Flight MH370 and the bullshit it shows up

Saturday 22 March 2014, 1.24am HKT


MAS Flight MH370 via Flightradar24.com

(via Flightradar24.com on Facebook — click image for full size)

Disclosure Statement / Legal Notice

This is a lawyered post, i.e. legally cleared for publication. Significant amounts of text have been withdrawn from the original version on legal advice sought at my own instigation. This present published version contains 5,909 words. The pre-lawyered version contained 9,422 words. However, certain portions of the original have been retained but in redacted form (shown by a solid block █████ ) to serve as PRIMA FACIE EVIDENCE OF DUE DILIGENCE AND OVERSIGHT on my part. The blocks (which contain no hidden text or links) show the relative extent of the censorship.

References to persons, firms and/or events appearing herein are removable only through a legally valid removal request. Take notice that I am in my right as The Author to identify the party(ies) serving a removal request, including the reason(s) for it, in an expedient manner such as a blog post or some other publicly accessible announcement. You make removal requests strictly at your own risk.

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Consolation … and a sweet one

Monday 10 March 2014, 5.39pm HKT


5.11pm local time, 14°C (57°F), drizzly and miserable

legs and creepers

(via Cheepfrills)

Still remember that wonky TL;DR post of mine Why brothel creepers are rad’der than you think (23 Oct 2013)?

Yes, that one.

I quoted Paul Sweetman in the post. He left a comment there the other day:—

Bo Diddley Mona
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ikaGufOhJsQ#t=154

(Sorry, I didn’t buy the WordPress video upgrade, so please just click the link.)

Dr Sweetman is Senior Lecturer of Culture, Media and Creative Industries at King’s College London (University of London). He is the world’s foremost scholar on subcultures and the cultural sociology of fashion and consumption.

I’m chuffed to the bollocks (to borrow the phrase from British author Harold Pinter) to see such a distinguished person as Dr Sweetman leave anything on my blog.

As I’m the world’s foremost laughing stock when it comes to sane writing, that’s praise from one end of the spectrum to the other.

Schweet.

_____

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© The Naked Listener’s Weblog, 2014. (B14082)


Originally written on Sat 01 March 2014
1.03am local time
19°C (66°F), humid

IT’S BEEN a bad, bad hair day — and I didn’t know how to handle it. Bad Hair Days are not a usual fixture in my life. That’s okay because that’s what you all (ahem, all of you) want to read about anyway.

Flared nostrils

nostrils healthcentral-com

(via HealthCentral)

Dad said my problem was I couldn’t take a joke about money.

Not true. Price is what I can’t take a joke about. There IS a difference between money and price.

Money is about miserliness, and I’m no tightwad. Price is an objective unit of measure of your level of contractual obligations with respect to those who deserve no effing respect by any other measure. I know, Dad, because you were sometimes such a renegade used-car salesman flogging rusted-up cars in a rain-sodden area, and I learnt something from you.

But it does get up my nostrils (plus some other more precious orifices) when a person dicks with me about prices.

I don’t even mind unreasonable prices, since those could be made reasonable through negotiation (preferred, and cheaper to do) or a Southern Death Threat (which incidentally is also the name of a cool American rock band).

Most people get the impression that ink is the main bag for printers like me, mainly because of that phrase “Never argue with anyone who buys ink by the barrel.” Not true. Our main bag is in fact paper.

For those who’ve never seen paper (because of self-imposed illiteracy or the Internet, both of which comes to the same thing), this is the whitish stuff, not so dark, in thin sheets that we embarrass our parents and our respective nations on with a pen (another fictitious implement of literacy).

Consider the current facts:—

Paper prices

€665.04 (US$921.28) per metric tonne (2,204½ lbs) of 100gsm coated WF (woodfree) paper reels

€830.31 (US$1,150.23) per metric tonne of A4-size B-copy 80gsm sheets

Prices as of 25 Feb at the FOEX (Finnish Options Exchange). MOQ (minimum order quantity) is 20 tonnes (British/European practice) or 100 short tons (American practice). That’s 20 × 665.04 = €13,300.80 per minimum order to the Europenis or 100 × 665.04 = US$66,504 to the Americ*nts.

