Saturday, 23 February 2013

Flying Spaghetti Monster

The Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM) is the deity of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster or Pastafarianism, a movement that promotes a light-hearted view of religion and opposes the teaching of intelligent design and creationism in public schools.

Pastafarian "beliefs" are generally satires of creationism. They are presented both on Henderson's Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster website, where he is described as "prophet", and in The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, written by Henderson and published by Villiard Press in 2006. The central belief is that an invisible and undetectable Flying Spaghetti Monster created the universe. Pirates are revered as the original Pastafarians (a portmanteau of pasta and Rastafarian), and Henderson asserts that the steady decline in the number of pirates over the years has resulted in global warming.


Wednesday, 20 February 2013


Throughout the Die Hard  films, John McClane is known for his catchphrase, "Yippee-ki-yay, motherf****r".

He frequently says it to taunt his adversaries, or in the moments before killing them.


Sunday, 17 February 2013

Cricket Thermometer

If you add 37 to the number of chirps a cricket makes in 15 seconds, you will have an approximation for the temperature outside.

As temperatures decrease, the number of chirps heard will go down as well, as the crickets are becoming cold and less active. The opposite holds true during warmer times.

Extracted from "15 Things You Might Not Know About The Outdoors" at

Thursday, 14 February 2013

No names, no pack-drill

If one mentions no names (or breaks no confidences) there can be no question of offence or punishment.

Pack-drill used to be a military punishment in which an offender was forced to drill (i.e. parade, or march up and down) carrying a full and therefore very heavy pack of equipment - 64 pounds in the Crimean War, for example.

See more Expressions & Sayings at

Monday, 11 February 2013

Snipe hunt

A snipe hunt, a made up hunt (or wild-goose chase) that is also known as a fool's errand, is a type of practical joke that involves experienced people making fun of credulous newcomers by giving them an impossible or imaginary task.

The origin of the term is a practical joke where inexperienced campers are told about a bird or animal called the snipe as well as a usually preposterous method of catching it, such as running around the woods carrying a bag or making strange noises such as banging rocks together.


Friday, 8 February 2013

Corned beef

Corned beef is a salt-cured beef product. The term comes from the treatment of the meat with "corns" of salt.

In the United Kingdom, corned beef refers to the variety made from finely minced corned beef in a small amount of gelatin (bully beef; from the French bouilli"boiled"), and is sold in distinctive, oblong cans, just as in the United States and Canada, or in slices from supermarkets.

It is mainly imported from Argentina, Brazil, or Uruguay.

It is commonly served sliced in a corned beef sandwich.

Hash and hotpot, in which potatoes and corned beef are stewed together, are also made.

Tinned corned beef is also used in mainland Europe.

The U.S. version of corned beef is known in the UK as salt beef.


Monday, 4 February 2013

Zipf's Law

There are many ways to state Zipf's Law but the simplest is procedural: Take all the words in a body of text, for example today's issue of the New York Times, and count the number of times each word appears. If the resulting histogram is sorted by rank, with the most frequently appearing word first, and so on ("a", "the", "for", "by", "and"...), then the shape of the curve is "Zipf curve" for that text. If the Zipf curve is plotted on a log-log scale, it appears as a straight line with a slope of -1.

The Zipf curve is a characteristic of human languages, and many other natural and human phenomena as well. Zipf noticed that the populations of cities followed a similar distribution. There are a few very large cities, a larger number of medium-sized ones, and a large number of small cities. If the cities, or the words of natural language, were randomly distributed, then the Zipf curve would be a flat horizontal line.

See full article at

Friday, 1 February 2013

Lupton on age

When Jenny was born her life was measured first in hours, then days, then weeks.

At about sixteen weeks it turned to months — four months, five months, eighteen months — until two, when you measure your child’s age in half years.

Then gradually the measurement of her life became whole years.

Now they’re measuring what’s left of it in weeks again.

From Afterwards, by Rosamund Lupton