Tuesday, 30 September 2014

C & H

Calvin and Hobbes

It's all a Circus

UKIP Defection Clown
The defection of one of his clowns to a rival circus has left Big Top owner Davey Cameroni with a big sad face this morning.
Cameroni has slammed the defection of lead clown Giuseppe Grimaldi to Nigello Faragoni’s Rightwing Circus as ‘senseless and counter-productive’.
Multi-talented clown Grimaldi stormed out of an afternoon performance at Cameroni’s Big Top after throwing a bucket of water in his leader’s face that later turned out to be confetti.
The embittered fool then jumped into his car, sounded the horn, and made a swift exit, but didn’t get very far before the wheels fell off.
Grimaldi, 42, insists Cameroni’s decision to employ clown labour from Eastern Europe and sub-Saharan Africa has driven down his wages and put unnecessary pressure on local services.
“They come over here with their inferior rubber chickens and non-indigenous squirting flowers and expect to jump the queue,”he fumed.
“It’s a joke and not a very funny one.”
“Not to mention – every time one of them falls over in a comedic fashion, which is quite often, they expect the NHS to pick up the pieces.”

Clown defection

Grimaldi says he’s just one of a growing number of disgruntled clowns and that many other may follow suit.
“I tried explaining how I felt to Mr Cameroni using the medium of mime, but he just doesn’t get it,” he added.
Last night Cameroni admitted Grimaldi’s departure had come as a huge shock – quiet literally when the pair shook hands.
“I can’t believe I fell for that one again!” Cameroni groaned.
“Joking aside, I just don’t know how I’m going to fill his shoes,” he sighed.
“Have you seen them? They’re fucking massive.”
Meanwhile Grimaldi says his decision to quit is final.
“I’m not racist, but I’m far more comfortable in a circus where all the clowns have white faces,” he concluded.


The world’s wildlife population is less than half the size it was just four decades ago, with unsustainable human consumption and damage from climate change destroying valuable habitats at a faster rate than previously thought, a new report has warned.

The number of vertebrates, which make up the bulk of Earth’s visible animals, has dived by 52 per cent over the past 40 years. Biodiversity loss has now reached “critical levels”, the report warns.

But some populations of mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians have suffered much bigger losses, with fresh water species declining by 76 per cent since 1974, according to the Living Planet Report by the conservation campaign group WWF.

WWF-UK’s chief executive, David Nussbaum, said: “The scale of the destruction highlighted in this report should act as a wake-up call for us all. We all – politicians, business and people – have an interest, and a responsibility, to act to ensure we protect what we all value: a healthy future for both people and nature.”
Humans are cutting down trees more quickly than they can regrow, harvesting more fish than the oceans can restock, pumping water from our rivers and aquifers faster than rainfall can replenish them, and emitting more carbon than the oceans and forests can absorb, he added.

Professor Ken Norris, director of science at the Zoological Society of London, said: “The scale of biodiversity loss and damage to the very ecosystems that are essential to our existence is alarming.

“This damage is a consequence of the way we choose to live. Although the report shows the situation is critical, there is still hope.”

The overall decline is far worse than previously thought. The last report in WWF’s biennial series in 2012 recorded a 30 per cent drop in the previous four decades.

The disparity is primarily because the latest report has a much bigger dataset, enabling it to make more accurate estimates, WWF said.

The UK has not experienced such a steep decline in wildlife as large parts of developing countries because the country had already lost much of its biodiversity before the WWF survey began in 1970.

However, chalk streams – found only in the south of England and northern France – are suffering badly from over-extraction of water, the report found. The streams have been further hit by a series of floods and droughts in recent years. The report found that only 26 per cent are healthy enough to support a vibrant ecosystem.

It names the Itchen, Kennet and Upper Lee as being among the most “heavily abstracted” rivers in the UK. The report also finds that farmland birds, such as the grey partridge, have declined significantly in the UK, as have harbour seals in the Orkney Islands.


cant fix stupidity 5


The average person in Britain spends almost £50,000 on alcohol during their lifetime, a charity has warned, calling for people to abstain from drinking in October.

Macmillan Cancer Support found each Briton spends around £787 a year on alcohol, with London’s concentration of drinkers spending sizably more. The research, conducted by Onepoll, surveyed 2,000 over-18s. Men spent an average of £934.44 per year, the data found, compared with women spending £678.60.

