November 15th, 2003


Strangely less confident than I used to be, but let's go anyhow

1. The night of Wednesday 5th was particularly bad in terms of my not being able to sleep. It gave me a strange, but probably familiar idea: what if the world were able to transfer, or hire, parts of personalities, so that I could pay someone in return for getting a good night's sleep? It's Collapse )

2. Scrabble on ESPN last Sunday, as discussed. I didn't mention at the time that ESPN 2 are showing chess this week: Kasparov takes on a 3-D graphics version of Fritz over four games in New York. Game one saw Kasparov press the initiative until move 32, then ran out of ideas before conceding a draw through perpetual check; Kasparov stumbled on move 32 again in game two, a blunder in time trouble giving the computer a 1½-½ lead with two to play. Game three Sunday, game four next Tuesday. Action starts at 1pm EDT both days. Follow it live on ESPN2 or online.

3. Talking of chess, the British commentators in the Roy Jones Jr. - Antonio Tarver light-heavyweight boxing championship match compared some of the action to a chess game - specifically, one of the round fragments where the two were pawing at each other mid-air. (Tarver was robbed by the judges - robbed, I tell you. I had him winning by at least two rounds.) However, the chess-boxing parallels are well-known. Put the two together and you get schachboxen. Yes, really. (Apparently.) Picking through a free translator, I get Collapse )

4. There's another interesting use for online web translators. Compare what happens when you search Google News UK for "Prince Charles" and then compare the results to what you get when you search Google News Italy for "Principe Carlo". Given that Google happily offers to translate web pages already, and Google News UK is happy to include news stories from non-UK English-speaking countries, the next step is for Google News to include translated news reports from other languages' newspapers. Latest scores: Google 1, National Boundaries 0; Court Injunctions 0, Free Information 106.

5. Discussion of the vague prospect of getting trams here in Middlesbrough ten years down the line. (Eeeee!) Some company think they might be able to make money from it, the local rag comes in early with a pro-tram editorial (a very pleasant surprise!) and my favourite local MP, whose neighbouring constituency would nearly be served, gets in on the act. I'll believe it when I see it, but it's something to hope for.

6. YouGov point to a quick poll whereby you have to make snap decisions about political candidates based just on their name and appearance. It ought to have been called Am I Electable Or Not?, and in an ideal world it should have told you after a dozen candidates "You might not have realised this, but you are really the most horrible bigot for having displayed prejudice (x) against (category of candidate y). Not all people with (e.g.) extensive dental work are (e.g.) out of touch with your concerns." Alas, they're playing nicely, though.

7. I had an idea for a Las Vegas show: Banzai Live! You pay your $100 to come in and watch (say) five stunts live - whether Cool Hand Luke really can eat fifty eggs in an hour, or whatever. However, the evil genius part is Collapse )

8. For my birthday, I got money - the gift that keeps on giving. (Until you spend it. Then it stops.) One of the things I bought was a selection of disposable razors with one blade, with two blades and with three blades. Yesterday I did a comparison to see whether three-blade razors really are better than two-blade ones, and two-blade better than one-blade. Unfortunately it wasn't nearly as funny as I had hoped it would be, so I won't inflict the photos on you. Collapse )

9. You might recall a couple of months ago that I moaned that my favourite thermometer had broken. The family went on another stupid-o'-clock adventure to a semi-local 24-hour supermarket we hadn't visited before last night and by happy accident I've got Collapse )

10. Finally, a quick poll. I will be aggregating the results early next week, but not revealling any voter IDs, so it's all anonymous. No "tied between..." votes, please - I expect the winning score to be two, maybe three. You can vote for yourself if you think you deserve it - I'll be interested (and not think badly) if anyone does. This is actually serious.
Poll #205207 By your usual and natural definition of the term:

Whose, would you say, is the happiest LiveJournal you read?

I'm not sure how I would vote and not having an answer to this faintly troubles me.
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