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article archives at abelard's news and comment zonetopic archives: fun: for previously archived fun news articles, visit the news archive page (click on the button to the left)
XII-2004: 06 11 19 28 | I-2005: 29 |II-2005: 01 06 10 16 17 25 | III-2005: 04 08 11 17 30

New translation, the Magna Carta

K 'Y

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vincent van gogh’s birthday

As celebrated by Google:

Google regularly provides variants on its logo. Logos for 2005 (so far) are available on this page. The page also has links to Google logos from previous years.

Vincent Van Gogh was born on 30 March 1853 and died on 29 July 1890.
Here is a biography with images.

the web address for the article above is






moo, or quack, or summat!

"Scientists injected human brain cells into mouse foetuses, creating a
strain of mice that were approximately 1% human. Weissman is considering a
follow-up that would produce mice whose brains are 100% human."

Ho hum, the world is a’changing!

the web address for the article above is


egoogle front page

search result for

elgoog search result for

credit and original page url:

elgoog search result for

To use elgoog, you must type your search term in reverse: gro.draleba, not If you have problems reading the result, hold a mirror to the computer screen or learn to read backwards!

This ‘mirror site’ now has a serious side:

“1.12. Did people in China really use the Google Mirror after China blocked Google?
Yes. We received numerous emails from web surfers in China thanking us for this service.
1.13. I heard that China also blocked other websites that used Google. Why didn't China block elgooG too?
We believe that elgooG survived the Great Firewall of China because the firewall operators thought that elgooG was a joke and not a fully functional version of Google.” [Quoted from elgoog.faqs]

It is a way, for the moment, for inhabitants of China to circumvent the current Google block in that country.

“Google has been blocked inside China since at least 1 September. It emerged on Friday that a second search engine Altavista is also restricted. The action has come under criticism from western human rights groups and journalist's organisations.

“China's government routinely blocks access to news sites that host content they consider unacceptable, such as the BBC's news site. Web proxies including and, which can be used to view pages on one site through another, are also blocked.

“The reason for the latest restrictions is not clear but observers have speculated that government elections in November could have prompted a crack down on access to information via the internet.” [Quoted from New Scientist]

the web address for the article above is

on being swiss

“Moving house is said to be one of life's most stressful experiences but, in Switzerland, it is made even more stressful by strict requirements on how you leave your old home. Imogen Foulkes moved house recently and describes the day the hygiene inspector came to call.”

“ My own interpretation has to do with the role of women in Swiss society - those with children often do not work.

“That means hundreds of thousands of women in small apartments, with no gardens and time on their hands.

“A recent survey revealed that the average Swiss woman can spend at least two hours - every day - on housework.”

the web address for the article above is

go hog hunting in texas without leaving your screen in new york or london

“We have developed a system where you can control a pan/tilt/zoom camera and a firearm to shoot at real targets in real time.”

Or shoot real cute sheep.

Target shooting also available for the squeamish.

Keep in practice until Britain gets a decent government who allows the law-abiding to shoot and hunt; not just the crooks!

the web address for the article above is

the difference between a motor mechanic and a body mechanic

A mechanic removing a cylinder head from the motor of a Harley when he spotted a well-known heart surgeon in his shop.

The mechanic said "Hey, Doc, can I ask you a question?"

The surgeon walked over to the mechanic working on the motorcycle.

The mechanic straightened up, wiped his hands and asked, "So Doc, look at this engine. I open its heart, take the valves out, fix 'em, put 'em back in, and when I finish, it works just like new. So how come I get such a small salary, and you get the really big bucks when you and I are doing basically the same work?"

The surgeon smiled, leaned over to the mechanic, "Try doing it with the engine running."

[Thieved from bradenblog]

the web address for the article above is

lance legstrong rides again!

The greatest athlete on the planet goes for no. 7 in this year’s Tour de France!

Meanwhile, the attempt to stop him goes onward:

“The mountaintop finishes are less intense and the time trials shorter this year. Both are disciplines where Armstrong excelled in the past, so the changes may mean he will have fewer opportunities to take huge chunks of time off his rivals.”

related material
le Tour de France 1: the greatest show on Earth
le Tour de France 2: preparing for the Great Day
le Tour de France 3: the Great Day arrives
Le Tour de France 4: in the Pyrenées
Le Tour de France: photo album 1
Le Tour de France: photo album 2

the web address for the article above is

2005: las vegas turns 100

“When you fly to Las Vegas at night, a blaze of multicoloured lights appears amid the yawning darkness of the desert. When you drive into town from California or the Grand Canyon, you pass through miles and miles of empty sand before ... bam! A wall of neon hits you in the face. Day and night the slots jangle, the cocktails flow, the buffets groan and the Hawaiian shirts clash, while the famous Strip is as dazzling and bustling and glaring and clinking and glittering as it ever was in the movies.

