Saturday, June 26, 2010

Should Politicians have to take IQ tests?

With George W. Bush no longer in political office, one would have hoped that we no longer need to suffer any more painfully ignorant statements from politicians. However, it would appear that nature does, indeed, abhor a vacuum and - with Mr. Bush gone - politicians such as County Supervisor Peggy West have rushed in to fill it...

With no small amount of debate going on in the US with regard to Arizona's soon-to-be implemented Immigration Law, the County of Milwaukee were discussing whether they - like other parts of the USA - should call for Milwaukee businesses to boycott Arizona businesses. Step forward Supervisor Peggy West - click here for a Youtube video of her testimony.

For those who missed it, Peggy West declared that:

"If this was Texas, which is a state that is directly on the border with Mexico, and they were calling for a measure like this saying that they had a major issue with undocumented people flooding their borders, I would have to look twice at this. But this is a state that is a ways removed from the border."

The only problem is, Arizona is directly on the border with Mexico...

Arizona Senator Jon Kyle swiftly followed this up by sending Ms. West a letter that confirmed this fact:

"You will be interested to learn that Arizona does indeed share a border with Mexico. I have enclosed a map for your convenience."

He helpfully enclosed the map seen at the top of this post. Peggy, perhaps slightly embarrassed at her geographical slip assured voters that:

"I did get a passing grade in Geography in high school and in college and I do obviously know that Arizona is on the border"

Peggy then went on to suggest that she had meant to say that Arizona had the second longest border. Which obviously makes a lot of sense taken in the context of what she said. Perhaps, instead of following in the footsteps of George W. Bush, Peggy should have taken a leaf out of the book of a rather more respected President, Abraham Lincoln:

"It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt."

Friday, June 25, 2010

iPhone 4 Reception Problems - Dismissed by Steve Jobs...

image, Reuters

The iPhone 4 arrived amidst a veritable marketing tsunami and, over the last couple of weeks, has dominated the trending technology topics across the world. But, today, the iPhone 4 is trending for an altogether different reason - an apparent design flaw that sees it lose reception when held in the left hand...

The rumours seemed to start on the MacWorld forums where a user posted an issue they had encountered where the reception of the phone drops to one bar, and sometimes even zero, when the iPhone 4 was held in their hand. They helpfully posted a video to show what they meant...

Gizmodo picked up on the story and, gradually, user stories (and videos) began to surface of more and more people experiencing exactly the same problem - the antenna band of the iPhone 4 coming into contact with the hand and reception plummeting faster than BP's share price...

So, obviously Apple are going to be scurrying around in a panic, right? Worried that they are going to need to recall the millions of iPhone 4s that have been shipped out this week, they are probably trying to find some way calm the fears of their customers, yes?

Well, no.

Steve Jobs, in typical brusque Jobsian fashion responded to a concerned consumer directly by email. When informed about the apparent reception problems of the iPhone 4 when held in the hand, he was particularly helpful.

"Just avoid holding it in that way."

What??? Steve Jobs is trying to tell us that it's not a problem with the phone but, instead, a problem with the way people hold phones. Clearly Steve (who likely has someone to hold his phone for him) doesn't have to worry about such trivialities when making a phone call...

However, over on the Apple Insider forums a user demonstrated that it's not just us little people who don't know how to hold a phone properly - he created a photo montage of Apple promotional materials in which people are also holding their phone in the wrong way....

Apple helpfully released an official statement in which they explained that "Gripping any mobile phone will result in some attenuation of its antenna performance" and that users should "avoid gripping it in the lower left corner in a way that covers both sides of the black strip in the metal band."

Apple also says that the problem doesn't occur when using one of the available iPhone 4 cases - so, basically, it would seem Apple have made a design error and expect the user (who has already paid a fair bit for his sparkly new iPhone 4) to pick up the bill and buy a case to prevent the problem occurring...

Steve Jobs seems to be depending a little bit too much on the goodwill of his customers these days and this issue - unlike the reception on an iPhone 4 when you hold it in your left hand - isn't likely to go away...

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The most epic tennis match ever (Part 2)

Well, the World's Longest Ever Tennis Match recommenced at about 15.40 UK time at 59-59 and I'm blogging it as it happens...

Game 119
Started rather inauspiciously for John Isner as he opened with a double fault. But, gradually, he found the length of his serve and rattled down his 99th and 100th aces of the match to take it to 59-60.

