More things to remember to blog later

Unexpected ukrainian beach holidays Mikey's ukrainian friends = hot Ukrainian Extreme Eating, the national pastime. Stalinist highway monuments How to entertain a 7 year old in the absence of a common language Writing HTML using predictive text on a phone sucks
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I'm back, baby

The great photo-selection process has begun! I took 338 photos, but I'm uploading only a selection of them, in reasonably coherent sets. So far I've done a roughly 9-photos-per-day timeline, a set of the people I met (rather incomplete, I'm rubbish at asking to take photos of people) and a glimpse's at Mikey's amazing lifestyle in Ukraine. I had a great time! More photos and much bloggage to follow.
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More photos

Some extensive transcription of anablogs1 is going on in the background. In the meantime, you can have my look at marketing in Ukraine and a somewhat expensive collection of pretty buildings and statues with trivia, the latter probably being only of interest to the bored and/or terminally geeky (so most of you, really). [1] Notes made offline. Different from a traditional journal or diary in that they are intended for electronic publishing to an audience in the near future.
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Snakes on a Plane: the merchandising

Stop press! Snakes on a Plane, officially the greatest viral movie meme ever, is already attracting unofficial attempts at commercialization in the form of Cobras in the Cockpit, a board game "based on a fictional movie" (i.e. "don't sue us") where you play the snakes. And the meme rolls on! Hat-tip to Karinski for the link.
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Snakes on a Music Video

You've seen the trailer (brought to you exclusively by Yahoo!, natch). Now see the music video. Featuring an actual, original song, actually about snakes, actually about those snakes being on a plane, actually made for the movie. It even features a Samuel L Jackson cameo, which obviously instantly doubles the quality of the entire video. There is no end to this meme.
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I steal music

I steal music all the time. This is wrong, because stealing is wrong. I also believe that artists should be fairly compensated for their work. However, I believe that paying money to record companies is probably the worst way of doing this. Record companies are a technological anachronism. They date from the time when recording equipment was expensive, and music distribution involved an awful lots of physical pressing and shipping and packing and selling. None of this is true anymore. A relatively small amount of money will get you a kick-ass home recording studio. If you can't afford one, you can rent some time in one, and it won't cost very much either. Distributing the music -- either for free or at cost -- is ludicrously easy; just put it on the Internet and set up a PayPal account. Nobody needs a record company to do this. What record companies should be making their money from is selling studio time, and selling specialist consultancy services in specialist areas like producing,...
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Use the Beta, Luke

I don't often use this blog to plug my employer's products, and I've certainly never used this blog to promote a Microsoft product before. But as this has a lot of personal utility to me, I'll make an exception. Yesterday MS and Yahoo! announced the beginning of interoperability between Yahoo! Instant Messenger and MSN Messenger (recently renamed Windows Live Messenger). Users of either client are now able to add users from the other network and chat to them just as they would anybody else. This is huge for me personally, because I'm on Y!IM all day, and never on MSN anymore -- but most of you guys are on MSN. So if you're an MSN user, get the beta and then I can start talking to you (or you can try Y!IM instead, but fewer of you will care about that). You don't have to add my Y!IM id or anything -- it'll just work.
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Pirates vs. Superman: a double review

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest was actually rather disappointing. There were a few good bits, but they were floating like tasty bits of meat in what was otherwise a thin soup of a movie. Also, if you are actually from the Caribbean, the sheer insensitive ignorance of a lot of the portrayals is very grating: there are no waterwheels on desert fucking islands, the architecture was all wrong, as were all but one of the accents, and most gratingly there are no cannibals in the Caribbean. This is not because nobody ever reported it, it's because there were almost no people in the Caribbean when Europeans arrived, and certainly by the time the East India Company was around all the natives had been killed off by a combination of (chiefly) venereal disease and good-old-fashioned genocide. However, the perfect antidote to that disappointment was the sheer joy that was Superman Returns. If you've not seen it yet, I've not included any plot spoilers in the below, but I advise you to go in with no...
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FFS

I give up on this shit.
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This is why I shouldn't read books about genetics

Our genes determine our ability to absorb experience; our experiences activate genes in different sequences and for differing lengths of time, altering our form further. Where’s the free will? Studies of brain activity show that our actions occur a few milliseconds before the cognitive centres light up and produce a reason for our actions. Are we really conscious at all? Are our lives just the emergent behaviour of the interactions of our genes with our environment? Is our free will an illusion, no more free than a drop of water is free to choose the random path it takes down a windshield—unpredictable, but with an inevitable result?
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Bring the pain

It was my roughly annual dentist trip today, to yet another new dentist. Last November's visit produced 3 fillings, all three of which have apparently been botched (Grrr! This only reinforces my belief that an online rating system for dentists is essential), and now host thriving little colonies of subsurface bacteria who by this point have probably already gained tool use and may well be on their way to developing music and art. Their thriving culture is going to be cut short, but they are not the main event: they're not what has my dentist seeing little dollar signs every time I open my mouth. My most broken tooth, and my dentist's Christmas shopping money, is the result of a root canal in October 2002 (or so my blog informs me, how useful to have one's life so comprehensively documented). Being more filling than tooth, it was always pretty weak, and about 3 weeks ago it broke off completely, leaving a great big hole. I described this to my dentist, who initally assumed I was exaggerating and said...
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Friday

Don't you hate the way your brain is fried at the end of the week, so just when you've suddenly got the time to kick back and chat to somebody, your brain is too tired to come up with anything interesting to say? All week long my mind has been buzzing with thoughts of genetics and evolutionary psychology and now I can't fucking think of anything. Oh, wait. Yes I can.
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This Week In Tech

So about a month ago, Mikey, M and I made a little agreement: every week, we would post a little blog about what had happened that week in our particular areas of expertise: his Ukrainian politics, M's British politics, mine IT -- or rather, since IT is a pretty gigantic field, the web specifically. We've all been rather rubbish at actually following through on this, but here is my attempt -- it's quick and bitty, to match your appalling attention span. IE7: for me In case you've not heard, Microsoft is bringing out Internet Explorer 7. This is big news if you're a web developer for two reasons: the first is that IE7 fixes a lot of the worst bugs of IE6 -- meaning the scope of things you will be able to develop reliably across the two major browsers (Firefox is running at 20% market share across Europe, 40% in Germany) will suddenly be a lot bigger, which is a great news. The second reason is that it will break every web page that currently uses Flash -- which is an awful lot of pages -- in a...
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