Posts filed under ‘Fun stuff’

Coming to Australia?

I have a large number of American readers and maybe some of you are thinking about visiting the land Down Under. So I thought I would offer you some travel and cultural tips. Firstly, you will need this map of Australia:

I’d advise you to stay well clear of the areas in Australia marked Giant Spiders and Man Eating Koalas. It might also be worth your while to avoid the area of Sharks with Frickin’ Lasers, unless you want to be a shark’s dinner.

Next, I think you should prepare yourself for the gourmet delicacy known as Vegemite, which was created in 1923 by Dr Cyril P Callister of the Fred Walker Cheese Company. It’s made from brewer’s yeast and you’d better start off slowly, spread it thinly on toast. Many people fear or dislike Vegemite. One of my step-kids, when he was very young, muttered ” quell horror!” when he first opened the black, yellow and red jar and took a sniff (well, he is after all French). Open the jar slowly as the fumes from the vegemite could knock you over, that’s true. Once you have it in your mouth, be very, very careful not to spit it out in sight of any Australians. Remember that Vegemite is a national icon and you will be surrounded by angry bogans should you look as though you don’t like the black paste.

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Which leads to my next piece of advice. Learn how to spot bogans. Here are some photos to help you identify a bogan. Cut them out and bring them with you to the land of Oz.

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To give you some further guidance: a bogan (rhymes with slogan)  is usually identified by the flanno (shirts made from flannelette) usually worn with stubbies (shorts) and a singlet; the mullet hair-style; trucker caps; ugg boots or thongs.  Usually a bogan goes by the name of Shazza, Bazza, Dazza and possibly Charlene. A bogan would also suggest to you that the song Khe Sanh by Cold Chisel is the best song ever written and may have named their kid Barnsey.  Try to think of a bogan as a redneck and you get the idea.

Now using the map above, should you venture into the Man Eating Koala area remember that these creatures are the silent menace of our continent. Your President Bush was looking in the wrong area of the world for weapons of mass destruction because we have them:

Just look at those claws! They may look like harmless, fluffy, cuddly teddy bears but beware the razor-sharp teeth – DO NOT say “oh, how cute” and stick your finger in a koala’s mouth.

And if you spot a koala in this position:

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just know that this is the most dangerous of all positions. That fluffy bear looks cute, let’s face it, but note the weapons of mass destruction – poised and ready for the attack!

Also, bear in mind that whilst we speak English here, we don’t speak American, we speak Strine. You might wish to memorise the most popular Strine words as shown below.

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Should you not understand what we’re saying or get attacked my man-eating koalas, then we have a selection of good looking Aussie blokes who will come to your rescue. Here’s two of them:

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This is Curtis Stone, an Aussie chef, so he might be too busy sautéing or flambeing, but it’s worth a shot giving him a rescue call.

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You should know who this is – Aussie hunk, Hugh Jackman, whose Wolverine claws I think would give a koala’s weapons of mass destruction a run for their money. Mind you, I think of our Hugh as a weapon of mass seduction but that’s another post.

If all else fails, then give me a call and I’ll help you out. Welcome to Australia!

Sources: map Neuroanthrology; bogans; Strine; Koala claws photo

July 20, 2009 at 2:00 am 9 comments

How Curious!

Time for some fun. Let’s find out what bizarre, intriguing and curious things have been going on in this world of ours.

Beware the closet! A Japanese man living in Fukuoka was puzzled by disappearing food. Tasty morsels would seemingly vanish from his refrigerator. So he installed a security camera and was shocked to see images of a woman brazenly walking around his home while he was out. Being a quick thinking dude, he called the cops who found a woman hiding in the closet. It seems she had been there for a year and had made a comfy place for herself. She had sneaked in a mattress and plastic bottle for water. Apparently, the woman makes a habit of closet hopping from home to home. Now, why the Japanese guy hadn’t noticed towels or soap being used or heard snoring emanating from the closet is a mystery to me! Source: AdelaideNow.

