Friday, 27 January 2017

27/01/17 - Google Easter Eggs

Google’s search engine is one of those things that’s so very good at what it does, it’s become a verb – like Hoover or Rollerblade or Jet Ski. Or, um, Taser. If someone asks you a dumb question, you’d never tell them to ‘just Bing it’. You wouldn’t suggest they Ask Jeeves. It’s become such a ubiquitous thing that Microsoft Word even accepts ‘google’ as a word with a lower-case g. This doesn’t demonstrate itself fully here as you’re reading it, so you’ll just have to trust me. I’m drafting this in Word, and there’s no red squiggly line. It’s exactly as exciting as you think it is.

But I’ve got a revelation for you. Well, not just one, but a series of revelations. You see, Google is more than merely a one-dimensional search bar that helps you find stuff. It’s dynamic, it’s interesting, it’s full of secrets… and this is largely because the people who work there, herding all the ones and zeroes into their appropriate pens with their little digital sheepdogs, clearly feel there’s more to life than ad-ranked search results and massive tax avoidance. So they’ve started dicking about. Google is now riddled with secret little easter eggs that only reveal themselves when you search for the right things. Everyone knows that when you search for the word ‘anagram’ it comes back with ‘did you mean ‘nag a ram’?’, but there’s far more to it than that. Strap yourselves in as we investigate just how deep this rabbit-hole goes…

Search: flip a coin
Indecisive? Can’t deal with binary decision-making? Too much of a forward-thrusting millennial to carry cash? Google this phrase, and it’ll randomly bring up either heads or tails for you.

Search: roll a die
If you find yourself in the improbable situation of having to choose between six options, this is the next logical step on from the coin-flip. (Could also help with board games if you’ve lost the die.)

Search: askew
Obviously Google can’t be this literal with all search results (‘explode’ could lead to court cases), but searching for this will make the page… slightly askew.

Search: fun facts
There’s quite a lot of information on the internet. Searching for ‘fun facts’ allows just one grain of this infinite cosmos of data to filter into the fabric of your day, giving you a handy conversation starter if you’re off on a blind date or find yourself stuck in a lift with a tedious colleague.
(Cynicism aside, I’ve just been refreshing this one for a few minutes and have already learnt several useful things…)
[Oh, and a further point on this one – it also works with the search term ‘I’m feeling curious’, reviving a feature that the Google homepage used to have back when this was all fields]

Search: do a barrel roll

Search: solitaire
If you’re typing weird stuff into Google to see what happens, you’ve evidently got time to fritter away. So searching for ‘solitaire’ will help you to do that.

Search: [name of movie actor] bacon number
You’re probably familiar with the idea of ‘six degrees of separation’; i.e. that everyone on Earth is only six or fewer acquaintance links away from any other person. ‘Six degrees of Kevin Bacon’ is a parlour game in which players try to link any other Hollywood celeb to Kevin Bacon via six shared movies or fewer. And if you Google, say, ‘Brad Pitt bacon number’ or ‘Jerry Hall bacon number’, the search engine will happily oblige, listing all the connections in the chain.

Search: tic tac toe
Bored of solitaire? Here, play with Google’s noughts and crosses widget instead.

Search: what sound does a [name of animal] make?
If you’ve forgotten what ducks do, or need to demonstrate to a simpleton some of the key identifiers between pigs, dogs and cows, this is the search term for you.

Search: Google in 1998
Want to reminisce about how shit the internet was in the nineties? Here you go, let it all come flooding back.

Search: the answer to life, the universe, and everything
One for the Douglas Adams fans here.

Search: recursion
Now, this one really is geeky. ‘Recursion’, to a programmer, is a term referring to a function that calls back to itself. So if you search for it, Google says ‘did you mean ‘recursion’?’ – and clicking on the link just gives you the same results again. NEEEEEEERD!

Search: zerg rush
This summons forth an army of Os that invade the screen and destroy everything. Apparently this has something to do with the video game StarCraft. I know nothing about StarCraft.

