Wednesday, February 10, 2010

This is not a hedgehog returns

I know it has been a while between my education series titled 'This is not a hedgehog', but it is back in action. Today's example is as follows.

This is a hedgehog (actually this is two and it may have been three but it looks like the large one at a smaller one).

But this.....

 not a hedgehog

Gastronomical update

The good news is dinner went well. The risotto was creamy, the vegetables were sultry and the salmon was cooked to perfection (more good luck then good timing).

The corinader seed crust was surprisngly untasty according to the love of my life whereas I personally thought it had a slight hint of south east Asia, the tasty part of course and not the open sewerage sections.

The cream sauce, with its infusion of kaffir lime leaves was okay and this might be from the fact I smoked for many years and haven't done for 12 months now but I think my tastebuds are still waiting for a Jesus-like resurection, which I am hoping will come around Easter.

As far as the buttermilk bread goes, it was a nice touch. Light, fluffy and very white, it was like eating cottonballs, which in itself if probably not the best selling point considering that cottonballs get quite sticky and rigid after dousing in contact with saliva for a prolonged period. Don't ask how I know that, I just do.

Today the kitchen will be a lot quieter as there was left over risotto that I am now going to roll into balls and coat in breadcrubs and make into, well, risotto balls. Still haven't decided on what to serve them with but I may even just nick down to the deli and grab a bunch of cheeses, a kind of hot canape if you will.

We'll see.

There is still half a loaf of bread left so no need to worry about that just yet although I do need to consider what to bake for the mystery duck dish tomorrow night. Bread rolls perhaps? Maybe a crunchy baguette?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Dinner for how many?

This week has started with a bang. Not a literal bang but more of a slow rumble in the background that will explode soon enough in the kitchen. You see, I've been on a cooking bender. It's kind of like an alcohol bender but without the headache. So far this week, and it is Tuesday remind you I have:


Baked a Swedish Caraway Bread: Not exactly sure what makes it necessarily 'Swedish'. There are several things leading me away from any solid conclusions.
  • According to Googlebox, caraway in Swedish is actually "kummin" while cumin is "spiskummin", from the Swedish word "spisa".
  • It did have orange rind (carefully skinned off the orange to avoid the icky white part that makes the peel taste like battery acid) but again, not all that commonly associated with the Swedes. Having said that, the Swedes do have a thing called the Vortlimpa, which has orange peel and caraway but also fennel and anise so maybe my loaf was a poor cousin to the Vortlimpa, which I think if my geography is right would make me Iceland.
  • The bread was dense. Really dense, which is another reason why it can't be Swedish, because as we all know, Swedes are smart nuts.
Also on Monday I hunted around for a duck.


Baked Buttermilk Bread

  • Not sure how it turned out but I did run a loaf of it around to a friend's place and am currently using them as my crash test dummy. Upon delivery in a pretty pink tea towel I departed with the express orders that if it tasted horrible just to chuck it in the bin. Hopefully it doesn't dent the bin.
Marinated Duck
  • This is kind of top secret but I'll give you a hint, it's a duck recipe that takes three days to prepare and cook. Today was the first part, the marinade and the de-boning of the duck. Not hard at all really.
Slow-Roasted Spice Crust Salmon drizzled with creamy lime dressing served on a bed of roast vegetable risotto
  • Yep, like I said, today was a busy day in the kitchen. All the prep work is done for both these dishes except for the crusting (is that an adjective?) of the salmon which I will do just before I launch it fins first into the oven. You want to make sure the freshly ground coriander seeds are at their freshest, which is generally when they come out of the pestle.
I'll let you know how it goes.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Moroccan Spice Blend

Just for prosperity I had to share this spice blend I found then perfected last night:

Get yourself a mortar and pestle and grind together dry ingredients:

1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

This will coat about 500g of chicken breast.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Online cannibalism

I stumbled across this website earlier today and it piqued my interest in the cannibal nature of the internet.

Check out GWEI (Google Will Eat Itself) here.

Friday, September 4, 2009


Sorry to tell you but I am going to be MIA for the next 72 hours at least as my parents are about o put themselves through the 3-Day Novel Writing Contest.

