Sunday, 17 May 2015

Entertainment stuff from the week 11-17/5/15

Hi subtitlers,

Grab your kitchen mits, and prepare to facepalm, because...

Solar Freakin' Roadways are back!

Except this time, they're Solar Freakin' Cycle Paths.

And they've already noticed the high cost of running them:

"The coating on the solar cells' protective glass tends to peel off when the weather changes, for example, suggesting that the path could be expensive to maintain as-is."

It's noteable, however, that bicycles are nowhere near as heavy as automobiles, so this Dutch project might have a modicum of success.

But even if it does, it looks like it'll be a pyrrhic victory anyway - the mineral use and replacement costs will likely dwarf the energy benefits.

If you've forgotten what Solar Freakin' Roadways were, then you can find links in my writings on it, published this time last year:

'Comment #26: -- Is Solar Freakin' Roadways a scam?'

I spent some time, yesterday, putting subtitles on my YouTube uploads. The ones i've done so far are:

'An intro to The Oscars (Skeptics with a K)'

'Gandhi Was NOT Enlightened [Homeopathy Awareness Week]'

'Richard Herring: Cock stories from 'Talking Cock''

Richard can be a bit of a mumbler, which is why i actually did that one first :o)

So now, if you're hard of hearing, you don't have to just stare at the slideshow i put behind them - you can actually find out what's going on, in the audio!

Aren't i nice ;-)

Plus, because they're uploads from podcasts, you're getting content you might not have had access to before. So that's something for the smug bank, for me, LOL

Enjoy :o)


The 12th of May is the Kepler Space Telescope's sixth anniversary

In other news:

Kepler's current mission is to study the outer-Solar System objects around Neptune. This video shows Neptune and two of its moons - Triton and Nereid - in 70 days of uninterrupted observation, making it one of the longer continuous studies of an outer solar system object. The motion of Neptune, in the video, is caused by Kepler's orbit around the Sun, as Neptune itself, being so far away from it, progresses very little in just 70 days.

If you didn't spot an adolescent for the last 2-3 days, it might be because they're a teenage tearaway who must be controlled, and because of your lazy parenting practices has gone off to play... [dun dun durrr]... the 'Game of 72' [screams]. According to the Fail, Diana, and Mirror, the 'Game of 72' is a fad game causing teenagers to go "missing for 72 hours". Except, there's no evidence that anyone's actually done it! Rather oddly, the Torygraph has gone with a piece advising kids on how to play it "because we always played out when i was a girl" presumably; which still rests on the premise that any teenagers out there want to play it at all. You might have noticed a fad reduction in journalistic standards recently, though, in which journos' brains go missing. It's called the 'Game of 72 Years' and has yet to finish :-P

Again according to the Torygraph, fishermen off Devon, UK, have recently caught a massive 10-metre-long conger eel. That's some feat. It's also an impressive feat that they managed to fit it on a 1x1 metre pallet! And a not so impressive feat to sell a clickbait-chasing 'paper a hoax story, using a tightly-cropped photo for forced perspective. LOL. Conger eels generally grow up to 3 metres long, and this one is really more like 2. Keep up those journalistic standards, guys. You're showing the tabloids how it's done :-D

Unless you really have a metaphorical-goldfish memory, where memories go missing for 7.2 seconds, then you might have remembered that story about the fictional teenage fad for going missing for 72 hours. Well, forget the teenagers who aren't doing that, because adults have plenty of bullshit fads of their own. For example, take the latest one to be endorsed by serial nutbag Gwyneth Paltrow: charcoal. Not just eating it, but putting it in things. Drinks, mostly. For example, a gritty greyed gloop called 'charcoal lemonade'. Umm, no. No thank you. Why does anyone make this up in the first place? Well, it's because of their dangerous belief in 'detox'. Remember that your liver is the only thing that can do detoxification - if you add herbal poisons to your system, it just gives it more work to do. But then, starving won't help either!

