28 April 2007

Meet My Daemon...

Do you think she suits me? If your've read The Golden Compass, you will know what this is all about. You can cast your vote on my daemon (and get one for yourself too!), just click on the link...

20 April 2007

Hog Farm Quarantined...

Well now! I was wondering just how long it would take the pet-food contaminates to reach the human food supply. It would seem that they have arrived:
Farm Near Modesto Quarantined After Chemical Found...


18 April 2007

That'll Teach Him! (?)

Here's another one for the 'WTF' file. I wonder who was more embarrassed...?


Sudan Man Forced to 'Marry' Goat
A Sudanese man has been forced to take a goat as his "wife", after he was caught having sex with the animal.

The goat's owner, Mr Alifi, said he surprised the man with his goat and took him to a council of elders.

They ordered the man, Mr Tombe, to pay a dowry of 15,000 Sudanese dinars ($50) to Mr Alifi.

"We have given him the goat, and as far as we know they are still together," Mr Alifi said.

Mr Alifi, of Hai Malakal in Upper Nile State, told the Juba Post newspaper that he heard a loud noise around midnight on 13 February and immediately rushed outside to find Mr Tombe with his goat.

"When I asked him: 'What are you doing there?', he fell off the back of the goat, so I captured and tied him up."

Mr Alifi then called elders to decide how to deal with the case.

"They said I should not take him to the police, but rather let him pay a dowry for my goat because he used it as his wife," Mr Alifi told the newspaper.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2006/02/24 16:40:00 GMT


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Tolkien 2.0...?

'New' Tolkien Novel Goes On Sale
A new book by The Lord of the Rings author JRR Tolkien has gone on sale, 34 years after the writer's death.

The Children of Hurin has been completed by his son Christopher from a series of unfinished manuscripts.

Christopher said the story, set long before the events of the Rings trilogy, represents the last major work by his father about Middle-earth.

The book has been illustrated by Alan Lee, who worked on the movie series and helped launch the book in London.

Tolkien's grandson Adam, who worked as assistant editor on the book, was also at the launch.

He said he was "sad" at how some fans have forgotten about who his grandfather actually was.

"Everyone talks about the brand , the franchise and the films. People obviously forget there's a man behind it, that he wrote it for his reasons and the books are wonderful," he added.

"I'm certainly not unhappy about the success they've had, but it's a shame that it should become a brand. It's a work of art."

'Life changing'

One fan at the launch, Australian Asher Solomon, was buying a copy for his older brother who introduced him to The Hobbit when he was 10.

"It was a life-changing moment because it was the first sort of real book that I ever read. He introduced me to the whole genre of fantasy, but the first one's always the best one," he said.

Fans will recognise several passages from the book that have already been published separately.

Christopher Tolkien previously edited another of his father's unfinished works, The Silmarillion, in 1977. This outlines the mythology of Middle-earth and includes individual tales, including that of The Children of Hurin.

"After a long study of the manuscripts, I tried to build a coherent narrative without editorial invention," Christopher said of the latest work.

Speaking to BBC Two's Newsnight Adam said the book had a different tone to the Rings trilogy.

'Beautiful tale'

He said: "It is definitely a tragic tale. I don't know what people will make of it.

"It takes place in a part of Middle-earth that doesn't exist any more when Lord of the Rings takes place but it is very much Middle-earth, it is very much the same world but it is a more serious tale."

He added: "It's a beautiful tale in itself but it may not strike a chord because people feel there aren't enough hobbits in it - because there aren't any."

The Lord of the Rings has sold more than 150 million copies worldwide and was made into three hugely successful films.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2007/04/17 14:25:52 GMT


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Quote of the Day...

"Tiger got to hunt, bird got to fly;
Man got to sit and wonder 'why, why, why?'
Tiger got to sleep, bird got to land;
Man got to tell himself he understand."

--Kurt Vonnegut, Cat's Cradle (1963)

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17 April 2007

Victoria Rules...

Pendleton Sets Sights On Beijing

Interview: Victoria Pendleton By Piers Newbery

Triple world champion Victoria Pendleton is confident Team GB have not peaked with their stunning success at last week's World Track Cycling Championships in Mallorca.

Great Britain topped the medal table with seven golds, two silvers and two bronzes, with Pendleton winning the team and individual sprints and the keirin.

"I feel that we have got an advantage on the field and even if they were to try and emulate us I think it would be quite a hard task," says Pendleton.

"I'm not saying it's impossible but as a sport we've really stepped forward in terms of the equipment we use, aerodynamic studies, support staff, sport psychology - every aspect has been carefully monitored and developed.

"To be honest, touch wood, it's a hard act to follow."

The rest of British sport may also struggle to keep up with our cyclists, as, 16 months away from the Beijing Olympics, the velodrome increasingly looks like being Britain's banker for medals.

"We strive to win medals, and gold medals," she says. "Anything less isn't really good enough.