Thursday, September 3, 2009


Sorry to be overly dramatic but I just don't trust rabbits. To prove my case, I offer you the following examples or Rabbits of DOOOOOOOOOM *ahem*:

1. Alba the "glowing" rabbit: Artist Eduardo Kac created Alba with the use of green fluorescent protein so that under UV lights, it would glow iridescent green. The truth of the matter is Alba is nuclear powered and despite the fact these kinds of rabbits are banned in most countries the world has not fully come down hard enough on them. Down right creepy and potentially what Iran is planning with their nuclear "program".

2. Little Bunny Foo Foo: Here is rabbit that, according to the rhyme at least, went about the forest bashing mice on the head. Yeah that's real cute. If you are considering writing a dissertation on the origins of bullying then you would be well versed to check it out (I have also sourced a video version of the rhyme just in case the words aren't vivid enough).

3. Jackalope: Believe the hype and fear the jackalope. A cross between an antelope and a jack rabbit, the jackalope has already claimed the lives of 23 people in Wyoming, a baptist minister in Omaha and Michael Jackson last month. Only one person has survived a jackalope attack but they were so shocked by the death in its eyes that no-one has been able to garner just how they did it.

4. The Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog: If it wasn't for the brilliant documentary Monty Python and the Holy Grail, we might never have heard of this rabbit of DOOOOOOOOOOOOM. Don't take my word for it, watch the section of the documentary for yourself. Not sure if it was on NatGeo or Discovery.

5. The Energizer Bunny: Kids, this is a public service announcement -- DON'T DO DRUGS. The final in our Rabbits of DOOOOOOM section is proof that long-term use of amphetamines, as seen here on your left, is bad for you. Not only will you think it cool, nay necessary to wear dark sunglasses everywhere, you will also think it "cool" to wear flip-flops every day, even to work. Kids, that is NOT cool. Have some respect for yourself and get off the gear.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Don't be a follower -- an analysis of internet shopping and crowd bias

Can you trust the hordes when it comes to product voting and rankings on websites such as Amazon?

Would you indeed trust a book review from some nonce on Imdb or BookCrossings (BC)? Are they all biased?

Vassilis Kostakos, of the Department of Mathematics & Engineering, University of Madeira
and Human Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie Mellon University certainly thinks so in the paper Is the crowd’s wisdom biased? A quantitative assessment of three online communities

Forgetting the obvious argument that everything in this world is biased so of course voting would in turn should also be considered such, Vassilis sets out to discover whether you will get bang for your buck if you follow the “wisdom of the crowd”.

Vassilis' research aims to identify and remove said "wisdom" by designing a system that would give a more solid identification of whether a product is good or bad.

"This study shows that despite the large community size of each website, there exist significant biases in users’ voting and rating behavior," he writes.

He finds:

"That more than 50% of users on Amazon and BC cast only one vote. Similarly large portions of items receive a single vote, with the exception of Imdb where only 7% of items are rated only once.

"Furthermore, the experts (top 5% of voters) cast as few as 7 votes on Amazon, while on BC they cast 30, suggesting that BC consists of proportionately more expert users within the community.

"Even so, the top 5% of popular items receive as little as 10 votes on both sites.

"Conversely, Imdb’s popular items receive at least 662 votes."

Imdb, he explains, is simple -- any person can vote without leaving anything more than a tick or a cross. As long as you are a member you have the right to vote.

Conversely not only do you have to be a member of Amazon and BC but you MUST leave a review as well as a star rating.

That means you have to think about why you like/dislike the product to tell people.

Vassilis finds that in particular, BC expert voters "vote for mostly obscure titles with few votes" and "that many obscure items of small popularity are likely to be of interest to a few select experts, while the crowds -- made up of people who buy only few times -- are likely to be interested in “popular” items."

Check out the full report but be warned, basing your ideas on the thoughts of others will generally lead to disappointment.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Spreadsheets blamed for Global Financial Crisis

That's right fellow hedgehoggers, you read it here first.

According to a paper released by Grenville J. Croll, Chair of the European Spreadsheet Risks Interest Group, the cause for the current Global Financial Crisis is all to do with spreadsheets and their susceptibility for human errors.

As Croll states, "to err is human" and it should not come as any surprise that the GFC was human based, after all, it is not like we hedgehogs had anything to do with it, it was all your fault for spending money you didn't have in the first place, accumulating debt at record rates than wondering why your house is remortgaged.

Anyway his paper Spreadsheets and the Financial Collapse states that: “Spreadsheets are integral to the function and operation of the global financial system”.

Awesome news. Of course these snippet do not give me confidence of this revelation.

