Archive for September, 2003

The Little Pound Coin that wanted to be a Million

Tuesday, September 30th, 2003

or Five Million Go Mad On eBay

[via Rebecca Blood]

Not that one again…

Tuesday, September 30th, 2003

There were quite a few sighting last week of that Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at… report. But I kept seeing “research at Edinburgh university”. Then earlier today it had changed to Cambridge university. Hmmm. Why?

A little bit of digging (and many offers of help to correct my spelling from search engines, thank you) later and I came across this article by Matt Davis (Cognitive and Brain Sciences Unit at Cambridge) plus this discussion board.

Interestingly, the Dutch, Spanish and Danish versions refer to an English university (so that rules out Edinburgh then)

Vlgones een oznrdeeok op een Eglnese uvinretsiet mkaat het neit uit in wlkee vloogdre de ltteers in een wrood saatn, het einge wat blegnaijrk is is dat de eretse en de ltaatse ltteer op de jiutse patals saatn. De rset van de ltteers mgoen wllikueirg gpletaast wdoren en je knut vrelvogens gwoeon lzeen wat er saatt. Dit kmot odmat we neit ekle ltteer op zcih lzeen maar het wrood als gheeel.

But the French, German and Czech versions cite Cambridge.

Sleon une édtue de l’Uvinertisé de Cmabrigde, l’odrre des ltteers dnas un mtos n’a pas d’ipmrotncae, la suele coshe ipmrotnate est que la pmeirère et la drenèire soit à la bnnoe pclae. Le rsete peut êrte dnas un dsérorde ttoal et vuos puoevz tujoruos lrie snas porlblème. C’est prace que le creaveu hmauin ne lit pas chuaqe ltetre elle-mmêe, mias le mot cmome un tuot.

There’s a lot more on Matt Davis’ page, including a Visual Basic program for generating jumbled texts and a link to the Snopes page summing it all up.

And nwo ’tis tiem fro bde.

Bouncing back

Tuesday, September 30th, 2003

Feeling a bit perkier today, despite missing afternoon tea at Uborka. Damn, I could have brought along a nice batch of bara brith. Maybe it was the tantalising news over at Gert’s. Sniff.

Still deep in thought after reading John Pilger’s article on the media, then came across the news that Rubert Murdoch and The Guardian are joining forces:

Rupert Murdoch, The Guardian Newspaper Group, magazine group IPC (and others) have formed an unlikely coalition, the British Internet Providers Association, in order to do one thing: decimate the BBC Online website, and protect their own online ventures. They demand that “BBC Online should be scaled back to being a ‘news portal’ and…should release its internet source code to commercial organisations.” Spin-off projects such as iCan, the grassroots political site which the BBC is set to launch in October, would be trashed, and the BBC’s use of its website to promote programmes, magazines and services would be restricted. In addition the BBC would face a cost ceiling on its online budget and be forced to “provide links to the news services of its competitors.”

There’s a good discussion over at MetaFilter.

Did I sleep through the winter and wake up on April 1st?

Irish scones

Tuesday, September 30th, 2003

An elderly Irishman lay dying in his bed. While suffering the agonies of impending death, he suddenly yelled the aroma of his favourite cheese scones wafting up the stairs. He gathered his remaining strength, and lifted himself from the bed. Leaning against the wall, he slowly made his way out of the bedroom, and with even greater effort, gripping the railing with both hands, he crawled downstairs. With laboured breath, he leaned against the door frame, gazing into the kitchen. Were it not for death’s agony, he would have thought himself already in heaven, for here, spread out upon waxed paper on the kitchen table were
dozens of his favourite cheese scones.

Was it heaven? Or was it one final act of heroic love from his devoted Irish wife of sixty years, seeing to it that he left this world a happy man?

Mustering one great final effort, he threw himself towards the table, landing on his knees in a rumpled posture. His parched lips parted, he could almost taste the cheese scone before it was in his mouth, seemingly bringing him back to life.

