Friday, 28 September 2012

Noise from the Dwarf

It takes a special kind of tenacious geekery to put something like this together. Impressive.


Real-time Twitter swearing - just type in a keyword and see. Click here.

Pull the strings at Foxconn

Is Mitt Romney the President?

A clever thing from the Guardian, with interactive balloons and so forth. Click here.

Surprising proposal

She didn't see that coming.

National Office of Importance

“To inform, insist and admonish” was the remit of the NOI. Click here to see.

A very dramatic death

Oh, come on now.


An impressive gallery of soft sculptures for the hard-hearted - click here.

Unicycle Freestyle

Wicked BMX skillz, but with fewer wheels.

The science of blowing into Nintendo cartridges

We all used to do it... but did it make any difference? Mental Floss explores...

TNL September Fails

Friday, 21 September 2012

21/09/12 - Buses

Buses – you wait for a short amount of time, then the one that you want turns up according to the timetable. Or so the old saying goes.

Buses are interesting things. A London double-decker weighs about twelve tons and is powered by a vast rear-mounted turbo-diesel engine (many, for example, use the Cummins C-series, which produces about 250bhp from a displacement of 8.3-litres). They’re comically un-green – think 2 or 3mpg – but of course the point is that it’s a lot more green to take a bus than everyone on board driving around in separate cars.
They’ve got clever air suspension that allows the driver to tilt the front left corner down to let people with pushchairs, the elderly etc on through the front door, or the whole left side can drop when the wheelchair ramp extends. Some new London buses even have stop-start technology which is really disconcerting for the passengers, as traditionally if the engine stops while your bus is stationary it’s a cue to immediately get all indignant about the bus breaking down and stomp off in disgust. Hilarity ensues.
…and now the embarrassingly-named NB4L – short for ‘New Bus 4 London’, eww – is on the streets, ferrying commuters round in retro-futuristic chic and causing tourists to stop in their tracks, jaws agape. It’s a striking thing, all slash-cut glass and dopey eyes, evoking the spirit of the iconic Routemaster whilst meeting stringent modern safety regs. Personally I’m not sold on the idea of it though, as I always like to sit downstairs at the back of the bus (it’s where the weight is, so you don’t get as much lateral movement and thus have a smoother ride [plus it’s warmer there in the winter]), so my favourite seat has been ousted in favour of a set of doors. But hey, what do I know?

My flat is on a bus route, and there’s a bus stop right outside. Much like living next to a railway line or under a flight path, you stop noticing the noise and vibration almost immediately, leading to all kinds of potentially unnerving observations when you’re doing stuff near a window and realise that there’s a bus idling outside; we’re above a shop, so our living room windows are a little above the top deck of the bus. On more than one occasion we’ve been really getting into Guitar Hero and found that we’ve got an amused audience outside.
The fun thing about living on a bus route – or rather, living on my street – is that we get treated to a bit of street theatre pretty much every night. I live on a narrowish road, a two-way affair with parking along one side. There’s enough space for two cars to pass, and just about enough for a car and a bus to pass one another alongside the parked cars… but there isn’t enough space for two buses coming in opposite directions. To add to the fun, there’s a very slight curve to the road, meaning that when a bus coming from either direction starts to pass the parked cars, they can’t quite see to the other end of the row, so two buses meeting in the middle is a pretty common occurrence. This is where the true nature of the London bus driver comes out: they are terrified of reversing. They just won’t do it. So we frequently get treated to the amusing sight of two double-deckers full of passengers facing off in an inescapable stalemate, while the drivers remonstrate with one another about who’s got the furthest to go back, all the while traffic building up behind in both directions, causing total gridlock in a matter of moments. More often than not some other buses will turn up – there are three different routes going by, so there’s a bus going one way or the other every few minutes – and we end up with a row of three or four buses stretching back to both ends of the road, interspersed with the yummy mummies of Wandsworth trying and failing to weave their Range Rovers through the gaps, entirely unaware of where the corners of their vast machines might be. Cyclists and scooters taunt the trapped motorists by artfully weaving in and out, and the situation is often resolved by the arrival of the police, who wearily direct the traffic down sidestreets and wave whichever bus driver has been nominated to be the fall guy back down the street – a process that unfurls at glacial pace, the bus kangarooing backward inch by painful inch. It’s hilarious. Even amidst all of this tiptoeing it’s possible for the driver to spectacularly cock the manoeuvre up; we once watched with growing excitement as a no.44 reversed methodically and unstoppably up onto the pavement, over a row of bollards and beached itself, leaking oil and water all over the street, unable to disentangle itself from where it had been skewered by the street furniture. Classic.

