Week ending 12.09.05


Keeping a stiff upper lip during an emotional event can impair your memory, research suggests. Those who battled to hide their emotions paid a cognitive price and were less able to recall the upsetting episode than others, a study found.

The work described in New Scientist involved more than 200 volunteers. James Gross, Stanford University, and Jane Richards, the University of Texas at Austin, published their study in the Journal of Research and Personality.

Repressing emotions has worked very well for me thanks very much, just ask my ex-girlfriends


Prince Charming
Prince Harry has used interviews for his 21st birthday to say he loves “to bits” Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and apologise for his Nazi uniform stunt. He said Camilla was “not the wicked stepmother” but a “wonderful woman” who made Prince Charles “very, very happy”.

He also said his choice of a Nazi uniform for a fancy dress party earlier this year “was a very stupid thing to do and I’ve learnt my lesson”. The prince was expected to spend his birthday on Thursday on Army training. “I’m not having a party. I’ll probably be in a ditch in the middle of Wales. I might let off a party popper,” the prince said.

I heard the Prince being interviewed on Radio 4 this morning, and I do not think that I have heard a more well rehearsed, scripted interview in quite some time.

The only interesting thing about the interview is when he said that he was fortunate that William and himself grew up together. It is difficult to describe, but something about his tone, something about his turn of phrase, made me thing that there was another option.


There has been a low-key start to three days of fuel price protests, with small numbers of demonstrators at refineries. Organisers said the campaign was meant to be symbolic and that the government was already on the “back foot”.

After panic buying on Tuesday saw many garages sell out of petrol, suppliers said forecourts were being replenished. Activists are angry that the government has not cut fuel duty despite rocketing oil prices. But they said they will not blockade depots, as happened in 2000.

This is because nobody can get to the protests because they have no petrol.  Either that or they can not get to a protest because of the rolling blockades. Perhaps that protest is too effective.


Ashes to Ashes
Tens of thousands of fans are expected to pack the streets of London on Tuesday to cheer the England cricket team after their stunning Ashes win. Captain Michael Vaughan and his team will celebrate in an open-topped bus before a ceremony in Trafalgar Square.

The team will end the day at Lord’s where they will ceremonially hand over the Ashes urn for safe-keeping. England won back the Ashes for the first time since 1987 when they drew the final Test at The Oval on Monday.

Reflecting on the momentous victory and the reaction of the public, Vaughan told BBC Sport: “It’s amazing to see the front pages and hear people’s responses.

This has truly been an England year. World cup Rugby from Australia, Olympics from France, and now Ashes from Australia, all in all it has been a good year for rubbing our noses in the faces of those that have taunted us for so long. The irony of it all is that we only care so much because our opponents care more.


Hong Kong Disneyland
Disney has opened a new $1.8bn (£1bn) theme park in Hong Kong, the firm’s biggest foray into the Chinese market. Hong Kong Disneyland, based on Lantau Island, is expected to attract more than five-and-a-half million visitors in its first year.

The project is 57% owned by the Hong Kong government, and is expected to generate $19bn over the next 40 years. Characters such as Alice in Wonderland sing and speak in Cantonese, while Chinese food is sold around the park.

The theme park was opened by Chinese Vice-President Zeng Qinghong and other guests included Hong Kong’s chief executive Donald Tsang and Disney boss Michael Eisner. Guests watched a traditional Chinese lion dance performed in front of an enormous fairytale-style castle. Disney hopes the park will tap into Hong Kong’s appeal to newly-wealthy mainland Chinese and their children as a shopping and leisure centre. I have to say that I would prefer to go to the Chinese Disney over the French one any day. At least you can guarantee that the food will be better and the place would be clean, no dogs…oh yes, and there are no French. Is ‘Hong Kong Fuei’ from Disney?

Other news this week:

More than 600 patients who were treated by a bogus dentist are being warned they may have been put at risk of contracting HIV and hepatitis. Omid Amidi-Mazaheri was jailed for two years in March for treating patients at practices in Norbury, Tulse Hill and East Dulwich, south-east London.

Health authorities fear the 41-year-old from East Dulwich, may not have followed infection control procedures. Letters have been sent out to arrange blood tests for the patients involved.Amidi-Mazaheri carried out often painful treatment, between September 2002 and February 2004, and used the profits to fund a luxury lifestyle.

