Lethal generosity key in Israel's Twitterville

Ad Age's Books page (adage.com/bookstore) has an interesting review on a book called Twitterville: How Businesses Can Thrive in the New Global Neighborhoods by Shel Israel. While the article points out that books about  Twitter are being produced at the rate of around one every fortnight to keep up with demand for information on how to deal with the new kid on the block in social media, this one, according to Chris Abraham, includes some unique insights.

Around ten years ago, blogging empowered the public by providing them with a way to challenge companies, brands, journalists and politicians, turning the tables on the once-aloof institutions, who were abruptly forced to join in the marketing conversation, or die. Discussions were driven largely by consumers, who were confronting big business, en masse, on their own turf. In his book, Israel claims that Twitter is poised to change the online business model once again. Twitter's powerful real-time component means that marketing happens in the here and now.

For Abraham the most engaging concept in the book is the idea of "lethal generosity". In social media this means that the greatest influence goes to the most generous participants, rather than to the loudest. According to Israel: "So if you join a community where a competitor exists, or is free to join, and you give more to that community than the competitor, the other player is forced either to follow you or abstain from participating in a place where customers spend time."

blog270909Do the math
9.1 billion: World population in 2050.
200 million: Number of women, according to a recent article in The Lancet who want contraceptives but don’t have access to them.
34 billion: Tonnes of carbon dioxide that could be prevented from being released into the atmosphere if contraception was made available to all those who want it.
32 million: Number of "extra boys" under the age of 20 that China has produced because of selective abortion.
82: Percentage of men, of the 648 people killed by lightning in the U.S. from 1995 to 2008.
50,000: Number of copies of an "altered" version of Charles Darwin's Origin of the Species that Growing Pains child star Kirk Cameron plans to give away free on the 150th anniversary of its publication. The special edition will include a 50-page introduction intended to subvert Darwin's theories.
130: Number of Eastern Grey Whales left  on earth. Geologists carrying out seismic testing in Russian waters suspended operations after viewing evidence that the sound wave blasts they were bouncing off the ocean floor while searching for oil and gas deposits were driving the whales  from their summer feeding grounds.
4: Years it took for 1 million Golden Orb spiders to produce enough silk to weave this 3.5 by 1 metre cloth which went on display at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City this week.
7: Number of days it takes for the Golden Orb spider to regenerate its silk after it has been harvested.

Home-made movie posters

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According to blogger Ephemera Assemblyman (assemblyman-eph.blogspot.com), "mobile" cinema operators in Ghana in the 1980s hired artists to promote the movies that they were able to screen in remote towns and villages thanks to VCR technology. Artists, using flour sacks for canvas, gave their own interpretations of the movies and often  added their own elements.

Disconnection without trial
UK Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, Lord Mandelson, apparently after dining out with Hollywood mogul David Geffen, has ordered officials to draw up a proposal designed to stop illegal file sharing. Mandelson's plan is to cut the internet connections of those who repeatedly download shared files. While the internet service providers insist that it is not their job to monitor online activity, it has been proposed that they be made responsible for doing this and for cutting off their own customers. Earlier this year, the British government, via Lord Carter's Digital Britian report, recognised internet connectivity  as a fundamental human right, comparing it in importance with access to water and electricity.

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Pigeon poops on Telkom

BLOG1-130909This week my beloved ADSL connection that I so take for granted suddenly slowed to a snail's pace when opening certain very ordinary websites like BBC online. The problem has persisted despite an MWeb techie's efforts to "reassign my port" and several attempts to reset my modem. Although I am aware that South Africa's average download speed of 1.7 megabytes per second does not compare favourably with the global average of 5.6Mb/s and is worlds away from the top country, the Republic of Korea, which can download stuff at a lightning speed of 21.23 Mb/s, I have been relatively happy with the service. After all, after Morocco, South Africa has the fastest download speed in Africa.

According to speedtest.net, Africa has the slowest connection speeds in the world, a wrong that will eventually be righted by the new Seacom cable which was completed in July this year. For the meantime, the digital rift remains.

