Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Holidays are great

Being on holiday is great. I slept in today, then passed on a shower in favour of baked beans on toast and reading the news online.  Here is a round up of what caught my attention over breakfast:

1. Why are people considering Caroline Kennedy as a serious contender for Hilary Clinton's Senate seat? Kennedy has never financially supported a Democrat candidate (despite being worth an estimate $100 million) and she doesn't vote. In fact, she doesn't seem to have shown any real interest in politics until this opportunity came along. Crazy. Read more here.

2. Jaws 5 - Jaws in Space, t-shrit. Brilliant!

The Predator Rap

4. Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain asks for a $10 million bonus because his bank collapsed less spectacularly than some of the others.

5. New cellphone / watch: Phenom SpecialOps Cellphone Watch. Even the name sounds nerdy. These things will never be cool.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Why So Serious PRC?

Warner Brothers has announced that there will not be a theatrical release of The Dark Knight in PRC. In a statement on Tuesday, the studio noted:

“Based on a number of pre-release conditions that are being attached to ‘The Dark Knight’ as well as cultural sensitivities to some elements of the film, we have opted to forego a theatrical release of the film in China.”

Fortunately for me, Hong Kong, where some of the objectionable content was filmed, enjoyed a theatrical release of TDK back in July and the DVD release arrived in time for Christmas. (Much to my delight, a two-disc special edition box set - Joker cover of course - made it into my Christmas stocking.)

Given the prevalence of piracy, I'm staggered that PRC continues to have such strict censorship restrictions (it still allows only 20 foreign films to be released each year). That said, the absence of an official release is unlikely to have prevented many people in PRC from seeing the film. I'm sure a number of Christmas stocking in PRC contained bootleg copies of TDK this year.


Classic - He-Man and She-Ra Christmas

via Super Punch

Monday, December 22, 2008

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Hajj and Eid al-Adha

The Big Picture is an amazing blog: the pictures are spectacular and the subject matter is interesting and thought provoking.

The latest post, titled The Hajj and Eid al-Adha, is a serries of pictures capturing moments from the Muslim festival Eid al-Adha, or "Feast of Sacrifice", which marks the end of the Hajj - the annual pilgrimage to Mecca.

The 10 Best Books of 2008

NYTimes has posted its list of The 10 Best of 2008. I haven't heard of, let alone read, any of them. I am such a philistine.

I didn't realise Shaq could dance

(via the ever reliable Super Punch)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I really like these posters

I think these posters are really cool.

(OKAYBOSS via Super Punch)

Ha, ha, ha

Elaine Chow, my favourite contributor on Gizmodo has posted this hilarious video of a Shanghainese woman getting her own back on a tow truck


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Choose the Dude, Playing a Dude, Disguised as Another Dude

Dreamworks has launched their Best Supporting Actor campaign for Kirk Lazarus. I like the idea behind this campaign, even though I hope Heath gets the award.

Dreamworks also edited together two “television advertisements”, which you can see on /Film.

Sleep well. I'll most likely kill you in the morning

The Dread Pirate Roberts Action Figure is a must have for my Christmas stocking. Great film. Read more about the action figure here.

(Via Notcot)

Monday, December 8, 2008

In defense of teasing

I'm a big fan of teasing. It's part of the national psyche in New Zealand. In fact, I wouldn't know how to interact with many of my friends if teasing was out of question. I think today's NYTimes magazine feature In Defense of Teasing is spot on.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Venice under water

This picture is amazing. Poor Venice. I hope the floods don't do too much damage.

(The Big Picture - ANDREA PATTARO/AFP PHOTO/AFP/Getty Images)

Drama on Apple Support

There is nothing quite as morbidly fascinating as a slice of drama from someone else's life. I came across a link today on Super Punch to an Apple Support forum thread. The subject of the thread is a request from a woman who is testing the credibility of her husband's explanation of why his iPhone history shows he sent a raunchy picture of himself to another woman. I couldn't stop reading the thread. It had it all - drama, intrigue, humour, sadness. It's the web support page answer to Wife Swap. I hope things work out for Susan042764.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The American Akira

Check out /Film's excellent video of the day: The American Akira.


Monday, December 1, 2008

Pirate Santa vs Jewish Ninja

Pirate Santa vs Jewish Ninja Card Set by Punkahontas.

