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Wed, 23 Jan 2019
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Study finds happiest couples are ones who occasionally glance up from electronic devices to acknowledge each other's presence

couple ingoring each other
A new study carried out by Brown University found that couples who occasionally glance up from their phones or tablets in order to acknowledge each other's presence have the happiest relationships.

"While many partners are too absorbed in whatever they're reading on their iPhone to look up once in a while as though they're aware that someone else is in the room with them, it appears those brief glances are what makes a relationship really tick," said one research intern. "It's important to create those moments of connection."

Researchers found that couples who put The Office on in the background and then settle in to browse the internet on their personal electronic devices can have a happy, fulfilled relationship, so long as they carve out a few seconds to look up and make some eye contact before resuming their internet surfing time.

Experts also recommend asking your spouse "What's so funny?" when they force air out their nose slightly more forcefully than usual, as they're probably looking at a funny meme the two of you can share together.


The 'Bad Lip Reading' video of Sarah Sanders' press briefing is absolutely hilarious

Sarah Sanders
© Yuri Gripas/Reuters
WH Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders
The genius people behind Bad Lip Reading are at it again, this time they've taken aim at White House press secretary Sarah Sanders.

Sarah Sanders opens with "I need a drink" and goes on to say, "OK idiots, are you ready? I just can't stand the faces of you people." Which might be a worryingly accurate insight into what she must be thinking when she goes into these briefings.


Mark Steel: Radical Pope is practically the same as Che Guevara

Catholic church children abuse cartoon
© Mike Scoll

When an institution sexually abuses children on an industrial scale, you won't win back trust easily. You need to demonstrate you truly understand the scale of what you've inflicted, preferably by going without breakfast one morning

It's a measure of how unique the Catholic Church is as an institution that this Pope who's on his way to Ireland is referred to as a radical tearing up the old values - maybe at times even too militant - because he's opposed to all child abuse.

Presumably, when he announced this policy, a room of cardinals gasped, "What? We're not allowed to do ANY?"

As ever when someone tries to change things too quickly, there are moderate voices who suggest a slower pace of change. Maybe they would prefer a workable compromise, such as restricting paedophilia to twice a week except for Easter.

But this Pope is an extremist, ignoring centuries of tradition to announce opposition to all of it at once, like a papal Che Guevara.

He's even going to offer "a prayer and fasting" in Ireland, as a "penitential exercise". Because when an institution sexually abuses children on an industrial scale, you won't win back trust easily. You need to demonstrate you truly understand the scale of what you've inflicted, by going without breakfast one morning.


Scarlett Johansson has been cast as first black James Bond

scarlett johansson
MGM Studios announced today that Scarlett Johansson has been cast to play the first black James Bond, taking a groundbreaking new direction for the classic spy character.

"It's such an honor to help breathe new life into this historic franchise," said Johansson during a morning press conference. "As an actress, I'm always trying to challenge myself and really push the boundaries of acting. I'm ready to show the world what it really means to be a black British superspy, and I can't wait to hear all the positive feedback from my fans."

scarlett johansson black

An image from Scarlett Johansson's audition tape as 'Black James Bond' leaked onto the web.
While many fans had speculated that Idris Elba would be picked for the role, MGM executive Bob Zimmerman explained the studio's decision to pass on the Golden Globe and SAG award winning actor.

Comment: Looks like it's gonna be a hit at the box office!


An ideal world - Vatican raid sees Pope and thousands more arrested ​

Ideal World
© Waterford Whispers News
AN EARLY morning raid on the Vatican by over 500 Interpol agents has seen the Pope and thousands of clergy arrested as part of ongoing child abuse investigations spanning over 50 years, WWN can confirm.

Treating the Vatican like any other multi-billion euro company whose employees carried out decades of child abuse, agents stormed CEO Pope Francis's residence at 6am this morning in an ideal world which is not too far from our own world, but a world just a little bit more intolerant to child sexual abuse than ours.

"If Google, Apple or any other large multi-national company had thousands employees accused and charged for paedophilia offenses, and proof that companies tried to cover this up, of course they'd be raided and every document and file searched in its HQ," explained lead Interpol investigator in the ideal world, Detective Denis Kent

Apple Red

Unknown unique apple found growing in north London community orchard - farm launches naming contest

new apple discovered
© Forty Hall Farm/Enfield Independent
Paul Dart, Forty Hall Farm Orchard volunteer, collecting apple tree leaf samples for DNA testing
A community orchard is launching a naming competition, following the discovery of a unique type of apple growing on an Enfield farm.

Forty Hall Farm, run by Capel Manor College, said analysis of DNA samples from the tree's leaves have shown that the apple tree is completely unique and does not match any known examples in the National Fruit Collection.

Following its establishment in 2011, volunteers planted 130 heritage varieties of fruit trees as well as hundreds of fruiting hedgerow trees.

Historic maps of the farm show that an orchard existed on the same site in the 1830s.

