Sunday, 30 March 2014

Entertainment stuff from the week 24-30/3/14

Hi muff-munchers and moulie cord-wanglers,

...and anyone who might be celebrating Smothers' Day, this Sunday.

'Lesbian Visits Harlem Church for Her Stoning'

'NY Lesbian Jennifer Louise Lopez Asks ANTI-GAY Harlem Church To STONE Her To DEATH!!'

One of those homophobic Churches... sorry, that's superfluous... one of those Churches, had a sign up, outside, saying Jesus would stone homosexuals.

{Aside: As i pointed out last week, it's the fundamentalists who are 'right' (in inverted commas, because of course, in the real world, superstition isn't) when they say Jesus condemned dem Gayz, because she (no Y-chromosome, remember!) made a blanket statement of support for the scriptures that condemn them.
With no explicit condemnation, the implicit condonement should be taken as the official position of the mythical character Jesus... Jesusella?}

Anyway, a Lesbian in New York went up to a Church that had a sign up outside, stating this bigoted opinion, and requested her stoning. She was entitled to it, i suppose.

She's not a masochist (as far as i know!) just testing their integrity. But the guy seemed rather unwilling to carry out the barbarous act, in person. Or maybe, as he said, he just didn't have any rocks.

I'm hoping the real reason was that he had an attack of morality, at the last moment.

Meanwhile, in the UK...

'Same-sex marriage now legal as first couples wed'

As an egalitarian, i find it quite satisfying, that i can now have my stomach churned equally, by the nauseating romantics of Queers and Straights alike. I'm not a masochist either. I promise :-P

Note that, in the interests of false balance, the top half of the article is nauseating, name-dropping, luvvy-duvvyness, with no concern for the fact that subjugation still exists, in other forms; and the bottom half is religious bigotry from a load of whining prats!

Andrea Williams, chief executive of Christian Concern, said: "We can't just redefine an institution - redefine something that always has been - because we say it's something that we want... This is actually very self-centred. This is not about rights, it's about seeking cultural dominance and seeking to redefine marriage for all of us."

No, Andrea, your euphemistical 'Christian conscience' (bloody-minded bigotry) is the self-centred, priggish cultural dominance, which is attempting to impose a temporary definition of marriage that did not and could not exist until Xtianity did, on a 21st century recovering-from-religion country, where 58 of the 60 million people do not share your bigoted opinions in any way.

Marriage pre-existed both Christianity and nation States, and the contemporary conflation between luvvy-duvvy marriage and civil/legal State recognition do not mean you have good reason to exclude people from WASPish privilege.

Christian Concern, by the way, is not the same organization as Christian Voice, which is headed by Stephen Green - a wife-beating child abuser barred from seeing his family (victims) who has, on numerous occasions, been presented by the BBC as a voice of the euphemistical 'Christian conscience'. His 'conscience' said homosexuals should be executed!

But i suppose the BBC should get credit for presenting this article with the bigotry at the bottom (where people are least likely to read) and a clear pro-reality bias in the title.

The times, they are a-changin' indeed :-)

N.B. Plenty of States of the USA and around the world have properly recognised marriage between consenting adults of the same sex, already. At last, the UK has caught up. Who saw that happening under a Conservative government? LOL

From the unsympathisably ideologically sick to the sympathisably mentally sick...

The Mental Welfare Commission of the UK has declared that Atos - the private sector organisation to which Work Capability Assessments were outsourced, in 2007 - has blood on its hands, for causing the suicide of a woman with clinical depression.

'Benefits assessment led to woman's suicide says watchdog'

"This lady had a lot to look forward to," said the chief executive of the MWC, Dr Donald Lyons. "She was getting married. She was being treated. She was undertaking voluntary work. She had a good social network." "There wasn't anything else which we could identify that would lead us to believe that there was any other factor in her life that resulted in her decision to end her life."

When a DWP representative analysed the process, he told the MWC that the steps taken showed "nothing untoward."

