Hungry Planet

7 02 2009

I remember this book when it came out now I can see that it can be browsed on Google Books.  It features photos of 30 families around the world and the food they consume in a wehungryplanetek. I remember noticing how people from Western countries often ate the worst food, lots of processed stuff, boxed etc. The problem with nutrition is that every week we read something new, some new research says that eating this is worse than thought, eating that causes dementia or whatever.  I’ve reached the simple conclusion that a good diet is a bit of everything in moderation, I’ve a sweet tooth that I need to please from time to time, but I try to have as much variety of food as possible so I cannot be that wrong. Oops this is a healthy nutrition test.


The report of my death is an exaggeration

3 02 2009

Another gem on Wikipedia. This is about when media reported someone’s death too soon, when the subject was still alive. We all know about the rumours about Steve Jobs that have circulated recently or about Paul McCartney allegedly substituted by a lookalike but there are a lot more.
For instance:
Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother’s death was erroneously announced in the Australian media in 1993 after a London-based Sky News employee saw an internal rehearsal for her future death (one of many conducted by the UK media over the years). Thinking it was for real, he phoned his mother in Australia with the ‘news’, who passed it on to the media.[138] The time zone difference may have made it difficult for the Australian media to check the story during UK night-time. The employee was sacked for the mistake, but then won a lawsuit for wrongful dismissal.
Ernest Hemingway: after the author and his wife Mary Welsh Hemingway were involved in two African plane crashes in 1954, newspapers reported that both had died. Hemingway survived, but suffered extensive injuries which affected him for the rest of his life. AE Hotchner claimed that Hemingway read a scrap book of his obituaries every morning with a glass of champagne after the incident.
But I think the following deserves a prize:
Multiple premature obituaries came to light on 16 April 2003, when it was discovered that pre-written draft memorials to several world figures were available on the development area of the CNN website without requiring a password (and may have been accessible for some time before).[187] The pages included tributes to Fidel Castro, Dick Cheney, Nelson Mandela, Bob Hope, Gerald Ford, Pope John Paul II, and Ronald Reagan.

Some of these obituaries contained fragments taken from others, particularly from Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother’s obituary, which had apparently been used as a template. Dick Cheney for example was described as the ‘UK’s favorite grandmother’, the site noted the Pope’s ‘love of racing’, and described Castro as ‘lifeguard, athlete, movie star’ (a reference to Ronald Reagan).

Faces in the movies

2 02 2009



James Joyce

2 02 2009

James Joyce was born today in 1882 in Dublin. I’ve always found the stream of consciousness of his most famous book “Ulysses” extremely fascinating but I’ve never been able to go further than page 32.

One curiosity from Joyce’s biography is that as an Irishman raised in a Catholic environment, he met his partner in 1903, they had children lived together in several places in Europe and finally married in 1931.

This is the downloadable version of  Ulysses or the more accessible The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

Guy Fawkes

31 01 2009

Guy Fawkes

Originally uploaded by James Wadsworth

Today in 1606 Guy Fawkes was executed for trying to blow up the Parliament. The same year Parliament decided to have the 5th of November (the first anniversary of the gunpowder plot)  as a day of thanksgiving, therefore the origins of this day are not the celebration of someone that these days would be called a terrorist as some people think. According to Wikipedia though Guy Fawkes ranked 30th in the BBC list of The Greatest Britons voted by viewers in 2001. He came just after David Bowie and before Alexander Bell or Charles Dickens and Boy George (who, I have to admit, I don’t understand why should be in the list at all, but maybe I’m missing something important here).

Fyodor Mikhaylovich Dostoyevsky

28 01 2009

Fyodor  Dostoyevsky died today in 1881. Sadly I  have to admit that although he is considered one of the best novelists ever I’ve not read most of his books.


To make up for it here’s a link to some of his books, I believe they are in the public domain by now. As a curiosity Dostoyevsky was painfully shy and also suffered from recurrent depressions. He also spent four years in a Siberian jail and with the book The House of the Dead started the Russian tradition of prison camp literature.

Man only likes to count his troubles, but he does not count his joys.

Fyodor Dostoevsky