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Newsletter for Zyra's website, sent 2012 August 06
This is an announcement of news that's happened recently (at the time)...
An Infrequent Message From Zyra! 2012/08/06
Hi to ALL!
It's been over a year since I sent out a Circular newsletter. But, as you may guess, I've been busy. I have been busy emigrating from the UK to Panama.
I decided I didn't want to pay 40% or 50% tax, and I've rather put up with the tropical temperatures and the scary wildlife. So, with some help, I packed my two 40ft shipping containers, (I am a hoarder www.zyra.net/hoarders.htm you know), and I upped-sticks.
The global economy having slumped, it has made me look a fool, but I believe business will improve. It has done before, and it will again.
Anyway, even in a slump, folks need cheering up, and so it's good news that there's lots of intriguing stuff at this site! Please bear in mind the previous Circular was 150, which was a while ago. See www.zyra.in/circ150.htm
There are many things in this newsletters; relocating a phone, the "Down with Facebook" campaign, a pregnant cat about to take off, The AA gracing your bathroom with their motoring skills, a giant free-range egg, scandals, virus warnings, volcano insurance, pictures of bats, water and its contentious incompressibility, Google failing to live up to expectations, cat fleas, planets, shop windows that can't be smashed, places in Europe you can get to without getting on a plane, and a few other curious things.
Well let's start off with a cheerful note: How to move a phone and a TV when emigrating! Yes it's true, it's possible to relocate a BT phone across the world, and keep the phone number the same. The result is a British phone which rings in a timezone quite different from where it is expected to be. This is well worth a write-up, starting with www.zyra.org.uk/vonage.htm and then embellishing it with the Customer Testimonial www.zyra.co.uk/vonage-testimonial.htm complete with pictures of the phone equipment all spread out on a hotel bed, before it was finally moved into my new house. The TV was moved using a Slingbox, which again produces a worthwhile write-up at www.zyra.org.uk/slingbox.htm
You too can do these things, regardless of whether you are moving across the world!
When I moved my furniture, and 2,700 numbered cardboard boxes full of stuff, in the two intermodal containers, I put a thermohygrograph in each container. Thermohygrographs plot graphs of temperature and humidity, and I thought this would be an ideal way of getting some transatlantic data. I was quite surprised to find that this sort of thing almost never happens, and thermohygrographs usually tend to live very conservative lives monitoring the environmental conditions in museums. Going on a sea voyage is not usually in their remit. However, the transatlantic voyage produced some interesting data, which I have published. The story starts at www.zyra.net/thermohygrograph.htm and goes on for several pages. I also tracked the container ship across the ocean, and I've added an extra page on how to track ships. See www.zyra.net/ship-tracking.htm
The ship went from Tilbury UK to Antwerp (Belgium), and then straight across the Atlantic to the Dominican Republic, and then to Colombia, and then to Panama.
I've been to the Dominican Republic, and I can recommend it for all-inclusive holidays. www.zyra.info/dominican-republic.htm
Now although the ship did not happen upon Atlantis, I have added a page about the legend of Atlantis at www.zyra.org.uk/atlantis1.htm , and there's another page about the tourist resort by the same name, Atlantis www.zyra.net/atlantis-bahamas.htm - as in "Where did you go on holiday?" ... "Atlantis".
I have been to quite a lot of places, but not everywhere. So, following the success of the Tax Havens page www.zyra.org.uk/taxhaven.htm , I have created a page which is a "List of Countries of the World" www.zyra.net/countries.htm - rather more open-minded and all-inclusive that the CIA World Factbook!
Yes, but to be fair to the CIA, at least the CIA World Factbook is mostly a Fact Book. In contrast, Facebook is a Farcebook. Plus, they are probably run by the same folks anyway, the United States Secret Spy Service.
