Tuesday, July 07, 2009


Type that question into Google and this is what you get…

Here are my attempts at answering these questions.

1. Why is the sky blue?

The sky is blue because molecules in the air scatter blue light from the sun more than they scatter red light (This is known as Rayleigh’s effect).

2. Why do men have nipples?

Men have nipples because all humans begin life in the womb as females. In foetuses in possession of a Y chromosome (men in other words) testosterone kicks in at around 8 weeks and the foetus is remodeled with its male attributes, but this remodeling does not eliminate entirely its innate female sex characteristics. That is why men have nipples but not breasts (have they not heard of moobs??)

3. Why do cats purr?

Purring is a reflex that does not just occur when the cat is happy and relaxed, cats have reportedly purred in labour, when they are frightened, ill and even when they are near death. The psychology of why they do this is not completely understood, but common explanations mention a desire to communicate and as a way of reassuring themselves.

4. Why did the chicken cross the road?

To get to the other side of course, but go here for a more amusing (if dated) set of theories.

5. Why do we yawn?

The best guess from science are that when we are tired, we breathe less vigorously and low oxygen levels in the lungs trigger yawning as a reflex to bring more oxygen into the body. Yawning and stretching also increase blood pressure and heart rate, as does flexing muscles and joints.

6. Why so serious?

Because we all love the Joker's catch phrase from the Dark Knight, and because Heath Ledger who played him is dead (no laughing matter).

7. Why do people smoke?

Physiological reason – nicotine is an addictive substance.

Sociological reason – because they think it’s cool. Is this due to the power of advertising and marketing? Well maybe, although most countries have banned cigarette advertising and people still smoke. Peer pressure and growing up with parents who are smokers are other factors.

Psychological reason – because young people think they are immortal and therefore do not consider the health risks (most smokers get into the habit before they are 18). Also there is a sense of being in control (the same phenomenon that leads more people to be scared of flying than driving, despite road deaths outnumbering aeroplane deaths worldwide by some 2000 to 1).

8. Why recycle?

Recycling is claimed to be better for the environment because it reduces waste and saves energy--since packaging does not have to be manufactured each time from scratch. It also helps to raise awareness about the environment in general at an everyday level.

9. Why did Chris Brown beat up Rianna?

Well, according to the deeply penetrating analysis of topsocialite.com it was because “Chris has been cheating on Rihanna, [and his lover?] called while they were in the car. Apparently Rihanna figured it out got upset hit him while he was driving and he flipped and beat her up.” I guess Chris is just a bad person, or maybe a good person in a bad place, (either way just remember that violence is never the answer kids!).

10. Why not Edinburgh?

Edinburgh is a lovely place to visit, but I can think of several reasons why someone would not want to go there: because they want a sun-kissed Caribbean holiday, because they hate local resident JK Rowling and everything associated with Harry Potter, because Castles do nothing for them…. Oh, wait a minute, ‘Why Not?’ turns out to be the name of a nightclub franchise that operates out of Edinburgh. Now somehow that's not half as interesting…

Monday, July 06, 2009

What if Michel Gondry discoverd YouTube? The result is here (and it's cute)

Thursday, July 02, 2009

RIP Pina Bausch

Amongst all the celebrity deaths of late, this one stands out. During my adolescence, the choreographer and dancer Pina Bausch occupied for me the place of worship that Michael Jackson occupies for may others (judging by the amount of grief generated by his demise). Her style of choreography was totally captivating to my friends and I, and we even attempted to stage pale imitations to her work in my hometown of Swindon and at the Edinburgh festival. When I moved to London in the mid 1980s, Bausch had assumed the status of a near deity and seemed to be an influence on many of the other avant garde performers that I saw at the ICA, such as Jan Fabre, Bow Gamalan and La Fura dels Baus.

Here are some quotes from articles as well as links to YouTube clips that testify to her extraordinary genius:

She was known for her extravagant staging - in Nelken (1982), 21 dancers, four professional stunt men and four Alsatian dogs performed on a stage covered with thousands of pink carnations, while in Palermo (1989) dancers picked their way through dust and debris.

Each piece had its own character dictated by its setting – the carnations covering the stage in Nelken, the wall that falls as rubble in Palermo,the peat-covered floor of her Rite of Spring. (source BBC)

In 1998 Bausch revived Kontakthof a show she had made 20 years previously which explored the impossibilities of love in the setting of a dance hall. Then her dancers were young; when she revived the work she cast it with non-dancers, aged 65 or over. As the elderly performers enacted the hopeful rituals of courtship, they were at once laughably frail and endlessly touching (source telegraph online).