1399: Henry IV proclaimed King of England.
1452: First printed book, the Johann Gutenberg Bible.
1846: First use of ether as an anesthetic.
1889: Wyoming becomes the first U.S. state giving women the right to vote.
1931: Angie Dickinson, actress, is born.
1947: Marc Bolan, musician, is born.
1955: James Dean, American actor, dies.
BBC: The amazing memory man
This man, the 2002 world memory champion, can correctly remember the order of 520 cards, that's 10 shuffled decks. He say the method he uses for remembering things can be used by anyone.
Andi's technique is an unusual but simple one. Long before taking on any memory challenge he walks past a set of London landmarks, establishing the route firmly in his mind.
He might start at the Houses of Parliament, before continuing to the London Eye via Westmister Bridge.
But that's just the first stage. The second involves using a bit of imagination.
"When I memorise a deck of cards, I turn each card into a picture and this is a colourful animal or object that I've learned to associate with that particular card," Andi explains.
The jack of clubs might become a bear, the nine of diamonds a saw, and the two of spades a pineapple.
Andi then puts the two stages together, creating a bizarre journey with a cast of colourful images and characters. In his mind he imagines walking around London on his route, placing the objects in groups of three at particular landmarks.
I've heard of this method of remembering things before but it does seem like something that is very difficult. A new BBC series called 'The Human Mind' starts tomorrow on BBC1 at 9PM and will offer tips for remembering things.
Moby voices his opinions of the RIAA on his website.
so apparently the riaa are sueing one of our very own moby.com board members, liquidlevel, for file-sharing.
personally i just can't see any good in coming from punishing people for being music fans and making the effort to hear new music.
i'm almost tempted to go onto kazaa and download some of my own music, just to see if the riaa would sue me for having mp3's of my own songs on my hard-drive.
[via kottke.org remainders]
Here's an interesting article about the origins of Ctrl-Alt-Del. The man responsible for the sometimes life-saving combination is David Bradley.
"It was not a memorable event," said Bradley, a longtime IBM employee, speaking of that day in 1980 or '81 when he discovered control-alt-delete.
"It wasn't intended as something we were going to tell the customers about," he says. "Then it turned out that this reset was a problem-solver for people who were writing the programs and writing the instruction manuals."
The original idea was simply to reset early PCs without turning them off. Microsoft adopted control-alt-delete to help ensure people powered down correctly, then to handle "administrative functions" such as the vital "end task" feature for computer software that crashes or otherwise gets stuck.
Bradley chose the control and alt keys because he needed two shift keys to make the operation work, and he chose the delete key because it was on the opposite side of the keyboard. He didn't want people to hit control-alt-delete by accident.
BBC: Song swappers settlement reached
The US recording industry has announced settlements with some of the internet users it sued for music swapping. It has reached a deal with 52 of 261 people targeted over allegations they had illegally permitted music to be downloaded from their computers.
The RIAA did not say how much it had collected, but defence lawyers said payments ranged from $2,500 (£1,500) to $7,500 (£4,500) each, with at least one settlement for as much as $10,000 (£6,000).
[The RIAA] said 838 people had requested amnesty from future lawsuits, in exchange for a formal admission they illegally shared music and a pledge to delete songs from their computers.
Control the decks and a large amount of different samples in this Shockwave game. The aliens do talk as well but I have no idea what they say. I'm not sure if it's a foreign language or just jibberish. [via The Ultimate Insult]
"Squished (or elongated/smashed/pressed/rolled) pennies are cents that have been rolled in a special machine to create a souvenir. The penny is put through a pair of hardened steel dies, one or both of which is engraved with a design. The penny is squished between these dies, or rollers, with 22 tons of pressure, causing the design to be impressed upon the coin."
The Squished Penny Museum is a penny squishers heaven. Based in the living room of a house in Washington, DC, USA, and contains hundreds of different squished pennies. The site gives you a taster of what can be found at the museum. [via Linkfilter]
BBC: Red meat 'cancer threat'
Yet another food to avoid. Is there anything left in this world that doesn't cause cancer?
Eating red meat introduces a potentially dangerous molecule into the body tissues, according to researchers. Scientists from the University of California in San Diego believe it could cause heart disease and cancer by triggering a harmful immune response.
Humans cannot produce the molecule - a type of sugar - but it occurs at high levels in lamb, pork and beef.
