Thursday, October 05, 2006

Wanna Bet . . .

. . . this guy can't even remember to take out the garbage?

Akira Haraguchi, a Japanese clinical psychologist, set a new world's record by reciting the value of π to a mere 100,000 places. He also held the previous world record of 83,431 places (pieces?) of π.

Doesn't this seem a little too obsessive-compulsive for comfort coming from a psychologist? I can imagine him grilling his couch-bound clients not just on their mothers and fathers, but all their ancestors all the way back to the Book of Genesis, or whatever the Shinto parallel is.

Now I know how much my readership likes a challenge, so why don't you guys take a whack at it too?

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Look out Loch Ness

Here's one for all you cryptozoology fans. This picture was purportedly taken in Kuujjuaraapik this past summer, and shows the footprint of a sea dog, a kind of local monster. Apparently there was a second footprint as well. I have been told that many locals are quite convinced this is genuine.

I googled "sea dog", and it appears that this is not your major league monster: there are just a few scant references mainly from, understandably, seafaring communities.

I'm having trouble with the scale of this photo - is it an aerial photograph of a string bog? If so, this would have to be one magnificently huge creature to leave an impression that big. Also, if you start with the topmost toe, you can trace an unbroken line throughout the entire picture. Is this Nunavik's version of a crop circle hoax?

Are there any local monsters in your neighbourhoods?

Monday, October 02, 2006

Such a Small Piece of Land - So Much Blood

The following link is an incredible visual representation of all the empires, kingdoms and countries which have laid claim to the lands now occupied by the State of Israel. Advertised as "5,000 years of history in 90 seconds", we can see by the ebb and flow of ownership of this mere 8,000 square mile territory that it has always been a hotly contested region.

Maps of War

I have ripped this off the What Fresh Hell Is This? site, which is okay because this blogger acknowledges ripping it off the site.

My question is why has so much blood been spilt over such a small, largely unfertile piece of land? Apart from hereditary notions of a Jewish homeland, why have the Egyptians, Hittites, Greeks, etc., etc., etc., fought to possess this small corner of the globe?

My feeling is that it has nothing to do with the intrinsic, economic worth of the land: it has more to do with consolidation of empires. I mean, what is the point of controling the Nile, the gateway to the continent of Africa, if you have a non-tribute state right on your doorstep?

So, without descending into a debate on the Palestine/Israel or Crusader issues, what are your views?