Who Was England’s Greatest Prime Minister? The question is admittedly a little misleading, since there’s only going to be a choice of two here: Pitt the Elder versus Lord Palmerston. First a bit of background, even if it’s known what’s coming. Pitt the Elder William Pitt the Elder, 1st Earl of Chatham, also known as “the Great Commoner” was described as an aloof individual and a commanding speaker. Although only holding the office of Prime Minister for two years (1766-68), his political career was both far longer and more contentious. Mainly in part due to the wars over the period, tensions with the British colonies including America, and divergent views between the people and the monarchy at the time. He also gave the world the following quote: “Unlimited power is apt to corrupt the minds of those who possess it.” Variants of which are still used today (though the concept ...Read More »
Author Archives: uthinki
The Wisdom of March Madness?
Sporting Chance It builds like a fever. Sweating. Excitement. Slight discomfort. The prospect of Spring. Things are thawing, heating up. It may begin with the NCAA college basketball tournament. Where 68 teams play sudden death matches. The loser leaves hopefully a good sport; the winner progresses to the next round of elimination. Filtering through to the Sweet 16, Elite Eight and into the Final Four teams. Semi-finals, then the final match with the winner found. Unlike the NBA tournaments where the basketball teams play the best of seven games, in the March Madness games, after the initial play-ins remove four of the lowest ranked teams, for those remaining 64 teams a single match is all that stands between climbing the ladder or being benched for the rest of the tournament. Skill and luck both have their roles to play. A minor mistake may end it all. There’s no best of ...Read More »
Resurrecting the Woolly Mammoth
Come In From The Cold Woolly mammoths have been extinct for the better part of 10,000 years. Since the last ice age. Talk of cloning mammoths by splicing their DNA with elephants is not that new either. Yet it’s measured in decades and not millennia. However, scientists now claim that they’re closer than ever to returning the woolly mammoth from extinction. Using the DNA of woolly mammoths found frozen and preserved in the Artic permafrost, through new DNA scissoring techniques, scientists have managed to reproduce 14 of the mammoth’s genes. Which have then been spliced into and integrated with the genome of modern day elephants. Remarkably giving functional DNA. The DNA scissoring technique called CRISPR allows scientists to precisely edit in the genes of the mammoth into sections of elephant DNA. As reported in The Sunday Times, Professor George Church of Harvard stated: “We prioritised genes associated with cold resistance ...Read More »
Lucha Libre de la Muerte
Mexican Wrestler Dies Mexican professional wrestler Pedro Aguayo Ramirez, died in the early hours of Saturday morning on 21 March 2015. He passed away in hospital, after a wrestling match in Tijuana. Where on the ropes and limp, a strike to his neck may have ultimately been fatal. Wrestling under the name of Hijo del Perro Aguayo, the wrestling match continued until the referee and other wrestlers realised Aguayo’s situation was dire and went to help him. Many onlookers and fans initially thought it was all part of the show. Aguayo was wrestling against Rey Mysterio Jr., whose real name is Oscar Gutierrez. Baja California’s state prosecutor’s office is investigating whether possible manslaughter charges may apply. Not For Entertaiment Only For all of the masks and spandex, personas and theatrics, that lucha libre (Mexican professional wrestling) is known for, it is not without its risks. Much like American professional wrestling. ...Read More »
NSW State Election 2015: District Seats Forecasts
With approximately one week remaining until the NSW state election day on Saturday 28 March 2015, current polling data at the time of writing is favouring a return to power for the Liberal Party with Mike Baird as the leader. Following a similar method used to forecast the 2013 Australian federal election, forecasts were made on a two party preferred (TPP) basis for the 2015 NSW state election. Based on statistically updating past district seats data (including any by-elections) for the Legislative Assembly with polling data current as at 20 March 2015. As shown in the table below, of the 93 district seats, the Australian Labor Party is expected to win 17 seats (including both the Australian Labor Party and the Country Labor Party), the Coalition 70 seats (including both the Liberal Party and the National Party), and the other minor parties and independents collectively six seats. Implying that the Coalition is likely to win ...Read More »
Thailand Bans Underboob Selfies, Just Don’t Panic
Legal Shades of Grey The underboob selfie. Yet another variant of the selfie, and maybe quite the tie-in. Which although probably not requiring a selfie stick, is nonetheless being taken to with a stick. With Thailand authorities having banned the underboob selfie. All of which because such images may violate Thailand’s Computer Crime Act 2007, Section 14, regarding computer data which may “damage the country’s security or cause a public panic” and related to computer data “that is publicly accessible” in addition to that which “involves the dissemination or forwarding of computer data”. So provided everyone remains calm and no-one panics, people sharing underboob selfies may escape prosecution provided the images aren’t a security risk and don’t disclose state secrets. Somewhat strange the actions of the government compared to the perceptions of the country. Irrespective of any legalities, it’s not exactly like Thailand is unknown for its sex and drug ...Read More »
Beetlejuice, Betelgeuse, Spelling?
