Sunday, 7 February 2016

Entertainment stuff from the week 1-7/2/16

Buzz buzz, insectoid reactors,

So... is now the time to declare support for the Trumping Presidential campaign?

'Watch Stephen Colbert Savor Donald Trump's Iowa Caucus Defeat'

Once again, Republicans have selected a white man as their favourite, to put forward for the Presidency.

Instead of an orange one.

Oh, those poor oppressed orange people. Or as they're also (not) known: 'people of colour'

They're certainly more coloured than the black people. Black, of course, is not a colour.

So, oh those poor oppressed coloured billionaires.

An irony of racist terminology, is that black is a complete absence of colour (no wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum) whereas white is a full bandwidth of the electromagnetic spectrum.

Well, at least the 'visible' bit, that our eyes can pick up.

This means that 'white' is infinitely more colourful than black, and that if the racists' cartoon Whites and Blacks were real, then it would be the Whites who were the 'people of colour' :-D

As it is, there is no-one in the world, who is not a colourful person. Even those of us who are albino, have some colour to us.

If you feel like trolling some racists, then maybe point that out to them, LOL

YouTube shitstorm of the week: The Fine Bros, and their declaration that they've copyrighted the word "react".

Well, kind of.

'Reacting to React World by the Fine Bros'

First of all, i'd like to point out that i know very little about the Fine Bros, except that they make money out of showing other people's videos to people who aren't them.

Second, is that i'm now very glad not to have known very much about the Fine Bros.

Third, is how amazingly pretentious their salespitch is! The idea that their reaction videos are somehow "timecapsules" of our culture, and that you can be part of their 'family'.

Well, videos of cats playing pianos are also timecapsules of our culture. And you know who else calls disposable supporters 'family'? The Mafia.

What they really 'offered' was the opportunity to work 'with' them, under their branding, to produce content for them, so that they could claim more content, without having to do the proportionate amount of work.

So it's not really about copyrighting the word 'react' or the idea of a Reaction Video itself, but it is a business model designed to screw other people for their creativity. And not necessarily 'reactive' creativity.

That's what Linear TV does, when it requests viewers to send in their videos and pictures and 'stories' relating to events and experiences - they want the unpaid viewership to do their work for them!

Fine Bros, in this one video, declared that they were rejecting the very thing that they were embracing - the oligopoly of the past - by licencing brands, and thereby forbidding competition, by forbidding creators to have similar branding to extant wealth-possessors.

The thing about YouTube, is that it has been a home to so much creativity in the past, because power is relatively uncentralised there. Anyone can get themselves a channel, and start doing their thing, without worrying that it might be similar to someone else's thing.

Increasingly, however, there has been an expected decrease in entropy of power and wealth, in YouTube's market, as commercial, corporate channels, heavily backed by advertising campaigns and the accrued wealth of past success, have come to dominate viewers' awarenesses.

I've lost count of the many, many, many times that YouTube has tried to get me to subscribe to Zoella.

The Home page of YouTube has a permanent 'Popular Right Now - [your IP address' country]' section, crammed with Film company channels, TV show channels, and corporate advertising channels. A couple that i see as i write this: T-Mobile and Bud Light.

I hate beer. It makes me puke. And not through the usual way - overconsumption. I couldn't be less interested in it.

How can i tell YouTube not to push beer and 'Muslim Singles' at me?

The trouble is, that this 'content purification' - a kind of brand-racist memetic cleansing - results in minor channels that i might actually be interested in (or you might be interested in) becoming submerged beneath the oceans of bland, drab, corporate lifelessness that we all find so opiatingly familiar.

Fine Bros offered to give us more of this, not less, by presenting itself as an alternative oligarch - not as an alternative to oligopolisation!

And as if to convince you that they're cutting through the crap, they tell you that you have to fatalistically subjugate yourself to them, because "this is the future of entertainment".

Yeah, sure it is. Unless your own viewers persuade you otherwise. Like they apparently already have.

