Sunday, November 30, 2008

This Kids Going Places

This note was found in a hallway in a school somewhere. This kid has potential, if the authorities don't freak out when they find out who he actually is.

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Writing time: 2 minutes
Time since last post: one day
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Saturday, November 29, 2008

An Eye For An Eye Leaves Everyone Blind - Literally

It looks like Iran has reached a new high point in setting the standard for justice. The case in question involved a man who had blinded a woman with acid after she turned down his marriage proposal. Not a very nice act, and certainly something that needs to be dealt with by the justice system.

The punishment in this case though is a bit rough. Under the code of qias, or retribution, that is part of Islamic law in Iran, this man is to be blinded by acid himself, in part at the request of woman he attacked.

This is not justice, this is vengeance, and vengeance is only cool in stories. We've moved past it in the real world. Justice is about righting the wrong, and preventing other wrongs, not committing more wrongs.

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Writing time: I lost track but I did lots of other things while writing this up
Time since last post: A fair while
Current media: Stargate Atlantis

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

In Ayr

I'm currently sitting around at Mum's place killing time. I renewed my drivers license today, wihtout having to do a test or go through the whole learners bit again, which is a good thing. I'll see if I can get an international one in the few day's I have left in Australia.

Tomorrow we're driving up to Innisfail where my Grandmother lives. Thursday will be the reason for coming back, and it looks like on Friday I'll be meeting wiht my father's family for the first time since the early nineties. That will be tricky. I think that for somethings, if they don't get changed after a while it becomes impossible to change. I know I definitely tend to stick with what has inertia, although when I do change, it does tend to be by big, sudden shifts.

Friday is also my sister's birthday, so for the second year running I'll be around for that.

Saturday I will fly back to Brisbane in the early evening. I'm not sure if anything will happen Saturday night (suggestions are welcome). Then on Sunday I fly back to Korea so that I'm back before my visa expires. And on Monday I'll probably have to go into work early to finalise my visa extension.

Monday, November 10, 2008

javascript:flink On The Range

Two convoys of Black SUVs arrived at the old rifle range about thirty minutes north of Langley. It had been a training facility back in World War II, and had been government property ever since, but had been bounced between departments without anyone finding any great use for it, and so it had become overgrown for many years. Now the CIA had claimed it for themselves and had restored it to its former glory as a rifle range, albeit one with large patches of burnt grass and trees all over the place.

The President and Vice-President got out of their respective SUVs and walked over to a group of men from the CIA.

"Mr President, Mr Vice-President, welcome to Tasty Fowl range," Bill Torum said. "I'm Bill Torum, agent in charge of this project. Let me introduce my team to you. This is Chris Rudd, Dave Donaldson, John Nakamura, our shooter, and Tony Sparrow," Bill said as he pointed to each man in turn.

"Good morning gentlemen," the President said to them. "What have you got to show me this morning?"

"If you'll come this way, Sir, we'll give you our demonstration," Bill said.

The group walked over towards the shelter at the end of the range. They stood behind a firing stall and Agent Nakamura stood in front of the group.

"Are you ready for this, Mr President?" Agent Nakamura asked.

"Ready when you are," the President replied.

Agent Nakamura turned to face downrange. "Itadekimasu" he shouted and a ball of fire about the size of a basketball appeared in front of him and moved down the range rapidly.

"The directon of the fire can be controlled with a pointing gesture, as can the fireballs speed," Bill explained, as Agent Nakamura demonstrated with a series of fireballs aimed at targets spread across the range. "The louder you say the word the larger the fireball. They can be as small as a baseball or up to about two feet across," Bill continued.

"How hard is it to do?" the President asked.

"The only tricky part is getting the pronunciation just right. If you're a little off it won't work," Bill answered. "Would you like to give it a try?"

"Is it safe?" the President asked, a little nervous at the prospect of doing this himself.

"The fireball always heads away from you in the direction you point, so the thrower is always safe," Agent Nakamura explained. "Just come up here and face down range."

The President did as he was instructed and aked "Now what?"

"Just point and say the word. Like this," he said, then pointed and called out "Itadekimasu".

"All right then," the President said, and steeled himself for what he was about to do.

"Eat-a-duck-I-must" he shouted and pointed emphatically down the range. Nothing happened.

"You need to say it a little bit quicker, Mr President, the middle section sounds more like 'deck-ee', not 'duck-eye', and there's no 't' at the end," Nakamura told the unsuccessful President. "It usually takes a few tries to get the pronunciation right," he reassured the statesman.

"Eat-a-deck-ee-mast" the President shouted, again with no effect.

