The Null Device
A clinical psychologist at Liverpool University has put forward a proposal to classify happiness as a psychiatric disorder:
It is proposed that happiness be classified as a psychiatric disorder and be included in future editions of the major diagnostic manuals under the new name: major affective disorder, pleasant type. In a review of the relevant literature it is shown that happiness is statistically abnormal, consists of a discrete cluster of symptoms, is associated with a range of cognitive abnormalities, and probably reflects the abnormal functioning of the central nervous system. One possible objection to this proposal remains--that happiness is not negatively valued. However, this objection is dismissed as scientifically irrelevant.
(via David Gerard)
The Guardian has a survey of jokes told around the world:
I have always felt that the foreign pages of a good newspaper should feature a jokes section from all over the world as a humanising counterweight to all the reports that stress the differences between there and here. Jokes make you realise: of course, these are people like me. They have to survive in very different circumstances, but they are people all the same.The jokes are from all over the world: we encounter corrupt rulers, peacockish Argentines, beery Aussies, dull-witted Swedes, Belgians and members of numerous other neighbouring nationalities, to mention a few recurring themes.
A girl meets an Argentinian man on the street and asks him for a light. He pats his trousers, chest and back pockets. "Sorry," he says, "I don't have one but, wow, do I have a great body or what?"
Russia's president Dmitry Medvedev sits in the driver's seat of a new car, examines the inside, the instrument panel and the pedals. He looks around, but the steering wheel is missing. He turns to Vladimir Putin and asks: "Vladimir Vladimirovich, where is the steering wheel?" Putin pulls a remote control out of his pocket and says, "I'll be the one doing the driving."And more jokes are contributed in the comments by the readers (along with a debate on whether there actually are jokes in Japan; incidentally, Richard Wiseman claims there aren't):
Russian joke about Jews:
- How does a smart Moscow Jew talk to a stupid Moscow Jew?
- On a mobile from New York.
Quelle est la différence entre Nicolas Sarkozy et un vainqueur de Formule 1? Le vainqueur de Formule 1 est le premier à Monte Carlo, et Nicolas Sarkozy est le dernier à monter Carla.
A new Zealander told me this one:Meanwhile, here is a Reddit thread for colourful local idioms from various languages:
What's the difference between Australia and a glass of milk?
Leave them both in the sun for a while and the milk will develop a culture.
Personally, I'm a huge fan of the derogatory Afrikaans term for South African English-speakers: soutpiel, which translates to "Saltcock", implying that they have one leg in England, one leg in South Africa, and their dick is dangling in the ocean.
"No te peines, que en la foto no salís" - Don't comb your hair, you're not going to be in the picture (Meaning don't get too excited, this matter doesn't concern you.)
"Da bog ti kuca bila na CNN." It's Serbian for "may your house be live on CNN". It may seem like a compliment, but consider what usually gets Serbian houses on American/International television. :(
When you're arguing over insignificant details in English, you'd be a nitpicker. In Dutch, you'd be fucking ants: 'Mierenneuken'.