Tuesday, November 23, 2004

One third of Americans haven't evolved, yet aren't much Godly either

[Sadly, my ability to not be incompetent has not evolved, because I still am incompetent. I didn't realise Petre had already posted this story, and many others besides, before I did. Ho hum. I guess I'll just go hibernate again until Judgement Day, when presumably some Heavenly Judges will evolve from amoeba, the (proportionately) most intelligent organisms on this Goddamn planet, and make me a prince of a small Indian province]. Like a phoenix rising from cigarette ashes, I am overcoming my justifiably legendary inertia to actually blog something. I knew at least Petre would find it highly amusing, so that would make it worth it. It could be so amusing he'll die, but it's worth taking the risk. Given that I'm like a phoenix, we should consider how it evolved. Inspired by Richard Dawkins, I have to admit that there is clearly no plausible explanation bar that a cow developed a backpack, mated with lots of birds [something I should try doing some time, for scientific reasons of course] and became cigarette ash. From which a phoenix emerged. A more beautiful and technically correct theory you'd be hard put to find. Unless you believe God created humans 10,000 years ago. Now clearly you don't, because then you'd be a raving fool [as well as a bore: if you're going to scramble for unobservable, supernatural reasons for Earthly happenings at least go for something interesting. What's wrong with the theory I set out in the second paragraph? You ungrateful zealot. You probably want to abolish all taxes but you still read this for free! Yes]. We all know there are very few raving fools in the world (at least those of us who aren't raving fools do), so when we read a large proportion of Americans are raving fools, we can feel nothing but anger, pain and cow/pheonix manure at Gallup, the previously highly-reputable polling company that released this 'finding'. A totally disgraceful attempt to manipulate the good people of the Occident. Ban them, I say! Ban theeeeeeeem! I thank you for your time. [When I said I'd sort out my website by November I meant an arbitrary November sometime during the course of time. Generalising is so much fun (in general). But I hope to do it by November 2005. I further hope that hope alone will sort my site out; I think this is as likely as the theory I proposed on the evolution of the pheonix, and is therefore foolproof (unless you're a raving fool). Watch this space, and ignore the advertisements.]

Expensive Toast and Dolphin Saviours

The important stories from the week so far: A 10-year old piece of toast has been bought on eBay for $28,000 by a casino. If you missed out, the casino plans to sell it on in the future. I expect there will be a lot of copycat cookers out there trying to replicate the Virgin Mary likeness. In fact, you can buy a sandwich toaster that "may or may not reproduce the Virgin Mary image". Much like other sandwich toasters then. A group (pod?) of dolphins protected some swimmers in New Zealand from a great white shark. What a nice story. A Scottish company has made a JFK assassination 'game' to 'commemorate' the 41st anniversary. The Kennedy family are not happy. Apparently, the company does not consider their product a video game because "no imagination [was used] to create the scene." [Insert snide comment about unimaginative game developers here.] The RSPCA recommends feeding hamsters ketchup. Or something. Daylight helps babies to sleep. And thus prevents them from doing drugs as teenagers. Well, I thought it was interesting. Researchers (naturally) have found Britain's largest dinosaur. Or at least a fossil of one of its neck bones, which allows them (by some sort of conjury/science) to estimate that it was 20m long and 40-50 tonnes. Chocolate may help prevent coughs. The active compound is theobromine, which is also found in tea (which cures everything) and is a derivative of caffeine (which is a derivative of adenine, one of the bases of DNA). Capsaicin is apparently used by researchers to make people cough (we all have to relax somehow). I think it is also the compound in chilies that makes them hot. That must be why chocolate and chilies are such a good combination. I think codeine is closely related to heroin, but I could be wrong. Enough biochemistry for now I think. But while we're on the subject of science: The worst jobs in science, include cranks, nurses, and T.V. weatherpersons. Odd. One of the worst jobs in science (hey, great link), must be trying to convince certain Americans that evolution has a little evidence in its favour (or favor). Whoevers job it is now is doing well. According to a recent poll, now a whole third (or a third of a whole) of Americans say evolution is supported by the evidence. Another third believe the bible is the literal truth. God help us. Especially those evil evolution-believing sinners.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Deadly Churches and the End of the World

The Dutch have found yet another reason not to go church: you could end up closer to God than you'd like. The air in some churchs it seems is more polluted than "air beside roads travelled by 45,000 vehicles daily". This seems quite a specific measurement of pollution. A number (230) of 14-year olds thought they were going meet God sooner than they wanted when their headmaster tried to make them enjoy life by telling them an asteroid was on it way. For some reason, some of the children became a little unhappy. Which just goes to show that they're not prepared for the rapture. Remember: this time it was a poorly thought out spoof by a mad Mancunian. Next time it could be for real. Which reminds me about Lembit Opik. What are Dutch researchers doing when they're not measuring polycyclic hydrocarbons in churches and beside roads travelled by 45,000 vehicles daily? Taking photos, that's what. Not just any photos mind, but 2,500 Megapixel pictures. The picture is so detailed that you can clearly read the number plate of the cars that appear as a blurred smudge when the picture fills the screen. One of the red car parked on the left has the number plate PP-LR-79 if you're interested. There are lot of detail there. And the question in everyone's mouth: how many emails does William Gates get every day? Literally four million pieces apparently. Surprisingly, it's mainly spam and not personal correspondence. He has a whole literal department to filter it down to about ten pieces. There does seem much point him giving out his email address if the chance of an email reaching him is only 1 in 400,000. But maybe the filter doesn't filter randomly. Following on from the article in the Guardian about Bush which mentioned some assassins, there are even more angry people. Even the Dutch got involved, talking about the violence of Kerry supporters, which included some pie attacks on Ann Coulter.

