Oct 14 2008

Banjo Playing For The Doctors

Category: In The MediaChrisM @ 4:31 am

For some pretty amazing video footage, head on over here. Just in case your flash plugin is playing up, the video shows Eddie Adcock (apparently well known – I guess bluegrass just hasn’t made it into my MP3 collection yet) playing the banjo DURING brain surgery. Rather than some sort of new age approach to pain management, the idea was that once his hand tremors were reduced, the doctors playing with his head would know they were in the right area.
Whilst we’re in the BBC News video genre, check out this link for some footage of a base jump that didn’t go quite to plan over in Norway.

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Oct 01 2008

Russian Soldier Exiled For Video

Category: In The Media,VideosChrisM @ 2:26 pm

I’ve just read an article over at the BBC news web site about a soldier who recorded a cover of the Eminem (featuring Dido) track Stan. In much the same way as the original features a disgruntled young man writing a letter, the soldier’s was supposed to be a letter to the minister of defence , regarding the unsavoury conditions fellow soldiers had to endure, despite previous assurances that living conditions would improve. It would appear that he became frustrated to the lack of a reply to a previous conventional letter, and so wrote (possibly in May 2008?) a new ? ?????? ?? ??? ???????? ??????? in the form of a video uploaded to RuTube.ru .
In case you want to watch the full video, here it is…

It looks as though relying on Google to translate ‘a letter to the minister of defense’ (or defence, depending on which variant of English you use 🙂 ) was a little inaccurate, as the video is simply titled ?????? ???????? ??????? .

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May 28 2008

Wogan’s Annual Wobbler

Category: PersonalChrisM @ 1:29 am

Yes, he has a perfectly valid point about the Eurovision song contest results being all about the politics, and very little to do with the actual quality of the song and performance on the night. However, his threat to quit gets trotted out each year (check the BBC news archives, or do a little googling for confirmation).

Terry Wogan

Also, his quote that Eurovision is no longer a song contest makes it sound like he believes it has been until very recently. This is utter rubbish – the scores one country will give a neighbour or fellow political follower have been so predictable for years. Was the UK’s Andy Abraham’s performance a contest-winner? Probably not… Was it far better than some of the tat offered up by other nations? Definitely…

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May 27 2008

Not An Outer Limits Episode…

Category: In The MediaChrisM @ 3:04 am

The Academy of Medical Sciences has issued a warning that the academic organizations may soon need to start considering the use of drug testing, to ensure that some pupils are not abusing prescription drugs in an attempt to improve their memory. Although ten or fifteen years ago this would have sounded more like an episode of some SciFi type program, the startling reality, according a report over at the BBC news site, is that such abuse of cognitive enhancers was already taking place. The idea of people using strong black coffee, Pro Plus or Red Bull to aid in last minute cramming is hardly new, but ritalin, modafinil and aricept are allegedly already being used by some. I particularly liked the spokesmen for companies involved in the legal production of these drugs, who stated “These drugs are prescription drugs and therefore you need to go to the doctor to get them. I don’t think the system is that open to abuse”. Because everyone knows that prescription drugs don’t get abused already??? Idiot.

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Dec 19 2007

Internet Reports

Category: In The Media,Internet Connections,Kazakhstan,PersonalChrisM @ 4:25 am

The ISP we now have our internet connection with is called Megaline. Unfortunately, since swapping to their service, everyday sees some downtime for connectivity. Even when all is apparently working, packets are often lost, and I can no longer as open as many simultaneous pages, without time outs occurring. That said, it is a lot cheaper, and although only 1/2 the speed, I do get an allowance of 10Gb/month before they throttle me down to 32Kbit/sec, from 128Kbit/sec.
Anyway, we first have a report on the UK’s lagginess (puns will stop now, sorry), when it comes to very fast internet connection availability. This is no great surprise really, given our history with BT’s (formerly part of the GPO) previous monopoly at nearly all stages of communications. Great investment will be needed to push beyond the current 24Mbps ceiling, and even that sort of connection is only really possibly if you live on top of your local exchange. Until we drop twisted pair copper lines as acceptable, the days of fibre optics into every home are a long way off, unless someone like Richard Branson decides that it is economically viable in areas when other Cable TV operators have avoided.
Globally Maximum Advertised Speeds For The Internet