"Try it one more time, like this 'ee-ta-dek-ki-mas'," Nakamura said, enunciating the magic word syllable by syllable.

"Itadekimasu" the President yelled, and a large fireball flew down the range.

"Jumping Jesus on a pogo-stick," the President exclaimed. "I did it," he continued disbelievingly. He was silent for a few moments while it sank in. "What do you guys need to keep working on this?"

"We need more agents to investigate reports of other supernatural activities. We need scientists and engineers to work out why magic is working now, when it hasn't for the last six thousand years, and how it works. We need facilities to work in, we need to be able to travel to where things happen and we need all of this quickly," Bill Torum replied in a smooth manner that only comes from lots of preparation.

"You've got it," the President told him.

"There's one other thing, Sir. We're going to have to go public with this pretty soon," Bill told him.

"Why on Earth would we do that?" The Vice-President asked incredulously. "If we do it will open up a gigantic can of worms. Not to mention it could start a new cold war, with magic instead of missiles."

"For a start, how else are we going to convice the Japanese to stop saying this word. It's their tradition. Second, other countries will probably have done exactly what we've done. You would know better than I if there have been any similar incidents at our foreign counterparts. And finally, the public will work this out soon enough anyway, and if we've been hiding, it will look like we're behind the curve. If we come out soon and announce it, we'll be ahead of the curve instead," Bill explained.

"That will get decided by people above your paygrade Bill, but we will definitely take those arguments under advisement," The President said. "Are we done here?"

"That was all we wanted to demonstrate today, Sir," Bill told him.

"Right then. Thank you gentleman, it's been a very interesting morning," the President said. He turned to his principal Secret Service Officer "Let's get back to Washington."

javascript:flink POTUS

The President of the United States of America was sitting on a sofa watching TV when the door opened and the Vice-President walked in.

"Have you read this thing?" the President asked, waving a briefing at the Vice-President.

"I've read it, but I think someone at Langley's has had a few screws loosened," the Vice-President replied. "To think saying 'ita-'"

"Don't say the damn word here," the President interrupted. "How do you think it would look if we blew up the White House?"

"So you believe it then?" The Vice-President queried.

"I was skeptical at first, but the video they showed was worrying," The President answered. "I'm going to their test site tomorrow morning to see for myself. Do you want to come along?"

"The President of the United States of America throwing fireballs around like Gandalf the Grey. Who wouldn't want to see that?" the Vice-President replied.

"Alright then. Tell the Secret Service guys when you head out. They'll sort out the details. Anything else?"

"No, just the crazy magic stuff. I'll see you tomorrow morning."

"Tomorrow morning then. Have a good night."

"You too," the Vice-President said and left the President to his TV shows.

javascript:flink Top Secret

Top Secret

Eyes Only

From: Alan Smithee, Deputy Director Office of International Incidents, Central Intelligence Agency


RE: Japan and Tasty Fowl

1) Introductory Remarks
As discussed in previous briefings from this office, Japan has been subject to what appears to be a massive bombing campaign. No one has claimed responsibility for these attacks. We have a new theory to explain these events.

2) Prior Intelligence
Pooling the data collected by sources from the CIA, NSA, Echelon, DIA, FBI, and their international counterparts from Japan, the United Kingdom, Australia, Saudi Arabia and other nations has revealed absolutely zero intelligence suggesting any attack on Japan prior to the incident.

3) Investigation
Japanese law enforcement, with assistance from several US agencies has been performing forensic investigations of the sites of many explosions. So far not a single explosive device has been found.

(Warning: Do not read the following sections aloud. This is quite important)

(Really, don't do it)

4) Survivor claims
A number of people who have survived the explosions have made a similar remarkable claim. They claim that fireballs appear out of thin air when they said "itadekimasu", a phrase traditionally said in Japan before eating a meal in Japan.

5) An Unlikely Lead
This claim is on the face of it quite unbelievable, but is sufficiently common that some analysts felt that it should be tested. Initial attempts to reproduce the phenomena were unsuccessful until the analysts recruited an agent fluent in Japanese. This agent can reliably create and direct fireballs by saying the phrase

6) Other Incidents
Police records show that since the explosions in Japan, a number of Japanese restaurants in other countries have also suffered from fires and explosions. 15 cases have been reported in the United States.

7) Strategic Implications
The impact of this capability on National security is currently hard to judge. It can provide both advantages and disadvantages. It will act as a superb concealable weapon for our agents, but will also do so for hostile entities. It will also open up a new range of possibilities for the construction of IEDs.