I think that's a very telling statement. The DWP - the government department that finds itself responsible for excusing the profit-motivated Atos - sees nothing wrong with a maintenance system that causes suicides!

And when i say "maintenance system", i mean "maintenance". The money is not a frivolous extra - it's not a perk - it's not a company car, a year-end bonus, or an extra week's holiday.

This is why it should not be called the 'benefits system'. A 'benefit' sounds like a perk, a blessing, a boon - it sounds frivolous - it sounds like people don't really need the money.

Which is very untrue. People's self-esteem rests on having a job, and having an income, because both gaining money and spending it makes people feel alive, and part of the society around them. This is why unemployed people get depressed and lonely, and find any test for analysis of their ignominious desperation as soothing as being buggered by a pineapple! Some will avoid going to Jobcentres (or whatever your country's equivalent might be called) simply because they find the experience humiliating.

Aloof careerists, who take home £40,000+ a year, have no right to ignore the fact that other people have a much tougher time than them 'sliding down the razorblade of life' as Tom Lehrer jokingly put it. Even they, if they lost their job, or were left bed-ridden (most maintenance claimants are not doing so as jobseekers) might feel the sudden pinch on their self-esteem, from friends, enemies, and self alike.

It's difficult to pin down causes to one person's experience, but the evidence that poverty across economies causes heart attacks, strokes, depression, suicides, poorer nutrition, and consequent to that, the spread of disease, is much harder to repudiate. (Immune systems function less well in depressed and malnourished people - rendering the starving people more susceptible to, for example, diarrhea, which healthier people find a slight inconvenience)

This is not a frivolous matter, because morbidity and mortality are at stake. We should all stop talking about 'benefits' and instead talk about 'maintenance'.

And now for the science bit:

'Standards of Evidence - Wikipedia Edition'

Quacks set up a petition, on, petitioning Wikipedia to remove evidential quality control, so that their quackery-based businesses wouldn't get such a bad rap. Here's what Steve Novella says about them:

"There are those [] who do not want standards. It is not by coincidence that these are the people who do not or cannot meet existing standards. They feel it is better to whine about the standards than to improve the quality of their claims and arguments. They typically will characterize quality standards as oppressive, closed minded, protectionist, and elitist. As they continue down that rabbit hole, they further claim that standards are really just part of a conspiracy by those in power to protect their privilege or world view."

The quacks can't get respect by Wikipedia or any science-heeding entity, because their claims are unscientific! No surprises there. But it gets better... here's how Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia founder, responded:

"No, you have to be kidding me. Every single person who signed this petition needs to go back to check their premises and think harder about what it means to be honest, factual, truthful.
Wikipedia’s policies around this kind of thing are exactly spot-on and correct. If you can get your work published in respectable scientific journals – that is to say, if you can produce evidence through replicable scientific experiments, then Wikipedia will cover it appropriately.
What we won’t do is pretend that the work of lunatic charlatans is the equivalent of “true scientific discourse”. It isn’t."

Oh, yeah! Walesy lays the smackdown on the snake-oil salesmen. Short and sweet :o)


The 74th anniversary of celebrated polymath and Rationalist Richard Dawkins' birth. Yay, for the Dawkster! Science and Reason FTW :-D

In other news:

The goblins are back! No - i don't mean Eric Pickles or Rob Ford - i mean actual not-actual goblins: "Villagers say strange occurrences have been ongoing since the early 90s when Mr Moyo joined the school but things got worse last year when the goblins’ antics turned to sexual abuse." When a crime is committed, in mysterious circumstances, somewhere in Zimbabwe, the scape-goat is frequently goblins. Inevitably, such superstitions prevent true justice from being imposed, because the real perpetrators go free.

