We the peoples of the United Nations determined

Historical documents tend to communicate a lot about the social climate at the time, and landmark documents are often charged with feeling. The preamble to the United Nations Charter tells us that the world was tired of war, and incensed by the degradation of humanity:


  • to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind, and
  • to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small, and
  • to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained, and
  • to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,


  • to practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbours, and
  • to unite our strength to maintain international peace and security, and
  • to ensure, by the acceptance of principles and the institution of methods, that armed force shall not be used, save in the common interest, and
  • to employ international machinery for the promotion of the economic and social advancement of all peoples,


In the current state of the world, it reads like an overly optimistic but well-intentioned new years resolution. That said, I find it difficult to read without feeling the sincere will behind it; this strengthens my resolve to stand by my own convictions.

If you eat cancer, do you get cancer?

Time for a crackpot cancer theory… in the form of a few quick thoughts:

  • If you eat cancer, do you get cancer?
  • Do they scan farm animals for cancer?
  • Why do vegans have lower incidences cancer?

Cue spooky noises.

Update: Found this page on a similar subject. Here’s a quote:

Epidemiologically, the intake of animal source food correlates with the country-by-country incidence of six types of cancer. Although none of the reporting countries can be assumed to have large vegan or even vegetarian populations, it appears that the less animal source food per capita, the lower the cancer rate.

Sounds a bit more sophisticated that the title of this blog post…

It’s time to go home (songs)

Jim and I carpool into work, and often (at the end of each day) someone has to suggest that it’s time to go home (because the other person is engrossed in work).

The other day, I decided that this suggestion needs to be a musical affair and performed the following to the tune of Europe‘s “Final Countdown“:

It’s time to go-o home, na na na nar, nananununar

Not very cerebral, but a decent match to the tune. It would suffice… for a while.

Later that day I realised that Steve Dorff and John Bettis’ “As Long As We Got Each Other” (the theme song to 80’s sitcom Growing Pains) provides the perfect tune for a it’s-to-go-home song. So the following day, I reminded Jim that it was time to go by singing:

It’s time to go home again
Don’t waste another minute on your coding
With or without you Jim
The trip is ready to begin

Oooohhh, as long as you keep on working
There is no way that I can head on home
Captain, you and me, we gotta be
Heading home now as quick as can be

As long as you keep on stalling
You’re stopping me from being on my way
Captain, all the time, rain or shine
We carpool together, sharing all the petrol costs

I don’t expect that I will top that; so there will be no more going home songs. Although I’m definitely open to suggestions!

Update: Just in case anyone was wondering, one of Jim’s (many) nicknames is “The Captain”. Oh, and we’re programmers (hence the “coding” reference).

Video of the Growing Pains opening after the jump.
Continue reading “It’s time to go home (songs)”

Wii Balance Board

Once again Nintendo comes up with something that makes me more interested in video games!

The Wii Balance Board is a board that a player stands on to interact with games. It contains a bunch of pressure sensors and connects wirelessly to the Nintendo Wii. Users can play games by shifting their weight.

The first game to use the accessory will be Wii Fit. It appears to be a bunch of fitness themed mini-games including (what they clearly hope will sell the device to middle-aged women) some sort of virtual yogalates class. It also uses the device as a scale to determine (presumably approximate) BMI.

Check out this Wii Fit introduction video from the E3 2007 Nintendo press conference:

The Wii Balance Board Wikipedia page mentions that Shigeru Miyamoto (in an interview with IGN) noted that:

Probably the simplest and most straightforward [idea] would be a snowboarding game.

Hell yeah! I want that game!

Update: As an aside, it’s great that Nintendo promotes their products in a very inclusive manner; demonstrating use by a wide range of people and focusing on families. Maybe this will help break the perception of the “video gamer” as social outcast!

Geek shaving gel

I got some shaving gel the other day and today I’m struck by it’s apparent geekiness. It features a range of technologies including:

  • SSE: Shave Surface Enhancing
  • DDS: Dual Delivery System
  • PSP: Prime, Shave, Protect

All of these are acronyms listed on the packaging! On top of that it’s called AlphaGel… okay, you have to be quite pretty geeky to think of an Alpha reference, but the above acronyms are weird…

True to the original (Transformers)

The other day I went to the dentist and then saw the Transformers movie. I didn’t expect to be writing this, but the Transformers movie was more painful…


Now I should explain that the trip to the dentist went well (no cavities or other problems, yay!) and was completely painless. I should also note that the movie wasn’t completely bad, it just had painfully bad moments. I’ll try not to spoil it for anyone who has yet to see it, but I’d like to make a few observations that don’t give away the (thin) plot.