8) Other Capabilities
Having accepted a possibility that is seemingly impossible, it may be the case that other impossible feats are no longer impossible. Less reputable news agencies such as the Daily Enquirer have been reporting a higher rate of unusual incidents that more reputable news agencies typically dismiss out of hand. Incidents include individuals flying, transmutation of objects, premonitions, telekinesis, and more. These incidents bear further investigation.

9) Recommendations
It is vital that we learn the exact capabilities and limitations of the phrase "itadekimasu", and if other such capabilities exist. We have tentatively given the project the code name Tasty Fowl, and recommend that it be expanded significantly immediately. We must systematically test the limits of "itadekimasu" and develop the ability to use and defend against it.

Friday, November 07, 2008

You thought we had it bad

If you thought things looked bad for the internet in Australia, just be glad you're not in the United Kingdom. They're going for full on "log everything, find the crimes later" type internet monitoring system.

This is not good.

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Writing time:
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The Appropriate Size for a Fridge

Recent events have left me with a fridge of smaller dimension than I was previously used to. This has led me to realise that I do actually have standard for what size fridge is sufficient for my purposes.

A fridge should be large enough that you can lay a pizza box flat on a shelf and still close the door and have a bit of space next to the pizza box. The vertical dimension is more flexible but should be in the normal fridge proportions to the horizontal dimensions.


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Writing time: 3 minutes
Time since last post: A while
Current media: Drop the Hate by Fatboy Slim

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

javascript:flink Terrified Tokyo Torched

Terrified Tokyo Torched
by Tokyo correspondent Trish Takanawa
Tokyo and indeed the whole of Japan is reeling after a tsunami of explosions has devastated the island nation. The explosions have occurred in every town and city and seem to be focussed on restaurants and residential areas.

The first explosions occurred at 8:21pm yesterday at multiple locations throughout the country and many more have followed in their wake. The rate of explosions had dropped off late last night, but have picked up again this morning. The peak times for the explosions have coincided with the normal times for main meals, which would be when the most damage could be inflicted at restaurants.

No one has yet stepped forward to claim responsibility for this unparalleled act of terrorism. Some believe that Al-Queda has rearmed despite having laid down their arms last year. Others hypothesize that it is a local group, possibly an offshoot of the Aum Shinrikyo sect that was responsible for the 1995 sarin gas attacks on the Tokyo Subway system. Officials have yet to comment on who or what is responsible for teh explosions. Indeed the safety of the Prime Minister and other senior officials is unknown after an explosion at the Diet building center on the cafeteria.

One survivor of an explosion in a downtown Osaka restaurant claims that he saw several fireballs appear out of thin air as he and his coworkers were about to start eating their meal. He says these fireballs set the restaurant on fire and resulted in it burning to the ground.

javascript:flink Mr Bunny

Anthony Brandberg opened his front door and called out to his wife "Honey, I'm home." He knew it was a cliche but it had always felt right to him. He entered the house and walked down the hallway towards the living room. On the way he stopped to look in on his three year old son Edward.

Edward was on the floor babbling and playing with his favourite toy, a white stuffed rabbit named Mr Bunny. Anthony stood there watching his son for a minute before he noticed something was not quite right. His son was definitely playing with a rabbit, but Mr Bunny was nowhere in sight. His son was playing with a real rabbit with floppy ears and a constantly twitching nose.

A little surprised, Anthony headed to the kitchen where his wife Jill was beginning to prepare dinner for the family.

"Hello Darling. How was your day?" Jill asked as he entered the kitchen.

"You know. The same old stuff," Anthony replied. "And you?"

"I had a busy morning, but the afternoon was quiet. Edward has been playing nicely in his room for the last hour or so," Jill said.

"I just saw him now, and I was a little surprised," Anthony told his wife.

"Oh, what was he doing?" Jill queried, a hint of worry appearing in her voice.

"It's nothing he's done. It's just I thought we had decided we would wait until he was older before getting him a pet," Anthony said.

"Of course we did Darling. What does that have to do with anything?" Jill asked, unsure where Anthony was going with this.

"Well, I just looked in on Edward and he was playing with a rabbit," he explained.

"You know how much Edward loves Mr Bunny," Jill said.

"He wasn't playing with Mr Bunny. He was playing with a real rabbit," Anthony stated.

"He's what?" exclaimed Jill.

"He's playing with a real rabbit," Anthony reiterated.

"Well how on Earth did that happen?" Jill asked.

"That's what I'd like to know," Anthony told her. "I've just got home."

"Well, it wasn't me," Jill came back.

