Sunday, 22 June 2014

Entertainment stuff from the week 16-22/6/14

Hi scammers,


Is Solar Freakin' Roadways a scam?

What is "a scam"?

What is "Solar Freakin' Roadways"?

What is "is"?

I have put all the answers to all of these questions in a separate post, to save space.


'Investors pour $1 mn in app that just says 'Yo''

"Co-founder Or Arbel insisted the deceptively simple app has a lot of potential. "People think it's just an app that says 'Yo.' But it's really not," Arbel told The New York Times. "We like to call it context-based messaging. You understand by the context what is being said"."

[coughs "bullshit" ]

"Reviews on Apple's App Store were positive, but some delved into sarcasm. "Yo is a way of life. Since downloading Yo, all my relationships have improved and I've regrown most of my hair," said a reviewer calling himself Nicholas Butler."

"News website Think Progress says the app, which took just eight hours to build, now has 50,000 users who have sent about four million Yos.

The company has four part-time employees."

I suppose they all knew what they were paying for?!

Pseudoscience story of the week:

The idea that the ability to make a fist from the delicate fingers of the hand, necessarily means that hands evolved for the purposes of punching other people in the face, which has also apparently evolved to take hits, despite also being fragile, even for a primate species.

I'm sure hands and faces have never been used for anything other than punching and facing, and so the only viable mechanism for these bodyparts' morphological development must be inter-personal physical violence. <s>

Um... no. Hands evolved to be delicate, with opposing thumbs, in order to perform delicate, sensitive motions, and faces evolved to be faces, for looking out of and pushing food into.

It is an utterly inferior hypothesis to suggest that other evolutionary pressures determined our chiro-maxillary morphologies.


Some of these are more accurate than the populist Media's reports; and some i wish were more true. The first one, for example :-D

'Google receives 12,000 requests to ‘forget’ Katie Hopkins'
"A spokesperson for the search giant explained, “I’m afraid that this process is designed for people to ask for themselves to be forgotten, but Ms Hopkins keeps sending us emails asking ‘Do you know who I am?’, and ‘Make sure you definitely know who I am’.”"
This is who Katie Hopkins is, by the way:
If you only know the world through my blog, then you first met her in July, last year:

'Claims that Michael Gove passed Turing Test ‘completely untrue’'

"The final results, released by Professor Kevin Warwick, from the University of Reading, said that in conversations with Michael Gove, only 0.02% of respondents thought he was human, and even those suggested that he must be ‘some sort of idiot savant, but without the savant bits’."
Last week's Turing Test reference:

'Michael Gove to open faith school dedicated to teachings of Michael Gove'
"Asked if the school would be employing fully qualified teachers, Gove replied “obviously we can’t discriminate against teachers who are qualified, but I’d prefer that they weren’t.”"

'Vatican suggests ‘speed-dating’ as Pope meets with sexual-abuse victims'
"UKIP MP Dominic Faraday supported the idea, saying “I think the Catholic Church is a fine British institution and the Pope is one of our favourite homophobes.”"

'Daily Mail to become top-shelf publication to protect children from extremism'
"A Royal Commission on the press have asserted the publication posed an unsavoury threat to the views of children and should only be made available from the far-right of the upper tier of shelving units across the country."

'NHS should be ‘National Herbalist Service’ claims Prince Charles'

"NHS Trusts across the UK are now trialling the anecdote-based approach, including the maternity ward at Chichester Central Hospital.
“We’ve replaced epidurals with gluten-free pasta and extract of Ginkgo,” said one senior midwife, “after my mum said her friend’s sister ate it during her labour.”"

'Nigel Farage accuses Nigel Farage of ‘desperate smear campaign’ against Nigel Farage'
"UKIP supporters have been quick to defend Nigel Farage against attacks by Nigel Farage and to point out the clear differences between deliberate attempts attempts to fiddle expenses and attempting to fiddle expenses deliberately."

'Royal Mail urges people to change house numbers after data breach'
“The paper directory, sometimes known as a ‘phone book’ contained millions of names and addresses in unencrypted format.”

