Median number of tweets per user is, um, rather low

It’s not just relatively low retention rates that Twitter has to deal with. Turns out, according to a Harvard Business School study, that the median number of messages a Twitter user sends—ever—is one.

The researchers found that a small group is sending out most of the tweets on the service. Ten percent of Twitter users account for more than 90 percent of messages. That’s more than on the typical social network or on Wikipedia, where 15 percent account for 90 percent of entries.

The implication, according to the Harvard researchers: Twitter “resembles more of a one-way, one-to-many publishing service more than a two-way, peer-to-peer communication network.”

Twitter executives have said they working to keep Tweeters engaged with the service. Last month, a study found that 60 percent of new Tweeters abandon Twitter.com after a month.

Anymore news like this you’d think the moneyboys would stop offering all their geedus to Twitter!

Bumblebee extinct in Britain to be reintroduced from New Zealand

A bumblebee which died out in the UK, but survived in New Zealand after being shipped there more than 100 years ago, is to be reintroduced.

Small populations of the short-haired bumblebee were established on the South Island of New Zealand after being transported there on the first refrigerated lamb boats in the late 19th century to pollinate crops of red clover.

The bees will not suffer from jet lag as they will be in hibernation when they are transported on planes in cool boxes, according to Natural England.The short-haired bumblebee became extinct in this country in 2000, but the populations on the other side of the world have clung on — although conservationists say they are unprotected and under threat.

Now Natural England, along with the Bumblebee Conservation Trust (BBCT), the RSPB and bee research charity Hymettus, have launched a scheme to bring the species home.

Poul Christensen, Natural England’s acting chairman, said: “Bumblebees are suffering unprecedented international declines and drastic action is required to aid their recovery…

This international rescue mission has two aims — to restore habitat in England, thereby giving existing bees a boost; and to bring the short-haired bumblebee home where it can be protected.”

Insects will be collected in New Zealand and a captive breeding plan established, with a view to releases of the bees from 2010 at Dungeness, Kent, where they were last seen.

RTFA. Interesting, educational. Make the dolts in politics read it, too.

Acer netbook will offer Android operating system


Daylife/Getty Images used by permission

Acer has announced a version of its Aspire One netbook that will run the Android operating system.

The manufacturer made the announcement at the Computex show in Taiwan, promising a release for the Android-based netbook in the third quarter of this year. Android was originally intended as a platform for smartphones, but recent months have seen great interest in porting the system over to small, cheap subnotebooks.

“Netbooks are designed to be compact in size and easy to connect to the internet wherever you go,” said Jim Wong, Acer’s president of IT products, in a statement. “The Android operating system offers incredibly fast wireless connection to the internet; for this reason, Acer has decided to develop Android netbooks for added convenience to our customers.”

The Taiwanese manufacturer said the majority of Acer netbooks will come with Android as an alternative operating system to Microsoft’s Windows.

Oh my golly gosh. Something else for Microsoft to worry about.

Saddest story: Couple leap to their death carrying their son’s body

I can hardly post this story. There’s a lot wrong with it; but, the love these people had for their son overshadows any philosophical discussion. They harmed no one but themselves. Most likely they believed they’d be together with their child. I do not begrudge them their choice.

A grieving couple jumped from Beachy Head apparently carrying the body of their five-year-old son two days after his death from meningitis, it emerged today.

The bodies of Neil Puttick, 34, and his wife, Kazumi, 44, from Wiltshire, were spotted at the foot of the cliffs on Sunday evening. The body of their child, Samuel, was found in a rucksack nearby.

Samuel had been discharged from hospital on Friday after it became clear he was not going to survive. He was allowed to leave so he could die peacefully at home. The boy, who neighbours said had suffered serious spinal injuries in an accident about three years ago, was confirmed dead later that evening…

Detective Inspector Ian Williams, from Sussex police, said: “As a result of our investigation, I am satisfied that Samuel’s grieving parents, Neil and Kazumi, appear to have taken their own lives.

“This is a tragic incident and we extend our sympathies to their family and to the large number of friends and carers affected…”

An Eastbourne coastguard station officer, Stuart McNab, said coastguards on a routine clifftop patrol had seen what they believed to be two bodies about 400ft down the cliff just before 8pm on Sunday and alerted police, but it was decided it would be safer to wait and carry out the recovery the next day.

McNab, who was one of the first people to be taken to the scene by helicopter, said he had found the child’s body in a rucksack along with a second rucksack filled with soft toys and a toy tractor…

A spokesman for Dover coastguard said: “It is really horrific and incredibly sad. In my four years with the coastguard I have never known anything like this.”

I won’t comment further. It’s all too sad.