More at TInd

Upping Sticks

Both Tottenham and Chelsea may be set to temporarily relocate in the coming seasons as the former seeks to build a new ground and the latter wants to develop Stamford Bridge.

If, as is rumoured, Spurs opt for Stadium mk then they will have moved around 60 miles from home (though not as far as Wimbledon controversially did before they were turned into MK Dons).

We have taken what we classified as each Premier League club’s first real ground. Our criteria: if they merged it was the first one after the merger, if they had no real permanent home it was where they went regularly and it was not just the pitch they played on as amateurs.

For example, Everton used to play on a pitch in Stanley Park but moved to a ground in Prior Lane when they became a professional club. Similarly, Tottenham played in Tottenham Marshes but they had no control over the park and passersby could interrupt their games at will.

We have then taken the shortest distance it takes to get there by driving on Google Maps and seen which are closest and which are furthest away.

Unsurprisingly, Arsenal, who were originally based in Greenwich and moved to north London for commercial reasons, have strayed the furthest from their base. Manchester United (formerly Newton Heath) also did a similar thing.

Three clubs have remained in the same place: Newcastle, Liverpool and Chelsea. The last two were clubs that were formed by those owning the stadiums.

Interestingly, a lot of clubs have returned to their home bases despite having previously moved away. Hull’s KC Stadium is built on the site of the old Circle Cricket Ground where they used to play, Southampton returned close to where they formed and Tottenham’s new stadium will be in their historical home of Northumberland Park.




The Writing's on the Wall

And it's black & white..

Alan Pardew vowed to keep on fighting but has also conceded that there is a “big question mark” about his future as Newcastle United manager after a 1-0 defeat at Stoke City left them joint-bottom of the Premier League. Mike Ashley was watching from the stands and Pardew said afterwards that he anticipated having “some serious conversations” with the Newcastle owner before Saturday’s game at Swansea City.
Newcastle have now lost 10 of their past 14 Premier League matches and there was no escaping the anger that was directed towards Pardew from the visiting fans after another disappointing result. The 1,750 supporters that travelled from Newcastle called for Pardew to go as early as the first half, held aloft placards bearing the same message and reacted angrily when he applauded them at the final whistle.
Although Ashley said that he was joking when he told a newspaper reporter last week that Pardew was “finished” if Newcastle lost at Stoke, there is a sense that the noose is tightening round the manager’s neck. Newcastle are being kept off the bottom of the table only because Burnley have managed one goal in six matches and Pardew looked like a man who was getting close to the point where he could stomach no more when he spoke afterwards.
“It’s a tough job, make no bones about that,” he said, after Peter Crouch’s first-half header gave Stoke their first home points of the season to lift them up to 11th. “The fans are giving their honest opinion of what they believe. I looked at them at the end and clapped them to show I respect their views.
“I’m not going to hide from it. I know there is a big question mark about me being at this football club and the only way I can answer it is to do the job to the best of my ability and try and come up with answers. I’ve never really been in this situation before, it’s a bit unique. But I’m a professional football manager, that’s what I do and that’s what I’ll continue to do.
“We’ve got to fight, I have to fight, the team has to fight and that’s what we will continue to do until we can turn it around. I think it’s important I show to the team I’m here to lead them and that’s what I will do.”
Asked whether he expected to have a serious conversation with Ashley before leaving the Britannia Stadium, Pardew, who signed an eight-year contract in 2012, said: “No, but we’ll have some serious conversations before Saturday because he doesn’t want to lose and nor do I.”
When quizzed on how secure his position might be after another damaging defeat played out to a backdrop of supporter discontent Pardew said he was in the dark.
“I don’t know. It’s my job really to show to the players that there are 32 games left, to be strong and to show that there is a resilience. We find ourselves in a position where we’re not winning games and we’ve got to put that right. We need to get a win and we need to get it quick.”
Although Jack Colback squandered a wonderful chance for Newcastle to salvage a point when he hit the crossbar six minutes from time, Pardew’s side offered little as an attacking threat throughout against Stoke.
It has been a familiar theme this season and Pardew acknowledged that he would need to shake things up at the Liberty Stadium to give Newcastle some much-needed penetration and a chance of getting the result that might ease the pressure. “In that final third of the pitch is where we’ve got to improve. Whether I have to make changes, change the system or something, I’ve got to give the team more options going forward than we had tonight,” he said.
“We just need a little bit of something in that final area, someone to beat someone to create the moment. We’ve had a few chances tonight, probably the best for Jack, who is beating himself up in there. But it’s slight margins and tonight we were on the wrong end of it. If that goes in, I think we all knew what we were going to do – we were going to get the ball and try to get the winner because we know that winning was everything tonight. A draw would have been as bad as a defeat really.”

