Sunday, 30 November 2014

Entertainment stuff from the week 24-30/11/14

Hi dinosaurs,

OMFSM - Jurassic Park 4!

'Jurassic World - Official Trailer (HD)'

And yes, it has been a while since Jurassic Park III. A whole decade, in fact!

But no - it seems like none of the original cast are going to be in it :-(

In the words of Sam Neill:

"I'm told it's a big reboot, a total re-jig."

I'm quite disappointed that the franchise has left Grant, Malcolm, Sadler et al behind, but let's face it - the producers want bigger and better with every film.

With 'III' they outgrew T-Rex, for goodness' sake! Their only option is to do as Godzilla has done, and just start breaking reality like they've never broken reality before!

It's long since been infeasible for anything to grow that big, because of the limitations for a small body growing so fast that it could get that big in a lifetime, because of the food that would be necessary to sustain them at every stage, because of the power-to-weight ratio of their musculature, and because of the strain exerted on their bones in order to move.

Strain on bones is the reason we have different gaits, and intuitively transition between them, according to speed. Horses, famously, have many different gaits, suited to the different speeds they do. When humans want to go faster, it feels really uncomfortable to walk so they break into a run. Elephants are so big that they don't have the luxury of doing that, which limits how fast they can go.

Godzilla would be massively more limited still, due to its sheer bulk. Motility itself would be threatened by their own body's unwillingness to exceed ~20% bone breakage stress. Even if they could physically lift their feet, they wouldn't want to, due to discomfort signals ricocheting around their enormous nervous system.

That painful reality is completely ignored by Film&TV of course, but interestingly, Godzilla seems to have grown in tandem with the buildings they're situated amongst. In fact, faster than the buildings they're situated amongst.

The motive of Godzilla's memetic evolution, has been to retain emotional impact, on an entertainment-seeking market; and that is exactly what the 'stars' in the Jurassic Park franchise have to do.

I have no idea what it's going to look like, on screen, yet, because the trailer-clips might not have featured Jurassic World's 'main attraction' but like Godzilla, surely its size can only go up??

Or maybe, in the interests of contrast, everything else on the islands should be forced to get smaller...

Or just be children.

{Oh yeah [ponders] :-P }

My prediction for Jurassic Park 5:

The main (human) star of the film will be a newborn baby :-D

Casting casting speculations aside, i suppose i should speculate on the veracity of the sciencey lingo employed. Will it make sense, or will it turn out to be word salad?

Well, if you take a bunch of genes from hither and thither, slam them all together, and then see what grows from that...

You'll probably get a bunch of dead cells.

Biology's temperamental like that. You can't just throw any old genes together - they have to work in synchrony.

But let's just say that the scientists at whatever-their-company's-called-now have managed to splice some genes together, then they could create a dino hybrid.

But it would be wrong to think that that means sharing outward features from different dinos, like a serial killer's newspaper-cut-outs letter, in a crime drama.

Shoving a club tail on it, a sickle-like hallux claw, a row of stegosaurid plates... and, let's say, ornithocheirus' wings, just isn't going to work.

That would be a chimera. What you've got there, is Frankenstein's Monster. Except it wouldn't be re-animated dead matter, which Frankenstein's Monster was. So what you'd have there... wouldn't even be like
Frankenstein's Monster.
In real life, hybrids are usually not immensely interesting because... well, all of you are hybrids, for a start.

You are the product of a mixture of genes from your biological mother and your biological father. And do you look completely different, like some weird monstery thing that feeds only on blood and can't come out under a Full Moon?


You don't have half your hair in your mum's colour and the other half in dad's because that's a product of chimerism*.

I wonder what the new dino in Jurassic World will turn out like, though.

Probably a weird bodge job, but hopefully an excusable weird bodge job, for entertainment's sake. :-D

*In fact, the whole subject of chimerism is a fascinating one in itself.

A chimera is simply an organism consisting of cells with different genomes in them. Usually, an organism consists only of cells with the same genome in each, or no genome at all, like erythrocytes (red blood cells) which don't have any DNA in, to save space.

But the definition of a chimera doesn't specify where those differently-genomed cells might be in the body.

