able to come to the fore.
The genetics of red and blond hair are complex. For example, one of the main genes for hair colour has 40 variants — but only about six cause red hair. People must inherit two of these six genes — one from each parent — to have red hair.
The chances of this are always small, which is why there are so few redheads. The best chance occurs in stable rural communities with a common ancestry — where people carrying the genes are likely to meet and have children.
“The smaller your sample the more likely something rare is going to happen,” said Ms Pritchard, 26, a student at the MRC Human Genetics Unit at the Western General Hospital.
“The Celts, by chance, had a high frequency of the ginger mutation, which was able to persist over time.”
Ms Pritchard is researching Cornelia de Lange syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that causes abnormal arms and faces, behavioural problems, autistic-like learning difficulties and slow growth in sufferers. In her spare time she writes accessible scientific studies for the general public and said her next work will focus on shampoo.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Photo Hunt: Fresh

Early Morning, originally uploaded by theclutterbells.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

What happens when everyone flushes at the same time.

From Boing Boing

Glimpse of morning glory for a telecom engineer as he snaps rare Sun halo in Hereford

A Sun halo was captured on film in Herefordshire yesterday morning by an engineer carrying out maintenance work.

Ian Collins, who works at the 218-acre Madley Satellite Communications Centre, operated by BT, took the picture while working on a 32m (104ft) aerial.

Sun halos occur when water droplets in high-altitude cirrus clouds freeze and form crystals.

Paul Simons, the Times weatherman, said: “As the sunlight goes through the ice crystals it is as if it’s going through a glass prism. The light is beamed out into an arc. The best Sun halos can be found in the Arctic and Antarctic — but in Britain at the moment we have the ideal conditions.”

Posted via web from poobumwee's posterous

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The black marketeers stealing Indonesia’s islands by the boat-load - Times Online

For the people of Sebesi Island, who spend their lives next to the world’s biggest natural time bomb, it seemed to be an offer that they could not refuse.
A businessman from the Indonesian mainland landed one day with a remarkable proposal: to make safe their deadly neighbour, the notorious volcano island of Krakatoa, hulking in the sea a few miles across the water.
When Krakatoa exploded in 1883 36,000 people died and the dust thrown up by the eruption lowered temperatures and darkened skies across the globe.
So the fishermen welcomed the offer of trenches to channel the lava and reduce the danger of the next explosion. However, when the boats arrived and the work began, they realised with anger that the kindly businessman was not renovating Krakatoa. He was stealing it.
“There was a huge barge, the kind you use to carry coal, and it was pumping up the sand through pipes,” said Waiso, an environmental activist who investigated the activity. “This is a national park and a Unesco World Heritage Site and you’re not allowed to touch it. The local people rely on the fishing and the income from tourism, and here they were taking Krakatoa away.” And Krakatoa is just one case among thousands.
With more than 17,000 islands — from the jungly immensities of Borneo and Sumatra to unnamed rocks jutting out of the sea — you might think that Indonesia would not mind if a few of them went missing. But the South-East Asian nation is fighting a losing battle against black marketeers who are, literally, making off with its territory by the boat-load.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Iceland prepares for second, more devastating volcanic eruption - Times Online

The original fear was that the volcano had erupted directly underneath the Eyjafjallajokull glacier, which could have caused glacial melt, flooding and mudslides. Instead, the volcano blew inbetween Eyjafjallajokull and the larger Myrdalsjoekull glacier.
However, the danger is that the small volcano is just the beginning and that it will trigger the far more powerful volcano of Katla, which nestles beneath Myrdalsjoekull.
“That has to be on the table at the moment," Dave McGarvie, senior lecturer at the Volcano Dynamics Group of the Open University, said. “And it is a much nastier piece of work.”
Icelanders agree. "This could trigger Katla, which is a vicious volcano that could cause both local and global damage," Pall Einarsson, from the University of Iceland, said.
Tremors around Eyjafjallajokull were first recorded in early March, but precise prediction of volcanic eruption is difficult, even with the high-tech equipment available to Icelandic geologists.
Now that it has happened the only basis for prediction is history — and that does not look good.
"Eyjafjallajokull has blown three times in the past thousand years," Dr McGarvie told The Times, "in 920AD, in 1612 and between 1821 and 1823. Each time it set off Katla." The likelihood of Katla blowing could become clear "in a few weeks or a few months", he said.
Iceland is built on a volcanic rock on the Atlantic's mid-oceanic ridge and it has grown used to eruptions. The southern village of Vik, close to the current eruption, has for centuries had an escape plan in which everybody runs up to the church, which is built on high ground. They know that if Katla erupts flooding will follow.
The island's worst eruption in modern times was in 1783, when the Laki volcano blew its top. The lava shot to heights of 1.4 kilometres and more than 120 million tonnes of sulphur dioxide was released into the atmosphere.
A quarter of the island's population died in the resulting famine and it transformed the world, creating Britain's notorious "sand summer", casting a toxic cloud over Prague, playing havoc with harvests in France — sometimes seen as a contributory factor in the French Revolution — and changing the climate so dramatically that New Jersey recorded its largest snowfall and Egypt one of its most enduring droughts.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Photo Hunt: Three

The kids and Mum.