Mac captures thieves. I love my Mac. Now I have more reason to because my Mac is capable of catching bad guys. A young woman returned to her apartment in NYC to find stuff stolen including her Mac laptop. A friend then sent her a text message to say great you’re back online and you’ve recovered your laptop. But…she hadn’t. So clever lady signed on to “Back to my Mac” using another Mac and she remotely activated her Mac’s web cam. Stupid thieves obviously hadn’t thought of this because the woman was able to capture a photo. In another stroke of luck, one of her flatmates recognised a tattoo on the arm of the dude photographed. Turned out the thieves had been in the flat a few weeks earlier attending a party. Source: The Age.

Light bulb glows on. In a fire station in California, an electric light bulb has been glowing for 107 years. It is a low-watt light bulb with that curlicue carbon filament I remember from my grandparent’s house. And this little bulb has now entered the Guinness Book of Records as the planet’s longest continuously burning bulb. Apparently, the light has never been turned off, which experts say is the secret to longevity. I hate to think of the electricity bill though! The little bulb even has its own website. Source: LA Times.

It’s raining iguanas. A recent cold snap in Florida caused frozen iguanas to fall from trees at Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park on Key Biscayne. Dozens of iguanas in suspended animation were found on the bike path in the park. Apparently, they snapped back to life when they warmed up in the sun. Source: FoxNews.

The eyes have it. I confess to a liking for Hello Kitty stuff. I have a Hello Kitty make-up purse to hold the essential item of life (lip gloss of course) and a Hello Kitty mobile phone holder. But I wouldn’t go this far – wearing Hello Kitty contact lenses. That’s a bit creepy. But I must say the Hello Kitty contact lens case is pretty smashing! Source: KittyHell.

June 18, 2008 at 2:00 am Leave a comment

He’s dead, Jim

YouTube is such a great place to find gems – like this one. For my Star Trek fans, here is He’s Dead, Jim – I love the line “It was worse than dead…his brain is gone” and Captain Kirk’s reaction. Not to mention Spock’s question!

After freaking you out about secret Government lists this week, go ahead and watch this for fun, it’s a classic. William Shatner sure looked hot in his Star Trek days. But I’m not sure I’d want Dr McCoy anywhere near me too soon!

May 30, 2008 at 2:00 am 2 comments

No April fool

April 1st – April Fool’s Day. But ThinkingShift has, through cunning sleuth work, found out that it’s also Dave Snowden’s birthday. So we wish him a very happy day. And no, this is not an April Fool’s Day joke – tiz really his birthday.

Kim photo

April 1, 2008 at 3:59 am Leave a comment

A gift for Dave

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For those of you who don’t know Dave Snowden, shame! Check out his great blog. But this is a gift for Dave from LOLCats :)- Apparently, we scared him with all the ways the world could be kaput in our last post. And yep, a surveillance system is needed!!

March 18, 2008 at 2:00 am Leave a comment

Do beer and chicken mix?

This is a good bit of fun. And I’m very thankful for this mind map quite frankly because, when it comes to cooking, I’m better known for my cremation of dishes than for culinary expertise.

But with this idiot’s guide to how cook a chicken with beer I might have some success. It’s been doing the rounds of the internet and I think was originally posted on a Japanese site, but some dude has thankfully provided English translation.

I particularly like helpful instructions such as “Open lid OK” – yep you might need to do that every now and then to make sure said chook isn’t cremated. Or “Cook under small flame” – this instruction is helpful just in case you thought a blow torch on the chicken would lead to fast food 🙂

Source: Virtual China

March 7, 2008 at 3:00 am Leave a comment

Are you hip and arty?

I’ve been a Mac user since way back when. The only time I’ve used PCs is in organisations I’ve worked in and that’s only been a recent thing as I spent the 1990s working in law firms that had Macs. I’m extremely fond of my MacBook and if they’d just make it in hot pink, I’d be even happier. What makes me choose a Mac over a PC?

