Academia Web Flotsam

Academics that are also characters

I signed myself up for an account yesterday. It seems like an interesting hybrid of an academic homepage and social networking site. Has the potential for being a useful place to network if more people sign up for it (currently there are 5 people who have signed up from York–seriously under-represented).

Regardless, I came across the page that Richard Tabor Greene had set-up and–wow–what an interesting guy he appears to be. A man of 113 research interests (by comparison, I thought I was pushing the envelope with my seven), Greene has an interesting breadth of academic interests ranging from writing books, to designing fashions, to composing J-rapp songs (I just googled J-rapp and apparently the whole Internet is as much in the dark as I am about this musical style) to planning to launch a new kind of university. What Dr Greene “does” in his own words:

1. I write large books on results of the Science of Excellence Research Project
2. I design fashions, products, interfaces, events for clients and my own work for global distribution
3. I teach research seminars at Japan’s 8th ranked (by employers) private university and send students to the world’s top ten grad schools
4. I research 16 areas including fractal interfaces, social automata, mass workshop event designs, cognitive and social psych of designs and interfaces.
5. I prepare for launch in 6 years time of a new kind of university (or add-on to existing universities) that I call Knowledge Epitome–I have a book laying it all out.
6. I compose J-rapp songs and run bi-monthly workshops wherein students compose songs
7. I write two comedy and 1 detective fiction novels
8. I daily create videos on 1 of the 8000 chapters I have already written–a one hour, 17 minute, and 7 minute video version of each chapter is done each day.

Ambitious. But is Greene for real? I mean listen to this stuff:

I have developed the most comprehensive, practical curriculum in creativity applied to invention, discovery, design, and business venturing in the world–92 courses, all tested on my Chinese and Japanese undergrads. I can transform passive East Asians into innovative Americans.

and stuff that goes beyond my understanding:

I have invented certain regularized fractal interfaces, one to replace all prose writing, another to replace web 2.0 browsers, another to replace current workgroup electronic cooperation topologies

Personal interests, you wonder? Dr. Greene has that outlined as well, ranging from “long distance cycling” to “inventing new forms of sex and eroticism.”

Dr. Greene, who can be contacted at, has also listed his areas of expertise. My personal favourite:

KIMONO SportFormal FASHIONS–the fit and comfort of modern sports fabrics combined with Japan’s rare traditional weaves–catch everyone’s attention anywhere without effort–I did these fashion designs for years just for my own wearing and amusement and one day an inebriated newly rich Chinese gentlemen, in our Osaka Ritz Carlton, begged to buy what I was wearing–so without planning to I ended up eventually selling a few designs, though that was never my intent and is not now yet my interest;

If I have an academic career half as interesting as Dr. Greene’s, then I’ll be a happy man.

Web Flotsam

Vomit alert: “Personalized” Love Songs

I was farting around on Facebook and saw a text-ad for personalized love songs. The cost? $299. WTF?

Though I would never, ever, ever spend money on a personalizing a love song, I was curious just what was up. So I visited It’s pretty much as expected—a flash header with a slideshow of “romantic” scenes (an all-hetero, all-smiling rotation of schmaltz culled from some stock photo house) and marketing mumbo-jumbo that claims that custom-tailored music is the “ultimate romantic gift.”

You can choose a song from a number of genres from Piano Ballad to Folk Waltz (though, surprisingly, no thrash metal) and edit lyrics as required (like a sappy Mad Libs). Here is a verse from the Piano Ballad:

“Close your eyes and come with me
I will show you how love should be
Take my hand and don’t be scared
Because I promise that I’ll be there”

My. God. Shoot me now.

But, you do deserve a listen to the “experimental” genre. I’m not sure what I would think if I had this song recorded for me:

“What’s in that upside-down smile
Stay with your eyes full of spring
And a heart full of sadness”

Sounds more like the kind of thing you would send to someone you’re about to dump. Which might be worth the $299.

Web Flotsam

I’ve had enough of Toronto. I’m moving to Toronto.

