Sunday, 29 September 2013

Entertainment stuff from the week 23-29/9/13

Hi, customers

Seeing as it's a Feedback update week, this week, i'm going to find the time to tell you about a poster that i regularly see around the local railway network. This kind of thing regularly gets mentioned in Feedback.

Hang on a moment, i know it's around here, somewhere...

...ah, yes, here it is.

I knew i'd left the time somewhere. So...

Are you all gathered around, and sitting comfortably?

Then i'll begin...

There is a poster - an advert - that is intended to inveigle customers into spending even more money on their already-expensive services.

[And this is it.]

The offer is, as you can see, for a chance of saving more than 23% of the price of a ticket. That means it could be 24% or 50% or 100%.

Potentially, the saving could reimburse the entire cost of the ticket!

But 150%, 1000%, and 1000000% are also more than 23%. Is this poster claiming that there is a finite chance of saving more than the Earth's entire wealth on a ticket price of £11.20?

That would be very costly for the rail company! And certianly a season ticket that i would buy.

...but maybe, more likely, the chance of saving more than 23% is truncated to 24%. Maybe it's far more likely that the saving will be much less than 23%. If i were a cynical bastard, i would say the savings across all fares were most likely to be 0%.

If i were an even more cynical bastard, i would point out that the claim does not exclude the possibility of savings below 0%. There might be a chance of saving 23%, but only common courtesy - an arbitrary social law - forbids it from being -23%!

This is capitalism we're seeing here, after all. Why promise us +23%, if not to encourage commerce, and inflate the rate at which they hoard money.

The, ahem... 'savings rate'... could be -100%, -1000%, or -1000000%. Far from being owed the planet's wealth, you could find yourself owing it!

So spread the word. These bastards are the worst kind of loan shark. They bait you with the prospect of a cheap ticket, and then they drain you dry!

"could save over 23%" indeed. Harrumph......

Rather less frivolously, though...

The IOC - International Olympics Committee - has decided that Russia's homophobic 'crackdown' to prevent anyone from even mentioning Queer people, is absolutely fine by them!

...I wonder how 'Bi Awareness Day' went for them, last week:

One of the principles of the Olympic Charter is intended to prevent this kind of thing happening - to prevent prejudice from showing up at Olympic events.

To let the President of the IOC know how gutless they're being, and how irate morally courageous people are about it, you can start with signing this petition:

And don't forget - the most powerful influence here are the sponsors - let them know how bad it will look if they don't do anything about it either.

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

'MAGNETS: How Do They Work?'
A great explanation of how magnetism works, and why so few of the elements actually work as magnets. Plus: follow the link to find out how relativity causes magnetism.

'Science of Water Balloons from @sixtysymbols'

I've tumblred some screen captures, here:

'Water Balloons (extra footage part one)'

'Water Balloons (extra footage part two)'

You might remember chuckling at what epidemiologists do in their spare time, back... [link] then. Well, there's more!
'Happy anniversary Cochrane Collaboration III'

'Biblical Baby Mamas'
DarkMatter2525's favorite Bible story, in glorios color animation :-D

I don't usually post from Greg's Kitchen, but these look scrumdiddlyumptious! ...To the food depository!

'Waiting - Swede Mason'
"It's OK, Mr. Stimpson - i've got a free" Plenty more time to... wait... then.

'Backseat Driver'
Are you a backseat driver? Then this is the car for you:

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

Word Of The Week: abstruse -- difficult to understand; obscure

Etymology Of The Week: newfangled -- now used disparagingly, to mean 'confusingly modern'; used to be an adjective meaning 'addicted to novelty', from from old english, with fangel meaning 'inclined to take'

Quote Of The Week: "[Smoking is] a custom loathsome to the eye, hateful to the nose, harmful to the brain, dangerous to the lungs, and in the black, stinking fume thereof, nearest resembling the horrible Stygian smoke of the pit that is bottomless." - King James I of England, in 1604 (James VI of Scotland)

Fact Of The Week: Dionne Warwick was born Dionne Warrick (two 'n'-s) but adopted the former after a spelling mistake on the sleeve of her first record as lead singer

Cocktail Of The Week: 'Buttery Nipple' - 3 oz Bailey's, 2 oz Butterscotch Schnapps, ice, milk

Headline Of The Week: 'In Belarus, One-Armed Man Arrested For Clapping'

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

'Best ATP points of 2012 pt.1 (HD)'

