Top 5 Science Experiments On Cats

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Tell me you’re not at least a little disturbed by the following:

#1: Cat-O-Vision
A team of scientists hacked into a cat’s brain and created a video of what the cat was seeing.

#2: We Have Ways Of Making You Purr
Restricting sleep to two hours a night, enforced by use of a treadmill. Sounds like a Guantanamo Bay interrogation technique, does it not? No, this is science. You’ll be pleased to know that restricting sleep results in a greater proportion of REM sleep in cats.

#3: Cats In Spaaaace
How do cats react to zero gravity? Do they handle it better than dogs? This is the scientific question of our times and only now has it been answered.

#4: I’m Not Hungry. (Bzzt.) Actually, I Am.
Scientists obtained complete control over a cat’s mind. By remote control, they could make the cat hungry, thirsty, or itchy, or even make it more aggressive or affectionate. Note that they did not force the cat to eat; they only made it desire to eat.

#5: Just Gimme One More Bowl
Do cats prefer spiked milk to ordinary milk? Only science could provide the answer. A series of experiments was performed that subjected cats to extreme stress until they became alcoholics, or masochistic, deliberately exposing themselves to repeated electric shocks.

BONUS: The Scratching Post Is Melting
Giving LSD to cats. Does this qualify as science? Discuss.

(This post is at least partly inspired by the Top 5 Group Writing Project at ProBlogger.)

Posted in Cats, Nutbar, Random cat-related Internet stuff, Science | 35 Comments

Deep & Meaningful Festival explodes onto the blogosphere

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Thank Robert Hruzek for this. His group writing project asked participants to write an article on a life lesson they learned from an unusual source. All told, there were 16 entries.

Here is the complete list of entries, each one finishing the phrase “What I Learned From…”

“… Teen Girl Squad”, by Markk at My Opinions Are Important
WOW! You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll cheer. Top post. Top, top post.

“… the Mt. Pinatubo Eruption”, by Ronald Huerca at
Most of this has nothing to do with volcanic eruptions, but worth the read all the same.

“… Drugs”, by Sam Brougher at Forest Azuaran
Legal drugs. Strong legal drugs that do strange things to your emotions and memory. Reminds me of a friend’s experience with oxycodeine (“The walls are melting …”).

“… a Mesquite Tree”, by Mike DeWitt at Spooky Action
You are limited only by your willingness to be bold. That, and mesquite trees are weird.

“… Drinking Starbucks Coffee”, by George Manty at Can I Make Big Money Online
The main thing I learned from drinking Starbucks coffee is not to visit Starbucks. That’s not what this post is about though :) Useful for those of you who run a business.

“… My Wife!”, by Rajaram Sethuraman at Thoughts of a Rambler
One man learns that he is a fashion disaster, among other things.

“… Having a Daughter”, by Marco Richter at FitForFreedom
How to not worry about being in debt.

“… Norm”, by Joe Raasch at The Happy Burro
Getting the most out of each moment in life.

“… my mentors”, by Karin H. at The Kiss Business Too
Two mentors, and what Karin H. learned from them.

“… Procrastinating”, by Yvonne Russell at Grow Your Writing Business
This piece will inspire you to procrastinate more often, if you could be bothered. Perhaps later on.

“… a Squirrel”, by G.L. Hoffman at What Would Dad Say
A nice story, with a zinger at the end.

“… Blogging”, by Gayla McCord at Mom Gadget
Someone who makes money by writing 12 blogs talks about that, and why she doesn’t go insane writing so much. Very informative.

“… a Weight Problem”, by Monique Attinger at Insurance Guide 101
Learn about overcoming a weight problem, and also about insurance. What more could you want?

“… Taking Out the Garbage”, by Michael Chantrel at Mortgage Guide 101 Blog
Why taking out the garbage is just like paying off a mortgage.

“… RUMMAGING!” by William Tully at LOGICal eMOTIONs
Looking at a product at the end of its life cycle, and winding the clock back.

“… A Light Switch”, by Robert Hruzek at Middle Zone Musings
When Cooking Goes Bad, or why you learn most about someone by viewing them when things go wrong.