'Comedy fans in mourning as Jim Davidson tragically confirmed alive and well'
“It’s almost like God doesn’t want British comedy to thrive any more.”


The inventor of Kevlar body armour - Stephanie Kwolek - has died, aged 90. In a self-admitted case of serendipity, she developed it while trying to make a lighter car-tyre reinforcer. Today, Kevlar is used in tyres, body armour, sporting gear, boats, and more.

Atheist Solidarity Day is the 21st of June:
"It's an atheist holiday and awareness campaign. It's a global and annual day to stand up together as one and provide support for those who struggle to be non-religious in their communities. It's a day of celebration for those who have the freedom to be open about their beliefs while at the same time raising awareness about those who don't have that freedom. There are many around the world who have to hide their lack of belief in god because of social pressures, taboos, threat of violence, and even death. Everywhere there are people who have to hide out of necessity."

The 23rd of June is Alan Turing's 102nd Birthday.

And the 26th of June is the 105th anniversary of London's Science Museum becoming an independent museum. It was originally founded as part of the Victoria and Albert Museum, in 1857, and gained its independence in June 1909.,_London

In other news:

William Hague - a man commendable only for his comic pronunciations - and Foreign Secretary for the UK, has declared his support for 'Team GB' at the Commonwealth Games 2014, despite the fact that there won't be one! England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland compete separately there, as he should well know :-D

Morrisons supermarket has been forced to stop playing England-centric Water Closet songs, in its Scottish stores, after complaints from customers. Shoppers in all 64 of its Scottish branches had to endure them, despite not being in England... nor even in the UK, in a few years, potentially. Then again, if shoppers in English stores have to listen to them, then maybe it's fair :-P

Private sector contractors employed by Leicester City Council have designed bus timetables that are fitted far too high up for anyone to read. They built them to ideal specifications - fitting on bespoke bus stop poles - but many lampposts double up as bus stop poles, across the UK, and including Leicester. The entrepreneurs at whichever-cowboy-company-it-was-ltd didn't tumble to this matter of pragmatism, with counter-productive results - better results that can't be read. Pictures at the link:

Researchers at the University of Arkansas have had a look at the effect of marriage equality on gay and lesbian relationships, in the USA; and what they found, is that marriage threatens their relationships. Is this a homo-specific thing? No. They found that a viable threat/prospect of marriage (legalisation in their or a nearby State) introduced a huge subject, on which couples could disagree: one wants to marry, the other wants to not, disharmony ensues, and the relationship breaks down. Without marriage existing at all, this couldn't happen. This mechanism can only be identified in same-sex relationships because no studies have recorded complimentary-sex relationships since before marriage existed, but it's surely applicable to them too.

Do crabs have a sense of hearing? It turns out that they do - using tiny hairs lining the pits (statocysts) behind their antennae. It's been thought that the statocysts are used for balance, and that could still be true, but how crabs and other crustaceans detect fish without seeing or smelling them has been a mystery. Fish are known to produce noise (as i have mentioned on this blog) and this research has demonstrated that the hairs in crabs' statocysts do respond to sound - it's not going to be our calibre of hearing, but it's better than nothing.

From hearing to touch. Researchers at the Karlsruhe Intitute of Technology (KIT) have developed a metamaterial that can not be felt by compression! This essentially means that you can put any object underneath it, and the material will perfectly compress to its shape, rendering it unperceivable to anyone who pushes on it. It seems a physicality cloak has beaten its optical counterpart - an invisibility cloak - to development. More pictures are available at the link:

Dinosaurs are now available with wings! (No, i'm not a dinosaur- it's a different branch of the taxonomical family tree) This dinosaur is a ceratopsian - like Triceratops, and from 77 million years ago - called Mercuriceratops gemini. It had 'wings' on either side of its frill, which seem to have had no physical function, other than to be extra-specially sexy to other Mercuriceratopses. Pictures are available at the link:

The chief nonce in the Romanian Orthodox Church has been taking a little derision, of late, for doing something absurdly bizarre. "Do what?" I hear you cry, "I can't believe a superstitionist would do something completely crazy!" But it is true. And what is it? Well, he's been 'blessing' (casting magic spells) using 'holy oil' (magic water) dispensed with a... roll mop. Stop laughing! They, however, call it a "sanctification rod". No, please - stop laughing!! But, as Sam Harris once said: "George Bush says he speaks to god every day, and Christians love him for it. If George Bush said he spoke to God through his hair dryer, they would think he was mad. I fail to see how the addition of a hair dryer makes it any more absurd." Amen to dat, bro :-D

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

'The Scientific Way to Cut a Cake'

'World Cup Fail: the science of Lampard's 'goal''

'How to Pin an Insect'

'London 2014 Saturday Shot of the Day Lopez Stepanek'
Radek Stepanek is awesome :-D*/Tennis/Media/Videos/Uploaded/2014/6/14/London-2014-Saturday-Shot-Of-The-Day-Lopez-Stepanek.aspx

'Amazing new optical illusion music video'
OK Go - The Writing's On The Wall

'My Bonnie Flies over the Ocean by Aleksey Igudesman'
Yes, that is James Bond, sitting at the front :-)

'Queen + Adam Lambert - Love Kills at iHeart Radio Theater (Official Video)'

'Jay Foreman & Bec Hill - Fiddle With Your Balls'

'Best ever vine?'
Vine's the site where people upload short, often-looping videos, btw.

'Takeout Robbery'



'F.U. TUBE SERIES 2 EPISODE 17 | The Checkout | ABC1'

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

Word Of The Week: coniines -- an alkaloid that makes up the poisonous part of hemlock. this word was the winning move in the British National Scrabble Championships for 2013

Etymology Of The Week: squiggle -- derived, as a verb, from the words 'squirm' and 'wriggle' the latter of which comes from Low German in the 15th century 'wrigglen' which meant the same as 'wriggle' does today

Quote Of The Week: “I have been called arrogant myself in my time, and hope to earn the title again, but to claim that I am privy to the secrets of the universe and its creator — that's beyond my conceit. I therefore have no choice but to find something suspect, even in the humblest believer. Even the most humane and compassionate of the monotheisms and polytheisms are complicit in this quiet and irrational authoritarianism: they proclaim us, in Fulke Greville's unforgettable line, "Created sick — Commanded to be well." And there are totalitarian insinuations to back this up if its appeal should fail. Christians, for example, declare me redeemed by a human sacrifice that occurred thousands of years before I was born. I didn't ask for it, and would willingly have foregone it, but there it is: I'm claimed and saved whether I wish it or not. And if I refuse the unsolicited gift? Well, there are still some vague mutterings about an eternity of torment for my ingratitude. That is somewhat worse than a Big Brother state, because there could be no hope of its eventually passing away.” - Christopher Hitchens

Book Title Of The Week: 'Winning And Losing The Fight Against Infectious Diseases' - Prof. Christopher Dye

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

'Ryousuke Ohtake’s Realistic Wooden Lobster'

'Beware Of Sudden Drop'

'After This Audio Illusion, You'll Never Trust Your Ears Again'

This is what's called sine wave synthesis - it's not random, it's just sufficiently convoluted that it's very difficult to understand without already knowing a translation. Highly practiced listeners can understand it, without even a translation.

'Demonstration of Sine-wave Speech'

Here are some more for you to try to understand :-D


'What Can I Do With My Nose?'

'Black Hole Questions'

'Make Your Own Potato-Head'

'What Your Palm Says About Your Personality'

'Science... And Crime?'

'Be Careful When You Stand Upside Down'

'Great Scientists: Gregor Mendel'

'Time Travel Questions'

'Why Do Ants Have Feelers?'

'Use Good Dinner Manners'

'Harnessing The Power Of The Wormhole'

'Get A Chemistry Set Today'

'Updated Science: Enthusiasm For Heat'

'Updated Science: Father’s Day In The Wild'

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