Archive for the ‘Latest world news’ Category

Ten points to whoever can spot what’s wrong with this pic… and then caption it.


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I just wasn’t expecting to to happen so quickly. Still, despite the sadness of the affair, every famous death comes with a certain amount of humor, and some of these jokes, while tasteless, ARE funny. For example:

Michael Jackson is not going to be buried or cremated but recycled into shopping bags so he can remain white, plastic and dangerous for kids to play with.

Your best MJ jokes in the comments, please!

[Link: Dead Michael Jackson Jokes, thanks cligor!]

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Looks like we might have to say goodbye to wheat products if the fears of a group of scientists are realized. These products include bread, cereals, cakes, and biscuits. A fungus that infects common wheat, Ug99, appears to be spreading around the world fast, and might quickly kill off one of the world’s largest cash crops if something isn’t done to stop it. According to the article in the LA Times:

The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center in Mexico
estimates that 19% of the world’s wheat, which provides food for 1
billion people in Asia and Africa, is in imminent danger. American
plant breeders say $10 billion worth of wheat would be destroyed if the
fungus suddenly made its way to U.S. fields.

Scientists have perhaps managed to breed a strain of wheat that is resistant to Ug99, but it would mean replacing and propogating this new breed across the world.

It highlights a larger problem with world cash crops in general: they’re highly prone to sudden attacks from a single source, purely because, through farming methods, genetic diversion isn’t happening anymore. Bananas are a very good example of a crop that is in danger of being wiped out as a human-consumable food. This is the precise reason, for example, that Australian immigration is very tough on what comes into the country.

So enjoy your breads while you can!

[Link: LA Times – A ‘time bomb’ for world wheat crop]

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The author that introduced me to an ongoing love of fantasy books, David Eddings, passed away on Tuesday 2 June 2009, at the age of 77. Eddings’ two most popular series, the Belgariad and the Malloreon, are still two of the most popular bildungsroman series written, and haven’t been out of print since they were first published back in the early 1980s. The series is still one of my favorites, and holds a very special place in my heart.

[David’s publisher, Jane] Johnson said he would be missed “tremendously” at HarperCollins, which published his last title, The Elder Gods, in 2006. “He was a towering force of modern commercial fiction, a master of the epic, and a delight to work with,” she said. “The Voyager team and I were immensely sad to hear the news.”

My condolences to David’s family. The world of literature is far, far poorer for the loss.

[Link: The Guardian – Fantasy master David Eddings dies aged 77]

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I’d love to know a bit more about this clip. Anyone know its origin?

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The Linux share of computers around the world is increasing, and people are beginning to notice that there are more operating systems than just “Microsoft” and “Apple”. My personal tendency is toward Linux, mostly because, unlike Windows, it doesn’t treat you like an idiot. The best thing about it? It’s free. Anyhow, it seems that the French national police have discovered that they can cut their IT costs by an amazing 70% simply by making the switch from Windows to Linux.

According to the article:

Until 2004, a large part of the IT budget was spent on software licences — between 12,000 and 15,000 licenses each year. In 2004, an accountant in the Gendarmerie Nationale tried OpenOffice and, after finding it a surprisingly competent replacement for its paid counterpart, started pushing for it to be adopted within the organization instead of Microsoft Office.

After a while, the police force completely switched over to OpenOffice for all their office needs along with adopting Thunderbird for email and Firefox for browsing. The switch was easy and required little to no training since the open source apps had a similar interface to the paid ones.

In 2007, they decided to go one step further and switch to an open operating system.

Now that’s gotta hurt Microsoft’s pocket just a little bit. Still, that’s a minor loss compared to entire countries (Russia and Cuba, for example) abandoning Microsoft altogether.

My personal recommendation is that you at the VERY least go take a look at what the fuss is all about. If you head over to the Ubuntu website, you can ask them to ship you a free Ubuntu Linux CD. Not a trial version, but a full, working operating system. Best thing? You can try it before you install it and see if you like it.

[Link: Unixmen – French police switch from Windows to Linux]

[Link: Unixmen – Cuba says ‘No More Microsoft’, joins the Linux bandwagon]

[Link: OSNews – Russia to develop nationwide alternative to Windows]

[Link: Ubuntu Linux]

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As from a BCC news article “Zimbabwe prices begin to fall“:

Prices of goods bought in US dollars, Zimbabwe’s new official currency, fell by up to 3% in January and February.

I blinked, and when I opened my eyes,  Africa started using the green back?

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