Just south of North Bitchburn and just north of Bishop Auckland is Toronto. Just to clarify, that’s England’s Toronto.

I would just like to move there to see what kind of confusion it would create. There or North Bitchburn.

Flickr Greasemonkey

Extending Flickr – the Greasemonkey Scripts

So, I’m a big fan and enthusiastic user of Flickr. Its helped me get about 15.3x the enjoyment out of taking photographs then I had prior to becoming a member. And while the site is pretty intuitive and easy to use, I’ve found some extra tools that help make Flickring easier, and that are easy for anyone to install and use.

For my first battery of tools require that you have Mozilla’s Firefox browser and the Greasemonkey extension for Firefox installed. Once Greasemonkey is installed, simply follow the links below to the Userscript website and click the install button in the upper right-hand corner (with the exception of the Buddy Icon Reply).

Greasemonkey Userscripts

Flickr Refer Comment

Refer Comment
This script will automatically add the appropriate HTML in the bottom of a comment you’re making so that other reader will know how you found / where you saw their photo. Link

Buddy Icon Reply

buddy icon reply

Add the personalized touch of replying to a photo commenter by name or by icon. By clicking on either name or icon reply, the script adds the appropriate HTML into your comment box so. Link

Flickr EXIF Decorator


A favourite script of mine. When you hover over a photograph, a translucent box appears with some of the more pertinent technical data about the photograph you’re looking at. A great way to learn what others have done to get a particular look. Link

Multi-group sender

multi-group sender

Again, a very useful script. It was a repetitive & huge waste of time to add photos to groups. With this script, its a matter of selecting all the groups at once (with the assistance of the CTRL key) and sending the photo on its way. Link

How interesting?

How interesting?

In a pretty straight-forward manner, this script will let you know how, relative to your other photographs, interesting a particular photo is. Link

Reset Flickr comments

Reset Comments

This script solves a particular peeve of mine: the persistence of the “new” icon beside comments when, in fact, there are no new comments. In the past, I would have to close the browser to “reset” the new icon. Now, with this script installed, when you hover over the “new” button, a “reset” icon appears. Click on it and your comments are re-set. No need to close and open the browser. Link

Facebook Web Flotsam

As seen in Facebook Marketplace “Jobs Wanted” Section

freelance writer
Listed by XXX on May 25th.
Jobs – Writing/Editing | 206 views

I am starting up a freelance writing business and am looking for work – I have been writing since I was in grade 4 and have done fictional and nonfictional writing and am seeking work. I do not have experience with business writing though am willing to learn and will work if you give me a good idea of what you want. My knowledge is in religion (esp. Christianity), history and philosophy. you can contact me at – serious emails only please

Hours: Full-Time
This job is salaried. Listed at Toronto, ON.

Experience writing fictional and non-fictional work since grade 4? Get this man a job!

Web Flotsam

If you’ve got inconsistent Wood, you’ve got problems

A screen-grab of a Major League Baseball headline today:

Inconsistent wood

On purpose? Innocent mistake? You’ve gotta think they knew what they were doing with this headline.

Dogs Herbie Web Flotsam

Truth in advertising is a great way to find dogs available for adoption and in fact, Herbie was found with Petfinder’s help! Usually they have some sappy description about the dog that is completely irrelevant to the dog’s demeanour (something along the lines of what celebrity a dog looks like, for example). I was looking to see if there were any BTs up for adoption today and came across the following write-up about Stella:

Stella is a Lab/Border Collie??? mix. She would love a home where she can hang out on the couch as she’s very docile and laid back. Stella lived in a junk yard in the city and would have about 2 litters a year and all her pups would die. Her owner was shot and killed so Stella went to live on the tough streets. When she was rescued by Mayme she was very pregnant-again. Mayme was able to adopt the surviving puppies out, but not Stella, so she’s still with us. Stella is around 6 years old.

Yikes. Now that’s quite the write-up. But I still want to know what celebrity she most resembles…

Spamsam and Jetsam

Lucky me!

