Sunday, 3 May 2015

Entertainment stuff from the week 27/4 - 3/5/15

Hi ugly voters,

So, for the people who have votes to throw at the UK government, another General Election is just around the corner.

To be honest, i haven't done that much thinking about who to vote for, this time around. Why? Well, of the Party candidates:

- Three are unavailable

- Two are inconsiderable

- And two are plain unacceptable

And that leaves just one Party to vote for, through their chosen and supposedly obedient drone.

They might not be anywhere near what i'd consider to be a 'good' option, but they're the least worst option, and that's what counts.

In a democracy, if you waste your vote, then you're just handing away the one small scrap of power that you had to lose, so it really doesn't make sense to not vote at all (or even to spoil a ballot) whether you say/believe "a pox on all your houses" or not. the ballot depository!

Woah, woah, wait a moment. Do you even know what Politics is?

Maybe you can't be bothered to pay attention. Maybe you think it's too boring.

Well, here's Jay Foreman (and hidden colludors) to unboringify Politics for you, and put some vim in your cheeks...

'Politics Unboringed - Why do people who don't vote not vote?'
This, of course, doesn't apply in countries like Australia, where people have to vote, or those where people or environmental/diplomatic forces physically prevent people from voting.

'Politics Unboringed - Whom should I vote for?'

'Politics Unboringed - What is tactical voting?'

'Politics Unboringed - How does it all work?'

'Politics Unboringed - Why don't politicians answer questions?'

And there you have it. Five episodes thus far, and (almost) all you need to know about Politics unboringed.

'Stop Sainsbury's from destroying the entire Antarctic marine ecosystem'

Now there's a rhetorical petition title!

Sainsbury's is the joint-second largest supermarket in the UK, and so anything they stock will be produced on a large scale. But there are two important points to this industry:

One - krill genuinely are hugely important to marine ecosystems, as they feed whales, and whales redistribute biomass around the seas (when they die) which means they help various marine ecosystems to thrive.

Two - we now know that the already-dodgily-marketed omega-3 fish oil pills are sold fraudulently, as they don't work.

But then, Boots still sells damp sugar, so why would Sainsbury's care about fish oil?

Is there anything uglier than a multinational corporation, with profits of ~£600 million per year, fraudulently extorting money out of people while trashing the environment at the same time?

Well, maybe an international criminal organisation that extorts money out of people through a range of fraudulent claims ranging from 'inner peace' to immortality, that has garnered it with an investment portfolio worth £5-8 billion, depending on which BBC article you read.

Yes, the Cult of England, which is so poor that it has to have a perpetual public whip-round to fund the upkeep of its prime cathedral, in Canterbury (and one of the most famous in the world, at least by name) actually sits on enough money to pay everyone in the entire UK, whatever their age, £78 per head.

They've invested in all kinds of 'unholy' businesses in the past: dodgy mining companies, fossil fuel companies, etc. And now they're having pangs of guilt about investing in fossil fuels!

£12 million of their investments in fossil fuels apparently has to go, as God's love can't afford to be tainted by 0.0024 of His investment portfolio. It was a bit wonky of Him to inspire them to invest in such a way, in the first place.

Not to mention how slightly (and i'm being very idiomatically British when i say 'slightly') weird it is that an organisation that is supposedly dedicated to and therefore supported by an omnipotent, benevolent deity, could possibly need to have an investment portfolio at all.

Remember all of this, won't you, in case you ever hear one of its bigots say "consider the lilies" to the poor.

You are corruptable by wealth, but a bunch of holier-than-thou theocratic charlatans who've dedicated their lives to 'the glory of god' can hoard it with impunity!

But is there anything even uglier than that?

Well, you could try feeding your kids bleach, through the superstitious belief that it's a miracle cure for autism! Oh yes, that is indeed a thing...

'#074 - Stop giving Autistic children bleach'
Not a rhetorical title!

Alas, there couldn't possibly be anything even more monstrously ugly, still. Could there?

Well, apparently, feminists are...

'Know Your Meme - #FeministsAreUgly'

In yet another campaign by feminist slacktivists, the sex-factionalised sexists have taken it to task to chastise themselves for starting a meme that they later deemed to be demeaning to themselves.

I won't say 'egotistical'. Oops, i just did.

@LilyBolourian started the whole thing, to point out how beautiful she is. Unlike the feminists of masculist stereotype. I won't say 'egotistical'. Oops, i've done it again.

That means, of course, that she was using the hashtag sarcastically.

