Archive for the ‘makes you laugh’ Category

Breaking News from BBC: Fashion Industry Does Not Exist

June 17, 2011

BBC News – Flashy sports cars are male ‘short-term mating signal’

Although men used spending on luxury items as a short-term mating signal, women did not spend to attract men.

What they’re talking about, apparently, is that women don’t [tell researchers that they] buy big flashy luxury items to attract men for hookups and flings. Because makeup, designer clothes, personal trainers and plastic surgery are, y’know, free.

This pretty much encapsulates the traditional post-1980 rules on feminine versus masculine behavior: women have to make it all seem effortless. It also contradicts previous research results.


A certain naive charm

May 5, 2011

File-Sharers Await Official Recognition of New Religion | TorrentFreak

The church has its own set of axioms, most of which revolve around free access to knowledge and the sharing of information. They include:

# Reproduction of information is ethically right.
# The flow of information is ethically right.
# Remix Spirit is a sacred kind of copying.
# Copying or remixing information conveyed by another person is an act of respect.

Poor Colonized Ezra

April 15, 2011

Paul Ryan is not pro-competition, and his critics are not anti-competition – Ezra Klein – The Washington Post

Ryan, Brooks says, believes that “health care costs will not be brought under control until consumers take responsibility for their decisions and providers have market-based incentives to reduce prices.” It’s true that Ryan does believe that. But it’s not true that that’s what’s worrying so many about his budget proposal.

[italics added]

If Ryan actually did believe that old rightwing canard, wouldn’t he, you know, introduce a proposal that made it possible for medical consumers and to actually control their costs, and for effective lower-cost providers to gain share. But unless he’s a complete drooling moron, Ryan knows that’s not what his proposal does, hence he doesn’t really believe the canard (or doesn’t care about his beliefs) and has been pretty much feeding Ezra and all the other young village wonks a charming access-laced line of bullsh*t.

And this comes right after a sentence gently chiding Brook for giving Ryan too much credence.

So does this mean a management shakeup?

October 26, 2009

Delaware Diocese Files for Bankruptcy in Wake of Abuse Suits –

The Chapter 11 filing, which freezes all pending litigation against the diocese, came as the first of some eight lawsuits was scheduled to go to trial in Kent County Superior Court.

Lawyers for the diocese and the plaintiffs spent much of the weekend in an effort to negotiate a settlement. The breakdown of those negotiations makes the diocese the first on the East Coast to file for bankruptcy, joining six other dioceses that have sought protection in bankruptcy under the weight of claims of sexual abuse.

Bishop Malooly added, “Our hope is that Chapter 11 proceedings will enable us to fairly compensate all victims through a single process established by the Bankruptcy Court.”

But Thomas S. Neuberger, a lawyer representing 88 people who have accused diocesan priests of sexual abuse, called the bankruptcy filing an “outrage.”

According to court documents, the diocese and certain parish churches are defendants in 131 sexual-abuse cases.

The diocese has assets of as much as $100 million and liabilities of as much as $500 million, the court papers say.

So what happens if the creditors (who include the plaintiffs) can’t agree on a reorganization plan? Does this convert to Chapter 13, with all the assets getting sold at auction? (And I guess the Mother Church has some kind of holding-company status that exempts its assets from being at risk — nice foresight.)

Before the industrial revolution there were no peasants

September 11, 2009

BBC NEWS | Health | Bed sharing ‘bad for your health’

One study found that, on average, couples suffered 50% more sleep disturbances if they shared a bed.

Dr Stanley, who sleeps separately from his wife, points out that historically we were never meant to share our beds.

He said the modern tradition of the marital bed only began with the industrial revolution, when people moving to overcrowded towns and cities found themselves short of living space.

Before the Victorian era it was not uncommon for married couples to sleep apart. In ancient Rome, the marital bed was a place for sexual congress but not for sleeping.

And primitive people certainly never slept huddled together in family groups to conserve warmth, or with kids piled into the same space as adults.

It may well be that such things do in fact disturb our sleep, but painting modern living as a a space-constrained historical anomaly is really, hard to do with a straight face.

Unintended Irony department

July 20, 2009

BBC NEWS | Technology | Wikipedia painting row escalates

But the Wikipedia volunteer David Gerard accuses the gallery of bureaucratic empire building.

“They honestly think the paintings belong to them rather than to us,” he wrote.

Yeah, I know the “us” is somewhat out of context. But still funny.