"And it wasn't me," Anthony said. "So how did it get here? Magic?"

javascript:flink Polaris Perplexes Physicists

Polaris Perplexes Physicists
By science correspondent Nigel Hawke
Two days after Polaris lit up the Northern skies astronomers are still struggling to explain the triple supernova. A supernova normally occurs at the end of a larger stars life, but the three stars making up the point of light we call Polaris were all too young and too small to go supernova.

"This is quite an event," states Andrew Tannen, the head of the astronomy division at Leeds University. "This has given us a lot of new information about the lives of stars that we'll be studying for a good while."

Some believe the triple supernova is not a natural phenomena. "All three stars of a triple star exploding at the exact same time is impossible. This has to be some sort of mega-engineering project by an extremely advanced extra-terrestrial civilization." is the claim of Aliens Now! spokesman Oliver Firth.

Whatever the cause, all agree the night sky has changed forever, and what was once a guiding light for generations of travelers and known as a symbol of faithfulness is now slowly fading from sight forever.

A + B = Why?

Here's another product I'm not sure how someone came up with the idea of. Lingerie with a built in GPS tracking system.

I'm not sure exactly what the application of such a combination is. Some women are calling it a modern chastity belt, but that seems a bit ridiculous given that the GPS device has a power switch, so it would only transmit when the lady wearing it chose to.

The design itself looks pretty good, but I'm reasonably sure having a chunk of plastic hanging off of one side would be slightly uncomfortable (I can't be completely sure, but I do know if my coat pockets are unevenly loaded it sits less well on my shoulders and the general principle should be the same).

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Writing time: 10 minutes
Time since last post: Does anyone care?
Current media: none

Monday, November 03, 2008

javascript:flink 1

John Smythe stood up from his desk and turned around. "I'm taking a break. I'll be back in ten," he told his coworker, Bill. "OK," Bill replied. John left the interior of the telescope and breathed in the cold night air. He leaned against the wall of the telescope and looked down the mountain. The bare rocky ground was a relaxing contrast to the stars he looked at all night long.

As his break ended John looked up at the sky. Like always he was amazed by the way it seemed like a permanent painting across the sky, a work of art to outlast any man. John was taking in the vastness of it all when his attention was drawn to one star in particular. Polaris, the North Star was growing brighter. Much brighter.

"Hey, Bill," he called. "Swing the telescope round North will you."

"I'm taking pictures of Canopus. Wait a sec, alright" Bill replied.

"Bill, do it now. Take a look at Polaris and bloody forget about Canopus," John called back into the telescope.

Bill did not reply, but when John heard the whine of the motors start turning the telescope he knew Bill had looked North and seen what he had seen.

javascript:flink Magic Spell

Magic Spell
taken from on October 1st 2010.

A Magic Spell is a form of magic whereby a magical effect is created by the recitation of a series of words and phrases. The spoken words may sometimes also require accompanying gestures. Throughout the ages many have claimed to be able to cast magic spells but to this day no reliable claims have ever been shown.

The idea of magic spells comes from the prayers and chants used in early religious ceremonies. Words and phrases originally gained their power from supplicating varies gods and deities but over time the power became associated with the words and phrases themselves.

Magic spells are claimed to be a reliable mechanism, depending only on the skill of the person speaking the spell. However, those who claim to use magic spells have been unable to teach others the skills, or perform under controlled trials.

As science and technology have developed, many of the effects attributed to magic such as spells have become commonplace and well understood, although a small minority still believe in the power of magic such as spells.

Cultural Influences
Numerous stories, books, films and television shows portray characters able to cast magic spells. Examples include Charmed, The Lord of the Rings, The Sorcerer's Apprentice, Merlin, The Sword in the Stone, One Thousand and One Nights, and The Books of Magic. Many spell casters from these have become cultural icons in their own right. The potential of magic and the possibilities it opens for story tellers makes it an element frequently used by writers.

See Also
Rune smithing
Unexplained phenomena

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Writing with Cryptic Limits

Fans of A Void and Gadsby: Champion of Youth have another book to sink their teeth into. Eunoia is a new book that while not written in quite so strict a form as those other tomes I mentioned, has been written in such a way as to make you ask yourself "Why would anyone do that?"

Each chapter of the book is written using only one vowel.

The text is surprisingly readable, but I doubt I'll do more than read the samples the Beeb has provided. This is more something I'll give props for having done it, but I don't really want to go through the whole result.

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Writing time: 5 minutes
Time since last post: I don't think I actually care that much anymore, although I have been slack of late compared to earlier in the year.
Current media: None