Archive for the ‘Fun Things’ Category

Google Drones are coming

September 1st, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Google has made a big bet developing airborne drones capable of delivering anything from candy to medicine – and has been testing the flying vehicles on a Queensland farm on the Darling Downs.

Google X, a division of the US-based technology company dedicated to making major technological advancements, tested Project Wing near Warwick earlier this month, the first time “non-Googlers” had been involved.

Google X director Astro Teller said Project Wing’s goal was ultimately to build a system for delivering small and medium sized packages within minutes to anyone, using self-flying vehicles.

Bring it on.

“There’s no reason we should all have a power drill in our garage when, at any one time, the world is using one hundredth of a per cent of its power drills,” he said from the company’s headquarters in California.

“Also, there are situations like emergency response after a flood, or an earthquake, or a tornado, where bringing medicine or other supplies to people who are in need can be very valuable and time can be of the essence.

“We’re looking at the whole spectrum of value that can be delivered using self-flying vehicles.”

The prototype drone used in Queensland was a “tailsitter”, which allowed for vertical take-offs and landings and high speeds during flight – up to about 90km/h.

Very cool.


French Minister says women have a duty to wear bikinis at the beach!

August 24th, 2014 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

It is a French woman’s duty to wear a bikini on a beach, says the former minister for families, Nadine Morano.

Ms Morano, 51, provoked a political row yesterday by complaining that she had seen a Muslim woman sitting on a French beach in headscarf, long-sleeved tunic and trousers while her husband stripped off and bathed in the sea.

“When you choose to come to a country of secular laws like France, you have an obligation to respect our culture and the liberty of women. Or you go somewhere else,” Ms Morano wrote on her Facebook page.

I never realised bikinis were compulsory in France!

I am pro-bikini but as a classical liberal I do not support it being mandatory :-)

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12 reasons cats suck

August 18th, 2014 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

I love cats but Elite Daily gives you 12 reasons to join the Gareth Morgan camp:

  1. The reason you even like cats in the first place is because of a parasite in your brain
  2. Cats who cuddle with you don’t actually love you
  3. The way cats do show their love is really creepy
  4. If you are alone with your cat and you die, he will eat you immediately
  5. Cats don’t like sweet things, which means they don’t like dessert, and everyone knows you can’t trust a dessert-hater
  6. Cats kill a hell of a lot of innocent animals for literally no reason
  7. Cats are irritating show-offs
  8. Cat poop could give you a fatal disease
  9. Cats’ purrs are manipulative
  10. Cats are f*cking stupid losers
  11. You know how when you like someone, you’re attracted to his scent? Well, cats hate your scent.
  12. Julius Caesar, Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, Mussolini and Hitler were all afraid of cats

No 4 is the one that worries me!


The best scrabble player on Earth is a Kiwi

August 15th, 2014 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Oliver Roeder at 538 writes:

When the 2014 National Scrabble Championship begins Saturday in Buffalo, New York, the odds-on favorite will be a 47-year-old New Zealander who resides in Malaysia named Nigel Richards. He is currently ranked first in North America. The difference between his official rating and the second-place player’s is about the same as the difference between second place and 20th. 


Beyond all that is the sheer virtuosity of his gameplay, his uncanny gift for constructing impossible words by stringing his letters through tiles already on the board. The ultimate Richards word story: In a game in 1998, then-newcomer Richards had a rack of CDHLRN? (“?” denotes a blank tile). There was an E available on the board; Richards could have played CHILDREN for a bingo and a 50-point bonus. Instead, Richards played through two disconnected Os and an E. The word? The 10-letter CHLORODYNE.

If like me, you wonder what that is, it was a 19th century patent medicine!

Richards’s rating sits at 2180. His peak rating of 2298 is the highest anyone has ever achieved with a minimum of 200 games played. According to Scrabble data site, his peak rating is even higher than that of Quackle, a powerful artificial intelligence Scrabble player developed by human tournament players Jason Katz-Brown and John O’Laughlin.

He can beat an actual computer with a full dictionary!