To illustrate just how slow South Africa's Telkom-dependent connectivity is, tech company Unlimited IT staged a race between Telkom's bandwidth speed and a pigeon called Winston. Winston, with a 4 gigabyte data card strapped to his leg, flew the distance from Howick to Hillcrest in just over two hours. By the time he reached his destination, Telkom's ADSL transmission of the same data size was around four percent complete. According to Kevin Rolfe, head of Unlimited IT, it would have taken two days to complete the 4Gb download.

While the race was not meant as a scientific experiment, it does help to highlight our desperate need for speed.

Meanwhile, Winston has become quite the web celeb as a champion for the disconnected and poorly connected. Winston has a well-populated Facebook group with 2716 fans at last count as well as a Twitter account which he used to document his epic journey.

Commenting on Winston's achievements, Twitter user redsaid1 remarks: "Telkom is demanding that Winston the pigeon undergo testing to see if it's really a bird. An upset Winston is fleeing SA, heading to Canada."

blog2-130909An average twit
Who would you imagine is the typical face of social networking and micro-blogging service, Twitter? In a demographic study of Twitter, by British web consultancy firm Box UK, it was found that 41% of users are male and 59% are female. The average Twitter user is female and in her late teens.

Word spy Twitter

blog1-060909Twitter has proven itself as a quick, simple communication tool, with a variety of applications. Wordspy.com, a website that tracks new words and phrases as they enter the language, recently jumped on the bandwagon to take advantage of the knowledge of the crowds. While some users have tried their luck by making up their own words, as opposed to posting "found" words, the venture has yielded some interesting results.

goddycoddling: being overly careful of another person's religious beliefs, especially when those beliefs conflict with science.
guerrilla hemming pp. Unauthorised hemming of an official garment, particularly a school uniform.
lippy n. A person who doesn't require a fixed address to conduct business (location-independent professional)
SPF creep n. The gradual increase in sun protection factor (SPF) numbers in sunscreens
ear mullet n. A Bluetooth headset clipped to the ear.

Critter camblog2-060909
There is something oddly addictive about watching out-of-focus video that takes for ever to load. The Museum of Animal Perspectives (MAP) has loaded its gallery of footage onto the Flickr website. The videos were made by attaching cameras to the heads of a variety of creatures, including pigs, wolves and scorpions and letting them loose to do what they do.



The Wolfcam footage, which is dominated by wolf snout, leaves your imagination to create the visuals for clips which have names like Wolf Being Greeted By Other Wolves and Wolf Digging Furiously. Armadillocam proves that Armadillos spend much of their time nose down sniffing for food.

Is Phelps a fish?

blog1-300809Not all the British newspapers have been mean to Caster Semenya. Times Online has a very insightful piece written by Antonia Senior that proposes that "sport is increasingly the showground of the freakishly proportioned". She uses Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps as an example. While the average man measures the same from fingertip to fingertip when his arms are outstretched as he does from head to toe, Phelps' wingspan is 7.6cm longer. He also has the torso of a man 10cm taller than himself and short legs abbreviated by  large flipper-like feet that Senior says would earn him distinction in a shoal of black marlin. Why, she asks, is Phelps not paraded in public and allowed to become "gossip fodder" like Semenya, who after winning the 800 metres was barely  cheered for her efforts (see the footage on YouTube).

Senior cites research by scientists at Duke University, North Carolina, who compared the stature of today's athletes with that of those from 1900 and found that while the average human has gained almost 5cm in height, champion swimmers have grown by almost 12cm and champion runners by 16cm. Senior concludes that sportspeople who compete at international level are all freaks. Being oddly-proportioned is valuable currency in a world that turns the biggest and weirdest into "battery athletes" through intensive training and selective feeding or,  through genetic testing tries to isolate athletic ability.