Bionic plants are now a thing! Researchers at MIT have put carbon nanotubes inside the cells of a plant, to increase the amount of light it absorbbs, thereby increasing the rate it can do photosynthesis and grow. It's the plantae equivalent of spectacles, LOL. It's not yet known whether the increased 'sight' of the plants actually translates into faster growth, but it is known that bioninc organisms are not unprecedented - a bionic organism is just one that incorporates synthetic structures into itself, in order to improve function. In humans, there are specs, stents, hearing aids, pacemakers, hip-replacements, and in some cases, entire limbs! Mankind is a bionic species already :-D

Nineteen new species of rare, speedy praying mantises have been discovered in tropical forests and old collections of central and south america. To read more, follow the link to my tumblr; and to see more mantises, click on the 'praying mantis' tag, underneath the post.

Master Splinter, from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series, has been caught and killed, in Sweden. Measuring 40cm long, it had chewed through cement and wood to get at the waste scraps under a family's kitchen sink. Both their children and the domestic cat were terrified... i'm not surprised!

Another animal story: buffalo on the loose in Sydney. They escaped from a film set. One of my favourite radio jokes is this: "Halt! Your money of your life. Get down from that horse!" "It's not a horse - it's a water buffalo" "Why on Earth are you riding a water buffalo?" "Because it's quicker than walking!" Ba-boom-tsch :-P

A man has walked into a shop, asking for hair removal cream, while wearing only a garter and a pink sock. What i want to know is... where was he wearing the garter? :-P

Amoral entrepreneurs in the UK are due to open a 'no frills' hostelry where a half pint of beer will cost £1. "The average price of a pint in the North East where the first no frills pub will open is currently £3. The region has some of the worst rates of alcohol-related deaths and adults are more likely to drink heavily there than in other parts of England." So, it sounds like a good idea, then. They'll be selling them at motorway service stations next... in the end, everyone who wants a chat over a drink will have to converge on Watford Gap Services. They're going to need more seats :-D

This is an old story, really, but there is an ATM, in Basford, UK, that has been built with 38cm clearance from the ground. Their excuse? They built it on a hill. Um... yeeees. Anyway, i don't see what's so wrong with it - it's a better height for Tapejaras ;-)

A couple of comedy road signs have been set up at a zebra road crossing, in Norway, by artists. They inspire pedestrians to mimic the funny walks of a rather famous Monty Python sketch. The locals seem pleased; the mayor seems pleased; but the Norwegian Public Roads Administration remains po-faced. Maybe it's because they're not quite the Finland, Finland, Finland Public Roads Administration ;-)

More comedy, with an article whose title says it all: 'Grandson of lord launches gangsta rap career from the Hampstead ghetto'. You can see his music video, at the link. I know what you're thinking - Weird Al did it better :-D

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

'Making Cesium on a Barbecue!'
'Slow Motion Breakfast'

'SURICATE - L'Ultimatum'

'Miami 2014 Sunday Hot Shot Federer'
I can barely believe how well Federer's been playing, this year! It's a privilege to see. But all the more impressive that other players manage to beat him!*/Tennis/Media/Videos/Uploaded/2014/3/23/Miami-2014-Sunday-Hot-Shot-Federer.aspx

'Theologian says analysis of Catholicism is verging on racism'
Oh dear, LOL - racist beliefs exist despite evidence, in exactly the same way religious beliefs do. Is she implicitly condemning faith, the application of it, or both? :-D

This is a trailer... it's what the Checkout team live in :-P

More of the hilarious pseudoscience in the pet industry. If you've fallen for any of these... it's time for a rethink :-P


'Pop Tulips'
This is the worst magic trick i've ever seen! All he did was put some already-grown tulips in a bag, then microwave them. No wonder it got on 'Illegal Advertising' - it should be illegal! :-D

'X-ray movie shows how fly beats its wings'

Wow - look at those pecs! Pretty fly for a... fly :-P

'Filter-feeding motion of giant ancient 'shrimp''
This is a representation of the mouthparts of a 70-centimetre shrimp that lived in the Cambrian!