Oh joy! Not only do the Masons want me to join, they’re going to give me a share of 2.5 million dollars (US no less!):

Subject: Dear Benefactor Of 2006 Masory Grant
From: Secretary Freemason Society of Holdenhurst Road

Dear Benefactor Of 2006 Masory Grant,
The Freemason society of Bournemout under the jurisdiction of the all Seeing Eye, Master Nicholas Brenner has after series of secret deliberations selected you to be a beneficiary of our 2006 foundation laying grants and also an optional opening at the round table of the Freemason society.

These grants are issued every year around the world in accordance with the objective of theFreemasons as stated by Thomas Paine in 1808 which is to ensure the continuous freedom of man and toenhance mans living conditions.

We will also advice that these funds which amount to USD2.5million be used to better the lot of man through your own initiative and also we will go further to inform that the open slot to become a Freemason is optional, you can decline the offer.

In order to claim your grant, contact the Grand Lodge Office co-secretary

Dr.Lavine Ferdon Ferdon
Grand Lodge Office Co-Secretary’s
email: (
Dr.Lavine Ferdon Ferdon,
Co-Secretary Freemason Society of Holdenhurst Road,

Sir David Hurley,
Secretary Freemason Society of Holdenhurst Road,

Two things that I love about this scam. First: The email is written so that you get the ideas that these Masons are somewhere in England (“The Freemason society of Bournemout”; “Holdenhurst Road” are names that seem straight out of some BBC eight hour drama), yet the prize is quotes as being US dollars. WTF? Second: Not only does Dr. Lavine Ferdon Ferdon have the most ridiculous sounding name in the world but am I to believe that a Doctor of Law’s email address is an excite webmail account? Riiight.

Web Flotsam

“Good Samaritan” returns $1-million purse and proves that money does not buy taste

I was surfing the web, as I am want to do, and came across the following story: Good Samaritan returns $1-million purse

The gist of it is this: a Toronto family, in California for a wedding, left a gen-u-ine Louis Vuitton purse filled with jewelry and cash on a bench while sightseeing. They did not realize this happened until they returned to their hotel room (let me editorialise here–if I was carrying around a purse with shit in it worth a million, I would be paying a whole lot more attention to the purse then I would the sights. Heather and I had to take a cool one thousand dollars out of the bank to get Ollie and we were the most paranoid people while we walked back to the car. This purse was worth a thousand times our withdrawal. We would have been paralysed…) . They returned to no purse. Longish story short: a guy found the purse and rather than liquidating the contents, he turned it into the police.

Here’s the best part though. The good samaritan though the million dollar jewelry was value-village quality:

Sausalito police said Mr. Suhrhoff had thought the bag contained costume jewellery.

Ah…just another confirmation that money does not buy taste.

Academia Humour Spamsam and Jetsam

PhD in Two Weeks? WTF am I doing at York?

I just got some "GET A DEGREE BASED ON LIFE EXPERIENCE!" spam in my inbox. Not such a big deal normally. While it’s true that I’m honoured that Clarence has been trying to get in touch with me; sadly, he doesn’t say who I am. He doesn’t even say what University he’s from. Usually, it’s some cool sounding place.

However, while I am interested in getting a PhD in as little as two weeks, I’m not so sure that I want to get one from an organization that misspells their "their"s. Yikes.

P.S.: A personal note to Clarence: you’ll make your fake-University seem more real if you don’t say the "administration" is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including holidays. You have to project some kind of bureaucratic aura of in-accessibility. That’s the way that real Universities do it.

You have been referred to us: (Referral ID: R8204)

Based on your present knowledge and past life experiences our University administration office has been trying to contact you. We feel you may qualify for one of our Univsersity degrees in your area of expertise. We have been qualifying people based on thier experiences in past and present jobs and are offering qualified degrees with transcripts for those that qualify.

If you call our offices now we can confirm our information and send you either a Bachelors’, Masters’, or Doctorate within 2 weeks.

Administration Office Number: 1-XXX-XXX-1674

Administration Hours: 24 hours, 7 Days a week, including Sundays and Holidays University Administration

Clarence Moore Client Identification: CL6563