On this day, September 20, in 1943, the Royal Canadian Navy destroyer, St. Croix, was escorting a convoy and protecting its ships from U-boats, during WWII. The ship was between Greenland and Iceland at 57.30N, 31.10W. It carried almost 150 crew, including a young man named William (Billie) Sydney David Pudney, aged 22, listed as a signalman (V 27871 (RCNVR)). The St. Croix was a bit past her prime; the 1,190-ton destroyer had been built for the US Navy in … click below for more!
There’s a poll online asking if a resident should run for council next election. I believe I understand the intent, but decision-making by poll is not effective leadership. Internet polls, in particular, are weak, inaccurate, easily manipulated, and ignore necessary demographic constraints – they are unacceptable as the foundation for any serious decision. Sure, you want public input for major issues, and you are legislated to get it on some planning matters. Council tries very hard to be as open … click below for more!
A small handout for a local “psychic studio” that arrived in my mailbox offers “Superior PSYCHIC and Spiritual Cleanser.” I never know whether to laugh at the silliness of these people or cry over how they continue to bilk gullible, superstitious fools. We are still so Medieval in our thinking, in so many ways. Here’s an entire “studio” – apparently a one-stop shopping centre for balderdash where you can go and get all your superstitions cleansed, or whatever it is … click below for more!
Collingwood’s main anchor store in the Blue Mountain Mall, Zellers, will close by March, 2013, according to a story in this week’s Globe and Mail. It is one of 29 scheduled to close in Ontario, and one of 64 across Canada. As the Globe and CBC pointed out in their stories, with an average of 100 people per store, that means a net lost of around 6,400 jobs, Canada-wide. The impact locally is much greater. 100 jobs in a community … click below for more!
“Can the simple act of recognizing a face as you walk down the street change the way we think?” Thus opens a story posted on Science Daily. “Or can taking the time to notice something new on our way to work change what we remember about that walk?” Intriguing questions. The act of recognition, the act of discovery; both can change how we both process information about an act, and how we create a memory of it. This novel finding … click below for more!
According to a recent story in Science Daily, new species of sea stars may have arisen in as little a time as 6,000 years. Researchers studied the diversity in DNA sequences from sea stars of two related species to estimate how long it has been since the two species diverged. Their results showed a range from roughly 6,000 to 22,000 years ago. That rules out some ways new species could evolve. For example, they clearly did not diverge slowly with … click below for more!
Tenor guitars have been around since the 1930s, possibly a few years earlier*, but they’ve never had a big following compared with six-string guitars. That seems to be changing, and I suspect it’s in part due to the incredible popularity of that other four-string guitar derivative: the ukulele. In the past six-twelve months, I’ve been seeing more tenor guitars on the Net, including several new custom tenor guitars made by talented luthiers. New sites about tenor guitars have sprung up, … click below for more!
It seems a good week for mis-attributed Francis of Assisi quotes. Someone on Facebook posted an image with the following quote: “He who works with his hands is a laborer. He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman. He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist. St. Francis of Assisi” That’s simply “Francis of “Assisi” for the non-Catholics among us, of course. But even without the questionable transformation of … click below for more!
“It’s easier to fool people than to convince them they have been fooled.” Allegedly by Mark Twain, but unlikely, and not found in any published source I have of Twain’s quotations. Online sources, of course, don’t count as authorities because they lack all credibility. As one person commented on Yahoo, The fact that “Quora attributes it to him” is worthless. Quora is yet another one of those idiotic “quote websites” that misquote and misattribute things all the time. Note that … click below for more!
Paleolithic paintings in El Castillo cave in Northern Spain date back at least 40,800 years — making them Europe’s oldest known cave art, according to new research published June 14 in Science. That’s the lead to a fascinating story about the origins of art. Cave art seems to have been practiced 10,000 years earlier than previously thought. That age could make the artists either the first modern humans or even Neanderthals. That latter possibility is pretty exciting. We know from … click below for more!
I’ve been troubled the last year or so by the increasing amount of trivial crap that is being presented on media sites as news, rather than what it really is: shallow gossip, pseudoscience, trivia, anecdote, voyeurism and personal experience. As titillating as some glitterati’s wardrobe malfunction might be, it is not front page news. In fact, it isn’t worthy of the description news even when relegated to a more appropriate location, buried deep inside the site. Gossip belongs with the … click below for more!
I recently joined a small but dedicated group on Facebook. It’s called “Verify Source Before You Post.” Every reader of this blog and my older Mumpsimus Blog will recognize this as a favorite topic of mine. I’ve written perhaps a dozen posts over the last five years trying to correct numerous bad quotes or mis-attributions. It’s a losing battle, it seems. When I say small, it is, by FB standards, tiny: 17 members right now. But that will, I hope, … click below for more!
Saw three images (“posters”) on Facebook today with “quotes” I’m pretty sure are mis-attributions. As usual, I feel compelled to check out their validity. First is one allegedly by “St. Francis of Assisi.” This would be simply “Francis of Assisi” if you’re not Catholic or don’t believe in saints or canonization. One day I’ll post a blog piece about canonization and its politics, but not now. The quote is: “What we are looking for… is what is looking.” That seems … click below for more!
The hype was huge and long. Diablo III was rumored, hinted at, promised, delayed, and even denied for years. Then it was embraced when it finally arrived after more than a decade’s hibernation since the success of Diablo II, released in 2000 (and 16 years since the original, released in 1996). Good technique for raking in the money: the anticipation meant huge sales initially. The spammers love it, of course, because it provides a wonderful, accessible platform for scams through … click below for more!