Archive for November, 2005

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Tuesday, November 29, 2005

 

Alert and alarmed: art under fire

A long article by various artists discussing the new Australian sedition laws.

`Minister, if you do not intend further repression, may I ask you this? Why did agents claiming to be from the Attorney-General’s Department visit the filmmaker Carmel Travers, who had on her computer a manuscript from whistle-blower Andrew Wilkie, and smash the hard drives of her two computers with hammers, a process they referred to as “cleansing”? Four other Australians, including Robert Manne, were similarly dealt with.

The victims were warned it was an offence to tell anyone what had happened, even their partners, a form of bullying which, being accustomed to the traditions of free speech, they ultimately ignored. Most absurdly of all, Wilkie’s manuscript, Axis of Deceit, had already been published.’

`Messenger: Take care. Thou must not bring the government into disrepute.

Jester: A plague on both their houses!

Messenger: That be seditious as well – thou canst not bring either house of Parliament into disrepute.

Jester: Can its repute be more dis? The lower chamber is a bordello of harlots, pimps and coxcombs; the Senate nought but a braying stall of yea-sayers …

Messenger: Coz, I beg thee be silent! Sedition catches all – who can say that it not be soon against the law to bring pimps and coxcombs into disrepute?’


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Would You Like Some Jesus With Your Latte?

‘On 8th and 9th of October, Gloria Jean’s coffee houses around Australia are hosting a special event, Cappuccino for a Cause, to support the work of Mercy Ministries. When you buy a Cappuccino or Cappuccino Chiller over the event weekend, 50 cents from each sale will be donated to Mercy Ministries.

What is Mercy Ministries?

Mercy Australia runs a residential program for young women aged between 16 and 28 years with life controlling issues. These issues range from eating disorders, unplanned pregnancies, substance abuse, eating disorders, self harm, suicidal tendencies, depression and anxiety, and the effects of sexual and physical abuse. The average stay for a resident is approx 10 months, depending on each individual girl.

The program is very structured and is based on Christian principles. The residents have class time and bible study daily.’

Also with links to stories about how the father of Hillsong’s founder is a homosexual paedophile and how they engage in generally dodgy financial dealings.

[I think the photo caption “The Right Honourable Happy Clappy, MHR” at the latter link is hilarious. :)]


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The Dream Love Chair, The New Erotic Sensation

`The Dream Love Chair gives you and your partner a complete new dimension to sex. The Chair makes a wide variety of positions possible.

But the really unique feature of the DLC are the adjustable natural movements of the seats. Aldo this seems like a lazy way to have sex it means that you and your partner will have more energy to enjoy it.

It also means that the DLC is very well suited for people with a physical disability, overweight or a poor condition.

In short, the Dream Love Chair gives a whole new dimension and a new range of challenges to sex.’

With pictures and a helpful guide showing possible positions you can use on the chair.


Dolphin games: no mere child’s play?

`One calf became adept at “blowing bubbles while swimming upside-down near the bottom of the pool and then chasing and biting each bubble before it reached the surface,” the researchers continued. “She then began to release bubbles while swimming closer and closer to the surface, eventually being so close that she could not catch a single bubble.”

“During all of this, the number of bubbles released was varied, the end result being that the dolphin learned to produce different numbers of bubbles from different depths, the apparent goal being to catch the last bubble right before it reached the surface of the water.”

“She also modified her swimming style while releasing bubbles, one variation involving a fast spin-swim. This made it more difficult for her to catch all of the bubbles she released, but she persisted in this behavior until she was able to almost all of the bubbles she released. Curiously, the dolphin never released three or fewer bubbles, a number which she was able to catch and bite following the spin-swim release.”’


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Don’t Bomb Us – A blog by Al Jazeera Staffers

`5 things you should know about Al Jazeera

1. Al Jazeera was the first Arab station to ever broadcast interviews with Israeli officials.
2. Al Jazeera has never broadcast a beheading.
3. George W. Bush has recieved approximately 500 hours of airtime, while Bin Laden has received about 5 hours of airtime.
4. Over 50 million people across the world watch Al Jazeera.
5. The Al Jazeera websites are http://www.aljazeera.net (Arabic) and http://english.aljazeera.net (English). AlJazeera.com, AlJazeerah.info and all other variations have nothing to do with us.’

