As the ostensibly best candidate gets fired from The Apprentice this week, anyone with a keen eye will have noticed that Philip Taylor was a crackingly proud Northerner.

alan_sugar

Get aaaaaaught!

There have been a few of those over the course of the UK series of The Apprentice, and yet strangely they never seem to get very far no matter how well they do. Sugar always seems to find a reason to criticise their good work and takes every opportunity to heap scorn on any failings.

The only conclusion I can come up with is that Sugar, the ‘allo laaandan geeeza, just doesn’t like Northerners. There are plenty of people like that about, with the old North/South rivalry making people biased, and I’m surprised nobody has really called him up on it. He is, after all, just a man, just as flawed and fallible as anyone else.

A shame really, now that the most viable candidate has been fired the rest of the season is a bit academic. None of the rest have enough personality between them to be a worthy win, and we’ll probably end up with an apprentice who is a superficial and pasty as Simon Ambrose was – a man whose profile since winning The Apprentice last year has been distinctly underwhelming. He wasn’t a winner from the start, he was just what was left over when Sugar make bungle after bungle, firing all of the decent people one by one.

Like the man uttered as he walked out, it’s a joke.

The interwebs tells me that the human body burns between 90-110 calories per hour when idle. We all know that actually getting off your fat fucking arse and exercising is the best way to burn calories, but I wonder why I can’t find anything about how many calories are burned by thinking.

At a basic level I assume that a brain works like a CPU, when it’s gunning at 100% usage it heats up and uses more power than it does when idle. Surely a brain is the same? Staring slackjawed at Gladiators on TV must burn less calories than solid concentration on mathematical problems.

Google is contaminated by thousands of websites that discuss ‘thinking yourself thin’ and the mental attitude required to lose weight, so I can’t find anything that mentions any actual research that gives a clue as to what bearing sheer thought has on calorific burn. I managed to find a couple of Yahoo! questions, but all of the answers are unscientific opinions by individuals who don’t quote sources. Those people say the effect of thinking is miniscule, but given the lack of evidence I’m not going to accept that as fact.

Is this why the archetypal nerd is thin and gangly? I read or watched something (can’t remember where, it’s very unscientific of me) which stated that a weight variation of half a stone can be affected by as little as 7 calories per day over the course of a year.¬† While that might sound a bit improbable, it could certainly explain why ‘smarter’ people who use their brains more are generally thinner, because the brain really wouldn’t need to burn very many more calories per day in order to affect the weight of a person over a sufficiently long time period. Over the course of your life, the possible impact cannot be ignored.

Obviously there are limits to this theory. If your eating pattern is variable or you’re just a fat git, working your brain won’t make much visible difference because there are too many other factors in play. But, if you’re an average person who eats a fairly consistent amount of food, it makes utter sense that someone who taxes their brain with complex and profound thoughts will weigh less than someone who, say, reads the Daily Mail.

Given the multitude of studies and news articles that bang on about weight loss factors, I wonder why this hasn’t got a scientific footnote somewhere. Suffice to say if you, person reading this, have any idea or can quote me a study, I’d be very interested to read it.

Now I’ve written all that, I’m sure I’ve burned at least enough to justify a small ice cream. ūüôā

Update: http://answers.google.com/answers/threadview?id=381608 – some answers!

Interesting reading, it looks like this is indeed the case, although most calories are burned when learning something new, rather than engaging mentally in something you already know.

If you’re getting this error when sending mail with exim, this will be one of two problems:

The mail-sending server isn’t set up to check DNS properly. Check your /etc/resolv.conf file. If it says something like localhost or 127.0.0.1 you’re in trouble. This should typically be set to the DNS servers of your hosting provider, but if in doubt set them to those used by OpenDNS:

nameserver 208.67.220.220
nameserver 208.67.222.222

If your nameservers are all working, but you’re still getting the error, this probably means there’s a problem with the remote host’s MX records. To make sure its not just you, go to CheckDNS and put in the domain name you can’t send email to. If you see MX record errors, it’s them, not you.

A handy quick command to run is:

exim -bt email@address.com

which will test exim’s ability to route to the address you specify. For extra debug information add the -d-resolver argument. This will help diagnose which router exim uses to send the email.

It’s possible you have an entry for the external domain in your /etc/localdomains file – possibly an old domain you’ve now hosted elsewhere? If that’s the case exim will be trying to route it locally and that’s why it’s not working. Worse still, if the domain is still configured on the local server you may well find it’s getting routed into a local mailbox instead of the target domain, but you wouldn’t get an error for that!

If you’re running CPanel and desperately want to know why the Mail Troubleshooter (which allows you to trace email addresses for diagnosis) for your desired name is merely saying ‘lookuphost via lookuphost’, this just relates to the problems above. It’s trying to use the lookuphost router (which is fine and correct for an externally-bound email), but its failing to resolve the DNS, so follow the steps above.

Exim is quite vast and difficult to understand – I hope this information helps you troubleshoot your routing issues. I thought I had one tonight when an email with multiple cc:’s could not do DNS lookup for several of the recipients. Naturally I assumed my server was to blame, but an eventual DNSCheck of each found that, surprisingly, it was merely defunct or an ‘Error 451: Temporary local problem, please try later‘ error (which probably means that the domain you’re trying to send to is on a shared host which has a working MX relay, but isn’t configured to accept email for that particular domain).

Just to update on my previous entry. When I last checked you will recall that the domain whois had changed to an Enom placeholder.

Shortly after this I received another email alert from my script to tell me the domain whois had changed again. It had returned to the ‘Domain not found: Code FW-1’ which surely indicated something was afoot. Hoping for the name to be dropped, I was dissapointed to find that it eventually changed to the following (modified to omit domain name):

Administrative Contact:
Whois Privacy Protection Service, Inc.
Whois Agent (vrcnpthfc@whoisprivacyprotect.com)
+1.4252740657
Fax: +1.4256960234
PMB 368, 14150 NE 20th St – F1
C/O domainiwanted.com
Bellevue, WA 98007
US

Technical Contact:
Whois Privacy Protection Service, Inc.
Whois Agent (vrcnpthfc@whoisprivacyprotect.com)
+1.4252740657
Fax: +1.4256960234
PMB 368, 14150 NE 20th St – F1
C/O domainiwanted.com
Bellevue, WA 98007
US

Registrant Contact:
Whois Privacy Protection Service, Inc.
Whois Agent ()

Fax:
PMB 368, 14150 NE 20th St – F1
C/O domainiwanted.com
Bellevue, WA 98007
US

Status: Locked

Name Servers:
dns1.name-services.com
dns2.name-services.com
dns3.name-services.com
dns4.name-services.com
dns5.name-services.com

Creation date: 23 Feb 2009 17:25:00
Expiration date: 22 Feb 2010 11:00:00

After some more investigation, I have found that ‘Whois Privacy Protection Service, Inc’ is the Whois protection service offered by Enom for $6/year.¬† So if you ever see a whois record like this, it has definitely been registered¬† through Enom.

So the existance of the record is either a handy pseudonym for some cowardly domainer who snaps up his domains via Enom, or is in fact Enom itself using insider information to snag and slap adverts on prospective domains while wishing to hide the fact they engage in such contemptible practices. I put the probability of it being one of these at 50/50.

So, it looks like my half-desired name is gone, at least for a year. While it might be annoying I still won’t explicitly state which domain it was, simply to deprive whomever now owns of it of those few curious hits it would get as a result.