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10 things that make you forward e-mails.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005
The BBc have released an article with the title 10 things that make you forward e-mails giving (obviously!) ten reasons for forwarding emails to your work colleagues or to your friends, or anyone else. Some of them are blindingly obvious, such as the following;-
The world's inboxes are crammed with e-mails containing jokes, pictures, movies, tests or games and which are sent to millions of people within a few hours. They're not just the preserve of skilled hobbyists, they are increasingly part of advertisers' strategies to create so-called "viral" campaigns. What is it about the best e-mails which makes them so compelling?

1. They must be funny. And, for some reason, it's a fairly coarse sort of humour which does best.

Overall, its not a bad little article, and some of it does ring true to my mind. But it finishes up with;-
10. Ignore points one to nine - Brown says finding the right e-mail which will go round the world depends on having the X-factor, something novel which will grab people's attention and distract them long enough from their work.

and if you ain't got the 'x-factor', your lovingly-crafted email may well end up in the trash can!

Under the radar!

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Now this slipped through the net and under the radar! An article in the Guardian dated Thursday 13 January entitled UK firms warned over employees' blogs which discusses the sacking of Joe Gordon from Waterstones booksallers last week for allegedly "bringing the comapny into disrepute" and "gross misconduct" for commenting adversely about Waterstones in his blog. (More information about Joe Gordon's case is in these articles 'Bookshop worker first to be sacked over internet 'blog'', and also in Worker sacked over blog from the BBC.) The Guardian article starts out by saying;-

A leading internet lawyer has warned that UK companies could face legal chaos if they fail to set out clear guidelines for blogs written by their employees. Nick Lockett, a solicitor at the specialist commercial hi-tech law firm DLLegal, said there was a fine line between what was derogatory and what was fair comment.

As far as I know, although I can't recall where I've seen this posted, Joe Gordon's case has, or maybe is, going to an industrial tribunal. Thats what I think, but I've got no source that I can recall for it, so don't quote me on it.

The Guardian article then goes on to suggest that employers ought to have policies in place to ensure that they are not brought into disrepute in any employees blogs. Which also implies that if they are, then some form of discipline will ensure .... maybe even to the extreme extent of sacking you! Or in blogging terms, you would end up 'dooced'.

However, the last two sentences of the article say;-

"Companies have said that, properly handled, this could be very beneficial," he said. "This could be a low-cost form of marketing."

Which is encouraging anyway.

And why 'Under the radar!'? Well, because I haven't seen it commented on in any UK blogs that I've read, so it seems to have slipped 'under the radar' and not be in the public consciousness. Which is a pity really because it could have implications for ALL UK bloggers with regard to 'freedom of speech'.

Fat to fit the Finnish way!

Being an ex-Staff Nurse I'm interested in people's health, so an article in todays Guardian entitled 'Fat to fit the Finnish way' interested and intrigued me. And then it left me wondering, would this system and idea work here in Britain?

My feeling is that its a good idea, and all praise to the Finns for succeeding in reversing their horrific trends and statistics, but it won't work here. Why? Well, for one, theres a different type of government which is not quite so 'nanny-state' like, at the moment anyway. :) And the consciousness of the British people seems to be changing, seemingly becoming 'Exercise is good, but not for me'! People are more willing to sit around and watch television for their entertainment, to hire a video for Saturday night rather than going to the cinema and then climbing the steps to their seat, etc. Its not safe now for children to cycle to school, or to go cycling in the countryside just exploring their locality, not like it was when I was a child!

Basically, we've become a sedentary society! And it doesn't seem as if this trend and situation is going to be reversed, unfortunately.

Update on 'SciFi on the Web'

Friday, January 14, 2005
Futurismic has returned! This wonderful site of modern science-fiction writing has returned from a short break, when, every time I visited their site I got a '404' page. It turns out that they've changed their host, but now they're back.

I had a rather nice email from Tom Doyle two days ago saying that the site was back up, but I didn't see it as being back and working until today.

Welcome back Futurismic, I for one missed you and look forward to many more wonderful stories like Tom's Consensus Building.

Weird or what?

Tuesday, January 11, 2005
Now I've heard it all! A 20-year-old man, Andrew Fischer, from Omaha, Nebraska, USA, is auctioning advertising space on his forehead through ebay! So far he's received 39 bids, and currently the largest bid is £171. The idea is that the advertising slogan or logo is tattooed onto his forehead using nonpermanent, temporary, ink which remains for about 30 days before it just fades away. He then went on to say that he would use the money to pay his college fees - he is planning to study graphic design.

Is he weird or what? What must his mother or girlfriend think? Probably that he needs his head examined, and without any tattoos either! :))))


Happy Birthday Elvis!

Saturday, January 08, 2005
Elvis Presley would've been 70 today, if he hadn't died of a drugs overdose. But his image and magic lives on from beyond the grave, to the extent that he has sold over one billion records worldwide, more than anyone else, and attracts 600,000 tourists a year to Graceland, his home in Memphis, Tennessee, as well as pulling in an annual $45 million through sales of songs and a merchandising range that includes everything from T-shirts to train sets.

But he is set to accomplish one more feat from beyond the grave by reaching the number one spot in the British charts with 'Jailhouse Rock', 47 years after its original release and 28 years after his death from a drug overdose. And if it does reach 'Number One' then the special birthday re-release will give the King his 19th chart-topper, it will be the 999th number one single in UK pop history. Link

Also to commemorate his birthday a three-day Elvis convention will take place in Blackpool, over this weekend with the aim of finding the best European Elvis impersonator. Fans in France will celebrate with a tribute concert by Elvis cover bands and a special exhibition of memorabilia will be on display in Bonn, Germany. And his Graceland, home will be the focus for US celebrations with four days of events including a concert by the Memphis Symphony Orchestra.

