Sunday, 27 April 2014

Entertainment stuff from the week 21-27/4/14

Hi Shakespeareans,

This week marked the 450th anniversary of William Shakespeare's birth.

He's well known for originating all kinds of words, portmanteaus, and phrases, but because linguists tend to have been fans of Shakey, they have historically started (and stopped) researching the etymologies of words, with Shikespere's works.

This means some of the terms attributed to him have since been found to predate him. Nevertheless, many are still his inventions...

'Grammar Girl: Words Invented by Shakespeare'

'135 Phrases coined by William Shakespeare'

'Shakespeare's 450th Birthday'
What’s Humanism? That’s Humanism!

"Also Happy 450th Birthday to Wilma Shakespeare, I just love 'Rachel the Third!'"

And in celebration of more than 60 years of Attenboroughian wildlife documentary making, some bright sparks at the BBC have self-elected themselves an Attenborough Week.

Well, why not :-)

'YouTubers' Favourite Attenborough Moments - #AttenboroughWeek'

Film review of the week:

'Kermode Uncut: Being Frank'

In a choice between papier mâché heads and fictional arks, i'd go for the wood'n'glue any day.

papier mâché head, i mean :-P

Bobby Llew's going to be doing some of the commentating for the up-coming Formula E racing.

'Formula E TV commentary team'

He's the same guy who presented Scrapheap Challenge for ten years, and has done three seasons of a free online show called Fully Charged, which is all about electric things, with an expectable emphasis on electric cars.

So don't think him any less respectable, when you see this picture of him as Kryten, in Red Dwarf :-P

I am, however, slightly miffed about their exhorting Nikki Shields' scientific credentials. I'm not arguing that she doesn't have them - she has a degree in Biology - but she's as scientifically qualified for this program as all the other car enthusiast presenters. Expertise are non-transferable.

...unless these electric cars are also going to be grown, in a lab, from the interlaced hyphae of a huge fungal network... nah, probably not :-P

In other news:

There is a new world record for highest note whistled, set by a guy from North Carolina. He whistled a B7 (that's 3951 Hz). Jennifer Davies previously held the record for highest whistle, and still holds the record for lowest whistle - F3 (just below middle C).

The history of science is partly a history of brave people putting their health on the line to identify the truth. This guy's decided to, and carried out an experiment in which he, stings his body with bee stings... all over... to see which areas are most sensitive to pain! Admirable, certainly, but still limited by subjective reporting and lack of a control group - it's just him, on his own. But then, how would you get this study past an ethics panel? And that's why the history of science is strewn with histories of people experimenting on themselves. "Taking one for the team", as they say. Better him than me! Oh, btw - he reckons the inside of his nose is more pain-ey than his penis. Well, with a sample size of one, there's little reason to think everyone might be like him... especially those of us who don't have penises, LOL.

Sylvio Berlusconi is due to start community service, in the coming week. He received a 1-year 4-hours-a-week sentence for tax fraud in one of his many companies. It's a light sentence, because the Italian Justice system's lenient to the over-70s (he is 77). Interestingly, the billionaire plutocrat, who is prevaricating through numerous legal battles, including bribery of a judge, and was last year prosecuted for paying to have sex with an underage prostitute, is due to serve his time in a religion run care home. And they, of course, have no track record of perverted sexual abuse of the inmates. Not at all. No way. Na-ah. No surree. Berlusconi should feel right at home!

Both an Australian and an Irish newspaper have got themselves <insert cliche here> this week; with the Australian Financial Review sending an over-underdone draft to the printers, and the Irish Independent including an unsavoury-savoury word combination in its quiz section. What larks! Pill larks.

But that's nothing compared to the hot water this Chinesey-styley food takeaway got into, when it served some noodles with a dead insect in. Dun-dun-durrr. Except it wasn't a dead insect... it was a big bit of burnt onion. Hmmm... i hope they don't lose too much custom over this false alarm. Burden of proof, people. Remember the burden of proof. Don't believe anything until it's been substantiated.

The bio-duck has finally been identified. Akin to the Chinese takeaway insect, it is in fact, not a duck. The noises sound a bit like ducks quacking, but are actually produced by Minke Whales, in the oceans of the Far Southisphere. You can bet the UFOlogists won't stand down, however! The true culprit was found, when tags were attached to Minke Whales, who then produced the sounds, at depth. Information from their tags should tell us more about how Minkes behave, and how their deep-ocean environments are changing as part of the global anthropogenic climatic changes that have been advancing for the last century. You can hear the sound, in the audio file, embedded into this article:

Here's a story with a whole host of moronic headlines.'s being 'Mantis shrimp stronger than airplanes' My imagination jumps with joy, as it conceives that particular fight scene! Mantis shrimp attack and kill their prey using incredibly powerful punches of their forelegs, which end in immensely tough clubs. They have to survive accelerations faster than a bullet from a gun, which are so fast that the water around the club boils! The aeronautical researchers who are not responsible for the awful headlines, were studying the physical structure of the shrimps' clubs. When they translated the shape into the materials in aeroplanes, they found they were much more resilient to damage. And that is how 'Mantis shrimp club structure-based technology can make aeroplanes stronger and safer' would be a better title.

