Thursday, 31 December 2015

Entertainment stuff from the week-and-a-bit 21-31/12/15 (END OF 2015)

Hi Dozenalians,

This will be the last post of the arbitrary temporal period known to many as '2015'. But to some, it's known quite differently, including to the Dozenals...

'2016 - The start of a new (dozenal) century'

So, it's still technically Christmas Time. The time of giving. Of giving gifts to other people; and of belts giving way under the increasing strain.

It's no coincidence therefore, that charities step up their bids for advertising slots, on TV, at this time of year. And step up their do-you-know-about-this campaigns.

But you know when a charity turns out to not be so charitable? Well, like many, i've been bitten by that too.

When i signed a petition on, a while ago, the site asked whether i'd like to receive further mail from them. I said, quite assuredly: "no"

Nine months later, and they've just sent me their 100th e-mail!

{Sumofus is not the only 'positive' organisation that seems to need 'consent training'}

The trouble is, is one of those looney-left faux-charities that gets its ideas of right and wrong from Alan Jones and The Health Deranger, on Natural News.

This is the 100th petition sent to me, and it's a corker:

'What is Monsanto's carcinogenic herbicide doing in tampons?'

Well, having been subscribed to Myles Power for... well it seems like forever... i happen to know that Monsanto is a business like any other, worthy of demonisation as much as any other.

I also happen to know that the "carcinogenic herbicide" to which they refer - Roundup - is not anywhere near as harmful as they make out.

In fact, the only evidence presented by the anti-GMO mob seems to suggest that Roundup makes people (rats, at least) live longer than those without it in their diet.

The fraudulent (and now retracted) Seralini paper, that purported to show increased fatality from cancer, due to GMO/Roundup consumption, actually showed rats fed with water to die younger than those fed on Roundup!#

Maybe Holly Lewis of has finally found the explanation for female humans living years longer than male ones -- the matriarchy is making them live longer, by dousing their 'feminine' products in it :-D

'Bad science in the paper 'Long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant GM maize''

The only real utility for this petition, is to induce Daily Fail-like fearful paranoia.

Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to to suffering. Suffering leads to the Dark Side :-P

What it actually leads to is hysterics, and increased manipulability. Just take a look at the quotes, by petition signatories. They're quite risible:

"Monsanto is evil and causing terrible harm to our planet with untested and unproven GMOs and chemicals - with our government regulators in their revolving door pay" - Dan D.

Yes, i agree. Regulators should never get paid in revolving doors. Money works much better as a medium of exchange.

But the "Monsanto is evil", "unproven GMOs" and chemophobic crap is just deranged.

But not as deranged as the top quoted "Reason" for signing:

"I have 3 daughters - this is unacceptable for them and all women" - Julie M.

Well, if you can't manage to look after that many daughters, that's your fault, isn't it Julie. But i don't see what all other women have got to do with it!?

Whether you consider Julie M's having three daughters to be acceptable or not, this petition is frankly lunatic. I don't see how any petition site can be considered worth its bytes when it deliberately hosts this crap.

Oh, btw, when i said they get their ideas of right and wrong from Natural News, i wasn't being facetious. The image they feature atop the petition page is tagged ""!

#And don't go drinking Roundup to live longer - the whole study was balderdollocks, so that conclusion isn't valid either. Just sayin'. I don't want people thinking that was medical advice :-P

Some roundup things of 2015:

{Did you see what i did there? Roundup/roundup :o) }

'The Top 5 Science Discoveries of 2015 - A Week in Science'

'The Nerd³ Awards! Poop Games of 2015'

'The Nerd³ Awards! Steaming Poop Games of 2015'

'The Nerd³ Awards! Totally Not Poop Games of 2015'

'2015 In 10 Fake Photos'

'Updated: Top 10 Worst Anti-Science Web Sites'

'Science of Christmas | Shedload of Science'

'Did the 1914 Christmas Truce Really Happen?'

