Emergency department

A pseudoscientist carrying a cake walked out straight in front of my car today.

No, this isn’t the opening line to a joke. This actually happened about an hour ago.
Aimlessly stepping off the pavement, looking grey and devoid of life and energy.

No-one got hurt.

But it was while I was wondering about what might have happened had outcome of the scenario been different, that I was reminded of this place, which is surely where he would have wanted to go, right?

Come for the hilarious chuckaway lines in the Emergency Department, stay for the savage takedowns in the pub scene afterwards.

Wonderful stuff.

Enjoy your cake, Tim.

The outrageous DA advert

“You’re on social media, 6000. Aren’t you outraged?”

I am getting a lot of people asking if I am upset over the DA TV advert which in which they – and I hope you’re sitting down for this – depicted the SA flag being burned.

Well, they actually depicted a poorly-done CGI SA flag being burned.
But same same, right?

Here’s the ad. I hope you’re ready.

Well, no. I’m not outraged, and I’m not outraged for many reasons.

First off, I don’t tend to get outraged about things anymore. You get to a stage in life when you realise that the energy you spend on being outraged is completely wasted. And the earlier you reach that stage in your life, the happier you will be. Sure, get irritated, annoyed, maybe even tinker with being briefly furious. But then drop it. Because expending more effort than that – especially publicly – on something you can’t change, makes you look like a buffoon.
So much bluster, so little outcome.

Of course, it’s really easy to be outraged on social media, where we can all hide behind our profile pictures and pseudonyms and tell people how what they must think. But that’s even more pointless. Honestly, who is really going to listen to some nasty words formed from pixels?

And right there is the second reason. This isn’t a burning flag. It’s just some pixels. And if you’re willing to say that those pixels are the same thing as burning a real flag, then you should really be able to understand that the “burning flag” (pixels) here is merely a metaphor for the state of the country should the ANC go into a coalition with the EFF and the MK after the election.
Is it an accurate metaphor? I don’t know, but that’s actually immaterial. The DA feel that it’s an accurate way to describe the consequences of that alliance, and this is their advert. And whether or not the advert is accurate or crap is also immaterial. The outrage here isn’t over the words or the sentiment. It’s all about the “burning flag”.

What it has done is fanned the flames (no pun intended) of the electoral fire (no pun intended).
Has it influenced anyone either way? Probably very few. But probably also both ways.
If it was meant to get people to watch it, it’s worked.
If it was meant to rile the ANC, it’s also worked.

That statement by Zizi Kodwa, Minster for Sports, Arts and Culture, there.
You may recognise him from such news stories as:

and:

But oh no… someone did a nasty thing to the flag. Well, some pixels that looked like the flag.

How convenient.

Thirdly(?), It’s interesting to note that while there are several laws pertaining to the illegality of corruption in public office, there doesn’t appear to be anything saying whether you can or can’t burn the flag (which the DA didn’t do, anyway).
Here’s Government Notice No. 510 of 8th June 2001 (Gazette no 22356) (catchy title, catchy contents):

Nothing about burning there, but if you’re all about following the guidelines regarding our national symbols, then don’t forget that national rugby favourite Bryan Habana was heavily and publicly involved with breaking 15(d) so let’s not get carried away here.

The fourth thing is that outrage on social media is hugely selective. Polarised along racial, political, national, sports team or whatever other lines. Any opportunity to bash the other side is gleefully taken. People readily jump onto the bandwagon: there is comfort in numbers and camaraderie. There is admiration to be earned in being one of the people that was outraged at this or that thing that happened. But outrage is often also hypocritical. I’ve seen 100x more posts and tweets from people upset with the “burning flag” ad than I have over the actual footage of a government minister driving past shacks in his Mercedes G-Wagon, throwing ANC t-shirts onto the floor for poor people to pick up.

But do a bit of editing with a video of a flame and a CGI flag in Microsoft Moviemaker and… ah Jesus…

Of course, above all else, we should always remember that social media is not real life.
Much as Jessica’s life isn’t one constant beach holiday, no matter what her Facebook feed might suggest, nor is anyone going to grab their torches and pitchforks and head to the DA HQ over this.

Well, I say that. They might, but if they do, much like the letter above, it will all be as a cunning stunt by one of the other allegedly outraged parties to try and score some points.

I guess what I am saying here is not to rush to be outraged by anything – especially in this election season. They’re absolutely out to get your emotions and people are falling for it every single time.
You have nothing tangible to gain, and so much energy and effort to lose.
Rather focus on the bigger picture and don’t be distracted.
Look at the facts, examine the manifestos, check out the track records and consider the alternatives.

But don’t lose sleep over some pixels in an advert. Really.

Polar bear anatomy joke only works until you actually think about it a bit

Spotted online recently:

I haven’t been living in the UK for 20 years now. And I certainly wasn’t there this April.
But I am aware of several (or more) people who were. Among their number, apparently, were some people working for the Met Office, one of the world’s leading weather services, providing forecasts and climate data for almost 170 years, and Paul Cox, a right-wing comedian of whom I had never heard before seeing his tweet above.

Obviously, Paul wouldn’t want to hear that April had been (just) warmer than average, given that this sort of news doesn’t suit the GB News agenda. But then equally, I doubt that the Met Office really cares about the GB News agenda. And I don’t think that the Met Office would deliberately sully its image by just tossing out incorrect information to make Paul and his opinion-orientated cronies grumpy.

Presumably, Paul thinks it’s been colder than the Met Office data suggests and thus doesn’t agree with the Met Office’s statement, but then he’s likely relying on anecdotal evidence like it feeling a bit chilly when he went to pick up some fags at the Spar that Tuesday morning, rather than their more than 200 weather stations across the UK measuring:

…a large variety of different meteorological parameters, including air temperature; atmospheric pressure; rainfall; wind speed and direction, humidity; cloud height and visibility.

