Wednesday, December 31, 2008

No matter how hard life gets....

There is always someone out there who shows such a moronic display of stupidity...

Monday, December 22, 2008

Merry Christmas


Thought I would show you all how much this atheist loves Christmas...

Here is my house*, I spent ages getting the timings right and I think I pulled it off perfectly.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Star Wars, through the eyes of a 3 year old.

I have seen this before but I saw this again while looking for something else. A cute 3 year old kid explains the intricacies of the Star Wars plot. Its interesting to see what elements kids actually pick up on.
Very nice.


Mad Spaghetti.

I just saw this pretty cool stop motion video of someone making Spag Bol. Check it.


Friday, December 5, 2008

Snuff Said

Check out the following vid from a BBC3 show called "Snuff Box" a British comedy show. Pretty funny skit, I wonder if the rest of the show is the same. One thing for sure, this is not the way to pick up chicks. Although I am sure it would be cool to use these tactics on the odd occasions. After the Jump.




Saturday, November 22, 2008

Bad face day?

There are exactly 1 trillion sports bloopers available to view on the internet but this is the King, Emperor and Grandaddy of them all....








There is little more to say really. Watch, laugh then watch again...







Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Speaking of Simon Pegg...

Turns out he really is a Star Wars geek.
Yep as Mooghead alluded it is indeed true that just like MrFett, English actor and all round funny guy Simon Pegg is also a raging Star Wars geek.

Its unclear who has the largest collection of Star Wars figures but follow the link for irrefutable proof of Peggs undying love of all things from a galaxy far far away...
peggster.net

J.J Abrams takes on Star trek

At last we have a decent version of what the new Star Trek film trailer. I have always enjoyed Star Trek as far as science fiction and cool space ships blowing things up. So I have to say that I am actually quite looking forward to J.J Abrams vision of the Star Trek Legacy. The trailer has some great visuals and the Enterprise looks great with the stark interior. Plus we have Simon Pegg playing the part of Scott which should be a laugh. Video after the jump. Beware its the High Res version.



Friday, November 14, 2008

Speaking of holidays....

Ever wondered what to do with all those tacky holiday momento's you get every summer?

Well, Michael Hughes, who works as a freelance photographer in Germany, has created a set of optical illusions in which tacky souvenir replicas of famous landmarks are placed in front of the real thing...




























































More here--- > clicky!




Thursday, November 13, 2008

Thank you BBC!

The award for the most syndicated TV show on the planet goes to…………………

’Dancing with the Stars’!

Excuse me?

Dancing with the Stars (or Strictly Come Dancing as it is known in the UK).

Now, as far as I am concerned Dancing with the Stars has a lot to answer for. The emergence of every city, town and village hall suddenly being turned into a bloody ballroom so the plebs can go along and hope to be ballroom experts in an hour. At the end of the day it’s an excuse for old people to turn up, swap partners and rub their dried up genitalia against anyone who will oblige. My friend, who is a straight up, die-cast Yorkshire man, had to endure a night of watching this vomit inducing activity because ‘our lass wants to try Salsa’ (I would rather dip my Dorito’s in it).

Add to this the mind numbing, insipid conversation that I have to endure on a Monday morning by the females in the office for whom this spectacle has become the most important thing in their lives.

The only remotely entertaining thing that has ever happened on this show was on the American version when Marie Osmond, WHO WAS A CONTESTANT, was so bored by the whole thing she actually fell asleep.

Live on air.




Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Phoenix Mars Polar Lander has died.

The Phoenix Mars Polar Lander has died. It stopped transmitting data last week as the Martian winter approaches and the power the Sun has to recharge the solar cells is diminished.
The last signal was received by NASA on November 2nd and concludes what is deemed an incredibly successful mission.

Phoenix was launched on August 4 2007 and touched down over 8 months later on May 25 2008. During its time on Mars the Lander dug trenches to reveal ice, dug holes and transferred regolith to the onboard ovens. The biggest accomplishment was the discovery of water ice below the surface which the NASA engineers were able to watch sublime away.

Along with these discoveries Phoenix transmitted more that 25,000 pictures of the surrounding terrain and the local environment around the craft.

Meanwhile in an incredible feat of endurance the 2 rovers Opportunity and Spirit are still roving the surface gathering information about the history of the red planet.

Well done to the boffins at NASA for another successful mission and I look forward to the next major Mars adventure.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Inspiration comes in many forms

Next time someone says it cannot be done or it's just too hard show them this guy...

Props to you KitsuneNoYume and your friend Mark Felling for reminding us able bodied fools how easy we really have it.
http://kotaku.com
and more
http://boardsus.playstation.com

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Just booked my holiday for 2009

Don't have much time for this blog...got stuff to do

Its a place called St Maarten in the Carribean, never heard of it myself. Which is a good thing. It must be really quiet and untouched. I'm not normally a beach kind of guy but would kill for a week in the sun doing nothing.
Found a thing on the web about it..will have a proper look later. Hope its nice.

This is NOT naturewatch

But sometimes you see something and have to share it with the world.


Following on from Mr_Fett's parasitic foot story below (the one where he blamed it on a spider) I was reminded of an extraordinary piece of footage of the male jumping spider (Salticidae, fact fans) and the lengths it will go to to put on a pretty little dance for a bit of female attention. Hardly seems worth it if you ask me.


In the words of the late, great Phil Lynott - "If that female jumpin' spider dont wanna know, forget her"

(Oh, and turn your speakers up)



Friday, November 7, 2008

Military Fail!!!

This one's a quickie.



