France Elevates its Security Level – via Alan Williams

As many of you may be aware, in light of the current nightly disturbances occurring all over France, the French government has just announced a raise in its terror alert level from “Run” to “Hide”. The normal level is “General Arrogance”, and the only two higher levels in France are “Surrender” and “Collaborate”. The rise was precipitated by a recent arsonist fire that destroyed France’s white flag factory in an ethnic suburb of Paris, effectively paralyzing the country’s military capability.

It’s not only the French that are on a heightened level of alert: Italy has increased the alert level from “Shout loudly and excitedly” to “Elaborate military posturing”. Two more levels remain, “Ineffective combat operations” and “Change sides”.

The Germans also increased their alert state from “Disdain” to “Dress in uniform and sing marching songs”. They have two higher levels: “Invade a neighbour” and “Lose”.

Seeing this reaction in continental Europe the Americans have gone from “Isolationism” to “Find another oil-rich nation for regime change”. Their remaining higher alert states are “Attack random countries (ideally those without any credible military)” and “Beg the British for help”.

The British are also feeling the pinch in relation to recent bombings and have raised their security level from “Miffed” to “Peeved”. Soon though, security levels may be raised yet again to “Irritated” or even “A Bit Cross”. Londoners have not been “A Bit Cross” since the Blitz in 1940 when tea supplies all but ran out. Terrorists have been re-categorized from “Tiresome” to “Bloody Nuisance”. The last time the British issued a “Bloody Nuisance” warning level was during the Great Fire of 1666.

From Kurtzweil AI – Refocusable pictures

This will be revolutionary:

A computer science Ph.D. student at
Stanford University has outfitted a
16-megapixel camera with a bevy of
micro lenses that allows users to
take photos and later refocus them
on a computer using software he
wrote. Ren Ng's camera pits about
90,000 micro lenses between the main
lens and sensor. The mini lenses
measure all the rays of incoming...

Fern Bud

Fern Bud
Originally uploaded by Andrew Matthews.

This bud for a tree fern was about the size of my hand with fingers outstretched. It would be great to get a time laps of one of these unfolding. mind you, the humidity would have fritzed my camera way before it got through the sequence.

I love the fractal symmetry in the self similarity on each scale. I wonder how many levels of spiral there are in these buds? I guess I could work it out my looking at the levels of structure in an outstretched frond.

Frond – I love that word. I once bought an album by a band called ‘the bevis frond’, just because I loved the word – bloody stupid really, cos the music was an atrocity as I recal, anyway the minds a blank.

Truly google whacked

A bizarrely self referential kind of whacking. I was looking for the URL of Derek’s new blog site (having brill-o-padded the previous link out of existence) only to discover a whacked page about google whacking – on my own site.


I thought this one was so funny I had to immortalise it by posting it here…

Donald Rumsfeld is giving the President his daily briefing. He concludes by saying: “Yesterday, 3 Brazilian soldiers were killed.” “OH NO!” the President exclaims. “That’s terrible!” As the President sits, head in hands, his staff quietly watch this display of emotion. Finally, the President looks up and asks, “How many is a brazillion?”