Monday, April 30, 2007

what racing is all about

yesterdays 2nd leg of the ama superbike championship from california speedway was all about pure racing between two team mates.

he crossed the line just 0.035 seconds ahead of ben spies, and these two on the factory Suzuki GSX-R1000 are simply in another league. good to see ben bostrom's yamaha podium 3rd in both races.

(the photo isn't from yesterday's race as this year matt is wearing number 66, but i couldn't find a pic that i liked enough)

Sunday, April 29, 2007

happy birthday to both kenny & juliana

had a great night over at kenny & milena's last night.

daisy, yours truly, tanc, tiernan, and kenny provided the musical merriment.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

a great weekend of superbike racing

April 2007

27th - 29th AMA Superbike Championship Rd3, California Speedway, Fontana, California, USA.
27th - 29th British Superbike Championship rd 3, Silverstone.
27th - 29th World Superbike Championship rd 5, Assen, Netherlands.

speed channel are showing ama superbikes at 5pm on sunday.

world superbikes are being shown at 2pm on tuesday.

...speed channel is unable to bring any coverage of any british racing events as they are too busy with pre-pre-pre-race-bullshit-nascar-yawn-yawn, five hours-pre-race-live coverage of light truck series in-studio talk of what the drivers might-be-having for-breakfast news.

Mouse brain simulated on computer

from the bbc:

US researchers have simulated half a virtual mouse brain on a supercomputer.

The scientists ran a "cortical simulator" that was as big and as complex as half of a mouse brain on the BlueGene L supercomputer.

...the scientists then tried to simulate that of a human being and found they could achieve the same size and complexity of george bush's brain using only a 1950's radioshack electronic hobby kit...

Friday, April 27, 2007

letter to the new york times

Dear Sirs,

Thomas Friedman is naive in the title of his piece:

China Needs An Einstein. So Do We.’

A few details need putting in order here. Contrary to popular thought, Einstein did not receive the Nobel prize for his work on Relativity. This was awarded to him for the discovery of the photoelectric effect.

In 1916, when Einstein expanded his Special Theory to include the effect of gravitation on the shape of space and the flow of time, science itself was conducted very differently than it is today.

While the cosy image of a lone scientist battling alone trying to resolve difficult problems may be a romantic throwback to bygones past, but when it comes to tackling cutting-edge problems at the forefront of today’s world, that simply doesn’t exist in the modern framework of the scientific community, nor has it done so for some time. When Mr. Friedman writes an article for the New York Times, there are any number of people that are involved in the production before that newspaper arrives at its destination. Quite a few more than I would imagine than in 1916, and the New York Times to my knowledge, isn’t in the business of solving the deepest fundamental answers in explaining natural phenomena and developing rigorous mathematical proofs.

No, scientists today work as teams, sometimes numbering in the hundreds or greater depending upon what is being studied, collaborating their ideas, much like any other business might, although instead of profits being churned out, together they combine their knowledge, through collaborative research, often across countries, and often spend years, sometimes dedicating their entire careers in the aim of furthering our understanding of the world we all see around us and yet individually know so little about.

While it is not impossible for anything to happen (quantum mechanics), to expect another Einstein is living in the past, and yet i'd be happy to wager a small bet that Mr. Freidman himself has moved on from using the typewriter…

Bush Vows to Veto Troop Withdrawal Plan

...great title. the middle east history books are going to have a field day with that one, george.

"...look at me, look at me!

...if only my pecker was as big as my ego, but hey, beggars can't be choosers. this snug- fitting suit sure does feels good against my crotch..."

from the new york times:

Congress backs Iraq pull-out plan

The US Senate has voted to approve a bill which requires US troops to start withdrawing from Iraq by October.

President George Bush has said he will veto the Democrat-sponsored bill, which was also passed by the House of Representatives on Wednesday.

President Bush says the bill will undermine US forces in Iraq

that’s rich.

this is all a far cry from four years ago when george ‘top gun’ (I’ve never actually personally seen combat myself, but I’m wearing a specially tailored-to-make-me-look- macho pilot’s uniform) bush landed on an aircraft carrier in a shameless, crass display of politicising.

remember this? - in it's entirety:

For Immediate Release

Office of the Press Secretary
May 1, 2003

President Bush Announces Major Combat Operations in Iraq Have Ended

Remarks by the President from the USS Abraham Lincoln
At Sea Off the Coast of San Diego, California

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all very much. Admiral Kelly, Captain Card, officers and sailors of the USS Abraham Lincoln, my fellow Americans: Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed. (Applause.) And now our coalition is engaged in securing and reconstructing that country.