South Carolina stimulus lawsuits handed over to State Court – UPDATED


Another lame Republican governor ready to lead the nation into Nowhereland

Gov. Mark Sanford of South Carolina, who has refused to accept $700 million in federal stimulus money, was dealt a major blow when a federal judge said two lawsuits seeking to require him to take the money should be heard in state court. The legislature has ordered Mr. Sanford to request the money, most of which would pay for education, but he has refused.

In a news conference after the ruling, Mr. Sanford said he would accept whatever decision the state court made, and acknowledged that he faced long odds in a state with a notoriously weak governorship and several previous court rulings that favor the legislature’s authority over the governor’s.

“It looks like we will be bound to spend that money,” Mr. Sanford said.

Molly Spearman, the executive director of the South Carolina Association of School Administrators, which filed one of the lawsuits against the governor, applauded the announcement.

Thank goodness for the people of South Carolina,” Ms. Spearman said. “He’s realizing that he’s going to lose and there’s no reason to try and delay this any longer…”

The Republican-dominated legislature passed a budget that included the $350 million the stimulus would have brought this year. Mr. Sanford vetoed that part of the budget, but the legislature overrode his veto.

Mr. Sanford’s critics say he has used his opposition to the stimulus package to boost his national profile for a presidential run while South Carolina suffers from the nation’s second-highest unemployment rate.

What a thug! The worst best example of the so-called leadership of the Republican Party ready and willing to screw the schoolchildren of America to advance their ideology.

Go get an honest job, Sanford!

UPDATE: The courts vindicated the people.

Would you like a plate of ‘vampire’?

Hungry people in the central African nation of Chad have raised an old culinary fad from the dead – to get their fangs stuck into fried blood.

“Vampire”, as it is jokingly dubbed, is a traditional dish making a comeback amid a global surge in food prices that has left meat too expensive for many…

Nutritionists say “vampire” is actually an excellent alternative to goat and sheep, especially for children. “I make it with peppers, salt, onions, spicy sauce and maggi [stock cubes]. I fry it all up like that; it’s good,” said Modestine Danbe, who lives in the N’Djamena.

Ms Danbe is one of many women in the city’s Walia neighbourhood, close to the Cameroonian border, who has taken to frying up huge vats of blood and selling it to her neighbours on the streets.

She buys buckets of fresh blood from the abattoir near her home for about $1 which makes about 40 plates of “vampire”.

Each plate sells for about 20¢, so after the costs of the other ingredients her profit is about $7.

“It’s actually an excellent source of nutrients, especially for children,” said Robert Johnston, a nutritional specialist for Unicef in Chad.

“Blood pudding and liver have been used in other countries to promote high-protein intake for families who don’t have daily access to meat.”

Oh, I remember that. My kin up on P.E.I. slaughtered an enormous hog every autumn – and every drop of blood was saved for blood sausage. I never liked it.

Dick Cheney still a “strong believer” in waterboarding

Former Vice President Dick Cheney reiterated his praise for waterboarding Al Qaeda terrorists on Monday, calling it a “well done” technique that gathered valuable information from unusually bad guys.

“I’m a strong believer in it,” Cheney told a National Press Club audience. “I thought it was well done”….

Notwithstanding Cheney’s enthusiasm, waterboarding was banned by the Bush administration in 2003. President Obama has said waterboarding is torture and repugnant to American values. Cheney remains unconvinced. “I don’t believe that we engaged in torture,” he argued….

He admitted he has zero “tolerance or patience” for second-guessers.

Such a fun guy. No wonder Americans are warming up to him.

Penguin poop stains provide location of emperors’ colonies

emperor_penguin_colony_at_halley

Ten new colonies of emperor penguins have been found in Antarctica after satellite photos showing brownish stains on the ice turned out to be the excrement of thousands of birds.

The findings, revealed by the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), will help understand penguin populations and the vulnerability to global warming of the breeding colonies which are on sea ice.

“We now reckon there are 38 colonies in Antarctica, 10 of them previously unknown,” Phil Trathan, a BAS penguin ecologist, told Reuters of the study in the journal Global Ecology and Biogeography…

Experts studying images taken from space were initially baffled by reddish-brown splodges on the ice.

“It turned out they were the feces, guano stains, of the emperors,” Trathan said. “There’s a really good contrast between the dark poo stains and the ice…”

“We can’t see actual penguins on the satellite maps because the resolution isn’t good enough. But during the breeding season the birds stay at a colony for eight months. The ice gets pretty dirty and it’s the guano stains that we can see,” BAS mapping expert Peter Fretwell said in a statement.

Trathan said British, U.S., French and Australian experts were using more powerful imagery to try to count emperor penguins — perhaps the only species of bird that never puts feet on land.

Can you imagine trying to explain this to explorers even seventy years ago?

Nowadays, explorers calculate where to seek out archaeological ruins, geologic events – and, now, even colonies of birds – from the confines of their laboratories using satellite imagery. Amazing.