Headlines that make you realize even the greatest minds of our time can have an off day

October 14, 2009

Sir Tim Berners- Lee (no relation, that I know of anyway) is reported in an article on the BBC News website to have apologized for designing the structure of the now ubiquitous web address to have two slashes after the colon — you know, “http://”

Berners-Lee ‘sorry’ for slashes

Berners-Lee ‘sorry’ for slashes


Assorted headlines that caught my eye this morning

October 10, 2009

I was perusing the BBC News website this morning and these headlines caught my eye:

  1. What happened to global warming?
  2. Marge gracing Playboy mag cover
  3. ‘Scary’ climate message from past
  4. McDo: A love-’ate relationship?
  1. Empirical evidence indicates global temperature is currently trending down, not up as predicted by climate models.  Personally, I think that just indicates the unreliability of the models, not that human activities don’t affect the climate.  In my opinion, there are still plenty of reasons, global warming debate aside, for reducing CO2 output and other forms of pollution.
  2. What can I say… sort of makes sense in an age of virtual reality, I suppose.  Not that centrefold models have ever been that connected to reality.
  3. In a similar vein to 1. there appears to be new evidence that connects atmospheric CO2 levels in the distant past that are similar to the levels we are rapidly attaining to increased global temperatures and melting of polar icecaps followed by a consequent rise in the sea-level (with disastrous consequences for populations living in low lying coastal areas or on islands).  I am still cautious about the cause-and-effect conclusion that’s implied — I have to wonder if the events are correlated but not necessarily causal, or at least not in the simplistic manner alluded to.  Again, though, I still believe there are plenty of good reasons for doing a much better job of looking after our environment, regardless of whether the science here is bang-on or not.
  4. Ah, La Belle France.  If you’ve been reading my bons mots for a while, you will know that I spent some time living in France — I was seconded, by the Canadian subsidiary I was working for at the time, to their head office in Lyon, France as the project manager of a global IT implementation project involving a project team with members from the company’s sites in France, Canada and the US.  In the end, K and I lived there for four years, spanning the turn of the millennium — in fact, we arrived in France just a few months after José Bové lead a protest (referred to in the BBC News article) against globalization of the food industry and its impact on French food, culture and farmers.  During our stay in France, we did eat in McDo (pronounced “Mack-Doh” by the French) from time to time, particularly when travelling within France (we ended up seeing more of France than many French people ever do, we were told by the people we got to know there) — the food, if uninspired, was at least a known and predictable source of reasonably priced nourishment, accompanied by (most of the time, anyway) a decent set of toilets and air-conditioning, items which were probably more valuable than the food to us on a hot, humid summer day of touring around an unfamiliar city or town we were visiting.  So during that time we saw a lot of this shift in the attitude of the French that the BBC News article describes, and I can completely believe that the opening of a McDo in the underground shopping concourse linked to the Louvre was a non-event for the French media and population in general.  We did eventually stop eating at McDo, although not for reasons of globalization of the food industry — one of the perks of working in France was the “Comité d’Entreprise” or CE (here’s a Google translation of the French text for non-Francophones), which among other things often organizes subsidized events for the company’s employees, including trips scheduled during holiday periods.  The CE had planned a trip to Egypt in 2003 and we were all signed up for it, looking forward to the trip with great anticipation (we had previously gone to Tunisia on a CE arranged trip and had a wonderful time) as visiting Egypt from Canada was something we would not likely be able to afford later on.  And then… Dubbya decides to invade Iraq.  Due to concerns for the security of employees, travel to the area at the time was prohibited by the company and the CE duly cancelled the trip… merde.  We have not (to the best of my recollection) set foot in a McDo, anywhere, since then.

Of course, YMMV — read the articles and form your own opinion, dear readers.


Headlines that are enough to make your hair curl

July 23, 2009

Saw the following headline on the BBC News website:

Theft dismays Australia curlers

Which serves to highlight the fundamental difference between The Land Down Under and The Great White North:

“Police say the thieves probably thought they were taking a lorry full of alcohol from a secure car park at an ice rink.”

“They might be valuable… but that won’t do you any good. They could sell them to the Canadians, but they’ve got their own rocks.”

Yes, we do have lots of them… which is why:

“Australia is currently ranked 12th in the world for men’s curling. Canada is ranked 1st, with Scotland 2nd.”


Headlines that make you crave 김치 (kimchi)

July 2, 2009

Better diplomacy through food… saw the following headline on the BBC News website:

Spare rib diplomacy in Pyongyang

Which of course brought to mind Korean Barbecue, and to go with it, naturally, some kimchi on the side.

And speaking of unusual ways to get closer to a notably closed country like North Korea, Jesse Brown interviewed Curtis Melvin on a recent episode of the Search Engine podcast on TVO in which they spoke about how Curtis and a network of contributors has created “the most authoritative map of North Korea on Google Earth


Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition

June 28, 2009

Saw this headline on the BBC News website:

US pastor opens church to guns

Now, I’m not anti-gun, per se, since I have in the past participated in the shooting sports (using small calibre target pistols owned by the club I was a member of; I don’t own any kind of firearms myself), but as far as I’m concerned, handguns belong only on shooting ranges (or safely transported in a locked case back to where they are kept in locked storage when not at the range).  In a public space like a church, though?  Nope, they don’t belong there — unloaded or not.

The BBC News article says:

“Pastor Ken Pagano told parishioners to bring their unloaded guns to New Bethel Church in Louisville for a service celebrating the right to bear arms.”

Apparently he did this in “an effort to promote safe gun ownership.”  The article goes on to quote a parishioner, Doreen Rogers, as saying to the Louisville Courier-Journal:

“For some reason, most people think that carrying guns is sinful. It’s not. I think my life is worth protecting.”

From that, I would conclude that Doreen’s gun was very likely not unloaded…

Fortunately, there seem to be more sensible folk in the area, as the BBC News article goes on to note:

A coalition of religious groups and campaigners held a rival gun-free event at the same time on the other side of Louisville.

“The idea of wearing guns to churches or any sacred space I think many people find deeply troubling,” organiser Terry Taylor told AP.

Amen.


Headlines that make you go Strewth!

June 25, 2009

An interesting tidbit on the BBC News website from Down Under:

Stoned wallabies make crop circles

And I will let the article stand, er, walk unsteadily, that is, on its own with no further comment.


Because a mime is a terrible thing to waste

May 27, 2009

So the headline on the BBC News website‘s RSS feed read:

Marcel Marceau debt auction ends

And the first thing that popped into my head was: I wonder if it was a silent auction?


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