Category Archives: Bizarreness

Odd stuff

All for Naught

Language: it’s a funny old thing, really.

I looked up a line from the play what I was in (A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Mr William Shakespeare), “…A paramour is a thing of naught.”

I didn’t understand it, then found out that ‘thing of naught’ means (well, USED to mean), ‘thing of sin’.

And hence the word ‘naughty’.

(Doesn’t help that some online translations render the line as ‘a thing of nothing’.)

The line, just to confuse you further, is uttered by a character who is himself making a mistake, while trying to correct someone else’s English (ah, Facebook, you’re not so new after all!)

The exchange goes something like this:

Peter Quince:
“He [the character Bottom] is a very paramour for a sweet voice.”
[intending to mean ‘he is the perfect specimen of someone with a lovely voice.’]
Francis Flute:
“You must say ‘paragon.’ A paramour is—God bless us!—A thing of naught.”
[meaning, ‘you mean “paragon” not “paramour”, because “paramour” means something dirty.’]

A paramour is a very courtly and romantic word for a lover, so it’s far from naughty.

But he uses ‘paragon’ correctly.

And people say that Shakespearean comedy is difficult to get.

Prince: brilliant musician; funked-up brain

In other news, Prince is apparently actually my grandmother:

“They [computers and digital media] just fill your head with numbers and that can’t be good for you.”

His new album is available only on CD, and not iTunes, Amazon, eBay… and he’s closing (closed) down his own website (presumably because he doesn’t want to fill other people’s heads with numbers and thus contribute to the problem). So he’s promoting it on MTV? Ah, probably not, since MTV is ‘outdated’ the same way the Internets are.

So expect his ship-to-ship–semaphore–(or possibly telegram)–based marketing campaign to commence in 3… 2… 1…

(Good thing noone’s told him that CDs are digital.)

Incidentally, his cover of Radiohead’s Creep is brilliant.

Cyborg Beetles Take To The Skies

Have you ever wanted your own army of implacable cyborg beetles?

Oh, come on, you know you have.

Wouldn’t it be great to take a beetle (a), attach a microcontroller (d) with electrodes (e) attached to the beetle’s nervous system and muscles, then control it via wifi (b).

How The Robobeetle WorksAmerican researchers have apparently created a prototype beetleborg and had the poor godless bastard creature fly across a room under the radio control of its maniacal, scheming human masters.

They built it out of a rhinocerous beetle, since they presumably happened to have one lying around. And because rhinocerous beetles are very strong for their size and have scary big horns. (Apparently they are also clean and make good pets too.)

Practical uses for the remote-control zombie insects include surveillance, finding people trapped under rubble and Egyptology.

I like to think that future models could be equipped with enhanced titanium horns which could be used to free hostages and cut telephone cables.

Anyway, this one scores a ‘9’ on my Meddling With Nature-ometer. Impressive, potentially useful, and fucking creepy.

I leave you with this fun fact about rhinocerous beetles from Wikipedia:

Rhinoceros beetles are also the strongest animals on the planet in relation to their own size. They can lift up to 850 times their own weight. To put this into perspective, if a human of average height and weight had the strength of the rhinoceros beetle, he would likely be able to lift a 65 ton object (e.g. an M1 Abrams tank).