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This entry on urban rabbits is one I'd easily recommend; there's some quite noteworthy photography. And here we see a binkying bunny. ^_^

Is German a language in decline?

Whatever the languages you might be interested in, though, here's a handy index to a large number of free online courses for just about any tongue.

ysengrin spotted this unmissable tale of what happens when a poorly run company thinks of itself too highly - in this instance, an exchange between Angus & Robertson and Tower Books, a major Australian bookseller and a publisher respectively. And just how often does one get to enjoy the phrase "voluble hilarity" in correspondence?

Parents unhappy that their children aren't polymer-based can choose to have them "perfected" in Photoshop, such as this baby, or this toddler. Be warned: you may find these very creepy. Those doll eyes - a deliberate effect - surely belong in a horror flick.

Do I know a "Jay Blanc"?

Six Apart meets South Park, wherein 6A's recent "explanation" is clarified, and much more. =:D [Edit: the journal's been deleted, but Google knows all]

So, with any luck, I should soon be able to engage in some wholesale reshuffling of partitions, including one or two for experimental purposes, and one purely for backup. Better, though, will be being able to bring all the sample libraries online, as well as having space for video editing. One worldwide woodwind library in particular seems to suggest a quick ditty or two.. I'll have to see where that leads me.

Furrydom in the Guinness Book of World Records, listing AC 2006 as largest furry gathering, with 2,489 attendees.

Monday night saw the first half of Richard Dawkins' new documentary, The Enemies of Reason, broadcast on Channel 4 in the UK. And here it is (48 min, 50MB). Quite good, although ultimately, it's probably - so to speak - preaching to the choir. Perhaps tighter editing could have brought it down to a single broadcast hour, curtailing astrology's segment particularly. Trouble is, Dawkins just isn't someone who can radiate passion and intrigue for his topics in the same way, say, James Burke could - it's one thing to describe the wonder of looking into the nigh infinite night sky, and contemplate the millennia that stretch to the boundaries of the universe, but another to be able to say that and have people feel the wonder. [Edit: it's now up on Google Video, courtesy of the production company involved]

otter3 might find some points of interest in DanCoyote Antonelli's new installation. "The installation space is constructed to immerse the avatar in an a new environment, free of the geographical constrains that we as people controlling out characters are trained to recognize." The related Zero G Skydancers seem worth a look, too, especially if you're able to hook up a projector; here's a horribly edited clip of them in action, on what seems like a woefully underpowered host.

Could be just me, but something tells me Friday's decision regarding SCO's claim for UNIX copyrights affected their share price slightly. (Live chart here)

"Frequent tours for U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan have stressed the all-volunteer force and made it worth considering a return to a military draft, President Bush's new war adviser said Friday." And unlike in Vietnam days, where deferments could be easily obtained, those gaps have been filled now.

John Edwards' press release on Rove's resignation is, I feel, quite succinct. =:) I'd be quite surprised if this materially affects his actions, rather than merely his official and legal status - witness Rumsfeld's continued presence in the Pentagon.

Something I'm currently reading: Consciousness In Four Dimensions: Biological Relativity and the Origins of Thought. Too early to tell whether it'll be worthwhile, but the comments appear positive. "We are shown the development of cellular life in terms of spatial order and time; the evolution of cellular life to multicellular organisms and the specialized cells that compose our nervous systems; the higher order functions of mammalian brains; and, finally, the development of consciousness, again, in terms of spatial order and time. A fascinating tour of our natural world!"

iMovie '08 was released the other day, but disappointingly, lacking official support for G4-based systems (G5 and Intel only); however, it's possible to tweak the app slightly to ensure it installs anyway. At the same time, they made iMovie 6.04 available as a free download, ostensibly for owners of iLife '08, as the new version inexplicably currently lacks support for plugins. As it doesn't seem to perform any checks as to whether you have iLife '08 installed, it's effectively a freebie - you should be able to install it without any trickery, though in some cases, you may need to enter this curious preference setting prior to running the installer:

defaults write /Library/Preferences/com.apple.iLife08 HappyCakeOven -bool YES

Here's a side-by-side comparison of the minimum Arctic ice extent from September 1979, and August 2007. RealClimate notes the difference is about 1,200,000 sq.km., a bit larger than California and Texas combined, or slightly less than France, Germany, and the UK combined. "The minimum extent is usually in early to mid September, but this year, conditions by Aug 9 had already beaten all previous record minima. Given that there is at least a few more weeks of melting to go, it looks like the record set in 2005 will be unequivocally surpassed."

