Monday, 9 November 2015
Entertainment stuff from the week 2-8/11/15
Quaile, thee heretickes, before thy almighty God!
Now is a time of gunpowder, treason and plot - a time of petulance and protestantism; a time of rakishness and rebellion; a time of moral abandon.
In the year of our lord 1605, we beseech thee - turn from thy wickedness, and come home to the old faith - of stolidity and stability.
And to prove how morally superior we are, we're going to blow the government up and replace the Protestant James I with a Catholic tyrant, hopefully more like Mary I, who seized the throne, and had the incumbent queen executed, even though she was just 16 years old.
I'm not making this up, folks. This is British History!
And because of it, residents of the British archipelago have a weird tradition of burning fuel-stuffed effigies, at this time of year. Usually accompanied by fireworks.
It's only not weird when you've grown up with it.
To this day, Britons burn an effigy of Guido Fawkes, and use the terms 'bonfire night', 'fireworks night' and 'guy fawkes night' interchangeably, to refer to this occasion.
And all because, on the 5th of November 1605, a band of Catholics attempted to kick off a revolt, by blowing up the House of Lords at the State opening of Parliament.
A tip-off, 10 days earlier, meant that, on the night, Guy Fawkes was found, sitting with 36 barrels of gunpowder, and promptly arrested, and was tortured to confession over the next 3 days.
In fact, he wasn't quite executed for treason, on the 31st of January 1606, because he slipped from the scaffold and broke his neck. The subsequent mutilation of his corpse proceeded regardless.
Perhaps it's the lack of a 'proper' execution that's made his pyrotic and perpetual post-execution such a popular meme.
In recent weeks, i've become familiar with a couple of 16th/17th century resources, that might provide some whiffs of cultural context to these events.
The Agas map depicts London as it was in 1561, when it housed only 200,000 people. It has been marvelously redeveloped from woodblocks of the time, by researchers in Canada.
'The Agas Map'
Interestingly, it depicts Old St. Paul's cathedral, according to its Norman construction from centuries before - completed in 1300, and with one of the longest open interiors of any building in the world - but without its spire, which made it the tallest building in the world, at the time.
That spire had burned down in 1561, when lightning hit. An omen taken as justification of both Protestant and Catholic zeal.
And possibly, also of the 'abuse' of Paul's Walk (the nave) which had become 'owned' by non-religious activity - trading, playing, and socialising.
When the Great Fire of London occurred in 1666, the intense heat melted the lead from the roof, and irreparably damaged the structure of the cathedral. This too was taken as justification of Protestant and Catholic zeal alike.
It was after then that the modern St. Paul's Cathedral had to be commissioned, and so was rebuilt on the Old's site. Christopher Wren had already been involved with talks to redevelop the damaged Old St. Paul's, and had suggested a complete rebuild. Through a poetic progression of events, he got what he wanted!
But such was the conservatism of his Churchy commissioners, that his desire to build the new St. Paul's Cathedral with a dome, was met with rejection. Domes were too Catholic - not Anglican enough.
Anecdote says that Wren was driven to tears by rejection of his favourite design, which he'd had £600 spent on the construction of a model for. For context, that's about the price of a real house!
But in 1622, the Old St. Paul's was still standing, spirelessly, and that's where my other finding comes in.
A couple of years ago, British researchers collaborated to develop a visual and audio reconstruction of the scenario of one of John Donne's sermons, from Paul's Cross - the bigots' soapbox, in the grounds of the cathedral.
'Virtual Paul's Cross Project'
They've put graphical reconstructions of the surroundings together with audio of how it would have sounded in the courtyard, to produce a (muted) idea of what it might have been like to be there.
According to Donne's descriptions, it seems that the environment was a very noisy, zealful one, around Paul's Cross.
One where quiet, thoughtful people would easily be drowned out by the noisy bigots - and where those noisemakers would assume the noiseless to simply be without any thoughts of their own.
“if you do not joyne with the Congregation in those Plaudites, the whole Congregation will thinke you the onely ignorant person, in the Congregation.”
That's what i call irony!
Perhaps it made a difference that they were all perpetually tipsy, as clean water was unavailable, and ale was the most popular alternative?
Such beer-baffled minds would be prone to inconsiderate behaviour like that.
Two articles to baffle your mind:
'How long is a day on Earth?'
One that baffles your sense of a 'day' and one that baffles your sense of 'sorry, what's education for again?'
'Campaign launched against proposal to teach bullfighting in Spanish schools'
If you ever find yourself argueing that something should be done because it's traditional, then that's your trigger to realise that it's time to stop talking, and start reappraising your position!
