Thursday, November 27, 2008

England's financial self-destruct, Thailand's political self-destruct

Oh dear, it's all going horribly wrong. England is now apparently technically bankrupt due to it's monstrous and seemingly unmanageable national debt brought on by years of unchecked over-borrowing. I say technically bankrupt, because if any of us normal people ran our finances in the same way, we would surely be declared personally bankrupt. My thanks to Gordon Brown, the current UK Prime Minister and former Chancellor of the Exchequer, for that!

And now Thailand seems to be on the brink of another military coup d'etat, following (and largely the result of) the last one in 2006 when the then Prime Minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, was ousted. If there is a coup, I don't think it will be anything like the previous one, which was almost entirely peaceful. It seems very likely that this time there will be serious fighting if tanks come onto the streets of Bangkok.

Things really are quite bad here in Thailand now, I'm very sorry to say - in addition to both of Bangkok's airports being completely shut down by anti-government protesters such that Bangkok is now cut off from the rest of the world by air (imagine the same thing happening to London or New York, and you'll get a feel of the chaos that is causing), earlier today an anti-government protester in Chiang Mai was dragged from his car by pro-government supporters and killed. That normally very placid Thai people can become so violently angry is both shocking and disquieting. Suddenly Thailand doesn't seem quite such a lovely place to live. How depressing.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Play Disney's Bolt online games

One of the posters for the 2008 movie "Bolt"

Today sees the release of Disney's new computer animated movie "Bolt". It is Disney's 48th animated feature, and because it has been co-produced by Pixar founding member John Lasseter (who is now the boss of all Disney/Pixar animation) it could also be considered as being, at least in part, a Pixar movie. I'll certainly be making the effort to go and see it because it looks really good judging by the official Bolt movie trailer.

For the sheer fun of it I've collected together some great free Bolt Flash online games for you to play:

  Bolt: Pinball

  Run Bolt Run

  Bolt: Mittens' Hot Dog Hideaway

  Bolt: Rhino's Rollerball

  Bolt: Rescue Mission

  Bolt: Rhino's Breakout

  Bolt to the Rescue

The games also include some Bolt desktop wallpaper pictures for you to use on your computer if you wish. You can find all the games and wallpapers, plus over 100 more great Disney and Pixar games (and wallpapers), at my Free Disney and Pixar Online Games site.

Enjoy! :-)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

My YouTube Pixar video channel

I spent most of yesterday and today sorting out my YouTube Pixar and sci-fi video channel, uploading new cartoons and movie trailers, re-organising it, linking things together, and so on. You can view the finished results here:

The Pixar and Sci-Fi Channel

Additionally, you can play loads of free games related to all my YouTube videos at my group of websites which you can access through my WebRing here:

The Computer-Generated Cartoons WebRing

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Going a bit too far with online entertainment

I thought this was a joke when I first read it, but it's actually true. This is from a report published last week by Sky News:

A woman is divorcing her husband after she caught him cheating on her in a 3D virtual world.

Amy Taylor, 28, cited unreasonable behaviour in the court papers, describing how their three-year marriage came to an end when she twice walked in on her husband pretending to have sex in an online game.

Her estranged husband is now engaged to one of the women he had an 'affair' with on Second Life - even though they have never actually met in real life.

Amy told Sky News Online how she thought she had found the love of her life when she met David Pollard in an internet chatroom in May 2003.

They swapped photos online, and after six months of emails and phone calls, she moved from London into his seaside flat in Cornwall.

The couple spent hours having fun together in Second Life - her avatar, or alter ego, in the 3D virtual world was Laura Skye, and his Dave Barmy.

But her dreams were shattered three months later when she went for an afternoon nap and woke to find the jobless 40-year-old having sex with an escort girl in the game.

"I went mad - I was so hurt. I just couldn't believe what he'd done," Amy said.

"I looked at the computer screen and could see his character having sex with a female character. It's cheating as far as I'm concerned.

