Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Bush has the lowest presidential IQ ever 

Not a fact, but a great hoax of the internet age. Now it has its own page at WikiPedia.

The reason why the hoax worked so well is because it was incredibly easy to believe!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

*That's* a knife. 

This is something a metrosexual Crocodile Dundee could pull out of his pocket:

It includes every implement ever seen in a Swiss Army knife (85), and only costs $1200

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Marijuana improves your brain? 

As noted in New Scientist, it seems to improve the brains of mice:

A synthetic chemical similar to the active ingredient in marijuana makes new cells grow in rat brains. What is more, in rats this cell growth appears to be linked with reducing anxiety and depression. The results suggest that marijuana, or its derivatives, could actually be good for the brain.

In mammals, new nerve cells are constantly being produced in a part of the brain called the hippocampus, which is associated with learning, memory, anxiety and depression. Other recreational drugs, such as alcohol, nicotine and cocaine, have been shown to suppress this new growth. Xia Zhang of the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, Canada, and colleagues decided to see what effects a synthetic cannabinoid called HU210 had on rats' brains.

They found that giving rats high doses of HU210 twice a day for 10 days increased the rate of nerve cell formation, or neurogenesis, in the hippocampus by about 40%.
Just like Prozac?

A previous study showed that the antidepressant fluoxetine (Prozac) also increases new cell growth, and the results indicated that it was this cell growth that caused Prozac’s anti-anxiety effect. Zhang wondered whether this was also the case for the cannabinoid, and so he tested the rats for behavioural changes.

When the rats who had received the cannabinoid were placed under stress, they showed fewer signs of anxiety and depression than rats who had not had the treatment. When neurogenesis was halted in these rats using X-rays, this effect disappeared, indicating that the new cell growth might be responsible for the behavioural changes.

Monday, February 19, 2007

US Govt: Marijuana is biggest cash crop 

A report released today by a marijuana public policy analyst contends that the market value of pot produced in the U.S. exceeds $35 billion — far more than the crop value of such heartland staples as corn, soybeans and hay, which are the top three legal cash crops.

....Nationwide, the estimated cannabis production of $35.8 billion exceeds corn ($23 billion), soybeans ($17.6 billion) and hay ($12.2 billion), according to Gettman's findings.

More at LA Times

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Doing it tough in Australia 

On one side of the country, a man with a fair amount of vodka in his system catches a shark with his bare hands, a bronze whaler no less ("a large and aggressive shark that should be considered very dangerous" - Wikipedia), and only gets a tear in his jeans...

And in NSW a female paraglider gets sucked up by a storm to a height higher than Everest, colder than minus 50 degrees, passes out, wakes up half-an-hour later, and paraglides back down to Earth!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

White Label Beer 

Well, make your own label beer. Great idea if it tastes good, and based on the heritage of the brewer:

Waimea Brewing Company, Hawaii
Emerald Brewing Company, Ireland
Little Creatures, Australia
Mildura Brewing Company, Australia

I think it might be alright. A slab of this beer is only $55 and it comes with a label of your design ($42 if it is called Blowfly) . If anyone wants to gift me some, you can call it Hard Bard Ale. Cheers!

Friday, February 09, 2007

The Cost of Water 

I presume Fiji Water is quite popular in the USA, because somebody decided to worm out how much each bottle bought in the USA costs the environment.
...the manufacture and transport of that one kilogram bottle of Fiji water consumed 7 kilograms of water (1.8 gallons) .849 Kilograms of fossil fuel (one litre or .26 gal) and emitted 562 grams of Greenhouse Gases (1.2 pounds).
That's right, your bottle of water cost 7 bottle's of water to make, and it probably is of the same quality as your tap water. What a waste!

The good news is that if you drink ice water, you lose weight!
...let's say you adhere to the "eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day" nutritional recommendation. In 64 ounces of water, there are 1,892.72 grams. So to warm up all that water in the course of a day, your body burns 70,030 calories, or 70 Calories.

My Ancestry: 3 more roots for the mix 

After discussing this with my Mum, it seems that while her mother was mostly of English/Scottish descent, there are traces of both German & Polish in there...

...and her Dad, although Irish, traces back to France.

So it now looking something like:

1/16 German
1/16 Polish
1/4 French (via Ireland)
1/4 English (via Ireland)
1/16 English
1/16 Scottish
1/4 Scottish (possibly via Nth England)

Not sure if I want to have actual Irish blood, or just an excuse to visit....


And my kids have on my wife's side, 1/2 Welsh and 1/2 English, making their mix:

1/32 German
1/32 Polish
1/8 French (via Ireland)
1/8 English (via Ireland)
9/32 English
1/32 Scottish
1/8 Scottish (possibly via Nth England)
1/4 Welsh

(and born/raised in Australia, with a Kiwi dad!)

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Magnetic People & Gadget-Free Zone 

Getting static electricity shocks from my car makes me think I'll slightly electrical, but these folk - magnetic - are the real deal!

Since 1987, one year after the Chernobyl disaster, 76-year-old Russian factory worker Leonid Tenkaev, his wife Galina, their daughter Tanya and grandson Kolya have all been able to make metal objects stick to their bodies. Leonid can hold individual objects weighing up to 23kg on his chest.

Remarkably, the Tenkaevs are not alone. In 1990, the Superfields conference in Sofia, Bulgaria, attracted 300 such "human magnets" after a young woman, Marinela Brankova, demonstrated her powers on television by supporting a 7kg weight from her vertical palms.
Meanwhile, there's a five-block area of warehouses in Oakland Park (USA), where remote-control car refuse to work:
Experts say the most likely culprit is a radio transmitter operating on the same frequency as the keyless devices. But no one has been able to pinpoint the source.


Friday, February 02, 2007

Windows Media Player 11 won't play songs I purchased online! 

Pissed off with Microsoft Part 1

I dutifully upgraded to WMP11 and none of the songs I bought online will play. A message tells me to download a security update, I click "ok" and it does nothing.


a) I still buy 99% of my songs on CD
b) I found a single site online, not Microsoft, that has the solution

Close WMP11

Make sure Windows is set to display hidden files and folders

Find your DRM folder, typically it is at:
C::/Documents and Settings/All Users/DRM

Change the name of the folder from DRM to DRM_Backup

Start WPM11 and try running one of the songs that failed before - the security update should now work

You will need to provide the email address and password for every DRM song you have, individually. Bad luck if you can't remember!

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