In this battle, we have fought for the cause of liberty, and for the peace of the world. Our nation and our coalition are proud of this accomplishment -- yet, it is you, the members of the United States military, who achieved it. Your courage, your willingness to face danger for your country and for each other, made this day possible. Because of you, our nation is more secure. Because of you, the tyrant has fallen, and Iraq is free. (Applause.)

Operation Iraqi Freedom was carried out with a combination of precision and speed and boldness the enemy did not expect, and the world had not seen before. From distant bases or ships at sea, we sent planes and missiles that could destroy an enemy division, or strike a single bunker. Marines and soldiers charged to Baghdad across 350 miles of hostile ground, in one of the swiftest advances of heavy arms in history. You have shown the world the skill and the might of the American Armed Forces.

This nation thanks all the members of our coalition who joined in a noble cause. We thank the Armed Forces of the United Kingdom, Australia, and Poland, who shared in the hardships of war. We thank all the citizens of Iraq who welcomed our troops and joined in the liberation of their own country. And tonight, I have a special word for Secretary Rumsfeld, for General Franks, and for all the men and women who wear the uniform of the United States: America is grateful for a job well done. (Applause.)

The character of our military through history -- the daring of Normandy, the fierce courage of Iwo Jima, the decency and idealism that turned enemies into allies -- is fully present in this generation. When Iraqi civilians looked into the faces of our servicemen and women, they saw strength and kindness and goodwill. When I look at the members of the United States military, I see the best of our country, and I'm honored to be your Commander-in-Chief. (Applause.)

In the images of falling statues, we have witnessed the arrival of a new era. For a hundred of years of war, culminating in the nuclear age, military technology was designed and deployed to inflict casualties on an ever-growing scale. In defeating Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, Allied forces destroyed entire cities, while enemy leaders who started the conflict were safe until the final days. Military power was used to end a regime by breaking a nation.

Today, we have the greater power to free a nation by breaking a dangerous and aggressive regime. With new tactics and precision weapons, we can achieve military objectives without directing violence against civilians. No device of man can remove the tragedy from war; yet it is a great moral advance when the guilty have far more to fear from war than the innocent. (Applause.)

In the images of celebrating Iraqis, we have also seen the ageless appeal of human freedom. Decades of lies and intimidation could not make the Iraqi people love their oppressors or desire their own enslavement. Men and women in every culture need liberty like they need food and water and air. Everywhere that freedom arrives, humanity rejoices; and everywhere that freedom stirs, let tyrants fear. (Applause.)

We have difficult work to do in Iraq. We're bringing order to parts of that country that remain dangerous. We're pursuing and finding leaders of the old regime, who will be held to account for their crimes. We've begun the search for hidden chemical and biological weapons and already know of hundreds of sites that will be investigated. We're helping to rebuild Iraq, where the dictator built palaces for himself, instead of hospitals and schools. And we will stand with the new leaders of Iraq as they establish a government of, by, and for the Iraqi people. (Applause.)

The transition from dictatorship to democracy will take time, but it is worth every effort. Our coalition will stay until our work is done. Then we will leave, and we will leave behind a free Iraq. (Applause.)

The battle of Iraq is one victory in a war on terror that began on September the 11, 2001 -- and still goes on. That terrible morning, 19 evil men -- the shock troops of a hateful ideology -- gave America and the civilized world a glimpse of their ambitions. They imagined, in the words of one terrorist, that September the 11th would be the "beginning of the end of America." By seeking to turn our cities into killing fields, terrorists and their allies believed that they could destroy this nation's resolve, and force our retreat from the world. They have failed. (Applause.)

In the battle of Afghanistan, we destroyed the Taliban, many terrorists, and the camps where they trained. We continue to help the Afghan people lay roads, restore hospitals, and educate all of their children. Yet we also have dangerous work to complete. As I speak, a Special Operations task force, led by the 82nd Airborne, is on the trail of the terrorists and those who seek to undermine the free government of Afghanistan. America and our coalition will finish what we have begun. (Applause.)

From Pakistan to the Philippines to the Horn of Africa, we are hunting down al Qaeda killers. Nineteen months ago, I pledged that the terrorists would not escape the patient justice of the United States. And as of tonight, nearly one-half of al Qaeda's senior operatives have been captured or killed. (Applause.)

