Wednesday, 30 June 2010
lowly mosquito, girded to be made a little mad. Apparently, and I think later in the vacation season, the shores turn into a stew of exhausted ladybugs, but I don't know what the tiny wildlife has in store besides this spectacle. Mosquitos have a brief and dreary existence, mostly in the form of nymphs in stagnant water. In there adult stage, and here's a fun fact: only the females bite but only the males buzz, so I guess one need not worry about swatting when there is the microscopic bleating of an insect, only when there's not. Further, the female mosquito only sucks blood not for herself but to nourish her eggs. As adults, mosquitos do not even have proper digestive systems, only having emerged from the swamps to reproduce. Considering malaria and all the other ills visited on humans by flying pests, it seems like a lot of unnecessary sound and fury. And though the peddlers of insecticides would argue, I'm sure, it seems that the geraniums on our balcony make a pretty effective chemical barrier against unwanted carousing.
Tuesday, 29 June 2010
bust of a Russian espionage ring by the FBI, using technology of all things but probably not James Bond Q gadgetry, still reverberating, I recall a very matter-of-fact expose on the corporate spy situation in Germany. Though the actual particpants seem right now to be fairly pedestrian, the whole idea of pervasive spying, escalation of operatives sounds very romantic, to have a secret existence just beneath the surface, Mati Hari and swinging sixties and Spy versus Spy. I wonder about the neighbors in the Little Odessa compound across the street and what trade secrets they could be trafficking out of Bad Karma. The US bust probably was wanting for better timing since Obama had just shared his Bush-Putin moment with Dmitry Medvedev in a DC burger joint, and apparently the Russian spies employed such dastardly techniques as invisible ink and the US post office. Sometimes, though this is an awful thing to let one's mind wander about during a classic movie, I imagine how short, brutish and uninteresting vintage mysteries would be cellular phones or *69. Mystery solved, oh that was exhausting, what's next? Maybe the Russians kept ahead of US intelligence for all these years because no one who stoop so low to cobble shredded documents back together or deem anything not electronic worthy of serious investigation. I remember writing secret messages with lemon juice and then magically revealing it by holding the paper over a toaster. Maybe spying will return to martinis and Aston-Martins after all.
Monday, 28 June 2010
Undead. In the past, it seemed as if these crazes had their crests, came and went--vampires were enduring and were never quite replaced by werewolves in the eighties, despite best efforts by Michael Jackson and Michael J Fox--though I can recall being Teen Wolf one Halloween. But now, the occurance of vampires is rare or localized, even if the fear or the superstition never was--its as if we've turned into a worldwide population of medieval Slav peasants and malingerers. Now zombies and their ilk are whole demographics, an underclass, prone to to stereotypes and this strange, new-fangled type of eugenics and confusing theology. Years ago, I had a colleague who was a tightly bound bundle of peculiarities--she was harmless though, except for her rather bullish demeanor, which was not doting like Hera's, but more like the Minotaur and some obtuse and stubborn things that she did usually invited those secret comments. I felt bad but I called her a Minotard once and that unfortuneately stuck with the poor girl. I wonder how she is doing these days and whether she's a vicarious mythological beast or a creature of the night.
Sunday, 27 June 2010
Saturday, 26 June 2010
Thursday, 24 June 2010
Wednesday, 23 June 2010
internet protocol czars of America are trying to make up for lost territory through licensing agreements and service contracts with aspirations of becoming the world cyber-police. Some really unbelievable things are happening as privacy and neutrality are being chipped away, repackaged and sold back at a premium. Like speculation with gold and currency markets, piracy-assessors apparently have calculated out the retail value lost to an uninspired modern single circulated for free on the internet represents a loss of revenue of some $2000 for the record label, which, imagine, could make a well-stocked and unsanctioned library worth well over $700,000,000,000--in one documented case, making that hard drive the single most valuable object in the world. Some say the music and entertainment industry is on the verge of collapse, but I think it deserves to implode if there's little art or experimentation and mere reliance on re-runs.
Tuesday, 22 June 2010
but you can't have Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, baked beans, Spam, Spam, Spam and Spam without Spam
Sunday, 20 June 2010
Saturday, 19 June 2010
Tuesday, 15 June 2010
Monday, 14 June 2010
announced that agents of the US-led occupation stumbled upon untold riches in Afghanistan in form of previously unknown veins of copper, lithium and gold. I am wondering how premature the release of this news was, since the Russians are far better pre-postioned to jump this claim, and what will it do for the only stable commodity on the world-markets, gold? I am happy for the Afghanis if they can rebuild their country and undo the waves of damage wrought by the English, the Soviets, the Taliban and the Americans but I don't think such prospects will be surrendered so calmly.