Grasshopper's Can Fly

I caught this video of a grasshopper hitching a ride on a fighter jet on Bad Astronomy this morning and it reminded me of an incident I had. Check out the video after the jump.

I was flying from Wellington to Auckland on a domestic Air New Zealand flight and had an itchy toe, so I took of my shoe to sort out the problem, only to find a Weta hiding in the toe area of my shoe. Needless to say I nearly shat myself and had to compose myself so that I didn't cry like a girl. I dont know what happened to the Weta after I shook it from my shoe but it got a free trip to Auckland. Must still be lost.
I cant imagine how the pilot was able to just laugh it off, I suppose he doesn't mind creepy crawlies. Notice that he doesnt flinch a bit and keeps flying as if nothing is amiss.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

James Cameron talks Avatar - and other stuff.

James Cameron recently did an interview and discussed his newest film AVATAR and some of the groundbreaking new techniques used to get the film made. He also discussed some of his earlier films and the impact that they have had on the movie industry and popular culture. It is a somewhat laid back interview and Cameron appears relaxed and eager to talk. A nice chat, not setup like the Arnie one he did to promote T2. Check it out after the jump.



Saturn V as you have nver seen before

This is a video that surfaced of the huge Saturn V Apollo rocket in super slo-motion. It is truly amazing. And having just watched the latest Discovery Channel doco called "When we Left Earth" about the NASA missions I have a new respect for the people that made this possible. They were thinking many years ahead of their time.

Top Gear is back - Soon

Officially confirmed to be back on the 2nd November this year. That is great news. JC, Fridge Magnet and Captain Slow will grace our screens for 8 episodes which is 2 more than last season. So get you torrents ready and have fun.

In addition to this bit of news; the Top Gear website has had a major overhaul and now feature more video and a small selection of games. One of which is based on the Robin Reliant Rocket Launch. Go have a look and a play. Wicked.

Thanks to Final Gear.

Monday, September 29, 2008

This is NOT the London Eye...

What kind of crazy oddball carnival has a manpowered ferris wheel. Well this one does. Check for the video after the jump.


Monday, September 22, 2008

Picture of the Day -

This picture is quite amazing, and it is probably the last time that you may see this. Both Space Shuttle Atlantis and Space Shuttle Endeavour are out on launch pads together ready for an upcoming mission. Atlantis is the nearer of the two and is being prepped for the last mission to the Hubble telescope to do repairs and add additional hardware. This being the case if something is to go wrong with the spacecraft and it cannot return to Earth, Endeavour will be launched as a rescue vehicle.

Because the Hubble telescope is in a very different orbit to the International Space Station Atlantis would not be able to dock there is there was a problem with the orbiter. If any reason crops up Endeavour will be launched and the crew will transfer to the rescue ship and the damaged Shuttle will be destroyed on re-entering the Earth's atmosphere. NASA have said that this is just a contingency plan and that they do not expect to have to have two shuttles in space at the same time. What it does do is give us ordinary folk a great new wallpaper for our desktop and also the last chance to see two Space Shuttles on the launch pad at the same time, for the last time (probably).

Bigger versions are available here.

Thanks to Tom's Astronomy Blog for this.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Darth Funny

There is not much to say about this...... Funny.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Bank Job – Review.

I managed to catch the new Jason Statham film ‘The Bank Job’ the other day and I thought it good enough to make a mention.

Synopsis: In a nutshell the film is about a gang of amateur crooks who get the option of the big job that will set them up for life. Unbeknownst to them they actually pawns in a bigger plot by the British government to retrieve some sensitive photo’s of a royal that are stored in the safe deposit boxes of the bank they are to rob.

The obvious happens, shit goes pear shaped for the gang and they are caught up in the middle of a political tug of war. But don’t let that fool you this film is as entertaining as the Italian Job due to the early 1970s setting and as engaging as any political thriller that is out there. Jason Statham does a sterling job as the gang leader and he surrounded by a great cast of solid British actors. My only gripe about the acting is that of Saffron Burrows who I have always thought as a bit of a naff actor. There are some slightly shocking scenes when certain gang members are captured by the local mob but it all adds up to a top notch film.
Directed by Roger Donaldson who has directed such films as Dante’s Peak, The Worlds Fastest Indian, and Species, has captured the early 1970s feel perfectly and extrapolated on an event that is somewhat shrouded in mystery. The gang which was later known as the ‘walkie talkie gang’ tunnelled 12 metres from the rented retail shop two doors away from the bank and reportedly robbed the bank of approximately four million pounds. It is claimed that the photo’s in question were of Princess Margaret but this has not been corroborated, plus the filmmakers said that they made up the character of Martine thus prompting the New Yorker’s statement that it is "impossible to say how much of the film's story is true".

Even though we don’t know for sure how much is true and how much is made up I would hazard a guess that it is a lot more factual than something like JFK or some other American “True Story”.

Rating 8.5/10 – Highly Recommended

The Bank Job trailer.

The Day the Earth Stood Still.... And LHC had nothing to do with it.

A while ago we mentioned the new Keanu Reeves version of the Day the Earth Stood Still and just how skeptical we were. Today I came across a new trailer\feature that shows a good 7 minutes of the upcoming film and I have to say that I am getting quite interested in it. It has a dark ominous look to it that the original never had and Keanu seems to have the character worked out. I can only hope that they put an interesting spin on the re imaging of this film. Check after the jump for the new trailer.







LHC will not Destroy the World... But,

If it does it will look like this.


Here is some information about the work that the good folk at CERN will be doing with the LHC.

Friday, September 5, 2008

The World is Doomed.

