Monthly Archives: October 2008

What’s a laundry list?

It’s a long list of items, typically used as a comment in regards to someone asking for many things (e.g., “he’s got a laundry list of things he wants fixed on his car”). And where might it have come from? Well, from something like this:

Back in the day when men wore “hose”, not “socks”, and “underdrawers”. Bras were still “under-vests”, I think. Fascinating.
Found here

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The challenge of managing the billions of photos of flickr

A good article here on the challenge of imposing some form of guidelines on the millions of people who use flickr. It’s as difficult as you can imagine, but Heather Champ, flickr’s Director of Community, and her team do as good as job as is possible.

Heather has always been on the vanguard on what is happening with the Web and a good photographer: it’s no surprise to see her in this role. Plus she is a good “Canadian girl”: perfect in the role of peacekeeper.

Great person, good article. For more, visit Nasty as they wanna be? Policing

The colours of autumn

I put this on twitpic, but it is so beautiful to me, I am going to put it here, too! :)

and here it is on TwitPic. I <heart> twitpic!

Paul Krugman Wins the Nobel Prize for Economics

Paul Krugman could be the first blogger to win a Nobel Prize! Well, he does much more than blog, of course, but his blog is good to read generally, and very useful to read especially in this time of economic crisis. Hats of to him FTW. :)

See Paul Krugman Wins Nobel for Economics –

(Photo Fred R. Conrad/NYT)

Update, the time blog, The Curious Capitalist, has a good rundown on why Krugman won here

The IKEA Supercomputer

Ok, not really. But this site has a nifty demo of how to make a  linux cluster using an IKEA Helmer cabinet. Very innovative.

Try it yourself! If you a) need such a thing and b) have the wherewithal to do it.

(found via lifehacker)

I made tea…

…is a cool little site you can find here.

Click on the text highlighted, and the story unfolds. Perfect while having…a cup of tea.

(From the great blog, Molt:n Core)

The decapitator strikes fear in the hearts of ads everywhere

Ok, that’s very dramatic, but then so is the work of the decapitator, such as this modified SatC ad.

You can see more of the work here: Flickr: the decapitator’s Photostream. It’s gruesome, but brilliant.

P.S. At first glance I thought the work is misogynistic — there are lots of decapitated women — but there are also headless men, muppets and bees too.  And you might think it is gruesome, but no more than cartoon violence.

Found via

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, dramatically illustrated.

We have along way to go from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to the Universal Application of these rights.
It is worth dreaming about.

(Found on

What happened to Iceland, and what happens next

BusinessWeek has a rundown of what is happening to Iceland in the global financial meltdown, and what might be happening next, including it doing a deal with Russia for capital. I am not sure if this deal will go through or not. If it did, I expect Russia will make some challenging moves into this founding NATO country.  Meanwhile, Iceland could become an economic basket case.

One line that struck me was “Iceland’s once-proud banking sector”: it doesn’t appear to me that they did anything they should have been proud of.

See The Stunning Collapse of Iceland – BusinessWeek for more details.

Zara thrives by being smart

This article, Zara Thrives by Breaking All the Rules in BusinessWeek, talks about how Zara is succeeding by doing things differently. However, the fallacy is saying there are “rules”. The “rules” are how other people do it. What Zara has done is seen the weaknesses in those rules and done things differently. Zara knows that the sum is what matters, not the parts. So even if parts of its manufacturing could be made cheaper, it would add additional costs down the line. That’s smart. And that’s why they are thriving.

Of course, unlike some of their competitors, they know what to make that will sell. You can have the best supply chain in the world, but if you are delivering something people don’t want, you are dead. Zara knows what people want, and they can adjust quickly when they make a mistake. Not only that, but Zara has lots of ideas, unlike some of their competitors. They seem to produce way more styles than other clothing manufacturers, making it more likely you will find something you want. That’s also very smart.

Quote of the day

“The greatest pleasure in life is doing what other people say you cannot do.”