Search: Super Mario Bros
With many search terms, you’ll get a ‘Knowledge Graph’ box on the right hand side of the screen when the results come up, giving some key facts and images about the thing in question. Search for Super Mario Bros, and the Knowledge Graph will contain one of the ?-blocks like in the game… and if you click it, a coin will come out as it makes the correct Nintendo noise. Ah, nostalgia.

Search: Sonic the Hedgehog
…and if you search for Sonic the Hedgehog, the Knowledge Graph will give you a little clickable Sonic that spins around on demand.

Search: Pac-Man
Everyone loves Pac-Man. Pac-Man is a classic. And if you search for Pac-Man, then you can play Pac-Man. Pac-Man!

Search: Atari Breakout
In the mood for more games? Switch over to Google Images, then search for Atari Breakout. (n.b. if you grew up with an Acorn Archimedes, like I did, you’ll know this game as ‘Fireball’.)

Search: once in a blue moon
Searching for this returns the result ‘1.16699016 × 10-8 hertz’. Why? Well, if you’re a maths dork, you could convert that number from seconds into years (1 hertz = 1 cycle per second) to get 2.7 years, the approximate time between blue moons – a blue moon being a month in which there are two full moons. There, I’ve explained that one in slightly too much detail so you don’t even need to Google it. But you do now know that when someone says ‘once in a blue moon’, they mean (perhaps unwittingly) ‘once every 2.7 years’.

There are probably loads more of these, but if you don’t mind I’m going to spend a little time Googling ‘fun facts’. I’ve already learned why Starbucks is called Starbucks, what the first product was to wear a barcode, which animals have four stomachs, what Spam is made of, how long cats remember things, the age of the oldest Galapagos tortoise, and when crayons were invented. Another couple of days of this and I could become the most knowledgeable man who ever lived. (Or an insufferable bore. Two sides of the same coin, really.)

Bad Lip Reading of Trump's Inauguration

The Netherlands welcomes Trump in his own words

Friday, 6 January 2017

06/01/17 - OK, Okay, O.K.

‘OK’ (or ‘okay’) is one of the most commonly-used words in the English language, although no-one knows where it really came from. Its nuances are subtle but diverse, and yet the entire English-speaking world  - and much more besides – has an innate understanding of them. As an adjective it means ‘adequate’ or ‘acceptable’ (‘these pants are okay to wear again’), but can also mean ‘mediocre’ (‘the new Die Hard movie is okay, I suppose’). As a noun or verb it denotes assent (‘your wife okayed that shirt, did she?’). As an interjection, it can signify agreement or compliance (‘okay, last-minute trip to Tijuana sounds good’). It can also be used to seek confirmation – ‘is this Bananaman tattoo okay?’. And, naturally, ‘okay’, ‘OK’ and ‘O.K.’ all mean approval, acknowledgement, acceptance and agreement. OK, let’s go. It’s OK, your mum okayed it. Everything is A-OK.

So, where do people think it came from? Well, there are a number of options. For instance…

Oll Korrect
This sounds stupid, but is widely accepted by many dictionaries as being the source. Even so, there are numerous different accounts of where ‘oll korrect’ came from. Some claim that it sat with soap man James Pyle, who took out an ad in the New York Times for O.K. Soap in 1862 – his obituary in 1900 credited his relentless use of the initials as being what pushed them into the mainstream consciousness; however it was apparently the Confederate general Stonewall Jackson who coined it, with Pyle merely popularising it… and it was around 1830 that Jackson reportedly started saying ‘OK’, his legendarily poor spelling leading him to believe that ‘OK’ stood for ‘all correct’.
Other sources state, in a less convoluted manner, that there was a fad for comical misspellings in the 1830s, and ‘oll korrect’/‘OK’ grew organically during that time.

Och Aye
This is a pretty plausible explanation. Those with a thick Scottish accent, as you’re probably aware by stereotype if nothing else, have been known to say ‘och, aye’ to mean ‘oh, yes’. The Ulster pronunciation is pretty close to the modern ‘okay’ too. So some linguists place the genesis of it with Scotch-Irish American immigrants at various dates between 1700 (or before) and the mid-1800s.

