Sunday, 8 March 2015

Entertainment stuff from the week 2-8/3/15

Hi Stegosaurids,

'Billboard: Exclusive Premiere: The Darkness Return With ‘Barbarian’ Video'

"‘Barbarian’ features not one but two dramatic monologues, a guitar solo that has been declared ‘irresponsible’, a riff that weakens lady-knees and a chorus that makes grown men shit directly into their pants."

I'm rementioning the Darkness' newness becausess, having listened to it quite a few times so far, i'm becoming increasingly sure that the voice reading the tombstone is that of David Ross - the man who played the original Kryten in Red Dwarf, and then Talkie Toaster.

I could easily be wrong. Even parents can't reliably identify their family over the phone - no matter how much they say they can - so it could just be someone else. Hmm....

Btw, that baby on the album cover, is called 'Danielle'. Here's an interview with her... not really, it's with her father :-P

'The Darkness Last Of Our Kind Album Artwork – Interview with Baby’s father, John Bean'

On the subject of photography, and having heard the last SGU episode, i'm beginning to wonder more about the dress-colour story.

Apparently, some people really are perceiving white and gold (not just saying it) and one of the Rogues even saw both, like a GIF image flicking back and forth!

To me, there's no question: it's blue and black.

I mean, seriously, i spent a minute staring at it, just to make sure i wasn't being closed-minded to reality, and i saw buggar all!

But maybe people are perceiving extreme differences to reality, because modern generations are used to seeing instagrams with colour filters, and so their brains' internal light filter and colour filters are more susceptible to colour distortion?

Personally, i don't use those filters - i want to see 'true' colours, and i want them to show through when i do photography. Maybe i just have a better light filter in my mind than the people who misperceived??

Either way, we should remember that a huge part of what we call 'seeing' is produced, post-hoc, by the brain's processing functions. So there's plenty of wiggle room for illusions and other miswangled perceptions.

I wonder whether, in years to come, this bizarre occurrence will be seen as akin to the Middle Ages' dancing manias -- apparently inexplicable, but maybe understandable by considering peculiar cultural circumstances.

Especially when people are looking at each other and saying "white and gold, right?" we should expect to see people peer pressuring each other into a common answer, even if it's wrong.

And perceptions are malleable to peer pressure, as empirically established by the Asch conformity experiments, so the abundance of wrong people could be partly attributable to that.


In other news:

Google wants to rank sites by trustworthiness, rather than popularity, as it does now. While laudable as a desire, it's difficult to see how this might work. Populism works for some things - the memetics of fashion, for example - but with objective claims, popularity means nothing. If everyone's wrong, everyone's just wrong. So Google wants to change its algorithms to respect the factual validity of the websites listed. Nothings ever perfect, so there are bound to be some funny results coming up, even if they succeed, but i dearly hope that this doesn't just remain a pipe dream!

They say religion is the pinnacle of unbounded stupidity. Well, this guy tried to sue a restaurant when he prayed his face straight into his scalding-hot lunch, so that opinion seems to be in a perpetual state of substantiation. A trial judge dismissed the suit, finding Applebee's - the restaurant chain - was not required to warn the man "against a danger that is open and obvious". Isn't it just so stereotypical, that a superstitonist would try to shift the blame for the consequences of their own superstitious rituals. Anyone but themselves, eh.

In the real world, there are bounds of stupidity. Possibly. But if real, they get stretched vigorously by all kinds of journalists too. It's been reported recently, including by the Daily Fail, that non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) is actually real, according to a study. Well, as mentioned here in August last year, evidence has suggested that NCGS, unlike Coeliac Disease, doesn't exist. And what of this study? Do the researchers really think NCGS is real? Well, no. In fact they've explicitly stated that their study says nothing of the kind, and does not present a "physical explanation" for how NCGS might work, if it existed. Never mind. Maybe, if they were good journalists, they would have asked the researchers what they'd found, and then reported that instead!

Possibly the worst example of reporting Science, this week, has been the story about gerbils being 'the true source' of The Plague / Black Death. What was actually found, was that gerbils (amongst many other species) could also catch and/or carry the diseases as well as rats. Instead of reporting it as 'some other species get sick too' they've presented it as 'rats are fine, but kill the gerbils' which is completely and utterly wrooooooooooooong!! Credibility 1 - 0 Journalism

Is that 'test' for tetrachromacy real? No. But interestingly, tetrachromacy is a real but rare condition that doesn't mean you can see more colours if you have it. It also doesn't explain how you could be one of those weirdos who thought blue and black looked like white and gold, mentioned last week. More interestingly, the utilisation of the fake tetrachromacy test, being purported as a justification for people's misperceptions, is an example of post-hoc rationalisation. Instead of investigating whether it's true, the temptation there is to construct a narrative which makes 'truth' sound plausible. As blogged two months ago, such narratives are frequently illusory.