(Supermarket via Notcot)


Excellent: Jesusterminator by Jerrod Landons Porter.

(Super Punch via Nerd Core)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Good Poem

My friend McConnell is an emo who likes poetry. He sent me 'A Good Poem' the other day. I really like it. The last line does it for me.

A Good Poem

I like a good poem
one with lots of fighting
in it. Blood, and the
clanging of armour. Poems

against Scotland are good,
and poems that defeat
the French with crossbows.
I don't like poems that

aren't about anything.
Sonnets are wet and
a waste of time.
Also poems that don't

know how to rhyme.
If I was a poem
I'd play football and
get picked for England.

Roger McGough

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

High above New Zealand

"High above New Zealand and Cook Strait, astronauts Robert L. Curbeam and Christer Fuglesang work to attach a new truss segment to the ISS and begin to upgrade the power grid on December 12th, 2006. (NASA)"

(Big Picture)

Monday, November 24, 2008

For Your Consideration: Heath Ledger for Best Supporting Actor

Heath did a magnificent job of portraying the Joker. He was ironic and cunning, as any good Joker should be. He was also manipulative, ruthless and frightening, which are characteristics that too many action movie 'bad guys' lack. Who cares if you didn't understand his motivations. Heath made the Joker so twisted that most people were happy not to know why the Joker is the way he is and does the things he does.

In my opinion, the quality of Heath's performance warrants a nomination.


Jeff Bridges’ Iron Man Photo Diary

If you enjoyed Iron man us much as I did, then you will love Jeff Bridges' Iron Man Photo Diary. There are lots of great stuff - my personal favourites are the photos from the early production meetings and Gwyneth Paltrow's wardrobe test.

Check out the full album on

( via /Film)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Will Goodan

I stumbled across Will Goodan's work while I was looking at NotCot. Goodan is a motion graphics designer based in Los Angeles. I really like his stuff.

Check out his video titled Unicron. Brilliant.

(Prime via NotCot)

I Am Not A Paper Cup

I love coffee. I drink at least two cups a day, usually more. I do, however, have occasional pangs of guilt about the number of paper cups I go through.

"I Am Not A Paper Cup" is a well meaning alternative to the paper cup. The cup features two layers of porcelain, which are separated by a hollow cavity that acts as an insulator for hot or cold drinks. The lid is made of silicon.

While it's a nice idea, the fact I would have to carry the cup around with me and that I would have to wash it between drinks, means it's wholly impractical for my daily routine.

(Perpetual Kid)

Friday, November 21, 2008

High-rise construction in Dubai

Heavy fog rolls by high-rise constructions near the Dubai Marina in this November 21, 2007 file photo. (REUTERS/Steve Crisp)

(Big Picture)

Fooking hilarious

Here are few snippets from Robbo Robson latest blog post, Move on, Terry!

… Now Maradona (which incidentally is Geordie for 'me mate's kebab') is undoubtedly one of the top two footballers in the history of the game - the other being Bosko Jankovic, obviously. But as an Englishman it's bloody hard to accept that fact cos of that goal. But in Argentina the bloke is revered like a God, which is utterly laughable. For quite a while the hand of God was stuffing the pizza of God into the gob of God and inhaling some Colombian produce into the nostrils of God. Fortunately the Stomach Staple of God fixed things and since then he's shrunk back to something approaching his old self. In Britain he wouldn't have made coach at Boston United - all right, anywhere except Boston.

… Capello continues to get the best out of England by keeping it really simple. I've always said 4-4-2. Fabio's spent time with the players, realized the average IQ of the squad is slightly lower than that of a baboon colony and has kept the instructions appropriately straightforward. Even Downing and SWP looked good last night. Carrick, too, although he does look like football's David Gower sometimes, sublime and graceful but prone to some horrible wafts every now and then. Your only worry is still the keeper. James looks as reliable as a bailed-out bank and I'd feel more confident if his replacement had been Willie Carson, frankly. The sooner Hart and Foster get their chances the better. I think the jury's out on Terry, too, but you can't deny the bloke's commitment - he was desperate to play - and maybe that's what Capello needs in a skipper.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Gmail Themes

Gmail has finally added a personalisation tool to its email service - themes. The function appears under Gmail's settings tab and lets you choose one of 30 themes.