Aux Quais
French for ‘on the quays’ or ‘to the docks’, this version is said to originate variously between around 1780 and 1820, referring to cotton bales that were accepted for export from New Orleans, or stencilled on Puerto Rican rum cases that had been approved for export. Or in the American Revolutionary War, referring to the, er, appointments made by French sailors with American girls. A variant of this is ‘Aux Cayes’, referring to the Haitian seaport of Les Cayes (which, incidentally, is spelled ‘Okay’ in Haitian Creole) – again talking about markings on export rum.

Omnis Korrecta
A rather more likely-sounding version of ‘oll korrect’, omnis korrecta is Latin for ‘all correct’. Schoolmasters would apparently mark their pupils’ work with ‘OK’ in the mid- to late-nineteenth century if they’d got everything right.

Old Kinderhook
Martin van Buren, the 8th President of the United States, was born in a place named Kinderhook, New York. In the 1840 presidential election, the nickname ‘Old Kinderhook’ was used in his campaign, the shortened ‘O.K.’ supposedly passing into the common lexicon as something solid and trustworthy. (Opposing wags reinterpreted his ‘O.K.’ as ‘Out of Kash’, ‘Orful Kalamity’, and other ribald put-downs.) 

Mobilian Jargon was a pidgin trade language used between frontiersmen and Native Americans along the Gulf of Mexico. It was in common use from the early 1700s right up to the 1950s as a means of facilitating trade between natives and European settlers. ‘Oke’ (or ‘okeh’) is a Choctaw word meaning ‘it is’. (In a more modern context, it works as a suffix, spelt ‘-okii’.) It’s been suggested that Stonewall Jackson originally adopted ‘oke’ from the Choctaws.

In the 1960s, it was suggested that early 19th-century West African slaves may have introduced ‘waw-kay’ to the American Deep South – ‘waw’ meaning yes, ‘-kay’ used for emphasis, supposedly coming from the Wolof language of Senegal, the Gambia and Mauritania.
The same theory also cites the Mandinka language’s ‘o ke’ (meaning ‘certainly’ or ‘do it’).

Order Received
Bit tenuous, this one. Apparently ‘O.K.’ was a common misspelling of ‘O.R.’ for ‘order received’ in the late 18th- and early 19th-century, owing to the similar shapes of the letters R and K. Not convinced by that, but a fair few people claim that as the source of it all.

Ohne korrektur/Otto Kaiser
Two suggestions that originate from the German language. ‘Ohne korrektur’ means ‘without correction’, and Otto Kaiser was an industrialist who’d stamp ‘O.K.’ on his goods when they were ready for shipping. The former feels like a retronym, while the latter doesn’t feel significant enough to create a global linguistic phenomenon. But again, many people suggest these as the origins of ‘OK’.

Ochen Khorosho
This is a Russian phrase - очень хорошо – meaning ‘very well’. Now, this only works if you take the phrase from a later transcription to English rather than using the traditional Russian phrase, as ‘khorosho’ begins with Kha (X), not Ka (K). So this should really give us the phrase ‘OX’. Next!

Some suggest that ‘O.K.’ stands for O’Kelly, or alternatively Obediah Kelly, who was an early railroad agent. It’s not clear why they think this is relevant. Moving on…

Ola Kala
This is a Greek phrase - Όλα Καλά – which means ‘everything is fine’. Supposedly used by Greek teachers in marking their pupils’ work, while the global ubiquity of Greek sailors would allow it to spread. Also an abbreviation reportedly used by Greek immigrants in the US when sending telegrams home. Pretty much as credible as the ‘omnis korrecta’ theory.
(Another unrelated Greek one: ‘och’ was an Ancient Greek incantation against fleas.)

Ober Kommando
‘O.K.’ was broadly used in the 1780s and ’90s as a shortening of ‘Ober Kommando’, or ‘High Command’. This stemmed from Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben, Inspector General of the Continental Army, stamping ‘O.K.’ all over his correspondence.