He drilled out cavities without a local anaesthetic then installed expensive fillings that crumbled within days. On one of the rare occasions when he did give an injection, he dropped a piece of equipment down the patient’s throat.

His girlfriend, qualified dentist Mogjan Azari, was also jailed for a year. Between them they are believed to have pocketed more than £120,000.

Like going to the dentist was not nerve racking enough, now we have to worry about whether the dentist is qualified or weather they are putting you through all that pain for their own pleasure. I wonder what he was before he decided to be a fake dentist. A plasterer, a driller, or a torturer for the German SS

Freed Willie
Wildlife experts in the US are trying to save eight dolphins swept away from their aquarium after Hurricane Katrina. The animals were sighted off the Mississippi coastline on Saturday after being washed away from the Marine Life Aquarium in Gulfport.

Rescuers plan to train them to jump on to mats alongside their boats and take them to salt-water tanks to recover. The bottlenose dolphins have lived most of their lives in captivity and cannot fend for themselves in the wild.

Now what makes them think that the dolphins want to go back into their cage? Life may be tougher on the outside but at least give them a chance to try. Or is this all about what the zoo wants rather than what is best for them?

Uncooked chop
A Melbourne woman who stabbed her elderly mother 48 times in a dispute over undercooked lamb chops could walk free as soon as this afternoon. A judge has ruled Julie Smith, 49, has already served enough jail time over the incident involving her 71-year-old mother Barbara Smith.

Smith has pleaded guilty to intentionally causing serious injury to her mother at their home in the Melbourne suburb of Broadmeadows on January 27 last year.

In sentencing today, Victorian Supreme Court judge Bernard Teague imposed a four-year prison term, but said Smith should be eligible for parole immediately. He said the time she had spent in custody since the crime was enough.

Well it has to be said that nobody should stand between a person and their food. I am liable to get a little upset if my chicken is not well done….I have a machete above the door.

Estate agents
The estate agents of Baton Rouge are laughing – literally bursting into giggles. The nearest city to New Orleans is bursting at the seams with evacuees who have fled Hurricane Katrina.

No-one knows exactly how many of the Big Easy’s 450,000 residents have ended up in Baton Rouge, 112km (70 miles) to the north-west, but estimates range from 100,000 to more than 200,000 – doubling the size of the state capital overnight. And with all those people needing a place to stay, real estate is at a premium.

Americans are not doing themselves any favours. First taking their time getting to the poor in New Orleans, and now demonstrated their ability to “kick a person when they are down”.

I guess the UK is no different as our hotel rates went through the roof on the day of the Underground bombings. Maybe that is why prices in south London are cheaper than north. Someone out there is biding their time before opening the Thames barrier.

The top US emergencies official has resigned following criticism over the response to Hurricane Katrina. Michael Brown, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (Fema), had already been dumped as head of the rescue effort by President George Bush.

News of his resignation came after the president visited central New Orleans for the first time since the disaster. In the city, the bodies of 45 mostly elderly patients have been found in a flooded hospital. The overall confirmed death toll in the southern states affected by Hurricane Katrina has passed 500. Officials have said the final number of dead could be much lower than the thousands feared initially.

Opinion polls show deep dissatisfaction with Mr Bush’s handling of the crisis. Mr Brown said he was quitting “in the best interest of the agency and best interest of the president”. “The president appreciates Mike Brown’s service,” White House spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters on board Air Force One. “This was Mike Brown’s decision. This was a decision he made.”

You would think that he would hold on until the crisis was over. Now someone else has to start from scratch with no plan at all. Notice the White House response, it certainly does not read like it was Brown’s choice to resign.

Gamma rays
Astronomers have witnessed the most distant cosmic explosion on record: a gamma-ray burst that has come from the edge of the visible Universe. Gamma-ray bursts are intense flares of high-energy radiation that appear without warning from across the cosmos.

They can release as much energy in a few minutes as our Sun will emit in its expected 10-billion-year lifetime. The blast was observed by the Swift space telescope and by a number of ground-based observatories.

