Sunday, 9 August 2015

Entertainment stuff from the week 3-9/8/15

Hi african amazonians,

Please allow me to go all gooey over something utterly inevitable, that might not mean anything to you, at all...

'Tickets! Music! Quashed Rumours!

I'm such a fanfossil for RD. Fossil's latin for 'dug up', right. And that's exactly how i feel, right now :-P

If only something comic, like, um... someone hacking a transport company's software to display pornography instead of bus arrival/departure times... had happened.

Yes, that might cheer me up.

The text of the article hyperlinked above, says it was shown for 15 minutes; but the pictures say a 'technical hitch' might have impeded that. You can always trust Adobe Flash plugins :-D

Was Jenson Button gassed, while he was burgled? Apparently, not. What a shame - gassing works so well, in fiction!

'Mad gassers burgle Button, or not'

In other news:

Round, horizontal strip, vertical strip, or 'w' shaped? Why do animals have pupils the shapes they do? This is a question, to which the answer's been investigated for a long time. Congruent with the latest evidence, it's thought that pupil shape evolves to suit environment. Sheep, deer, horses, etc, have horizontal pupils, so that they can see the breadth of the landscape, even in bright light, when their iris is constricted. And according to this research, when they lower their heads to graze, their irises actually rotate (up to 50 degrees) to maintain a horizontal pupil. 82% of surveyed species with vertical pupils, had shoulder heights lower than 42 centimetres. The researchers have taken this to suggest that a vertical slit aids prey identification and distancing, when close to the ground. Animals that do not keep their eyes close to the ground, like big cats, dogs (by their lupine ancestry) and humans, have round pupils. Why any species might have round pupils instead of slits seems a mystery though, when slits have such better performance. Human round-pupilled eyes can only vary pupil area by a factor of ~10, whereas straight slits can achieve ~130, which means greater protection from bright light, allowing greater sensitivity in low light. Maybe round pupils are simply easier. Geckos and cuttlefish have 'w'-shaped irises, so that they can see in the dim light of caves, or the sea, but not get retinal damage from coming out into bright light. Their irises can change pupil area by a factor of ~300. Maybe the reason some clades are left with round pupils, is simply that it hasn't been evolutionarily economic for them develop anything better.

Are you dead or alive? Are you sure? How about a double-check. It's been demonstrated at the latest Def Con gathering - where people share information on hacking techniques, to stay ahead of the game - that it's possible to declare other people to be dead, for vengeful purposes; or oneself, for insurance purposes. By exploiting e-records databases (which are good for verifying legitimacy to customers) and posing as a doctor and funeral director, the speaker demonstrated two methods of gaining authority over death certificate application. The 'dead' person would only notice when they tried to do something like renew a passport. This area of research was inspired, a year ago, when an Australian hospital accidentally declared 200 patients to be dead. If it can be done accidentally, it can be done deliberately. The research also went into phantom births, which are even easier; but of course, it takes many years until that 'identity' can be used by anyone.

What do beer, wine and bread have in common? That's right - bestiality! The yeast species utilised to produce all of these comestibles - Saccharomyces cerevisiae - first had its genome sequenced in 1996. Since then, it's been noticed that the species has two different forms, for many of its genes. That observation prompted the hypothesis of genome duplication and recombination, in ancient ancestors of modern Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Genome duplication (where the genome doubles, but the cell doesn't split) has been common, across evolutionary timescales, and has facilitated greater complexity in biological form. But these researchers suggest that duplication didn't actually happen, in this case - they think two slightly diverged species of yeast hybridised (which technically requires bestial sex), doubling up many genes, but also providing the observed variation in the many other gene forms.

Here's some promising news in the world of Unclear Physics: Fermilab's NOvA experiment has found its first evidence of neutrinos oscillating, over a 500 mile path through the Earth. Because neutrinos interact so little with matter, no tunnel is needed; but it also means trillions of neutrinos have to be sent, every second, to increase the chances of some getting picked up by the detector at the other end. Neutrinos themselves oscillate between their electron, tau, and muon forms, so although all are sent as muon neutrinos, some arrive as electron neutrinos. The detector saw far fewer muons arrive than expected without oscillation, and more electron neutrinos too. Fermilab's success at conducting this experiment suggests more good news in this area is still to come, in the proceeding decades. How do neutrinos interact with the Higgs Field? What has their role, as the most common particle, been in the development of the universe? Only by further work can these questions be answered.

