The Apostrophe Protection Society has closed its doors
The group was founded in 2001 to preserve “the correct use of this currently much abused punctuation mark,” but the APS website says, “We, and our many supporters worldwide, have done our best but the ignorance and laziness present in modern times have won!”
The website also warns us to beware of fake news: The site itself isn’t closing down. If you have a burning question about, say, whether an inanimate object can own something, look no further; It has an answer. You can also find advice about the difference between fewer and less.
You’ll sleep better at night knowing it’s still there, right? Although I could argue that the exclamation point they used is excessive.
Not that I would or anything.
When one door closes, some totally unrelated one opens, and they have nothing to do with each other. The International Bank Vault has opened its doors in London, but only to billionaires.
No, I don’t know how to pronounce that either, and it’s not a quote from their promotional literature. Oddly enough, they haven’t sent me their promotional literature.
Yeah, I know. It was an oversight.
What they offer, as far as I can figure out, is safety deposit boxes. The smallest one is a steal at £600 a year. Want me to order a couple for you? Each one is big enough for some jewellery and “a fair few gold bars; they’re only the size of your mobile phone” said someone or other who’s very important and knows the size of a gold bar.
I’d link you to their website but it’s boring. They do that to keep the riff-raff out.
This might be a good time to mention that the six richest people in the UK control as much wealth as the poorest 13 million. (And that was before the recent election. I don’t know about you, but I expect a further tip richward.) That’s about £39.4 billion on each side. That’s a lot of money, but it’s less (please note: not fewer) if you have to split it with 13 million other people.
Actually, that’s 13.2 million. And I’m having trouble finding anything funny about it.
Scientists at the University of Bath have brewed up artificial neurons that–if they fulfill their promise, the human race survives long enough, and the crick don’t rise–could un-paralyze people, snap the hazy brain circuits of dementia back into sharp focus, correct a form of heart failure, and connect minds to machines. That last achievement may be more fun for the humans than for the machines.
The artificial neurons are built into tiny, low-power chips that can plug right into the nervous system. I mention this not because it’s funny but because it’s interesting. And because none of us are getting any younger.
A study in the U.S. shows that smartphones are causing dumb injuries. People are walking into lamp posts while messing around with their phones–reading articles on nuclear physics or texting or doing whatever people do on their phones while walking into lamp posts. The problem’s serious enough that Salzburg has installed airbags on lamp posts “to raise awareness of the dangers.”
Not to prevent immediate injuries?
The article also mentions injuries from exploding batteries and “the phone hitting the face,” which makes it sound like that happens by itself or that the phone does deliberately. And maybe it does. A phone can get tired of being the conduit for all the trivialities of our weary little lives. You know what people are like. Bash one of them in the face, though, and wow, does that change the conversation. I’ve been tempted to try it myself from time to time, but it’s hard to mistake me for a smartphone, so I’ve resisted.
If those chips do connect our minds to our machinery, think how much more often this will happen.
About half the injuries were caused by people using the phone while they drove. Ninety (out of 76,000 injuries seen in 100 hospitals between 1998 and 2017) involved people playing Pokemon Go. One involved a man stepping on a snake while he crossed a parking lot looking at his phone. The good news? The incident was caught on camera. Possibly by him but more likely by someone who thought it made more sense to film it than to yell, “Look out for the snake.”
I couldn’t find any information on how the snake is. Sorry.
About 60 percent of the injuries were to people between 13 and 29, who make up considerably less than 60 percent of the population. That means either that people learn to be more careful as they get older or that a sizable number of people 30 and over don’t know how to work a smartphone. Me included.
You probably already know this, but Donald Trump tweeted that Greta Thunberg should “work on her Anger Management problem, then go to a good old fashioned movie with a friend! Chill Greta, Chill!”
Thunberg responded by changing her bio on Twitter: “A teenager working on her anger management problem. Currently chilling and watching a good old fashioned movie with a friend.”
Two points to Thunberg. A few spare capital letters to Trump. Not because he’s earned them but because he spends them profligately and will use up his supply any day now.
As newly elected prime minister, Boris Johnson announced that he was going to lead a one-nation government. “Let the healing begin,” he said.
That was shortly after he celebrated his victory by announcing that Remainers should “put a sock in it.”
Yes, folks, we’ve entered a time of healing and goodwill over here.
A bit of chewed birch tar found in southern Denmark has yielded the complete DNA of a woman who lived 6,000 years ago, at the start of the neolithic period. Like the early British settler Cheddar Man, whose DNA led to a reconstruction not long ago, she would have had dark hair and skin and blue eyes.
She would have been a hunter-gatherer, one of a group of people who lived beside a brackish lagoon, and was more closely related to hunter-gatherers from mainland Europe than to those from central Scandinavia.
A survey of 5,000 British teachers asked what they’d prefer as Christmas gifts from their students. Most of them said a handmade card rather than alcohol or chocolate or whatever else parents think up.
The exception? Primary school teachers. One explanation is that they’ve seen enough kids’ drawings and they’ve reached their limit. The other–and this one comes from me, so treat it with all the care and suspicion it deserves–is that they need the alcohol more than secondary teachers do.
Feel-good story of the week: A small village in Northumberland (in case you’re not British, that’s somewhere way the hell up in the north, but in England, not all the way to Scotland) went online to raise money in the hope of buying its pub to run as a community business. The village had already lost its shop, its post office, and its village hall. The pub is the last public space it has left, and no one was interested in buying it–except the residents, who didn’t have the money.
If you’re British you already know this, but for the rest of youse, pubs aren’t just places to drink. They’re social spaces. The fundraising website describes it as “the centre of our village. It is our meeting place, our venue for community events and celebrations, a boon for our older residents and, in short, is the lifeline of our village.
“No community owned pub has ever gone bankrupt in England, they work really well – but we need to buy it first!”
The village consists of a couple of hundred people and needed a minimum of £200,000 to buy the pub, so it turned to the outside world. Just before Christmas, with four days to go, it had raised £186,000. Those were pledges not to make donations but to buy shares. When I checked on Christmas Eve, the site said they’d put in a bid and it had been accepted.
If you collect strange pronunciations of British place names, the nearby Bellingham is pronounced Belling-jum.
No, don’t ask me. I learned it from the website and understand nothing.