by John Ward
The strangest things happen when you Google ‘today’s top news stories’. Perhaps some priorities are still intact.
Goats shown happy and angry human faces prefer the happy ones, according to research published by a team of life scientists from Britain, Germany and Brazil. The study, led by Dr Alan McElligott of London’s Queen Mary University, is among the first to provide evidence that goats can read human expressions.
I can’t tell you what a shame it is that Alan’s name isn’t McElligoat, but it was near enough to make me smile. “But how do they know when a goat is happy?” I hear you ask (using my Kryptonite Super-hearing app) and the answer is that they examine things with their snouts. The goats that is, not the researchers. Dr McElligott gushed further:
“These findings have important implications for our understanding of livestock in general, and we hope our research can now go forward using species such as sheep, or indeed, pigs.”
Will it be possible one day to teach a pig to sing? Are sheep really as dumb as, for example, Antifa activists and Guy Verhofstadt? Are goats just silly-billies who merely act the goat, and is separating the sheep from the goats anti-mullticultural racism?
All this and more is adding to the sum of human knowledge. No kidding.
Follow that plane
Every day is Something Day on Twitter. Today, it’s World Tourism Day which (for the 3.64 million 1950s born female over 60s defrauded out of their pensions by Westminster Overspending Decades) must be tremendous news, given that most of them can barely afford a bus to the end of the road.
But as always, there is hilarity in these daft Days for this, that and every other thing from caterpillar racing to domino ecology. One contributing site, for instance, asks “Do you really know what 24 hrs in Travel & Tourism look like?”. There’s no answer to that, beyond howTF can Time look like something and please get a life before time runs out.
The Liverpool tourist Authority promises “18 reasons why we think you’ll LOVE our city”. I love Liverpool too, but Number 13 worries me: “The Bluecoat might be like 300 years old, but there’s always something to challenge your mind inside. Whether it’s a brand new Biennial commission or a giant room filled with huge pieces of chalk”. Whatever floats your boat.
However, the whole shebang is topped by the World Tourism Organisation – a UN subsidiary my nose tells me is behind all this pollyfilla. It offers this visual as the lead into Why Tourism Matters:
Yes, you read it here first (well, second after the UNWTO): tourism preserves cultures, protects wild animals, brings peace and security, enhances regional development, employs 1 in 10 people on the planet (I don’t believe that), and contributes $1.6trillion to US exports (I don’t care).
Um, pray enlighten me UNWTO, how did the military tourism of Islam, the Nazis, the USSR, the US and the British Empire preserve cultures? Which bit of contemporary tourism protects our species by trampling all over their environments and massacring habitats to build faceless hotels? Exactly what Peace & Security has resulted from package tours to South Africa, Mexico, Greece, Turkey and Egypt?
A lot of Twitter is tosh. Twitter Tourism Tosh is a special type of tosh that has been carefully preserved and concentrated, and then aged in wooden casks to create the sort of TotalTosh that only woodentops would buy into.
But all that said, you have to admire the tenacity of the Irish:
Many Obscure Celebrities of the Day
Cleveland.com led today with celebrity birthdays. “Birthday wishes go out to Avril Lavigne, (who?) Gwyneth Paltrow, Meat Loaf and all the other celebrities with birthdays today. Check out our slideshow below to see more famous people turning a year older on September 27th.”
These included Actor Wilford Brimley, Singer Randy Bachman, Meatloaf, Actress Anna Camp and former King of France, Louis XIII.
Note that – except for Paltrow and Meat Loaf – all of these “celebrities” needed a prefix just to jog your memory about whoTF they might be. Further clues are added via the use of Fun Facts as follows:
Fun fact: Used to be married to Sum 41’s Deryck Whibley (who?)
Fun fact: Was once engaged to actor Brad Pitt
Fun fact: His last name is actually pronounced “back-man”
No shit? If this is the circus in Bread & Circuses, I want my money back.
Natural Bad Manners
Now I am willing to bet (because I like a flutter now and then) that all you thirsty-for-knowledge trade union leaders, bond analysts, crop speculators and Momentum barricadistes out there are just gagging to see how a water flea gives birth to its single larva.
Well, a top nature video award has gone to Wim van Egmond, who captured that indefinable moment when Daphnia the water flea expelled a bug-eyed larva from her disgusting body.
No bonding is involved between mother and larva water fleas: seconds after being propelled out into the cold water beyond the womb, the newborn babe buggers off .
This just goes to show that the appalling collapse of civilised manners is rampant among zillions of species. Australian sources confirm that Joeys abscond from kangaroo pouches without so much as a “Cheerio, Ma”.
Homo sapiens, by contrast, is heading in the opposite direction. Researchers record that, from Archangel to Zanzibar, children as old as 38 are still with their long-suffering parents, and show not the slightest inclination to vacate the family home. On the other hand, they also (in solidarity with water fleas) are a bit behind the door when it comes to saying thank you.
No good will come of austerity – you mark my words.