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Zyra's Circular 99 Newsletter


Here's an example of a Zyra Circular. This is the kind of thing you'll receive if you sign up to Zyra's Circular List. These messages were sent out at a rate of one every few weeks, although more recently they have been less frequent. This particular issue of the Circular was notable in having a five sided photograph, and for being censored out by AOL! In their desperate attempts to filter out spam, they've filtered out genuine messages. See AOL filter problems



----- Original Message -----
From:
ZYRA
To:
Everyone on the Circular List
Sent: Saturday, November 25, 2006 3:58 PM
Subject: I hope you have time to read Issue99

Zyra - Issue99 front page picture2006/11/19 23:41 Publication of Issue 99 of www.zyra.org.uk (0)

Hi to ALL!

As well as the new front page picture, there is quite a lot to see on this new issue of Zyra's website. I hope you have the time to read it. Like a box of chocolates, you shouldn't feel you need to finish it all off in one go! There is so much that I have to say on Issue99 that I'm going to put two tea-breaks in the Circular. Although the website is a welcome break from normality, there's so much stuff on this issue that you may need to have a break from a break, so to speak. The concept is not as silly as it sounds, because even on holiday you can sometimes take "comfort stops"!

There is a new dramatic front page picture, which has surrealist aspects to it, and also whereas a photo normally has only four sides, this picture has five sides.

In this issue: International videophone calls, the world's most famous bookshop, adventurous travel, saving the world from dying of thirst, adjustments to Xanadu, flying without having to wait two hours before take-off, AC and DC electricity, socks, gravitational force, caviar, houseplants in need of attention, volcanic quandaries, bathroom tiles that aren't quite right, computer programming explained, superhero outfits, a few famous shops, a picture of a dead rat, and some light on the mystery of whether cats can see in the dark, and whether water goes down plugholes clockwise or otherwise?!

On with the stuff!

Did you know, these days computers can wreck a nice beach? No, not exactly. These days computers can recognise speech! In fact sometimes I like to have a waffle, not just because it's gluten-free, but because it's amazing to see the machine try to make sense of it! Baffling! But that's to stop the speakers rattling. Even more sense can be made of it at Nuance who are linked to by www.zyra.org.uk/nuance.htm

Next, CATS! They can see in the dark, so they can hunt their prey? But curiously their "prey" is usually well-lit, by the candles on the dinner table illuminating the hot meals on the plates! Then you come back in the room, and invisibility is what a cat wishes for. Despite this dinner tableau, the legend is held that cats can actually see in the dark. However I have personal experience which suggests this is not true, as I have been invisible to a cat, in the dark. For more about this mystery, see www.zyra.org.uk/catsdark.htm

In case you're wondering, do not adjust your e-mail! It's true there was no Issue97 Circular and there was no Issue98 Circular. Although the actual Zyra website was published, there have been no newsletters since Issue96, around the time of The Mystery of Stamp Demon www.zyra.org.uk/mystery-sd.htm in which search engines were looked into and their timing checked.

These links require closer inspection, you know, wheels within wheels?

Now about the houseplants. I was walking around in Belize and I noticed that the houseplants seemed to be very large, some of them especially. I checked the scale, and it was not that I had somehow become pixie-sized, but that the houseplants were actually huge. It was then that I realised that what I was seeing was reality from the other side, because the plants I was seeing were the real thing, and in comparison the little plants in pots in temperate climates were merely like Bonsai versions of the real thing! Because of this revelation I could see why some houseplants were in poor health, and I have written this at www.zyra.bz/plantill.htm - see, they're pinin'! Pinin' they are! Maybe this is an appropriate moment to mention an online shop known as Plant Stuff where you can get all kinds of gardening items including wellington boots in a wide range of colours. www.zyra.org.uk/plantstuff.htm

Incidentally, in case you are wondering, I don't need to smoke any kinds of houseplants! I have the advantage of being a schizophrenic, so in a curious ironical turn of reality, I can see all sorts of things going on, provided I can continue to AVOID taking drugs. Antipsychotic drugs, that is. (You make your own choices; different things work for different people).

