The ugly American, even in diplomatic service?

Via a post on RASSF:
U.S. embassy owes a million pounds congestion charge

19 October 2006

LONDON: The U.S. Embassy in London owes more than a million pounds for the congestion charge in the capital, the mayor’s office said on Wednesday.

London authorities say the charge on driving in the centre of the city is a road toll and diplomats have to pay it like anyone else. Washington says it is a tax and diplomats are exempt.

The U.S. embassy has refused to pay the charge since July 2005. Several other embassies have also refused but London says the U.S. embassy is the worst offender by far.

Weirdness roundup: the “Panda Menace” part II.

Darn pandas! Back in the news again…

Panda Bites Off Part of Woman’s Thumb

A panda cub bit off part of the thumb of an American visitor who was feeding it at a reserve in southwest China, state media said Thursday.

The 50-year-old woman, identified only as Lisa, had registered in the Wolong Giant Panda Protection and Research Center in Sichuan province as a volunteer, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

She was wearing gloves and feeding the panda bamboo on Tuesday morning when “suddenly, the panda bit into her thumb,” Xinhua said.

And then we get weirdness from The Register, citing some guy whosays that H.G. Wells was right on the money

Bad news for believers in the “singularity”. Instead of accelerating us into a race of cosmic superbeings, our reliance on technology will turn humans into a species of domesticated pets: docile and anti-social.

So says Oliver Curry, a sociobiologist attached to the London School of Economics. A technology-dependent human race of the future will be obese, have weak immune systems, and be incapable of socializing, empathizing or performing team work, suggests Curry. A bit like the “Web 2.0 blogger” of today.

He also predicted that the human race will split into two species, resembling the future inhabitants of earth in HG Wells’ Time Machine. There’ll be an underclass of ugly, dim-witted goblins (the Morlocks), and a eugenically-pure species of intelligent, 7-foot tall beauties (Wells’s Elois) – each one doubtless capable of landing a tenured post at the London School of Economics – or making baseless evolutionary predictions at the drop of a commercial sponsor’s shilling.

And there’s more, showing that IT publications aren’t always dull: People more drunk at weekends, researchers discover (21 April 2006) … for which I’ll spare you the blurb.

Yes, I know things are getting a little long in the tooth here for the promised “reboot” or even just posting more often. Sorry. It’s coming soon, I hope.

Weirdness: “Ian’s Shoelace Site”

Too strange not to post:
Ian’s Shoelace Site

Fun, fashion & science in this quirky site about shoelaces. Whether you want to learn to lace shoes, tie shoelaces, stop shoelaces from coming undone, calculate shoelace lengths or even repair aglets, Ian’s Shoelace Site has the answer!