Category Archives: Silliness

Lost badgers

Sometimes, jokes fly right over people’s heads. Jerry Coyne posted a photo of a “Cat found” poster, supposedly seen in Newport. The picture on the poster is of a badger. This is actually rather an old photo, and the poster is rather obviously someone having a laugh. Jerry Coyne, however, assumes that Welsh people don’t know the difference between cats and badgers and adds, “I’m betting it’s not a joke.”

I think he’ll lose his money.

I can’t work out, however, why he would think it’s not a joke, when it seems so obvious that it is. Does this reflect differences between British and American senses of humour? Is Jerry Coyne simply rather humourless? Or does he know lots of people who can’t tell the difference between common wild animals and cats? Maybe he’s simply forgetting that badgers are much more common and familiar in the UK than they are in the US.


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The Iorwerth Rowan Song

A lot has happened this year. Well, two things. But they were big things. In February I moved to New York and started a new job. Shortly before we left, we discovered that my wife was pregnant. Our son, Iorwerth Rowan, was born on 28 September. Along with my day job (which, at busy times, like the last semester, has also been something of a night job) he’s kept me pretty busy over the last couple of months. This has kept me from my blog, but I shall attempt to remedy this by posting a song I wrote for him:

If you call for help, he won’t save the day,
He’s too young to understand what you’re trying to convey
And his attempts at rescue would go fast astray.
He’s Iorwerth, Iorwerth, Iorwerth Rowan.

He’s only small, but he’s rapidly growin’
And the amount that he eats is already showin’.
He’s so healthy that he’s glowin’.
He’s Iorwerth, Iorwerth, Iorwerth Rowan.

For a baby he’s really quite easy-goin’
He’ll let you take him out if it’s cold and it’s blowin’
And he’ll brave it even if it’s snowin’!

Master of the fart and the unexpected pee
His command of bowel movements is uncanny.
How come they come so suddenly? Don’t ask me!
Ask Iorwerth, Iorwerth, Iorwerth Rowan.

He’s also got no money owin’.
His cognitive development is second to none
And shows no signs of slowin’.
He’s Iorwerth, Iorwerth, Iorwerth Rowan.

No rhymes left now apart from crowin’…
They’d better fade us out before we get to hoein’…
Fade out, you stupid slowan.

It’s to be sung to the tune of the Arnold Rimmer Song (the last verse isn’t in the video, as they faded out in time).

Enjoy the transition to 2012!

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Muscle doesn’t weigh more than fat?

This is an interesting example of what can perhaps best be described as deluded pedantry. Google “does muscle weigh more than fat”, and you’ll find a variety of sources telling you that it doesn’t. As one of them puts it:

Muscle doesn’t weigh more than fat. A pound of muscle weighs the same as a pound of fat. Muscle is more dense than fat though, so a pound of muscle takes up less space than a pound of fat.

In other words, every substance in the universe weighs the same as every other substance. Just to clear this up: when people ask if muscle weighs more than fat, they’re asking if an equal volume of muscle and fat have the same weight. Which I would have thought was obvious.

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Interestingly shaped aubergine

Since PZ Myers is publishing pictures of amusingly shaped aubergines, so will I. Meet Mr Aubergine Head:

Mr Aubergine Head

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Hitler killing a child

When I was in primary school I had a friend who claimed that his grandfather, fighting in World War II, had once seen Hitler kill a child. I found this very unlikely even then, and rather silly. When I challenged my friend on this, he just asked me if I was saying his granddad was a liar. I can’t remember what I replied.

In any case, I was reminded of this today when I saw the following on the BBC website:




I found the headline to have a strangely childish quality, until I read the text underneath and realised I’d misparsed it.

Language Log, as many readers will know, has popularised (though not coined) the term “crash blossom” for this kind of headline. You can read about them here, and in lots of later Language Log posts.

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Gay views

So there’s been a “definite change” in Tories’ gay views according to Nick Herbert. Yeah, but he admits their views are still gay.

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Man versus horse marathon!!!

I’m so please to learn that such a race as this exists. And it’s in Wales!!! Yey!!!

We need more inter-species competition. Any suggestions?

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