Griffins are a famous example of mythical chimerae - with the head of an eagle, and hind quarters of a lion; or even the chimera itself, from which the modern meaning of 'chimera' has migrated - with the head of a lion, the body of a goat, and the tail of a snake, it would undoubtedly have different genetics in those regions of its body - an eagle genome, a lion genome, a goat genome, and/or a snake genome... if it were real.

But a chimera can have all those genetically-distinct cells mixed up, all around its body. Less like a pie; more like a stew. Statistically, there are humans wandering around today, who are chimeras of this sort, who do not know it, and might not ever know it.

They will only find out if it matters to something. In fact, it's possible to be both male and female, where half your cells' genomes are XX and the other half XY - in this case you would be a hermaphroditic chimera.

When male and female cells grow in opposite places, initiating in the first stages of development, and inevitably carrying on through to adulthood, this results in a condition called mosaic chimerism. Specifically, bilateral gyandromorphic mosaic chimerism.

So basically, what this means is... anything and everything can be true :-P

Well, not really. None of these are necessarily hybrids. They might be, if one or multiple parts of them are hybrids - mixtures of DNA - but surely that's just too weirdly amazing to happen coincidentally with chimerism!?

And even if they were a hybrid and a chimera, that still wouldn't excuse a poorly-bodged pseudo-hybrid in the film, because... hybridism and chimerism are not the same.

If it's a chimera too, then say it's a chimera too.

So what shall i make the point of this addendum? Um... OK...

Just look at all the big words i've written, already. If you want to show off how sciencey boffiny brainboxey the whole palaver in your plot is, than what would be a better thing to do than to put some meat into your word salad about what the hell that thing in the cage is?

Do it, scriptwriters. Do it. Use the word 'chimera', at least. I arrest my case :-D


There is nothing peculiar about any superstition. Where you have wrong beliefs tolerated, you have moral atrocities committed, whatever type of belief they might be. Rationalism FTW!

'UKIP warns of Schrödinger’s immigrant who ‘lazes around on benefits whilst simultaneously stealing your job’'
"He continued “Some bloke down the pub who knows – for definite – told me that Romanians in particular have been stealing his job, and if that’s not bad enough, they’re also too lazy to work because cause they’re all on the dole.”"

In other news:

How bizarre. Some people seem to think that there's a species of pterosaur that lives on, to this day, called a 'Ropen', and has been credulously reported on by the SyFy and History TV channels. That's just ridiculous. I'm a Tapejara, and i've never been on either of those channels :-P

'Some Idiots Flew to Liberia to 'Cure' Ebola Patients with Homeopathy' - Vice. This story is far worse than simply that - real lives are at stake, and the horrendous conflation between genuine attempts to treat people, and the selfish propagation of a fraudulent industry, is an ever-present undercurrent whenever something like this happens. Possession of superstitious beliefs is a strong motive to lie, so i don't even believe this article's ending reconciliation to 'having their heart in the right place'. No! Quackery is done for profit - not for patients - and the perpetrators have already stooped further than they would have to, to make such an excusing lie.

More than 16,000 pages of Charles Darwin's research on evolution has been released online, as part of the Darwin Manuscripts Project. That's a lot of reading, but if you want to have a go at it, then just follow the links:

Here's a story we might be looking back on, in years to come: the European Parliament has voted to approve a resolution to compel search engines (no prizes for guessing which one they might have had in mind) to separate their business interests. The resolution passed by 384 to 174. No thanks to the Ukippers, who ideologically vote 'No' on everything, including anti-ivory-poaching legislation. There's been quite a left-wing streak in the EP, on this subject: last year, the EU's top court ruled that Google must allow a 'right to be forgotten'  where search results disappear (although WaybackMachine still works) even though this would be good news for for unaccounted criminals; and since 2010, the European Commission has fretted about Google's over-arching power, quashing competition.

A 23,000-year-old woman has been dug up in France, with all her curves still in place. Well, some of them have chipped off, but most are still there. "About 12 centimetres (4.7 inches) high, it shows a woman with big breasts and buttocks. The head and arms are less detailed. "The fact that the sculpture is not totally realistic shows the intent was to produce a symbolic image of a woman linked to fecundity," [archaeologist Clement Paris] said."