Sunday, 13 June 2010
application that will remake an image into a mosaic of selected pictures. This tile mosaic from Hagia Sophia contains 10 000 little images from our Istanbul vacation. I'll have to fiddle with the settings and the target composition to sort out a better, wider collection and so its not a lot of microscopic pictures of ceilings and concrete but this was fun to do.
Friday, 11 June 2010
dismissal of a cashier with some thirty years tenure at the super-market for pilfering a few bottle deposit coupons worth a euro and change was grossly disproportionate to the crime. The proceedings lasted for some time before a verdict was reached, but right away I noticed that the check-out girls in Bad Karma, our fair city, and elsewhere now have been tutored to put the deposit coupon (Pfandbon) aside, wedge it in the cash-register like it was a fifty euro bill, until they're done ringing up (this was done more casually everywhere just last week), that was intended for payment so there's no argument on the matter of change back.
Wednesday, 9 June 2010
big impact zone that will not recover for years, and the oil clean up operation negates all other good intentions of sound environmental policy and stewardship
catagories: natural disaster
The Local has a fairly good breakdown of the austerity measures that the German government enacting in order to allign its budget within EU standards. Meanwhile, economists within the Treasury are projecting that US debt to earnings are continuing rise and spiral out of control. These are very different metrics and with different intentions, but it seems that German cut will do more than stave off the enevitable insolvency, compared to the grim prognostication of the Americans.
Monday, 7 June 2010
misheard lyrics but could not summon up any other examples, but now I recall that I always thought the song Sex Bomb was actually Sex Bot, as in robot or Adrienne Barbeau-bot with baby you can turn me on and other references to satillites and infrared vision.
New Scientist and several other sources are excitedly citing findings on a chemical, topographical study on Saturn VI (the moon of Titan) from Strasbourg's Space University (that's a pretty snazzy alma mater) as possibly indication of alien life. Akin to noting that concentrations of oxygen were inexplicably less at the surface of the Earth, research has revealed that there may be a respiratory exchange of hydrogen for methane on Titan, for which life forms could account, from unexpectedly low concentrations below at certain altitude. I imagine that such aliens would be like nothing decades of sci-fi fandom have primed us for, no humanoids that are political animals in any familiar way or disembodied intelligences, but delicate membranes carried aloft on the wind like jellyfish in the sky. After all, humans are still only just recognizing that whales are not just prey or dolphins not just gay sharks, not to mention the wealth of living things that lie just below our line of sight. Nonetheless, it is certainly news to get goosebumps over.
catagories: space science
Sunday, 6 June 2010
This is still the year of the Tiger, and I wonder if some of what's happening around the world would have been predicted according to the trends expected in the lunar year. Hindsight is delightfully useful in these sorts of things. Soothsayers forewarned that it would be turbent for global economies and the Tiger is the steward of things chthonic, elemental and buried. The same soothsayers urged investment in gold and other metals, which was not really going out on a limb with that one.
Thursday, 3 June 2010
article about how the interwebs, especially with the support, tacit or otherwise, of the defense-industrial complex, is the new battle field for the struggle of hearts and minds. The army, for instance, is promoting professional profiles, linked to private profiles, in order to work efficiently on team projects, as a successor strategy to SharePoint. Having a more dynamic, less threatening interface will encourage soldiers and civilian workers to use it, and deliver tabs on all in a tidy package. Radicals and hate-groups are tolerated there based on the same principle. I made a profile months ago but finding it too awkward to pare down, abandoned it, and now I feel especially unwilling to return since droves in Germany have left the site over privacy concerns.
We call it "bookface" at work because it sounds like clever code, especially when it was Verboten in the office, but now that it is here, fully entrenched, no one seems that interested or willing and trusting enough to commit any work to it. I am sure it could be used to rate your efficiency, compliance, time dottering about on government time, and I especially would not entrust any thing sensitive or classified to the timeless annals of bookface.
Wednesday, 2 June 2010
catagories: natural disaster
Tuesday, 1 June 2010
Linguee that uses the hive-mind of the web and far outstrips most other translator services. Using the principle that rarely a totally unique query is put forward, it finds translations on a word or a phrase based on tranlated and bilingual texts it scans from a patchwork of all sources, travel sites, Wikipedia in other languages, governmental and scientific journals. It deconstructs verb forms and tenses and even uses the word or phrase in several example sentences and puts legalese and technical jargon in context and is a good back-translator to check if one's own interpretation makes grammatical sense.