In my opinion, Facebook is the biggest threat to personal privacy and freedom since the Nazi Gestapo. The main difference is that in the case of the Nazis, folks in the wider world knew there was something wrong and decided to fight them. In the case of the evil that we face with Facebook, most people are unaware. So, I have written about Facebook, that scourge upon humanity, that cancer upon the Internet. Here are a few pages about the dreaded problem:
www.zyra.org/facebook.htm - summary of the evil of our time. Down with Facebook!
www.zyra.org.uk/replacebook.htm - a pro-privacy anti-spying idea to defeat the surveillance which Facebook applies to everyone. (Note: You are spied upon even if you are not a member of the dreaded thing).
www.zyra.info/leave-facebook.htm - how to leave Facebook, abandon Facebook, and set up your own website instead!
www.zyra.org.uk/no-fb.htm - This Site Is Not On Facebook! This site disavows Facebook and all its ways. There are no stupid Facebook icons, no spy-on-you "like" buttons, no ads for Facebook, and no links to Facebook at all. Even the "Down with Facebook" page does not link to Facebook.
The thing is, social networking CAN be done properly. See www.zyra.net/social-networking.htm . However, there is a wrong way to do it, and that is exemplified by the no-privacy Facebook.
www.zyra.org.uk/facebook-advertising-worthless.htm - well done to General Motors for pulling out!
www.zyra.at/facebook-spam.htm - spam apparently sent by Facebook!
The best hope for social networking is/was Diaspora. However, one of the founders has been martyred. Presumably killed by the Establishment.
It's an egg of a rhea, a large flightless South American bird, a bit like an ostrich.
I have heard it said that the shell of the rhea egg is especially hard because the bird does not squat down to lay the egg. That would mean the egg can be dropped from a height of about 3ft. Now I know that all airline baggage is dropped from a height of 3ft, but I'd never heard of that happening to an egg. I am in doubts about the shell being strong enough.
It may be a smash-proof egg, or not. I wonder if, following the matter of "What have they got against Fortnum and Mason" www.zyra.org.uk/fm-snag.htm , there'll be some interest in these smash-proof windows... www.zyra.at/smashing2.htm
Maybe the baggage is dropped as an anti-terrorist notion. Then again, anti-terrorist stuff isn't much to do with doing anything about terrorism. It's more about inconveniencing people to make them think some good is being done, a bit like the destruction of park railings during the war, even though it didn't help the war effort much. In fact, these days, a quick calculation shows more people's lives are lost through anti-terrorism than through terrorism! See www.zyra.org.uk/antiterrorist-nonsense.htm
But here's some good news: How to go abroad (from the UK) and not have to suffer any ritual humiliation in airports. No anti-terrorist nonsense. Just travel! There are plenty of places you can go without going on a plane. www.zyra.org.uk/europe-without-plane.htm
Going by sea is different from almost all other modes of transport, as you are not stuck to a seat all the time. You can walk a long way at sea.
With Great Britain as a starting point, you can cruise across to such places as Denmark, Belgium, Holland, and of course France, within an afternoon. But time is not of the essence, and the journey is part of the holiday. In the other direction there's Ireland, and the Isle of Man (which is a tax haven, but in the Irish Sea it's not a tropical place). www.zyra.org.uk/isle-of-man.htm
There are quite a few banks on the Isle of Man. Talking of which, if you are interested in opening an offshore bank account, here's a useful contact: www.zyra.org.uk/barclays-wealth.htm
Wildlife can sometimes appear in the most surprising of places. Here's a tiny gecko which was noticed hiding under a banana. Well, it's better than encountering an unexpected tarantula. www.zyra.org.uk/gecko1.htm . This is part of the Reptiles page www.zyra.tv/reptiles.htm .
Geckos are, I have heard, a good thing to have in the house, as they are predators upon other things which are a nuisance.
Species which are not a good thing? Things like vampire-flies (mosquitoes). Also, fleas. Does your cat have fleas? Here's a page on how to get rid of cat fleas... www.zyra.org.uk/cat-fleas.htm
Yes, cat fleas DO bit humans. They may not be able to live on you and breed, but they do bite.