Check out the Terminal theme, it's super cool.

(Google Operating System)

I want to see an aurora one day

An aurora over the Elevated Station at Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station on July 16, 2008. (Keith Vanderlinde/National Science Foundation)

(Big Picture)

Auto Bailout

The auto giants are faltering. Hundreds of thousands of unionised workers with powerful political backers have mobilised. The towers of Government ring with urgent demands for money. How will the Government respond? Will cool heads prevail? Is an intelligent and dispassionate leader there to calm the agitators and reassure the worriers, while guiding the nation down a sensible path? Unfortunately, sensible seldom equates with easy and, as they say, time is the ultimate judge.

Money was passed to the desperate hands of the auto giant and for a few more years things were good. However, US$16.5 billion later (admittedly a paltry sum in today's rescue parlance, but a mighty sum in the '70s and '80s), British Leyland was no more. Now, all that is left of the company are painful memories and the odd restored Triumph.

Of course this isn't a fair comparison. Ford and General Motors are iconic American companies. They're guided by the America dream and underpinned by good old sweat and tears. British companies are different. They're, well, British. Everyone knew British Leyland was a structually flawed company ... didn't they?

My advice, for what it's worth, is let them go. It will be better in the long run.

Monday, November 17, 2008


Enter the SiPhone. I know I've only had my HTC Diamond for 5 months, but the change had to made. It may be wasteful, but the Diamond's performance was just too sluggish and too limited.

I've had the SiPhone for two days and I can't understand how I lived without it. The interface is intuitive and quick. The usability is infinitely better than the Diamond's and I no longer have to carry my iPod in addition to my phone. I can't say enough good things about my new phone - I'm happy to give up the ability to cut and paste, in favour of a quick, intuitive interface.

The other big plus is the Apps Store. My pick of the apps to date include:

Fring - Messaging client, covers Google Talk, AIM, Skype, MSN, Yahoo, ICQ, Twitter
Remote - I love using this App even though it's unnessary in my tiny apartment
Shazam - Hold your phone to the air and have the song playing identified in a few seconds
Google Earth - The same amazing Earth touring app found on the desktop. The GPS locator function is especially cool.

PS, I have a used HTC Diamond looking for a new home.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Barak Obama has been portrayed by political commentators and Republicans alike as all talk and no action. Obama's appointment of Illinois congressman, Rahm Emanuel, as his White House chief of staff, shows that the Democratic President-Elect has every intention of proving this portrayal wrong.

Obama clearly understands that if you need to get things done, you need more than inspirational leader. You also need a hard-headed, no-nonsense, foul-mouthed, smart-as-hell, get-it-done-or-get-out-of-my-way guy like Emanuel. His determination and take-no-prisoners approach earned him the nickname Rahmbo.

Emanuel is an unusual hybrid of high-level experience as a top adviser to President Bill Clinton together with proven expertise as a Congressional leader and political strategist. Between leaving the White House and being elected to the House, Emanuel worked as an investment banker (read into that what you will).

Given his reputation, it will probably come as no surprise that his brother, Ari Emanuel, a Hollywood agent, is the model for the abrasive agent Ari Gold in the HBO series “Entourage.”

I think appointing Emanuel as chief of staff is a great choice by Obama. Read more about Rahm Emanuel here and here.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The End by Michael Lewis

The era that defined Wall Street is finally over. Michael Lewis, who chronicled its excess in 'Liar’s Poker', returns to his old haunt to figure out what went wrong. Read Michael Lewis' extremely interesting and entertaining article The End.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Covers that would have been run if Obama had lost

Here's the cover the Chicago Reader created in case McCain won.

Here's the cover that the Reader did run.

(Super Punch)

Catching up with Ksubi

I can't get enough of Ksubi - they make the best jeans around.

Anthem Magazine have posted a profile of Ksubi with an interview at their Australian offices. Check it out here.

(Anthem Magazine via Notcot)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Calvin and Hobbes/Fight Club Theory

Galvin P. Chow offers an interesting theory on Fight Club:

"In the film Fight Club, the real name of the protagonist (Ed Norton’s character) is never revealed. Many believe the reason behind this anonymity is to give "Jack" more of an everyman quality. Do not be deceived. "Jack" is really Calvin from the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes. It’s true. Norton portrays the grown-up version of Calvin, while Brad Pitt plays his imaginary pal, Hobbes, reincarnated as Tyler Durden."

