March 2005

SARS and Bird Flu fightback includes surveillance of disease rumours. reports:

“Listening to gossip may sound like a flimsy means of spotting potentially devastating microbes and viruses. But the World Health Organization (WHO) already uses ‘rumour surveillance’ to monitor online media for early signs of epidemics, including ebola, cholera and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).”

A study published this month is one of the first to show that this type of scrutiny actually works. Epidemiologist Gina Samaan of the WHO’s Western Pacific Regional Office in Manila and her colleagues examined whether a 2004 effort to detect rumours of bird flu helped combat the disease as it whipped through poultry flocks in Asia.

Of 40 rumours from websites, newspapers, e-mails and experts, nine were found to be true, and several prompted action that may have helped to stem the disease’s spread, the researchers report in Emerging Infectious Diseases.

The story is here.


A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink

by Limbic on March 29, 2005

A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink

From a Wired article on this:

“Tax attorneys. Radiologists. Financial analysts. Software engineers. Management guru Peter Drucker gave this cadre of professionals an enduring, if somewhat wonky, name: knowledge workers. These are, he wrote, “people who get paid for putting to work what one learns in school rather than for their physical strength or manual skill.” What distinguished members of this group and enabled them to reap society’s greatest rewards, was their “ability to acquire and to apply theoretical and analytic knowledge.” And any of us could join their ranks. All we had to do was study hard and play by the rules of the meritocratic regime. That was the path to professional success and personal fulfillment.

But a funny thing happened while we were pressing our noses to the grindstone: The world changed. The future no longer belongs to people who can reason with computer-like logic, speed, and precision. It belongs to a different kind of person with a different kind of mind. Today – amid the uncertainties of an economy that has gone from boom to bust to blah – there’s a metaphor that explains what’s going on. And it’s right inside our heads.

…Until recently, the abilities that led to success in school, work, and business were characteristic of the left hemisphere. They were the sorts of linear, logical, analytical talents measured by SATs and deployed by CPAs. Today, those capabilities are still necessary. But they’re no longer sufficient. In a world upended by outsourcing, deluged with data, and choked with choices, the abilities that matter most are now closer in spirit to the specialties of the right hemisphere – artistry, empathy, seeing the big picture, and pursuing the transcendent.

Beneath the nervous clatter of our half-completed decade stirs a slow but seismic shift. The Information Age we all prepared for is ending. Rising in its place is what I call the Conceptual Age, an era in which mastery of abilities that we’ve often overlooked and undervalued marks the fault line between who gets ahead and who falls behind.

To some of you, this shift – from an economy built on the logical, sequential abilities of the Information Age to an economy built on the inventive, empathic abilities of the Conceptual Age – sounds delightful. “You had me at hello!” I can hear the painters and nurses exulting. But to others, this sounds like a crock. “Prove it!” I hear the programmers and lawyers demanding.

OK. To convince you, I’ll explain the reasons for this shift, using the mechanistic language of cause and effect.

The effect: the scales tilting in favor of right brain-style thinking. The causes: Asia, automation, and abundance.”  MORE



Illness of the week

by Limbic on March 28, 2005

Arts & Letters Daily:

“Psychologists say that love sickness is a genuine disease and needs more awareness and diagnosis.” Ah, yes. Illness of the weekmore»


Contact Lenses Report Glucose Leve

by Limbic on March 25, 2005

From Gizmodo:

“Moisture from the tear ducts contains glucose that binds with the molecules of boronic acid [added to disposable contact lenses], with the reaction causing fluorescence.”

Useful if you are prone to hyporglycemia or have insulin related illnesses.



by Limbic on March 25, 2005

New York Times book review:

PERFECT MADNESS Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety.
By Judith Warner.
327 pp. Riverhead
Books. $23.95.

Manifestoes blast their way into the popular consciousness on two kinds of fuel: recognition (we see ourselves in them) and rage (we can no longer tolerate the injustice they describe). Judith Warner’s ”Perfect Madness: Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety” brims with both. She clearly means for her denunciation of American-style mothering to do for overstressed 21st-century upper-middle-class American women what Betty Friedan’s ”Feminine Mystique” did for underemployed 20th-century ones. ”Perfect Madness” is not half as good as ”The Feminine Mystique” — not as painfully accurate or cleverly argued — but, like Friedan, Warner channels a big, explosive feeling, which she identifies as frustration at ”the mommy mystique” or, more resonantly, ”this mess.’ MORE


Job Interview Hacks

by Limbic on March 24, 2005

Top 7 Tricks to Getting an Interview

How to Write a Resume  


Get reminders by Instant Message

by Limbic on March 24, 2005

Instant message yourself a reminder of an future event or a to-do using IM bot SmarterChild. [Excellent]

1. It is really simply, just add “SmarterChild” as a buddy on AIM or ICQ.
2. Message SmarterChild the word “reminder”.
3. The bot will answer back and explain how to proceed. You answer a few initial questions and set your time zone.
4. After that you simply Message it with your instructions e.g Remind me “to visit” in three hours.

In exactly 3 hours (you can specify a time and date or minutes too ) you will get you Instant Message reminder!

It has other uses worth investigating

More at .


Conference attendee tips

by Limbic on March 24, 2005

From the superb Lifehacker weblog:

Before you leave:
Tour the conference city on Flickr
Pack a light bag
Avoid drama at the airport
Load the conference schedule on your iPod for easy access

While you’re there:
Access your email securely on the convention center’s public wireless network (web mail users, go here)
Make the most of your time and experience [excellent guide thanks to David Nunez]

Use your iPod photo instead of the laptop to present
Employ PowerPoint’s presenter view for a smoother talk


You may have noticed these new categories Productivity/Getting Things Done/Lifehacks/How-Tos/Personal Effectiveness?

I have decided to include some of my major interests in this blog so I will soon be importing my offline Technical blog and adding more productivity, business, technical and software related content too.


A giant falls: Steve Den Beste

by Limbic on March 24, 2005

Is it all over? USS Clueless is barely updated. Steve is terminally ill. End of a fine era.


Great TV now that I am out of the country!

by Limbic on March 24, 2005

Fiona told me last night that there were two other superb pieces on TV on Tuesday.

Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman’s “Long Way Round”. From the DVD review:

Long Way Round documents the adventures of film stars Ewan McGregor (Trainspotting, Moulin Rouge, Star Wars) and Charley Boorman on their 20,000 mile motor bike trip around the world. Departing from London on 14th April 2004 the pair travelled through Europe, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Siberia, Alaska, Canada arriving in the USA just over 3 months later. Along the way the intrepid pair encountered Kalashnikov-toting gangsters and extreme cuisine, survived numerous motorised scrapes often whilst traversing non existent roads days from the nearest hospital and found themselves alarmingly close to a hungry grizzly bear.

[The book from the series is at ]

The latest film from Donal Macintyre called “The Trials of Mr Lattlay Fottfoy” screened a few nights ago too.

It was also superb according to Fiona. A gay Urdu speaking wise gangster. Who woulda thunk it?

There has been an interesting development. One of the two brother featured in the film – Desmond Noonan – was stabbed a few days before the film screened.

There is speculation that his boasting in the film may have been a catalyst for the murder.

The Guardian discusses issues raised in the film: Rough Justice .
Donal Macintyre’s official website: .
BBC reports on the case: ‘Gangster’ Injunction overturned , Police hold Noonan suspect longer.

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