Phil Plait the Bad Astronomer has frequently talked about the possibility of a major impact by an asteroid and now has a new book called 'Death From the Skies' which he goes into various scenarios that could cause the end of the World. I bet nothing he can describe looks as cool as the video that I found on Geekologie of a space station, sorry, small moon smashing into Earth. It is wickedly cool and destructive looking. Check out the video after the jump.




Wednesday, September 3, 2008

More plane themed Video's

In keeping with the last post of aircraft and dangerous behaviour, check out the following 2 video's of aircraft doing what they do best.. Woo hoo...




Hercules - gone burger.


What do you do when you are stuck in Iraq with a broken Herky bird and a shitload of explosives? Blow that shit up of course. Heres the official explanation :

The aircraft, which was carrying six crew and 58 passengers, veered off the runway after being hit by two improvised explosive devices, catching fire on its badly damaged port wing. Three people suffered minor injuries on evacuating the stricken transport, which was subsequently "deemed unrecoverable due to operational constraints", according to a Board of Inquiry investigation into the mishap.

Whatever - its probably more along the lines of "Im bored - lets blow that up."

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Peter De Villiers – are you right punk?

I love me some rugby. I am really getting into the sport at the moment, with the Tri Nations heading for a final match thriller between the Blackness and the Criminal Element in Brisbane, Wellington dominating the Air New Zealand Cup and Wanganui asserting their dominance in the lower divisions with an 11 try thrashing of East Coast on the weekend. I love watching the contest on the international stage most of all – the All Blacks taking on the Wallabies and the Boks is the highlight of every years rugger, and this year has been one of the better ones. Watching the Blackness totally dominate the Crim’s in Auckland a couple of weeks ago was one of the best games of rugby from the AB’s I’ve watched in a long time, and it goes a long way to erasing the memory of last year’s World Cup.


But amongst this awesome spectacle of the oval ball, we have had politics intrude, and not for the betterment of sport or rugby in general. South Africa has struggled to strike an even keel between its post apartheid political climate and the fact that a national sports team should be representative of its best talent, and not its ethnic makeup. We have seen the World Cup winners of last year lose 4 of its last 5 matches against the AB’s and the Aussies in what can only be called one of the more crap displays of coaching we’ve seen since Buck Shelford was replaced by Zinzan Brooke.

Peter de Villiers has a reasonable pedigree with success in Under 19 and Under 21 SA Rugby but many have said that he lacks experience in the professional level of the game. His appointment last year after the Boks won the world cup came in a cloud of controversy and a few bent noses. Jake White, the previous coach who had led the Jarpies to victory on the world stage was sacked by SARU (South African Rugby Union) and Peter was put in his place, and many have wondered whether the placement was more motivated by politics than performance. And its precisely this that has led to the current crisis in the Bokkies camp, leading to a series of poor performances on the field that belies the turmoil in the changing sheds. Several sources inside the SA camp have said there is a disconnect between the senior players and the coaching staff, with some players wanting the coach to go, some players dictating the terms with which they train and play, and key figures undermining the coach.

Politics and sport do not mix – I understand the need of the South African government and ruling parties to move their country forward, but interfering with their national rugby team will only bring them pain. If they left it alone, allowed the best person for the job to be picked rather than the best person for an image, then they would reap a reward far greater than anything they could engineer themselves – national pride.

Peter is probably a very good coach, and as I said before he has had some success – but there were probably better candidates for the job. He is in a very difficult position and he is trying to forge a good team from an awkward circumstance – caught between politically motivated union officials, players who don’t agree with his coaching methods and the fans who just want them to win. In saying that he doesn’t seem to make it easy for himself, and he routinely makes verbal gaffes that must make the SA fans shake their head in bewilderment. Case in point is the recent loss to the Aussies – if you caught the game you would have made the same overall summary of the Boks game as me – it was crap. There was no cohesion, no apparent game plan, and none of the players seemed to know what the others were doing. They played so badly the crowd booed them off the park – not what I’d do as a fan of my national side personally, but the fans are probably very frustrated. What did Peter have to say?

"I know people are angry and rightfully so. I am prepared to take all that responsibility for the good of the team.”

Ok – that sounds fine. He sounds like he’s trotting out the old “we screwed it up, sorry my bad, back to the drawing board” line, but then he says the Boks were the better side (???) :

"We should have won, the opportunities were there but we just let them slip. I'm not going to panic because, having watched the video again, I saw how great we played.”

What video was he watching – last year’s cup final?

"Decision-making in split seconds is new to the guys and it has been a bit worrying. The onus is now on the player, but they want to be in a confined group where they are comfortable."

Ah – so what he’s said is “Its all my fault, but the players don’t know how to play professional footy so I’m blaming them”. He’s lost the plot, and this is what happens when you put an inexperienced coach in charge of a national team – he’s out of his depth, has no respect from the players and is deluding himself that it will all come right eventually. My prediction for the next few months? Aussie will beat them again this weekend, Peter will be sacked or step down within 1 month and hopefully (but not likely) someone who has actual experience and skill will be appointed as the coach. Come back Jake, all is forgiven!

Why do I care you may ask? I love watching the AB’s win more than anything, but it’s no fun when the opposition is not the best or playing to their full potential. The victory is sweetest when both teams play their guts out, and yours is the one that comes out on top. Its just no fun when the opposition is hobbled – it’s like playing indoor footy against 5 year olds. Sure you win, and easily, but its not really a contest and it strips the fun out of the game. Here’s hoping Saffa rugby sorts itself out for the end of year tour and next years Tri nations.

Olympic Update - Michael Phelps In Your Face!

Check out the video after the jump of the second place swimmer in 100m butterfly event.


What a Twat!!!

Ha, ha.

