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Via rabitguy, a helpful guide: How to Visit New York City on $100.

Or, if you're more in the mood for something minorly wonderful, take a look at this short demo of a Mimio whiteboard coupled to a Croquet virtual environment (not SL, though it passingly resembles it here), forming a fun way of learning. fleetfur, take note!

I'm sure everyone's seen Bucky Rabbit's photo everywhere - there's no need to repost those pics here. But the utility in having done so is real, as related there in a report from Florida. He may not be a mortal danger, but you don't want to wind up with your door kicked in and all valuables swiped, including your hard drives. (Latest word includes "And, I was informed last night that they believe they *do* have good finger print samples from a few key items - ones which could not be confused with anything that he might have touched, when he was here 'legitimately'. So now, they just have to do their lab work over it, and, hopefully, match them.")

Here's a five minute clip (30MB) from a recent BBC production, "Bill Oddie's Wild Side", looking at hares. It actually pointed out one behavior I hadn't been aware of - quite cool. And no, I'm not going to say what. =:)

dakhun posted some illuminating facts regarding the efficiency of corn-based ethanol production versus photovoltaic panels here. Well worth reading, and not only for spaceroo introducing you to the Ford Nucleon.

Runde's opened a few commission slots, if you're feeling in the mood for some very good pencilwork (monochrome or color), optionally inked. And not bad prices at all, with the most expensive tier being $32 for color pencils on 11x14" paper, original included.

The Fabulous Duck Story.

Fat Planet, one of my favorite music weblogs, just pointed out champeta trance.. just way cool. "Champeta is a bastard hybrid of a dictionary of genres: highlife, afrobeat, zouk, cumbia, soca, calypso - and undoubtedly dozens more - and can be found throughout Colombia's Caribbean coast. For its trance rebirth, 'El Pulpo' fires up decades-old Casio keyboards and drum machines and a liberal sherbert dibdab of old rave samples." Sadly, they could only find a YouTube clip rather than anything high quality, but it's still great fun.

But if Duran Duran's more to your taste, here's a good machinima (download) submitted for the band's recent "Falling Down" Video Mashup Challenge. And there's lapine interest, too. ^_^

Looks like an original documentary/comedy.. "Qallunaat: Why White People are Funny". "Funny? What's so funny about white people, otherwise known as Qallunaat to the Inuit? Well, among other curious behaviours, Qallunaat ritualistically greet each other with inane salutations, repress natural bodily functions, complain a lot about being cold, and seem to want to dominate the world. This docucomedy is a collaboration between filmmaker Mark Sandiford and Inuit writer and satirist, Zebedee Nungak. Zebedee is CEO and head researcher of the mythical Qallunaat Studies Institute (QSI). According to Nungak, 'Qallunaat ought to be the object of some kind of study by other cultures. The more I thought about the way they have studied us over the years it occured to me, why don't we study them?'"

If you're looking for OS X programming books, Pangea Software's just released their Ultimate Game Programming Guide as a free PDF. "The warehouse that stocks and ships our inventory somehow managed to lose our remaining 1,000 copies of the Ultimate Game Programming Guide. They have been unable to locate the missing books, so it appears that we may be permanently out of stock."

Quite an interesting combination of characters - Millions Of Us recently hosted an in-world chat between Philip Linden (Linden Lab head honcho) and Gavin Newsom (mayor of San Francisco). It's available in both transcript and mp3 forms, part one, and part two. "By remarkable capacity to look at the things that unite us, not the things that divide us. Thirty-nine percent of our population is foreign-born. The greatest strength of our city lies in that composite. And that's why this city is doing the things that few other cities have endeavored to do, like universal healthcare, and it's got the most prolific environmental policies in the United States, and we're doing things on civil rights and marriage equality that challenge some, sure, but are advancing principles that we think are universal in terms of people, people's rights being respected regardless, not just race, ethnicity, religion, but also sexual orientation and gender."

So, who else remembers Captain Eo? ^_^ Francis Ford Coppola, George Lucas, Michael Jackson..

You've got to love the caption the site gave this wuf pic from Perfect World. (Work safe)

Oh.. my. zrath just discovered that SD Gundam was so very close to being turned into Doozy Bots. (Though I'll admit the idea of transferring "consciousnesses" into robots is an appealing premise, even if fully reversible)

In a disappointing show of idiocy, Health Canada has apparently declared that if you're sexually active and gay, you can forget about being an organ donor.

Ooh, shiny new HD camcorders from Panasonic - full 1080p, 3 CCD, for $800. :-9 The cheaper one only records to SD cards, whilst the more expensive unit includes a 60GB hard drive - hardly seems worth the extra $300, unless you're going to be shooting a lot of video without an opportunity to dump it to DVD-R, given it goes through storage at about 2GB/hour.

I thought tania might enjoy this posting on the joys of sketching on the train.