In other news:

So, as mentioned in last week's pre-XMAS article, parthenogenesis does not happen in mammals; but in some reptiles it does happen. And in some species, females can give birth to males, because their sex-determination involves temperature. In other words, you can change the proportions of males to females, by changing the temperature of the nest. But how does this work, in practice? Well, biologists from Japan and the USA have found that, in their research of American alligators, a thermosensitive protein called TRPV4 is present within the developing alligator gonad inside the egg. Alligator TRPV4 is responsive to warm temperatures near mid-30s, and can activate cell signaling by inducing calcium ion influx. Inhibition of the TPRV4 protein function in the developing egg, results in partial feminisation of males, pointing at one molecular sex-determination pathway in the alligator.

Like reptiles, slipper limpets are also not mammals, but they too have a process of sexual dimorphism that differs from mammals'. Being sea snails, they're molluscs, but what makes them interesting in this context, is that the species exhibits sequential hermaphroditism - they're born male, and become female as they age. What this research has shown, is that physical contact influences that rate of change - bigger limpets progress to femaleness faster when put in physical contact with smaller limpets, and the smaller limpets' progression is slowed by contact with bigger limpets. The cause for the development of this system, is their physical nature. Young, and therefore small, males might have huge penises, but they have relatively little room for eggs, which would take up much more space. So when young and small, the limpets produce their itsy-bitsy sperm, and when older and bigger, the penis shrinks away and sperm production shifts to the production of eggs, which can be more easily accommodated in their larger bodies. A beautful system :-D

Hooray, success in upland India! Or is it? This press release from Bangor University presents a 'new technique' of developing "food security" in the uplands of East and West India, but really it's only an advert for 'Client Oriented Breeding' which is basically just "the farmers tell us what they want, and then we do it". This is exactly the problem with historical genetic modification, by artificial selection - the same process used in this circumstance. The farmers brag about how wealthy they've become, but Bangor University's press release tells us nothing about the health of their customers. Good GM means developing foods that help; bad GM means making foods that harm - i count extracting wealth from poor regions as a harm. While the horizontal gene transfer of genetic engineering is being used to make more nutritious foods that make people healthier and happier, these people are using the old dinosaur of genetic modification - vertical gene transfer manipulation - to make farmers richer, without any regard for the people's health. So sorry, i'm not putting this down as a success story.

Lace bugs. There are more than 2000 known species of them, they've been found in amber deposits dating back millions of years, they look beautiful under a scope, and they wield a stinging bite. The most recent finds, in the Eocene Green River Formation of central USA, show four lace bugs, wielding golf-club shaped antennae. Although members of a different taxonomical family, it's that these clubs would have been used akin to modern leaf-footed bugs - playing a role in sexual selection, and male-male competition.

A crematorium has become the first in Britain to secure a licence to sell booze. They self-advertise, with the claim that they want "a simple, dignified event" Yeah, right! Every funeral i've been to has been lined with people overflowing with sorrows. What's the chance that they're going to try to drown them in a 'dignified' way? The grieving are already systematically exploited by superstitionists - the last thing they need is the alcohol industry gutting them as well. Two years ago, we heard about the first Motorway Service Station pub. Governments really are lax at resisting alcohol industry lobbying, it seems!

For the first time, the Indonesian government has actually sought ramifications against more than twenty companies that have started forest fires there, to clear rainforest land for palm oil, pulp and paper plantations. The smoke has caused more than half a million acute respiratory infections in Indonesia alone (with neighbouring countries also affected) and $16 billion of damage has been done, medically and to nearby farmland. Three companies have had their licences revoked, fourteen have had their accounts frozen, 23 sanctioned in all, with 33 more under current investigation. 276 companies have been on the list for investigation since September, when the fires were started.

The Australian government, in contrast, just encouraged an environmental disaster, by approving the dredging of 1.1 million cubic metres of soil, to build a port for the coal industry. Both the construction process and the industry itself (not least the CO2eq emissions) are expected to have seriously deleterious effects on the Great Barrier Reef, which is highly sensitive to environmental change, and soil pollution. The coal industry has a lot of influence in Australia, where evidence has been presented that shows Australia as being perfectly capable of surviving without any coal industry at all. Pollies there are just too weak-kneed to say no to polluters, it seems.

