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Sunday, 29 November 2009

Very funny picture

Via CuteOverload.com - back story here:
EXTREME EYEBALL POWSCHES!
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A Year's Twitterings

This is my Tweet Cloud, taken from a year's Tweets:


-- Posted from my iPhone via BlogPress app

The Cutest Video Of All Time. Period.

From the Huffington Post:



The Cutest Video Of All Time. Period.

That's right, I'm throwing down. If you don't whole-heartedly agree that this is the cutest thing you've ever seen then yell at me in the comments. I challenge you to watch this and not make one "awww" sound or have your face contort into that weird face people get when they see cute things.


Thursday, 26 November 2009

2010 Reading Challenge

The Reading Adventures blog is hosting the Terry Pratchett 2010 Reading Challenge.



I almost feel bad for entering this, since I've read everything Terry Pratchett has written, and since I read ridiculously quickly, but hey! who could give up the title of "Death's Apprentice"?!?
The challenge will start from 1 December 2009 and run through to 30 November 2010. There are several different levels of participation for you to choose from:

1-3 books - Cashier at Ankh-Morpork Mint
4-5 books - Guard of the City Watch
6-8 books - Academic at the Unseen University
9-10 books - Member of Granny Weatherwax's Coven
10-12 books - Death's Apprentice

You can either be reading the books for the first time, rereading, or even watching the TV adaptations if you like! As long as everyone has fun I will be happy! Please also do not feel limited to only reading the Discworld books as any books by Terry Pratchett will count for this challenge.


Full details, as well as links to books etc, on the Reading Adventures website.


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Oops

I'm listening to this iTunes U lecture series:



It's a Civil War history course, and it's superb stuff - I'm learning a lot. But...

In this episode, the lecturer is comparing "letters from the front" from the Civil and Iraq wars. He reads out a series of emails from an infantryman stationed in Iraq, then says, "that soldier was killed [...] by an IUD".

Uh... No, Yale history professor. Dictionary.com and MSNBC.com will help us out here:








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Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Daily Quote


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quote of the day
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"Let us tenderly and kindly cherish, therefore, the means of knowledge. Let us dare to read, think, speak, and write."

—John Adams
(1735-1826); 2nd U.S. President

The values we live by are worth more
when we pass them on.


Monday, 23 November 2009

Fry on blog comments

From Stephen Fry:
Whenever I read a blog I do not let my eye drop below half the screen in case I accidentally hit the bits where the comments reside. Of all the stinking, sliding, scuttling, weird, entomological creatures that inhabit the floor of the internet, those comments on blogs are the most unbearable, almost beyond imagining.


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Taiwanese cuisine?

Warning! NSF Work, Animal Lovers or The Squeamish

This poor fish has had its body deep fried but is still alive. The diners laugh and poke at it to make it gasp for air while eating it. I do feel ill after watching this.


Sunday, 22 November 2009

"Merry Christmas", or "Happy Holidays"?

The Telegraph has posted an article on Christmas.

Shutting Office Over Christmas Is Indirect Discrimination Against Other Religions

By Martin Beckford

Non-Christians have to use up their annual leave to celebrate their own religious holidays and so may resent the fact that all staff are given time off over the festive period, it is claimed.

[...]

The group says there is no reason for companies to avoid celebrating Christmas for fear of offending minority faiths, although it advises putting up “seasonal” decorations in workplaces instead of religious ones.

[...]

Its new guide to the main event in the Christian calendar states: “There is no need to panic about Christmas at work.”

It includes a spoof series of emails from an HR director to staff about a Christmas party, in which she struggles to avoid upsetting Jews, Muslims, alcoholics, homosexuals, the obese and vegetarians by catering for their varied needs.

The five-page guide also shows a cartoon of a white man looking embarrassed as he asks a Sikh colleague: “What do you and your family have planned over the erm… non-religious-specific day off in winter?”

It states: “The Christmas we know today is also built on many other traditions of mid winter celebration and some argue that playing down its religious significance can avoid upsetting or alienating non-Christians.