Game 120
Mahut, in his first service game of the day (and 60th in total of the set) seemed to get into the swing of things a lot quicker and, with a good serve, managed to bring it level again with few difficulties, making the score 60-60.

Game 121
Isner, while not as explosive with his serve, was more commanding and, despite a few shots from Mahut that were inches from being winners, it was a fairly easy hold to Isner and the match moved to 60-61.

Game 122
Isner started by getting to the net and making it 0-15 but Mahut immediately replied with aces number 97, 98 and 99 to make it 40-15 and, despite a small rally on the final point, Mahut closes the game out to make it 61-61.

Game 123
Isner - as you might imagine - is looking more than a little weary. Doesn't stop him from slamming down ace number 103 and 104 to close the game out. 61-62.

Game 124
Mahut and Isner seem blissfully unaware that the aim of tennis is to determine a winner and a loser. Mahut looks much the sharper - for a player who played tennis for several hours yesterday he's looking remarkably chipper - while Isner (while not as zombie-like as last night) seems far more tired. Mahut hits his 100th and 101st aces of the match to make it 62-62.

Game 125
New balls give Isner the chance to rack up a few more aces and he takes the opportunity immediately by firing his 105th ace of the match to make it 15-0. A nice shot at the net makes it 30-0 but a shot into the net gives Mahut the sense that Isner is tiring. But, tiring or not, he can still serve, by God! Ace number 106 for 40-15. Mahut again gets an error from Isner's forehand to make it 40-30. But Isner's serve does the business, 62-63.

Game 126
Mahut just seems to be finding his service games a little easier than Isner and Isner is struggling to make any real inroads into Mahut's serve. A love service game for Mahut to make it 63-63.

Game 127
Isner again begins the game looking tired and Mahut immediately gets a point on his serve - but a big 138mph serve gives Mahut very little chance and makes it 15-15. But Isner has the energy to sprint into the net for a bit of serve-and-volley to make it 40-15 and then finishes the game off with his 107th ace of the match. We're at 63-64.

Game 128
The players have taken a short break - no sign of bananas for Isner just yet - and Mahut prepares to serve the eight millionth time. Well, ok, maybe a slight exaggeration. But only slight. Isner makes it 30-0 with his 102nd ace and then takes it to 40-0 with another good serve. A second serve is snapped up by Isner to make it 40-15 but ace number 103 makes 64-64.

Game 129
We've edged past the ten and a half hour point as we see the longest rally of the day on the first point - before Isner claims it and makes it 15-0. Mahut makes it 15-15 and looks to take advantage when Isner needs a second serve - but it's a good one and Isner makes it 30-15. Ace number 108 from Isner makes it 40-15 and another good serve closes the game out. 64-65.

Game 130
Isner starts the game by grabbing a point from Mahut's serve and - with the way this match has been so ridiculously close throughout - even getting a point feels as dramatic as match point in a normal game! Isner misses a chance to make it 0-30 and Mahut takes it to 30-15 with a good serve before acrobatically leaping to smash a shot to make it 40-15. Are these two even human? A delicate sliced shot wraps up the game for Mahut. 65-65.

Game 131
Isner opens strongly, immediately opening a 30-0 lead but Mahut pulls it back to 30-15 with a fabulous cross court shot that wouldn't have looked out of place on an Andre Agassi showreel. Isner, however, does his Goran Ivanisevic impression and hits ace 109 to make it 40-15. Then wraps up the game to make it 65-66.

Game 132
I have a terrible sense of deja vu as we begin game 132 - surely we've been in this position before? Mahut still serving strongly makes it 15-0, makes it 30-0 on a second serve, 40-0 with another strong serve before authoritatively shutting Isner out to make it 66-66. If 666 is the number of the Beast, 66-66 is surely even more potent?

Game 133
Mahut continues to be able to make more of the Isner serve than Isner makes of his, snatching a point at 15-15 but Isner makes it 30-15 and then powers a huge forehand down the line to make it 40-15. Ace number 110 makes it 66-67 and the umpire seems to almost sigh as he announces the score...

Game 134
The longest match in tennis history continues to roll on and Mahut seems as determined as Isner not to go down in history as the person who lost the longest tennis match in history. Isner seems reluctant to put too much energy into breaking Mahut and Mahut makes it 67-67 with some ease.

Game 135
Almost eleven hours and Isner seems to have saved energy for his own game; ace number 111makes it 30-0 and a brilliant cross court shot to the far corner makes it 40-0. Mahut can do little with the next serve and it's a reasonably quick game for Isner. 67-68.

