Archive for July, 2009

The moon is made of cheese…

July 30, 2009

OK so that headline is more in my imagination, but recently, there has been cheese near the moon. No, I’m serious, and it’s literally my favourite story of the year so far. So much do I like this story, that I have tweeted about it 3 times. Once about its launch, once about its attempt at orbiting the Earth, and finally about its safe landing in a garden.

The BBC reads, and I quote:  ‘A block of cheese launched into the upper atmosphere on Tuesday has been found undamaged in Buckinghamshire’.

The piece of cheese was launched into the Earth’s atmosphere with a helium launch pad a few days ago, to mark the

The fateful cheddars as it prepares for take off...

The fateful cheddar as it prepares for take off...

 40th anniversary of the moon landing.  Makers even fitted it with GPS, to track its whereabouts, but the devious West Country Farmhouse Cheesemakers’ cheddar was quickly ‘lost in space’.

Its maker, a fine gentleman called Dom Lane is going to now taste a bit of the infamous cheese, to ‘see if it matured at high altitude’. GENIUS! I bet it tastes wonderful. I’ve always wanted to try space cheese.

Some people may read this post and think “what a waste of time” that a) someone launched a piece of cheese into space in the first place, and b) why is this mad woman so keen to write about it? But then there are those who, like me, will sit back and appreciate this story for what is really is: an attempt to change the world, through the power of cheese. Nom nom nom…

Risky business

July 23, 2009

The Guardian today reported that Germany has accused China of launching an increasing number of espionage attacks, from phone-tapping to internet-based hacking, to steal their technological secrets.

Industrial espionage is big-business the world over. Apparently, car manufacturing, renewable energies, chemistry, communications and optics are all top priority for these international men (and women) of mystery.

In a recent case, two British men were charged with 12 offences relating to the theft of trade secrets after photographing secret equipment in a Goodyear factory and developing similar equipment for the Chinese market. They face a maximum sentence of 150 years in prison and a fine of $2.75million (£2million).

Despite the high penalties, this type of crime is unlikely to stop when The Journal of Criminal Justice and Security has estimated it to be worth US$100 billion a year – in the US alone. Stealing of top-secret information seems to be a risky, but lucrative, business.

“The Lying Down Game”

July 14, 2009

I may have been a bit slow on the uptake with this one, however I was fascinated and amused to read about the new ‘craze’ that’s taking the nation by storm. Aptly named the Lying Down Game, it basically involves players lying down. That’s it. The Metro Online reports that “Participants are told there are two aims: it should be as public as possible and as many people as possible should be involved.”

I think it’s hilarious! If you fancy a little rest, why not just have a casual lie down?! If you get any funny looks, you can just tell passers-by that you’re playing the game…perhaps throw in a sincere look and they really will think you’re mad and walk on.

This is just another fantastic example of a viral campaign – similar to recent work seen by T-Mobile and their numerous ‘spontaneous’ dances in famous London locations. This one, however, appears not to be motivated by a

Here's hoping he has good aim...

Here's hoping he has good aim...

company striving to push their product, but for genuine fun. Some of the photos taken of people playing the game include someone lying down in an aeroplane’s jet, a little boy lying on an ironing board, and a cabbie having a quick lie-down out of the window of his cab!

I think I may take myself off for a quick rest now…oh, did I say rest? I mean I’m off to play the game. Whatever.

‘Eve ho

July 8, 2009
Eve Online

Eve Online

Quick follow-up to our recent post on the rise of MMPORG crime.

Apparently, a CEO of EBank (the largest of Eve Online’s in-game financial institutions) has embezzled 200 billion interstellar kredits – which he managed to sell on for around £3,115.

The theft constitutes about 8% of the bank’s total holdings and this has caused many of the bank’s in-game customers to withdraw their virtual cash, creating a virtual credit crunch.

Apparently the player – Ricdic – used the cash to put down a deposit on a house and to pay medical bills.

Although Ricdic has been removed from Eve for trading kredits for real currency, he cannot be prosecuted under “real world” law. Stealing kredits in-game is accepted and encouraged – only selling them on for real-world cash is considered a breech of the game’s rules…

Back to the 90s…or 80s, even?

July 1, 2009

Check out the Walkman! I remember the days when I used to have one of these, and I loved it. It had a metallic blue front panel where the cassette went in, and those old school headphones that went over the head, but were always that little bit too big, even when you did adjust them.  

But the one this boy’s been given is even more retro – I certainly wasn’t alive when those bad boys were around. However – the article on the BBC’s news site did astound and upset me a little. The boy in question, Scott Campbell, said it took him ‘3 days to realise there were two sides to the tape’. 3 days!? I’m not being funny, but bloody hell, isn’t it obvious?
 
Actually that’s a bit of a rhetorical question, as clearly it’s not obvious to the youth of today. I always thought of myself as a younger generation person [I’m 22] but here I am, being made to feel old by a teenager who has never seen a cassette tape before.
 
His account – if he is indeed the author (more of that later) – is both funny and nostalgic. I used to love fast forwarding, although not to create a shuffle but to skip to my favourite songs. I never experienced a metal cassettetape, but I strongly believe I would have enjoyed it.
I think his face says it all...

I think his face says it all...

 

It was most interesting to note, however, the changes to the Walkman “brand” that have occurred through the years. The Walkman brand lives on, but due to the iPod being the be-all-and-end-all of MP3 players, I think we now know it primarily through Sony Ericsson Walkman phones. This in itself is interesting, as it reflects the converged services that mobile phones now offer. Mobile phones are digital cameras, MP3 players, internet browsers – it’s staggering how far technology has come since I listened to tapes on my Walkman. However, the opportunity to reflect on this only really surfaces when we’re provided with a comparison to something more outdated. 

Now – about the authorship – what kind of 13-year old says ‘cumbersome’…??  Or better still – ‘aesthetically pleasing’…? In fact, did a 13-year old even write this? The more I read of this article, the less convinced I am.


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