February 2005

Face Transformer

by Limbic on February 22, 2005

Want to see yourself as an Indian, an African, Chinese or European? How about old or young again. Check out this lovely toy from St Andrews University: Face Transformer.

Upload  a picture of a face and start playing. You will love it.


Broken hearts can kill

by Limbic on February 22, 2005

From Time Magazine:

I had always asumed that a broken heart was just a metaphor, a cliché of country music and romance novels. So I was as surprised as anyone to learn last week that doctors now consider it a real medical event, one that can kill.

The news comes from a report published in the New England Journal of Medicine, in which physicians at Johns Hopkins described a group of 18 mostly older women and one man who developed serious heart problems after experiencing a sudden emotional shock, such as the death of a loved one, or, in the case of one 60-year-old woman, a surprise birthday party.

What surprised the doctors who examined these patients was that none of them had actually suffered a heart attack. Indeed, few had any signs of heart disease at all. Yet at least five of the 19–and perhaps more–would have died without treatment, according to Dr. Ilan Wittstein, the cardiologist who led the study


Robotwisdom is back!

by Limbic on February 21, 2005

Jorn Barger stopped posting to his superb Robotwisdom weblog (he coined the term weblog in 1998) well over a year ago. He’s back.

I disagree with the man’s politics but his weblog was one of the finest reads on the web until he stopped posting – possibly as a protest against the Iraq War – in 2003.

Welcome back Jorn!



This site is hilarious by the way. Check out the superb position names in the “3 and 4 persons” section.


China's Big Export – Spies

by Limbic on February 15, 2005

From Time:

Ning Wen and his wife were arrested last fall at their home office in Manitowoc, Wis., for allegedly sending their native China $500,000 worth of computer parts that could enhance missile systems. As these naturalized citizens await trial, similar episodes in Mount Pleasant, N.J., and Palo Alto, Calif., point only to the tip of the iceberg, according to FBI officials keeping tabs on more than 3,000 companies in the U.S. suspected of collecting information for China. A hotbed of activity is Silicon Valley, where the number of Chinese espionage cases handled by the bureau increases 20% to 30% annually. Says a senior FBI official: “China is trying to develop a military that can compete with the U.S., and they are willing to steal to get [it]

The old yellow peril is going nowhere. With 100,000,000 overseas Chinese, they have massive numbers of loyal spies available in every country in the world. Bill Gertz’s books on the China Threat were lost in the maelstrum of 9/11, but The West cannot allow itself to ignore China’s rapidly growing military power, aggressive espionage, economic cheating and intellectual property theft.


Mono or Stereo?

by Limbic on February 15, 2005

Podcasters, should you encode in mono or stereo? From IT Conversations:

I want to correct a bit of mis-information that’s floating around the Podosphere: that you should avoid the use of stereo when encoding your MP3 podcasts that are mostly speech. If you just want the quick answer:

Encode mostly speech podcasts using Joint Stereo with the Intensity Stereo (IS) option. Use the same configuration for mostly music podcasts, but fall back to Stereo if you hear annoying artifacts in the resulting MP3 files.

Now for the longer explanation… MORE


Revenge of the Right Brain

by Limbic on February 15, 2005

From Wired:

Logical and precise, left-brain thinking gave us the Information Age. Now comes the Conceptual Age – ruled by artistry, empathy, and emotion.


Remembering Dresden

by Limbic on February 15, 2005

Every year I post bout the firebombing of Dresden and Hamburg. This year is no different, except that at my source is the new English langue version of Der Spiegel launched recently:


Once, as she was searching, she had wanted to light a cigarette and had had no matches, something was glowing on the ground, she wanted to use it — it was a burning corpse.

THE DESTRUCTION OF DRESDEN: A Multimedia Overview of the Firestorm [Excellent]

The firestorm that destroyed Dresden on Feb. 13, 1945 wasn’t an accident. Rather, it was the result of years of lessons learned and research. New aerial photos provided to SPIEGEL ONLINE from Keele University in England show the horrific extent of the damage.


Valentines Schmalentines

by Limbic on February 15, 2005

From the Discovery Channel

Do Valentines Hinder Love?

Senders of greeting cards and valentines may actually use the cards to distance themselves from their feelings, reflecting a culture in which relationships, due to social and economic pressures, are “necessarily temporary,” according to a new book by an Ohio State University professor [Barry Shank].

…He also mentioned that collections of cards from individuals revealed that senders often would write exactly the same thing to different lovers.

..favored at the time were “vinegar” valentines that Shank said “policed class boundaries.”

Examples include a card that addressed the recipient as, “You nasty old bachelor.” Yet another had the line, “You want to be my steady male? Well, go stick your head in a pail.

Heard it!


The real price of "Bush Meat"

by Limbic on February 15, 2005

From Science Blog:  “Study links Ebola outbreaks to great ape carcasses”

All recent Ebola virus outbreaks  in humans in forests between Gabon and the Republic of Congo were the result of handling infected wild animal carcasses, according to a study by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and its regional partners. Appearing in the February edition of the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases, the study found that many animal carcasses tested for Ebola between 2001 and 2003 produced positive results, and found direct links between the deadly disease in animal populations and humans.

Just wait until we get an Ebola outbreak in Lewisham thanks to an infected Baboon Fist Stew being consumed as part of a respect all cultures party…