Sunday, 24 November 2013

Entertainment stuff from the week 18-24/11/13

Hiya monkeys,

The Infinite Monkey Cage is back!

The first episode of this series is about risk. Actually, risk's a pet subject of mine; partly because people are so shit at judging it, and partly because it can be deeply fascinating.

In this programme, they mention cycling, nuclear power, ecstasy... and Graeme Garden mentions hornets.

...Oh, did i mention Graeme Garden's on this episode of the show? Damn right, he is! Fyeah :-D

'The Infinite Monkey Cage - Series 9'

If the link doesn't reward you with the show anymore, try a site like castroller

North Carolina State University's released news of an immense new newly-discovered dinosaur, that was the biggest land predator for 30 million years, before T-Rex evolved!

'Colossal New Predatory Dino Terrorized Early Tyrannosaurs'

'Selfie' has been chosen as the Oxford Dictionary's word of the year.

'Bedroom tax', 'binge-watch', 'twerk' and 'showrooming' are also new entries to the dictionary. I don't know how twerking didn't convince the judges to pick it as word of the year!? They must not be Miley Cyrus fans :-P

"Circus of Horrors performer Anastasia IV has set a new world record by pulling a 2.5 tonne hearse with her hair."
She actually pulled it 20 metres, up Shaftesbury Avenue, in London, taking just over a minute. Judging by the video, no-one batted an eyelid!

Shaftesbury Avenue has to be one of the more euphemistically-named places in London, although it's nothing if put up against the various sources of the River Axe, in the South West - Wookey Hole, The Mendip Passage, St. Swithin's Shaft, and Cuthbert's Swallow!

And now for spoilers of this weekend's Doctor Who episode (in grey)

The plot of Doctor Who's become a plot of Red Dwarf!

No - not Series 1, Episode 1 - Series 6, Episode 1 ;-)

Temp character: Now, gentlemen; as we are all aware, we have lost Galifrey. This is not the time for small-minded, petty recrimination. The time for that is when we get back to Earth and The Doctor is court-martialled.

The Doctor: I didn't lose it.

Temp character: Come on, Doctor - you're the one who parked it! You're the one who can't remember which planetoid you left it around.

The Doctor: They're all the same, those little blue-green planetoids - blue, green and planetoidy.

Clare Oswald: There is no advantage in fingerpointing. We didn't lose Galifrey - Galifrey was stolen from us, by persons or lifeforms unknown.

I bet it turns out that Galifrey's been hijacked by some tiny little nanobots that go "mi-mi-mi-mi-mi-mi-mi"

I'll stake my reputation on this coming true!

"You haven't got a reputation"

No - but i'm hoping to acquire one from this escapade :-P

Actually, there would be many more links between Doctor Who and Red Dwarf than this. Red Dwarf's celebrating its 25th anniversary, this year, btw... well, 3000025th ;-)

'Doctor Dwarf'

By vast coincidence, it is also the 50th anniversary of JFK's assassination, by Lee Harvey Oswald (Series 7, Episode 1)

It's incredible, though, isn't it - the vulnerability of squishy-bodied humans - to be killed by one ideologue, acting alone, equipped only with intense neuroses (including a will to making something of his name, and to hit 'back' at a world he didn't understand) and an ability to shoot straight, through his stereotypically-american obsession with guns.

All suggested conspiracies have been debunked by evidence (link: last sentence of first paragraph), and every single one of them ignores the singular fact that Oswald was the man with a motive, a method, and the ability, working as he did, in The Texas School Book Depository, and possessing the correct firearms, to carry out the assassination, with no involvement from outsiders necessary, other than the glorification of such deeds by the Media.

And how many times do we have to see it, over and over again? The psychometry of people like Oswald (who was psychometrically evaluated twice before his murder of JFK, showing him to be ideologically capable of such a crime), and the various serial killers since him, are sensitive to the popularity devoted by the sensationalist, fear-hungry Press.

"Any publicity is good publicity"

But it is not sensitive to whether that popularity is positive or negative.

Here's a semi-old, semi-new article, to make you wonder, further:
'Did the media help pull the trigger on this shooting spree?'

In my opinion, the numerous conspiracy theories surrounding JFK's death are motivated by more than libertarian distrust of the State's story - they are also motivated by the feeling that such a man must not have died a mundane death. An assassination's hardly mundane, but a lone gunman? That's not good enough.