Good Move

Mobile phone use in North Korea has become so widespread that state media have begun issuing guidelines on manners for using them, it seems.
An article in a quarterly culture magazine says the growing use of mobiles has brought a "tendency among some people to neglect proper phone etiquette", according to the South Korean news agency Yonhap. The problems highlighted are not too different from those outside the isolated communist state: "Speaking loudly or arguing over the phone in public places where many people are gathered is thoughtless and impolite behaviour," one stricture reads.
To cut down on unnecessary chatter, people should introduce themselves when accepting a call, even though on mobiles - "unlike on land-lines" - the caller's number is generally known, the magazine says. This, it adds, will avoid inquiries such as "Hello? Is it you, comrade Yeong-cheol?" It also suggests acknowledging right away that you know the caller, to save them the trouble of introducing themselves.
Since North Korea's first public mobile network was launched in 2008, the number of subscribers has risen to over two million. But international calls are not permitted, and mobile ownership is largely restricted to the elite.

Learning From Mistakes


Donald Trump twitter hoax
Donald Trump has bemoaned the rising number of people on Twitter who don’t like him, calling for a return to the days when he could retweet sycophants without concern.
After one of his followers made him retweet a photo of Rose and Fred West by blowing a small amount of smoke up his ass, Trump said the social network must do more to protect celebrities who like to retweet compliments.
Trump told reporters, “It is important that elite Twitter users like myself can retweet genuine sycophants without worrying if they are taking the piss or not.”
“If Twitter were to introduce ‘verified’ sycophant status for users who just want spend all day complimenting celebrities and crying out for a retweet, then this whole process would be much easier.”
“I mean, I could then limit my retweets to people I know are going to make me look good and the whole Internet will be a better place.”
“It’s about time Twitter took the whole issue of celebrity sycophancy more seriously.”

Trump Twitter hoax

Social media experts have warned that verified sycophant status would be difficult to monitor, and even harder to enforce.
Consultant Simon Williams explained, “What do you do for the Twitter user who says Cheryl Cole is the most gifted artist of her generation, but that Louis Walsh is only qualified to work on the bins?”
“They go from sycophant to troll in the space of one tweet.”
“That said it would probably be best all round if we just ignore anything Donald Trump says. Seriously, that man would retweet Islamic State if they said his golf course was nice.”

Trump That

Billionaire Donald Trump has said he "may sue" a Twitter user who tricked him into retweeting an image of British serial killers Fred and Rose West.
Mr Trump shared the spoof message that claimed the pair looked at him as a "big inspiration" and asked him to "RT for their memory".

Donald Trump's tweet
Addressing the incident, Mr Trump later tweeted: "Some jerk fraudulently tweeted that his parents said I was a big inspiration to them + pls RT-out of kindness I retweeted. Maybe I'll sue.
"I thought I was being nice to somebody re their parents. I guess this teaches you not to be nice or trusting. Sad!"
More at the BBC

