Saturday, April 03, 2004

You know all those famous Americans?

You'd be impressed how many are Canadian.

Just in case you forgot.

Here's a reminder: China sucks.

What the heck, I like an easy target.

Yet again, the "correspondants" and "imperialist, running-dog mouthpieces", whoops sorry, "presenters" on FOX"News" can't be bothered to pronounce any foreign name or word properly. Members of the public won't know this but there are companies out there whose product is a service to TV and radio news companies, adivising presenters and reporters how to correctly pronounce foreign words and names. But then, FOX"News" don't count as a legitimate news company so probably they can get away with it.

"Outrage in Fallujah!", indeed.

further in the "Yes, yes, yes, yes!" department....

A Canadian court has found in favour of internet music sharing. Finally - some common sense that puts the music industry Cosa Nostra in its place. Greedy bastards deserve some pain.

Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!

From the "I'll have whatever she's having." department comes yet another wave of ecstasy:

Powell Expresses Doubts About Basis for Iraqi Weapons Claim. Looks like it's every man for himself time in the US Administration.

I don't have any American coins to hand so I can't check but at least one of them says, "United we stand. Divided we fall." - indeed.

Thursday, April 01, 2004

Congestion charge for pedestrians in London.

Unfortunately, some fools have ruined this one for the rest of us. Wimps.

The only fools involved in this, however are the people who put up with it - again and again and again and....

And this is beyond a joke.

A New Israeli test confirms: PEI (Pigeon Enabled Internet) is FASTER then ADSL

Thanks to /. for this one.

Spaghetti farming a success in Suphan Buri

from Thailand's Bangkok Post:

Local product cheaper, much softer, cooks faster and tastes better, producer says

Story and pictures by NICK WILGUS

Long a favourite ingredient in Italian dishes, spaghetti is not easy to produce, requiring the right sort of weather, adequate moisture, and generous amounts of fertiliser, according to Santi Saengkaew, one of Thailand's rare spaghetti producers.

``Foreign brands are more expensive,'' he noted. ``I sell my spaghetti for about half what the foreign brands cost, and customers don't complain.''

Indeed they do not. The home-grown variety is much softer than the packaged variety, cooks more quickly, and has a better taste, he said.

Some of his neighbours, surprised by Santi's success, have asked to learn how to grow the product, which is notoriously fickle, and will dry out and become unusable if not properly shaded. Thus far, seven ``spaghetti farms'' have sprung up in his small village in Suphan Buri province.

Santi said he was happy to teach others how to grow the crop, adding that he was approached by village officials who wanted to make his spaghetti part of the One Village One Product (Otop) scheme. He said he declined because he was afraid that the village's few spaghetti farmers would be overwhelmed by excessive demand.

``Bigger is not always better,'' he said.

So, how is spaghetti grown? The most difficult part, he said, was purchasing the initial seedlings, which are very expensive and not easily found, since they are not indigenous to the region. He said he purchased his first crop of seedlings five years ago at a small shop in Chiang Mai, noting that they could sometimes be purchased at Chatuchak Weekend Market in Bangkok.

Next, growing the seedlings requires patience and much attention to detail. The seedlings need plenty of shade, but also indirect sunlight. Humidity is good for the seedlings, but excessive watering can drown the plants before they have a chance to grow.

And grow they do, and fast _ like banana trees, he said. Within three months, if the plants have been properly tended, they should be about chest-high. Within six months, they will spout shoots which, if left to grow, become long and slender strands. At that point, harvesting can begin.

``It's best to harvest a little at a time _ to give the tree breathing room,'' he said, rather than harvesting all the shoots at once. This was because the plants are sensitive to change, and it was best to treat them gently and with respect.

Is there money to be made in spaghetti farming?

``Thais don't like spaghetti all that much _ it's a niche market,'' Santi said. ``Even so, it's a nice alternative to rice, and can be served in many different dishes. Vegetarians especially like it.''