It seems that every “blockbuster” to come out recently breaks new ground!… in advertising and product placement. After being subject to 30 minutes of pre-movie advertisements, I was battered with advertising for another couple of hours during the movie. Aside from the obvious toy and car shilling, glowing portrayals of Ebay and the American Army were also worked into the storyline.

It didn’t stop there, every few minutes some other company or product was brought into the limelight: Nokia, Taco Bell, Mountain Dew, Xbox 360, and a while host of other companies. It was worse than Tom Hanks’ Cast Away (the whole point of which appeared to be for him to sell you Wilson sports gears via FedEx). Seriously, why did I have to pay for a ticket? Did this movie cost anything to make?

Another thing that irritated me about the film was how incredibly cheesy it was. Ham acting aside, the worst offender was Soundwave Frenzy, who was made to “talk” via infantile noises and moved with incredibly hammy mannerisms. The movie was cheesy to the point where it just didn’t make sense (eg. calling robots from outer-space by projecting an Autobot logo onto some clouds… are they Batman?), and felt very much like a Saturday morning kids movie.

Onto more objective factors. I didn’t like the characters at all. They were all very one-dimensional glamorisations of what the producers probably expect members of the target audience want to be. The main character is a whiny middle class boy who fawns over this hot girl he doesn’t really know, but hates how she goes for hot guys who she doesn’t know (huh?). The Transformers themselves have no real personality and few interactions; As a result, they feel more like background scenery than foreground characters.

If there is one thing that saves Transformers, it’s that transforming robots are incredibly cool. Even if you make then look animalistic and give Optimus Prime a mouth (ack!). Anyhow, these considerations bring me to my conclusion…

Conclusion: The new Transformers movie is incredibly true the original: It was devised to sell crap, it’s made for kids, and it doesn’t really make any sense. That said, it’s pretty cool at times… but it could have been cooler.

Conclusion… blackmail?

I came home today to find an unfamiliar pair of sunglasses on the side table in the hall (near where I put my hat and gloves) and a single roll of film placed standing on my desk. Heidi was nowhere to be seen, and the house was eerily quiet… I came to the obvious conclusion: Blackmail!

While mulling over what could be on the film (so that I could decide whether or not to get it developed at the nearby chemist), Heidi called. Apparently the glasses belong to her brother (who visited today), and the film is hers. I suppose that explains everything: They must be in on it together!

I was a little surprised that Heidi would be seeing me as a ruse in order to gather some dirt on me (she seems so genuine). Finally, I decided that it probably isn’t blackmail… (if it were she would keep the film and send photos instead.)

Cheap projector with built-in DVD player (AU$550!)

One of the more difficult things to organise for the OneTwenty Trivia Night was the data projector. We didn’t really want to hire one, and sort of assumed that some friend of some friend would have one that we could borrow. No an ideal situation. Especially not if it inconveniences people. So I made a mental note to think of a better (more permanent) solution.

A few weeks ago, Kmart had a Sansui projector on special for $699 ($799 RRP). That’s very cheap for a brand-new projector. Moreover, it has a built-in speaker and DVD player that can be used to show a slideshow of JPEG images from a CD. Perfect for presentations since we wouldn’t need a laptop! I put it to OneTwenty for consideration, but it was deemed to expensive (and would’ve been too much of a rushed decision).

Jim and I were at Kmart the other day (Jim was buying a present), and I saw the projector behind the Audio/Video counter. I wondered what it was like, so I asked the lady behind the counter if I could have a look at it. It looked perfect; much less “cheap looking” than I expected and it came with all required cables, a remote control, and decent lamp life (“3000 hours STD”). I figured that I would check how much it was:

Beep! $649

Harh. I guess they aren’t selling as well as expected. I thought it was weird for Kmart to have projectors. Maybe they were testing the market waters and it didn’t work out. Still $50 cheaper probably wouldn’t change anything. But then…

Oh wait, I don’t think this scanner is registering today’s 15% discount. Let me scan it again… Beep! $552.20.

$552.20! That’s crazy! I asked Jim what he thought. We should get it. I called people. We should get it. Okay! We got it.

Here it is setup on my dining room table:


and here is a photo of the projected image (from Rushmore, one of my favourite movies):


I think it perfectly suits what we were after:

  1. It’s “plug-and-play” in that it has a built-in speaker and DVD player
  2. It’s portable and comes with all cables (VGA, s-video, RCA)
  3. It has a remote control (for DVD playback and projector settings)
  4. Image quality is fine for presentations, games, and DVDs (800×600 native resolution)
  5. It’s quiet
  6. It’s cheap!

Needless to say, there will soon be a Wii Sports gaming night. Lifesize virtual tennis, golf, and bowling… oh yeah.

Conclusion: Highly recommended for the price!