"But he didn't see it as a problem, and couldn't see why I was so upset. He said I was just making a big fuss, and tried to make out it was my fault for not giving him enough attention."

She added: "We then made it up and he promised he would never do anything to hurt me again, and would never cheat on me again."

The couple got hitched at a registry office in St. Austell in July 2005 - and even marked the occasion by holding a virtual wedding in Second Life.

They moved to a flat in Newquay, and carried on their virtual lives in the online world, but Amy knew something was wrong.

"I still had my suspicions, but couldn't put my finger on it," she said. "He never did anything in real life, but I had my suspicions about what he was doing in Second Life."

And then the bombshell came in April this year, when she found him in a compromising position with his avatar.

"I caught him cuddling a woman on a sofa in the game. It looked really affectionate," she said. "He turned off the computer monitor, and I turned it back on and demanded to look at his chat history.

"But he turned off the computer so the history was all deleted - and I ended up going off to his Mum and Dad's in floods of tears."

She added: "He confessed he'd been talking to this woman player in America for one or two weeks, and said our marriage was over and he didn't love me anymore, and we should never have got married."

The next day Amy went to a solicitor to file for a divorce, which is due to be finalised next week.

"The solicitor wasn't at all surprised - she said it was her second divorce case involving Second Life that week," she added.

Amy says she was down in the dumps for a while - but now has a new man in her life, who she met while playing the internet fantasy role-playing game World Of Warcraft.
(End quote)

Good grief, how very very sad. You couldn't make it up and be taken seriously, could you? Whatever next - young men standing trial for car theft and gun crime because they play Grand Theft Auto? And why on earth does anyone "play" this Second Life rubbish anyway? Wouldn't it be better for everyone concerned if they put all that time and effort into their First Lives? Oh dear.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Play Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa online games

One of the posters for the 2008 movie "Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa"

Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, the sequel to the 2005 computer generated cartoon movie Madagascar from DreamWorks Animation, was released yesterday. It follows hot on the heels of the studio's previous CG movie this year, Kung Fu Panda. DreamWorks Animation are perhaps best know for their hugely popular and successful Shrek CG movie series.

I really enjoyed the first Madagascar film and I will definitely go and see this sequel, because it looks great going by the trailer for it. It is rumoured that there will also be a third Madagascar film at some point in the future, to complete what will then be a trilogy of stories.

Here are some free Madagascar 2 online games for you to play:

  Madagascar: Feeding Time

  Madagascar: Melman's Pain in the Neck

  Madagascar: Penguin Pop

  Madagascar: Marty's Coconut Shootout

  Madagascar Soundboard

  Madagascar 2: Video Game Demo

The games also include Madagascar 2 wallpaper pictures for you to use as your computer background if you wish. All these goodies are in my Free Shrek and Other CG Movie Online Games site, along with over 100 more great cartoon and movie games.

Enjoy! :-)

Friday, November 07, 2008

"Naruto" online games and "Ben 10" online games

Roll up! Roll up! Play them while they're hot!! Play free Naruto, Ben 10 and Ben 10: Alien Force Flash online games right here (and every player gets free Naruto, Ben 10, Ben 10: Alien Force and Ben 10: Ultimate Alien wallpaper pictures too):

  Naruto: Star Students

  Naruto: Star Students 2 - Ninja Survival

  Naruto: Battle for Leaf Village

  Naruto: Shadow Clone Battle

  Ben 10: Cannonbolt Pinball

  Ben 10: Alien Force - Humungousaur Force

  Ben 10: Alien Force - Forever Defense

  Ben 10: Power Splash

  Ben 10: Spore Attack

  Ben 10: Critical Impact

  Ben 10: Krakken Attack

  Ben 10: Underworld

Sorry about the cheesy intro, hope you like the games. Check out my Cartoons, Movies and TV Fun and Games Page 1 and Cartoons, Movies and TV Fun and Games Page 2 for even more free top-quality cartoon games and wallpapers.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

It's a good job John McCain didn't win yesterday.....

