Lancaster’s musical road to be closed

Sunday, September 21, 2008 at 8:32 | Posted in music, odd, USA | 13 Comments

A road strip in Lancaster California has been equipped with grooves cut into the surface in order to produce a sound which bears a resemblance to the William Tell Overture. It is one of three musical roads in the World, the other two being in Japan and South Korea. The musical road is a courtesy of Honda.

Hearing the music for a short moment as you drive by at a speed of 55 mph may be nice but local residents do not think so. They have to bear with the sound every single time somebody drives by. The music was designed to sound good in a car but what the residents hear is different.

The Lancaster musical road is now going to be closed but thanks to the Tube the experience is going to be available for us.

Guerilla marketing

Friday, September 19, 2008 at 14:37 | Posted in odd | 1 Comment
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There is apparently no limit to this shameless guerilla marketing.

via Henrik

An artist elephant

Wednesday, April 9, 2008 at 1:16 | Posted in odd | Leave a comment

You are not going to believe this: an elephant painting a picture of an elephant. And it is a much better picture than I could ever paint. Although that is not at all hard to believe.

via Parasiil

No cake at school

Sunday, April 6, 2008 at 14:15 | Posted in odd | Leave a comment
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Oteha Valley School in New Zealand reportedly banned birthday cakes, referring to NZ Ministry of Education’s new National Administrative Guidelines. Just to check out if this could be April fools news I downloaded the school’s newsletter (.doc file) at their web site. It was apparently no joke: the newsletter, dated 2nd April, says:

Birthday Cakes and Sweets

The tradition in taking a cake or sweets to the preschool centre on your child’s birthday has moved into schools over the past few years. However, the Ministry of Education’s new National Administrative Guidelines for healthy eating will not encompass birthday treats. The new NAG states that the Board of Trustees is required to:

  • promote healthy food and nutrition for all students; and

  • where food and beverages are sold on school premises only healthy options can be made available.

Schools throughout New Zealand are required to rethink everything related to food in their school. Marmalade Café is working with us now to alter the Friday lunch menu so that it fits within this new framework. We still love to celebrate your child’s birthday with them but, as from the beginning of Term 2, please do not send any food to share with the class.

As NZ Herald reports today, other schools in New Zealand do not follow suite. Fortunately for their students, other principals do not seem to take government’s regulations more seriously than they were intended.

By the way, how come are they only justifying their Friday lunch menu to the new guidelines? Is it OK to eat what is considered to be “unhealthy” from Monday to Thursday?

National Geographic’s beer extra

Sunday, January 6, 2008 at 20:31 | Posted in gadgets, Not serious, odd, Personal, Web tools | 2 Comments

So I made the cover of National Geographic.

via Barbara

The brutal Finns

Sunday, October 14, 2007 at 23:26 | Posted in Finland, History, My other blogs, odd | Leave a comment
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My barely noticeable Finnish blog is getting record hits today on a post I would never have expected to attract any interest outside the small number of regular readers. I just caught a short note in the Swedish paper Dagens Nyheter citing Professor Jerzy Sarnecki (University of Stockholm) that it is a “long time fact” that Finns are more violent than other Nordic nations. The good professor explains this with the legacy of the civil war in Finland.

It does not seem to bother Professor Sarnecki that the civil war took place for almost 90 years ago in a society totally different from that of today. He does also not seem to put any importance on the fact that Finland was very much involved in World war II, fighting against Russians on two occasions (1939-1940 and 1941-1944) and against Germans (1944-1945). He just takes it for granted that the “brutal nature of the society” has been carried out through generations dating back to the civil war of 1918.

The professor quotes research, too, at least sort of. He has apparently studied violent crime statistics in the capital cities of four Nordic countries. As one commentator from Sweden points out, the numbers would have been less flattering for Sweden if the third largest town Malmö had been studied rather than Stockholm.

Another comment from Finland points out that while statistics show a decreasing tendency of homocide, the statistical number per capita is indeed higher in Finland compared to the rest of the Nordic countries. However, these incidents are most commonly connected to extensive drinking which is why ordinary citizens have little to be afraid of while carrying out their everyday activities. The actual probability of being mucked up in broad daylight is very small in Finland.

The topic has been picked up in a couple of forums in Finland and by bloggers in Finland, Sweden and Germany. Nobody seems to take this monster piece of pseudo science seriously which it does not deserve either. My personal guess is that the goal of displaying Finns as violent savages has been established before any “research” took place. Suitable statistical numbers were sought and discovered to support the established goal.

It is of course none of my business how the money of Swedish tax payers is being spent. That said, I do believe there are serious scientific projects in Swedish universities that could have used the money spent on this nonsense.