I was so impressed with Belize that I have bought a domain there! See www.zyra.bz ! Of all the tax havens I have visited so far, it's the best yet! On the question of whether that's where I'll migrate,Belize the actual choice of physical destination requires being unanimous (so no answer to that tonight!). Being a website the business can work equally well anywhere, and the site demographics remain of "universal appeal"! www.zyra.org.uk/regional.htm

When you're making a telephone call it's good to have a quality microphone and teleconferencing videophone camera. This whole area of newfangled telegraphic equipment has earned a Feature now as X10 Wireless Technology have kindly sent in some text! See www.zyra.net/x10wire.htm and associated pages. The equipment also controls the curtains, garage doors, lightbulbs, air temperature, etc, as it is what future predicting science programme presenters in the 1970s used to call the Invention of the Home Computer! Also see www.zyra.net/homeautomation.htm and VOIP www.zyra.net/voip.htm

[at this point it's become three o'clock in the morning, so the first Tea Break begins! Then I'll continue writing next day, and hopefully you'll resume reading after mashing a brew]

A while ago, I talked about V21 and V21 Broadband, which at the time were good. I speak as I find, and the recommendation was ok. But recently I have heard V21 have been taken over by BISCIT. Yes, that is correct, it is spelled differently to those cookie-type things which I always have to check to see if they are made of wheat. Biscit (with a dot Net on the end) are difficult to get through to, and I have had no replies from e-mails I have sent to them. Problems with the phones, too. So, the page www.zyra.org.uk/v21.htm , well, I've bunged it up and put a warning on the end. If you have a bank account, you can easily check to make sure everything is how it should be. Banks like to see payments being made from your account are only those intended to be paid by you.

There was a bit of fuss recently when one of the well known banks discovered a page at this site which told of historical interest rates and all kinds of things that had previously happened. It was an accurate account of historical events. Nothing wrong with that, because it was all true. We get on well with the FSA www.zyra.org.uk/fsa1.htm and know they don't mind about fair comment provided it's truthful and not misleading. I think banks tend to try to hide behind the FSA, which isn't fair. Anyway, it was all amicably resolved, and the page about the bank and their associated insurance company are still up, but with slightly different logos. Update on this: Now no logos, which I think is a bit silly.

It's interesting, because corporations are used to being able to control what is being said in their advertising, and this isn't the case anymore. Instead, with affiliate marketing and websites, the big companies find themselves in the same boat as playwrights and book authors, whose works are commented upon and reviewed by critics. Hopefully they write nice things, and usually they do, but not always. I speak as I find. Customers like it, seeing a balanced review. Companies are sometimes a bit sceptical to start with, but when they see how much business it brings, they nearly always come round to my way of thinking.

Another interesting thing about the changing balance of power in business, is that it's less practical for any company to have a monopoly of the market. Instead, a wider spread of companies exists, and here quite a lot of them get mentioned. So, for example, on the page of UK Car Breakdown Recovery www.zyra.org.uk/recov.htm you expect to find the AA and the RAC, but there are also Gem, More Than, Churchill, Green Flag, Autonational Rescue, National Breakdown, and a few others. Many of these have a dedicated page about them at this site so you can find out more before visiting them. Incidentally, the AA have now got the AA Driving School on there at www.zyra.org.uk/aadriving.htm

And now here's a SCAM WARNING! If you receive a card saying you have a parcel that needs to be collected, be cautious! If it says you need to phone up a number, it might be ok, but you should look very carefully, and make sure it's not an extortionate rate phone number! In the case of the scam, not only is it a very expensive charge number, but also there is no parcel! See www.zyra.info/mailscam.htm for more about this dire scam which has caught a few people out. Also, although there are e-mails being casually forwarded on by well-meaning folk, some of them aren't accurate. This is also explained at the page. (I think it's important to tell old folk (who are so trusting) about the scam so they can be wary of it).

Bookshops: For a long time there has been a page of these at www.zyra.org.uk/bookshop.htm and a separate page for Waterstones, Amazon, WH Smith, etc. Now the page is updated with the inclusion of Foyles, which is, we are reliably informed, the world's most famous bookshop! So that needs a dedicated page www.zyra.org.uk/foyles.htm

Buying books online is quite good, because you can order precisely the books you'd like, pay by debit card, and the books are delivered to you at home. But the simulations of poking around in a bookshop haven't yet quite got the Virtual Reality 3D glasses technology sorted out yet, and it will be a while before they've got the atmosphere of having stacks of stuff on shelves.