- Walter Bagehot

The Great Stephen Fry and I

I have been a fan of Stephen Fry for a very long time: I’ve enjoyed his films (“Wilde”, “Peter’s Friends”), his TV shows (“Jeeves and Wooster”, “Pocoyo”) and his writing (the book “Paperweight” and his blog, “Paper Cuts”). He’s done much more than that of course. He’s a great artist.

Besides being a great artist — he would modestly disagree with that — he is also very computer literate.  I have seen him speak on some of the most arcane topics with the ease of someone reading a children’s bedtime story.

When I found out he was on twitter, I thought: I had to follow him. What surprised me is that he is trying to follow everyone back! I thought this was impressive: most famous (and no-so-famous) people on twitter do it mostly to broadcast as opposed to listen.

If you are on twitter, you can follow him here: Twitter / stephenfry

Better still, use that Google thingy and find the many things that he has done and go and seek them out. You’ll be glad you did.

Possibly the greatest library ever…

is Jay Walker’s. It is dense with books and artifacts, as this article on Wired points out: Browse the Artifacts of Geek History in Jay Walker’s Library

…and yes, that is Sputnik hanging from the ceiling. Just one of the many many amazing items on display. You will want to see the article to get a better sense of this.

(Found on

Picture of the day

The Dow over the last three years. Frightening. From

The Fearlessness of the Ukelele Orchestra of Great Britain

Can you dig it?


If you love that — and how could you not? — then check out their version of Smells Like Teen Spirit. Fearless.

Taming Vista

So you have a new PC, and the new PC has a virus…I mean Vista. You could try to get XP or even Linux. Or you could ask: is there a way to stop Worrying and start learning to Tolerate Vista?

It turns out there is, at least according to the

Marvin Gaye – I Heard It Through The Grapevine (A capella)!

There are lots of people on YouTube, great people, who can sing “I Heard It Through the Grapevine”. (Besides the incomparable Gladys Knight and the Pips). Go listen to them. Then come back, and hear Marvin Gaye sing it a capella. It’s astounding. Watch as he leaves huge gaps in the song for the instrumentals: you can hear the band in the silence. I love when Gladys Knight sings this song, but I think Marvin does it best.

If someone said that if I wore that frilly shirt I could sing this good, I would wear that shirt everyday.

Sign of the Times

The U.S. national debt clock used to show all amounts starting with a “$” (like the $86017 above). Because the amount of debt in the U.S. exceeded the clock’s ability to display it, they “fixed” it by making what used to be a “$” into a “1″, so it now reads “10149…” instead of “$10149…”.

(AP Photo/Kathy Willens) from The National Debt Clock is shown near Times Square in New York, … – Yahoo! News Photos

It’s Jessica Ketola! And her backup band!…the Police?

Seriously, this is a great story.

According to the YouTube page and other sources, Sting was so impressed
by her in the soundcheck, he invited her to sing with him on stage. Was she any good? See the video and you’ll see.

Very impressive of Sting to offer, and very impressive she took him up on it.

(Found on the always great…you can get more here too)

Living Free and Easy in NYC

The blog, City Room, from the New York Times, has a feature interview with the author of “Frommer’s NYC Free & Dirt Cheap,” He provided some great answers to questions on where to get great bargoons in the Big Apple.

If you are resident or someone who likes to visit that great city, check out the Q&A and then get the book.

Iceland takes the financial meltdown hard

How hard? Well, according to this story, The party’s over for Iceland, the island that tried to buy the world from The Observer

‘Iceland is on the brink of collapse. Inflation and interest rates are raging upwards. The krona, Iceland’s currency, is in freefall and is rated just above those of Zimbabwe and Turkmenistan. One of the country’s three independent banks has been nationalised, another is asking customers for money, and the discredited government and officials from the central bank have been huddled behind closed doors for three days with still no sign of a plan. International banks won’t send any more money and supplies of foreign currency are running out.

