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Showing posts from January, 2007

Local Bozo, Iran, Sign, Two Brothers, Putin

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1. Got this from Oregonlive.com. See especially the last paragraph:

Speeding car slams into garage off Oregon 212
A car reaching speeds up to 100 mph slammed into the garage of a home located in the 14600 block of Oregon 212.
The incident occurred early this morning, Lt. Jamie Karn of the Clackamas County Fire District No. 1 said.
The home, located on the south side of the highway, was not damaged. No injuries were reported, Karn said.
Karn said the unidentified driver was racing another car when he smashed into the garage, just missing a 100-foot cliff dropping into the Clackamas River.
Making a bad situation worse, the driver lit a cigarette after the crash - a bad idea since gas was leaking from the car. He started a fire and ended up burning himself, Karn said.

2. Global Guerillas muses on the perceived inevitability of war with Iran.
The current situation is open loop -- an open loop system is one where all participants are regularly adding inputs without any consideration of the…

Latin, brains, funny church signs, non-english music

It's Sunday. And here is today's top 5:

The BBC reports the view of the Vatican's 'chief Latinist' that the future of that language at the Holy See is in trouble. Among other things
...more junior members of the Catholic hierarchy are less enthusiastic about Latin than the recent Popes.
At the Vatican, bishops appointments are still written on papyrus in Latin as are letters of congratulations from the pope, but many bishops and cardinals write back asking for translations.
When I was at the UCT, introductory Latin was very well attended, because it was required for all law students. I was one of the very few that took Latin because I was really interested in the language.
I remember too that the memory of the lecturer was absolutely amazing. There were at least a couple of hundred people in the class, and she soon had everybody's name memorized.

The older I get, the less dogmatic I get. When I was a spiritual young oke I was convinced that consciousness was indepen…

Isabatan, ball lightning, juggling, new CDs

Today's Top 5 links:

Jabal al-Lughat comes across a brief fragment of the now-extinct language of the Isabatan, a pre-Tuareg people of southern Algeria. I haven't recommended this blog as a regular read yet, so let me do so now: if you're interested in linguistics, it's well worth it.

It's an older post, an has been hanging around in my google news box for a while now. Brazilian scientists have managed to produce ball lightning in the lab. Interestingly enough, the article leads off by quoting Aleister Crowley on seeing ball lightning 'in the wild' in 1916:
Aleister Crowley once reported what he referred to as globular electricity in 1916, “what I can only describe as calm amazement, that a dazzling globe of electric fire, apparently between six and twelve inches in diameter was stationary about six inches below and to the right of my knee.” Mr. Crowley, it may not be all in your head.
The Beast shows up everywhere these days.

A lovely contact juggling video fro…

New feral child case

Actually, feral adult, I suppose: she is 19 years old now. This from the BBC:
A Cambodian girl who disappeared aged eight has been found after reportedly living wild in the jungle for 19 years.
Rochom P'ngieng's father says he has identified her through scars but she cannot speak any intelligible language.
...
Sal Lou, a village policeman, said he recognised the woman as his daughter from a scar on her right arm.
He said: "When I saw her, she was naked and walking in a bending-forward position like a monkey... She was bare bones.Other accounts of feral children can be found here.

Integratron - historical marker

Greg Bishop has a nice post on the historical marker that was erected by George Van Tassel's Integratron near Langley Landers, California. A couple of my photos of this here and here.

An iconoclastic look at the Tibetan Book of the Dead

The New Statesman brings us a review by Mark Bearn of a recent translation of the Tibetan Book of the Dead. He gives us a rather unflattering opinion of its spiritual value, and of the sensibility of those that find solace and depth in it:
In similar vein, Gayle Hunnicutt believes that reading the Tibetan Book of the Dead "will give me greater peace of mind and benefit all around me". Did she get much peace of mind from the advice for averting death? "One should face westwards towards the sun when it is close to setting, and remove one's clothes. Then placing a dog's tail under you and some excrement in a heap in front, one should eat a mouthful of excrement, and bark like a dog. Repeat three times."
Now, I blush to admit that I have not read the Tibetan Book of the Dead, so I can't comment on the fairness of his account. But the review is certainly a humourous read.

RAW RIP

A few funny interviews

Here's a quick one - a few funny interviews, care of DailyWTF.

Nick Carr on instant journalism

Only twice so far have I found liveblogging, a.k.a. instant journalism of interest. One was the World Cup. We were not allowed streaming audio or video at work, so I found myself obsessively refreshing the BBC's live text coverage of the match. It was rather unsatisfying. The second was during the recent US congressional elections, when I wanted to get the election results in realtime. Apart from those two times, I've never had much use for it.

All of which is just by way of introduction to this post by Nick Carr on his Rough Type blog. I thought that his comments on the piece of cringe-worthy (funny how the mind works: I found myself typing in Cringely-worthy) writing. The comments are rather interesting too.

Zimbabwean dispossessed farmers to return

This from Business Day (via Allafrica.com):
In a dramatic about-turn, President Robert Mugabe's government, which over the past six years has seized the bulk of white-owned farms, is about to allow hundreds of white farmers to return to the land, according to the Guardian newspaper.The London newspaper yesterday quoted the Zimbabwe government's land adviser, Sam Moyo, as saying "there could be about 300 whites back on farms by the end of next year". Most of them would be running commercial farms, he said.

DNS story

This slashdot comment is one of the funniest things that I have seen for a while.
Towards the end of the year, people publish their lists of what they don't want to see back in the next year. I'm coming in late in the game, but here is Curmudgeonly Mick's list of things I'd prefer not to see in 2007.

Awesome, especially as in "we have an awesome culture" and other corporate-speak.
The word "awesome" sounds perfectly natural and appropriate when used by a 10 year old to describe the latest Spiderman movie. A serious professional describing corporate culture? Not so much.

ASAP - a word I could really do without for a while. Someone telling me that they need something done 'ASAP!' doesn't motivate me to comply. Especially when verbally spelled out and left on voicemail. Anyway, this acronym is getting old and worn out. I vastly prefer PDQ.

Lazy tagging on flickr. I keep track of a number of flickr tags through my RSS reader. For example, I like looking at the day's photos tagged "Cape Town", because I enjoy s…

Jinn

The economist brings us another article of interest to fans of Tim Powers. This one concerns local beliefs in the Jinn among the people of Somalia and Afghanistan.
THERE is a cleft in a stone hill outside Qardho, in northern Somalia, which even the hardest gunmen and frankincense merchants avoid. In the cool dark, out of the bleached sunshine, there is a pit, a kind of Alice in Wonderland rabbit hole, which is said to swirl down into the world of jinn. Locals say jinn—genies, that is—fade in and out above the pit. Sometimes they shift into forms of ostriches and run out over the desert scrub.