Posts Tagged ‘idiots’

Systemic

September 30, 2014

The new version of Windows is upon us, farewell Windows 8, welcome Windows …errr…10. The number was chosen because supposedly

…it resonates best for what the company would deliver across the breadth of devices.

…whatever that means. I mean, at least Linux kernel version names like Rotary Wombat or Brown Paper Bag are obviously nonsensical, but this just looks like the entire Microsoft marketing department suddenly forgot how to count. (Which happens more often in the corporate world than you’d think. So please donate generously.)

Meanwhile the busy gremlins of Unixland invented a new smiley:

() { :;};

It should be used when you hear a 25-year old joke that nobody actually got until now.

Headless

June 20, 2013

News are flowing thick and fast, not just the irresistible water cannon of the big stories but also the incessant drip-drip of the not-so-big, so people could be forgiven for trying to insulate their brains against it as much as they can.

But how to ignore the mind-boggling absurdity of the case of the West Yorkshire “spiritual healer”, who was arrested, not because of what most sane people would think (i.e. that he was taking money from vulnerable people to perform healing rituals that had never been proven to work in a double-blind test) but because while performing said rituals, he occasionally groped his patients’ tits.

No, he wasn’t arrested for fraud and neither was Psychic Sally, quite the opposite. The very fact that the otherwise rightly maligned Daily Mail was forced by law to prove that Mrs. Morgan doesn’t talk to the spirit world makes you wonder why we bother with a legal system at all. ‘I can tell straight away that you are an emotional control freak: you do let yourself go emotionally, but you avoid that because when you do’, she tried to dazzle the hack of the Mail (according to the article that prompted the libel action) and one can only admire the way she had mastered Barnum statements.


Now, if we imagine that absurdity distorts the brain the same way gravity bends the fabric of space-time, forcing thoughts to follow a curved trajectory, the equivalent of a black hole is when absurd overflows into grotesque.

Like when a local council in Hungary decides to erect a statue to honour Cardinal Mindszenty (and it’s hard to think of a more deserving subject for a statue) but it isn’t completed on time for the official unveiling. A tricky situation undoubtedly but this kind of thing must happen fairly regularly, artists can’t be hurried after all. ‘We mustn’t let this spoil a good PR opportunity,’ the organisers must have thought, ‘not with a lot of politicians and other dignitaries lined up for the event.’

So they went ahead anyway. The great and the good (as well as the bad and the ugly) all assembled on time, speeches were spoken, claps were clapped and when the covers were finally and very-very carefully removed, they revealed…a cardinal with his head fastened temporarily and probably rather hastily.

And this is where it all gets weird.

The big ceremony over, as the audience was dispersing in a suitably solemn mood, the sculptor turned up, expertly removed the head and took it home for further work.

And to this day the statue is still headless.

At least they put the covers back on the stump, probably out of respect.

(Photo: Szabolcs Barakonyi / index.hu)

Conspiracies

January 11, 2013

Of course everybody knows that the Internet/Google/Facebook/smartphones were all created by the CIA to snoop on everyone. (Well, everyone except the Chinese, who use them to snoop on the CIA.)

Hand on heart it’s hard to be enthusiastic about them, they’ve been around for decades, chewed, spat out and chewed again a thousand times. So instead of all the tired old cliches here are some fresh conspiracies that are a lot cooler to believe in:

Microsoft are secretly collecting recordings of your stupid victory celebrations when playing Kinect Sports. They’ve developed advanced pants recognition algorithms just for this purpose.

User comments are in fact a clever RIAA ploy to put people off listening to music on YouTube. It is by far their most successful programme, their army of automated morons (commandeered by only a handful of real ones) have driven millions of people to utter despair.

Memes were invented as a tool for human behaviour research, somewhat similar to how observing seismic wave propagation is used to map out the interior of a planet. Aliens use it as a cheap, outsourced alternative to the fiddly and rather messy probing.

Loyalty cards are used by supermarkets to keep track of what kind of condoms you buy. Size and flavour are displayed on the cashier’s screen, so if they appear to be unusually cheerful, now you know why.

Equilibria

November 8, 2012

It’s a well-known fact that a cake can be divided into two equal slices in cooperation by two players, who each only want to maximise their own share of it. All we need to do is tell one of them to cut the cake in two and the other to pick a slice.

Without even attempting any calculations it’s easy to see how their greed balances out and guarantees a fair outcome, exactly as game theory predicts.

Except…

Here, in front of us are two people desperate for cake.

And we’ve just given one of them a knife.

Precognition

October 22, 2012

“Yes, it’s those bloody scientists again. If they can’t even predict such a simple thing as an unpredictable natural disaster, of course they should be held responsible for all the destruction! I mean, what are we supposed to do? We don’t have magical powers or see visions, do we? Look, just look at the state of that altar! Awful.”

Testing

July 22, 2012

Isn’t it somewhat ironic that one of the oldest and most dependable internet scams is IQ testing?

Love

February 16, 2012

So, oxytocin isn’t the universal love hormone everyone (let’s be honest, mostly hippies) expected it to be. It turns out that in some cases it can amplify envy, schadenfreude, even xenophobia.

Of course this comes as no surprise to anyone who’s ever heard a sentence starting with “Speaking as a mother…”

August 11, 2011

Haiku in English
People think it is clever:
Absolute tossers

Triskaidekaphobia

June 20, 2011

It’s just part of our lives, we don’t even seem to notice it any more. We’ve accepted that houses have no thirteenth floor, hotels have no room thirteen and so on. But out of all the superstitions I find this the most mind-boggling.

I mean, take airliners, on which there’s no row thirteen. What kind of accident is that supposed to prevent?

‘I’m sorry but we’ve lost row thirteen, it…it just fell out of the middle of the fuselage. Oh, the rest of the plane landed fine, still what a terrible loss.’

Imagine trying to explain the whole phenomenon to an alien who’d just landed on our planet.

‘You see, this is the way we number our houses: we assign odd numbers to one side of the street and evens to the other, and we use base ten notation. So for example if this is number ten here, the house opposite would be number eleven, next to number eleven would be number fifteen because, well, because many people are afraid of the number thirteen.’

Imagine explaining all that, what would someone who had crossed millions of parsecs of deep space to visit your planet say?

It’d say: ‘Exactly which part of the sentence “Please take me to your leader” are you failing to understand?”‘

Disappointment 2

May 22, 2011

When a young journalist lands his first, unpaid contract with a newspaper, and all he has to do is make coffee for everyone and clean the office, the only thing that keeps him going is the hope that one day, if he plays his cards right, he might be able to write down a headline like this.

Believers baffled as world doesn’t end

And get away with it.