Sunday, 28 September 2014

Entertainment stuff from the week 22-28/9/14

Hello arboreal chinchilla rats,


This first bit might get a bit ranty. "That's not like you, Tap. Surely not" Yeah, yeah :-D
Don't worry. After all this long writey bit, i'll get on to fanreptiling The Chaser, and other stuff :o)

Young persons' shitsorm alert!!!

[sirens: woo-ooo woo-ooo woo-ooo]

Someone's done something they shouldn't have, and now they've been condemned for it.

No, it's not ISIS - they're still at large, and the Islamic brand of religion that they exist to propagate is still a threat to humanity. But the young people have decided that there is something even more important:

A former Big Brother contestant called Sam Pepper has made some videos in which he's touched some young ladies' bums. That's not weird - there are loads of derivative videos all over the place. I mean, i'm sure i saw a video of a cat touching up a piano once. No shit.

But this is where the humour has to leave, because the story gets very serious.

'Some people' (we can guess what their common politic might be) flagged his videos (so YouTube took them down); he's now, apparently, been banned from attending VidCon events (where YouTubers get together and slap each others backs, meet fans, and generally pretend they're important); and the Linear Media has chimed in, as they seem increasingly wont to do nowadays.
{They finally noticed that Social Media are providing free content for them to plagiarise. The 'join the conversation' tactic can only get so much free labour out of people!}

Essentially, a huge bandwagon - no, cortege - no, stampede - has built up, with huge numbers of people calling for Sam to be arrested... on the grounds of... well, what evidence?

If you've heard about the subject, you'll have heard a lot of claims about a lady-bum-touching video, but you'll have heard a lot less about the fact that he made two videos - one of boy-on-girl prodding, and one of girl-on-boy prodding. Both have been taken down.

Obviously, with both videos censored, it's more difficult to ascertain who's in the right. What was the timeline? Was the third video a Sam's-ass-covering? Did he have time to do that? Having censored the supposedly-egregious content, we can't really know.

Deleting evidence, in general, is a bad thing. Whether it's YouTube videos, or drug-performance evidence. [coughs "Roche"].

But ultimately, this entire stampede is funded by non-existent evidence. Non-existent evidence of the glorification of harassment.

And worse than that, the 'some people' have decided that this absence of evidence justifies death threats! Because when you're weighing up two potentially-traumatising behaviours, death threats are clearly lesser in comparison, to being touched on the bum. <s>

So what does the monstrous menace in the middle of all the accusations think about all this? Well, i'll quote him for you:

"Now to why i posted this video in the first place. As a lot of you might know, if you've been following me for long enough, i don't just post pranks. I post videos that change your opinions on something, how you think about something, and i draw attention to smaller situations that might not normally be seen. Many of us, me included, can get stuck in repetative thought patterns, and assume that our view of the world is right and fair, and that's not always the case."

Well, that sounds like someone who never thinks, doesn't it <s>. It gets better:

"Female on male domestic abuse is pretty taboo. Many people hold the misconception that men are the stronger of the species, so they can't find themselves in situations like that. It doesn't occur to them that a woman can terrorize a man."

And even better:

"In many cases people would be outraged at an act aimed towards a woman, but then just laugh it off when it's a man... In the video of the women getting pinched, the comments were mainly against the video, which was great... In the video with the men... there was a lack of anger, even for the people who thought it was wrong. No-one seemed to care as much"

Odd words from someone who's glorifying sexual harrassment, as the feminists would have you think!

Now i'm not so sure staged versions of real events are really the best way to prove their real-world presence... because they're obviously not! But to condemn this man for harrassment, when the intent of the video (as far as all available evidence presents) was to decry it... that's just moronic!

The harm of sexism has come from his assailants - not himself. Laurbubble is a popular YouTuber who joined in, and someone i know relatively well, by being subscribed to her content. She has unthinkingly condemned him, as have many other opinion-leading names, who should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves.

Notice that the link there is to a comment. My comment. It sums my feelings up pretty damn well so i'm going to reiterate it here, just in case it gets removed (you never know what might happen).

"Alright, Laura, i'm going to call your bluff. This video is part of an experiment, to see whether people will condemn your sexist bullshit, right?
You have no excuse for not watching Sam Pepper's explanation video: <- There's another chance. He made it quite clear that he staged the entire thing, to see whether others would stand up for victims of harassment, male or female, and they did... but mostly for the women.
The ENTIRETY of your video is about defending women only. The women who have already been vouched for, hundreds of thousands of times over. You make no consideration for the men. Know what treating one sex with a different rule to the other is called? Yeah: sexism.
But i notice that where his video's description box contains links to an abuse support helpline, YOURS DOES NOT. Odd, that.
So who's really the monster? The person who stages some videos, with a cogent explanation; or the person who engages only in febrile and divisive rhetoric just to slutshame a man?
Thankfully, Laura, we 'know' this egregious character to be a monstrous aside from your usual frivolous content, and we very much hope for a hasty return to it."

I've never seen such a tsunami of moronic ire-ridden groupthink since... well, GamerGate earlier this year, actually.

So much for the better informed, modern generation!

Mob rule, apparently, is a phenomenon they are just becoming familiar with... and they like it. They've tasted blood, and they've decided they want more. Even when there's no justification for anything they're doing.

Here are some links to evidence of their aggressive, vindictive behaviour, towards Sam Pepper:
{Bear in mind that there's no evidence either of the last two are genuine, either}
{"I know what you've done" - a classic intimidatory line. Very trite. Thanks, Laci}
{This twitter response doesn't even exist! Why fake repudiation?}
{Here's the genuine tweet, with even more bilefuelled responses}
{These were not all written by GSL - he just reposted them}

Now, do you remember, way back up ^ there, when i quoted him as saying "...i don't just post pranks. I post videos that change your opinions on something, how you think about something..."

Well, this video is currently featured on his YouTube homepage... and it was made months ago, so it's not an attempt at reconciliation!


Can you watch that video, and then tell me that you think he's a menace to society? An honest menace to society??

Even the videos that his assailants have bothered to cite as evidence, do nothing of the kind. This one, for example, is from the 4th link down:

"the guy is a dick. the above is just my personal experience, not to mention his videos where he handcuffs himself to girls and forces them to kiss him before he lets them go..."

Watch the actual video. You'll realise that that description is almost entirely erroneous. Only one girl really panicked, and he certainly did not force anyone to kiss him!

So which 'side' are you going to advocate? The one that unwisely made a 3-part video series without prefacing it with a disclaimer; or the one that seeks to destroy the former's entire life, based on claims of faith, despite demonstrable evidence of their deception?

Which are you going to trust? And whom will you defend?

Taking a step back, now, this whole subject makes me think of something else... and that thing is Richard Dawkins.

Not because he's a former Big Brother contestant with a YouTube channel consisting mostly of prank videos... because i'd have to be genuinely psychotic to think that that description actually fitted him... but because he is subject to similar behavioural demands.

Both have been subject to the expectations of uninformed witnesses, who have decided to blame the victims of their misunderstandings for their misunderstandings, rather than accept that they themselves are to blame for their misunderstandings.

Everyone who has condemned Sam Pepper for glorifying harrassment failed to understand the situation, and merely jumped on a bandwagon of bile.

Before the 3rd video of the series (linked above) had been posted, they couldn't have understood it - they had deliberately been presented only part of the story.

