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.
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.
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.
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.
Christmas means a lot of things to a lot of different people. In predominantly Christian countries, it's a time of holidays, decorated trees and presents. Commercialized? Certainly. Artificial? I don't think so. The Queen spoke from an army base, praising troops deployed abroad. Here, people send care packages to the armed forces in Iraq. The volume of mail worldwide goes up dramatically at this time of year. On this day in 1914, there was a Christmas truce in the trenches. Good will flows, people sit chatting with strangers on the bus and helping others where they can. Today, the streets in Seattle are deserted; those people are somewhere. It's more than just another day of the year, if nothing else it's a day reserved for family and friends.Thankfully, gone are the days of one phone call each year on Christmas Day. Cell phones, e-mail, IM, web cams and cheap flights make the world a lot smaller these days. But you still notice you're away from home. Whatever home means.A little reflection is inevitable; it's been quite a year. Short version good, long version follows.Well, there was the war. Or rather, it started with a massive protest against a war, before there even was a war. But there was a war anyway. And it lasted 21 days and everyone was happy when the statue came crashing down, even if it had been covered in an American flag for just a few seconds. And there was a made for TV rescue of of a now infamous private and everyone was proud. And then the dictator was caught, and everyone was happy again, but there still weren't any weapons to be found. And then TIME named the US Soldier person of the year, presumably forgetting the meaning of a coalition. And finally, today, hundreds of police, fire and emergency staff are active in line with the terrorist threat level Orange, at a cost of $70m a week. The world doesn't feel much safer than it did this time last year.Somehow the news of the war trumped most of the SARS mentions which, at one point, stood to devastate most of the human race. That didn't happen, but people still wore surgical masks in airports. Maybe we should thank them.Meanwhile, the world continued to turn and I saw some more new places as it did. An trip to LA, strolling down the walk of fame, enjoying the happiest place on Earth, visiting expensive shopping areas and seeing the sign. A last minute trip to Australia for a couple of weeks brought numerous hard bus journeys, some great sights, experiences (14000 ft in the air) and general fun all around. A moment of jealousy visiting MIT while attending a conference in Boston MA. Another trip to LA, eating in the Original Pantry and partying atop the Standard. A thoroughly entertaining weekend in Philly and New York and a quick one day trip visit to the Netherlands to wrap it up. There was a Seattle-Cambridge-Seattle weekend in there somewhere too but it doesn't count as new.Career-wise, I saw my first PDC event which was great, especially to see a feature of mine included in one of the keynotes. A presentation in the executive board room was a little daunting, but a good thing to have done. When SteveB yells 'I -- love -- this -- company!', I know what he means.What's next? A marathon and a mountain to name just two. The spur of the moment goals always make for more fun, so we'll have to see. Bring on 04.
It's all so complicated. It's the holiday season, not Christmas time. It's 'Happy Holidays' not 'Merry Christmas'. There are Santas, but they're not allowed to discuss the origins of Christmas. The BBC brings sense to the madness.Wishing Merry and Happy holidays of your choice.
Reuters: Mad Cow Disease Found in Wash. State. This could get bad, really bad.
"I would emphasize that based on the information available this incident is not terrorist related," Veneman said.Phew. Glad we got that one cleared up.
There are certain fields I've always been quite intrigued by. Handwriting analysis is one, body language inspection another and writing analysis another. The Gender Genie has proved remarkably accurate in the few sites I've just run through it. Impressive.
Thoroughly enjoyed the final part of The Lord of the Rings trilogy last night. Some long films feel like long films, but this three and half hour epic was enjoyable throughout.No spoilers here, but suffice it to say it's a spectacular experience that does justice to the book. Recommended.
For the man that has everything, how about an Infectious Awareables neck tie? Bemused.