Snakeoil

Hahahahahaha. Sorry, gotta laugh.

A company in Ireland purports to have made a perpetual motion / infinite energy generating machine.

A gallery in London is putting it on display. The exhibition/demonstration was due to open yesterday, 5 July.
Astonishingly, there appeared to be some problems.

KINETICA OPENING DELAYED: Due to some technical difficulties caused by the intense heat from camera lighting, Steorn’s demonstration of its ‘Orbo’ free energy technology has been slightly delayed. As a consequence, Kinetica Museum will not be open to the public today (6th July). A technical assessment is currently underway and information will be posted on the websites of Steorn and Kinetica as soon as it becomes available. We apologise for this delay and appreciate your patience.

So glad I went and had a nap yesterday instead of schlepping down to Spitalfields for the alleged opening of the exhibition.

Napping. Yes. I find napping the most effective form of energy generation, and it’s entirely unaffected by camera lighting. I know the laws of thermodynamics are soooo last millennium but I’m an old-fashioned girl.

And what do you know, turns out (as I browse around) those technical difficulties have turned out to be insurmountable

Further to Steorn’s announcement yesterday (5th July) regarding the technical difficulties experienced during the installation of its “Orbo” technology at the Kinentica Museum in London, Steorn has decided to postpone the demonstration until further notice.

Sean McCarthy CEO stated that “technical problems arose during the installation of the demonstration unit in the display case on Wednesday evening. These problems were primarily due to excessive heat from the lighting in the main display area. Attempts to replace those parts affected by the heat led to further failures and as a result we have to postpone the public demonstration until a future date.”

He continued that “we apologise for the inconvenience caused to all the people who had made arrangements to visit the demonstration or were planning on viewing the demonstration online.”

Over the next few weeks the company will explore alternative dates for the public demonstration.

What, I wonder, is the purpose of all this. Some kind of elaborate campaign to publicise the gallery/museum? An elaborate hoax? An extreme form of self-humiliation? Because surely to goodness they don’t actually believe….
Title courtesy of Slashdot‘s tagging beta goodness.

Cats and offal

In view of the previous discussion on the dining habits of cats versus dogs I was interested to hear, entirely coincidentally, the story of Thomas Hardy’s heart.

In the course of a delightful weekend away with merely my faithful hound for company in the gorgeous cottage of generous friends in Cromer (photos here) I broke the habit of several years and watched the television. From which I learnt the story of the cat and the biscuit tin. Which goes something like this.

Thomas Hardy wanted to be buried in his local churchyard in Dorset. The authorities wanted him to be interred in poets’ corner in Westminster Abbey. A compromise was reached – his heart was removed by a doctor, for local burial; his body was cremated and the ashes despatched to London.

The story goes that the removed organ was stored overnight before the burial ceremony wrapped in a tea towel and placed in a biscuit tin. The next day the doctor returned to find an open tin, a bloody towel and a fat cat.

Sadly the internet reveals a huge number of variants on this tail tale. The cat was his own beloved Cobby, a blue persian given to him late in his life. Cobby disappeared when Hardy died. Alternatively it was another moggy belonging either to his housekeeper, his sister or the doctor himself. The cat may have just snatched the organ from the kitchen table without having to open a biscuit tin. The consumed organ may have been replaced, for purposes of the burial, with either a pig’s heart, a calf’s heart or, best of all, the slaughtered body of the offending feline. There’s poetic justice!

That’s more than enough about cats. Here’s a picture of Maizy the salty sea dog to redress the balance. While we were away she licked the sky and reports that it tastes remarkably similar to the sea.

Maizy licks the sky

What do you mean, a dog would also eat a heart if it found it lying about, regardless of whose chest it had been removed from? Prove it!

Why you should not self-lobotomise

Because at some point in the process you will become unconscious and slither to the floor with your brain exposed. At that point the cat will come and eat it.

True Fact of Life, as the second-born has taken to saying.

This True Fact of Life was brought to you by the Cottontail Hour.

Giant bunnies do my head in

I have a long-standing interest in rabbits. One of my early triumphs in the media world was as a teenager when I won a television game show after delivering a devastatingly effective lecture on the agricultural efficiency of rabbit-rearing. Did you know that your common-or-garden bunny is the most efficient converter of fodder to meat of all domesticated animals? Most of my astonished and adoring audience didn’t either.

