Amazon Deals

New at Amazon

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Get the Nobel Prize ready: Chocolate that eases menstrual pain


A chocolatier in Switzerland has claimed to have created a chocolate that can help relieve period pains. 

The chocolate titled “Frauenmond” which translates to “women’s moon” is made by Chocolate with Love, which is headed by Marc Widmer, who was previously a pastry chef working at top hotels.

Mr Widmer claimed the chocolate contains 17 Swiss mountain herbs that can alleviate menstrual pains.  

The health benefits arise from interactions with the herbs and molecules in the chocolate to produce a calming effect on the body.

"We want to make the menstruation days of women more comfortable," Mr Widmer told 20 Minuten.

Book available here.
"Of course men can also eat the chocolate. I myself have already tried [it],” he added. 

The news comes as scientists have claimed to be able to give milk chocolate the same beneficial properties as dark chocolate.

Researches from North Carolina State University claim that adding phenolic compounds from peanut skins to milk chocolate gives it the same antioxidant property of dark chocolate.

Related posts and links:

In the 17th century, Europeans considered chocolate to be medicine. (Bonus: other curiosities from the history of medicine)

Compound in cocoa found to reverse age-related memory loss.

Is chocolate good for you?

Two bars of chocolate a day 'lowers risk of stroke and heart disease'.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Reasons to elect a supervillain President, with bonus Homer Simpson proving that both candidates are aliens

Supervillains can be effective leaders, provided you can get past the lying, unilateral decision-making, rampant murder, and dismantling of your Constitutional rights. Wait, three out of four of those disadvantages sound awfully familiar...

Advantages of supervillians:

They have a strong vision for the future. Perhaps the most famous supervillain president is none other than Superman's nemesis, Lex Luthor, who was elected with 84% of the popular vote after he apparently saved both Metropolis and Gotham City. Luthor's Tomorrow Party platform was a decidedly optimistic one; it's hard not to get behind the promise of a flying car in every garage.

They'll go to great lengths to rebuild the country. Victor Von Doom was already the political leader of his own country, Latveria, but in the Marvel 2099 universe, Doom manages to become president of the United States. It turns out that the supervillain may be just what the dystopian future America needs. 

Click here to embiggen
Granted, he takes the presidency by force, hacking and slashing his way through the White House until he can claim the Oval Office as his own. But he does restore the constitutional powers of the presidency, nationalize the megacorps (a small-government advocate's nightmare, but in this case, highly necessary), and uses their money to rebuild the crumbling United States.

They won't stand for idiotic interview questions. While not actually a villain, the antiheroic Etrigan the Demon would have likely been a less than lawful good choice for president. (Superman called him, "One of the worst candidates for public office I've ever seen.") But his campaign for the Republican nomination certainly was entertaining; when ABC News anchor Sam Donaldson tried to call Etrigan out on his sloppy rhyming, the demon responded with a stream of fiery breath.

Click here to embiggen.

They'll eliminate unemployment—albeit through slavery. When alien invaders like Day of the Tentacle's Purple Tentacle and The Simpsons' Kang become President of the US, they tend to reduce humanity to pets or slave labor. Don't like it? You should have voted for Kodos.*

They're already part of the shadowy conspiracy that runs the planet. Do you want an ineffectual puppet president who is helpless against the nation's true rulers? Or do you want a president who is actually pulling the strings? In 1973, Captain America discovered that Richard Nixon was the head of the Secret Empire, a powerful criminal organization which had infiltrated and manipulated corporations, criminal enterprises, and the highest offices of government.

They're surprisingly easy to depose: If you're a rotten president, there are a lot of meetings and a lot of paperwork that have to happen before anyone can oust you from office. But if you're an outright evil, criminal president, things become much easier. Gary Callahan, the insecure, murderous Smiler of Warren Ellis' Transmetropolitan is so insufferable that even the Secret Service abandons him in the end, and he's arrested within moments of delivering his evil monologue to Spider Jerusalem. Robert L. Booth, the last U.S. President of the Judge Dredd Universe and author of the country's nuclear semi-annihilation, raised a mutant army to attempt to take back America. But as a warlord, he was a bit of cheapskate, and when Dredd decided to use Booth as a human shield, Booth's soldiers simply shot him. After all, you can always elect a new evil president.

Chances are you won't notice a difference between them and your non-supervillain presidents. After all, the alien Cryptosporidium 137 managed to play president in the Destroy All Humans! franchise without anyone being the wiser, and we'll have to see how long it takes Americans to notice that the Cobra minion Zartan has replaced the Commander in Chief in theG.I. Joe films. Even Captain America was shocked to discover that Nixon was a supervillain, and he's a trained to spot this sort of thing. How many other supervillains could have held political office, unbeknownst to the American people?