News coming in: Eden 4 Flowers UK have got their affiliate links updated, so that's another page opened up rather than still "pending". See www.zyra.org.uk/eden4.htm . Not such luck with the Gibraltar-based casino, but this will give the other casinos a chance at www.zyra.org.uk/gambling.htm

Packaging. Cardboard boxes, padded bags, bubble-wrap, and those little polystyrene bits that look as if, with a bit of flavouring and monosodium glutamate, they could be marketed as some kind of cheesey snack. This is all a lot more exciting than it sounds, and can be seen further elaborated upon at www.zyra.org.uk/package.htm

Boxes of Stuff?When sending stuff by post, the cost was worked out by weight, and I wondered what would happen if you posted a big helium balloon, how much the postage would be. However, people in the delivery business have got wise to this kind of thing and have a solution, which is this: If the item is too light for its size, it's charged at the "volumetric weight", which is one sixth the weight that a bag of water of the same size would weigh.

These ideas aren't about "weight", but about density, which is explained at www.zyra.org.uk/density.htm in a Science Made Easy explanation. But then, someone wrote in and said it was misleading saying it was "weight" at all, as it should be "mass"! This means another page had to be written, www.zyra.org.uk/mass.htm , explaining the difference between weight and mass. It all gets a bit involved as I have a crackpot theory about antigravity which is an interesting alternative to the fashionable notions of "dark matter" and "dark energy". This was so controversial it had to go on www.zyra.tv where anything goes! See www.zyra.tv/dark-en.htm

An additional heresy on this new issue of the site involves things which go on in a more earthly environment, challenging a well-believed and seemingly obvious fact of water heating engineering: The idea that limescale always reduces the efficiency of a heating system. Sounds like it's common sense, but if you look closer at it there is a fault as it's up against the first law of thermodynamics. See www.zyra.info/scaleff.htm (applies to electric kettles etc, not gas boilers!)

How much is water worth?Talking of which, in some parts of the world it's not the heat that's in short supply, but the actual water to put in a kettle or a saucepan or even a glass. These are not water shortages where there's a hosepipe ban even though it rained all weekend, but more a problem that people could die of thirst. To prevent that, the charity Water Aid have set up a programme for the digging of wells and boreholes in the right places. If you feel like doing someone a favour by buying them a drink when they're in danger dying of thirst, you could do a lot of good by helping to fund the water supply provision, as explained at www.zyra.org/wateraid.htm

Things are easy, unless they are difficult. (What this means is, the general default situation is that things are easy, the exception being when they are made artificially difficult!). Some companies have "easy" as part of the name, and some of these companies are by Stelios, and some are not. Whether they are by Stelios or not, they get an extra link from the page of "companies with easy in the name" www.zyra.org.uk/easy.htm

An example of something much easier than it sounds is Computer Programming. I've been trying to persuade people of this for years, and the latest attempt can be seen at www.zyra.net/comprog.htm

Well Done to STA Travel www.zyra.org.uk/statravel.htm for organising my travel arrangements! See, you don't have to be a gap-year student to be able to get your unusual international itinerary planned out by the travel experts at STA Travel. You just have to be able to state what you want.STA Travel For example "I want to travel from London to Costa Rica, stay there for two weeks, then go to Belize,Lonely Planet stay there for two weeks, and then somehow get back to London, without ever transiting the USA or eating any wheat, and I need to carry a complete diabetic kit" or some such equivalent plan, you won't get "that's an impossible itinerary", you'll get "well let's see how we can do that..." and then a bit later the plan is hatched. Accommodation can be to whatever level you like, and you can find out if you can afford it before booking. Like with Lonely Planet travel guide www.zyra.org.uk/lonelyplanet.htm , the people know about the places because they are well-travelled!