One evening some years previously I had been left at home alone with the television. We weren’t allowed to watch much tv as children and never went to the cinema so (as a preemptive defence for the sad revelation which is to follow) I was not versed in deconstructing the genre. Needless to say my backside was cemented to the sofa the moment the door closed behind the exiting authorities and the television was on full blast.

As the evening wore on the house became filled with darkness, only the characteristic wavering blue light of the screen providing any illumination. Perhaps I was already uneasy. Perhaps the isolation of the house, out in the countryside, the quavering lament of the hooting of the owls… [oh for goodness sake just get to the point and stop trying to make excuses]

Ok. A film started. It was called Night of the Lepus (“they were born that tragic moment when science made its great mistake… now from behind the shroud of night they come, a scuttling, shambling horde of creatures destroying all in their path“) and frankly, I was terrified. So terrified that it took a great deal of effort to pull myself out of the hypnotic paralysis of fear, motionless as I was like a small lagomorph in the lights of an oncoming pantechnicon [surely you mean a rabbit] [no I don’t mean rabbit, I chose the words small lagomorph quite deliberately, and with the help of a friend, because there are only so many terms you can use to refer to the creature in question] [but that link you’ve just given lists hundreds of different words for rabbits] [look just shut up and stop interrupting, it was you who wanted me to get to the point] [. . .] [thank you]

Night of the Lepus poster

Where was I? Oh yes. Well, to cut a long story short, the film was about giant killer rabbits. And of course the elaborate periphrasis is to attempt to soften the blow of the cold, hard, truth. Which is that I was terrified witless by one of the worst films ever made. If not the worst. Yes. I confess. I hang my head in shame. However I take heart, belatedly, in my middle years, from this clearly highly empathetic review:

Lepus is a failure on every level – it was even rated PG, not an auspicious start for a horror film – but it isn’t too hard to imagine it being terrifying for young children, by dint of the interminable slow-motion stampeding rabbit footage (which begins to take on a surreal quality) and the mixture of monster-bunny noises (they sound alternatively like cattle, elephants, and cassettes being chewed up in a tape deck). The juxtaposition of harmless cuddly animals turning into hopping mad omnivores (not carnivores, as the film suggests) may be exactly the kind of thing to give some kids nightmares.

No wonder I always found Harvey a deeply disturbing film.

My current interest in bunnies wavers between the agricultural (let me get my teeth into you) and the horror (let me bash your brains out with a spade) and actually half the entire purpose of this post is to share with the world, or those parts of it that both visit this humble domain and have not yet seen it, the picture below.

Hyoooooge bunny

Yes. It’s a bunny. Yes, it’s a giant bunny. Yes, it’s an unfeasibly huge giant bunny. And it’s real. And it’s going to hop off and save the starving North Koreans. But as you can probably tell by the look in its eye the act of salvation requires the ultimate sacrifice, that it give up its life to feed its friend. Or in this case its friend and seven other members of the friend’s family.

An entirely sensible response by the North Korean Government to the current (unacknowledged) pervasive starvation among the population. The rabbit, as I might already have mentioned, is the most efficent [yes, yes, you have already mentioned it] [are you saying I’m boring? I thought I told you to shut up]

Ahem. Anyway. Isn’t that just a great picture? Or is this one even better?

Give it a good shake, Mr Szmilinsky

Yes, I like the general helplessness of that one too. I thought at first the rabbit was being held by its ears but given its dimensions I should imagine doing so might cause them to become detached from the rest of the body thus allowing it to escape.

The second reason for this exigesis is to link to one of the many places this story can be found, the English site of Spiegel Online, to check out their whizzy blog-friendly tools, one of which uses Technorati to show all blogs which have linked to the story. So in fact almost the entire effort of putting together this post can be chalked up as work!

One final point, before I hop off to make some lunch, the term lepus is the Latin word for hare, creatures which, as we all know, don’t congregate in large social colonies and don’t live in burrows. The Latin word for rabbit, on the other hand, is cuniculus. Had the makers of Night of the Lepus got their title terminology correct maybe they would have found it easier to get an x rating.