Care for a burger?

Monday, September 17, 2007 at 4:41 | Posted in Germany, odd | Leave a comment

It seems to make news in Germany that McDonald’s have opened a franchise in the neigbourhood of Kreutzberg in Berlin, the first one in that area. The odd thing is that there are apparently people who bother to oppose McDonald’s, so much so that the police in full riot gear have set up a 24 hour surveillance in case there would be violent protests. However, the protests did not take place but the police are going to be around, just to be sure.

I wonder if it makes any sense to actually be on the spot. Could the police not just plant one of those governmental trojans in the computers of McWiderstand folks?

I have not had a hamburger for ages but if I happened to pass through Kreutzberg I might just go for it. It would be fun to have a Big Mac and observe a pointless police operation against a pointless protest action which does not even happen. Good for me that the police are not wasting my money but that of the German tax payers.

Smoking ban in own garden

Thursday, August 23, 2007 at 20:17 | Posted in odd, smoking, Sweden | 3 Comments

Sydsvenskan writes that a woman in southern Sweden has been banned to smoke in a large part her own garden by an interim ruling of the Environmental court. There is a summary in English on the bizarre case in The Local.

The woman’s neighbor, a lawyer, brought the case to the Environmental Court. In a separate lawsuite in a civil court he is seeking a damage compensation of 15.000 crowns (approximately 1600 €) and a punitive fine of 2000 crowns (213 €) for each cigarette the woman smokes in the restricted area. The lawyer says he is extremely sensitive of tobacco smoke and has to wear a face mask each time he leaves his house. According to the women, her neighbor is in the habit of wearing the mask regardless of whether she is smoking or not.

The Environmental Court sent two representatives to inspect the scene but the woman did not let them in saying that the procedure was a mockery. The plaintiff and his lawyer were nevertheless able to point from their side of the fence where the woman usually smokes in her garden. The inspectors spent 40 minutes in the lawyer’s garden taking detailed notes on the properties.

An air image embedded in Sydsvenskan’s article shows the lawyer’s property framed with blue and the smoking woman’s framed with red. Pending a final ruling, the Environmental Court issued an interim ban order forbiding her to smoke in the marked area at her property on both sides of her house.

I have some personal experience in persons claiming to be so sensitive of tobacco smoke that they frequently complain if somebody smokes in their vicinity, be it even in the open air. Not saying anything about this Swedish lawyer, whom I have never met, my experience is that most of the problems of this sort are rather mental than physical.

I have a hunch that a case like this would have been thrown out of the court in any country other than Sweden. In fact, I have information that it was about to be thrown out in Sweden as well until the plaintiff raised some issues of impartiality whereby one or more members of the panel were changed before the interim ruling.

Sydsvenskan wrote in March 2007 that the quarrel started soon after the lawyer moved in to the neighborhood in 2003. Many turns of correspondence took place until the lawyer decided to sue. The neighbors now only discuss through counsel.

Too fit to be legal

Monday, August 13, 2007 at 3:55 | Posted in odd, Sweden | 1 Comment

According to Svenska Dagbladet, a female police officer in central Stockholm thought that a man she met at late night could possibly not have acquired his very fit muscles without using illegal substances. The suspect denied any wrong doing saying that the muscles were a result of his hard training. The officer took him to a medical expertise whereby the tests returned negative.

The wrongful suspect subsequently filed a complaint against the officer but the prosecutor closed the case. Janne Magnusson, another officer at Stockholm’s narcotic police says he would have regarded a late night intervention under similar circumstances as “somewhat ambitious”.

Maybe the Swedish legislature should specify how fit a citizen is allowed to be to fit in the legal framework. On the other hand, the politicians could also specify the concept of reasonable suspicion and probable cause for search and arrest.

Robin Hood defence

Monday, August 13, 2007 at 3:08 | Posted in crime, odd | Leave a comment
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The notorious Spanish bank robber Jaime Jimenez Arbe a.k.a The Loner, who was arrested in Portugal while heavily armed, is apparently trying to deliver some sort of a Robin Hood defence, according to Reuters:

Spain’s most wanted thief, “The Loner,” saw himself as a Robin Hood-style figure and said he robbed banks only because they stole from the public, his lawyer said Thursday.

Jimenez also says he is not a killer, he just had to shoot at law enforcing officers because he did not want to get caught. Well, who would?

The Loner only lived up to the Robin Hood legend half heartedly: he stole from the rich but he never gave the money to the poor. Instead, he deposited it in several bank accounts. I guess that would be partly in the spirit of Robin. If banks steal from the public, he did at least not mind being stolen the money he stole.