In Pepper's case, he has to take some blame, however - for failing to demonstrate an aforesuggested preface. His crime was to lack foresight - not to glorify abusive behaviour.

What makes the lambasting from popular people like Laurbubble and Charlie McDonnell particularly infuriating, is that they came after the 'reveal' - they had no excuse for not understanding the context, the motivation, etc etc etc.

Similarly, Richard Dawkins' opinions have been very succinctly enunciated by himself, on numerous occasions, and yet there are still ideological Dawkins-bashers who take him to task for opinions he blatantly does not have.

They say that he should know better than to use less than 141 characters on Twitter, because <141 characters is seldom enough to deal a concise argument.

So f*ck**g what?!? That's how Twitter works, you morons. [steam erupts from ears]

If you haven't recalibrated your expectations to Twitter-compatible perspicaciousness settings, then you are the idiot.

{Similarly, don't condemn that ^ sentence as necessarily wrong, simply because you don't know that 'perspicaciousness' means 'ability to understand'}

Don't be so presumptuous. Don't think you've got the full story from 8 words. It's not their fault. Your presumptuousness is, however, your fault.

Both people have been subject to passionate and vicious attacks; and those attacks have been pseudo-justified on the basis of the victim's demographic - a pale-skinned, racistly-white, male homo sapiens.

"So what if i'm wrong? They can take it. It doesn't matter." - a rapist

Ironically, this is exactly the kind of prejudice that the antagonists would likely claim to be challenging.

But it's not equality you will get, if you treat any group of people with less compassion than the rest.

That is how to do egalitarianism. You are not a good egalitarian if you fail to care about Pepper, or Dawkins, and thereby don't even consider that you might be wrong. When it comes to their arguments, in the words of Pepper himself: "No-one seemed to care as much".

In fact, even ISIS/ISIL/ISIF/ICIF/CIF/Cillit Bang/whatever they're called now, can be pitied for sincerely believing that violence and mass-deception can make a better world.

For those who did manage to be so level-headed: don't feel too smug -- evidence says personal praise undermines motive :-P

But also that 'process praise' enhances it, so "well done".

And now, with the fury over, here's the bit of me fanreptiling The Chaser:

The Chaser are back, with a new programme - 'The Chaser's Media Circus' - starting on the 15th of October 2014. W00t w00t w00t w00t w00t :-)

'The Chaser: A pre-emptive apology'

"“It’s a shame that all the ABC’s good work for Mental Health Week (5-12 October) will be immediately cancelled out by the return of the Chaser team,” said ABC Director of Television Richard Finlayson."

ROFL. Can't wait :-D


The 28th of September marks the 149th anniversary of Elizabeth Garrett Anderson's becoming the first woman to qualify as a doctor in Britain.

In other news:

The same company that tries to sell us “drinkable sunscreen” has now brought out the completely-different and utterly original “harmonised water”. So, they're selling magic water... the very definition of 'snake oil'. I wonder: do they think it distinct from homeopathy's magic water? And how would they prove that their water is different to homeopathic magic water? I'm guessing they'd just tell everyone to 'faith it'.

This is a frankly terrifying story. Especially if you're scared of needles! Acupuncturists are famous for their obsession with stabbing things, and chests are no exception. For a demo of how masochistic they are, just Google "dogs acupuncture" - you'll never see more morose looking pooches. But back to the bigger horrors. The linked article relates to a video demo of an acupuncturist explaining how not to cause one particular side-effect of stabbing - punctured lungs! I kid you not. And in this video he manages to puncture someone's lung. Again, i kid you not. And he does all of this with bare hands (forbidden, in the world of real medicine) with which he wipes the blood from the wound. Never go to an acupuncturist - the infection hazard is too great. And with Ebola in the News so much, i'd expect you to be at least slightly tetchy about that!

More people with a prejudicial belief in ghosts have seen a smudge on a camera lens and employed all their intellect to infer it to be... a waffle. No they didn't - they decided they'd seen a ghost. Because when the thing you're looking at looks exactly like an out-of-focus insect on the lens, the ovbious conclusion is not-an-insect-on-the-lens but instead the presence of something that doesn't exist at all. And these people are Police! Cripes :-D

UFO Alert: Scientists Puzzled by Green ‘Alien Eggs’ Found on Sydney Dee Why Beach? No. They're the seaweed equivalent of tumbleweed. Tumbleseaweed, if you will. Cute and very interesting, but certainly not UFOs, and certainly not puzzling scientists!

Boobies! Some people have third nipples, but Jasmine Tridevil's claimed to have a third boob - surgically implanted. Unfortunately for her, the hoax was exposed pretty swiftly. Unfortunately for some, her breasts were not. Maybe one of the biggest giveaways was that she said she got it done, because she wanted boys to not look at her. Um.... To know how she was fully exposed (not like that!) just read the Snopes article linked:

Is there really evidence that the Sandy Hook mass murder was a hoax, perpetrated as a 'false flag' by the State? No. The popular screenshot might be real, but surely the FBI would be complicit, anyway? I'll let snopes explain, again. This evidence turns out just to be evidence of the incompetence of conspiracy theorists :-D

Scientists find 'extinct' cat-sized mammal in the shadows of Macchu Picchu? Yes! It was identified by bones, discovered in 1912, and pottery engravings dating back to when it was thought to have gone extinct - five centuries ago. But the steeply-inclined mountain forests of Peru provide many niches in which a rare species could survive, and there it was found, in 2012, along with a lizard species and four frog species. To see pictures of the Machu Picchu arboreal chinchilla rat, just follow the link:

You might remember that at the Water Closet 2014, there was an exciting new innovation, that was on everyone's lips. Well, not on their lips - it was on the turf. That white foamy spray-y stuff might have been allowed at the WC, but in die Deutsche Bundesliga they have higher standards. Apparently, it might not be allowed, in the forthcoming league season, because the can bears no flammability warning, and has no indication of volume. But much more seriously than that, the mixture within also contains incredibly high proportions of greenhouse gases - way beyond German regulations. If referees use it, they might get fined.

Researchers have found a fossil that provides evidence of limb regrowth, earlier than ever before known - 300 million years ago. Modern salamanders can regrow limbs, and biologists are researching ways to recreate their abilities for the sake of amputees, scar patients, etc. But where is the potential for our genomes to recreate this ability? This fossil of an ancestor suggests that all vertebrate species should be capable of body regeneration, because they all have common genetics. So this is a really cool fossil, for anyone interested in body regeneration research.

The dessicated carcasses of prehistoric fish are fertilising the lush environment of the South American Amazon rainforest. Saharan dust fertilises the Amazon when it's blown over the Atlantic (by trans-atlantic winds, obviously) and part of that dust consists of phosphorus-rich apatite from the fossilised remains of fish that used to live in the Bodélé Depression of the south Sahara. That's before it dried up and became desert, obviously!

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


'Are chemicals really bad for you? - A Week in Science'

'Brady Numbers - Numberphile'
There is nothing special about the Fibonacci Sequence and the Golden Ratio!

'NASA | Many Views of a Massive CME [HD]'

'Earth from Space: Athens on the Radar [HD]'

'GOCE Senses Changing Gravity'

ESA's GOCE, and NASA's Grace satellites are so sensitive that they can detect the minute changes in gravitational field strength caused by mountain ranges and ice sheets!

