History behind ‘An apple a day’
May . 04 . 2014 116 Views History behind ‘An apple a day’

It isn't often that I get the opportunity to list Wales as the source of a commonplace English phrase. There's a fair chance that this little maxim originated there as the earliest known example of its use in print makes that claim. The February 1866 edition of Notes and Queries magazine includes this:

"A Pembrokeshire proverb. Eat an apple on going to bed, And you'll keep the doctor from earning his bread."

A number of variants of the rhyme were in circulation around the turn of the 20th century. In 1913, Elizabeth Wright recorded a Devonian dialect version and also the first known mention of the version we use now, in Rustic Speech and Folk-lore:

"Ait a happle avore gwain to bed, An' you'll make the doctor beg his bread; or as the more popular version runs: An apple a day Keeps the doctor away."

Apples have a good claim to promote health. They contain Vitamin C, which aids the immune system, and phenols, which reduce cholesterol. They also reduce tooth decay by cleaning one's teeth and killing off bacteria. It has also been suggested by Cornell University researchers that the quercetin found in apples protects brain cells against neuro-degenerative disorders like Alzheimer's Disease.

Apples may be good for us but it wasn't their precise medicinal properties that were being exalted when this phrase was coined. In Old English the word apple was used to describe any round fruit that grew on a tree.

No Underwear in Outerspace: Star Wars Fans and Sex Appeal
December . 22 . 2013 150 Views No Underwear in Outerspace: Star Wars Fans and Sex Appeal

George Lucas once famously told Carrie Fisher “there is no underwear in outer space.” The implication is that there is no need for underwear because men, women, aliens, Wookies and Womp Rats alike presumably don’t have genitalia that needs covering. As we all know from our biology classes here on planet Earth, if you want to procreate it certainly helps to have genitals.

However, if you’re Anakin Skywalker and you’re born on the desert planet Tatooine then there’s a decent chance that your mother didn’t require intercourse to get pregnant. Instead you were magically conceived. As a result of all this space chastity sexuality in the Star Wars universe is almost non-existent.

Sure, Carrie Fisher looks stunning in Return of the Jedi in her “slave bikini” outfit. But just how alluring she looked is not really the point. (Along those lines it’s probably not a good idea to consider why Jabba the Hutt wanted her in a skimpy outfit in the first place.) Her courage and daring are what’s important. Leia is a strong, brave, heroic woman and unlike other cinematic heroines (like Lara Croft, Wonder Woman and Batgirl to name a few) how good she looks while saving the galaxy is irrelevant.

Eroticism in Star Wars is decidedly beside the point. While the films themselves might be nearly asexual, the fans who watch them certainly are not. In fact, they take great joy in infusing sexuality into their fandom.

I recently made JEDI JUNKIES, a feature film about the most extreme Star Wars fans I could find, and some of them find release in bringing their sensuality to their interpretation of Lucas’s universe. One such fan is Jamin Fite, the creator of “Leia’s Metal bikini“, a website devoted to collecting and displaying dozens and dozens of photos of fans dressed up in Leia’s memorably skimpy slave bikini provided to her by the apparently lecherous Jabba the Hutt. Jamin and his website celebrate just how sexy all types of women look when dressed up in the iconic outfit.

One fan who takes the whole Leia bikini thing even further is Amy “Kitty” Brown who performs a Star Wars themed burlesque routine. First dressed as Leia in her all white dress and then stripping down to the metal bikini, Amy reenacts and reinterprets some classic scenes from the saga. She incorporates the imagery of the virginal Leia into her routine in an artful and humorous but provocative way. She takes something without apparent sexuality (Star Wars) and combines it with something irrefutably sexual (burlesque). It’s the incongruity of combining sexuality with the innocence of Star Wars that makes her act so memorable in JEDI JUNKIES.

While Amy doesn’t always feel sexy in her outfit she’s cognizant of the power it can have on others. Amy explains, “I can wear the costume (like at a convention) and not feel sexy on my own, but when I see the reactions and the way people respond to ladies in the costume it makes you realize it is a sexy costume. Not just because it’s skimpy, but because it’s part of pop culture as a fanboy fantasy costume.”