The liberation of Iraq is a crucial advance in the campaign against terror. We've removed an ally of al Qaeda, and cut off a source of terrorist funding. And this much is certain: No terrorist network will gain weapons of mass destruction from the Iraqi regime, because the regime is no more. (Applause.)

In these 19 months that changed the world, our actions have been focused and deliberate and proportionate to the offense. We have not forgotten the victims of September the 11th -- the last phone calls, the cold murder of children, the searches in the rubble. With those attacks, the terrorists and their supporters declared war on the United States. And war is what they got. (Applause.)

Our war against terror is proceeding according to principles that I have made clear to all: Any person involved in committing or planning terrorist attacks against the American people becomes an enemy of this country, and a target of American justice. (Applause.)

Any person, organization, or government that supports, protects, or harbors terrorists is complicit in the murder of the innocent, and equally guilty of terrorist crimes.

Any outlaw regime that has ties to terrorist groups and seeks or possesses weapons of mass destruction is a grave danger to the civilized world -- and will be confronted. (Applause.)

And anyone in the world, including the Arab world, who works and sacrifices for freedom has a loyal friend in the United States of America. (Applause.)

Our commitment to liberty is America's tradition -- declared at our founding; affirmed in Franklin Roosevelt's Four Freedoms; asserted in the Truman Doctrine and in Ronald Reagan's challenge to an evil empire. We are committed to freedom in Afghanistan, in Iraq, and in a peaceful Palestine. The advance of freedom is the surest strategy to undermine the appeal of terror in the world. Where freedom takes hold, hatred gives way to hope. When freedom takes hold, men and women turn to the peaceful pursuit of a better life. American values and American interests lead in the same direction: We stand for human liberty. (Applause.)

The United States upholds these principles of security and freedom in many ways -- with all the tools of diplomacy, law enforcement, intelligence, and finance. We're working with a broad coalition of nations that understand the threat and our shared responsibility to meet it. The use of force has been -- and remains -- our last resort. Yet all can know, friend and foe alike, that our nation has a mission: We will answer threats to our security, and we will defend the peace. (Applause.)

Our mission continues. Al Qaeda is wounded, not destroyed. The scattered cells of the terrorist network still operate in many nations, and we know from daily intelligence that they continue to plot against free people. The proliferation of deadly weapons remains a serious danger. The enemies of freedom are not idle, and neither are we. Our government has taken unprecedented measures to defend the homeland. And we will continue to hunt down the enemy before he can strike. (Applause.)

The war on terror is not over; yet it is not endless. We do not know the day of final victory, but we have seen the turning of the tide. No act of the terrorists will change our purpose, or weaken our resolve, or alter their fate. Their cause is lost. Free nations will press on to victory. (Applause.)

Other nations in history have fought in foreign lands and remained to occupy and exploit. Americans, following a battle, want nothing more than to return home. And that is your direction tonight. (Applause.) After service in the Afghan -- and Iraqi theaters of war -- after 100,000 miles, on the longest carrier deployment in recent history, you are homeward bound. (Applause.) Some of you will see new family members for the first time -- 150 babies were born while their fathers were on the Lincoln. Your families are proud of you, and your nation will welcome you. (Applause.)

We are mindful, as well, that some good men and women are not making the journey home. One of those who fell, Corporal Jason Mileo, spoke to his parents five days before his death. Jason's father said, "He called us from the center of Baghdad, not to brag, but to tell us he loved us. Our son was a soldier."

Every name, every life is a loss to our military, to our nation, and to the loved ones who grieve. There's no homecoming for these families. Yet we pray, in God's time, their reunion will come.

Those we lost were last seen on duty. Their final act on this Earth was to fight a great evil and bring liberty to others. All of you -- all in this generation of our military -- have taken up the highest calling of history. You're defending your country, and protecting the innocent from harm. And wherever you go, you carry a message of hope -- a message that is ancient and ever new. In the words of the prophet Isaiah, "To the captives, 'come out,' -- and to those in darkness, 'be free.'"

Thank you for serving our country and our cause. May God bless you all, and may God continue to bless America. (Applause.)

if there's a god, it's hard to see how he can be too happy with america...

...what was you said, george? "the bill will undermine US forces in Iraq"?

...i can sum up all of the above in just one word, george: BOLLOCKS!

Hawking takes zero-gravity flight

from the bbc:

British physicist Stephen Hawking has completed a zero-gravity flight in a specially modified plane.

Professor Hawking, who suffers from motor neurone disease, was able to float free, unrestricted by his paralysed muscles and his wheelchair.

