Sunday, 2 March 2014

Entertainment stuff from the week 24/2 - 2/3/14

Hi Queens,

'Gay men to be banned from becoming Queen ahead of first same-sex marriages'

That's a slightly cheeky headline - the legislation has been changed so that male partners of Kings wouldn't have to be called 'Queen' and female ones of Queens wouldn't be called 'Prince Consort'.

But it's not really a damp squib of a story, because it does show that even one of the most conservative organisations in the country, takes the current advancement toward equality seriously.

And now to some not-so-camp news:

'Arab-Iranian Poet & Peace Activist Hashem Shaabani Executed For 'Waging War On God''

'Pakistan sentences man to death for blasphemy'

I have nothing more to say. Other than: "How dare the religious say they're the ones who are 'offended'!"

[Urge to blaspheme rising...] :-P


Richard Herring's 'Meaning Of Life' stage show is now available as a 6-part podcast/vodcast (episode 1 uploaded so far)

It's all about, well... 'meaning of life's... and covers all kinds of ridiculous religious geneses (that's the plural of genesis, right :-P) with satiricalityism.

Apparently, the video quality's better on Vimeo than YT, but here are the links to all:

The full thing is fee-paying, but there's plenty there for nothing. I'm looking forward to the other episodes :o)

As you would expect, if you were familiar with Richard Herring, there are plenty of in-jokes - i counted half a dozen, in just the first 5 minutes :-D

This is not an in-joke, though:

'An Acre of The Moon, Mars or Venus, £17.99 With Free Delivery (55% Off)'

Surely this is fraud, right?

The surfaces of these astronomical bodies are not owned by these people, and so are not for sale. And it's not like they're selling the pack as a novelty.

"Delivery: Free. Allow up 7 working days. Can fit through most letter boxes."


It's cute, it's furry, and the Naked Scientists want to know what we think of it... what is it? :-P

"These robots are designed to comfort hospital patients, but do you find them cute or terrifying?"

I find them distinctly unnerving, but i think i could get used to them, LOL

Here's something interesting, from last week's Naked Science podcast:

'Why do we have "handedness"?'

Handedness is actually side-dominance. This is one of those situations where scientists use better terms so that they know what they're talking about. Like they say 'endothermic' and 'ectothermic' instead of 'warm-blooded' and 'cold-blooded'.

Ectothermic animals aren't actually cold-blooded - they need their blood to be warm, so that they can run around and do stuff - bu they get that warmth from their environment, instead of inside themselves. Hence, 'ecto-' meaning 'outside'.

When we practice something a lot, with just one side, we will get more better at using that side compared to the other, and our bias toward using that side of our body will grow, making us more better still than the other side what we are lesser better with because we don't use it as much.
{I insist that the grammar in that sentence was perfectly fit for function :-P}
Consequently, we show great bias to our left or right hands, less to our left or right feet, and less still to our left or right ears, or eyes. 90% of humans are right-handed; 80% are right-footed; 70% are right-eyed; and 60% are right-eared.

Comparing handedness to mice, we see 50% right/left-pawedness. And we see side-dominance in other animals, too. Side dominance exists at all because it introduces a 'nudge' to make choices easier.

When a fly buzzes into your face, to suggest a mundane example (i'm the one suggesting the example - not the fly :-P), it helps to instinctively use your right/left hand, because timing matters. Wasting time contemplating which hand to use, could be more costly in a more dangerous situation.

But why so many humans (and other species) exhibit right-side dominance overall, is a bit of a mystery. It might reflect the universal chirality of the chemicals of which we are made. Or it might be pure chance!

We don't all use scientific terminology, like 'ectothermic', but there is one term that's universally used:

'Everybody in Almost Every Language Says “Huh”? HUH?!'

"Are the researchers sure that huh? will turn up in every language in the world? “No,” Dingemanse says. “But we are ready to place bets”."

I'm perfectly happy to accept "huh" as a word. Anything to stop people claiming that 'no' is the first word everyone learns, as a kid!

You try asking them: "Does 'huh' count as a word?" And back will come the reply: "No!" Typical...