China's Chang'e-3 mission touched down on the Moon in 2013, in an area never-before studied, either by the American Apollo or Russian Luna missions. This mission has been the first for 40 years, to be able to send back data about regolith (rock) away from the surface of the Moon. What this data has done, is to demonstrate more of the heterogeneity of the lunar crust and mantle - it's a lot more heterogeneous than Earth's. Change'e-3's Yutu (Jade Rabbit) rover has helped explain mysteries about the formation of the 'seas' on the surface of the Moon, that are formed by cooling magma upwellings after asteroid impacts. Further roving will provide even more insight into how the Moon came to be.

Want to see what Pluto would look like through a stained glass window, looking only in infrared? Then watch the video embedded in this article. The red-blue section shows what Pluto looked like to LEISA - New Horizons' infrared imaging spectrometer - on the 14th of July, in infrared light, of wavelengths from 2.5 to 1.25 microns. The brown band on the right shows a finer measurement of the spectrum from 2.1 to 2.25 microns. The result is a constantly changing image, as you see each vertical band of Pluto in a different wavelength of light, translated into an optical rainbow (because of course, humans can't see infrared). Wonderful :-)

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

'If God Exists'

'.44 Magnum vs iphone....'

'ScienceCasts: Return of the Blue Marble'

'Stress in Space - Judging an Astronaut's Mental State'

'Project Apollo: Shooting for the Moon'

'Hypergolic Fuels – The Chemistry of a Rocket Launch'
6-year-old hypergolics on Periodic Videos:

'Why December Has The Longest Days'

'Little Swimmers - Sixty Symbols'

'Freaky Dot Patterns - Numberphile'

'inFact: Vinyl vs Digital'

'Vaccines: Too Many Too Soon?'

'Tui One'
'Tui Tui'

'Lowdown on Ceres: Images from Dawn's closest orbit'

'RIP William 'Bill' Fink < END OF LINE >'

'Animalia Chorus! (A Capella Science)'

Simply fantastic. But i didn't spot Ornithodira. I feel spurned :-D

'Rollin' Christmas 360° -The Nativity Scene-'

'Can the Worlds Best Total War Player Save CHRISTMAS?!'

'Total War Christmas Special - Santa Races!'

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

Word Of The Week: immaculate -- clean, tidy, unblemished, free from fault or flaw, homogeneous; in the context of biology, a uniform colour, without spots or other markings

Numerical Etymology Of The Week: dozen -- meaning 'twelve' from Old French 'doze' (modern french 'douze' means 'twelve'); in the expression 'baker's dozen' the number alluded to is thirteen instead, due to a statute of the time of Henry III of England, intended to prevent customers being sold short. As weight was the important thing, bakers would often throw a thirteenth (or even fourteenth) loaf in with the others, to make sure they wouldn't get penalised.

Religious Etymology Of The Week: XMAS/Xmas -- derived by contractions of 'Christmas' as 'Christ' begins with an 'X' in Greek; sometimes pronounced the same as 'Christmas' other times pronounced as in 'ekks-mas'. The paranoid conspiracy theorising element in the Christian memome originated the idea that the term 'Xmas' were a secular attempt to eliminate Christianity from the not-really-Christian annual festival, but this is not true - the term has been used since the 16th century, through the aforementioned cause.

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

'Like A Furious Scotch Egg...'

'Red Dwarf Spellchucker'

'Spiked Drink'

^ That last one should put you in a zoological frame of mind, to prepare you for this sketch... :-P

'The detectives rhyming slang'

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Entertainment stuff from the week 14-20/12/15 (XMAS)

Hi jesuraptors,

Last week, i said this:

"The only thing that really has to be done, to mitigate the pace of advancing climatic changes, is to mitigate further CO2eq emissions. The only way to do this, is to make a committed effort to replace the fossil-fuel-based power industry with one that is not fossil-fuel-based."

And this week, we hear of this:

'Britain awards new shale exploration licences'

Those licences have been awarded for 'exploration' under National Parks of all places. They're supposed to be the areas protected from environmental damage, so that there are still some nice places for wildlife to live, and people to go to, when the rest of the country's been polluted to oblivion.

