Eric Back on February 12th, 2009

I came across this enews snippet announcing a new medieval manuscripts network.

”Researchers create vast virtual library of medieval manuscripts”

”Somewhere between 5,000 and 10,000 rare and precious medieval manuscripts have been scanned over the past decade into formats that could be studied over the Internet.”

Definitely interesting for even casual readers.  Perusing the English manuscripts for example I came across 15th century recipes for wild game as well as cures and treatments for the plague.  In times like these one can never be sure when she might need both!

The network is the creation of researchers at UCLA!

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YLE reports that despite the economic downturn in Finland, those who retain their jobs can expect to see an increase in real income of 4.6% this year.  By contrast, last year’s increase was 1.5%.

Quoting the Taxpayer’ Association, YLE notes that ”The group attributes the improvement to slowing inflation and tax cuts. This year earned-income taxes are to be lowered overall to the tune of 870 million euros. The government — under the lead of conservative Finance Minister Jyrki Katainen — has also removed some tax penalties for raising one’s earned income”

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Eric Back on October 13th, 2008


Former Finnish president (1994) Martti Ahtisaari was recognized by the Nobel Committee for his success in brokering deals as a United Nations envoy.  He was cited for his work in helping Namibia achieve independence from South Africa, for ending the 3 decade long conflict between the Aceh movement and Indonesia, and for negotiating the end of the 1999 Nato air campaign in Kosovo.  His work in Kosovo became the blueprint for the new Kosovo constitution.  He has also been involved in mediation in Iraq, Northern Ireland, Central Asia, and the Horn of Africa.

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Eric Back on September 14th, 2008

Over 1400 people attended the first ”Alaska Women Reject Palin,” rally outside the Anchorage library making it the largest political rally in Alaskan history according to the ”mudflats” blogger.


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Eric Back on September 14th, 2008


So, with so many of the Palin/McCain statements proving flagrantly untrue, can you really see Russia from Alaska?

1) No: The Bering Strait is 53 miles across, which means you can’t see Russia across it because of the curvature of the earth.

2) Yes: ”and you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska.” — Sarah Palin

3) Maybe (on a technicality): A Yahoo Answer Poster said, ”Actually, the answer is yes and no. From the mainland, there is no way to see Russia from Alaska. The distance is too great.

However, there are two islands in the Bering Staight – Big Diomede and Little Diomede. The big island is Russian and the small one American. They are 1.5 miles from each other. Interestingly, the International Date Line separates the two, so there is a time difference of 23 hours between the two.”

And finally, for fun, catch Tina Fey’s SNL impression of Sarah Palin here…

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Eric Back on September 2nd, 2008


It used to be that I had an email address with an account conveniently located on my ISP’s server. IE automatically used Outlook Express, and email was easy. For the past couple of years my email through my new ISP has only been available through the MSN subscription that came packaged with internet access.

Now I don’t really like MSN, and I don’t like IE either.  Like many other people, I’ve made the switch to Firefox and have chosen to use the google, Gmail service.  Using this has been awkward at times as Firefox does not know which email client to use unless it is told how to do so. provides a quick solution for getting Firefox to work with Gmail and it works well. It’s as easy as going to their site and copying and pasting a piece of script into your Firefox address bar.

Set Firefox to Use Gmail for ”Mailto” Links

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Eric Back on September 1st, 2008

Try JibJab Sendables® eCards today!

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Eric Back on August 30th, 2008


By his own admission, John McCain ”don’t know much ’bout the economy,”

By her record, Sarah Palin ”don’t know much foreign policy,”

… What a terrible presidency!

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Eric Back on August 27th, 2008


Denver would be a terrific place to be, especially with a floor pass at the Pepsi center.  On Monday night Ted Kennedy addressed the convention with a rousing challenge to believe in positive change and on Tuesday night Hillary Clinton stole the show with her endorsement of Barack Obama and her plea for party unity. Check out Youtube for the videos.

Ted Kennedy

Hillary Clinton

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Eric Back on July 11th, 2008


Gail Renard was 16 when she heard that John Lennon was going to be staying over in Montreal.  She crashed his party with a friend via a fire escape at Montreal’s Queen Elizabeth Hotel.  Ringing the doorbell during a change of security, Yoko answered the door and let her in for an interview.

Gail stayed for the week of the famous bed in and the recording of ”Give Peace a Chance.” Lennon is recalled as speaking with Gail’s mother on the telephone and gaining her approval; every night Gail went to her own home and bed to sleep.  During the day she acted as Lennon’s liaison to the press, played with Kyoko Lennon in the nearby park, made arrangements for tambourines for the recording session, and hobnobbed with the celebs including Tommy Smothers, Timothy Leary, and Allan Ginsberg.

She felt secure in her surroundings and recalls how when an amorous member of the press attempted to kiss her, John intervened and chased him off.  Among the several mementos that he gave her was the song board to Give Peace a Chance which was recently, almost 40 years later, auctioned off at Christies for almost $850,000.  He’d told her, ”hang on to it, it will be worth something one day.”  They had originally guessed that the piece would fetch between 200 and 300,00 pounds.  Renard, an award winning radio and TV writer, commented, saying, ”It’s all monopoly money to me.”


Read an interview with Gail Renard here.Â

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