Saturday, July 28, 2007

Asian Pop Culture Blog

It's said that whatever California is doing now will be what Europe is doing in ten years. Fortunately, it isn't true that all cultural trends move from the east to the west: otherwise we'd be in for some dire times when the things listed on this Asian Pop Culture blog start arriving.

For example, would we really want a little tiger's paw cell phone cleaner? Really rather too much of the Hello Kitty there, isn't there?

Anyway, check out the blog: it's a great listing of all of the things that we won't, thankfully, end up with.

Disclosure Policy.

Trying it On

Yes, we know, when there's been negligence it's entirely right that those who have been negligent should compensate those who have lost out because of it.

Yes, we're also quite aware of how crazy the US tort system can be. But this has got to be over the top, hasn't it?

A dentist who specializes in "smile improvements" has sued utility Consolidated Edison for $25 million for not being able to use his office since last week's steam pipe explosion in Manhattan.

Self-described celebrity dentist Bruce Haber, 55, said he has had no access to his office since last Wednesday, when an 83-year-old underground steam pipe ruptured during the evening rush hour, sending a geyser of debris, vapor, asbestos and water hundreds of feet into the air.

$25 million for a week? Do even Manhattan dentists usually make that much?

Taking a Battering

It'«s one of those risks that come wih the job really. You know, like trawlermen will get wet, cops will eat donuts and bartenders get flat feet:

A man who attempted to rob an Australian fish and chip shop found himself on the losing side when the angry shop owner threw fish batter and hot oil at him.

"The hot oil missed but the batter hit the offender and he fled empty handed," South Australian police said in a statement.

Police said the attempted armed robbery happened on Thursday evening at the quiet seaside retirement town of Victor Harbor, near the South Australian state capital of Adelaide.

Police were checking local hospitals in case the man was injured.

You set out to rob people and you're risking a battering.

(Sorry, sorry, I know.)

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Vacation Hot Spot

If you're wondering where to go and what to do for your vacation this year you'll really want to check out this site: Myrtle Beach Bible . It's the must have, must read guide to what to do in and around, ( well, have you guessed yet?), Myrtle Beach in South Carolina.

Over and above the general tourism there's the water sports (no, not that type!) and golf....and the ever popular arguments in that part of the world over what constitutes proper BBQ. Wet or dry? Tomatoes or not?

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Nude Cycling.

No, you really, really, don't want to be doing this:

Two Austrians and a German were fined for cycling naked along the banks of the River Danube in Serbia where a heatwave has sent temperatures soaring.

"Police arrived after being alerted by passers-by," said police spokesman Stevan Krstic in the northern city of Novi Sad.

Temperatures in Serbia and other parts of the Balkans have hovered stubbornly for the past week at around 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit).

The there men were brought to a magistrate on charges of disrupting public peace and order and were fined 10,000 dinars (125 euros) each.

Think about the mechanics of it for a moment, please. Men, especially (there are entirely different problems for women). There are parts of your body that you really want to have controlled, packed away from danger, chafing etc.

Take it one stage further: would you ever want to cycle on a saddle that somone else had been using bareback?

Cats and Fleas

Living, as we do, in a hot climate, and with masses of animals (currently, two dogs, four cats and five kittens) we always need to look out for the various creepy crawlies that go along with having them around.

Fortunately, we know this site and have been taking their advice: we don't have to wait for the human flea bite marks to appear before we douse the animals in the correct chemicals.

If you've got animals you should check it out: it's a lot easier to deal with these things when the first become a problem, or even before, than it is to get rid of an entire household infestation.

Disclosure Policy,

Bouncing Shoes

I'm certain that this law is stupid but I'm also pretty certain that it's against the Constitution:

The Supreme Court of California Monday barred athletic shoe maker Adidas from selling shoes made from kangaroo leather in California, reversing a lower court's decision.

California does not allow products made from kangaroos to be sold or imported into the state, but Adidas had claimed that the state law conflicted with the aims of the U.S. Endangered Species Act, which sought to support Australian efforts to control kangaroos. The expanding population of the jumping marsupials has become a problem for Australia.

Forget the Australian thing: why should it be illegal to make shoes from kangaroos?

"When the federal government decides not to protect a species, the state can still do so," said HSUS counsel Jonathan Lovvorn, explaining the ruling. "What Adidas was saying was when the federal government decides not to protect a species, the state can't protect it either. That was squarely rejected by the court."

A spokeswoman for Adidas wrote in an e-mail that the company expects to ultimately prevail in the matter, but did not clarify further. Other legal matters related to the case now will be sent back to the appeals court.

As soon as this gets to the Federal Courts it'll come up against the Interstate Commerce Clause. If it's legal to sell them in Arizona then Ca can't band them.

Friday, July 20, 2007

New Celebrity Site

I know, we're all obsessed with celebrities: it's actually a very good thing to. All those peple with fame and wealth for not very much in the way of talent: we get to look at them, see the hangovers, problems and brushes with the laws.

