Monday, January 28, 2008

What ELSE happens to your blog post when you hit 'publish'?

I found this interesting post (it's a flash graphic) which shows what else (besides just appearing on your blog) happens (or can happen) to that post you just published.
"...all but instantaneously, your post slips into a vast and recursive network of software agents, where it is crawled, indexed, mined, scraped, republished, and propagated throughout the Web. Within minutes, if you've written about a timely and noteworthy topic, a small army of bots will get the word out to anyone remotely interested, from fellow bloggers to corporate marketers...".
The graphic is excellent. Please take a look. A picture truly can be worth a thousand words.

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Movies we've seen. 'I am Legend' and 'Charlie Wilson's War'.

Two movies we've seen lately. 'I am Legend' with Will Smith a weekend ago, and 'Charlie Wilson's War' yesterday, stars Tom Hanks, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Julia Roberts.

1. 'Legend was OK. Worth the time and money to see, and had a useful comment to make on the perils of genetic engineering and what I will call 'science without oversight', and it's pitfalls (an example is Australia's Cane Toad problem).
(I recall a similar movie starring Charlton Heston - 'Omega Man').

Entertaining, with 'useful issue raised', 3.5 out of 5.

2. 'Charlie Wilson's War' was excellent. Strong performances from 3 actors (Hanks, Roberts. and an excellent one from the lesser known? Philip Seymour Hoffman - who plays Gust Avrakotos - THAT's an interesting yarn too!).

Surprisingly, it's a true story. That of Congressman (ie US House of Representatives) Charlie Wilson and his leadership of the support program for the Mujahideen against the Soviet forces in Afghanistan. (c1980 - this is way before 9/11 - and helped lead to the downfall of the USSR).
Quote fom the movie; "...A boy is given a horse on his 14th birthday. Everyone in the village says, 'Oh how wonderful.' But a Zen master who lives in the village says, 'We shall see.' The boy falls off the horse and breaks his foot. Everyone in the village says, 'Oh how awful.' The Zen master says, 'We shall see.' The village is thrown into war and all the young men have to go to war. But, because of the broken foot, the boy stays behind. Everyone says, 'Oh, how wonderful.' The Zen master says, 'We shall see.'...".
Recommended 4.5+ out of 5.

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Making a Difference - The Power of One (with friends).

Here is proof positive that one person with a vision, drive, motivation, and some organisational skills (OK a LOT of drive and organisational skill!) can make a difference. Can give the developing world hope and a real shot at improving the future;

The School of St Jude, Tanzania.

"When 22 year old Australian, Gemma Rice, went to volunteer in East Africa for a few years, she witnessed first hand the results of people in the Third World caught in the tragic cycle of poverty, intensified by a lack of education....
Following years of volunteer work in Uganda and East Africa, Gemma returned home to rural Australia to a rewarding teaching job and a comfortable lifestyle, but never forgot the poverty and suffering she left behind in the country that still had her heart...
she easily convinced some of her friends and family members to pledge at least $5 a month...
From this humble beginning, the East African Fund Incorporated was born and is now a registered Australian charity (No: CFN16123). With Gemma’s unceasing energy, passion, dedication and enthusiasm for the projects of the East African Fund inspiring others, she was asked to speak at various Rotary Clubs in her local area. The word spread quickly and many individuals and members of schools, institutions, businesses, Inner Wheel and Rotary Clubs throughout Australia, pledged donations and assistance. People joyously helped with the collection and transportation of computers, library books, school books, teaching aids, classroom equipment, sports equipment, sewing machines, clothes and an endless list of goods that would see Gemma’s dream of starting a school become a reality...
Starting with only a handful of children, the school now boasts over 700 students from Kindergarten through to Grade 5 in Primary. However, with the help of the school's building team, new classrooms and infrastructure are going up daily, so as to allow the students to progress on to Grade 7 in 2008 and then into Form 1 in 2009, and eventually all the way to the end of secondary school...".
It is run along Catholic religious lines, which is not for all, but this school gives real hope where not much existed before.