I’m going to have ASIO knocking on my door for even posting this, I’m sure. Even reading the page, let alone linking to it, is probably enough to get me classified as an “enemy combatant”. 🙂


Cunts With Car Alarms

There’s no link to follow, because http://mycuntneighbour.com doesn’t exist. Just because there’s no website about it tho, doesn’t change the fact that it’s 3:30am and there has been a car alarm going off right outside my window for the past few hours.

It’s unpleasant.


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Attacker struck passer-by with fish he wouldn’t kiss

`A man is facing jail after slapping a passer-by with a fish.

Alan Bennie, 20, was walking through a park when he was approached by assailant David Evans, who was carrying a fish. [..]

[The prosecutor] said: “The accused asked the complainer ‘Do you want to kiss my fish?’

“Mr Bennie made no reply and walked on, at which point the accused said: ‘You answer me next time I ask you to kiss a fish’, and slapped him round the face with it.”‘


The Path to Pwn

`So, you’ve just bought a PC from Dixons, or maybe spotted one of those superb online deals at Dell where you get a free photo printer or some little plastic thing called a USB key and you’re thinking you’re a god-damned freedom fighting adventurer of the Information Superhighway. You’re elite, certainly not lame and you look forward to owning people a great deal.

Well, the first thing is to stop talking like something out of the specials board in an Internet Cafe and start listening. So, in no particular order, here’s the definitive top ten things you need to do to turn you from a fragile little newbie into an arse-kicking Computing expert.’


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Security Contractor ‘Trophy’ Video in Iraq

‘A “trophy” video appearing to show security guards in Baghdad randomly shooting Iraqi civilians has sparked two investigations after it was posted on the internet, the Sunday Telegraph can reveal.

The video has sparked concern that private security companies, which are not subject to any form of regulation either in Britain or in Iraq, could be responsible for the deaths of hundreds of innocent Iraqis.

The video, which first appeared on a website that has been linked unofficially to Aegis Defence Services, contained four separate clips, in which security guards open fire with automatic rifles at civilian cars. All of the shooting incidents apparently took place on “route Irish”, a road that links the airport to Baghdad.’

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: motherfucking cunts.

(1.4meg Windows Media)

Update: More about cunts shooting innocent people. And some more video. (5.5meg Windows Media)

see it here »


Monday, November 28, 2005

 

Space Suits

A history of the development of the space suit, with photos and other interesting space related stuff.

The second space suit ever built was made partially out of pigskin. Good old pigs. 🙂


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The Earth’s Lights at Night

Reasonably high resolution photo.


The History of the Universe in 200 Words or Less

`Quantum fluctuation. Inflation. Expansion. Strong nuclear interaction. Particle-antiparticle annihilation. Deuterium and helium production. Density perturbations. Recombination. Blackbody radiation. Local contraction. Cluster formation. Reionization? Violent relaxation. Virialization. Biased galaxy formation? Turbulent fragmentation. Contraction. Ionization. Compression. Opaque hydrogen. Massive star formation. Deuterium ignition. Hydrogen fusion. Hydrogen depletion. Core contraction. Envelope expansion. Helium fusion. Carbon, oxygen, and silicon fusion. Iron production. Implosion. Supernova explosion. Metals injection. Star formation. Supernova explosions. Star formation. Condensation. Planetesimal accretion. Planetary differentiation. Crust solidification. Volatile gas expulsion. Water condensation. Water dissociation. Ozone production. Ultraviolet absorption. Photosynthetic unicellular organisms. Oxidation. Mutation. Natural selection and evolution. Respiration. Cell differentiation. Sexual reproduction. Fossilization. Land exploration. Dinosaur extinction. Mammal expansion. Glaciation. Homo sapiens manifestation. Animal domestication. Food surplus production. Civilization! Innovation. Exploration. Religion. Warring nations. Empire creation and destruction. Exploration. Colonization. Taxation without representation. Revolution. Constitution. Election. Expansion. Industrialization. Rebellion. Emancipation Proclamation. Invention. Mass production. Urbanization. Immigration. World conflagration. League of Nations. Suffrage extension. Depression. World conflagration. Fission explosions. United Nations. Space exploration. Assassinations. Lunar excursions. Resignation. Computerization. World Trade Organization. Terrorism. Internet expansion. Reunification. Dissolution. World-Wide Web creation. Composition. Extrapolation?’


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How to Keep the Carriers from Flushing the Net Down the Tubes

`We’re hearing tales of two scenarios–one pessimistic, one optimistic–for the future of the Net. If the paranoids are right, the Net’s toast. If they’re not, it will be because we fought to save it, perhaps in a new way we haven’t talked about before. Davids, meet your Goliaths.

