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The Spanish Armada

Now that's got me thinking about safety of the homeland. I learnt two interesting things about the Spanish Armada of 1588 this week.

  1. The British long-barrel cannons called culverin or snake fired shot faster than the speed of sound. Don't get in the way.
  2. The beacons used for the single message of 'I see them!' were effective, carrying the message from Plymouth to Carlisle in probably 40 minutes. I figure that's about 600mph.
Ah the joys of the History Channel.
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Outsourcing America

The employment multiplier effect:

This phenomenon is referred to as an employment multiplier effect. The employment multiplier measures the number of indirect jobs created for every direct job. Employment gains from IT investments cascade throughout much of the economy, creating a sizable stimulus to economic growth. While the multiplier effects from deploying a next-generation broadband network should exceed those found in the general economy (estimated to be around 1.5 to 2.0), it is likely to be less than the multiplier effects attributed to Microsoft (estimated to be 6.7).
The rest of the tech sector is estimated at about 4.0. Lou Dobbs has been doing an `Exporting America' segment on CNN over the last few weeks claiming outsourcing will bring about the end of the US economy. It makes you wonder.
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The whispering wheel

I hate it when there's an idea that seems so obvious that you assume that it's been tried and there's a reason it can't work. Apparently not, the whispering wheel turns the electric motor inside out at the wheel to power buses. Ingenious.

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Top ten words of 2003

Top ten word lists of 2003. Embedded (=polarised) definitely deserves #1. Glad to see Hans Blix made it, the world had all but forgotten about him. It took me a while to understand the phrase 'shut up!' and sadly, try as I might, it doesn't work with a British accent.

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More cinematic moments

I've talked about cinematic moments before. I have a couple more to add to the list.Yesterday, Christmas Day, morning, 9am. Not a person or car in sight in downtown Seattle. Almost complete peace, aside from a single soda can bouncing its way down First Ave (I watched it amble along maybe three or four blocks, it could have gone much further). An urban desert.With so many people currently on vacation, campus is really quiet and the cafeterias are running reduced hours. I just went over to Cafe 9 for a quick bite to eat and on entering, the place was empty. The wall mounted TVs were still on however, by chance showing a certain IBM Linux commercial 'what he learns we all learn', but no-one was there to see. A premonition of things to come? That would depend on who you talk to.

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Christmas Day

Christmas day turned out to be good fun. An early awakening to speak with the family quickly moved the idea of eggnog and Captain from the previous night into the 'probably won't try that again' category. But I disgress.The task was clear: trifle would be made for dessert at dinner. Recipe in hand, this would be no problem. A trip to the supermarket had yielded disappointing results: no trifle sponges, no double cream, no cornflour and no castor sugar. I knew cooking is founded in improvisation, so this wouldn't be a problem. Pound cake for trifle sponges (on reflection, sponge cake might have worked better), whipped cream, corn starch and superfine sugar would have to do. The ingredients were mixed together and with relative ease, out came a trifle.Great dinner at Jenna's. A ham, turkey, stuffing, macaroni cheese, potatoes, cranberries and all those things that make Christmas. Post-dinner Trivial Pursuit once again reinforced my belief that playing 'foreign' trivia games is beyond futile and that was that.No Boxing Day in this part of the world and there's work to be done.