"The majority (>90%) of spreadsheets contain errors. Recent research has shown that about 50% of spreadsheet models used operationally in large businesses have material defects."
That's hardly reassuring.

Then there is this:

"Because spreadsheet users do not go looking for errors, they don’t find any or many. Spreadsheet users are therefore overconfident in their use of spreadsheets."

If it ain't broke don't fix it but if it is broke but no-one realises, how can you fix it? But more concerning is the fact that humans can design a system, unintentionally create errors within it they can't see or fail to realise until it's too late but then interpret it incorrectly:

"Translation of a business problem into the spreadsheet domain can “…lead to a position where decision makers may act in the belief that decisions can be made with confidence on the output from the spreadsheet despite evidence to the contrary”."

That's a whole lot of whoops right there.

But it gets worst.

"Most spreadsheet models rely upon a fairly lengthy series of explicit or more usually, implicit, assumptions. Not least of these is the Ceteris Paribus assumption of all other things being (or remaining) equal. Clearly the assumptions underlying many spreadsheet models now no longer apply."
He concludes that: "We have confidence in concluding that spreadsheets played a role, perhaps even a significant role, in the recent collapse of the financial system ... in our opinion, their primary role is centred around the fact that they were one of the principal technologies used in the Credit Derivatives marketplace."


"This market grew very quickly due to the ease with which it was possible to design and promulgate opaque financial instruments based on large spreadsheets with critical flaws in their key assumptions."

Anyway you should check this report out if you are interested in the GFC.

I think the interesting thing here however is the fact that in their recommendations, they suggest:

"If it is the case that we cannot build a safe and effective global financial system using spreadsheets as a key component, then we will have no alternative but to gradually replace
them, which will be time consuming and expensive, if indeed it is possible at all.

"The decision to replace a spreadsheet or set of spreadsheets with an alternative is a straightforward commercial decision, influenced by regulatory considerations, which would look at the risks, costs and benefits of each of the alternatives."

If you want to replace spreadsheets then where would you start? I guess you could always turn to the European Spreadsheet Risks Interest Group -- I am sure they would have the answers.

Slippery sucker

F. Boyer, D. Chablat, P. Lemoine and P. Wenger of the Institut de Recherche en Communications et Cybern´etique de Nantes in France have come up with a robot that can swim like an eel.

Why is that so exciting? Have you ever seen an eel swim? It is truly amazing (see this video) anyway the lads designed, studied and built a prototype measuring about 2 metres in length. That is a giant robot.

How did they do it? Well I’ll let them explain:

“Each vertebra includes 3 degrees of freedom, bending around two planes (yaw / pitch) and twisting around its column. The prototype includes 12 vertebrae (36 dof), a rigid head and a passive and flexible tail. The head is equipped with side wings mimicking the pectoral fins dedicated to control animal roll and pitch.”


They also use a “spherical wrist”, developed by Clement Gosselin, technology “used to guide a camera in space” and “consists in three rotary motors, of which axes intersect at the centre of the wrist and three “legs” consisting of two revolute joints each, which also cut the main center of the wrist.”

“The skin is made with three types of materials, plastic rings for reinforcements, chains of rubber to ensure continuity in curvature, and a latex skin to seal and lift between the fluid and the eel-like robot.

The skin of the eel is attached to each vertebra.”

Is it safe to go back in the water? Hells yes.

Wedding of the CENTURY

So my mum and dad twisted my tiny little arm behind my back to post this on my blog so here it is, a story about their wedding at Voodoo Doughnuts, a doughnut store in Portland, Oregon.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Popularity contest that proves --- well you work it out

Ok so I just couldn't let this one slide with all you Facebook junkies out there interested in a quick dissection of the kind of people that make social networking popular.

Without Googling, name the top three most popular people on Facebook solely based on the number of fans....give up?

The top one shouldn't be a surprise considering he just died -- that's right Michael Jackson scores number one (9,999,016 fans) and number four spots (4,611,369) on the list (the fourth is a RIP site...don't get me started). But who are the mysterious two and three you ask?

One runs the biggest country in the world....that's right, the man that is being compared to Hitler -- Barack Obama comes in with 6,486,228 fans and rounding out the top three is Fast and Furious and is non other than Vin Diesel.

WTF you proclaim, and rightly so. Yes that's right, the third most popular person on Facebook by number of fans is Vin Diesel with 5,357,710.