15 years of contiguous human life in outer space, on the ISS!
In other news:
Republican Presidential candidate Ben Carson has confirmed that, 17 years after he was first recorded saying it, he still believes the Pyramids of Egypt were made by Yahweh-guided aliens, as grain-silos - not as tombs for pharoahs, built by Egyptian workers, who were in turn motivated by "massive whips, Rimmer, massive massive whips". Carson, being a Biblical Literalist, insists that, whichever Bible it is he has, it's completely infullible, and therefore if it disagrees with reality then reality must be wrong. A fine leadership-worthy character for anywhere, let alone a continent-spanning superstate! <s>
In comparison, Kent Hovind immediately jumped straight back into the hot-seat on release from prison, according to Yahweh's divine plan, to do much the same thing - insisting that history is not, when it contradicts religious mythology. In fact, he jumped so swiftly, that he took potholer54 by surprise, with the video he's prepared for September this year: 'Making history fit the Bible'. Carson exhibits the same superstitious mumbo-jumbo and the same science-denial that superstitions motivate. Humanity really doesn't need more intellectually-dubious people, like this, in positions of power!
Peru's environment minister has announced that a national park is to be made, covering 14,170 square kilometres of the country's Amazonian basin, which actually covers most of the country - a lot more than will be covered by the national park. The reason given for protecting any of it, is that it is vulnerable to drug trafficking and illegal logging and mining. The Sierra del Divisor National Park will cover the homes of a variety of indigenous communities living in self-imposed isolation. Local communities are known to be best at combatting industrial desecration, as they are always present, and are most willing to put their lives on the line, to defend their homes, and their quality of life. The park has an estimated 3,000 species of plants and animals, many of them found nowhere else in the world.
So while conditions might be improving for Peruvians, where forest preservation promises to prevent hundreds of thousands of tonnes of CO2eq emissions from deforestation, an fossil oil company has been permitted to probe for fossil oil in the Democratic Republic of Congo's Virunga National Park! Virunga National Park is the oldest wildlife reserve in Africa, and home to the perilously endangered mountain gorilla. Minister of Hydrocarbons Aime Ngoy Mukena has confirmed that British fossil oil company Soco conducted the probing, under the park. The fallacious reasoning in defence of desecration of their country, is that the fossil fuel industry would bring money into the country, lifting it from poverty. But Reagonomics isn't true, and foreign fossil fuel companies have not resolved poverty in other nations of the world. My advice would be: ditch the fossil fuelled multinationals, and keep your environmental jewels!
French State tests on diesel cars have compared VW Group's vehicles with those of other manufacturers, and found that VW's are not the only ones to show higher emissions in real life than test conditions. VW's however, thanks to the software, were much higher in disparity than any other manufacturer's. So industry corruption of emissions tests is confirmed to be widespread, but only VW has been so prolific in doing so. At least, according to the manufacturers and brands that have been tested by them, so far. Germany's Transport Minister has also announced that at least 98,000 petrol cars have been identified as emissions-problematic. It's not only diesels that emit, after all.
New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science has unveiled the first ever baby Protoceratops skull to be discovered by human beings. Extracted from the desert badlands of New Mexico, also found were some teeth, an arm bone, a rib and probably vertebrae, but museum curator Spencer Lucas says there's still work to be done. The rest of the skeleton will be revealed over the next few months, and fortunate visitors will be able to see the process through the viewing screens at the museum. It must be like watching a dead baby be born 70 million years late :-P
Lower Austria - Austria's largest State - is now 100% renewables-powered, according to its governor. Lower Austria now gets 63% of its electrical energy from hydroelectric power, 26% from wind power, 9% from biomass and 2% from solar power. Because the Austrian government voted against the use of nuclear power in 1978, the country has been forced to use other energy sources. Countrywide, 25% of power still comes from fossil fuels. It should be noted that the majority of power comes from hydro, which is not tenable for most of the world; especially as hydro-stations generally come at great environmental and social costs.
Do whales voluntarily beach themselves? A school of 10 pilot whales dumped themselves on a French beach, this week, and the working hypothesis seems to be that the rest followed their dead leader until he washed up on shore. Seven died, meaning only three were successfully returned to the water. Kim Jong-Un would be so proud of their dedication to their leader. I wonder whether they were driven by stupidity, or emotional attachment to their kin? It could have been both.