On a more positive note, here we have an article detailing how broadband internet connectivity (even if it isn’t globally breath-takingly fast) has rapidly become the preferred speed, compared to just four years ago, when most people considered dial up speeds acceptable. No pretty table to illustrate the point this time, sorry.

Finally, on a semi-related matter, the BBC News site had details on how some European nation’s citizens are rejecting land lines altogether, in favour of mobile phones. Although this may sound surprising at first, if you take into account that some of the nations, that were unable to develop as quickly under USSR rule, never had high rates for phone lines into every house, and how competitive some mobile phone network companies are in these markets, to try and get, then keep loyal customers, you can begin to see why having no land line number is becoming more common in some areas. Whether these figures include those that only use phone lines for internet usage, and use mobiles for cheaper evening calls etc, I couldn’t ascertain.

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Nov 21 2007

The End Is Nigh?

Category: Internet ConnectionsChrisM @ 11:37 pm

In just a few years time, serious congestion could effect anyone who uses the internet for bandwidth intensive uses, or even perhaps just simple site browsing. Although the company behind the report have succeeded in getting the BBC News site to publish an article based on their research, I am definitely going to go and try and investigate more before telling everyone I know to get ready for a global cyber-gridlock.
I do remember that such reports were banded around just prior to this millennium starting, and how things have turned out OK so far. This could be down to serious investments by ISPs and backbone providers, or that the original reports were exaggerated. More likely a mixture of both. Anyway, take a moment to read the article, and let me know what you think.

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Oct 28 2007

Hard Shoulder = Occasional 4th Lane!

Category: In The Media,PersonalChrisM @ 9:18 am

I am skipping ahead a little here, as I still need to write the posts on Amsterdam before moving on to Britain, but want to post a link to this article over at the BBC news site.
I had noticed safe refuge areas when I was travelling to Swansea (actually it was probably going to Birmingham airport) earlier this month, and did wonder what had sparked their need. By the looks of it, during times of peak traffic, the hard shoulder will be used as an extra (normally 4th) lane for those motorists who needs to take the exit at the next junction. From a purely selfish point of view, this seems like a good idea. Less traffic, people getting to work/home quicker. However, I have had several incidents in the past where I would not have been able to make it to such safe refuges with my car. Whether a complete tyre blow out, or engines cutting out, there are a few reasons why your car may not be able to make it to the next fenced off area. Although the article does explain that cameras will be monitored to ensure that any blockages by broken down vehicles will trigger the hard shoulder to be revert to its original intended use, I can’t help wonder how many accidents may occur before this change is implemented.
To my non-UK readers, if you get a moment, do let me know if your country has similar schemes already in place, and what you think of them.

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Sep 13 2007

Hamster Night Time Crash

Category: In The MediaChrisM @ 6:07 am

As you may already know, I’m a big fan of the BBC TV Motoring show Top Gear (see here for a few previous posts). Although BBC World does eventually broadcast a cut down version of the show via our satellite receiver, it does not feature the (mainly British) guests, and often cuts other funny sections. Luckily most of the shows are downloadable from the net, and so before we had ADSL, ChrisD would normally grab them for me.
Anyway, Richard Hammond (subject of a few posts last year when he had a 300mph+ crash in a jet ‘car’) has had another accident, though nothing like as serious this time. The show was recording the three presenters taking part in an endurance race over at Silverstone, when the car (which Richard was driving at the time) was crashed into by another vehicle. By the sound of the BBC news article, some media outlets are overplaying the seriousness of the crash, as the presenter seems fine, and even the car itself was repairable quite quickly.

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