Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Stoz & Gerry

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C & H

Calvin and Hobbes

Oktoberfest Down

Visitor numbers fell to 5.9 million – the same level as 2009 – while beer consumption slumped to 7.3m litres, the equivalent of 400,000 massmugs) fewer than last year. The average price of the litre glasses was €10.22.
Revellers however ate more than last year, consuming 114 oxen and 50 calves although the number of roast chickens consumed was not noted.
According to The Local, Munich’s mayor, Josef Schmid, blamed cold and damp weather and stronger border controls for the lower figures.
The recent influx of refugees from the Middle East has caused Germany to re-implement pre-Schengen border controls.
Deutsche Bahn has suspended certain services to and from Austria and Hungary as a result, keeping thousands of tourists from those countries away.

October Sports Dates

5-18: Boxing - Men's World Amateur Championships, Doha, Qatar
8-11: Golf - USPGA at Presidents Cup, Incheon, South Korea
10: Rugby World Cup - Samoa v Scotland, St James' Park and Australia v Wales, Twickenham and England v Uruguay, Etihad Stadium
10: Rugby League - Super League Grand Final
11: F1 - Russian Grand Prix, Sochi
11: Rugby World Cup - France v Ireland, Millennium Stadium
13-17: Pakistan v England, first Test, Abu Dhabi
17-18: Rugby World Cup quarter-finals
17: Horse racing - British Champions Day, Ascot
22-26: Pakistan v England, second Test, Dubai
22-31: Athletics - IPC World Championships, Doha, Qatar
24-25: Rugby World Cup semi-finals
23-1 Nov: Gymnastics - World Artistic Championships, Glasgow
25: F1 - United States Grand Prix, Austin
26-1 Nov: Tennis - WTA Championships, Singapore
30-31: Horse racing - Breeders' Cup, Keeneland
31: Rugby World Cup final, Twickenham

Laid Back

The Federal Institute of Pharmaceuticals (BfArM) has rejected plans for legal cannabis sales in Berlin's Kreuzberg-Friedrichshain district, Kreuzberg-Friedrichshain mayor Monika Herman of the Green Party announced on Monday.
The borough submitted plans for four "specialist cannabis shops" back in June.
But cannabis campaigners say that they will keep fighting.