The Animal Crossing movie recently saw its first fansubbing. ^_^ As you might expect, it's very lightweight stuff, but still a pleasant ride for anyone who's enjoyed the games. In the first segment, the new arrival meets Pelly, the mayor, Tom Nook, Blathers, and some of the villagers.

Project ICE seems to be off to a good start. It's set in a post-apocalyptic world which has recently seen the last male die, leaving a purely female population globally. For some, that merely signals the opportunity to extend their own goals of conquest. The opening scenes are very much in a manga style of artwork, but it soon settles into a more well-developed style. (paka might appreciate the way the military forces have taken after ornate 19th Century officer designs) The storyline itself opens with a mysterious threat, when a maid plunges an elaborate syringe into herself, cocooning her within "ICE", seemingly a symbiotic lifeform, handily capable of eliminating the first team to arrive to deal with it. The second team manages to destroy the threat, nearly at the cost of the leader's life, when the creature's demise is assured by use of F.O.Big Gun™, almost killing a bystander when it ploughs straight into her. As thanks for then being saved by the team leader, she's taken to a special field near the main city, where, upon feeding some birds with tinned crab, the birds turn into flowers. One or two get bored of that, and turn back into birds. Which seems fair enough.

Wow. My mother actually dared take a culinary adventure of sorts, and used a crockpot for the first time in many years. Nothing exciting per se, but the stew definitely was good - that kind of cooking renders the meat so wonderfully tender, and I haven't enjoyed a good dumpling in ages. Now to encourage her into less familiar territory. ^_^ (I did notice a bottle of fish sauce appeared, too.. always useful in Thai curries. Lately, I've just been making do with a couple chopped anchovies, but that's not really the same as fish that's been left to stink away for months =:)

Blame keihound. =:D
I might have to check some of those SL things out when I'm back in Edmonton on a decent connection with a slightly faster desktop.

I sincerely hope the US government doesn't actually institute a draft. I think a lot of Americans are angry enough at their government for being involved in this stupid situation at all, and would cause serious anger if they were suddenly being forced be involved themselves. I think it would cause problems all over the place and simply not get the country anywhere one way or the other.
There does seem to be quite a wide array of creative endeavors to be found on SL, despite the high cost of maintaining land ($300 per sim per month) - I really look forward to the day when Linden Lab finally open the server code. Ideally, it'd be as simple to deploy a sim server as running a webserver on a home system, with people able to hop transparently from a Linden-run sim to your own, just as hyperlinks can travel seamlessly from one server to the other side of the world.

It's possible to be on SL with dialup, with the obvious caveat that you won't want to do much walking around - but once the scene's loaded, the traffic then is fairly modest. Something like a dance performance might not be recommended, though. =:)

Gods know, I really hope there's no draft. One Vietnam wall is more than enough. I've seen some people hope that that might actually compel the sons and daughters of the rich and powerful to be more equitably involved in a cause they're so keen to support in every other way, but I'd be astonished if there weren't enough flexibility in the system to permit wheezes like Shrub's assignment to the Texas Air National Guard, kindly arranged as a favor to the family.

That still leaves the conundrum of just what Bush intends for the future of the volunteer army, given tours have been extended and repeated multiple times, often without any leave in between - it's in as poor a condition as can be without collapsing. (Notice that the recent escalation didn't involve any more actual people, just sending more of them back earlier) If Cheney (recipient of five deferments in Vietnam, successfully avoiding any service entirely) wins his way in attacking Iran as well - a country with three times the population of Iraq, and a more significant military - it's difficult to see how a draft could be avoided.
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I was just thinking along those lines. Yay dead tree volumes, seldom timely and only once up-to-date. :-P Come to that, I wonder if the site is maintained current..

Both are fairly mind-blowing figures, when you think of the con scene just 10-15 years ago - ConFurence 2 had something like 100 people in total, and maybe ten 'suits. If I'm really bored someday, it might be fun trying to dredge up attendance figures for all the cons in that time, and plot the totals out.. after all, earlier on, CF was pretty much the furcon - CFE came later, then AC (or did CFE turn into AC?), then FC, not to mention MFF sprouting out of Duckon's furry track, MFM, Conifur, etc, now including FA:U, which by the sound of it, was one of the best cons in years. Eh, maybe I'll get along to another sometime. Maybe I'll even bring Red along. =:D

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The problem with posting climate change stats is that the two sides are so polarised, you're either preaching to the converted, or talking to a brick wall.
Well, there's always hope. It's easier to ignore global warming as a reality when there isn't evidence right there - data like that isn't an opinion, after all. (The battle seems to be shifting away from "no such thing" to "it's not our fault", so I suppose there's some progress)

Environment Canada has a sea ice cover map updated daily, if you want to watch its progress. No wonder Russia was first to show serious interest in exploiting natural resources in the arctic ocean - it is their side that has lost the most ice. Canada and Denmark probably won't be able to exploit it to the extent that Russia can now for a long time, as predictions are that the last of the permanant sea ice later this century will be on the shores of Greenland and Canada.

