Things 30: Evolution Paradox, Ninja Cat, Wobbly Illusion

(Originally sent September 2008)

It’s Things 30, I’m 30. Isn’t that nice.

If I have time, I may watch Taken, because it seems wonderfully up-front about its aim as a film – “They have taken his daughter. He will hunt them. He will find them. And he will kill them.”

IMDb: 7.8/10
RT: 50%

Last week’s puzzle
What is the difference between a duck?

One of its legs is both the same.

That’s the official answer. Now for something more serious.

This week’s puzzle
In evolution, the principle of ‘survival of the fittest’ generally means that over time only the most well-adapted versions of a species thrive, and this causes species to develop and improve over many generations. For example, Giraffe’s necks get longer, Lions become better hunters, and so on.

In humans, we look after the sick and the weak and we often have redistributive tax systems. We go to a great effort to help the ‘least fit’, in the evolutionary sense, to survive. In the context of the above, this seems incomprehensible. How did this happen?

More cat video goodness – this time a cat that knows the rules of that childhood game known as ‘Red light/Green light’ in the US, ‘1,2,3 Soleil’ in France, and presumably something else in the UK that I can’t remember. The game also featured to great effect in the movie The Orphanage.

A very practical link:
An excellent site for checking the weather, as it includes how weather changes over the course of the day.

A quote / anecdote
On Saturday in Regents Park (while running a treasure hunt) I think I may been the target of an interesting pick-up strategy. A rather attractive French lady asked if I could take a photo of her, so I agreed. She sat on the grass and posed seductively and I took a sensible picture. She asked me to take another one with the camera looking down at her from above. It seemed unreasonable to say no at that point. Then she said “Now let us check the photos to see if you are a good photographer [she then checked them]… oh, you are fabulous! Now, let us go to Queen Mary’s fountain and take some more photos there.”

It was at this point I explained I was a bit busy and had other places to be. But I was impressed by the general idea. If I actually found the French accent attractive it may even have worked. Or perhaps I just have entirely the wrong end of a very long stick.

A picture
An optical illusion:


Things 29: Love Talk, Photogenic Theories, Top 10 Cats 2008

(Originally sent September 2008)

You may notice at this point that Things 30 will come out the day before I turn 30. Is this a coincidence? Or was the Things hiatus earlier this year actually very carefully planned?

Still rubbish. Still not time to see them either.

A video
Here is the teaser video for my 30th birthday event:

A link
What is love? An interesting way to answer this question would be to create a web page that anyone online can edit, where they can add their opinion. Unfortunately this is not how Wikipedia is supposed to be used. Fortunately, this is how the talk page on Love *is* used, and it’s well worth a browse.

A quote
I overhead this on the street the other day:

“Fffffffffit! Fuckin’ fit, man. They are the fittest in all of South East Asia.”

The implication being that this man has assessed the fitness of not only all groups in South East Asia, but also those in the North East, North West, and South West as well. Impressive!

Last week’s puzzle
On the topic of being photogenic, I received a few replies. Xuan suggested people look different in 2D and 3D. Sian suggested that it’s actually about being comfortable with cameras, and non-photogenic people freeze up around them. This is similar to theories I have read that our perception of people is surprisingly dependent on their movements, so when we see them static it is quite different. Suzanne took this theory further by suggesting that photogenic people might be those that don’t have particularly animated faces.

In this case Yahoo Answers is very little help – but the Wikipedia page, on the other hand, is quite good, and covers some of the above theories:

I would personally add that the focal length of most cameras is not the same as that of the human eye, which can cause some subtle effects. I also once heard a great quote from a professional photographer – he said that “Women with strong character come across better in a photo when they don’t smile.” I think this is true. But do note that I don’t believe this implies the converse, which would be that women that come across well when they smile don’t have strong character!

Finally, Suzanne points out that beauty is either in the eye of the beholder; skin deep; or comes from within.

This week’s puzzle
Puzzles have been a bit serious lately so it’s time for something silly.
What is the difference between a duck?

A picture
I’ve seen a lot of lolcats since I posted a top 10 at Christmas last year. Here’s my top 10 of the ones I have seen between then and now.