Ink prices

Ink prices have considerable leeway, depending on how well or badly you hang with your supplier, but generally:—

Standard offset printing ink (any colour) is US$24.47 per kilogramme (2 lbs 3 oz)

MOQ is conventionally 600 to 1,000 kg (one metric tonne) and usually allows mix and match of colours (cyan, yellow, magenta and black). Bad attitude incurs higher prices and additional (mis)handling surcharges.

If it were you at those prices, d’you think you could take a goddamn joke?

Because phoque yeu, that’s why!

Did you know…?

Paper pulp problems could ass-wipe the whole paper industry overnight, and therefore the whole printing industry. Know that?

shredded paper documents via www.photos-public-domain.com

(Public domain photo, courtesy of www.photos-public-domain.com)

The paper industry is one of the most stratified markets in the world, meaning that each paper subsector is compartmentalised with relatively no overlap with other subsectors. So newsprint manufacturers make only newsprint, paperboards make paperboard, and so on.

For comparison, plasticware manufacturers can make anything. The two deciding factors are what kind of extrusion mould they’re supplied with by (or prefabricates for) the client and the quantity of product ordered.

The only primary component that cuts across the whole paper industry is pulp, the major ingredient of all paper products.

The USA remains the world’s top paper pulp producer. But ’Murica F*ck Yeah is likely to sink into some kind of recession this year (2014). Weakening corporate bond prices will be the first sign of that storm. Weak bond prices affect all kinds of paper-product producers more than most other goods manufacturers — no idea why.

Life last year (2013) for the global paper-products industry hasn’t been too rough a ride, even in the face of paper-packaging demand failures (because of bad weather depressing consumer demand) AND in the face of massive bookstore failures, newspaper failures and print publishing missteps (blamed on challenges from electronic media, an excuse laughable and absurd).

I know the electronic-media excuse is absurd because Asian markets last year have seen double-digit growth in paper demand. That compensated for the sagging paper demand in North American and European markets because global paper supply (not the raw materials that go into producing paper) comes from North America and Europe.

Paperboard for corrugated packaging was the only thing that kept growing (and at double digits) in North America and Europe. If paper producers aren’t making enough moolah there, they’re doing something srsly wrong.

Then again, what the hell do I know? I’m in the printing business, not the paper one.

From now till 2017, many in the paper industry (including allied outsiders like myself) see no serious problems ahead. Demand and profits will continue to be slow but stable (because, whilst trees are becoming increasingly scarcer, there is still enough to go around). Moreover, new substitution technologies are appearing, such as the one that pulverises stone (rock) into thin, flexible, writeable sheets but not very eco-friendly yet.

All that, barring brainless politico-economic jockeying by jock-strapped politicos and econoclasts and/or the forecastable problems such as natural climate disasters usually labelled as ‘unforeseen.’

Please pray the paper industry won’t f*ck up, otherwise I’ll die and you won’t get to read The Naked Listener’s Weblog anymore. (Assuming you want to keep reading it…)

*

The world’s most traded commodity is ink. Know that?

offset printing inks

Comes in tins (cans), actually … bought by the kilogramme
(image from author’s collection)

We all know ink is more expensive than blood.

(Interestingly, blood is the world’s only non-man-makeable liquid.)

Just look at your useless, designed-in-America-assembled-in-China/Mexico desktop printer and the criminal cost of ink cartridges for it (Agent Orange-immune Vietnam-made).

Printer ink (as opposed to the professional kind called printer’s ink) was trading at its usual level of US$1,000 a barrel (119.24 litres or 31½ gallons) at the New York Futures Exchange as of 28 Feb.

Alright, printer ink isn’t exactly printer’s ink, but you get the general idea. Your yee-yee ass ink cartridge demand in turn bumps up professional ink prices. China is ramping up demand for both types of ink, by the way.

Please … don’t argue with someone who buys ink by the kilogramme. Because phoque yeu, that’s why!

Stop making printouts unless absolutely necessary.

Recycle your goddamn ink cartridges.

Learn PDF and take screenshots.

Do everything on your $2,000 Facebook and pr0n machine called a computer, preferably with one hand on the mouse and the other on a body part (yours or your pet’s).