“The challenge of appearing ‘politically correct’ has led some to the view that imposing a Christian festival on modern multi-cultural Britain is inappropriate.”

But it points out that even Britain’s equality watchdog believes denying Britain’s Christian heritage can be bad for “community relations”.

It goes on: “Many employers display Christmas decorations in the workplace and send Christmas cards, emails etc to employees, customers and others.

“There is no need to stop on grounds of religion or belief, although – unless your organisation has a strong Christian culture or ethos – it may be more sensitive to use seasonal rather than religious imagery.

[...]

It goes on: “Because the Christmas season includes a number of public holidays many employers will close their operations for those days, or for a longer period.

“This may leave non-Christians feeling disadvantaged, since some may have to take holiday to participate in their own religious festivals.

“An extended Christmas closedown may therefore indirectly discriminate on the ground of religion or belief so employers should be clear as to the reasons why it is necessary which might include cost savings where the majority of staff will want to take holiday and costs can be saved by closing down completely.”

However the guide tells employers whose organisations cannot shut down over Christmas, such as emergency services or utility firms, should not worry about making Christians come in to work.

It states that “tribunals have dismissed the notion that Christians have any privilege for time off for religious reasons”.


So... tone down Christmas so as not to offend or "indirectly discriminate against" members of other religions, but feel free to ACTIVELY discriminate against Christians if you want to?

Makes perfect sense.

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Policeman v friendly cat



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ZOMG OBESITY EPIDEMIC

Fat college kids threatened: Take PE or don't graduate

This is insane. If it was just about health, the college would have to ban tobacco and alcohol as well, but no: this is about obesity, and therefore everyone else can feel all sanctimonious about it.

People make bad lifestyle choices - it's hardly within the college's remit to force people to exercise. Frankly, if I was a student there, I can't think of a better way to goad me into making a huge public nuisance of myself.

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Quote

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

The Worst Seduction Attempt Ever

While reading the post 3 Ways To Not-Pick-Up by @tremendousnews , I was inspired to tell this tale of the most insane pick-up attempt I personally have ever experienced.

It's New Year's Eve, London, 1999. (Not technically the start of the new millennium, but I digress.)

I've just been home (Australia) for a visit, so I am flat stony broke and unable to join all my London friends who are going to Paris. Yes, I am in a tiny cottage on the edge of Tooting/Croydon, alone, on the night of the biggest communal party London will ever see. "Right," I say to myself, "you are NOT watching the fireworks on TV and then crying yourself to sleep. Get sexy and get out there!"

"Dressing sexy" is a relative term in December in London, especially if you are over 25 and don't drink and are therefore unable to pretend you're not freezing your tits off -- but I dutifully get out the cleavage shirt, slap some lippy on, add 3 layers for warmth and out I go.

I still don't understand the mental gymnastics that allowed me to blithely ignore the "violent claustrophobia in crowds" thing I have, but it kicked in as soon as I stepped into The City. Being a short-arse doesn't help, as I generally can't see where I am or where the trouble's brewing. Deep breath, decide to head for Big Ben and I'm away.

Some 45 minutes later, streaming sweat and muttering imprecations in staccato bursts of available air, I get onto Westminster Bridge. It's WAY less crowded than the river bank, but still three-deep humanity line the sides, so I stake out a spot in the middle, with half an hour to go. Yay, me! I meet a group of American tourists and they pretend to include me while I pretend I'm not bothered either way.

5... 4... 3... 2... 1... Big Ben chimes it in



***** HAPPY NEW YEAR!! *****

Barges lining the river explode into incredible synchronised fireworks displays -- for 17 minutes, pickpockets worked the millions-strong crowd stands with its collective face upturned, united by the artistry and spectacle of the lights. The last of the fireworks fades... the beast gives a giant sigh... and it turns as one and surges for the end of the bridge, breaking into disparate clumps of people hurrying to get to the Tube first to go home.