So, really, how does he do it? As Richards said in an interview posted on YouTube, “I’m not sure there is a secret. It’s just a matter of learning the words.” All 178,691 of them.


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August 15th, 2014 at 9:00 am by Kokila Patel


Squeaky Lino intheHallsofPower



A fascinating copyright case

August 11th, 2014 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar


The Herald reports:

Staring straight into the camera, lips pulled back into a grin – it could be regarded as a perfect “selfie”.

The series of “self-portraits” of a crested black macaque monkey were shared around the world over the internet and on social media.

But the now famous images are at the centre of a bizarre dispute over who owns the pictures.

David Slater, the British nature photographer whose camera captured the picture, has asked Wikimedia, the organisation behind Wikipedia, to remove the image.

He claims its inclusion in a media library that allows other websites to use it free of charge is harming his ability to make a living.

But Wikimedia has rejected his request, claiming the macaque that pressed the shutter on the camera owns the copyright of the image, not Mr Slater, who now faces a legal bill estimated at 10,000 ($19,900) to take the matter to court.

He said: “If the monkey took it, it owns copyright, not me; that’s their basic argument. What they don’t realise is that it needs a court to decide that.

What a fascinating case. Copyright generally rests with the person who takes the photo, unless they are being paid by someone else to take it. So who owns the copyright when a non human takes the photo?

Does the fact the photo was taken on his camera give him some secondary claim to copyright?

Would it matter if he had encouraged the monkey to take the photo? Could he argue he had creative control?


The Vulcan for Epsom?

August 4th, 2014 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

I had to laugh at the Herald Spy profile of five single politicians, who were asked for examples of their perfect date. ACT’s David Seymour’s response was:

His perfect date would be with someone “who would be a best friend even if there was no romantic interest at all

Call me old fashioned but my idea of a perfect date does not include no romantic interest at all!

But this may secure the Vulcan vote for ACT – however I suspect they already had it :-)


Beer Pong must be banned

August 1st, 2014 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

The ODT reports:

The Green Party is under fire for supporting binge drinking after challenging Dunedin supporters to beat MP Gareth Hughes at a game of ”beer pong”.

However, Mr Hughes said the challenge was an attempt at humour by a Dunedin Green Party member and there was never any intention to play ”beer pong” at the event – which he was attending in North Dunedin tonight.

”I wasn’t actually aware that was on the Facebook invite,” Mr Hughes said.

The Green Party members who organised the invite had since voluntarily removed the reference to beer pong.

Mr Hughes’ comments come after National Addiction Centre director Prof Doug Sellman said it was ”irresponsible” to have politicians encouraging drinking games.

”Essentially … there is an underlying message that binge drinking is a good thing and that the Green Party supports binge drinking.”

Prof Sellman was also critical of Prime Minister John Key, who downed several cups of beer after accepting a challenge to play beer pong at the Big Gay Out in Auckland in February.

”It’s the same thing, and to have the prime minister [doing it] is even worse.

Beer pong must be banned, says the wowsers.

Next they’ll try and ban Whizz Bang Boing!

I am rather bad at the former game but very good at the latter!


Not a trend we want to encourage

July 29th, 2014 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Nelson MP Nick Smith and his Waitaki counterpart Jacqui Dean are accustomed to pressing the flesh but one of them will be exposing it in public and online come the end of the year.

Smith hopes it won’t be him.

“I really need Nelson to pull out all stops as they do not want to see me wearing my togs in Trafalgar St,” he said.

Dean has a similar view: “I don’t think that Wanaka is ever going to be ready to see me in a bikini, not now, not ever.”

The National Party pair, with an eye on pre-election publicity, are backing their electorates in the Gigatown competition, which is currently led by Wanaka, with Nelson holding third behind Timaru.

They’ve pledged to take a “selfie” wearing their togs on the town’s main street and posting on their website or Facebook if their town is pipped.

If neither town makes the final top five, to be selected at the the end of September, they’ll both be stripping.