My mother was an artist. She shipped me off to an art school when I was 7 years old until I was about 14 or 15 when I rebelled. Every Thursday after school and every Saturday morning, while my friends were out having fun, there I was with paint brush in hand wondering why on earth I couldn’t get that Monet look.

I’ve dabbled in photography since I was about 10 or 12. My dad was a keen photographer and we’d go out together snapping away having father/daughter quality time. I’ve recently taken up photography again. So I’ve always thought of myself as having an “artistic streak”. And have you ever noticed that Mac users tend to be architects, graphic designers, ad agencies (arty types) and people who you might classify as “different”? Of course, the ease with which Macs can handle graphics far outweighs a sluggish PC IMHO, but now there is proof that Mac users are…well, yes superior arty, hip, creative groovers. I knew it! There IS such a thing as a “Mac mindset”.

Mindset Media has just released a profile of Mac users. After surveying 7500 users, those who have a Mac were found to be “more liberal, less modest and more assured of their superiority than the population at large.” People who are highly open minded or, in Mindset Media language ‘Openness 5s’, are 60% more likely than the general population to have purchased a Mac. Openness 5s are people who “seek rich, varied and novel experiences, and who believe that imagination and intellectual curiosity contribute to a life well lived”. Mac aficionados are highly receptive to their own inner feelings too and shun dogmatism, which means they “disdain so-called moral authorities, especially the conservative kin”. And Mac users consider themselves exceptional people.

I’m usually against any form of profiling but in this case I have no problems with being profiled as arty and hip. And it’s certainly cooler to be different and not one of those PC sheep 🙂 So if you’re a Mac user, now you know. It’s been confirmed for you. You are indeed arty, creative and curious. If not downright exceptional. So enjoy your day in confidence!
Sources: CIO Blog and PC World.

February 1, 2008 at 2:00 am 3 comments

Volcano, Mayans or pandemic?

Regular ThinkingShift readers would know that I love a good doomsday prediction or two. Is the human race going to be kicking around still in another 1000 years or will we have been snuffed out by our own stupidity, a super volcano blowing its stack or the Mayans being right about December 21, 2012?

So today’s post brings you some of the latest apocalyptic End Times scenarios. Forget global warming, there are more serious things to contend with if any of these predictions turn out to be true.

Mayan calendar: 2012 could be it, kaput. Another four years to go. The Mayans created their calendar 5,122 years ago and they set the expiry date after thirteen 394-year baktun cycles. Just in case you’re not fully up to speed with the Mayans, that expiry date is December 21, 2012. Great…just before Christmas! We’ll go up in smoke accompanied by volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and a comet or two smacking into us. But the author of 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl, Daniel Pinchbeck, thinks we shouldn’t panic because the concept of apocalypse means ‘uncovering’ or ‘revealing’ and so 2012 will be a catalyst for a transformation in human consciousness. Good to know: guess I don’t need to pack the cat just yet then. But there is a word of warning from New Age guru, José Arguelles, who says we should just accept the 2012 apocalypse, don’t fight it because those who do will be carried away on silver ships. To where, I’m not sure.

    If we don’t get wiped out in a Mayan inferno, then we might need to duck lava and hot ash spewing out of a super volcano. I’ve finished rereading Simon Winchester’s fabulous book, Krakatoa, which left me wondering when that famous volcano’s child, Anak Krakatoa, might blow up. Perhaps I needn’t fret because there’s a super volcano hiding under Yellowstone National Park in the US that could be far more to concern ourselves over. 640,000 years ago this volcano had a mega hissy fit and Greg Breining, author of Super Volcano, says this volcano is due for “another shake up” (witty guy). Should it erupt, it will take a chunk of Earth far larger than Mt Everest with it. Mmmmm….wonder if that chunk will include Australia. Apparently, the way to survive this cataclysm is to head west of Wyoming since the jet stream blows East and will carry far less ash and debris going West.