You might say I’m too easily amused. You’re probably right. But I don’t see that as a bad thing.

The Truth About Dishonesty

This is well worth eleven minutes of your time.

Bubble Project

Nice idea this - stick blank speech bubbles onto posters, wait for public to caption, photograph results. Click here.

Insert Coin

This, if real, must have taken bloody ages.

Film locations IRL

An impressively labour-intensive project here.

The Popinator

Innovators of the world: you can stop now. There's clearly nothing left to invent.

Paralympic photos

Some spectacular photos of the Paralympics here, courtesy of The Atlantic's In Focus.

Misery Bear's Night Out


Plot-oon from Chris Butcher on Vimeo.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

13/09/12 - JuicyPips Cabinet Reshuffle Guide

Politics? Confusing load of old toffee-nosed ballbaggery, isn’t it? Blah-de-blah is the new minister for something-or-other… it’s hard to keep up with it all. Particularly if you’re an unashamedly left-wing cynic who finds yourself constantly repulsed and disgusted by the thought of a Conservative government. Still, there’s not a lot we can do about them, is there? (I mean, there was, except that the Great British public are such an apathetic bunch of hapless dullards that very few of them could be arsed to vote. Regretting it now, hopefully. Although maybe they really don’t give a shit, and genuinely believe that ‘they’re all the same’. It’s that sort of attitude that keeps winning European seats for the BNP. But I digress…)
You may have yawned yourself into a corner during the recent reshuffle so, for the benefit and fascination of all, here’s the JuicyPips Guide to the 2012 Cabinet Reshuffle – who’s stayed, who’s moved, who’s who. Hurrah! Truths proven and myths dispelled henceforth, this is all true. Honest.

Transport Secretary

The new TS is Patrick McLoughlin – an inspired choice given that he can’t drive and doesn’t totally understand what cars are for. (Indeed, for the first twenty-five years of his life he assumed that they were something akin to insects, swarming in urban areas and occasionally buzzing across the countryside in search of sustenance.) He’s never been on a plane, train, bus, ferry, hovercraft, bicycle, tram or any other form of transport whatsoever, and doesn’t even like walking that much. This fresh perspective allows him to generate entertaining and sideswiping new transport policies with gay abandon, always keeping his peers and the public on their toes. ‘Fuck it,’ he slurs, liberally splashing whisky about the place from his oversized crystal tumbler, ‘why can’t everyone just be happy where they are? Can we impose heavy taxes on movement? I remember when this was all fields…’
Strange man.

Communities Secretary
The Communities Secretary is Eric Pickles. He is the estranged husband of batty American actress Christina Pickles (you know, she played Ross & Monica’s mum in Friends), who now spends much of his time near the deli counter in his local supermarket hoovering up the free samples with his mighty jaws. You won’t be surprised to learn that ‘Pickles’ isn’t the egg-headed fellow’s real name, but one he was furnished with by his mocking classmates thanks to his seemingly boundless capacity for ingesting finger foods. This is a legacy that Christina is sadly lumbered with for no clear or logical reason.
Eric lives in Staincliffe with a woman named Irene, which doesn’t sound true but is. As is the fact that he is a “flag enthusiast”.

Health Secretary
Jeremy Hunt fills this role. There is a word that perfectly describes Jeremy Hunt but, due to numerous lengthy discussions with HR, I’m not allowed to use it in JuicyPips any more. But it rhymes with Hunt. Remove the ‘h’ and replace it with a ‘c’. It’s like ‘count’, but without the ‘o’. Yeah? Geddit? Yeah? Eh?
Hunt once shot a peasant who was pilfering parsnips from the family estate’s vegetable garden. Right through the heart. With a harpoon. Then he ripped out the poor wretch’s entrails and wore them as a cape, whilst dancing a merry jig and singing ‘I’m a Hunt! I’m a Hunt! Everybody says I’m a Hunt!’.

