Sunday, 24 July 2016
Entertainment stuff from the week 18-24/7/16
Put your cynicism metre away. I'm going to try to break it, this week :-P
It never fails to astound me, the way people can be black then white then black then white, then red all over.
Take Rachel Dolezal, who grew up pale and pasty, but then decided to 'identify as' Black, and became the Head of a Black Supremacist organisation, full of Black people, who somehow didn't notice that she wasn't. Funny that.
Or take the mixed-ancestry eye-witnesses to the attempted murder of PO Darren Wilson, by Michael Brown, who had their race changed to 'Whitemotherfucker' by the local #racistlivesmatter kill-the-police brigade. They had their tone changed for them.
They're black, they're white, they're black, they're white, they're black, and they're white again. And then they're red all over. Either through blushing with embarrassment on coast-to-coast TV, or with the blood of the police officers they killed for being 'too white'.
People are perfectly happy to accept that mad Islamists are a threat to humanity, when they kill people for advancing their ideology, so why don't the same people accept it when a faux-liberal movement does it?
Usually because they're in it. It's the nature of the factionalist beast to deny painful associations when they're inconvenient.
This is how the greatest evils are done. Acts of harm are excused, to protect popular prejudices, which become more and more virulent, and so are given more and more power to cause the acts of harm that are given a perpetual condition of moral immunity.
Take this interview between two racists: a journalist and a 'social studies' researcher, for an example of popular prejudice excusal.
'The White Savior — racial inequality in film'
Somehow, they manage to take a genre predicated on White Guilt - the collective feeling of culpability for historical racist events, that motivates people to compensate with current actions - and replace it with White Pride where the evil Whites are portrayed as morally valid, and willing to do the right thing. Scandalous <s>
And why do they do this? "many whites now believe that they – not people of color – are the true victims of the racial order"
Well, pre-referendum, i did find myself banging my head against a white supremacist Brexiteer, but accepting other people's 'white' or 'black' labels is not the same as joining a movement. The reason these people do this, is to provide an excuse for their own professional victimhood, and their own truncated compassion for anyone who isn't 'one of them'.
How they might try to reconcile this with their 'women/blacks need role models' bullshit is beyond me. I'd like to see them try.
"Do the evil Whites need strong moral characters on film, to show them how to behave around Minorities™? Yes, so we're going to object whenever they get any. The scum"
And how do the Blackism apologists respond to this victimhood, when it's real, and not in fiction?
'Racism on Airbnb inspires new sites Innclusive and Noirbnb'
"Accusations that Airbnb has been ignoring complaints of racism have led several black entrepreneurs to create two new vacation rental websites... Innclusive.com and Noirbnb.com"
Noirbnb. Blackbnb. Geddit? Oh the lulz <s>
Their apparent solution to racism, is segregation. Good on you 'black entrepreneurs' persuading people to apartheid themselves, to make the racism go away <s>
And then, of course, there's Ghostbusters.
'How MIT gave "Ghostbusters" its "geek cred"'
I have never used the expression 'greek cred' before, and i hope i won't have to, ever again. I mean really. Vomitbags on standby.
The whole problem with the movie, is the nauseating ethos through which it has been produced, that has poisoned the entire project, and has provided the motive for ridiculous pieces like these.
This ridiculous feminist chicklit propaganda movie, that should have died at the ideas table, is now being dressed up as a Maths documentary, because the propaganda machine behind it is desperately struggling for methods of damage control.
The con job, i expect, will continue until it goes to DVD...
In the annals of Sarkeesianesque pseudoscience, comes this beauty. Pun intended.
'Sexualizaton of female video game characters has diminished since the 1990s'
"They... assigned scores for 11 character variables that examined the sexualization of the character"
So the summation for this 'study' is:
A bunch of women subject fictional women to their 'beauty standards' and find that they don't push their buttons as well as they used to.
But is this a good or a bad thing?