"When certain members of the team are succeeding it does inspire you. There's a whole new level of how to train because you want to achieve what they achieved.
"I train with the best track team in the world - how lucky am I? I'm in the best possible position to achieve the most that I can."

The 26-year-old from Stotfold admits she finds it "bizarre" that she is now a leading light of Team GB, and the feet-on-the-ground attitude shows no sign of changing despite last week's success.

"I was going out to win medals - I wanted to win a medal - so to come back with three is a big surprise," says Pendleton.

"It's quite surreal, it doesn't really feel like it happened now I'm back home in my flat and everything's quiet and normal."
Pendleton is glowing in her endorsement of everyone involved in British track cycling, and particularly the role of the English Institute of Sport (EIS).

It is not often that an athlete calls back after an interview is finished to further sing the praises of one of the country's more low-key sporting bodies.

Along with her coach, ex-German sprinter and multiple world champion Jan van Eijden, Pendleton cites the strength and conditioning training, nutritional advice and video analysis provided by the EIS as a huge influence on her success.

Another more intriguing factor is the work done behind the scenes by the likes of former Great Britain star Chris Boardman in developing new equipment.

"He tells us that he's producing something amazing but we won't actually know about it until it's there in front of us," says Pendleton. "It's too risky.
"But we know that when it comes to the day of the Olympics we will be provided with the best equipment we could dream of having.

"We know it's going to be developed in secret, behind closed doors... it's quite exciting really."

So Boardman is like Q from the Bond films? "Exactly!" she says. "That's what Chris Boardman is to cycling."

The one subject that can take the shine off Pendleton's sunny mood is the decision of the International Olympic Committee to remove two disciplines from the Beijing track schedule because of the introduction of two BMX events.

"At the very best, I've got the chance of competing in one Olympic event," she says. "Only one.
"So even if I was to produce the best performance of my life and win one Olympic gold medal, how am I supposed to compete with swimmers who can win several?"

Pendleton describes the IOC decision as "devastating", adding: "In track cycling there's not that many medals to be won, and especially being female.

"There are only three women's track titles to be won and the men have seven. For an entire sport it just seems ridiculous, it seems unfair.

"If there was a keirin and a team sprint and a 500m, believe me I'd be going out there to get all four.

"I think having the opportunity to win multiple medals would be amazing and I feel quite upset that I'll never have that opportunity, even if I was in the best form of my life.

"I'm all for BMX becoming a performance sport - I just wish I could ride a BMX bike because I might give that a whirl!"

Whatever the rights and wrongs of the IOC's decision, Pendleton knows she has just one shot at Olympic gold in the individual sprint - at least until London 2012.

"I hope to still be going in 2012," says Pendleton, who will be 32.

"It's an amazing, amazing opportunity to be in an Olympics in your home country. I just really hope that I'm still going."

Story from BBC SPORT:

Published: 2007/04/03 18:47:06 GMT


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O'Grady Storms 'Hell of the North'...

O'Grady Takes Paris-Roubaix Glory

53km of the 259km race is run over cobblestones

Stuart O'Grady became the first-ever Australian winner of cycling's Paris-Roubaix classic on Sunday.
The 33-year-old came home alone ahead of Spain's Juan Antonio Flecha and Swiss former winner Steffen Wesemann.

Britain's Roger Hammond, second in this week's Gent-Wevelgem one-day classic in Belgium, continued his good form by finishing in seventh place.

Switzerland's defending champion Fabian Cancellara dropped out of contention late on in 'The Hell of the North'.

Italian Alessandro Ballan, last week's Tour of Flanders winner, also failed to keep up with the pacesetters in the decisive latter stages.

The finale of the race was brought to life by O'Grady, who made up for team-mate Cancellara's demise by attacking on his own in the final 25km.

Before Sunday's win, O'Grady's last major victory was in 2004 when he teamed up with Graeme Brown to win Madison gold at the Athens Olympics.

He switched to CSC following a period in which his career stalled because of a major crash and a move to a team which did not materialise.

"Relief is the first word that comes to mind," said O'Grady. "It's been a hard 18 months, I've been through a lot. It's a dream come true."


Paris-Roubaix results:

1. Stuart O'Grady (Aus/Team CSC) 6 hours 9 mins 7 secs
2. Juan Antonio Flecha (Spa/Rabobank) at 52 secs
3. Steffen Wesemann (Swi/Team Wiesenhof) same time
4. Bjoern Leukemans (Belg/Predictor-Lotto) +53"
5. Roberto Petito (Ita/Liquigas) +55"
6. Tom Boonen (Bel/Quick Step) "
7. Roger Hammond (GB/T-Mobile) "
8. Enrico Franzoi (Ita/Lampre) +56"
9. Kevin Van Impe (Bel/Quick Step) +1:24"
10. Fabio Baldato (Ita/Lampre) +2:27"

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15 April 2007


Thank you, Jackie Robinson...