Saturday, December 31, 2005


Originally uploaded by Alhazred.
From my recent visit back home to Cape Town.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Dungeons and dragons course, flickr photos o' the day

A Dungeons and Dragons course at 'Barnes & Noble University' -
As a beginning player, this course will guide you in understanding how D&D works, explaining the various worlds and characters types that it is based on, creating a D&D role for yourself, and understanding how your player role interacts in the world and with other characters. You will learn the extent of your abilities and the possibilities that lie ahead for your player, including magical spells, mythic quests, and epic battles with incredible monsters.

Favourite flickr photos of the day:

Karoo windmill

Some great cosplay photos from stormstill.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Multnomah Libraries, News Quiz, et al

Multnomah County Libraries: we're no. 2! -
Multnomah library spokeswoman, June Mikkelson, says the ranking reflected the whopping 19 million items checked out from late 2004 to 2005... "It certainly is one of the chief driving factors, in fact, Multnomah County libraries' circulation is the highest in the United States."
I've certainly found the library darn useful, especially the time that our computer went belly up. The library's online catalog is here.

African news quiz -
I only got 6/10

Flickr photos of the day:

Rhamncwa aka Middle Finga

DSC_0055 (not sure where this is)

Sturgeons Law - seems right to me. -
...The professor read a few selected passages of "purple prose" from popular science fiction works, and declared "90% of this Science Fiction is crap." Sturgeon replied "90% of everything is crap."
Yup, that seems about right. I'm surprised that I haven't heard of this one before.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Darwin stickers! Annoying baby names! More!

Darwin has a posse stickers -
These stickers are being introduced to spread awareness and appreciation of Charles Darwin, whose theory of natural selection provided a simple, non-supernatural explanation for how life on earth had evolved and continues to evolve today. Although this stickering project is probably futile, it will hopefully delay our slip into Dark Ages II by several days....

Site recommendation: bigbadbabynames.
Tryndee baby names like: Skylark, Dreighzdyn, Nevaeh, Blaiden, Jour'Dyn and others.

Favourite flickr photos of the day: Mysterious Cowboy, River Mouth

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

A chimpanzee?

In the Opinion issued in USA vs Hammer (US District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania):
Dr. Sadoff further testified that Mr. Hammer has four alter personalities: (1) Jocko, a violent personality, (2) Tammy, a female personality, (3) Wilbur, a child personality and (4) Jasper, a chimpanzee.

Crucified nun, no more ITAX.

Crucified nun dies of adrenalin overdose -
Cornici was chained to a cross, gagged and deprived of food and water for several days at the remote monastery in June. Authorities had maintained the treatment proved fatal and she was already dead when other nuns called for an ambulance... But the new autopsy, carried out after the nun's body was exhumed in September, showed that she died after a medic in the ambulance injected her with six doses of adrenalin which over-stimulated her heart, causing it to fail.

The hated Multonomah County ITAX ends this year! -

Friday, December 23, 2005

Portland Communique: editor's coda

The Portland Communique was, in my opinion, one of the best blogs out there. In this final post, the editor writes of his problems trying to be a full-time blogger. It's a thoughtful and informative post.

Mudslides and wikipedia

A mudslide in Portland's West Hills -
A landslide has crushed two cars and threatened the structural integrity of a home in Portland's west hills. City transportation spokesman Mary Volm says at around one Friday morning about 2,000 cubic yards of mud broke through the retaining wall of the older home.
Those rich houses perched on the slopes always seem so vulnerable.

Reader letters to El Reg regarding Wikipedia -
Some entertaining stuff from miffed Wikipedians. (And I am getting sick of the 'if you find something incorrect on Wikipedia, just edit the entry' argument.)

Flickr photos of the day: Mohu, horror convention babe

Thursday, December 22, 2005


Nigerian oil disruption -
A group called the Martyr's Brigade (a new group, splintered off of the NDPVF, that is part of the growing community of open source insurgency in Nigeria), claimed credit for a dynamite attack on a major Shell oil pipeline in the Niger Delta.

Favourite flickr pics of the day: Cableway, Boiler Bay

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Poverty, the internet and temples

The mountain man and the surgeon -
Relative levels of poverty, using examples from Appalachia and the Congo.