It's impossible to stand against this unified force - I stumble, catch myself, think a wry thought about mob dynamics and move with everyone else, stopping and starting as the groups surge and jostle and swell around the slower members of the herd and then finally stop. Under Big Ben. In the rain. With people shoving and pushing from behind until we have reached an impasse. No one can move forward, no one at the back is retreating. 150,000 people standing packed together as if we were on the Tube in peak hour.

Hands drawn to my chest, taking impromptu dance steps as the mass of people eddies and sways, I grimace apologetically at the person I jab with my elbow, turning until I am in a semi-sustainable position. Grit my teeth. Wait. Wait. Wait. More people at the back think we're playing and pile in, pushing us closer together.

We wait. And wait.

Angry voices are being raised: "what's going on?"

A child faints and is passed overhead, hand over hand, out of the crush.

Another.

A woman begins shrieking, "let me out! I have to get out!" By this time I have my eyes closed trying to be Zen, but I feel you, sister.

A scuffle in the near distance, then a man shouts, "move WHERE, ya fuckers?!?"

Jostling, pushing, sweaty, close, damp wool, rising panic... my knees buckle and I would fall but I can't. I'm going to throw up, I say to the sky. The woman who is face-to-face with me says, "oh, please don't", but I can't answer her. Someone passes a plastic bag overhead and the woman in front of me tips her head back as far as she can and I vomit. It's an odd angle, but I literally can't bend. I ask if anyone knows the time -- it's 12:50 am.

Only half an hour? It feels an eternity.

Time churns on. More people faint.

We wait. And wait. And wait.

A siren sounds from in front of us and an authoritative voice yells, "let the ambulance through!"

We stare at each other, baffled - do the police think we're standing here for fun? More shoving, pushing, shouting, but this time it's the police clearing a path by force.

Now I'm standing on people's feet, I'm staggering, everyone's trying not to lose their footing. Somehow, the ambulance inches in. I realise I've been crying for some time, the panic looking for an outlet. We lean, now, since only half the crowd still have their feet on the ground. I still don't know what the police were thinking that night.

Finally, FUCKING FINALLY, the crowd begins to move. The crush eases, and we're able to walk. It's 2:45am - we've been there for almost two and a half hours.

My legs like jelly, I lean against the ambulance for a moment before I can begin to move, with the vehicle on my right, towards some sort of open ground. I take about 5 steps before I am goosed from behind.

A really bad night for that, shithead. I turn with my fist clenched and I hit him, as hard as hours of pent-up aggression, fear and adrenaline (as well as all my not-inconsiderable weight) can manage.

Tosser goes down like a sack of spuds, back against the ambulance and he slides to the ground. I stand over him, shaking wildly, and scream at him wordlessly. Then I shuffle away.

Four hours later (walk, train, bus, other bus, other bus, walk) I get home.

I am never celebrating New Year's Eve again.


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Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Oddee.com: 8 Strangest Genetic Scientific Experiments


8 Strangest Genetic Scientific Experiments
From a spider-goat to a twin town, see some weird experiments based on genetics.

This one is definitely a step in the Jurassic Park direction:

 Scientists create new life from a mouse that has been frozen for 16 years

Scientists have created clones of a mouse that had been dead and frozen for 16 years. It is the first time they have been able to clone a frozen animal. The Japanese researchers say their work will benefit mankind - and could be used to bring back extinct animals such as the woolly mammoth or sabre tooth tiger. Critics say it brings the world closer to the day when people try to clone long- dead relatives stored in cryopreservation clinics. [...] (Link)

Daily Quote


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quote of the day
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"The soul was never put in the body to stand still."

—John Webster
dramatist

The values we live by are worth more
when we pass them on.
This Values.com message is one of a daily newsletter from The Foundation for a Better Life bringing you a new inspiring quote every day. The Foundation for a Better Life is a non-profit organization dedicated to sharing the values that make a difference in our communities.


Uninsured Patients Twice As Likely To Die In The ER: Study



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