What an awful Christmyth present, for the Cuntservatives to dish out.

Let's return to the seasonal good cheer, however, by mocking us some religion :-D

It occurs to me, that Xmas is like the Velociraptors in Jurassic Park. How so?

Well, the Velociraptors in the Jurassic Park Chronicles, have the size of Deinonychus, the hands of Deinonychus, the toe claw of Deinonychus, the head shape of Deinonychus... they are basically Deinonychus.

The only thing that's Velociraptory about the Velociraptors of Jurassic Park, is the name.

And similarly, Christmas has the tree of paganism, the gift-giving of moral reciprocity, the bounteous food of gluttony, the big fat man of Coca Cola... basically everything that's consistently Christmas consists of atheistic memes.

The only thing that's Christian about Christmas, is the name.

Another thing that Christmas parallels with Velociraptors, is the parthenogenesis.

All of the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park are famously parthenogenetic - they're all female, by design, reimplanted into their mothers' wombs.

Consequently, none of them have fathers. Well, not to start with, anyway :-D

And to quote a tea-addled old vicar: "that's a little like Jesus, isn't it"

The whole point of his birth, is that he was born to woman alone, and so therefore has to be female. Like Athena of Hellenic religion.

She leapt fully-formed from the head of Zeus, replete with armour (and presumably little owl) when her gestation period was up.

It is to her, because of this, that the Parthenon is devoted - the virgin borne goddess.

Never mind she sheer quantity of wildlife that Zeus molested and raped, according to Hellenic myth - there was no reproductive process attributed to her birth; so this is what makes it a 'virgin' one.

IMO, the point of creating these stories this way - both of Athena and Jesus, is that parthenogenesis makes these characters 'special'.

Well, it certainly does. Reptiles and fish can undergo parthenogenesis, with the evolutionary cost of slower adaptation to the environment, but mammals can not. Humans, being mammals, can not have 'virgin' births because ova and sperm are both necessary requirements for vertical gene transfer to be a possibility.

'Is virgin birth possible? Yes (unless you are a mammal)'

But then...

'Raptor Jesus'

Oooh, i can hear the conspiracy 'theorists' rustling their tin foil hats. "Religion is a tool of the reptilian overlords!!!" they mutter :-D

But it isn't just the agency superstitionists that see the unreason of the season to be shit-spouting...

Incorrectly Titled Non-Science Article Of The Week:

'What did Jesus look like? Science is still trying to solve the mystery'

This article should properly be titled:

'What does the Jesus of Christian mythology look like? Christianity still can't make up its fucking mind!'

An omniscient deity heralded by a star/comet that didn't exist, that described its own birth yet couldn't define its own birthdate, nor decide whether it was 'of Bethelehem' or 'of Nazareth'; claimed to be hunted down by a Herod that was dead at the time, over a census that didn't happen, that wouldn't have applied to them anyway; disappeared entirely for two decades; and on their return then did some dodgy party tricks including bringing the dead to life, but not ridding the world of diseases; and then killed itself in a macabre stunt, using a technique not used by the Romans at the time, came back, then said "BRB, LOL" by flying off into the sky, but never came back?

The Jesus story is one that is utterly incompatible with history or physics.

And i find it utterly unsurprising that Christians design a Jesus that looks like them. In all religions, the fantasised deities are constructed according to prevailing culture.

The gods and godesses of ancient Greek religion are presented in toga-like garb; the gods and godesses of Norse religions are presented in furs; and Quetzalcoatl and co look distinctly Aztec in appearance!

Arbitrary mythologies are arbitrary.

There is no definitive Bible, and there is no definitive Jesus.

They have blonde hair, brown hair, black hair, ginger hair. They have blue eyes, green eyes, dark eyes, and hazel eyes, ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-aah.

They're short, they're tall, they're dumpy, they're lean. They were born near 'me' and/or live near 'me' and they like the same foods, wines and womens as 'me'.

They're everything i decide they are... because the one thing they're not, is real.