Record company SonyBMG are releasing Elvis' 18 number one singles at the rate of one a week in Britain, complete with original artwork and a collector's box. Hit single 'One Night' will follow next week - with the chance of becoming the 1,000th number one as interest surrounding Elvis' birthday grows. Link

Captured prison escapee was living in stores.

A prison escapee who was apprehended in Charlotte this week had been living in a 'Toys "R" Us' and vacant 'Circuit City' building for months, eating baby food and watching DVDs, police said Thursday. He lived off the bounty of 'Toys "R" Us', police said. He decorated his secret room with posters and model toys, played hoops with a mini-basketball net and watched "Spider-Man 2." He even routed water from 'Toys "R" Us' to his new home, police said, and installed a smoke detector. Along with a fire extinguisher and a portable toilet!

The full details are here. (Free registration required).

How Google determines its pecking order.

I've often wondered how Google determines its 'ranking' for the sites that it indexes. Now it appears that it should properly be called 'pecking order' as it uses pigeon technology in determining the page rank.

When a search query is submitted to Google, it is routed to a data coop where monitors flash result pages at blazing speeds. When a relevant result is observed by one of the pigeons in the cluster, it strikes a rubber-coated steel bar with its beak, which assigns the page a PigeonRank value of one. For each peck, the PigeonRank increases. Those pages receiving the most pecks, are returned at the top of the user's results page with the other results displayed in pecking order.

'I want to make my country safe for my people'

Friday, January 07, 2005
On the 30th anniversary of the overthrow of Pol Pot, Aki Ra describes a life of brutalisation as a child soldier, and his work clearing the landmines that are the Khmer Rouge's legacy.

This is an amazing, and harrowing, story of a man who started life in a very harsh regime in Cambodia under Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge, subsequently 'joined' several differernt armies, learnt to be an interpreter, and then a landmine clearance expert. Now he lives in peace with his memories and has a small museum, and an extended family that includes several people injured by landmines. I feel that his story is worth reading and opens a window on the past, that is generally being forgotten by the peoples of the western hemisphere.


SciFi on the Web.

Thursday, January 06, 2005
A rather interesting site is futurismic fiction where new science fiction stories are being published. I rather like the latest which is "Consensus Building" by Tom Doyle, and is well worth a read.

Back in the 1950's the newest science fiction was published in 'pulp mags', so-called due to the paper that they were printed on, and many famous authors cut their teeth and honed their writing skills on them. People like Robert Silverberg, Andre Norton, Fred Saberhagen, Clifford Simak, and Philip K. Dick to name just a few. Perhaps the equivalent 'publishing stage' in the 21st century is the web, but if so, will the writers stories be preserved for future enjoyment? Or will they just dissappear into the electronic ether in a flurry of dying pixels? Who knows?

Update on Black Santa.

The Dean of Belfast has said that the Black Santa appeal for the victims of the Indian Ocean tsunami disaster is on course to raise more than £1m.

Reverend Houston McKelvey said that politicians should learn lessons from the generous spirit of the people.


Just browsing around .............

Tuesday, January 04, 2005
It being a quiet Sunday afternoon I was just surfing with no aim in mind and came across some interesting things, so here goes.

Curcumin helps fight Alzheimer's!

The pigment that makes curry yellow, curcumin, which is also found in turmeric, does a better job at treating Alzheimer's Disease than the majority of drugs being tested. (Interestingly, India has one of the lowest Alzheimer Disease rates in the world.)

The new UCLA-Veterans Affairs study involving genetically altered mice suggests that curcumin, the yellow pigment in curry spice, inhibits the accumulation of destructive beta amyloids in the brains of Alzheimer's patients and also breaks up existing plaques.

Anyone for curry?


Tips for living 100 years!

It is well-known that the Japanese islands have a high proportion of centenarians, perhaps more so than in any other part of the world, so it is no suprise to learn that a Japanese journal has conducted a study of 4,152 of these Japanese centenarians.

According to the study, the tips to be followed to live a long and healthy life are:

  • Eating lots of protein

  • Keeping the calories down

  • Getting enough sleep

  • Living in an area with excellent medical facilities


Big Changes May be Coming.

Michael Crichton may think global warming is hooey, but recent signs suggest dramatic changes along the lines of what happened 5,000 years ago (when Peruvian plants were flash frozen by an advancing glacier). The article also makes reference to a man frozen into an alpine glacier, probably 'Ötzi the Iceman who was discovered in 1991 and is the 5,200-year-old remains of a Copper Age man.

Some freebies.

Sunday, January 02, 2005
If, like me, you're interested in Science Fiction writing, then you'll also be interested in a free ' Sf writers' birthday calendar'. Each month highlights a cover of a book's author who was born in that month, and each page has a list of famous science fiction authors' and artists' birthdays for that month. Its very colourful so if you intend to print it out then it might be useful to use a colour printer.


First of 52 weekly old kiddie records.
Here's the first of 52 records that will me made available this year by kiddierecords: "Walt Disney's Story of Robin Hood." It comes as a single zip file with 192kbps and the album cover art (17.2 MB). Although when you do get this one, you've got the equivalent of two 78rpm records and a colouring book. And its also available as an MP3 stream too.