Also in the pestilence theme, here's a page of advice on how to tell whether you've got mice OR rats. www.zyra.me/mice-or-rats.htm . See, once you've found which type of rodents you have got, you'll know what kind of traps to deploy to get rid of them. It's surprising what you can do with a chocolate biscuit!
One way to get rid of mice is to get a cat! Cats are not the most merciful way to destroy mice, but they are effective. I recommend Good Value Cats, which are a good idea for various reasons. More about the "good value" quality of cats here: www.zyra.org.uk/good-value-cats.htm
There's a photo of a pregnant good-value cat judging her take-off to try to land on top of a wall here: www.zyra.org.uk/pregcat2.htm
Now from cats to bats. I have bats flying about inside the house. I wouldn't mind, but they are not house-trained. So now it's a matter of bunging up all of the holes so the bats are excluded. I don't mind bats living in the jungle outside, but inside the house, they can be a problem. Still, at least I'm no longer in the UK. If I had bats in the UK, it would be a disaster, as I would be chucked out of my own house! (Bats take priority over people in the UK). Here in Panama, I am allowed to chuck out the bats, if I can. Some people have suggested I kill the bats. But no, I don't see that I should. I am sure I can evict them alive. Live and let live. Photo: www.zyra.org.uk/bat1.htm
Note: These are not vampire bats; they are bats that eat insects, including vampire-flies (mosquitoes). So, they could even be described as vampire-slaying bats.
Sometimes it's tricky to know who your friends are. I used to think Google was my friend, but now I'm not so sure. It's sort of like having a motto of "In Google We Trust" and then realising it doesn't merit that trust anymore!
You may have noticed the quality of the search results on Google reducing gradually over the past year or two, and the amount of commercial spam advertising increasing? Also, the ads used to be clearly marked, and now they are hidden in very faint colour background?
The worst offence of Google is that pages which are about a specific thing don't come up for it in a search, and instead various irrelevant things do. The quality of Google search results is considerably down on what it used to be. Also, it used to be possible to specify a search better, with various "advanced search" features. Some of these are no longer available, and some of them look available but no longer work.
The thing that Google has done that's really annoying is mangling the page titles. That is something that's hard to forgive. See www.zyra.me.uk/google-nmore.htm
The reason Google is producing such rubbish search results is mainly because of search engine cheats. But Google has made things much worse by using some clumsy ways of fighting them, resulting in honest sites such as mine getting punished instead.
Also, because you can't talk to Google, it becomes a big problem. I propose migrating to different search providers. Replace Google! www.zyra.org.uk/replace-google.htm . I've had a look around, and Blekko seems to be a possible replacement for Google. The search results seem less prejudiced. Also, you CAN talk to Blekko! I think it merits a page... www.zyra.org.uk/blekko.htm
There is an important point about replacing Google. It's no good replacing Google with one other search engine, because the cheats will move to cheating it instead. What's needed is to break the quasi-monopolistic hold which Google has, such that it's becoming a verb. Instead, multiple search engines are required. I've started listing some of them at www.zyra.org.uk/search.htm
You're better off having that page as your default search page than any of the known search engines, because at least there you have a choice.
There's also a page about Google, both good and bad, www.zyra.me.uk/google.htm , another page about how Google has alienated the people who create decent web material www.zyra.org.uk/gooalien.htm , a page about How to Design a Search Engine Properly www.zyra.org.uk/goodsearch.htm , more about the Google Problem www.zyra.org.uk/gooprob.htm
Then there's a page of sheer desperation characterising the "Google Updates" as a scandalous disaster, and projecting it as a future satire in which the "Updates" seem to get worse and worse and just happen to be named after near-extinct species of animals. Not everyone likes the page, but let's see what you think... www.zyra.org.uk/gooup.htm ... "Google White Rhino" indeed!
Finally, there's the page "Stuff Google", which is a big vote of no-confidence in Google... www.zyra.org.uk/goost.htm
I very much doubt Google will heed the words, but at least there's a chance. Who knows, maybe Google will reform and go back to being a decent search engine again. If not, it will get displaced. This has happened before. A long while ago, Altavista was THE search engine, and then something happened, and it wasn't. This can happen again. The only thing keeping Google in business is the fact that folks use it without considering. This could change.