Apparently, ~500 men in India have been persuaded by a 'guru' (cult leader) to have themselves castrated, in an attempt to meet Gawwwd! That's only 100,000th of his followers, though - he's a man with a lot of influence, and a track record of avoiding prosecution for sexual crimes against men and women, simply because politicians depend on him for votes! And the English think they had problems with Jimmy Saville et al. They never had the power to compel other people to abuse themselves, to get away with it, and then to hold significant sway over who holds the reigns of power!

Astronomers have observed a star breaking the galactic speed record! It's been seen doing 1,200 kilometers per second (2.7 million miles per hour) which is enough for it to escape the Milky Way galaxy. It was accelerated to this speed by the supernovaing of its binary partner. To see an artist's depiction of the scene, follow the link:

Speaking of physicists. Brian Cox has 'been involved' with Deepak Chopra on Twitter again, recently. Chopra is infamous, amongst the Rationalist quasi-community, for trolling them on Twitter, in looking to start fights. He does it mostly to entertain his baying fanatics, but sometimes he does get responses, which only show up his utter lack of credibility. His Twitter convos also expose the fact that his claimed never-ending calmness and peacefulness run out incredibly quickly :-D

The Natural History Museum, in London, have used two different computational modelling techniques to 'flesh out' scans of their Stegosaurus - 'Sophie' - and to thereby postdict its mass. Sophie's remains are 85% complete and were bought from Wyoming using money donated by someone whose daughter gave their name to the skeleton. Unlike his daughter (presumably) this Sophie was found to weigh ~1560 Kg - the mass of a large cow or small rhino. Sophie is thought to have died as a juvenile, as other Stegosaurus specimens have been found much larger, and her bones were still growing when she died. NHM's Paul Barrett postdicts that she was at least 6 when she snuffed it. To see the NHM's video about Sophie, on YouTube, click here.

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

'The Surface Of Light! (Lion King Science Parody) - A Capella Science'
This is fantastic :o)

'Father upset that his son's first words, picked up from defective Peppa Pig toy, were f*ck you'

'Swear words help boost awareness of sign language at Adelaide Fringe festival'

'Darwin Day 2015 Questions: Is Homosexuality Nature's Population Control?'
If you're wondering why Richard keeps looking the wrong way, it's because they previously uploaded a version with a camera angle covering that direction, but lots of people complained about it in the comments section, for being discombobulating.

'"One Of My Dad's Stories" Tales Of Mere Existence'

'Why Don't Whales Get (More) Cancer?'

'How Scanners Detect Colour'

'Watch a praying mantis perform acrobatic jumps'


'Woodpecker-Riding Weasels'
It's real?!?

'The art of before-and-after pictures'
The 'S' in the I-SCAM industry uses this technique prolifically.

'Should space missions be crewed by women? - A Week in Science'
{So what we really need is: people with strong hearts, isolation tolerance, strong teamworking skills, and little height and weight. Does this mean cosmonauts should be "exclusively" female? No. But the 'top 10' who fulfilled these requirements would probably mostly be female. I cheekily suggest an alternative title to the video:
'Should space missions be crewed by fit, well-balanced dwarves? - A Week in Science'
Personally, i have no problems with the idea of only women being sent out to die one-by-one, depressed and alone, in the bitter blankness of space. But that's because you mammals are all the same to me :-P }

'58 and other Confusing Numbers - Numberphile'

'The Banned Toy Museum'
#1, at least, should be familiar to you, having been mentioned here, two weeks ago.

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

Word Of The Week: bibliothecary -- a collector of and carer for, books; essentially, a librarian

Fact Of The Week: the first ever tennis player, to be known by name, was Louis X of France. He was a keen player of 'jeu de paume' as its incarnation was known at the time, and after a strenuous game in one of his purpose-built indoor courts, consumed  a large quantity of cooled wine, which killed him through mechanisms unknown. It's because he died in an incident related to tennis, that his is the first name ever to be associated with the sport, as a player, in 1316.

Quote Of The Week: "Accepting death - by understanding that every life comes to an end, when time demands it. Loss of life is to be mourned, but only if the life was wasted." - older Spock to younger Spock in 'Yesteryear' from 'Star Trek - The Animated Series'

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

'Skeletal Equality'

'Hungarian Mosaic'

'Deportes híbridos #2' (Hybrid Sports #2)

'Moneda de cobre (5.000x)' (copper coin zoomed x5000)

1 comment:

  1. Update: the voice at the beginning of 'Barbarian' is in fact Trevor Weston - Dan Hawkins' gardener. He's not David Ross, but he is from Norfolk. I'm not saying they all sound alike but... those two men do :-P