Monday, 16 December 2013

Entertainment stuff from the week 9-15/12/13

Hi taikonauts,

Well, as Graeme Garden tweeted, this week:

"Not long now to Christmas. Time to put the sprouts on."

Windy weather approaches :-P

For anyone who might be unaware, the correct way to prepare Brussels Sprouts, is the British way, which can be summed up with this handy phrase:

'If you can count them, they're not done yet'

Et voila! :-D

'China's moon rover leaves traces on lunar soil'
"China's first moon rover has touched the lunar surface and left deep traces on its loose soil, state media reported Sunday, several hours after the country successfully carried out the world's first soft landing of a space probe on the moon in nearly four decades."

Follow the link for a couple of pictures. This is exciting - will it spur a new Space Race, without a Cold War? I hope so.

I've noticed that the last four letters of the URL for my YouTube playslist 'Justin Hawkins and The Darkness 2' spell: lolz

Haha :o)

A lovely story from Ethiopia... sort of...

'This Ethiopian village has gained wealth, but has bred hostility'
To be more accurate - the Awra Amba have gained cultural, economic and happiness wealth, amidst ignominy and poverty, through being non-religious.
It is the neighbouring Christians and Muslims who have bred hostility, in bitter, envious hatred of their intentionally-demonised neighbours.

This week's also been met with the world's first comprehensive report on the way atheists are set to be treated, around the world, according to State legislature.
You might already have predicted that it won't be rosey - atheophobia is commonplace.

Shamefully, the UK and USA do not have friendly-looking green stars of freedom and egality, and the UK has an orange diamond of 'Systemic Discrimination'.
This is true, but very slowly changing for the better... overall... in the long-term.

Culturally, of course, many of the world's nations would be due different classifications; hence the bemusement in the comments section.

You might notice that Uruguay has a green star. They've also been in the News, this week, for making it legal to purchase, possess, and consume cannabis, in quantities up to 40g, at $1 per gram.

The reason: illegal cannabis trades are far more dangerous than the drug itself. Hopefully, their contribution will lead the rest of the world into sensical drug policy,

BTW, last week's petition seemingly worked :-)

"Universities UK agrees entirely with the prime minister that universities should not enforce gender segregation on audiences at the request of guest speakers."

Absolutely right. No-one should be allowed to impose segregation on others, for their own sake. If someone doesn't want to be around men, but their friends do, they should have no right to make everyone else miserable!

'Pope Francis is TIME Magazine's Person of the Year for doing nothing at all'
Pope Frankie's featuring on this blog again, but this News is making me wonder what's going on in the heads of the people at Time magazine... have they lost the plot? If they have, they lost it a long time ago - John Paul II was selected in 1994, and John XXIII was chosen in 1962. Time is broken! LOL

------------------------------------------------------ contemporary stuff

'Amazing Animated Optical Illusions! #6'

'I've Never Seen Breaking Bad (Wrecking Ball parody) Whitney Avalon Miley Cyrus'

'Father Ted -- 'Arses' compilation'
What a lot of arse!

'Talking boat...'17 seconds is probably long enough for this video... but LOL :)

'big spider inside house'
Wow! Look what Greg does to this massive huntsman spider, in his house!

'North Korea's way with extreme insults'

My favourite Shakespearean insult is "Prince of Whales". I imagine the metaphorical character behaving something like this: "Hmm, yes, [nom], yes, so, [nom], yes, how long have you, errr, [nom], how long, err, have you been, umm, [nom], been a pork pie... oh, where've you gone? Never mind. Ah! And what are you..."

'How to pronounce Qunu and Mandela’s middle name'

I still can't even manage to roll my 'r's, the way the French do. Rrrr.. rrrr.. rrrr... nah, not working :-(

'Amazing Household Use for Snail Poo'

Looks like shit. Funky shit :-D

------------------------------------------------------ of the weeks

Word Of The Week: agelastia -- inability to laugh; a mirthless person

{Sounds like it should have something to do with sagging skin, doesn't it :D }

Etymology Of The Week: mop -- from the walloon french 'mappe' meaning napkin (the cloth that gets put on the end of a pole, to make a mop) napkin comes from napron, meaning towel/cloth/tablecloth (the suffix 'kin' denoted diminutiveness)

Web-Site Of The Week: Follow the link - it's very concise :-D

Coincidence Of The Week: "Today I was chatting about how safe the huge Star Flyer ride in Edinburgh is. Tonight there was an accident. Chance? Yes."

Religious Self-Awareness Of The Week: "Just heard vicar on radio. When asked if he was nervous about his church reopening on Friday 13th he said 'no, I'm not superstitious'"

------------------------------------------------------ non-contemporary stuff

'Urban Skiing—Skiing in Detroit'
This looks like a heck of a lot of effort just to jump down again. But hey - that's skiing in general - whatever gives youa  buzz!

'The Headlines of my local paper'

And i suppose people who eat or work there are called... :-P

'Desert / Island'

"Listen, you can't live in the past forever."

'Highlights of Lost Voice Guy's debut stand up comedy gig @ Mission in Sunderland - 4 February 2012'

'Voice by Choice comedy sketch by Lee Ridley, Lost Voice Guy'

'Lost Voice Guy on Richard Herring's Edinburgh podcast - 11 August 2013'

Feedback updates:

Several readers noted a BBC report that "Scientists have already calculated that it would take an elephant balancing on a pencil to break through a sheet of graphene"
9 Nov
{Demonstration needed!}

BBC Radio 4 airs a programme called The Unbelievable Truth, and its writers, including David Mitchell and Graeme Garden, have a book out in time for the festive season. Brian Robinson observes that they have "grasped the nettle of new measurements": even if the theme of the programme is, er, lying.
Their discussion of cabbages claims that the largest cabbage ever recorded was "over three times the size of a spacehopper and weighed as much as Beyoncé". Brian now wonders "how many elephants it will take to measure how far the writers' tongues are in their cheeks".

