Thursday, June 24, 2010

Wordpress 3.0 Menus, Thesis Menus, and 'Page Links To'

I found a message on the Codex page this morning while looking for a page that shows the new features of Wordpress 3.0.
In large red print the message states: "Temporarily, new account creation is suspended while developers work to combat spammers. Please check back later!"
I tried to log in but couldn't on that page, but was able to do so via the forum page and I was able to find the page that lists the features of WordPress 3.0 - it's at
The third in the list of 'highlights' states:
"New custom menu management feature, allows creation of custom menus combining posts, pages, categories, tags, and links for use in theme menus or widgets."
I use the Thesis theme in several of my sites and I notice now that under Appearance > Menu in WP Admin, it says "The current theme does not natively support menus, but you can use the “Custom Menu” widget to add any menus you create here to the theme’s sidebar."
I have recently set up and used WP's new menu system on one of my sites - at
I was able to do this (with the aid of a helpful article at ) because has had the new menu feature for a while.
I was interested in the new WP menu because I was mulling over the advantages of adding categories as a 'child' list in the main navigation menu.
However, I am reluctant to change to WP's menu system in my blogs until I know how these impact on the features of the menu system built into the Thesis theme.
I took a look at the DIY Themes forum just now and the menu question has been raised a couple of times but nothing more.
When I thought about it a bit more I saw that there was really only one category that I wanted to put up in the navigation menu in and that was a category for which there was only one post.
It is the guide to things to know when considering buying a digital camera, a long article that I wrote just over a year ago and made available as a downloadable pdf.
The Thesis theme allows you to easily add categories to the main navigation menu, but if I had wanted to add several categories then, unless I made all the categories into children of some parent super-category, then each category would appear in the main navigation menu as a separate item rather than in a drop-down.
And for my purpose, having the category item in the menu would not very helpful because clicking it would just take the reader to the one title there is under that category rather than directly to the article.
There is a much neater solution using Thesis and that is to create a page with just a title and, using Mark Jaquith's WP plugin 'Page Links To' [ ] put the URL of the article to which I want to direct readers. That way, when someone clicks the 'Camera Buying Guide' link in the navigation menu, it takes them straight to the article.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Bees Kept in Urban Areas Escape CCD #bees

Guardian Article Suggests Bees Kept in Urban Areas Escape CCD - If this is correct then cellphone towers are unlikely to be the cause of CCD, no?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Congressman Steny Hoyer #Bees

Colony Collapse Disorder of Bees
President's Budget Request: $500,000
Beltsville Agricultural Research Center
10300 Baltimore Blvd, Beltsville, MD 20705

The President's budget request seeks to address Colony Collapse Disorder - a major agricultural concern as certain crops can only be pollinated by honey bees.   The research to be conducted will focus on the role of pathogens and other stress factors such as pesticides and mitigating their effects.  This is a good use of taxpayer funds because it seeks to control or eliminate colony collapse disorder which has the potential to significantly impact our domestic food supply and damage our agricultural economy.

From Congressman Hoyer's Biography page:
Congressman Hoyer is recognized as an effective leader by Members on both sides of the aisle. He is the former Chairman of the Helsinki Commission and is widely regarded as a champion on human and civil rights. He is perhaps best known for guiding the landmark Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) to passage in 1990. He also served as the lead House sponsor of historic Federal election reform (the "Help America Vote Act"), which President Bush signed into law on October 29, 2002. In the 111th Congress, Congressman Hoyer’s skill at consensus-building has helped the House pass important legislation to strengthen our economy and bring health coverage to an additional 4 million low-income children through the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. He has also been one of Congress’s leading voices for fiscal responsibility.

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland is charged with managing the House Floor as well as scheduling legislation to be considered on the Floor. He plays a key role in helping House Democrats determine their legislative agenda and political strategy and delivering the Democratic message both in Washington and nationally.

Posted via web from hotpixel

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Who is the Minister of Mines in Afghanistan

Who is the Minister of Mines in Afghanistan:
Is it Mr. Muhammad Ibrahim Adel as described in the Afghan Embassy web page here:

Or is it Mr H.E. Wahidullah Shahrani - which the news report from Yahoo News and Associated Press suggests at

But which does not agree with the page for Mr Adel at the Afghan Embassy site, which states that it is being updated...
By DEB RIECHMANN and AMIR SHAH, Associated Press Writer – 2 hrs 6 mins ago

KABUL, Afghanistan – Afghanistan's untapped mineral wealth is worth at least $3 trillion — triple a U.S. estimate, according to the government's top mining official, who is going to Britain next week to attract investors to mine one of the world's largest iron ore deposits in the war-torn nation.
Geologists have known for decades that Afghanistan has vast deposits of iron, copper, cobalt, gold and other prized mineralsminerals, but a U.S. Department of Defense briefing this week put a startling, nearly $1 trillion price tag on the reserves. Minister of Mines Wahidullah Shahrani said Thursday that he's seen geological assessments and industry estimates that the minerals are worth at least $3 trillion.