Jamie Oliver Cooks up a Storm.

Jamie Oliver is known all over the World as the Naked Chef and for his fresh food attitude too cooking. He has done a lot of good over the last five years or so by introducing healthy meals to kids at school and giving troublesome teenagers opportunities they might not have had through his Fifteen restaurant. He is now continuing that trend by having a dig at the average Brit’s diet and attitude to food.



It looks like he has made it his mission to rid the UK of the shitty attitude and get the country out of the rut that it has found itself in. I feel that I can comment on this what with being a staunch Brit myself, and living in NZ has given me a different perspective on the way British people live. Too many Brits are lazy and don’t care about anything other than wether they should go to the pub on Friday night or Saturday night or both. This attitude goes through to the way that people eat too. It is too easy these days to eat Fish and Chips, Takeaway curry or reheatable, microwaved, reconstituted stick thing that’s supposed to be fish, or chicken or something. Kids don’t even know what vegetables are these days.
"The people I'm telling you about have huge TV sets – a lot bigger than mine! They have state-of-the-art mobile phones, cars, and they go and get drunk in pubs at the weekend – their poverty shows in the way they feed themselves." He said.
When I grew up my Mum cooked us a proper meal every night and we knew what vegetables were and where they came from. Dad has a vegie patch that he grew a good portion of our greens. Even for those that don’t have gardens the supermarket does actually have a fresh vegetables section. I would like to think that my kids will grow up with a healthy diet and know what and were their food comes from. Fancy not knowing what a carrot is, or what a potato is.
Over the last generation the idea of having a good meal has changed in Britain from having meat and two vege to what’s the quickest thing we can nuke.
When asked to compare British and French cuisine, Oliver said the following:
"In the past, British cuisine was similar to Italian cuisine nowadays, without the pasta and risotto,".
"Steam cooking, grilled meat, herbs, spices – we used to cook fabulous dishes. It's all in the past!
"Unlike French people, and I regret it, we lost our traditions. In gastronomy, the world evolves and changes. And right in front of us, isolated from everything, you have France where nothing changes."
I really feel that people like Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsey can make a difference in the UK with the good work they are doing but unfortunately we live in a time where the celebrities have to do the jobs of the parents. People need to motivate themselves to live better lives and maybe having a good healthy feed is the start.

Thanks to stuff

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Beijing Olympics - Whats it all about?

As a kid I was always fascinated by the Olympics and remember watching bits and pieces from the 84 event in LA. Since then I have not really been to bothered by it all, I catch some tidbits here and there and keep tabs on how well Great Britain and New Zealand are doing in the medals but other than that the interest in not like it used to be. Besides the fact that the Olympics seems to be more about how spectacular the event will be as opposed to mankind playing well together. But two things have stood out for me in this Olympics so far.

Yes that's right only two things and I'm not talking about Michael Phelps record medal tally, or the Jamaican runner Usain Bolt taking the piss out of the hundred metre world record, I'm not even going to mention Janos Baranyai, the poor bastard from Hungary who seemed to snap his arm off while opening a packet of crisps (Not actually what happened).
I am talking about the two athletes from the warring countries of Georgia and Russia who, ironically took out medals in the 10 metre air pistol event. Despite the fact that the Russians have steamrollered their way into Georgia the two women showed what the spirit of the Olympics is all about by hugging and generally getting along. Nino Salukvadze who won the bronze for Georgia had this to say.
"If the world were to draw any lessons from what I did there would never be any wars," she said. "We live in the 21st century, after all. We shouldn't really stoop so low to wage wars against each other."
A great attitude that the leaders of the World should learn from. By the way Russia's Natalia Paderina won the silver. On top of the shooters display of friendship the women's volleyball team showed the World that they are not to happy with the situation at home. Andrezza Chagas and Cristine Santanna of Georgia crossed under the net to hug their Russian competitors, Alexandra Shiryaeva and Natalia Uryadova.
"I am very unsatisfied with the results, but the Georgian team really played well. Their levels are rising very fast recently," said Shiryaeva. "Definitely I hope for peace. We do not want other things to influence the match."
A Russian spectator had this to say.
"The charm of the Games is that before the match you never know who will win. Players of both sides competed in a friendly atmosphere. It was really unforgettable."
The second Olympic moment was truly emotional and came from the German super heavyweight lifter Matthias Steiner. He lost his wife to a car accident last year and promised her memory that he would make it to the Olympics, which he did. Not only did he make the Olympics but he won the gold medal and he was so happy that he jumped around the lifting stage after falling to his knees and thumping the ground. Then as he was receiving his medal he held aloft a picture of his wife. What a dude. Check it (great commentary).

To me this is more amazing than all the world records that fall and the opening ceremony and all the other guff that goes with it. Its the small things that individuals do that make a moment and these two moments are truly memorable.

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Inbetweeners - Ooooh Fwend!!!

In between the 6th form world of bullies and babes lies the Inbetweeners. The Inbetweeners is a show which aired in the UK in May this year and follows the fortunes of Will, Simon, Jay and Neil in their 6th form year at a state run school in England. Will is new to the school after being in private school for most of his school life and is an outcast because of his upper class persona. He soon attaches himself to a small group of lads who are reluctant to accept him because of his background. Needless to say hilarity ensues.