Read the full theory here.


Saturday, November 8, 2008

How not to react to a yellow card

I'm sure every football player has thought about doing this when they have received a card.

Andre Luis, who plays for Brazilian team Botafogo, is famous for his penalty reactions, in particular an incident that resulted in him being escorted from the field by police (see it here).


Michael Bay's Rejected "The Dark Knight" Script

I was reminded of this last night while talking with friends. Still so funny.

Read the whole thing here.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Who I voted for – You’re in for a surprise. I was

Now that the circus of an election in the US is over, we can concentrate on the real election of the year – the New Zealand general election.

As I’m overseas, I voted early to ensure my papers are back in NZ by 8 November – I’d hate for the election results to be held up on account of my tardiness.

Many people consider voting to be an intensely private affair. I am not one of those people. I’m interested in why people have voted for a particular party or person and I like to question people about it. I’m also open about who I vote for.

I had a really hard time deciding which party to vote for in this election. Neither Labour nor National offer anything to get excited or inspired about, and the minor parties are all one-issue wonders as far as I’m concerned. To try to avoid my usual irrational bias for certain people and parties, I identified the key policy areas I’m interested in and tried to score them based on their individual merits. I know I should look at the whole package presented by the parties, but my attention span does not have that sort of fortitude. This election, the policies I’m interested in are: Tax and finance; health (including ACC); education; and the environment.

For each party, I gave their policies a score between 1 (woeful) and 5 (gold). In addition to the policies above, I also gave a score for my views of the leader, the deputy leader and my overall impression of the other party members. With the scores inputted it’s simple – the party with the highest score gets my vote. This is how it turned out:

CriteriaLabourNationalMaoriGreensACTNZ First
Tax & finance231121

Key highlights from my evaluation:

- My confidence in any of the parties’ ability to with the current economic crisis has diminished the more I read their policies.
- I’m no longer paying income tax in NZ, so my stance on tax has softened considerably.
- I am concerned that none of the parties’ have clearly articulated a plan for how they are going to deal with NZ’s ailing health system.
- I do not think privatising ACC is a good idea.
- I think Labour’s education policies are the best on offer – Though, I do have doubts about the affordability of the universal student allowance.
- I think both Labour and National will be cautious in adopting clean energy policies and I doubt, given current financial conditions, that either party has the courage to sacrifice economic outcomes in favour of environmental ones.
- Key shows a lot of promise, while Clark is super solid - though she has been a bit quick to turn on colleagues and name scapegoats. That said, I think both Key and Clark are good leaders.
- Sorry Dr Cullen, although you are one of the smartest politicians I’ve seen anywhere, you are also a smarmy know-it-all who's luck has run out. Congratulations on being at the helm of the first developed country to go into recession this year.
- I don’t have faith in National’s ranks. The lead-up to the elections has not been polished by National and I am concerned about how inexperienced many of them are.

Well, it was unexpected, but Labour got my vote this year.

Find out more about the NZ election here.

Lock it in

I was in Seoul earlier this week. While I was there, I paid a visit to Seoul Tower, which is perched on the summit of Mt Namsan and has a breathtaking view over the city.

At the base of the tower is a viewing platform, which is surrounded by a wire mesh fence. I was surprised to find that much of the view from the platform is obscured by padlocks, which have been fastened to the fence. Closer examination revealed that the padlocks all have messages written on them.

I had an opportunity later that day to clarify with a local the meaning of the padlock fence. Apparently, when young people get engaged, they visit the “love fence” and symbolise the permanence of their relationship by fastening a padlock to the fence and throwing away the key. Then, once the padlock is secured and the key disposed of, the couple write a note on the padlock.

Given the rise of divorce rates in South Korea, I might front-foot the market and open a lock cutting service for jilted lovers near the padlock stall.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Hedgehog 刺猬

I saw Hedgehog play live last month and they totally rocked. Their album "Noise Hit World" has been monopolising the output on my iPod ever since. I recommend checking them out.

Hedgehog are an indie-pop trio from Beijing, who have been creating a stir in China for over a year. Read more about them here and here.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Monkey Bee, A short film by Jamie Hewlett

Jamie Hewlett has released a live-action video to accompany the first single from the ambitious "Monkey: Journey To The West". The album, a collaboration with Damon Albarn, is out now on XL Recordings.