Afghan mineral wealth may $3 trillion

KABUL, Afghanistan – Afghanistan's untapped mineral wealth is worth at least $3 trillion — triple a U.S. estimate, according to the government's top mining official, who is going to Britain next week to attract investors to mine one of the world's largest iron ore deposits in the war-torn nation.

Posted via web from hotpixel

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Reuters June 15, 2010

Oil Companies Turn on BP at Congressional Hearing- Reuters

Executives from other major oil companies turned on BP Plc and defended their own drilling practices during a U.S. congressional hearing on Tuesday as they sought to stave off new government regulations in the wake of BP's oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Posted via web from hotpixel

Curtis Botanical Images - The University of Iowa Libraries


Transcendentalism | Ralph Waldo Emmerson, Margaret Fuller, Henry David Thoreau

The formation of the movement was in 1836 with the establishment of the Transcendental Club of Boston, Massachusetts.

"Transcendentalism... maintains that man has ideas, that come not through the five senses, or the powers of reasoning, but are either the result of direct revelation from God, his immediate inspiration, or his immanent presence in the spiritual world," and "it asserts that man has something besides the body of flesh, a spiritual body, with senses to perceive what is true, and right and beautiful, and a natural love for these, as the body for its food."

... who opposed Unitarianism because it was based on the sensationalism of John Locke which "insisted that only that knowledge which could be demonstrated to the senses was valid." Emerson claimed this amounted to "'a cold intellectualism' that seemed to destroy the validity of man's conscience."

Posted via web from hotpixel

The Chautauqua Movement

Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: I would like to use the time to talk in some depth about things that seem important. What is in mind is a sort of Chautauqua — that´s the only name that I can think of for it — like the traveling tent-show Chautauquas that used to move across America, […] an old-time series of popular talks intended to edify and entertain, improve the mind and bring culture and enlightenment to the ears and thoughts of the hearer. ( Pirsig, p.17)

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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

BP bankruptcy ahead? Rivals 'licking their chops'

Some have wondered whether BP can financially survive the disaster in the Gulf. Sure, the oil giant is a diverse, international money-making machine, but the Guardian reported Monday that BP had already spent $1.25 billion seven weeks into the oil spill, with no clear end in sight. The company will be dealing with an avalanche of lawsuits for years (a New Orleans attorney told me she expects that some local law school grads will spend the bulk of their careers working on spill-related cases) and the company's stock recently nose-dived. In spite of all this, BP CEO Tony Hayward has repeatedly insisted that his company will see the disaster through until the Gulf Coast is "made whole" again.

But New York Times financial reporter >Andrew Ross Sorkin notes that many industry watchers doubt BP can survive. Rivals Exxon and Shell are already circling like buzzards in anticipation that the company may stagger into oblivion. Or, as Sorkin puts it....
via Brett Michael Dykes - national affairs writer for Yahoo! News. READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE HERE:

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Many Gulf federal judges have oil links - Associated Press

MIAMI – More than half of the federal judges in districts where the bulk of Gulf oil spill-related lawsuits are pending have financial connections to the oil and gas industry, complicating the task of finding judges without conflicts to hear the cases, an Associated Press analysis of judicial financial disclosure reports shows.

Thirty-seven of the 64 active or senior judges in key Gulf Coast districts in Louisiana, Texas, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida have links to oil, gas and related energy industries, including some who own stocks or bonds in BP PLC, Halliburton or Transocean — and others who regularly...


Posted via web from hotpixel

Best Focal Lengths For Portrait Lenses — Photograph Works

What lens should I use for taking a portrait photograph of someone’s face? You will see this question asked time and time again by aspiring photographers. The reason it is asked is that they often don’t have long enough lenses and are disappointed when they use short focal length lenses. Or they can’t believe it is a good idea to step back and use a long focal length lens.

I took this photograph of a young Asian woman with a 105mm lens on a DX camera. That is equivalent to a lens with a focal length of 157.5mm in full frame. That is not a short focal length lens.

read the rest of this article at

Posted via web from hotpixel

Friday, June 4, 2010

Reblogging, Advertising, Wordpress, and Blogger

Buzz Speaks
Last December there was an article in the Official Buzz From Blogger describing how Blogger was enabling easy integration with Google AdSense and with Amazon Associates.

I didn't pay much attention at the time because the Blogger templates were so rudimentary that my Blogger blog was languishing in the back of my mental 'cupboard under the stairs' - the one that has all the things in it that I mean to clear up one day.

Yes, I know that there are people outside Google who were (and are) designing templates and I tried a few. Maybe it was the cheapskate in me, but I only tried the free ones.