'Roger Federer - Best Points of 2013 pt.1 (HD)'

'Roger Federer - Top 10 Genius Half-volleys (HD)'

'Roger Federer - Top 10 Genius Fake shots (HD)'

'Roger Federer - Top 10 Rocket Shots (HD)'

'Roger Federer - Top 10 insane defensive points (HD)'

'Roger Federer - Top 10 insane slices (HD)'

'Roger Federer - Top 10 insane returns (HD)'

'Brian May & Kerry Ellis @ Paris la Cigale 2013 : Life is real'

'Brian May & Kerry Ellis @ Paris la Cigale 2013 : Something'

'Brian May & Kerry Ellis @ Paris la Cigale 2013 : Last horizon'

'Brian May & Kerry Ellis @ Paris la Cigale 2013 : Tie your mother down'

'Brian May & Kerry Ellis @ Paris la Cigale 2013 : WWRY (2) +The kissing me song'

Here's the official 'Kissing Me Song' video:
'The Kissing Me Song - Brian May and Kerry Ellis'

Best-Of-Feedback Updates:

{I just noticed that Feedback now has a tagline. "Feedback is our weekly column of bizarre stories, implausible advertising claims, confusing instructions and more". I bet it's been there for ages - i'm not the most observant!}

Simon Horton wonders whether the missing hyphen in a London Underground sign offering "Real time travel updates" should be between "real" and "time" or between "time" and "travel"
24 Aug

HERE is a puzzle concerning electromagnetic fields. James Smith directs us to with the comment "Pick any sentence from this web page for a good chuckle". By way of example, he offers: "Crystal Catalyst Technology has a unique composition and structure which allows it to absorb and then rebroadcast harmful electromagnetic radiations in a cleaner form."
There is much more to chuckle at in the site's enumeration of its "handcrafted emf protection devices", but James adds that he especially likes the testimonials from satisfied customers that are dotted around the site. Now here's the puzzle: assuming that they are not entirely made up, we cannot work out for sure if these comments express genuine enthusiasm or if at least some are written with tongue in cheek.
James, again, offers an example: "Thank you for your product. I devised a test using my Kiniseology [sic] skills which work with food allergies and YES your product makes a difference! One is stronger with the product when touching the TV, mobile or computer!! Well done, guys! I have long thought of how we could counter this excess of EMFs."
Surely that's tongue in cheek? We certainly hope so.
24 Aug

THE Yahoo Movies website recently ran a "stunning" clip from the new space movie Gravity. The text beneath it read: "The clip shows Sandra Bullock's astronaut thrown into space after an explosion on a space shuttle. Watch it above, unless you're claustrophobic." Matt Ashmore, who noticed this, comments: "Your claustrophobia must be pretty insurmountable if you can't stand to be in a space as small as, well, space."24 Aug

Linda Kopf sends a photo of a sign seen in the village of Salunga in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, saying: "Private Sign. Do Not Read"
31 Aug

FREQUENTLY frustrated by the difficulty of finding gadgets with decent instructions, Robin McKellar was delighted by a recently-bought door stop. It came with detailed instructions, in English and French, on how to insert the small end first, "just in case I was confused".
31 Aug

Feedback regrets that only now can we tell you of a job with Erewash Borough Council, the closing date for which was 26 August. Judging by your correspondence, a minority of you would have enjoyed working as an "Anti-social behaviour co-ordinator". Derek Woodroffe comments that "It surely is bad enough having them working alone, without them getting assistance from the Council".
31 Aug

"SINCE the beginning of time, mankind has sought to fully understand the laws by which our universe works," it says on the website we're reading. This site hails the discovery of the Higgs Boson, which it insists on calling "the God Particle" despite our report that physicist Leon Lederman preferred "the goddam particle" (25 February 2012)
Then it brings us the news that parts of the CERN accelerator "exposed to the surge of energy which showed substantial evidence of having the God Particle" were sent to "the leading universities and research centers in the world".
And what did they allegedly find? That "the energy of the God Particle has some amazing effects on migraine prevention, on treating different kinds of skin conditions, up to a surprising improvement among those who [were] ailing from sexual dysfunction disorders".
To share in these literally incredible benefits, for $199 you can get a spherical pendant, supposedly from a "bearing" in the CERN accelerator spirited away by "a maintenance team", from Feedback certainly hopes this isn't true, since CERN's real maintenance team write that "equipment irradiated in or near the beams may become radioactive".
7 Sep
{There's always a charlatan to take advantage, isn't there! And people still doubt Rational skepticism's value!}