"A positive relationship emerged between the sexualization of female characters and their physical capability"
So athletic women are perceived to be... sexy? Even by the women who run the study? Wow, that's a blockbuster finding. Stop the press! <s>
"Critical success of games was unrelated to sexualization"
Oh. So you're saying sex doesn't sell, after all? Damnit, we must let the world of advertising (and porn) know about your world-changing findings.
What a load of codswallop :-D
The 20th of July marked the 40th anniversary of the landing of the Viking I lander, on Mars. Researchers are still poring over the data that it sent back.
Some time this year marks the 25th nniversary of the creation of scientific paper depository arXiv. Today, arXiv is supported by a global collective of nearly 200 libraries in 24 countries, and an ongoing grant from the Simons Foundation
In other news:
Confirmation that alcohol (ethanol) causes at least 7 types of cancer, has arrived. And not in a pedantic 'everything causes cancer' sense. Alcohol consumption is responsible for a substantial proportion of mouth and throat, laryngeal, oesophageal, liver, bowel, and colon cancers. It's estimated to have caused 500,000 deaths in the UK, in 2012 alone, just through cancer - not including alcohol poisoning, accidents, etc.
Following on from last week's dinosaury extemporisation, we now have the idea that their mouths contributed to their downfall. Matching observations to modern birds' survival tactics, these researchers have hyopthesised that the extinction period, at the K-Pg era-boundary, would have favoured animals with beaks, that could make the most use of seeds, left ungerminated but edible by the severe climatic changes. In the modern world, birds make good use of their beaks, post-disaster, to do the same. So beakyness might have contributed to the difference in survival of avian and non-avian dinosaurs, in the K-Pg extinction.
Staying on the subject of birds, agricultural scientists have found that mosquitoes avoid chickens, using their smell as an indicator of unsuitability. Anopheles arabiensis, the most prevalent malaria-transmitting mosquito in Ethiopia, where three villages were involved in a study, shows a strong preference for mammals, and an aversion to chickens. The article says fewer mosquitoes were caught in traps next to chicken-accompliced beds, than in traps next to beds inhabited by humans alone. It doesn't, however, say whether the mosquitoes stay away completely, or avoid the traps but still feed on their nearby fleshy quarry. Spray-on mosquito-deterrents are purported to work in the same way as the chickens - they produce a smell that the mozzies don't like. Such sprays are not easily available in African regions, however, where malaria kills ~400,000 people per year.
Long before there were birds, there was Euparkeria capensis - a small cat-sized carnivorous reptile that lived around the region of modern South Africa, 245 million years ago. This Computerised Tomography scan of E. capensis' skull has found room for highly elongate cochleae, meaning it had a fairly good hearing range. And the lack of dampening would have increased sensitivity to airborne sounds, making its hearing superior to other primitive reptiles and waterborne creatures of the time. The researchers also found specialized regions for pressure relief, in the inner ear of Euparkeria capensis. The long, thin semi-circular canals of E. capensis would have been responsible for detecting head and body movements, and providing feedback for control of the muscles of the neck and the eye. These would have been very useful for hunting, suggesting E. capensis had an upright gait, and depended on active hunting. Euparkeria and their relatives were the ancestors of all modern birds and crocodiles, so its physiology provides a transitional form on the way to the evolution of the dextrous modern bird's ear.
Following the release of a 'trove' of documents relating to the Turkish state's power structure, by Wikileaks, the Turkish government, led by Erdogan, has blocked access to the Wikileaks website. The excuse appears to be that the website is one of many that threaten the State of Turkey, but it's much more likely that it actually exposes deep problems in the Erdogan government. Islamist authoritarianism is just the first on the list. Residents can, of course, use proxy servers to access the website.
In a narrow zone around Nairobi, in Kenya, a microbe is driving two sub-species of butterfly apart, accelerating their division into two separate species. The microbe's doing this by fusing a sex chromosome with another chromosome, in the developing larvae, so that the male offspring fail to develop. The unborn males are eaten by their hungry sisters, who have no-one to mate with, thereby truncating the hybrid population's ancestral line. Because the hybrids of the two sub-species can not reproduce, the only successful reproduction can occur within the two heterogenetic populations, forcing their heterogeneity upward. Inevitably, there will come a time when the two populations can not successfully maintain a hybrid population at all, and the populations that are now considered sub-species will be regarded as their own species.