The two-hour flight over the Atlantic took a series of dramatic dives, allowing the professor to experience 25-second spurts of weightlessness.

The event could be a step closer to Hawking's goal of going into space.

The modified Boeing 727 jet simulated the experience of weightlessness as it took a series of eight plunges.

"It was amazing," Prof Hawking said after the flight.

"The zero-G part was wonderful and the higher-G part was no problem. I could have gone on and on. Space, here I come!" he said.

Initially, the organisers had planned to go through between one and three zero gravity sessions.

In the end eight were completed, and Prof Hawking experienced weightlessness for about four minutes.

What is Gravity?

Gravity holds us to the ground. It governs motion throughout the universe and keeps the Moon in orbit around the Earth, and the Earth in orbit around the Sun. The nature of gravity was first scientifically described by Sir lsaac Newton more than 300 years ago.

Where Does Gravity Come From?

Newton established that all objects, however small or large, have gravity. He noted that small objects have less gravity than large objects and that the force of attraction diminishes rapidly as the objects move apart.
Newton's research led to the Universal law of Gravitation.

Newton's Law of Gravity

Each object in the universe attracts each other body.

The force is proportional to the product of the two masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between the point masses:

F is the magnitude of the gravitational force between the two point masses
G is the gravitational constant
m1 is the mass of the first point mass
m2 is the mass of the second point mass
r is the distance between the two point masses

Assuming SI units (sorry united states, but the rest of the world and all of science communicates in metric units not english - and we now have been using metric since the 1970's), F is measured in newtons (N), m1 and m2 in kilograms (kg), r in metres (m), and the constant G is approximately equal to 6.67 × 10−11 N m2 kg−2. (incredibly weak when compared to the other 3 forces*)

*but gravity acts differently than the other 3 forces - see a physics textbook, or wait for me to blog about the four forces and their properties and relationships.

...nice to have something positive to blog about for a change.

i'm a big fan of stephen hawking, and very happy he's managed to achieve this.

i really hope he makes it into space.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

breaking news!

mr. tancred dickens is officially named as moderator to nutty's blog.

...i will now try and work out exactly how to do this...

Court Asked to Limit Lawyers at Guantánamo

The Justice Department has asked a federal appeals court to impose tighter restrictions on the hundreds of lawyers who represent detainees at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and the request has become a central issue in a new legal battle over the administration’s detention policies.

Saying that visits by civilian lawyers and attorney-client mail have caused “intractable problems and threats to security at Guantánamo,” a Justice Department filing proposes new limits on the lawyers’ contact with their clients and access to evidence in their cases that would replace more expansive rules that have governed them since they began visiting Guantánamo detainees in large numbers in 2004.

...what a stunning couple of weeks of triumph for a healthy democracy for this nation. how much lower can it sink in the eyes of the world?

the virginia tech massacre. not one senator calling for a ban on semi-automatic weapons. meanwhile, over two hundred killed the same week in iraq, and bush has the gall to say he is 'upbeat' and the new plan is meeting expectations. gonzales, the attorney general (bush's handpicked puppet) coming under fire from everyone - except from the whitehouse, of course. the testimony from pat tillman's brother and jessica lynch offering a very different account of events than those portrayed to the media by the us 'hero' army, and now this from the justice department. the shining jewel in the administration's crown: guantanamo bay.

unbelievable. war on terror?

if you haven't seen it, watch the documentary 'control room'

you will never view american media the same way again.

Snoop Dogg banned from Australia

from the bbc:

Rapper Snoop Dogg has been banned from entering Australia after failing a character test, according to officials.

"He doesn't seem the sort of bloke we want in this country," Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews told Sydney's Macquarie Radio.

Back in February, when Mr Broadus last visited Australia, immigration officials warned him then that he could face a ban if he got into anymore trouble.

And last month he was forced to scrap his UK tour with fellow rapper P Diddy after authorities denied him a visa.

On a previous visit to the UK, the rapper and members of his entourage spent a night in jail after being accused of starting a fight at Heathrow Airport.

He was also held overnight by police in Sweden on suspicion of using drugs.

...after which, the swedes redefined their definition of the word suspicion.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

happy birthday - to my mum :)

Earth-Like Planet Discovered

from sky & telescope:

An earth-like planet that could be covered in oceans and may support life has been discovered outside the solar system.

The new world, which is 20.5 light years away, orbits a region with the right temperature to allow liquid water on its surface.