'Couple's crystal ball failed to predict it would set their bedroom on fire'

Firstly: look, i've found a new site, with fun news stuff on it :-D

Secondly: Refraction seems to be a General Ignorance topic that's been in the news quite a bit in the last year. This example of lensing is, of course, much smaller in scale, but maybe more damaging, than the Walkie-Talkie building's lensing of light, as we heard last year.

When you don't know that refraction can happen, you won't see it a a threat. Both events essentially have the same cause.

Incidentally, it's not known whether the crystal ball was used for woo-woo purposes. The article describes it only as an ornament.

This story, however, definitely contains woo-woo, and very dangerous woo-woo!

'#BBCtrending: Egyptian public sceptical about military’s HIV ‘breakthrough’'

Essentially, what some cranks in Egypt have done, is to remarket a dowsing rod as an HIV detector... and also as an HIV curer!

These look like being exactly the same rods that were used in James McCormick's shameful, fraudulent behaviour, last year; especially considering that they are described as "adapted from a device for detecting bombs."

Let's get this straight, again: dowsing is just a bizarre superstition, whereby pretty much any prop you can think of has been used in a farcical pretence of detection - whether that be for water, metal, bombs, or HIV. It does not work, and can not work.

The 'devices' were never golf-ball detectors; they were never bomb detectors, and they are not HIV detectors.

Just like with homeopathetic superstition, the threat does not come from immediate effects, but from displacing superior options - if people think a wonky stick can help them find a life-threatening disease, they are likely to forego the techniques that actually work, whether they involve scary-looking needles or not.

In other news:

Remember the 10-year-old boy who wasn't a dwarf, but did crash his parents' car, on the way to visit his grandma? Well, this time he's stolen his aunt's car, and got three times as far - 30 kilometres - but due to the now-non-peculiarity of the event, his parents have had to be reported to social services. Oh dear - no such a cute story, after all!

A four-metre crocodile has taken to the surf in Western Australia. No locals have been harmed... presumably because blind people aren't that keen on swimming in the sea :-P

By extending beyond the common smooth-fronted-tie look, the number of permuations of the knot that can be achieved, rise to 177,147! Whew - i feel the Paradox of Choice, coming on :-/

A transexual prostitute in Italy - Efe Bal - has conducted a naked protest, outside the office of an Italian newspaper, to campaign for official registration of her profession. “I am a prostitute and I want to pay tax”, she said. Upsides for sex-workers would include a long-overdue perception of legitimacy for the profession, and also... a pension. That's right - work your life, to make people happy, while facing the threat of dangerous clients - and the State will not look after you when you retire. Bravo, Efa! Judging by her YouTube channel, she is quite a prominent campaigner.

[audio] 'How oil spills affect Tuna'
Empirical evidence has been found that shows how crude oil exposure, from oil spills, damages the hearts of tuna fish. It was already known that such exposure effects fish health, but this research has shown that the fossil oils counter the development of cardiac muscle cells, and impair their ability to produce a heart rhythm. It seems likely that exposure to hydrocarbons in the air - smog - also have a detrimental effect on human heart health.

A bra has been designed, that bursts open when it 'detects' its wearer to be in love. Now, obviously, it doesn't actually do this - all of these so-called love-detecting products sense either body temperature, or pulse-rate. This one does the latter. But pulse-rate increases due to other factors, as well as love: excitement at seeing an actor you really admire; exercise, running up a corridor, at work; or anxiety, wondering which is your train, at the station. It would not be very helpful, if your bra exploded onto the platform, while you were already stressing over a decision!
Also notice that the nonsense product is met with similarly nonsensical sexism from the hack who churnalised this article: "Unsurprisingly, the inventors of this bra are male (as with the Microsoft bra) and it leaves us wondering what their obsession is with a garment that they have no experience or concept of wearing". Um... they're entrepreneurs... do you think all producers must necessarily consume their own products? Folks in the construction industry are going to need really humungous overdrafts, if you compel them to! Gah... Anyway, most men are quite easily enthused about anything that involves boobs. Is the writer really that ignorant of human nature? :-D

A council in Dorset, UK, has experimented with making the dashed lines down the middle of a road wonky, to encourage people to slow down. It's not yet known whether they've succeeded, but they have already apologised for making them more wonky than intended.