Bratwurst Galore

The Oktoberfest is the largest popular festival in the world - larger, it's claimed, than Mardi Gras in New Orleans or Carnival in Rio. Created by Bavarian King Ludwig I to celebrate his wedding in 1810, it encapsulates German-ness in a way everyone can engage with - and every year hundreds of thousands do.
The British Museum has in its collection drinking vessels from all around the world, but the German collection is striking for its quantity of glasses, mugs, tankards and other vessels - primarily made for the drinking of beer. Mostly from the 16th and 17th Centuries, they're made of all sorts of different materials, and they come from everywhere in the German-speaking world.
Tall glasses from Switzerland, stoneware tankards from Cologne, covered beakers from Austria, and silver-gilt mugs from Hamburg and the German-speaking merchant cities of the Baltic, all the way from Luebeck to Riga. But most astonishing of all is this tankard made entirely out of amber - the exotic, expensive, exclusive material found abundantly in East Prussia. Looking at this array, it is clear that Germans everywhere not only enjoy beer, but celebrate it in style.
And they seem to have been doing it for at least 2,000 years. In fact it is almost the first thing that any foreigner wrote about them.
Around 100 AD the Roman historian Tacitus, in his Germania, talks of the fair-haired, blue-eyed tribes which had given the legions such trouble along the Rhine, of the more distant ones who gathered amber on the Baltic, and of what they all had in common: "A liquor for drinking is made of barley or other grain, and fermented into a certain resemblance to wine. To pass an entire day and night in drinking disgraces no one."
Amber tankard
Later archaeology confirmed Tacitus's observation of heavy, happy drinking among the German tribes. This is in part why, when Germany later needed to forge a new sense of identity, beer in the 19th Century became a touchstone of being German.
"If you look at pictures of the 19th Century, the painters loved to depict the Germans combining bear and beer: lying on bearskins, bear furs… sipping enormous quantities of beer from gilded ox horns," says Peter Peter, the food correspondent of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
"Beer was a national cause... Look at the enormous beer halls, especially Munich: those architects were inspired by Wagnerian dreams of Nordic heroes, of epic sagas."
It's rather as though the 19th Century English had discovered Boadicea's favourite tipple and made it their national drink. When these German nationalists, eager to discover grand German traditions, set to work on the symbolic status of beer, as well as quoting Tacitus, they unearthed the Bavarian Reinheitsgebot, the Beer Purity Law, first promulgated in 1487 by Duke Albrecht IV of Bavaria.
Find out more
Neil MacGregor in Germany
Neil MacGregor, director of the British Museum, explores 600 years of Germany's complex and often challenging history, using objects, art, landmarks and literature in Germany: Memories of a Nation on BBC Radio 4. The series begins on Monday 29 September at 09:45 BST. You can also download the podcast later.
This Purity Law became the basis of some very successful myth-making. The 19th Century nationalists assumed it was designed to make sure that only clean, unpolluted water was used to brew beer: evidence that the integrity of the national drink had been defended for centuries. It is an assumption still widely accepted as true, but Harald Scholl, of the Munich Slow Food convivium, thinks otherwise.
"The German Reinheitsgebot means that you are just allowed to use a few things to make beer - which is barley, hops, and water and nothing else," he says.
"And it was a political thing, to do this. It had nothing to do with preventing the people from getting ill - it was just to prevent them from brewing with wheat or rye, because wheat and rye was used for bread."
Though the original Beer Purity Law was Bavarian, it was quickly adopted in many other parts of Germany - the devastation of northern Germany during the Thirty Years' War (1618-1649), and the consequent scarcity of grain for bread, made it seem a valuable regulation for preserving food supplies. It is a measure of how successfully the mythical union of beer and national identity had been fostered, that in 1871, during negotiations over German unification, Bavaria made the adoption of the Beer Purity Law a condition of its joining the new German Empire.
Long think tankard
Astonishingly, the issue arose again at the reunification of East and West Germany in 1990. Across Germany the so-called Brandenburg Beer War fought out in the courts, lasted for 10 years - all over a black beer brewed in the former GDR that contained sugar, something forbidden by the Purity Law.
Regional beers, as Harald Scholl describes, are what have defined German towns, cities and localities for centuries.
"Of course we have a tradition of regional brewing in Germany. When you look to upper Franconia, there you find real handmade beers from tiny breweries, brewed with a special barley which is malted. You have some sort of smoke beer, Rauchbier, in Bamberg which is very, very special - when you think of an Islay malt [whisky] with its distinct taste, you find it in this beer also," he says.
And that sense of strong local identity is strikingly apparent on the beer tankards in the British Museum. On one after another, they display the arms of the different cities or the different princes. These drinking cups, made by master craftsmen out of precious materials, are clearly intended as statements of civic pride.
They also have a very significant function to perform. Legal contracts, trade deals, oaths of allegiance were often concluded by Zutrinken, a pledge of good faith - drunk usually in beer - not unlike a handshake that seals the deal. Out of grand ceremonial tankards like these, the different parties to the agreement would drink in turn, in a public, ceremonial act of assent. Given the size of some of the tankards - in some cases, several litres - it seems that Tacitus was not exaggerating when he described the German fondness for drinking.
Oktoberfest waitress with tankard containing beer and sausages
To go with the beer, there is the other great emblem of Germany's national diet - wurst, the sausage. Wurst, like beer, defines Germany's cities and regions. Quite apart from the obvious ones like theFrankfurter, there is Bratwurst from Franconia, Bregenwurst from Saxony, Pinkel from Bremen, Teewurst from Pomerania, andWeisswurst from Bavaria. Every region has its wurst and it's claimed that there are 1,200 of them - that's more than three times as many as the French have cheeses.
In Britain our national dishes are traditionally roast beef, and fish and chips, but how many of us know how, when, where they originated? How many of us care? It is quite different in Germany: beer and sausage embody centuries of national, regional and local history, they are living assertions of local diversity and regional trading links - the gastronomic equivalents of the flourishing regional dialects. They have a special place in the regional and local memory - and indeed in the national psyche.
Peter Peter describes sausage as "history on the plate".
"Traditionally, manufacturing sausages was a very complicated feat of craftsmanship - you needed a lot of experience to mince the meat, to add exotic spices to preserve it," he says.
"So it was the pride and privilege of German free towns, and still nowadays, a lot of sausages bear the names of historically relevant towns."
German wurst
Take the Nurembergers from Nuremberg, for example, small sausages about the size of a finger.
"They have added cinnamon and other spices. Because Nuremberg was the twin city of Venice, they had a privileged access to the oriental spices."

The nuremberger sausage may not be familiar to non-Germans, but everyone knows the frankfurter. The basic, bland sausage in a bun is available on nearly every street corner across Germany, and across Europe and America as well: smoky, finely minced meat, almost to a paste, then plastered with mustard or tomato ketchup. But the frankfurter did not begin like that.
"The frankfurter, the famous frankfurter, they started as a coronation sausage, in Frankfurt for the Roman emperor," explains Peter.
"They grilled an ox when the emperor was crowned and they filled it with these sausages and it was luxury because of the finest mincemeat. People abroad bought these things because the name of Frankfurt gave them the idea of luxury."
So next time you tuck into a frankfurter, just think for a moment of the link between the humble hot dog and the imperial pageantry in Frankfurt Cathedral.
In the late 19th Century, food production became mechanised in Germany, as it did elsewhere, and wurst manufacture, traditionally a cottage industry, fell victim to the trend. The ability to finely mince meat was no longer a sign of quality and craftsmanship - instead it allowed anything, and frequently everything, to be included in the sausage, making it the food of the proletarian poor. And in Berlin, the fastest growing city in Europe at the time. It became notoriously difficult to be sure what was actually in a Berlin sausage. Hence the famous - though probably apocryphal - remark by Bismarck, that citizens do not really want to know how either laws or sausages are made.
Fifty years later, the poor quality of Berlin sausages was to have a very unexpected consequence. Museums are dedicated to material evidence, and, disappointingly, sausages leave few physical traces. Unlike beer, with its rich legacy of glasses and tankards, sausages have few dishes or utensils that are exclusively connected to them, and so museums struggle to tell the tale of the wurst.
18th Century cartoon
In the British Museum we can muster little more than some suggestive cartoons about 18th Century royal weddings. Which is why it was with surprise and delight that, a few years ago, the international museum community discovered that we all had a new colleague, the Currywurst Museum in Berlin, located just beside Checkpoint Charlie - the most famous crossing point in the Berlin Wall, until it was knocked down in 1989.
The museum's existence speaks of the astounding success of a very late arrival on the wurst scene, not the heir to proud traditions of an Imperial Free City, but the result of food shortages in post-1945 Berlin. Parodying John Maynard Keynes, who wrote a book about The Economic Consequences of the Peace, you might say that the currywurst is one of The Gastronomic Consequences of the Peace. And it is still very much with us - an essential part of the Berlin experience.
"Currywurst was invented by the help of an unknown British soldier, who sold curry powder on the black market in Berlin in the late 40s. And for these very cheap sausages, they need some sensory contrast, so they decided to sprinkle curry powder on the sausage," says Peter.
"It was a time when we frenetically discovered foreign dishes, so it was interesting having something Indian, something exotic. It became a symbol of a town that had never had excellent sausages.
"After 1989, Berlin became very popular; a lot of Germans discovered Berlin - so going to a currywurst stall became an experience of a lot of young people. So a dish that in a certain way is a white trash dish became a symbol of visiting Berlin, of young lifestyle."
To the British observer, Germany is a nation of startling diversity. Regional specialities represent centuries of regional history - different beers and locally distinct sausages, all managed by national regulations that began 500 years ago and that say one thing: This is German.