Senior lauds Semenya's appearance on the world stage and commends her for her courage in the face of "wounding speculation". She ends: "That she ran at all is heroic and amazing. That she won is not."

blog2-300809Google Earth Nessie
Jason Cooke, a 25-year-old security guard from Nottingham claims that he spotted the Loch Ness Monster while browsing Google Earth. Loch Ness Project scientists, who speculated that Nessie may have died because of global warming since there have been "no credible sightings" for more than a year, are excited by the prospect that Nessie may be alive and well and living on Google Earth. "This is really intriguing, says Adrian Shine, a researcher with the project. "It needs further study."

The image, which looks like a giant white tadpole, can be seen by entering coordinates Latitude 57°12'52.13"N, Longitude 4°34'14.16"W in Google Earth.

John Quincy Adams tweets

blog1-230809The Massachusetts Historical Society is posting line-a-day diary entries by John Quincy Adams on Twitter, beginning with his journey to Russia on 5 August 1809. Adams, the sixth president of the United States, and son of John Adams, second president of the United States, was appointed as the first ever United States Minister to Russia in 1809. Limited by Twitter's 140 character per post restriction, a typical Adams Tweet looks like this: 8/10/1809: Squally Night and rainy Morning. Saw a Ship. Lat: 43-49. Long: 56-30. Read Plutarch's life of Romulus.The posts also include compressed links to Google Maps so that you can see where Adams was when he was writing in his diary. Read the entries at twitter.com/JQAdams_MHS or browse them on the Massachusetts Historical Society website at http://www.masshist.org/jqadiaries/ blog2-230809

Sex  and the sports scientist
Some of the comments on articles written about the Caster Semenya gender controversy that Ross Tucker posted on his website called The Science of Sport (www.sportsscientists.com) reveal that many of us are totally oblivious to the complexities of what determines whether we are male or female. As Tucker points out in an article called Caster Semenya: Male or female? it is certainly not as simple as dropping one's drawers. Sex determination involves medical opinion from a range of disciplines: internal medicine specialists, gynaecologists, psychologists, geneticists and endocrinologists. According to Tucker, Semenya should have been sent for tests locally before she was exposed to the slurs and mudslinging that she has seen on the international podium; the claims by Ethel Manyaka, media liaison of Athletics South Africa (ASA) that ASA would not have sent an athlete to the World Championships if they were not certain about the participant’s gender are baseless. Semenya never underwent a comprehensive range of tests to determine her sex, so they could not have been "certain". Tucker quotes Manyaka, displaying a complete lack of understanding of the process of sex determination: "How are we going to do it besides asking her to show us her private parts?"

Tucker feels this poor management of Semenya by ASA is unfair since she could be forced to return her medal if in a few week's time she is found to be not "entirely female".

Was Michael Jackson Good or Evil? Vote Now!

blog1-160809According to an online poll at stonejet.com, which is collecting popular opinion on the question of the moral standing of a certain dead pop star, most people believe, by an overwhelming majority, that Michael Jackson was evil.blog2-160809

The biology of poetry
Canadian experimental poet Christian Bök has plans to implant a poem into the DNA of an indestructable bacterium. Bök, who calls his project The Xenotext Experiment, is working with scientists to translate a poem into a genetic sequence, which would be implanted into a portion of the bacterium’s DNA to create a book that "could become “a book that would still be on the planet Earth when the sun explodes." Bennett Gordon's Science and Technology blog on UTNE (utne.com) quotes a The Believer (believermag.com)interview with Bök in which he says of the project: "I guess that this is a kind of ambitious attempt to think about art, quite literally, as an eternal endeavor."

blog3-160809Beautiful thinking
Christian Bök's most famous work is a book of poems constructed from univocalics called Eunoia (a medical term which refers to the state of normal mental health, and is the shortest word in the English language which contains all five vowels). Each of the five chapters in the book is named for the five vowels. In each chapter,  the poems included use only one vowel. In Chapter A, the only vowel used is "A", producing lines like "Hassan can, at a handclap, call a vassal at hand and ask that all staff plan a bacchanal."