If it had been a Forbidden Planet travel guide, you'd be able to look at maps showing where the edge of the world is and where there be dragons, as it be a fantasy store! www.zyra.org.uk/forbidplanet.htm

So, what about Stone Island? www.zyra.org.uk/stoneisland.htm - is that a real place or a fantasy place? It's neither! It's a fashion company! My own taste in fashion is a bit eccentric but let's not assume that all of the fashion shops featured on the site are alternative. Although quite a lot of them are, there are some relatively conventional places too. Appearance is very much a matter of personal taste, so a wide range of places are included at www.zyra.org.uk/fashion.htm

On this Issue99, there are a number of skate/surf shops online at www.zyra.org.uk/skate.htm , a category which is increasing all the time! Rushbox, White Stuff, and Wild Day have been added on this issue. "Alternative" is almost by definition hard to pigeon-hole, so it's a good thing that Categories here aren't mutually exclusive, and they can overlap with no problem at all. So, some of the Goth places are also in the Punk category, and so-on. Yet at other pages on the same site, Burton the Tailor, and Dorothy Perkins, co-exist in a diverse market!

Socks, very popular at this time of year, are available at Sock Shop www.zyra.org.uk/sockshop.htm , (I don't suppose they've thought of marketing them with the tagline "buy one - get one free", have they?!). Also, there is now what's in effect an emergency sock service... Sock Rush www.zyra.org.uk/sockrush.htm - free worldwide delivery of socks!

"As time goes on, it just gets later!" ... so I'll tell you about the moving dolphins after the break.

[at this point it's probably about right for the second Tea Break to begin! I really have overdone it and have put more into writing this Circular than into less important things, such as eating]

Now about these dolphins, and sharks, and other creatures that live in wet conditions. They were at the Sea World Nara Resort, in Queensland, Australia. So there was a dedicated page at www.zyra.tv/nara.htm , and then although the dolphins and other marine life remained at the same geographical location, the resort moved its domain and there was an announcement that it wasn't going to be "Nara" anymore and that all the references to "Nara" would have to be changed. Sounds all very fine until you notice the name of the page was "nara.htm", so to avoid some hypothetical fuss later on, the new page is www.zyra.tv/seaworld.htm . Of course the old page remains, as pages are never deleted, and it just relinks in.

Some kinds of seafood can be an expensive delicacy. If you like to have a great many eggs for breakfast and would like them produced by fish rather than chickens, caviar is a possibility. The London Fine Foods Group at www.zyra.org.uk/londonfine.htm have this available for ordering online, along with other "high end food produce" including truffles, foie gras, and some very posh cheeses.

Further snazziness continues at Astley Clarke, Christopher Ward, Ernest Jones, and some additional pages linked from the watches www.zyra.org.uk/watches.htm and jewellery www.zyra.org.uk/jewel.htm pages.

There is also an opulent airline where check-in waiting has been virtually eliminated by the airliner being classed as a private jet! See www.zyra.net/flysilverjet.htm

Not everything on this new issue of the site is snazzy, posh, or even nice at all. There is a particular example, involving a picture of a dead rat! There is a story behind the inclusion of this. It's a long story, but in essence it is a matter of how material may or may not be defined by companies as "objectionable content". To eliminate the idea that the site can be disqualified for something because someone else's personal taste regards any arbitrary item as objectionable "because I object to it", I have introduced a yardstick of objectionableness! This cuts out retrospective arbitrary judgements contrived for political purposes. A picture of a dead rat is only marginally objectionable, and it's reasonable to say that anything less objectionable doesn't count. If you'd like to see more about the freedom versus arbitrary legalistic stuff, see www.zyra.org.uk/clauses.htm , or, if you'd like to see a picture of a dead rat, see www.zyra.tv/deadrat.htm (don't look at this if you'd rather not see a dead rat!)

How very odd? How very curious? Fancy putting a lifeless rodent on a page like that. Is that art? And wouldn't a live tarantula be more dramatic? If you're scared of spiders, try to avoid www.zyra.net/spiders.htm (the last one on the page is live). True, the big spider is more scary, but how scary depends on your personal level of arachnophobia, whereas with the dead rat, it's approximately equally awful for all.

Incidentally, if you are scared of spiders, a good page to look at is www.zyra.org.uk/nophobia.htm (there are no spiders on that page!), which helps to undo the fear of spiders, without having to undergo any upset to achieve the result.

Bathroom TilesSpiders in the bath, and how to get them out, has been at www.zyra.org.uk/spidbath.htm ; another page which has a backdrop that looks a bit like bathroom tiles. But when you look at actual bathroom tiles in a bathroom, they are often not so perfectly lined-up. There's often something not-quite-right in the pattern. This amazingly fussy, picky notion is gone-into and examined in detail at www.zyra.info/bathroom-tiles.htm - more interesting than it sounds!

