Sunday, December 31, 2006

Google Answers Calendar 

Excellent calendar covering 2007, with an appropriate Google Answers question (and answer) attached to each day. A nice memorial to the now defunct service.

Lovingly created, for seemingly no reward, by Andrew Czernek, who answered questions under the screen name Omnivorous.

I noticed two of my answers were used, for Valentine's Day and Mother's Day :)

Friday, December 29, 2006

Astrology & Soccer Players 

On recent English teams, for instance, half of the elite teenage soccer players were born in January, February or March, with the other half spread out over the remaining 9 months. In Germany, 52 elite youth players were born in the first three months of the year, with just 4 players born in the last three.

This is pretty amazing, and I'm not sure which of their possible reasons for this could be the true:

a) certain astrological signs confer superior soccer skills
b) winter-born babies tend to have higher oxygen capacity
c) soccer-mad parents are more likely to conceive children in springtime, at the annual peak of soccer mania

The reality is probably that as children, teams are based on the year you were born, and those kids born in January tend to be bigger, stronger, older, wiser than those born in December.

More here

Thursday, December 14, 2006

My Ancestry: Not Scot-Pict, but Scot-Egyptian-Greek! 

It seems that the Scots did steal Scotland from the Picts, but those Scots are descended from an Egyptian queen & a Greek king. The queen's name was Scota – which gives us the name Scotland. The Greek king was Gaythelos – hence Gaelic, and their son was known as Hiber – from where we get Hibernia.

Those 3 names, if true, are pretty convincing evidence. More can be found in Scota, Egyptian Queen of the Scots, by Ralph Ellis. Or this article at the Scotsman.

Further evidence comes from The Declaration of Arbroath, created in 1320 by the noblemen of Scotland - it refers to "the ancients" who "journeyed from Greater Scythia … and the Pillars of Hercules … to their home in the west where they still live today".

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Extreme pavement art 

It's amazing enough what regular pavement artists come up with... this guy, Julian Beever, is extraordinary. Some of his work is in very clever 3D!

Friday, December 08, 2006

The Seven Phases of Owning an iPod 

This is a cute & refreshing illustrated essay pointing out the obvious to those iPod owners who might be in a state of denial. I'm a little disappointed that the author failed to mention the step many/most(?) owners go through, the shock to find out that it doesn't play WMA tracks, and you have to re-encode your collection of tracks... and that you have to buy tracks from Apple and nowhere else!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Top 10 Pot Studies Government Wished it Had Never Funded 

There have been a number of studies, done with government funding, that have shown benefits to marijuana usage. These include cancer prevention, reduction in nausea, appetite loss, pain and anxiety, and the debunking of it being a gateway to harder illicit drugs. Another study showed that prohibition has no effect on the number of folk that smoke it - they'll do so whether it is legal or not. More at Free The Plant

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Some Babelfish humour from a Kiva recipient 

When you loan people money via, sometimes they send little notes of thanks, and mention how things are going. Often they are in their native tongue, and I rely on AltaVista's Babelfish to translate it. This one, from a woman in Guayaquil, Ecuador with a small party supplies store, ends with the sentence:

"Les manda un especial saludo a todos los que le ayudaron a tener este préstamo que tengan mucha felicidad y un lindo ano nuevo."

Babelfish translates it as:

"She sends a special greeting to them all those that helped him to have this loan that has much happiness and a pretty new anus."


Friday, December 01, 2006

Lost Seinfeld episode / Kramer's nigger outburst 

(I can say "nigger" in my blog, I'm not an American)

Kramer's outburst during a stand-up routine was mildly newsworthy, and I place it somewhere between him really being racist, and that he was satirising racist behaviour. He certainly crossed boundaries of taste, but every edgy performer screws up sometimes.

What is funny is this "new episode" of Seinfeld cobbled together from actual scenes from the show - very, very clever.

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