Game 136
It is quite curious watching this - something that has never happened before and will (in all likelihood) never happen again. The trouble is, you can't really say 'where were you when the Isner-Mahut match was played?' because the answer might end up being 'For most of it I was in holiday for two weeks in Spain but I came back to watch the end...'. The fifth set is now over eight hours and Mahut makes it 68-68.

Game 137
Is the moment Isner wilts? Isner loses the first two points on his serve. We're at 0-30 and an electric buzz circulates the court. Ace number 112 from Isner makes it 15-30 to cheers from the crowd and another powerful serve evens it out at 30-30. Isner makes a good decision to leave a shot and makes it 40-30 and then makes it 68-69.

Game 138
The players come back from a break and the traditional patterns resumes with Mahut opening a 15-0 lead. But Isner gets a point to make it 15-15 and Mahut nets to make it 15-30 before Isner gets a break - and match - point at 30-40. Could it be about to end??? Yes it does!

John Isner wins the final set 70-68 - unbelievable! Hard to believe this match has actually finished - but both of these players are going down in history. Surely this is a once in a lifetime opportunity - maybe a once ever opportunity?

The final set was 491 minutes long. 491 minutes! The clock stopped on the match at 11 hours and 5 minutes...

Tim Henman and Ann Jones are on court, along with representatives of Wimbledon to present both players, and the umpire, with a memento of their achievement. Both players are exhausted. Mahut, obviously, disappointed.

Isner says he feels "A little bit tired." and that "it was an honour to share the court with Nicolas Mahut."

Mahut gets a standing ovation from the crowd and looks as if the emotion of the moment is about to overcome him. He says "at the moment it's really painful" but the "crowd were wonderful" and Isner is "a champion."

An amazing, unbelievable game.

Vuvuzela Youtube button...

As if the world hadn't heard enough of the dreaded vuvuzela, youtube has decided to get in on the act by adding a vuvuzela button to the base of all their videos.

This rather helpful addition allows you to experience a wide range of events, as if they were held in front of a partisan South African crowd.

May I recommend:

Bring in the Vuvuzelas at 9 seconds to make the Panda jump....

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The most epic tennis match ever?

Before today, very few people outside of the tennis world had heard of John Isner (currently ranked number 19 in the world) and even fewer people had heard of Nicolas Mahut (ranked 148 in the world). However, both men have played themselves not only into the trending topics but also the history books today as they played out the longest tennis match in history...

When they started their second round match on Tuesday, there was little indication of the monumental contest that was set to follow - Isner took the opening set, Mahut took sets two and three, and Isner tied the score by taking the fourth set. At this point, bad light stopped play and so the fifth set was scheduled to be played today...

The match resumed today at 14.00 UK time and, as the afternoon wore on, it gradually became apparent that neither man appeared particularly inclined to either win or lose...

By 15.15 it was 11-11 in the fifth set and the match had gone on for a, fairly lengthy, four hours and eight minutes.

By 15.49 it was 16-16 and John Isner had just broken the Wimbledon record for the most aces in a match (with 40).

By 16.14 it was 22-22 and people were starting to peer into the record books to have a look at what was the longest ever fifth set at Wimbledon and, indeed, what was the longest ever match at Wimbledon.

By 16.45 the match had seen the most games in one set (48) at Wimbledon and was heading towards becoming the longest match in Wimbledon history.

By 17.48 the match had become the longest match in the history of tennis, but still neither man appeared willing to buckle.

By 17.55 the record for the most number of games in a Wimbledon match fell.

By 18.30 the record for the most aces in a tennis match had fallen as Irsen served his 79th of the match.

By 19.32 the match clocked up its 500th minute - with the fifth set taking five and a half hours so far...

At 19.55 one of the scoreboards - clearly unprepared for such ridiculous scoring - gave up and froze at 47-47 but the players continued onwards...

19.59 and the (working) scoreboard read 50-50. Isner looked like he'd be quite happy to decide the match by tossing a coin...

At 21.05, Isner had match point - but Mahut hit his 95th ace of the match to take it to 59-59.

At this point, play was stopped for the day with the match clock reading ten hours. Play will resume tomorrow when, hopefully, we'll have a winner at last...

But, surely the most epic tennis match in history - the longest match, the most games, the most aces, the longest fifth set. Of course, who ever does win the match is probably not going to be pleased to discover that their third round match is scheduled for tomorrow afternoon...

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

French Captain doesn't play...