Open Key
This is a global telegraph signal meaning ‘ready to transmit’. Of course, the telegraph wasn’t invented until 1844, which doesn’t explain the earlier uses of ‘O.K.’…

This is Finnish for ‘correct’. The crux of this theory is how much you believe that the Finnish language might have influenced other tongues so widely. Seems unlikely.

Outer Keel
Another nautical one. Timber in a wooden-hulled boat would be marked for seaworthiness; ‘O.K. no.1’ would be the first to be laid, and so forth.

Smacks of desperation, this one. The sixteenth-century name for a harvest festival in the east of England? Oh, come on…

Orrin Kendall
This was the name of a supplier of biscuits to the Union War Department during the American Civil War. The O.K. biscuits were of high quality, so things that were good became known as ‘O.K.’. Hmmm.

The Old English word for ‘seaworthy’, shortened to ‘H.G.’, which was then pronounced by Norwegian and Danish sailors as ‘hah gay’, which became ‘oh kay’. Nope, not buying that.

Note that that’s a zero, not a letter ‘o’. ‘0K’ stands for ‘zero killed’, a contraction traditionally used in military despatches when talking about a conflict in which no fatalities occurred.

O qu'oui
From the French, it’s an emphatic way of saying yes. (‘Oh, but yes!’) Feasible? Maybe.

There are various other suggestions, and word geeks have been arguing for generations about why we all say ‘okay’. However, the most likely explanation is probably that there’s an element of truth in a number of these theories, and it’s not just their prevalence in little pockets around the world but their recognisability to others that’s helped it to achieve its modern ubiquity. And that’s probably as good an answer as you’re going to get, OK?

Cassetteboy’s 2016 round-up

Dumb things in Home Alone that everyone just ignored

A neat metaphor for life itself

Friday, 2 December 2016

02/12/16 - Christmas Ads

Oh look, it’s December. That means everything has to be all about Christmas, yes? OK, so let’s take a look at the Christmas adverts that have emerged so far. As ever, it’s a bit of a mixed bag…

We have to start, as tradition dictates, with the John Lewis ad. They’ve been top dog in the mawkish sentimentality charts for years now, so we expect their 2016 festive outing to be something special, right?
Er, no, unfortunately not. It’s a bit shit, actually. My principle takeout from it is one of squeamishness, in that there’s no way in hell I’d let my daughter play on a trampoline that had recently had so many filthy creatures shedding their rank spores all over it.

Flagrantly disregards the fact that some animals hibernate, too. Honestly.
OK, moving on… next up we have the Sainsbury’s effort.
This is much better – beautiful animation, very engaging. You almost don’t notice that it’s THREE AND A HALF BLOODY MINUTES LONG. Because it’s worth watching, it really is.

H&M’s advert is probably the best of the bunch. (No, this list isn’t ranked in any logical way. If you feel like building to your own personal crescendo, maybe leave this one and come back to it later.)
It was directed by Wes Anderson. That’s pretty much all you need to know.

‘Santa Forgot’ is the Stephen Fry-narrated animation for Alzheimer’s Research UK, and it’s a wonderful reworking of the traditional Christmas feelgood extravaganza, cleverly subverting expectation to swing your emotions in another direction. Proper little tearjerker.

Of all the brands you’d expect to make it big in the Christmas TV ad rankings, you could probably keep reeling them off for days before arriving at Heathrow Airport. But look, it’s actually rather lovely:

I’m contractually obliged by my employer to point out the brilliance of the McDonald’s Christmas ad. But I would even if I wasn’t, because it genuinely is ace. And now I’m getting loads of people asking whether the doll in the advert is available to buy. (It isn’t, sorry. You’re thinking of John Lewis. STOP THINKING ABOUT JOHN LEWIS, IT’S OVER.)

I’m similarly obliged to sing the praises of this festive Co-op effort. But again, it actually is excellent – given that the world has swung into unprecedented depths of evil in 2016, what with Brexit, Trump and the continued popularity of Honey G, it’s gratifying to find that The Co-op are perhaps the only retailer who aren’t complete bastards.