.....because it has been widely reported in the news today that (according to Fox News chief political correspondent Carl Cameron) Sarah Palin, McCain's Vice Presidential candidate, thought that "Africa was a continent and not a country", thought that "South Africa was just part of the country as opposed to a country in the continent", and perhaps worst of all "was unable to name the countries involved in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which was a major campaign issue". Oh dear.

Actually, perhaps it is a shame that she and McCain didn't win, because I for one will miss George Dubya's frequent "Bushisms" (see my post yesterday about them), and I feel certain there won't be any noteworthy "Obamaisms" or "Bidenisms". Regular "Palinisms" would have kept the White House fun rolling along for another 4 years, and they might well have been very plentiful going by the quotes attributed to her above. :-)

Oh well, we'll just have to make do with a boringly competent President and Vice President then, won't we? (Hopefully!)

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

George W. Bush - funniest US President ever?

Very well done to President-elect Barack Obama, what a great result! Now please really do change the world for the better, just as you promised.

So, it's almost time to say goodbye to good old George "Dubya". It was fun George! Well, your frequent "Bushisms" were fun, anyway. Here, in reverse order, and thanks to Yahoo!, are 20 of outgoing President George W. Bush's daftest quotes:

20. "Those who enter the country illegally violate the law." - Nov. 28, 2005

19. "We don't believe in planners and deciders making the decisions on behalf of Americans." - Sept. 6, 2000

18. "If this were a dictatorship, it'd be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator." - Dec. 19, 2000

17. "Well, I think if you say you're going to do something and don't do it, that's trustworthiness." - Aug. 30, 2000

16. "I think we agree, the past is over." - May 10, 2000

15. "I understand small business growth. I was one." - Feb. 19, 2000

14. "This foreign policy stuff is a little frustrating." - April 23, 2002

13. "I want everybody to hear loud and clear that I'm going to be the president of everybody." - Jan. 18, 2001

12. "One of the great things about books is sometimes there are some fantastic pictures." - Jan. 3, 2000

11. "I was proud the other day when both Republicans and Democrats stood with me in the Rose Garden to announce their support for a clear statement of purpose: you disarm, or we will." - Oct. 5, 2002

10. "I just want you to know that when we talk about war, we're really talking about peace." - June 18, 2002

9. "I'm honored to shake the hand of a brave Iraqi citizen who had his hand cut off by Saddam Hussein." - May 25, 2004

8. "I firmly believe the death tax is good for people from all walks of life all throughout our society." - Aug. 13, 2002

7. "There's an old saying in Tennessee - I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee - that says, fool me once, shame on - shame on you. Fool me - you can't get fooled again." - Sept. 17, 2002

6. "The truth of that matter is, if you listen carefully, Saddam would still be in power if he were the president of the United States, and the world would be a lot better off." - Oct. 8, 2004

5. "I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully." - Sept. 29, 2000

4. "Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we." - Aug. 5, 2004

3. "Rarely is the questioned asked: Is our children learning?" - Jan. 11, 2000

2. "I know how hard it is for you to put food on your family." - Jan. 27, 2000

1. "They misunderestimated me." - Nov. 6, 2000

You can take a look at a comprehensive list of "Bushisms" from the past eight years over on the Political Humour site.

Oh, and have a great Guy Fawkes Night back there in the UK everyone - please be careful with all that fire and gunpowder!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

More new free movie and cartoon games

Here are the latest new online games in my Disney and Pixar Flash Games site, including games based on Pirates of the Caribbean, Lilo and Stitch, the Lion King and (my favourite) Ratatouille:

  Pirates of the Caribbean: Jumping Jack

  Lilo & Stitch: Peanut Butter Express

  Stitch: Experiments on the Loose

  Lilo & Stitch: Stitch Tiki Bowl

  Timon and Pumbaa's Bug Blaster

  Ratatouille: Choppity Chop!

There are also some new games in my Shrek and Other CG Movie Games site. Have fun!

Monday, November 03, 2008

How many planets are there in our solar system?

