Back in a moment.
Thank you Santa.
Saturday, June 28
What planet did you say you're from?
"This is a great chicken, a friendly chicken, a chicken that is ready for a relationship," said Kat Brown, deputy director of the shelter.Gravy and roast potatoes make a good relationship.
Oh yes, here.
Tuesday, June 17
(Though I'm having to restrain myself.)
From the CD Japan J-Pop mailing list:
Sugizo, the former guitar player of the super rock
group Luna Sea, has been active with his solo project
Sugizo & The Spank Your Juice since the summer of
2002, and the upcoming single will be the third.
At the same time, the lead singer of Penicillin, Hakuei
will be releasing his second solo single.
Sunday, June 15
The headline in The Australian says it all, really:
‘Extinct’ bum breathing turtle backI'll just give you a minute to let the glory of that line settle in. ‘Extinct’ bum breathing turtle back. That's our national newspaper, that is. No country but Oz etc. etc., and we're proud of it.
As for the bum-breathing turtle:
SCIENTISTS were beating a path to a plastic tank in Brisbane yesterday to examine a shell-backed beast they had presumed to be extinct.Which I suppose is preferable to talking through it, as is so common in the world these days.
The young male Lavarack's turtle was captured in a creek at the Lawn Hill National Park in north Queensland a week ago and flown to the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service in Brisbane.
As well as its journey back from the dead, the shelled beast has another unusual characteristic scientists are keen to investigate: it breathes through its bum.
"Whenever there is a new specimen that people have read about but never seen everyone comes down for a look," he said.Yes, that's right, butter the poor turtle up and then -
"That's especially true with a handsome turtle like this. Most turtles have a plain cream colour underneath but this one is pleasantly mottled."
Scientists will stick a camera-headed fibre-optic cable into his cloaca to see how his breathing apparatus works.Bloody hell! What have I ever done to you! How'd you like it if I examined your breathing apparatus, mate?
Right, I'm off.
Thursday, June 12
If you have a broadband connection (or are very patient) and have Quicktime installed on your computer, go here. Now.
This view of Petra is also good, if not quite as breathtaking as Everest.
Then go to the site's home page to read more.
(Found in a comment on Little Green Footballs, though unfortuntely I've now lost the comment.)
This week's New Scientist also has an article on the latest in mega-engineering trends, the same trend that Mapchic wrote about recently on Geographica: dirty great big dams. New Scientist refers to them as "megawater" projects. And the Three Gorges Dam that Mapchic spoke of is only the beginning. Try this for size:
The third, western, arm is the biggest and most complex. It will capture the headwaters of the Yangtze in a 300-metre-high dam [That's as tall as an 80-storey building. — Pixy] downstream from the melting glaciers of Tibet. Every year, it will lift a volume of water equivalent to a quaerter of the annual flow of the river Nile through a 100-kilometre tunnel into the upper reaches of the Yellow river.The article gives some grim statistics on just why China feels forced to undertake such huge projects:
Five times in the last decade, the Yellow river has failed to reach the sea for part of the year because every drop of water has been diverted.The north of China, the article tells us, has two thirds of the nation's farmland and only one fifth the water; in the south the figures are reversed. So there are sound reasons for these projects, but the history of similar works - the Aswan Dam beaing a prime example - raise doubts about their long-term prospects.
The aquifers [underground water] of northern China are being depleted by a staggering 30 cubic kilometres a year.
The water table beneath Beijing has fallen 59 metres in the past 40 years.
The article also refers to an (admittedly speculative) Australian plan to "drought-proof" the country by diverting northern rivers such as the Clarence (which is actually in the southern half of Australia) and the Ord, inland in the general direction of Adelaide. Now, I'll grant that Adelaide needs all the water it can get, but the problem with trying to drought-proof Australia is that it's a frigging desert.
Ahem. Sorry. It's not a question of there being more water than needed in some places and a shortage in others, as in China; even in principle there's not enough water to go around. The recent drought affected pretty much the entire country; in Sydney, which is where it is because of the high local rainfall (and the harbour, of course), it didn't rain at all for months. If you want to drought-proof Australia, you have two choices: either fix the world in a permanent La Niña cycle (perhaps by dropping enormous ice cubes in the Pacific) - which really doesn't do that much and will probably piss off every country in the world except Australia - or increase the water supply in the interior of the continent, perhaps by building a mountain range stretching from Ayers Rock to Adelaide. This idea (which was actually floated about twenty years ago) would give real meaning to the term mega-engineering.
Wednesday, June 11
Have you ever wondered how the different European nations view one another? Well, you need wonder no more, now that you have this handy chart!
(Thanks to headscratcher4 on the JREF Forums for this gem.)
Reason Online has a fascinating article up titled Look Who’s Rocking the Casbah:
Eroticism like this, which seems to emerge from the pages of a Victoria’s Secret catalog, isn’t usually very noteworthy. Indeed, the video’s assumption that there’s something "forbidden" about its subject matter that must be approached in an "artistic" fashion may seem outdated. But in this case it is exactly such elements that make the production compelling. The reason is the video’s cultural context: This is not an American or European or Japanese video; it is an Arab artifact. The woman is a singer named Elissa; her song, which has made her a leading celebrity in the Mideast, is entitled "Aychaylak" ("I Live for You"); and both her song and her video were among last year’s biggest music hits in the Arabic-speaking world.Exactly what the broader implications of this trend are is beyond me, but it's bound to have an impact on the Arab world.
(via Motley Cow, who comments Peace on Earth through Arab pop sex kittens?)
Tuesday, June 10
I have to admit, these are good photos. (The snake is number 7 and the kitten number 11.) You can vote for your favourite, too.
Sunday, June 01
If you're truly bored and it's daytime in San Francisco, why not spend thirty seconds looking at small blurry pictures of small blurry people looking at small blurry sea lions?
Oh, yeah. Here.
I think the sea lions are the things sitting on the rectangular things.
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