Friday, June 30, 2017

Why are There Bibles in Hotel Rooms

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Radio Silence

36,400,000. That is the expected number of intelligent civilizations in our galaxy, according to Drake’s famous equation. For the last 78 years, we had been broadcasting everything about us – our radio, our television, our history, our greatest discoveries – to the rest of the galaxy. We had been shouting our existence at the top of our lungs to the rest of the universe, wondering if we were alone. 36 million civilizations, yet in almost a century of listening, we hadn’t heard a thing. We were alone.

That was, until about 5 minutes ago.

The transmission came on every transcendental multiple of hydrogen’s frequency that were listening to. Transcendental harmonics – things like hydrogen’s frequency times pi – don’t appear in nature, so I knew it had to be artificial. The signal pulsed on and off very quickly with incredibly uniform amplitudes; my initial reaction was that this was some sort of binary transmission. I measured 1679 pulses in the one minute that the transmission was active. After that, the silence resumed.

The numbers didn’t make any sense at first. They just seemed to be a random jumble of noise. But the pulses were so perfectly uniform, and on a frequency that was always so silent; they had to come from an artificial source. I looked over the transmission again, and my heart skipped a beat. 1679 – that was the exact length of the Arecibo message sent out 40 years ago. I excitedly started arranging the bits in the original 73x23 rectangle. I didn’t get more than halfway through before my hopes were confirmed. This was the exact same message. The numbers in binary, from 1 to 10. The atomic numbers of the elements that make up life. The formulas for our DNA nucleotides. Someone had been listening to us, and wanted us to know they were there.

Then it came to me – this original message was transmitted only 40 years ago. This means that life must be at most 20 lightyears away. A civilization within talking distance? This would revolutionize every field I have ever worked in – astrophysics, astrobiology, astro-

The signal is beeping again.

This time, it is slow. Deliberate, even. It lasts just under 5 minutes, with a new bit coming in once per second. Though the computers are of course recording it, I start writing them down. 0. 1. 0. 1. 0. 1. 0. 0... I knew immediately this wasn’t the same message as before. My mind races through the possibilities of what this could be. The transmission ends, having transmitted 248 bits. Surely this is too small for a meaningful message. What great message to another civilization can you possibly send with only 248 bits of information? On a computer, the only files that small would be limited to…


Was it possible? Were they really sending a message to us in our own language? Come to think of it, it’s not that out of the question – we had been transmitting pretty much every language on earth for the last 70 years… I begin to decipher with the first encoding scheme I could think of – ASCII. 0. 1. 0. 1. 0. 1. 0. 0. That’s B... 0. 1. 1 0. 0. 1. 0. 1. E…

As I finish piecing together the message, my stomach sinks like an anchor. The words before me answer everything.


Sunday, June 25, 2017

How did Hitler rise to power? - Alex Gendler and Anthony Hazard

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Επιλέγοντας Εργασία - Part 1

Δεν μπορώ να αναφέρομαι στους Ελληνες γενικότερα αλλά μπορώ να μιλήσω για την προσωπική μου εμπειρία. Ένας απο τους λόγους που έφυγα απο την Ελλάδα ήταν ο τρόπος που μου φέρθηκαν οι εκάστοτε εργοδότες. Βέβαια ο κάθε επαγγελματικός χωρος διαφέρει και ο εποχιακός τουρισμός μπορεί να είναι τελείως διαφορετικό απο τον δικό σας. Το θέμα είναι οτι οι γυναίκες με πτυχίο, χωρίς προυπηρεσία μεταξύ 24 - 30 (όπως ήμουνα εγώ όταν βγήκα στην αγορά εργασίας) πάντοτε αντιμετώπιζαν τεράστια προβλήματα και η ανεργία χτυπούσε 24% - 25% ακόμα και στις 'καλές εποχές'. Όπου υπάρχει περισσότερη προσφορά απο ζήτηση σε θέσεις εργασίας, οι εργοδότες έχουν το πάνω χέρι και κάνουν οτι τους καπνίσει.

Στον εποχιακό τουρισμό υπάρχουν πολλοί ερασιτέχνες. Δηλαδή άνθρωποι που είχαν ένα χωράφι που ήταν άχρηστο μεχρι τη δεκαετία του 70 - 80 και ξέφνικά στα 90's έγινε θησαυρός. Ετσι χωρίς κατάρτηση και γενικότερη παιδεία έγιναν 'αφεντικά'. Και νομίζουν οτι η σωστή επαγγελματική σχέση είναι αυτή του αγά - ραγιά. Σε συνδυασμό με το γεγονός οτι το ελληνικό κράτος έχει νόμους που γενικά δεν εφαρμόζονται ε, γίνεται τις αποκαλύψεως.