The show follows Will as he goes from outcast to accepted friend and then respected member of the 6th form. During the 6 episode run the four lads try to by alcohol illegally at a pub on the first Friday of the school year. They bunk off school so that they can get drunk on illegally bought alcohol. They go on a day trip to the local theme park after Simon passes his driving test. They fall out when Will gets himself a girlfriend. They go on a caravan holiday after Jay convinces the others that it will be a full on orgy and they have a successful Christmas party organised by Will and co. Throughout the series we get a glimpse of what life is like at a state run school, for me it brought back many memories of hanging out with mates and the problems associated with being a teenager. This program is definitely not a kids show due to the profanities throughout and the many scenes where the boys lust after different girls or proclaim that they want to get laid. In many ways it is like a British version of American Pie or a comedy version of Grange Hill. They have captured the middle class teenage life perfectly and have not straying into the world of drugs. It is a snapshot of teenage life presented it in a wickedly funny way, I can see some of the lines from the show making their way into common use, “Oooh, fwend”.
I am surprised to note that so there has been little backlash from the series due to the depiction of drinking, language and behaviour by minors.

Check out some of the funnier bits here.



Sunday, August 17, 2008

Death Star, Star Destroyer ready to demolish San Fran.

I came across a pretty cool video on Giz tonight. It's an apparent invasion by the Empire. Footage looks real to me so if I were you I would lock my doors and not go outside. Check out the vid after the jump for more details.






Monday, August 11, 2008

Judge...send them down.

After what seems like an interminable wait, the nine assholes who killed a woman during a spiritual cleansing ceremony last year are finally going to stand trial for manslaughter. This has been a long time coming, but these dickheads who get it into their thick skulls that evil spirits, demons of the netherworld or makutu can control people and needs to be cleansed through dangerous and utterly Neanderthal ceremonies, need to be educated. Especially when they take the life of someone else and try and justify it with that sickening word "religion".

Janet Moses was a 22 year old mother of two girls, 3 years and 1 year old, living in Wainuiomata with a relative, just over the hill from Lower Hutt, New Zealand. Her family were firm proponents of the Maori belief system (a mixture of christian and tribal) which included belief in a makutu or curse being able to be placed on a family or individual. Recently, a family member had been suffering ill health and the family believed that it was the result of a makutu being placed on them through a family member stealing a taonga (treasured item). The taonga in question was a stone lion statue from the front of a Greytown Hotel and it was stolen by Janet's sister. They decided to hold a curse lifting or exorcism to remove the curse, and on the evening of October 11, 2007 the family began their wailing, chanting and application of water to drive out the curse. No-one as yet knows what took place that night except the police and the family members at the house, but one neighbour reported loud noises that night "like banging on a wall".


The next day, Friday 12th October, police were called by family members to her house around 5.30pm, and Janet's body was found lying on a bed. The autopsy found that she had died through drowning and the time of death was placed at around 8am that morning. She had lain dead in the house for nearly 8 hours before the police were called. Another victim of the family insanity was one of the 14 year old cousins who was also subjected to the same cruelty, and ended up in hospital.

Well, in what one can only hope is the beginning of one of the most successful cases in police history, 9 of the family members present that fateful night have been passed in for trial after two Justices of the Peace agreed that there was a case of manslaughter to answer to. A further case of cruelty to a child was also passed on for trial for a 10th family member. Good bloody job - I hope they get the bookcase thrown at them. People such as this who value hokey beliefs stemming from the days back when they used to eat each other, over a family members life deserve to be judged very harshly.

At an earlier hearing, apparently one of the lawyers argued for name suppression because "the case involved sensitive cultural issues" and argued "the defendants faced potential public vilification if their identities were revealed". You're damn right they would! And for good reason - they killed someone for nothing! You punished the youngest member of a family for the theft of a stone statue that was taken by someone else - morons!

For those of you thinking that perhaps Manslaughter is not the appropriate charge, and perhaps murder would have been more apt, there's still a hefty price to pay if found guilty.

"The maximum penalty for manslaughter is life imprisonment. The worst cases of manslaughter are near to murder and can attract severe sentences of imprisonment. But a conviction for manslaughter may also result where someone causes the death of another person by a single blow in circumstances where loss of life was not intended, and a sentence less than imprisonment may be appropriate."
NZ Courts

The difference between murder and manslaughter is mainly around premeditation and the sentencing of someone found guilty of murder involves a mandatory non-parole period, usually of no less than 10 years. So this still leaves the judge a wide range of jail time to hand out to the morons in the dock.

In an unsurprising move, all 10 have plead not guilty, and the trial date has been set down for 22 September. Here's hoping the judge sees sense and sends them all down for a long custodial sentence, during which time they can contemplate the life they took with their stupid customs and religious hocus pocus.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Batman kicks ass, and so does his car.

If you are a "graphic novel" fan like myself, you probably viewed the Batman Begins movie with trepidation. The last ones, circa early 1990's, all blew goats and they were made by some weirdo who likes Johnny Depp far more than is allowed by Utah law. You probably wondered to yourself whether or not this current crop would pass muster. And then after viewing Christian Bale's performance as the psychologically maladjusted Bruce Wayne and his penchant for flying rodents you probably felt that justice had been done. But what about yet another bat-movie? They can't help themselves at the studios - "if it makes money" the studio exec law goes, " so it must have a sequel". And so Dark Knight was born.

I'm sure you've probably heard somewhere that The Dark Knight is a good movie. Hell, the freaking Martian rovers have probably heard it. And I concur - it was a marvellous movie with lots of cool shit, explosions, fights, yadda yadda yadda. I'm not going to do a review as there are probably already a gazillion others, and theres many people out there who have a better idea of the background\plot\cast\number of buttons on that chicks dress than I do. I will just say that I love what they've done with the franchise and Heath Ledgers performance was fantastic. He brought a level of insanity to the character we've not seen before, and since his untimely passing, we may never see again.