Posted in Blogging, Deep & Meaningful | 3 Comments

1984 arrives in Britain in 2007


According to Spiked Online, those CCTVs that have become so ubiqitous in the UK have now been rigged up with loudspeakers, allowing remote faceless government agents to tell you not to loiter, or litter, or whetever.

But who will be doing the voices? Children, that’s who. The government has issued a press release stating the following:

‘Children from across the country will be very publicly calling upon the small minority of people who think it is acceptable to act anti-socially on our streets and in our towns to change their ways and take responsibility for their actions….’

Is the British Government trying to emulate 1984? Let’s take a look:

  • Loads of cameras following your every move? Check.
  • Cameras that can talk and give orders? Check.
  • The transformation of children into government spies? Check.
  • Government surveillance inside private homes? Not yet, in the UK anyway.
  • Use of torture to break “thought criminals”? No, thank God.
  • Anti-Sex League? Erm, no.

In short, the British Government is emulating 1984 as much as it is possible for a democratic government to do – so let’s hope it goes no further. If we ever hear Tony Blair say “We’re at war on terror. We’ve always been at war on terror.” than you will know they have crossed the line.

(If you haven’t read 1984, read it online – and shudder.)

Posted in Communism, Evil, Rants, Tech | 2 Comments

Got a spare $78 million?

Deep Sea News needs your help to purchase a submarine. Why? To help them blog about the deep sea, of course. (Duh.)


But Deep Sea News won’t settle for just any old submarine. No, sir. They have their eye on the Pheonix 1000, the latest in personal luxury submarines.

The Pheonix weighs 1500 tonnes and is 65 metres long. It can travel at up to 18 knots and can dive as deep as 305 metres. It features a flying bridge, main and upper decks. The oxygen supplies allow for up to 40 days underwater.

But this is not a military sub; this is a luxury sub. Kind of like your own undersea luxury cruise ship. It is lavishly appointed and contains large viewports so you can look out into the sea.

If 305 metres isn’t deep enough for you, the Pheonix 1000 has a docking area for a minisub that can dive right down to 610 metres. (That’s, like, deep, man.) (Sorry.) The minisub is more of a family sedan sized sub; it can hold up to 8 people.

From their website:

Clearly, the Phoenix provides its owner with substantially more capability than a simple yacht – the opportunity to explore the depths of the world’s oceans in perfect comfort and safety. The Phoenix is capable of making trans-Atlantic crossings at 16 knots yet can dive along the route and explore the continental margins of some of the most fascinating waters on earth. And unlike surface yachts, when the water gets rough, the submarine can submerge into a perfectly smooth and quiet environment, continuing on toward its destination, providing a ride unsurpassed in quality-unequaled by the finest motor coach or the most luxurious executive aircraft.

The site is silent about some needed features, such as cup holders or a CD player, but I’m sure you can see the appeal, and why you should help Deap Sea News with this much-needed purchase. They need $78 million to complete the purchase.

While we’re at it, I wouldn’t mind a luxury submarine for local trips to the shops and such. With the Pheonix 1000, I could work in Melbourne and commute from Tasmania or Flinders Island. My birthday is in July, so if anyone out there has a spare $78 million, keep that in mind.

Posted in Interesting, but otherwise unclassifiable | 5 Comments

What I learned from Teen Girl Squad

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(The following is my contribution to the writing project at Middle Zone Musings, which is a blog you should read always. The project is simple: write a blog post with the topic What life lesson(s) have you learned from an unusual source? I’m not sure if this is the type of thing Robert Hzurek had in mind. Ah well.)

Teen Girl Squad!

Teen Girl Squad, a flash animation series on Homestar Runner, follows the lives and untimely demises of four teenage girls:

  • Cheerleader – the popular, attractive girl who is the ringleader of the squad,
  • So-and-so – the academic one who avoids being academic in order to fit in,
  • Whats-her-face – who has bad fashion sense and is the outsider of the group, and
  • The Ugly One! (Yes, she really is called that.)