Scientists believe it is only 1.5 times larger and five times more massive than the earth, making it the smallest extra-solar planet known.

But the really exciting discovery is that the planet inhabits the habitable zone of its parent star, Gliese 581.

Also known as the "Goldilocks zone", this is the narrow orbit in which temperatures are not too hot, not too cold, but just right for surface water to exist as a liquid.

The habitable zone varies according to the heat output of the star, and Gliese 581 is much smaller and colder than the sun. So even though the planet is 14 times closer to the star than the earth is to the sun, it lies in a region where rivers, lakes and oceans are possible.

Liquid water is one of the pre-requisites for life.

The new planet was found by Swiss, French and Portuguese astronomers.

...surely you mean american astronomers? if this was a movie...

...20.5 light years away is extremely close in astronomical terms, yet still a whopping 123 trillion miles just in case anyone thinks we are even remotely thinking about going there.

20.5 light years distant means that's the quickest time it would would take us to even send a message to the planet...

...the graphic above is from january 2004

what about nasa's commitment to other countries in launching already built instruments? er, just what has the space station (white elephant) done for us scientifically at staggering cost?

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Man cuts off penis in restaurant....!!!

from the bbc:

A man cut off his penis with a knife in a packed London restaurant.

Police were forced to use CS gas to restrain the man when they entered the Zizzi restaurant in The Strand on Sunday evening.

A Metropolitan Police spokeswoman said the man was aged between 30 and 40 and that his injuries were self-inflicted.

The man was then taken to hospital in south London where his condition is stable. It is understood surgeons were unable to reattach his penis.

..."table for two, sir?"

that should be great for business...

it's understood that the restaurant has removed one of its traditional dessert items from the menu: spotted dick, a steamed pudding, containing dried fruits, usually currants

Saturday, April 21, 2007

U.S. Rules Made Killer Ineligible to Purchase Gun

from the new york times:

WASHINGTON, April 20 — Under federal law, the Virginia Tech gunman Seung-Hui Cho should have been prohibited from buying a gun after a Virginia court declared him to be a danger to himself in late 2005 and sent him for psychiatric treatment, a state official and several legal experts said Friday.

Federal law prohibits anyone who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective,” as well as those who have been involuntarily committed to a mental health facility, from buying a gun.

The special justice’s order in late 2005 that directed Mr. Cho to seek outpatient treatment and declared him to be mentally ill and an imminent danger to himself fits the federal criteria and should have immediately disqualified him, said Richard J. Bonnie, chairman of the Supreme Court of Virginia’s Commission on Mental Health Law Reform.

A spokesman for the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives also said that if Mr. Cho had been found mentally defective by a court, he should have been denied the right to purchase a gun.

...o.k. that's great. so all these laws are put into place. so who is responsible for actually testing the system to like make sure it works, for instance. you'd think something like preventing those judged as mentally ill from buying guns would be worth testing, wouldn't you...?

this is clearly a case where you can't just wait for the law to be broken and then enforce it, but rather put in place barriers that are fail-safes. i.e. preventative measures.

...the best bit is that right now, only 22 states submit any mental health records to the federal national instant criminal background check system, the federal bureau of investigation said in a statement on thursday.

that's right, the remaining 28 states don't...!

what a complete and utter failure of government to protect its citizens.

the result of which, we saw played out on our tv screens this past monday.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Bush upbeat on Iraq security plan

from the bbc:

US President George W Bush has said early indications suggest a security operation begun in Iraq more than two months ago was "meeting expectations"., because you expect suicide bombers to have killed hundreds of innocent people in recent weeks...?

tell me george, are you similarly 'upbeat' about the situation at virgina tech as well?

there's nothing like a well-run election...

from the bbc:

Nigeria ballots 'not in country'

Ballot papers have not yet arrived in Nigeria, a day before the presidential election, officials say.

Ballot papers have not yet arrived in Nigeria on the eve of the presidential elections, the election commission head has said.

Maurice Iwu said the start of polling would be delayed by two hours and would now begin at 1000 (0900 GMT).

Correspondents say it is hard to see how 60m ballot papers can be delivered across the vast country in time.

EU observers says they are concerned about the credibility of the vote after last weekend's flawed state elections.

It is understood the ballot papers are being shipped from South Africa.