*In this Simpsons clip, Homer rips the masks off of the two candidates and exposes the aliens (Kang and Kodos) underneath. As they point out, though, it's a two party system and you have to vote for one of them, even if they are aliens.



Based on an article from 2012 (hence the emphasis on presidential elections) from io9 - excerpts above, but go there and read the whole thing.

Happy Guy Fawkes Day! God preserved us from the "secret contrivance and hellish malice of Popish Conspirators"

Remember, remember the Fifth of November,
Gunpowder Treason and Plot,
I know of no reason
Why Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.
Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes, t'was his intent
To blow up the King and Parliament.
Three-score barrels of gunpowder below
To prove old England's overthrow;
By God's providence he was catch'd
With a dark lantern and burning match.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, let the bells ring.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, God save the King!

~Traditional English children's rhyme for Guy Fawkes Day*

O God, whose name is excellent in all the earth, and thy glory above the heavens; who on this day didst miraculously preserve our Church and State from the secret contrivance and hellish malice of Popish Conspirators; and on this day also didst begin to give us a mighty deliverance from the open tyranny and oppression of the same cruel and blood-thirsty enemies...

~The Book of Common Prayer (1771 Cambridge version) (opening passage of "A Form of Prayer and Thanksgiving, to be used yearly upon the fifth day of November; for the happy Deliverance of King JAMES I, and the Three Estates of England, from the most traitorous and bloody intended Massacre by Gunpowder..." This section, added in 1662, was removed only in 1859.)

November 5th is Guy Fawkes Day (wiki) in England, an unofficial holiday commemorating the failure of the so-called "Gunpowder Plot" on this date in 1605. A conspiracy of disgruntled English Catholics under the leadership of one Robert Catesby had succeeded in planting a large quantity of gunpowder in the cellar of the House of Lords with the intention of blowing up Parliament on its opening day, when King James I would have been present.

After one of the plotters warned a relative to stay away from Parliament that day, the scheme was discovered, and one of the key conspirators, Guy Fawkes, was essentially caught in the act.

'The Discovery of the Gunpowder Plot and the
Taking of Guy Fawkes' by Henry Perronet Briggs, circa 1823
All the plotters were apprehended and executed savagely, but the Gunpowder Plot had the unfortunate effect of perpetuating a deep distrust of "popery" and Roman Catholicism in England for centuries. (Catholics were barred from serving in Parliament for 224 years.) Today, the occasion is celebrated with bonfires, fireworks, and the construction of effigies of Guy Fawkes, carried about by bands of children begging "a penny for the Guy" from all they encounter.** 

* N.B. An additional verse, rather scurrilous, and thus less often sung, goes: 

"A penny loaf to feed the Pope
A farthing o' cheese to choke him.
A pint of beer to rinse it down,
A faggot of sticks to burn him. 
Burn him in a tub of tar,
Burn him like a blazing star.
Burn his body from his head,
Then we'll say ol' Pope is dead.
Hip hip hoorah!
Hip hip hip hoorah!" 

The etching of eight of the thirteen conspirators, by Crispijn
 van de Passe. Larger version, and more information, here.
** Curiously, Guy Fawkes Day - called "Pope Day" - was the only English holiday permitted in Puritan New England, and effigies of Fawkes, the pope, and the devil were carried in procession, burned, and dismembered. Because of the violence it provoked, the custom was forbidden by the Massachusetts Legislature in 1752. After George Washington publicly denounced the holiday as offensive to Canadian Catholic allies, the tradition died altogether in the Americas, while the effigy of Fawkes became the main one burned in England.

At History Today, this article has a comprehensive description of the events, and this one looks at the tradition of cartoons and caricatures inspired by the Gunpowder Plot: Drawing on History: The Gunpowder Plot.

The traditional Guy Fawkes mask was intended to resemble him:

The 2006 movie V for Vendetta, based on the comic book series written by Alan Moore and illustrated by David Lloyd, popularized a stylized Guy Fawkes mask. In the movie, V is a freedom fighter attempting to start a revolution against the fascist regime. The mask has since become associated with the group Anonymous.


BBC Video - The Gunpowder Plot: The Conspirators:



BBC Video - The Gunpowder Plot: Treason & Torture:



More:

More on the history of the Gunpowder Plot and Guy Fawkes here, here and here, and here's the Wikipedia article.

BBC: Why do we celebrate Guy Fawkes night?


Ways to Celebrate Guy Fawkes Day.

Feel free to add more in the comments! 

A supercut tribute to the first six seasons of Game of Thrones

From TheGaroStudios, a supercut of some memorable scenes from the first six seasons of Game of Thrones:

Watch in HD and full screen!


Previous posts and links:


Game of Thrones season six: three latest leaks from on set (spoilers).





For $20K, Game of Thrones Author Will Write You Into Future Novel Then Kill You Off

Valyrian steel, length of the seasons, dragon biology: The Science of Game of Thrones, bonus geological map.