Do the Maths...

cant fix stupidity 1

Totally Unfair, Like

Brooks Newmark nude photos
Conservative MP Brooks Newmark has claimed it was really unfair of an undercover reporter to ask him to send nude pictures of himself, as they knew full well he would definitely send them.
Political experts have warned that allowing people to ask questions of MPs that could ultimately make them look bad is a very slippery slope.
Those defending the former minister for civil society have asked what sort of civil society would expect requests for nude photos to go without reply.
As one Conservative supporter explained, “Is it really ‘news’ to know that a request from an attractive young woman for a nude picture will be met with a nude picture?”
“The only dilemma created by such a request should be ‘Is the lighting in this room OK, or should I immediately go elsewhere to take it’.”
“The only thing Brooks has to be embarrassed about is the Paisley pyjamas he chose to wear whilst taking the selfie.”
“Silly, silly man.”

Brooks Newmark resigns

Newmark himself has said he would like privacy at this difficult time as he tries to explain to his wife why penis shots are an important political tool in drumming up grassroots support amongst younger members of the electorate.
He told reporters, “I would be grateful for privacy at this time – if I wanted you to have access to the most intimate parts of my private life, I would send you a photo of them on Twitter.”
Political commentator Simon Williams explained, “He’s in a difficult position, certainly, but we do know one thing – his MPs expenses next month are going to include an awful lot of flowers and chocolates.”

All Around the World

James Chapman is a young Manchester-based physicist and designer who makes witty posters and cartoons that show how common words and expressions sound in different languages. Chapman’s best-known works revolve around translating various animal sound words, or onomatopeias, into many different languages. Some of his more recent works, however, show us what kinds of expressions and interjections people use in various situations by people from all over the world.

Here are a few of Chapman’s best translations to color your own vocabulary – who knows, maybe they’ll come in handy some day!

On the Other Hand

A paradox is a statement or problem that either appears to produce two entirely contradictory (yet possible) outcomes, or provides proof for something that goes against what we intuitively expect. Paradoxes have been a central part of philosophical thinking for centuries, and are always ready to challenge our interpretation of otherwise simple situations, turning what we might think to be true on its head and presenting us with provably plausible situations that are in fact just as provably impossible. Confused? You should be.


The Paradox of Achilles and the Tortoise is one of a number of theoretical discussions of movement put forward by the Greek philosopher Zeno of Elea in the 5th century BC. It begins with the great hero Achilles challenging a tortoise to a footrace. To keep things fair, he agrees to give the tortoise a head start of, say, 500m. When the race begins, Achilles unsurprisingly starts running at a speed much faster than the tortoise, so that by the time he has reached the 500m mark, the tortoise has only walked 50m further than him. But by the time Achilles has reached the 550m mark, the tortoise has walked another 5m. And by the time he has reached the 555m mark, the tortoise has walked another 0.5m, then 0.25m, then 0.125m, and so on. This process continues again and again over an infinite series of smaller and smaller distances, with the tortoise always moving forwards while Achilles always plays catch up.
Logically, this seems to prove that Achilles can never overtake the tortoise—whenever he reaches somewhere the tortoise has been, he will always have some distance still left to go no matter how small it might be. Except, of course, we know intuitively that he can overtake the tortoise. The trick here is not to think of Zeno’s Achilles Paradox in terms of distances and races, but rather as an example of how any finite value can always be divided an infinite number of times, no matter how small its divisions might become.


The Bootstrap Paradox is a paradox of time travel that questions how something that is taken from the future and placed in the past could ever come into being in the first place. It’s a common trope used by science fiction writers and has inspired plotlines in everything fromDoctor Who to the Bill and Ted movies, but one of the most memorable and straightforward examples—by Professor David Toomey of the University of Massachusetts and used in his book The New Time Travellers—involves an author and his manuscript.
Imagine that a time traveller buys a copy of Hamlet from a bookstore, travels back in time to Elizabethan London, and hands the book to Shakespeare, who then copies it out and claims it as his own work. Over the centuries that follow, Hamlet is reprinted and reproduced countless times until finally a copy of it ends up back in the same original bookstore, where the time traveller finds it, buys it, and takes it back to Shakespeare. Who, then, wrote Hamlet?


Imagine that a family has two children, one of whom we know to be a boy. What then is the probability that the other child is a boy? The obvious answer is to say that the probability is 1/2—after all, the other child can only be either a boy or a girl, and the chances of a baby being born a boy or a girl are (essentially) equal. In a two-child family, however, there are actually four possible combinations of children: two boys (MM), two girls (FF), an older boy and a younger girl (MF), and an older girl and a younger boy (FM). We already know that one of the children is a boy, meaning we can eliminate the combination FF, but that leaves us with three equally possible combinations of children in which at least one is a boy—namely MM, MF, and FM. This means that the probability that the other child is a boy—MM—must be 1/3, not 1/2.