Can humans really detect a single photon'sworth of energy? The authors of this study suggest 'yes' but i'm not so sure. They repeated a test, in which they'd used a complex apparatus to produce singular photons of a single visible wavelength, 30767 times, requesting human participants to identify the presence of a photon or the lack of a photon. Chance says a non-causative result would be ~50% and what was the claimed statistically significant result? 51.6% Even with 2,420 single-photon events accepted into the dataset, that's really not far from random chance. I think this is a case of seeing a pattern that the researchers want to be there, rather than a genuine finding. Maybe if there was a participant minority that were responsible for the difference, who were much better at spotting lone photons, and whose abilities were verified with a follow-up, then it could be said that were something to this. But i'm not convinced. The optic nerve tingles with activity, that you can see when you close your eyes in a dark room. How could anyone see a single photon of light, against that background noise of false imaging, created by the nervous system itself?
ESA's Venus Express satellite's observations of the Venusian topography and atmosphere have been used to get an idea of how weather systems work on the planet. Close to the surface, temperatures are incredibly high, light intensity very low, and wind speeds match walking speed. But there is a cloud layer at 50-70 km above the surface, where temperatures are much lower, light can get through, causing convection, and windspeeds are much higher - hundreds of times faster than at ground level, and faster than Venus rotates - a phenomenon called 'super rotation'. The Venutian atmosphere is very low in water content, due to the high temperatures evaporating it into outer space, but the water that is there has been monitored, and used to identify weather patterns around the 4500-metre-altitude mountain range Aphrodite Terra. Here, air rises up the sides of the mountain, producing a column of wetter air, rising like weather phenomena do on Earth, far above the mountain top, and eventually breaking and sloughing off to the sides, when it hits the faster air currents 50 km above the ground. As a result of this, topological features, on the surface of Venus, have a large influence on the weather patterns seen from outer space, tens of kilometres away from the ground.
Solar Impulse 2 is currently flying from Cairo to Abu Dhabi, as i write this. You can watch the (hopefully) last leg of their flight, live, by clicking on the link, if you're quick:
------------------------------------------------------ of the weeks
Word Of The Week: polyphenism -- where one species' morphology diverges into multiple forms, in order to adapt to circumstances - environmental, seasonal, or social cues. Tundra-borne animals often change colour to white, during the winter, for example. Pristionchus nematodes' offspring diverge into five forms: two that feed on microbes, and three larger ones that eat other worms, using bigger mouths, equipped with teeth. These differences are achieved without changes to their genes. The moth Nemoria arizonaria's caterpillars grow to mimic oak catkins if they hatch in Spring, and oak twigs if they hatch later
Etymology Of The Week: tarpaulin -- meaning a large sheet of strong, flexible, water-resistant material (often abbreviated to 'tarp') ~16th century; comes from 'tar' and 'paulin' (or 'pallin' or 'pall') with the latter meaning a large canvas for covering objects and/or holding them to the deck of a ship/barge/truck, and 'tar' referring to the naval process of spreading tar over such canvasses, to waterproof them and prevent them from degrading in the briney seaspray. Before modern oil-based materials, sailors would spread tar on pretty much everything - canvasses, clothes, ropes and rigging, and even their hair. This is where the term 'Jack Tar' for a sailor comes from, as they would always smell of it, a term dating to the 1670s
------------------------------------------------------ contemporary stuff
'How the Hyperloop can kill you!'
'Electric Boat | Fully Charged'
'Penney's Game - Numberphile'
'Keep your mixed drink cool'
'NASA image: Sunset at the Viking Lander 1 site'
'Image: Mars Express spies a nameless and ancient impact crater'
'Image: Not really starless at Saturn'
'Rebranding | Fully Charged'
'#PokemonLivesMatter : Feminism now too stupid to parody!'
I'm sure this isn't the first time feminism's become too stupid to parody :-D
'The Words of Dad³ - First Beer'