Why genealogy fascinates, case in point, Donald Duck’s family tree

Wednesday, 22 January, 2014

I always though Disney cartoon character Donald Duck’s actual family was restricted to just a grandmother, an uncle, and three nephews. Obviously he would have had parents, and at least one sibling, but I always assumed they were no longer with us, as I could never recall any mention of them, or anyone else, for that matter.

If this family tree , as put together by Gilles R. Maurice, is anything to go by though, he has quite an extensive family. Here’s a larger version in PDF format.

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Telling jokes need not be an exacting science

Friday, 17 January, 2014

Trying to impress, or catch the attention, of a scientist? All humour aside, some science flavoured jokes may be the answer… there’s quite a few to choose from as well:

A group of wealthy investors wanted to be able to predict the outcome of a horse race. So they hired a group of biologists, a group of statisticians, and a group of physicists. Each group was given a year to research the issue. After one year, the groups all reported to the investors. The biologists said that they could genetically engineer an unbeatable racehorse, but it would take 200 years and $100bn. The statisticians reported next. They said that they could predict the outcome of any race, at a cost of $100m per race, and they would only be right 10% of the time. Finally, the physicists reported that they could also predict the outcome of any race, and that their process was cheap and simple. The investors listened eagerly to this proposal. The head physicist reported, “We have made several simplifying assumptions: first, let each horse be a perfect rolling sphere…”

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The cardboard cut-out T-Rex that watches your every move…

Thursday, 9 January, 2014

There are many images and videos of the optical illusion variety floating around, but this T-Rex clip isn’t too bad at all… watch through to the end for the reveal.

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It’s just not Ashes cricket, but it is entertaining anyway

Friday, 13 December, 2013

It’s not actually a video game of an Ashes cricket match, but the player kind of seems to think it is. For one, I don’t believe batters are awarded free hits if they are served a no ball in test matches, as they are in Twenty20 games.

Still some of the quirks of the game, that may confound those unfamiliar to it, seem mildly bizarre in this context. Language here is most definitely NSFW, by the way.

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“Star Wars” is a Bohemian Rhapsody when you think about it

Wednesday, 11 December, 2013

The “Star Wars” inspired… remix of British band Queen’s 1975 song “Bohemian Rhapsody”, as performed by Arizona based Star Wars cosplayers.

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Where in the world do the redheads really cluster?

Tuesday, 3 December, 2013

Scotland, Wales, Ireland, and a region in central Russia, are where you’d expect to encounter more people with red hair than anywhere else. At least according to a variety of maps that were doing the rounds earlier this year, that is.

British researcher Mona Chalabi, unable to track down the data these maps were based on, is currently conducting a survey, that you can take part in, of redheaded people in an effort to determine where they are located, and, I dare say, to ascertain the veracity or otherwise, of these maps.

Rather than believing that… concentrations of redheaded people can be found in specific places though, I instead think their presence can be attributed to the Redhead Cluster Phenomenon, which, long story short, suggests we all start showing up in the same places, where ever that might be.

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How to become a time lord like Dr Who

Friday, 29 November, 2013

While we may not be able to carry it off with quite the same… panache, it is nonetheless possible to emulate time lord Dr Who with varying degrees of success. Sure, travel through time and interstellar space are still a tad difficult, but with a little… spin it may even be possible to compensate for that.

It’s rare for anyone to enter the Tardis for the first time without uttering some variation of the above phrase. From the outside, the Doctor’s time machine appears to be a wooden Police telephone box, similar to those seen in 1960s London. But on the inside… it is vast. Perhaps infinite. Surely it’s not possible to squeeze an infinite space inside a small blue box? Well, it sort of is, with a little help from a virtual reality headset. Researchers at the Vienna University of Technology in Austria have created a simulator that generates endless rooms and corridors. The device tricks users into walking around a much smaller space in the real world by making them turn before they hit a wall.

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IKEA: A Spaced-out Odyssey

Wednesday, 27 November, 2013

The trailer for IKEA, Alfonso CuarĂ³n’s… follow up to Gravity, his impressive in Earth orbit thriller.

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And you thought you were having a bad Monday

Monday, 25 November, 2013

Working in a medical research lab is bound to have its moments, especially when you stumble upon forgotten experiments started by a colleague who has since left the workplace. Add bonus points if it’s a Monday morning, and you’re feeling a tad… grumpy:

The next part is a bit of a blur. As I pulled the bottle from the back of the fridge, I held it to the light to see if there was any mold growing in there. That’s typically what we’d find… mold. I don’t think that’s what this was. It was almost a perfect sphere, maybe a bit oblong like an egg, and a bit yellowish in colour. It was about the size of a tangerine – I’m not kidding. It seemed solid. I shook the bottle a bit, and it bounced off the sides. All I could think was… oh god. It’s human.

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Old headlines rewritten for the internet age

Wednesday, 6 November, 2013

This one weird mould kills all germs… news headlines from the twentieth century remixed in the name of garnering more clicks online.

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