'Lava sobre hielo' (Lava on ice)
I'd like my molten rock... on the rocks ;-)

'Sisters Episode 3: Perfect Pitch {The Kloons}'

'Le Décodeur (Lucien Maine)'
Awww :-D

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

Word Of The Week: snafus -- a confused or chaotic situation or condition

Fact Of The Week: There's five times as much water in the atmosphere of Earth as there is in all the planet's rivers; but there's seven times as much water in all the planet's freshwater lakes as there is in the atmosphere. There's 0.007% of Earth's water in freshwater lakes, 0.001% in the atmosphere, and 0.0002% in rivers. The rest is in aquifiers (underground) and the salty seas, and most of the freshwater is locked up in icesheets.

Quote Of The Week: "When your back's against the wall, it's time to turn around and fight" - John Major, former Conservative Prime Minister of the UK

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

'New Impossibly Tiny Landscapes Painted on Food by Hasan Kale'

'The Art of Organization...'

'Girlie Glasses: A Peep Show With Your Beer'

'Quítate todo'
This is what happens when the decal ^ rubs off, LOL. Very clever, though.

'Morecambe & Wise - Positive Thinking'

'Morecambe & Wise - Greig Piano Concerto'

'Tom Lehrer - The Vatican Rag'

'Tom Lehrer - We Will All Go Together When We Go'
An orchestral version! I've never heard this before :-)

'Tom Lehrer - (I'm Spending) Hanukkah In Santa Monica'

'Michael Bentine - Je T'Aime'
{'Je T'aime' (I Love You) was banned in several countries for its explicit content. Presumably for the sake of the people who could understand French. Want to know why Michael Bentine kept saying "kidneys"? Because 'reins' translates both as 'kidneys' and as 'loins'. It's a very sexy song, LOL}

'Mr Cockcheese sings in the rain'
Odd child.... ROFL :-D

'Ronnie Hazlehurst - That's Television Entertainment'
Here's a medley of TV theme tunes. How many can you recognise?

'Eric Idle and Neil Innes - Song o' the Continuity Announcers'

'George Melly - Nuts'

"Have you heard George Melly's nuts?" "Really? I always thought he was a bit bonkers" :-P

'Harry South - The Sweeney (Main Theme)'

'Marty Feldman - Cautious Love Song'

'Mike & Bernie Winters - Tiptoe Through the Tulips'

'Shadows - River Deep Mountain High'

Monday, 22 September 2014

Entertainment stuff from the week 15-21/9/14

G'day petheist sugar-munchers,

Dan Snow's been doing a series for the BallistaMedia YouTube channel, documenting the battles of World War I, in almost-real time.

You've missed the first month of the war so far - August/September 1914 - so he's already documented three battles: Mons, Le Cateau, and Marne.


Newsthump's parody of the violence after the Scottish segregation referendum result:

'Dozens killed as clashes between rival Android and Apple fans escalate'
“But the fact that they are both essentially the same things seems to mean absolutely nothing to these people.”

I can still hear the winners chanting in the streets...

"Fifty-five percentage points to forty-five percentage points, fifty-five percentage points to forty-five percentage points... We've won the referendum, we've won the referendum, ee aye addio, we've won the referendum".

Etc etc etc :-P

But seriously, though, the only respectable position is to condemn the Nationalistic violence. There were rational and irrational motives to vote 'No', and it's the irrationalists engaging in the violence. Niggle Farage wanted a 'No' majority:

"The UK must have freedom from the EU, so that it can flourish - the EU is a bunch of power-grabbers holding us back" ... "Scotland must not have freedom from the UK, because it will not flourish - the UK is not a bunch of power-grabbers holding the Scots back" - UK Nationalist sentiment

Hmmm... hypocrisy smells bad, doesn't it. The Scots-UK segregation 'debate' is a microcosm of the UK-EU segregation 'debate'. Are we better united or divided? Make your bloody minds up :-D

Neologism of the week: Petheism

(Pronounced 'pet-theism')

No, it's nothing to do with worshipping animals, it's a concept inspired by this video:

'How your pet reveals your personality'

I'm not going to say this In59seconds series has been highly scientific. In fact, it's been pretty damn low on the scale, but it has given me something to think about.

According to research by Richard Wiseman, mentioned in the video, people attribute personal qualities to their pets, that reflect themselves - the owner/carer.

At the risk of sounding like a happy-clappy vicar... that's a little like Jesus, isn't it.

Research shows that people agree with 'their' god more than they agree with anyone else in society - more than a politician, policeperson, doctor, or priest.

In fact, that research shows that they agree with them so strongly, because... they're agreeing with themselves. When contemplating what a theos thinks, they behave egocentrically i.e. self-referentially, and brain-scanning shows that they neglect to use areas of the brain that are used to understand other people's points of view.

Sociologically, you can see that theistic superstition evolves to cultural surroundings - memetically adapting to circumstance. People self-generate god-concepts that reassure them that the them they want to be is the right them. {Did that last sentence seem to make sense?}

A deity's agreeing with them gives them comfort. It reassures them. It warms the cockles of their heart. And so they can terrorise the world and cause bloody mayhem, without ever feeling guilty -- if a god agrees with them, then they must be doing the right thing.

God-beliefs act like comfort blankets - reassuring people that their prejudices are justified. Much like tending to a pet gives people the opportunity to self-love, and self-delude.

{People also talk to themselves while pretending to talk to their pets... that's more than a little like Jesus, too. Just remember to book yourself in, if they ever talk back!}

So in a way, theists are just pet-owners with a fictional pet. They can attribute whatever personality they like to them, and their pet will never die.

Petheism. Available in a store near you, today. Prices range from nothing at all, to millions of lives. Choose wisely :-D

Public service retaliation of the week:

A certain Linear Media organisation that should set its standards higher, has given more voice to Food Industry propaganda, in support of the Sugar Industry, which says it's been unfairly maligned. Oh, the pangs of reporting unbalance. Balderdollocks!

They say they've been maligned, as part of the contemporary bid to improve people's health, by down-regulating the amount of chemical energy that they consume, and to up-regulate the amount of chemical-energy they expend in exercise.

Let me make this perfectly plain, to anyone who wants this subject crystallised (note the pun) into a memorable mantra:

Added sugar is nutritionally valueless, and serves only to make people fatter, both through increasing the calories they consume in the serving infront of them, and through motivating them to eat more servings overall (sugar stimulates additional hunger through a generic reward mechanism).

Additionally-additionally, food and drink advertising serves to exacerbate hunger most in the people who already feel it the most - the people who, due to their surfeit hunger, are currently struggling to keep their weight down (the biological mechanism is through ghrelin release, btw).

Added sugar and food/drink advertising play no discernibly-positive role in our diets. Their only noticeable contribution is to make fat people fatter. Against their conscious will! It targets them more heavily, because they're more susceptible to the advertising.

If you want to get calories out of your diet, then there is one really good place to start - get the sugar out of it! It'll make the food and drink less fattening, and it'll lower your hunger for it, thereby doubling up the effect. Unfortunately, when the industry routinely adds sugar to food, this is very difficult to do, which is why we should keep up pressure on regulators (via our governments) to force them to keep added sugar low, or ideally, excluded altogether.

