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B-List Archive

December 2003

Postings to the B-List.

Subject: B-List: Trash = Treasure
Date: Mon, 01 Dec 2003 07:29:33 +1030

1. "Beggar found 400 pieces of jewellery in rubbish bin"
   < >

2. "Man spends $75 gets $1 million in art"
   < >

3. "Woman spends 99-cents, ends up with $6,000 worth of art"
   < >
   "Woman finds expensive art in cheap wallpaper"
   < >

4. "Rubbish recycle fan tipped-off on Drysdale painting"
   < >

5. "Argentinian rubbish being sold to European art collectors"
   < >

Subject: B-List: Plain English Day (Dec 2)
Date: Wed, 03 Dec 2003 08:07:57 +1030

Yesterday was Plain English Day.

"Rumsfeld wins 'Foot in Mouth' award"
   < >
US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld won the award for this gem:
"Reports that say that something hasn't happened are always interesting to me,
 because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know.
 We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some
 things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns - the ones we don't
 know we don't know."

The following effort by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger was also a contender:
"I think that gay marriage is something that should be between a man and a

The Plain English Campaign Awards
   < >
* Plain English (the open category)
  < >
* Inside Write (for internal government documents)
  < >
* Media (for radio, television and newspapers)
  < >
* Golden Bulls (for gobbledygook)
  < >
* Foot in Mouth (for a baffling quote by a public figure)
  < >

Subject: B-List: Gizmodo / Coolest Inventions of 2003
Date: Thu, 04 Dec 2003 08:23:52 +1030

1. Gizmodo: The Gadgets Weblog
   < >
For those who can't get enough of the latest in tech.

2. Time Magazine: Coolest Inventions of 2003
   < >

Subject: B-List: Celebrating Ugliness
Date: Fri, 05 Dec 2003 07:45:04 +1030

1. "China hosts Miss Ugly contest"
   < >

2. "Italy's ugly club defies convention"
   < >
   "Ugly Club membership card"
       Club%20dei%20brutti/Club%20dei%20brutti.htm >

3. "Pierced lady 'scared to go home'"
   < >

4. "Man fails to break clothes pegs on face record"
   < >

5. "Why we'll see more ugly cars"
   < >
Mainly looks at American cars, but Australian car makers are not immune.

Subject: B-List: Demotivators and Mullets of Tech 2004 Calendars
Date: Mon, 08 Dec 2003 08:07:10 +1030

1. Despair, Inc: Demotivators Calendars

a. The New Demotivators 2004 Calendar
   < >
Featuring the monthly themes:
* Achievement * Ambition * Change * Discovery * Dreams * Nepotism
* Persistence * Potential * Power * Retirement * Success * Teamwork

b. Demotivators 2004 Classic Calendar
   < >
Featuring the "classic" themes:
* Agony * Apathy * Defeat * Failure * Futility * Ineptitude
* Losing * Mediocrity * Mistakes * Pessimism * Procrastination * Stupidity

c. Demotivators: Increasing Success by Lowering Expectations
   < >
Has links to themes from past calendars

2. Mullets of Technology 2004 Calendar
   < >


Google This ...

Go to, type in "miserable failure" and hit "I'm feeling lucky".
Or just use the shortcut below:
  < >

Subject: B-List: Food For Thought
Date: Tue, 09 Dec 2003 08:22:37 +1030

An interesting article which reviews two books about gluttony:

   "The deadliest sin"
   < >

Some excerpts:
"Take a look at Europe. Kingsley Amis, a sometime restaurant critic as well
 as a novelist, had a neat, two-dimensional way of sorting out European
 nations: England -- nice people, nasty food; France -- nice food, nasty
 people; Greece -- nice people, terrifying food; and so forth. Amis initially
 thought there was a perfect negative correlation here, that nice people
 invariably went along with nasty food and vice versa. But this hypothesis,
 he found, was defeated by the datum of Italy -- nice people, nice food!"
[Another flaw in his hypothesis: USA -- terrifying people, terrifying food.]

"Where one does turn up a strong inverse correlation, however, is between
 quality of national cuisine and fatness. The European countries that have
 the nicest food -- Italy, Switzerland, and France -- also have the lowest
 adult obesity rates, below 10 percent according to the latest figures from
 the International Obesity Task Force. The countries that have, shall we say,
 less nice food -- Greece, Finland, and Britain -- have the highest adult
 obesity rates, in excess of 20 percent."

"Could a certain kind of gluttony also, paradoxically, be an aid to thinness?
 Americans are certainly not getting fatter because they are eating more grandly.
 Consider the number of courses we consume at a meal. In the 19th century, as
 Strong reminds us in 'Feast,' a typical bourgeois dinner party ran to no fewer
 than 12 courses: hors d'oeuvre, two soups (one clear, one thick), fish, the
 entree, the joint or piece de resistance, a sorbet, roast and a salad, vegetables,
 a hot, sweet, ice cream dessert, coffee, and liqueurs. By the beginning of the
 20th century, the number of courses had contracted to eight. In the 1950s,
 American etiquette books counseled five courses. Today you are lucky to get

"Lately, the breakfast-lunch-dinner rhythm has been giving way to a new and
 distinctively American style of continuous food-consumption throughout the
 day, known as 'snacking,' 'grazing,' or 'noshing.' For the 'vast majority of
 the population,' Strong laments, 'the idea of at least one meal in the day
 being a shared experience is gone forever.'"

