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Archive for July 2008

When kidnapping a baby just isn’t enough…

July 19, 2008 @ 16:17 By: gordon Category: Current affairs, Seen on the 'net

CNN has a story about a woman named Andrea Curry-Demus showed up at a hospital in Pennsylvania on Thursday with a newborn baby that still had part of its umbilical cord attached.  Apparently, she must have claimed that she’d given birth before she could make it to the hospital.  Naturally, the hospital performed some tests and determined that Curry-Demus was not, in fact, related to the baby.

On Friday, the police made the gruesome discovery of a woman’s body in an apartment.  Finding a body in an apartment isn’t too unusual, but what was is that the body was bound and the poor person had been eviscerated and her unborn baby cut from her body.  And it was in Curry-Demus’ apartment.

Curry-Demus has subsequently told the police that she bought the baby for $1000 from someone named “Tina”.

This isn’t the first time that Curry-Demus has been involved in something like this.  She tried to steal a baby at knife point in 1990 and when that didn’t work, she took a 3-week old baby being treated for meningitis at a hospital home after its mother had gone home for the evening.  She was sentenced to a few years for this little crime spree.

The scary thing is that Curry-Demus may not have come up with this little plan all on her own.  She might have been copying what Lisa Montgomery did to Bobbie Jo Stinnett in 2004.  Montgomery was convicted in October 2007 for almost the exact same crime.

Why do these people think they will get away with something as horrific as this?

WordPress 2.6

July 15, 2008 @ 00:57 By: gordon Category: Meta, WordPress

WordPress 2.6 was released a few minutes ago, so of course I’ve upgraded already.  Since I use subversion to maintain my blog, the upgrade process basically consisted of making a backup (it’s always a good idea to make a backup) and then running the following command from the root of my WordPress installation:

svn sw http://svn.automattic.com/wordpress/tags/2.6/

I also upgraded a couple of plugins, including Akismet.

In the roughly 90 seconds it took to do all of this, some comment spammer tried to post some spam to my blog.  Fortunately, I had comments set to require me to approve the first comment, so it went into the queue to be reviewed.  When I re-enabled Akismet and poked the “check for spam” button it flagged it automatically.

There are a lot of features in it that make it worth upgrading, including some security updates, including better SSL support.  There’s also the addition of a post revisioning feature that will make it easier to track changes to blog entries, something that will be of particular interest to blogs with more than one author.

There’s even a video tour of WordPress 2.6 showing off the new features:

Congratulations to the WordPress 2.6 team!

Mixed Blessing #2

July 14, 2008 @ 23:33 By: gordon Category: General

Map image

So, Mixed Blessing #2 was visited upon me this morning on my drive to work.  (Normally, I walk to work, but I’ve been staying at my parents’ place while Mixed Blessing #1 is being resolved so I’ve been driving to work lately.)

The driver in front of me was getting all road raged up at the person in front of them and cut me off to get around them while I was getting into a left turn lane on Parkdale Avenue.  I slammed on the brakes to avoid hitting them and heard a clunk from the front end.  When I started moving again, the steering was very heavy and pulling to the left.

After making the turn, I pulled over and had a walk around.  My fear was that I’d popped one of the tires off the rim, but everything looked fine.  While getting ready to drive off, the driver who cut me off drove by in the opposite direction and stopped to apologize.  I asked her what she’d been thinking by doing that and she said muttered something about the driver in front of her and apologized again before driving off.

Whatever.

I drove the rest of the way to work (about four blocks), taking it slowly because the steering was pulling severely to the left and I could hear the tires squeaking, so obviously something was wrong.  Once at the office, I called CAA and arranged for them to tow my car to the dealer to have things sorted out.

IMG00343 The tow truck guy was hooking up the Tracker and looked underneath.  "Uh oh, that’s gonna be expensive."

I crouched down to look at what he was talking about and saw that one arm attached to the front crossmember was mostly torn off.

"Yup," I muttered, "that’s gonna be expensive."

On the way to the dealer, I Googled "gm tracker front end recall" on my Blackberry to see if there were any recall notices and found a site that talked about exactly what had happened and it mentioned there was a bulletin from GM about it.  The service manager looked it up when we arrived and confirmed it was covered under a special warranty extension.  I arranged for a rental car for a couple of days while they repaired it.  My Tracker was already up on a lift by the time I drove off the lot.

IMG00342Near the end of the day I was happily surprised to receive a call from the service advisor.  They had the replacement part in stock and had been able to replace it in the afternoon.

Cost to me?  $0.  (Except for the rental car which apparently GM doesn’t cover.)

So, why is this a mixed blessing?  Well, though this was highly inconvenient on a number of different levels, it could have been much worse.  Instead of happening while moving at low speed on Parkdale Avenue, it could have failed while driving along the 417 at 100 km/h, which is where I was driving about a minute before it failed.  The right front wheel probably would have folded under the vehicle and caused it to flip.  That would have been Bad.

Hopefully, my drive to work tomorrow won’t be as exciting.

A tip o’ the hat to Suzuki-forums.com user shapsuz who wrote about this in one of his posts.

Ultimate

July 10, 2008 @ 23:27 By: gordon Category: General

I played Ultimate for the first time earlier this evening and I had a blast!

(more…)

Firefly + Windshield = Glowing green splat

July 06, 2008 @ 17:59 By: gordon Category: General

There seem to be a lot of fireflies this year.

I saw lots of them while out geocaching at night last weekend and they were out along the 416 last night.  These little beetles are members of the Lampyridae family of the order Coleoptera and they generate light through the combination of an enzyme called luciferase and luciferin through a process called bioluminescence.  Something like 90% of the energy consumed in the process actually turns into light, compared to just 10% for an incandescent light bulb.

The flashing is pretty specific, with many species of fireflies having their own flash patterns used by the males during courtship.  But the females of the genus Photuris mimic the mating flashes of other fireflies to invite them over for dinner.  Unfortunately, their "guests" find themselves on the menu.

Their victims might take a small amount of solace in the fact that when you smack into one with your car, they leave little splats on your windshield that continue to glow for about a minute.