The kids and Granny

The kids and Dad

Friday, March 19, 2010

Skywatch Friday - Peaceful Sunrise over the Adelaide Hills

Peaceful Sunrise, originally uploaded by theclutterbells.
Lots of nice skies at the Skywatch Friday site.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Blue shirts and blitzkrieg? It’s just not #cricket | Ben Macintyre - Times Online

Adolf Hitler played cricket. He raised his own cricket team to play some British prisoners of war during the First World War, then declared the sport “unmanly” and tried to rewrite the laws of the game.
The Führer’s First XI sounds like a Spike Milligan joke, but this small nugget of history is true. In all the millions of words written about Hitler, his telling brush with cricket seems to have escaped the attention of historians.
The incident is referred to in John Simpson’s new book about 20th- century reporting, citing a piece in the Daily Mirror in 1930. I have the article in front of me. Sandwiched between advice on preventing mildew in chrysanthemums and an advert for Barkers’ evening cloaks, it is quite extraordinary, and extraordinarily revealing: about Hitler, the nature of cricket, and why the world’s worst tyrant and the world’s greatest game were never going to get on.
The Mirror piece was written by Oliver Locker-Lampson, an MP, decorated wartime veteran, right-wing zealot and fervent admirer of Hitler. It was published under the headline “Adolf Hitler As I Know Him” on September 30, 1930, as the Nazis’ brutal rise to power gathered pace.
In it, Locker-Lampson describes how in 1923, shortly after the Munich putsch, he met some British officers who had been prisoners of war in southern Germany during the First World War. By coincidence Hitler, then a lance corporal in the German Army, was recovering from his wounds in a nearby hospital.
“He had come to them one day and asked whether he might watch an eleven of cricket at play so as to become initiated into the mysteries of our national game,” writes Locker- Lampson. “They welcomed him, of course, and wrote out the rules for him in the best British sport-loving spirit.”
According to Locker-Lampson, Hitler returned a few days later, having assembled his own team, and challenged the British to a “friendly match”. As Simpson points out, Locker-Lampson infuriatingly failed to inform his readers who won, but we can assume that the British POWs thrashed Hitler’s XI, because he immediately declared the game insufficiently violent for German Fascists.
Hitler, it seems, had an ulterior motive for wanting to play the game: “He desired to study it as a possible medium for the training of troops off duty and in times of peace.” He also wanted the game to be Nazified.
“He had conned over [sic] the laws of cricket, which he considered good enough no doubt for pleasure-loving English people. But he proposed entirely altering them for the serious- minded Teuton.” Specifically, he “advocated the withdrawal of the use of pads. These artificial ‘bolsters’ he dismissed as unmanly and un-German . . . in the end he also recommended a bigger and harder ball.”
Locker-Lampson was not mocking Hitler. Far from it, he regarded Hitler’s “essential improvements” to the English game as a mark of his greatness. The British MP was the founder of the Sentinels of Empire, a blue-shirted group of rightwingers dedicated to fighting Bolshevism. Like many upper-class Englishmen (including Lord Rothermere, then the owner of the Mirror) he was besotted by Nazism, and the rest of the article is a dribbling paean of praise to Hitler: “The temperature of the room rises in his presence . . . He makes the humblest fellow feel twice the man.”
Locker-Lampson reported that Hitler had even devised a new motto for cricket, in German: “Ohne Hast, ohne Rast” — Unhasting, Unresting. To this starry-eyed disciple, Hitler’s determination to rewrite the rules of this most hallowed English institution was a mark, not of mad megalomania, but of his ambition and drive: “That is what makes him a legendary hero already.”
From a distance of 80 years, this forgotten incident demonstrates exactly the reverse of what Locker-Lampson intended, offering a small and unexpected window into Hitler’s brutal mentality.
Sport, in Fascist thinking, was merely a tool with which to forge good Nazis. “German sport has only one task,” declared Joseph Goebbels: “To strengthen the character of the German people, imbuing it with the fighting spirit and steadfast camaraderie necessary in the struggle for its existence.” That twisted attitude would find full expression in the Nazi Olympic Games of 1936.
Hitler, it seems clear, was simply unable to comprehend a game as subtle and nuanced as cricket. He wanted speed and violence. Not for him the gentle thwack of leather on willow, but rather the crunch of a harder, larger ball against unprotected shins. His rewritten rules for the game attempt to blend cricket and blitzkrieg: blitzkricket.
If cricket has a motto, it is probably “Play up! Play up! And play the game”, from Henry Newbolt’s poem Vitaï Lampada, which also extols cricketing manliness, but of a very different sort to that lauded by Hitler: “And it’s not for the sake of a ribboned coat, Or the selfish hope of a season’s fame . . .”
Cricket, of course, is the ultimate sporting fusion of mind and body: an intricate set of rules and tactics, involving minute gradations of physics, climate and psychology, requiring the broadest range of athletic ability and good manners. In its classic form, it takes five days, with set intervals for tea, and often produces no result. Try to imagine Hitler enjoying a truly thrilling draw, a totalitarian wrestling with the subtle uncertainties of the lbw law. The word “googly” has no translation.
The laws of cricket have evolved over time, and continue to evolve, the result of thousands of refinements and adjustments, not through the arrogant decree of one man. That, again, Hitler would have found impossible to grasp.
For anyone who loves cricket, there is something deeply satisfying in the knowledge that Hitler did not understand the game, and something disquieting in the thought that, had he won the war, we would all be playing without pads.
Sadly, the scorebook from Hitler’s first and only cricket match has not survived. We will never know how much his team lost by, where he batted in the order, and what score he made. But we can certainly speculate. His angry contempt for cricket, his attempt to invade the rules and alter them in his own image, and his inability to comprehend the complexities of the sport all point to one, inescapable conclusion: he was out for a golden duck.
Hitler has only faced one ball.
Firing squad if you are out for a duck.

