Random Wikipedia factoid of the day

Beer was prohibited in Iceland until 1989.

This was too crazy a fact for me to just trust Wikipedia on.  Sure enough:

Beer was illegal in Iceland until 1989.  Yes, this is not a misprint.  Iceland, like the USA, underwent prohibition in the early part of the 20th century.  Our friends in Spain & Portugal helped resolve this situation in the 1930s when they unilaterally stated that they would accept no more Icelandic salted cod (fish & fish products are Iceland’s largest export) unless Iceland agreed to import red wine.  Iceland’s response was to agree and the door was open.  Iceland also had a history of producing a rough home-spirit called Brennivín (tastes like Aquavit) and the push was also made to legalize hard spirits.  Somehow, beer slipped through the cracks and remained ‘prohibited’, although I am told it wasn’t especially illegal to have it, just illegal to buy or sell it.

Happily they now have a national beer day to celebrate the end of the prohibition – March 1st.

Best analysis of a PhD I’ve ever read

Found over at Jamie Lawrence’s blog.

I found myself nodding the whole way through.

I remember hearing that, on average, 1.6 people will read your PhD thesis. I’m pretty sure that includes yourself, your spouse, your supervisor, your second supervisor and your examiner (yeah, that’s technically 5 people. If someone says they’ve read your thesis, they’re probably lying – they read page 9). You have to accept, that no one in the world will want to wade through this document. Ever.

Oh, and the glorious days of a constantly clean house:

If you’re like me, when it gets down to the nitty-gritty, boring detailed work of the PhD, you need to remove as many distractions as you can because, at this stage, just about anything is going to be preferable to your PhD. Computer games, good fiction and the Internet are all obvious distractions that can be minimised. Washing up was one of my favourite distractions, which I never found a way to avoid.

Required reading for any potential PhD student.

Random Wikipedia Link of the Day – Donkey Kong Jr… MATH

Sometimes I worry about Wikipedia. I really do. After all, they’ll delete the entry on Trovix, but they’ll let something like this survive, nay, flourish.

I present for your perusal, this.

The game features one player and two player modes. In the one player mode, the objective is to enter math answers in order to receive points.

In the two player mode, each player applies a math operation (addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division) to the number they have to make it another number, trying to eventually reach a mutual goal number. However, signs and numbers are on the same field for each player, and they must race to reach the final number. The identity of player 2 is unknown.

Riveting.

Youtube comments versus Metafilter comments

As a follow-up to my post the other day, I found a great mashup highlighting the differences between the two.

What I was served up just then. Youtube:

  • who ever said he was fat, better watch their ass!!!
  • nice song! i like it .. i appriciate it .. i think this one already happen to me ,, well thats life !
  • bastard
  • XD, I was being cliche and ironic, smartaaaass
  • (\__/) (=’.’=) (“)_(“) Most wicked thing from DRACULA’s country >> RadioLynx dot ro ! join now RADIOLYNX . RO >> go to the free chat!
  • dude u realy need to stop being a crack w***er ok and stop being rascist and dude word of advice walk into L.A and say that and u will be shot so wise the f**k up!!! P.S. i can say this im white…

Metafilter:

  • When my husband and I first moved to Tucson, AZ – a notoriously low wage town, we used to sit at traffic lights in our third-hand car with no AC and wonder how everyone around us could afford huge trucks and SUVs. Now I know.
  • ackptui: You must be mistaken. Haven’t you heard Treasury Secretary Paulson state that the Bush administration has a ‘strong dollar policy’. I mean he said it so it must be true right?
  • Fight like a viking?
  • I have no idea why I put “laser printed” in that last sentence. It should be “ink jet printed”. Also, Bruce Schneider is much (much much) smarter than me, so I’m loathe to bring this up, but I never got the paranoia about contactless passport chips. If someone goes through a lot of trouble, they can discover, from a distance, without your knowledge … your name, and what city you were born in. Big whoop. And the only place where you can be certain that there are enough passports to make such a process worthwhile is an airport – one of the few places with a major, continuous security presence. There’s just not that much of interest on your passport chip.