Monday, 23 February 2015

Entertainment stuff from the week 16-22/2/15

Hi stickers,

OMFSM... Darkness album #4 is on its way :-D

'BARBARIAN... Teaser'

Bollocks to Nature! ...sorry, "bollocks" in Nature:

'A quantitative analysis of how often Nature gives a fuck'

In the print version of the Science journal/magazine 'Nature', the word 'bollocks' has featured six times, since its first usage in 1998, while quoting a postgrad's off-the-cuff remark.

The first 'bollocks' was requoted, within two weeks, thereby doubling its incidence.

And three years later, a letter requoted the first two, increasing the abundance of 'bollocks' in Nature to four :-D

The author of the above-linked article went on to find 48 shits (including 13 bullshits, 1 shit-stirrer and 1 nano-shit), 26 "piss-derived expressions", and "a grand total of 10 fucks".

The first of those fucks appeared in 1937, as an abbreviation of someone's name, given to a species of fungus, in which the original - Fuckel - is often abbreviated to Fuck.. {The full stop denotes abbreviation}

The next, in 1985, is also someone's name; but it only took another four years, until a fuck was actually given, with linguistic taboo in the mind of the issuer.

Surprisingly, that person was Richard Fortey. But at least he, and all the others, with their remaining examples, were quoting other people as they did so.

So scientists in Nature have given 10 fucks in a century and a half, and only 8 of those were deliberate.

How stereotypical of a bunch of nerds. And how stereotypical of someone to count them :-D

'New Species, the ‘Ruby Seadragon,’ Discovered by Scripps Researchers'

Wow - what an aesthetically fascinating species!

There were only two known species of seadragon, in the world - off the southern coast of Australia - before this ruby red one was found.

Having done so, the researchers combed through the Western Australia Museum's collections, to find anything similar, and they found one other specimen of the ruby seadragon, dated 1919.

The team hope to go on a voyage, to the depths of the waters off south-west Australia, where ruby seadragons are expected to live -- in deep waters, all-red pigment serves as a kind of camouflage, as blue ones permeate through the water more successfully.

To see some more pictures, follow this link to Scripps' Flickr album:

'Ruby Seadragon Discovered'

'Scientists find strongest natural material'

There are many different forms of strength, depending on the conditions under which a material's performance is required: compression, stretching, twisting, etc. Compression and tension are the most commonly referred to.

Brick clay, for example, is strong under compression, making it good for holding tonnes of house above it; but it's brittle compared to steel, so you wouldn't want to make a sword out of it - it would smash like a vase.

Rolls of paper can hold strong under compression and tension, too, but they'll easily bend if twisted.

The material that limpets use to stick themselves to rocks need to be strong under tension, so that it's difficult for predators, or the raging seas, to cleave them away to their doom.

Researchers at the University of Portsmouth have found that the mineral-protein composite used by limpets performs better under tension than any other biological material: from 3.5 to 6 GPa. Or, as the researchers put it:

"The teeth of limpets exploit distinctive composite nanostructures consisting of high volume fractions of reinforcing goethite nanofibres within a softer protein phase to provide mechanical integrity when rasping over rock surfaces during feeding. The tensile strength of discrete volumes of limpet tooth material measured using in situ atomic force microscopy was found to range from 3.0 to 6.5 GPa and was independent of sample size."

That's up to 6,000,000,000 Newtons per square metre. So theoretically, a 60 Kg person could hang from a filament measuring 0.3 x 0.4 millimetres!
{At least, according to my mental arithmetic :-D }

In comparison, the best steel has a tensile strength of 2,600,000 Pa; kevlar can manage 3,620,000 Pa; spider silk can manage 1,652,000 Pa; and human hair can manage 200,000 Pa.

Limpets are three orders of magnitude ahead of humanity's best. Go limpets :-D


The 14th of February marked the 25th anniversary of the 'Pale Blue Dot' images, of a tiny Earth, like "a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam" as Carl Sagan - the man who suggested the shots be taken - put it.

In other news:

Want to check whether a JPEG file's been edited or not? Well, izitru might be able to help, as it can tell whether software's been used to change an image. Only if it's a JPEG, though. It's not perfect, but it's something.

A toy from the 50s, that explores the basics of life and death through the periodic table - the 'Atomic Energy Lab' - has been dubbed the 'world's most dangerous toy', and is now on display at the Ulster Museum in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Why so dangerous? Because it actually comes with 150 discs of radioactive isotopes. Well, it used to, before they took them out. It's a funny idea that a company would sell something like that, even in the wake of the USA's attacks on Japan, using nuclear weapons. But clearly, anti-nuclear hysteria didn't really kick in until later. Undoubtedly, it is not, and never was, the world's most dangerous toy - for that, millions of kids would have to have taped the discs to their faces for weeks on end. I think it would have been safer to stay in, and occasionally play with the 'Atomic Energy Lab', than it would to frequently play outdoors. Accidents aboun aplenty, there. And it's probably much safer than Equinity, too.

The use of life-like prosthetic masks, by tutors of trainee nurses, at Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, Scotland, has been terminated. What were they for? Teaching them how to deal with patients of mental illness. Are you thinking what i'm thinking? How the hell did anyone think that prosthetic masks would be useful, in the first place? There's no visual 'type' for someone with a history of Depression. Mentally ill people just look like people. Their fallacious justification of both demonisation and expense, is the same as the idea of 'what a criminal looks like', or 'what a drug user looks like', or 'what a Communist looks like'. Stupid. Really stupid.