The movie Beetlejuice (1988), nearly three decades later still has an ongoing debate about the correct spelling of the title character’s name. (Because that’s what the internet does.) Is it Beetlejuice, Betelgeuse, or- Better stop before summoning the ghost with the most. In the film, which is accepted as being called Beetlejuice, the spelling on Michael Keaton character’s tombstone is Betelgeuse, so perhaps the maker of the tombstone was the one who misspelled it? Although the character is a ghost, and this is probably overthinking it. It also doesn’t account for the spelling in the ad for the “freelance bio-exorcist” himself. The explanation offered here, is that the difference of title between the movie’s name Beetlejuice and the character’s name Betelgeuse, was largely a studio-driven marketing decision (and artistic compromise, better than the studio-suggested House Ghosts and Burton’s tongue-in-cheek counter of Scared Sheetless, which was apparently seriously considered by the studio). ...Read More »
Reaching for the Selfie Stick
The selfie, whether it’s the about face and smile or the full mirrored stand and pose, the photo of the self with a phone has become beyond common place. With selfies now the fodder of the digital world in a way that the real world can only be thankful so few of the photos are actually printed. Although a Kim Kardashian-obsessed Kim Kardashian West is releasing a book of her selfies, called Selfish, for the similarly selfie self-obsessed fan. Notwithstanding any ogle factor, why exactly converting digital selfie images into a physical book made any sense is a bit of mystery. Perhaps it was just easier to make a profit that way. Though the coffee table book seems rather removed from the mobile and transmitted talking (or commenting) piece that selfies usually are. As for commenting on selfies, the language is becoming more focused if blurred in its meaning. Names, ...Read More »
Coffee Pods from A to K-Cup
Buzzed then Jolted Coffee, is argued at times as being the beverage of the civilised world. A cup of coffee may be anything from the provider of caffeine to make the morning more bearable for some, to an excuse for talking to someone for others. With coffee has come its aficionadas. Someone making coffee is a barista, thank you very much. It’s not just the beverage of choice in cafés though. The coffee pod has more than gone mainstream and enjoys massive success both financially and in terms of market share in defining how people prepare their coffee. Interestingly though, John Sylvan, inventor of the American coffee pods (called K-Cups and sold by Keurig) now has his regrets about his creation. The cost of them and their cost to the environment are his major concerns, especially the latter. Back in the earlier part of the 1990s, John Sylvan’s drinking of ...Read More »
Closing the Gender Pay Gap, Not So Fast?
Pushing Against the Glass Ceiling With the 8th March marking International Women’s Day, it’s a time to consider and celebrate all that women have done for the world. Names, but some amongst many, are called to the fore. From science with Marie Curie. To matters of state with Angela Merkel, Condoleezza Rice, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Janet Yellen, Madeleine Albright, Margaret Thatcher, and Queen Elizabeth II. To business and industry with Sara Blakely and Gina Rinehart. To those who’ve done their best to make the word a better place, such as Florence Nightingale and Mother Teresa. To those that entertain us, such as Oprah, Ellen, Meryl Streep, and Julianne Moore. The list of women who have achieved both greatness and public recognition in their respective fields is not a small one by any means. And any such listing must ultimately be incomplete. Equally though, we should also acknowledge those whose stories ...Read More »