I'm rather surprised that sea ice would reach another minimum this year, because this summer didn't seem all that warm (until August anyway). But I guess I'm a little more geographically separated from the arctic than I used to be. :-)
Why the great disparity in the melting? Presumably the Russian waters (or air currents? I'd imagine it'd be the former) are that bit warmer.

Wonder what might happen to Greenland in the future.. could its comparative warming make for a population influx? As I recall, it's not overly hospitable - not much wildlife in the interior, and mineral-poor as well, so any additional population would require everything be imported. That said, I'm not at all acquainted with the country. Maybe a furcon could buy part of it for a furry colony? =:) (First order of business: fast net.connection, preferably cable, given how expensive even leased satellite connectivity is)

That 6A meets South Park bit has been deleted. Probably by 6A themselves. Is there a copy of it somewhere?
Eep! That's curious timing indeed.. I'd hate to think 6A are engaging in outright censorship. But thankfully, Google knows all, and seldom forgets. (Did they wind up complying with the L Ron bunch after all?)

Seems like one of the commenters nuked that section from the Wikipedia article. I say, good work, old chap; to deduce from the fact that some university courses are being held in English in order to appeal to an international (!) audience where one exists that German as a language is "declining" is, frankly, asisine, and whoever wrote that must've been quite the crackpot. In fact, based on my own personal experiences, the opposite is actually true these days: it seems to be more en vogue to use German song lyrics (rather than English ones) again, or give German titles to movies (no matter whether they're dubbed or original German productions), and - depending - use more German words for things again instead of anglicisms. (So no matter whether you think that's a good thing or not, it seems obvious to me that in "regular" use, which arguably is what matters most, German is not declining.)

Mmmm, language resources. :) I'll have to say that the linked page regarding Icelandic pronounciation is sorely lacking, though. Outside of the fact that Icelandic has a number of sounds that English doesn't (the converse, naturally is also true) and that thus, any attempt to explain Icelandic pronounciation purely in terms of English equivalents and examples is doomed to fail from the start, letters don't even always represent the same sounds; that's something that's true in English (and, in fact, just about any language), too, of course (for example, the "c" in "cuisine" and "century" is not the same), but while the page notes some of these rules, it doesn't include others, and it also gets some things completely wrong. Superficial information at best, which might actually be worse than no information at all...

Interesting photoshop jobs on those babies, but I feel sorry for children who are stuck with BNPs like that.

Jay Blanc?

beefcake_cop seems to have deleted their journal, it seems. You wouldn't happen to have a saved copy of that post...?

Cool thing about the Guiness book. :) Hmm, I wonder whether they got permission from those suiters to use that photo.

A succinct and concise statement indeed! :D

Mmm, that culinary adventure of your maternal unit sounds good, too. :)
Though I can't help but wonder if German's position is somewhat static in the current world, given the commerce-led trend seems to continue to present English as a primary contender for a second language, with Chinese not far off. (And Japanese, though to a much lesser extent) That said, there's no question German remains a strong European lingua franca, in the former Eastern bloc especially - if someone doesn't speak English, the odds are very good they'll know German instead. The wonders of tourism!)

Still, yes, raising dramatic conclusions from such evidence is something to be wary of. For all the stick Wikipedia receives from its sceptics, I feel the system does, by and large, work well - as we see from the recent datamining results, some corporations do try whitewashing criticism (and the CIA helpfully clarified the entry for the Buffy ep "This Time, With Feeling", apparently), but every page has its creator, and usually people interested in that entry; they're normally well able to ensure an entry doesn't remain contaminated. Still, I'm far from familiar with Wikipedian politics - but the results do seem overwhelmingly valid, despite the lack of a formal structure in a page's maintenance.