The next person who suggests Facebook users are smart, bright faces of the future will get a spine in the you-know-where.

Just to let you know, I Heart Sleep, Pizza, Megan Fox, I Need a Vacation, Facebook and Dr House round out the Top 10.

And for those people who don't know who Vin Diesel is -- here's a picture.

Source: All Facebook -- The Unofficial Facebook Resource

Media Twits -- Part IV

My apologies for the tardiness of this, the most important news story each day: Facebook v Twitter. For those who have followed my analysis, this column each day shows how many "news" stories feature Facebook and Twitter on GoogleNews.

Reporting on everything that happens on social networking (SN) sites is an unusual paradox.

Firstly, considering that 90% of the world's population (not an accurate statistic) lives on the bloody thing, you would presume there would be no need to report on SN because we already know what's going on in the SN because we spend all our time on the SN.

It's much like the media reporting on the media, superfluous and lazy.

Anyway the score as at 1.39pm is:

Twitter 118,416


Facebook 96,530


TWITTER: US tennis big mouth Andy Roddick has slammed US Open officials for trying to regulate the player's tweeting before or during their matches. US Open officials claim it could contravene anti-corruption regulations. Roddick however twitted on Twitter: "I think it's lame the US Open is trying to regulate our tweeting."
We all think it's lame that you feel people care about your tweeting and the fact is, shouldn't you be concentrating on the game and not tweeting to your "fans"? Don't Twit for me Argentina when you are bundled out in the quarters because you thinking about your next 144 characters.

FACEBOOK: IBM have patented a social networking remote control so "couch potatoes" can Facebook and Tweet without having to get out of their lounge chairs. Did anyone see the movie Wall-E when all those humans were shunted into space only to become obese lard arses unable to lift their own body weight? Art imitating life or art hitting the nail on the head?

Cricket Insider take on Bond, Shane Bond

The Cricket Insider, for the first time in living memory at least, takes a serious look at cricket and those fallen stars, who by no fault of their own, have had to forgo a glittering career in the spotlight due to injury. New Zealand's Shane Bond is one of many players who should have gone on to greatness but has not.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Lurid vegetable sex -- got your attention?

Seriously, you have to check this news story out. I found it at and is about a "flood of complaints" about a confectionery amid claims the "fruit figures that appear on Haribo MAOAM sour candies are engaging in sex acts".

Um.... well they are.....undeniable in fact.

Check it out here

Cricket Insider moves to the sub-continent

That's right, that loon called the Cricket Insider has moved from wet and miserable England following Australia's Ashes lost to the sub-continent ahead of the tri-nations series between New Zealand, India and Sri Lanka.

See what he has to say with his latest preview.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Age shall not weary us -- Upper limit of human life expectancy set at 125

Ever wondered how old is old when it comes to life expectancy of humans?

The average life span seems to vary with every new report released, 60, 80, 85, 100 -- who knows where it will end?

Scientists Byung Mook Weonand Jung Ho Je in their paper Predicting Human Lifespan Limits have proposed a mathematical model for human survival dynamics that suggests the oldest we will ever reach is 125.

Of course, not many of us are ever going to make it that far nor would we want to but the study is an interesting one nonetheless.

The results are based on a study of women in Sweden and all results are based on women in Europe.

Tweeting medical alerts? Not the best idea

If there was a medical alert, for let's say, a toxic gas release, would you go to Twitter as your primary source of information? What about some regional communicable disease issue? Would you rely on Tweet to bring you the news?

Well according to a report at IEEE Spectrum titled Medical Alerts in 140 Characters or Less, that is exactly what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the US is planning.

According to the article:

"The CDC has jumped on the bandwagon with three different feeds, one dedicated to emergency notifications, one specifically for information about the flu, and one that more generally redirects traffic to the CDC site."

One question -- do you trust Twitter to be the purveyor of up-to-date and accurate news?

What about those people, like me, who are not connected?

Then there is the problem of hackers, which Twitter itself addressed in a media statement released on January 5, 2009.

Oh and I am sure that those at Twitter have updated their passwords since July 15 when it was revealed that they had set their server password, as the word password hence allowing access to the search product database.

There was the German political unintelligently, unoriginially titled 'Twittergate', and well, you get the idea.