But enough of that - what about the car! Some people dislike the Rumbler, but since I think its a nice piece of kit, they can go to hell. It looks like the bastard child of an F119 stealth fighter, an Orange County chopper and a cockroach. Brilliant! But how the hell did it come about? Well wonder no more bat-fans - the lovely people over at HowStuffWorks have a 9 page article on where it came from and how it hangs together. Check it out!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Ed, please stop - you are making a fool of yourself

Ed Mitchell - astronaut, woo-merchant and grey alien lover. I guess by now everyone and their dog has heard of Ed and his amazing stories of the aliens at Roswell, New Mexico. But this is not new - he's been saying this for some time, and it was only thanks to his interview on Birmingham-based Kerrang radio where he said "that we have been visited on this planet and the UFO phenomenon is real - though it's been covered up by governments for the last 60 years or so". This has lead to some typical hysteria in the news from journo's willing to sensationalise anything to move a paper or get more visits. But I was extremely surprised when I saw John Campbell dip into this murky well of bullshit reporting last week, and interviewed Ed on his show.

Ok, I'll give it that John Campbell is not the fount of excellent journalism, and he does stray into the News of the World territory on occasion, but he's from Palmerston North (Represent! P. Nth 4 Life!) so I'll cut him a break for now. My main problem is that he is giving airtime to someone who has a hypothesis about what actually happened at Roswell, when he wasn't involved at all. He plainly says in the interview that he was a teenager at the time living in Roswell, and he doesn't really remember a whole lot about it, except some stuff in the local papers. That's not surprising in the slightest - my nephew is in the teen years and its impossible to get him interested in anything going on in the world outside his circle of friends, his job or the Playstation. Everything else is comprehensively labelled as "lame", "dumb" or the derisive "that's so gay".

But even though he was not involved, he is using his Argument from Authority and Anecdotal Evidence to try and convince the world that aliens crashed at Roswell. He says "the old timers" from Roswell who apparently were involved have passed on the vital information about 10 years ago about what they saw and heard, and this is what he bases his opinion on alien visitation. He has no evidence to prove the veracity of these claims except the word of other people that they are telling the truth which, I'm sorry Ed, doesn't count for squat. Now to give Ed his dues, he has been fooled in the past.

It was Mitchell who “discovered” spoon-bender Uri Geller when Geller was only a cabaret performer doing his run-of-the-mill “psychic” tricks for teeny-boppers in Israel, assisted by Hannah Shtrang – who later became his wife – and Shipi Shtrang, her brother, who still works as his assistant. Mitchell actually travelled to Israel and arranged for Geller to come to the USA and be studied at the Stanford Research Institute – later to be re-named SRI International. Two physicists there, apparently awed by meeting a genuine Lunar Astronaut, chose to believe that such a hero couldn’t be wrong, that Geller was therefore the real thing, and Geller’s career took off. It’s safe to say that without Edgar Mitchell’s naivety, we’d have been spared the advent of the Geller Delusion.
James Randi - Swift 31/07/2008

After retiring from the Navy in 1972, Dr. Mitchell founded the Institute of Noetic Sciences to sponsor research into the nature of consciousness as it relates to cosmology and causality. In 1984, he was a co-founder of the Association of Space Explorers, an international organization of those who have experienced space travel.

He is the author of "Psychic Exploration," 1974, "The Way of the Explorer," 1996, (Third edition, 2006) as well as dozens of articles in both professional and popular periodicals. He has devoted the last 35 years to studying human consciousness and psychic and paranormal phenomena in the search for a common ground between science and spirit.

Ed Mitchell Bio

Ok, that does run close to an Ad Hominem attack, but I think its relevant. He has shown a propensity in the past to be fooled by charlatans like Uri Geller, so who is to say that some group of people who believe what they say happened in Roswell so many years ago couldn't do the same? Fool me once, shame on me, fool me twice, shame on me again.

As for the Psychic Investigations, Phil Plait over at Bad Astronomy says that he is fully in support of people doing science based investigations of this sort of stuff, but I'm not too sure that's what he would be doing. If you back someone like Uri Geller without any evidence apart from watching a few parlour tricks, how credible will any scientific conclusions on similar topics be?

I guess we can only hope that the news agencies publish less of this and focus more on what Ed actually achieved - its a lot to hope for I know, but hey - a Palmy boy can dream cant he?

Super Slo-mo Lightning

Here is a video of lightning in super slow motion. It is pretty amazing. I don't have any details about where this is or who took it but it looks great.
It will no doubt turn out to be computer generated and we will all look like the fools we are. Anyway, enjoy it while we still think its real. Do the Jump.




This is your brain. This is your brain on a computer.

Wondering what someone's brain would look like if you could view thoughts through a kaleidoscope? Well wonder no more - here are some awesome images from a new piece of software developed by neuroscientists at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. It takes MRI scan data and renders it in full-colour 3D, with each visible strand representing several tens of thousands of the too-small-to-image neural pathways. It called diffusion spectrum imaging - it takes current data from MRI scans and analyses it for the passage of water molecules along the individual neuron connections in the brain. It then processes it to spit out the 3D maps. See after the jump for more pici's.




Thursday, August 7, 2008

When is it too much haka?

The last commonwealth games were not massively successful by past standards for New Zealand, considering we only pulled in 32 medals in total, compared to the previous 30 or so years. But it was still an awesome achievement for our athletes from a small nation of 4 million, who compete on a world stage and bring back medals - bloody good show I say. Screw all the naysayers who whinge about the number of medals - I don't see any of the local sports journo's getting off their fat butts to applaud the effort, let alone running a marathon for their country. And with the Olympics on the cusp of starting, I can only smile in anticipation of our plucky teams taking on the world, and bringing home the glory. In saying that, I must admit I do have a small, ah, not a complaint but maybe a suggestion - less haka this time round eh?