Business Secretary
Vince Cable is a total Hunt as well. One of the few Liberal Democrats who’s been allowed to play in Cameron’s bizarre and fragmented game of politi-chess, Cable likes to pass the weekends ripping the heads off swans in the park, then posting them through the letterboxes of his constituents. On more than one occasion these constituents have visited his office to flag the issue as a concern, and have found him propping the headless swan carcasses around a child-sized table and pouring them invisible cups of tea from a plastic teapot. Fucking lunatic.

Chief Whip
Andrew Mitchell begged for this role, because he thought it sounded funny. Previous positions held by Mitchell include ‘Head Fondler’, ‘Autonomous Tart’ and ‘Buttock-in-Chief’, so this was a natural progression for him.
Interesting fact about Andrew: he has had full sex with every man and woman in Birmingham, which is a frankly staggering achievement. Particularly since he looks like a bad waxwork of Peter Stringfellow.
Among his duties are convincing Tory backbenchers to acknowledge the presence of the Lib-Dems, living in a massive house and grinning creepily in press shots, although he has the discipline not to let this take up all of his time. Many Brummies turn eighteen every day. There’s always ‘work’ to be done there.

Environment Secretary
Owen Paterson drives a Bentley Mulsanne, burns old fridges for fun and always leaves his TV on standby. Yeah, fuck you environment!

Culture Secretary
Maria Miller was always going to be a shoo-in for this post. She once appeared in an am-dram performance of The Mikado in Basingstoke, and she has almost every episode of Rising Damp on VHS. She really enjoyed seeing Jurassic Park at the cinema, owns two Simply Red cassettes and quite often skims through Cotswold Life to keep herself up to date. She’s thoroughly looking forward to the next Harry Potter book, and is keen to learn more about a new pop group called Oasis she heard about on the wireless.

Conservative Chairman
Grant Shapps once punched a bear to death. Seriously, the man is dangerous. Do not approach him. If you see him acting suspiciously, inform a grown-up.

Treasury Secretary
On a mad whim, Cameron attempted to tick a ‘diversity’ box by handing this role to the substantially disabled Danny Alexander. His disability? Why, his face is far, far too small for his head. Google it, you’ll see. Unfortunately for Call-Me-Dave, Alexander has no knowledge, qualifications or experience of any sort of maths-related work that might lend itself to the successful fulfilment of the tasks at hand for the Treasury Secretary, as he has spent much of his life hiding under bridges, trying to evade the hordes of villagers wielding pitchforks and flaming torches, keen to banish the creepy-faced goon before he infects their womenfolk with his bizarre facial handicap. Obviously this face thing isn’t his fault, poor lamb, but you shouldn’t dole out positions of power to inappropriate people just because you feel sorry for them. This is the principle issue that threatens the coalition government’s already ragged credibility: a fundamental and belligerent unwillingness to think things through.

…there are numerous others in the cabinet, but frankly the thought of discussing Tories for longer than I already have done is making my blood itch. Besides, it probably isn’t JuicyPips’ place to point out what an inept, corrupt, reprehensible shower of berks, philanderers, shoplifters, covert terrorists and livestock-molesters they may or may not be. Don’t worry, we’re all in safe hands. Everything’s fine. Relax. Don’t panic. It’s OK. Really. Stay calm. Have another drink. Shhhh.

Photoshop Troll

Hours of entertainment in here. Brilliantly mean. Clicky.

Celebrity Biscuit Database

This is better than it sounds, trust me. Comprehensive and thorough. Click here.

Mad Men / Rick Astley

This has been doing the rounds in adland. 's alright.

Is Twitter Wrong?

You shouldn't believe everything you read on Twitter - if it's sensational and unbelievable, it probably isn't actually true. Click here for 'Is Twitter Wrong?' - debunker of Twittermyths.
Also, for extra backup, here's a handy guide to who has and hasn't actually died.

All the Bonds...


Movie titles with a letter removed - clicky.

Stratford 2015?

A variety of Olympic sites that didn't enjoy the 'legacy' effect... click here.