This is a long essay. There is, however, no limit to how long I could have made it. The subjects covered here are no less enormous than the Net and its future. Even optimists agree that the Net’s future as a free and open environment for business and culture is facing many threats. We can’t begin to cover them all or cover all the ways we can fight them. I believe, however, that there is one sure way to fight all of these threats at once, and without doing it the bad guys will win. That’s what this essay is about.’


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The Secret Lives of Numbers

`The authors conducted an exhaustive empirical study, with the aid of custom software, public search engines and powerful statistical techniques, in order to determine the relative popularity of every integer between 0 and one million. The resulting information exhibits an extraordinary variety of patterns which reflect and refract our culture, our minds, and our bodies.

For example, certain numbers, such as 212, 486, 911, 1040, 1492, 1776, 68040, or 90210, occur more frequently than their neighbors because they are used to denominate the phone numbers, tax forms, computer chips, famous dates, or television programs that figure prominently in our culture. Regular periodicities in the data, located at multiples and powers of ten, mirror our cognitive preference for round numbers in our biologically-driven base-10 numbering system. Certain numbers, such as 12345 or 8888, appear to be more popular simply because they are easier to remember.’


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Singapore top executioner ‘fired’

`Singapore’s chief executioner says he has been sacked after his identity was exposed by the media.

Darshan Singh’s name and photo appeared in the Australian press just days before he was due to execute a Melbourne man for drugs smuggling. [..]

“They called me a few days ago and said I don’t have to hang Nguyen and that I don’t have to work anymore,” Mr Singh told Reuters news agency.

“I think [the prison authorities] must be mad after seeing my pictures in the newspapers.”‘


Light poles vanishing – believed sold for scrap by thieves

`Thieves are sawing down aluminum light poles. Some 130 have vanished from Baltimore’s streets in the last several weeks, authorities say, presumably sold for scrap metal. But so far the case of the pilfered poles has stumped the police and left many local residents wondering just how someone manages to make off with what would seem to be a conspicuous street fixture.

The poles, which weigh about 250 pounds apiece, have been snatched during the day and in the middle of the night, from two-lane blacktop roads and from parkways with three lanes on either side of grass median strips, in poor areas and in some of the city’s most affluent neighborhoods. Left behind are half-foot stubs of metal, with wires that carry 120 volts neatly tied and wrapped in black electric tape.’


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The top 10 hacks of all time

`When a Los Angeles area radio station announced a contest that awarded a Porsche 944S2 for the 102nd caller, Kevin Poulsen took control of the entire city’s telephone network, ensured he is the 102nd caller, and took away the Porsche beauty. He was arrested later that year and sentenced to three years in prison. He is currently a senior editor at Wired News. [..]

MafiaBoy, whose real identity has been kept under wraps because he is a minor, hacked into some of the largest sites in the world, including eBay, Amazon and Yahoo between February 6 and Valentine’s Day in 2000. He gained access to 75 computers in 52 networks, and ordered a Denial of Service attack on them. He was arrested in 2000.’


Blu-Ray and HD-DVD fighting a lost battle?

‘While fanboys battle it out on the importance of the Blu-Ray vs. HD-DVD format war, companies including Turner Entertainment Networks have already begun to move towards holographic storage. It’s closer than you might think.

Early versions of holographic disk storage store up to 300GB per disk. By 2010, the disks are expected to cost $100 each and store 1.6 terabytes (that’s roughly 1,600 gigabytes) each. At least one company expects to break the 1TB-per-disk barrier by 2008.’


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Moscow Wax Figure Exhibition Highlights Graphic Dangers of Drugs

This has been posted absolutely everywhere lately, so I figured I better post it aswell. 🙂

With waxy pictures.


Scary landing due to strong crosswinds

The pilot of this Airbus 321 decided to go around for a second attempt. Can’t land a plane while it’s flying sideways.

It’s watching videos like this that makes me need two or three valium before I can even think about getting on a plane. 🙂


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A car that can jump over obstacles

`In a cleared-out parking lot at Bose Corp.’s headquarters, a test driver guides a Lexus at 25 mph toward what would appear to be an unfriendly introduction to a two-by-six lying on its side, ankle-high.

A childlike grin spreads across 76-year-old Amar Bose’s face as the vehicle does something most can’t: jump over the board, like a cat bounding over a fallen log.