The haka is a national icon for our country - nothing stirs the blood of a kiwi more than seeing the All Blacks before the next clash with the Boks, the Frogs or the Criminal Element and putting the fear of our mana into them.



Its origins lie in our Maori history, and it has always been used in conjunction with ceremony of some form. The earliest forms are attributed to formal proceedings between tribes before tribal councils were held. The most common form of haka Ka Mate! is said to have been introduced by a particularly fierce and successful Maori chief by the name of Te Rauparaha in the early nineteenth century. It is a short tale of his escape from pursuers from another tribe, and the exhilaration of his ultimate survival (see NZ.com). It has been used by the All Blacks since 1888, and performed before nearly every single match since 1922 - its one of the best parts of a home rugby test match.

These days however, we see it being used not only in rugby, but in every other sporting code as well. Not so much by the women's teams, which is ironic because the first haka's were apparently performed by Maori women, but its not really their scene I suppose. Although it would put the shits up the Aussies if the Silver Ferns Netball team came out onto centre court before a match and did Kapa a Pango. It turns up all over the place, and its for this reason that I wonder if its losing a bit of its uniqueness. Is it possible to have too much haka? Is it possible that it could lose its special place in our nations heart, and fail to cast a smidgen of fear in the oppositions if we do it all the time?

Case in point was the 2006 Commonwealth games in Melbourne. When you win a medal in the pool, its tradition that the medal winners, after being awarded their bits of metal on a string, wander down the ranks of their team mates and fans waving and soaking up the applause. Normally this is a reasonably quick process as it doesn't really take that long to walk, except if you are a Kiwi who has won a medal. Every single time one of our athletes made their way down the line, they had to stop and wait while the entire swim team did a haka. I know it doesn't take long, but after the 3rd or 4th time you could see the officials, other competitors and spectators beginning to roll their eyes and get a bit frustrated. Is it really necessary to haka someone who came third? And how do you think that makes the person who got the gold feel - I won but I'm being shoved aside so some yahoos can celebrate their mates bronze?

Dallas Seymour, ex sevens legend and Olympic Official for the NZ Team says otherwise. He concedes that people may have had the impression that it was trotted out for anything and everything, but he also points out that its not just a challenge or a call to the fight - its used as part of ceremony and a uniquely NZ way of welcoming people. "In Maori culture it's one of those everyday things done in a whole lot of different settings. It's one of those things that people get a real kick out of." He also said that a well timed haka can be more special that anything from the official ceremony of the Olympics or Commonwealth games. "Sarah [Ulmer] said in Athens to be acknowledged in a uniquely New Zealand way was more emotional than anything else she went through. It was the only time she cried in terms of getting the gold as well."

I guess I agree with Dallas that it is a very important part of our culture, and its not about other countries, and more about our national identity. I just wish it was used a little more judiciously, and perhaps not in the middle of other peoples ceremonies - show a little more respect and perhaps some of the haka-haters will chill out.

In saying that, most of the haka-haters I have heard from a Poms or Aussies, and really they are just jealous of not having something of their own to perform before a big game. Waltzing Matilda sung by some big fat hairy beardy weirdy or Swing Low Sweet Chariot sound slow and lame - the complete antithesis of what is required to rev you up for the big game ahead. So screw them.

Go the Kiwi's at the olympics - you'll do us proud I'm sure. And go the AB's next Saturday against the Boks in Capetown. Give them the good news boys!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Guns don’t kill people...

I was always fascinated by that saying and how simple it seems. “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people”. In essence, it is compelling because it is true. Guns do not kill people of their own volition, they require a motive force such as a finger pulling the trigger, a hand to aim it and a person to decide what to aim at. But is it oversimplifying things? Do guns in a larger sense actually kill people through actually existing, or am I just talking out my butt?

Recently I had my house broken into, and although nothing much was taken luckily, and no one was home, the sense of some scumbag rifling through my personal effects pissed me off something chronic. I went through the classic stages we experience to cope with things.

DENIAL
“What? Someone broke in? Don’t be ridiculous! They can’t break in when we’ve got things like, doors and windows covering the openings. Well of course they could have just smashed a window, but who in their right mind would do that? That’s crazy talk!”

ANGER
“Fucking pricks! How dare they break into my house! I’m going to....well...I...I’m going to get pretty upset is what I’m going to do!”

BARGINING
“Please please please please please please let my new xbox still be there”

DEPRESSION
“This sucks. How can someone do this to me and my family. What sort of nihilistic a-hole would invade my house and rifle through my shit?”

ACCEPTANCE
“What? Are you joking? Acceptance? Fuck. That. The next time I see someone snooping round the neighbourhood I’m gonna get the rake outta the shed and beat seven kinds of snot out of them!”


It was the last statement (which I actually did think to myself) that I have come back to ponder in the light of a few recent events in New Zealand. In early June an owner of a liquor outlet Navtej Singh in South Auckland was shot dead, even though he had complied totally with the offenders demands. Since then there have been a spate of shootings and assaults (not entirely related to shop owners) that have been highlighted in the media. A majority of these we all shake our heads, do the old “tut tut” thing and continue on with our lives because we are not shocked by this sort of thing – we have been desensitised to it. It is remote. Its happening to someone else we have nothing to do with, so we feel comfortable dismissing it from the worry centre of our brain and concentrating on more personal matters. Which is all perfectly normal – you can’t expect people to live in total fear because of the worry and stress caused by events which have no immediate impact on their lives. Unless you live in the US of course, and then the Government and media make damn sure you worry about every perceived terrorist threat there could possibly be.