The same is true of Princess Diana's death. A road-traffic incident? That's not good enough! She was perceived as a star - a heroine - an idol, icon, and inspiration (though not by me). Thousands of people die on the roads, every year, and we care nothing of them. She must not have died in such a mundane way - it's not fitting!!!

But she did. And so did Kennedy.

As plausible as a conspiracy might seem to our eager, plot-hungry imaginations, they both actually died in relatively mundane circumstances.

Heroes snuffed out - one by a car crash, and the other by a selfish psychopath. Therein lies the real tragedy of their respective deaths.

Tragedy: "a form of drama based on human suffering that invokes in its audience an accompanying catharsis or pleasure"

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

'The Timber Treetments Sketch - The Pod Delusion' (my upload)

'500th video - Periodic Table of Videos'

Congratulations, PToV. If you're previously unaware of Brady Haran's YT channels, you have a lot of catching up to do :o)

'Comet ISON - Sixty Symbols'
Everything you ever wanted to know about comets and Comet ISON... almost ;-)

'Two Colour Chemiluminescent Clock Reaction - Periodic Table of Videos'

Wow - that was an interesting reaction :-)

'The Darkness - Holding My Own - Electric Ballroom, Camden, London, Nov 2013'

An excellent rendition of one of my favourite euphemistical songs. Geogre Formby, eat your heart out :-D
{I've just found out that their fourth album should be released in the second half of 2014 - they've already got 15 tracks to choose between, one of which being 'The Horn' (see last week's article)}

'"Decisions In Men's Fashion" Tales Of Mere Existence'

'Slow Motion - Ferrofluid'
OMFSM - look at it jump! LOL

'Doctor Who: Draw My Life!' - Bad Teeth

Live & Kicking, LOL. Oh, Mr Blobby... did you know Graeme Garden, comedy genius, wrote some lines for him, in the early days? Absolutely true!

'3D-doodling pen lets you draw your own objects'
What the #%£&'$ going on, here!?!?

'Taste simulator lets you sample virtual food'
"An electrode that can produce the taste of salty, sweet, bitter and sour food could make gaming tastier and help in healthcare too"

'Natural Selection'

'Heaven Is For Real - Official Movie Trailer (Atheist Remix)'
There's almost no swearing in this one! I suppose even trailers for the scummiest, exploitative films have to be PG :D

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

Word Of The Week: sclaunder -- an archaic word, meaning the same as 'slander'

Expression Of The Week: 'fourth wall' -- the imaginary wall, between a cast on stage, and the audience; 'breaking the fourth wall' is a term used in reference to scenes where the actors interact with, or suggest knowledge of, their audience e.g. in 'Red Dwarf: Back To Earth' where the cast realise they're actors in a show

Etymology Of The Week: oi! -- from 'ahoy', which was itself a strengthening of 'hoy' - a call to attention used back into medieval times

The 22nd of November was the 144th anniversary of the birth of André Gide - a french author, and winner of The Nobel Prize in Literature in 1947, so here are a selection of great quotes, from him:

“The true hypocrite is the one who ceases to perceive his deception, the one who lies with sincerity.”

“Envying another man's happiness is madness; you wouldn't know what to do with it if you had it.”

“Work and struggle and never accept an evil that you can change.”

“Fish die belly upward, and rise to the surface. It's their way of falling.”

“Fear of ridicule begets the worst cowardice.”

“Believe those who are seeking the truth. Doubt those who find it.”

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

'If I Ruled the World clip #1'
Comedy gold, from 1998, with that man again - Graeme Garden. Oh Graeme - "I can't get you out of my head"

'Giraffe Manor'

'¿Dónde está Wally el 50% de las veces?'
Where's Wally? Well, 50% of the time, this is where Wally is:

'El punto ciego de un camión' (The blind spot of a truck)
This is scary! Be a good driver, and/or be a wary cyclist!

'El sprint de un Guepardo en cámara lenta' (The sprint of a Cheetah in slow motion)
Cheetahs go so fast, don't they. It's easier to see them go fast, if you... slow them down!? Ah, just watch the film :-P

'El empleo' (Employment)
In a world where overpopulation were rampant, and every task anyone had ever enjoyed had been devolved to the robots and software programs, what would you be doing for money?