(via notcot)

Friday, October 31, 2008

Simon Amstell, take a bow

Email from Simon Amstell:


Tonight's 'Never Mind The Buzzcocks' was due to feature a comedian and broadcaster who has recently let himself and his country down.

The damage he has done is frankly irreparable and in order to punish him and anybody who likes his kind of louche filth, this tainted episode will not be shown tonight.

We are however very grateful to be able to broadcast something more appropriate and slightly less entertaining for these difficult times.

Guests will now include James Cordon, Gabriella Cilmi and Germaine Greer.



Thursday, October 30, 2008

SecondLight is amazing

The press release on Microsoft's SecondLight did not do it justice:

"The brainchild of Microsoft Researchers, SecondLight is a rear-projection technology that extends and enriches the Microsoft Surface device through the ability to project images both through and beyond the surface display, such as onto a translucent piece of plastic. With SecondLight, the translucent piece of plastic can also function as a “magic lens.” For instance, if it is” passed over an image displayed on the primary surface – suchas a car – it provides a view of the “inner workings” behind the image. In another application of this so-called “layering effect”, the transparency could register images of constellations when passed over a surface displaying the night sky. The technology also permits gesture-based interactions with the surface from farther away than rear- projected systems allow."

Trust me, watch the video.


Almost Transformers

A classic from Merrick and Rosso.


What happened to the British sense of humour?

I am very disappointed that 21,000 people complained about Russell Brand's Radio 2 show.  I doubt more than 2% of those people actually listened to the show.

Your football team may be rubbish, but at least you had a sense of humour ... well you did until now. Come-on England, what happened to your sense of humour?

I know Brand tends towards band taste and occasionally steps over the line, but that is the zone where British humour is at its best.

If you missed the incident, read about it here.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Glassdoor is a site that gives insider reports on salaries and the zeitgeists of more than 11,000 companies.

Glassdoor's goal is simple: To make salary and workplace-quality information as public as possible. The service is free, but in order to get information users have to provide information. If a user wants to find out how much, say, a midlevel engineer at Microsoft makes, he or she has to provide information about his or her current job and company. It's anonymous, and Glassdoor screens information that seems bogus or plain-old axe-grinding.

It's a cool idea and is packaged in a user freidnly way. Check out the site here.


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The end of reason

Almost three years after stepping down as chairman of the Federal Reserve, a humbled Alan Greenspan admitted that he had put too much faith in the self-correcting power of free markets and had failed to anticipate the self-destructive power of wanton mortgage lending. "Those of us who have looked to the self-interest of lending institutions to protect shareholders' equity, myself included, are in a state of shocked disbelief," he told the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

During the hearing, last Thursday, Mr Greenspan came in for one of the harshest grillings of his life, as Democratic lawmakers asked him time and again whether he had been wrong, why he had been wrong and whether he was sorry.

"You had the authority to prevent irresponsible lending practices that led to the subprime mortgage crisis. You were advised to do so by many others," said Representative Henry Waxman of California, chairman of the committee. "Do you feel that your ideology pushed you to make decisions that you wish you had not made?"

Mr Greenspan conceded: "Yes, I’ve found a flaw. I don’t know how significant or permanent it is. But I’ve been very distressed by that fact."

Mr Waxman noted that the Fed chairman had been one of the nation’s leading voices for deregulation, displaying past statements in which Mr Greenspan had argued that government regulators were no better than markets at imposing discipline.

"Were you wrong?" Mr. Waxman asked.

"Partially," the former Fed chairman reluctantly answered.

Since Mr Greenspan’s testimony, a plethora of scathing attacks on his chairmanship of the Fed have emerged. Many commentators blame him for the financial crisis. Much of the attention is devoted to the irresistible dichotomy of blaming Mr Greenspan for the current turmoil, having previously worshipped him as the god of all things shiny and bling.

Following the attacks on Mr Paulson, Dr Bernanke, every CEO on Wall Street and now Mr Greenspan, it appears that the Government and the media’s appetite for blaming people for this crisis is insatiable. Don’t get me wrong, I have little sympathy for investment bankers or government officials. What is intriguing is that apparently, while Mr Greenspan and other officials were blundering about the Fed and investment bankers were indulging their narcissistic desires, every senator, journalist and media blog commentator could see the crisis coming and was waiting for the recession to hit.