Ooh yes, the Marks & Spencer one! Have you seen this? It’s glorious. Love this. Another three-minuter, but well worth the effort.

This thing from German supermarket EDEKA makes a useful Christmas point; don’t overlook your kids in the pursuit of getting everything organised for the festive season – you have to keep focused on the true meaning of Christmas. (No, not Jesus. No-one’s into Christmas for the religious angle, that’s boring. Family, that’s what it’s all about. And presents, and getting smashed, and eating too much. But mostly family.)

The annual yuletide emotionfest for the Spanish State Lottery is a great one for fans of widespread mendacity against confused old ladies.

Apple’s Christmas ad is basically just that bit from the end of Elf where they all start singing together in the street… except, er, with Frankenstein’s monster. Seriously, look:

This shitty Lexus ad from the US makes the useful point that forgery is justifiable if it means getting free stuff. A festive message.

Another shit car ad from America, this ones aims to convince you that Mercedes-Benzes are the only cars that can be driven in the snow. (And it also tacitly implies that you’re better off dating within your social strata – if your dad’s got a Merc, don’t try to take a poor girl to the movies. Urgh.)

Macy’s. Hmm. I’m not sure if I like this or not. It’s beautiful to look at, they undoubtedly threw a huge budget at it… but the bit where the Santa balloon winks had me cringing hard. And why the fuck isn’t the old man surprised when the enormous balloon turns up at his house? I’d be bloody terrified.

Lots of ad-wankers have been quite scathing about Aldi’s Kevin the Carrot ad, but they can all sod off, tbh. It made me smile, and that’s basically the point of Christmas ads. (Well, aside from selling shit.) I like his reaction when he grates himself.

Harvey Nichols? Yep, this is registering pretty high on the WTF-o-meter. Genuinely bizarre.

If had released this five years ago, it would have been massive and people would have been saying ‘Ooh, it’s the Christmas ad of the year’. But nowadays this kind of thing just gets lost in the noise. I mean, yeah, it’s OK.

Wanna hear an elderly lady gargling? TK Maxx have got you covered. Oh, and this one’s got a dog in it too, because adverts have to have fucking dogs in them now.

Amazon aim to solve the global epidemic of colossal religious dickheadery by showing a priest and an imam having a cup of tea together. There’s a bit of unnecessary will-they-won’t-they sexual tension, plus a completely unbelievable bit when they both order the same gift for each other through Prime, and neither of them has the logical reaction on delivery that any normal person would have of saying ‘Shit, I must have had it delivered to me by mistake instead of him’.

Oh, and of course it wouldn’t be Christmas without Coca-Cola’s fleet of massive red lorries. Except that… no, there’s no ‘Holidays are coming, holidays are coming’ trucks here – just a bunch of people finding bottles of Coke and drinking them without pausing to consider that they might actually belong to someone else. Even Santa does it, the bastard.
(Coca-Cola disabled embedding for some reason, so you'll have to click here.)

...and that’s your lot. Yeah, there are lots of other Christmas ads, but this could go on forever, frankly.

Friday, 18 November 2016

18/11/16 - FTDS vs. Tallboy

There’s a lot of talk of fascists in the news at the moment. Y’know, because the President-elect of the United States is one, as are half of his cabinet. And the hordes of racists in Trump’s America and Brexit Britain who have collectively decided that 2016 is the year in which they can all stop pretending to be human and instead plunge into full-blown racist fuckheadery. There are countless bastards out there. And a whole lot of fascists.

So let’s take a more light-hearted look at the world of fascism (!) and consider one of Hitler’s greatest failed ideas: the V-3 supergun. Now, it goes without saying that Hitler was and still is the poster boy for fascist fuckheads everywhere, and like all true fascists his principle aim in life was to make as many people as possible suffer because he was projecting his own inadequacies on an unspeakable canvas of violence. Perhaps, like Donald Trump, he had laughably small genitalia and a spectacular insecurity complex that forced him to lash out? Seems likely. And the V-3 programme, had it worked, would have been the ultimate manifestation of what we’ll now refer to as Fascist Tiny Dick Syndrome (FTDS): the world’s biggest gun, protruding phallically out of the ground in northern France, aiming its incendiary ejaculate squarely at London.