The Good the Bad and the Ugly

How I felt this morning. Thanks Ivor

Good morning. How are you? Shut up!
Don’t give me the small talk, give me the big talk.
A million, million and six, oh I love that big talk!
Give me some more!
Elephants, elephants, oh I love that big talk, give me some more.
No? I hate to talk the big talk, I love to talk the small talk, alright, go ahead.
Flies, mice and spiders,
Mice, flyders and spice,
Spice, mice and flyders,
Mice, spiders and flies.
Are you finished with your small talk? Yes. Goodbye.
Good morning. How are you? Shut up!
Don’t give me the big talk, give me the small talk.
A million, million of six, oh I love that small talk!
Give me some more!
Microscopes, microscopes, oh I love that small talk, give me some more.
No? I hate to talk the small talk, I love to talk the big talk, alright, go ahead.
Cows, yaks and mammals,
Maks, yammals and cows,
Yaks, yows and cammals,
Cacks, mammals and cows.
Are you finished with your big talk? Yes. Hello!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Edward Curtis Documenter of Native Americans

This classic Curtis image was made in the heart of the Bad Lands of South Dakota. The subject is the sub-chief Red Hawk who was born 1854 and participated in his first war party in 1865 with Crazy Horse against U.S. army troops. He was a fierce warrior and ultimately engaged in 20 battles, including the Custer fight in 1876. This lyrical image is widely considered to be Curtis’ most important and beautiful Great Plains peopled landscape. The compelling composition and subject matter have helped this remain one of Curtis’ most sought after and beautiful images, nearly one hundred years after it was originally made.
My first wife's mother was from Lead, South Dakota. We went for a family reunion one year and at that time drove through the Bad Lands and the reservations. A gaunt and sad place with interesting sand structures and a desolate landscape. Some of these formations are replicated at Hallet Cove, just down the road from where I live. I have always enjoyed looking at the work of Curtis and his contemporaries and was reminded of his work browsing at the library.

How Scotsmen celebrate St Patricks Day

Groaning at lame Irish jokes.

Why do Irishmen wear two condoms? To be sure To be sure

"So, have you figured what to buy the Missus for Christmas?" asked Brady.
"I, sure have, she decided it for me," answered Paddy. "She said she wanted something with diamonds in it, so I've bought her a pack of cards." Paddy and Seamus landed themselves a job at the local sawmill. Just before morning tea Paddy yelped, "Seamus, I've lost me bleedin finger!!!"
"Have you now?" says Seamus, "And how did you do it?"
"Well, I just touched this big spinning thing here like thi...God damn it, there goes another one!!!"

Two old drunks on their way home from the pub, were stumblin up the country road in near darkness, "Seamus, I think we've stumbled into the graveyard - look, I can see a stone here that says a man lived to 105!"

"Glory be Malarki, was it anybody we knew?"

"No, twas somebody named 'Miles from Dublin'"

How is it that we know Christ was Irish?
Well, he was 33, still lived at home with his Mother, whom he thought was still a virgin and she thought he was the son of God.

How can you tell if an Irishman is having a good time?
A: He's Dublin over with laughter!!

Q: Why can't you borrow money from a leprechaun?
A: Cos they're always a little short

A man stumbles up to the only other patron in a bar and asks if he could buy him a drink.
"Why of course," comes the reply.
The first man then asks: "Where are you from?"
"I'm from Ireland," replies the second man.
The first man responds: "You don't say, I'm from Ireland too! Let's have another round to Ireland."
"Of Course," replies the second man.
Curious, the first man then asks: "Where in Ireland are you from?"
"Dublin," comes the reply.
"I can't believe it," says the first man. "I'm from Dublin too! Let's have another drink to Dublin."
"Of course," replies the second man.
Curiosity again strikes and the first man asks: "What school did you go to?"
"Saint Mary's," replies the second man. "I graduated in '65."
"This is unbelievable!," the first man says. "I went to Saint Mary's and I graduated in '65, too!"
About that time in comes one of the regulars and sits down at the bar.
"What's been going on?," he asks the bartender.
"Nothing much," replies the bartender. "The O'Malley twins are drunk again."

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Badger Badger Badger.com! The Original Dancing Badgers! No Welsh Badger Cull! Say it Aint True

A legal challenge against controversial plans to carry out a mass cull of badgers in Wales in an attempt to control bovine TB was rejected by a judge today.
The Badger Trust, supported by the rock star Brian May, had aimed to overturn an order by the Welsh assembly government for the cull to take place but a judge dismissed the charity's arguments.
May said he was disappointed but warned the battle would continue.
"This is a disappointment, of course," the Queen guitarist said. "But not just for thousands of innocent badgers. The irony is that it is ultimately a tragedy for farmers, too – the very farmers who have been pushing for badgers to be culled.

The Aussie Version of Creation

We are all creationists down under.

In the beginning God created day and night.

He created day for footy matches,

going to the beach ...

And BBQ's.

He created night for going prawning,
sleeping and BBQ's,

and God saw that it was good.

On the Second Day, God created water ...
for surfing,

and BBQ's on the beach,

and God saw that it was good.

On the Third Day God created the Earth

to bring forth plants
to provide malt and yeast for beer

and wood for BBQs,

and God saw that it was good..

On the Fourth Day God created animals

and crustaceans

chops, sausages, steak

and prawns for BBQ's,

and God saw that it was good.

On the Fifth day God created a Bloke

to go to the footy, enjoy the beach, drink the beer

and eat the meat and prawns at BBQ's,

and God saw that it was good.

On the Sixth Day God saw that the Bloke was lonely

and needed someone to go to the footy,

surf, drink beer, eat and stand around the barbie with.

So God created Mates,

and God saw that they were good Blokes,

and God saw that it was good.

On the Seventh Day

God looked around at the twinkling barbie fires,

heard the hiss of opening beer cans

and the raucous laughter of all the Blokes.

He smelled the aroma of grilled chops and sizzling prawns

and God Saw that it was good ...

Well ...

Almost good ...

He saw that the Blokes were too tired to clean up and needed a rest.

So God created Sheilas

to clean the house,

to bear children, to wash, to cook and to clean the Barbie,

and then God saw that it was not just good ...

It was better than that ...

It was Bloody Awesome!


My personal experience is that it doesn't go quite like this.

Why my German is limited to Achtung, Hande Hoche and Heil Hitler

Browsing the library this morning I came across a compendium of Commando Comics. Great memories of my youth when you knew who the good guys and the bad guys were. It is much harder for my son now with all the virtual games and adventures that he has. Back with the Commando, you could be sure that the Nazi's were nasty and the Brits were brill.