Μου έχουν φάει ΙΚΑ, με έχουν βρίσει χωρίς να φταίω, μου έχουν φαει μισθούς και σε γενικές γραμμές γραμμές το workplace bullying πάει σύνεφο. Και δεν είμαι η μόνη.

Τώρα σε άλλους χώρους  μπορεί να ισχύουν άλλα. Ο ελληνικός χώρος δεν είναι υγιείς. Όποιος θέλει να κάνει πράγματα πρέπει να φυγει στο εξωτερικό. Η ελληνική αγορά είναι απίστευτα συντηρητική.

Το επεισόδιο που αναφέρονται οι απο πάνω είναι αυτό:

Monday, June 19, 2017

Mr Darcy's Diary by Maya Slater

Where to begin... Jane Austen has certain views about the world. In her point of view, people were cleaner and more logical. They were both more innocent and calculating. They were selfish in their efforts to better themselves through, marriage and acquaintances but had no real passion. Nobody would see the point of say an orgy or the use of a brothel.

That view is wrong. Although the marriage market among the privileged did work the way she described to a cerain extend, the high society were hypocrites who had affairs, kept women and did all sort of 'immoral' things. They also had this enormous sense of entitlement and complete disregard for personal freedoms that makes modern people and especially women, wanna slap them in the face.

In that sense, Maya Slater's Mr Darcy was both more real and out of character. She portrays him every bit as snobbish and aloof as Ms Austen's version but at the same time he is incredibly nosy, he participates in orgies and apart from proud he is obnoxious as well. People reading this book and expecting familiar faces will be mightily disappointed. People reading this book on its own merits will be disappointed as well. While it's not boring exactly, it's hardly memorable. All in all, it's an average book and it's a pity because the idea and the original material if used differently could have given us something great.

I am giving it 2.5/5 and recommend only to those who are curious.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Κριτική Ιστοσελίδων: Postcrossing

So my other website reviews are written in greek bit given that the most of my greek friends and all of my new aquaintances speak english, I am going to change language.

I have been a member of since January 2006. Here is my personal profile, have a look if you don't mind:

Postcrossing is a project that allows people to send and receive postcards from all over the world. The idea is simple: you join the site (you have to provide a valid actual world address) and then you receive up to five home addresses from other members arond the world. You then have to send each of them a postcard. Each postcard has a special ID (for example GB-12345). Once the member receives the postcard they go on the site and register it. You can do that up to five times but the addresses are chosen randomly and you cannot refuse to send a card once the address has been revieled and you cannot choose specific countries to target.

Your activity, the cards you have sent and the cards you have received, can be seen on your profile that also has some useful statistics

Here are the cards I sent:

And here are the cards I have received:

There were a few months of abstinence that I could have used to sent more cards but I didn't. Anyway, this is a great way to connect random people. Once you receive a card you may sent an online message to the sender. Also you get to keep the adresses you have already send postcards to, and send more in the future. Also the website is intergrated with facebook and twitter so that you can automatically tweet/post every time you receive a card.

Postcard enthusiasts and collectors could have a field day with this one. I know that a lot of people make cards on their free time and then have noone to send them to. Well this is your chance! Let your creativity run free!

And let me know if you wish to sent your first postcard for free! I can help you!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

A Single Shade of Red by KMApok

Four times in my life, I witnessed an "event".

I look at someone, and everything turns dark red. Within 5 minutes, that person will kill another.

Young, I watched a woman sitting impatiently at a stoplight when my vision changed. Moments later, she floored it when she couldn't wait for the green. She demolished a kid jaywalking.

In college, I witnessed two men arguing at a bar. My vision changed. Minutes later, one smashed a glass over the other's head. He died instantly.

An amateur boxing tournament. Front row, we watched a friend, Jimmy, in his first fight. 3 rounds in, as I looked at his opponent, my vision changed.

Bolting from my chair, rushing past security, I screamed to stop the fight. Jimmy, distracted, turned to me, dropping his guard. A punch slipped in, and Jimmy went down.

When my grandmother was terminal, her doctor advised us to discontinue life support. Walking into the room as a family, my vision changed. He disconnected the ventilator, and she passed.

Today, my husband was at work. I was home alone, watching our seven-year-old daughter at our remote cabin. She helped me in the kitchen, and I smiled at her as I watched her struggle to put dishes away.

She looked at me, smiling, and my vision changed.


I stepped back, eyes wide with horror. I rushed out of the kitchen, locking myself in the bathroom, sweating, panicking.

What the hell was I supposed to do?!? Before, my interference caused death. Shaking, I turned on the faucet, splashing water on my face. Looking up into the mirror, I stared at my own reflection.

My vision changed.

Written by KMApok

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

"A Different Kind of Social Worker" Creepypasta

"Good evening! I've been waiting for you!