Mr Iwu made the announcement during a news conference broadcast live on television, when he was asked about reports that a truck full of ballot papers already marked in favour of the ruling party had been seized.

zidane at the hirshhorn museum

met up with jean-marc, hakim, rehda & victor to see 'Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait'

an englishman watching 90 minutes about a french footballer, fimed arthouse style, with the camera going in and out of focus constantly, didn't do too much for me honestly. interesting, but that was it. i guess the migraine didn't help...

nice to see jean-marc and hakim after such a long time, though.

looks like we'll get a good crew turn-out for be-bar on saturday.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

i don't see anyone thanking the lord now...

all we've heard all week long is that everyone's prayers are with the families. they don't even say "and for those that believe" they just elbow right in and assume.

like i say, you can't have it both ways and only thank the lord when something good or nice happens and never when a tragedy strikes. selective worship rears it's head again.

a bit like zach johnson when he won the golf masters: "Really I wasn't calm, but its Easter, and my faith is very important to me, and Jesus was with me all the way."
...and where was jesus when you were losing tournaments, zach?

and, er, where was jesus on monday morning, zach?

just doesn't add up, does it?

i'm an atheist, so the whole prayer thing is lost on me. i can fully comprehend the horror of what happened on monday morning and sympathise with the families without recourse to religion.

not one politician has managed to express their sympathy without mentioning religion. i thought there was separation between church and state. apparently not.

...and well done nbc for airing that footage.

nbc - no bloody class

if the gunman had killed the child of the head of nbc i'm sure "the very difficult decision to show the tapes" would have resulted in the airing of that footage...

and what a bad day looks like in iraq...

from the new york times:

Wave of Bombings Continues in Iraq

BAGHDAD, April 19 — Bombs ravaged Baghdad in five horrific explosions aimed mainly at Shiite crowds on Wednesday, killing at least 171 people in the deadliest day in the capital since the American-led security plan for the city took effect two months ago.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

daisy's birthday weekend

saturday night. tanc, beesch & fogel came over and picked daisy and myself up to go and see scuba play at rock & roll (yeah).

tiernan was having to work downstairs (bummer), but managed to steal a few mins while scuba was playing. you had to feel for scuba as the sub kept cutting out and i'm sure he hadn't played anywhere where people were playing pool less than 20 ft away from where he was dj'ing...this hit me when he said that he'd played at fabric in london the previous friday. great dubstep set. miguel migs at club five? i really don't think so.

then it was off with the crew to annie's in a torrential downpour with daisy driving victor's car. if only she'd managed to open and drive off in the car parked right outside rock & roll hotel that she thought was victor's and she tried to unlock, what a laught that would have been...

packed at annie's and the usual scene, and then towards the end of our meal two transvestites walked in and sat behind our table. "more sausage rehda?" i asked with a 'zoolander' look, to which he responded (also with a zoolander look) by showing me his remaining plate of sausage saying "they're cut...".

walked back home in the rain. it's now 4:00am. i realise that i have to get up to watch the grand prix of bahrain in just 2 and a half hours to see if our man, lewis hamilton can become the first ever man in formula one history to podium in his first 3 starts. i set my alarm and fall asleep.

amazingly, i awake 2 minutes before the alarm goes off. i'm so tired at this point, but i get up and make myself a cup of tea and force my self to watch the motor racing, fighting the need to sleep half distance throughout the race. it's a great race, and massa wins, silencing his critics, with hamilton second, securing his place in the record books. i return to bed exhausted. it's now absolutely chucking it down outside and we have to drive to west virginia tomorrow.

managed to leave the apartment around 1:30pm. arrived sometime before 4:30pm. huge room, but no kettle. got a pitcher of barely hot water from the tavern and made a cup of tea. we decided to eat early and headed to the tavern around half past six for dinner. our older-than-nightclub-standard, but very freindly barmaid, evelyn who helped us out with the hot water helped liven the atmosphere. there's only another couple and three other ladies there (celebrating their 40th birthdays in the same year). the music is horrific, with some talentless female belting out something with the words "i surrender" which is supposed to be a love long, but is just making me want to leave. finally i can take no more and ask daisy if she can request a music change.

the vast cd music retinue consisted of 8 rod stewart's one cher, one neil diamond and one al green. without hesitation, i went for al green. finally some sanity!

we never knew he could yodel. or skip. then, just a few minutes in, he stopped completely. at this point, i asked if i could put on some of my music, and, to which the response was "i don't see why not".