While you’re tossing yourself off with (and on) that $2,000 pr0n machine, pray that the ink industry won’t f*ck up, otherwise I’ll die and … etc.

istockphoto_10556767-british-pound-money-tree

(via istockphoto.com)

_____

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© The Naked Listener’s Weblog, 2014. (B14069)

Technical difficulties

Tuesday 4 March 2014, 4.51pm HKT


From the Management

THE blog is experiencing some technical difficulties right now.

THE ISSUES

The issues don’t seem to affect the ability to post (yet!). Observant readers will have noticed several things within the past 24 to 36 hours:—

1. Absent all of the Sharing buttons at the bottom of all published posts

2. Absent the usual Like button at the bottom of all published posts

3. Absent the widget for email subscription at the bottom of the blog

4. Absent the text widget named “Unique Visitors” (via flagcounter.com since 2010)

5. Absent the text widget named “Visitor’s Locations” (via clustrmaps.com since 2010)

All the other functionalities (Nero ratings, notifications, etc) are fine and operational.

WHAT THIS MEANS TO READERS

This means readers at the moment…

… won’t be able to share my posts

… won’t be able to ‘like’ posts

… won’t be able to follow the blog by email

… and won’t get to see visitor statistics

As if anybody cares.

FOR MY OWN RECORD

For my own record, I’ve posted the matter on the WordPress.com Support Forums at this URL:

http://en.forums.wordpress.com/topic/missing-buttonswidgets-for-likes-sharing-email-subscription-etc

I’ve searched the forums before posting there — so far, only one thread on this topic but that’s currently hidden until resolved by WordPress staff:—

http://en.forums.wordpress.com/topic/where-are-the-sharing-buttons-at-the-end-of-my-post?replies=2#post-1677151

Otherwise, I’ll just have another glass of vino tinto…

The Naked Listener

UPDATE, 6.58pm

Problem solved!

I’ve accidentally found the cause (and the solution) to the issues. It seems Adblock Plus (currently v2.5.1) is gumming up the WordPress buttons and some widgets.

The solution (only for Firefox browser users) is straightforward:—

  1. In browser menu, View > Toolbars > click Add-on Bar
  2. Click the “ABP” icon > Disable on [the current website]
  3. Fresh page and everything’s back on!

There’s no way to disable Adblock Plus over the entire wordpress.com domain. Just repeat the above steps for every someblog.wordpress.com subdomain. Seems like Adblock Plus has been designed like that in the first place.

Use Adblock Edge instead

Another accidental discovery is to give up using Adblock Plus and instead use Adblock Edge extension (a fork of the Plus also for Firefox).

Edge won’t interfere with the WordPress buttons, etc, and doesn’t require the individualised disabling that the Plus requires (being a bit tiresome to do).

This is in no way a recommendation or positive endorsement of Adblock Edge. It’s just a usable suggestion from one user to another that’s worth considering.

All’s well that ends well.

The Naked Listener

_____

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© The Naked Listener’s Weblog, 2014. (B14077)


11.57am local time, 16°C (61°F), chilly and breezy

I have one thing to say from the past 12 hours of the news.

You work it out what it all means.

The flag of Ukraine (via Imgur)

I have friends from there.

.

Russian flag replacing the Ukrainian one (via Imgur)

I have friends too from where this flag comes from.

.

Politics, summarised (via Imgur)

Never before in a picture have I seen it summed up so perfectly.

Enough said.

(All images from Imgur)

_____

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© The Naked Listener’s Weblog, 2014. (B14074)

Site Update: March wallpaper

Monday 3 March 2014, 9.03am HKT


8.45am local time, 16°C (61°F), cool and drizzly

WEATHER’s been warming up now, at least where I am. If it’s any consolation, everything’s is in meltdown mode anyway. The background image for March is…

wall 2014 03-mar 1000 ice sculptures Berlin

One thousand ice sculptures left to melt in a Berlin street square,
photographer unknown, via locked in a cage.

(click image for full size 1024 × 768 pixels)

Melt, don’t bleed.

_____

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© The Naked Listener’s Weblog, 2014. (B14073)

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