Prapapan Jaonai, an official from the Office of Agricultural Promotion, was a bit more optimistic, noting that Thailand had the chance to become a major spaghetti grower in the region, and that its product could one day hope to compete with European brands, especially since they could be produced more cheaply and were thus a better buying decision for spaghetti connoisseurs.

``We want Thailand to be a spaghetti hub in this region,'' she said. ``This is a brand new market, and the potential is enormous.''

When pointed out that it was more economical to simply make spaghetti by hand, she replied that ``fetish foods'' were all the rage.

``People want hydroponic salads,'' she said. ``They want truffles from France, tuna from Japan, macadamia nuts from Hawaii. They want GMO-free, chemical-free, natural, real food, not processed, chemicalised, treated, preserved, wrapped, packaged, bundled, mass-produced, manufactured stuff that tastes like cardboard. People will pay more for the real thing. Genuine spaghetti has an exotic cachet to it. You know what I mean?''

If she's right, perhaps there is indeed a future in spaghetti farming. And if there is, Thailand has everything to gain and nothing to lose by leading the region in spaghetti production.

``This is a lot different from when I used to grow rubber trees for a living,'' Santi said. ``You can't eat rubber, can you? But with my spaghetti farm, at least no one goes hungry any more, and that's something.''

Indeed it is.

Shower ban in Bangkok due to extreme water shortage

Thanks to low water levels in the Mekong River, authorities have banned all showers in Bangkok. Special public shower cabins are in place at 7-Elevens and body-massage parlours and outside the British and American embassies where locals can shower for free but foreigners must pay 200 baht.

Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Excellent NY Times article.

A must-read.

Paul Krugman has written, This Isn't America. This warms my heart. As long as journalists can get away with writing stuff this controversial (doesn't matter if it's "right"), there is hope. It is what made the USA great. Many countries aren't so fortunate.

Hopefully, America is listening. Thanks to Budd for letting me know.

Fun things to do.

If you're at a loss (which I presume you are as you're here).

1. Have a look at the wrecks on

2. Read through The Onion.

3. Revisit Dale's skirt pictures. Yes, twas I, by the way, who alerted Graham Norton to this one.

4. Try and answer that nagging question from last Saturday night, "Where are they now?"

5. Turn off your computer and read a book.

FOX"News" is now referring to Uzbekhistan as "our staunch ally".

"We report. You decide."

Oh yes, and then later they're talking about a "military Humvee". Understand this, you fake-faced, fake-toothed, fake-smiled, loud-mouthed, arrogant, supercilious, self-important turds: High Mobility Multi-purpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) is a military acronym for a military vehicle, pronounced "Humvee". "Military Humvee" is a redundant statement, like saying "military fighter jet", "military battleship" or "military combat boots". Hummer is the civilian version. But, of course, FOX"News" would know this if they ever bothered to check the facts about anything they report.

This just brings me around to my point: FOX"News" sucks - hard and deep. If they were a whale, they'd be a blue whale - the biggest and the deepest, hardest-sucking. Calling what they shovel on to the airways "news" is almost like calling Hitler misunderstood. Not quite, of course, but close. They are a travesty and an insult to all the decent, hard-working, principled journalists and news-readers (I'm sure there's another joke in there, somewhere).

Anyone who ever spent time on the other side of the Iron Curtain and watched the news or read a newspaper knows what I'm talking about. You guys should be ashamed of yourselves.

Shepard Smith (however you spell his name, like it matters) the other night called Pakistanis "pakis". Nice touch, fella. Your mother must be so proud.


Am I the only one to notice...

that "journalist embedded with the military" sounds just like "journalist in bed with the military"?

Ban on smoking at the beach?

Only in America (well, I certainly hope so). Good grief!

San Diego already has a ban in place against smoking on Soluna Beach, now other parts of the USA are considering a ban. That place just gets loonier and loonier by the minute.