Personally, i pay very little attention to the calorie content of food and drink, because i'm the kind of flying reptile that doesn't feel enough hunger to eat enough to get fat. But i do sympathise with people who feel more hunger than me, and are tempted more strongly by every mention of food that passes their brains - on posters, on the radio, on TV, wafting through bakery doorways and onto the street, and even on the web... which i'm doing now. Sorry :o)

I pay attention only to the salt content of food. Calories aren't my personal concern, but cardiovascular health is. And salt's a whole other subject for industry regulation...


The 23rd of September 2014 marks the 16th global 'Bi Visibility Day' which is... well i hope it's self-explanatory -- it's for correcting prejudices about bisexuality, and for making friends.

In other news:

Akin to the UK's Royal Charlie - the Cornwall's Duke Of Prince - Norwegian royalty has its fair share of inbred half-witted imbeciles. Princess Märtha Louise has been aiding and abetting 'psychic' charlatans, at the cost of 1540 NOK (US$240) per ticket! Her disgraceful behaviour has been the subject of much criticism from the Norwegian Humanist Association, who have their 'Nobody Likes To Be Fooled' campaign. Interestingly, she defends her delusion as not-delusional-at-all, because she doesn't speak to the dead... she only speaks to angels. Oh brother! :-D

Yet another devastating consequence of faith: a man has died through trusting himself to a Pir - an 'authority' figure in Bahawalnagar, Pakistan. The Pir claimed to be able to resurrect people from the dead (flexing his faithy muscles, presumably) and actually received a willing victim. Well, his plan worked as far as killing the guy by cutting his throat... but the resurrection bit didn't happen. Crucially, this problem (of faith) will be perpetuated, as the delusion-victim's sister said the Pir should not be prosecuted because her brother had faith! They might not be so dramatically lethal, but there are widespread superstitions around the world that indoctrinatees defend at their own expense. Those superstitions can affect us all...

And this is one of them: Herbalife is a multi-level-marketing company (that's a synonym for 'pyramid scheme') that operates in very many countries, including the USA, UK, and judging by the comments section in this article, Thailand too. They purport to provide healthcare products (nutrition, weight management and skin-care) but because there's no evidence for their efficacy (they don't work) they just sidestep the Law by operating as an MLM scheme. It's much more difficult to achieve prosecution against millions of people who are also victims, after all. 'Perpetrators who are also victims'... where's that bell ringing from? It sounds a little like Jesus, doesn't it. Faith = superstition. People whose lives have been gutted by superstitious fraud are just as resistant as the murdered man's sister, to imposition of justice, because it means embarrassment for them - acceptance that they were wrong. Her type of role is incredibly harmful, in perpetuating the harm of superstition.
{I wrote about excuses and/or accepting mistakes, in last week's wordy section}

And in the world of research, yet more bad news: a major new study has revised previous estimates of human-era extinction rates up... an order of magnitude! The evidence now points to human-era extinction rates being 1000 times higher than before humans were around! It's judging pre-historic extinction rates that's the difficult part of the comparison, and the tightening up of that estimate that has caused an upward revision of the extinction-rate increase. The researchers predict that extinction rates will increase to >10,000 pre-human rates, in the century to come. These extinctions are expected to be due to anthropogenic climatic change, which compels adaptation - a challenge inevitably met with failure, for many species.

But at last we have some good news. The Ig Nobel prizes (handed out for research that makes you laugh and then makes you think) have awarded the Medicine Prize to Dr. Sonal Saraiya et al, for discovering that packing strips of cured pork into the nose of a child who suffers from uncontrollable, life-threatening nosebleeds, can stop the haemorrhaging. Apparently, it's the meat's own coagulant chemicals that aid the patient's. You can read more about the other prizes at the link, and you can watch the entire ceremony here. Happy viewing :-)

Researchers working at the Experimental Storage Ring in Darmstadt, Germany, have conducted an experiment using ions pushed to 40 percent of the speed of light to verify time dilation to a new level of precision. By using two different techniques, the Theory of Relativity has been made more precise, which will presumably help with satellite technology that depends on the fact of Relativity to keep track of them, relative to bases on the ground. By speeding ions up to 40% of celeritas (a spacetime constant equal to the speed of light in a vacuum) researchers have used observation of Doppler Shift (a change in wavelength) in LASER light bouncing back from them; as well as a new technique, in which a change in brightness is observed, to reassess the parameters of time dilation - the relationship between speed and amount time distorts. Using both these techniques in conjunction, in a laboratory setting, means future Relativistic time dilation research needn't involve the assumption-filled investigation of looking at deep-space celestial objects.

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

Some sneaky radio-recorded eavesdrops into the forthcoming 'Queen Forever' album, with previously unreleased material by Freddie and Michael Jackson...

'Queen - Love Kills - Queen Forever new 2014 version'

'Queen - There Must Be More To Life Than This (Queen Forever 2014 version)'

'Queen - Let Me In Your Heart Again - new song with Freddie Mercury'
I really love this song. Why didn't they at least release it as a b-side?

'Cosmological Constant & The End of the Universe - Sixty Symbols'
Even if you have a Physics degree, this video will make you feel like your mind's been scrunched up into a little ball and kicked down an endless flight of stairs :-D
{P.S. I don't even think that hypothesis is right, LOL}

'Antimatter Explained'

Oh, and here's another one ;-)
{P.S. Antimatter is not negatively-existant matter}

'Mysterious weather on the sun'
Look at the scale on the x-axis - those magnetic storms are broader than the entirety of planet Earth!

'Preserving Lonesome George'

Well, this is very Richard Wiseman-ish, isn't it :-D

'Tim says...Stick 'em Up Again!'
The last exhibit in this collection is... rather interesting :-D

'Star Wars Minus Williams - Throne Room'
Very funny if you know how drippy the scene is in the actual film edit :-D

'Le Canular'
You can tell these guys eat a lot of cheese before going to bed, can't you :-D

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

Word Of The Week: crumble -- as a verb, breaking into smaller parts; as a noun, the delicious flour fat and sugar mixture that gives its name to dishes called '[fruit] crumble'

Expression Of The Week: 'squeaky bum time' -- the tense, final stages of a competition; presumably not coined by Alex Ferguson, but certainly cited as used by him

Bonkers Quote Of The Week: "The difference between people who believe in the 2nd coming of Jesus and those who believe in global warming is that Jesus will return." — Erick Erickson, an extremely-conservative wingnut and vocal Republican Party activist

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

'Heather Peace - Fight For (Jack Guy remix)'
Great video. Angus Deayton at 3:00, LOL

'Bob Geldof (with Roger Taylor) - The Banker's Song'

'Man explains the intricacies of the Hurdy Gurdy'
{This is actually from the same channel as the one hosting Dan Snow's WWI 'live' series}

Here's a fun romp through the nature of Christian religion, with three friends in the USA's YouTube-based antitheistical movement. I post this, knowing that if this isn't your kind of thing, then you just won't click on the links anyway :o)

'The Unholy Trinity Tour: Part 1 of 3 - Matt Dillahunty'

'The Unholy Trinity Tour: Part 2 of 3- Seth Andrews'

'The Unholy Trinity Tour: Part 3 of 3- AronRa'

This Entertainment post just gets more serious, doesn't it. Share this one around, though. Everyone should see it. (It's only half an hour long)

'The Vaccination Chronicles'

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Entertainment stuff from the week 8-14/9/14

Hi scotch prix,

The Formula E season is here!