Commando For Action and Adventure, formerly known as Commando War Stories in Pictures, and colloquially known as Commando Comics, are a series of British comic books that primarily draw their themes and backdrops from the various incidents of the World Wars I and II. The comic, still in print today, is noted for its distinctive 7 x 5 1/2 inch, 68 page format that became a standard for these kinds of stories. It has remained more popular than many other British war comics, and some would say British comics in general, despite its simplistic stories and simply sketched black and white artwork, with only the covers in colour.

The stories contain certain characteristic motifs; to mention a few - courage, cowardice, patriotism, dying for the sake of one's country, noble actions, and making a cup of refreshing tea while in the face of danger, enmity turning into friendship when the going gets tough, and so on. Apart from portraying these universal qualities, Commando Comics also show soldiers in national stereotypes, glorifying Allied soldiers, but showing soldiers as a mixture of good and evil[1]. There was usually no continuity between books; each book was a complete story with start and finish, though recently series (2 or 3 stories) of books following the same character have been published.

Bring on Biggles and everything would be fixed.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Fail Bottled Water

Image117, originally uploaded by theclutterbells.

Would you drink this?

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Rewind: Bert Vance's 77-run over 0444664614106666600401 #cricket

When people are asked what is the most number of runs to come off one over, thoughts turn to Tilak Raj and Malcolm Nash, who both conceded 36, to Ravi Shastri and Garry Sobers respectively. But in February 1990, Bert Vance went for more than twice that number in what ranks as one of first-class cricket's oddest overs.

The incident took place on the final day of Wellington's Shell Trophy match against Canterbury in Christchurch. It was Wellington's last game of the season and they needed to win to ensure that they secured the title. On the final morning they declared their second innings, leaving Canterbury to chase 291 in what turned out to be 59 overs.

Canterbury lost early wickets, and as John Morrison, the former New Zealand batsman and at the time Wellington's coach, remembers, they "put the shutters up very early in a run-chase that was very feasible and we just couldn't remove them in the normal way".

Although Canterbury had looked like losing when they slumped to 108 for 8, Lee Germon and Roger Ford had stopped the rot and seemed set to hold out for a draw.

Although when the penultimate over started Canterbury were eight wickets down, Germon, their wicketkeeper and no dunce with the bat, was still in and on strike. Morrison and Erve McSweeney, Wellington's captain-wicketkeeper, hatched a plan and Bert Vance, the New Zealand batsman who was nearing the end of his career and so had no bowling figures of any note to worry about, agreed to help them.

The idea was to feed Canterbury enough runs so that they would get close enough to the target and then perhaps risk their last two wickets going for glory. They began the over on 196 for 8 with Germon 75 not out.

Vance proceeded to bowl a succession of no-balls, and of his first 17 deliveries only one - the second - was legitimate. Full-toss after full-toss was lobbed down from two or three yards down the track - "Bert overdid it somewhat," recalled Morrison - and each one was cracked to the boundary past motionless fielders.

Germon brought up his hundred off the sixth ball, and in all he took 70 off the over, including eight sixes and five fours. Ford faced two balls midway through the carnage and scored five.

The real problems, however, were off the pitch, where the bewildered scorers and scoreboard operators lost track of what was happening and at one point resorted to consulting with spectators to try to resolve the chaos. Even the umpire was left bewildered, only allowing five legitimate deliveries before calling an end to proceedings.

The situation had not been resolved when Ewan Gray bowled the final over. Unbeknown to both sides, Canterbury had moved to within 18 of victory, and another 17 from Germon off the first five balls levelled the scores.

But with the scoreboard rendered inactive as the scorers still battled to make sense of Vance's over, Ford blocked the last delivery of the match. Only when the players returned to their changing rooms did the position become clear.

"I nearly had heart failure when I learnt a little time after the game that Canterbury only needed one to win and we had Vance bowling to a very leaky field John Morrison

The arguments continued long after the match. "There was all sorts of debate discussing this outrageous situation," recalled Morrison. "Howls of protest and the like, but in the end we were not docked any points, and through a couple of other very fortuitous results we won the championship. As you can imagine I copped a fair bit of flack, but winning the championship took most of the sting out of that... I quickly went from the outhouse to the penthouse!"

But the hastily conceived plan had almost backfired. "I nearly had heart failure when I learnt a little time after the game that Canterbury only needed one to win and we had Vance bowling to a very leaky field," Morrison explained. "It was also very possible because of the confusion that he may have bowled yet another no-ball.

"I decided that the tactic, while being innovative, was definitely a once only! But it's now a noted game and lives on whereas if the conventional tactics had been used the game would have faded completely and anonymously into the past."

Much like Steve O'Shaughnessy's 35-minute hundred in 1983, Vance's over is consigned to being a footnote in the record books, although the 182-run ninth-wicket stand remains a Canterbury record.

Posted via web from poobumwee's posterous

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Why Australian Public Holidays are teh best.

There’s the Queen’s Birthday in June (which is not actually the current or any past Queen of England’s birthday), Family and Community Day in the ACT in September, Eight Hours Day in Tasmania in March, Picnic Day in the Northern Territories in August and yesterday’s Adelaide Cup Day. A day off for a horse race. I’d compare it to having a day off for the Kentucky Derby, but the Adelaide Cup isn’t that big. It’s more like having a day off for some stakes race at Pimlico.
Whatever, I’ll take it. There’s nothing better than a long weekend and the resulting short work week.
We usually even have good weather to go with the day off.

Addicted to eating. Why we are getting fat on mind altering burgers

In the US and UK in particular, were getting significantly fatter. For thousands of years, human body weight had stayed remarkably stable. Millions of calories passed through our bodies, yet with rare exceptions our weight neither rose nor fell. A perfect biological system seemed to be at work. Then, in the 80s, something changed.

