Monday, December 17, 2007


No comment on this, it's just too good:

Canada's post office and police are trying to track down a "rogue elf" who wrote obscene letters to children on behalf of Santa Claus, a newspaper reported on Friday.

The Ottawa Citizen said at least 10 nasty letters had been delivered to little girls and boys in Ottawa who wrote to Santa this year care of the North Pole, which has a special H0H 0H0 Canadian postal code. Return letters from Santa are in fact written by an 11,000-strong army of Canada Post employees and volunteers.

"We firmly believe there is just one rogue elf out there," a Canada Post spokeswoman told the paper.

Canada Post's popular "Write to Santa" program -- which last year delivered more than a million letters to children in Canada and around the world -- has been shut down in Ottawa until the offender is caught.

Don't Use Your Phone As a Modem!

I made this mistake a few weeks back when I went travelling and was using my phone as a modem for my laptop. Not as expensive as this, but it was indeed a mistake that I didn't enjoy:

A Canadian oil-field worker, stunned to get a C$85,000 ($83,700) cell phone bill, has had the charges reduced to C$3,400, but is still fighting them.

Piotr Staniaszek, a 22-year-old oil and gas well tester in rural northwest Alberta, became a figure of international media attention this week when his father went to the press to complain about the size of his son's bill.

Staniaszek's father, also named Piotr Staniaszek, said his son thought he could use his new phone as a modem for his computer as part of his C$10 unlimited browser plan from Bell Mobility, a division of Bell Canada.

OK, my error lasted two days and only cost me $400 or so but take this as a lesson. They really don't like you using your phone as a modem and they will charge you a fortune for data downloaded over it.

If that's what you're actualy going to do, you'rebetter of making sureyou get one of the special deals which includes unlimited data. They do exist (T-Mobile has one I think).

Choosing a Web Host

Yes, of course, we're all trying to use these here set of intertubes to make a living. Which of course means that to do so we need a website. OK, so far, so good. But one of the decisions we have to make is how are we going to decide upon which web host to use? There are so many different combinations of features that it can be tough.

Do we care more about bandwidth? Or uptime of the servers? Or flexibility? Or being able to host multiple sites on one server? Or might it be that we need free tools and ease of use more than any of these?

Well, fortunately, the nice guys at have built a tool that takes us through the calculations about such things. Check it out and see, you've got all the information you need in one place there, rather than having to scramble throuh all the different hosting sites and try to compare the offers.

Disclosure Policy.

Lunar Land Prices

Oh no, I can't believe that this old scam has arisen again. Good grief, this was all sorted out decades ago:

Property investors smarting from this year's housing bust in the United States might do well to look farther afield -- even out of this world.

Internet searches for lunar land prices show the cost of buying an acre of the moon's surface has risen 40 percent since the start of 2007, investment bank UBS told clients in a tongue-in-cheek analysis.

It had better be tongue in cheek. The thing is, you see, that selling land on the Moon is in fact illegal.

Quick to caution against "preliminary" conclusions, UBS added: "This is most certainly not a forecast."

United Nations' treaties insist governments cannot claim ownership of the moon. But attempts to close a loophole allowing individuals or firms to do so have failed to garner support.

Well, yes, but you see, without a government to aportion the property rights in the first place, there are none are there? Unless, of course, those selling you the land are stating that they'll protect your land from intruders?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Bad Credit Problems

Having bad credit is one thing but trying to work out how to get rid of it is another. You'll get hundreds of offers, of bad credit loans coming through the mailbox every week. But how do you work out which ones are good and which not?

The answer is to use this website, Bad Credit Offers. Look here, for example, at the way you can compare the offerings from a variety of credit repair companies. They've got sections that deal with all of the various services youmight need. So, i you've got bad credit problems, why not pop over there and see what they might be able to do for you.

Disclosure Policy.

Erm, This Evolution Thing

Having said that I was surprised that there are those who do not accept evolution, now I've got to say that I'm gobsmacked by this story:

A Christian biologist is suing the prestigious Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts, claiming he was fired for refusing to accept evolution, lawyers involved in the case said on Friday.

Nathaniel Abraham, an Indian national who describes himself as a "Bible-believing Christian," said in the suit filed on Monday in U.S. District Court in Boston that he was fired in 2004 because he would not accept evolution as scientific fact.

Hunh? What? A research biologist refuses to accept evolution? How in hell is he going to do his job?

The Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination dismissed the case this year, saying Abraham's request not to work on evolutionary aspects of research would be difficult for Woods Hole because its work is based on evolutionary theories.

Well, quite, that's what he's actually investigating there, evolution itself.

Come one, next we'll be hearing from the astronaut who doesn't believe in gravity....

Evolution True!

In what really shouldn't come as much of a surprise researchers have shown, once again, that the things people do is conditioned by evolution. Given that we're the result of people who survived to have children as a result of the things that they did, this shouldn't be all that a startling a result.

Pregnant women may stand out a mile away with their characteristic backward-leaning stance, but that clumsy-looking position is a unique adaptation that evolved over millennia, anthropologists said on Wednesday.

Pregnant pre-humans appeared to have stood the same way. And it may save women from even more back pain than they already have, the researchers report in this week's issue of the journal Nature.

The bodies of women do two things when they are pregnant -- they adjust their stance to move the center of gravity to accommodate the growing fetus, and the lower vertebrae have evolved a distinct shape to allow this shifting to take place without damaging the spine, Katherine Whitcome of Harvard University and colleagues found.

The logic here is pretty easy to understand. Those women who didn't change their stance in this manner would have had greater back pain, greater risk of inusry. They would thus have had fewer children who themselves had such and thus the adaptation spreads through the population.

As we find ever more things that are explained by the evolutionary process, it always surprises me that there are still those who deny it.

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Point of Insurance

There's something of a confusion over the meaning of "insurance" in the US these days. There's a call fo complete health insurance cover (something I certainly support) but then people say that it should cover the costs of doctors visits, of vaccinations and the like. But that«s not insurance, that's assurance: payment for costs you know will arise.

Insurance is protection against unexpected costs: in terms of health insurance, cancer, or the effects of a bad accident. Like, for example, car insurance. That doesn't cover the costs of your gas, or tires, or oil changes: it covers the costs if you have an accident. Similarly, house insurance doesn't cover the cost of painting the house, of reparing the roof tiles. It's covers the cost of reparing the damage from a fire, or a storm, yes, but that's not certain to happen. That's why it's actually called insurance instead of assurance.

Of course, the very best form of insurance is in fact cheap insurance , so click through that link to see how you can get help with that.

Disclosure Policy.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Two Women in the News

Two women previously unknown to us here have got into the news.

Debra Lafave is a woman in Florida who has had her probation revoked because she talked about boys with a 17 year old waitress in the restaurant she worked in.

Anna Rawson will (might?) do for women's golf what Tiger did for men's. That's the hope, anyway.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Financial Advisors

I'm always most amused by the various people that set themselves up as financial advisors. People like Charles Nenner, for example.

´Because there's one logical point which the people following them don't quite seem to get. If these people are so damn good at predictin the future, why aren't they buying the stocks themselves,in the way that Warren Buffett does? If they've got this terribly valuable information, why are they selling it for a few bucks, rather than making billions out of it?