More at The Local

Back Off

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Combs and Perms

Why do keyboard keypads number 7,8,9 on down and phone keypads number 1,2,3 on down?
Prototype Push Button Phone (1948)
Prototype Push Button Phone (1948)
It’s not clear why numbering pads designed for calculation have 7-8-9 at the top, although the practice of placing the larger numbers above the smaller can be seen as far back as the late 19th century on early mechanical cash registers, often in this case with rows numbering vertically with 9 at the top and 0 at the bottom, and later morphing into the more traditional keypad we see today.
Quickly becoming standard, when companies like Sharp, Canon, Sanyo and Texas Instruments began making electronic calculators in the 1960s, they simply retained the convention. In fact, there is no record of any of these companies making the first desktop calculators actually doing any studies to determine if this type of layout was optimal for users.
The standard phone keypad layout is an entirely different story. Before push button phone systems found their way into the home of the consumer, a version of this existed for phone operators, with a popular form being two vertical rows of five buttons with the numbers and alphabet laid out in a curious fashion, as picture to the right.
How this particular configuration was developed isn’t known, but whether or not this was really an optimal layout was something later studied, for instance in the paperExpected Locations of Digits and Letters on Ten-Button Keysets, published in a 1955 edition of The Journal of Applied Psychology.
In an attempt to determine the optimal configuration, rather than suggest specific number/letter layouts, the researchers simply gave various potential layouts and asked test subjects to fill in what they thought was the best configuration, given a particular layout. The results showed that, indeed, the aforementioned operator layout was not anywhere close to what people seemed to naturally expect:
Of note here is also that the now standard 3×3+1 phone keypad layout resulted in a whopping 55% of those tested filling it out exactly as the phone keypad is laid out today while only 8% of the subjects filled out that pattern in the way calculators and non-phone keypads are traditionally laid out.
bell-arrangementsIt was not, however, this particular study that influenced the layout of the phone keypad. Rather, this was the result of research performed by the engineers at Bell Laboratories, who more or less came up with the same results when in the early stages of the design of the push button phone. Hoping to find the ideal arrangement in terms of speed, accuracy, preference and business considerations, in 1960 the engineers studied 18 different configurations they deemed most efficient.
Randomly choosing 10-15 of their co-workers for each of a series of studies, the engineers had their subjects test one or two characteristics at a time (generally over a 3-5 day period), and these included aspects such as “keying time,” “errors” and preference.
Notably, one of their first realizations was that, much like had been revealed in the aforementioned Applied Psychology study, “the arrangement frequently found in ten-key adding machines [7-8-9 at the top] . . . was not the best” for keying phone numbers in its comparison group, although that “geometric configuration with a different numbering scheme [1-2-3 at the top] . . . was superior in keying performance” in its group.[1]
Next they compared those configurations that were found to be superior within their groups in terms of speed and preference with a keypad arranged in the same manner as a rotary dial (counterclockwise with “1” at the upper right). Those that were compared in this round were a “speedometer” configuration (clockwise with “1” at the lower left), a two horizontal column arrangement and a two vertical column set-up, as well as today’s “three-by-three plus one” keypad.[2]
second-studyAlthough there was no significant difference in terms of keying speed or error rates among the configurations, and therefore that “any of the five arrangements was acceptable,” they instantly discarded the two vertical columns layout because “it was disliked by many subjects.”[3]
The test subjects’ favorite configuration was the two horizontal rows (in consecutive order with “1” at the top left and “0” at the lower right), the second most popular was the “telephone” (or rotary) style and the configuration we enjoy today was the study participant’s third favorite.
However, as “two of the rectangular arrangements . . . offered certain engineering advantages,” these were the two the scientists continued to work with, and they experimented with the size of the buttons and spacing between them. After several more tests, they found that the arrangement with the lowest error rate was the “three-by-three plus one” configuration.[4]
Although not explicitly listed as a consideration in the 1960 study, since letters also had to be displayed, and they were always in an alphabetical order, it must have also just made sense to the scientists to keep the “1-2-3″ (with its “ABC” and “DEF”) at the top. And, indeed, the previous 1955 study also found that “With numbers already on the keyset: a) People expect to find the letters arranged in horizontal rows, beginning with the top row, for those patters in which the numbers are arranged that way…”  They also found that even when the numbering system did not begin in the top row, about half the subjects in their study still preferred that the lettering pattern begin at the top and proceed horizontally across the rows.
Bonus Facts:
  • Telephones used to need letters because phone numbers began with two letters, designating an exchange, and then seven numbers. Each exchange (think: switchboard) could service about 10,000 telephones.
  • Today, the numbers have been replaced by area codes, and the system is administered by the North American Numbering Plan Administration (NANPA). Each area code has 792 possible prefixes within it (because no prefix begins with 0 or 1), and for each prefix,10,000 numbers may be assigned; therefore, once an area code approaches 7.92 million numbers, a new one must be assigned.
  • It’s not clear why “1” had no corresponding letters. It could perhaps be simply symmetry, since often “0” also had no letters, and on a rotary dial phone, they were situated at opposite ends.
  • Although in 1996 more than 96% of U.S. households had a landline, by 2013, only 60% did.