No rain? Australia looks north with finger of blame

Australia is blaming the northern hemisphere for rainfall changes and they may have a point but why shunt the blame north when they still have a lot of work to do in reducing the affects of climate change.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Possible - well, yes. Probable -- well, maybe

My parents have finally returned from some far flung place in British Columbia where they have been sunning themselves on speedboats and by lakes hence my hiatus.

I apologise for their tardiness.

However on their return and my subsequent access to the internet, I came across an interesting letter penned by Pedro F. Gonzalez-Dıaz titled Life originated during accelerating expansion in the multiverse.

In it Pedro floats several ideas about whether there can be any other forms of life in the universe other than ours. In doing so he encroaches on the subject of multiverses, astrobiology, wormholes, the chances of self-replicating amino acids floating in phantom matter and the Big Bang Theory.

An interesting round table discussion will no doubt follow, especially with those who like to discount evolution and that sticky question that many creationists like to think debunks science -- "Where did the universe come from".


Check out Starts with A Bang's Ethan Siegel's explanation of the Big Bang Theory. If that doesn't seal the deal, I don't know what will.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Pitch -- A drip that lasts a lifetime

Ever heard of pitch? (No not that kind of pitch you fool)

It is a material that was once used to waterproof boats and is the subject of an experiment in Australia that has been going for 77 years.

Get this, pitch is 100 billion times more viscous than water.

Check out the experiment here.

Serendipitous over serendipity

Dear World,

Please find my nomination for one of the best academic articles of the year courtesy of University of Cambridge's A C Fabian in his piece Serendipity in Astronomy.

Kind Regards


P.S. Any chance you could spot me $10.

Worm holes in your brane-world might not be that bad

Apparently blackholes aren't the be-all and more importantly the end-all -- there are also higher-dimensional black holes.

With that being said, that means that not only do wormholes exist in ordinary dimensions but higher-dimensional wormholes must also exist. And these wormholes may give birth to another universe.

That is of course if you follow the brane-world ethos (for a better understanding of brane-world check out this paper from Roy Maartens).

You may well now be proclaiming: "Hey hedgehog, get on with it", so I will.

Enrico Rodrigo from the Department of General Studies at Charles Drew University in LA has just released his paper titled Denouement of a wormhole-brane encounter which discusses this at length.

"When such a wormhole, preexisting in the bulk, impinges upon our universe, taken to be a positive-tension 3-brane, it can induce the creation in our universe of a wormhole of ordinary dimensionality," he states.

"The throat of this wormhole might fully constrict, pinch off, and thus birth a baby universe. Alternatively, the induced wormhole might persist. I show that persistence is more likely
and note that the persistent wormhole manifests as a particle-like object whose interaction
with cosmic matter is purely gravitational."

Intrigued? Well you should be. Check out his paper here at

Never say that hedgehogs don't provide anything to the world apart from small amounts of poop and the occasional cute fictional character in a kids book who wears an apron.

Robot overlords? Well that's a bit dramatic

Pooyan Fazli and Alan K. Mackworth, both from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, believe that instead of thinking about robots taking over the world, we instead should be thinking more of them as buddies and potential work colleagues.

Their paper Human-Robot Teams in Entertainment and Other Everyday Scenarios has some great ideas that makes me want to run out and grab an army of robots to help me out around the hutch.

The pair state several scenarios where robots and humans could in fact join forces to create a super force.

Well maybe not a super force but at least play and get along with each other in such fields as the movie industry, robots as tour guides or guards at museums and galleries.

In a brilliant idea they also suggest that humans could compete against robots in sport, in particular segway soccer, which I think is a genius idea.

Anyone scared of robots ruling the world should take a step back though.

Here are some other great news about robotic technology and their positive impacts on life:

*Exoskeletons march on Japan (Source: IEEE Spectrum Online)
*A review of the best robots of 2008 (Source: Singularity Hub)
*Robots rebuilding themselves (Source: New York Times)

Under weight -- The shrinking kilogram

This great story comes from NPR about the kilogram, where it is, who owns it and, well, the fact that it is shrinking.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Does anyone see the irony?

Here's an interesting story out of China about a teenager who was "attacked at a Chinese internet rehabilitation camp", state media reports.

According to the AFP: "the 14-year-old boy was in critical condition in hospital after repeated beatings at an internet rehabilitation camp in southwest China".

Apparently the kid was sent to the camp by his parents "to be cured of internet addiction".

The irony comes in the paragraph that begins:

"The death triggered online outrage in China..."