The hazard of being psychic — you are the first suspect. Cult leader Daniel Perez has been convicted of all charges against him, including murder, in a case where he 'foresaw' the death of someone who died three weeks later. Get the hint guys: there's no such thing as 'psychic' so if you 'see' something before it happens, it suggests that you planned it. Or at least, didn't bother to stop it. You should consider that maybe the bullshitting isn't worth it. In this case, the 'prophesy' was probably a threat, that he eventually carried out - charlatans like this are often so arrogant and reality-denying that they'll try self-undermining tactics to control their peers. He has not been investigated for several other deaths within the cult.

This, for example, is an ongoing case, in which 'guilty' or 'not guilty' is contingent on whether a superstition is sincere. But it might be 'guilty' either way. The case for the defence is that the girl (12 years old, at the time) stabbed her friend, to spare her from The Slender Man (a fictional character akin to Spring Heeled Jack, the Boogie Man, or a Devil) but how can her belief in them be considered sincere, when it wasn't the Slender Man they attacked, but the real person whom they actually knew, who is now dead? Is your faith (delusion) strong enough to render you unaccountable for murder? That's one heck of a scary question.

Have you heard the story about the Canadian guy who might have invented a tattoo-removal cream? Well, suffice to say, its workingness is plausible, but that doesn't mean it does work. 'Can' and 'does' are not synonymous. It might be a hint, though, that there seems to be no academic evidence of research having been published. Truth is found by research - not by press release. Unfortunately, it's widespread nowadays, for the (marketing) departments of Universities to distribute misleading and/or unsubstantiated press releases, long before the research has actually been published; thereby making the copied-out-and-pasted News articles uncheckable. [shakes angry fist] So it might work, but now is certainly not the time to believe it.

Food Babe (an American quack, who happens to be female) apparently thinks that food dyes are dangerous. But not so dangerous that she won't sell them herself. And in conjunction with a metal that she (wrongly) says causes Alzheimer’s disease and breast cancer. Bad enough for other people to sell; good enough for her to sell. It's almost as if she were spouting shit (she has 'good' form for bullshitting) just to drum up trade for herself. But then, is she smart enough to do that? Evil is always perpetrated through malevolence or incompetence; and personally, i always err on the side of 'incompetence'. But that doesn't mean she should be allowed to wantonly deceive people.

And on the subject of incompetence, let's go to the top: a Saudi Cleric has proclaimed that reality is wrong, and Astrology is right, because the Earth does not go around the Sun. Some 'scripture' - superstitious scribblings - say that Earth is 'static' and so must be in the middle of everything. This is how Astrology is premised - not Science. Even the Roman Catholic Church accepted that the heliocentric model is correct, and not the geocentric one, in the 1990s.

Back to reality: what are moth tails for? No, not coat tails - moth tails. The trailing material on the back ends of moths. Well, these researchers think they're there as wind-breakers - useful for introducing turbulence into the air behind them, so that it's more difficult for bats to track them, using their echolocative abilities. When the tails are there, bats are much more likely to miss the moth's body, and hit the tails instead.

Since late 2013, a team of hackers/crackers have been gaining access to banks' computers through phishing schemes and other methods, lurking for months to learn the banks' systems, taking screen shots and even videos of employees using their computers, in order to become familiar with the banks' operations, and using that knowledge to steal money without raising suspicions: programming ATMs to dispense money at specific times and setting up fake accounts and transferring money into them. Kaspersky Lab says they've stolen ~$1 billion by this method, from more than 100 banks, in 30 countries. Some of the proceeds have been found deposited in accounts in China, and the USA. Kaspersky warns that although the targets are the banks themselves, the costs will inevitably pass to consumers, and the systemic weaknesses suggest that other hackers could steal personal information if wanted.

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

'The Wagon Wheel Effect - Temporal Aliasing'

'Amazing Bird Migrations - A Week in Science'

'Shelf Life Episode 4 - Skull of the Olinguito'

'Mummy Brains'

'A Cool Thing - Objectivity #7'

'Robo-raven performs aerial acrobatics'

'*UPDATE*' - Thunderf00t

'Science for kids - Soap boat water experiment - ExpeRimental #14'

'Brain blubber helps mice master weird wheel'

'Snoopy & The Drone'
Click this link to go to the whole episode:

'Reptilian Bieber-mosh'


'Rio de Janeiro 2015 Friday Nadal Shorts Feature'
Best. Feature. Ever. LOL [wolf whistles] :-D

'How Not to - Eyebrow Kit'
It's a beautiful look, Tam. Just beautiful :-D

'Pascal's Ditty'

'Embankment Street Names'

'If Life Were A Musical: Waiting Room'

'Igudesman & Joo's Concerto Fantastique: "Thematic Material"'

How to write personalised music :-P

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

Word Of The Week: croodle -- to make a murmurring sound; or to huddle together in the cold

Etymology Of The Week: orrery - meaning a device meant to physically model the machinations of our heliocentric Solar System; comes from the original designer's name - Charles Boyle, 4th Earl of Orrery - and so it actually takes its name from a place in Ireland, which was the English version of the Gaelic 'Orbhraighe' (Orbh-raighe = "Orb's people") the name of a tribe.

Acronym of The Week: DUGS - the Durham University Geographical Society ('dug' is an archaic term for a breast; still sometimes used in the context of farming animals)

Quote Of The Week: "That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam." - Carl Sagan

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

'Poker Face'

'Two of a kind'

'Quasimodo meets Victor Hugo'

'A Bit of Fry and Laurie - Argue the Toss'

I love this sketch on so many levels. Especially the basement. I find it's easier to get privacy, there :-P

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