Like everyone else, I love this review. It exceeds its subject.

July 1, 2009

io9 – Michael Bay Finally Made An Art Movie – Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

Transformers: ROTF has mostly gotten pretty hideous reviews, but that’s because people don’t understand that this isn’t a movie, in the conventional sense. It’s an assault on the senses, a barrage of crazy imagery. Imagine that you went back in time to the late 1960s and found Terry Gilliam, fresh from doing his weird low-fi collage/animations for Monty Python. You proceeded to inject Gilliam with so many steroids his penis shrank to the size of a hair follicle, and you smushed a dozen tabs of LSD under his tongue. And then you gave him the GDP of a few sub-Saharan countries. Gilliam might have made a movie not unlike this one.

The French, racially insensitive? Say it ain’t so.

June 20, 2009

‘King of the Apes’ swings again

the exhibition’s curator, Roger Boulay, has also been keen to investigate why some are left uneasy about Tarzan – especially his relationship to black Africans.

But he says this queasiness is mainly generated by the Hollywood versions of the story, not by Edgar Rice Burroughs’ original novels.

“Sometimes the books can be quite subtle and rich,” he says.

M. Boulay, I read those novels when I was a kid. And subtle is one expletiving thing they were not. Burroughs was a king of camp and in-your-face closeted homoeroticism, but subtle? Nuh-uh.

And it wasn’t so much Tarzan’s relationship to black africans that was a problem (they were, like everyone else in the place, just backdrops for the northern-european-but-not-german Uebermensch) as the author’s constant dicta about race and the bestial aspects of the lower races and the polluting effect of civlization on the noble savage blood and just the whole notion of using an entire goddam continent full of living, breathing intelligent people as a canvas for some white guy’s adventures with a white woman.

“but you do have to remember that he dates from 1912.”

and then some.

And then it climbs into your bed and smothers you

May 15, 2009

Gizmodo – Floor-Wiping Worm Robot Provides Crucial Missing Link in Robotic Fossil Record – Fukitorimushi floor-cleaning robot

the little robot is wrapped in a sticky nanocloth sleeve, which collects dust and debris as the robot crawls, worm-style, across the floor.

Its also got sensors to seek out dirt, so it takes a slightly different approach to floor cleaning than the Roomba,

This thing seems really cool, but I would sure hate to have it in the same house with a cat.

Better than old

May 6, 2009

Forging Ahead – How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love eBay (h/t samefacts)

the local eBayers and craftsmen can make more money cranking out cheap fakes than they can by spending days or weeks digging around looking for the real thing. It is true that many former and potential looters lack the skills to make their own artifacts. But the value of their illicit digging decreases every time someone buys a “genuine” Moche pot for $35, plus shipping and handling. In other words, because the low-end antiquities market has been flooded with fakes that people buy for a fraction of what a genuine object would cost, the value of the real artifacts has gone down as well, making old-fashioned looting less lucrative. The value of real antiquities is also impacted by the increased risk that the object for sale is a fake. The likelihood of reselling an authentic artifact for more money is diminished each year as more fakes are produced.

I’m glad that the market for forgeries is making looting less attractive in a win-win, mostly nonpunitive way. But does the change really require a continuing supply of suckers who believe you can buy authenticated artifacts on eBay for a fraction of the otherwise-going price? I hope not, because that would eventually mean looting will start up again. My theory is that at least some of the buyers are in the “dollar and a dream” category — they’re paying an inflated price, compared to an obviously modern piece, for something that could conceivably be authentic, and if it’s not they’re not out a huge pile of money (as they would if they bought an undetected fake from a dealer). They also have a very nice little artifact.

As always, these kinds of reproductions/forgeries raise the question of what it means for something to be authentic. Made with the same materials, essentially similar methods, the same shapes, decorated with variations of the same iconography, just not actually as old or dug out of the same ground. Sure, you can argue that different thoughts were going through the minds of the people making them, but that’s probably romanticizing pre-colombian life.

It might be interesting to compare the evolution of the market for pre-colombian fakes on eBay to the evolution of the market for Pueblo pottery in New Mexico. Lots of stuff that started out being seen as cheap knockoffs of the “real” ancient finds has become recognized as art in its own right, and the people who made it as artists continuing and reviving cultural traditions. In some ways the work has become even more valuable because (a little like Menard’s Quixote) it is produced by people schooled to think modern thoughts.