Picture gallery of the school here.

Rotary are still heavily involved. They are opening a second school this month - Jan 08.

Gemma's story has appeared in a couple of papers, and on 'Australian story'.

Yes, you can sponsor/help if you wish. (They also have a blog).

Wouldn't it be great if the same formula could be used for other projects!

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Sunday, January 27, 2008

A treasured gift.

Peter (worldman) has bestowed a gift, an award to some of his extended network of friends and fellow Bloggers.

Thank you Peter.

I have put the button option just below the Blogger icon with my links, so people can see and follow the trail from Sue's original idea, and your treasured award.

Some of you may wish to pass the idea and award along as recognition to other deserving Bloggers, that 'Army of Davids' who I believe do so much to democratise the internet. An influence that I believe will have far-reaching effects on free speech, the so-necessary exchange of ideas, and political debate (in particular) in this New Millenium and the Global Village.


Pearls found while surfing by...

Sometimes I just do a random search on the 'net, and then let the links from those sites that I find just take me on a tour through the world's greatest library, the internet, to see what I find.

I found a little circle of Aussie bloggers, many of the feminine persuasion (and Aussie girls tend to be very forthright, independent types). Each of them is worth a visit, however the pearl was in a link, a twin brother of one of the ladies maybe, but that is not clear. His twin sister had written a poem to their Mum, who had suffered Alzheimer's. (Alzheimer's - sometimes called 'the long goodbye' President Reagan died of it).

Please go here to read the text, a part of it says;

"I remember you with my heart
My mind won’t say your name
I can’t recall where I knew you...

...There’s something wrong with my memory
But I do know you
I know I knew you
And I do love you
I know how you make me feel
I remember the feelings we had together.
My heart remembers..."
(From: 'Heart Memories' by Louise M Eder).

Good writing, poetry in particular, can make you ponder and reflect. Perhaps more so when you get into your middle years.
Possibly you have lost one or both parents. You have had a few of life's trials an tribulations visit you. Maybe you have nursed a spouse (or been nursed) through some tough times. There's the ups and down of your working life.

And sometimes, someone shares some pearls of wisdom and experience with the world (if the world cares to listen). And we can all grow a little for having shared our experiences.

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Friday, January 25, 2008

This Friday's Fat Jet(s)

More Fat Jet fotos from Alex;

The telephoto effect compresses the depth perception. It's not all that close to the people and equipment. Interesting view of a C-17 with 'it all hanging out' though. (No. 4 has just been 'delivered').
They are an impressive beast. At over 70 tonnes payload, they can carry 4 to 5 times the load a Herc can. 18 463L pallets. Would have been very handy to have just after the Tsunami - but our Hercs and crews did sterling service then anyway.

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Monday, January 21, 2008

The language of the internet

I access the World Wide Web in English, which is hardly surprising as that is my mother tongue. However I had thought about it, and I had assumed that because there are so many other languages out there, many with a number of adherents vastly outnumbering the English-speakers, that they would have a significant internet presence as well.

I researched that a bit, and found that my perceptions were wrong. Global Reach, a marketing entity, says that over 68% of web/internet content is in English. German and Japanese content is less than 6% each, and French, even worse, half the German content at 3%. Spanish 2.4%.

So whereas I thought (because you do run across websites in other languages quite often) there would be a thriving, Spanish, German, or French internet presence, that apparently is not the case. It seems that my blogger friends Peter and C... (er pumuckl) are very representative in that to participate in the Global Village, they do so in English, even though, as Swiss, their mother tongue is Swiss-German (one of 4 Swiss languages - which suggests other questions re language and identity - assuming that language is a large factor in self-view). I'm glad they did so choose though, as interacting with them and others can only open your mind and broaden your world-view. We, today, can be armchair travellers like no other time has had the opportunity to do so ever before. A revolution only just beginning, the effects of which are as yet merely glimpsed.