9 Nov

"MEGA" as a prefix seems to be suffering devaluation. James Kennedy saw a sign at a BP outlet offering "50 million megapoints" on the Nectar scheme. We find the same incentive on a website called – though not on the official Nectar site.
James points out that because these "points" are redeemable in a major supermarket chain for £0.005, the alleged offer is worth £250 billion. That's enough to run the UK National Health Service for two-and-a-half years, so "perhaps government ministers should all pop out to fill their tanks," he says.
16 Nov

What should James Parsons make of the sign in a shop that sells beer declaring: "No alcohol that's opened to be consumed on the premises"? What is forbidden that's possible, and why?
23 Nov
{What is grammatical that's written, and how?}

RESTRICTIONS on visits to the Gibbs Farm sculpture park near Auckland, New Zealand, had Shane Dwyer and his wife impressed but a little concerned. The park's website emphasises that it is privately owned and is open just one day a month, by prior appointment only. And not everyone is entitled to visit: only "artists, educational institutions, charities and the public". Shane asks what the restriction means. Feedback deduces that official delegations of non-artistic uncharitable MPs are forbidden.
23 Nov

SUCCESSFULLY gaining entrance to a holiday destination, Simon Holloway saw a sign in the UK Wildfowl and Wetland Trust's reserve at Slimbridge, Gloucestershire. Above a charming picture of an otter, it says: "Otter talks 11.30 am, 3.00 pm."
"I waited," says Simon, "but didn't hear them utter a thing."

23 Nov

SUPERMARKET ASDA startled Freddy Heppell by requesting: "Please put unwanted leaflets from magazines in this bin. This bin is also located in aisle 42." When he attempted to observe it in that aisle, it was not there. Perhaps its quantum waveform had collapsed and it was no longer in a superposition of aisles.
30 Nov

MORE dimensional confusion arises in the reporting of last month's alleged UK discovery of gun parts made in a 3D printer.
Nicola Normandale reports BBC news presenter John Humphries reading, apparently untroubled, the headline: "Police in Manchester have seized what they believe are parts for the first 3D gun ever found in this country." "As opposed to all those tricksy 2D guns we've been used to in the past?" she asks. Nicola also points us to a headline in The Guardian newspaper on 25 October: "Police may have jumped the gun on '3D gun' find". Indeed.
30 Nov
{Surely a 2D gun would be more dangerous - it would be so much easier to smuggle!}

A THEORETICAL treatment of the question over what mass, if any, software and other data have continues to elude us (9 November). Readers have, however, offered practical suggestions. A couple of you suggest that "burning" information onto a CD will reduce its mass. But further investigation reveals that the data is, in fact, recorded on a rewritable CD by a laser changing a crystalline metallic film to an amorphous state; and on a write-only disc by a laser's effect on a photosensitive dye. So now we know.
Others recalled the days when software was stored on punched cards – transporting Feedback back to the special sensory experience of a basement full of computer science students in 1970s nylon shirts. Douglas Shiell notes that "presumably the net mass of the software was negative, since it was expressed as holes in the card". Indeed it would be, compared to a card full of "blank" characters, each encoded with no holes.
30 Nov

WARNING: the radio advert to which Barry Cash alerts us is presented at with an apology – listening to it "probably decreased your IQ by a couple of points". It's by Ken Ham, founder of, and is aimed at the Next Generation Science Standards for US schools. It is no doubt fuelling the continuing opposition in states such as Kentucky and Texas to the standards' inclusion of the science of evolution and of climate change (5 October, p 7).
The ad warns: "Evolutionists use dinosaurs more than almost anything else to indoctrinate children into millions of years of evolutionary ideas." How can there be millions of years of ideas, when the ad goes on that "God tells us that he created all land animals the same day that he created Man, about 6000 years ago... there were even dinosaurs on Noah's Ark"?
The temporal confusion gets worse. Ham's website also reckons that there is "no reason to panic" about climate change. Arguing – or rather, asserting – this, the site blithely reproduces a graph of global temperatures over the past 12,000 years.

7 Dec

DERBYSHIRE County Council in the UK responded to questions from the newspaper Planning about delays in processing minerals and waste applications: "Our records show that in the future we will be well above the target." James Cox wants to know when they will start keeping records of future winning lottery numbers, and whether he can join in.
7 Dec

A TV advert for SCS sofas announces that they are made of "a blend of real leather and science". Charlotte Austin thinks they sound "comfy"
7 Dec
{I think they sound unbiblical. Don't mix your fibres![Godly rage] }

SCANNING a specification sheet for an underwater LED lamp from Norwegian company Imenco, Chris Hall was confused by the claim "life expectancy 50,000 hours (+/- 7 years)". Since 50,000 hours represents about 5.7 years, he writes, "does that mean you could receive the product 'pre-failed'?"
How did that get written, we wondered. We concluded that the following notice should be posted at every copywriter's desk (and possibly every translator's): "If you don't understand the difference between 'plus or minus' and 'more or less', stick to selling homeopathic nostrums."
7 Dec

FINALLY, the membership renewal form for a local UK family history society that we discussed on 12 October asked: "Have you signed the Data Protection Act?"
Andy Ball observes that only one person has signed this Act "and it's unlikely that Her Majesty has anything more to learn about her family history".
16 Nov


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