      Honey Holocaust. This one isn’t about super killer bees. Since 2006, honey bees have been vanishing. It’s said that Albert Einstein once muttered: “”If the bee disappears from the surface of the earth, man would have no more than four years to live” – although Einstein most likely didn’t say this. Nevertheless, the disappearing bees is a serious matter. Bees pollinate more than a quarter of the world’s food supply, so no bees equals no honey, no fruit or veges and so on. The solution would seem to be to learn how to be a bee keeper super fast.

      Then there’s the usual predictions of pandemics but global health experts expect a global pandemic that might make the Spanish Influenza outbreak of 1918 look like the common cold. H5N1, aka bird flu, is seen as the likely suspect for a pandemic. Although not easily transmitted to humans, 61% of people who have contracted bird flu have died. Virologists think that should H5N1 mutate, the death toll would be in the billions. I must say that I’ve always thought that a pandemic is the most likely doomsday scenario – how many more people can our Earth withstand before Nature turns on us?

      Blue gold. We’ve heard this one repeatedly in recent years – a future scarcity of clean H2O – which may lead to conflict, famine and huge disruption of food supplies. More than a billion people lack access to safe water and 3.4 million people die each year from water-related diseases. An estimated two billion people are expected to have no access to clean water by 2050. China and India, superpowers-in-waiting, already face issues with the infrastructure necessary to distribute and clean water. The problem is really a fast-growing global population and its need for food rather than a lack of water.

      Resistance is futile. Here’s one I hadn’t heard of before. Do you know what telomeres are? The DNA of nearly every life-form contains telomeres—protective coverings on the ends of chromosomes that aid in replication and linking. Over the course of generations, telomeres degenerate and erode and this has been linked to ageing, cancer and diabetes. So it’s a ticking time bomb – a countdown to extinction. Some scientists are linking the increase in cancer, for example, with telomere degeneration.

      Gray-goo. The so-called gray-goo scenario was first suggested by nanotechnology pioneer K. Eric Drexler in his 1986 book, Engines of Creation. This is all about robots going wild. If nanobots break free of their controls, they’ll run amok, reproduce at an exponential rate and ” reduce the biosphere to dust in a matter of days”.

      Kick-ass chunk of rock. Didn’t think I’d leave this one out did you! The fatal impact of a comet or asteroid could wipe us out for sure. Maybe it will happen in 2029 when 99942 Apophis, a near-Earth asteroid passes very close to Earth. Most likely it will just be a close brush but this chunk of rock could set up a “gravitational keyhole” – a precise region in space no more than about 400 meters across, that would set up a future impact on April 13, 2036. Said chunk of rock will have a 1 in 45,000 chance of hitting the Pacific Ocean or Denver, Colorado on Easter Sunday. That will sure spoil any chocolate eating on that day! And I guess Bruce Willis won’t be around to save us.

      Don’t mess with nature or space. Messing around with human DNA strikes me as not a good thing. And this scenario suggests that some dude in a lab coat could turn things horribly wrong and you might find a human embryo growing inside a rodent. Alternatively, you have the artificial worm-hole scenario. Scientists are suggesting that a short-cut or worm-hole in the space-time continuum could be artificially created. But those of us who spend our time watching Star Trek or Alien movies might wonder what sort of unspeakable horrors lie beyond our known universe just itching to slide down a worm-hole heading to Earth.

      Well, better mark my calendar for December 21, 2012 and April 13, 2036 – seem like possible glitches for mankind in the 21st Century, that is if water wars, pandemics, crazy nanobots and eroding DNA don’t get us first.

      Sources: Radar Online and Cracked.

      January 24, 2008 at 2:00 am 1 comment

      How curious!

      In Australia, we have a saying – “only in America” – meaning it could only happen in America, the land of the free, the bizarre, the (insert whatever word you like). But I have to admit Australia is giving the US a run for its money with our first How Curious story.