I'm no great fan of cigarette smoking and I certainly think that anyone who litters, especially at the beach, should be hit with a hefty fine but to ban smoking out of doors (apart from fire risks) is just stupid.

Just have a look on Google.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

I am such a pervert!

Ok, so I accidentally find this night market in the north of Thailand and it's pretty clear this is where the local "yoof" hang out (though it's not fair to say "yoof" as there's little in common between the British Yoof and the Thai youngsters). This town is noted for having the best looking women in Thailand and, if that's your flavour, Thai women already tend to be quite pleasing on the eye (and a few other body parts, I'm told).

So, I'm wandering around this market, surrounded by beautiful young women and what am I looking at? Their breasts? Their bottoms? Their faces? No. I'm looking at the classic scooters and motorcycles I keep finding parked all over the places.

Told you I'm a pervert.

Anyways, the upside of the story is I found another one of those delectible retro-styled motorcycles the Japanese keep cranking out. I never heard of the Kawasaki Estrella before but the one I found was very nice indeed. Tubular cradle frame, air-cooled 250cc single-cylinder engine, bullet exhaust. Heck, the crank-cases even LOOK like they're straight out of the '60s.

But, hey, what's this?!! Disc brakes? Modern disc brakes, no less. So I ask the owner. This thing's from 1993!

So I crank up Google and what do I find? These sites: have some data on the bike and a photo of what I think is a more common variant than the one I saw. Beware the stupid pop-under ad with the evil Gator plug-in!!!

some Japanese site that looks good but I can't read any of it and couldn't find much in the way of pictures.

another fan site.

If this cranks your fancy, see a docter. No, just kidding. While you're at it, check out the mouth-watering '60s British twin style of the Honda GB500, especially in TT form and then there's the jewel-like little Honda retro racer (I believe there's also a street version but what's the point?), the CB50R.

Read this.

Major UK Comms Backbone Bunker Burned Out

Just in case you thought today was a happy day....

Looks like we humans have designed nuclear meteorites to explode in to our lives in a few hundred years.

'After a RORSATs tour-of-duty was over, the reactor's fuel core was shot high above Earth into a "disposal orbit." Once at that altitude the power supply unit would take several hundred years before it reentered the Earth's atmosphere.'

Google looks to see off rivals

Good to see that Google seems definitely to be working on its advantages.

"For a man with rivals snapping at his heels, Google's technology boss Craig Silverstein comes across as rather relaxed."

It's such a relief the USA is protecting the world's oppressed,

instead of worrying about giving most favoured trading status to nations like PRC or doing business with Burma. "China detains Tiananmen mothers"

"Spammer's Porsche up for grabs"

Maybe this'll teach the scum a lesson.

Now Alistair Cooke has died, too!

Damn, what is going on?

The BBC carries his obituary as well as some online video.

Monday, March 29, 2004

More on that eBay F-18.

Here's a good news article about it.

If you wan't to see more of this kind of thing for sale, Landa and Associates have a range of tasty kit including MiGs 21 and 29, an F-100D, a Harrier jump jet needing minor work (for USD 100k???!!!), T-33 and a TBM Avenger.

Another source of ultimate boys' toys is Air Combat Warfare International.

Peter Ustinov dies....

"Bugger, bugger, bugger, bugger, bugger!!!", is all I could think when I read this. One of the great shames of my life is that I never met him or even saw him on stage. "Damn, damn, damn....."


No doubt this is just a practice run for their more important duties when they get home.

If any of this means anything to you,

then you'll enjoy reading this thread on /.

"Using the current 60 beam 60 Terawatt (~30Kj) laser to compress a pellet of hydrogen fuel and then just before the moment of maximum inward compression and then stagnation; the EP petawatt beam will fire, producing an instant injection of Mev scale electrons directly into the center of the collapsing target and hopefully producing high fusion yeilds and perhaps even approaching ignition. The Gekko XII laser in Japan with its 500 terawatt scale CPA lser has validated this scheme, which is called "fast ignition", reporting that with the CPA laser used at maximum compression with their 12 beam 40 terrawat laser they've achieve an increase in neutron output [](fusion yield) by 1 to 2 orders of magnitude...Can't wait till we can fire ours up!"