Three decades ago, fewer than one Briton in 10 was obese. One in four is today. It is projected that by 2050, Britain could be a "mainly obese society". Similar, and even more pronounced, changes were taking place in the US, where researchers found that not only were Americans entering their adult years at a significantly higher weight but, while on average everyone was getting heavier, the heaviest people were gaining disproportionately more weight than others. The spread between those at the upper end of the weight curve and those at the lower end was widening. Overweight people were becoming more overweight.

What had happened to add so many millions of pounds to so many millions of people? Certainly food had become more readily available, with larger portion sizes, more chain restaurants and a culture that promotes out-of-home eating. But having food available doesn't mean we have to eat it. What has been driving us to overeat?

It is certainly not a want born of fear of food shortages. Nor is it a want rooted in hunger or the love of exceptional food. We know, too, that overeating is not the sole province of those who are overweight. Even people who remain slim often feel embattled by their drive for food. It takes serious restraint to resist an almost overpowering urge to eat. Yet many, including doctors and healthcare professionals, still think that weight gainers merely lack willpower, or perhaps self-esteem. Few have recognised the distinctive pattern of overeating that has become widespread in the population. No one has seen loss of control as its most defining characteristic.

"Higher sugar, fat and salt make you want to eat more." I had read this in scientific literature, and heard it in conversations with neuroscientists and psychologists. But here was a leading food designer, a Henry Ford of mass-produced food, revealing how his industry operates. To protect his business, he did not want to be identified, but he was remarkably candid, explaining how the food industry creates dishes to hit what he called the "three points of the compass".

Sugar, fat and salt make a food compelling. They stimulate neurons, cells that trigger the brain's reward system and release dopamine, a chemical that motivates our behaviour and makes us want to eat more. Many of us have what's called a "bliss point", at which we get the greatest pleasure from sugar, fat or salt. Combined in the right way, they make a product indulgent, high in "hedonic value".

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Friday, March 12, 2010

Photo Hunt: Spiral

Image120, originally uploaded by theclutterbells.

A South Australian Thistle with a spiral pattern.

YouTube Closes Down For The Night

Godzilla Haiku

High Court victory gives Pink Floyd right to block EMI on singles sales | The Australian

EMI has suffered strained relations with its artists since it was bought in 2007 by Terra Firma, the private equity group run by Guy Hands. Sir Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones and Radiohead have all quit since the takeover.

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* GALLERY: Classic Albums

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Pink Floyd have sold more than 200 million albums during their career and have been one of the company's most lucrative acts.

Sir Andrew Morritt, Chancellor of the United Kingdom’s High Court, accepted the group's arguments that EMI was bound by a contract stipulating that written consent was necessary for the sale of its material as anything other than complete albums.

The dispute centred on a line in the contract stating, "there are no rights to sell any or all of the records as single records, other than with (Pink Floyd's) permission".

EMI claimed that this applied only to physical copies of songs, but the band argued successfully that it also applied to songs sold online.

The judge said the purpose of a clause in the contract was to "preserve the artistic integrity of the albums".

However, Pink Floyd's music will continue to be sold as singles until other disputes between the band and EMI are resolved.

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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Skywatch Friday

Days Road Park, originally uploaded by theclutterbells.

Ryan at the recently refurbished Days Road Park, with a typical Aussie blue sky and trees.

Have a nice weekend.

More nice skies at Skywatch Friday

Devil has infiltrated Vatican, says chief exorcist - Wish I could use this excuse when things go wrong.

Sex abuse scandals in the Roman Catholic Church are proof that that "the Devil is at work inside the Vatican", according to the Holy See's chief exorcist.
Father Gabriele Amorth, 85, has been the Vatican's chief exorcist for 25 years and says he has dealt with 70,000 cases of demonic possession, The Times of London reported.
He said that the consequences of satanic infiltration included power struggles at the Vatican as well as "cardinals who do not believe in Jesus, and bishops who are linked to the Demon".
"When one speaks of 'the smoke of Satan' (a phrase coined by Pope Paul VI in 1972) in the holy rooms, it is all true – including these latest stories of violence and paedophilia," he said.
He claimed that another example of satanic behaviour was the Vatican "cover-up" over the deaths in 1998 of Alois Estermann, the then commander of the Swiss Guard, his wife and Corporal Cedric Tornay, a Swiss Guard, who were all found shot dead.
"They covered up everything immediately," he said. "Here one sees the rot".
Father Amorth, who has just published Memoirs of an Exorcist, a series of interviews with the Vatican journalist Marco Tosatti, said that the attempt on the life of Pope John Paul II in 1981 had been the work of the Devil.
And an incident last Christmas when a mentally disturbed woman threw herself at Pope Benedict XVI at the start of Midnight Mass, pulling him to the ground, was also cited.
Father Amorth told La Repubblica that the devil was "pure spirit, invisible. But he manifests himself with blasphemies and afflictions in the person he possesses."
"He can remain hidden, or speak in different languages, transform himself or appear to be agreeable. At times he makes fun of me," he explained.
He said it sometimes took six or seven of his assistants to to hold down a possessed person.
Those possessed often yelled and screamed and spat out nails or pieces of glass, which he kept in a bag.
"Anything can come out of their mouths – finger-length pieces of iron, but also rose petals," he said.
He said that hoped every diocese would eventually have a resident exorcist.


I wonder if the jobs will be advertised online?

Catch him if you can — Rico Suave, the thief who was a hit at Oscars - Times Online

To the Los Angeles Police Department he is known simply as “Rico Suave”.

A smooth-talking charmer with dark hair, thick glasses and an immaculate wardrobe, Rico is a high-society swindler, able to talk himself into — and out of — just about any situation.

But the audacity of his latest heist has left even veteran detectives with their jaws on the floor: less than 48 hours before Sunday night’s Academy Awards, with the police out in force, bodyguards at every turn and the CIA said to be on high alert for a terrorist attack, Rico walked into the swankiest hotel in Beverly Hills, talked his way into the suite of a billionaire guest, and left with at least $45,000 (£30,000) worth of jewellery.