The book can be read online at archives.chbooks.com.

Children's book Fail

blog090809One of Twitter's recently "Trending Topics" was  #failedchildrensbooktitles. UTNE reader's (utne.com) Julie Hanus listed her non-offensive favourites ...

- Ramona Quimby, age 38 (@the_games_afoot)
- Furious George (@swagner1031)
- Little House on Stolen Land (@kitchenartist)
- One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Mercury Poisoning (@Fletcherism73)
- Horton Hears The Who (@NilsAParker)
- Nobody Else Poops (@diablocody)
- Where the Wild Things Eat You (@bmerritt)
- Are You There, God? It’s Me, Bertrand Russell  (@joshuacmurphy)

... and Andy Goldblatt made covers for some of them www.retrocomedy.com

Brown Out
According to snopes.com, rock supergroup Van Halen included a clause that banned brown M&Ms from their list of allowable backstage snack foods. One misplaced brown M&M could give the group cause to cancel an appearance or launch into a destructive rampage. While the media said that the band used the "no brown M&Ms” clause as an excuse for unruly behaviour, it was actually included to make sure that the contract had been read.
Lead singer David Lee Roth explains in his autobiography:
"Van Halen was the first band to take huge productions into tertiary, third-level markets. We'd pull up with nine eighteen-wheeler trucks, full of gear, where the standard was three trucks, max. And there were many, many technical errors — whether it was the girders couldn't support the weight, or the flooring would sink in, or the doors weren't big enough to move the gear through.
The contract rider read like a version of the Chinese Yellow Pages because there was so much equipment, and so many human beings to make it function. So just as a little test, in the technical aspect of the rider, it would say "Article 148: There will be fifteen amperage voltage sockets at twenty-foot spaces, evenly, providing nineteen amperes . . ." This kind of thing. And article number 126, in the middle of nowhere, was: "There will be no brown M&M's in the backstage area, upon pain of forfeiture of the show, with full compensation."
So, when I would walk backstage, if I saw a brown M&M in that bowl . . . well, line-check the entire production. Guaranteed you're going to arrive at a technical error. They didn't read the contract. Guaranteed you'd run into a problem. Sometimes it would threaten to just destroy the whole show. Something like, literally, life-threatening."

Google God

blog1-020809I discovered today that my life has been recorded. My life in searches, that is. I can go back as far as 2006, which is, and I am sure it is no coincidence, when I first registered for Google's free webmail service, Gmail. Google has noted every one of my Google searches, in my own little cache somewhere in the computing cloud. While I might, if suitably moved, throw up my hands and rail about confidentiality and the like, I was admittedly quite entranced by a quick journey back in time. What you search for says so much about you. Why, for instance, was I looking for  "pompholyx" on December the second , 2006 at 6:52am. Oh yes, I remember, I was trying to solve the riddle of the excrutiatingly itchy rash on my fingers that assails me during the summer months. A search for "itchy blisters on fingers" ended with a diagnosis of the very important sounding Dyshidrotic Dermatitis or Pompholyx.

I never did embark on any therapy for the ailment and it is quite likely that I will suffer the same come summer. Later that day I was found looking for Khoisan languages.   

Tonsils, testes ... whateva!
If you were shocked that Walt Whitman BIG Tell-a-Tale Books, that syrupy sweet staple of books for children would deign to chronicle the altering of Rover, "Good-bye Testicles", the cover featured in Wiredness was originally  called "Good-bye, Tonsils" by Anne Welsh Guy, illustrated by Frank Vaughn, 1966 (1971 edition). Blog Tiny Picnic (tinypicnic.blogspot.com)unravelled the mystery. See James Singer's attempt to have his photoshopped book listed on Amazon on Flickr "http://www.flickr.com/photos/jamesinger/1434467452/"  

Ironic Adsblog2-020809
See The Consumerist's (consumerist.com) list of the Top Ten Ironic Ads of all time, like this 80's one promoting the use of asbestos in construction.

