Sunday, 28 December 2014

Entertainment from the week up to 28/12/14

Hi Solar Sojournists,

...And a Happy New Year...

Well, maybe. Let's hope the universe doesn't end... again :-D

'Testing 2012's Doomsday Predictions - Minus Beethoven!'

'Queen + Adam Lambert - Exclusive New Years Eve Live Concert Trailer'


{Link in description box}

'Arms Trade Treaty - a major milestone for human rights'

'Top Doubtful News posts of 2014'

In other news:

Bacterial populations have been used to create biofilms exhibiting 2mm-wide letters that spell... 'MERRY XMAS'. I know, it's a bit late, but still. It's a cool story. "Whilst we may think that bacteria are solitary single cell organisms, they are in fact social and in nature almost exclusively exist in the form of structured communities... In forming biofilms, such as the letters, bacteria act collectively to form the structure. Physical forces are excreted by localised cell death, a process which produces the structure's shape – which then protects and supports the living cells." To see a picture of them, just follow the link:

Here we go again. Another BMJ XMAS article (they're always intended to be a tad humorous) has been taken on as gold-plated fact by intellectually-inadequate journalists, including those at the BBC. Again. Yes, you do kind-of breathe fat away, but you also piss it out. It's simple biology: C6H12O6 -> 6H2O + 6CO2. Respiration is basically photosynthesis backwards. When you convert chemical energy in stored bodyfat into electro-chemical/kinetic/thermal energy, the fats are broken down, mostly into carbon dioxide and water. The CO2 is relayed to the lungs by the same haemoglobin that takes oxygen the other way, and the water gets filtered out by the kidneys and sent to the bladder. Breathing a lot is unsustainable as a weight loss technique (as is pissing more) because it doesn't break fat stores down - it just lowers blood CO2 and raises blood O2, making you faint, and eventually fall unconscious! You'll probably feel elated (happy) as a side-effect of the faintness, but you won't be any slimmer.

The BMJ also did an article on how men are idiots. Well, they are. But then, so are women. And children. You're all idiots. But you have potential to be less idiotic, as you grow older, and that's all you can hope for ;-) By analysing Darwin Awards given and contended, over twenty years, from 1995 to 2014, researchers found that men lead on idiocy, as the awards are given for being removed from the gene pool through stupid behaviour. Note that that doesn't necessarily mean death! Of 318 cases, where Darwin Awards were given to either mans or womans, but not together, 84% were given to men. But this might be influenced by alcohol-related behaviour, which is famously exacerbating of both stupidity and consequent harm.

Braingasm videos are popular and plausible. But Science and History have taught us that being plausible can merely be illusory. A huge problem with modern journalism is obsession with narrative. So many journalists, in interviews and adverts, talk about their love for telling stories. "I'm a story teller" they say. But as appealing as a narrative might be, it doesn't make it right. This is why 'poetic' is an insult. "The illuminati are responsible for keeping us proles down? Sounds poetic to me". All conspiracy theories are believed on the basis of narrative, not evidence. In fact, the narrative is strengthened by being contradicted by evidence. The more wrong it is, the more 'plausible' it is to someone gullible to conspiratorial superstitions. Back to this subject, though... autonomous sensory meridian responses (ASMRs) are the names given to elative experiences, perceived when people watch boring videos of a woman not doing very much. I can easily imagine that these videos might be considered pleasurable, by those who need a good excuse for relaxation. It's the same reason people go shopping as 'therapy'. It's also been hypothesised that ASMRs are seizures, which are able to cause spikes of pleasure, as well as spikes of pain. And of course, where funky things are going on in the brain, hallucinations and false memories are sure to follow. But i don't see the veracity to any comparison with 'Magic Eye' pictures, which are carefully constructed, by a known method, to produce a particular repeatable result. Is it just because some people see them and others don't? Some people see the point in Fox News. That doesn't mean it's mystical and/or therapeutic!