It is a sad state of affairs when kids are sent to rehab for an addiction to the internet -- which will be the subject of a forthcoming blog entry. Stay tuned.

For further reading:

*Check the NY Times' story from 2007 about an internet boot camp in South Korea

This is NOT a hedgehog -- Part II

Another quick lesson in hedgehogness and a guide to those who are unsure of what a hedgehog is and is NOT.

This is a hedgehog

This is NOT a hedgehog.

This brings us to the end of today's lesson.
That is all.

Media Twits -- III

The tally of media stories sparked by Twitter or Facebook or contains references therein as some form of fact or research today is quite disparate:

Twitter 108,538


Facebook 93,900

Nevertheless, here is the best stories that the people now believe constitute news:



A recent study has found that Twitter is nothing more than "pointless babble". Yep. It took a study to work that out. If only I could Tweet this to all the Twitters.

Rapper P-Diddy has launched a new competition, and I quote: "He does not want a performer who can only sing, dance, or look good on TV, but one who can do all that, and social network." Awesome, just what this world needs, another construct of mediocrity.

Absolutely, it's all relative

You saw it here first folks (well second actually because it was posted on the sublimely rich and wonderful first).

Jean-Marc Oury and Bruno Heintz's paper titled The Absolute Relativity Theory, brings you the first "presentation of a new approach of physics, that we propose to refer to as the Absolute Relativity Theory."

What does that mean? Well their abstract explains:
"This approach is founded on the refutation of the old idea that our universe can be seen as a space-time, whatever structure it is equipped with, that contains or supports “observers” and “observables”. Instead, the theory begins by exploring what should be, from an algebraic point of view, a consistent theory able to represent the “observation” processes and, in some sense, as complete as possible."

It is a 70-page behemoth but I thought you would all be interested. Once I make my way through it all I will break it down for you as best I can, it may take a while though as it is really hard to turn pages without fingers. Lucky bastards you human.

Mobile spam isn't that tasty

Did you know that an average mobile or cell phone user in China receives 8.29 spam messages per week?

No neither did I but that's because hedgehogs don't need mobile phones, we have an intricate communication system far more advanced than human telecommunications.

Anyway, according to Ji Won Yoon (University of Oxford), Hyoungshick Kim
(University of Cambridge) and Jun Ho Huh (University of Oxford) in their paper Hybrid Spam Filtering for Mobile Communication, spam text messages is "prevalent in Korea, Japan and China" and is "prone to spread across countries where mobile communication is popular".

Their proposal for a hybrid system will be worth consideration by telecommunication giants however I am sure it will end up costing humans in the end

Tattoos for the geekdom

Scientists getting their geek on

Enough said really

Random comic strip

Totally random but totally worth it. To find out more about the The Perry Bible Fellowship, you could check them out.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Cricket Insider -- Freddy's Final Fantasy

Yep the Cricket Insider at is at it again, this time envisaging the death of Andrew Flintoff in the final Ashes test. I wonder how Freddy feels about that. Oh well.

You can read the full report here at Freddy's Final Fanstay

How social networking evolves

Here is a great paper posted on by Haibo Hu and Xiaofan Wang, from the Complex Networks and Control Lab, Shanghai Jiao Tong University in Shanghai China discussing the evolution of Online Social Networks.

They based their study on on the internet community, Wealink, "one of the largest OSNs in China at present" and have some very interesting findings.

One of which is a clear definition of the three stages of social networking: "an initial upward trend leading to a peak, followed by a decline, and the final gradual steady increase".

They say that:

"A possible reason is that right after the establishment of the OSN, there was an initial excitement among a few enthusiasts who joined the network and frantically invited many of their friends to join; this gives rise to the first stage that culminates in a peak. The second stage corresponds to a natural dying-out of this euphoria and this leads to the decline. Finally the network appears to arrive at equilibrium and its density seems to converge to constant.-- the initial excitement period characterised by high number of friends."

Definitely worth a read.

Thanks to Glennz Tees for the image. Wicked idea

Media Twits -- Part II

Ok, I am still stuck with Media Twits as a name for my daily analysis of media reports based on, or containing Twitter and Facebook.

Any suggestions let me know. So today's tally at 9.06am

Twitter 111,502
Facebook 93,373



Some nonce has set up a Twitter account for God where people Tweet the Big Fella. At this point I would like to stand on the mountain top and pronounce: "GOD HELP ME, THIS IS NOT A NEWS STORY. JESUS CHRIST SOME PEOPLE."