If I had a dollar for every time I read a phrase like “one doesn't need a Nobel prize to know what brought about the collapse of the markets”, I would have enough money to prop up the economy myself.

Is the answer really that obvious? Ignoring the actual mechanics of the crisis, yes the answer does seem pretty obvious. Did most people see it coming? I think people knew it could happen, but the conclusion was too repugnant for most to accept.

So what was the cause? Mr Greenspan says it himself, we misjudged human behaviour. Mr Greenspan, Wall Street and the supporters of capitalism are guilty of failing to grasp, and possibly even denying, three key tenants of human nature: the primacy of greed, our tendency towards sheep mentality and a predisposition to panic.

Now that these traits have come to the fore, officials and the media are calling for a total rethink of how the financial sector operates and how Government’s interact with the economy.

What is not being discussed, however, is that these behaviours paint a very dim view of human nature. If we accept these notions of ourselves, then the implications go well beyond rethinking the economy. We should also consider the role of government and the design and purpose of social policy.

Is this really what be believe about ourselves? Historically, we have characterised the distinctive qualities of human nature in terms such as egalitarianism, independence and rationality. I suspect these qualities are still very relevant.

Surely one overreaction should not be addressed by another.

To: The citizens of the United States of America

A friend in the UK emailed this to me. Pure gold.

To: The citizens of the United States of America

From: Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

In light of your immediate failure to financially manage yourselves and also in recent years of electing incompetent Presidents of the USA therefore not be able to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective immediately.
(You should look up 'revocation' in the Oxford English Dictionary.)

Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths, and territories (except Kansas , which she does not fancy).

Your new Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, will appoint a Governor for America without the need for further elections.

Congress and the Senate will be disbanded. A questionnaire may be circulated sometime next year to determine whether any of you noticed.

To aid in the transition to a British Crown dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect:

1. The letter 'U' will be reinstated in words such as 'colour,' 'favour,' 'labour' and 'neighbour.' Likewise, you will learn to spell 'doughnut' without skipping half the letters, and the suffix '-ize' will be replaced by the suffix '-ise.' Generally, you will be expected to raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels. (Look up 'vocabulary'.)

2. Using the same twenty-seven words interspersed with filler noises such as '' l ike' and 'you know' is an unacceptable and inefficient form of communication. There is no such thing as U . S . English. We will let M i crosoft know on your behalf. The M i crosoft spell-checker will be adjusted to take into account the reinstated letter 'u'' and the elimination of '-ize.'

3. July 4th will no longer be celebrated as a holiday.

4. You will learn to resolve personal issues without using guns, lawyers, or therapists. The fact that you need so many lawyers and therapists shows that you're not quite ready to be independent. Guns should only be used for shooting grouse. If you can't sort things out without suing someone or speaking to a therapist,then you're not ready to shoot grouse.

5. Therefore, you will no longer be allowed to own or carry anything more dangerous than a vegetable peeler. Although a permit will be required if you wish to carry a vegetable peeler in public.

6. All intersections will be replaced with roundabouts, and you will start driving on the left side with immediate effect. At the same time, you will go metric with immediate effect and without the benefit of conversion tables. Both roundabouts and metrication will help you understand the British sense of humour.

7. The former USA will adopt UK prices on petrol (which you have been calling gasoline) of roughly $10/US gallon. Get used to it.

8. You will learn to make real chips. Those things you call French fries are not real chips, and those things you insist on calling potato chips are properly called crisps. Real chips are thick cut, fried in animal fat, and dressed not with catsup but with vinegar.

9. The cold, tasteless stuff you insist on calling beer is not actually beer at all. Henceforth, only proper British Bitter will be referred to as beer, and European brews of known and accepted provenance will be referred to as Lager. Australian beer is also acceptable, as Australia is pound for pound the greatest sporting nation on earth and it can only be due to the beer. They are also part of the British Commonwealth - see what it did for them. American brands will be referred to as Near-Frozen Gnat's Urine, so that all can be sold without risk of further confusion.