Fantasy creations will reflect the subjective fantasies of the fantasists. That is how Jesus' appearance has diverged so much in the thousands of years of evolution of religious memeplexes.

{IMO, the words 'memeplex' and 'memome' should be swapped in definition, as a collection of self-reproducing memes is an ideology. Cont. below...}

And yes, superstition does evolve. Which i find especially amusing, given the evolution-denying meme that religion still exhibits.

'Evolutionary biologists have analyzed political opposition to evolution and found it has evolved'

Ideologies made of lies prescribe against lying; and evolution-denying ideologies... evolve. LMAO. You kill me! you have a rule against that, too? :-D

In the USA, in the 1920s, opposition to the fact of evolution was outright and blatant, and made famous by the Scopes Monkey Trial.

Over the last century, religious anti-science in the USA has become more and more subtle and duplicitous as such memes have proliferated more successfully than the blatant ones.

Creationism became the new watchword - the new name for the old bigotry - as religious science denialists sought for undue respect.

And in the decades since, Creationism evolved into Creation Science, and Intelligent Design, with the term 'Intelligent Design' making a 1:1 displacement of the term 'Creationism' in Christian propaganda.

Now, in the 21st century, the lies are presented in the form of false skepticism. Of 'critical analysis', as if critical analysis is not generally part of Science!

In the same way, quackery has evolved, from 'alternative medicine' ("there is medicine, but then there's this") to 'complementary medicine' ("you should take this with your medicine") to 'integrative medicine' ("this is basically medicine. take it").

At one time, quacks could be outright and blatant, as it was difficult to directly challenge them. Now, however, it's easier to challenge them, and so the charlatans' tactics have been forced to evolve, to vie for position as the predominant practice.

In the same way that religionists peddle false skepticism in advocating "critical analysis", quacks peddle false patient advocacy with their "patient choice".

As if their made-up fruitloopery was ever a viable choice in the first place!

Only the specifics can ever surprise me. The generic nature of superstitious 'thought' is consistently barmy, in whatever form it takes.

'Pope Francis recognises second Mother Teresa 'miracle''

Why 'recognise' it? To lend an excuse for getting the sadism-shrivelled walnut sainted. That's why.

If you ever want an easy list of some evil-doing people through history, just take a look at all those who were sainted. For all those to whom we can attest a true history, like Mother Theresa, the reality is one of cruelness and sadistic pride.

And with that cheery thought... :-P


The 15th of December is the fourth anniversary of Hitch's death. I can only nudge you at some of his work. Given the topicality of the Mother Theresa thing, guess which i'm going to choose ;-)

In other news:

Topping the bill, this week -- the first 'predicted' supernova in human history. Staring at stars with telescopes, and predicting when they're going to go phwoooom, is a rewardless task, but in this case, astronomers got a beautiful opportunity to make their first pre-dicted sighting of a supernova. In November 2014, a supernova called Refsdal was seen in the celestial sphere. But this was no usual observation, because Refsdal was lensed - that means a galaxy had warped spacetime, causing the light from the star behind it (including Refsdal) to be seen from our direction, in multiple images, in what's called an Einstein Cross. The really interesting bit comes in when you realise that these different images have had their paths warped by different angles, and so their paths from Refsdal to Earth are different lengths. That meant, to the astronomers, that if they found a longer path, they could predict Refsdal's -re-appearance, but in a different location, from where the light was still on its way. So they set to work, and found that one image of Refsdal had appeared in 1998, when no-one was looking, and that a third image of Refsdal would arrive sometime around now. They booked Hubble for months, and hoped their calculations were right - and they were! It doesn't look like much on the image, but it's a beautiful feat of astronomy, made possible only by the predictive power of scientific understanding.

The 'star' in Christian mythology, that supposedly led sicophants to worship a Jewish baby, never existed. If it had, gravity would have had something rather profound to say about 'our place in the universe'. But there is a real comet that's going to be coming near Earth, around the 'festive period' called S2 PanSTARRS. And by "near" i mean a couple of AUs (Astronomical Units) away - that's about 300 million kilometres. On the 31st of December, comet S2 PanSTARRS will appear to stop moving in the nightsky, and will appear to return northeast from then on. On the 1st of January, comet S2 PanSTARRS's brightness is predicted to max out at +7, where bigger numbers mean less brightness. Comet S2 PanSTARRS orbits the sun with a period of more than two millennia, so last time it was this near the Sun, it was the 3rd century BCE, and Rome was fighting the Punic Wars with Carthage.

