one day at a time…
Thursday 17 July 2003

On This Day in 2002: Some Unexpected Program Changes

If, If, If… Wednesday 17 July 2002 Click either thumbnails for source page.
Yarrawonga Fish Ladder construction © www.mdbc.gov.auYarrawonga Fish Ladder construction © www.mdbc.gov.au
Recently in this section of the weblog we have been featuring the date matching item from last year's archive. There was panic in the Editorial Executive Office earlier today, well at least some heads turned accompanied by a brief lull in the buzz of conversation about yesterday's stage of the Tour de France, when we realized that there were two consecutive days from 17-18 July 2002 without matching entries in the archive. Somebody asked the Copy Boy to think up an idea for a temporary replacement feature, and a normal leisurely calm returned to the throbbing nerve center of our organization. We think that Boy will go far and his will be the Earth, if he can keep his head when all about him are losing theirs and blaming it on him, as Kipling foretold. What follows is the Boy's best shot. We hope you enjoy the change. Meanwhile we hope you enjoy this triple featured sites items as a replacement for our usual format. Try to think about it as the ever popular 'Three for the Price of Two' offer that make shopping such a wearing process of making nerve racking decisions.

Using our preferred date format of 'DAYNAME DD MONTH YEAR' [Please, everybody, make sure the Publisher doesn't see this, or we will have to do yet another piece on how absurd the most common American date format is in the computer age- Ed.] we did a Google search, and accepted the top three answers.

Top answer on Google was the Now This Log weblog by Steve Bogart. Lead item for our chosen day was 'Useful page for transitioning Mac owners: Mac OSX: Where The Files Belong Now [Westwind]. We made a quick note to pass this on to FotoFeed author, and a favorite web destination of ours, John Farr, who has recently taken delivery of a titanium PowerBook among the Wet Magpies, with the world's finest operating system ready installed.

Second up was Lying in Ponds. This site would earn an entry here, if only for the derivation of its name:

'The title is an allusion to a line from the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail. King Arthur had been explaining to 'Dennis' and another peasant that he is their king because the Lady of the Lake presented him with the sword Excalibur. Dennis, who lives in an "anarcho-syndicalist commune", doesn't buy that explanation (text from from a Monty Python fan web site):

DENNIS: Listen. Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.
ARTHUR: Be quiet!
DENNIS: Well, but you can't expect to wield supreme executive power just 'cause some watery tart threw a sword at you!
ARTHUR: Shut up!
DENNIS: I mean, if I went 'round saying I was an emperor just because some moistened bint had lobbed a scimitar at me, they'd put me away!
ARTHUR: Shut up, will you? Shut up!
DENNIS: Ah, now we see the violence inherent in the system.
ARTHUR: Shut up!
DENNIS: Oh! Come and see the violence inherent in the system! Help! Help! I'm being repressed!

The web site does have a serious purpose, however, and the author Ken Waight, who 'once walked right past Sonny Bono' [Isn't just using that guy's name a copyright infringement? Ed.], gives this mission statement:

Lying in Ponds is an attempt to encourage vigorous, independent commentary in the American punditocracy by quantifying and analyzing partisanship. Lying in Ponds tries to draw a fundamental distinction between ordinary party preference and excessive partisanship. The presence of an excessive partisan bias transforms journalism into advertising, too distorted and unreliable to be useful in any serious political debate. Lying in Ponds currently tracks the Democratic and Republican biases of a selection of regular political columnists from various sources, including the New York Times , the Wall Street Journal's OpinionJournal , and the Washington Post.

We intend to personally return to this site for some serious study. Highly recommended if these issues are of concern to you as part of the democratic process.

With the third entry we struck a mother lode for the type of web site we usually cover. At first glance the rainfall records for the Murray-Darling Basin (MDB) in Australia might seem like dry reading (pun most definitely intended). The MDB Initiative web site has much more than that on offer, however. This is one of the world's major river systems, not by its flow but check out the MDB map for the MDB Tour… this thing is huge! Enquiring minds may enjoy the River Information Centre, which gives an insight into the issues and complexities faced by any river management authority.

That Information Centre has a pull down menu giving a choice of destinations to visit on the river system. How could we resist selecting somewhere so wonderfully named as the Yarrawonga Weir? That link, or clicking on either of the thumbnails, will take you to a detail page showing the 1994 construction of a privately owned hydroelectric station and a fish lift, and the giant flow control weir of Yarrawonga.

To give you an idea of the scale of this region, Yarrawonga Weir is located 334 miles (538km) from the source of the River Murray, and 1,238 miles (1,992km) from the mouth. The travel times of flood peaks from the river headwaters to Yarrawonga are 6 days, then a further 8 days to the inland town of Port of Echuca, known as the World's Paddlesteamer Capital, which is still a long way from the ocean. All this is in the Murray basin; the Darling Basin is even bigger!

The Copy Boy had by now begun to realize just how easy this kind of repurposing is for producing a weblog. He then began to ask a series awkward and embarrassing questions about such things as executive rewards and perks, company cars, expense accounts, and all the other burdens that the producers of this weblog have to endure. To prevent further unwarranted intrusion, we immediately sent him scurrying off to the local Starbucks to buy the strong coffees & fresh biscotti that are the things that keep this organization operating. Finally we noted with some sadness that our own weblog, and web site, did not appear in the Google results. [Look, this is getting really silly, because that was the whole point of the item. You lot, get back to work on the regular features, and try to see 'If you can fill the unforgiving minute with sixty seconds' worth of distance run' - Ed.]

Caricature of the Day courtesy of Caricature Zone
IDENTITY LINK: click the image below. Click this text for a BIO-FINDER LINK.
Caricature Zone
Spanish athlete (1964- ) Do not be confused by the name on the cap, which is an expanded acronym for the tongue rollingly named Spanish bank Banco Español de Crédito. This man was arguably one of the greatest measured athletes ever: his lung capacity was 8 litres (at 4 litres mine is quite big for a couch potato, and 6 litres is a respectable size for a competitive aerobic athlete); his resting heart rate was 30 beats per minute (mine is around 70bpm); his maximum sustainable working heart rate was 180bpm (mine is classified information) with a delightfully Hispano-Franglais 'Cardiac Pulsation Rupture of Effort' at 195bpm (I will admit that the last two figures are the same for me at the moment). He was among only four top achievers in his chosen sport, and distinguished himself even in that élite company as the only person ever… oh well, check back here in a couple of weeks, because we hope to have updated that piece of information. Information on this man's official web site was used in the preparation of this mini bio. [This is all very well, but when are we going to have some women in this section? - Ed.]

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Jules Laforgue (1860-1887)
"Ah! que la vie est quotidienne."
Oh, what a day-to-day business life is.
'Complainte sur certains ennuis' (1885)