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan a stately pleasure dome decree. ... His grandad was Genghis Khan, and he was Kublai Khan... but doesn't the poet say "Kubla Khan"? Isn't the spelling different? Yes, I can see. So, the page www.zyra.org.uk/kublai.htm is now adjusted to fit the poetic licence variant of the name of the emperor, whereas historians keep the name spelt the other way. Thinking about it, the situation is not as simple as it sounds, as Kublai Khan was surely from Mongolia and might not have written his name in English!?

Computeach will have to wait for an extra plug on these newsletters as I'd like them to be fair to affiliates regarding the use of phone numbers, but I'll give TEACH MY CHILD a mention here: www.zyra.org.uk/teachmychild.htm - educational toys, surely a good idea!

Portable Hard Disc DriveThe continuing development of the feature of places that sell computers www.zyra.org.uk/compshop.htm now encompasses extra contacts including recycled hardware, and some additional Linux-friendly places, as well as computer manufacturers who are selling new computers with a top-of-the-range Linux operating system such that you can avoid paying the Microsoft tax!

Technology moves on, and ideas I mentioned years ago and folk said were silly, are now becoming respectable fact! Portable hard disc drives are now acceptable. See the old version www.zyra.org.uk/hdd-p.htm and the up-to-date equivalent www.zyra.bz/hdd-p3.htm

The power supply on the drive works equally as well on 240 volts AC 50 cycles as it does on 110 volts AC 60 cycles, and the output for the drive is 12 volts DC. ... AC and DC? What's all that about apart from the rock band? Again, a helpful electrical explanation is included at www.zyra.net/ac-dc1.htm , involving some dramatic practical experience!

UK eco-friendly people British Eco www.zyra.org.uk/britisheco.htm have some clever ideas for saving energy and performing other environmentally-friendly acts with technology. Not cheap, but cheaper in the long run than getting the environment wrong. I know 2500 is quite a lot of money for solar panels, but there must be something near-miraculous going on to be able to get energy from the amount of sun that shines in Britain!

When you look on a globe, the country seems worryingly close to the North Pole.

Geography has become a subject with practicality to it now for me, and things have to make sense and be consistent. So, when I see an expression such as "Krakatoa East of Java", I think, that can't be right, can it?! Surely Krakatoa is West of Java? So that becomes another page in itself, www.zyra.tv/krakatoa.htm

I had thought at first it might be like the maps of Panama which appear at first sight to have the Atlantic and the Pacific on the "wrong" sides of the canal, until you think about it, but there's less to it than that.

Just North of Panama, in Costa Rica, a few real-estate agents get a free plug at www.zyra.net/costa-rica-real-estate.htm

On this Issue99, several health/beauty/make-up companies have pages: Miamoo www.zyra.me.uk/miamoo.htm , Makeup Direct www.zyra.org.uk/makeupd.htm , Beauty Sleuth www.zyra.org.uk/beautysleuth.htm , Skin Store www.zyra.org.uk/skinstore.htm , Powderpuff www.zyra.org.uk/powderpuff.htm (although that was probably on Issue97), and a few others at www.zyra.org.uk/beauty.htm

Something new on this issue: A downloadable Zyra icon. This is useful for saving onto cyber cafe desktops and in other strategic places. It requires a little bit of computer conjuring to make it work, but it's all explained. The first time it loads, it's only there a few seconds, www.zyra.org.uk/zyralink.htm , but then there is an explanation showing how to prepare to catch and save it onto a computer! www.zyra.org.uk/zyralink2.htm

It takes a bit of practice to be able to get the icon saved in the time, but at least there are five seconds to do it, and you can read the instructions at leisure before making the attempts. Much shorter brief instances of time are caught in animation by Lollipop www.zyra.org.uk/lollipop.htm , who sell original artworks from animated cartoons. In a cartoon film, the pictures were artistically painted by hand, so there must be an "Original" for every moment of the film. These are available, collectable, and valuable.