Something even less noticeable, will be asteroid 2003 SD220 - a 2 kilometre diameter lump of rock that will pass just 10 million kilometres from Earth, on the 25th of December. That's about 28 Earth-Moon distances. The next expected near-Earth object will be 99942 Apophis, passing just a tenth of an Earth-Moon distance, on the 13th of April 2029.

Water is usually blue, but in Farmington, Utah, much of it is now green, after a 5 gallon bucket of benign dye was deposited into a pond. Apparently, it's the same kind of dye that's used to check water flow, but in much larger quantities. To see the green water, follow the link.

An assay of mantids in a region of Rwanda has found 46 species - 28 more than were previously known. Like other orders of insects, mantises come in a variety of sizes, shapes and colours, to adapt to their surroundings. Just take a look at the picture.

Slovene xenophobia - a threat to wildlife, and domesticated life. 137 kilometres of barbed wire and barbed fencing has been erected along Slovenia's border with Croatia, to keep 'the wrong' humans out of their country. But if humans don't care about the nationalist delusions of other humans, then other species have less thn zero care for their arbitrary geo-political delineations! The WWF has warned that many species are threatened by the construction - larger species especially. More than several deer have been found dead, and many more must have been injured, as they tried to travel around their own homes. What makes this even more sad, is that this is the nationalists' intended outcome - they want to pose a physical threat to anything that tries to cross 'the border'.

Wow, look at it go! It might not be that fast, but it doesn't have to be. Bacterial motility (moving about) is a big boon, from a bacterial perspective, as it allows it to find fresh pastures, ripe for infection, and to spread itself around more of the host's body. It also facilitates the development of a protective biofilm. MRSA (methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus) is an example of an antibiotic-resistant (methicillin) bacterium that poses a great threat to human life, when infection is successful. It was previously not known to be motile, but now it has been seen spreading around an agar plate in 'comets' - blobs of cells that travel across the plate, leaving cells in their wake, which then grow dendrites inbetween them. These comets seem able to avoid other bacterial colonies, and to propel themselves without the use of pili or flagella. To see a video of them in motion, follow the link.

Pseudomonas aeruginosa is another bacterium that produces biofilms. The researchers in this case have been using it as an analogue for other 'superbugs' including MRSA - testing it for susceptibility, to find out how to conquer it. They found that by injecting iron oxide nanoparticles into the biofilms, and using an applied magnetic field to heat the particles, the biofilms were dispersed, rendering them susceptible to the standard cleaning techniques. Essentially, soapy water, or equivalents. This won't help people who've already contracted a 'superbug' but i wonder whether it will also work on 'cometised' bacteria, as in the MRSA case.

The Torygraph and the Daily Fail have claimed that anti-depressants (or "happy pills" as the Fail derogatorily calls them) work no better than CBT (talking therapy). Is this true? Um... no. The source research made no direct comparison of Pills v. CBT. The researchers actually found that, based on an analysis of the best RCTs (randomised controlled trials) patients receiving pills and CBT fared no better than people on pills alone. There was no comparison to people receiving CBT alone. If anything, this study suggests that it's the talking therapy that doesn't work - not the "happy pills" you morons! In practice, cases that can be treated with CBT alone are going to be less acute, and so the researchers advise that both should be made available, dependant on circumstances.

Spin liquid exists! Not a liquid that spins - a spin that liquids. Kind of. The 'liquid' is actually the electrons of a crystal, that's been cooled to 1 K (- 272 degrees C). Usually, cold materials 'freeze' and stop moving; but in this supercooled case, the reduction in opposition to the electrons shuffling for a stable set of matched electron pairs, means they dance around each other, perpetually. Hence the name of a 'spinning liquid'. The researchers experimented with numerous combinations of crystals, magnetization, temperatures and angles of observation, before they eventually found the hypothesized 'spin liquid'.

