26 June 2006

Setting a useful precedent

Russians Detained After Playing Rugby

More than 100 people were detained in the southern Russian city of Rostov-On-Don after police mistook an innocent game of rugby for a mass brawl. Russian news agency RIA said police had received a tip-off about a mass fracas at an empty sports ground on the city's outskirts yesterday.

More than 70 officers arrived to find dozens of cars parked around a grassy field and around 60 people watching what appeared to be a fight between two criminal gangs. Police broke up proceedings and detained some 100 people before determining that they were engaged in game of rugby instead of brawling.

All the detainees were released several hours later, but not before being scolded for not alerting authorities ahead of time.

The southern Russian region is adjacent to the troubled North Caucasus, where violence from Chechnya regularly spills into nearby areas.

- Newsroom.co.nz, 13 June 2006

[Courtesy of Louwrens]

Was she sent to her room without dinner?

Transport links hard to swallow

A member of the Taiwan parliament tried to eat a piece of paper containing a proposal to open direct transport links with China in an attempt to stop a vote on the issue. Members of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) were protesting against the proposed review when Wang Shuhui, a DPP member, snatched the written proposal and shoved it into her mouth. She later spat it out after opposition members failed to get her to cough it up by pulling her hair.

- The Times, 31 May 2006

Who you gonna call...?


...when you're confronted with serious doubts about the veracity of the theory of logical positivism? The Emergency Philosopher!


[Courtesy of Lauren via Kfa]

19 June 2006

There's always room for improvement

'If I had known I was going to live this long, I would've taken better care of myself'

- Hermann Doernemann, 2003

[Herr Doernemann was aged 110 at the time, and was officially Germany's oldest man. He credited his longevity to enjoying a beer each day]

17 June 2006

Lucky it's being held in the warm months

A thousand Dutch football fans had to whip off their trousers and watch the Holland - Ivory Coast match in their undies yesterday. FIFA wouldn't let them into the stadium with their bright orange trousers, because they had a Dutch brewery logo on it. (The rights for the tournament had been hocked to a US brewery). So the ever-practical Dutch just did without.

Source: BBC News, 17 June 2006

13 June 2006

Being a scientist

'As an adolescent I aspired to lasting fame, I craved factual certainty, and I thirsted for a meaningful vision of human life - so I became a scientist. This is like becoming an archbishop so you can meet girls'

- M. Cartmill

08 June 2006

'Oh, and cheers for the award'

"Why is your music so effing loud? You must all be brain-dead. Maybe you are. I didn’t know so many clich├ęs existed until the last half-hour. Have fun. Goodbye"

- Sir Harrison Birtwistle has a crack at loud pop music at the Ivor Novello Awards in London, 25 May 2006. Birtwistle was receiving an award for his classical compositions.

UK Public Information Films, 1945-2006

A treasure trove of public information films for those with decent internet connections. Here's an Army recruitment film from the late 1960s, for example.

Brevity is the soul of wit

"The secret of a good sermon is to have a good beginning and a good ending, then having the two as close together as possible"

- George Burns

[Dorothy Parker paraphrased Shakespeare's 'brevity' quote from Hamlet. She preferred to say 'brevity is the soul of lingerie']

Watch the skies

If it's a clear night and you fancy spotting some space real estate, take a look at this NASA satellite tracking website. It lets you locate all sorts of manmade satellites orbiting the Earth. Another handy website if you want to know exactly where to look to see a satellite is the excellent Heavens Above. It'll show you an exact map of the skies you're looking at, and trace the path of a passing satellite.