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UMBRIA wreck off the coast of Sudan, Red Sea [Jul. 30th, 2013|12:37 pm]
Originally posted by "torchuk" from http://ru-travel.livejournal.com/25411164.html

In the end of WW2, the crew of Italian m/v "Umbria" chose to open the kingston valves, rather then to surrender the vessel to the Royal Navy

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Pink, not my favourite colour [Feb. 6th, 2013|02:19 pm]
It has been pointed out to me that pink is not in the rainbow. In fact there are no pink photons! [1]
As it does not correspond to something physical I think a case can be made for disqualifying pink, along with brown, white and black, as "true colours".
Anyone with me on this?

[1] http://www.aschoonerofscience.com/science-communication/the-physics-of-pink-why-it-isnt-in-the-rainbow/
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(no subject) [Nov. 29th, 2010|11:28 pm]

The Power ballad, was popular in the 70's and 80's but have largely fallen out of favour in rock and pop. Like all music, the power ballad describes a sort of feeling or emotional state and it makes the power ballad easily recognizable.

With the power ballad no longer in fashion, have we had a whole feeling going out of fashion? I think we had and I think that if you follow that train of thought far enough, it disproves the universality of human emotions
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He's back! [Aug. 4th, 2010|02:29 pm]
Jones in the fast lane is back! :-D
Having the music playing in the background while I'm at work makes for a surrealistic yet familiar experience.
Hope I get to drop by monolith burgers on the way home.

PS: You may want to zoom to 200% if you'r running it in Internet Explorer.
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(no subject) [Jun. 7th, 2010|12:53 pm]
I like the idea of a "historical re-enactment" of events from geological eras.


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(no subject) [Jun. 1st, 2010|03:57 pm]
Here's something I thought Norway had quit decades ago....

The norwegian government, which is already strict on gambling, has tried curbing gambling-addiction. 
The first move was to remove slot machines from shopping centres, replacing them with government controlled ones that are "not too addictive" and where you identify yourself with a player card, so that a single person can only play for a set amount of money per month.

But there are a lot of internet gambling sites, so wouldn't the addicts just turn to computers and play somewhere out of reach of the norwegian government? The anarchic internet that is outside government control and everything. yadayada.

Not so fast! Every place that accepts a credit or debit card is registered with a code specifying what kind of place they are. A grocery has one code, a hotel another, a casino or gambling site a third. What the government has done is to decide that effective from the 1st of june, all norwegian banks should block transactions to companies registered with the gambling code. If a norwegian go to a gambling website today, he will not be able to use his card there.

This in effect increases the state's jurisdiction over a norwegian citizen abroad too. Today, if a norwegian tries to gamble in Monte Carlo og Las Vegas, his card will not work there. Not even in hotels if they are registered under the same company as a casino.

It is of course possible to circumvent this, be it transferring money via a third party or withdrawing money from an ATM outside the casino, but I thought that the norwegian state had stopped following the prohibition line. This is the same state that outlawed skateboards through much of the 80's, due to the risk of injury they posed.

Norway extends its jurisdiction in other ways too. *) For a few years, it has been illegal to pay for prostitution. Not only in Norway, but it is illegal for a norwegian citizen to go to a prostitute abroad, regardless of the local laws. The difference is that while that law is mostly a deterrent that is rarely enforced, the "law" against gambling is enforced automatically through electronic means. Not through fines after the fact but by blocking the gambling from taking place at all. This is exactly what Frank Furedi wrote about in his book code and other laws of cyberspace. When the state extends to the internet and cyberspace, laws and law enforcement is partially replaced with code. Code that, in principle, stop the unlawful act from happening at all.

*) Jurisdiction over citizens abroad is nothing new, take the travel restrictions for US citizens to cuba for instance, or the ban on trade with certain items in the east block during the cold war.
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Wonderful world of categories [Apr. 23rd, 2010|01:11 pm]

I remember passing time in libraries, chancing upon books on odd and interesting topics. And deep down in the Dewey decimal system, which my favourite library followed to the letter (or the decimal?) there were even whole categories of bizarre sub-topics.