It looks like the German government's going 'arse about tit', on their Energy policy. Or should that be 'arsch vor dem titten'? Maybe not, LOL. In environmental interests, it was a totally stupid idea to get rid of the nuclear power industry before the coal power industry, and yet that is what they seem to be half way through! Sure, nimbyism and nuclearphobia are making ii difficult to find anywhere to put nuclear waste, but in the mean time it's doing nowhere near as much harm as the coal industry is. And in fact, because they got rid of the nuclear sector, harm committed through the coal industry has increased, in that mean time.

A newly-identified taxon of frog, has been named the Atlantic Coast leopard frog. It looks much like any other in the area, but is distinguishable by its croak. Instead of a more usual 'ribbit' it sounds like it's groaning and coughing. To hear its idiosyncratic vocalisation, follow the link:

Insect porn! Want to see some well-hung millipedes? No? Well, read on anyway, and just don't click the link. The gonopods (millipedes' equivalents of penises) are golden, paired structures, with enough variation between them, that they've been used to distinguish 39 different millipede species. It's the solenomere that really varies the most - the "long, twirly part" at the end, that distributes semen to wherever it needs to be. "Dr Car says, although only 39 species have been formally described, the genus Antichiropus has been extensively collected and examined with 160 species known to occur across most of Western Australia south of the Kimberley."

A reassembled woolly mammoth skeleton has sold, in Britain, for £189,000. I'm not sure this should be considered a good thing, really. When people are willing to pay lots of money for things, they tend to mysteriously go missing. Think of living species, too: the rhinos and tigers that poachers sell to quacks who sell to people who believe that ivory decorations are nice, and that penile dust is a medication. Archaeology and painting has suffered the capitalist desires of those who know that others are willing to pay a lot of money for their equivalents of a lot of old bones. High prices might be bad for both research and the environment.

For the first time, evidence of human older-than-a-baby milk consumption has been found to prove lactose persistence reaching back at least 5000 years. The researchers found that there was milk protein in dental calculus (plaque) on the teeth of Eurasian people. For that to happen, they would have to drink it regularly and frequently, and so it can be relatively-safely assumed that they drank milk quite frequently too.

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

'"I'm Dreaming of a Black Friday" by Roy Zimmerman'

'Black Friday sale like ‘the Hunger Games’, claims eye witness'
"With shoppers seemingly willing to end the lives of people standing between them and a 20% discounted television, reports say the number of victims could run into the thousands."

'Really Cool Science with Honey!'

'Ten Steps of Tortoise Taxidermy with Lonesome George'

'Beer physics: How foam affects sloshing'

'Colours of Westminster and Lambeth Bridges'

'Adult Swim compilation 2014' - cyriak

'NASA's SDO shows moon transiting the Sun'

'Guns still awesome, insists Grand Jury'
"America’s love of guns came about when immigrants from Western Europe arrived in the sixteenth and seventeenth century and shot everyone who lived there."

'The Chaser's Media Circus - Season 1 Episode 7'

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

Word Of The Week: lethologica -- the inability to remember a word or put your metaphorical finger on the right word

Tree Of The Week: The Lonely Tree of Llanfyllin -- well, it is Wales' tree of the year' :-D

Quote Of The Week: "Always be sincere, whether you mean it or not" - Michael Flanders

Fact Of The Week: The Komodo Dragon can eat 80% of its bodyweight in one mealtime, and actually employs venom to subdue its prey. It's known that some pretty potent bacterial varieties live in Komodo Dragons' mouths, but they presumably take too long to have a predation-enhancing effect. The venom, however, is quick enough to fell a traumatised attack victim, which makes the Komodo Dragon's job a lot easier. Claire Ainsworth found out, last year, through Raja - a dragon at London Zoo - that they can, indeed, be trained to follow commands, and that they can be placated by stroking.

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

'Fossil Rock Anthem'

'One Bottle at a Time (Save the Fishes)'

'All the Salamanders #SmokiesCool'

'The Reluctant Cannibal - Flanders & Swann'

'Hold the Elevator | Robot Chicken | Adult Swim'

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