'Funny Ikea Prank' via Richard Wiseman

'Sam the Bellhop' via Richard Wiseman

This is an incredible sleight-of-hand trick. Absolutely incredible! least, i think it's a trick ;-)


Sunday, 17 November 2013

Entertainment stuff from the week 11-17/11/13

Greetings, children of the universe!

First up: I must mention the Typhoon-damaged Phillipines. Every time a 'natural disaster' happens, charities get really noisy and unfortunately it's the least hardest working that divert most effort into clamouring for our money.

And every time I take a look at what they do, I'm worried by their lack of secularity. In the bad ol' days, missionaries were cast as missionaries, and the poor exploited victims were cast as poor exploited victims.

In modern times, charities are more two-faced. They turn to us and exhort charitability; then they turn to the needy and start proselytising.

I'm afraid i just don't trust charities unless they're explicitly secular -- Médecins Sans Frontières is one of those -- all of the money given to them is spent on improving lives - not used to prey on people's fears.

'Philippine Typhoon Relief'
Through the 'Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science', 100% of donations go through to MSF. These are who i opt for.

"The Philippines was devastated by Typhoon Haiyan, leaving nearly 5,000 dead as of November 14th, with hundreds of thousands more lacking food, shelter, and clean water."

In 1954, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed that the 20th November would be 'Universal Children's Day'. It's an event established to encourage all countries to institute a day, firstly to promote mutual exchange and understanding among children, and secondly to initiate action to benefit and promote the welfare of the world's children.

Countries around the world have various different dates, but that Universal Children's Day falls, this year, in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan, makes little difference to the fact that, all year around, there are children living in poverty, fuel poverty, receiving poor education, poor healthcare, poor diets, suffering maltreatment at the hands/mouths of unempowered and superstitious adults, and more.

All of this happens every day, and millions of children grow up thinking their situation is immutable - an inextricable part of their life, their personality, and their prospects.

When/if you donate to spare children and adults from suffering, give a thought for the fact that big changes have been made to our own well-internet-connected lives, in our own families' pasts, and big changes must happen to theirs, in their futures, but also in their presents.

On a much lighter note:

Series 60 of I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue is here!

'I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue - Series 60 - Episode 1'

The guest, for the first two shows, is John Finnemore, of 'Souvenir Show' and 'Cabin Pressure' fame. He also wrote sketches for Mitchell and Webb.

I've uploaded a couple of his sketches to YouTube:

And this rendition in the round 'One Song To The Tune Of Another', from Episode 1:

'Barry Cryer on ISIHAC - I Predict A Riot, A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square'

Tickets are already being sold for 2014's tour dates. Catch them if you can!

Formula E - a new class of motor racing - is due to start in 2014.

'Up close with the new 'Formula E' car'

Ten races; ten teams; twenty drivers; forty cars.

The difference - all the cars will be electric! It's going to be exciting - not just to see the races, but also to see how the technology performs.

There's going to be a hell of a noise though - they're only silent when they're going really slowly :o)

Of interest to those of us who are Darklings:

'The Darkness - 'The Horn' [Live] NEW SONG - Electric Ballroom - 12/11/13'

If that style's going to be typical of their next album, which should be released in 2014, then i want to hear more :-)

I've never heard this song at a gig, before!

'The Darkness - Curse Of The Tollund Man [Live] - Electric Ballroom - 12/11/13'

And i've never heard a studio version of this one, before!

'The Darkness- Second Fiddle'

You can get a proper-quality audio of this by signing up to their mailing list, at the web-site, here:

'Cuban Fury - Trailer'

OMFSM - Lovejoy, in the same film as Colly - didn't think i'd ever see that. IMDB says it'll be on from 14th Feb 2014

You might have heard/read claims or PR about a thorium-powered car that can run for 100 years.

Is it true? Um... nope.

'Thorium Powered Car, Drive 100 yrs on 8 grams of fuel!'

And yes, he does use the word 'bullshit' a lot, in this video :D

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

Top billing:

'Doctor (123456789) - a parody/spoof of the Tommy Tutone song Jenny (867-5309)'

It's a song about epidemiology, and how the numbers help patients and doctors to reach good decisions about their healthcare. Btw, there is a lot of information in the video - like James says, you might want to watch it several times!

More from John Finnemore. Gets about a bit, doesn't he! He's noticed something rather disturbing:
'Ho Ho... No, No, God No!'