Yes, sarcasm. Because that's easy to get across in plain text, isn't it. Yes. M-hm. Very easy. See, i'm doing it now. Confusing, isn't it. Indeed. <s>

The whole thing originated in one feminist's conceited attempt to strut her inability to understand the incommunicability of sarcasm in text, and was subsequently taken up by other feminists, who'd decided that the hashtag must not have been originated by a feminist, but instead must have been originated by one of those nasty mans, to whom a point must be proved.

Cue pictures of people again applying the hashtag #feministsareugly sarcastically, while thinking that pictures of their glorious selves would prove the sarcastic element to be extant. I won't say 'egotistical'. Oops, i just can't seem to stop myself, can i.

So there you have it: a feminist meme, chastising itself, for doing itself, made by the same ideologues who are now condemning it, and claiming that the meme they're now exhorting and condemning is the reason they must have been feminists all along.

Aaaargh. The stupidity. It burns!!!

Could something please rescue me from the agonising torture of a bunch of no-hoper idiots, perpetually satirising themselves?

Yes, something can. And it's official. Red Dwarf is to return... again, and again again!

'Red Dwarf Returns... Twice!'

There's nothing like a bunch of designedly despisable washed-up spacebums, to take your mind off the real stupidity, in the real world, just outside your Windows 7 :-D

[relaxes and slumps in chair]


The 3rd-9th of May marks 'Privacy Awareness Week' which you've probably never heard of because. well, the organisers like to keep it to themselves. "Privacy Awareness Week (PAW) is an initiative of the Asia Pacific Privacy Authorities forum (APPA) held every year to promote awareness of privacy issues and the importance of the protection of personal information."

The 175th anniversary of the Penny Black - the world's first adhesive postage stamp. The world's first known stamp, of any kind, was also a Londonian invention, when William Dockwra and Robert Murray invented the London Penny Post in which prepaid delivery was notified by franking an attached piece of paper using a handstamp.

On the 2nd of October 1798, the Chester Courant proudly proclaimed the Sun to be inhabited, as Herschel - the astronomer - had seen features on its surface "200 leagues in height". Science standards in journalism have not fallen. What a grand tradition :-D

On the 1st of April 2010, a Court in the UK ruled that Simon Singh could use the term "bogus" to describe Chiropractic pseudoscience. On the 15th of April, the British Chiropractic Association abandoned their case against him. The result has been a major milestone in the reform of UK Libel Law, and has encouraged further progress around the world.

The 350th anniversary of the Scientific Journal 'Philosophical Transactions'. To see more info, look at 'Objectivity #17' in 'contemporary stuff'...

In other news:

LOLZ. Numerological superstition in religion. A christian woman has apparently been 'horrified' by her numberplate exhibiting the figure '6' three times... contiguously [gasp]. Which obviously means... bugger all, and she should really get a grip on reality.

The things people do for the lulz! Why on Sagan's pale blue dot would you spontaneously brick up just one set of doors on a train? Why??

Blackballed ex-GP and world-famous anti-vaccine fraudster Andrew Wakefield has put in a bid to prove that he's even more stupid than previously believed. Even though he's widely recognised as an untrustable, immensely corrupt source, he's accepted gigs to speak at, among other places, Life Chiropractic College West in California. "Chiropractic?" you're thinking. The back experts? Why would they be involved with him? Well, Chiroquacktic perpetrators have a strong streak of sympathy with the anti-vaccine movement, as their form of quackery is actually ideological - it's not just about backs. Many Chiropractors reject all of the tenets of Medicine, in order to replace it with their subluxation-based bullshit. So now you know. Chiropractors' anti-vaccine ebullience runs deep.

The Torygraph (a Conservative Party allying Newspaper based in the UK) has issued a convenient story (for EU-phobes in the Party) claiming that a new EU commandment "orders" farmers to use damp sugar in preference to medicine. Is it true? Hah - don't be silly. Of course it isn't. For a start, the legislation in question is about a decade old, and for second, it doesn't prohibit the use of proper medicine at all. Damp sugar is merely an addition to the bottom of a list of (priority-ordered) treatments that farmers labelling themselves 'Organic' can/should use. Nothing more. Also, the supposed complainants were Norwegian vets (Norway isn't even in the EU) and also also, 'organic' is bullshit anyway, so it doesn't even matter. But yuppyish Torygraph readers probably think it's really important, because "ponies like my Juniper simply won't eat anything cheaper, rah". #snobsareugly

A meeting has been held between officials from Shell and representatives of the people of Bodo in the Niger Delta, and attended by officials of the Dutch embassy, UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme), Amnesty International and some local activists, to discuss clean-up operations from oil-spills that began in 2008. Apparently, almost all of the 15,600 people affected by the spills have been compensated, and the clean-up itself is to be dealt with by the same contractor that is dealing with the spills in the Gulf of Mexico. The compensation is a pittance for Shell, but three years' wages for the locals, who have not been left demonstrably better off by the fossil fuel industry exploiting their homeland.

