Flatulence judge takes top spot in horror job ranks

PUBLISHED : Monday, 22 September, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 22 September, 2003, 12:00am

Popular Science Magazine has just announced the results of its research to discover the 10 most unpopular jobs in science.

According to researchers, the worst job in science is a 'Flatus Odour Judge', which we agree sounds rather appalling. But the next two in the list sound even worse - Dysentery Stool Sample Analyser comes in, appropriately enough, at No?2, while Barnyard Masturbator takes the third spot.

If you have ever felt hard done by for being stuck in a dull, unchallenging office job, visit tinyurl.com/nhot and think yourself lucky. You could have ended up as a fistula feeder.

The New York Times last week reported that former Liberian strongman Charles Taylor may have stuffed as much as US$100 million down his socks when he fled the country last month.

We at Backspace are disappointed. Only three weeks ago, we were personally contacted by someone named Alex Obote, who claimed to be Mr Taylor's assistant.

Mr Obote began his letter with 'Top of the day to you my friend' and offered us 25 per cent of US$8.6 million Mr Taylor had apparently purloined.

That's the last time we trust Mr Obote.

This ought to have happened a decade ago, but with hard drives reaching sizes unimagined back then, a group of computer owners is suing the world's biggest computer brands, claiming their advertising deceptively overstates the capacity of their hard drives.

Reuters reports that the class action lawsuit was filed in Los Angeles last week against Apple, Dell, Gateway, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Sharp, Sony and Toshiba. The suit complains that hard drive capacities are described in promotional material in decimal notation, but the computer reads and writes data to the drives in a binary system. So while a megabyte contains 1,048,576 bytes, the computer makers have been rounding numbers off and calling it a million bytes.

This did not matter much when hard drives were just a couple of hundred megs, but now that we are into the hundreds of gigabytes, it can make a significant difference. So the plaintiffs complain when a consumer buys a 150 gigabyte hard drive, he actually gets only 140 gigabytes of storage space.

Local technology developer Itok Technologies last week sent out a mass of e-mails to promote its new MassEasy and Faxmaker broadcast mailing software. And how do they address their own mass-mailed invitation? 'Dear {#%?Lname%#}'.

Clearly, some thorough bug-testing going on.

We visited the website of Nihilent Technologies last week to find out what the company does and came away more mystified and slightly nauseous.

In their own words: 'Nihilent derives its origins from the Latin word 'Nihil' meaning 'nothing'. In fact, it is this definition, which epitomises the simple philosophy of the whole creation emerging out of nothing, which essentially is the driving force at Nihilent Technologies. Just as 'intelligence' operates out of nothing driven by its own 'intentionality', causing the world to appear; so too will Nihilent emerge as the 'Unseen Intelligence', which will manifest itself through its creations.'

We hate to be cynical, but if you want lemonade, you need to start with lemons.

A vicious new virus designed to exploit the weakest link is doing the rounds. The message reads: 'Greetings, You have just received the 'MCSE VIRUS'. As we don't have any programming experience, this virus works on the honour system. Please delete all the files on your hard drive manually and forward this virus to everyone on your mailing list. Thank you for your co-operation.'

Any gossip, rumours or ignominy to share? Write to Neil Taylor at back.space@scmp.com.