Please, Fine Bros, and everyone else, don't try this again.

'UK regulators give go-ahead for 'embryo editing''

The UK body that regulates research into embryos – the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) - has given its first licence for research involving human embryos.

Due to peculiar, superstition-augmented legislation, genome editing in embryos is only allowed in the research of causes of infertility and miscarriages, and the only embryos allowed to be used are those that would have been destroyed within 14 days anyway, as unused products of in-vitro fertilisation.

Due to the way IVF is performed, there are always embryos that are not used, and so are simply wasted. From an economic point of view, this is an efficiency, but from a research point of view, it is a silliness that people aren't allowed to donate embryos that were never intended for reproductive use at all. Why not? No reason.

The UK is the first country in the world, however, in which this type of research has been made legal, but it remains illegal to implant the modified embryos into women. The cases in China, by the way, depended on the use of unviable embryos - a restriction not imposed in the UK, anymore.

I wonder whether an intersex researcher, officially classified as male, would be permitted to implant such embryos into themself, in the grand history of scientific self-experimentation?

As i have said on this blog before, genetic engineering is a method of genetic modification that promises much greater accuracy, productivity, and cost-aversion than the historical method of genetic modification by artificial selection.

I think there is a moral obligation, to permit germline editing, so that genetic diseases, first and foremost, can be erased from the species - Huntington's, for example.

I see rejection of human genetic engineering as parallel to rejection of euthenasia - a basic cowardice to acknowledge the cost-benefit analysis that stands before us.

The ignorant mewlings of pro-suffering pseudo-charities like LIFE, and Human Genetics Alert, should be roundly ignored and derided for what they are - the ramblings of ignorant paranoia merchants.

This permission is a small step on a long road toward specietic self-improvement, and i don't know whether it will even be maintained, but i hope that the forward momentum is. There is so much to be gained from genetic engineering, and so much to be lost by rejecting it.


The 5th of February :-P

In other news:

Physics' midwife has something to say: it's, it's... it's a new form of matter. You must be so proud. Polar vortices can be observed on a wide variety of scales - from spiral galaxies, to storms, to plant sepals, to fingerprints, to bunches of atoms just tens across. And the last of those is the scale at which these vortices have been seen. Hypothesised more than a decade ago, the 'rotating topologies of electrical polarization' have been seen for the first time, in a ferroelectric material. That material is made of layers of lead titranate and strontium titranate. If further research shows the ferroelectric vortices to be equivalent to 'skyrmions' which are phenomena in magnetic fields, then the knowledge gleaned could give Moore's Law a new lease of life, in giving computer miniaturisation a new, and much lower, size limit.

A study into voting patterns, in this case in Brazil, has found new methods of corrupting democratic elections. Modern technology and vote-collection methods prohibit the use of factitious voting entities, imagined out of thin air, so instead the technique used, is voter importation - where voters and their votes are illegally re-addressed, so that they're counted in different ballots. This is essentially candidates buying votes from other people's constituencies - the voters don't have to migrate for this to happen. The phenomenon is also known as 'electoral tourism'. This study has found, in accord with EU investigations into corruption, that it's the smaller settlements that suffer more corruption than larger places, where there are greater resources and labour hours available to antagonise corruptive forces. Due to the expense involved with each vote bought, it's also more economic to sway elections involving fewer votes overall, as fewer votes have to be bought, to turn an election loss into a win.

Swiss local governments in Lausanne, have banned 'silnt discos' for being too noisy. The name 'silent disco' is actually a misnomer - although the music is not broadcast directly into the environment, the people listening to it through the headphones behave exactly as if it were. This means shouting over the music, as per usual, and raucously singing along! There's no accounting for lack of sound insulation, it seems.