The owners of the former estate of Josef Goebbels - the Nazi head of propaganda until his suicide in 1945 - are suing a publisher that they say owes them royalties for use of extracts of his speeches. You might think that that's OK, because 'it's only Goebbels' but if you think like that, you are dehumanising them, and thereby mimicking the same technique they had to use to convince themselves it was OK to subjugate and eventually murder all those non-Christians, Queers, etc. Either Intellectual Property law is applicable to all entities, or it is not. Personal distaste mustn't influence whether the self-defeating principles of IP should be revoked/applied in any particular case. There seems no good reason why non-authors should profit by royalties due to an author, but if you want to stop it, then you should campaign against the principle - not the man. This should also apply to non-personal financial entities, such as WKSEs...

The European Commission has decided to proceed with a charge against Google, for abusing its market position, treatment of personal data, and manipulation to suit its own services. The US's FTC failed, in 1998, to do similar against Microsoft, but back then they were non-prescient to the effects of applying 19th century antitrust laws to the 21st century. This time will be different. But how different?
"To demonstrate Google has abused its dominance the commission may need to call upon economists, engineers, investigative journalists and perhaps even sociologists. It will need to define the markets in which Google acts. General search may be a relatively established market, but what about vertical search, or social search? It will need to translate competition law to a digital environment, to understand how algorithms work, and the extent to which Google's algorithms favour the company, and to show evidence of abuse. It will also need to establish whether Google's actions have damaged "consumer welfare"."
The best result would be a change to generalised legal principles relating to web-based organisations, that have the power to abuse their customers/users. The Commission will come under a lot of pressure from industry lobbyists, keen to keep themselves free from regulations requiring them to be kind and considerate in the way they behave - either through objection to the legal principles per se, or through objection to their application beyond Google.

According to a WHO announcement this week, air pollution in Europe costs it US$1.6 trillion per year, through the effects of morbidity and eventual mortality. This is apparently equivalent to a tenth of the EU's gross domestic product for 2012. WHO-Europe estimates that 600,000 people died prematurely in 53 European countries in 2010 due to fine particles emitted by vehicles and industries and from burning fuels in homes. Pollution also causes heart and lung diseases, as well as strokes and cancers. Georgia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan face costs of between a third and a quarter of their economic production due to pollution.$-1.6-trillion-a-year-in-diseases-and-deaths,-new-who-study-says

I doubt, however, that it's due to these costs that the signatory States to the Green Climate Fund (GCF) which was pioneered to fund actions to mitigate ensuing climatic changes. The target was US$4.7 billion and the sum total of the 30 signatories has been just US$4 billion. The USA, Japan, Canada and Australia haven't even signed the agreement. You can see from the figures on the costs of air pollution, that it's not a problem of lack of fiscal prowess - if they have $1.6 trillion to spend, against their will, on looking after people who needn't have got sick in the first place, then they can scrimp a few thousands of that figure for fighting climatic change. Just like with inequality, we're serially fobbed off with "we're broke, sorry" when in fact, we're faced with profit-motivated waste, and indolent profligacy. The capital is there - it's just being wasted.

The MESSENGER (MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging) mission to investigate Mercury, after ten years of spaceflight, has finally come to an end. Having run out of fuel, it crash landed into Mercury's surface, last thursday, pulled in by the Sun's gravitational field. Four Earth-years and 4105 orbits around Mercury have provided plenty of data for researchers to dig into, so MESSENGER mission's work is still not really done. Such is the life of a space mission. Among its many accomplishments, the MESSENGER mission determined Mercury’s surface composition, revealed its geological history, discovered its internal magnetic field is offset from the planet’s center, and verified its polar deposits are dominantly water ice. Here is MESSENGER's final image.

