Weblog on the Internet and public policy, journalism, virtual community, and more from David Brake, a Canadian academic, consultant and journalist

Archive for the 'Interesting facts' Category | back to home

30 January 2009
Filed under:Interesting facts,Old media at6:13 pm

I happened to be looking at the Oxford English Dictionary and I discovered that there’s a recent addition to it: Rashomon (n.) – “…resembling or suggestive of the film Rashomon, esp. in being characterized by multiple conflicting or differing … interpretations.”

You know you’ve arrived when your work becomes an OED-recognised description of something…

The American Petroleum Institute back in the 1950s produced a piece of propaganda not just about the importance and benefits of oil but about the importance of competition in the economy – ironic since only 43 years previously Standard Oil was one of the biggest and most ruthless near-monopolies until it was broken up by the US government.

20 January 2009

Now the ever-expanding Google Transit project includes journey planning covering London and neighboring counties and if you go to London on Google Maps and switch on the transit “layer” your map will be overlaid with a display of all of the lines run by London Transport (ie not including most commuter trains).

Thanks Richy C for the heads up!

14 January 2009

A book by an American who went to Cambridge in the 1840s (available free online). I was just arrested by the address from which the author said he was writing his preface – Horneshook, Hellgate. Turns out there’s a gate to hell in Oregon. Who knew?

An Italian 20 year veteran of the European Parliament shares his thoughts and memories. Here’s something I would love to have seen:

In 1979, Mario Capanna, leader of the Partito di Unità Proletaria, spoke in Latin as a protest, and was answered in Latin by a delighted Otto von Habsburg, son of the last Austro-Hungarian Emperor, and deputy for the Bavarian csu for twenty years.

30 December 2008
Filed under:Interesting facts,Personal at3:03 pm

A content analysis of 40 recent romantic comedies suggests that Hollywood may give teens unrealistic expectations of how romance works out according to a Miller-McCune summary. I always blamed the 19th C fiction I read as a teen for that myself…

24 November 2008
Filed under:Interesting facts at9:47 pm

Is Urban Loneliness a Myth?

This New York Magazine article takes a long time to say a little but it’s an entertaining read and features one of my favorite Internet researchers Keith Hampton, so it’s worth a look. Basically, it’s better not to live with someone than to live with someone you don’t love – friends can substitute for family in keeping you happy and healthy, big city life is more sociable than small town life because there are other people like you to hang out with and the Internet is very handy for similar reasons. Hurray for weak ties!

11 August 2008

Britain From Above seems to be more than usually focused on cross-platform consumption, divided into two minute chunks with pictures and extras online as well as being available on HDTV. Alas two minutes isn’t enough to really dig into any one item but some are interesting – I was intrigued by this glimpse of Lord Abercrombie’s well-meaning but disastrously ill-conceived vision for post-war London:

9 July 2008

I have been listening to the first part of a two part BBC World Service series, Policing the Poppy Fields. It mentioned in passing that Helmand province in Afghanistan produces half of the world’s opium. The number of specialist anti-drug police there? 32. And most disturbing – Afghan production has greatly exceeded global demand for some years. As a result even if the country stopped producing opium entirely there are stockpiles (somewhere) of around 3000 tonnes of the stuff…

29 May 2008

Pat Miller explains how to surf the web, word process, email, do instant messaging and even make Internet phone calls all with a Nintendo DS.

Mind you, at least in the UK at £79 the DS is actually more expensive than an XO (the “one laptop per child“) would be (if we could buy one), and of course it lacks a keyboard. But doing all that on something that was designed to play simple games would certainly be good for one’s geek cred.

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