In case you think pie attacks are funny, a Powerline reader from the Netherlands adds:

No, dear friends in America, the attack on Ann Coulter was certainly not funny. Here in the Netherlands we were immediately reminded of the pie attack on Pim Fortuyn, the Dutch anti-muslim leader. Few months after he was subjected to a pie attack, he was killed by people with the same ultra-left background. In retrospect, the pie attack was seen as a harbinger of the mortal attack on the man who should have been our prime-minister.

And least we forgot: Bonzo the clown got a pie in the face and twelve years later he was run over by a drunk driver (who probably had an ultra-left background).

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Gervais and Politics

I just had to post this link, if only so I can find the article at a later date. It's an interview with Ricky Gervais, who, it turns out, is great. In summary, as I can't be bothered to write much and no one will read it anyway: The Americans haven't ruined The Office. Actors are rubbish. Scientists are great. It's a hard life being an atheist. Extras might be out in the summer. I couldn't agree more. Expect for the last point perhaps.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

And the Winner is...

A while back I exclusively revealed that Dutch T.V station KRO were holding a Top Dutch Person Contest and I'm sure everyone is on tenterhooks to know who won. Well unfortunately it wasn't Escher as I predicted, but the infamous Pim Fortuyn. All you need to know about Mr Fortuyn, which is mentioned in every article about him is that he was an openly gay, right wing, anti-immigration, Dutch politician who was assassinated nine days before the 2002 general election by an animal rights activist. His un-liberal and therefore un-Dutch policies shook up politics in the Netherlands and seem to have been the start of declining tolerance here. Or maybe I'm completly wrong. Honourable mention should to go to Antonie van Leeuwenhoek at number four, if only for being a scientist. Anne Franks who is technically not Dutch despite the the efforts of KRO, came eigth. Rembrandt beat van Gogh. HOPE, the Horrified Observers of Pedestrian Entertainment has offered to swap CDs by Ashless Simpson (whoever she is) for CDs of proper music. An excellent idea, even if does mean that they end up with a lot of CDs they don't want. Talking of great music, Bob Dylan's Like a Rolling Stone has been voted the Greatest Song. Eminem did surprisingly well too. Taxing Texts: the future. Posh Crisp: also the future. Toast on Ebay: for nearly $100m. That's enough news for now.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Sint-Maarten

Well, it's been a while. First I should mention that yesterday was obviously Sint-Maarten. On this happy day people give thanks to Saint Martin, the patron saint of windmills, for giving them the power to grind flour using nothing but invisible breeze power. People, especially children, dress up as windmills and spin around in the streets throwing flour everywhere and eating chocolate mice with clogs on. In the evening, people drink water from the canals mixed with freshly ground flour. Then they go and form a circle around their local windmill, which is decorated by tying candles to its blades. Praise is sung to Saint Martin, who, it is said, got the idea for a windmill when he saw a sycamore seed spiral into a pile of wheat. He became a martyr soon after the construction of the first windmill prototype. Unfortunately, none of the above, excluding the first sentence, is true. It would be nice if it was though, but I didn't say "Simon says". Nor did I provide a link to a BBC news story. Therefore, it can't be true. I've no idea who Saint Martin was. The day is 'celebrated' by children going around the house holding lanterns (no, not the houses) and singing songs in return for sweets. It's a little like a cross between carol singing and trick'n'treating, with more reward than the former and less threatening behaviour than the latter. I think my ideas were better. Dutch news that I can't find a link to verify but I'm assured is true: Today in north west Groningen, one of those security vans that carry money from shops and banks spilt its load of 400 kg of two euro coins all over the road. I suppose someone will have to pick it all up. I wish I had a picture. Less entertaining Dutch news, but worth including because it's Dutch and I have a link: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4006313.stm Sticking with international news because I'm so well travelled and cultured. This is about Amelie: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/4005623.stm And I have to include some science. Who says that random mutations never create useful adaptions and only destroy information? Creationists, that's who. And they're right. What use is a two-headed tortoise? http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/4006351.stm Media news: Another BBC 3 comedy is coming to BBC2. This time, The Mighty Boosh. Not as good as The Smoking Room, but it has its moments. Specifically, the heavily-advertised "I don't like cricket" dance in the first episode. Having rarely heard that song in England, I heard it three times within a week here. Yet another reason that this is a great country. And, because all my posts seem to end with death, I should mention the death of Yasser Arafat. There, I've done it. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/in_depth/middle_east/2004/arafat/default.stm

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Navasota Not A Happy Bunny

I should really write something about this, but I won't. So there. Navasota examiner More importantly, Theo van Gogh was murdered in Amsterdam a couple of days ago, while my mum and sister were there. I don't think there's any connection. The murder is obviously big news here and has been on the six o'clock news and Newnight. But in case you missed it: The people here (in the Netherlands) are definitely shocked at the recent spate of murders. Most famously, of Pim Fortuyn, but also of several powerful criminals since then. Although these murders are completely unrelated to van Gogh's, it seems completely at odds with the tolerant Dutch lifestyle (not that they tolerate criminals). I hope they can maintain their libralism. On a lighter note, it appears that some Germans have tried to copy The Office. Will they ever learn?