Sunday, 31 May 2009

Mentioned In Despatches

Just as a quick thought before I hit the sack, I thought I’d tell you about the  the honourable mention a handy site got on the BBC show, “Click”, this morning.


Now I’ve known about the site for years; one of the pubs I worked at had a lot of IT guys, as regular customers; they all used open source software, to some degree, so SourceForge always got mentioned.

So I heard of it a few years before many other laymen.

And I’ve got to admit, even though I haven’t made much use of it, it is a handy way to find freebie software.

So I’m with “Click” reporter, Kate Russell, here.

Go give it a look.

You’ll find something handy, there.

The Daily Teaser.

What a day, that was, yesterday!

Bit of a long ’un, in other words.   But I did manage to catch the tail end of “Enigma”, when BBC3 showed it, and have a bit of a rant, which helps.

Any way, moving rapidly along, here’s today’s teaser questions …

Q1) The 31st of May, 1279BC, saw who become Pharoah of Egypt; Ramses the Great, Tut-Ankh-Amun, or Akhen-Aten?


Q2) 31st May, 1962, saw the State of Israel hang which Nazi war  criminal?


Q3) May 31st, 1927, saw the last ever production model what, roll off the production lines?


Q4) Former FBI agent, Mark Fell, was revealed to have been quite important in the Watergate Scandal, today, in 2005; has was he known, back in the 1970’s?


Q5) And finally, which famous ship was launched on the 31st May, 1911?


And here’s yesterday’s questions and answers …

Q1) May the 30th, 1536, saw Henry 8th marry his third wife; who was she?

A1) Jane Seymour.


Q2) This day in 1842, John Francis attempted to assassinate who?

A2) Queen Victoria.


Q3) May 30th, 1969, saw riots on the Caribbean island of Curaçao;the famous liqueur from that island is made with a version of which citrus fruit?

A3) The orange.


Q4) May 30th, 1908, was the birthday of the man who voiced Bugs Bunny.   What was his name?

A4) Mel Blanc.


Q5) And finally, today in 1990, saw France ban what?

A5) British beef.



Enjoy!

Saturday, 30 May 2009

A poisoned apple …

Do you remember me writing about “Enigma”, a few weeks ago? The film about code breakers at Bletchley Park?

It’s one that’s well worth watching, I think.

It seems the BBC agrees with me, as they’ve shown it , themselves, tonight, on BBC3.

That — and the fact that I had a very relevant question in the Teaser a couple of days ago — leaves me wondering something.

Just to briefly summarise, here, “Enigma” follows one of the Bletchley Park code breakers, Tom Jericho, when he returns to Bletchley, after a nervous break-down.

Now I happen to think the character is loosely based on scientist, Alan Turing (pictured).

Very loosely. Tom Jericho — played by Doug-Ray Scott — was portrayed as straight.

Alan Turing was gay.

It’s what lead to his death, back in 1954.

Don’t forget that, unlike in these much more tolerant times, homosexuality in the UK was both illegal and seen as a psychological disease. (Something I’ve also thought of as a stupid viewpoint; I’ve always felt sexuality was something along the lines of left- or right-handedness. Comparatively unimportant, in the grand scheme of things, in other words. And a part of ourselves that’s not really a choice.)

And, as a result of being prosecuted for homosexuality, he apparently committed suicide by eating a cyanide laced apple, in 1954*.

I can’t help but think that is a tragedy.

I think that whoever someone chooses to spend their bedtime with is trivial, compared with the good or bad they achieve in life; after all, Hitler was a vegetarian, fond of animals, and nice to children, and his mother. But that is overshadowed, for me, by the fact his ideals and politics, lead to to the death of at least 6 million people in the concentration camps alone.

Turing — named by “Time Magazine” as one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th Century — basically laid the groundwork for the modern computer, in a famous 1936 paper, and continued that at Bletchley and during his post-war career.

Now Doctor Turing has been honoured in many different ways, since his death.

But to the best of my knowledge, has still not received any recognition for his scientific, or war, work, by the British government.

Personally?

I call that a disgrace.

And a pretty complete one, at that.

I wouldn’t have posted this, and you wouldn’t be reading it, without Alan Turing.

So what I’m wondering is quite simple.

When on Earth are the British Government planning to do something about it?

They’ve had 55 years, after all.







* There’s been — unsubstantiated — rumours, for years, that Apple choose its name as a nod to the Beatles. And choose its logo as a mark of respect to Alan Turing.

The New Girl!

Ooh!!

Now that’s nice to know;  the BBC’s announced that the 11th Doctor’s new companion is to be played by Scottish actress Karen Gillan.

Now I’ve got to admit, I’ve not heard of her; unsurprising, as she’s a relative unknown.

But she did pop up in last year’s “The Fires of Pompeii” as an unnamed Soothsayer.

For about ten seconds.

I think Free Agyeman got more airtime … !

Either way I’m curious to see how she does.


video

The Daily Teaser.

This is going to be a quick one, I’ve got a long day ahead!