Dashboard biscuits

blog1-260709The Baking Bites Blog (bakingbites.com) has proven that it gets hot enough inside a parked car on a hot summer's day to cook a batch of choc chip cookies on the dashboard. The temperature inside blogger Nicole's car reached 180°F (about 80°C). The cookies were ready (although they did not brown) in 2½ hours.

Cooking in space
Duct tape is the best thing to prevent items like sliced onions from floating around when preparing a meal in space, according to "orbital cook" Sandy Magnus. For the past four months, Magnus has been experimenting with the unconventional methods of cooking in a zero gravity environment where even a tiny crumb can wander off and lodge itself in an astronaut's nostril. blog2-260709

 

 





Top ten space foods

(from the Discovery Channel website)
10. Japanese take aways
9. Swedish Meatballs
8. Yoghurt – the high calcium content helps prevent bone loss
7. Chicken Soup
6. Tortillas
5. Reconstituted shrimp
4. Hot sauce
3. M&Ms
2. Dehydrated foods
1. Mystery Meals with labels like "Appetising Appetiser"

Sun bites
The solar eclipse on Wednesday this week was the longest during the 21st century and will not be surpassed until 2132. This  photograph of the July 2009 partial solar eclipse as seen from Quezon City, Philippines was posted by Rigurat on the Wikimedia Commons website.

Moon rocks
One of the moon rocks collected by Neil Armstrong during the moon landing forty years ago was secretly launched back into space aboard a March 2009 space shuttle mission to the International Space Station. It was revealed during a NASA 40th anniversary celebration of the Apollo program at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC. on Monday night.

Impilo!
The number for the Impilo! Health in Your Hands project, published in last week's Wiredness, is not yet operational. Please dial *120*99*2244#  to try the service.

Mapping social capital

blog1-190709Social mapping is one of the most useful applications to come from increased access to the internet. The most impressive efforts  come in the form of networks which bring together the wisdom of the crowds to make information available at a central hub. At WikiMapAid (www.wikimapaid.org) anyone can enter relevant information about orphanage programs, drought, food, employment, education and training so that poverty crises hotspots can be mapped. Information about education, disease outbreaks, water and food distribution and the location of hospitals and clinics can be marked by all users in the location that they choose. WikiMapAid is a collaboration between Global MapAid and Wikinova and the University of Fortaleza.


Human Printerblog2-190709
This blog is proof positive that you have to be a little bit mad to be an artist. At the human printer's online hub (thehumanprinter.wordpress.com) you can submit  photographs and have them recreated pixel for painstaking pixel by some masochistic creature at the other end. Your human-printed photograph will be posted on the blog.

blog3-190709World's first bionic goose
When Betty the gosling was taken to Tiggywinkles Wildlife Hospital in Buckinghamshire, England with a broken leg, vets did not have the heart to euthenase the hapless orphan. So they created a one-of-a-kind bionic leg for her. Betty is apparently ably waddling around with the mended appendage.

Swords to ploughshares

Escopetarra on display at the United Nations Headquarters. Donated by the government of Colombia and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). Author Mskyrider, Wikipedia
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The Escopetarra, a musical instrument fashioned from a Kalashnikov rifle, was conceived of by  Colombian peace activist César López in 2003 at a gathering after the El Nogal Club bombing in Bogotá, when he noticed a soldier holding a gun like a guitar. The word is a portmanteau of the Spanish words escopeta (shotgun) and guitarra (guitar). Lopez plans to hand over 12 recommissioned AK47s to high-profile musicians like Shakira, Carlos Santana and Paul McCartney as a symbol of the change from violent behaviour and actions into peaceful and constructive ones.blog2-120709

Kalashnikovodka
When the inventor of dynamite Alfred Nobel saw a less than flattering obituary that was mistakenly published by a French newspaper when they thought he had died, he responded by creating the Nobel Foundation. Kalashnikov has lent his name to a brand of vodka. According to the website, www.vodkakalashnikov.com, "It looks like the legendary AK-47 Rifle, but it holds several rounds of the finest Original Russian vodka."
World War III Brian Lane Winfield Moore has recreated WWII propaganda posters to make sense with new technologies. See them all on www.flickr.com.