Great Motown history.

This site has a great collection of words and images on the history of the Detroit-Windsor area. There are recent and historic photos of buildings, ships and even proposed buildings that were never built.

A pretty good online resource for photos.

Photovault™ is a pretty good place to find photos of almost anything.

You can always find something interesting here. is always a good information resource and their gallery section has plenty of interesting things (or is it scary?).

My personal favourite? Well, I've always thought the idea of selling, let along buying, an F-18 fighter jet on eBay was novel.

While we're at it, this site is a useful list of military aircraft as is this amazing reference.

An excellent article about Chevalier Jerry Billing, a most remarkeable WWII Spitfire pilot from Essex county, Canada. You really MUST buy and read Jerry's book, A Knave Among Knights in Their Spitfires - it's a fantastic story about a fantastic chap.

Whilst I was looking-up all this stuff, I happened across this site where you can see a list of "THAI AIR ACCIDENTS (1971 to 1983)". It's a kind of different view of the war in Vietnam.

History of Israel.

This one goes all the way back to 1850.....

Sunday, March 28, 2004

Founding member of Parliament/P-Funk lives in Windsor, Canada.

Weird but true, according to this interview.

More scary developments in the good ole' US of A.

It seems the Israeli lobby in Washington
has managed to get the House of Representatives to approve a very scary piece of legislation.

According to this article, "The Israeli lobby has launched an all-out drive to ensure congressional passage of a bill (approved by the House and now before a Senate committee) that would set up a virtual federal tribunal to investigate and monitor criticism of Israel on American college campuses."

Apparently, some Hooters applicants were secretly videotaped naked.

According to this article, "Nearly 200 women who applied for jobs at a Hooters restaurant were secretly videotaped in a trailer while they undressed to put on a Hooters uniform, police said."

Uh-oh, here comes "movieoke"....

Come back "New York, New York....", all is forgiven. I can't wait until this hits the pubs.

Tour Chernobyl on motorbike.

No, really.

Read this woman's site about what it's like to tour the "dead zone" left over by the Chernobyl atomic disaster in the 80s.

"Evicting Einstein"

Yet another attempt to unify (scientific) theories of the universe. Read here about one of the most exciting and possibly significant physics experiments in a long time.

Remember my earlier post about suitcase nukes?

The one about al-Quaeda claiming they have one?

Well, it appears perhaps they got it from the Ukraine. Not only has the Ukraine "lost" a few hundred missiles but some of their scientists apparently sold compact nuclear devices to al-Quaeda. You really should read this article at The Register.

I love Google, but....

Google's value is decreasing all the time, as this article explains.

Has Bush lost the plot?

Here is an interesting argument that leans in that direction.

Meanwhile, here's an extremely interesting article.

I was wondering about the veracity of claims that Islam seeks to convert the entire world. As I neither speak, nor read Arabic, it is difficult for me to read the Koran. I did, however, dig up some very interesting material, such as this article that, while flawed and inaccurate in some places, remains an interesting, thought-provoking and valuable read.

While I was researching, I found this site which bears closer examination - just don't take it as an impartial expert resource, for Pete's sake.

To read translations of the Koran, try this site. Be warned, read the Koran and, if you have read the Old Testament, you will be even more confused than when you started because there appears to be little real difference between any of these. Abraham/Ibrahim, Adam/Adam, Allah/God, etc....

All I want to know is how can any path such as this be truly spiritual when its scriptures begin with such negativity and immediately launches into a tirade about doubt, fear and ignorance?

America: be afraid, very afraid...

Where is all the Missing Fertilizer? asks ATSNN.