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Swansea, Wales, United Kingdom
Ex Media Studies student at Swansea University. This blog is a collection of links, articles, academic reference and random thoughts.

Friday, 29 August 2008

Dubai: City-In-a-Pyramid Could House a Million Dubaians

Dubai: City-In-a-Pyramid Could House a Million Dubaians, Power Itself: "A particularly optimistic design firm in Dubai called Timelinks has proposed designs for the Ziggurat, a complete city to be layered inside of a massive pyramid that could serve as home for a million people at a time. Timelinks is currently seeking patents for a variety of technologies that would make such a building possible, including a three axis public transportation system that would run residents up, through and across the pyramid. They've also claimed that with a hybrid wind, solar and steam power the Ziggurat would be able to meet its own power needs, and that there would be enough room to allow for some minor agriculture in designated 'green spaces.'"

Thursday, 28 August 2008

Western Media and the Russia Conflict

The propaganda machine is well and truly out in force during the recent coverage of the Russia/Georgian conflict. Who does one beleive? As they say in Dragon's Den....I'm out on this one

Two-headed boy born in Bangladesh - Telegraph

Two-headed boy born in Bangladesh - Telegraph: "Two-headed boy born in Bangladesh
A baby boy born with two heads in Bangladesh has been placed under police protection because of the curiosity his birth has caused among thousands of locals.

Last Updated: 10:27AM BST 28 Aug 2008
The boy was born by Cesarean section on August 25, weighing 12 lbs 1 oz Photo: AFP
The boy, named Kiron and weighing 12 lbs 1 oz, was born by Cesarean section on Monday at a clinic in Keshobpur, 85 miles from the capital, Dhaka.
Update: Two-headed boy dies after after just 48 hours
But an estimated 150,000 people from the region descended on the clinic to try to catch sight of the boy so he was moved to a larger hospital. Police are now mounting a round-the-clock operation to protect him and his family from intrusion.
Dr Mohamad Abdul Bari, his mother's gynaecologist, said: 'He has one stomach and he is eating normally with his two mouths. He has one genital organ and a full set of limbs.
'He was born from one embryo but there was a developmental anomaly.'
The clinic had been unable to determine whether the baby had one or two sets of vital organs, Dr Bari said."

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Invisibility cloak 'step closer'

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Invisibility cloak 'step closer': "Invisibility cloak 'step closer'

For now, the invisibility cloak remains a thing of science fiction
Scientists in the US say they are a step closer to developing materials that could render people invisible.
Researchers at the University of California in Berkeley have developed a material that can bend light around 3D objects making them 'disappear'.
The materials do not occur naturally but have been created on a nano scale, measured in billionths of a metre.
The team says the principles could one day be scaled up to make invisibility cloaks large enough to hide people."

read more at BBC News website

Loose Change - 9/11 Conspiracy

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Beijing Olympic 2008 opening ceremony giant firework footprints 'faked' - Telegraph

Beijing Olympic 2008 opening ceremony giant firework footprints 'faked' - Telegraph: "Beijing Olympic 2008 opening ceremony giant firework footprints 'faked'
Parts of the spectacular Beijing Olympics opening ceremony on Friday were faked because of fears over live filming, it has emerged.

By Richard Spencer in Beijing
Last Updated: 6:58PM BST 10 Aug 2008
Organisers feared it would be too difficult to capture each footprint live so inserted computer graphics for viewers at home and in the Bird's Nest stadium Photo: KENT NEWS
As the ceremony got under way with a dramatic, drummed countdown, viewers watching at home and on giant screens inside the Bird's Nest National Stadium watched as a series of giant footprints outlined in fireworks processed gloriously above the city from Tiananmen Square.
What they did not realise was that what they were watching was in fact computer graphics, meticulously created over a period of months and inserted into the coverage electronically at exactly the right moment.
The fireworks were there for real, outside the stadium. But those responsible for filming the extravaganza decided in advance it would be impossible to capture all 29 footprints from the air.
As a result, only the last, visible from the camera stands inside the Bird's Nest was captured on film."

BBC NEWS | England | West Midlands | Chiefs admit Brum skyline mix-up

BBC NEWS | England | West Midlands | Chiefs admit Brum skyline mix-up: "Birmingham City Council has admitted sending out leaflets which showed its US namesake's skyline instead.
About 720,000 pamphlets praising Brummies for their recycling were sent around the city at a cost of £15,000.
But instead of showing landmarks such as the Rotunda and the new Selfridges building, it showed downtown Birmingham, Alabama, instead. Birmingham City Council has admitted sending out leaflets which showed its US namesake's skyline instead.
About 720,000 pamphlets praising Brummies for their recycling were sent around the city at a cost of £15,000.
But instead of showing landmarks such as the Rotunda and the new Selfridges building, it showed downtown Birmingham, Alabama, instead."

