.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Teen Buzz - another Urban myth, or not ?

Well, it had to happen. Kids turn "teen repellent" sound into "teacher-proof" ringtones. Teen Buzz is outed.
Or, is it a new technology based Urban myth.
It's reported that Teenagers here in UK have cleverly become early adopters of a technology based science to communicate silently in class by text messages etc.
Apparently, school children are now downloading a high pitched MP3 ringtone called Teen Buzz to their mobile (cell) phones and using them in class to ring each other without Teacher hearing anything. Youngsters are able to share these Teen Buzz ringtones with each other by text or blue-tooth.
A great wheeze for the kids, if it actually works. More on the feasibility of this later.

This story started several months ago when a UK amateur inventor used physics to adapt an "anti-mosquito" device and invented a new electronics box to be placed outside local shops or buildings where teenagers hang out. When the youngsters (or feral youths !) become anti-social, shopkeepers can turn on a device which sends a high pitched tone (+15kHz.) out. This is a loud irritating whine to teen ears, but totally inaudable to most adults who can't hear sounds at this high frequency.

Thanks to my brother Alan in Chicago for the " Heads Up " from Boingboing.

You can read more here as to whether 15kHz. compressed MP3 ringtones can actually be audible to teens and not to adults.
Very helpfully, the kind Dan Lockton has created a range of 15 - 20kHz. mp3 and .wav ringtones for you to hear (or not, if you are 20 yrs.+) for yourself.

So, is this a real story, or another Urban Myth? What do you think?

Technorati Tags:
, , , , , , , , ,

'Twas a Dark and Stormy night - part II

Remember the Bulwer-Lytton contest, aka "Dark and Stormy Night Contest" I posted about last week?
I did say I would deliver up the rest of the count-down to the San Jose's State University Top 10 contest to write
...only the first line of a bad novel:
So, here goes....... Enjoy! (that's a post ironic suggestion).

7) "Andre, a simple peasant, had only one thing on his mind as
he crept along the East wall: 'Andre creep... Andre creep... Andre

6) "Stanislaus Smedley, a man always on the cutting edge of
narcissism, was about to give his body and soul to a back alley
sex-change surgeon to become the woman he loved."

5) "Although Sarah had an abnormal fear of mice, it did not
keep her from eeking out a living at a local pet store."

4) "Stanley looked quite bored and somewhat detached, but then
penguins often do."

3) "Like an over-ripe beefsteak tomato rimmed with cottage
cheese, the corpulent remains of Santa Claus lay dead on the hotel floor."

2) "Mike Hardware was the kind of private eye who didn't know
the meaning of the word 'fear'; a man who could laugh in the face of
danger and spit in the eye of death -- in short, a moron with suicidal


1) "The sun oozed over the horizon, shoved aside darkness, crept along
the greensward, and, with sickly fingers, pushed through the castle
window, revealing the pillaged princess, hand at throat, crown asunder,
gaping in frenzied horror at the sated, sodden
amphibian lying beside her, disbelieving the magnitude of the frog's
deception, screaming madly, 'You lied!"

Thursday, May 18, 2006

I spy... in my little eye.

I like to find medical or biochemical limericks on the web; so with E.coli (in children) and Fusarium (in contact lens wearers) in the spotlight again this week, it was topical to find this example at Quote Me!

Acanthamoeba - by BobfromThirsk

It's an Acanthamoeba! My soul! I
Would never want that in my whole eye.
This evil wee beast
Will soon make a feast
Of your vision, 'tween snacks of E. coli.

For info: Acanthamoeba is a free living organism, abundant in both soil and water. It will thrive between the eyeball and the rear surface of poorly maintained contact lenses, particularly soft lenses, causing dangerous eye infections. The standard test for acanthamoeba is to place a suspect lens on a "lawn" of E.coli bacteria (lawn is a term used to describe a cultivation of E.coli on agar jelly). If the organism is present a clear area will appear around the lens where acanthamoeba has ingested the bacteria.

Health Warning:
contact your pharmacist or optician if you are worried by the following product recall.
Bausch & Lomb's *ReNu with MoistureLoc* contact lens solution has been strongly implicated as the source of Fusarium keratitis (a fungal eye infection) in at least 109 USA contact lens wearers.
So following discussions with the FDA, B&L had recently withdrawn their lens solution from sale in USA.
click here for more detailed info.

Thankfully, the MHRA (our own Regulatory body in UK) has now followed suit with their own warning, although it is important to stress that there has not been any similar increases of Fusarium reported in UK contact lens wearers.
So Bausch and Lomb have this week had to announce a global product recall.click here for more detailed info.