Welcome to Hell!

Let's take a look at your file....oh my....

Murder....rape....arson...quite the profile you have here! It's gruesome....but hardly original.

What? Who am I?

Oh yes, sorry. How rude.

I'll be your caseworker.

You look confused. Of course, there are caseworkers in Hell.

You see, we need to make sure everything is taken care of properly.

I mean, we can't just toss you into a pit of lava for all eternity, can we? Can you imagine how boring that would be?

No, no, no. We must make sure your punishment is tailored to your specific offences.

But with variety! Originality! Uniqueness!

Why you ask?

Besides the pleasure we get out of various tortures?

It's simple.

God designed humans to be very adaptive. Able to change, evolve, cope.

That's frustrating for us.

You see, if I just toss you in the aforementioned pool of lava, you would eventually begin to accept the warmth and comfort of the molten rock, once you realized it wouldn't actually hurt you.

Hell is not supposed to be a warm blanket, goddammit!

God dammit? Get it? It's a pun? Since God damned you? See?

Really? You humans never have a sense of humour down here....

Anyway, the point is, we have to change up your trials from day to day.

Maybe today you will be flayed alive. Tomorrow eaten alive by savage hell hounds. The next day pummeled by hail. The next day you will get a relaxing day on the beach.

Oh, that last one wasn't sarcasm.

You see, down here we don't always bestow pain and suffering. We also grant relief and refuge.

Again, you look confused.

Let me explain.

We go back to what I said about humans being adaptable.

If all you know is pain, you will learn to accept it.

But if we give you a "day off", a contrast, to the eternal torture you are here to face, we can constantly remind you of what you once had, of what peace and happiness once was.

Ah, I can see the despair appearing in your eyes. You are worried you couldn't possibly enjoy those days of respite knowing they are only a tease.

But guess what?

That day of relief, of joy? That might not be Hell at all! That might be Heaven!

No, I am not speaking metaphorically.

You see, God designed humans with all their feeling, positive and negative.

So my boss made a deal with Him.

Once a year, no matter how defiled the soul, God steals one soul from Hell. Regardless of the amount of sin, regardless of the violence, the pain inflicted, God takes one damned soul up to paradise.


Because with eternal damnation comes hopelessness....

And hope is the most precious of all human emotion....

And we want to give you a sliver of hope, that someday you might escape Hell.

Because how can you crush hope.....if it isn't there?"

Originally Posted by KMApok

Monday, June 12, 2017

Bogdy Jr goes to the Natural History Museum

As you probably know Bogdy Jr is very commited to raising money for the Great Ormond Street Hospital (G.O.S.H). He is currently trying to recruite various relatives but has had little success so far:

Cousin Hebert is sympathetic but too busy

Auntie Myrtle would love to help but she is getting too old for fundraising

...and don't get me started on grandfather Arthur! He nearly made poor Bogdy cry!

Little Rini agreed enthusiastically, but then she is just a baby!

The king of the jungle has bigger problems!

More pictures of Bogdy Jr here:
Bogdy Jr goes to the Natural History Museum

I guess that leaves us! Please support Great Ormond Street Hospital by clicking on the link! Donate generously, the children depend on you!

Clayton Crown Hotel Tough Mudder Team

Friday, June 09, 2017

"We could do Nothing but lie Down" Creepypasta | by Lloiu

I remember the day the spider-like creatures swarmed out of their holes and covered the moon's surface. NASA telescopes captured high definition video of the masses of creatures, throbbing and heaving as far as the eye could see. They were as big as cars and I nearly lost my mind when I caught a glimpse of them on the news.

I remember the ensuing months as humanity reacted to the presence of new life in our solar system. Many wanted to nuke the lunar surface until it was glass. Others wanted to make peace. Some worshiped them as gods. Personally, whenever I looked up at the moon, brownish red with the skittering bodies of monsters, I could barely stop myself from shaking.

I remember when CNN broke footage of the creatures building massive ships on the surface. They were intelligent. This was enough to cause near panic. They were coming to us.

I remember the day they sent their first message. The sound was harsh and guttural and interspersed with a horrible clicking. Top linguists around the world were called in to translate.

I remember two weeks later when the brownish red tint of the moon gave way to the milky white we had almost forgotten as the monsters entered into their ships. Earth was on high alert, all nations’ armies prepared for assault. And then the ships took off and left in the opposite direction.

And I remember the next day, when the linguists finally decoded the strange message and played it for the whole world to hear: “If you value your lives, run.”

Originallly posted here

Monday, June 05, 2017

Human mating strategies

Received wisdom and biological theory both have it that males are (or, at least, would like to be) more promiscuous than females. That does not stop a lot of men settling down happily as faithful husbands. Conversely, wisdom and theory also suggest that once a woman has kissed the frog who turns into a prince, she will stick with him till death do them part. But that is belied by the number of females who wander from man to man, or simply do without a helpmeet altogether.