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Era of slumping in front of the TV is over | Media | The Guardian

Era of slumping in front of the TV is over | Media | The Guardian

The traditional picture of the British family spending its evenings slumped in front of the TV has changed dramatically, according to a new report from the watchdog Ofcom, published today. The box is still on, but the people on the sofa are talking on the phone, texting furiously or surfing the internet - increasingly using a laptop with a mobile broadband connection - while they keep one eye on the screen.

Despite doomsayers who believe the web will eventually kill off TV, viewing has not yet collapsed. The average Briton spent 218 minutes - or over three and a half hours - a day watching television last year, two minutes more than in 2006 but down on 224 minutes in 2002. In comparison, the average internet user spent 24 minutes a day online when at home last year, up from just six minutes in 2002.

But what has changed is that the TV no longer has the viewer's undivided attention, according to Ofcom's annual Communications Market report. Three quarters of 20- to 34-year-olds regularly use their mobile when in front of the TV, while more than a third of 25- to 44-year-olds often check the internet at the same time as watching a programme.

Television is finding itself increasingly usurped among the young. While TV remains the "media activity" that British people above the age of 20 say they would miss most, 16- to 19-year-olds say it is a mobile phone they couldn't live without.

The report shows the UK's continuing love affair with the mobile. More people send a text every day than access the internet and there are more phones in circulation than there are people in the UK. Nearly 60 billion text messages were sent last year - up 36% on 2006 - and mobile phone users talk on their phone for an average of 10 minutes a day, double the usage recorded in 2002.

The mobile phone and other distractions mean young people are watching fewer TV shows, with 16- to 24-year-olds glued to the set for about 150 minutes a day in 2007, 10 minutes less than five years ago and more than an hour less than the UK average. People over 65, in contrast, spend five hours a day watching TV.

Instead, younger people are spending more of their time online but with download and streaming services such as the BBC's iPlayer reporting record demand, many are merely choosing to watch their favourite TV programmes when they want by getting content from the web. Nearly a third of all internet users watched video clips and webcasts last year with the number of UK users of YouTube hitting 9 million this April alone - up 50% on a year before.

Throwing off the shackles of the TV schedulers is not just the ambition of people with an internet connection. Almost a quarter of UK households - 6 million - had a digital video recorder by the end of last year, up 53% on 2006. DVRs allow people to store their favourite shows for viewing later. Their success is bad news for advertisers who use commercial television to get in front of a mass audience. Of those with a digital recorder, 88% always skip past the ads, according to Ofcom.

But when they do watch "traditional" television, the taste of 16- to 24-year-olds is remarkably similar to that of those over 65. Both like entertainment and contemporary music shows while 16- to 24-year- olds watch slightly more soap operas and factual programmes than pensioners. The big difference between the age groups, according to the report, is in the area of news and weather programming.

Among pensioners, 14% watch TV news and weather programmes, compared to just 7% of 16- to 24-year-olds.

The Ofcom report shows that online advertising hit £2.8bn last year, up 40%, and eclipsing spending on the traditional terrestrial channels ITV1, Channel 4, S4C and Five for the first time. Given how much more time people spend watching TV than using the internet the figures look incongruous, but the Ofcom report does not take into account the amount of time British consumers spend online at work.

In fact, take-up of residential internet services is slowing as the digital divide between rich and poor becomes ever more obvious. Most households that have a computer are already online with PC penetration running at 72% in the UK and internet penetration close behind at 67%. Broadband take-up - at 58% of UK households - has slowed not least because younger consumers such as students are opting to buy mobile phone "dongles" that give internet access and are often cheaper than a lengthy broadband contract. Over 2 million Britons now use mobile internet services, with sales of dongles nearly doubling between February and June this year to over 130,000 a month.

Global Food Crisis - FAQ: The five factors that are driving up costs

Several factors have come together to drive agricultural commodity prices up:

· Soaring oil and energy prices have pushed up the cost of food production dramatically in the last year: fertiliser is up more than 70%, fuel for tractors and farm machinery is up 30%, pesticides, which depend on oil, are up too, as are labour costs;

· Demand is rising as the global population grows and as people in emerging economies such as China and India use increasing affluence to buy more meat, eggs and dairy products. Over 30% of the world's grain now goes to feeding animals rather than people directly. Farming one acre of decent land can produce 138lbs of protein from grain, but one acre given over to beef farming will produce only 20lbs of protein;

· Droughts in grain-producing areas of the world have hit harvests in the last few years. Grain stocks are at a historic low;

· Biofuels are competing with food for arable land, with both the US and the EU mandating their use. About 30% of the US corn crop is expected to be diverted to biofuels this year;

· Speculative trading in agricultural commodities has grown dramatically. Several big investment banks have launched agricultural commodity index funds, as they look for new areas to make profits in following the credit crunch. The result has been enormous fluctuations in market prices that do not appear to relate to changes in fundamentals such as supply and demand. Four years ago $10-15bn was invested in agricultural commodities funds - now that figure is more than $150bn. Wall Street investment funds own 40% of US wheat futures and more than one fifth of US corn futures.

read more at the Guardian

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