He has been pulling off such robberies since last summer, investigators believe, with his total haul now almost certainly beyond six figures.

The Four Seasons theft suggests that Rico is becoming ever more ambitious. Celebrities who were either in the five-star hotel over the weekend or had recently been there for Oscars events included the British actors Jason Statham and Vinnie Jones, as well as Morgan Freeman, Robert Duvall, Adrien Brody and the American Idol host Ryan Seacrest.

“He has all the making of that rare breed of sophisticated cat burglar,” Lieutenant Paul Vernon, of the LAPD, told the Los Angeles Times. He added that the culprit “sounds very similar, based on physical appearance and MO, to the same guy we have been trying to find since October”, but that until the hotel’s CCTV footage has been analysed, “we won’t be able to tell for sure”.

Key to Rico’s success, investigators say, is his fluency in Spanish and his ability to dress the part. To pull off the Four Seasons job, it is thought that he dressed in the dark suit of a hotel superviser and befriended his victim, the Cuban-born sugar baron José “Pepe” Fanjul, by making small talk with the billionaire and his wife in the lift.

Later that night, he showed up at the couple’s suite and told them that he needed to fix an air-conditioning vent. After he left they realised that their valuables had gone missing.

Having viewed CCTV footage from other robberies throughout Los Angeles since last August, detectives are convinced that Rico — tall and thin, and always in disguise — is the sole culprit.

In the first incident he pretended to be a member of a salsa band playing at the Greek Theatre in Griffith Park, near Hollywood. With slicked-back hair and musician’s outfit, he convinced the front desk staff at the Wilshire Grand hotel to give him the key to the band’s room. Minutes later he walked out with $9,000 in cash — after stopping at the front desk to hand out a copy of the band’s latest CD.

He had stolen that, too.

Weeks later Rico struck again at the nearby Marriott hotel, this time preying on the Mexican football team Chivas de Guadalajara. Wearing club regalia, he was filmed by security cameras hugging some of the players before asking the front desk for access to the team’s suite. As before, he was in and out in just a few minutes, this time netting a useful $10,000.

Detectives concede that the crimes they know about might only be the tip of the iceberg. It is now thought that Rico — who shares his debonair nickname with that of a Hannah Montana character and a Puerto Rican wrestler — has used his cunning to target several other Los Angeles hotels as well as the Staples Centre, home of the Lakers and Clippers basketball teams.

In the latter incident, which took place last October, a man in a designer suit with a clipboard in his hand and credentials attached to his pocket was seen wandering through the locker rooms of the Staples Centre while Israel’s Maccabi Electra basketball team were playing the LA Clippers.

The man was Rico — of that, detectives are sure. He came tantalisingly close to being caught, with security staff at one point throwing him out for having a bogus ticket. But he talked his way back in, and by the end of the night the Tel Aviv team had been relieved of $26,000 in cash and valuables.

Investigators suspect that the conman might be using Spanish-language news outlets to track his victims when they arrive in Los Angeles.

As for accomplices, the police say that there are probably none.

“The suspect appears to work alone,” Lieutenant Vernon said.

Smooth operators

• Juan Carlos Guzmán-Betancourt, a Colombian conman, stole £150,000 in jewellery, cash and luxury items from top British hotels by pretending to be a guest who had lost his key. By the time he was caught last year, he was wanted in Britain, Canada, Colombia, Mexico, Venezuela, Russia, Thailand and Japan

• Jody Harris, an Australian, told victims that she was a doctor, mobster’s niece or businesswoman, then stole their identities. During a year on the run, Harris taunted police in phone calls while spending stolen money on diamonds and a pedigree poodle. She was charged in 2008 with identity fraud and jailed for four years

• A teenager became known as the “Barefoot Bandit” after an 18-month burglary spree on the idyllic islands of Washington state, when he lived in unoccupied houses and evaded police, then began stealing aircraft. Colton Harris-Moore, 18, took at least three planes from rural airports in 2009 and crash-landed them. Fans began wearing T-shirts with his face printed on them. He is still at large

• The 2002 film Catch Me if You Can, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, is based on the real-life story of Frank Abagnale Jr, who made millions of dollars as a conman in the 1960s starting at the age of 16 by posing as a pilot, doctor or lawyer in 12 countries. After five years in jail, he earned millions through a legitimate business as a security consultant and advising the FBI

Source: Times archives

Oceans 1

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Panda Poo Fertiliser set for sale in South Australia - How Excrement!

Adelaide's giant pandas Wang Wang and Funi, do giant poos. But surely it's a stretch to describe the dung as "famous for its fragrant aroma".

But stretch it marketers have, in announcing the panda poo is for sale - as a premium compost.

The poo of Adelaide Zoo's pandas, Wang Wang and Funi, is being combined with dung from other zoo animals and being packaged for sale.

Panda Poo and Friends was today described by the zoo as a great all-round soil enricher - and, of course, "famous for its fragrant aroma and undigested appearance".

"The benefit of using Panda Poo and Friends is that you get a combination of manures, thereby increasing the organic nutrient content," Zoos SA horticulturist Jeff Lugg said in a statement.

The dung combination will be available in almost 200 outlets across South Australia, selling at $8.95 for a 25-litre bag.

Zoos SA chief executive officer Chris West said many would find the idea of selling panda poo humorous.

But he said sale proceeds would go towards funding conservation efforts, supporting international giant panda breeding programs and growing special bamboo varieties to feed Wang Wang and Funi - the only giant pandas in the southern hemisphere and the first to live permanently in Australia.

From here.

Haven't been to see our new tourist attraction yet. Some day. Cheaper to buy some poo perhaps?

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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

And Now For Something Completely Trivial and Unimportant (Bullshit)

Breaking News: Some Bullshit Happening Somewhere

Excellent. So true.

