The Null Device
A study on twins, using Far Side cartoons, shows that humour is not genetically determined: (Telegraph)
The twins graded the cartoons on a scale of nought to 10 depending on how amusing or terrible they found each one. If appreciation of cartoons had a genetic factor, the correlation between identical twins should be much stronger than between non-identical twins.
Dr Spector said: "There was a strong correlation but it didn't seem to matter if they were identical or not... we found that between one third and two thirds of the variability in reaction to the cartoons was due to shared environmental effects such as family upbringing. Genetic factors did not appear to contribute at all."
The finding will make sense to any parent who has failed to fathom the appeal of Ali G, Vic Reeves or The Fast Show, or anyone under 25 who cannot see the humour in the Goons, Tony Hancock or Monty Python. It could also explain why, when famous acting families such as the McGanns, Redgraves, Fiennes, Fondas and Arquettes are in plentiful supply, there are almost no great comedy dynasties.
A sign of the times: Americans can now sell advertising space on their cars, earning ad revenue as they sit in gridlock. (via GirlHacker)
Time Magazine has an article about the democratisation of industrial design:
The champion of America's new design democracy used to be style-blind. Then Target's executives recognized that competing just on price with the likes of Wal-Mart was a losing proposition. So the store was reinvented with a simple formula: get a big-name designer to do $20 knock-offs of the same stuff he or she designed for the SoHo sophisticates.
The Humane Society is having a hard time getting rid of an obscenity-spouting parrot. (AP)
The rainbow lory blurts out profanities at will. Flounder, named after the character in the movie "Animal House," also makes a noise that sounds exactly like someone passing gas and then says "excuse me."
Lots of gorgeous-looking icons for the downloading (Macintosh format only, though). (via P&F)
Warning: Keeping a web journal can get you fired or sued. (Salon)
Salon's Ana Marie Cox eviscerates Jennifer Love Hewitt:
But "The Audrey Hepburn Story" galls because it's a model for what pop culture has become: the devouring of the past in order to make excrement for the future. Seen this way, Hewitt's inappropriateness as Hepburn almost makes sense; as Hewitt never intended to become Hepburn, she remade Hepburn to be more like her. This explains the biopic's portrayal of Hepburn as man-hungry (falling in love on every set) and petulant...
Intensively factory-farmed chickens, forced to grow abnormally quickly in cramped conditions, choose feed containing painkillers: (BBC News)
...when given a choice of two feeds, one containing the pain-relieving drug carprofen, and one without, more lame birds than fit birds chose to eat the drugged feed ... And the more lame the chicken, the more its intake of drugged feed increased.
Low-level technical details on doing (and preventing) surreptitious things in Linux, such as redirecting system calls, preventing debugging, and how Linux viruses would be implemented if they were practical. Warning: reading this may be illegal in some countries.