The researchers performed tests on only three volunteers which is hardly extensive research.
For the first time in newspaper history, The Independent is available in two sizes. The familiar broadsheet version is now on sale in the Greater London area alongside a new tabloid format, making The Independent the only newspaper in the world to offer its readers a choice.
The handier version of The Independent Britain's only quality tabloid paper contains everything you will find in the broadsheet. That means every story, every columnist, every picture, every feature. It will have the same distinctive look and feel and will be informed by the same qualities as the broadsheet, and will be sold, Monday to Friday, in the UK at the same price of 60p.
It will be available initially at retail outlets within the M25 area, but we hope to extend distribution to other areas in the future.
I think this is great idea that I hope will be emulated by other broadsheets. In the UK people associate tabloid newspapers as being an inferior read when compared to the broadsheet newspapers. The Independent will hopefully change this viewpoint.
When it comes to buying products consumers have so much choice, they can choose between sizes, colours, quality, etc. Newspapers are the one prduct where consumers have no choice at all over what they are buying. The Independent has noticed this and has taken the plunge and will offer consumers a choice without losing out on quality or content.
A German man has invented a special lunch box for bananas. Detlef Kruse says he came up with the idea to protect his lunch time snack.
"I'd take a banana in to work each day, and eventually, you get angry because they end up all brown and mushed up," he said.
The curved, bright yellow container, named Banabox, measures about 9.8 inches from tip to tip and has a two inch diameter.
Priced at about £2.70p, the box is sold via the company website at www.banabox.de.
1789: United States War Department first establishes regular army with strength of several hundred men.
1829: London's reorganized police force goes on duty. Later became known as Scotland Yard.
1988: NASA resumes space shuttle flights, grounded after the Challenger disaster
1758: Lord Horatio Nelson, British admiral, is born.
1935: Jerry Lee Lewis, American musician, is born.
1913: Rudolf Diesel, automobile pioneer, dies.
SKY News: Country's Sex Crackdown
Are these laws taking things a little too far? Some of the sentences proposed seem a little harsh.
Performing oral or anal sex will become a crime in Indonesia punishable by up to 12 years in prison.
Sex before marriage and homosexual intercourse will also be outlawed under a moral crackdown by the country's justice ministry.
An amendment to the criminal code will also see extra-marital liaisons punishable by law.
Even 'living in sin' with a partner is to become a crime, with a draft bill proposing two years in jail for those guilty of co-habitation.
A man who impregnates a woman but refuses to marry her could spend a maximum five years in prison.
A sentencing range of three to 12 years would apply to sodomy and oral sex.
Homosexual sex would be liable to punishment of between one and seven years.
The dark art of witchcraft has also attracted the ministry's attention. A witch doctor or his client found guilty of using black magic to hurt other people could spend up to five years in jail.
I have just started back at Uni today so there may be a lack of posts over the next few days as I re-adjust to having assignments again. I will make sure that I post something every day, it just may not be as much as when i had lots of free time. Thanks to everyone who visits my site, I will ensure that you all have something to look at when you visit A Welsh View.
Following yesterday's post about The First Open Computer Destruction Championship, here's another weird contest.
The Royal Oak pub in the village of Ramsbottom, near Bury, Greater Manchester, hosted the World Black Pudding Throwing Championship.
Pub regular Nick Connor, of Ramsbottom, won the competition after knocking down a maximum of six Yorkshire puds with his three throws.
Organiser Phil Taylor said: "We have had a really good crowd here and teams from Turkey, Australia, New Zealand and Mongolia - sadly they're rubbish compared with the British! We still lead the world in black pudding throwing!"
Black pudding is generally described as a regional delicacy consisting of cooked pigs' blood, fat and rusk, encased in a length of intestine. It first arrived in the UK centuries ago with some European monks who first visited Yorkshire before making the trip over the Pennines to Lancashire where the food was given the name black pudding.
FoxNews: Gorilla Breaks Out of Boston Zoo
A restless gorilla broke out of its zoo enclosure Sunday injuring a 2-year-old and a teenager before it was sedated and recaptured almost two hours later, according to zoo officials.
The gorilla injured the young girl and an 18-year-old woman almost immediately after escaping, Linehan said. A witness told police she later saw the gorilla sitting at a bus stop on a street near the zoo.