To provide some context, by 1943 Hitler found himself increasingly outmanoeuvred; the Allies were bombing the crap out of German cities, and he was pretty annoyed about it. His FTDS was itching. But he had an ace up his sleeve (or so he thought) – a massive secret bunker that had been hollowed out of a French chalk hill, which slave labourers had hauled millions of tonnes of rock out of with their bare hands.
The plan was at once hideously complicated and extremely simple: twenty-five gun barrels pointed at London, a hundred miles away, able to fire ten bombs every minute, over and over, until there was nothing left but a smoking crater. A pretty focused idea – just pummel the shit out of Britain with lots of bombs – but the actual mechanics of it were, as you might imagine, rather tricky.

The physical workings of the supergun are still cloaked in mystery, as quite a lot of it was destroyed in a bombing raid – more on that later – and the development of the project was so secretive that few records exist. The crux of it was that each gun barrel needed to be 130 metres long and angled at 50 degrees in order to blast the payload across the Channel at 1500m/s. The bombs were to be fired in a manner similar to a railgun (which launches projectiles with electromagnetic charges rather than explosives like gunpowder or what-have-you), although the evidence suggests that Hitler’s engineers had some difficulty making the thing work. And in addition to actually firing the supergun, it was a bit of a headscratcher to devise an appropriate bomb that would remain stable in a straight line at supersonic speeds and, since the barrels weren’t rifled to impart spin, that wouldn’t just tumble uncontrollably out of the sky.

Despite the colossal scale of this project, the Allies knew nothing about it at all until the site was discovered by Canadian troops after D-Day. They were, as you can imagine, pretty surprised by the magnitude of it, and it became something of a priority to figure out how to destroy it. The Americans devised an idea to blow it up with an explosives-laden drone, but it, er… well, it didn’t go all that well.
The notion was this: they’d load twelve tonnes of explosives into a B-24 Liberator heavy bomber, fly it over Calais, aim it at the supergun, then the pilot and co-pilot would bail out and the unmanned plane would dive into the V-3 (with a second, nearby plane taking the controls remotely), thus smashing it comprehensively to bits. Unfortunately, however, when Joe Kennedy Jr and Wilford Willy took off on the perilous mission, the B-24 unexpectedly blew up over Suffolk after just twenty minutes in the air, vaporising them both.

However, the supergun site at Mimoyecques was abandoned by the Nazis after Tallboy bombs were dropped in and rendered the whole setup redundant. Engineered by bouncing bomb mastermind Barnes Wallis, the 21-foot-long Tallboy was an ingenious bomb that was tapered to remain aerodynamic near the speed of sound, and also designed to bury itself fifty feet under the ground and trigger a small earthquake; eight Tallboys were dropped into the supergun site at once and, rather effectively, really fucked their shit up. The tunnel networks, the foundations, the munition stores, the bunkers, all knocked into a cocked hat in one fell swoop. The RAF’s 617 Squadron – the famous Dambusters themselves – delivered the unprecedented payload. The devastating Tallboy was the ultimate riposte to Hitler’s supergun posturing.

So when Trump’s own FTDS manifests itself as a colossal supergun pointed at… well, whoever’s riled him on Twitter that day, try not to panic. If the worst comes to the worst, the RAF still have the Tallboy blueprints.

A little bit of loveliness from Ben & Jerry’s

Famous speeches, with added Trump

Peterborough Reunions

In the late 1970s and early '80s, photographer Chris Porsz spent some time ambling around Peterborough taking pictures of daily life. He's now spent the last seven years tracking down all of his subjects for a before-and-after shot. It's genuinely incredible. Look!

Bacon Nerf War

Obama - by Pete Souza

An inspiring collection of photos from the last eight years, by the Official White House Photographer. Click here to see the full set.

(Just imagine what the equivalent set of Trump images will look like in four years' time. Horrorshow.)