Here's a mundane yet comic example of a 'religious disagreement', this time in New Zealand, between a Hindu bigot who's put up a massive statue, and a Christian bigot who doesn't like seeing it from their garden. "Do you need a reason to pray? I don't think so." says the Hinduist. In fact, it helps. Neither party is being reasonable, LOL. Huge statues aren't a predicate for prayer; and unless it has weaponry installed, it can't be offensive in any way. "it cost me an arm and a leg. I don't want to put a price on god" they carry on. Apart from the price of 'an arm and a leg' that they just put on it. LMAO

Have you heard of hookahs? No, not hookers - hookahs. They're a method of combusting tobacco (or potentially any poisonous plant) to inhale the volatile particles and gases given off as side-effects of the combustion. Apparently, the use of hookahs - a 16th-century invention - is catching on with younger nicotine addicts, who think it's safer than tobacco-containing cigarettes. These researchers have found that, even if it compares well, no-one should be deceived into thinking it completely safe. They've found evidence that, on top of the poisonous properties of the smoke itself, the combustion of charcoal to generate the steamy smoke releases varying amounts of chromium, nickel, copper, arsenic, cadmium and lead, which can have additional toxic effects. So be careful what you suck on, boys and girls :-P

In the same week that we hear about a single gene majorly influencing the shape of birds/reptiles' beaks/snouts, we have a story about a dinosaur with quite an exceptional snout. Saurornitholestes sullivani was similar to the Velociraptors made famous by the Jurassic Park movies (in that their name was used, and everything else taken from Deinonychus... except for the feathers) but with a larger braincase around the area of the olfactory bulb, which implies a better sense of smell. With all other factors the same, it would have had a superior sense of smell to other dromaeosaurids, including Velociraptor, Dromaeosaurus, and Bambiraptor. It's a noteable caveat that lack of diversity in smell receptors, or lack of number of receptors, can partially compensate for, or be compensated by, a smaller/larger olfactory bulb, so S. sullivani might not necessarily have had a hugely superior sense of smell to its peers. In fact, having a greater range of smells to pick up on requires greater brainpower, and therefore a larger olfactory bulb. Further research in extant species might find that a human-type slimmed-down smell sensitivity is more apt to the lifestyle of a species like homo sapiens. A month ago, i reported on Llallawavis scagliai - the 'terror bird' of South America, that had poor hearing. By being able to hear best only in a thin range, it excluded irrelevant data from its perception, and thereby enhanced its ability to hunt! If dromaeosaurids had broad senses of smell, it might have been because they had to, but at the expense of acuteness of perception.

Ecuadorians have officially broken a world record, according to the Guinness Book of Records Ecuadorian government: for deforestation. No, sorry - i mean reforestation. According to their Environment Minister, 44,883 people planted trees on more than 2,000 hectares of land. There's no mention on the GWR website yet, so we'll have to see whether it gets verified.

And to round the News off, Stephen Hawking is due to appear at Glastonbury. I except dubstep, Steve. Don't let me down ;-)

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

'Hitler's nuclear pile - WWII uranium cube reactor & the Alsos mission: Atomkeller Haigerloch'

'Cosmic Adventures episode 25: Stupid Names in Astronomy'

'Exactly a Yard - Objectivity #19'

'Après la Scène Culte'

'Hubble catches a stellar exodus in action'

'NASA image: Early morning sunrise over the Grand Canyon'

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

Word Of The Week: mendacity -- the fact or condition of untruthfullness / dishonesty

Quote Of The Week: "I shall speak and converse with you on the following condition: viz., that unless you are compelled by reason, you will reject as unimportant everything you will hear from me." - Nicholas of Cusa, in 'On God as Not-Other', with a 1462 CE advocation of Rationalism

Fact Of The Week: In the last episode of the original Hannah-Berbera series of Tom & Jerry, both the main characters commit suicide, having both broken up with their respective girlfriends. It's the only episode to have a tragic storyline. The episode is also narrated by Tom, as an inner-monologue.

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

'The Two Ronnies - 2000 Today'

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