A bizarre outpouring of emotion has followed Ikea's withdrawal of one of their shelving designs... even though it's been replaced by something that looks almost exactly the same!?

Even more bizarre: the contents of this year's Oscar nominations' goody bag! On the list are useful things: a watch, a camera, chocolates, and a mace pepper spray gun! Less useful but nice to have are: a tour of Japan, a holiday in Mexico, and some "pet shampoo". And then there's the tonne of quack products: surgery that doesn't enhance the orgasmic potential of a woman's pussy lips, "pet health therapy", 'skincare', "portion control dinnerware", 'weight loss products', and a house call from a "respected" quackupuncturist! I know these celebrities are often gullible prats, but really! The total value of all these gifts will sum to ~£80,000, with everything supplied purely for promotional purposes. Incidentally, the companies will all outright deny that they're fishing for endorsements, but at that pricetag, can you really believe them!?

Similarly bizarre, but probably not winning out, is the attitude of Italian soccer club Parma F.C.'s sponsor's decision to give their opponents, this week... vacuum cleaners. It's hardly a guided tour of Japan, is it! Parma FC's shirt sponsor is a company that manufacters vacuum cleaners, LOL

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

'A tour of the British Isles in accents'
Brilliant. I'd love to be able to do this :o)

'SBTH - Holiday Blues'
RiAus' 'Science Behind The Headlines' series discusses clinical anxiety and clinical depression, how they manifest in people, and the factors that influence people's perception of how they manifest. A fascinating series - especially for people who are not personally aware of the nature of the conditions.
{What do you mean, depression's too depressing to be featured in 'Entertainment'? :-P}

'Dubai 2014 Monday Hot Shot Federer'*/Tennis/Media/Videos/Uploaded/2014/2/24/Dubai-2014-Monday-Hot-Shot-Federer.aspx

'SURICATE - Le Rire 2.0 / Internet Laughter'


'SIGNS OF THE TIME | The Checkout | ABC1'

'Six-sided snowflakes bloom in slow motion'

'Recording captures hiss of Big Bang radiation'

'Water Planet'

'Swirling reindeer caught on camera'

'негритята' (I've no idea what that translates to?!?)
This is adorable. They're as cute as buttons... very dirty buttons :-D

'Chris Taylor vs. Wild'
"On the drive into Ranthambhore National Park, there’s a sign arched above the main gateway that says: “Welcome to Ranthambhore – Home Of India’s Famous Tiger”. The only problem is – no-one’s seen a tiger here in weeks."

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

Word Of The Week: arriviste -- someone who has attained a position of power or prestige, but not yet respect

Etymology Of The Week: architect -- from greek 'arkhitekton' meaning 'master' (arkhon) and 'builder/crapenter' (tekton)

Quote Of The Week: "My grief at his passing is matched only by my delight at his death" - Phil Cornwell, doing an impression of a please-everyone politician, on Dead Ringers S4E3

Freudian Joke Of The Week: "I've got Freudian slippers. They feel marvelous on my balls... feet, feet! FEET! Ugg..."

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

'In pictures: London now and then'

'Alfred Hitchcock spoof - Big Train - BBC comedy'

'See a black and white picture in full colour!'

'Amazing pareidolic shirts!'

'Coming Out (feat. JackHoward)'

'Asdfmovie 1-7 (Complete Collection)'

'asdfmovie: deleted scenes'

'LEGO The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug - Teaser Trailer [HD]'

'Just Walking The Snakes'

'These children’s shows made a lot of really adult jokes'
Adult jokes in kids' programmes. Who noticed. Did you? :-P

'Are you using your inhaler?'
Dr. Gregory House... i must catch up with these series!

'Justing Bieber Is Not White'
Well, don't you learn something new, every day :-D

'Daddy makes a TV'

[Everybody pats daddy on the head and says "well done"]

'A plea for sanity'
Enough with these ridiculous neologisms. Repeal them all, i say. Grunts and squeaks are all we should ever use to communicate with :-D

...and that includes the word "huh"... obviously ;-D


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