Friday, February 29, 2008

Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune -- and Planet X

Scientists at a Japanese university said Thursday they believed another planet up to two-thirds the size of the Earth was orbiting in the far reaches of the solar system. The researchers at Kobe University in western Japan said calculations using computer simulations led them to conclude it was only a matter of time before the mysterious "Planet X" was found.
But, Pluto is still delisted...

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Focused listening

Podcasts (such an ugly word) are among my many favourite Internet things. But a daily frustration is being unable to spare the time to listen to my many favourites, especially Fresh Air and other, select, NPR broadcasts, the many NY Times offerings and those of the BBC.

Because, you need to actually listen, don't you?

For too many years, I have used the sound of the radio, and the television, as background noises on which I "bounce off my concentration". In other words, the very act of needing to block out those noises in order to concentrate has become my favourite technique FOR concentrating. [And if that sounds weird to you, well, your loss, not mine].

But, then along came podcasts, and the very real opportunity and desire to spend far more time listening attentively over prolonged periods. And there is the drag. All too often, I find the simple act of listening to a well structured, entertaining and informative podcast requires my full attention.

Background noise? Yes, great tool for focusing, even for entertaining. And with so much silly noise around, well, letting the mind focus on other thoughts rarely meant too much was sacrificed. But now, I really want to listen in a considered manner for long periods of time -- and yet my mind cannot stay still, focused on this one act. I find myself moving off, glancing at that magazine or newspaper, checking through the new entrants into my Google Reader or inbox, checking out my list of sites for the day.

And yet again, I pause, refocus and find my mind has once again tuned the voices out, and the story line has moved on; me no wiser.

Thank heaven for the rewind.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A very good point

Why don't newspaper websites put advertising info online?
Most blogs have an "Advertise Here" link that lets visitors check out rates and upload their ads. What if you want to advertise on a newspaper's website? "Look for how to do it. Not easy," says Douglas McLennan.

Combatting star inflation

Japan's energy saver stars are set for a revamp, after star inflation, particularly on plasma tvs, skyrocketed.
After tightening the conditions, about 3 percent of TVs currently sold in Japan will be able to win the five stars, they said, adding that 33 percent will have four stars and 35 percent will have three stars.

Media constructs

Interesting quote from the Democrats Senator Natasha Stott Despoja in this week's Australian Story on ABC TV:
I think a lot of people saw her shaped very early in this media construct. I know that from personal experience that once people determine a particular image for you, and the media determines that’s how you’re to be portrayed, not a lot of people, particularly early entrants to politics, have the power to influence or change that.
It plays interestingly in the context of my book and the behaviour of Australian journalists.