We've had a very difficult evening, and we feel very badly about the adult and young child injured. We don't know the extent of their injuries, but we think they'll be OK," he said.
Okay, the gorilla didn't actually break out of the zoo with the intent of catching a bus but that's where he ended up. You can just imagine the look on the bus driver's face if he had stopped to pick up that passenger.
1066: William the Conqueror invades England: Battle of Hastings.
1542: Navigator Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo of Portugal arrives as what is now San Diego.
1867: Toronto, Ontario becomes the capital of Canada.
1934: Ocean liner RMS Queen Mary launched at Clydebank.
1934: Brigitte Bardot, actress, is born.
1972: Gwyneth Paltrow, actress, is born.
1895: Louis Pasteur, scientist, dies.
1991: Miles Davis, musician, dies.
I have to agree with Michelle on her post about the anti-war protests that took place around the world yesterday.
So, these people spend months and months claiming that the Iraq war is quagmire and now they want us to just pull out and go home, leaving the Iraqi people to stumble around in the darkness of that quagmire.
Of course, if we did that, the moonbats would spend the next few months staging protests against America for leaving the Iraqi people so vulnerable.
Wouldn't pulling out of Iraq now only hurt the people there? Wouldn't the rebels who still worship Saddam just take over, instill Islamic law, rule by torture and put the fear of Saddam's legacy back into the citizens?
The lack of patience on the part of the protesters is astounding. How quickly did they think democracy would happen? Free countries are not built in day, not even in a year. They refuse to see any of the good that is happening in Iraq and instead focus on bad news only.
It does seem a bit fruitless protesting against a war that has already taken place. Whilst not everyone agrees that it should have taken place in the first place, it has, and whilst the actual motives behind it will continue to be questioned it has has resulted in some good. That good is the removal of an awful regime. We should all now be supporting the rebuilding of Iraq even if it takes longer than originally anticipated.
BBC: Computer crashing, Ukraine-style
Over 300 self-confessed computer addicts have participated in a competition in the central Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhya to destroy their own hardware in a spectacular fashion.
The event, dubbed the "First Open Computer Destruction Championship", was organised by a local FM radio station with the professed aim of raising young people's awareness of the dangers of spending too much time in front of a computer.
The competition comprised three main events - throwing a keyboard, kicking a computer mouse, and the most popular, the "creative destruction" of computer monitors.
Ironically, the winners in each event received new computer hardware.
Who thinks of these strange contests? It reminds of the Mobile Phone Throwing Championships that takes place in Finland.
BBC: Monster underwater marathon bid
A former leukaemia sufferer has started a world record attempt to complete an underwater marathon along Loch Ness. Lloyd Scott, 41, is attempting to complete the 26-mile underwater trek in an antique diving suit.
Mr Scott set a world record earlier this year by completing the London Marathon in the event's slowest time while wearing the ancient equipment.
The former firefighter will make his way along the underwater shelves and ledges that run around the banks of the loch, about 30ft below the surface at two miles a day.
He plans to emerge from the water for the last time two weeks later to cross the Loch Ness marathon finishing line in Inverness.
More information about the marathon can be found here.
1821: Mexico's independence recognized after an eleven year war.
1825: The Stockton and Darlington Railway was opened. First locomotive pulling a passenger train operated on the line by George Stephenson.
1928: The Republic of China is recognized by the United States.
1996: In Afghanistan, the Taliban capture capital city Kabul after driving President Burhanuddin Rabbani and executing former leader Mohammad Najibullah.
1928: Ariel Sharon, Israeli general and Prime Minister, is born.
1951: Meat Loaf, American singer and actor, is born.
1984: Avril Lavigne, singer, songwriter, is born.
1921: Engelbert Humperdinck, composer, dies.
Create words from the letters provided to make Jack climb the beanstalk before the Giant awakes. [via Madville]
This is something that I could do with learning how to do.
Mind gym: Learn how to speed read
“I went on a speed reading course. I read War and Peace in 20 minutes. It’s about Russia,” said Woody Allen. Here are five steps to help you to devour a 300-page book yet pull out the pearls within.
