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Showing posts from January, 2011

Microsoft Loses Another $543 Million Online via Byline Jay Yarow and Kamelia Angelova:
Every quarter Microsoft reports earnings, and every quarter it reports a massive loss in its online operations. Today it reported a $543 million loss for its December quarter. This gives Microsoft a trailing-four-quarter loss of $2.5 billion. That’s simply astounding. We’ve asked it before, and we’ll ask it again: Has any company lost as much money online as Microsoft?

A Non-Explanation of The Dead Birds Of Arkansas

So they were struck by lightning, or hit the ground when cold, or something - but FIVE THOUSAND of them????!!!!!  from BEEBE, Ark. — Preliminary autopsies on 17 of the up to 5,000 blackbirds that fell on this town indicate they died of blunt trauma to their organs, the state's top veterinarian told NBC News on Monday. Their stomachs were empty, which rules out poison, Dr. George Badley said, and they died in midair, not on impact with the ground. That evidence, and the fact that the red-winged blackbirds fly in close flocks, suggests they suffered some massive midair collision, he added. That lends weight to theories that they were startled by something. Earlier Monday, the estimated number of dead birds was raised to between 4,000 and 5,000, up sharply from the initial estimate of 1,000. Keith Stephens, a spokesman for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, provided the new numbers. Residents of the small town of Beebe awoke Saturday to find thousands of dead …

Working Offline With Markdown

from Using MarkDown In MarsEdit For MadMimi Emails What Is Markdown?
Markdown is both ‘plain text markup syntax’ and a software tool that converts plain text markup to HTML. In plain English, it is a simple way of writing an article that contains the code to make text that displays with formatting and that can also be displayed as a web page. But Why Do I Need Markdown?
Many blogging platforms enable you to write articles with a Visual Editor. This blog uses the WordPress platform, and it is very easy to write and edit posts directly in this blog using the built-in Visual Editor. So When Is MarkDown Useful?
Well, until I saw Don McAllister’s screencast I didn’t think I had much use for MarkDown. However, when I saw the MarkDown code today, I recognised it as the code that MadMimi uses to make its email newsletters. This is relevant to us because use MadMimi for our email newsletters. Working Offline
Being able to work on email newsletters offline is very useful to us beca…

Government to sell/not sell national forests, yes, no, maybe

"xisting charities say they will not take on the heritage forests without long-term finance, and may not have the capacity to manage them, anyway. So the plans envisage a new charity, financed by the government – creating what looks suspiciously like a quango at a time when ministers are vigorously culling them."  from Caroline Spelman loses her way in the woods Forestry Commission sell-off might actually double the Government's bill Mole – Kenneth Grahame tells us in The Wind in the Willows – approached the Wild Wood "with great cheerfulness of spirit" and at first found "nothing to alarm him". But soon, hostile creatures forced him off his path. Eventually, a rabbit rushed by muttering: "Get out of this you fool, get out." By then, he was utterly lost. Caroline Spelman, the Environment Secretary – like Mole, a loyal, mild-mannered creature – seems to have retraced his steps. Cheerfully
launching her plans to…

Are the changes to s44 a relaxation or an evasion of European law?

Reacting to the news, photojournalist Marc Vallée tells BJP: "The devil is always in the detail, and after reading the Home Office review it is clear that the coalition government is planning to give the police new stop-and-search powers to get around the European Court of Human Rights' ruling. I do not think for one minute that these new powers will protect photographers from harassment and abuse from the police on the streets of Britain, far from it."  from Government to replace Section 44 with more limited powers [update 4] In a statement made in the House of Commons, May said: "The government proposes to replace section 44 stop and search powers with a more tightly defined power allowing a senior police officer to make an authorisation for stop and search powers where they have reason to suspect a terrorist attack will take place and searches are necessary to prevent it." However, BJP believes, the changes will only be minimal. The revie…

Pollution Only Counts If The End Is Nigh – Discuss

Fear of 'The End' global warming or whatever - is a red herring - we shouldn't need the threat of a cataclysm in order to behave better and end pollution. from Pollution Only Counts If The End Is Nigh – Discuss We believe in the power of redemption, of being able to pull things back from the brink. Experience teaches us that things will put themselves back on course if we take a long enough view. But we also fear the cataclysmic end to everything. I recall reading years ago during the time of the ‘Bomb’ that people simultaneously believed that their lives would improve and that the Bomb would end everything. Read more at