If Game Of Thrones Characters Were Drawn By Disney

Game of Thrones infographic chronology: 4 seasons of the 4 main families and the Night’s Watch.



Video: Hodor (Kristian Nairn) Describes His Awkward Game of Thrones Nude Scene.


Game of Thrones Wine Map: The Wines of Westeros.

Supercut of pithy quotes from Game of Thrones, Seasons 1-3.

Fallen behind on Game of Thrones, or want a refresher before Season 4? All 3 seasons recapped in 9 minutes.



Friday links

November 5 is Guy Fawkes Day: God preserved us from the "secret contrivance and hellish malice of Popish Conspirators". Also on November 5th this year, Daylight Saving Time ends: here's DST history (including Ben Franklin's proposal), stories and video.

Inside the NSA’s For-Sale Spy Town.

What Happens When You Enter the Witness Protection Program?

Sick of politics? 2016 version of the annual Parents Tell Their Kids They Ate All Their Halloween Candy.

Hijacking the remote control: a new way to take down drones, and it doesn’t involve shotguns.

Would you visit a robot gynecologist?

ICYMI, Monday's links are here, and are all Halloween related: costumes, candy, history, movies, music, witches, werewolves and more.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Some of the best newspaper corrections ever, including an excellent 2001 apology to Mark Steyn

I'm a fan of newspaper corrections - sometimes they're of the typo variety, but frequently tell you a lot about the writers, as well. That latter explanation seems to be the case with the first of these:

“The Ottawa Citizen and Southam News wish to apologize for our apology to Mark Steyn, published Oct. 22. In correcting the incorrect statements about Mr. Steyn published Oct. 15, we incorrectly published the incorrect correction. We accept and regret that our initial regrets were unacceptable and we apologize to Mr. Steyn for any distress caused by our previous apology.”
A few more - I've included attributions where I could find them, but in some cases I'm unsure of the sources:

“Last Sunday, The Herald erroneously reported that original Dolphin Johnny Holmes had been an insurance salesman in Raleigh, NC, that he had won the New York lottery in 1982 and lost the money in a land swindle, that he had been charged with vehicular homicide but acquitted because his mother said she drove the car, and that he stated that the funniest thing he ever saw was Flipper spouting water on George Wilson. Each of these items was erroneous material published inadvertently. He was not an insurance salesman in Raleigh, did not win the lottery, neither he nor his mother was charged or involved in any way with a vehicular homicide, and he made no comment about Flipper or George Wilson. The Herald regrets the errors.”


“An article on Nov. 10 about animal rights referred erroneously to an island in the Indian Ocean and to events there involving goats and endangered giant sea sparrows that could possibly lead to the killing of goats by environmental groups. Wrightson Island does not exist; both the island and the events are hypothetical figments from a book (also mentioned in the article), ”Beginning Again,” by David Ehrenfeld. No giant sea sparrow is known to be endangered by the eating habits of goats.”


“In an article on Saturday headlined ‘Flying saucers over British Scientology HQ’, we stated ‘two flat silver discs’ were seen ‘above the Church of Scientology HQ’. Following a letter from lawyers for the Church, we apologise to any alien lifeforms for linking them to Scientologists.”


“There was an error printed in a story titled ‘Pigs float down the Dawson’ on Page 11 of yesterday’s Bully. The story, by reporter Daniel Burdon, said ‘more than 30,000 pigs were floating down the Dawson River’. What Baralaba piggery owner Sid Everingham actually said was ’30 sows and pigs’, not ‘30,000 pigs’. The Morning Bulletin would like to apologise for this error, which was also reprinted in today’s Rural Weekly CQ before the mistake was known.”


“A column by Glenn Garvin on Dec. 20 stated that the National Science Foundation ‘funded a study on Jell-O wrestling at the South Pole.’ That is incorrect. The event took place during off-duty hours without NSF permission and did not involve taxpayer funds.” 

Miami Herald

“Just to keep the record straight, it was the famous Whistler’s Mother, not Hitler’s, that was exhibited at the recent meeting of the Pleasantville Methodists. There is nothing to be gained in trying to explain how the error occurred.”

Titusville (Pa.) Herald.

"A headline on an item in the Feb. 5 edition of the Enquirer-Bulletin incorrectly stated “Stolen groceries.” It should have read “Homicide.”"

Related posts and links: 

Here's How You Can Lick Doberman's Leg Sores (and other journalism bloopers)

Paper prints retraction for 1863 article calling Gettysburg address "silly remarks"; retraction written in the style of Gettysburg Address.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Jimmy Kimmel's annual Parents Tell Their Kids They Ate All Their Halloween Candy

Since 2011, Jimmy Kimmel (wiki) has asked parents to tell their kids they ate all the Halloween candy and to film their reactions. Here's the 2016 version (previous years below):



2015:


2014:


2013:


2012:


And the first one, from 2011: