July 15th, 2005

Got those comment spam blues?

Hit the spammers where it hurts: in their Google juice.

Google now offers a place where you can report any signs of spammers trying to get around the Google crawler.
If your Google search returns a result that you suspect is spam, please let us know using this form. We investigate each report of deceptive practices thoroughly and take appropriate action when abuse is uncovered. At minimum, we will use the data from each spam report to improve our site ranking and filtering algorithms. The result of this should be visible over time as the quality of our searches gets even better. In especially egregious cases, we will remove spammers from our index immediately, so they do not show up in search results at all. Other steps will be taken as necessary.
All to the good, methinks.

Three Suns in the Sunset...

The latest extrasolar planet to be announced is another "hot jupiter", but this time it's in a triple star system about 149 light years away...
"The fact that a planet can even exist in a multiple-star system is amazing in itself," Konacki said For one thing, the planet has to contend with the gravitational pull of three other bodies [the suns]. For another thing, the theories and models of solar-system formation suggest that planets are very unlikely to form in such environments.
Time to get back to the planetary formation drawing boards.

For recent SF involving hot jupiters, may I direct your attention towards Brenda Cooper and Larry Niven's collaboration Building Harlequin's Moon. It's a rather interesting tale of terraforming in a very hostile solar system...
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Under the blue sky of the dreaming pigs

With work about to begin on the refurbishment of the slowly decaying iconic edifice of the Battersea Power Station, with its four white chimneys, the BBC has taken its cameras inside the crumbling brick power station.

Surprisingly many of the original fixtures and fittings are still in place, with rooms that look as if the engineers had just walked out to get a nice hot cup of tea...

Click here for a gallery of pictures, and here for a set of panoramas and pictures of the building as it was, as it is, and as it may well be in the future...

There ain't nuffin' like a puffin

Puffins have started breeding on Lundy again. The first chick since 1972 has been spotted...

The RSPB estimates it will take about 10 to 15 years to get the birds back to big numbers, but it says the sighting of the chick means the first steps of the process have been taken to secure the long-term future of puffins on Lundy.
After a massive population decline, various conservation bodies collaborated to help give one of the few UK breeding sites for the brightly coloured little birds a new future. With predation a major problem - rats were eating the young and the eggs - eradication was the only solution. No rats have been seen for over a year now, and the puffins have started to return - and breed.

BT Caller ID is now free

If you've got a BT line you can now have free caller ID (and registration with those delightfully useful Telephone Preference Service people).

Hie thee along to here and sign up to "Privacy at Home".

You will need a compatible phone - but most DECT phones are CLID ready out of the box...