Friday, 4 November 2016

04/11/16 - SpaceTrump

It can hardly have escaped your attention that Donald Trump is a total madman. Normally I try to remain objective and rational when it comes to matters of politics, but frankly the idea of handing the nuclear codes to a dangerous, bigoted, self-serving lunatic makes my blood turn to pulpy crushed ice. He has none of the qualities you’d want in a President: rather than absorbing the inevitable criticism of office with aplomb and just getting on with things, he likes to halt everything when he’s criticised and make everybody pay. He’s juvenile, petty, and obsessed with personal vengeance. It is genuinely, staggeringly gobsmacking that such a man could even be considered for office in 2016, let alone be a realistic contender. America, clearly, has gone mental. (Or, at least, quite a lot of it has; Brexit has proven that you can’t paint an entire nation with the daft prick brush simply because approximately half of them suddenly reveal themselves to be massive racists.)
But fear not. I have a solution. All we need to do is convince The Donald that he’d be better off living on Venus. And with the right ego-massage, I reckon this is pretty easily achievable. You see, here’s why Trump is ideally suited to moving one planet closer to the sun:

It’s tropical, but there’s no Mexicans
Man, he hates Mexicans. I mean, he hates everyone, he’s a colossal racist, but for some reason he’s got it in for Mexicans in particular. But we can convince him of Venus’s Southern-state sunshine without worrying about funny foreign people spoiling the view. (Probably best not to mention that the average surface temperature is 462 degrees centigrade – let him find out when he gets there and all the fluids in his body immediately boil away into the atmosphere.)

It’s really hard to get there
He likes a challenge. Also, he hates NASA. So imagine the ego boost he could give himself by throwing a load of money (possibly at cheap Mexican labour? That’d feed neatly off his inherent hypocrisy) at building a Venus-bound spaceship.
Venus is actually a lot closer to Earth than Mars is – about half the distance, in fact. So all of the hurdles that have presented themselves in getting probes to Mars (largely around fuel – you get into a vicious cycle where for every unit of fuel you load on board, you’re carrying more weight and thus need to load on yet more fuel to carry it [although this is really only a problem for the first bit of the journey, as you’re burning fuel off all the time {it’s the launch that’s the really tricky bit}]) are diminished somewhat in terms of distance. The heat is the problem. Flying closer to the sun does dangerous, burny things. And he certainly wouldn’t be able to land - we just haven’t developed the heatproofing to allow flight within the simmering Venusian airspace. His craft would be on fire for the entire time he was flying over the planet, which wouldn’t be very long, as it would quickly disintegrate. But we don’t have to tell him this. It’s pretty clear that he’s not the sort of person that plans ahead.

The atmosphere is full of sulphuric acid
A tricky sell, but not impossible. Maybe we can convince him that sulphuric acid has a rejuvenating effect on the skin, nourishes the hair and pumps up the libido? Like some sort of spa treatment?
Amusingly for us Earthbound observers, sulphuric acid is highly corrosive, and happily carves its way through flesh, metal and rock like a hot knife through, er, burning flesh. If you were to wear a thick wetsuit and airtight breathing apparatus then you could probably float around Venus a bit, provided that you somehow stayed about 35 miles above the surface, but that’d soon all melt away and the acid would blind you and eat your skin. But again, that might not be your biggest problem, given that you’d be on fire. Let The Donald find this out for himself, it’ll be hilarious.

The surface is constantly plagued by hurricane-force winds
Surely a massive boon for a blowhard like Trump? A bit of healthy competition for all of his own blustering hot air.
Let’s say he somehow managed to make it onto the surface of Venus and tried to walk about a bit. He’d have a really hard time. The howling, swirling gales wouldn’t just have him bent double, they’d be lifting him off the ground, slamming him back down, choking the air from his lungs… it really is quite an entertaining image. Picture it with the Benny Hill theme playing, it’s quite special.

