Friday, December 31, 2004

Googling Paris Hilton

Last night's 60 Minutes feature on Google was bit of a disappointment. I probably wasn't in a very good mood when it eventually started, some twenty minutes late, due to an overun in an NFL match. Does time really run that slow in the USA? There was only 10 minutes left on the clock when we started watching, but it took 20 minutes of Canadian time for it to elapse. Star Trek has nothing on NFL when it comes to temporal anomolies. How Americans have the nerve to say that cricket is boring I will never know.

The Google show started off with an image search for Paris Hilton, which we discovered is not a hotel in France. Which of the two would be the most comfortable place to spend the night I will never know. Did you see their rates? The show went on to talk about some of the less well known parts of Google, such as Google Scholar. I must admit that I had not heard of Keyhole, a database of satellite images, but I learnt later that it is a property that Google purchased last November. Last night when I tried to check it out, the connection timed out. Maybe it had been brought to it knees by the publicity this show gave it? Blatant publicity can certainly bring many more visitors to a website than one normally gets. Yesterday I posted a reference in rec.crafts.woodturning to an article in my other blog, The Chipshop, and visits have escalated some thirty times above normal. I wonder what exposure on CBS would do for it?

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Should Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot?

With New Year looming, are you ready to sing Auld Lang Syne, or will you be one of the many who don't really know the words, let alone what they mean? Well, help is at hand at There you will find both the five verse poem and the two verse song. Both include an English translation of the original Scots. The site also includes information about the origins of the poem which pre-dates Rabbie Burns by a couple of centuries .

I'm certainly looking forward to a guid-willie waught on Friday night. Happy New Year to you!

Newfoundland Tsunami, 1929

While searching for information about Canada's relief efforts for the Asian Tsunami, I learnt that tsunamis don't just happen far away. In 1929 a magnitude 7.2 tremor occurred on the Grand Banks, 250km south of Newfoundland, which triggered a tsumani which killed 29 and devasted the Burin Peninsula. The wave was noticed as far away as South Carolina and Portugal.

Geological Survey Canada has a great webpage about the Grand Banks Tsunami, with lots of information and links to photographs and other archives.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

More prominent than a punk band

The thing I like best about web statistics is looking at the search terms that have brought visitors to my site. When I wrote the article Calamity Jones, I did not know there was a punk band by the same name. There is also a quarter horse stallion who has sired numerous other little Calamitys. Which of these it is that brings all those visitors to my blog I do not know. I just hope they aren't too disappointed. At present my website seems to be number one for the phrase Calamity Jones which is fine by me, but those punk rockers may not be so happy.

When someone typed 'can shrews come into your house' into Ask Jeeves, they probably didn't have in mind a shrew entering the house in a cat's mouth (see- There Was a Murder in my Kitchen Last Night). But just in case that person ever comes back, the answer is Yes. Shrews do come into the house. There are of course pro's and con's of this. The real big con is that they smell skunky. The good thing about them is that they are good little fly catchers. I once watched one in our loft. It was on the window sill jumping up and catching the many flys that get in there in summer. It was most welcome to carry on feasting off those less welcome visitors.

The Kritters' Christmas

Every year my wife makes sure the cats and dogs don't miss out on Christmas. They each get a little gift wrapped up and placed under the tree. But their sense of smell gives the gave away, and their manners leave something to be desired. The catnip mouse had only been under the tree for a few minutes when Trixie was seen bounding up the stairs with the parcel in her mouth. Jenny soon figured that there were boxes of dog biscuits there, and took up guard duty by the tree.

This morning as we unwrapped our gifts, the wrappings were dropped into a box in an attempt to keep the place tidy. But Trixie had other ideas. At first she dived in and retrieved the plastic bag the catnip mouse had been in, but that must have seemed like such fun and before long the floor was littered with wrapping paper. The joys of youth I guess.