Saturday, December 30, 2006

2006 Lists and Rankings - Does nothing happen on December 31?

The world seems to have gone mad this year with list and rankings of just about everything - some of the yearly "review and recap" sites I've been listing on the BlackStump News page for the last 6 or 7 years. But now, too many! So I'm going to list them here instead.

Here goes...

ResourceShelf Archive for Year End Wrap-Ups

TIME Person of the Year

Top Movies (U.S.) of 2006 & Year End Motion Picture Box Office Reports (International)

Another List of Lists

Year in Review 2006 Quizzes

The Panda Software virus yearbook 2006

Top American TV Moments of 2006

50 best Defense Tech posts of 2006

BoingBoing's most-trafficked posts of 2006 (and all time)

Worst Vlogs of 2006

Search Bloggers On Their Most Popular Posts & Stats For 2006

The 10 Best Books of 2006

Billboard 2006 Year in Music

Top Search Terms Of The Year (Google, AOL, Yahoo, Lycos, MSN) Top Searches of 2006

I'm sure there'll be many more (after all, it's only December 30 - does nothing ever happen on December 31???)

To finish this thread here's another list of lists from Bob Drudge at Refdesk

Happy 2007!


PS ...and for those interested in the Bushfires...some still burn, although many were doused when we had a wonderfully cold and wet Christmas. But the season is still young and we have another 3-4 months of severe fire alert weather.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Zoho Wiki, Bushfires and Warnie

I wrote about Zoho some time back in June and again in October.

Worth mentioning them again, not only because they produce excellent - and mostly free - goodies, but they just launched their latest offering, a Wiki. Free, of course!

An update on the Bushfires - they continue unabated - over two weeks now and some 750,000 hectares burnt out. Look in the previous couple of posts for the sites to look at for up-to-date info. And another hot one today, 35C.

Still no rain, and moving to Level 3 water restrictions in Melbourne on January 1 (which basically means water can be used outside for only 8 hours per week and no lawns watered etc). Some sports are shutting down mid-season as grounds are too hard and dry and cricket pitches can't be watered.

Speaking on cricket, it must be noted that Australia just won The Ashes back from England - "the" most important cricket trophy worldwide - and the bad news today that Aussie Legends Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath are retiring. Bummer!

Keep 'em spinning Warnie!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Bushfires still raging in Victoria

Well, here we are a week later, the fires are still burning and not much rain in sight.

The NASA Earth Observatory has some photos from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite.

Keep on hoping!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Bushfires continued

The mercury hit 38C yesterday and peaked at a bit above 42C in Melbourne today - the fires are still burning.

Here's another site from the Department of Sustainability and Environment showing the Statewide Fire Situation map.

And here is Today's Fire Update.

Here is an historic Bushfires Photo Gallery and a few photos of the current fires.

The weather is cooler tomorrow, 20C, but will it rain ??

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Bush Fires in Victoria

* Photo courtesy Skynews

Some of you will know that I live in Nillumbik Shire which is a semi-rural area in the city of Melbourne, state of Victoria in Australia.

Melbourne is generally well known for its skittish weather as it is situated at the southern end of mainland Australia (hence, winds from the desert/outback north are damn hot and winds from the icy Antarctic south are damn cold) and wind changes bring huge variations in weather conditions. One of most common jokes is that if you don't like the weather, then just wait half an hour!

Anyway, we in Melbourne (and Victoria, and lots of Australia) are in the grips of probably one of the worst droughts in history. Bad enough are the growing water restrictions due to the falling water storage levels, but right now it's the bush fires which are the major concern. Huge fires are already burning and today its predicted to hit 37C in Melbourne and higher in country areas.

The Country Fire Authority site has a lot of information and a summary page of current fires. You can also keep up to date via Google News.

Unfortunately (in this context), summer has just commenced and what we are currently experiencing may occasionally have happened in the past towards the end of summer every couple of years - what lies ahead over the next 3-4 months has the potential to be quite horrific. Ugly.

Good luck everyone, be prepared!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Photosynth Technology Preview

This one might worth a peek - something new from the Microsoft Labs - Photosynth. It's a technology preview which they reckon is a few steps short of a beta - so...up to you if you think it's worth the effort!

As they say it's a...
"...taste of the newest - and, we hope, most exciting - way to view photos on a computer. Our software takes a large collection of photos of a place or an object, analyzes them for similarities, and then displays the photos in a reconstructed three-dimensional space, showing you how each one relates to the next.
In our collections, you can access gigabytes of photos in seconds, view a scene from nearly any angle, find similar photos with a single click, and zoom in to make the smallest detail as big as your monitor."

Have Fun!