Shane Dwyer tells of an advertisement for Shark motorcycle helmets in Australian Motorcycle News: "Anti-noise neckpad: –4.5dB (A 300 per cent reduction in noise level)". That really is quiet.
7 Sep

A LIST of the 10 funniest jokes, as voted for by critics and fans at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the annual arts jamboree in Scotland's capital, sparked controversy when only men were honoured. It took Feedback reader Guy Robinson to note that, less controversially, two of the winning jokes were science-based.
We particularly liked this from Liam Williams: "The universe implodes. No matter."
Feedback, having experienced the Fringe, would not necessarily recommend to female physicists that they spend 10 days next year staying in an overpriced cupboard and drinking too much. But stardom is surely calling.
7 Sep
{I've recently been enjoying the filthily free podcast-based antics of Richard Herring. He's still doing a podcast for the Edinburgh Fringe, here.}

Attached to David Waltner-Toews's email, headed "Extreme Weight Loss", is a photo of a sign spotted near Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. It reads: "Lose all your weight for $5"
14 Sep

INSTALLING a toilet flush system at home in Binbrook, Ontario, Canada, Rob Roy was intrigued to observe an example of the effects of different languages on content.
The English-language instructions suggested, in pictures, that the "tools needed" were a bucket, a sponge, scissors and a wrench. The French speakers, on the other hand, were told that the "outils nec├ęssaires" were a bucket, a sponge, scissors and a hammer.
14 Sep

While waiting for the kettle to boil, Paul Ockenden found himself studying the instructions on a packet of Marks and Spencer tea bags. Among them was this warning: "Use only freshly boiled water as reboiled water has lost its oxygen."
"Isn't a kettle full of hydrogen somewhat dangerous?" he asks.
14 Sep

Jim Jobe was intrigued by an offer in Morrisons supermarket for "Mini Man-Sized Tissues": These were for mini-men, no doubt... and of course they were offered at a reduced price.
28 Sep

HOPING to go for a walk along the coast of Northumberland in north-east England, Alan Robinson checked out the "Walking Britain" website. The description of the scenic Dunstanburgh Castle walk there gives the starting point of the walk as "OS grid reference NU256197 Lat 55.4704199170077 + Long -1.59455186840724 Postcode NE 66 3TW".
Alan reckons this corresponds to a precision of something like ±0.1 micrometres – but the site adds that this is the "approx. location only". Alan wants to know: "What would they regard as sufficiently precise?"
28 Sep

SEVERAL Australian readers have gleefully told us about what Neil Speirs calls "a major attempt to boost your catalogue of unusual units". A press release from the country's Clean Energy Council on 3 September celebrates record levels of energy produced by wind farms in four Australian states. It tells us: "Australia's wind farms generated 1024 gigawatt-hours in August, enough to make more than 6 billion (6,144,000,000) toasted sandwiches using an average sandwich press."
A stack of these sandwiches, the press release goes on, "would go around the Earth more than three times". What's that in blue whales?
28 Sep
{In case you were previously unaware: one of the things Feedback documents is weird units, such as the 'blue whale', the 'cup of coffee', or the 'Wales' (the country)}

THE Tesco voucher that Flavio Antonietti sent to us promised him "£2 off when you spend £5 or more on hot pies in chilled ready meals".
This set off an argument between Flavio and his 6-year-old son Andrew over whether this food would be hot or cold.
28 Sep
{If it were very small enough... and they usually are... Quantum Physics could permit the pie to be both hot and cold...}

WHEN Richard King visited the ruins of Hailes Abbey in Gloucestershire, UK, the shop there was selling "Supernatural Ice Cream". He tried to work out how you would make this, and came up with an answer involving seances and frozen ectoplasm that we would rather not dwell on. "Maybe other readers can work out a better way," he concludes hopefully.
28 Sep
{Maybe they meant super-critical ice-cream?!? Although i'm not sure whether consuming an ice-cream with such properties would be a pleasant experience!}

FINALLY, Rachel Burton sends us a screenshot of a BBC weather page during the first week of August. The forecast for the night ahead on the first day of the week reads: "UK overnight. Very warm and sunny for many. Cloudier in northern Scotland."
"Do they know something we don't?" asks Rachel.
28 Sep.