To see the feet of clay of our idols, if you wish.

But it can be a problem trying to keep up with who is shtupping who, who is enjoying the hospitality of the County Jail and so on. But fret no longer for there is a new celebrity site, with all the news and celebrity pictures you could possibly want. It's worth having a look at Celebrity Gossip for they've added some great functionality: it isn't just somewhere to read about it all, it's an interactive site. As well as aggregating all of the news and views that you both need and want, you can vote on which is the best story, leave comments and in general become part of the community.

Well worth checking out.

Disclosure Policy.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Luvverly Rats!

Yes, we know, the Chinese have a reputation that they'll eat absolutely anything, but rats as a delicacy?

Live rats are being trucked from central China, suffering a plague of a reported 2 billion rodents displaced by a flooded lake, to the south to end up in restaurant dishes, Chinese media reported.

Rats had been doing a roaring trade thanks to strong supply over the last two weeks, the China News Service quoted vendors as saying.

"Recently there have been a lot of rats... Guangzhou people are rich and like to eat exotic things, so business is very good," it quoted a vendor as saying, referring to the capital of Guangdong province, where people are reputed to eat anything that moves.

Some vendors, who declined to reveal their names, had asked people from a village in Hunan province, near Dongting Lake, to sell them live rats, the Beijing News said Monday.

I mean, really, I know that pork has been going up in price there but isn't this taking it all just that little bit too far?

You've Got to Admire Persistence

There is indeed something admirable about this:

The suspect had first attempted the theft on Monday at a luxury car showroom in northern Penang state, local papers said. Dressed smartly in a suit and tie, he asked for the car keys and promptly sped off, smashing through the glass windows.

The car was later found abandoned a short distance away, its fuel tank empty.

The New Straits Times said the man kept the keys and returned with a canister of petrol to a local police station where the car had been towed. He drove off with the Porsche, ditching it later after he discovered roadblocks had been set up to stop him.

Yes, yes, I know, he's a criminal, it's not a victimless crime, he is indeed a very naughty boy: but persistence is an admirable trait, isn't it?

$ 2 million for three strokes?

This is really rather entertaining. OK, so the judge got the sentence wrong and so on, which isn't so much fun (think if he'd made the mistake between jail and the death sentence for example) but the last bit is indeed fun:

A Singapore judge has been punished for mistakenly sentencing a prisoner to an extra three strokes of the cane, the Singapore government said Tuesday.

As a result of the error, Dickson Tan -- who was found guilty of helping an illegal moneylender and also sentenced to nine months in prison -- was caned eight times instead of five, Singapore's Law Minister, S. Jayakumar, was quoted as saying on the Law Ministry Web site.


Tan's mother is in talks with the government to seek monetary compensation of up to S$3 million ($2 million) over the mistake, according to local media.

$2 million for three strokes? I'd take that deal.

Actually, thinking through my aquaintances, I could probably find one who would pay that much for the experience too.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Natural Health Products

One of the things we know about this modern world is that there is more to health than just taking the latest drugs: a truly holistic approach can work wonders. Which is where the natural health products become important. Some have little value, some have the placebo value, some are positively dangerous and others will at least change your behaviour: if you're concerned enough about your health to be researching it you'll probably change some of the more damaging behaviours too.

But that means that natural health supplements need to be considered properly, to find out which of them is which. That again means that you'll have to do some research. Click through here to get more information on natural health. But remember, it's the health we should all be concentrating on, not the natural.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Looking for Web Hosting?

If you're looking for web hosting then I think you'll want to have a look over here and see what's on offer.

Host208 - Webhosting Services has a series of packages that seem to make very good sense: haqvin been looking around for the past few weeks I have to say, actually, that they look to be very good value indeed.

There's three main levels of the service: Business, which gives you 15000 MB of data storage, 300 GB of bandwidth, allows you to run three domains and comes with all of the usual PhP, MySQL and so on support. This at a very low $4.50 a month.

One step up is Corporate with 25000 MB, 400 GB and 30 domains at $8.50.

And then top of the line is Enterprise with 40000MB, 500 GB and unlimited domains at $12.50 a month.

Those are all extremely reasonably price packages and if, as I say, you're out there looking for a hosting solution it's well worth a look at what they can do for you.

Disclosure Policy.

How to Breed Flies

I'm not entirely certain that people have thought this through entirely:

A Chinese city suburb has set a bounty on dead flies in a bid to promote public hygiene, Xinhua news agency said Tuesday.

Xigong, a district of Luoyang in the central province of Henan, paid out more than 1,000 yuan ($125) for about 2,000 dead flies on July 1, the day it launched the scheme with the aim of encouraging cleanliness in residential areas.

"I and colleagues believe it is the best way to push residents to do more for their living environment," Hu Guisheng, the office chief, was quoted as saying.