You could link this with Charlie Brookers Excellent piece on BBC News Stories. (search on google)

OJ Simpson goes to hell

One day in the future, OJ Simpson has a heart-attack and dies. He
immediately goes to
hell, where the devil is waiting for him.
'I don't know what to do here,' says the devil.
'You are on my list, but I have no room for you.
You definitely have to stay here, so I'll tell you what I'm going to
do. I've got a couple of
folks here who weren't quite as bad as you. I'll let one of them go,
but you have to take
their place. I'll even let YOU decide who leaves.'
OJ thought that sounded pretty good, so the devil opened the door to
the first room.
In it was Ted Kennedy and a large pool of water. Ted kept diving in,
and surfacing, empty
handed. Over, and over, and over he dove in and surfaced with nothing.
Such was his fate
in hell.
'No,' OJ said. 'I don't think so. I'm not a good swimmer, and I don't
think I could do that all
day long.'
The devil led him to the door of the next room. In it was Al Gore with
a sledgehammer and
a room full of rocks. All he did was swing that hammer, time after
time after time.
'No, this is no good; I've got this problem with my shoulder. I would
be in constant agony if
all I could do was break rocks all day,' commented OJ.
The devil opened a third door. Through it, OJ saw Bill Clinton, lying
on the bed, his arms
tied over his head, and his legs restrained in a spread-eagle pose.
Bent over him was
Monica Lewinsky, doing what she does best.
OJ looked at this in shocked disbelief, and finally said, 'Yeah man, I
can handle this.'
The devil smiled and said...
'OK, Monica, you're free to go.'

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Monday, March 08, 2010

How food and water are driving a 21st-century African land grab | Environment | The Observer

Ethiopia is one of the hungriest countries in the world with more than 13 million people needing food aid, but paradoxically the government is offering at least 3m hectares of its most fertile land to rich countries and some of the world's most wealthy individuals to export food for their own populations.
Ethiopia is only one of 20 or more African countries where land is being bought or leased for intensive agriculture on an immense scale in what may be the greatest change of ownership since the colonial era.

An Observer investigation estimates that up to 50m hectares of land – an area more than double the size of the UK – has been acquired in the last few years or is in the process of being negotiated by governments and wealthy investors working with state subsidies. The data used was collected by Grain, the International Institute for Environment and Development, the International Land Coalition, ActionAid and other non-governmental groups.

The land rush, which is still accelerating, has been triggered by the worldwide food shortages which followed the sharp oil price rises in 2008, growing water shortages and the European Union's insistence that 10% of all transport fuel must come from plant-based biofuels by 2015.

In many areas the deals have led to evictions, civil unrest and complaints of "land grabbing".Ethiopia is only one of 20 or more African countries where land is being bought or leased for intensive agriculture on an immense scale in what may be the greatest change of ownership since the colonial era.

An Observer investigation estimates that up to 50m hectares of land – an area more than double the size of the UK – has been acquired in the last few years or is in the process of being negotiated by governments and wealthy investors working with state subsidies. The data used was collected by Grain, the International Institute for Environment and Development, the International Land Coalition, ActionAid and other non-governmental groups.

The land rush, which is still accelerating, has been triggered by the worldwide food shortages which followed the sharp oil price rises in 2008, growing water shortages and the European Union's insistence that 10% of all transport fuel must come from plant-based biofuels by 2015.

In many areas the deals have led to evictions, civil unrest and complaints of "land grabbing".

Something very wrong here. No question that this is the precursor to the wars of the future over water rights and food supply.

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Humans driving extinction faster than species can evolve, say experts | Environment | guardian.co.uk

For the first time since the dinosaurs disappeared, humans are driving animals and plants to extinction faster than new species can evolve, one of the world's experts on biodiversity has warned.

Conservation experts have already signalled that the world is in the grip of the "sixth great extinction" of species, driven by the destruction of natural habitats, hunting, the spread of alien predators and disease, and climate change.

However until recently it has been hoped that the rate at which new species were evolving could keep pace with the loss of diversity of life.

Speaking in advance of two reports next week on the state of wildlife in Britain and Europe, Simon Stuart, chair of the Species Survival Commission for the International Union for the Conservation of Nature – the body which officially declares species threatened and extinct – said that point had now "almost certainly" been crossed.

"Measuring the rate at which new species evolve is difficult, but there's no question that the current extinction rates are faster than that; I think it's inevitable," said Stuart.

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Sunday, March 07, 2010

BBC News - Kilted skiers set CairnGorm 'world record' for kilts on the piste

The Cairngorms are bloody freezing at the best of times. I learned to ski there in the days of lace up boots and wooden skis. Bloody miserable I was.
I wonder if they were True Scots? And did they get piste after?

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BBC News Body Language Unplugged and Dissected

Classic! I hardly see BBC News, but it all looks very familiar. Good work from John Dee.
This began for me as a strange tic, something I noticed occasionally and that was all, but in the last six months it has become a real irritant. I’m talking about the weird body-behavior of BBC TV news presenters.
I think it may have started with the idea that the presenter should stand up to read the opening headlines to the ten o’clock news. Presumably it was felt this would be more commanding, would give authority to the bulletin
Next came the animation phase, starting with a gentle wave of the script during the standing period, a sort of faux emphasis. Fiona Bruce was an early advocate of this.
We then had the hold a pen and look business-like phase, which in the age of the keyboard-and-mouse era always struck me as odd.
Another one was the look down at the papers glance - done so quickly they can’t possibly find the word they are ‘looking’ for. It also seems to make them look strangely shifty.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Azerbaijan president's son, 12, 'buys £30m worth of luxury Dubai property' - Telegraph

Heydar’s name and his date of birth appeared on Dubai Land Department records, which were obtained by the paper.

The details listed on the property records were the same as those of the son of the former Soviet Republic’s president, whose annual salary is about £150,000 ($228,000).