Thanks, Hannah - this video was utterly uninstructional - but at least we got to hear some Halestorm :o)

Frankly, my dear, if you think your moustache is saying anything, you ate the wrong fungi - they weren't movember mushrooms!

'Shapes and Solids of Constant Width - Numberphile'
These will blow your mind... even harder than Harto's guitar playing :-P

'Roger Taylor - Sunny Day (official promo video)'
Beautiful song; but i'd expected to at least see one shot of a woman, somewhere. Oh, well - the flowers'll have to do :D

'Horny sea slugs stab each other in the head'

'How To Be A Real Man. (According To The Internet)'
Dusty Smith swears his way through the internet's attempts to tell him how to be a 'real' man :-D

'Ice proved cool way to move stones for Forbidden City'
The Chinese could have utilised their icey-cold winters to construct temporary ice roads, researchers have suggested.
They say the massive stones found in the ancient buildings of Beijing would conventionally require about 1500 men; but with ice roads, it could be done with fewer than 50.
Other researchers have derided the idea of moving 112-tonne sledges with fewer than 50 people pulling; but the mechanism still seems viable as a method of transport, and one that the locals could easily have thought up.

'Roger Taylor - 'Dear Mr Murdoch' (Nude Mix) (taken from 'Fun On Earth', 'The Lot' version)'
Yeah - Roger's the political one - did you know he did a cover of John Lennon's 'Working Class Hero' on 'Electric Fire'? Well he did.

'Unbelievable domino tricks'

A month ago, this guy celebrated having 20,000 subscribers, by creating a course with 20,000 dominoes in it. This video's had more than 8,000,000 views, earning him another 80,000 subscribers! 100,000 domino course coming up?

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

Word Of The Week: juncaceous -- belonging to the family of plants called the juncaceae

Expression Of The Week: 'kangaroo court' --  a makeshift court, set up to speedily or cheaply deal with a matter of justice; originally meant entirely derogatorily, as kangaroo courts were dodgy alternatives to real ones, and often purposely employed to commit injustice

New Scientist Video Title Of The Week: 'Horny sea slugs stab each other in the head' (see 'contemporary stuff')

Quote Of The Week: "It’s funny when people accuse science of being narrow merely because it asks for proof. Science expanded the number of elements from four to over 100. It expanded treatment options from bloodletting, herbs and purgatives to the untold riches we have today. It expanded the universe from a series of armillary spheres to the current, nigh-endless void. It expanded the number of worlds from two to billions upon billions. It expanded the age of the universe from 7,000 to 13.5 billion. Science expanded our senses from a tiny range of sound and light to an endless modulation of wavelengths revealing whole worlds we knew nothing about. It extended our senses from millimeters to angstroms, from kilometers to light years. Science discovered volcanoes under the oceans, terrible lizards who ruled our murine predecessors, asteroids that shattered the world, glaciers that circled the globe, the origins of man in ape rather than god. Science exposed the lie of vitalism, extended lives, cured cancer, discovered vitamins, discovered radiation (then found it was bad for us). And in the last group of discoveries, quacks were poised to kill the discoveries and loot their corpses." - William Lawrence Utridge

Fact Of The Week: Passengers on the Jubilee Line, in the London Underground network, inhale one fungal cell per minute - twice as much as in a park, and four times as much as in a hospital.

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

Charles Trenet was based the tune of 'La Mer' on this song:

'Heart and Soul-----Bea Wain with Larry Clinton 1939'

And here is Trenet's version. With french lyrics, of course.

'La mer - Mr Bean holiday'

Mr. Bean's Holiday has been on several times, on UK linear TV, in the last week. I suppose the motive is our inexorable descent into Winter!

Too big, hmm...

They get bigger than that, too. He must be one chunky fella!

Who the hell thought this stock photo up?
"young attractive dangerous woman aiming at gold fish"

There are plenty more, with many of them listed here:
'Awkward Stock Photos'

A special kind of mat

Ratatouille - the snowboarding opossum:

'The Unbelievable 3D Paintings of Keng Lye'
Just one question: why do it this way, when it's easier, and more effective, to paint a 3D model and suspend it in the resin!?

Funky driving, by Ken Block:

'Singing Ringing Tree, escultura sonora de Tonkin Liu'
Wiki file on the Singing Ringing Tree, near Burnley, in Lancashire, UK

'Secret nuclear bunker? Right this way...'

Junvenile humour... YES PLEASE :o)

It's not as bad as a decapitated Santa Clause, i suppose...