      Pick up a new skill! If you’re thinking of expanding your skill base, you might consider taking up an Australian company’s offer – be a real life tester for condoms. Reuters tells us that Durex Australia is advertising for condom testers with the snappy advertising line of “Got what it takes to be an official condom tester?” (Mmmm…what’s an unofficial condom tester?). No doubt with a smirk on his face, the company’s Marketing Manager says: “With this job on your CV, it really will be a chance to brag to your mates about the special skills you possess, not to mention that your new role will work wonders with the opposite sex”.

      Should you be interested in this “bed-testing position”, you stand the chance to win $AU1,000. Are you up for it?

      Nasa image - MarsFancy a trip to Mars? If you’re in the mood to follow up condom testing with a bit of simulation, then the European Space Agency is looking for you. You’ll need 520 spare days to take part in a simulated mission to the Red Planet. You’ll be able to munch on “astronaut food”, experience the 40 minute delays in transmissions back to Earth; and hunker down in very, very isolated conditions. Once you reach Mars, you’ll be able to check out a faux landscape and it might be handy to speak Russian as the simulation will be carried out in a facility in Moscow. No word yet on whether volunteers will also be able to try out NASA’s new Russian-built US$19 million toilet! Photo credit: NASA images. Source: Space.com.

      Check what’s in your freezer before you invite guests! A story from Reuters out of Brussels is extremely curious. A Belgian man threw a dinner party but forgot to tell his guests not to look in the freezer. One guest went to put leftovers in the freezer and found….the bodies of the man’s wife and son. Apparently, the couple argued a lot.

      _43033935_des_203x300.jpgLook carefully at your cat. I have a vicarious cat – the moggy belongs to my next door neighbour. Said cat has 18 toes; I checked it out myself at the risk of being clawed. But UK cat, Des, is very special – he has 26 toes – 7 on his front paws and 6 on the back paws. Apparently, cats with extra digits were once very common in the area around the old county of Cardiganshire and were known as “Cardi-cats”. (Did they ever think to check what was in the cats’ milk in Cardiganshire?!) Des is a bit temperamental – I would be too if I had 26 toes and rather odd-looking, glowing eyes. But maybe it’s not Des’ best photo angle.

      Source: BBC News. Photo credit: BBC News.

      mickey_goto.jpgIs Mickey Mouse a lot older than we thought? Mickey was created in 1928…but maybe not. The Discovery Channel had a wonderful piece that I couldn’t resist sharing with you. In 900AD, a French artist created a bronze brooch that looks like…well, Mickey Mouse. This amazing find was unearthed at Uppåkra in southern Sweden. Although it might remind us of the iconic mouse, archaeologists say it represents a lion. Source: Discovery Channel. Photo credit: Discovery Channel.

      July 12, 2007 at 3:00 am 1 comment

      What are YOU looking for?

      NASA imageI guess like any other person obsessed with blogging (yep, sad I know), occasionally you have a look at the statistics and suss out what people are reading. Recently, two posts attracted good traffic: the Top 10 Endangered Species post had over 3,000 visitors in one day; and my latest rant on privacy issues and the surveillance society attracted over 1,500 readers in one day.

      Now, I fully admit that the ThinkingShift blog has yet to settle into a theme and maybe it never will. My interests are diverse, ranging from quantum mechanics to the environment to information and knowledge management. A quick scan of the topics I’ve covered so far since flinging myself into the blogosphere shows the range. But I thought – great, people are interested in endangered species and the surveillance society. That is, until I caught sight of the search terms that people are seeking information on and somehow stumble onto the ThinkingShift blog. I imagined people would search for stuff on KM or information management given that these disciplines are my main areas of expertise; or people might search for stuff on libraries or leadership. In my wildest dreams, I hoped people would start to find me by searching for climate change, endangered species, history or archaeology stuff. But never did I imagine the search terms I encountered when I perused the stats!