“In her early days, Las Vegas was a wild thing who ran with a bad crowd. She was born with the advent of the railroad through the Nevada desert, set up as a tent town for workers in May 1905.”

“When I went to The Venetian for a gondola ride, they asked me: 'Indoor or outdoor canal?' That's my kind of canal. If you have never sailed past a perfect replica of St Mark's Square, inside a giant building, serenaded by a singing gondolier from Minnesota, then you haven't lived.”

the birthday party
“Stacy Allsbrook, a native of Las Vegas [is] charged with planning a full year of centennial celebrations, including the world's biggest birthday cake and a huge outdoor concert with big-name performers (she won't say who) on the 4 July holiday.”

some background
“The nightclubs, casinos, and championship boxing matches are world famous, and entertainment enterprises have led to an increasing array of music, sports, gambling, and amusement centers up and down the main “strip,” as the city succeeded in the 1990s in redefining itself as a family resort, complete with monorail (opened 2004). Its 1,149-ft (350-m) Stratosphere Tower is the country's tallest observation tower. The city is also the commercial hub of a ranching and mining area and has diverse manufacturing, including gaming equipment.

“In the 19th cent. Las Vegas was a watering place for travelers bound for southern California. In 1855–57 the Mormons maintained a fort there, and in 1864, Fort Baker was built by the U.S. army. In 1867 Las Vegas was detached from the Arizona Territory and joined to Nevada. Its main growth began with the completion of a railroad in 1905. A branch of the Univ. of Nevada is there. Nellis Air Force Base lies to the north of the city, and Hoover Dam is nearby.”

early history
“The exact date is unknown, but Rafael Rivera became the first known non-Indian to set foot in the oasis-like Las Vegas Valley.

“The abundant artesian spring water discovered at Las Vegas shortened the Spanish Trail to Los Angeles, eased rigors for Spanish traders and hastened the rush west for California gold. Between 1830 and 1848, the name "Vegas," as shown on maps of that day, was changed to Las Vegas which means "The Meadows" in Spanish.”

“The Mormons planted fruit trees, cultivated vegetables and mined lead for bullets at Potosi Mountain. Mormon pioneers abandoned the settlement in 1858, partly because of Indian raids. A portion of the "Mormon Fort" has withstood the ravages of time and is an historic site today near the intersection of Las Vegas Boulevard North and Washington Avenue. Scientists began an archeological dig on the site in November 1992.”

the photos

what to do if you visit las vegas
Take the new monorail, “a driverless, state-of-the-art urban public transportation system that operates on a route approximately 4 miles long along the east side of the famous Las Vegas Strip. It directly connects to 8 major resorts, over 24,700 hotel rooms, and 9 convention facilities, including the world’s largest convention center.” [The page also has other information about the monorail.]

This page has a cycling series of views of Las Vegas sights.

A list of Las Vegas attractions.

A list of attractions near to Las Vegas [this is about halfway down the page, which includes many other ‘facts’ about Las Vegas.]
the web address for the article above is

hillary for pres

From one of several reports on the developing campaign trail for 2008:

“Raising aloft what she described as one of the favourites from her collection of AK47 automatic weapons, Mrs Clinton declared to wild cheers:

"If they think some unelected judge in Washington is going to take away my constitutional rights, let them think again! Let them try! Let them come! I'd like to see them. They'll have to prise this beauty from my cold, dead hands." ”

the web address for the article above is

intellectual, rude and in the tradition of lehrer and yankovitch

Fitness to practice

Not for the faint hearted, a fine way to waste 20 minutes!

“[...] by Amateur Transplants (aka Adam Kay and Suman Biswas). Both qualified doctors, they practise medicine with varying degrees of success.”

Caution contains some choice lyrics. Do not (repeat not) buy this album for your elderly maiden aunt.”

I particularly like the lyrics regarding medicine, Paracetamoxyfrusebendroneomycin and The drugs song, where they speak from more experience.

related material

That was the year that was - Tom Lehrer

That Was the Year That Was by Tom Lehrer
1966, re-issued as CD in 1990; Wea/Warner Brothers; ASIN: B000002KO7
$10.99 [] {advert}/ £9.98 [] {advert}

This is probably our yaks’ favourite album by Lehrer. Here are some other albums by Lehrer. We know no-one who has really matched him yet for ability, at least since Gilbert and Sullivan.

Bad hair day by Yankovitch

Bad hair day by Weird Al Yankovitch. $13.99

Album includes Amish paradise and the night Santa went crazy.

Here are some other albums by Weird Al.


Weird Al Yankovitch - a web site

the web address for the article above is

pumping uranium

”The unnamed man had almost 40 kg of uranium-238 -- a high-density toxic material mainly used in gun ammunition -- stashed in his car when customs police stopped him for checks in the central Volga region, Itar-Tass news agency reported.

“The container had uranium in it and was registered in the customs declaration as 'weight lifting equipment'," Tass quoted one customs official as saying.”

the web address for the article above is
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