Metamaterials! Oh yeah. I can't not give these a mention. Metamaterials are materials that have been put together in a way that they exhibit properties that simply don't happen without design. Optical metamaterials can refract light 'the wrong way' for example, and this flexibility is crucial for creating the spuriously-claimed invisibility cloaks. But it doesn't just work with light. The metamaterials in this research are made of paper and aluminium, and can be used to increase the resolution of acoustic imaging devices, and refract acoustics (sounds) to where they ought to be. That means this structure might be applicable in medical imaging, and therapeutic situations.

Oh well, never mind. This time of month, four months ago, we heard a tale of Nazi Gold, radiating from a region of Poland, where there was supposedly a Nazi gold train, stashed with loot, just sitting, waiting to be dug up. There was no evidence of the train's existence presented at the time, and an investigation by University of Science and Technology (in Krakow) geologists has now shown that it's not there. They said that there might well be a tunnel, but that there is no train. The claimants'll just have to accept their 10% of nothing :-D

Speaking of ill-gotten profits: the Australian government is seeking corporate sponsorship for the Great Barrier Reef! The current government recently ousted climate change denying Prime Minister Tony Abbott, but has still done nothing substantial to mitigate the trashing of one of Australia's most famous tourist exhibits - the 2300 km long Great Barrier Reef. Australian Greens party Senator Larissa Waters has said letting coal companies sponsor the Great Barrier Reef "would be like letting tobacco companies sponsor hospitals". This has to go down as another one of those cases of naivity to the harm of the profit motive. Sure, profit-motivated organisations hoard dosh, but why would they want to give it away, to you? Not philanthropy - that's for sure. When mining/energy companies do their charity act, it's generally a case of greenwashing. In other words, Bad PR.

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

'Respect the Chemistry: Fire from water!'

'Hoverboards, how dangerous are they?'

'ScienceCasts: Escape of the Destructive Electrons'

'Weightless Water - Experiments In Zero Gravity'

'Living in Space: An Astronaut's Perspective'

'Bending Fossils: Experiments In Paleontology (Harvard Adventures, Part 3)'

'Bloodcurdling movies and measures of coagulation'

'Parrots use pebble tools to grind up calcium supplements'

'Starfish Feet'

'Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter releases new high-resolution earthrise image'

'New findings from New Horizons shape understanding of Pluto and its moons'
Beautiful vertical picture!

'Ride along with Rosetta through the eyes of OSIRIS'

'Launch of Soyuz TMA-19M to the ISS'

'Stunning shot of Mongolia from Copernicus Sentinel-2A'

'Dad³'s Story Time! - Prank Goes Wrong!'

'Dad³ Vlogs! - Star Wars Midnight Launch!'

'The Force - Sixty Symbols'

'The Force (extra footage)'

'"STAR WARS A NEW HOPE: A Bad Lip Reading"'

'"RETURN OF THE JEDI: A Bad Lip Reading"'


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

Quote Of The Week: "It must be the single most successful emotional con job of the 20th century. [Mother Theresa] was corrupt, nasty, cynical and cruel." - The Hitch

First Word Of The Week: memome -- the complete set of memes stored in the mind of a person

First Comparator Word Of The Week: genome -- the complete set of genes or genetic material present in a cell or organism

Second Word Of The Week: memeplex -- a set of memes which interact to reinforce each other

Second Comparator Word Of The Week: geneplex (not used) -- a set of genes which interact to reinforce each other

IMO, it's the genome that is better analogous to the memeplex, as ideologies are what work like organisms. Memes happening to exist in the same brain, doesn't mean they are necessarily related to each other at all! And in the same way, inserting genes into a cell, doesn't necessarily mean they're going to interact, and influence the development of organisms... including you. I suggest swapping the words 'memome' and 'memeplex' around. This would also permit the word 'geneplex' to be used in biology. Maybe to refer to early-evolution cells, where the genes floated around, but didn't interact with each other in a genome-like way.

Discuss [50 marks] :-D