No axe to grind here, but I know whose data I think might be more accurate on how just warm April was.

But then Paul goes weirdly off-message and tries to compare the UK’s average temperature in April to:

A polar bears [sic] ball bag

I presume that by “ball bag”, he is using the colloquial term for scrotum.

The thing is though, the UK’s mean temperature for April was 8.3o, and a polar bear, being a mammal, has a body temperature of around 37o. Even allowing for the slightly cooler temperature required for effective spermatogenesis, the seasonal nature of this biological process in polar bears, their bouts of swimming in icy waters, and their light hibernation during the winter, the average temperature of a polar bear’s ball bag will still comfortably remain somewhere in the mid-30os.

This is clearly way higher than the UK in April – or any other month.
What on earth were you thinking about, Paul?

There is absolutely no chance that the average temperature calculated by the Met Office in April is warmer than a polar bears ball bag.

Now if only he’d suggested the bottom of a penguin’s foot

Knife crime solved (but not stone/rock crime)

Incoming from one of our crime correspondents back in the UK, this:

Knifes should BANNED!!

Claire’s gone in hard there. No messing around. No hesitancy. No doubting her feelings. Some question over what might be her home language, but that’s really beside the point.

Knifes should BANNED!!

Given that this is an emotive subject and looking her upfront, overt statement, it’s unsurprising that others might choose to voice their own opinions on this subject. And Top Fan Sharon is right there, not even bothering with even basic punctuation, feeling that the words speak for themselves.

Yes I agree but how .

They’re the staple of every kitchen

Knifes are indeed the staple of every kitchen. Knifes and other utensils. And also food. But you never hear of anyone being stabbed to death with a spatula or a Asian-style pork belly with ginger and lemongrass, now do you? It’s clearly knifes that are the problem and that’s why knifes should BANNED!!

And, in theory, this somewhat draconian, but well-meaning plan, whilst making basic cooking and eating rather difficult, would likely eradicate knife crime pretty quickly. But the yoof of todayTM aren’t foolish. If they can’t stab you with a knife, they’ll just turn to other means of… er… “protection”, like spatulas stones / rocks ! . And as Sharon points out:

Can’t ban those.

Not like knifes.

The world is made up of stones / rocks ! and if we were to ban stones / rocks ! , then we’d have nothing to stand on. Banning stones / rocks ! makes the whole knifes should BANNED!! idea seem like a walk in the park. Although not Mortomley Park, obviously. The police cordons are still in place there.

The fact is that there is actually a really good law banning kids (or anyone else) in the UK from carrying knifes, and there has been since 1988, when MPs debated the motion “knifes should BANNED!!” in Parliament and came up with the Criminal Justice Act in response.

So knifes should BANNED!! albeit at the expense of the culinary arts. And with stones / rocks ! seemingly impossible to restrict or control. It looks like we might be losing the war on juvenile crime. Still, at least they chose to go down the stones / rocks ! route and they haven’t turned to firearms.

Or have they? How on earth (still here, made of of stones / rocks ! – can’t ban those) are we supposed to deal with that situation?

Claire’s back to sort us out:

yeah also gun!

I’m sorry, what? Pray explain, Dawn?

gun need banned

What? All of it?

Like under the extensive, far-reaching, oft-updated Firearms Act of 1968, you mean?

I think that what these erstwhile ladies are missing is the fact that actually knifes are BANNED!! and also gun – gun are banned, too. Also, stabbing and shooting people are banned. Even with a spatula.

It’s almost as if the people carrying the knifes and the gun, and doing the stabbing and shooting, don’t really care about what the law says that they can or can’t do.

Why, I’d wager that they’d even throw stones / rocks ! at each other (and probably everyone else, lol) if it was illegal.

It was worth a try, but it does seem that your well-meaning, poorly expressed, grammatically disastrous comments aren’t actually going to help.

Because, to be honest, all this nastiness actually comes down to the people.
But banning people is like stones / rocks ! –
can’t ban those!

The only thing that could actually make this situation any better is some legislation about social media.

Yes: Facebook should BANNED!!

More on fibre problems

You might recall that I gave you some weekend homework on Saturday. All about the guys that do the undersea cable repairs on… er… undersea cables.

And then you might recall that just yesterday I used the phrase:

Where else in the world except South Africa would you see the paragraph at the bottom of this post?

Well, here’s a thing that ties both those things together.
Because it relates to fibre optic cables, and it also is surely only a thing in South Africa.

And “smoked” isn’t some slang term for “sold” or “recycled”. The thieves in question are actually smoking the glass from the cables. Like, literally burning and inhaling them:

We were always assured that because of the zero metal content of fibre optic cables, and therefore their lack of value at the scrap metal dealers – as opposed to electric cables with their high copper content – they were relatively safe from the bad guys. Now it turns out that the bad guys are stealing them for a whole different reason.

Quite why ground glass is a good bulking agent is beyond me, but when you look at what else you are likely to find in our local street drugs:

Nyaope is a highly potent drug compared to other well-known drugs; while it frequently contains substances such as ARVs, cannabis, heroin, rat poison and detergent, it is worthwhile to denote the chemical makeup of nyaope has been shown to also vary and may change over time.

…maybe some powdered glass isn’t so bad after all.

There are plenty of other things in there which are going to cause you plenty of other problems anyway. So why not pack it out with some fibre optics? Maybe the hit gets to your brain faster: 200Mbps or something.

As long as a trawler hasn’t inadvertently dragged its anchor through a local undersea cable again, of course.