Sunday, 12 July 2015

Entertainment stuff from the week 6-12/7/15

Greetings to nervous creationist sharks,


The 11th of July was International Day Against Stoning

The 13th of July marked the 30th anniversary of 'Live Aid' which raised £50 million for famine relief, and made Bono famous.

And last week was also Nude Recreation Week. Or is it next week? I don't know - naturists don't have anywhere to put their smartphones, so it hasn't been well advertised ;-)

In other news:

Cuba has become the first nation in the world to have officially eliminated mother-to-child transmission of both HIV and syphilis - a feat described by the WHO as "one of the greatest public health achievements possible". Cuba, unlike many nations that boast world-leading status, genuinely spends a lot of money on healthcare, and with an entirely public sector healthcare system that has no private sector millstone to carry, nor libertarian exemptions system, they have been the best positioned to achieve something like this. The Cuban healthcare system has long been something to admire, for other nations, because of this depth of commitment. You might not like the country's politics, but it works, dammnit.

Pluto has a heart, too. Awww. Not the Disney one, though - the not-quite-a-planet one. It has a 2000 kilometre-across bright patch, in a heart-shape, sitting East of a whale-shaped dark patch. (Anyone thinking of H2G2?) As the New Horizons mission approaches Pluto, ever closer, better resolutions of images will start coming back, so we might even find out what makes them so light/dark.

Shark Week's back! Lauded by the Discovery Channel, as a Science programme, past iterations of Shark Week have been lambasted for being unadulterated fiction. Last year, the 'main character' was Megalodon - a gigantic shark that went extinct 2.6 million years ago - but treated as if it were still alive, today. They even went to the extent of faking interactions with it, to give the viewers the impression that it were still around! Will this year's Shark Week be any better? So far, concerned scientists (honest people) have only promises to go on. But we surely all know how valueless they are. I'll believe in Shark Week reform if i see evidence of it.

Psychic superstition in a Northern Irish newspaper. The Belfast Telegraph appears to be lacking in journalistic nouse ("I'm a journalist, so i'm always skeptical - i know to check for evidence" said no printed journalist since the 1930s) as the Paper has hosted superstitious pleading from a 'Mentalist' (non-psychic charlatan) who claimed that if everyone got together and 'thought happy thoughts' then maybe... just maybe, Rory McIlroy's ankle would get better, for the British Open. He's a good-walk-spoiler, by the way. The BT even made an image of RM's encased ankle, with a hand outline over it, for people to put their hands on. Apparently, that'll intensify the magical bullshit. "...chances are fairly slim, but it beats sitting around doing nothing" the fraudster says. No it doesn't, Tap says. No it doesn't.

So many superstitions. So many [dazzled]. Superstitions have a tendency to clump (occur together) (as do the outcomes of randomness) because a psychological disposition to accepting one, will similarly apply to another, that has similar memetic features. The same is true of sciences - people with interests in maths will like physics, will like engineering, will like... etc. The particular superstitions that feature, in one person, in this article (bear in mind they might have others, unreported) are: homosexuality is bad, damp sugar is magic, stabbing someone all over is medicinal, and a deity exists that uses war to keep populations down. Homophobia, homeopathy, acupuncture, and theism. But i'm not surprised yet. After all, conspiracy theorists (believers of superstitions of agency) can believe dozens of contradictory narratives, simultaneously. Must try harder, LOL.

How's this for clumping, though. They're all Newage, but Belle Gibson's dangerously fraudulent non-medical 'expertise' lie in: "yoga, meditation, colonics, oxygen therapy, craniosacral therapy, herbalism, and a diet free of dairy, gluten, preservatives, refined sugars, and GMOs". That expression 'criminally flexible' just keeps pinging back into my mind. "Can i screw yer now, sir?"

Kent Hovind is free! Yes, that one. The far-more-impressive-than-his-son Creationist Christian Religionist. That one. He's done nine years in prison for insisting that Federal Law doesn't apply to him (being a sovereign citizen, as i said back in March) and so he wasn't paying tax. In the same month, the Court ruled that those 9-year-old 10-year-sentence fraud charges were to be dropped. Yahweh is almighty, indeed, LOL. But they've been replaced with contempt of court, and he will be under home confinement for a month, and then three years of 'supervised release'... whatever that means. So 'heads up' for more barmpot religious videos on YouTube, in the coming months :-D

The human penis contains tens of thousands of nerve endings... no, i'm not still talking about Kent Hovind... but mammals are not the only animals to have nervous genitals. Spiders, or at least the Tasmanian cave spider, have nerve endings in their palpal glands, which the males use to deposit sperm-packets onto the female's body. Previous research had found no evidence of any, but this research looked closer. Not having nerve endings would make life difficult for the spiders, as it would mean, quite literally, poking around blindly. Having nerve endings, and feeling orgasmic pleasure are quite different, however - touch alone does not substantiate the latter, in conjunction. Mammals still seem to have a monopoly on the 'Big O'.