Subject: B-List: Dress Code Violations
Date: Thu, 11 Dec 2003 07:52:49 +1030

1. "US State Department cracks down on diplomatic dress code"
   < >

2. "Bikini-clad shopper told to cover up"
   < >

3. "What (not) to wear: Schools keeping close eye on skimpy clothes"
   < >

4. "School makes girls wear trash bag skirts"
   < >

5. "Teens gone wild for new bands"
   < >
"There's a must-have item this season for the teen girl market -- underwear
 bands that you wear on your head"

6. "Romans sock shock"
   < >

7. "Double dress disaster for celebrities"
   < >

8. "Seattle taxi drivers allowed to wear costumes"
   < >

Subject: B-List: + The QWERTY Question
Date: Fri, 12 Dec 2003 09:50:42 +1030
   < >

This site lists amusing facts, broken down into many categories.

Some examples:
* A person uses approximately fifty-seven sheets of toilet paper each day.
* Natural gas does not have any odor. In order to detect a gas leak, some gas
  companies add a chemical that smells similar like rotten eggs.
* Swiss engineer George de Mestral, who got the idea after noticing burrs were
  sticking to his pants after his regular walks through the woods, invented
* During the 1600's, boys and girls in England wore dresses until they were
  about seven years old.
* In the 1977 movie "Star Wars," actress Jodie Foster was George Lucas' second
  choice to play the part of Princess Leia.
* A man named Charles Osborne had the hiccups for approximately sixty-nine
* The first known American novelist to hand in a manuscript that was typed was
  Mark Twain.

This last fact reminds me of an interesting story that I first read when I was
a little tacker:
  The QWERTY layout on computer keyboards, inherited from typewriters, was
  originally designed to slow down typists and thus prevent typewriter keys
  from jamming.

According to "The QWERTY Connection" ( this may
not be entirely true ...
* "Myths about QWERTY"
  < >
* "Why QWERTY was Invented"
  < >
The site argues that the layout does prevent jamming, thereby actually allowing
the typist to type faster.

Sounds like a bit of spin-doctoring to me.

The Straight Dope maintains the view that the layout was devised to make things
easy for the typewriter, not the typist:
* "Was the QWERTY keyboard purposely designed to slow typists?"
  < >

If you want to read more about this burning issue, check out the following links:
* The QWERTY Question
  < >
* "Understanding the Economics of QWERTY: the Necessity of History"
  < >

Subject: B-List: Perfect Food Formulae
Date: Mon, 15 Dec 2003 08:13:14 +1030

1. "Scientist's formula for the perfect Christmas turkey"
   < >

2. "Cracking the secret of crackling"
   < >

3. "Scientists create 'perfect' toast"
   < >

4. "In a pickle over perfect sandwiches"
   < >
"The classic cheese and pickle sandwich, eaten in front of the television,
 has been shown to constitute the ideal sandwich"

5. "Tea: As boffins reveal the recipe for the perfect cuppa, we find the
    best sites on Britain's favourite beverage"
   <,6729,984209,00.html >
   "Women's Institute helping to solve puzzle of perfect cuppa"
   < >
   "Milk goes in first for the perfect cuppa"
   < >

6. "Tossing pancakes: it's as easy as Pi"
   <,3604,907076,00.html/ >

7. "Dunking a Donut" - a how-to
   < >

Subject: B-List: Microsoft - Unsafe At Any Speed
Date: Tue, 16 Dec 2003 08:07:14 +1030

1. "Microsoft revs its automotive engines"
   < >
   "If Microsoft Built Cars"
   < >

2. "Windows ATMs raise security concerns"
   < >

3. "Gartner echoes concerns on Microsoft reliance"
   < >
"Exclusive reliance on Microsoft's Windows operating system could make
 companies vulnerable to greater damage during a cyberattack"

4. "IE full of holes, unsafe: Security experts"
   <,2000048600,20279477,00.htm >

5. "Microsoft sued for weak security"
   <,1367,60673,00.html >

6. "Microsoft's integration strategy is costly for customers "
   < >

7. "Microsoft Powerpoint fingered in space shuttle crash"
   < >
   "ET on Columbia evidence - Analysis of Key Slide"
       &topic_id=1&topic=Ask%20E.T >
   "The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint"
   < >
   "PowerPoint Makes You Dumb"
       &en=799ad449b398c2d7&ei=5062&partner=GOOGLE >

8. "Microsoft launches 'leak-proof' e-mail"
   < >

9. "Office adds sales pitch"
   <,39020396,39117740,00.htm >
"Microsoft has release a free add-on for Office 2003 that helps sales people
 create proposals".  With wizards for FUD and vaporware?

10. Microsoft humour
a. "Funny Microsoft Q Articles"
   < >
b. "Office 2003 editions: Compare them to previous versions"
   < >
c. "Word 2004 to pioneer AutoUnsummarize feature"
   < >
Takes "short, concise sections of text and expanding them to any specified

Subject: B-List: TV News
Date: Wed, 17 Dec 2003 08:35:10 +1030

1. "Italians urged to switch off TVs"
   < >
"Television networks in Italy are facing a nationwide weekend walkout - not
 by staff, but by unhappy viewers"

2. "Jealous wife smashes TV over Miss World contest"
   < >

3. "Bored woman hurls TV out of window"
   < >

4. "'Go away mum, I'm watching TV'"
   < >

5. "Q: If I fire a gun at one of the buttons on my TV remote control, will
    the remote have enough time to send a signal to change channel before
    it is destroyed?"
   < >
I don't know what's more disturbing - the question or the fact that they
provided a serious answer.

Subject: B-List: Unfortunate Cards and Bad Gifts
Date: Fri, 19 Dec 2003 08:25:50 +1030

Gallery of Unfortunate Christmas Cards
   < >
And check out the rest of the Gallery of Unfortunate Cards
   < >

"15 worst holiday gift ideas"
   < >

"Bad Christmas Gifts - a great way to let someone know how much you don't care"
   < >

"Grab your seats and get a load of these lousy gifts"
   < >

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Great New Year.


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