Trees Do Not Need To Justify Their Existence

Sign the petition to save Britain's national forests. ALL of them  from Trees Do Not Need To Justify Their Existence by David Bennett on January 26, 2011[edit] Trees do not need to justify their existence.  Trees feed the soul, the senses and the environment. The notion of selling national forests off to profiteers for profit is a national scandal and must not happen.
It is being reported that Caroline Spellman will announce tomorrow that certain national forest will not be sold off after all.
The government may still be bent on selling of some nationally owned forests. Now is the time to add your voice to the campaign to prevent any forest owned by the nation being sold off is reaping good results.
Pressure works - Sign the petition at Save Our Forests
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Where has your Wordpress Theme Been?

Seen in and found via  from Why You Should Never Search For Free WordPress Themes in Google or Anywhere Else A few months ago I wrote about WordPress Security. Now, armed only with the words “free WordPress themes,” builtBackwardsTheme Authenticity Checker Plugin and Donncha O Caoimh’s Exploit Scanner, I’m going to take a look through the first page of Google to see just how safe pages ranking for “Free WordPress Themes” are. Read more at

Metal barrier no barrier to big truck

Photos on the site show that the tree is snapped off at the base - what a sad end to a newly planted tree.  from The Sad End To A Newly Planted Tree Some months ago I watched this tree being lowered into its spot and the root ball carefully back filled with soil. Then the protective barrier was welded into place. Read more at

Slight Warming - Signs Of Spring

A Question For Any Person From the U.S. Who Know About Foreclosures

I have been searching for the longest time for an answer to the following question about foreclosures in the U.S., and I wonder whether you can help with an answer.
I am in England and the law about foreclosures is as follows:
If the bank wants to kick out the owner for non-payment then the bank goes to court and gets an order that allows it to sell the property. It sells the property as 'mortgagee in possession'.
Or, if the owner just hands the keys over to the bank to enable the bank to sell, then again the bank sells the property as mortgagee in possession.
The important point is that if there is any surplus after the bank has paid itself off, then that surplus goes to the owner (assuming there are not any second mortgages on the property, in which case the surplus goes to the second mortgagee, and any surplus after that goes to the owner).
I know that the likelihood is that there will not be a surplus in many situations, but suppose there is...
Now there is another way th…

Stumbleupon toolbar tells me the number of messages I have in my inbox is '-1'

What does it mean, I wonder, when the number of messages I have in my inbox is '-1'

A Large Part Of Being An Artist Is Being Delusional

A Large Part Of Being An Artist Is Being Delusiona What drives me to be an artist, to make the work I do and I think that a large part of being an artist is being delusional. You have to be totally delusional and slightly narcissistic. You have to be delusional to think that you're going to think up stuff and people are going to be interested in it.
-- Phil Toledano

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society surrounds Japan's whaling fleet

From Japan's whaling fleet on the run Hunted ... the anti-whaling vessel Steve Irwin pursues the Japanese whaling fleet earlier this month. Photo: AFP The future of Japan's Antarctic industry hangs in the balance, writes Andrew Darby. IN THE shadows of intent, somewhere between harmless fireworks and deadly force, lies the whaling conflict in the Antarctic. At one end of this spectrum are the stink bombs thrown against water jets. At the other is the near fatal collision involving the Ady Gil. Among all this piratical colour and movement, decisive moments of a decades-long struggle can pass little noticed. Sea Shepherd's Gojira pursues Japanese Antarctic whale research vessel Yushin Maru No. 2 in Antarctic waters earlier this month. Photo: Reuters/Sea Shepherd Such was the case last week when a bizarre fleet manoeuvre formed in the Southern Ocean. Three black ships of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society took up positions around a red fuel tanker and e…

The perhaps urban myth of easy quotations


‘All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing’ (or words to that effect) The pseudo-quote is therefore without authenticity or meaning, and is just another of those political slogans which are used not as an assistance to, but as a substitute for real thought. It is not a deep truth, although it is constantly treated as one. Burke incidentally hated such things. He thought that cheap political slogans, or ‘maxims’ as he called them, enabled politicians to invoke principles of expediency, so they could pursue their own selfish interests instead of fulfilling their obligations to country, party and people. To him they were quite distinct from the deeps truths, or as he calls them here, ‘first principles’,
It is an advantage to all narrow wisdom and narrow morals that their maxims have a plausible air; and, on a cursory view, appear equal to first principles. They are light and portable. They are as current as copper coin; and about as v…

