Pop Culture

Starship Enterprise Building: Chinese Gaming Company Makes It So

The time? Six years of construction. The cost? Some US$160 million spent in the process, including licensing the rights from CBS to build it so. The result? Completed in 2014, finally the headquarters of Chinese online gaming and mobile internet company NetDragon Websoft were built. That the headquarters are a replica of the starship USS Enterprise from Star Trek? It’s beyond avant-garde, and it boldly goes where no building has gone before. The reason? Probably so the chairman, Liu Dejian, can say stuff at work like: “Make it so.” And: “I’ll be in my ready room.” And he has to be taken seriously. Where the debate goes, be it Sovereign or Galaxy, or something else taxing to the Constitution, the Class is still out. Stick with an Excelsior refit if for no other reason than “Excelsior” is such a good word to say. Since no known tricorder scans of the ...

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Egglants, Emojis and Oddities

Quite apart from the debate of whether the eggplant is a fruit or vegetable, a common pastime between scientific types and laypeople in between watching the grass grow, it seems the mysterious eggplant has struck again. But in emoji form. Or rather, the eggplant emoji has been struck off the usage list by Instagram. The reason, it appears, is some say eggplant, some say aubergine and others say brinjal. But when it comes to Instagram and the eggplant emoji, some say it’s vulgar. It’s not like it’s that unobvious why… Which has called things to attention, and in the interests of uprightness, the eggplant emoji has been deflated and put away for now. The party is over. Turns out even sprinkling a little salt on it changes nothing of the bitter taste. Don’t even speak about brinjal pickle, that may just be a phallic overload. Putting aside the best and ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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Bigfoot vs. Nessie

Cryptozoology, is the study of, and the search for, secret, hidden animals with a yet unproven existence.  Rumours, hearsay and conjecture are often where it begins.  Sometimes legends.  A few hoaxes may be in there as well.  Blurred photos are optional, but are generally recommended. Two of the more famous examples are the Loch Ness Monster and Bigfoot. The Loch Ness Monster, or Nessie as it is (or they are) otherwise referred to, was purportedly first seen in the year 565 (which requires more than a small bit of interpretation of Chapter 28 in the Life of St. Columba).  Making its home in Loch Ness, Scotland; it has been searched for, but never found.  The most recently claimed and majorly reported sighting was in 2012.  Perhaps meaning that Nessie either swims in the Fountain of Youth, or there are many of the creatures.  Neither claim has been proven though. Bigfoot, or Sasquatch (as its ...

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May the 4th Be With You in 2013

A time about now in a world on the 4th, 4th May… Scrolling Star Wars text starts here.  Sure John Williamson will do the musical score for it. Star Wars, it’s the cultural phenomenon that has launched such things as: Moves to make Jedi an official religion in censuses worldwide The metal bikini, as comfortable as it is sexy. Generations of folks that have tried to use the Force to do everything from opening their doors in the morning to choking someone with a closing hand gesture from afar. It hasn’t all been good though.  There is a dark side to it.  Beyond Caravan of Courage (it wasn’t ‘that’ bad), beyond the whole confusion with the introduction of midi-chlorians (as if mitochondria weren’t already confusing enough), and even beyond Jar Jar Binks, there have been some clangers along the way. Including plot holes big enough to fly the Millennium Falcon though.  If the Rebels blew up ...

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420 and Social Proofs

420 and the Culture of Marijuana The 20th April is a meaningful date to many. Of course given the history of the world, it won’t take much to pull out something apparently significant, purely by chance, and link it to such a date.  For example, Adolf Hitler was born on 20th April, 1889.  Delving into confirmation biases and relatively prime numbers for mistaken numerology, is a topic for another time. Rather the 20th April here, will first be morphed into April 20, then converted into 420, and maybe 4/20 if need be.  And yes, guilty of using numerology as charged.  Although the whole idea of the 420 here is linked to not being charged. At 4:20pm on 4/20, stoners across North America, meaning the US and Canada, lit up their joints to advocate for the legalisation of marijuana.  Presumably with smoking this weed, some did actually inhale as well. The origins of 420 are ...

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