This is not a trend we want to encourage. I prefer my MPs in suits, not togs :-)

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The Comcast service rep who won’t take no for an answer

July 23rd, 2014 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

This is incredible. I would have told the service rep to go copulate himself long before the call actually concluded.


Squeaky Lino

July 14th, 2014 at 10:00 am by Kokila Patel


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Happy happy joy joy

July 7th, 2014 at 11:50 am by David Farrar

Throng reports:

SKY’s brand new entertainment channel, THE ZONE, will have local fans of Science Fiction, Cult, Fantasy, Superhero and Horror genres battling for the remote.

Launching this November, THE ZONE’S line-up will include some of the planet’s most anticipated premiere series including Guillermo del Toro’s The Strain, Defiance featuring New Zealand’s own Grant Bowler and Robert Rodriguez’s From Dusk Till Dawn, along with a mix of modern and classic series including drama and comedy, movies and the odd documentary.

THE ZONE, made right here by Kiwis for Kiwis (with the occasional Kiwi appearance too), will be available to all SKY’s domestic customers at no extra charge as part of SKY’s Basic package and will also stream live from launch on SKY GO, so fans won’t miss a minute of the action wherever they are.

Yay, yay, yay. I’ve campaigned (and lobbied) for some time for Sky to bring the Sci Fi channel to NZ. They’re gone even better, by producing a customised channel – and including it for free to the basic package. Hell, I would have paid for it.

THE ZONE has a fairly broad remit for acquiring programmes, our rule of thumb being that anything which could feasibly promote itself at Comic-Con has a place on the channel.

That’s a great rule of thumb.

I’m more excited about this, than I am about the election!


Headline of the week

July 1st, 2014 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Student gets stuck in giant stone vagina

An easy headline for the sub-editor.

What was meant to be a funny dare turned into an utter embarrassment for an American exchange student, who found himself trapped in a giant stone vagina in Germany.

Damn Americans!

The unnamed man is believed to have been dared to climb inside the sculpture, which sits outside the university’s institute for microbiology and virology.

I did wonder why there was a stone sculpture of a vagina!

A total of 22 firefighters, five fire engines and a number of paramedics were sent to the scene, and quickly freed the man “by hand without use of equipment”, the newspaper reported.

22 firefighters for one stuck person? You could just imagine the scene at the station when they get a call that someone is stuck in the giant stone vagina – no one would want to not see that one, so they sent out five trucks!

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The Fart Bomb Generator

June 29th, 2014 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Beat Bowel Cancer Aotearoa has created a fart bomb generator, where you can add farts to any Youtube video.

It’s a fun way to draw attention to a serious cause – getting people to get tested for bowel cancer once they turn 50.

I’ve had fun adding some bombs to a few Parliamentary videos :-)


The top 16 Game of Thrones deaths

June 19th, 2014 at 4:35 pm by David Farrar

The SMH gives its list of the top 16 GOT deaths.  They rate them out of 10 for surprise, gore and impact. Their top 10 are:




How to win at rock paper scissors

May 12th, 2014 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

A study from China has found ways to maximise your chances of winning at Rock Paper scissors. Their advice is:

  1. If playing against a dude, start by throwing paper
  2. If you just lost to rock, go with paper
  3. Be aware that people won’t do the same move three times in a row
  4. Close your eyes as you throw
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Why should she be humiliated or embarrassed

May 9th, 2014 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Shortland Street star Teuila Blakely has spoken of the “pain, humiliation and embarrassment” her sex tape with a Warriors player has caused.

The short video – which also featured Warriors centre Konrad Hurrell, 22 – briefly leaked online on Monday, and Blakely quickly admitted it was her, saying the tape “wasn’t meant to have been leaked”.

Blakely, 39, took to her Facebook page to apologise and discuss the “pain, humiliation and embarrassment” the video had caused her friends and family.

What humiliated or embarrassment?

She’s 39, and she scored a 22 year old league star. I’m sure most of her friend are giving her high fives and saying “You go girl”.

Bit of a double standard. If a 39 year old actor scored say a 22 year old Silver Fern, they wouldn’t feel pressured to apologise for pain and humiliation. They’d be down at the local pub shouting drinks.