"Where did you come in the grammarbee, honeybun?" "I came, um..."

I leave you with Nvidia shooting Mona Lisa's face. Tara :D

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Entertainment stuff from the week 4-10/11/13

Hi bangers,

The solution to last week's Hallowe'en spooky quiz:

'Solution: Halloween Mystery - Ghost Flame'

The key is that the area of combustion (where you see the flame) can be disconnected from the fuel source.

With a match, the combustion can only occur where the match is, and so immersing it in the CO2 also extinguishes the flame.

Butane from the lighter, however, can flow through the CO2, and combust as it reaches already-combusting butane, at the flame.

Notice that, if the flame were ever allowed to go out, the experimenter would have to start over, by withdrawing and hitting the sparker again.

Combusting butane emits enough energy to ignite more butane, as it comes through the CO2 fog, but warm butane is not.

Also notice that the distance of the flame from the lighter is inversely correlated with the size of the flame (it's smaller).

This is because the butane disperses as it travels away from the lighter nozzle, and so there is less available for combustion in the specific spot where the flame is.

Cool experiment. Spooky science!

And this week's quiz: Which trees are helping us to fight cancer?

{Hint: It's not Willow - aspirin is derived from Willow}

There have, unfortunately, been at least two disasters, this week:

'YouTube comment changes ruined my life'

...and seriously:
{Even more seriously than Greg's grass}

'One of strongest typhoons in history hits Philippines'

Due to lack of data available, atm, it's difficult to tell where has been worst affected, and how many people are involved.

'The Unbelievable Truth' now has a book:

Written by Graeme Garden and Jon Naismith, with a foreword by David Mitchell


The 8th of November marks the 48th anniversary of The Race Relations Act coming into effect, banning racial discrimination in public places in Britain. Half a century later, and it's pretty much only quacks and religionists who consider this advancement to not apply to them.

The 10th of November marks the 220th anniversary of the The French Republic's abolishment of worship of the Christian god, establishing a 'cult of reason' in its place. I know - a cult of non-cultiness - we'd never make that mistake, in the 21st century! [coughs: "Atheism+"]

And in contrast, the 15th of November marks the 72nd anniversary of the Nazi movement in Germany's declaration that homosexual members of the SS and police shall be executed.

What nice people.

Here, in the UK, the beginning of November is most strongly associated with bonfires and fireworks (see 'How they do fireworks in Scotland' in 'contemporary stuff'), to celebrate the time a bunch of Catholics tried to kill a bunch of politicians, by blowing up the Houses of Parliament.

For British Protestants, that pretty much seems a win-win situation. I'm still not sure exactly what we celebrate - their attempt to kill pollies, or their failure and subsequent executions?!

I expect people do it just for the bangs, nowadays... I hope :-/


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

'Miss Ping Debunk'

'ATP Tennis: Top 10 Hot Shots Of The Year'*/Tennis/Media/Videos/Uploaded/2013/11/6/Holding-Court-Live-Presented-By-Barclays-Top-10-Hot-Shots.aspx

'Barclays ATP World Tour Finals 2013 Thursday Highlights: Federer and Gasquet'*/Tennis/Media/Videos/Uploaded/2013/11/7/Barclays-ATP-World-Tour-Finals-2013-Thursday-Highlights.aspx

'Snoopybabe: Flat-Faced Feline Sensation'

'Macro photographs of Nikon Small World contest 2013'

The British monarchy welcome a new 'little soldier' to their ranks:

'How they do fireworks in Scotland'
I dearly hope this isn't fake. But it probably is. Captain Disillusion - you have a new mission, almost immediately :-D

More cock-related humour :-P
'Sexy "Orthodox Priests" calendar features men of the cloth sans cloth' via Johann Hari on Facebook
Actually, none of the models are priests, or even clergy - just affiliates of the RC Church - but don't let that stop them. It's blasphemous enough for me :-D

Does this count as topical? It does? Here you go, then:
'11 terrifying kids from vintage adverts who will freeze the very marrow in your bones' via Sunday Driver
{"Eating out gives life a lift!" ...but you should still ask her permission, first :-P }
{{Sunday Driver is a steampunk band that features Kat Arney, of the Naked Scientists}}

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

Word Of The Week: labile -- liable to change, easily changed; sometimes used in the context of emotional state

Expression Of The Week: "no holds barred" -- from wrestling, meaning no holds... barred. It now means 'free from limitations' in any context

Misplaced Metaphor Of The Week: "A good book should do exactly what it says on the tin" - Judy Finnigan, on The One Show

Science Article Of The Week: 'University physicists study urine splash-back and offer best tactics for men'

Sporting Event Of The Week: The 'Man versus Horse Marathon' run in Llanwrtyd Wells. In 33 events, a man has won only twice!