Anyone's corruptible. But this corruption required a tight squeeze. Aggravating environmentalists, the European Parliament recently voted to approve legislation, permitting motor industry companies to manufacture cars that breach pollution restrictions by 100% (until 2020) and by 50% after then. Corruption by the motor industry got the loopholes put into the legislation in the fisrt place, and only six votes passed the bill - 323 for, 317 against. There were sixty abstentions! That means ten times as many MEPs didn't vote, as determined the difference in result. I wonder how many petulant nationalists were amongst them? "It is intolerable to learn that after the Volkswagen scandal, the member states and the commission conceded to the sirens of the auto industry in allowing it to exceed European anti-pollution limits," said MEP Karima Delli of the Greens group.

Roll up, roll up, get your genuine Western airs here. Just £80 a can; it's a bargain! Except it's obviously not. The best defence of this product - aimed at rich people in smog-addled cities - appears to be that it's no worse than bottle water. Um, yeah... it's no worse than the bottled water scam. It's not even like they bear the cost of extracting water from the municipal (public) supply - air is entirely free to harvest! I wonder what the cost of pollution is, in order to transport this unpolluted air, into polluted areas.

Is that goat gay, or does he just admire my policies? Apparently, the homophobes' bid to equivocate homosexuality with bestiality (cross-species bonking) extends as far as xeno-bestiality. A lawyer in Novosibirsk has apparently appealed for 'action' to mitigate the harm that might be done to children, by a goat and a tiger being friends. “I think the positive coverage of this topic is nothing less than interference in the personal lives of minors, which is what hidden propaganda is, and public, active imposition of homosexuality”. It should be pointed out that the animals don't even shag each other - they just haven't killed each other yet. That is enough for the paranoid anti-sexuality campaigners, it seems, to adopt their hanging judge guise, and declare sentence.

A systematic analysis of observational studies on the effects of passive tobacco smoking, has found that the imposition of the public smoking ban, in the UK, in 2007, has reduced the incidence of heart attacks, angina, strokes, heart disease, and other smoking-related diseases. The evidence is conflicted on COPD and asthma, but some studies have shown premature births and low birth weights have fallen, as numbers of women smoking during pregnancy have fallen. Pretty much the only disappointment, is that attempts to kick the nicotine addiction, were just a punctuation in the data - efforts quickly subsided.

Dark Fly returns. It sounds like a Batman sequel, but it's actually a kind of fly, deliberately brought up in dark conditions, so that over 1500 generations, it evolved to outcompete 'light' flies in the dark. The experiment began in 1954, using ordinary, sighted fruit flies, that were kept in permanent darkness, except for a dim red light that the flies couldn't see. The red light was for the experimenters, of course. Now, after more than 1500 generations, which would be an equivalent in humans of 30,000 years, Dark Fly has evolved heightened sensitivity to light, and certain smells, and have much longer head bristles, which serve the same function as cats' whiskers - physical navigation of the world around them. By sequencing 'light' fly genomes, as well as Dark Fly genomes, and then introducing the 'light' flies into the darkness, with the Dark Flies, researchers have found 28 genomic regions, containing 84 genes, that might be responsible for the Dark Fly's enhanced success. These genes would become more abundant in the successful reproductive products of Dark-light hybrids, you see. These genes are known to be involved in smell, pheromones, and circadian rhythm - the last of which being an important adaptation, for a population that can never adjust its rhythm to the Sun. Evolution-deniers like to rhetort that evolution has never been directly observed. Well, this is one of the increasingly abundant direct refutations!

A Primary School (5-11 year olds) Headteacher in the UK has gone on public record (through twitter) stating just such one anti-scientific sentiment, by claiming that evolution should be doubted, because there is “more evidence that the Bible is true”. Quite rightfully, she was mocked for it. Her professional twitter feed has been taken down, but it's not yet clear whether she's lost her job from the Church of England school that she was in charge of. The (Anglican) Church of England has a reputation for being very 'lovely lovely' but there's no essential difference between any two factions of religion. I maintain my mantra: "schools are teaching, not for preaching". Not even if it's limp-wristed fuxxy-wuzzy Anglican Young Earth Creationism!