But don't worry, Beeb fans - the Torygraph's gone for an unsinkable rubber duck, as James Randi says (they like them familar, at the Torygraph) which makes their Health Correspondent look sane and competent - because, apparently, a man has experienced a brain haemorrhage, as a result of an accident, and according to them, he now speaks "fluent" french. This is surprising, because he learned french, when he was at school. <s> And also surprising, because there's been no verification that he was actually speaking real french, let alone fluently. But it's a cute idea, isn't it, that learning's actually a lot easier than it really is. Sorry guys - keep reading and trying, reading and trying, reading and trying :-D
{Speaking of Tories: David Camoron thinks that the UK's emergency services exemplify 'Christian values'. Sorry Dave? Do you mean their organisations play a crucial role in corrupting British democracy; their meddling in schools corrupts the British education system; their NHS chaplains waste tens of millions of taxpayers' money intended for medical care; or they're complicit in facilitating the systemised sexual/physical abuse of children and other vulnerable people, while pretending it's a purely Catholic problem? Because i think they actually exhibit the atheistic Humanist values of doing good for goodness' sake. Which, funnily enough, even religious people affiliated to non-Christian sects find time to partake in. So there.}

If you got a drone for XMAS, then watch out. Because if you live in the UK, the civil aviation authority has issued a warning: fly your drone recklessly and you face prosecution and a hefty fine of up to £5000. Presumably, this means flying them in populated areas, but not inside your house :-D

If you got a gold swift moth (Phymatopus hecta) for XMAS, then watch out too! "Despite the insect's unassuming appearance, a new study published in the Biological Journal of the Linnean Society reports a variety and complexity in its mating patterns and sexual positions worthy of an insect Karma Sutra." Unlike most insects, that have a very basic sitting-still-and-pumping technique, the gold swift moth goes crazy. "Colleagues have commented that this is the most elaborate mating procedure known in any insect and I have certainly not observed anything to surpass it." Yes - people get to research this for a living! I know, you're envious. Even Sally Le Page, who watches fruit flies bonking, all day, for weeks at a time, is probably envious of the complex choreography described in the following article :-D

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

'Why Electronic Voting is a BAD Idea - Computerphile'

'Is MSG Bad For You? - A Week in Science'

'Where does the fat go?'
As the fat is synthesised, chemical energy is converted into electrical/kinetic/thermal energy. It's always conserved, remember!

'Captain Webb’s legacy: the perils of swimming the English Channel'

'Sea ghost breaks record for deepest living fish'

'The Mysterious Floating Orb'

You can always be fooled :-D

'London's Air Ambulance'

Because Jesus told them to use helicopters? I don't think so :-P

'How An Airplane Is Made'

'Make an AA Battery'

'Boris Johnson is a C-word. "Ebeneezer Couldn't" by Christian Reilly'


'Astronomically Correct Twinkle Twinkle'

'Shooting animals for fun on your own land is OK, clarifies Prince William'

'Eat Mediterranean - a nutritional parody of Hotel California'

'Designated Driver'

'How To Breathe Fire'

'Why is it Harder to Drive Backwards?'

'Tomska picks the Good, the Bad and the Weird of internet videos'

He's right about the Irish road safety advert. But seriously: people don't pay attention to the thousands of deaths to road traffic, every year, just because they don't all happen at once.

'Shelf Life Episode 2 - Turtles and Taxonomy'

'Amazing Animated Optical Illusions! #7'

'radioluminescence / scintillations from H-3 (Tritium) vs. Radium (Ra-226) - highly radioactive!'

'Red hot lava battles snow as volcano erupts'

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

Word Of The Week: cryptoscopophilia -- the urge to look through people's windows, as you pass their houses, in order to see what they have inside, or the way other people live

{I imagine cryptoscopophilia's a common condition, at this time of year :-D }

Etymology Of The Week: 'egregious' -- meaning 'exceptionally bad' it comes from latin 'egregius' meaning 'distinguished, excellent, extraordinary' from 'ex-' and 'grege' meaning 'out of the flock' (out of the ordinary). The modern, completely opposite meaning, comes from ironic usage in the 16th century

Quote Of The Week: "Never say never. Whoops - said it twice!" - Harry Hill

Christmas Carol Quote Of The Week: Blackadder: "Here, have a wishbone. What do you wish?" Baldrick: "I wish there was some meat on this!"

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

'Cool cat'
"Ooh, just cruising, Driving along like the swing king, Feeling the beat of my heart huh! Feeling the beat of my heart"

'Rabbit God'

'Loving the reviews for this banana slicer'

'How to NOT wear your Disney Jumper'

'Moss Graffiti'

'Café de L'Enfer (aka Cabaret de L'Enfer)'
Hell's Café! Not Hell's Kitchen :-P

'39 Pictures That Take Awhile To Really Understand'

'20 Chinese Signs That Got Lost In Translation'

'Schlieren Optics'

‘The Earth and Moon from Chinese probe Chang’e 5’

'Multicoloured view of supernova remnant'

'The world's largest Swiss army knife'

'Trevor Noah: USA v. Ebola'
Trevor's YouTube channel is here. He's very good.

No comments:

Post a Comment