The internet is broken -
Over the years, as Internet applications proliferated -- wireless devices, peer-to-peer file-sharing, telephony -- companies and network engineers came up with ingenious and expedient patches, plugs, and workarounds. The result is that the originally simple communications technology has become a complex and convoluted affair. For all of the Internet's wonders, it is also difficult to manage and more fragile with each passing day.
David Talbot reporting on the opinions of M.I.T.'s David Clark. Nick Carr also has a good analysis.

Some beautiful images of Indian temples -
Including some erotic images from Khajuraho near the top.


Originally uploaded by Alhazred.
I had big hair.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

419ers, posters and comics.

Nigeria cracks down on e-mail scams -
These are Nigeria's "yahoo-yahoo boys" - purveyors of their country's most infamous export: scam e-mails sent en masse daily to in-boxes around the world. They represent the lowest rung of powerful, politically connected gangs that aim to swindle gullible, greedy foreigners - especially Americans - out of millions of dollars.
Racy writing in this article, but nothing really new.

A 1984 CIA produced comic book -
Wonderful old propanda. Thanks to Boing Boing for bloggin' it.

An excellent exhibition of painted movie posters from Ghana -
Beautiful work, and a fascinating description of the phenomenon.

Paper carrier keeps going and throwing -
Smith, who turns 65 next month, has delivered papers seven days a week, 365 days a year for the past 28 years -- without a day off. That works out to about 10 million deliveries.
Rather him than me.

Monday, December 19, 2005

A bit more of Monday

Another Monday flickr favourite: haltertopless

A short bit on the Shakers -
I'd always expected that in the confusion and stress of this modern time, monastic and similar movements would gain in popularity. Looks like I'm wrong, though.

Don't screw with the bala ants - of my colleagues fell victim to an ant sting that confined him to bed with an ice pack, immobile, for thirty-six hours.

An alternative to Wikipedia - Digital Universe - to launch -
El Reg is scathing as usual: At least Digital Universe won't be encumbered by one immutable aspect of the more utopian Wikipedia: experts won't be find themselves against gangs of know-nothings. This immediately repelled all but the most dedicated experts, and over time, it began to repel the most dedicated and honorable amateur Wikipedians too.
Not that I really disagree with their assessment.

And finally, slashdot has a decent discussion on the gender gap in computer science studies. Oh, and the best way to read slashdot: take the time to register, and set your preferences to read the higher rated comments.


Good news on the weather here in Portland. It's getting warmer and the snow and ice is melting -

Flickr photos of the day: Visser's huisie, Cosplayed Blacksmith.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

The weather is bloody awful

And all Portland, Oregon buses are on snow routes for tonight and tomorrow (Monday) morning. See the TriMet for details.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Snowy Sunday

Can't say as I blame 'im: In the BBC news article Bhutan king announces abdication, it is noted that Correspondents say the king likes to project the image of simple lifestyle, preferring to work in a small log cabin above the capital while his fortress-like palace is used by his four wives, all of whom are sisters.
Four wives, and they are sisters. I think I'd spend most of my time away from the palace too.

Best of the day from flickr: Rough Water

My movies on IMDB.

Saturday stories

Agents' visit chills UMass Dartmouth senior -
The student, who was completing a research paper on Communism for Professor Pontbriand's class on fascism and totalitarianism, filled out a form for the request, leaving his name, address, phone number and Social Security number. He was later visited at his parents' home in New Bedford by two agents of the Department of Homeland Security...
I feel safer already. A decent slashdot discussion of this here.

My page on academici.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

The 'Nepal Buddha Boy' -
Ram Bahadur Bamjan's friends, relatives and managers say he has been meditating without drinking water for six months now and that he will carry on for another six years until he gains enlightenment.
Let's hope that the poor bastard gains enlightenment before the six years are up.

Stuff I Collect - Covers - Oregon Coast - Astoria to Kansas City, 1917

Stuff I Collect - Covers - Oregon Coast - Astoria to Kansas City, 1917 The following is a modification of my post in the US : Covers : Ge...