Sunday, 16 November 2014

Entertainment stuff from the week 10-16/11/14

Hi cometeers,

It's official!

Humanity has landed on a comet!

'Rosetta Live: #2 The descent'

'Rosetta Live: # 3 Touchdown'

If you want another look at that tattoo, btw, then here's a close-up:

'Rosetta Tattoo'

'Science Bulletins: Rosetta Mission Lands Probe on Comet'

'rosetta blog'

For everything you want to know about the mission :-)

So that's something humanity can feel deeply proud about.

Here's something humanity can feel deeply ambivalent about:

'Philae conspiracies: Because there isn’t enough s**t on the internet already?'

A Grauniad journaloust went out of her way to find a shitty story to draw in morons to their readership.

{So what's new?} :-P

Incidentally, comets are too loosely packed to be used a spaceship. Just in case you were thinking that ;-)

And now for something humanity can feel deeply ashamed about... even while staying close to the prime subject :-/

'Kim Kardashian Ass vs Feminism'

I saw this 'story' on the BBC website, and i immediately thought "oh, Thunderf00t, you must do a video on this!" ...if nothing else, then for therapy's sake.

The horrendous slut-shaming sexists who wrote the article, even proudly boasted that they'd made the project leader cry... for wearing a shirt... that a female friend had made for him!

"The outcry has evidently hit him hard though. During a press briefing this morning, he broke down in tears and apologised for his choice of clothes."

'#BBCtrending: Rosetta physicist's 'sexist' shirt'

If a woman wore a shirt with naked men on it, would it be OK to harangue her for it? No - it wouldn't.

Has all the feministing been feeble speculation about whether a woman would be allowed to do that? No - it hasn't.

Puh-lease. This shit has to stop.

Bullying someone over their choice of clothing (that's what 'the outcry' is a euphemism for) is just not on.

Ironically, this is exactly the kind of thing that discourages people from going into STEM.

"Oh no - i'm not going into STEM - i mean that guy over there was so awesome that he was the first to put anything man-made on a comet, and look at the awful way they treated him" - something someone could think

Where was all the praise for the women involved? Where was all the credit, encouraging people to follow in their footsteps?

As weirdly creepy as it is to effusively praise one population more than another, at least it's not the mirror similar - ganging up on one population more than another, and vilifying them instead.

"How does Kathrin Altwegg have 23 publications and two books to her name if sexist shirts keep women from entering tech????? Because it's easier to say men are keeping women out of tech than it is to give praise to the women already in tech. That's how. I'm sorry Kathrin. I'm sorry that instead of people looking to you and saying "You are a credit to the scientific community" they're effectively saying "You don't count because shirt"."

Oh, and btw, notice that the BBC got that story from Twitter. That's right - journalists don't do their own stories any more - they just plagiarise miserable bigots via social media.

Dear FSM.

Please make hacks do some work, for a change. RAmen.


'Corruption across EU 'breathtaking' - EU Commission'

National governments are extensively corrupt, according to an EU report. But the study data is limited in veracity, because it is based on survey data.

{Please note, EU-phobes, that this is corruption that exists across the EU - not corruption perpetrated by the EU. That's the difference between pointing out that there's mouse shit on your kitchen floor; and dropping your knickers, curling one out, and then boasting about your own!}

The survey asked people in sampled companies from countries across the EU (they couldn't sample non-EU countries because it was an EU-done survey) whether they, personally, had been involved in corruption, and whether they thought there was a problem with corruption, in the country in which they lived.

Obviously, the former question is far more useful, because the latter asks people to judge by rumour, rather than actual personal experience.

Importantly, the report found corruption to be greater at a smaller scale (regional and local) than at a national scale, which contradicts the idea that fragmentation of countries for people's 'independence' would lead to a more just world!

Also, conflicts of interest are very poorly patrolled, apparently. This comes as no surprise to me. Inevitably, the department responsible for preventing corruption, across the entire EU, is tiny, and utterly underpowered for the task.

That too, is unsurprising, given how lax national and regional governments are with corruption control.

This report seems highly ironically timely, considering an article two weeks back, about the anti-corruption enthusiasm of the current Chinese government!

In other news:

In a bizarre attempt to crackdown on pedestrian safety, police in New Jersey have sent a copper out, dressed as Donald Duck, to catch drivers who don't yield to pedestrians when they're trying to cross the road. Inevitably, the sight of an anonymous guy in a giant Donald Duck costume didn't garner much sympathy from drivers, who just sailed on past. I think the funniest part of this story is the quote from one driver: "They told me that I was getting a ticket for not stopping for a duck," she said. "But it scared me. I'm a woman." LMAO. 'I'm a woman'. All women are scared of ducks!? Helen Lovejoy, eat your heart out. "Won't somebody please think of the anatophobic women??" :-D [stands on chair and shrieks]

An inevitable-in-the-end accident has happened in India, where an uninformed member of staff went too close to an MRI machine with a gas cylinder. The famous thing about MRI machines, is the hugely powerful magnetic field which 'due to the unique way magnetic fields are funded' fades away to almost-nothing at as little as a metre from the machine. What this means, is that you can be in the next room, and not feel the field at all, but if you walk through the door, and wander too close, it will vigorously grab anything metallic that might be on you. Gas cylinders are, of course, made mostly of steel, and so you can imagine what happened - they got too close, and ended up pinned to the machine, behind this huge, heavy lump of metal. It costs a lot of money to turn an MRI machine on, and a lot of time too, so they're usually just left on. It's not a nice experience for anyone waiting around for someone who knows where the off switch might be!