Anyone wearing re-usable contact lens might want to check alternative lens solutions to avoid this rare but unpleasant possibility of a Fusarium fungal eye infection.

Twas a Dark and Stormy night...

My man Alan in Chicago pointed me to this writer's contest in USA.
Each year, there are 10 winners of the Bulwer-Lytton contest, aka "Dark and Stormy Night Contest" (run by the English Dept. of San Jose State University), wherein one writes only the first line of a bad novel:

Today, I am privileged (?) to bring you the winning entries placed at number 10, 9 and 8.
This year, No.8 has the ....um.... sort of thick treacly prose that strikes shame into any writer's heart.
10) "As a scientist, Throckmorton knew that if he were ever to break wind in the echo chamber, he would never hear the end of it."
9) "Just beyond the Narrows, the river widens."
8) "With a curvaceous figure that Venus would have envied, a tanned, unblemished oval face framed with lustrous thick brown hair, deep azure-blue eyes fringed with long black lashes, perfect teeth that vied for competition, and a small straight nose; Marilee had a beauty that defied description."

Tomorrow, the better (?) winning entries and the source of these pearly gems....

Thursday, May 11, 2006

A plague on all you plagiarists.

More and more we are reading about bloggers having their blog posts ripped and re-posted on other blogs without any attribution or linking to the rightful owner.  Luckily I have no posts clever or funny to be worth plagiarising, but I have had some of my digital images copied and re-posted elsewhere without attribution.

We all struggle to find original or amusing things to write about, but when we succeed, copyright is automatically owned by us.  However, to set up a creative commons licence or assert our copyright by means of a simple statement on our written material or digital form (such as blogs) does warn others not to copy or infringe our copyright without permission and/or attribution.

Plagiarism is not cool, is illegal (without permission) and is disrespectful to the owner whose copyright has been infringed.  Once digital (web or blog) plagiarism has been discovered, it should be relatively easy to identify the ISP hosting the offending website and request them to remove any copyrighted material. 

Failure to comply with such requests to remove stolen material is theft, a breach of intellectual property rights (IPR) and could be construed as *passing off* if the plagiarist purports to be the person who authored the material.
The claim of *passing off* is especially relevant to established bloggers who write in a particular genre or style.

Any breaches of copyright are a serious legal issue and once the theft has  been established, can lead to the plagiarist being sued for damages, compensation and legal costs, etc.  Enough to make all but the most hard-nosed plagiarist back off and cease and desist from repeating the act.  This applies equally to ISP's who are well aware of the laws of digital or electronic copyright infringement.  Many ISP's when asked, will simply take down offending sites if they are blatently plagiarising other peoples digital copyrights.

Many ISP's in USA have signed up to the Digital Milllennium Copyright Act (DMCA) which amends secton 104 of the Copyright Act.   ISP's in the UK are also sensitive to copyright issues (and easier to get at since they are in the same legal jurisdiction as UK bloggers) as our UK Copyright laws also clearly protect our digital words and images.

There is a very good blog at:  http://www.plagiarismtoday.com
This guy (Jonathan Bailey) really seems to know his stuff in the USA and offers straightforward *how-to* action points on tracking down the ultimate responsible person or ISP in the USA.  His helpful advice also shows how to send a DMCA notice to ISP's hosting websites who are plagiarising other author's works.

Friday, May 05, 2006

A statement of universal values.

I was interested to read about a man in Powys, South Wales who was visited by the police last week.
Seems he sent an email to his local council protesting about plans to site a waste re-cycling facility near his house.
At the end of his email he included an historic quotation by a protestant pastor who was a peace activist and pacifist.
The point he was making was "...who will speak up for the ordinary man in the street". 

Too subtle, maybe. Someone in the council took umbrage at his quote and complained to the police, who then paid an early morning visit to this chap and officially warned him of possible harassment charges if he repeated this "offence".

Just another tale of official heavy handed political correctness gone mad, you might think.
But, it seems to me, the quote he used (reproduced below) is entirely appropriate for these oppressive times.
Wake up people.  We are sleep-walking into Orwell's 1984 as the Thought Police seek to control our precious civic freedoms.

A statement of universal values.
"In Germany, the Nazis first came for the communists, and I didn't speak up because I was not a communist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Catholics, but I didn't speak up because I was a protestant.
Then they came for me, and by that time there was no one left to speak for me."

written by Reverend Niemoeller, a German Lutheran pastor, was arrested by the Gestapo and sent to Dachau in 1938.
He was freed by the allied forces in 1945.  Rev. Niemoeller died in Wiesbaden on March 6, 1984.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?