I shan't be indulging in a great deal of MacWorld speculation. Anything announced will, I feel, be reported in good time. Still, it did strike me as uncharacteristic that they'd announce octo-core as standard across the Mac Pro line, and quad-core in the Xserves, but a week hence. So, perhaps there's cause not to fear too much padding in the keynote next Tuesday. ^_^

terminotaur, or others merely randomly geeky, might enjoy The PCR Song.

"M-Net's new local sitcom is about the Greenes - a white family whose lives are turned upside-down overnight. After ignoring the warnings of a strange old man not to park their caravan on the burial grounds of his ancestors, they wake up to discover that have all turned black. At the same time the maid has become white. The Greenes panic and decide to start a new life as the Mbulis and that of course leads to many bizarre situations. The Coconuts pokes fun at day-to-day South African characters, relationships, prejudices and stereotypes." It's styled in a similar way to, say, Freaky Friday; it's not a huge budget production, but it must be given credit for ploughing headlong into many a controversial issue.

I shan't say anything about this very brief clip from Norway, but it's worth 46 seconds of your time. ^_^

If you've been fascinated by the progress of the OLPC project, and are curious to see what the software's actually like, rabitguy noticed it's being made available (given it is, after all, entirely free and open source) as disc images, which you can let QEMU, Parallels, and suchlike boot up. laptop.org, RedHat.

I've been going on a (very) minor mustard kick lately, for some reason, trying the local supermarket's premium own-brand offerings occasionally, with the result of now having little jars of their Dijon, English, and Whole Seed mustards, featuring respectively white wine from the region, cider vinegar and honey, and "real ale". Frankly, it's remarkable what a difference the changes make - where a cheap Dijon mustard will just use distilled vinegar, the much gentler touch of the wine makes for a similar potency of actual flavor, yet without being as sharp. Similarly, the English is much more well rounded, compared to most bearing that monicker, being dreadfully harsh.

Hey, paka! The Mesopotamians. ^_^

And (other) music for the day: djbalor's "Ancient Ruins", a cinematic, classically inspired piece of some grandeur.
 
 
 
 
 
 
I heard an interview this week with the co-head of the transplant program in the University Hospital Network, which is a major group of hospitals in Toronto. Essentially, he said Health Canada has copied WHO guidelines from 1990, which are totally inappropriate given how the diseases that formed that plan have changed in distribution and vector in the years since.

He said that essentially, the guidelines were being taken as 'advisory' by the medical community until they had some science to back them up: they would still continue to look at donor behaviour and medical history, not 'groups', as they have for decades and will continue to so do. Which really is how it should be done, dammit.

That said, Health Canada has totally fucked the pooch here: it's not like we have a surplus of organ donors in this country, and people die every day from want of an organ. Giving the impression that anybody needn't offer for blatantly biased and incorrect reasoning is just.. arrg. (tears ears off)
Ahhh, that's most encouraging. I'll have to make note of that in my next entry. But as you say, even that's of limited benefit now, with the decision having been made and broadcast.

Obviously, nobody wants further instances of HIV-laden blood getting into the transfusion system, and similarly with organ donation, but surely, if someone's in the position of dying if they don't receive a replacement (gods, I could never be a surgeon.. blood I don't mind, but glistening organs and connective tissue.. erf. Maybe there's an element of that in my fascination with cybernetics =:), the odds are much better even with HIV in the picture. Not exactly the best outcome, but it'd beat being six feet under.

I can only hope the people responsible for the decision will face some grilling over what legitimacy underlies their thinking. Preferably wide open in public, followed by a departure or two in order for those figures to Spend More Time With Their Family™.
The fellow in the interview - a colleague of Levy, btw, not that I can remember his name - mentioned a case in his hospital a few years ago where a kidney was up for grabs from a patient who was gay: in a committed, monogamous relationship of many years; whose partner was HIV positive. They'd taken precautions during their life, of course, and the tests showed the donor was not infected - but as the article you linked to mentioned, there's a window during which a newly infected person won't necessarily trigger the tests, so there was a chance - small, finite, but real - that the organ was infected.

They presented it with full disclosure to the patients on their transplant list. It was considered and turned down something like four times by patients who felt that the risk was too great, even given their great need. But the fifth patient accepted the risk and had the transplant.

And that patient is doing great today. It was clean. :)

This is how it should be done, I think. A donor's risk level is assessed, and if they're in an actual group of risk, a patient is told of the situation and given the information they need to make an informed choice. But under Health Canada's new 'guidelines', that donor would have been rejected outright, let alone being an individual with a slightly genuinely risky profile; and somebody who's walking around healthy(ier) today would still be on dialysis, or dead.

The Red Cross should fix its guidelines accordingly, too. Heterosexual women are rapidly becoming as 'dangerous' a pool of HIV infection vectors as homosexual men, but you don't see them declining straight women from blood donation: bigotry and glacial bureaucracy at its most dinosaurific.