Then there’s Cosplay (costume play) model Candy Keane, who has made a name for herself in the Star Wars fan community by wearing the famed metal bikini at dozens of conventions. Candy found enough success as a character model (taking photos as different characters) that she’s been able to open her own boutique selling those same outfits to other women who also enjoy dressing up.

In JEDI JUNKIES we also meet Flynn, the founder of the NY Jedi, a group of light saber wielding enthusiasts. Flynn and his crew get together to use light sabers in tightly choreographed martial arts demonstrations. Flynn’s unwavering mission is to make being a Jedi desirable. He’s self aware enough to know that when most people hear about his organization “their eyes roll back into their heads”. But he’s savvy enough to know that once you put a light saber into even a skeptic’s hand that any feelings of being self conscious will be dwarfed by their rekindled childlike sense of play.

Flynn is so successful in making wanna-be-Jedis hip and sexy that supermodel Tyra Banks put him on her show and declared that his “Geek is the new Chic.” And when a Sports Illustrated and Victoria’s Secret cover model declares that you’re sexy you get bragging rights with your friends. Of course, Tyra just figured out what fanboys have always known – - being a Star Wars fan has always been, and will always be, cool.

image credit:www.movieweb.com

The 1860s Bar - Epic Time Travel Prank!
June . 18 . 2013 290 Views The 1860s Bar - Epic Time Travel Prank!

The Assassin Bug
June . 16 . 2013 737 Views The Assassin Bug

Like a real-life version of the Predator—that's barely a half-inch in size—the aptly named assassin bug wears the bodies of its victims like trophy armor after liquefying and consuming their innards. Disgusting.

After it's made a kill, the assassin bug—which calls Malaysia home—injects its victim with a special enzyme that dissolves and softens its guts so they can be easily sucked out. And once all that's left is the insect's empty shell, the assassin bug attaches those exoskeletons to its back using a sticky secretion, piling them high to create a thick layer of protective armor that also serves to confuse its enemies.

This amazing insect (Acanthaspis petax) belongs to the Reduviidae – which consists of about 7000 species, making it almost the largest family in the true bugs (or hemiptera) order. Although fascinating it is perhaps a relief to learn that just a few species make a habit of lugging the emptied out carcasses of their victims around with them!

Why English (UK) and American Words are Spelt Differently
June . 11 . 2013 258 Views Why English (UK) and American Words are Spelt Differently

What all the buttons, switches and levers on a Formula One steering wheel are used for?
June . 10 . 2013 583 Views What all the buttons, switches and levers on a Formula One steering wheel are used for?

Following are the controls most used by the drivers during a race:
➡ Shifting levers
➡ KERS boost
➡ RPM / Fuel / Pedal
➡ Radio (R)

Some additional information:
➡ Average number of shifting events per race (all races): 2’750
➡ Grand Prix with the highest number of shifting events per lap and per race: Singapore (70 per lap, approx. 4’270 in total)
➡ Grand Prix with the least shifting events per race: Belgium (1’980 in total; 44 per lap)
➡ Grand Prix with the least shifting events per lap: Brazil (36 per lap, 2’556 in total)

➡ Average KERS boost button usage: 4x per lap, >220x per race
➡ Average use of team radio: <1x per lap, >30x per race


Incredible colour film footage of 1920s
May . 27 . 2013 295 Views Incredible colour film footage of 1920s

Incredible colour footage of 1920s London shot by an early British pioneer of film named Claude Friese-Greene, who made a series of travelogues using the colour process his father William - a noted cinematographer - was experimenting with. It's like a beautifully dusty old postcard you'd find in a junk store, but moving.
Music by Jonquil and Yann Tiersen.

Snake hunting in a strange way in Africa Snake africa
May . 23 . 2013 350 Views Snake hunting in a strange way in Africa Snake africa

Birth of the devastating May 20 Oklahoma tornado caught on video
May . 21 . 2013 309 Views Birth of the devastating May 20 Oklahoma tornado caught on video

Everybody Dies: A fun illustrative guide to Shakespeare's tragedies
May . 19 . 2013 315 Views Everybody Dies: A fun illustrative guide to Shakespeare's tragedies