You couldn't make it up. Well, maybe you could, if you were feeling particularly vindictive. Religious superstitionists have been flocking to a dry patch in a clay-surfaced wall, to marvel at its, um... dryness? It certainly can't be a miraculous prophetic communiqu
é, can it! "We believe it is a vision of our prophet". Hmmm.... Nigerian Rationalist Leo Igwe has commented: "A school teacher describes it as a 'true sign from God' but did not state why God sent the sign to muslims in Bamako not in Gao or in Sikasso. A BBC reporter says the religious sign is a 'drying patch of cement in the shape of a standing woman'. A standing woman? Now the issue is : Why do Malians describe a 'parch of cement' as a religious sign? If Tijani muslims believe in miracle signs, does it mean that they should take any sign to be a religious sign- including a sign on a toilet wall? What makes a sign religious? What makes a particular sign an islamic, not christian, religious sign? How does one differentiate a religious from a non religious sign? And who determines what is a religious sign in the first place?" Too much logic, Leo. You'll never pass your Knuckle-dragging Theology exam, like that :-P

This has to be the worst hoax of all time. It shows a tiny picture of an anaconda, crudely photoshopped into a tropical river-scene, populated by some dark-skinned people. They're all looking the wrong way - away from the camera and the snake (so it's not possible to tell exactly who/where they are) but the description says they're in Africa. On the Amazon. With a weight-measurement and kill-o-meter running to four significant figures, and a detail of how many Royal British Commandos it took to kill it. Tut tut tut. First: the Amazon is not in Africa. Second: the Amazon River is a lot bigger than that. Third: who brought the scales that can weigh so much, with so much accuracy? Fourth: who brought the kill-o-meter that could judge so many deaths with so much accuracy? Fifth: what would the Royal British Commandos be doing there? Sixth: why wouldn't the Royal British Commandos be pictured, seeing as they supposedly got the glory for killing the snake? Seventh: there's no such regiment as the Royal British Commandos! Either this is a staggering case of incompetence, or it's a parody. Poe's Law strikes again :-D

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

'Tricks to get honey off bees!'

'Secrets Hidden in Images (Steganography) - Computerphile'

'NASA | Arching Eruption [HD]'

'NASA | A Story of Ozone: The Earth's Natural Sunscreen [HD]'

'NASA | ISS Nighttime Compilation [HD]'

'What Dawn Discovered on Vesta and Ceres'

'Extreme Physics BBQ'

'Sea "alien" spotted off the coast of Angola'

'Sentinels catch traffic jam'

'Algae bloom in Lake St. Clair'

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

Word Of The Week: immolate -- to kill, destroy, or sacrifice by burning

Quote Of The Week: “Forget about likes and dislikes. They are of no consequence. Just do what must be done. This may not be happiness but it is greatness.” - George Bernard Shaw

Fact Of The Week: In 1972, British Water Board worker Bill Thorpe pulled the plug out of the Chesterfield Canal, and by the next day, all of the water had drained away! He thought he was just pulling up bunkum, but it was actually a forgotten plug, for draining water into the nearby River Idle. Being a canal, it was only the water between Whitsunday Pie Lock and Retford Town Lock that drained away - that's also how it managed to empty entirely. To see a picture of Bill, holding the plug, click here and scroll down.

{Where the hell did i hear about that? On #153 of the Skeptics with a K, of course.}

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

'NASA | ISS Timelapse: West Coast of the Americas [HD]'

'NASA | ISS Timelapse: Aurora Australis [HD]'

'Breve test de personalidad'
Are you paranoid/drunk/childish/racist/high/stupid?

'A Bit of Fry & Laurie: Australian Soap'

'Fry and Laurie Shakespeare Master Class'

'A bit of Fry and Laurie - Judge Not'

'Queen TOP 5 unreleased tracks part 01'

'Queen TOP 5 unreleased tracks part 02'

No comments:

Post a Comment