Without much ado, here’s today’s Teaser …

Q1) May the 30th, 1536, saw Henry 8th marry his third wife; who was she?


Q2) This day in 1842, John Francis attempted to assassinate who?


Q3) May 30th, 1969, saw riots on the Caribbean island of Curaçao;the famous liqueur from that island is made with a version of which citrus fruit?


Q4) May 30th, 1908, was the birthday of the man who voiced Bugs Bunny. What was his name?


Q5) And finally, today in 1990, saw France ban what?


And here’s yesterday’s questions and answers …

Q1) Today in 1919 saw Albert Einstein publish his theory of what; General Relativity, or Special Relativity?

A1) General Relativity.


Q2) Name either of the two people who became the first to reach the summit of Mount Everest, in 1953?

A2) Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay.


Q3) 29th May is also Republic Day in which country?

A3) Nepal.


Q4) Chemist John Pemberton released his first advert for which ‘Tonic’?

A4) Coca-Cola.


Q5) And finally, who became Tsar of all the Russias, today in 1737?

A5) Peter the Great.


I hope they’re fun!!

Friday, 29 May 2009

The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy: Always Remember Where You’re Towel Is …

You know, it occurs that, given it was Towel Day, on Monday, I really should’ve watch “The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy”, I really should …

But I do have it playing in the background …

Now I grew up on the TV series, as you probably guessed. But I was rather impressed with the movie version.

If nothing else, the effects budget was considerably bigger.

The plot was pretty much the same, though; unsurprisingly, really, as the film’s script was the last thing Douglas Adams work on, before his untimely death.

And I always thought it worked better on-screen, than on the pages of a novel.

But I digress.

The film version of “The Hitchhikers Guide” is a good addition to the franchise. And, budget aside, the strong point, for me, is the strength of the performances from the cast, it really was.

Two in particular stood out for me.

Martin Freeman was good as Arthur, as was Zooey Deschanel as Trillian. Alan Rickman and Warwick Davies as Marvin were good. Not as good as Stephen Moore, the original Marvin, but pretty good.

But the stand-outs?

Well, for starters, Sam Rockwell as Zaphod!

And my God!

He was bang on perfect!

Not to put down Mark Wing-Davey, the original Zaphod Beeblebrox, but my word, it’s handy having a real American accent being used for the role! And I can’t help but wonder if Rockwell was basing his version on Bill Clinton, or George W. Bush. But I suppose we’ll never know!

But, for me, the real stand-out was Mos Def, as Ford Prefect.

Now I’d seen him presenting a few award shows, around the time that his casting as Ford had been announced. Rapper that he is, Mos blinged it up quite a bit, acting the gangsta.

That’s understandable, but it did have me a touch worried.

Then I actually saw the film.

And got a pleasant surprise, when I saw Mos, as Ford, scootering down to rescue Arthur.

On a shopping trolley.

From there, the film proceeds exactly as I — and many other fans — expected. With Mos Def being — for me — the reason I kept watching it!

At any rate, the movie version of “The Hitchhikers Guide to The Galaxy” is worth watching.

Just for that!








L'énigme quotidienne …

Back to the grindstone, again!!

Or, at least, back to the familiar array of posters.   I was hoping that some of the modifications with GIMP allow them to use the blogs background colour.

Oh well!

At any rate, here’s today’s questions …

Q1) Today in 1919 saw Albert Einstein publish his theory of what; General Relativity, or Special Relativity?


Q2) Name either of the two people who became the first to reach the summit of Mount Everest, in 1953?


Q3) 29th May is also Republic Day in which country? (As a clue, it follows on from question 2.)


Q4) Chemist John Pemberton released his first advert for which ‘Tonic’?


Q5) And finally, who became Tsar of all the Russias, today in 1737?


And here’s yesterday’s questions and answers …

Q1) Today in 1936 saw scientist Alan Turing publish his paper that defined modern computers; he and his computers were used to break codes in which war?

A1) World War 2.


Q2) 28th May, 1979, saw which country join the EU?

A2) Greece


Q3) 28th May also saw the opening of which office block; the Chrysler Building, or the Empire State Building?

A3) The Chrysler Building


Q4) 28th May, 1999, saw which of Leonardo Da Vinci’s painting’s go back on display?

A4) “The Last Supper.”


Q5) Which of the Brontë sister’s died today, in 1849?

A5) Anne Brontë.


And here’s today’s free quiz questions for quiz masters.

Round 1.   General Knowledge.



Q1) How many gallons, in a bushel?

A1) 8.


Q2) In song, which name appears after the line, “There’s an old mill, by the stream?”

A2) Nellie Dean.


Q3) How many actors have played Dr Who, on stage?

A3) 3.


Q4) On the standard UK Monopoly board, what colour is Leicester Square?

A4) Yellow.


Q5) Which UK car maker produced the Kitten?

A5) Reliant.


Q6) What kind of ape lives on the Rock of Gibraltar?

A6) Barbary.


Q7) What were the names of the 3 tunnels dug in “The Great Escape?”

A7) Tom, Dick, & Harry.


Q8) Which magazine did Cherie Blair guest edited, in 1996?