As with many biological phenomena—height, for example—propensity for promiscuity in either sex might be expected to be normally distributed; that is, to follow what are known colloquially as “bell curves”. The peaks of these curves would have different values between the sexes, just as they do in the case of height. But the curves’ shapes would be similar.

Rafael Wlodarski of Oxford University wondered whether things are a little more complicated than that. Perhaps, he and his colleagues posit in a study just published in Biology Letters, rather than cads, dads and their female equivalents simply being at the extremes of a continuous distribution, individual people are specialised for these roles. If so, the curve for each sex would look less like the cross-section of a bell, and more like that of a Bactrian camel, with two humps instead of one.

The mating game

To test this idea the team looked at two sets of data which had been collected for other purposes. One was from almost 600 people who had completed the “sociosexual orientation inventory”, a questionnaire intended to elucidate the different tendencies of people to engage in sexual relationships without a deep emotional commitment. The other was of 1,300 people who had had the lengths of their index and ring fingers measured. The ratio of these lengths indicates the effect on an individual of exposure to testosterone in the womb. (A long ring finger compared to the index finger means a big effect.) This ratio corresponds, throughout the primates as a group, to the amount of promiscuity found in a species’s mating system.

Both of these tests confirmed the idea that men are more predisposed to promiscuity than women. But Dr Wlodarski knew that already. What he wanted to determine was whether distinct sexual strategies exist in either or both sexes. Doing that from the relatively small samples available meant putting them through two statistical tests that asked how likely it was they really did come from a bimodal, camel-shaped distribution rather than bell-shaped one.

For both sexes, in the case of the sociosexual results, they clearly were bimodal. That pattern remained when the sample’s American and British participants were analysed separately. In the case of the finger data, all of which came from British participants, the men, but not the women, were bimodal.

These results suggest that—probably for men and possibly for women—caddishness, daddishness and so on are indeed discrete behavioural strategies, perhaps underpinned by genetic differences, rather than being extremes of a continuum in the way that tall and short people are. Although there is some overlap between the two strategies, they are, if Dr Wlodarski and his colleagues are correct, what biologists call phenotypes. These are outward manifestations of underlying genes that give natural selection something to get hold of and adapt down the generations.

Intriguingly, the difference in phenotypic mix between the sexes is not huge. Dr Wlodarski and his colleagues calculate that cads outnumber dads by a ratio of 57:43. Loose women, by contrast, are outnumbered by their more constant sisters, but by only 53:47. Each of these ratios tends in the direction of received wisdom. Both, though, are close enough to 50:50 for that fact to need an explanation.

In the case of men, there is a likely explanation. The reproductive output of a male of any species (measured as the number of his offspring that survive to adulthood) is limited mainly by the number of mates he can inseminate. He therefore has an incentive to be promiscuous (which will promote caddishness). But humans are unusual in that a father often helps care for his offspring. Those offspring are (at least, in a state of nature) less likely to survive and thrive without him. That will promote daddishness.

A woman’s evolutionary reasons to play fast and loose are less obvious, for having many lovers will not bring her more children. It will, however, bring her children who are more genetically diverse—and that might be an advantage in itself. Such children would, for instance, be less susceptible to catching the same diseases as each other, since openness to any given infection is partly determined by genetics.

If their analysis is correct, Dr Wlodarski and his colleagues have probably stumbled on a type of equilibrium known to biologists as an evolutionarily stable strategy, in which a way of behaving becomes more advantageous as it gets rarer, and less so as it gets commoner. Cads succeed when dads are frequent, and vice versa. Neither can conquer and neither can vanish. Such equilibria are part of a branch of maths called game theory—a name both men and women might think eminently appropriate.

The Economist

Sunday, June 04, 2017

Country Pursuits by Jo Carnegie


The characters of the book are simply insufferable! So they are impossibly rich doing very little or inconsequential jobs but maintaining an extremely expensive lifestyle and they are all in a fix because (gulp!) a self - made property developer wants to build a housing estate on their precious meadow. And not a luxury apartments estate either. That's right the plebs are coming! This, of course, means war! Hurry up, call Mick Jagger to stop this sacrilege. Their peace and quiet are threatened! Dear me the hoi poloi will overrun the place!

Well unfortunately he loses and the rich and spoilt again have their way. I feel dumber by reading this book. The snobbiness is off the chart! There are better chic lit books out there. Some of them are even thoughtful and might offer some insights into other people's characters.

In this badly written piece, the characters are never developed or are caricatures of themselves. You honestly don't want them to succeed. Trust me dear reader, you can do better...
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