Those pesky Icelanders and their lack of imperialist ambitions. =:) (Come to think of it, I should seek out a sample of spoken Icelandic. I'm quite fond of the sound of Irish Gaelic, and Portuguese has a positively melodious sound, I feel)

It's so odd to see such heavy retouching - repainting, really, given the extent to which the originals are modified. "Retouching" suggests something more subtle, like maybe removing a mole. The danger, of course, is that that's the parent's ideal, and will try to mold the child into that..

Rather uncomfortable that that journal's suddenly gone, but yes, I've added Google's cached copy above. I certainly hope its disappearance was of the owner's doing.

I'd hope Guinness would do so, but one never knows - publications can sometimes be surprisingly lax, especially where "just a weblog" is concerned. Wonder what kind of payment one could expect.. probably just something cheap like a copy or two of the book. =:)

I need to commandeer the crockpot myself sometime. ^_^ I think there's a ham joint sitting in the freezer, which would do very nicely in a tangy, sweet marinade, maybe with a bit of a maple influence. :-9 Problem is, I'm seldom cooking for anyone but myself, which isn't the same as being able to share in others' enjoyment of it, so I wind up not embarking on all that much creative cooking. I suppose that's where writing about it and photographing it can help add that shared dimension. ^_^

I considered shorting SCOX when it was at 5. Next time!
Aah, unclean, unclean! =:)

(I'll admit to having developed on SCO a while back, but that was when SCO really was SCO. The actual platform was Informix, really. All of us on a shared machine, too. Which I quite approved of, as any two of us could compile at the same time for a quick break, which I routinely used to catch up with another sketch)

Did you manage to snag some AAPL back when it was around $60? I could see there being a decent gain over the next 18 months or so, perhaps as high as $200, but with the current credit nausea washing over the markets globally, and the lousy condition of the US building/housing sector, I'd probably be inclined to sit it out in a decent savings account for a few months. Or a few sims on SL - hardly a traditional blue chip investment, but with quite reasonable ROI potential, in exchange for a good deal of effort in managing the regions. (Something I'd love to do, but I'd need a visit from the lottery fairy first. Such a pity sims aren't cheaper, as there's such creative potential, but the monthly costs mean either having to subsidise/cover with land rental, vendors, et al, or just pay for it oneself as a matter of fun - when things are going well, $300/mo would hardly be a problem. Hey ho)

Parents unhappy that their children aren't polymer-based can choose to have them "perfected" in Photoshop

Those are just frightening. And I have to wonder about any parent who is so unhappy with the way their child looks that they have to "perfect" it, anyway. I'd hate to think how they might treat the kid.

"Frequent tours for U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan have stressed the all-volunteer force and made it worth considering a return to a military draft, President Bush's new war adviser said Friday."

In his dreams, maybe. I'm pretty sure that if there was ever a serious attempt to return to the draft, the American public would put an end to it pretty quickly. At least, I certainly hope that they would.
It's a worrisome prospect indeed. Perhaps I'm just overanxious, and they're guilty of nothing more than appalling taste in photography (or CG imagery, by that point), but they're the ones apparently preferring to commemorate their daughters as mannequins. (In a consensual adult context, of course, such TFs could easily be fun, though I tend more towards the cybernetic. I do enjoy the few doll TFs Rip Kackel's come up with, though, scarce as they unfortunately are)

I wonder if they at least keep the original photography? I can only wonder at the child's bafflement later on, when they're looking back at these pics.. O.o

The problem with bad political news like this is the Bush style is to let it drip out a bit at a time, such that when the full horror is unveiled, people have actually become acclimated to it. Torture's a perfect example - initially, the administration was shocked, I tell you, shocked! that anyone could consider making such accusations. Then, one or two such cases came to light, eventually grudgingly admitted as genuine. And so it progressed, until we saw that the Geneva Conventions were being utterly disregarded, with torture an officially sanctioned, routine means of prisoner treatment. Similarly with wiretapping - first denied vigorously, then a few isolated cases, then more widespread, until news arrived of the wholesale surveillance of phone and data traffic, and the complete disregard for the FISA process.

hee! Happy bunny! I've allways wanderd what "binkying" looked like. :3
Isn't it wonderful to see? Clearly, you should take a couple buns into your home, and upload to YouTube frequently. ^_^ (I wish I could, but there's just no space in this place, and downstairs is often quite noisy - I wouldn't want to subject them to that, unless I could find a Hutch of Noise Cancellation)
The largest gathering of people dressed as gorillas involved 637 participants of the Great Gorilla Fun Run to raise money for The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund in London, UK on September 25, 2005.