Over the last 125 million years, diversity in insect species has changed little - with every lost species, a new one has made up the numbers. That's according to this study, which has used a different method of estimation than past studies, which chronically understate past numbers of species. That's because fossilisation is rare, and so we rarely find enough data to be precise to species level. The names of dinosaurs that you know are probably all genus names, not species names - brontosaurus, for example - because of this. So by embracing a little more imprecision, and performing an assay of more than 39,000 fossil insect records, these researchers have concluded that insect diversity has changed little in the last 125 million years; but that there was a big rise at around 325 mya when their abundance also increased hugely. Insects first appeared in the fossil record, about 400 mya. Inevitably, with the fragility of fossils, and the difficulty of discovering the earliest laid down, all models will have greater uncertainty for further into the past.

Why do female red flour beetles keep on bonking the males, even when the eggs inside them are as fertilised as can be? According to this research, the answer lies in their environment. Females benefit greatly from post-sex sex, but males experience a great cost, with reduced survival. Red flour beetles live in a low-moisture environment, and so for the sake of the eggs, and thereby the perpetuation of the species, any moisture helps. The moisture from the males' semen helps keep the females healthy, at the expense of the males from which it cums. And so the species has evolved a hyper-active sex life, that leaves the males physically drained. Excuse the pun :-P

A Penis In Amber. No, that's not the title of a video on xvideos. Although it might be. But it is the risque title of this press release, regarding the unusual discovery of a 99 million year old harvestman with an extended penis. Now, when i say "harvestman" i don't mean the sense that "plumber" might mean, in a video title - i mean the order of arachnids, commonly known as 'daddy long legs'. And no, daddy isn't a tripod - he's an octopod. A lot can be got out of an insect's penis - they come in myriad forms, and are often used to distinguish between species, with greater clarity than other body morphology can provide. In this new family and species of harvestmans - Halitherses grimaldii - the penis is spatula-shaped at the tip, and is heart-shaped in outline, with a small tube extending from the very end. No living harvestman has a penis with exactly this shape. So now you know :-P

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

'Mystery of the Red Sprites'

'China's Moon: Journey of the Jade Rabbit'

'Yellow Street Lights - Sixty Symbols'

'How to become invisible to Infrared Cameras'

'Liquid Play-Doh can be sliced like a solid'

'Quinine and Fluorescence'

'Super Expensive Photos - Objectivity #55'

'Oprah Winfrey, a Hungry Syrian Boy and a World Divided'

'All Around You (I Have A Weird Sense of Humor lol)'

'"WHAT I'VE BEEN WORRYING ABOUT" Tales Of Mere Existence'

'Is There Really Airplane De-icing Liquid in Beer?'

'Growing Skeptical of Hair Restoration'

'Image: Pluto's blue atmosphere in the infrared'

'Image: Pluto's widespread water ice'

'NASA image: Oil fires in Libya continue'

'ESA image: London nightlife'

Look at all that sodium ;-)

'ESA image: Mercury orbiter test'

'Inside Rosetta's comet'

'ESA image: Martian labyrinth'

'Sandy selfie sent from NASA Mars rover'

'"NFL 2016: Part One" — A Bad Lip Reading of the NFL'
If it weren't for these guys, i wouldn't know anything about American Rugby ;-)

'"NFL 2016: PART TWO" — A Bad Lip Reading of the NFL'

'This is what happens when you reply to spam email'
This is pretty much all TED's been good for, the past few years :-D

'Classical Music Mashup'

'Over the Heads of Dinosaurs-Pterosaurs'

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

Word Of The Week: opiate (noun) -- a drug, hormone or other substance derived from or related to opium; something that dulls the senses and induces a false and unrealistic sense of contentment

Hoax Of The Week: Helium Beer -- or is it?

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

'The Goodies: Good Ole Country Music'

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