The latest, record gamma-ray burst was detected on 4 September, 2005, and lasted about three minutes. It probably marked the death of a massive star as it collapsed into a black hole. It has a so-called redshift of 6.29, which translates to a distance of about 13 billion light-years from Earth.

Hey maybe these gamma rays will fall to earth spawning a new generation of evolved humans with individual special powers…ummm I see a film in this somewhere.

Belfast violence again
At least 18 police officers have been hurt in a second night of rioting in Belfast and counties Antrim and Down. At one point a mob of about 700 in east Belfast hurled petrol bombs and opened fire on the security forces.

Vehicles were hijacked and burned across the city. The trouble followed riots on Saturday sparked by the re-routing of an Orange Order march. Police said 13 people are expected to appear in Belfast Magistrates Court on charges related to the weekend rioting.

Saturday saw the worst rioting in the city for years and Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde has ordered a major investigation into what happened. The police later put on show a Land Rover with bullets embedded in the side following weekend attacks by loyalist gunmen.

It is ironic that the IRA has renounced violence, but it is now the British in Ireland that are rioting and fighting.

Motorists may have to make a “minimum purchase” at petrol pumps to prevent panic-buying in the event of refinery blockades, fuel retailers have warned. Ray Holloway, director of the Petrol Retailers Association, said drivers queued needlessly with nearly-full tanks during the fuel protests in 2000.

A government-set minimum purchase could help prevent similar scenes, he said. Protests against the fuel tax are being planned after the price of unleaded reached £1 a litre in parts of the UK. Mr Holloway told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that trading at the weekend was “heavy” but denied panic-buying had taken place.

The last time this happened there were queues for petrol and neighbours carrying out late night siphonings. Gordon Brown is telling people not to panic buy and is considering rationing the petrol. Good thinking, that will not cause people to panic.

Naked Frenchmen
Almost 1,500 men and women have stripped naked in the name of art in the French city of Lyon. The volunteers gathered before dawn to join the latest nude photo shoot by New York artist Spencer Tunick.

Directed by the artist from a crane, they posed with arms and legs in the air between shipping containers in Lyon’s port, and on a waterfront. Previous shoots have been held in New York, Belgium, Barcelona and Brazil, as well as London and Tyneside in the UK.

This is a rare sight indeed, the French not covering up anything, although it is not the first time they have left themselves exposed. Now when they speak it will either be the naked truth or a bare arse lie.

Eat my hat
A humbled BBC radio presenter will pay more than £1,600 to charity after rashly predicting England would thrash Northern Ireland. Of course, Northern Ireland ended up with a historic 1-0 win, in what was the first time England had been beaten in Belfast for 78 years.

Radio Ulster’s Stephen Nolan promised to pay 50p for every text message received which paid tribute to David Healy’s winner at Windsor Park. More than 3,200 messages were received in the space of an hour on Nolan’s Thursday morning show, as listeners rang in to berate the embarrassed presenter. A red-faced Nolan later handed over a cheque to victorious manager Lawrie Sanchez.

Now that is what you call putting your money where your mouth is, but he then compounded the issue by telling everyone to text into his radio. He could have made a smaller voluntary donation and still kept his promise. This is clearly a case of “more money than sense.”

Selling data
Many people are taking risks with data on hard drives and memory cards which they are selling via eBay, say experts. Letters, resumes, spreadsheets, phone numbers and e-mail addresses were all found on storage hardware bought and analysed by forensics firm Disklabs.

Also recoverable were temporary files from net browsers which contained login details and passwords for websites and even online bank accounts. The problems arose because sellers were only taking basic steps to delete data.

Disclabs director Mr Steggles, said “In such cases, recovering data is very straight-forward for forensic firms and, perhaps, technically-aware thieves. What users needed to realise, he said, was how hard it was to destroy data. Even formatting hard drives and other memory cards would not irrevocably remove information stored on them.

If users were worried about potentially sensitive data, said Mr Steggles, they should use a professional forensics firm to erase it “Alternatively,” he said “they could smash it to bits.”

I guess that it is fair to say that not many people have a high powered electro magnet to sweep the hard drive. It makes you wonder about every pc you have ever worked and left personal information on. I like the “smash it to bits” option.

“One can never cross the same river twice”


~ by jeditopcat on 8 November, 2008.

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