Humor

Bruce Willis  heroically managed to save the world in the film 1998  Armageddon. He was able to deflect a huge Earth-bound asteroid with the expedient use of a well placed thermonuclear explosion.

But some have questioned whether Willis’s feat would actually have been possible – without breaking the laws of physics . . .

• Some people might feel happier if they get their hands on some more money.
• Some people might feel happier if they use their hands to pray.

Leading some to the question : is it feasible to equate the two? In other words, is it possible to put a price on prayer?

“Photography has been around for many years. A problem associated with photography is oftentimes many people do not want to have their picture taken. For example, many celebrities do not want their picture taken or pictures of their companion’s [sic?] or relative’s [sic?] taken because they feel it is an invasion of their privacy.”

What to do? A new solution is described in this April 2012 US patent – Inhibiting unwanted photography and video recording

• What is ‘Answering Machine Talk’?

“Answering machine talk represents a form of mediated conversation in which messages are recorded to facilitate communication between participants.“

• What of the resources?

“The talk which occurs in such messages draws upon the pool of available resources for telephone-based communication…”

• What of the constraints?

“[telephone-based communication] … modifies these resources as the result of constraints imposed by the communicative environment.”

Those familiar with the Lord of the Rings will remember the Huorns.  According to the Lord of the Rings Wiki:
 
Mostly the Huorns stood as dark trees in the deepest forests, gnarled and unmoving, yet watchful. When aroused in wrath they moved swiftly as if wrapped in shadows, falling on foes with deadly and merciless strength. . . . These were wild wood spirits who were bent on the destruction of all who threatened the forests. They were dangerous to all on two legs unless they were protected by Ents.
 

Many may have asked the questions ‘Why are boomerangs crescent-shaped?’ and ‘Why do boomerangs come back?’ – but few, however, are in a position to provide scientific explanations – aside, that is, from Prof. Yutaka Nishiyama of the Osaka University of Economics, Japan. In his article ‘Why Do Boomerangs Come Back?’ (Bulletin of Science, Technology&Society, Vol.22, No.1, 13-20,Feb 2002.) he answers both, with references to Bernoulli’s Principle, gyroscopes, inertial moments, the ‘right-hand-rule’, and more. Noting, for example :

Everyone (who can count) will instantly recognise the numbers 1 2&3 in the picture below:
Or will they? Well, no they won’t.

All is explained in an article for Osaka Keidai Ronshu, Vol. 60 number 5, where Professor Yutaka Nishiyama (Osaka University of Economics, Japan) lists many crucial variations in finger-counting across the world.

Bearing in mind that the word ‘ovoid’ means ‘egg-shaped’, the question : ‘Why are eggs ovoid?’ has much in common with questions like or ‘Why are hearts heart-shaped?’ or ‘Why are sausages sausage-shaped?’ And the Zen-like qualities of the egg-shape question have not escaped professor Yutaka Nishiyama, (Osaka University of Economics, Japan) who decided to approach this enigmatic problem from a mathematical viewpoint in his paper ‘The mathematics of egg shape’ (Osaka Keidai Ronshu, Vol. 58, Sept. 2007). In which the professor not only developed a formula to describe egg-shapes -

#2 ‘Implementing a Jabberwocky Gibberish Generator’.

In contrast to some computer-programme developers who create gibberish by jumbling word-orders (see Progress In Gibberish Computing #1 ) others take a different approach, and scramble the letters of English words (somewhat) to generate pronounceable nonsense words known as pseudowords or logatomes, similar to those found in ‘ Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll.

Part 1, ‘Generative Text Generation’

Daniel Shiffman  is Assistant Arts Professor at the Interactive Telecommunications Program at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.

The professor has developed a Markov chain-based Generative Text computer programme which he describes (and provides the code for) here. The programme is able to generate English text which appears at first glance to make sense, but in reality has more in common with ‘context-free-grammar’ or, as some might say, gibberish.