It's a simple enough question, right? The answer is 9, surely? Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto.

Well that's what I thought, anyway, based on what I learnt at school back in the 1970s, and have read ever since in science books and the like. But apparently, back in 2006 (and I only just found out about it, so please forgive my ignorance if you already knew) it was decided by "the powers that be" that Pluto is no longer a proper planet, but is in fact a "dwarf planet", so there are now only 8 major planets in our solar system, not 9.

If this sounds crazy, confusing, or even perhaps makes you a bit angry to hear that Pluto is no longer officially considered to be a true planet, please bear with me for a few minutes and read on...

Pluto's reclassification was decided by the International Astronomical Union (IAU for short; the world "governing body" of all things astronomical) after very protracted deliberations during the IAU's 2006 General Assembly, and if you click on this Wikipedia "dwarf planet" link, you can see what happened and why.

In short, quite a few new "heavenly bodies" were discovered outside the orbit of Neptune between 2000 and 2005 (called trans-Neptunian objects, most of which were found by teams led by a brilliant Caltech astronomy professor named Mike Brown), all of which are planetoid in form, and one of which - named Eris, discovered in 2005 - is actually larger than Pluto.

At the time of its very surprising discovery, Eris was nominally classified as our solar system's 10th planet due to it being bigger than Pluto. But this led to some heated debate within the global astronomical community, because really Eris is only similar to Pluto and is quite different to the other 8 major planets, and also because Pluto itself is only really similar to Eris and not the other 8 planets (Pluto has always been a bit of an "oddball", with its very small size compared to the other 8 planets, and its non-standard highly eccentric and highly inclined orbit), and this is what eventually led to Pluto's reclassification.

It is still a controversial topic in some quarters, in the public domain as well as between some astronomers and a few other scientific groups. Again, please read the relevant Wikipedia article. It is all explained in great and excellent detail there, it all makes perfectly logical sense, and there is no point in my trying to reproduce it all in further detail here. Please read it, digest it and learn something new and really cool! :-)

So, to answer my original headline question, and in summary, the new (almost) universally scientifically accepted definition of our solar system, as of September this year, is as follows:

There are 8 major planets orbiting our sun: the 4 rocky inner-planets Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars, and the 4 gas giant outer-planets Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune (which are separated from the inner planets by the asteroid belt);

and... wait for it...

There are also 5 dwarf planets orbiting our sun: surprising little Ceres, which is in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, good old Pluto, and the lovely new trio of Haumea, Makemake and Eris.

Additionally, there are also a number of other trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs) that don't currently fit into the dwarf planet category (such as Sedna, for example), plus a huge number of asteroids and comets, all also orbiting our sun.

It is fully expected that many more dwarf planets/TNOs will be discovered in time, as our technological ability to detect them improves, and so it is quite clear that we live in a far more dynamic solar system than the classic and rather static old "9 planets and 1 asteroid belt" model that was pretty much the standard until relatively recently. Currently the new definition looks a bit like this (click on the picture to see a larger version of it):

Personally, I love the new definition of our solar system. If you really think about it, Pluto is still considered to be a type of planet, just a new special type that is distinctly different to the major group that it formerly belonged to. I really like the fact that, if you (perhaps over-)simplify the new definition a little, there are currently 13 known "planets" in our solar system, with likely many more still to be discovered/classified in the future. Wow!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Jonathan Ross - Does anyone actually like him?

With reference to the current big fuss in the British media about Jonathan Ross following his and Russell Brand's offensive telephone prank calls on Brand's Radio 2 show on October 18 (see these two Yahoo! articles for more information: Ross is suspended and Ross may not return to the BBC), all I've got to say is this:

Good! I don't like him at all, and I hope he is finished as a public media figure. How on earth did such a rude, arrogant pig like him ever get to be such a grossly-overpaid "star" anyway? And what on earth were the BBC doing paying him millions of pounds of licence payers' (i.e. taxpayers') money every year? An absolute outrage and an utter disgrace!!