These recently rediscovered World War II–era illustrations look more like something from a spy movie than a history book. The 25-odd drawings depict sneaky German bombs disguised as common items, meant to be used against the British during World War II. One illustration shows an army mess tin with an explosive lurking beneath the bangers and mash. Another shows a bar of chocolate that detonates once a piece is broken off—a device rumored to be part of an assassination plot against Winston Churchill. 
The illustrations were commissioned by Britain’s MI5 counter-sabotage unit during the war. The unit consisted of just three members: scientist Victor Rothschild, his secretary and eventual wife Teresa Georgina Mayor and police detective inspector Donald Fish. Fish’s son Laurence had experience drafting technical illustrations for Alvis cars before the war, so Rothschild hired him to document these booby-trapped objects. They were meant to serve as a guide for anyone who might need to disarm similar devices in the future. 
Andy Thompson // TWN
Andy Thompson // TWN
For the past 70 years, the drawings were thought to be lost for good. They were just recently rediscovered in a chest of drawers by Rothschild’s family members as they were cleaning out their home in the UK. They have since been sent to the artist’s widow, Jean Bray, and she hopes the illustrations will soon find a home in an archive or museum. 

Friend Me?

A new Facebook satellite providing Internet access will bring essential passive aggressive updates and irritating status messages to remote African villagers.
Village elders in a small village in The Democratic Republic Of Congo have spoken of the excitement amongst fellow villagers when news broke of the development.
Speaking through an interpreter he said, “We are all so excited and can’t wait to irritate the hell out of each other with puerile, crass and horribly misinformed status updates.”
“I also know for a fact that many of the villagers are looking forward to whining about their ailments and vague comments about the behaviour of ‘some people’ who will of course remain nameless.”
“Even though there are only 17 people in the village.”
“My sister is an extremely greedy woman, who will definitely be posting pictures of plates full of cakes and other horrendously unappetising foods.”
“This is bound to result in other womenfolk from neighbouring villages making thoroughly unconvincing comments, such as, ‘Mmmmmmmm looks scrummy babes!’.”
“Personally, I’m looking forward to the opportunity of acting the complete giddy arsehole.”
“Posting images containing deep political and philosophical dogma that goes way over my head, sexually harassing women I don’t know, and posting countless pictures of my hideous, bastard cat.”
A spokesperson for Facebook said last night: “We think it’s tremendously important that people in remote parts of Africa are subjected to the same will-to-live-sapping tedium that our site provides in the developed world.”
“We have already carried out a feasibility study amongst a remote tribe in Papua New Guinea and I’m happy to report that within days of their logging on, there was a sustained outbreak of killing and cannibalism.”

Blurks Only

Checklists for designing and building the perfect chill spot in a home should all include the same essential elements: Comfortable seating, space for entertaining guests, and a secret entrance. A mancave without a secret entrance is basically just a basement, and no one has enjoyed hanging out in a basement since That '70s Show. Classic hidden door mechanisms like rotating bookcases and trick wall panels never get old, but pop culture has also inspired people to be more creative with their upgraded spaces. Here are six cool mancaves that will inspire you to call a contractor.


Nothing says fandom quite like spending $50,000 to replicate the world of your favorite role-playing fantasy video game in the basement of your home. It’s pretty cool that this guy’s father was on board to help bring this dream to life with such attention to detail, and that his wife saw the vision and wanted to help with the design.


After a long day of work, it sometimes feels nice to just throw on a robe and sneak into your dimly lit smoking lounge for a cigar and a glass of cognac. The vintage map, model ship, and electric fireplace work perfectly in the small space, and the Raiders of the Lost Ark idol replica is a nice touch.


Batman’s secret headquarters is one of the most iconic hidden spaces in pop culture history, and Elite Home Theater Seating did a great job capturing the essence of the cave for this concept space (which was later built somewhere in Greenwich, Connecticut). From the stalactite ceilings to the alcoves that display a replica of the Tumbler and other Dark Knight paraphernalia, Bruce Wayne himself would love to spend some quality brooding time here. The kicker is that this theater can only be accessed through a Batman-themed study, where a grandfather clock hides a fingerprint scanner-controlled elevator.


You don’t have to be a member of the Fellowship to appreciate how cool this is—though some knowledge of Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings series is helpful to understand the design. The owner of the magical door says that a voice-activated control is coming soon (in the novel the word “mellon” opens the door), but we think it’s cool just the way it is.