But I digress. On Monday night, two machete wielding offenders charged into a Christchurch dairy and attacked the owner and his wife without provocation. The owner Nike said "Usually in the movies they say 'Give me the money' but they tried to kill us from the very start. It happened really fast. They ran in holding the knife out and started trying to chop me." At this point, Nike whipped out his air pistol that was stashed behind the counter, and shot the knife wielding maniacs, wounding one of them in the face. He saved his life, his wife’s life and didn’t kill anyone in the process. Bravo Nike – well done.

This has raised the obvious question however – should people have the right to arm themselves for protection? I saw on the news tonight, several people calling for the ability of shop owners to defend themselves. What would have happened in any of these situations where a small business owner is confronted by an armed nutter, demanding they “gimme the casshhhhh” is armed with a .357 magnum, or a small .22 pistol? It’s obvious really – the outcome would be much worse. As soon as you arm everyone for “personal protection” you increase the death toll at every robbery. The more guns there are, the more people will get shot and it wont be for reasons of “personal protection” either. You then put a gun in the hands of every husband who has an argument with his wife, of every disgruntled employee who has forgotten the TPS reports, and every bored teenager who feels like taking their frustrations with the world out on someone.

Its relatively hard in New Zealand to get a gun, and although we are seeing an increase of crimes linked with guns, I wouldn’t want to change that. If you see someone with a gun, it stands out – they look out of place and you can identify them as a possible offender because they are armed. If you arm everyone, they blend into the crowd and make them impossible to find. Increasing the number of weapons owned legitimately will make it harder to trace the ones that are not, making it incredibly hard to capture and prosecute successfully people who commit armed offences.

“Guns don’t kill people, people kill people, but if you give everyone a gun, more people will be killed” – proliferation of weapons has never helped solve anything. All it does is give people who are pissed off, down on their luck or just bored something to play with.

Britain from Above

We all know what the countries of the World look like from space. Italy is a boot, America has a pan handle and Australia is a big smudge. Ever wondered what a countries infrastructure would look like from space? No, well I’m sure some people have. The BBC have a new documentary called ‘Britain from Above’ which uses state of the art computer graphics combined with GPS information from Taxis, planes, ferries and other vehicles to show how the country functions. After the cut you will find some facts and a link to the video on the BBC website.

Hosted by Andrew Marr the show will present imagery of Britain and the daily heartbeat that is the countries commute and communications network. Also included in this series is a look at how the cities have changed and how technologies keep us moving.

Video link

Facts from the show.

• The English Channel is the busiest shipping lane in the world: on a typical day 400 plus vessels travel through the Dover Straits, the biggest of which weigh up to 150,000 tonnes and take 3.5 miles to come to a stop.
• East London's Beckton Sewage Plant - all 280 football pitches worth of tanks, troughs and waterways - is one of the largest in Europe.
• On an average day, Britain's water pipes carry 16 billion litres of water - enough to fill 18 million bathtubs.
• In less than a week the waste sent to sewage plants is clean enough to be able to be pumped back into our taps.
• At the peak of the working day Britons send more than 5,000 text messages per second.
• 109 square miles of British countryside is just used for landfill.
• Between 7 and 10am, 36 million Britons are on the move commuting to the office or school.
• The average road user will spend more than 6 months of their life stuck in traffic jams.
• Every day more than 7,500 civilian aircraft crowd Britain's airspace, carrying more that half a million passengers.
• Over three quarters of a billion pounds in hard cash is transported around the roads of Britain every day. Driving one of the secured vans is one of the most dangerous jobs in the country with sometimes 15 attacks a week.
• Every day the nation's rubbish trucks collect more than 82,000 tonnes of refuse.


Tuesday, August 5, 2008

What has NASA ever done for us…….

Many people don’t believe that space travel is worth the massive amounts of money that we spend, or the Americans spend should I say. Here in New Zealand we do not have a space program so our tax money does not feature in the final frontier. Needless to say that we are fortunate that everyone reaps the benefits of the space programs provided by other countries.

Rob Sharp over at The Independent has chronicled some of the top 50 developments that the Worlds space programs have given us. Things such as the hand held vacuum cleaner, safer runways, freeze dried meals and Heart Surgery have all come about due to the research and development that goes on at NASA and other agencies.

Check out the link to see the top 50 inventions given to us by space exploration.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Solar Eclipse from 27000 feet.

One of the items on my list of things to do before I die is to see a full solar eclipse. We dont get many down here in NZ, in fact someone recently mentioned that we will get one in about 30 years or so, so that means I will have a bit of a wait. Anyway here is some footage of the latest solar eclipse as seen from an aircraft flying at 27,000 feet over the Canadian Arctic. It is pretty cool footage as you can actually see the shadow moving over the position of the plane. The people on board are obviously quite happy about what they have just witnessed. Have a look after the cut.




Friday, August 1, 2008

Mythbusters Moon Hoax Special

Here at RD we are firm believers in the fact that NASA and the US government successfully landed men on the Moon. There is no hoax, there is nothing fishy going on and there is an answer to every single so called 'fact' that the hoaxers come up with. Go to BadAstronomy.com to read more info about the Moon hoax.
Well it looks like our favourite buster of myths, The Mythbusters are doing a Moon Hoax special. Yay, I am supremely confident that every test, experiment they do will add weight to the truth, that we as a species landed on the Moon. I am not going to debunk the the Moon hoax stuff here as there are plenty of reality based sites out there with that info.
Check out the trailer after the jump for the Mythbusters Moon Hoax special.