Researchers at Harvard have discoverd a new shape - a hemihelix. It's not a double helix - it's a duo of intertwined helices that reverse direction of rotation, periodically. This means each turns right-handedly for a bit, and then left-handedly for a bit, and then repeats. My minds in a wangle, trying to conceive the shapes, so just follow the link and look at the pictures (they did their experiments with elastic bands) to see what a hemihelix looks like:

Did you know fish can shout? Well, apparently they can. Fish usually make make very quiet and low pitch sounds, that travel much better through water and so can still be heard, so we can't usually hear them in air. But this research has found that, in areas where anthropogenic noise pollution from boats and traffic on bridges drowns them out, blacktail shiners simply raise their voices to shout over it! So there you go - not all seemingly absurd titles are actually devoid of sense :-D

Drones to the rescue! Drone technology has, for the first time, made it feasible to save the majority of fawns that are at risk of being minced by combine harvesters. Deer typically place their young, vulnerable progeny in long grass, to conceal them from predators. But in these places, they are also invisible to the drivers of combine harvesters and even experienced wildlife trackers. From the air, however, they can be seen, and their cute young faces spared.

Speaking of cute young faces: a baby deer-mouse has been birthed at a nature park in Spain, increasing the european population of deer-mouses (deer-mice?) to 43. It weighed 100 grammes at birth - about the same as 20 sheets of A4 paper - and will weigh 2 Kg as an adult. Its species is threatened with extinction, in its wild home of Southeast Asia. Follow the link for pictures. And set your faces to "awwww".

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

'Invisible Metal (better than transparent Aluminium!)'


'Richard Herring's Meaning of Life - Episode 2 - The Paranormal'
With added Richard Wiseman. Oh yeah :-D

'"Which Buzzfeed Quiz Junkie Are You?" Tales Of Mere Existence'
This is the best tale of mere existence for some time :o)

'Where 26 asteroids recently hit Earth'

'Darcy Oake's jaw-dropping dove illusions | Britain's Got Talent 2014'
This is what Britain has to do to get talent, apparently - import a guy from Canada, for the day. Great sleight of hand, though :-D

'Portable toilet spotted travelling down street'
It can travel through space; but can it travel through time?

'Mý á Mývatni - Midges on lake Mývatn'

'True Beauty'

The aesthetic insecurity industry has inherited religion's tactic of telling everyone they're stinking, filthy sinners and they're all damned to ugliness... but that they have the cure for the bullshit made-up crime. And so: Da-daa! Hugely-overpriced moisturiser/soap/whatever. You might be worth it, but they're not.

Prince George meets his first member of the unwashed public - the young Duchess of Stratford <s>

'Bad Grades'

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

Word Of The Week: plangorous -- expressive of loud lamentation - a wailing

Etymology Of The Week: avail -- a use, help, or benefit; from latin 'valere' meaning 'of worth'; a common etymology with 'valency' (in chemistry) and 'valiant'/'valour' ('brave'/'strong')

Quote Of The Week: "When our engineers work tirelessly to improve security, we imagine we're protecting you against criminals, not our own government" - Mark Zuckerberg, apparently realising that the nefarious nature of secretive surveillance can go both ways, in a blog post in which he says he contacted US president Barack Obama to complain about the National Security Agency's invasion of Facebook's IT systems

Fact Of The Week: In the Eastern Orthodox Christian Church, St Christopher has often been shown in icons as having the head of a dog, because of a mix-up between the Latin for 'from Canaan' and 'canine'

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

From the Mikey Bolts YouTube channel:

'Pitbull ft. Ke$ha - "TIMBER" (Sung in FAMILY GUY Voices)'

'Jason Derulo "TALK DIRTY" (Family Guy Version)'

'My Stewie Impression! (Family Guy)'

'15 Family Guy Impressions in 50 Seconds'

'Annoying Stewie'

'The wild abandoned railway in the centre of Paris'

'Möbius Ship'

'Spanish Translation'


'Wig and Penis pub sign removed'

'Underground, Overground, Wombling Free'

Richard Wiseman on twitter:

"My mum..."

"Love how people use..."

"In NYC..."

"So, lets get these curtains open..."

"Here's me with..."

"The literacy levels..."

"When I was at school..."

'Museum of Sex or Maths?'

And now, let the madness of tumblr unleash!!!

'Thank You Central'
Automatic name truncations FTW :-D

'That time Matt Damon was on Arthur'

'My dog looks like she's a floating head'

'blueberry muffin dog'


'The Complete Guide To Being Australian'


'One of the many pieces of evidence in the case against companies using Twitter'

'How did you do in P.E. today?'

'real life tattoos'

'When she realised...'

'I'd like to order...'

'Going down in the haunted house'

'Charismatic training dummies'

'have you ever tried to do art and you just'

Poor old Stevie G, trying to do art :-D

'How to draw corgis'
That's the dog - not the miniature cars, or the electricians :-P


'disabled devil'



'Jesus vision'

'when panorama photos go wrong'

'...has left the group...'

'Japanese binocular soccer'

'making breakfast'

'Ken reveals a secret'

'That's nice'

'Cher on twitter?'

'100% qualified doctor's advice'

'College Rules'

'Portable Masturbation Hut'

'wee wee wee'
Richard Dawkins is amazing. But i already say "w w w" instead of "double-u double-u double-u" :o)

'Killed by my cat..."

'Kum & Go'

'Insert Bill'
So this is why Bill Stickers is going to be prosecuted :-D

'That dog got rhythm'

'Dr. Jessen'

And a romantic one to finish...

'Ikea Monkey'


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