I learned, this week, that the UK's House of Commons pays a fixed contract for gardening, which means the contractors employ someone to pick all the leaves of the trees in the New Palace Yard, rather than to simply sweep them up after they've fallen. Because they get paid for all gardening in one, they choose to save time instead of money, by removing all of the leaves while they're stuck in place, and easily collected! Presumably, they know this won't damage the trees' buds, and compromise their chances of surviving the winter. I mean - they're not the gardening equivalent of Atos, are they? :-D

Yay! The seven Italian geoscientists who were prosecuted over their bureaucrat employer's misleading earthquake diplomacy, have been freed of their prosecutions. The man who really did cause trouble, however - Bernardo De Bernardinis - the official at the Civil Protection Department, who was responsible for telling people whether it was safe or not, has been given a two-year sentence for causing the death of some, but not all, of the 29 victims involved in the trial. Outrageously, it was the geologists who copped the blame, through misleading journalism, for his incompetence (they were compelled only to make announcements through him) when he told the public that no earthquake was coming. The geologists gave no such advice, but he thought it would be nice if he relaxed everyone a bit. Poor diplomacy costs lives.

Here's the space story that got sidelined by Rosetta and Philae - the news of the first observations of Oort Cloud objects' surfaces! The Oort Cloud is a theorised cloud of objects, way beyond Neptune, 100000 times as far as Earth is from the Sun, where comets (for example the one that Philae landed on) are thought to come from and return to, in huge looping orbits around the Sun, taking as long as 50 million years. When comets are close to the Sun, the stream of solar particles whips up dusty ice, obscuring the surface. Philae and Rosetta will get much better views of the one they're on, but it's still fascinating to see 'inactive' distant comets' surfaces. The researchers say the two so-far seen are similar to asteroid belt objects, but are bluer in colour.

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

'Why Isn't The Sky Purple?'

'Shelf Life Episode 1 - 33 Million Things'
The first episode of the AMNH's new series, exploring the 33 million items in its collection

'Perturbed polymers - surprising solvents'

'US map flashes with lightning strikes of 2011'
Notice how the lightning follows weatherfronts, as they progress across continental North America.

'Giant sunspot returns – and it's bigger and badder than ever'

'London Finale 2014 Monday Hot Shot Rojer Tecau Peya Soares'*/Tennis/Media/Videos/Uploaded/2014/11/10/London-Finale-2014-Monday-Hot-Shot-Rojer-Tecau-Peya-Soares.aspx

'London Finale 2014 Tuesday Hot Shot Lopez Granollers'*/Tennis/Media/Videos/Uploaded/2014/11/11/London-Finale-2014-Tuesday-Hot-Shot-Lopez-Granollers.aspx

'European space robot Philae criticised for parking in comet’s disabled bay'
“Sure, they wanted to be near the front of the comet because it was ‘more convenient’, but it’s reserved for disabled drivers for a reason you know.”

'Bankers’ wrists starting to get really sore'
"With fines and a severe talking to also part of the punitive action, some bankers have told us that maybe manipulating the market for their own selfish ends might not be worth it. Maybe."

'Man finds Jesus on piece of chicken'

'Virgin Mary holding Jesus spotted on tree trunk'
I don't think the pareidolia lulz will ever run dry :-D

'Samson Da Barbarian'

'Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Salmon Cannon (HBO)'

'The Chaser's Media Circus - Season 1 Episode 5'

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

Word of The Week: confabulation -- discussion, communication; or in Psychology, the fabrication of false memories, whether deliberate or accidental, to fill in gaps in one's memory. Confabulation is very common after popular events that were not actually witnessed by many e.g. in the case of the thousands of people who claim to have seen the first aeroplane hit the first World Trade Center tower, in 2001, even though no-one knew to look, until after it had happened.

Etymology Of The Week: 'botulism' -- meaning the disease caused by Clostridium botulinum bacterium's eponymously named toxin; derived from the latin 'botulus' for 'sausage', as the first identified case related to infected sausages

Quote Of The Week: "I'm not going to spend the next ten minutes of your life trying to make religion look ridiculous, because i don't think i could if i tried... There is nothing i can say about religion which makes it look any sillier than the light in which it happily paints itself... Even with my most mean, sarcastic, liberal-smartarse head on, i can't come up with anything as remotely ridiculous as magic biscuits that turn into chunks of Jesus!" - Mitch Benn - IFS 171 - Unicorns vs Narwhals!

Fact Of The Week: In Alfred Hitchcock's production of the film 'Psycho', which he filmed using his own TV crew because no film crew would support him, the 'blood' in the shower scene is actually Bosco Chocolate Syrup. In grayscale, the brown was indistinguishable from red. Many viewers misremembered the red colour, despite it never being recorded in colour in the first place! This is another example of psychological confabulation, resulting in a false memory.

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

'Question of the Day: Revisiting the Spaghetti Racquet'


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