Quick Roundup 263

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

My schedule was packed to begin with over the last couple of weeks. And then I spent the weekend on two jobs I thought I could knock off on a Saturday afternoon -- upgrading my Frankenputer with a nice, fat 500 GB hard drive and a DVD burner, then using the old drive to attempt to recover data from a crashed hard drive on my wife's desktop.

As an indirect consequence, I find myself blogging this morning's post the night before so I can race in to work to do there in the morning what I was supposed to be able to do in the comfort of my own home. Hopefully, my wife's software CD is in my office, where she thinks it is, and I won't have this problem the next time I'd rather work at home.


The Nobel in Your iPod

Speaking of hard drives, here's a story about the men who made small, high-capacity disks possible in the first place:

Albert Fert of France and Peter Gruenberg of Germany were awarded the 2007 Nobel Prize in Physics on Tuesday for a discovery that has shrunk the size of hard disks found in computers, iPods and other digital devices.

The duo discovered a totally new physical effect that has let the computer industry develop sensitive reading tools for information stored on computer hard drives from the tiniest laptops to portable music and video players.

"The MP3 and iPod industry would not have existed without this discovery," Borje Johansson, a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, said. "You would not have an iPod without this effect."
At least in the sciences, the Nobel continues to be awarded for constructive effort!

And you thought back-seat drivers were bad!

The Japanese have invented a portable toilet for automobiles!
Drivers stranded by tectonic movements or stuck in tailbacks simply assemble the cardboard toilet bowl, fit a water-absorbent sheet inside and draw round the curtain.

The product is small enough to fit inside a suitcase, the company said.
Note to self: Add a couple of these to the hurricane season shopping list. Earthquakes aren't the only thing that can strand you in a car for hours on end.

I must be in a perverse mood....

I ran across this book review about Piers Brendon's The Decline and Fall of the British Empire and laughed out loud at the below passage.
Brendon's characters alone could fill a pantomime stage many times over. The empire seemed to abound in British oddballs, from the notorious Richard Burton, who "liked to boast that he had indulged in every vice and indulged in every crime", to the maverick General Orde Wingate, who "would ... hold interviews while lying naked on a bed and combing his body hair with a toothbrush". Postcolonial heroes fare little better. Jomo Kenyatta "sported plus-fours, drank literally inflammatory Nubian gin and so indulged his sexual appetites that he was suspended from church membership", while Tunku Abdul Rahman of Malaysia was "notorious for dancing, horse-racing, driving fast cars and getting into tight corners with loose women". Kwame Nkrumah "studied the occult, consulted oracles" and "compared himself to Christ". Mahatma Gandhi becomes "a compound of oriental mystic and occidental crank, humble sadhu and astute advocate".
At least from this review, the book sounds overall more like interesting diversionary reading than serious history.

Has The Office Jumped the Shark?

The folks at Slate think that the first few episodes this season have been weak. This former Seinfeld addict disagrees, but from a position of ignorance: All I know is this season and a few older episodes.

What NBC "The Office" character are you?
Your Result: Jim Halpert

You are the kind of person that everyone likes. You are funny, laid back, and not bad looking. You love practical jokes and having a fun time with your friends. However, because you are so laid back you often let the things that are most important to you get away.

I miss Dwight. Congratulations Universe, you win.

Pam Beesly
Ryan Howard
Angela Martin
Toby Flenderson
Dwight Kurt Schrute
Kelly Kapoor
Michael Scott
What NBC "The Office" character are you?
See All Our Quizzes

And that I am Jim!

-- CAV

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