Royals rule… the media

April 9th, 2014 at 6:18 pm by Jadis

* This is a Jadis post as DPF is lost on a mountain putting together yet another travel blog while us in the real world cover his work load, blog load and ensure people think he is may still be a serious political commentator.  Warning: this post may or may not apply!

Blue bear

I love the blue bear.  I am awaiting Cunliffe’s response to how blue the bear is.  Clearly this is a plant from the National Party who are clearly using poor wee George for political gain.  Remember, Cunliffe accuses Key of using the Royal tour as some sort of electioneering stunt.  Well, Duncan Garner calls Cunliffe (and Winston) on this BS:

David Cunliffe does himself no favours accusing John Key of using the Royal visit as some kind of vote booster.

It’s laughable.

And Winston Peters ain’t much better.

Peters says Prince William, Kate and baby George shouldn’t even be here in election year at all.

I completely disagree and I hardly think we have much say in when they travel.

This is petty and I hope the royals don’t read about this stupid and snarky politics from our leaders.

It’s classless and uncouth.

Does anyone really think voters, at the end of September, are going to support John Key because they recall how months earlier the PM hosted the royals? Really?

Come on. I just don’t buy it.

David Cunliffe said Labour welcomed the royals and did not want to play politics with the visit but he said such visits should be as ‘even handed as possible between the Government and Opposition.’

Isn’t Cunliffe playing politics with the visit by saying all that?

He sounds like a kid that missed out on pass-the-parcel.

He sounds like he’s screaming at the top of his voice saying – pick me, pick me!

Surely it’s the job of the PM to host the royals at different times throughout this 10 day visit.

He is due to meet them 5 times during the tour.

Seriously there’s something wrong with us if we can’t host the royals in April and have an election at the end of September.

Our politicians need to grow up. They look bloody stupid – and none more so than David Cunliffe and Winston Peters.

I totally agree with Duncan.  Most Kiwis won’t associate the Royal Tour with politicians (unless they do something to embarrass them). They’ll associate it with having the opportunity to see the Royals up close, in our wee country and “oooh ahhh what a gorgeous George”.






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Monopoly house rules

April 5th, 2014 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar reports:

NO RENT collection while in jail, double the dough for landing on Go and clean out Free Parking if your luck takes you there are among five made-up Monopoly rules Facebook fans voted in for future editions of the board game.

Several thousand people weighed in on “house rules’’ over 10 days of recent debate and a year after Hasbro Inc. added a cat token and retired the iron in a similar online stunt aimed at keeping the 79-year-old game fresh. …

The winning house rule for landing on Go means players get 400 Monopoly dollars instead of the official 200. As for Free Parking, official rules call for absolutely nothing to happen when a player lands there. Under the house rule, any taxes and fees collected are thrown into the middle for a lucky someone who lands on that corner square.

Rounding out the five winners are that players must travel around the board one full time before they can begin buying properties, and collecting 500 bucks for rolling double ones.

Off memory we always played four of the five house rules – no rent in jail, double for landing on go, taxes collected on free parking and no purchases in your first round. The only house rule I had not heard of was the $500 for double ones.


Canadian regulator says porn channels need more local content!

March 13th, 2014 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

CBC reports:

The federal broadcast regulator wants the naked truth about a couple of porn channels.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission says AOV XXX Action Clips and AOV Maleflixxx may not be airing enough Canadian content or closed captioning.

The X-rated specialty channels are supposed to air 35 per cent Canadian programming over the broadcast year and 90 per cent of its content should have captioning.

As part of proposed licence renewals, the commission plans to hear evidence on the apparent non-compliance.

That will be a fun channel to be a captioner for!

Also I wonder how they classify content as local. Does it have to be filmed in Canada or just use Canadian “actors”?


Should the Government ban sexy pedestrians?

March 6th, 2014 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Are sexy pedestrians just too distracting? Or are your kids driving you mad at the wheel?

You’re not alone. They are among the top distractions found in a UK survey of 1500 drivers by IAM and Vision Critical.