Imagine you’re holding a postcard in your hand, on one side of which is written, “The statement on the other side of this card is true.” We’ll call that Statement A. Turn the card over, and the opposite side reads, “The statement on the other side of this card is false” (Statement B). Trying to assign any truth to either Statement A or B, however, leads to a paradox: if A is true then B must be as well, but for B to be true, A has to be false. Oppositely, if A is false then B must be false too, which must ultimately make A true.
Invented by the British logician Philip Jourdain in the early 1900s, the Card Paradox is a simple variation of what is known as a “liar paradox,” in which assigning truth values to statements that purport to be either true or false produces a contradiction. An even more complicated variation of a liar paradox is the next entry on our list.


A crocodile snatches a young boy from a riverbank. His mother pleads with the crocodile to return him, to which the crocodile replies that he will only return the boy safely if the mother can guess correctly whether or not he will indeed return the boy. There is no problem if the mother guesses that the crocodile will return him—if she is right, he is returned; if she is wrong, the crocodile keeps him. If she answers that the crocodile will not return him, however, we end up with a paradox: if she is right and the crocodile never intended to return her child, then the crocodile has to return him, but in doing so breaks his word and contradicts the mother’s answer. On the other hand, if she is wrong and the crocodile actually did intend to return the boy, the crocodile must then keep him even though he intended not to, thereby also breaking his word.
The Crocodile Paradox is such an ancient and enduring logic problem that in the Middle Ages the word "crocodilite" came to be used to refer to any similarly brain-twisting dilemma where you admit something that is later used against you, while "crocodility" is an equally ancient word for captious or fallacious reasoning


Imagine that you’re about to set off walking down a street. To reach the other end, you’d first have to walk half way there. And to walk half way there, you’d first have to walk a quarter of the way there. And to walk a quarter of the way there, you’d first have to walk an eighth of the way there. And before that a sixteenth of the way there, and then a thirty-second of the way there, a sixty-fourth of the way there, and so on.
Ultimately, in order to perform even the simplest of tasks like walking down a street, you’d have to perform an infinite number of smaller tasks—something that, by definition, is utterly impossible. Not only that, but no matter how small the first part of the journey is said to be, it can always be halved to create another task; the only way in which it cannot be halved would be to consider the first part of the journey to be of absolutely no distance whatsoever, and in order to complete the task of moving no distance whatsoever, you can’t even start your journey in the first place.


Imagine a fletcher (i.e. an arrow-maker) has fired one of his arrows into the air. For the arrow to be considered to be moving, it has to be continually repositioning itself from the place where it is now to any place where it currently isn’t. The Fletcher’s Paradox, however, states that throughout its trajectory the arrow is actually not moving at all. At any given instant of no real duration (in other words, a snapshot in time) during its flight, the arrow cannot move to somewhere it isn’t because there isn’t time for it to do so. And it can’t move to where it is now, because it’s already there. So, for that instant in time, the arrow must be stationary. But because all time is comprised entirely of instants—in every one of which the arrow must also be stationary—then the arrow must in fact be stationary the entire time. Except, of course, it isn’t.


In his final written work, Discourses and Mathematical Demonstrations Relating to Two New Sciences (1638), the legendary Italian polymath Galileo Galilei proposed a mathematical paradox based on the relationships between different sets of numbers. On the one hand, he proposed, there are square numbers—like 1, 4, 9, 16, 25, 36, and so on. On the other, there are those numbers that are not squares—like 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, and so on. Put these two groups together, and surely there have to be more numbers in general than there are justsquare numbers—or, to put it another way, the total number of square numbers must be less than the total number of square and non-square numbers together. However, because every positive number has to have a corresponding square and every square number has to have a positive number as its square root, there cannot possibly be more of one than the other.
Confused? You’re not the only one. In his discussion of his paradox, Galileo was left with no alternative than to conclude that numerical concepts like moreless, or fewer can only be applied to finite sets of numbers, and as there are an infinite number of square and non-square numbers, these concepts simply cannot be used in this context.