'FIA Formula E Beijing ePrix 2014'

I'm not going to tell you who won... just skip to one hour in :-P

And on the 18th of September, something else will be somewhere...

'Alex Salmond claims independent Scotland would part own Royal Baby'

The context for everyone else in the world:

Alec Salmon (as he prefers to be known <s>) is the leader of the SNP - the Scottish National Party - which wants to make yet another separate country in the world.

Why? Because humanity isn't divided enough, clearly. And if there's anything nationalists love, it's bringing everyone together around legal-cultural boundaries inhibiting cooperation and community.

Newsthump made up the idea of sharing the royal 'baby' as a parody of Alec's will to 'share' everything he likes, on the basis of "I have an electoral mandate, ergo i can do whatever i like and own whatever i want".

(I say 'baby' in 'inverted commas' because, as a 'republican' i intend to 'make' sure that the 'idea' of being 'a' baby will be obsolete 'by' the time they're 'an' adult) :-P

Salmon's claimed he can continue to use GBP (Great British Pounds, Sterling) and he's claimed to have free choice of the oil from the UKCS (North Sea fossil oil and fossil gas) as well as many other things.

This is, of course, absurd.

Whether he likes it or not (he obviously doesn't) he's going to have to reconcile his interests with the Conservatives who currently hold the balls of Britain, back in Bestminster... Westminster.

If Scotland does separate from the UK (a union that began in 1707, under King James VI of Scotland, who had become King James I of England simultaneously) then a whole load of socialist voters will disappear from the un-UK's electorate, leaving the Anglo-Welsh-and-etcs to suffer an eternal Tory demagoguery!

{On a side note: shouldn't these kinds of votes involve everyone who might be affected by the result? In which case surely non-Scots should have a vote too. Something to think about...}

For Scotland, however, the prospects are... unknown.

A think-through by the brains at New Scientist magazine (they disposed of bodies, way back in the 70s, as was the fashion at the time) has found that uncertainty is the only clear feature of an independent Scottish future. It's the foremost future feature, LOL.

'Four futures for an independent Scotland'

No-one really knows whether Scotland will be left better or worse off, because the fates of small countries are so variable.

So do more than half of the Scottish electorate have the balls to vote "Yes" to independence, massive uncertainty, and division from their friends in England, or will they aggregatively settle for "No"?

There are, of course, nationalists who claim that the only Scots who would consider voting "No" are not really Scottish anyway so don't have a vote; but this isn't true.

This is the second time i've linked to Theramin Trees' 'No True Scotsman' video in three months! Except this time it's literally about Scotsmen :-D

I think i've given away that i'm not keen on further division in the world, so i'd definitely vote "No". But that's not how populist democracies work. The real result awaits...

'Scotland Megamix - Swede Mason'

Ponderings of the week:


"Religious beliefs are an excuse to do bad things. Don't blame religion."

"Feminist beliefs are an excuse to do bad things. Don't blame feminism."

"Quack beliefs are an excuse to do bad things. Don't blame quackery."

You might not have ever said or thought these things, but many people have. What's so wrong with them?

Let's say you're a medical person, for the sake of example. If you wanted to vaccinate millions of children, and i suggested that instead of your medical beliefs - that vaccination is effective in preventing horrid mutilating/lethal diseases - being the cause of your desire to act this way; that your medical beliefs were in fact 'an excuse' to act on your belief-extricated ex-nihilo desire to vaccinate people, then would that make sense to you?

The answer you're looking for begins with an 'n' and ends with an 'o'. I hope.

I also hope that the desire to disassociate causes and effects, when it comes to superstitious beliefs, is a meme that will fade from modern culture.

It's a generic component of mankind, and all intelligent social animals, to make mistakes, and then to be tempted to pretend that they were never made in the first place. This pretence is called self-deception. With small mistakes, we can 'get over ourselves' with our rationality winning out over our emotions.

We accept that we've done something wrong. We acknowledge that, and then we have the bravery to face our own guilt and the shaming of other people, and to use that motive to be better in the future.

In some situations, with some cock-ups, we have socially compartmentalised elevated abilities to do this. With cultural support, a surgeon can say "You have to take over", but without it, they'll blunder on and lose the patient.

When we succomb to our emotions, and let them lead our rationality, we start excusing our mistakes, and ultimately, pretend they were never mistakes in the first place.

It's when these mistakes are built into an ideology - like with religious superstition, pseudo-medical quack superstition, or with the sexist superstition of feminism - that there is strongest motive to pretend that mistakes were never made.

And from this motive comes the idea that a belief - an idea held to be true - can be 'an excuse' for an action, rather than the cause of it. Which is preposterous.

Beliefs determine intent (not outcome) and so someone who intends to do good, and believes that 'x' action will do good, will commit action 'x'. If they are wrong, then they could, very likely, actually be doing harm.

And this is where the motive to self-deceive comes from -- no-one wants to think that they committed evil, by their own metaphorical/literal hands, simply due to incompetence. No-one likes to be thought stupid.

But when people exhibit an ideological superstition (one unsupported by evidence) they are bound to do these things, because rational ideas are not welcome within superstition.

It is not inevitable that people will always be like this. Dislocation of religion from moral culpability is very popular, and has been for thousands of years, but there's no reason to think that it always will be. There are plenty of people willing to condemn religionists for pedophilia, homophobia, etc. In the end, there won't be any religion left to excuse.

But the broader lesson to learn, is this:

If you are supportive of people who should accept that they've made mistakes, then they will be likewise, and eventually that support might even come back to you. So that when you make an inglorious shash-up of something, and you feel tempted to brush it under a metaphorical rug, your peers will help you to see that the best way forward is to accept your mistake.

They won't treat you with an infantile desire for vengeance, because you didn't do that to them... and they won't say blatantly preposterous things through self-deception regarding an ideological affiliation they've made.

Idealism? Yes. Pipe-dream? No.

Go forth and do the change you wish to see in the world.

{Bloody Gandhi, ckufing up grammar...} :-P

And now, some astronomical magnificence...

'Conversations on Dark Matter with Katie Mack'

'Conversations on Dark Matter with Katie Mack: Part 1'

'Conversations on Dark Matter with Katie Mack: Part 2'

'Conversations on Dark Matter w/ Katie Mack: Part 3'

'Conversations on Dark Matter w/ Katie Mack: Part 4'

Four episodes of cosmological awesomeness from the last couple of months :0)

I've never seen these before, but says there's going to be a new series of monthly public lectures, by the Perimeter Institute, webcasted from October 2014 onwards. If you watched Katie Mack, then maybe they'll be of interest to you, too.


The 10th of September was the 30th anniversary of Professor Sir Alec Jeffreys' discovery of DNA fingerprinting. This is a noteable topical fact, mispoetically speaking, given the 'Jack the Ripper' story that i have mentioned within the 'In other news' section.

In other news:

The Science Museum, in London, UK, has received its largest ever donation - £5 million - from the David and Claudia Harding Foundation, which has donated £40 million in total to 'scientific, academic and humanitarian causes'. Their Foundation is funded by Winton Capital Group, which was founded in 1997 in order to raise capital through the most scientific methods available. Clearly, something worked!

