Saturday, May 31, 2003

Our kind of guy.

It's no secret that President Bush loves peanut butter. For him, it's not a campaign gag as Big Macs were with former President Clinton or pork rinds for Bush's dad. He's such a fan, we learn, that the White House mess puts PB&J samples on tables in the executive cafeteria and delivers at least one to the Oval Office practically every day--and the prez even recommends them to his lunchtime partners. But what's been impossible to find out, until now, is which brand Bush eats. That's because the White House hates to look like it's endorsing any product. Well, after 2 1/2 years of snooping, the Whispers I-Team has the answer: Jif, normally the creamy kind. Why Jif? It's America's favorite and tastes a little sweeter, we're told, than Skippy and Peter Pan. As for the jelly, we have a hint: Smucker's recently bought Jif. None of this surprises previously unaware Jif execs who coined the motto, "Choosy moms choose Jif." Says spokeswoman Brenda Dempsey, "Obviously, choosy presidents choose Jif.

via U.S. News & World Report

The running time for ROTK has been released by one of the biggest newspapers in Norway. TheOneRing.net has the story.

Ingve writes: According to the biggest newspaper here in Norway, the running time of ROTK will be 3 h 10 min. PJ is working to make his first 4 hour cut into a 3 h 10 min cut. It is confirmed in the article by the LOTR distributor in Norway, SF Norway.

This story from The Telegraph is cool.

The final resting place of Beagle, the ship in which Charles Darwin sailed around the world and formed his ideas on evolution, might have been found, experts said yesterday. Darwin said "the most important event in my life" was the voyage, which paved the way for his On the Origin of Species, the most important scientific book of the past millennium because of its revolutionary picture of how life evolved. Consequently, the wreck of HMS Beagle is of crucial historic significance.

Dr Robert Prescott of the University of St Andrews, who has led the team retracing the final days of the ship's working life, said yesterday that a range of remote sensing equipment is to be used to investigate a key site in the Essex marshes this summer. He does not want to reveal the exact location until his investigation is complete, though he has a range of documentary evidence to back his suspicions. "Once we get a clearer picture from that, the next step would be a full excavation, where we are expecting to find substantial remains of the lower part of the vessel's hull," he said. Darwin, who published On the Origin of Species in 1859, was in Beagle as it circumnavigated the globe under Captain Robert Fitzroy between 1831 and 1836.

Dr Prescott said: "The Beagle surely qualifies as one of the most significant ships in scientific history. Yet she has been forgotten for almost a century." The only known relic of the vessel is a box, fashioned from its wood, which will be used to confirm the find. Launched in 1820 at Woolwich Royal Dockyard on the Thames, the 235-ton, 10-gun brig was refitted three years later as a hydrographic survey vessel before embarking on its famous career as a survey and scientific exploration ship. The 90ft sloop was laid up at Woolwich in 1840, and used later for anti-smuggling duties along the south-east coast until it was auctioned for £525 in 1870 - from when its fate has remained unclear.

Dr Prescott, who founded the Scottish Institute of Maritime Studies at St Andrews, set up the Beagle Ship Research Group three years with Prof Colin Pillinger and others, with the intention of clearing up the uncertainty surrounding the vessel. Prof Pillinger of the Open University is the head of the UK-based project to land on Mars and seek alien life with the Beagle 2 probe, to be launched next week.

After examining documentary evidence, the team ruled out previous suggestions that Beagle had operated from Southend. A location further north was identified and parts of the ship, as well as a dense scatter of Victorian pottery, have already been uncovered. Dr Prescott said he believed the ship had been broken up either where she lay or nearby, but the lower part of the hull was unlikely to have been moved far. "After the marvels of Patagonia and the Galapagos Islands, it seems the ship that helped spark a scientific revolution led a humdrum life in a backwater of England before falling asleep on a muddy riverbank," he said.

The National Maritime Museum in Greenwich is hosting an exhibition, The Beagle Voyages - from Earth to Mars, linking the Beagle 2 mission to Darwin's. Although separated by more than 150 years, the voyages of the two Beagles are surprisingly similar, said curator Rob Warren. Regardless of advances in navigation technology, surveying methods and timekeeping, many of the principles that underlie these have changed very little, said Mr Warren, though the materials and technologies in Beagle 2 would be unrecognisable to a 19th-century sailor.

Thursday, May 29, 2003

I found an interesting tidbit on the Lord of the Rings Catalog. Coming soon, The Lord of the Rings Harley Davidson!

Wednesday, May 28, 2003

Ringer Spy Natalie has passed these photos from an unknown source along of Faramir in Osgiliath, Orcs on the rampage, and Aragorn in battle. The only problem is, you can't tell if it's from The Two Towers Extended Edition or The Return of the King. Thanks TheOneRing.net!

Tuesday, May 27, 2003

Not much to say, except that I WILL see "Pirates of the Carribean: Curse of the Black Pearl" on July 9, and I have also managed to track down and download the mp3 for one of my favorite Japanese songs. That is all.
--" I'm not going to hit you Maybourne, I'm going to shoot you." Jack O'Neil to Colonel Maybourne when the Colonel has very much in effect kidnapped a fellow team member.

It is so great to have a school librarian in the White House. Check out the White House Kids link and look at the Flat Stanley who visited Washington.
For years children have colored, cut out and mailed Flat Stanley to places around the world, including the White House. Take a look at Flat Stanley's White House Visit.

Having carried some of these "guys" around myself, I know what it means to a child to see pictures like these. Laura Bush sent a personal letter to a student at my school who sent her a Laura Bush "Traveling Texas Hero" project.

While you are at the site, listen to my favorite hobbit, Sean Astin, talk about service and volunteerism.

Monday, May 26, 2003

Bob Hope will be 100 years old on Thursday. A splendid look at the life of this great American can be found at the Library of Congress website.

Sunday, May 25, 2003

If you ever wondered what your dog found so appealing about all that left over food in the trash can, this nifty little gadget might help. Maybe now we can understand Buddy the Wonder-Dog's strange connection with old coffee grounds.

    Dr. Dolittle might have not have been able to get animals to talk so that other people could hear them, but perhaps Japanese toy maker Takara can.
    The company on Thursday unveiled a gadget called Bowlingual, which scrutinizes and translates a dog's barks into expressions such as "I've had enough" or "I'm a little bored, let's play."
    Bowlingual consists of a wireless microphone, which is attached to a dog's collar, and a terminal that analyzes and matches each "woof" with a set of preprogrammed phrases.
    According to Takara, the device detects feelings--including happiness, frustration and sadness--and displays the associated expressions on the terminal's screen. Bowlingual can also be used to record a dog's mood throughout the day when owners are away from home.