2 September, 2003
Slow day at work today; my boss is demoing some software I've written, so I can't work on it until...
Slow day at work today; my boss is demoing some software I've written, so I can't work on it until he gets back to me. Time for a blog backlog! My backlogs at the moment are a bit split, since I'm surfing from home and work and have different bookmarks at these places. Incidentally, I have an idea for a nifty solution to that problem, which I'm going to code sometime real soon, any day now, once I've finished coding everything else in the world...
- Villain Supply.Com for all your evil genius needs. Shop in categories like "Lairs and bases" (Skull Island, Al Qaeda Caves going cheap), "Traps and Torture" (Insta-Fall™ trap doors, Bottomless Pit), and "Doomsday Devices" (Black Hole, PlanetBuster subterranean missile already sold to Dr. Evil). Genius site, amusingly written.
- The new Diamond Age examines the recently emerging technology of mass-produced, high-quality artificial diamonds, and the massive effects this will have on society at large, not just De Beers. Diamonds are an extremely efficient semiconductor and could revolutionize the microchip industry. Fascinating descriptions of how the diamonds are made, and De Beers' more than slightly sinister efforts to shut them down.
- UK unemployment is at a 28-year low, despite a crappy American economy. This is mainly due to massive expansion in government jobs, like teachers and doctors. No break for IT workers yet.
- A list of radio station frequencies in the UK is one of the many surprisingly useful lists available in SmartOnline's free reference section. Good free things rule.
- The hottest form of life on earth is Strain 121, a microbe living near deep-sea thermal vents under high pressures, at temperatures of up to 121 degrees. Wicked cool, genetically engineer that capability into me in time for next summer.
- Shakespeare's R+J is a new version of Romeo and Juliet, set in a public school and acted by a four-person, all-male cast. Homoeroticism ahoy! Somebody buy me tickets.
- Doctors have secret slang for describing patients' conditions without letting the patients know, such as GLM (Good Looking Mum, see also MILF), TEETH (Tried Everything Else, Try Homeopathy), PFO (Pissed, Fell Over) and UBI (Unexplained Beer Injury).
- Russia is planning to build nuclear power station on Mars. And Mars needs a power plant why, exactly?
- I've been listening to Classic FM a lot at work, so I'm hoping the Mozart effect is real, though it seems unlikely that listening to piano concertos could make you smarter.
- China is being attacked by Giant Gerbils, leading to scores of B-movie inspired headlines. It says something that these gerbils have managed to wreck an area of land in China about the size of Switzerland, but nobody noticed for ages. Yes, indeed, it says that China is big, which I think is a revelation to us all.
- I like to think that everything I say is fair and balanced, but apparently Fox does not like me to do so. Nuts.
- The NYC blackout as indicated by network failures. Even after 9/11, way too much of the net flows through NYC.
- If you need a cool desktop wallpaper, the standard is Digital Blasphemy.
- Ever wondered why your snooze alarm is 9 minutes long? (Or did you not notice?)
- Britain has, in typical fashion, replaced its-not-very-good, not-very-memorable 192 directory enquiries service with a range of even less memorable six-digit numbers. These are very confusing, but you can sort them out at New Directory Enquiries.Com. There are more of these numbers than you'd think.
- Jesus Christ this is a scary story. Somebody straps a bomb to your chest and then sends you out to rob a bank? Look for the made-for-TV movie in December, of course.
- Check out these cute Japanese wristwatches. Almost nice enough to make me want an analog watch, or at least to repair the strap on my current watch, which I have consequently not worn for months...
- The Federal Vampire and Zombia Agency is a good example of a poor joke taken waaaaaaaaaay too far, although vampire biology is quite clever.
- The school principal who blew £500,000 using the school's BarclayCard has been sent to jail for five years. But hey, she got to live it up until then.
- Today I learned what the SysRq key does. On Linux, it's apparently really useful.
- MIT offers online university courses for free, some of them very good indeed.
- The iRider browser is surprisingly innovative (if not actually as good as FireBird). And I thought browsers were a mature product.
- The guy who chooses the background music on the weather channel has fans.
- Soon you will be able to sign for stuff online using your mouse. Apparently it's just as hard if not harder to duplicate as a real signature, and the software that recognizes it is 99% accurate.
- An interesting throwaway remark about the Blaster.B virus variant is that the original MS Blaster was reverse-engineered from the patch. So if Microsoft hadn't tried to fix the hole in the first place, it would never have been exploited. Makes you think, huh?
- Xtina likes how Madge kisses, pretends not to be pissed off that most papers only ran the Britney kiss.
- TicketMaster has decided to auction concert tickets itself. People are complaining about this and yes, it means the richest fans will go, not the most dedicated ones. But I support giving artists money, and since selling CDs is a doomed business model and the tickets sell for $1000 on eBay anyway, why shouldn't the artist get that money instead of the scalper? This just makes sense to me. Of course, I almost never go to concerts and I think them overpriced at their current prices, so I could be biased.
- And finally, for your daily dose of surreality, the world's fluffiest rabbits. This is less cute, more disturbing, IMHO. (via meg)
Whoa, that was pretty hefty. But it filled up my work-less afternoon quite nicely...