There have been two stories about Stonehenge, this week. The first is one that the Linear Media took up, in which half the world's hacks gawped at the idea of Stonehenge being round, and the other half shoved their heads even further up their arses, so that they could convince themselves that archaeologists gawped at the idea of Stonehenge being a complete circle. I mean just Google it - the Grauniad, Torygraph, etc, all have limp-wristed rubber-necked articles by pseuds, pretending they knew better than the archeologists all along. It's stomach-churning self-aggrandisement! In reality, archeologists have known Stonehenge formed a complete circle for decades - a fact put on the H2G2 as many as 8 years ago.

The second story is a lot more fascinating, and so the Linear Media almost completely failed to take it up. A geophysical analysis of features within the few kilometres around Stonehenge, has found a wondrous variety of alternative sites, and complementary structures, that fit in with the favoured idea of Stonehenge being built for astronomy-related purposes. The University of Birmingham's press release reads 'New digital map reveals stunning hidden archaeology of Stonehenge' and i'm inclined to agree. Even the nature of the technology still wows me - using light, in wavelengths we can't pick up with our own eyes, to look into the ground. That's literally it! Amazing. If you're in time, you can catch the BBC's documentary on the subject: 'Operation Stonehenge: What Lies Beneath' on iPlayer. I haven't seen it, at the time of writing, however, so i don't know how much Humanities-grade-gawping they do. Ten minutes of actual content? :o)

"I was shocked. I looked at it, and you can definitely see the face of Jesus." You should already know what to expect of this photo :-D
{Click the top link for more detail, and the bottom one for a bigger picture}

And here's a picture of Jesus' face on a moth :o)

This story's literally 'man bites dog' LOL

And this story's 'man bites'. Yet another someone trying to sell a book by presenting yet another guess for the aggregate of cases known as the 'Jack the Ripper' cases. The guy claims to have received a shawl from one of the victims - Catherine Eddowes - and that it has semen stains on it, from which mitochondrial DNA has been taken. The genotype seems to best match (best match) a Polish immigrant called Aaron Kosminski, who probably left semen over every prostitute in Whitechapel if he left some on this one! Remember: we have no idea whom this shawl actually came from, in the first place. Basically, this is just another huy trying to sell a book.

But even though the guy who's trying to sell his book, had employed the expertise of a Finnish historic-DNA expert - Dr. Jari Louhelainen - all of this 'evidence' will not be presented in any kind of scientific journal. Apparently. So it can't cut scientific muster, but it can... get published in the Daily Fail? It sounds like the guy Rippered himself, LOL - no-one with any credibility deliberately publishes in the Daily Mail, as a preference.

Fraudsters have been quick to jump on the Scottish independence referendum, by claiming that Nessie has already moved south - to the Lake District, in Cumbria! It must be getting cramped, in there, as less-scrupulous people have already claimed Windermere to have a monster in it - Bownessie. Lake Tahoe and many other lakes are claimed to have monsters in them, as well. What with these huge beasts around, you would have thought someone would get a better picture than this, of at least one of them :-D

Whales' hind legs are vestigial, right? Wrong. Researchers at the University of Southern California and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County have found that hip-bones remain, not due to lack of time to evolve to nothing, but because they have a function - sex! In order to support larger testicles and larger penises, structural supports are necessary, and bones do very nicely. In species where females bonk lots of males as part of reproductive strategy, there is evolutionary pressure for testicles in those males to get bigger. More promiscuous males also develop larger penises. Across whale species, the researchers have found a correlation between genital size and pelvic bone size, regardless of neighbouring rib bones, which suggests that those bones have been repurposed as structural supports to the reproductive organs. Male Blue Whales have penises three metres long - now that's what i call a boner :-D

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

'ScienceCasts: Jellyfish Flame on the International Space Station'

'Lorenz: Hitler's "Unbreakable" Cipher Machine'

'What is Ebola? - A Week in Science'

'Earth In 200 Million Years'

'Friedman Numbers - Numberphile'

'Curiosity Rover Report: We made it! Curiosity reaches Mount Sharp (Sept. 11 2014) [HD]'

'NASA | Ionospheric Holes on Venus [HD]'

'Dancing flames'

'How to Draw a Stick Figure (School of Youtube)'

'Man arrested for theft'

'Wobbly Circles - Numberphile'

'Exploding Pianos - Periodic Table of Videos'

'YouTube Love Child with WOTO'
Comedy quizzes: one of my favourite forms of entertainment :-D

'I tiled my bathroom and accidentally created the café wall illusion. When I grouted the tiles, the illusion went away'

'The talented Maria Cork made and kindly sent me this enigma. A solid bolt in a solid piece of wood! Any ideas?'

'Eager fan spots giant red arrow shapes on leaked Star Wars set photos'

'Apple Watch to finally make eye-contact obsolete'
"Fans of Apple have reacted with delight at the announcement, and are expected to begin queueing the moment someone puts out a sign saying ‘Apple Watch here in about 6 months’."
{The context: }

'VIDEO: Boater Catches Explosive Volcanic Eruption, Startling Sonic Boom on Camera'

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

Word Of The Week: rambunctious -- a person or group that is difficult to control, boisterous, or noisy

Expression Of The Week: 'good riddance' -- a termination or departure that the quoter is glad of

Quote Of The Week: "Religious belief is without reason and without dignity, and its record is near-universally dreadful."- Martin Amis

Fact Of The Week: There is a restaurant in Tokyo that serves dishes from a menu with an odd ingredient - dirt. The menu includes black dirt soup, dirt ice cream, vegetable salad with black dirt dressing, sea bass with dirt risotto, and dirt mint tea. The name of the restaurant is 'Ne Quittez Pas' (french for 'don't leave') I'm not surprised.

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

'Rosetta Tattoo'

'Tasteless Tuna?'

'Do you take this shark to be...?'

'Some useful infographics from'

'Public Information Films UK - Jo and Petunia - 1965 to 1973'

'Public Information Films UK - Blood Donors - Glenda Jackson & Ernie Wise (1980)'

The world's largest musical instrument at 3.5 acres across: the Luray Cavern's Stalacpipe organ

'The Great Stalacpipe Organ'

'Luray Caverns, VA. Stalactite "Organ Music"'

'The Stalacpipe Organ on "Ripley's Believe It or Not"'

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Entertainment stuff from the week 1-7/9/14

Hello again iceketeers,

I know you'll think that i'm late to the party, but i'm going to mention the Ice Bucket Challenge.

I'm here to remind you that Motor Neuron Disease isn't a flash in the pan. And neither should donations to MND research be.
(Motor Neuron Disease is called Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis in the USA, where it is colloquially known as Lou Gehrig's Disease - Lou gehrig was a famous sufferer)

Of all the ways to die, i consider MND to be by far one of the worst. Why?

Because MND is also the way you live, knowing that your inevitable decline is effecting your muscles but not your brain. You slowly lose control of the body that is apparently yours, and bit by bit become a total burden on other people.

And the worst thing is, that it's both rare and untreatable.

But it's only untreatable because it's rare.

Cancer - the big 'c' - is a scary range of diseases that is relatively very common, which means there are a lot of people pushing to fund research, so that it is understood, and so that that understanding can then be used to develop treatments.