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A blog for nasty library books

blog1-050709Before I became shackled to a keyboard, I spent 17 years in the service of Johannesburg's Libraries and Museums Department, so I can vouch for Mary Kelly and Holly Hibner, two librarians who have started a blog called Awful Library Books.
When I was a council employee, we periodically did something called "weeding", a process whereby books which had not been used for a while or were outdated, were reassigned or thrown out. Books that had fallen into disrepair were rebound, or glued, or kludged until there was no saving them, at which point they were sent for pulping. On her blog, accused of destroying culture and dictatorial censorship practices, Mary valiantly defends the euthenasing of certain library books as well as promoting public libraries as a
resource: "Public libraries, at least in my humble opinion, have a mission to help folks navigate the increasingly abundant minefield of information. In my little corner of Michigan, we are looking at 10% or better unemployment and record numbers of foreclosures. Folks that are in trouble often head to the public library where the Internet and other materials will be available for use. Librarians have the duty and responsibility to provide accurate and helpful information. Out of date books often can cloud this
objective for the general public and the librarians charged with serving them. The books on this blog are not necessarily “awful”, its just that “booksthat-should-be-reconsidered- underinterpretation-of-current-collection development-policies-and-retired” is not
a fun name for a blog that is just trying to instigate a discussion on quality library collections!"blog2-050709

The Worst Person on the Internet

What did Lori Drew do to earn her the number one position in the list of the Radar magazine's Web's 10 Most Hated People? The other people on the list are there by virtue of their lousy taste, questionable politics or for pretending to throw Iraqui puppies off a cliff.

40-year-old Missouri mother Lori Drew is there because, in the summer of 2006, she pretended to be a teenage boy called Josh Evans and gave 13-year-old Megan Meier cause to kill herself. Drew, who apparently boasted to her hairdresser about the hoax she had hatched, wanted to get back at  Meier who had quarrelled with her daughter Sarah and created the fake 18-year-old so that she could get Megan to confess secret desires and find out what she thought about her daughter.

"Josh" soon got nasty and threatened to "defriend" her, saying that he had heard she was not a very nice person. In November 2006, Drew sent Megan a message that read: "You are a bad person and everybody hates you. Have a shitty rest of your life. The world would be a better place without you." Megan hanged herself in her bedroom cupboard.

My New Slipcover

blog_280908This is a story of courage in the face of adversity. It is a tale beautifully told of a woman and her struggle to cover her couch.

For me, finding a blog which covers, in tiny detail, the trials and tribulations of "vrya" (who looks about 14 but is in fact 29 and implores her readers to stop conferring child prodigy status upon her) shows how the wide and mostly worldly web can be used to engender hope and inspiration in one's fellow netizen, through the selfless act of documenting the  laborious process of making something as commonplace as a slipcover for a couch. Vrya cites this as one of the reasons she made the blog: "Who knows, maybe it'll help someone out there in internet-land who's contemplating a similar project of their own."

Anyone who has ever attempted DIY upholstery will know that it has a unique set of pitfalls designed to try even the most handy seamstress. Vrya goes to great pains to warn us of these but approaches her patient with confidence:

"Despite a few awkward curves here and there, a couch is actually a pretty docile subject. It doesn't complain when you stick it with pins, it doesn't get bored, or physically tired of sitting still."

You can view vrya's epic journey at slipcover.vrya.net.