'Physics-minded crow brings Aesop's fable to life'

'Helmet lets you experience fly vision while driving'

'Helmet cameras let you see like a chameleon'

So... which of this week's New Scientist videos gets the vote for best background music? I reckon the fly gets my vote :-P

'Robot head puts on your friend's face'

'Tesla Model S 85 performance plus | Fully Charged'
Kryten swears at the Tesla S 85... with excitement!

'Measuring Coastline - Numberphile'
How long is the coastline of your home country? It might astound you to hear, that whether landlocked or not, the question has no definitive answer!

'Greenland Ice Sheet Changing'
This might not be comic, but it's absolutely fascinating - it contains some beautiful graphics, showing the topography of Greenland, both over and under the ice! Brilliant stuff :o)

'Ed Yong: Suicidal wasps, zombie roaches and other parasite tales'
{Is it odd that people confuse influence and control, or is it just my high expectations? We are influenced by all kinds of things - parasites, powers, and memes - but control would be a majority influence - one very hard to consciously turn down. The tiny minds of insects are much easier to control, than the minds of humans, but i guess willingness has always helped!}

'The Firefly Time-Lapse - Photography by Vincent Brady - Music by Brandon McCoy'
via cibermitanios

'THE DRAGONS DAUGHTER - Game of Thrones Tribute Remix'

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

Word Of The Week: craic (pronounced 'crack') -- irish word for fun, jaunty, gossipy entertainment

Expression Of The Week: 'knobstick marriage' -- a forced marriage, between a pregnant woman and the man believed to be the father; enforced by Christians, during the 18th century, where the Parish would be obliged to pay for the maternity costs if a woman were single.

Cooking Instruction Of The Week: "Add the broken chocolate to a bowl and sit on the back of the Aga or in the simmering oven until just melted." - page 162 of Mary Berry's book 'Mary Berry At Home'
{I'm thinking Mary berry's given the burns units of various hospitals some extra work. There's no way i'm sitting on the back of an Aga until just melted!}

Quote Of The Week: “Moral indignation is jealousy with a halo.” - H.G. Wells

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

From the Grand Illusions channel:

'How to sell Nothing!'
The 'Nothing!' toy is actually falsely marketed, because it does contain something - air - and even a vacuum is not completely empty, because of virtual particles ;-)

'Optical Illusion Ring'


'kings college photo'

'Thermoelectric Generator'


'Curie Point Magnetic Heat Engine'


'True Mirror'

'Mirror Mug'

'Jolly Jug'

It's the spin on the marbles that makes them flick up, after they fall - notice how they spin, fast, as they glide between the walls.

'Lihit No. 5'

And now, Johnny, let's watch that again, in slow-motion :-P

'Magic Stick'
BTW: This toy takes its power from the falling water - they can never beat the laws of physics!

'Floating Hourglass'
But how does this one work? Either way, they have to be closely calibrated to the density of water. So the explanation could be the overcoming of friction by buoyancy, with the position of sand inside changing the shape of the bells, or it could be that the bells are distorted by internal air pressure.

'Mephisto Spiral'

'Traffic Jam'

'Pythagoras Cup'
In this video, you can see how the Phythagorus Cup works:
'More Unusual Drinking Glasses'
Siphons work by gravity, so when the water-level is high enough to overcome fiction and get it going, the surface tension will pull all of the water behind it, and down to the lower level, at the bottom of the handle. You can do this trick with a serviette and two wine glasses - the emptier glass steals wine from the fuller one. Be warned, though - this version of the trick takes ages to work!

'Thunder Tube'

'Trick Opening Boxes - Part 1'

'Trick Opening Boxes - Part 2'


'Amazing Ways to Balance Coins'

'Amazing Cheshire Cat Optical Illusion'

'Tim's Amazing Watches'

'Ultimate Wooden Puzzle'

'Drunken Ball'
Just imagine - in severely warped space, this crazy pattern could be perceived as a straight line!

'Noisy Balloons'

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