The sedan’s experimental, Bose-designed suspension, driven by four electromagnetic motors, had quickly pulled each wheel up, then down.’


Teacher Accused of Anti-Bush Quiz

`A high school teacher is facing questions from administrators after giving a vocabulary quiz that included digs at President Bush and the extreme right. [..]

One example: “I wish Bush would be (coherent, eschewed) for once during a speech, but there are theories that his everyday diction charms the below-average mind, hence insuring him Republican votes.””Coherent” is the right answer.’


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Rampant drug use exposed

`Almost half of all Australians aged under 25 have used illicit drugs and view their use as acceptable.

Although possession or use of most illicit drugs could result in a jail sentence, research shows more than six million people of all ages were undeterred.

Almost half of them took illicit drugs other than marijuana and 2.5 million in total had used illicit drugs of some kind in the past year. [..]

Australia has one of the highest rates of illegal substance abuse in the world according to University of Queensland alcohol and drug research and education centre director Professor Jake Najman.’

Gee, who woulda thunk it? 🙂


eBay Supplies Rapekit

Some time last month some guy dressed up as a firefighter, lit some fires outside some woman’s apartment, then used the firefighter clothing and a fake police badge to talk his way into her apartment. Once inside, he raped her for 13 hours or so.

Turns out, he bought fireman’s pants, the police badge, a wallet for the badge, some potassium nitrate for the fires and a bottle of chloroform all from eBay. Aswell as a few other miscellaneous bits and pieces.

More at Something Awful.


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World War Three seen through Soviet eyes

`The nightmare of nuclear war in Europe – a spectre that haunted the world for half a century – stood revealed yesterday in terrible detail.

In a historic break with the past, Poland’s newly elected government threw open its top secret Warsaw Pact military archives – including a 1979 map revealing the Soviet bloc’s vision of a seven-day atomic holocaust between Nato and Warsaw Pact forces. [..]

On the map, western Europe lay beneath a chilling overlay of large red mushroom clouds: Warsaw Pact nuclear strikes, using giant warheads to compensate for their relative lack of precision.’

including the map itself.


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You better watch out, you better not cry..

`There is no clear motive why a man was stabbed to death by an intruder dressed in Santa gear, detectives said.

Sikander Shaheen, 25, was attacked in his bed by a knifeman wearing a red and white hat and full white beard.

Officers said they found no reason for the murder of Mr Shaheen, who was a private, hard-working, religious man, but the knifeman “intended to kill”.’


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Man, 50, pulls truck with penis

`Grandmaster Tu Jin-Sheng, best known for his Iron Crotch, attached himself not once, but twice, to a rental moving truck and pulled it several yards across a parking lot in Fremont. In lace-up leather boots and a black tank top, the 50-year-old tied a strip of blue fabric around the base of his penis and testicles and tugged to make sure it was on tight. An assistant kicked him hard between the legs before he lashed himself to the vehicle.

He groaned, grunted and pressed against two men for resistance.

Then, slowly, the truck began to roll forward. ‘


Sunday, November 27, 2005

 

Of mice and menus

‘Over three decades of work by diverse engineers and researchers intent on learning how best to interact with a computer come together in the windows and icons used today’

A history of the GUI and mouse reprinted from a 1989 IEEE journal article. Interesting, if you like that sorta thing.


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Ancient book of Russian sexual traditions found in Russian province

`An ancient book with detailed descriptions of Russian sexual customs and traditions of the 18th century was found in a remote village. Collector Mikhail Surov, who found the book, said that instructions, which he could read on the pages, made him blush. “I thought that I was quite educated as far as sex was concerned, but I thought it wrong,” he said.

[..] here is quite an innocent question in the book; the question is addressed to a female: “Did you stuff the bag with porridge? As it turns out, ancient Russians were making artificial penises with the help of this method,” Mikhail Surov said.’


Ex-PM: abuse as bad now as under Saddam

`Abuse of human rights in Iraq is as bad now as it was under Saddam Hussein, if not worse, former prime minister Iyad Allawi said in an interview published today.

“People are doing the same as [in] Saddam Hussein’s time and worse. It is an appropriate comparison,” Allawi told British newspaper The Observer.

“People are remembering the days of Saddam,” said Allawi, a secular Shi’ite and former Baathist who is standing in elections scheduled for December 15.

“These are the precise reasons why we fought Saddam Hussein and now we are seeing the same things.’


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