Thursday, 13 September 2007

Moral dilemmas

Is it unethical to gloat to the cat over the Aussies being beaten in the Twenty20 World Cup by Zimbabwe? Especially as he didn't say a word when they were hammering England last winter.

Always nice to hear from an Aussie captain: "Our batting was diabolical, you can't afford to get off to those starts and that's where we lost the game."

Of course, well one to Zimb, I hope they went out and had a good party last night. And that they're still hung over today when they play England....
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Monday, 10 September 2007

Filling the intertubes

Earlier today I sent out a message to a mailing list, and I got the inevitable out of office replies. I can accept that they're a useful idea, but not when this is the message:

I will be out of the office starting 09/10/2007 and will not return until 09/11/2007.

I will be travelling on business on September 10th. I will respond to your message no later than September 11th.
Thank you for your patience.

In particular note the "I will respond...", not "I may" or "If any action needs to be taken, I will...".

I'm debating whether I should respond with this:
Thank you for your out of office reply. Unfortunately I will be out of my office on September 11th, so I will not be able to reply to the response you have promised until September 12th. I hope the delay this causes does not unduly inconvenience you.

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BBC headline writer clueless

OK folks, what's wrong with this headline?

BBC NEWS | Health | Potato 'fuel of human evolution'

Yes, human evolution occurred in Africa, whilst the potato was happily growing in the Americas.

The story is better, the main results are summarised as:
Compared with primates, humans have many more copies of a gene essential for breaking down calorie-rich starches, Nature Genetics reports.

And these extra calories may have been crucial for feeding the larger brains of humans, speculate the University of California Santa Cruz authors.
So it might be the ability to digest starch that was important.

Perhaps it's also worth pointing out that the author might have been writing for an African audience. I recently found out that what is usually called a potato in Europe and the Americas is called an Irish potato in Africa (or at least some parts of it). This is to distinguish it from other potatoes such as the sweet potato.

EDIT: the headline has now been changed to "Starch 'fuel of human evolution'". I guess someone else pointed out the absurdity too.

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