Everyone knows someone who has had cancer, yet few people know someone who has had MND. In the modern age, you can hear about cancer from survivors. There are no 'survivors' of MND. The best sufferers can hope for is perpetual imprisonment within their own bodies. Approximately 3% have this kind of MND - Stephen Hawking is one.

Because we are constantly reminded of the threat cancer poses, to people we know and love, charitable funding for research is maintained. That is how cancer is the beatable range of diseases that it is today, and not the death sentence that it used to be, even in the most developed societies.

But that is where MND research still is, today. Please don't forget the Ice Bucket Challenge. It's not a flash in the pan, or a cube in the bucket. MND will continue to exist, and it will take consistent commitment to raise sufficient money for research to find a way to fight it.

To a government, research is cheap. A million is nothing to them, even in pounds sterling. But compared to domestic expenditure, it's a heck of a lot of money.

A few million pounds is not going to deal with MND forever. This campaign has raised 100 million US dollarsworth, so far. Cancer research, by comparison, draws in half a billion pounds, in the UK alone, to be spent on research.

And that's every year!

And Cancer's still not done for.

To conquer MND, we need consistency. We need this Ice Bucket campaign to metamorphose into a butterfly that can catch people's attention consistently, and draw people's attention, in the governments that can wield State budgets.

And that is why i'm not actually 'late' to this anti-party. It must carry on until MND is ultimately controllable.

Here are 'the best' Ice Bucket challenges (that i have seen) from the last month or so:

'What is Motor Neurone Disease? #ALSIceBucketChallenge'

This one is obligatory viewing. You must watch!

'#alsicebucketchallenge for Motor Neurone Disease'
I know Rachey from the Skeptic Zone podcast (that music you can hear is by Stefan Sojka who does all the music for the Skeptic Zone) and she works in MND research.

If you want to give money directly to some MND researchers, follow the link in her video's description box, or here.

There aren't many famous people to have died of MND, but there are some, including David Niven - the brilliant actor of The Pink Panther, Casino Royale, and many other movies.

'Famous people with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / Motor Neurone Disease'

Here's another, but different medical topic, that's caught the eye of sensationalists in the linear media:

'The case of Ashya King, his 'wanted' parents, and the Czech proton therapy'

My first thoughts, when i heard that a young boy was being whisked around the world, for some 'experimental' new treatments was "Oh FSM no - another family ruining their child's last days chasing quack non-cures"

But then i thought about what the therapy involves: protons.

To Space Scientists, a proton is a 'cosmic ray' which is an erroneous term for a proton flying through Space. (Erroneous because rays are photons, and protons aren't)

When astronauts go up into microgravity, and shut their eyes, they see flashes, as 'cosmic rays' pass through their retinas. So clearly they do interact with the human body.

But that doesn't make 'proton therapy' a real and effective treatment. It could do more damage than 'conventional' radiotherapy, that uses photons. That's photons, not protons. #forgoodnesssakepleasenotypos

So i went from feeling a knee-jerk "Noooooooo!" response, to thinking that the technique might be feasible, to wondering whether Science Based Medicine's done a blog post about it.

They haven't. Yet. As i write this. But Steven Novella (one of their contributors) has:

'Ashya King and Proton Beam Therapy'

His explanation of the goings on is neat, concise, and not too long, but the points of note are these:
- Proton Therapy is a real thing, that has been researched, but only a bit, and the evidence is indirect and thereby slightly dodgy.
- The hope is that Proton use will be better than photon use because it is better targeted, meaning less damage to surrounding tissue while killing the tumour. But remember that these are hopes, not facts.
- It is impossible to decide whether a particular treatment can suit a particular person without knowing their particular case. If, for example, you were to try a potentially-lethal substance on someone who's dying anyway, your actions would be rightfully welcomed. If you tried something lethal on someone with a cold, you would probably be arrested. All medical cases are shades of grey between these two extremes. (Think AIDS, across to Thalidomide - straw-clutching to pointless threats)
- This case is one of conflict between parental rights and the responsibility of health care providers, and the state, to care for minor children, who are unable to make their own decisions. This topic usually comes up when guardians wish to deprive the little people in their care of effective treatment, for superstitious reasons, relating to the treatment itself or an 'alternative'.
"In cases where parents wish, for whatever reason, to deprive their children of standard of care medicine, I personally think the issue is fairly clear – parents do not have the right to sacrifice their own children at the altar of their religious beliefs, philosophy, ideology, or scientific illiteracy. In such cases the state has a right to step in and defend the rights of children to basic medical care. This is not one of those cases."
I agree, but i think it remains to be seen whether this is one of those cases.
- The UK's NHS has denied (funding for) treatment of Ashya's medulloblastoma, because (1) they think it's insufficiently evidenced to throw hope/money at (2) the specific physiology of Ashya and his tumour mean proton beam therapy is not a good idea even if it does work, or (3) bureaucratic insufficiency means there is a red-tape knot preventing the right thing from being done.
- The NHS, in general, insists on evidence of clinical effectiveness for any new treatment, and increasingly, these days, they are also insisting on evidence of cost effectiveness, which means it must not only be as effective as the incumbent, but it must also be demonstrated to be of adequate value-for-money. (Why spend money on saving one person's life, when you can save five elsewhere?)
- The NHS has recognised that there is likely to be a future for proton beam, as it has committed funding to build two treatment facilities (at a cost of $200 million for each facility – yes, proton cyclotrons are expensive).
- The study that Steven cited is not clinical evidence – it is a mathematical model of late effects of radiation based upon simulated proton and photon treatments. It’s theoretically compelling evidence, but it is indirect evidence; and medicine has a history of making mistakes based on indirect evidence, so it’s not surprising that plenty of people are advocating caution.
- Ashya's parents are Jehovah’s Witnesses.

That last one might turn out to be important. The situation we seem to have, is one where parents are running their child around the world, for a condition that the NHS probably thinks is untreatable, as they have shown willingness to back the greater expense of cyclotron facilities, over paying for this particular patient's treatment abroad. So the conjecture is around the parents' motive.

We don't know the full ins and outs of their medical case, and we probably never will (probably never should, for privacy reasons), but it seems suspect that superstitious ideologues, like members of The Witness, would be involved in evasion of the law, again, in spite of medical advice, to chase a treatment they know very little about. (And let's face it - there isn't much anyone could know about it, yet)

Desperate they might be. Willing to spend their own money they might be. But JWs have form for denying medicine for the sake of their beliefs - Courts regularly order JW parents to surrender their children in order to save their lives, simply because JWism has an obdurate stance against blood transfusion!

As my first sentences indicated (in this segment - not my life) there are many cases where people try dodgy bullshit to save themselves or their kin, but i think this is not (quite) one of them.

But only for reasons the people involved will probably not understand - the theoretical background to the medical viability of the treatment.

Because i don't know Ashya's specific case, i shouldn't either support his parents' decisions or oppose them, but i do await potential future applications of proton therapy with interest. I hope the hopes are justified by future evidence.


80 years ago, Maurice Martenot invented the Ondes Martenot - a kind of electrical piano that sounds like a sonically-flexible theramin.

In other news:

Warming urban areas in Australia are resulting in bigger and bigger spiders; even of the same species. It's the heat-sink effect and the spread of high-thermal-mass concreted surfaces and other hard surfaces that seems to correlate best, suggesting that the temperature itself is effecting the metabolism of the spiders. It's hypothesised that accelerated maturation might be resulting in longer growing periods, meaning a fuller full-size by the time they stop growing.