And now a few viruses and other things for you to defend yourself against. If some company phones you and says your computer has a virus, steady on! It's almost certainly a scam! There have been many reports of this sort of thing. The callers try to get you to turn on your computer and log into their website where they can infect it with an actual virus, spyware, or some other form of malware which they charge good money to get rid of. More about this scandal at www.zyra.org.uk/phone-virus-scam.htm
Also, if you receive an e-mail saying the BBB (Better Business Bureau) have received a complaint about your business, it's almost certainly a scam. They fake up the messages and send them out at random, with the hope of getting you to log into their fake version of the BBB website to grab your personal details. More about this at www.zyra.org.uk/bbb-complaint.htm . The links on the spam e-mails go to regions within websites they've already hacked!
Did you know, those spam messages offering you a job, are trying to recruit people as money-laundering mules? Shocking! But there it is. www.zyra.net/job-spam.htm
And now here's an unusual scam, the Hyundai Boss Scam. It's a Nigeria Scam which seems to come from South Korea! It's not particularly convincing, and I wouldn't have bothered with it, had the scamster running it not spoofed my e-mail address. So, now it's stuffed-and-mounted. See www.zyra.org.uk/hyundai-boss-scam.htm
Plus, there's now a special note to ISPs to shut down scam drop-boxes, as these are more of a threat than spam-sending accounts. www.zyra.org.uk/drop-box.htm
The Spoofing problem was exposed much earlier on, at www.zyra.org.uk/spoofing.htm !
Plus, although it may seem obvious, if you receive a speeding ticket for driving too fast in New York City when you've never been there, you may be relieved to hear it's a scam. Besides, the cops don't issue speeding fines by e-mail! www.zyra.net/uniform-traffic-ticket.htm
I sometimes wonder if it's worth warning folks about all this sort of thing. But then again, if enough of us are aware about these scams, it will make the crooks have a hard time trying to foist any such ridiculous jokes upon us. Some of them may even give up and set up in an honest line of business instead!
Well, there's no need to be so surprised about it. Things that are of interest get highlighted here! www.zyra.me/surprised-looking-cat.htm . The planet Venus has been visible in a transit not long ago, and these things don't happen often. It was clouded over here, but I saw the TV shows about it. There was a lot of talk about the "Black Drop Effect". Various people were explaining-away the black drop effect by various means, and it couldn't be true. So I did some experiments into the black drop effect myself and wrote a page: www.zyra.org.uk/black-drop-effect.htm
Other planets that get a mention on this issue... Neptune www.zyra.org.uk/neptune2.htm ... and then there's the controversial stuff about Pluto. There is a spacecraft on the way to Pluto, and the people running it were not exactly chuffed when the International Astronomical Union downrated their destination to "not a planet". In case you're wondering why Pluto has been redefined, here are the reasons at www.zyra.org.uk/pluto-problem.htm . My own opinion is that Pluto www.zyra.org.uk/pluto1.htm is still a planet, and so is Eris, and Ceres, and Luna, etc. When extrasolar worlds are looked at more closely, I think it will turn out that there will be inhabited planets in orbit around substellar objects in orbit around stars, a bit like the situation with the planet Pandora in Avatar. Life on a world has a better start if there's some tidal force, and that is possible if either the planet has another object orbiting low like Luna used to do, or if the planet is in orbit around another large object, like Europa and Io. Think of the poor diplomacy it would be if, on meeting aliens, their home world is insulted by it being classed by Earth folk as "not a planet" just because it's in orbit around a giant planet that gives it its tidal force.
Talking about forces of nature, it tipples down with rain here in Panama www.zyra.net/panama.htm . There's often a tropical downpour, but at least it's not cold. There was a small hole in the roof and I didn't want the water soaking the carpet. So I resolved to seal up the hole. This is where Edam Cheese Skin comes in useful! That waxy red stuff which is the outer protective layer covering Edam Cheese is quite good for mending roofs. Here's how: www.zyra.org.uk/edam-skin.htm . So, next time you eat a cheese, don't throw away the skin. It might come in useful.
