It shows something of my sense of humor that I was really amused to see the ``most e-mailed'' news story on the BBC News web site, when I happened to look, was ``Facebook `costs businesses dear','' a story about all the productive productivity of production lost to people diddling around on this year's flavor of `social networking'. With all the time businesses lose to e-mail, chat rooms, blogs, friends pages, and the like it's remarkable that we were dozens of times more productive and wealthy in 1993 when the only thing to do on the Internet was get bumped off by the line noise and spend hours being yelled at by Internet providers upset that your dozens of calls were clogging up the ``good'' modem pool.
But then we're always losing productivity at the office to one thing or another. I remember at least one Robert Benchley essay pointing out how much time was being wasted by people who were eager to use the phone to try unsuccessfully to reach other people by phone, so that they could turn any sort of conversation which would be easily handled in person in a few minutes into several days wasted trying to find a time when both were in. (He pointed out that slamming the phone down gives an air of accomplishment to anything you are doing, even if it's just checking the time, which we can't do these days because if you slammed it you'd explode your hand phone and there's a nearly accurate time shown on the computer anyway.) In another he points out how the effective use of memos can turn an entire day into multiple-filed copies of nothing. It's hard not to get the feeling that once people are off the assembly line and don't have large pieces of hot metal being thrust at them at 44 inches per minute no matter what then they come to the conclusion the boss will have whatever part of the working day they feel like giving and there's no getting more out of them.
To guard a pair of shoes -- actually, they look like flip-flops on a high heel to me, but they're being sold as shoes so who am I to argue -- jewel-encrusted enough to be worth £32,000, currently on display at Harrods in London, some eager security-minded person had the idea of putting in a live cobra. At least that's what Reuters claims. This really is a sharp idea, since what jewel-encrusted shoe thief would think while robbing a major metropolitan department store about the need to bring along a mongoose? The cobra appears to be named Cedric. No word what the shoes are named.
Trivia: Henry Hudson's crew on the Halve Maen when he sailed to the Hudson River was sixteen people, half Dutch and half English. Source: The Island at the Centre of the World, Russell Shorto.
Currently Reading: A History of the United States Weather Bureau, Donald R Whitnah.
[ PS: It's amazing how these anniversaries creep up on you. All these years on, though, isn't it kind of hard to remember just what we had needed the Moon for, anyway? We're probably better off without it even if it has made the Spaceflight Uber Alles types go on and on and on about the Eggs In One Basket. ]