More Old News Monday, Feb 21 2011 

Gulfstream G550

Image via Wikipedia

Further to yesterday’s collection of links:

The Real World:

  • Are cities governed by predictable mathematical relationships? Physicist Geoffrey West thinks so.
  • The New York Times compares IMF indicators of advanced economies.
  • The Australian government has spent more than $5.5 billion over the past decade to reduce carbon emissions. They aren’t getting very good value for money.
  • A billion dollars will buy you a Maybach 62 Landaulet luxury car, a Gulfstream G550 personal jet, a 104m yacht, a 7-bedroom mansion near Silicon Valley, an island in the St Lawrence Seaway (complete with a castle to use as a summer home), and a Patek Caliber 89 watch to time how long it takes to travel between them all—with enough change to stay in the Imperial Suite of Paris’ Park Hyatt Vendôme for 112 years, should you get bored with your surroundings. And then things get really obscene
  • Even if you don’t own a Maybach, you can use SQL injection to avoid speeding fines. (For the less technically minded, the camera reads and executes the text across the car’s front bumper; it’s a command to erase the camera’s entire database of stored number plates!)
  • Michael Lewis provides the inside dirt on the Irish economic collapse, over at Vanity Fair.
  • Movies get a lot of things wrong about serving in the military. Cracked.com examines just five of them.
  • National Geographic explores the catacombs of Paris; meanwhile, the Japanese government plans to excavate the research headquarters of Unit 731, the secret biowarfare R&D group infamous for live testing on prisoners in WWII.
  • The public, third-party release of 3D printing designs for Settlers of Catan pieces has raised new questions about intellectual property and games.
  • A British immigration officer tried to rid himself of his wife by putting her on a terrorist watchlist whilst she was visiting relatives in Pakistan. His actions were only discovered three years later, when he went for a promotion—when the routine security check revealed that he was married to a terror suspect.
  • Are you geeky? Are you hungry? Then head over to The Necronomnomnom and get cooking! (Just save me some, okay?)

Roleplaying:

Bonus Link: Doctor Who and the Curse of Fatal Death. And, yes, there’s plenty more where these came from…

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A Breath Before Ranting Tuesday, Aug 17 2010 

Last Friday marked the end of my contract to Centrelink, so once again, I find myself with enough time to think. But when you’re stuck in a small, disintegrating house 15 miles from nowhere in particular, your books and DVDs still packed away after eight months and with nothing to watch on television but ads for the pettiest debasement of democracy the country’s ever seen, this isn’t necessarily a good thing.

I told myself that I’d take a quick break from bitching, but there, I’ve started already. Better, perhaps, to focus on other things, like what I’ve achieved lately:

  • I finished reading Delta Green: Targets of Opportunity. Not a bad effort overall, and still worth the wait—Arc Dream’s latest update suggests they’re due to ship any day now—but I wasn’t greatly impressed by the chapter on the Cult of Transcendence. I liked the Innocent (the Cult’s answer to Kaspar Hauser, I guess), but by-and-large, the chapter read like a Mage: the Ascension splatbook. Maybe it was because it was difficult to read on an iPhone, or because I read it whilst taking scopolamine to deal with pancreatitis, or maybe because it’s become dated since it was written and a bunch of Bernie Madoff lookalikes with kewl Mythos powerz just don’t cut it any more. I’ll give it a fresh read when my print copy finally arrives, and see if my opinion changes.
  • I finally deleted my two old blogs from Blogger: The Magical Misadventures of the Black-Clad Bodhisattva and the aborted-at-launch Tales of the Great River. Most of the posts from the former were ported across here when I started Mim & Dave, and the latter, well… I’d laid some groundwork early last year to set up a Tribe 8 blog; however, with all of last year’s troubles and travails, Tales got put on the back burner and didn’t get taken up again. Maybe I’ll revive it in future.
  • Yesterday, I tried to make Mim a flan de naranja—or orange-flavoured crème caramel—but the oven thermostat doesn’t work properly, so the flan failed to set and ended up a delicious (but altogether less aesthetically satisfying) orange custard instead. At least I know how to make orange custard now.
  • On a slightly more positive note, after years of searching, I finally found roasted onion flakes with which to make Danish hot dogs, one of my favourite childhood delicacies. And then ate them all. Nom nom nom.
  • Mim had a rough day today, so I took over this evening’s dinner duties. She’d planned on rump steak with steamed carrot, corn and potatoes, but I thought I might do things a little differently… I finely shredded and squeezed out the potato, then fried it up with the  corn kernels (I don’t really know what to call this—at the moment, it’s taterkraut, as it looks a bit like sauerkraut when it’s done); soaked the steak for an hour and a half in a marinade of ginger, Chinese rice wine, soy sauce, egg white, oil, cornflour and mustard seeds, then cooked it medium-rare; and blended the carrot with some pickled gherkin relish, red wine vinegar, oil and sugar to make a side sauce for the steak, complete with a little serving spoon carved from carrot. I winged most of it—nonetheless, “Dave’s Steak and Three Veg” (better name coming soon, I promise) was a huge hit. So much so that I don’t have any pictures.

And that would appear to be it for the moment. I’ll be cooking more in the coming days, and I’m thinking of catching up on some writing projects and maybe even breaking out the paintbrush in the near future. So much to do! If only I had time to be unemployed!