However, every time I looked under the hood to take a peek at the code, there would be something in the layout that made me want to back off. You may have had a different experience, but that's where I was.

Since then however, Blogger has introduced Blogger in Draft with a whole raft of new and better templates. This blog uses one of the new templates and I think it is pretty good and a huge improvement on what went before.

To access these templates just go to Blogger In Draft.

Before you do though, you may want to think about what you want to do when you get there, because if you have a Blogger blog and have not activated Blogger in Draft, you will be asked whether you want to do that.

That may not be something you are expecting, so be prepared.

Back To Pixels Ate My Homework
So I set up this blog, Pixels Ate My Homework using one of the new templates, and it has been fun tweaking it to look the way I want.

I have also set it up so that anything I post to my Hotpixel Posterous Blog is automatically posted on here - autoposting as Posterous calls it.

With Posterous it is easy to capture information off any webpage you happen to be on. Posterous has a bookmarklet that is way beyond a simple capture. It enables all kinds of formatting and the ability to add comments.

It always builds in a link back to the original article so that proper attribution is given, and you would have to go out of your way to remove the link.

This is a form of reblogging, or passing on content that one comes across, whether it be a news item or anything else.

Re-blogging is a feature that is promoted on Tumblr and which has just been introduced on Wordpress-Dot-Com as discussed in the recent Wordpress article We All Like to Reblog.

Not everyone is in favor of reblogging, especially when the reblogged post does not give proper attribution.

There is a very good thread discussing this over at Timethief's blog One Cool Site Blogging Tips.

Timethief did a test with a Wordpress reblog whereby a friend of hers reblogged one of her posts using an extract, and then reblogged it onwards to another blog of his. The attribution links back to the original blog disappeared with the second reblogging.

The result is that the original producer of the content has lost their post into the webosphere and is effectively a victim of copyright theft encouraged by Wordpress.

Perhaps this is all a reflection of the new way we are supposed to think about content on the web?

An Excerpt Or The Whole Thing
I normally reblog only an excerpt from the original article, and not that if I see a 'do not reproduce in whole or part' notice.

I don't reblog articles wholesale unless I think they are of general public concern and I want to make sure that the original text is preserved. I have done this with some newspaper articles.

The last time I did it was for a recent report by the American Society For Microbiology about its current findings on the causes of colony collapse disorder in honeybees.

I have set up a Google Alert to tell me whenever anything is published about colony collapse disorder, because it is a subject that affects everyone and because I want to add my voice to making sure that information about CCD reaches as many people as possible.

Having spent some time looking at bees in the hive and out collecting pollen, I think they are just phenomenally interesting and appealing.

If I re-blog I always link back to the source so that proper attribution is given. That works very well with the auto-post from Posterous to Blogger but it does not work well with many of the themes on Tumblr.

Tumblr themes often just cut the post after a certain number of characters, and that means that the link back is broken. Not good.

Advertising and Amazon
So now I have decided to activate my Amazon Associates account here on this Blogger blog.

It took less than one minute to set it up - just clip some html code and paste it in before the end-body tag of the theme template.

If you are not familiar with what an associate account with Amazon is, then for the word associate just think of the word affiliate. In other words, if someone clicks a link to a product, the affiliate (the blogger) gets a referral fee that is a percentage of any sale that results from the referral.

Back here in the guts of Blogger I can see a new Amazon Associates section over to the side of where I am writing. It is picking products that have something in common with what I am writing about here.

Perhaps if I were writing a product review it would have an easier time of it, because at the moment it seems to be struggling to find anything relevant, suggesting several books and DVDs as well as an HDMI cable.

I see I can change what is being searched for by typing text in the search box...

I have now put  photography books in the search box because that is a subject dear to my heart.  It has brought up stuff that I can't say anything about because I haven't read these particular books.

So now I have put the name Don McCullin into the search box because I was just reading about him in the new website of the British Journal Of Photography  - a site that is well worth a look if you are interested in photography.

I have been following Don McCullin's photography for years and saw an exhibition of his at the National Media Museum in Bradford, England.

He has photographed war all over the world but - and this is the easy bit to overlook because the subject matter in his photos is so strong - he is a master of composition. His photographs take you right there but all the time he must have been thinking of how to frame the subject and where the light would fall and all the other things that master photographers do in a heartbeat.

So here is my first foray into the Amazon Associates on Blogger, with a tribute to Don McCullin.

That looks a bit lonely and so to round things off, here is a link to another of my absolute favorite photographers, Werner Bischof.

He is an altogether different kind of photographer. He has produced some of the most poetically beautiful images I have ever had the pleasure to look at. Take a look at the photograph on the cover of this little paperback and you will see what I mean.

Thursday, June 3, 2010