…oh yeah, and there’s no oxygen
Trump doesn’t require oxygen, of course, as he’s fuelled entirely by hatred.
Regular humans have evolved to breathe oxygen. You know this. It works on Earth because there are plenty of happily photosynthesising green things strewn about the place, sucking in carbon dioxide and pumping out oodles of delicious oxygen.
How many Earth-y plants do you think there are growing on Venus?
That’s right, fuck all.
The atmosphere is extremely dense, and composed largely of carbon dioxide - if you want to breathe on Venus, you’d better bring a shitload of trees with you. And find some way to stop them catching fire. Again – and this is developing into a bit of a theme – we don’t need to tell Trump about the trees. Let this be a voyage of discovery for him.

It’d cost a bloody fortune
He’s a rich man. (Not as rich as he would be if he wasn’t genuinely shit at business and didn’t keep going bankrupt, but it’s a scale issue – he’s still doing alright.) The one surefire way to convince Trump to fly to Venus would be this simple argument: ‘Think how impressed everyone will be with how successful you are. No-one’s been to Venus before. That’s probably just because it’s too expensive.’
He’d walk right into that, fucking chump that he is.

He wouldn’t have anything to eat
You may need to find a creative way to reframe this hurdle. Perhaps appeal to his patriotic pioneer spirit? Compare his step into the red-hot unknown with the early trailblazers of the Old West?
There’s no way you can grow any kind of crops on Venus, and it’s not like you can get Ocado to pop round. Also, there’s nothing to drink – fluids immediately boil, and the planet has no magnetic field so all the hydrogen molecules get swept away into interplanetary space by solar winds, so the steam won’t even fall back down as rain. You can’t make water there, even if you had some way to stop it disappearing. It’s hopeless. Which, of course, is all great news. But maybe you should leave this bit out of the pitch.

The crushing loneliness would destroy him
There aren’t any humans on Venus, and nobody would be stupid enough to go with Trump. Imagine a lifetime spent alone with him. It really doesn’t bear thinking about.
Thankfully he has little awareness of the reality that surrounds him, so he’d be fine with making the trip solo. He genuinely doesn’t seem to notice whether there’s anyone near him or not (well, unless they’re foreign/female/unsavoury in some other way) – he could start an argument in an empty room. He’s probably doing it right now.
Some fairly simple calculations about radio waves, the speed of sound/light, how transmissions travel in a vacuum and what-have-you suggest that he’d have no contact whatsoever with Earth, which is super news for us and entirely immaterial to him.
He’d have no access to the mass media, although he definitely wouldn’t notice as he just loves shouting inconsequentially into the Twitter void. (Again, best not to mention that when he takes his phone out to tweet ‘I’m starting to regret this, it’s really inhospitable here #itburns’, it’d immediately catch fire before he got to type anything. And he wouldn’t have any signal. He’ll find out.) So at first he wouldn’t spot that that there was no-one around. But after a few years (assuming he’d survived, which he wouldn’t), he’d start to notice that he had no-one to boss about or molest. And that would get right under his orange, leathery skin.
The best thing about this plan is that, even if he were to somehow survive (which he obviously definitely wouldn’t – ah, you get the idea now), his only option would be to slowly drive himself mad. Put yourself in that situation and, for the sake of argument, pretend that you were somehow able to make yourself immortal: you’d go totally insane. Think of the Buddhist hell of Arbuda - a frozen plain swept by blizzards, in which one must exist naked and alone for the amount of time it would take to empty a barrel of sesame seeds if you were to remove a single seed every hundred years. Swap ‘frozen’ and ‘blizzards’ for ‘really fucking hot and windy’. Sounds ghastly. Or consider this quote from Hendrik Willem van Loon’s Story of Mankind: ‘High in the north in a land called Svithjod there is a mountain. It is a hundred miles long and a hundred miles high, and once every thousand years a little bird comes to this mountain to sharpen its beak. When the mountain has thus been worn away, a single day of eternity will have passed.’
Spending all that time with just the voice in your head for company? That doesn’t sound like any fun at all. Trump would be slowly but comprehensively crushed, possibly literally, by his own cretinous fatuousness.

And the really brilliant part? Donald Trump would be totally up for going to Venus. Because he’s a fucking madman.