Daily Post : 13th December, 2013

Quote of the day :

You can’t control all the crazy stuff that happens to you. All you can control is the way you handle it.
~ Amy Lee

Pic of the day :

I was working on another article (about photography) and reminded that while the rose-tinted, Pollyanna view of the world is nice, sometimes what’s really wanted in a more realistic, down to earth view of life. Life’s not what you want, it’s what it is and as a photographer you need to remember that, to see lines of beauty were others simply stride pass doors, to notice disparate parts and to remember the devil is in the detail.

Snowy scenes are all very pretty, however working outside in it at night at 5° below zero when all you want is a hot coffee and to feel your feet again is another matter. So, while people are taken bets on the odds of a white christmas I thought I’d take a moment to remind you what it turns into about 5 hours later – slush.

winter snow - slush

Tube of the day :

As it is Amy Lee’s birthday today I’ve picked one of Evanescence’s best songs : Bring Me To Life. This particularly video has nearly 84 millions so far, quite a pedigree.


On this day…

Born today :

  • Rock singer and songwriter, Amy Lee (Evanescence)
  • Actors include:
    Robert Lindsay
    Dick Van Dyke (88 and still going strong (born 1925))
    Steve Buscem
    Christopher Plummer
    Tony Curran
    and Johnny Whitaker (memorable as Tom Sawyer)
  • Rock musician, Ted Nugent
  • Fantasy author, R. A. MacAvoy
  • Comedian, Jim Davidson
  • playwright, Howard Brenton
  • DJ, Andy Peebles
  • Actress, Paula Wilcox
  • Singer and actress, Marti Webb
  • Theoretical chemist, Charles Coulson
    (A pioneer of the application of quantum theory of particle valency)
  • Inventor, engineer and industrialist, Ernst Werner von Siemens
  • Botanist, Alexis Millardet (invented fungicide)
  • Mystery writer, Ross Macdonald
  • King, Henry IV of France (1553)

Comment and Observation:

It takes a few hours to compose this page so I can’t validate every entry, but I do like to be thorough, so, browsing through the New York Times I found today (13th Dec 1730) was the birthday of Sir William Hamilton (diplomat, antiquarian, archaeologist and volcanologist) – born 12th January, 1731. Ummm? The wikipedia entry does say that other sources give his birthday as the first date, but obviously both can’t be right. Something to think about. It’s not of life-changing importance for general interest and quiz trivia like this, but it you were writing a paper, it would matter. Quite common, I’ve noticed with date errors, is a tendency to mix up their obituary with their birthday. Subtle difference there, eh.

I did a series of articles on literary quotes earlier this year and my daughter caught me working on it and was mortified, You can’t change people’s’ quotes. That’s their words! What she didn’t get was I wasn’t changing the original quote, I was doing my best to restore it as accurately as I could, which is rather time-consuming. For every quote I had to look at a score of ‘trusted’ sources and as many others, line up all the variations and say, on the evidence and balance of probability, this one is most likely the true quote. It’s sad but many sites happily lift content without a thought beyond perhaps advertising revenue. Plagiarism or being factual doesn’t matter, only the revenue. What they miss, besides the abhorrent idea of spreading incorrect data, is they aren’t giving people – or search engines – what they want, which is to be entertained and/or educated with fresh, unique content. A given birthday isn’t unique, but put together properly (as opposed to cut and pasted across), that’s research and so makes it new. Something to bear in mind.

In the process of writing this page today I currently have 3 history books added to my Amazon cart, a few more in my wish-list, a few pegged for getting out the library and, at this moment, nearly 60 pages open in browser windows covering science, chemistry, maths, history, current news and so forth. For every one I like I’ll probably look on two or three over pages out of curiosity and/or to verify some point. At present, given the drop in visitors from millions a year to a few thousand, perhaps ten people will glance as this page, ever. Maybe more, maybe less, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is professionalism. Do it right or don’t do it at all is a good mindset to have. It will take years to recover Ackadia’s ranking, but when I do it will be because I put the work in, every day – not because I’ve dragged a passage across from someone else’s site (which itself may have be dragged&helip;)

I still remember the first time I went from programming in C in a text editor to using Visual Basic and Visual C++ on my HNC…
Drag, drop, ‘Hello World’, compile. Done. It’s the standard now, but all I could do was stare in mute horror at this bloated monster, ten times the size of my C compiled version. Time marches on I guess, but the point remains, you have to change with the times, but you still need to maintain your standards.

Also on this day in history

In 1577 Sir Francis Drake begin his round the world voyage, setting out from Plymouth in the Pelican (later renamed the Golden Hind). He had originally set out a month earlier, on 15 November, but the weather was so bad he turned back.

In 1642 New Zealand was discovered by Dutch navigator Abel Tasman.

Emily Brontë, writing as Ellis Bell, had her classic novel Wuthering Heights published in 1847. Her sister, Anne, writing as Acton Bell, had Agnes Grey published on the same day. Still remember reading Wuthering Heights in high school for my English Lit. ‘O’ level. Out of interest, do you have this on Kindle? Or do you proper version, in paperback? I only ask to make a point – the first edition sells for between £4,500 to over £12,500 depending on the condition. When I say first edition, I refer to the 1848 US version, printed by Harper and Brothers. The actual original version, printed in England by Thomas Cautley Newby is worth over £100,000
I cringe every time I see old books lost!

Electric street lighting was introduced to Britain is 1878, the first place to receive it being Holborn Embankment in London.

Going back to 1903 – a little before Ben & Jerry or HaagenDaz’s days – Italo Marcione of New York patented moulds for ice-cream cones.

In December of 1938, Stepney Borough Council organised a week’s work for 500 unemployed people to help them over Christmas period.

In music and the year 1961, The Beatles signed with manager Brian Epstein.

Trending at this moment:

Trending today on Twitter is – people using hashtags to plug things with absolutely no bearing on the actual topic. Some things never change, eh. Perhaps it’s time Twitter let you downgrade spammers instead of only allowing you to favourite and RT them? Yes, you can report them, now, but it’s not quite the same.

Ignoring my grumpyness above, the promoted trend on Twitter is #Extinctionday for Call of Duty Ghosts. (by developer Infinity Ward)

On Google, the hot trends include #xmasjumperday, primarily as a fad for Save the Children to raise money by asking for a donation if you are wearing a sweater. I like this Telegraph blog take on it:
Christmas Jumper Day: This isn’t about seasonal cheer, it’s just a load of idiots showing off

Also trending and likely to continue staying in the news is The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. Still yet to see it myself, hopefully I’ve remember on Tuesday!

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