back to the room, grabbed my cd case, and we are soon listening to sanchez. yes. the country inn at berkeley springs in west virginia was getting some sanchez. followed by layo & bushwacka!, followed by groove amada, followed by the "do you know house" cd as a final musical adieu as we hit some beers and talked with the ladies. at the late hour of 9pm, the bar shut so we retired for the evening, but i left evelyn the cd since she was evidently enjoying the house music.

it's now rebecca's birthday and we are woken up by an air-raid siren going off at 7:15am. not your usual start to a relaxing spa treatment... it's also snowing a little outside. over breakfast at the tavern, we were told this was because of all the flooding, and the siren was to alert rescue teams. there are hiker trails nearby. many people were unable to get to their homes, and on the tv, we saw that there were some 234,000 people without power. no matter, to us anyway. after lots of hot coffee it was off to our spa treatment.

if only the elevator was working! i had to walk outside in my t-shirt & shorts in freezing cold wind up to the 4th floor. but once there , we were treated to a great hot whirlpool and we each had a great massage. great way to spend a crappy morning!

since the weather was so crap, we decided to head back to d.c after stopping off somewhere in town for lunch. tari's cafe seemed to be the place, as pelting sleet came down. me still in my shorts, of course.

as i look around, i notice a big sign at the far end of the bar.

it reads:

as i take this in, my attention wanders to the tv news.
a 'BREAKING NEWS' is flashing. '30+ killed in a shooting at virginia tech'. i can't help but look at the sign at the end of the bar, hating guns even more than i did before.

just what will it take to for america to look at it's gun culture? will this be it? or is this not enough? we'll see.

the 'right to bear arms' is as relevant today with regard to semi-automatic weapons as using the sun to navigate and gps satellite. surely technology has now forced the past to be reviewed with regard to this particular technology?

and before monday, i thought the most absurd thing in this country was that it didn't use the metric system, yet it insists that every scientific paper published use metric units.

america. land of extremes and absurdities.

that's some weekend...

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Protein links T. rex to chickens

from the bbc:

Protein extracted from 68 million-year-old T. rex bones has shed new light on the evolutionary link between dinosaurs and birds.

Researchers compared organic molecules preserved in the T. rex fossils with those of living animals, and found they were similar to chicken protein.

as you can see, some evolutionary resemblances are much more immediately obvious than others.

Hamilton seeks to make F1 history

from the bbc:

Felipe Massa will start the Bahrain Grand Prix in pole position after edging a head to head battle with English rookie Lewis Hamilton.

British driver Lewis Hamilton can make Formula One history by claiming a third consecutive podium finish in Sunday's Bahrain Grand Prix.

The 22-year-old McLaren rookie would become the first driver to start his F1 career with three top-three placings.

...nutty will be keeping his metaphorical fingers crossed (i'm not really superstitious). among all the racing greats, this feat has never been done. ever.

for him to pull this off, there needs to be a lot of factors working in his favour.

apart from being a brilliant driver, and not making any costly mistakes, you also need:

- a very competitive car belonging to one the top teams on the grid.
- no mechanical failures.
- no pit-lane delays which cost you precious time.
- no accidents which can retire you from the race.
- a good, clean start, securing a top position, with no bumping into the first turn.
- no flats or punctures.
- luck.

to podium in your first three races at motorsport's highest level (sorry nascar) has never been done before.

go lewis hamilton!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Bayliss defies finger amputation

World Superbike champion Troy Bayliss made light of the loss of a finger to take provisional pole in Valencia.

The Ducati rider, who has had most of the little finger on his right hand amputated, pushed Ruben Xaus into second with James Toseland third.

now that's what i call blokey!

it's the don imus show!

The server at is taking too long to respond...

lucky me!...

Dear Winner
Your email was selected as winner.You have won the sum of
€1,250,915.00 in cash credited to file
Eum.PG/001 2-44 26 and ticket nº 54.90
Please contact our European Agent:
Mr Mario Peña
Mrs Ana Gallego, Secetary(Online Co-Ordination

my response:


just send me your bust measurement.


€1,250,915.00 in cash credited to file...

er, how can 'cash' be credited to a file?

Iraq MPs condemn parliament blast

Iraq's parliament has held a special session in a defiant response to a suicide bombing inside its building.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki said the attack was a "criminal cowardly act" and that the violence would not weaken MPs' resolve.

sounds like the good ol' western world speaking, doesn't it?

let's get something very clear. terrorist or not. blowing yourself up is NOT a cowardly act.

...just ask yourself a very simple question: exactly what would you be prepared to blow yourself up for?

