Ha! Shannon and I have a co-fearer of spiders. Kath details her terror at an encounter with a monster spider in Florida.

My favorite generator of terror? The Tegenaria gigantea. Don’t let its harmless common name of House Spider fool you — this arachnid can reach sizes of 18mm for the male. And if you live in the UK, yup it’s the same spider.

Yes, I know that these spiders control pests, are shy, don’t harm people, don’t bite, don’t sting, don’t make noise, and don’t poop on the carpet. Doesn’t matter. Put one in the same room with me, and I’ll pass out after first shattering your ear drums with my screams.


Update I did a little more research and found this article on spiders in Seattle. It is the giant house spider that can get up to four inches. And I also found out that all spiders do bite and all are venemous, but most spider bites have no impact on humans. And the harmful spider in Seattle is the Hobo spider, not the Brown Recluse. Sorry, I get my spiders mixed up.

BTW — do I redeem myself in all of your eyes by telling you that I like snakes and lizards, and once owned an Iguana named Heratio, and a Chameleon named Godzilla?


Australia day on BB

Before I started messing around with my site and doing things such as alphabetizing my blogroll, I had the Australians on the list separated into what I called the Australian Delegation — a separate list of weblogs owned and maintained by those we affectionately refer to as Aussies.

In a surge of nostaligia, as well as an attempt to stay with one single theme for an entire day’s postings, I’m declaring today to be Australia Day at Burningbird.

All day long I’ll feature postings about all things Australian as well as postings introducing you to the members of the Delegation, who though now merged in with the other Plutonians, can still be spotted with their +17 hour rating.

Speaking of the hours, note that the Australians used to have a time difference of +19 from my home base in California (Pacific time), and now have a +17 hour difference. Why the two hour change?

Well, Australia’s Daylight Saving Time started last year in October, the Aussie Spring; it ended in March, the beginning of the Australian Fall. This chopped one hour off the time difference because their clocks were turned back one hour. When we in the States started our DST, we moved our clocks forward one hour, chopping a second hour and leading to the +17 hour difference you see today.

I am finding that Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity is easier to understand than international Daylight Saving Time. That’s what happens when you muck with Mother Time.

To make things even more interesting, not all areas of Australia participate in DST, same as in the States. However, since the Australian Delegation members are from New South Wales and Tasmania, both of which participate in DST, all of the Delegation’s hours were impacted.

More Down Under to come…


zem and the fight for freedom

He sits quietly at the bottom of my newly organized blogroll, place assured because of the weblog name — zem. And a visit to his weblog at least once a day is absolutely mandatory because zem is my portal for information about copyright, cryptography, censorship, and most importantly, freedom of speech. If there’s action in regards to copyright and censorship, zem will be on top of it and know where to find the facts.

Case in point: during the fairly recent troubles between the Church of Scientology and Google’s pulling of anti-Scientology web pages, zem provided links to information none of the more mainstream news sites such as referenced. Through these links I found out that Google was returning Clambake pages before this information “hit the street” so to speak.

And when the Church of Scientology issue morphed into discussions of Freedom of Speech at this weblog, zem was there with a lot more knowledge about the Constitution and the Bill of Rights of this country than most people who live here have.

Many of us start weblogs to write about whatever we feel like. Others begin to write on one specific topic and then eventually become “corrupted”, writing about this and that like the rest of us. However, zem focuses his weblog on issues of, as he says in his tagline “cryptography, censorship, copyright, thoughtcrime” and hasn’t moved from these topics since December of 2000 from what I can tell. I’m impressed.

But what about the man behind the zem? From researches at zem’s weblog, I find out that he moved to Sydney from Melbourne, where he used to meet up with others for weekly roller blading forays through the streets of that city. His web site contains several photos of these events, including this one of zem himself, taken in January 1999. Time for a new photo, zem!

In addition, zem is another computer techie, not surprising considering the material he covers at his weblog.

Everyone, say hi to zem!


Australia and Internet civil liberties

If the fight for freedom of the Internet has a center, that center would be in Australia. I’ve long found that the difficulties inherent with trying to enforce censorship and copyright laws, as well as other related legislation, seem to get tested, first, in this country.

I wrote on the possible effects of South Australian proposed legislation and it’s impact with P2P technologies for O’Reilly in a piece titled Australian Censorship Bill could Impact P2P. To read more about Australian legislation and associated impacts on online civil liberties, check with Electronic Frontiers Australia.


Tom Graves, shy, not!

Tom appeared first in comments, later in a Radio weblog called xio. If you’ve hung around Burningbird for long then you know Tom and know that he is not the most shy person in the block. No, I wouldn’t call Tom shy at all.

As with so many other webloggers I seem to know, Tom is another techie. Snooping around his various web sites, I also found out that he is yet another weblogging cat fan, as witness his photo of Grizzie. You can also see various photos of Tom through the ages at a personal history page. By the way, I liked the beard.

I have never found Tom to add a comment to any of my and other weblogger postings that wasn’t challenging, to say the least. In particular, he has very strong views of feminism, including a recent posting at his own weblog on the subject that hints at past experiences with women that haven’t been all that pleasant. However, Tom has never been anything but friendly to me. He may not always agree with me, but he never attacks me personally, and always has a kind word for me when I’m a little down.

Interesting fact: One thing I noticed when looking at Tom’s business site is how many of “us” within this particular weblogging circle are independent. In fact, I think the majority of webloggers I know either have their own company, work for themselves, or have a business on the side.

Take a moment and say hi to Tom!