Another item which is collectable, but which has a smaller buying market, is the wax head of Fidel Castro. The infamous page advertising this amazing item www.zyra.org.uk/castro.htm has accumulated a lot of extra stuff because of the attention it attracts. Quite amusing reading the page really.Wax Head of Fidel Castro Notoriety has its advantages, and according to searches, this site does seem to have become the world's leading supplier of wax heads of Fidel Castro. It is keeping up with supplying world demand quite comfortably (although closer inspection reveals that the supply here is actually ONE, versus the demand which is so far ZERO). It is hoped that this balance will change, especially now the extra paragraph has been added suggesting how this choice artifact might be deployed. Also, I heard there is going to be a documentary on terrestrial UK tv about how Fidel Castro himself has a belief that people are out to get him. I wonder if he tells his psychiatrist about this belief.

They're not in the same line of business as the Lifeboats, as Ferry Savers www.zyra.org.uk/ferrysavers.htm are a sea-going money-saving ferry comparison site.

Sea Salt, www.zyra.org.uk/seasalt.htm , however, are an organic clothing company.

With some of these company names you can look again, but there is a company whose name is "Look Again". www.zyra.org.uk/lookagain.htm . That's a UK shopping catalogue, in the same category as these: www.zyra.org.uk/catalogs.htm

People who say "My memory is not what it used to be!" will have to remember to be careful where they say it, because there is now a company called "My Memory" www.zyra.org.uk/mymemory.htm where they have so-many gigabyte memory cards and sticks and things for mobile phones, digital cameras, and other high-tech gizmos which the sort of people who say "My memory is not what it used to be!" find confusing. Sometimes these gadgets are baffling, but at least you know where you are with a GPS sat-nav! See www.zyra.org.uk/satnav2u.htm

You'd think people would be able to just converse without happening to slip any company names in, but "Just Converse" is a company making trainers, with styles of boots. (let's not talk about Boots)

Superheroes. You can spot who the superheroes are because they wear quite distinctive outfits. There are good dramatic reasons for that, but where do the STYLES come from? There's a possible clue, and more info at www.zyra.net/supersuit.htm

I'm going to give a special mention of Best Western hotels at www.zyra.net/1west.htm , but so much has happened that the customer testimonial will have to will have to wait for another issue, and then be published on the www.zyra.bz phase of the site.

Although there is a lot of stuff at Zyra's website, thousands of pages, spread across a variety of odd webspaces, you can always find what you are looking for, assuming it's there! It often is. Everything in the site is listed in a site index like in the back of a book. To make it easier, things are listed several times under different headings, so for example "Cars" is under C for Cars, but also as "Motor Cars" and "Automobiles", and ANY of these is correct for looking something up.

So, to look something up, anything, go to the front page www.zyra.org.uk , link through to "Site Index", and then look up in A..Z order whatever it is you are looking for. Or if you are eccentric you could go to www.zyra.biz/sindexz.htm and look it up in Z..A order!

I've not mentioned everything that's new on this Issue99 even now, but I'm going to finish off now and complete this Circular with a special thought-provoking fact about plugholes. Plug holes on baths, sinks, basins, when the water goes down them, which way round does it go? Which way round do people believe it goes? And, why to they believe what they believe? Although the matter of fact direction of flow of water down plugholes in the Northern or Southern hemisphere might be interesting, it's much more interesting (and disturbing) to see the belief-set. See www.zyra.net/plughole.htm for more about this. (Also links to "Why do clocks go round clockwise?"!).

And now, on this dull and damp day, it is time for me to pack some more storage boxes, and a bit later I might even get around to eating some food!

I hope you enjoy reading some of the curious things that are linked-to from this Circular.New Worlds of Opportunity

Have Fun!

Zyra

www.zyra.org.uk

Disc Claimer? "If you are not the intended recipient, you must not read this". I have actually seen that on some messages. But in contrast, this message is not at all confidential, and you are free to forward it on to your friends, and hopefully they'll enjoy it too. However, if you print the message out on a snazzy colour printer and hang it up on a stairway, this site takes no liability for the cost of the expensive ink and computer consumables www.zyra.org.uk/compink.htm . But being sensible about it, you wouldn't expect it to, would you?! It's up to you what you do, and on your own risk be it! It's time to see an end to a lot of the over litigious stuff, and time for good sense and reasonableness to be prevalent.


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