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


'Inspiration Night - Animation'

'The Delectable Spaghetti Trees of Switzerland'
Ripley's looks back to BBC Panorama's April Fools' Day hoax, back in 1957. I'm not sure why. It's six months 'til April Fools' Day. Is the Ripley's calendar hanging back to front?

Feline sleeping places - then and now

'3D Latte Art by Kazuki Yamamoto'

Modern... um... art? :-P

Don't laugh! I find it difficult to get proportions right, too :-D

Minecraft: what can you do with just blocks? Well...

'The best of Ken M'

'Self checkout'

A compilation from

'Russians on facebook'
Loving the girl with the fish :-D

What the hell are "fushing" and "dinking"?

Feedback updates:

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

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

AMERICAN fondness for guns never ceases to amaze. Barry Cash alerts us to a report in USA Today at stating that blind people in the state of Iowa are being granted permits that allow them to purchase guns and carry them in public.
The report explains: "State law does not allow sheriffs to deny an Iowan the right to carry a weapon based on physical ability."
According to the article, officials in Iowa's Polk County say they have already issued weapons permits "to at least three people who can't legally drive and were unable to read the application forms or had difficulty doing so because of visual impairments".
"No one [in Iowa] questions the legality of the permits," USA Today says, "but some officials worry about public safety." Indeed.
Meanwhile, officials in Deer Trail, Colorado, have received 983 applications, each with a cheque worth $25, for a licence to shoot down any government drones that fly over the town.
No such licences exist at present, but thanks to a Deer Trail citizen's initiative, a citywide referendum on the idea is to take place on 8 October. Enthusiastic would-be drone hunters are putting in their orders early – see

5 Oct
{I feel compelled to point out, in the context of Iowan law that refuses to deny access to lethal weaponry on the grounds of ability, the congruence with laws around the world, that do not deny anyone the right to run a country, on the grounds of mental ability. At least in this respect, the USA is not so out of touch!}

FEEDBACK'S eye was caught recently by a report in the Süddeutsche Zeitung that fluoride compounds exported from Germany to Syria were declared as being destined for toothpaste manufacture – not for chemical weapons, oh no. It was the amount that struck us: "more than 97 tonnes" of various fluoride compounds during 2005 and 2006.
We reached for a calculator and headed for the bathroom. Its cabinet reveals toothpastes with fluoride doses of 1450 and 1100 parts per million by weight. We don't have a breakdown of the exact quantities of the different compounds that were shipped from Germany, but the one containing least fluoride is sodium fluoride at 45 per cent fluoride by weight – so in round numbers we can say that the compounds contained around 25 tonnes of fluoride per year (roughly half of 45 per cent of 97 tonnes). That's enough for 25,000 tonnes of toothpaste.
The CIA estimates Syria's population at 22.5 million and does not report toothpaste as one of the country's major exports. So every child, woman and man in the country could be supplied with 1.1 kilograms of fluoride-containing toothpaste per year; maybe more.
Surely Germany's reputedly meticulous bureaucrats could have spotted how unlikely these amounts were?
5 Oct
{I get through a few hundred grams per year. Syrians must have beautiful teeth!}

[While] searching for other peoples' translations of the Süddeutsche Zeitung story [] above, Feedback was saddened but not surprised to find that fruitloops were instantly on the case. First up was a YouTube video with the description "Fluoride is used to make Sarin gas, yet they say it is okay for your drinking water and toothpaste?"
Yes, yes, but both of these contain much more of the notoriously dangerous substance "dihydrogen monoxide" (chemical name H2O), the vicious trade in which Feedback has oft exposed since 18 May 1996.
2 Nov

AUCTION site ebay now lists its fees to the nearest 0.000001 penny. Martyn Ellis sends a screenshot showing a charge of £1.878252 to include a photo of the item he's selling.
5 Oct
{I smell exchange rates..... :D }