Hidden rooms with sliding doors automatically feel cooler because it’s such a mysterious and spy-worthy feature. The company that made this video owns the domain hiddenpassageway.com, which showcases other examples of their work. This particular room is in the home of an unnamed Hollywood producer.


Having a replica of the TARDIS from Doctor Who in the corner of a room isn’t the most inconspicuous thing someone can do, but even fans of the show who know that the police box is bigger on the inside wouldn’t expect to find this. Designed by the Maryland-based Gramophone, this TARDIS leads to a full home theater with a 100” screen, starry ceiling, and other sci-fi-influenced features that would make any Whovian envious.

Steep Learning Curve

Football Manager Liverpool boss
Liverpool’s new manager has no experience of running a professional football club but is properly good at the video game based on it.
It is widely hoped that the relative unknown/absolute beginner couldn’t make much more of a bollocks of things than Brendan Rogers has.
“Seriously, at this point, we were looking at getting a Yorkshire terrier to fill in,” said Simon Williams, Liverpool Chairman.
“But some busy-body said we should at least get a human in.”
“I mean, if Sky Sports can genuinely try to determine how good a player is based on their stats in the game, then why not a choose a manager in the same way?”
“Then Barry piped up and mentioned that his mate was really good at this video game thingy, so we’re getting him in to shake things up.”
“I say ‘we’, but I’m moving as far away from this as possible.”
Dave Sharp, 39, has been playing Football Manager for nearly twenty years in the hope that this kind of opportunity would come up.
“And now it’s happened” he beamed, “So fuck you, friends, family and colleagues who laughed at me.”
“I’m going to start off by bringing in Lionel Messi, pushing up the back 5, and ordering in absolutely shitloads of pringles to keep me going for this extended session.”
“That’s the spirit,” sighed Williams.

Devils's Spawn- 3

The serial killer's daughter who criticized a famous author

The serial killer's daughter who criticized a famous author
In 2014, Kerri Rawson, the daughter of BTK serial killer Dennis Rader, broke the family's nine-year silence after author Stephen King wrote a short story inspired by his crimes, which was turned into a movie called "A Good Marriage.” She was critical of the author's intentions and let him know it online. 

The vile nature of her father's crimes shocked Kerri and her family. He murdered two children—10 people all together—and took trophies. 

“This was personal,” she said, “in a way that nobody else can understand. I had had enough. I had stayed quiet for all those years after my dad's arrest. Wondering when somebody's going to come knocking on my door with a camera. And all of a sudden this famous writer is talking on television about my family. I just had enough and decided to finally say something and stick up for my mom.”

Rawson received backlash on social media for criticizing King. But, in a way, the experience was cathartic. After nine years of silence, Rawson feels "like I can talk about this openly and not have to hide. Talking about it felt like a huge release, like finally letting the air out of the bag.”

King responded to Rawson's concerns in a polite e-mail to the Associated Press. She needn't worry, he wrote. The character depicting Rader in “A Good Marriage” is a banal little man; the story is really about a brave and determined woman—her mother. (Source | Photo)

The mother and son who murdered four people for financial gain

The mother and son who murdered four people for financial gain
Kenny Kimes and his mother, con artist Sante Kimes, jointly murdered lawyer Elmer Golmgren, banker Sayed Bilal Ahmed and businessman David Kazdin for financial gain.

Kimes was raised by his half-brother in Hawaii. During that time, his parents, Kenneth, Sr. and Sante, traveled the country committing high-stakes heists. They were also put in jail for slavery after importing girls from the streets of Mexico and keeping them locked up in their homes.

After his father had died, Kenny embarked on a vicious crime spree with his mother that included the three murders. Mother and son also murdered 83-year-old socialite Irene Silverman in her Upper East Side New York apartment in July 1998. Posing as renters, they gained access to her residence, intending to tell servants that Silverman had sold Sante the apartment before leaving on a long European vacation. 

The Kimes' were arrested in New York on an unrelated warrant for passing a bad check and found were carrying Silverman's passport. They were tried and convicted of murder in 2000—Sante was sentenced to 120 years, and Kenny received 125. (Source)