Have you heard of the Fortingall Yew? Well, you might have done after this week, as it's become newsworthy for being a 5000-year-old man with female genitals. The Fortingall Yew, in Perthshire, central Scotland has for hundreds of years been recorded as male, but has recently been seen with berries, verified by Max Coleman of Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, who spotted the berries. But this isn't necessarily a sign of an old man experiencing a sex change - it's not the Caitlyn Jenner of botany, so sorry Glamour Magazine, you can put your facepaint/leafpaint away. Plant sexes work differently to animals' and so different terms refer to them. Plants are commonly hermaphrodite, monoecious, or dioecious, which is most similar to the human form of 'male' and 'female' each with their own sexually dimorphic reproductive organs. But even then, 'sports' still happen, which are branches that grow as a different sex to the rest of the body. It might be that this is what's happened with the Forstingall Yew. Fruit-bearing is biologically expensive, so oooooold trees like it would probably not have much motive to start growing female after so long. Then again, thousands of years of its history are unrecorded - maybe it does this periodically, and no-one noticed. It's also been suggested that stress might have caused hormonal 'restructuring' within the plant, causing development of female-sexed buds. Whatever the answer is, it certainly draws attention to the puerile nature of the old sexist dichotomy of 'all man' and 'all woman' being 'normal' according to feminists like Germaine Greer!
------------------------------------------------------ contemporary stuff
'Water droplet jumping in a superhydrophobic surface'
Awesome physics, under extreme conditions :-)
'"Tangled Up In Quantum Mechanics" by Lawrence Krauss'
'Top 5 PLANETARY SUPER STORMS'
'Freaky Micrographia - Objectivity #43'
'Clearing and Staining Fishes'
'Left-handed Electrons - Sixty Symbols'
'‘Cash machine’ Apple creates poor societies'
'CRAZY Feminist tries to get me fired: BACKFIRES SPECTACULARLY'
When the lies get on TV, somehow the shit feels so much more real!
'Mass suicide caught on tape'
Australia's a dangerous place. Sometimes people just give up ;-)
'"Donald McRonald, the Face of the New GOP" by Roy Zimmerman'
'SHOOT ALL YOUR PROBLEMS AWAY'
'World of Batshit - #5: Space Denial'
'Nerd³ - Twitch Reacts to the Reboot Day Reveals'
So Nerd³'s rebooted his channel, and this is how his own fans reacted to the big day :-D
'Image: Nile Delta fertility'
'Killer MacKillop | Coonawarra (Plonk Ep 5.1)'
'Herb, You Are A Bird | Coonawarra (Plonk Ep 5.2)'
'Nob Fountain | Adelaide Cellar Door Wine Fest (Plonk Ep 6.1)'
'Cleanskins | Adelaide Cellar Door Wine Fest (Plonk Ep 6.2)'
'The Chaser's Media Circus - Season 2 Episode 8'
'The Chaser's Media Circus - Season 2 Episode 9'
------------------------------------------------------ of the weeks
Word Of The Week: spoopy -- adjective meaning 'both spooky and funny'; it dates back at least as far as 2009, when a picture of a sign, presumably misspelling 'spooky' was uploaded to flickr
Expression Of The Week: 'spinning in their grave' -- meaning 'strongly insulted (as a dead person)'; comes from a comic exaggeration of the expression 'turning in their grave' the way a sleeping person would do, if disturbed (sleep is equated with being dead, as in 'RIP')
Fact Of The Week: author Roald Dahl was buried with his snooker cues, some burgundy, chocolates, HB pencils, and a power saw. No-one's seen him since.
------------------------------------------------------ non-contemporary stuff
'Suave - Mafia II (Glitch) - GameFails'
'Buckingham Void - Zombies (Glitch) - GameFails'
'Perfect Parking - Mad Max (Fail) - GameFails'
'Hood - Grand Theft Auto V - GameFails'
'Emergency Response - Grand Theft Auto V - GameFails'
'Casual Wreck - The Crew - GameFails'
'Buried Alive - Halo MCC (Glitch) - GameFails'
'Magic Trick - Grand Theft Auto V - GameFails'
'LeviTOADing - Witcher 3 Wild Hunt (Glitch) - GameFails'
'Honey Badger Don't Care - Far Cry 4 - GameFails'
And, of course, it wouldn't be a glitch collection without Assassin's Creed, would it ;-)
'Flapping - Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag - GameFails'
'Invisassassin - Assassin's Creed Syndicate (Glitch) - GameFails'
'Stuck the Landing - Assassin's Creed Syndicate - GameFails'
'Infinate Drowning - Assassin's Creed Syndicate (Glitch) - GameFails'
'Fight Club - Assasson's Creed Syndicate (Glitch) - MichaelFails'
'Perfect Dismount - Assassin's Creed Syndicate (Glitch) - GameFails'