This is what Newsthump thinks of the story: 'House spiders taking the piss now'

Paelontologists have been getting excited about a remarkably complete skeleton of a huge cretaceous-era sauropod dinosaur - Dreadnoughtus schrani. It's found to be 26 metres long, and would have weighed 59 tonnes, dwarfing Brachiosaurus at 34 tonnes and Diplodocus at 15. Amphicoelias fragillimus holds the record for highest estimates (also found in the lands of modern-day Argentina) for length and weight - 60 metres and 100 tonnes. But these estimates are unreliable, due to key scale-related bones of their skeletons being missing. So Dreadnoughtus schrani is the biggest dinosaur to assuredly have been that huge.

Here's an interesting story about the nature of evidence, and the importance of the scientific method in avoiding presumption. Emergency services in Peterborough, UK, responded to a report that there was a body hanging from a billboard. A police spokesman said they were called to reports of "a body hanging from a structure". The ambulance service said they were told "a patient was in arrest due to hanging". What did they find when they arrived at the scene? The expanded-foam, sellotape, plaster and spray-paint sculpture that an artist had had put there, the weekend before. A witness saw this sculpture, dressed in a hoodie and trackies, dangling motionless from a billboard saying "What's an artist worth", with legs splayed and left arm permanently raised, and concluded that they had discovered sufficient evidence to justify occupying the emergency services' time. They didn't see it as a justification for going to see whether someone had somehow got stuck there, in a weird catatonic stupor, or not - they presumed that their inference was necessarily going to be valid. The only excuse i can imagine for making this stupid presumption, would be "I'm housebound" but then, surely, you'd have noticed the erection of the structure, in the first place?!? The mind boggles.

Ever seen a cat riding a buffalo? Not a 'big' cat - i mean a domestic cat, of the species felis catus? Well, this is the closest i think you're ever going to get. Riding a wild buffalo, at least. A camera trap, in South Africa's Hluhluwe Game Reserve, caught shots of a genet (a species that looks like a cat/dog) riding a buffalo, on its back, and unless genets can do sub-space transportation, evidence of it walking from hind to haunches between shots. And there are people who say CCTV's all bad, LOL

A US mobile phone company has changed its name from 'Isis', to avoid associations between itself and ISIL (ISlamic State in Iraq and the Levant) formerly knows as ISIS (...and Syria) but there are many more organisations that go by the name of 'Isis' which is the name of a god in Ancient Egyptian mythology. In 2013, in the UK alone, 46 babies were named 'Isis' but presumably not because all of their parents were members of the religionist organisation! A quack in Miami has apparently raised a petition calling for the Linear Media to call them something different (ISIL, instead of ISIS). Quackery-fanciers are probably the only people of low enough intellect that they struggle with distinguishing the name of an individual and the same name in the context of an international religionist terrorist organization! I wouldn't be worried by one called 'TAP'.

And this is what Newsthump thinks of that story: 'ISIS to change name again after further negative publicity'. "Earlier name experiments with Islamic State and The Levant were dropped when its British-born fighters were unable to locate The Levant using an Ordnance Survey map."

In the UK, this week, people have been panic-buying vacuum-cleaners. Why? Because nationalists have told them that the evil EU is compromising their power, meaning they won't be able to keep their houses clean, and they'll suffocate in a furball of aggregated fluff. Well, that's bollocks! What's due to be regulated, by the EU, is power consumption of electrical appliances (including vacuum cleaners, hair dryers, etc) not power output. There are many flabby, wasteful, inefficient designs on the market, today, and they are wasting electrical energy and contributing to inflated energy bills. These regulations will force an improvement in efficiency, and thereby push electricity bills down. When i bought the computer with which i write this, i had marginally cheaper options available to me, that would have consumed 20 times as much energy, to achieve exactly the same results! Surely this bureaucracy is something to embrace. Why panic-buy old, inefficient appliances when the wiser thing would be to wait for the forthcoming more-efficient designs? The people i saw on TV really didn't think it through, did they :-D

Was a palaeolithic neanderthal shot in the head and killed, with a rifle, in Africa, 38000 years ago? Dun-dun-drrrrr... no. Odd stories are odd. Bad Archeology explains that pretty much everything about the story is wrong :-D

'Ticking package that caused evacuation of government building was box of clocks'
Yes. This is literally a scene in the Will Hay film 'Ask A Policeman' from the 1930s, except set in Los Angeles instead of a mysterious coastal location in the British Isles :-D

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

'Momentum and Spinning Chain in Slow Motion'

There was a paper published, earlier this year, about the 'chain fountain' featured in this video. Here's the Royal Society's video of it, again:

'Ballo Goes Home'

'Roger Federer - Top 10 ..even more Fake Shots (HD)'

'Giant rabbit installed at Taiwanese naval base'

'Good With Food, Not So Good With Motoring'
Here's something i spotted, near where i live :-D

'Archerfish shoots down prey with jet of water'

'Rubbery robot walks through flames and snow'

Baconbot is born, LOL. I can see this in Hollywood movies :-D

'Gallus Light'
Interesting. A flame, of course (of course!), is a region of air that's been sufficiently heated to emit light - to illuminate. Hence how it's possible to have smoke without fire. To see the flames of fire - the phenomenon that has enthralled human beings for thousands of years - requires more energy than it does to make something smoulder and smoke.

'APPLE Iphone 6 Parody Commercial by IKEA "BookBook ™"'
I usually reject companies' parodies of other companies, for ideological reasons, but this is quaintly amusing. The last point is an interesting one though: paper records are more secure than digital ones, because copying them (and thereby the data contained within them) requires more effort. The easier it is to make the data in the first place, the easier it is to steal and distribute - an innate problem for future tech.

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

Word Of The Week: usquebaugh -- a scots synonym for 'whisky', from gaelic for 'water of life' (and pronounced like 'wunderbar')

Etymology Of The Week: nematic -- a chemistry term, for materials that exhibit strands aligned parallel to each other, but loosely packed, so that the material can exhibit both solid and liquid properties, such as in 'liquid crystal displays'

Quote Of The Week: "It is a goodly life that you lead, friend; no doubt the best in the world, if only you are strong enough to lead it!" - the Sea Rat, in Wind In The Willows

Fact Of The Week: There are populations of sheep and/or goats that will wear their teeth down, to consume more lichen that contains psychoactive substances - narcotics and hallucinogens, for example. Monkeys and parrots have been known to steal cocktails from guests at tourist resorts, and elephants to consume fermented (over-ripe) fruit. Rats have been shown to respond to any drug that humans will use - heroin, amphetamine, cocaine, alcohol, etc - with the only exception being LSD.

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

'Transit Of Phobos'

'42 Butterflies Of North America'

'If you are missing the edinburgh fireworks I will be tweeting them live'

'Coolest Dog Ever'

'More Pareidolia'


'How Will You Accidentally Destroy Civilization?'

'Updated Science: The Science of Body Language'

'Updated Science: How Do You Get Pink Eye?'

'Updated Science: Make Your Own Invisible Ink'

'Updated Science: How Are Bees Organized?'

'Busting Some Common Parrot Myths'

'Why Is Breakfast Important?'

'The Effects of Pesticides'

'High Fiber Diets'