Like many Aussies, at high school I did a little German, a little French, and a little Latin. But I've never had to use them other than as a sideline interest. I worked with some French on a project for a while, but they spoke English. As Engineers and Technicians, much if not most of their data sheets, references and textbooks were in English, so they had little other choice.

So it seems that English is the default standard not only in aviation, but in the sciences, and for the internet - the Global Village as well. One wonders where it will lead, you could feel sorry for the French in particular - they may have to learn how to make the 'th' sound after all.

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Friday, January 18, 2008

The Front Lines in the defence of Free Speech

I first saw reference to this at the Samizdata blog.

Like Australia, Canada has 'Human Rights Commissions'. A Canadian publisher, and public commentator by the name of Ezra Levant has become the subject of a complaint before one of these commissions.

Now, you would think that a Human Rights commission would actually stand for the protection of peoples Rights. Things like equality before the law, and such basic entitlements as Free Speech.

It seems not. The complaint against Ezra was as a result of him engaging in full and open debate, and in practicing his duties as a publisher to inform the public.

I urge you to go to his site. Read the history, understand the background, and then either read the transcripts or watch the YouTube clips.

In my opinion, this gentleman is making a principled defence of the 3 of the basic foundations of a Free Society - Free Speech, Open Debate, and Freedom of the Press.

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Sunday, January 06, 2008

Some musings and 'back to work'.

Well my Christmas break is over and it's back to work for me tomorrow. It's also summertime here so many take an extended break at this time of year (sort of like the US and Europe take hols June-Aug).

I've fine-tuned the blog's links again, removed some graphics, which hopefully will speed things up for those on dial-up or a slow connection, and added in some more information links.

Found another 2 great blogs via Peter (Worldman). One directly and the other indirectly from it. They are 'Road to the Horizon' (an aid worker who works in technical/comms area), and Chez Pim. (Pim is a food critic in San Francisco - SF is sort of like 'Sydney with hills').

Other news is that my girls gave me a Mac for Christmas. Lots of learning of new software packages, and data migration to do.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Migraine Headaches.

In the western world about ~18% of women and ~6% of men get migraines. I'm one of those 'lucky' guys who get them, not all that often thankfully, but they are more likely to occur when there's some stress around.

Christmas day I had a doozy. So much so that I didn't go to Christmas lunch with my family.
I'm told that they think it's caused by some blood vessels in the head dilating, and stretching the nerves near them, which causes the pain, but there are many other theories as well.

Hard to explain a migraine to someone who's never had one, but it can be pain so bad it sends you into shock, certainly enough usually to cause actual sickness, and often effects on your vision too.

I hope you don't get them, but spare a thought for those in your circle who do.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

A very droll 'presence'.

Wife was watching the 'Ovation' channel on cable the other day, and called me down saying; "you'll want to see this". It was Brian Sewell's 'Grand Tour'.

She was right. This guy had the most arid, drollest sense of humour I think I've ever heard. I don't know whether it's just personality, intellect, or whatever, but the gent had what can only be described as a presence. That and the poshest, almost musical upper class British accent I've ever heard (some research turns up comments like; "Brian Sewell, the only man I have ever met who makes the Queen sound common"). More on what I glimpsed to be 'one of nature's individuals here. The world does have some interesting characters in it - thankfully.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Some more of Alex's photography.

A few more photos from Alex's camera;

There had been an observation on the forum that Alex posts on that the 'Bou he'd photographed wasn't 'representative'. So he posted this "...showing the fuselage splattered with oil and streaming fluid on the engine nacelle..." (which IS 'representative'). If you look closely you'll also see the rub marks from the dayglo streamers usually attached to the pitot probe covers (circular marks at front). Parked RAAF aircraft are festooned with highly visible bungs and covers which are removed before flight.

Some visitors to the base. 'Armed Recon Helicopters';

(They can be 'loaded for bear' as they say);
And a Happy New Year to All! Best wishes for a happy and prosperous 2008.

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