It was a dark and stormy night

Snopes points out that the language
sampled in the email is deliberately
(not accidentally) poor, as in the
annual Bulwer-Lytton Fiction
Contest where entrants vie to
"fashion the most wretched opening
sentence to an imaginary novel".
The competition is named in honour
of Edward George Earle Lytton
Bulwer-Lytton, whose novel Paul
Clifford famously begins "It was a
dark and stormy night; the rain fell
in torrents – except at occasional
intervals, when it was checked by
a violent gust of wind which swept
up the streets (for it is in London
that our scene lies), rattling along
the housetops, and fiercely agitating
the scanty flame of the lamps that
struggled against the darkness."
Incidentally, Bulwer-Lytton also
invented the much-quoted "the great
unwashed", "pursuit of the almighty
dollar" and "the pen is mightier than
the sword.
This year's winner, 41-year-old
communications director and writer
from Washington, D.C. Garrison Spik
submitted this incipit:
"Theirs was a New York love, a
checkered taxi ride burning rubber,
and like the city their passion was
open 24/7, steam rising from their
bodies like slick streets exhaling
warm, moist, white breath through
manhole covers stamped "Forged by
DeLaney Bros., Piscataway, N.J."

The reason English teachers die young

Snopes.com ran a story this week
about an email which claims to
list real examples of horrendous,
(and potentially life-threatening)
metaphorical language, taken from
high school essays.
Snopes says the entries were actually
lifted from the Washington Post's
Style Invitational, a long-running
humour contest, which in this
instance invited readers to come
up with "lame" and "painfully bad"
analogies.
Here are a few choice ones:
He spoke with • the wisdom that
can only come from experience,
like a guy who went blind
because he looked at a solar
eclipse without one of those
boxes with a pinhole in it and
now goes around the country
speaking at high schools about
the dangers of looking at a solar
eclipse without one of those
boxes with a pinhole in it.
• Her vocabulary was as bad as,
like, whatever.
• He was as tall as a six-foot-threeinch
tree.
• Her hair glistened in the rain
like a nose hair after a sneeze.
• John and Mary had never
met. They were like two
hummingbirds who had also
never met.
• Shots rang out, as shots are wont
to do.
• She walked into my office like a
centipede with 98 missing legs.

ANCYL to make Big Bang

According to South African spoof site Hayibo.com, the ANC Youth League is eager to develop its own Big Bang particle collider  in order to "explore, at a subatomic level, the bias of the media and the judiciary against Jacob Zuma". Hayibo says ANCYL will do this by "taking two counterrevolutionary particles such as a racist judge and a megalomaniac newspaper editor,  strapping them to gurneys, and then accelerating the gurneys to  around 600 kilometers per hour, which is close to the speed of light".

The website reports that ANCYLs science and technology spokesman Einstein Shabangu said they would use scientific instruments (Dictaphones and camera-phones) to "monitor the particles for any useful information, such as screamed confessions of racism or evidence of witchcraft".

Hayibo.com, which says that it is "Breaking News. Into lots of little pieces" also notes that Luthuli House went to "Mshini Wami 4" for the first time this week  after the publication in the Sunday Times of a cartoon depicting the rape of Justice by ANC president Jacob Zuma .

The LHC is super dooper fly

blog_140908If you find it difficult to understand what the Large Hadron Collider experiment is all about, look up Large Hadron Rap on YouTube. It's a kind of LHC for Dummies with CERN workers boogying with particle accelerators and one another to a very catchy rap song.

Here is an excerpt from "the greatest physics rap of all time" by AlpineKat, alter-ego of a science writer currently working at the LHC. According to BrookynTwang: "The flow is halfway decent, and it accurately covers a lot of knowledge related to particle physics and the LHC".

When matter is created from energy
Which is exactly what they’ll do in the LHC
You get matter and antimatter in equal parts
And they try to take that back to when the universe starts
The Big Bang – back when the matter all exploded
But the amount of antimatter was somehow eroded
Because when we look around we see that matter abounds
But antimatter’s nowhere to be found.
That’s why…

LHCb sees where the antimatter’s gone
ALICE looks at collisions of lead ions
CMS and ATLAS are two of a kind
They’re looking for whatever new particles they can find.
The LHC accelerates the protons and the lead
And the things that it discovers will rock you in the head.