{Note: typo correction wanted me to change 'palpal' to 'papal'. I think that's worth a chuckle, lol}

Copepods - a type of plankton (a catchall, like 'fish' but for tiny marine animals) - have been proved to consume some plastic microparticles. They use their legs to filter the water around their mouthparts, and ingest the particles, as seen in the video embedded in the linked article. This suggests downsides and upsides: if zooplankton can digest some of the plastic that makes its way into the oceans, then that means less pollution overall; but their consuming it is displacing room in their stomachs for genuine food, and so this could be evidence of benign pollution actually being malignant. Plastic that is not interacted with can't do harm, but when it does, for example by ingestion, it can. We need this kind of research, to assess the extent of homo sapiens' effect on the world; otherwise, we can't know what damage needs to be mitigated, and by when.

Independent or interdependent? Chameleons have been heralded as exemplars of non-binary vision - their eyes generally appear to look without concern for the other's direction. But when hunting, they do bring both eyes around, to give a binocular advantage, and possibly also to gain a brainpower advantage (processing two visual fields is more taxing, surely?) Other species of vertebrate: fish, bird, and even rat, have been shown to operate eyes independently, but this research has shown that, when forced to change target, the information from one eye does cross over the brain, to inform the other eye of where to look. It seems chameleons' eyes are sufficiently independent that they can roam individually, most of the time, but sufficiently interdependent that they can collaborate when necessary. Humans can do this with their hands: phone in one, pen in the other; so i'm not entirely surprised. But this area of research is fascinating. Anything's got to be better than the 'brain types' bullshit, though, hasn't it :-D

SI2 is currently squatting in Hawaii, and will be there for the next few weeks, while it's repaired and prepared for its next leg to mainland America.

In compensation, Airbus has lost a race to fly the English Channel (La Manche), with an electric plane, by just 12 hours. LOL. Airbus' Didier Esteyne was pipped by independent Hugues Duval, who had to fly from France to Kent, in order to fly back again. 106 years ago, Louis Bleriot flew the same flight, between Dover, Kent, and Calais, France. All of the pictures in the article are of Airbus' plane, of course :-D

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

'The Kids From Fume - Me! (Radio Active)' (my upload)

'10 Amazing bets you will always win - NEW (Ep14)'

'The Science of Hay Fever... Are Parasitic Worms The Cure?'

'How accurate are online symptom checkers?'

'Johann Hari: Everything you think you know about addiction is wrong'

'Thunderf00t Unplugged: Dealing with my Dads death'

'Image: Central Algeria captured by Copernicus Sentinel-2A'

'Image: ISS moon transit'

'Image: Europa's blood-red scars'

'Searing sun seen in X-rays'

'Nerd³'s Hell... The Alien Wasteland'

'Richard Herring's Leicester Square Theatre Podcast - with Robert Webb #68'

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

Word Of The Week: bop -- as a noun, onomatopoeic for a sharp hit/knock; or as a verb, a style of rhythm in movement/music, typically irregular in form

Expression Of The Week: get off scot free -- to evade remuneration or punishment; comes from Norse 'skat' meaning a tax or payment, and had become 'scot' in reference to a specific tax, in Scotland, by the 10th century CE. 'Scotchfree' is a C16 variant, caused by mishearing, and the name of the country is not known to be related to 'scot free'.

Etymology Of The Week: porthole -- the round windows in the side of a ship; coming from the french 'porte' meaning 'door' and being anglicised to 'port' then corrupted to 'porthole'. It has nothing to do with 'port' and 'starboard' - the absolute terms for the sides of a ship.

Quote Of The Week: "Debating creationists on the topic of evolution is rather like trying to play chess with a pigeon — it knocks the pieces over, craps on the board, and flies back to its flock to claim victory." - Scott D. Weitzenhoffer

{That quote is in tribute to the return of the dark lord, himself - Kent Hovind}

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

'Air Support'

‘Huge cafe wall illusion’

‘Speak For Yourself, OMG Facts...’

'Mitch Benn - I gotta learn to play minecraft!!!'

'Mitch Benn, Break-up Song [Not Bitter]'

'Craig Ferguson 5/6/14E Late Late Show Richard Ayoade XD'

'"A Visit From Craig's Sister" April 16 (2008)'

'I'm In Love With My Car (Queen & Paul Rodgers Live In Japan, 2005)'

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