Jeff Dickens was provoked by our proposition that a written notice apparently intended to be read by rabbits and hares – "Rabbits and Hares this gate must be kept shut" – indicates that these furry animals must be very intelligent (7 September).
Jeff responds with scorn: "These rabbits and hares can't be that intelligent if they need signs to remind them not to leave gates open in sheep country. Tsk!"
5 Oct

Stephen Stent sends us a photo of a sign by the road in Whangarei, New Zealand, offering "DRY T-TREE FIREWOOD $100 CM2". What can that possibly mean?
12 Oct

Des Mahon was struck by a notice to drivers in the bus station in the UK city of Dundee: "Engines must be switched off at all times"
19 Oct

ELEPHANTS, says Steve Carper, are "fast becoming the premier unit of all work. Not only are they used for mass, they are also a unit of volume."
Steve cites an article from the 12 August issue of The New Yorker, in which Ben McGrath writes about the construction of the new Second Avenue Subway in New York. He quotes Michael Horodniceanu of MTA Capital Construction, who was standing about 30 metres below Eighty-fourth Street, "in a cavern so vast that he said it could hold fifty-five thousand elephants".
"Maybe," says Steve, "we should redefine density in terms of elephants per elephant."
19 Oct

READER David Curl had to go to the vet to get some Indigo, an anti-inflammatory medication needed by his daughter's guinea pig. The receptionist handed him the bottle and, repeating the printed instructions, told him to "give Indigo 3 kilograms once a day".
"Shouldn't that be 3 grams or 3 millilitres or something?" David asked. "Three kilograms sounds like rather a lot."
"Oh, that's OK," replied the receptionist. "Guinea pigs have very fast metabolisms."
19 Oct

The Domino's Pizza leaflet that dropped through Charlie Wartnaby's letter box defies logic by promising "Savings of up to and over £350"
26 Oct

WHAT on earth could an "alcohol shot gun" be?
Richard Lucas sends us a scan of an ad he saw in the CPC catalogue promoting the "Shootndrink" gun, describing it as a "high speed spirit delivery system" to "take drinking games to another level".
The gun comes with a cartridge – you "fill the cartridge with the spirit of your choice", which is then "shot out at high speed into the drinker's mouth". It is, says the ad, "ideal for stag and hen nights".

Feedback was greatly taken by the whistle-in-the-wind statement concluding the promotion: "NB. Please enjoy Alcohol Shot Gun by drinking responsibly."
26 Oct

THE photo of a charming little hedgehog sniffing a bowl of food in Rachel Cave's recent CJ Wildlife catalogue carries a caption stating that the bowl contains "Organic Paté for Hedgehogs".
"This easily digestible food is akin to their natural diet, so our prickly friends are sure to enjoy this meaty feast," the brochure explains. It continues with the product's composition, starting with "meat and animal derivatives from organic chicken and turkey".
Rachel says she is now afraid to go into the garden at night for fear of encountering hedgehogs that snack on chickens and turkeys – considering how large they would have to be.
26 Oct


"Tapioca must be a hitherto unknown superfood," says Terjei Jensen. According to, a 28-gram serving provides 728 grams of carbohydrates and 3033 calories – a day-and-a-half's worth
2 Nov
{A handy rule of thumb: dietitians are the ones who know what they're doing; nutritionists are just quacks}

From New Zealand, Rosemary Fineman sends a document awarding a Pressure Sewerage Equipment Supply contract to Ecoflow Ltd of Auckland – giving as contact person at Ecoflow one Karl Stench.
2 Nov
{I thought nominative determinism had been abolished from Feedback's inches? They do seem to be creeping back in...}

FINALLY, the International Journal of Latest Research in Science and Technology told Andrew Kirk in an email soliciting papers that it is an "academic Online Open 'Right to Use' Pear Reviewed International Journal".
Andrew wonders how the pear review process is conducted – and whether it makes the journal more likely to accept fruitloopery.
26 Oct
{Haha - someone give that man a medal :-D }
{On a more serious note, though -- i do hope this isn't indicative of some nefarious body-shape-ism, where people with figures other than 'pear-shaped' are subjugated by the Journal, and condemned to live in self-loathing, shame and ignominy! I do hope not.... :-P }

And the answer to this week's quiz is:

It's Yew trees that are helping us to fight cancer. Docetaxel is from the needles of the European Yew, and paclitaxel is from the bark of the Pacific Yew.

'Yew clippings to make chemotherapy'