Nowadays I rarely go to the library to look up anything, but the internet has its own parallells to the shelves of eye-opening categorized oddness. My current favourite is wikipedia's category  " Former Islands"  with almost a hundred entries in its own subcategories.
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Nigerian bomber [Dec. 26th, 2009|10:46 pm]
The guy who tried to blow up the plane between Amsterdam and Detroit recently, has a father that is a former minister and bank director of Nigeria. The father tried to warn the US of his son's radical tendencies.

I can vividly imagine the e-mails he sent.
"Dear US Embassy. I am a former minister and bank director in Nigeria. I am writing to you for your assistance in a matter of......"

I think the US government can be excused for this oversight :-)
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(no subject) [Nov. 3rd, 2009|10:09 am]
IEEE transactions writes in their information for authors:

After a manuscript has been accepted for publication, the author's company or institution will be requested to pay a charge of $110 per printed page to cover part of the cost of publication. Page charges for this TRANSACTIONS, like those for journals of other professional societies, are not obligatory nor is their payment a prerequisite for publication. The author will receive 100 free reprints without covers if the page charge is honored.

So you'r paying to cover their publication costs, but if you pay you also increase their publication costs by having them produce 100 reprints for free.
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On privacy [Oct. 23rd, 2009|01:00 pm]
In the late 90's there were a lot of attention awarded on people (mostly girls) that  had public webcams on in their rooms 24/7. 
You'd see them slacking on the sofa, sitting in front of the computer, eating, sleeping in bed, maybe having their boyfriend over.  

Maybe these still exist somewhere though it's impossible to google anything through the forest of pornography sites that picked up the idea. Back in the day, the discussion centered around how these girls were putting their private life on display. Today, the same debate is centering on the blogger girls that reveal their most intimate thoughts and secrets in text. 

I believe that neither the cam or blogger girls were really letting people in all the way and I must be the millionth person to say that. :-) What's interesting is that we can "prove" this by looking at a fad that never happened: The screenshot-girls. 

Live screenshots of whatever is happening on the computer would have been easy to do and seemingly similar to what's popular today. When she was chatting you'd have the same unasked-for exposure of her friends as some bloggers are infamous for. When she was surfing the web you'd get the same insight in her tastes and interests as a webcam capturing her clothes or a blog-post would, but with less work. There is no need to tell the world that you'r interested in celebrity X when you'r obviously googling him right now. And think of the possibilities of product placement? Websites could pay famous screenshot-girls for surfing their websites. It would be like twitter informing us what she's doing right now, except she wouldn't have to do anything to make it work.

Still, I'm yet to see someone do this concept. Why? Passwords are displayed as ***** so the security breach is limited. I think it's because a screenshot would actually be more intimate than a blog post or a picture of the girl prancing around her bedroom with nothing but a towel.

When the webcam captured her at the computer, we couldn't see what she was writing. When she laid on her bed, we couldn't see what she was thinking. Then when we read a blog we see an edited and well-controlled presentation. no issue comes up that the writer dosn't want to talk about and it can be presented anyway you like. If friend X was being a XXXXX we'll have to take her word for it, we can't check what he or she actually said in that msn chat. We could have, with a screenshot. We would see the e-mail she won't divulge and see her looking up an ex she claims she no longer thinks of. If the blogger rants and condemns everyone around her, it's still an orchestrated presentation of her feelings. and lots of these girls WANT to showcase a bit of their irrational side. On a screenshot, the _real_ angry drunken chat she had would be their with all the lack of finesse and polishing that her blog had.

If we had screenshots, it would not be an orchestrated presentation of the real thing. It would give us access to all the information the webcam didn't. That's when we would get under the skin of internet personas. And that's never going to happen :-)
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