… On Friday the queues at the banks were huge, as people moved savings into the most secure accounts. Yesterday people were buying up supplies of olive oil and pasta after a supermarket spokesman announced on Friday night that they had no means of paying the foreign currency advances needed to import more foodstuffs.’

That hard. Reading the article, I wonder how the people of Iceland are going to be able to get out of the situation. Not only that, but are other countries going to be in the same situation, countries you might not expected to be so overdrawn.

More on Campbell Brown

I wrote briefly about Campbell Brown earlier. If you haven’t seen here in action or don’t know much about here, the has a good story on here.

She is ascendent.

Rahier: where to get great cake in Toronto

It’s my 25th anniversary of working at IBM today, and a good friend of suggested I should celebrate with cake. (A fine idea, I thought). If you need cake, and you live anywhere near Toronto, I highly recommend you go to Rahier. I have been eating their cake and cookies for years, and it is consistently wonderful. One of my favourite things is a chocolate tart which manages to have three types of chocolate in a delicious crust. But really, any thing you get there will be delicious. For more details, see:

Rahier Patisserie, Toronto (french pastries) 1586 Bayview Avenue

Sarah Palin Debate Flow Chart

Photo via

Quote of the day

“Mr. Layton was ranked most likeable and the person voters would most like to go out with for a bear or coffee.”

Coffee for sure. But bear? :) From Instant poll finds Dion clear debate winner

The U.S. Senate gets it done (with regards to the bailout/rescue plan)

How? According to the, by Adding Sweeteners.

Furthermore, they approved it by a hefty margin. That will put pressure on the House of Representatives. As well, apparently the whips were not in full force when the last vote was held in the House. I suspect that will not be the case this time. It would be a fiasco if it was voted down in the House again. Let’s see.

And speaking of potential fiascoes, the U.S. Vice Presidential debate is tomorrow night, too. :)

The end of Ramadan

This stunning photo, by Himawan Tok/European Pressphoto Agency, is of Indonesians celebrating Id al-Fitr,  the end of Ramadan. From Pictures of the Day, October 1

Stunning dance “that could have been painted by Balthus” or lots of bare naked guys! Take your pick!

There are two ways you can approach this work by  Daniel Léveillé Danse – La Pudeur des icebergs/Modesty of Icebergs that will be appearing at Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre  DanceWorks. You can either see it as a work in which:

‘Léveillé delves into the body’s mysterious relations; the trace, the surge, the thrust of movement and its inexorable fall realized in a stunning dance “that could have been painted by Balthus”  (as described by Jennifer Dunning  New York Times.)’

- or you can think -

“woo hoo! lots of really good looking bare naked guys dancing on stage!”

And if both of those things appeal to you, then by all means, click on the link above and buy tickets!

Seriously, DanceWorks hosts some great dancers and performances. Regardless of who it is and how much clothes the performers wear, you will be in for a great evening of dance.

The influence of Mad Men on fashion

Mad Men will influence our current culture in many ways, and one of those is fashion. I noticed this earlier this year when in at least a few places, the skinny ties of the 1960s started appearing in some stores.

In this blog posting at, Maya Singer chats with Michael Kors about his thoughts on the show and how it is affecting his work, among other things. One quote he made, in reference to the clothes at that time, really can apply to any era, and that is:

‘clothes are supposed to FIT’

The capital letters are his, but I agree with his emphasis.

It’s an interesting conversation between Kors and Singer…you can pick it up here: it’s a mad, mad, mad, mad world

P.S. Love that photo, by the way: the strength of the show’s art direction is strongly illustrated with this one group shot of the characters.

Another global problem: China’s Milk Scandal

While much of the world is focused on the financial state of the world, another problem spreading globally is the contamination of Chinese milk with melamine. You might think: that does not affect me because I only drink locally produced milk. While this is true, much of the world eats processed food, such as Cadbury chocolate, and these and other foods do move around the world.

While the people of China are suffering the brunt of this, it is something to keep an eye on. The has a number of stories on it, and you can access them easily here: china milk scandal – Search