It might sound bizarre, but The AA can mend situations where there's water coming through the ceiling. Hence the TV ads with John Cleese saying "Thankyou for gracing our bathroom with your motoring skills!". More about this at www.zyra.org.uk/aa-home-emergency-response.htm
There are a few more categories at this site: Survival www.zyra.org.uk/survival.htm , Electronic Cigarettes www.zyra.org.uk/electronic-cigarettes.htm , Pet Stores www.zyra.net/petstores.htm , Pet Medications www.zyra.me/pet-drugs.htm , Slots www.zyra.org.uk/slots.htm , and Football www.zyra.org.uk/football.htm
Electronic cigarettes aren't just a way of enjoying nicotine without getting smoke up other people's lungs; they are a method of ferreting out puritans. Puritans might pretend they are doing things for safety reasons or for health reasons, but really their aim is to stop you doing what you want to do for puritanical reasons. E-cigarettes flush them out and reveal them for what they are!
Therefore the Electronic Cigarette business www.zyra.org.uk/electronic-cigarettes.htm gets promoted here on the basis of campaigning for Freedom! It's a new version of the subversive ideas about The Smoke Room www.zyra.tv/smokeroom.htm
On matters of freedom, there's an ongoing piece of bad news. It looks like the United States government are going to nail Julian Assange to a cross. You'd think they'd have learnt from the Romans that making someone into a martyr doesn't defeat the following that they have.
There's more about the invasiveness at www.zyra.eu/sopa.htm
Well, I'm going to end this Circular Newsletter on some lighter notes. Did you know, if you have some Kodachrome film which is undeveloped, there is still a way you can get the colour back eventually even though no-one has any more Kodachrome colour film developing systems? See www.zyra.org.uk/old-film.htm . Always keep old film, and keep the negatives, because higher-resolution digital systems will become possible as time goes on, and more information can be found in the original.
Fish have good memories, in contrast to the folklore that is believed. I've done some experiments myself, swimming with tropical fish, and hand-feeding them. They can remember. www.zyra.org.uk/fish-memory.htm
A method for two people to watch different movies in the same room together! www.zyra.org.uk/2movies1room.htm (co-invention).
And you know that dirty trick which some websites do where you show some interest in an advert and after that it "follows you" all around the Internet because somehow it can spy on you. Well you'll see none of that here! It's known as "retargeting", and it is disavowed here: www.zyra.org.uk/retargeting.htm
And finally, is water Incompressible? Not a lot! Water is slightly compressible under extreme pressure. Only in exam papers can it be assumed to be completely incompressible, except it's now become a widespread assumption in an absolute sense, even though untrue. See www.zyra.org.uk/water-incompressible.htm
I hope you've enjoyed reading this Circular and the interesting pages linked from it. There's quite a lot to read here.
Kind Regards to ALL!
You have received this message because you got a computer and then you plugged it in and connected it up to the Internet, and then a bit later you joined Zyra's Circular Subscription list. These messages are sent out every now and then, and now is the time. If you have an idea that this message is anything to do with any kind of pork luncheon meat, you should REPLY and I'll respond to you. Can't say fairer than that! You are welcome to subscribe or unsubscribe, as you please.
This message is not private or confidential, or I wouldn't be sending it out to everyone on the List. So, if you feel like forwarding it on to someone, feel free to do so. If you have received a forwarding and would like to join the list yourself, you can easily apply at www.zyra.org.uk/form.htm . Especially non-confidential is the address of the website www.zyra.org.uk , which should be lit up in lights so it's visible from space!
If you print this message out on paper, please mind the environment. Even though I have four acres of tropical rainforest on my garden, we need some of that for breathing!
If you like the looks of this and you'd like to receive messages like this (makes a change to the usual stuff that arrives, doesn't it?!), you can sign up to Zyra's newsletter list via this form: www.zyra.org.uk/form.htm