      I’ll try and cluster the oft bizarre search terms that led people to the ThinkingShift blog in some sort of sensible arrangement. Here’s a run-down of the highlights:

      • There seems to be an awful lot of people out there interested in horses. These are some of the search terms – “parts of the horse”; “horse images”; “horse bits”; “horse in a black hole” and the one term that appears everyday – “horse penis”. I think I’ve only mentioned the word “horse” in one post and I don’t recall referring to “bits” or “penis” – so I’m perplexed!
      • Similarly, lots of people seem to be concerned about getting stuck in black holes. Thankfully, I did a post on what to do in a black hole only recently, so have managed to put information seeker in touch with pertinent information:)- But search terms that led to the ThinkingShift blog are curious – “black hole Siberia”, “black hole in tooth”, “Australia black hole” and the aforementioned horse in the black hole. Now, I sometimes wonder whether culturally Australia is stuck in a black hole, but not sure what to say about Siberia.
      • Then we have the serious searchers, interested in climate change and endangered cultures. Some search terms are – “shining examples of CSR”, “culture and remote tribes”, “science involved with carbon emissions”, “carbon emissions and flight”, “Google and remote tribes”, “smart corporations social responsibility”, how much CO2 does a tree take up”. A bit of a puzzle is “Alexander the Great climate change”.
      • Followed by people clearly interested in animals and endangered species – “how can we help the brolga”, “amur leopard”, “cheetah populations”, “tiger eating gazelle”, “ban on tiger parts”. Since I’ve blogged about most of these animals, I can understand the link to the ThinkingShift blog.
      • A lot of people seem to be worried about the future and some of my posts on future trends and predictions may have calmed them or worried them even more! Here are some of the search terms used: “fear of nuclear war in the future”, “the world in 2050”, “is nuclear war a social problem”, “robots in the future”, “will world survive beyond 2012”.
      • I was pleased to see people share my concern with the surveillance society and they found the blog by searching: “surveillance in Australian society”, “CCTV privacy”, “Kevin Bankston smokes” (well, Bankston is the privacy lawyer for Electronic Frontier Foundation); “Google Big Brother”, “Google privacy concerns”, “generational gap privacy”, ‘live CCTV pictures Hampshire”.
      • Then there are the history buffs out there searching for: “solutions to ancient Rome challenges”; “nefertiti quantum mechanics” (okay not really history and not sure what Nefertiti has to do with quantum mechanics); “ancient roman names for sustainability”, “Keku life”, “Mayans in Peru”, “Mayans and knowledge management” (what the???).
      • The blog also seems to attract people interested in space and space travel with the following popular search terms used: “Neil Armstrong”, “Guss Grissom death”, “Guss Grissom museum”, “original seven”.
      • Then there are the following search terms that led people to finding the ThinkingShift blog and for which I simply have no explanation for!

      * Dino the dinosaur sound bytes

      * asians that are not naked

      * beehive concept map

      * camel meat cost and recipes

      * natural medicines of civil war

      * dangdut belly dancer (alarmed, I tried this search on Google and there was my blog sitting at No 10 on the retrieval list. About to shoot off an angry tirade to Google, I clicked on the result and lo and behold up came my post on Eurovision. The “dangdut” came courtesy of a comment from Matt Moore and the belly dancer was a remark I made about the Turkish entry!).

      * David Jones department store vision

      * how to buy a house under a trust (okay, I can help you, I’m a lawyer!)

      * heaving (sad to think this term led to ThinkingShift)

      * sexy historic account (of what I ask??)

      * quizz funny personal questions

      * “temple university” “library fines”

      * Salford University rant

      * asian men

      * french car sex (do the French know something we don’t??)

      * without a donkey (what the?!)

      * Sarawak plastic surgeon (okay I admit I’ve thought about botox, but I’m not ready for the slice and dice just yet)

      * a list of symbols found on the round zod (que?)

      * YUM (in capitals and appears everyday in the stats – does anyone know what on earth this means??)

      I’ve read about someone visiting the Google headquarters and being shown a large screen or screens that showed what people were searching for around the world in real time. Looking at how people have found my blog is my own mini-Google experience, but I’m not about to do posts on “horse penis” or “asian men” – so those people, please go elsewhere!

      And welcome home Atlantis.

      June 29, 2007 at 3:00 am Leave a comment

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