10. Hollywood will be required occasionally to cast English actors as good guys. Hollywood will also be required to cast English actors to play English characters. Watching Andie Macdowell attempt English dialogue in Four Weddings and a Funeral was an experience akin to having one's ears removed with a cheese grater.

11. You will cease playing American football. There are only three kinds of proper football; one you call soccer, Australian Rules and rugby. Those of you brave enough will, in time, be allowed to play rugby (which has some similarities to American football, but does not involve stopping for a rest every twenty seconds or wearing full kevlar body armour like a bunch of nancies).

12. Further, you will stop playing baseball. It is not reasonable to host an event called the World Series for a game which is not played outside of America . Since only 2.1% of you are aware there is a world beyond your borders, your error is understandable. You will learn cricket, and we will let you face the Australians first to take the sting out of their deliveries.

13. You must tell us who killed JFK. It's been driving us mad.

14. An internal revenue agent (i.e. tax collector) from Her Majesty's Government will be with you shortly to ensure the acquisition of all monies due (backdated to 1776).

15. Daily Tea Time begins promptly at 4 p.m. with proper cups, with saucers, and never mugs, with high quality biscuits (cookies) and cakes; plus strawberries (with cream) when in season.

God Save the Queen!

Inspirational pumpkin carvings

The LA Times has a photo essay on inspirational pumpkin carvings. I've never really been interested in Halloween, but I respect the effort people have put into these pumkin carvings. Check it out here.


Sustainable Clubbing

This is such a cool idea: Watt, a new dance club in Rotterdam, has a dance floor that harvests the energy generated by jumps and gyrations and transforms it into electricity. At Watt, which describes itself as the first sustainable dance club, that electricity is used to power the light show in and around the floor. "For this first club, we thought it was useful for people to see the results," said Michel Smit, an adviser on the project.

Watt is in large part the creation of the Sustainable Dance Club, a quirky company formed last year by a group of Dutch ecological inventors, engineers and investors now headed by Mr Smit. More than a year in the making, Watt is a huge performance space with not just the sustainable dance floor, but also rainwater-fed toilets and low-waste bars. Its heat is harvested in part from the bands’ amplifiers and other musical equipment.

"Our idea is that there’s enough energy in this world, you just have to use it the right way," Mr Smit said. "If you have a full dance club, there’s lots there, you just have to turn it into a usable product."


Monday, October 27, 2008

Bloodbath in the markets continues

Asian stocks plunged today, for the fourth day in a row, on concern (panic) economic stimulus measures (bumbling government policies) will fail to stop a global slowdown (recession).

Japanese shares fell to their lowest level in 26 years and the Hang Seng had its biggest one-day decline since 1997, closing down 12.7%. Meanwhile, trading halts were triggered in the Philippines and Thailand after the country's benchmark gauges lost 10%.

Jonathan Ravelas, chief market strategist at Banco de Oro Unibank Inc, described the day’s trading as “a bloodbath”.

Japan's Prime Minister, Taro Aso, said he'd draft measures to help counter the financial crisis. For some reason, Mr Aso’s clear and definitive plan had no effect on the sell off. Perhaps Mr Aso should have threatened to write a strongly worded memo?

Yoshinori Nagano, a Tokyo-based senior strategist at Daiwa Asset Management Co, noted that “in this kind of market that's moving without sensible reasons, only God knows what's going to happen tomorrow.'' Very insightful. Mr Ngano also announced his appointment as Sarah Palin’s financial advisor.

Meanwhile, in South Korea, the Bank of Korea slashed its benchmark interest rate by 75 basis points to 4.25 per cent and said it would buy up to Won10,000bn ($7bn) of bank bonds to provide more liquidity to the banking sector. The action came as President Lee Myung-bak said the local currency was stable and the country was far from repeating the Asian financial crisis a decade ago … ops, did he say that out loud? Mentioning the fact that South Korea required a $57bn bail-out from the IMF to avoid a national default during ’97-’98 Asian financial crisis was probably not the best way to calm the markets.

In response to a question about the Bank of Korea’s actions, Steve Hanke, professor of applied economics at Johns Hopkins University, noted that the rate cut “won't make much difference right now." His reasoning, which I think is on the money, is that “they're really in the middle of a complete panic and probably part of the panic has been created internally by making a kind of ad hoc policy. They don't seem to really have a coherent game plan.” I pretty sure Prof. Hanke’s comments apply to all the economies in the region at the moment.