The payment scheme is the first of its kind in Luoyang, a city of 1.55 million people which is striving to earn the title of "state-level hygienic city."

But critics have questioned the benefits of paying 0.5 yuan (seven U.S. cents) per insect turned in, a scheme which has sparked an online debate.

That's a great way to get people breeding flies actually. After all, what do you need? A Damien Hirst sculpture perhaps?

Department of the Bleedin' Obvious

Well, fancy that:

Muscular young men are likely to have more sex partners than their less-chiseled peers, researchers at the University of California Los Angeles said on Monday.

Their study, published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, suggests muscles in men are akin to elaborate tail feathers in male peacocks: They attract females looking for a virile mate.

"Women are predisposed to prefer muscularity in men," said study author David Frederick of UCLA.

"Most research is focused on what men find physically attractive in women and the career traits women find attractive in men," Frederick said by telephone. "Much less research is devoted to what women find attractive."

Next week's research will no doubt focus on whether water is wet.

Sheesh, any random geneticist could have told you this.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Director's Chairs

As regular readers will know we're in the process of sprucing up this new (to us) house here and now that the builders have left we've got to get on with the furnishings.

Given where we are there's been some discussion about the outside or garden furntiture. Should we have stuff we can just leave outside? Or moveable stuff, which we can carry in and out as necessary? This site, all about Directors Chairs& Director Chair Covers is adding to the debate. Directors chairs are comfortable, robust, and they're also very easy to fold up and carry about.

Hmm. More to think about I see.

Disclosure Policy.

Dim Canadians

Apparently most of them would not be able to pass their own citizenship test:

Most Canadians know so little about their own country that they would flunk the basic test that new

immigrants are required to take before becoming citizens, according to a poll released on Friday.

The Ipsos-Reid survey showed that 60 percent of Canadians would fail the test. A similar poll done in 1997 showed a failure rate of 45 percent.

"Canadians appear to be losing knowledge when it comes to the most basic questions about Canadian history, politics, culture and geography ... (they) performed abysmally on some questions," the firm said in a statement.

Only 4 percent knew the three requirements a citizen had to

meet to be able to vote while only a third could correctly identify the number of provinces and territories. Just 8 percent knew that Queen Elizabeth II is the head of state.

However, we shouldn't be too hard on them. The British equivalent test asks whether pocket money is paid daily, weekly or monthly. As there is no correct answer to this question, one assumes that it's put in there like the voting tests imposed upon Blacks in hteSouth all those years ago: the intention is to offer a test which will inevitably be failed.

Monday, July 02, 2007

New Education Opportunities

Have you thought about doing an online MBA program? I have recently and I've been hugely impressed with the way that the opportunities at places like Capella University have improved.

There's been three major changes in recent years. The first is in the delivery technology itself. Where once working online meant simply reading through documents, the provision of internet video has meant that lectures can be taped, even tutorials can now be arranged online.

The second is a cultural change: there's a great deal more acceptance of people who have online or remote education degrees now. So the results from these programs are better.

The final one is in financing. The system of Federal student loans now applies to online colleges: previously it only aplied to those who taught more than 50% of their students on campus.

So, three good reasons why you might want to click through and find out what Capella can do to further your education.

Now Wait a Minute: A Free Spa?

Yes, really, an entirely free portable spa for nothing. Well, that's what free means, I know, but this really is a free spa.

All you have to do is log on here and give them your details. Then, at the end of September, one lucky person will win a free spa valued at $5,000.

That's it.

All of the details are here: check out this offer at .

The spa itself is a Halliburton Portable Spa. It really is fully portable, you'll be able to take it with you on camping trips and so on. It's stocked by most of the major retailers as well, so you can go see it to see if you want to win it anyway (yes, but for the price of a a log on to their site that's pretty much a given, isn't it?) and can take 5 to 6 people, no problems at all.

As readers will know I'm in the process of sorting out this house here...there's a nice corner which gets the evening sun which would be just right for this....hang on a moment, what in hell am I doing telling you about it?

Disclosure Policy.

You Know Something's Happening When....

The price of machetes drops by half.

It would appear that thuggishness and intimidation are more of a problem than anyone likes to admit in Nigeria during election times:

The price of machetes has halved in parts of Nigeria since the end of general elections in April because demand from thugs sponsored by politicians has subsided, the state-owned News Agency of Nigeria reported.

NAN surveyed prices in the northeastern state of Gombe and found that a good quality machete was now selling for 400 naira ($3) compared with 800 naira before the elections, which were marred by politically motivated violence in many states.

"A price survey on machetes, which served as a popular weapon among political thugs in the state, indicated ... a drop in the price of the implement," NAN reported over the weekend.

I've seen some fairly corrupt elections in my time (Russian ones mainly) but I have to admit I would never have thought of such a survey, nor expected quite such a clear result.

An excellent piece of reporting there.