The purchases are about the equivalent to 10,000 years' worth of salary for the average citizen of the country.

Industry sources with knowledge of the transactions told the paper the purchases were made by a buyer representing Azerbaijan's ruling family, with the properties paid for “upfront”.

It remains unclear whether the boy was given the property as a gift or how he could have bought into the development, after officials in Baku, the country’s capital, refused to comment on the claims.

Corruption???? Surely not

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Photo Hunt: Foreign

Scottish Bar Wench, originally uploaded by theclutterbells.

I have been a foreigner for over 25 years, having lived in the USA, the Philippines, Nepal, Singapore and now Australia.

Being Scottish, it is easy to live up to the preconceptions.

Friday, March 05, 2010

My Good Man Jacob meets the Windsors

It was all polite smiles and meticulous protocol as Jacob Zuma met the Queen yesterday afternoon. But just hours before he left for his state visit to Britain, South Africa’s flamboyant President revealed what he really thought of his hosts.
In an astonishing interview given shortly before he boarded his flight to London, Mr Zuma launched a scathing attack on the British, accusing them of being cultural imperialists with colonial attitudes who still viewed Africans as “barbaric”.
“When the British came to our country they said everything we did was barbaric, was wrong, inferior in whatever way,” he told The Independent’s sister group of newspapers in South Africa. “Bear in mind that I’m a freedom fighter and I fought to free myself, and also for my culture to be respected. And I don’t know why they are continuing thinking that their culture is more superior than others, those who might have said so.”
The catalyst for Mr Zuma’s remarkable outburst was criticism from a number of British columnists who questioned the President’s polygamy, a common and accepted practice among South Africa’s Zulus…
However, at a state banquet last night, Mr Zuma praised the help Britain had given South Africa in its transition to a new democratic government. “We cannot forget the extraordinary role they [the British people] played at the forefront of a global movement for a free South Africa, as the global anti-apartheid movement has its roots in this country.”
His comments in the interview threatened to overshadow what was supposed to be a three-day visit to strengthen ties between Britain and South Africa. Gordon Brown stood alongside the Queen to greet Mr Zuma and the two leaders will hold talks today…
For his opening meeting with the Queen and Prince Philip on Horse Guards Parade, Mr Zuma wore a long coat and black suit to protect him from the March chill. In South Africa, the 67-year-old often greets dignitaries wearing the traditional Zulu dress of leopard skin loincloth and shield. Mr Zuma’s Zulu heritage may also have provided the impetus behind the Queen’s gift to him of a mounted bronze stag and a book entitled Hunting And Stalking Deer. A representative from Mr Zuma’s office, however, admitted he had no knowledge of the President being interested in hunting.
Mr Zuma’s gift to the Queen was a sculpted chess set depicting traditional Zulu warriors – although he soon discovered that a similar present had been given to the Duke of Edinburgh by his predecessor Nelson Mandela years earlier. Noticing the hand-painted ceramic set on display in the Palace Picture Gallery, a slightly crestfallen Mr Zuma remarked: “Oh, that’s another set.”
- The Independent
Okay, so I couldn’t resist it either…
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CHURCH of England vicars will bless gay couples as long as they are allowed to quote Bible passages about them being abominations who must be put to death.
As the House of Lords voted to allow same-sex church ceremonies, vicars said they would extend a 'warm Christian welcome to the evil doers and their perverted bedtime acrobatics'.

Rev Denys Hatton, vicar of St Gary's in Folkham, said: "I am more than happy to perform a gay blessing as long as I am allowed to pick the reading. And since you ask, I would kick things off with a spot of Corinthians, where St Paul makes it abundantly clear that homosexuals are 'unrighteous'.

"Then I'd crank it up with a quote from Romans where St Paul describes them as 'degrading', 'depraved' and 'indecent'."

He added: "There is a misconception that the New Testament is all sweetness and light and that Jesus loved everyone. But what he actually said was 'follow the Old Testament, but don't have a go at prostitutes because some of them are friends of mine'."

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The Human Body as a Subway Map - information aesthetics

Robert Mugabe gives David Cameron election backing - Telegraph

Just the sort of poisoned chalice endorsement you would covet?

The Zimbabwe president said his country would have better relations with London if the Conservatives got in.

"We have always related better with the British through the Conservatives than Labour," he said. "We have a better chance with David Cameron than with Brown.

"Conservatives are bold, Blair and Brown run away when they see me, but not these fools, they know how to relate to others."

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Thursday, March 04, 2010

Skywatch Friday

A sunrise from last winter.

More nice sky pictures at Skywatch Friday

Labour veteran Michael Foot, less popular than Broon, dies - Times Online

The death of Michael Foot yesterday caused a brief cessation in pre-election hostilities as politics paid tribute to a life so sharply at odds with the spin-dried and airbrushed posturing of the modern era.

His leadership of Labour will for ever be associated with the division and discord of the early 1980s — not to mention the “donkey jacket” he famously once wore at the Cenotaph — that culminated with the party’s worst performance in a post-war general election.

Such a picture, however, belies the genuine warmth and admiration felt across all parties towards this idealistic, unashamedly intellectual and even romantic figure, who died at home in Hampstead at the age of 96.

Gordon Brown said: “Whether people agreed with him or not, they admired his character and his steadfastness. The respect he earned over a long life of service means that across our country today people, no matter their political views, will mourn the passing of a great and compassionate man.”

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Monday, March 01, 2010

Canada only moderately excited by Hockey Gold

BBC News - Naked photo at Sydney Opera House highlights openness

More than 5,000 men and women shed their clothing - people of all ages, shapes and sizes, who were undeterred by the chilly pre-dawn weather on this, the first morning of the southern autumn.

Mr Tunick, famed for his snapshots of mass nudity in public spaces, had been commissioned by the organisers of Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, which took place over the weekend.

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