Going on holiday

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Totsiens, I’m going on holiday for two weeks. Will get back in the swing when I return, and promise loads of photos too.
Looking forward to some time away from a PC, so here’s to the African sky, sounds and people.

Have a good one! ;-)

ClearSkies.org

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_ ClearSkies
Clear Skies, funded by DTI and managed by BRE, aims to give householders and communities a chance to realise the benefits of renewable energy by providing grants and access to sources of advice.

Householders can obtain grants between £400 to £5000 whilst not-for-profit community organisations can receive up to £100,000 (£50,000 from April 2005) for grants.

Grants are given to the following renewable energy installations:

* Solar thermal
* Wind turbines
* Micro/small scale hydro turbines
* Ground source heat pumps
* Room heaters/stoves with automated wood pellet feed
* Wood fuelled boiler systems

Interesting fun facts

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My mate Alun sent this around just now – thought it was a pretty good laugh ;-)


In Lebanon, men are legally allowed to have sex with animals, but the animals must be female.
Having sexual relations with a male animal is punishable by death.
(Like THAT makes sense.)

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In Bahrain, a male doctor may legally examine a woman’s genitals, but is prohibited from looking directly at them during the examination. He may only see their reflection in a mirror.
(Do they look different reversed?)

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Muslims are banned from looking at the genitals of a corpse.
This also applies to undertakers. The organs of the deceased must be covered with a brick or piece of wood at all times.
(A brick??)

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The penalty for masturbation in Indonesia is decapitation.
Much worse than “going blind!”)

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There are men in Guam whose full-time job is to travel the countryside and deflower young virgins, who pay them for the privilege of having sex for the first time…
Reason: Under Guam law, it is expressly forbidden for virgins to marry.
(Let’s just think for a minute; is there any job anywhere else in the world that even comes close to this?)

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In Hong Kong, a betrayed wife is legally allowed to kill her adulterous husband, but may only do so with her bare hands.
The husband’s lover, on the other hand, may be killed in any manner desired.
(Ah! Justice!)

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Topless saleswomen are legal in Liverpool, England – but only in tropical fish stores.
(But of course!)

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In Cali, Colombia, a woman may only have sex with her husband, and the first time this happens, her mother must be in the room to witness the act.
(Makes one shudder at the thought.)

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In Santa Cruz, Bolivia, it is illegal for a man to have sex with a woman and her daughter at the same time.
(I presume this was a big enough problem that they had to pass this law?)

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In Maryland, it is illegal to sell condoms from vending machines with one exception: Prophylactics may be dispensed from a vending machine only “in places where alcoholic beverages are sold for consumption on the premises.”
(Is this a great country or what? Not as great as Guam, though!)

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The ant can lift 50 times its own weight, can pull 30 times its own weight and always falls over on its right side when intoxicated.
(From drinking little bottles of…? How did the govt. pay for this research??)

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Butterflies taste with their feet.
(Ah, geez)

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An ostrich’s eye is bigger than it’s brain.
(I know some people like that.)

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Starfish don’t have brains.
(I know some people like that, too)

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And, the best for last…..

Turtles can breathe through their butts.
(And you think you have bad breath?)

Surveys Say Bloggers Not Yet Big Factor For Mainstream

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_ Yahoo! News – Surveys Say Bloggers Not Yet Big Factor For Mainstream
“Two new surveys cast doubt on the level of influence wielded by bloggers.”

I think that the blogosphere is more of a discussion / conversation, that validates traditional media. I don’t think that anyone can argue that blogs offer breaking news for the mainstream that CNN doesn’t, but where CNN pushes news to it’s audience, the blogosphere pushes and pulls news, but more importantly allows people to voice their opinion on that news.

It’s kinda the difference between “this is the news”, and “this is what the news means to me, and how it affects me”.

However, when it comes to technology or innovation, (and/or) where there is an active blogging community, I think that bloggers do push breaking news to each other, and thus potentially to other media.

Tip of the iceberg – yes.
Mainstream now – no.
Going to be mainstream – yes.


A brief aside:
I’ve just been having lunch and while eating I was thinking about how this whole blogging thing can be mapped using the Crossing the Chasm analogy. I was gonna make another post, but decided to lump it here ‘cos it’s relevant.
Looking at the technology adoption life cycle that is talked about in Crossing the Chasm (Amazon), I’m inclined to say that we’re on the cusp of the pragmatist adoption phase, or perhaps a late visionary phase.

Most of the major design portals (K10K, Newstoday, Pixelsurgeon, ThreeOh, Linkdup) were publishing some form of a blog (most called it a news feed) in the early days, and I’m sure that other “communities” were doing the same thing. Kottke is also an example of someone who would fit the profile of an early adopter (and has now embraced the whole shamoogle full time), so is Youngpup, although he’s gainfully employed by a company that doesn’t like syndication.
Google for David Sifry, Robert Scoble, Doc Searle for more early adopters.

Looking to the visionaries, you just have to look at the heads of the major tech businesses in Silicon Valley to see how they have embraced blogging as a low cost, high impact way to communicate with their communities / clients / employees. Other folk from other industries are starting to follow suit as well, which a) points to their visionary nature and b) points to the value as a medium.
Off the top of my head, Google for Adam Bosworth, Jonathan Schwartz, Paul Allen, Joel Spolsky, Alan Meckler, Michael Hyatt, David Allen.

Similarly, various tools are cropping up for us to get our grubby paws on information as and when it happens – enter PubSub , Technorati, Feedster; for us to publish with – enter WordPress and MoveableType; and for us to tell everyone with – enter Ping-O-Matic.

Then we get to the pragmatists, the people who do something because everyone is doing it, and it doesn’t cost much to do it.
I don’t think we’re there yet – but certainly most of the major players are setting up to provide for when we are there – Google for Yahoo 360, MSN Spaces, Orkut – as well as some of the smaller players – Six Apart and Blogger spring to mind.

So what’s the tipping point?
For me, it’s when the big industry boys start to blog; when politicians start a conversation with voters; when celebrity chefs like Jamie Oliver start to talk about stuff they’re passionate about on the web; when people who have a voice start to use that voice through a public medium, engaging their readers every day; and when the companies that do the work that get’s written about start to blog as well. When Joe Public starts to realise that this thing called blogging is out there, and then when companies like Yahoo! and Microsoft start making the tools cheap and really easy to use, I think you’re gonna see a whole lot of people joining the proverbial blogosphere, and that’s when it will become mainstream. Just like Hotmail, Yahoo groups, MSN Messenger, Google did.

What do you think?