I think it is time to start selling my patented integrated futon-safe invention. You heard it here first.

(Bloomberg and FT)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

My favourite election videos

These are my five favourite election videos for your viewing pleasure.

5. McCain Accidentally Agrees with Murtha About Voters in PA

McCain beats Biden at his own game.

4. Mos Def on being the President

Entertaining, with a surprising number of genuinely good ideas thrown in.

3. Ron Howard / Opie / Richie on voting for Obama

The Fonz really makes this video.

2. If Hollywood Directors Made Campaign Ads

I'm somewhat partial to the Wes Anderson video.

1. The dance off

The people who made this video deserve a medal.

From the makers of Baconsalt ... Baconnaise

I agree, everything should taste like bacon.  Thank goodness for Baconnaise, the ultimate bacon flavored mayonnaise spread. Read more here.


Microsoft hacks the Gibson

Microsoft has expanded its latest WGA (Windows Genuine Advantage) initiative to China. The programme they are using turns the screen of computers running pirated Windows black every hour. Unsurprisingly, since a large number of Chinese computer users run unauthorized copies of Windows, they're fairly upset.

My favourtie quote in response to Microsoft's actions is from Dong Zhengwei, a lawyer from Beijing. Mr Zhengwei describes Microsoft as "biggest hackers in China". Big call.

For a change, I'm siding with Microsoft on this one.

(Reuters via Gizmodo)


Although I have a shoe cupboard in the entrance of my apartment, it lacks the sophistication of Kickit. Kickit is basically a giant brush, which catches your shoes when you kick them into it. Brilliant.

(CrunchGear via Gizmodo)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

You rock Colin

Respect to Colin Powell for speaking out against the Republicans' racist undertones towards Barack Obama and anyone else not from a small town that went for W.

C. Powell: "I'm also troubled not with what Senator McCain says but what members of the party say and it is permitted to be said, such things as, "Well, you know Mr. Obama is a Muslim." Well, the correct answer is that Mr. Obama is not a Muslim. He's a Christian. He's always been a Christian. But the really right answer is: What if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer's no. That's not America."

Read a great commentary on Powell's comments here.

MacBook Nano, iPhone Slate - NYT & Giz speculate

An unidentified Apple device has been detected in the traffic logs of some web sites. Check out the related articles by Gizmodo and NYT

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Par Wars

This week's Guardian Viral Video Chart provides a round-up of Star Wars videos. Check out the chart here.

1 Star Wars Kid
The original.

2 Star Wars: A Clone Apart - Trailer
For a computer game, the force is weak in this one.

3 Darth Vader being a smart ass
Classic cut to make Vader pull a prank on a lieutenant.

4 Star Wars: The Force Unleashed - launch trailer
Another game trailer, better than this below.

5 Chad Vader - Day Shift Manager (episode 1)
If Vader ran a small local supermarket.

6 Star Wars: The Force Unleashed Trailer
See above.

7 Darth Vader Cheats at Golf
Jedi-like Tiger Woods may be his only equal.

8 Star Wars according to a 3 year old
Does what it says on the tin, but funnier.

9 Star Wars: A Cardboard Hope
Very clever shoe-string re-creation of the death star's demise.

10 Blues Darth Vader
Poignant death scene hijacked for harmonica solo.

Special Mention: Star Wars - Episode IV - Trailer
Genius original trailer from 1977.


Should I boycott Borders?

io9 has an article about Borders' decision to stop stocking many scifi titles, which is very disappointing. I appreciate that Borders has to make commercial decisions about what books it sells.  From now on, however, I will be making my book related commercial decisions elsewhere.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Brokers With Hands On Their Face Blog

The name says it all. Check out the blog here.

(The Brokers With Hands On Their Face Blog via Boingboing)

All Day I Dream About Sneakers

'All Day I Dream About Sneakers' is a new collaborative project from Adidas Originals and Lifelounge, inspired by the brand’s avid creeds of ‘Impossible Is Nothing’ and ‘Celebrate Originality’. The project showcases the story and kicks created by the world’s original sneaker freak, Herr Fritz Träumer – a mythical and enigmatic sneaker designer who dedicated his lifetime to constructing the most original range of sneakers ever seen.

Check out the full gallery at Lifelounge.