A8) Prima.


Q9) Who did Norma Major write her 1st book about?

A9) Dame Joan Sutherland.


Q10) Which country was the 1st to legalise abortion?

A10) Iceland





Round 2.   Food and Drink.


Q11) Scrumpy is a very rough form of which drink?

A11) Cider.


Q12) Which mashed vegetable forms the topping of a shepherd’s pie?

A12) Potato.


Q13) Is a Melton Mowbray, sweet, or savoury?

A13) Savoury.  (It’s a pork pie.)


Q14) What’s the usual shape of a camembert cheese?

A14) Round.


Q15) Would you have milk in a cappuccino coffee?

A15) Yes.


Q16) True or False; - Marmite is made from leftover brewer’s yeast.

A16) True.


Q17) Vermouth is wine, flavoured with what?

A17) Herbs.


Q18) What drink is served in a schooner?

A18) Sherry.


Q19) What is a Laxton’s Superb?

A19) Apple.


Q20) What is added to whisky, to make a whisky mac?

A20) Ginger wine.





Round 3.   At the Movies.



Q21) Which of the Lord of the Rings film won the Best Picture Oscar, at the Academy Awards?

A21) Lord of the Rings: Return of the King.”  (Accept Part 3)


Q22) Hugo Weaving appears in the Lord of the Rings movies as Elrond.  But in which sci-fi movie did he 1st come to fame?

A22) The Matrix.”


Q23) Which role did Dooley Wilson play, in “Casablanca”?

A23) Sam.


Q24) Who played Vincent Vega, in “Pulp Fiction”; John Travolt, Samuel L. Jackson, or Bruce Willis?

A24) John Travolta.


Q25) Who played the divorced wife of Robin William, in “Mrs Doubtfire”?

A25) Sally Field.


Q26) Who played The Saint, in the 90’s movie of the same name?

A26) Val Kilmer.


Q27) Who produced the Hugh Grant movie, “Extreme Measures”?

A27) Liz Hurley


Q28) Which movie holds the record for the most extras?

A28) Gandhi.”


Q29) Who won a Best Actress Oscar for “Dead Man Walking?”

A29) Susan Sarandon.


Q30) Who directed “The Colour Purple”?

A30) Steven Spielberg.





Round 4.  Television.


Q31) In which TV sitcom did Richard De Vere buy Grantleigh Manor?

A31) To The Manor Born.”


Q32) With which animals did Barbara Woodhouse most often appear?

A32) Dogs


Q33) Name the spin off from “Dallas.”

A33) Knots Landing.”


Q34) What is Charlie Fairheads job at Holby City Hospital?

A34) Nurse.  (Accept Head Nurse.)


Q35) In which part of the UK was “Harry’s Game” set?

A35) Northern Ireland.


Q36) Which former barrister chaired “Whose Line Is It, Anyway”?

A36) Clive Anderson.


Q37) Who}s announced he’ll be stepping down as ITV’s Chief Executive, this year?

A37) Michael Grade.


Q38) Until its recent re-organisation, the DG was the head of the BBC; what did DG stand for?

A38) Director General


Q39) Which series featured Eddie “Fitz” Fitzgerald?

A39) Cracker.”


Q40) Why was Marty Hopkirk an unusual detective?

A40) He was a ghost. (Accept He was dead.)





Round 5.   Sport.


Q41) Which sport is Allison Fisher connected with?

A41) Snooker.


Q42) Martine Le Moignay is associated with which sport?

A42) Squash.


Q43) In which sport would you use the terms serve, dig, & spike?

A43) Volleyball.


Q44) In horse racing, which of the 5 Classics is held at Doncaster?

A44) The St. Leger.


Q45) Boxers Ray Leonard, & Ray Robinson were known as what?

A45) Sugar Ray.


Q46) In golf, what is the term for being 2 under, for a hole?

A46) An Eagle.


Q47) What sport do the Pittsburgh Steelers play?

A47) American Football.


Q48) What was the 1st Scottish side that Chris Waddle played for?

A48) Falkirk.


Q49) Moving anti-clockwise on a standard dartboard, which number is next to 9?

A49) 14.


Q50) Elton John became chairman of which football club?

A50) Watford.





Round 6.   General knowledge.


Q51) Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin represented which political party?

A51) Conservative.  (Accept Tory.)


Q52) How is country singer Brenda Gail Webb better known?

A52) Crystal Gayle.


Q53) What is the fifth book of the Old Testament?

A53) Deuteronomy.


Q54) How is Huey Louis Clegg better known?

A54) Huey Lewis.  (And the News.)


Q55) What is the square root of 169?

A55) 13.


Q56) What is ¼ plus 1/8?

A56) 3/8


Q57) How many pound, in a hundredweight?

A57) 112lbs.


Q58) Which RAF rank is higher, Air Commodore, or Group Captain?

A58) Air Commodore.


Q59) What Channel was “Life on Mars” shown on?

A59) BBC1


Q60) Which car maker once said that “History is bunk”?

A60) Henry Ford.


I hope these help out!