So, which is better, Star Trek, or Star Wars?

Wednesday, 20 May, 2015

The truth is they’re both pretty lousy, but together they’re better than all the others… with apologies to Keith Richards. Presenting The Carbonite Maneuver, a fan made trailer that blends elements of both realms. Non-canonical, obviously.

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Yes, there are people dining on insects as we speak, and enjoying it

Wednesday, 20 May, 2015

Yes, we might all be dining on insects one day, should shortages of the foods we currently consume take hold, but that hasn’t stopped some people getting the jump on the rest of us:

A writing teacher at a community college in Providence, R.I., Gracer consumes insects – “I’ve eaten at least 5,000 insects at this point, and probably 60 to 70 different species of them,” he told me earlier this month – not only because he truly likes them, whether sautéed, filleted, or roasted, but because, he says, they are nutritious and easy to raise without harming the environment.

Now if insects were served up looking more like this, then I might be up for it.

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The Cozy Suite, a more comfortable way to fly for middle seat flyers?

Tuesday, 19 May, 2015

Thomson Aero Seating Cozy Suite

Now here’s an airline seating format that could make air travel a lot more comfortable.

The Cozy Suite, developed by Thomson Aero Seating, not only makes sitting in a middle seat less bothersome, it also allows passengers to recline their seat, by way of a forward-sliding pan system, one that doesn’t intrude on the space of the person in the seat behind.

The seat also features a fixed-back shell with a pan seat recline. This means you won’t feel the passenger behind you bumping or kicking your seat and, if you recline, the forward-sliding pan means you won’t be invading that person’s space.

As a bonus, the format also allows more seats to be fitted in an aircraft, surely making them a win for everyone. So, what are the chances of seeing these seats on flights any time soon?

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Surely hitchhiking hasn’t fallen victim to ride sharing?

Tuesday, 19 May, 2015

I can’t say I spot too many hitchhikers as I make my way around, but it could be I’m in the wrong place at the wrong time. In the US however, the once popular means of getting from point A to point B, appears to have fallen from favour completely. Could that really be so?

Given how few hitchhikers one actually sees on American roadways, it’s surprising any of us even know how to do it, or what it looks like. (As far as I can tell, a lot of first-time teenaged hitchhikers are either instructed by books or movies, rather than by actual sightings of roadside thumbs.) Once a common form of early 20th-century transportation, then the cornerstone of quite a few ’60s countercultural experiences, it has been all but eradicated from public view in the United States – save for the continued obsession with serial rapists and murders like Robert Rhodes, the “truck stop killer,” and Edmund Kemper, the “co-ed killer,” whose gruesome acts committed against women continue to be the subject of countless books, articles and TV specials.

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Liberland, gone as quickly as it appeared?

Tuesday, 19 May, 2015

Liberland, the world’s newest micronation, recently proclaimed on seven square kilometres of seemingly unclaimed land between Croatia and Serbia, faces an uncertain future, following the reported arrest of its President, Vit Jedlicka, by Croatian authorities, who are apparently claiming he is trespassing on “no man’s land”.

The circumstances of Jedlicka’s arrest or where he may be being held were unclear. Jedlicka’s supporters added that the arrest was unjustified and possibly illegal, saying he never actually crossed the Croatian border into the disputed territory. They also maintain that neither Croatia nor Serbia claimed the land to be within their borders following the 2003 dissolution of Yugoslavia.

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I say no more managers, but not everyone agrees with me

Tuesday, 19 May, 2015

Las Vegas based online shoe and clothing shop Zappos, recently decided to implement a Holacracy system of management, one that sees employees adopt a self-management, and self-organisation approach, to their work.

In 2013, Zappos implemented Holacracy, a system that removes traditional managerial hierarchies allowing employees to self-organize to complete work in a way that increases productivity, fosters innovation and empowers anyone in the company with the ability to make decisions that push the company forward.

It means the end of so-called “legacy management”, plus traditional managers, and job titles. Sounds good, after all, who wouldn’t want to be able to self determine at work? About fourteen percent of the current Zappos workforce it seems, who have instead opted for a three-months-of-pay severance package.

The relatively high uptake of the redundancy payout may not necessarily be a denunciation of the Holacracy system however, it could be it presents as an offer too good to refuse, regardless of the circumstances:

The high number of departures perhaps shows how hard it is for employees to pass up the chance to receive three months’ pay for no work, whether they like the new management system or not – especially when an expanding job market means it’s getting a little easier to find a new job.

A lump sum payment, or the opportunity to be autonomous, or at least mostly so, at work. Which would you take?

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Vale B.B. King

Monday, 18 May, 2015

US musician, guitar legend, and King of the Blues, B.B. King, died last week. Thanks for the music.

Here he is, doing what he does best, from a show in 2001, I believe.

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A plant that indicates the presence of diamonds? Could be

Monday, 18 May, 2015

Hmm, time to look more closely at the plants growing in the garden. If Pandanus candelabrum, a palm tree variety, is anywhere to be seen, it may, just may, indicate the presence of diamonds in the ground below.

Kimberlite pipes are columns of volcanic rock that formed from ancient eruptions. On their journey from deep inside the Earth’s mantle, they sometimes carry diamonds up with them. The soil above these pipes is rich in magnesium, potassium and phosphorus – components the Pandanus candelabrum plant seems to love. In fact, it’s theorized that the only place the plant grows is above columns of kimberlite. So find the plant, potentially find a kimberlite tube. Find a tube and you just might find some diamonds.

Seemingly Pandanus candelabrum are fairly rare though, so it’s likely they’re not to be found in the everyday, run of the mill, garden.

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The hunt for Osama bin Laden. What really happened. Or not?

Monday, 18 May, 2015

There is Zero Dark Thirty, US director Kathryn Bigelow’s depiction of the hunt for Osama bin Laden, based, partly at least, on the official narrative of events, then there is Washington, D.C. based investigative journalist Seymour Hersh’s controversial take on the same topic.

They differ. Greatly.

The White House’s story might have been written by Lewis Carroll: would bin Laden, target of a massive international manhunt, really decide that a resort town forty miles from Islamabad would be the safest place to live and command al-Qaida’s operations? He was hiding in the open. So America said.

Mind you, some of Hersh’s claims are being disputed.

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The music revolution was not punk rocked, but it was Nirvana’d

Monday, 18 May, 2015

An analysis of music that charted in the Billboard Hot 100 in the fifty years between 1960 and 2010, reveals that there were three significant periods of change in modern popular music:

There were three periods of rapid change. The first is from 1963 to 1964 – the period of the British Invasion. Though this appears to be the smallest, that is probably an illusion caused by there being few previous quarters to compare it with. The second is in the early 1980s. The third is around 1991. These revolutions do all correspond with times musical critics would have said change was happening (classic rock, new wave, and hip-hop respectively), but this analysis suggests other apparent novelties, such as the punk of the 1970s, were not the revolutions that their fans might like to believe.

I think hip-hop was responsible for the change, or revolution, of the early 1990s, rather than say grunge, and Nirvana, though the genre is not be underestimated, but three ground-shifts over fifty years seems low to me.

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