In a follow-up to yesterday's story; the latest breaking news before the South Africa - France World Cup game today is that Patrice Evra, France's captain, has either refused to play in the match or has been dropped and is thus excluded from their line-up...

It is latest event in a series of self-created mishaps that have derailed France's World Cup campaign, caused French football fans to turn against their team and turned France into the laughing stock of world football...

In 1998, France won the World Cup and their players will forever be remembered by the French public; this year's crop of players are likely to be remembered just as long but for altogether different reasons!

Latest (Un)dead Celebrity - The Game

If you're struggling to remember who Jayceon Terrell Turner (aka The Game) is, then that's probably because, despite a stellar start to his rapping career with The Documentary, he's not recorded an album in the last two years.

However, he is going to be releasing a new album in August and I'm sure that has absolutely nothing to do with rumours that hit the internet yesterday that he had been shot dead on Sunday night in Los Angeles.

Cue media attention and extensive trending searching on 'the game dies in shooting'...

Of course, like so many of the other rumoured deaths that have been circulating the internet in recent weeks, this is also false. The Game is in fact alive and well and has been tweeting to that effect.

I am certain that no one connected, in any way, to The Game decided that a death hoax would be a great way to get him back into the eyes of the media. I am equally sure that it is purely a coincidence that this would happen in the lead up to a new album release after a couple of years away from the limelight...

Monday, June 21, 2010

France - Will they, won't they play South Africa?

image, Reuters

If you're an England football fan, utterly depressed by the insipid nature of the team's play, uninspired tactics and general woefulness, then pretty much the only thing still keeping you going each day is the way in which the French national football team is spectacularly imploding at this year's World Cup...

It all started on Thursday when, at half time in the France-Mexico game, Nicolas Anelka and national coach, Raymond Domenech, had a bit of a spat - which is to say, Anelka told Domenech to 'go fuck yourself' and was promptly substituted for the second half.

Now, in most teams, that would be that. Player gets angry, says something stupid. By the end of the match, angry player is less angry and sheepishly apologises to the manager; player then gets a slap on the wrist, some kind of fine, and everything is copacetic.

However, that's not quite how things went for the French team. In their case, angry player remains angry and refuses to apologise. Football Federation decide angry player is disruptive influence and kick angry player out of the squad. This makes for an angry squad. Angry squad refuses to train in protest. This makes for angry Football Federation team director. Angry team director quits. This makes for angry French nation who are not used to their football team humiliating them in quite this way...

And, with things looking like they couldn't get any worse, it today got worse when there was a clear hint from their manager that some of the team may go so far as to refuse to play against South Africa.

England fans can briefly revel in a bit of schadenfreude but will, more than likely, be looking at the England team that performed so appallingly against Algeria and wishing that a few of the England squad would decide to boycott the next game...

Sunday, June 20, 2010

More Google Trends spamming...

Well, it's by no means definite, but when the second and third top trending topics on Google Trends are "Oprah removes sixth toe" and "Megan Fox molests black baby" you have to figure that something is not quite right with the list of trending topics being displayed tonight...

This follows on from last week - and the 4chan spam attack that not only added an offensive term to the top of the trending topics but also filled the remaining 19 spots with topics such as 'pet shops' and 'gas stations'.

However, what is highly amusing to see is the flurry of automated blogs that are now firing into action; grasping hold of the Google Trends headlines and automatically generating nonsensical content that only serves to perpetuate the initial headline....

Image Search Weekly Round-up

I was more than a little curious to find out whether the types of image searches being conducted around the world were reflective of the big trending stories and, to an extent, it seems that's certainly the case...

In Australia, they're still getting all excited about the Perez Hilton/Miley Cyrus upskirt photo fiasco. Clearly, Down Under, it seems they've yet to catch the news that the whole thing was a fake...

Meanwhile, France (and a host of other countries) have been frantically googling for the, now infamous, vuvuzela - it would appear that, driven to distraction by the monotonous buzzing, people are trying to identify the cause of their misery (possibly so they can go and stamp on them in the street...).

India, however, are at least a week behind on the latest trends because they're still getting themselves worked up looking for photos of Debralee Lorenzana (the woman who was allegedly fired for being 'too sexy').

In the Netherlands, image searches were dominated by people looking for the Bavaria beer babes who made headlines when they were arrested for wearing orange dresses at the World Cup.

Finally, in Lithuania, tastes appear to be far simpler and less in touch with the trending topics that have engulfed the rest of the world. The biggest trending image search in Lithuania? Girls...