From spaceflight, to the origin of flight itself. Yi qi (meaning 'strange wing' in Mandarin) was an early pigeon-sized 'experimental' species that evolution came up with as an early attempt at flight. It had feathers on its body, but membranous wings -- hence the name. It's not currently believed to be an intermediate species between non-avian dinosaurs and the avian dinosaurs whose descendants live on today, as this form is clearly not one that succeeded, but it is classified as a Scansoriopterygid, making it a cousin of Archaeopteryx, and a great example of evolutionary experimentation. It's unlikely that it would have flown, as it likely never flapped, but it had a good stabilising tail, and so would probably have had the ability to glide, from tree to tree maybe, the way modern flying lemurs do. To see a video about flight, follow the link.

Evolution, of course, continues today. All species that share a habitat will exert some form of environmental pressure on its neighbours, if not an evolutionary one - one that pressures its genome to change, in adaptation - but many do. Dogs and deer, for example, are only so good at running, because their ancestors provided evolutionary pressure to escape/catch up with each other. And for the last ~4000 years, humans have imposed evolutionary pressure on various species, causing them to become more convenient to us, rather than less. This is called artificial selection, and is being employed by a Dutch company, who's been seeking to develop potatoes that can grow in high-saline conditions. It's not as precise, nor safe, as engineering, but means the possible development of varieties that can survive seawater flooding, and thereby shield people from the starvation that can ensue when floods happen. The team involved, however, doesn't seem to understand that this process is genetic modification (the genome is modified by the evolutionary pressure they place on it) but that doesn't change the fact that this is yet another case of Genetic Modification FTW :-D

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

'World's Oldest Science Journal - Objectivity #17'
With a special sciencey guest, too :o)

'What Is 3 Phase?'

'Grebes running on water'
Take that, Jaysus! :-D

'Lyrebird mimics construction sounds'
Two-and-a-half minutes of the best mimicry you're ever going to hear. Clearly, they are our superiors, and should be worshipped as gods :-D

'Las Vegas isn't Las Vegas'

'Oslo to London for €5 | Fully Charged'

'Disneyland Ghost DEBUNK' - Captain Disillusion

'The Political Bible Presents: Clegg's Sexual Experiences With Dave'

'Russell Howard gets slammed by an audience member'
Not in that sense :-P

'Signs Of The Time : Free | The Checkout'

Too complicated for me. But you could probably give it a try :-D

'Premières Fois (Akim Omiri)'

'Realistic Wedding Vows - {The Kloons}'

'Team successfully observes the solar eclipse over the Arctic'

'Rock spire in 'Spirit of St. Louis Crater' on Mars'

'Video: An enormous "plasma snake" erupts from the Sun'

'The Checkout Season 3 Episode 4'

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

Word Of The Week: vespertilionize -- to turn into a bat; 'vespertilio' is a taxonomical name for a clade of bat species that are awake in the evenings; 'vesper' is latin for 'evening' and 'vespertilio' is latin for 'bat'.

Quote Of The Week: "Why do people say ‘grow some balls’? Balls are weak and sensitive. If you really want to get tough, grow a vagina. Those things take a pounding.” - Sheng Wang

Fact Of The Week: When people have Colds, they will, on average, give it to just one other person. This is because the abundance of Colds stays about the same, year to year to year. If the average were less than one, then Colds' abundances would fall away to zero; and if the average were greater than one, then Colds would become more and more abundant, until everybody had them, seemingly permanently! So it's mathematically necessary that the average number of people someone with a Cold will give it to, has to be ~1. When epidemiologists say this number is 2, or higher, for any one disease, it is on the understanding that it will maintain this number only temporarily. For an outbreak to subside, it must come down again.

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

'The Darkness Live in Boston - Living Each Day Blind (FIRST EVER LIVE PERFORMANCE) @ Paradise'

'The Darkness Live in Boston - With a Woman @ Paradise'

'The Darkness Live in Boston - She's Just a Girl, Eddie @ Paradise'

'The Darkness Live in Boston - Givin' Up + Stuck in a Rut @ Paradise'

'The Darkness Live in Boston - Get Your Hands Off My Woman @ Paradise'

'The Darkness Live in Boston - Love Is Only a Feeling @ Paradise'

'The Darkness Live in Boston - Growing on Me @ Paradise'

'The Darkness Live in Boston - Hazel Eyes @ Paradise'

'The Darkness Live in Boston - The Best Of Me @ Paradise'

'The Darkness Live in Boston - I Believe in a Thing Called Love @ Paradise'

'The Darkness Live in NYC - Nothing's Gonna Stop Us @ Terminal 5'

'The Darkness Live in NYC - Concrete @ Terminal 5'

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