A "playwright" has come up with a stage production of Facebook. Ummmmmm.....sure, why not.

Processed news? Media hams up cancer story

It amuses me no end when you see flashy headlines like:


My own reading and a basic amount of research and you discover the journalist is somewhat misleading the readers.

In this case, reporter Bronwyn Herbert has taken the smallest glint of a 'fact' to create a sensationalised story.

Let's take a look though at what the story says:
"There's convincing scientific evidence linking the consumption of processed meats like ham, salami and bacon to an increase in bowel cancer risk."


"Researchers aren't yet entirely sure themselves and are still trying to figure out the actual mechanisms, but ... what we think is the process of processing and the things that are added to typically red meat, say for example when things are cured or salted or with the addition of chemical preservatives, lead to the development of cancer. But what we are clear on is that people who consume processed meat are at a greater risk of developing bowel cancer."

So let's consult the SOURCE material, which can be found here.

What is processed meat? Well this excerpt shows that: "there is no generally agreed definition of processed meat". Fair enough I guess.

But there is a pretty table, which shows exactly what increases the risk of cancer, so let's look at that as well shall we?


Well here it is, only thing is though it is limited evidence, but is that enough to kill this story?
No of course not. But could this all be down to maybe excess in our life? Too much of a good thing is never...well...a good thing. So could this be linked to obesity, over eating...well yes. In fact it could be and probably is. It even tells you where to look...

But to finish this off, let me show you another table, here, look it shows pretty pictures of colorectal cancer cases but just check out the highlighted section, there in red.

So are they actually saying that too much meat is not good and that excess is bad? I don't know anymore.

Oh and if you want to check out the meat industry's response to it, well, it's there in the story, but you can check out a response to claims that arose in 2008 that red meat gives you cancer.

Hang on -- May 2008? What's going on here? Isn't this breaking news?

Oh no it's not, they also point out today on their website that: "This is the same recycled report they have been re-issuing for the last 18 months. There is nothing new in it whatsoever" and that it is "based on old research that has already been countered."

Is that true?

Well the Food Standards Agency in Great Britain seem to think so issuing their own advice, which dismisses the story.

But what about the name dropped by the meat industry in the original story, the mysterious research done in the United States by a certain Dr Dominic Alexander who "found in fact there is no statistical association between the two."

Well, we tracked their report, or a summary of the report to here.

The company he works for is a company called Exponent, who seem completely legit having worked on a plethora of high profile cases.

Dr Alexander well he has done a bit when it comes to working with meat and health. Don't take my word for it though, you can read his profile here.

The company also did some amazing research that locked kids in the trunks of cars. Genius idea lads keep it up.

So in summary Bronwyn Herbert, your story is BOLLOCKS. Although the last quote of the story should have been elevated to the top if you ask me:

"You know you don't see people dropping dead all over the place in Italy. They're going for the salami, there's no national crisis there," an anonymous customer said.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Hot dogs

A confident of mine informed me about a cross culture issue in New Zealand whereby a Tongan family following a cultural tradition, ate their family pet -- a staffordshire bull terrier called Ripper, as reported on ABC Australia.

As a hedgehog, I have no issues with this, after all, my parents aren't likely going to try and cook me up.

A message for all my canine friends out there, if you want to avoid the dinner table you might want to try this on for size (I just can't get enough of the armour-plated dog).....

And for those people who claim that this is just not on, you can't have your multicultural cake and eat it to. If you want to support cultural diversity, which I certainly do, then you have to have it in all its beauty. And isn't it beautiful? I for one wouldn't mind chowing down on a dog, well a certain dog at least.

Ok I am going to put it out there that all chihuahua must die. Those who support this motion say aye.

Just look at the PURE EVIL in its eyes and tell me that it doesn't want to kill you or take over the world....

Cricket Insider is just 'bazaar'

Here is the latest from that crazy kid, the Cricket Insider, on

This article is a bazaar of information

This is NOT a hedgehog -- Lesson I

Every few days I will be posting an informative piece I refer to as: "This is NOT a hedgehog...". It is a comparative piece whereby you the reader will gain a far better understanding on what a hedgehog is and is not.
So here goes....are you ready for your first lesson?

This is a hedgehog

This is NOT a hedgehog

This concludes our lesson for today. That is all.