1 Prepare: consider what you already know and decide what you want from the book.
2 Peep: look through chapter headings, foreword, index, introduction, inside flaps etc. This should take five minutes.
3 Passive: scan the pages at a rate of about a page a second, noting words that stand out. Look for key ideas and make a mental note of any arguments. (Five to ten minutes)
4 Proactive: read the first and last paragraph of every chapter and the first and last sentence of every paragraph. Consider the main points. (30 to 40 minutes)
5 Prudent: go back and read any critical sections.
After this you ought to have saved enough time to relax with a really good novel.
[via The Times]
The Independent: Buddhist Bhutan aims to be first country to ban smoking
More than three centuries have elapsed since the founder of modern Bhutan, the warrior-monk Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, introduced the first ban on smoking in public.
Now his initiative is finally nearing fruition. The Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan hopes to become the first country to outlaw the habit. It has already banned tobacco sales in 18 of its 20 districts but not in the capital, Thimphu.
Government officials fear that smoking is increasing, threatening the health of a nation where male life expectancy is a worryingly low 62. So it is preparing to make the ban complete by the end of the year.
But there are fears in ruling circles that young people, some of whom watch satellite television, are adopting the West's worst habits, including smoking.
And some people thought that New York City was being harsh by banning smoking in bars and restaurants. I'm not sure how this would be policed though. Also the punishment for being caught smoking has not yet been announced. The BBC has a more in-depth article on it's site.
The Times: Drinks all round as beer myth goes belly up
Apparently just drinking beer does not give you a beer belly. I think I'll take the results of this research with a pinch of salt.
Take a good long look at that bloke throwing darts; the one with a bulging stomach that would be more seemly on a woman about to give birth. The result of too many pints in too many public bars, you might think.
But you would be wrong: drinking beer does not give you a beer belly.
Is this possible? Are our eyes deceiving us? “Our eyes are right,” said Martin Bobak of University College London, who has studied the phenomenon closely. “But it may not be the beer that is to blame. Beer drinking is linked to other aspects of diet and lifestyle that may cause beer belly.”
When his team started work, Dr Bobak’s assumption was the same as everybody else’s: lots of beer leads inevitably to a beer belly. “But we found there is little real evidence in scientific literature to support it. Some studies have shown it to be true, others have shown the opposite.”
To settle the question, the team turned to the Czech Republic, which boasts the highest per capita beer consumption in the world. The researchers, including his UCL colleague Sir Michael Marmot, found that when corrected for factors such as smoking, there was no significant link between beer drinking and beer belly — and women who drank beer tended to weigh less, rather than more, than those who didn’t.
Reporting in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the team concludes: “It is unlikely that beer intake is associated with a largely increased waist-hip ratio or body mass index . . . the association between beer and obesity, if it exists, is probably weak.”
I wonder how far the driver managed to get with a load like that? [via Kottke.org Remainders]
Try remembering this url - http://3.141592653589793238462643383279502884197169399375105820974944592.jp/. Thankfully there's nothing interesting there unless you like seeing Pi calculated to millions of decimal places. [via Jaggle]
1580: Sir Francis Drake circumnavigates the globe.
1907: New Zealand becomes a dominion.
1950: United Nations troops recapture Seoul from the North Koreans.
1988: Ben Johnson is stripped of his Olympic gold medal in the 100 meter dash for failing a drug test.
1888: T. S. Eliot, American poet, is born.
1936: Winnie Mandela, South African anti-apartheid activist, is born.
1981: Serena Williams, American tennis player, is born.
1991: Miles Davis, American jazz musician, dies.
The world’s largest passenger ship — featuring a planetarium, 22 elevators and the largest floating library — tested the open water for the first time Thursday as it began a three-day cruise off the French coast.
The $800 million, 150,000-ton trans-Atlantic liner will undergo three days of tests as its operators check the ship’s stability, make sure the hull is perfectly watertight and examine other functions. The QM2 — the world’s longest, tallest and most expensive passenger ship — will accommodate 2,600 passengers on its first trip, scheduled for January from Southampton, England, to Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Passengers can enjoy six restaurants, 14 bars and clubs, a library, theater, pools, a disco and casino. Elevators — 22 of them — will ferry them from floor to floor. The 1,310 cabins include duplexes with private gymnasiums and penthouses with butler service. If the bright stars of the clear night ocean sky aren’t enough, not to worry — there’s also a planetarium.
In France, tickets will range from just over $1,150 per person to more than $34,500, with tickets for the maiden voyage costing even more. Prices vary among countries; in the United States, tickets for a six-day trans-Atlantic trip start at $1,499.