Imagine that a farmer has a sack containing 100 lbs of potatoes. The potatoes, he discovers, are comprised of 99% water and 1% solids, so he leaves them in the heat of the sun for a day to let the amount of water in them reduce to 98%. But when he returns to them the day after, he finds his 100 lb sack now weighs just 50 lbs. How can this be true? Well, if 99% of 100 lbs of potatoes is water then the water must weigh 99 lbs. The 1% of solids must ultimately weigh just 1 lb, giving a ratio of solids to liquids of 1:99. But if the potatoes are allowed to dehydrate to 98% water, the solids must now account for 2% of the weight—a ratio of 2:98, or 1:49—even though the solids must still only weigh 1lb. The water, ultimately, must now weigh 49lb, giving a total weight of 50lbs despite just a 1% reduction in water content. Or must it?
Although not a true paradox in the strictest sense, the counterintuitive Potato Paradox is a famous example of what is known as a veridical paradox, in which a basic theory is taken to a logical but apparently absurd conclusion.


Also known as Hempel’s Paradox, for the German logician who proposed it in the mid-1940s, the Raven Paradox begins with the apparently straightforward and entirely true statement that “all ravens are black.” This is matched by a “logically contrapositive” (i.e. negative and contradictory) statement that “everything that is not black is not a raven”—which, despite seeming like a fairly unnecessary point to make, is also true given that we know “all ravens are black.” Hempel argues that whenever we see a black raven, this provides evidence to support the first statement. But by extension, whenever we see anything that is not black, like an apple, this too must be taken as evidence supporting the second statement—after all, an apple is not black, and nor is it a raven.
The paradox here is that Hempel has apparently proved that seeing an apple provides us with evidence, no matter how unrelated it may seem, that ravens are black. It’s the equivalent of saying that you live in New York is evidence that you don’t live in L.A., or that saying you are 30 years old is evidence that you are not 29. Just how much information can one statement actually imply anyway?
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Swap Shop- 2

#2. Trading Pepsi for Warships and Submarines

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In 1974, Russia and PepsiCo first agreed to work together. The deal was mutually beneficial: Russia would get Pepsi while telling Coca-Cola to go screw, and PepsiCo received permission to distribute Stolichnaya vodka in their territories. But by 1990, it was re-dealing time. The whole sickle-and-hammer spiel was running thin, so Russia opted instead to fatten their wallets. The best way to do that would be opening more Pepsi plants, but they were low on capital. So in exchange for syrup and water combination tools, they traded away half their navy.
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"The Pepsi Challenge" suddenly got a lot more menacing to anyone living near a port.
Pepsi agreed to buy 10 commercial ships, three warships, and 17 submarines. At first that sounds like a pretty sweet deal for Russia -- free soda and you get to offload some crap? Sign us up! It's only when you look at the costs do you realize how one-sided the deal was. Those submarines, for example, ran Pepsi a paltry $150,000 each. So for the same money as a modest down payment on a house in LA, Pepsi got their own working full-size submarine.
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"Coke's for hippes."
Despite possessing the artillery to finally win the Cola Wars decisively and brutally, Pepsi tore the ships apart and sold them internationally as scrap. Increased business, one final kick to the junk of its home country's already-downed foe, and an ingenious resale that almost certainly earned them their money back. Pretty savvy move, we suppose. But nobody calls you "admiral" because of your business acumen, Pepsi. You chose ... poorly.

#1. A Baseball Team Traded Cy Young for Some Clothes

In 1889, future Hall of Famer Cy Young joined the Canton baseball team, a small-town Minor League ball club with big dreams of still existing in 1890. Young had a decent rookie year, winning one out of every two games. It was certainly good enough for the Cleveland Spiders, a Major League team who came a-courtin' in the offseason. Remember: these were old-timey sports, before players routinely drowned in swimming pools full of money. The Spiders wanted Young badly, but couldn't afford to give up much in exchange. Their offer was pure bullshit: $300 ($7600 in today's money -- peanuts even back then) and a suit. Not even a bunch of suits, but one suit. For like, the whole team to share, we guess? They offered some pocket change and cloth in exchange for a whole human being, and it worked.
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"I'm supposed to be taken to the cleaners; what's your excuse?"
Canton accepted (was it a magic suit?), and almost immediately upon landing in Cleveland, Cy Young powered up to his true form: Cy Motherfucking Young. He won a record 511 games, the 1895 Temple Cup, and the World Series proper in 1903. To this day, he's universally recognized as one of the greatest players in history.
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Though in that getup, we imagine he still often thought about the suit that might have been.
Canton, meanwhile, failed to reach their new goal of surviving to 1891, and faded into obscurity. But hopefully they looked damn good while doing it.