Children (29 per cent), changing the stereo (27 per cent), back-seat drivers (26 per cent), the satnav (15 per cent) and attractive pedestrians, drivers or passengers (14 per cent) were rated the things which most took attention away from the road.

The Government banned the use of non hands-free cellphones in cars because they were deemed a distraction. Logically they should also ban sexy pedestrians from sidewalks in case they too cause car crashes.

This might seem unfair to sexy pedestrians, but just as one can still use a cellphone if it is hands-free, they would still be allowed out in public so long as they are covered up.


A further Darwin Awards nominee?

February 20th, 2014 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

USA Today reports:

A Kentucky pastor who co-starred in the TV showSnake Salvation has died of a snakebite.

Emergency personnel received a call Saturday night that someone at a church, Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name, had suffered a snakebite, Middlesboro Police Chief Jeff Sharpe said in a statement. He said an ambulance crew went to the church, but the Rev. Jamie Coots had left. The crew went to Coots’ home and found him suffering from a bite to the hand.

“After a brief examination and discussion of the possible dangers if the wound was not treated, treatment — and transport to the hospital — was refused,” Sharpe said.

An hour later, police, emergency officials and a deputy coroner returned to the home to find that Coots had died, Sharpe said.

Coots, who was profiled on The National Geographic show featuring pentecostal, serpent-handling preachers, pleaded guilty last year to violating Tennessee’s exotic animals law and agreed to surrender his snakes.

Coots and the show’s co-star, the Rev. Andrew Hamblin, believe in a passage from the Gospel of Mark that suggests a poisonous snakebite won’t harm them if they are anointed by God’s power:

Snakes 1 God’s power 0

He had children so technically doesn’t qualify for a Darwin Award.


One way to earn a bonus

January 28th, 2014 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar reports:

An employee surnamed Zhang from Jinhua, Zhejiang Province, China, said that his boss placed a pile of money on the table saying that people would get their bonuses based on how much they drink.

“Men were given 500 yuan ($92) for a shot of liquor, 200 yuan for a glass of red wine and 100 yuan for a beer. Women were given twice as much money for consuming the same amounts,” Zhang told the Global Times. “We worked hard all year only to learn our bonuses would be decided by our alcohol tolerance. It was absolutely unfair to people who can’t drink much.”

The boss said that the company’s business success was rooted in employees being able to hold their liquor with clients. …

Legal experts said there are no laws related to the distribution of year-end bonuses, which is determined at the discretion of employers.

I’d go for the shots. Wouldn’t be too hard to make 10,000 yuan. The average wage is around 3,500 yuan a month so that is a bonus of three months’ salary.

I wouldn’t implement that scheme in my company though. We have far too many students from Hamilton to risk that!


Sex makes you smarter

January 19th, 2014 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

The Atlantic reports:

Forget mindfulness meditation, computerized working-memory training, and learning a musical instrument; all methods recently shown by scientists to increase intelligence. There could be an easier answer. It turns out that sex might actually make you smarter.

Researchers in Maryland and South Korea recently found that sexual activity in mice and rats improves mental performance and increases neurogenesis (the production of new neurons) in the hippocampus, where long-term memories are formed.

Wonder if they’ll do human experiments to test the hypothesis?


Nun gives birth

January 19th, 2014 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The BBC reports:

A nun who gave birth to a baby boy in the central Italian city of Rieti, said she had no idea she was pregnant, local media report.

The 31-year-old was rushed to hospital with abdominal pains, which she thought were stomach cramps.

The young mother, who is originally from El Salvador, reportedly named her newborn Francis after the current Pope.

The mayor of Rieti, Simone Petrangeli has appealed to the public and media to respect the woman’s privacy.

The news has drawn international attention to the small city of 47,700 inhabitants.

The nun called the ambulance on Wednesday morning. A few hours later she gave birth to a healthy baby boy.

“I did not know I was pregnant. I only felt a stomach pain,” she was quoted as saying by the Ansa news agency.

I can’t wait to see who is listed as the father on the birth certificate!