The aged and withered hand trembled on its way to the nearest scone at the edge of the table, when his hand was suddenly smacked with a spatula by his wife. . .

Celebrity squares

Monday, September 29th, 2003

Reading lovely Pete’s comment about exchanging curry recipes with Robert Palmer got me thinking about all the famous people celebrities I’d come across.

I shared an ashtray with Nick Berry at a party once; sat next to Mick Hucknall on a flight from Milan (he was very sweet); sat opposite Ruth Madoc on a train to Brighton (oh and my mother went to school with Philip Madoc). Met Simon Weston on a different train and (literally) fell over Marc Almond in Camden Market. And I met Jacques Chirac while working in a library in a Paris suburb many years ago. Oh and I used to often see Steve Martin and Victoria Tennant while buying sandwiches at a shop in Knightsbridge.. He is very shy.

A few weeks ago A Famous Actor rang up for advice about a boat. I came over all unnecessary but M won’t let me reveal who it was. Spoilsport.

But I’ve led a sheltered life and I bet you’ve got much better anecdotes. So go on, ‘fess up, who have you met, where, when and how?

RoShamBo anyone?

Monday, September 29th, 2003

…a competition to write the best Rock-Paper-Scissors game. In theory, writing such a game should have been trivial and produced an unbreakable deadlock of competing programs. That it didn’t says a lot about artificial intelligence and its predicition mechanisms.

Part 1 and Part 2

[via Switchbox]

“Men are from Mars…”

Monday, September 29th, 2003

How many men does it take to open a beer?
None. It should be opened by the time she brings it.
Why is a Laundromat a really bad place to pick up a woman?
Because a woman who can’t even afford a washing machine will
probably never be able to support you.
Why do women have smaller feet than men?
It’s one of those “evolutionary things” that allows them to stand
closer to the kitchen sink.
How do you know when a woman is about to say something smart?
When she starts her sentence with “A man once told me…”
How do you fix a woman’s watch?
You don’t. There’s a clock on the cooker.
Why do men break wind more than women?
Because women can’t shut up long enough to build up the required pressure.
If your dog is barking at the back door and your wife is yelling at the
front door, who do you let in first?
The dog, of course. He’ll shut up once you let him in.
What’s worse than a Male Chauvinist Pig?
A woman who won’t do what she’s told.
I married Miss Right. I just didn’t know her first name was always.
I haven’t spoken to my wife for 18 months: I don’t like to interrupt her.
Scientists have discovered a food that diminishes a woman’s sex drive by
90%. It’s called a Wedding Cake.
Marriage is a 3-ring circus: Engagement Ring, Wedding Ring, Suffering.
Our last fight was my fault: My wife asked me “What’s on the TV?” I said,

Spell checquer

Monday, September 29th, 2003

Eye halve a spelling chequer
It came with my pea sea
It plainly marques four my revue
Miss steaks eye kin knot sea.
Eye strike a key and type a word
And weight four it two say
Weather eye am wrong oar write
It shows me strait a weigh.
As soon as a mist ache is maid
It nose bee fore two long
And eye can put the error rite
Its rare lea ever wrong.
Eye have run this poem threw it
I am shore your pleased two no
Its letter perfect awl the weigh
My chequer tolled me sew.

Lovely bones

Sunday, September 28th, 2003

Just finished reading Lovely Bones. At one sitting. Heartbreaking, unusual. Unputdownable.

And in other news. I’ve tweaked the colour scheme a little. Let me know if it’s unreadable in any browsers. But not today. Today I just want to crawl into a corner and bawl my eyes out.

Normal service will be resumed tomorrow.

State of the Union

Saturday, September 27th, 2003

I cannot bear to watch George Bush on television. But I made an exception for this. His State of the Union address to Congress. Or not.

Does it raise any worries for you? Although very cleverly done, everyone viewing this realises that it is cleverly edited footage amended to produce satire. The tools to produce such videos are now widespread. Is the day not too far away when we won’t be able to tell actual documentary footage from make-believe.

Link via tvindy.

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