Glimpses Of The Future #2 Prosaic Teleportation

From Glimpses Of The Future #2 I was thinking about Star Trek and teleportation and as and when it comes to pass for us all, I don’t see it being used to move people very much. I mean if the idea is that you can go to a beautiful desert island in a split second, then you could well find yourself knee deep in other visitors. No, I see a more prosaic but necessary use for teleportation – one that will get rid of toilets. I see teleporters focused in on our bowels, neatly removing all the crap. Read more at

Shark Finning is a disgrace

There are so many levels on which the practice of cutting a shark’s fins off and dumping the still alive body back in the sea, is awful. Here I will just stick with the one that caps all the others – it is cruel. Amplify’d from Shark Finning is a disgrace. I just watched Gordon Ramsay’s TV programme on shark finning. I have seen video clips before of sharks having their fins cut off while the sharks are still alive, and then the maimed bodies thrown back into the ocean. What I saw tonight though was tens of thousands of fins drying in the sun in Taiwan and I heard that 50 million sharks are killed each year for their fins. No one wants to eat shark meat so it is thrown back. The Chinese, however, want to eat shark fin because it is a status food. Many of the sharks are on the endangered list. The prediction is that at this rate there will be no sharks by the end of hte century. Around  Costa Rica where the Taiwanese fishing vessels fish, the shark populations h…

Bees Dying Inforgraphic

About half of the fish caught in the North Sea are thrown back dead

This follows on from the information about the damage to the world's oceans and the fish in them first brought to light by The End Of The Line - from Around half of the fish caught by fishermen in the North Sea are unnecessarily thrown back into the ocean dead.
The problem is that in a mixed fishery where many different fish live together, fishermen cannot control the species that they catch.
Fishing for one species often means catching another, and if people don’t want them or fishermen are not allowed to land them, the only option is to throw them overboard. The vast majority of these discarded fish will die. Because discards are not monitored, it is difficult to know exactly how many fish are being thrown away. The EU estimates that in the North Sea, discards are between 40% and 60% of the total catch. Many of these fish are species that have fallen out of fashion: we can help to prevent their discard just by rediscovering our taste for them. Others are prim…

Statement that you cannot put the FBML page first on FBook Pages

From Comprehensive Static FBML Troubleshooting Guide - Why You Can't Add the App or Why Your Code Isn't Working NOTE: You can have a maximum of 6 tabs visible on your Page, and Facebook reserves the "Wall" and "Info" tabs — which can't be moved or removed! Additional tabs will appear under the ">>" in the navigation. You can select them and then drag them to where you want them to appear in your navigation AFTER "Wall" and "Info". Read more at

Annotating Twitter

From Nick Halstead Twitter Annotations was for me the most exciting announcement of last year - structured data is everything - and the idea behind annotations was to allow arbitrary data to be attached to each Tweet to allow more exciting applications to be built.
Currently Twitter is still limited to the kind of use cases that the data associated with a Tweet allows. With Annotations a tweet can contain the meta-data to describe the meaning of the Tweet.
So for developers what could be built would be limitless - so if you want to build a Quora clone - by having the Tweet as the question with all the topic data stored in the annotation.
Game developers could build who new social games by storing game status information within each Tweet - so for instance the current positions of pieces on a chess board could be stored in a Tweet. So as you play others could look at the status update and see what move you made.
I viewed the announcement much in the way when Facebook r…

My Blog Is Carbon Neutral

I am pleased to be able to make the statement in the title to this article and I want to explain how I have done it and how I came to hear about the scheme that enables it.

The first step along the path that brought me to this happy state is that I have joined Seeded Buzz.

The idea behind Seeded Buzz is for the members to plant seeds - which means telling other bloggers about their blog posts and inviting them to continue the conversation on their blogs with a link back to the original post on their blog.

Well I have found a blog post from one of the members that covers a subject that interests me.

Seeded Buzz points out that better the Seed conversation and the more extendable / debatable it is, the more other bloggers will Buzz about it on their blogs and link to the original post.

And as we all know, links are the engine that pumps searches - and these are the lifeblood of the internet.

The seeder profile I found was from Thomas Chasm who blogs about a lot of different categories …

Gmail - Twitter - Facebook - Bermuda Triangle

And such a well-drawn map - from The Bermuda Triangle of Productivity See more at