Not a wanking service

Friday, August 10, 2007 at 21:25 | Posted in google, Not serious, odd | Leave a comment
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This seems to be one of those odd and quiet days since the most popular word appearing in searches that bring in visitors is any combination of “wank” or “wanking”. The most popular single search string, even outplaying “Atze Schröder” and “Hubertus Albers” is “wanking service”!

I am sorry to disappoint  you folks but I am not running a wanking service. You just have to look for it somewhere else. In worse case I guess you just have to go and fu…, sorry, do it yourself.

Blind drunken driver

Monday, August 6, 2007 at 19:17 | Posted in Estonia, odd, traffic | Leave a comment

According to Estonian daily Eesti Päevaleht, the police in Tartu on Sunday stopped a car driven by a 30 year old blind man who was drunk. He was assisted by another man sitting on the passenger seat reading driving instructions. Neither of the two have a driver’s license.

The drive took place very early on Sunday morning in a street in central Tartu which would have been quite busy during daylight hours.

Squirrels in good an bad

Sunday, August 5, 2007 at 0:00 | Posted in Not serious, odd | Leave a comment

Spiegel International wrote the other day about a shop lifting squirrel in Finland who had an addiction on Kinder chocolate eggs. The squirrel is reported to enter into a convenience store twice every day and head out right to the shelf with those eggs. It eats one of them and runs out with the toy in its teeth, leaving the wrapping paper on floor.

This video features another squirrel who also likes candy. Unlike the Finnish squirrel, this one is featured as a hero, due to chewing gum usage. Totally crazy!

Edit: The video seems to have been removed from YouTube by the user. It was a chewing gum ad featuring a squirrel who farted after eating the gum and thus extinguished a forest fire.

Manitoba footballers banned to swear

Friday, August 3, 2007 at 2:02 | Posted in Canada, football, odd | Leave a comment

Football is a great game. In addition to the game itself, FIFA and its member associations have made an effort to promote values like fair play as well as stood up against racism on and around the pitches. The global football community is thus making a contribution to creating a better World.

All of this is wonderful but I wonder how long it is possible or even sensible to go in educating footballers. The Manitoba Soccer Association seems to have gotten the idea of fighting what they regard as “foul language” on the pitch. As the CBC reports, any player heard swearing on the pitch will get an instant red card in all games sanctioned by the MSA. The association officials say this is necessary to “improve the game’s image”.

Banning words regarded as foul regardless of the context in which they are spoken does not sound very smart. Who is to say anyway what kind of language is foul? In a worse case players may use hitherto innocent substitute words to go around the swearing ban and thus have a polluting effect on language as a whole.

In an average football game nothing said on the pitch can be heard by the spectators. Which brings me to another point: whom does it harm if a player frustrated after missing a penalty swears his/her own misfortune? Are the Manitoba referees not experienced enough to have heard all sorts of expressions?

So my fucking message to the Manitoba Soccer Association is to cut the crap and get the hell out of making themselves look like bloody morons.

Convicted for wanking

Friday, July 27, 2007 at 19:22 | Posted in crime, odd, USA | 14 Comments

Terry Lee Alexander, 20, of Lauderdale Lakes, Florida, is serving a ten year sentence for armed robbery in Broward County, Florida. He got his sentence topped up with another 60 days as a court of law found him guilty of the horrible crime of wanking in his cell, the Guardian writes.

The incident was reported by sherrif’s office deputy Coryus Veal who seems to have a crunch on wanking inmates. She has reported seven cases of wanking inmates earlier.

Ms Veal, who has charged seven other inmates with the same offence, said she was not against masturbation, but she objected to Alexander performing it so blatantly. She told the court that most inmates masturbated in bed, under the blankets.

The deputy said it was the third time she had caught Alexander masturbating, and she had had enough.

Maybe that was the problem. In the old days when wanking was considered as a dreadful sin kids were told to keep their hands on the blanket and under no circumstances let them glide under it. The jury did not buy defense lawyer Kathleen McHugh’s arguments that a cell is a private area and there is nothing wrong in wanking.

“Did other inmates start masturbating because of Mr Alexander?” Ms McHugh asked Ms Veal. “Did you call a Swat team?”

“I wish I had,” the deputy replied.

Commenting the case after the verdict, a member of the jury, David Sherman, said the case was “straight forward”:

Mr Sherman said jurors determined that a prison cell, which was owned and operated by the government, was neither public nor private but was a “limited access public place’.’

It is the official view of this blog that masturbating is a human right. Inmates in custody should be provided opportunities to exercise their their right to wank without surveillance of prison personnel who have a record of being trigger happy to bust wankers.

via Genese

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