Sarz has previously mentioned she most identifies with Whats-her-face (the one wearing pants). That puzzles me a bit. Perhaps we’ll see why as we go through each episode in the series.

What I Have Learned From Teen Girl Squad

Episode 1:

Teenage girls are obsessed with appearance and have crushes on boys.
Watching cartoon girls get stomped on by dinosaurs is funny.

Episode 2:

Clouds have teeth.
Teenage boys are dumb. (“You must be girls.”)

Episode 3:

Girls like shopping. (no, really!)
Op shops are not considered fashionable.

Episode 4:

Girl crushes are ridiculous.
Girls are ridiculous full stop. (Discuss.)

Episode 5:

Cartoon girls upended in the sand, being used as a perch by evil birds, is strangely entertaining.
Girls with bad fashion sense get abandoned by their friends.
Teenage girls sometimes pass themselves off as older than they really are in order to attract older boys.

Episode 6:

Peer pressure drives girls to do insane things. Probably not as insane as jumping into a lion’s mouth, though.

Episode 7:

This one was less educational than the others. Sorry.

Episode 8:

When playing a bass guitar, watch that it doesn’t turn into a shark and eat you.

Episode 9:

In high school, are friends really friends?
Without Cheerleader around, the other girls are free from pressure.
“The tyranny is over!”

Episode 10:

Teenage romance is completely ridiculous. (Or did that get covered in a prior episode? Or all the episodes?)
Parties are much more interesting if there are boys involved.

Episode 11:

Beware of maniacs in speedos.

Episode 12:

“She likes cloth” is a good band name.
“Say baby, you want to find a remote access point with me?” is a good pick up line.
Texting from three feet away is silly.
Whats-her-face finds true love in this episode, which is why Sarz likes it so much.


I suspect I learned something about the nature of girls by watching this series of animations. Judge for yourselves by the comments above. Or, perhaps, be shocked and stunned that I have just learned everything I know about women from a series of very silly flash cartoons.

In all seriousness, this series brought back memories of high school for me, with its pettiness, its peer pressure, the focus on popularity and the strange dynamic in play between boys and girls. Thank goodness times change and priorities change.

But how much do things change really? How much of our lives is focussed on looking good, chasing material things and playing politics in the workplace? I’m not sure the insanity of teenagedom ever goes away – it just becomes more subdued, more channelled.

What is the main thing that characterises teenage life? I would say it is it’s unplanned nature, living for the moment and not thinking much about the future; indeed, barely able to comprehend the future.

Yet what happens when we become adults? How often do we actually think about what we’re doing? Do we have a plan? How often do we stop to consider whether we are fulfilling that plan? How much do we allow our lives to be shaped by the expectations of others?

I’ve been challenged as of late – and I suppose this is only tangentially related to Teen Girl Squad – to have a plan, to know we’re I’m going.

How much of our lives have meaning? How much time do we spend on things that don’t matter?

Posted in Deep & Meaningful, Humour, Nutbar | 28 Comments

Parrot with human brain found

This cannot be real – a parrot that communicates in English. According to the BBC, N’kisi the parrot has a vocabulary of 950 words, uses grammar correctly and has a sense of humour.

From the article:

When he first met Dr Jane Goodall, the renowned chimpanzee expert, after seeing her in a picture with apes, N’kisi said: “Got a chimp?”

He appears to fancy himself as a humourist. When another parrot hung upside down from its perch, he commented: “You got to put this bird on the camera.”

This raises a lot of questions. How many parrots are there like N’kisi? Are they plotting against us? Do they have blogs? How would you tell if a blog was written by a parrot?

A couple of questions for those of you who have blogs:

  1. Are you a parrot?
  2. Are you in league with parrots?

Nominate blogs that are likely to be written by parrots by leaving a comment.

Posted in Blogging, Humour, Nutbar, Science | 8 Comments

Daylight Saving exacerbates global warming

It took 200 posts here at My Opinions Are Important, but finally, the truth comes out:hot_news.jpg

If anything, Connie M. Meskimen understates the case. The sun may well burn out entirely due to our constant overuse of it.

Posted in Nutbar | 3 Comments