Thursday, April 12, 2007

'Death to US': Anti-Americanism examined

from the bbc:

The US is perceived by many as an international bully, a modern day imperial power. At this critical moment in history, Washington correspondent Justin Webb challenges that idea.

He argues anti-Americanism is often a cover for hatreds with little justification in fact. His three part series takes him to Cairo, Caracas and Washington but it begins where anti-Americanism began - in Paris.

Send Justin Webb your questions about anti-Americanism

here's my letter to justin webb:

it's not just only about what america does. it's about what it also fails to do.

pick a card. any card will do. from george bush's complete alliance with the oil and gas industry, and the continuing failure to sign the kyoto treaty, the shame of hurricane katrina as the whole nation watched helplessly in disbelief and... nothing happened, the utter disaster in iraq, and yet still this administration has the gall to claim success. i'd hate to see a failure...

what more does the rest of the world need apart from the fact that they see the world's biggest user of energy still won't require it's own auto manufacturers and companies to adopt a policy of limiting progressive carbon emissions.

i'm sorry. but the united states of america has an opportunity to step up and actually do something really good for a change, instead of kicking sand in the world's face, refusing to sign the kyoto treaty, silently proclaiming that their economy is somehow the most important thing on the planet, wanting everyone else to put their house in order first, and not look like the arrogant, spoilt, uncaring bastard it does right now.

i live just a few short blocks from the whitehouse. i've never seen george bush in public here. he is so universally hated in his own city it's unbelievable. perhaps that's why 92% of the residents here voted against him in the last election...

why april 12th, 1961 is important in mankind's history

a fitting statue (made out of titanium) for the very first human in space.

below: this man is essentially sitting in a tin can strapped to a bomb...with no controls...

Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin, hero of the Soviet Union, was a Soviet cosmonaut who on April 12, 1961 became the first person in space and the first person to orbit the Earth.

when daisy and i were on a kennedy space center tour bus guide a couple of years ago, as the coach was heading out to the launch pad sites the guide asked "can anyone tell me the name of the first american in space" - to which i shouted from the the rear of the vehicle: "yuri gagarin!"

- they weren't going to even mention his name...

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

the illusionist

great period film.

no 'cool' people. no typical hollywood hero crap. highy recommended.

ed norton looks an awful lot like case in this film, or is it the other way round, or is that an illusion...?

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Scientists' 'perfect' bacon butty

from the bbc:

Scientists have created a mathematical formula of how to make the perfect bacon butty.

Experts at Leeds University discovered the secret to the ideal sandwich lay in how crispy and crunchy rashers were.

They found that two or three back bacon rashers should be cooked under a preheated oven grill for seven minutes at about 240C (475F).

The bacon should then be placed between two slices of farmhouse bread, 1cm to 2cm thick.

The formula is: N = C + {fb (cm) . fb (tc)} + fb (Ts) + fc . ta, where N=force in Newtons required to break the cooked bacon, fb=function of the bacon type, fc=function of the condiment/filling effect, Ts=serving temperature, tc=cooking time, ta=time or duration of application of condiment/filling, cm=cooking method, C=Newtons required to break uncooked bacon.

...nutty has making perfect bacon butties for many years. and no mention of tomato ketchup? this is what finishes a bacon butty to perfection.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

a scanner darkly

surely the two best lines from the movie are:

"yeah dude, don't blame the drug"


"your sins will be read out ceaselessly...for an eternity"

man saves 100 people by going to the toilet

from the bbc:

A Malaysian man paying a late-night visit to the toilet has saved about 100 people from being buried in the rubble of their homes, reports say.

Renjis Empati was visiting an outside lavatory when he noticed part of his communal longhouse collapsing.

He shouted to alert his sleeping neighbours to the danger. Shortly after, the entire building gave way.

Longhouses are large communal buildings used by indigenous groups in the state of Sarawak on the island of Borneo.

It was about 0200 when Mr Empati left the communal longhouse he lived in to answer a call of nature.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

volcanic eruption

from the bbc:

Steam rises under a forbidding sky, as lava from the Piton de la Fournaise volcano drains into the Indian Ocean. The 2,632 metres (8,635 feet) mount, on Reunion Island, has erupted three times this year. The latest phase began on 2 April. The island, a French territory, neighbours Mauritius.

Friday, April 06, 2007

some eco-friendly motorsport going on this weekend...

formula 1 from malaysia this sunday - live on speed channel at 2:30am...

1st round of the british superbikes championship is at Brands Hatch this weekend - April 7/8/9

Wednesday, April 04, 2007