Orchard volunteer Val Dyer said: "There are several old apple trees growing on the farm but we had no record of when they were planted or what types of apple they are.

"The fruitID.com project was launched by the world-renowned research organisation NIAB-EMR at East Malling in Kent to help improve the recording of different fruit varieties in the UK.

Take 2

Satire warning! BBC Crimewatch director gives up after failing to create coherent narrative out of govt's Salisbury novichok fable

The BBC's plans for a one-off episode of Crimewatch, reconstructing events in Salisbury on 4th March, have had to be abandoned after running into a series of problems, according to the programme's director, Hugh Dunnit. Despite his desire to make the reconstruction as realistic as possible, after weeks of filming Hugh says he has given up, citing a loss of confidence in his professional abilities, after failing to get the details to make any sense.

I talked to him in the care home where he is now residing temporarily, and he told me that the problems began early on with the reconstruction of events on the morning of 4th March. According to police, after making their phones untraceable, Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, left home just after 9:00am, and drove to the London Road cemetery, before returning around 1:00pm. But as Hugh told me, this was a cause of major difficulties for the local actors playing the Skripals:
"We only ever intended to show half a minute or so of them at the cemetery in the final reconstruction, but because I'm a great one for making things as realistic as possible, I decided to film them there for the entire four hours, with the intention of editing afterwards. But once the two local actors playing Sergei and Yulia - Doug and Sarah - had put flowers on the grave, we then found that they still had over three hours to kill, and to be honest both of them said they felt a bit stupid just sort of hanging around graves for that length of time. I must admit, it did make us wonder what on earth the Skripals were doing for so long in a cemetery on a Sunday morning."
Doug Deeply, who plays Sergei, agreed:
"There's only so much one can do in a graveyard, and to be honest it does feel kind of creepy just hanging around graves. Yet the police seem to think they were there throughout that time, and so being professionals we just had to get on with the job. Still, it does make you wonder why the police don't just ask them what they were doing there, since they're both alive and well," he added with a chuckle.

Comment: On a more serious note, here's one of Slane's comments from below his article:
I actually think that a lot of the "plan", is actually part of the cover up. Not the cover up since 4th March, but an attempt to stop or mitigate something happening on that day. Let me explain:

The theory that is starting to form in my little head (which may change at any moment) is something like this:
  • A nerve agent came from the US part of Porton Down, by someone or a group who wanted to take Sergei out.
  • Hence the reason that G. Aitkenhead denied it could have come from "our" four walls, but looked to be terribly uncomfortable as he said it.
  • The news of this "taking out of Sergei" was somehow leaked to someone else shortly before.
  • The four hours in the cemetery was something to do with a meeting between those who had caught wind of it and the Skripals.
  • This is why S & Y made themselves untraceable.
  • This is why S was agitated in the restaurant.
  • This is why there "happened" to be two doctors from Porton Down at SDH.
  • This is why it was known to be a nerve agent early on.
  • This is how they were able to recover - because those treating them knew what was used, as they had been told about it beforehand, and so knew how to treat it.
  • D.S. Bailey was assigned to watch them as they traipsed around town, to make sure they weren't attacked.
  • He failed and got there too late.
  • That's why he was at The Maltings.
  • It's also how he was able to get to Sergei's house so quickly (he maybe even had a spare set of keys).
  • And of course it's why he must disappear and never be heard of again. Not because he's a villain or loves his privacy too much. But because if his role in it became known, it would show that someone else (our "allies" and not Russia) had tried to take out Sergei, and the Govt had desperately tried to cover this up by pointing the finger elsewhere.
I'm sure there's as many holes in that as the Govt narrative. It certainly doesn't explain the mystery couple with the red bag. But it's a start and it begins to make more sense in my little head than anything else I've heard so far.

Arrow Down

UK government to end homelessness by redefining cardboard box as 'a home'

New Home
© News Thump
The government has pledged to end homelessness with new measures to redefine what counts as a home.

With figures showing that homelessness is now at record levels in parts of the country, Whitehall officials have insisted they will stop at nothing to make those figures look much better.

Housing Secretary James Brokenshire explained, "We intend to eradicate homelessness in this country, and rest assured our commitment to this aim is absolute.

"We have to look at the entire issue, and realise as a society that so many people don't have a home purely because of how we have chosen to define 'a home'.

Stock Down

Karl Marx 'zero-euro' faux bill takes Germany by storm

Karl Marx zero euro
© Harald Tittel / AFP
A cheeky 'zero-euro' bill, issued by a German tourism agency to commemorate the bicentenary of Karl Marx's birth, has become a runaway success, with more than 100,000 wealth re-distributing purchases on record.

Printed by Trier Tourism and Marketing in honor of Marx's 200th birthday, the original 5,000 'zero euro' notes sold out in less than a month. In the weeks that followed, collectors and tourists alike have pounced on the souvenir bills, with over 100,000 purchases of the commemorative banknote -which sells for three euros- to date. Marx was born in Trier, a city in southwest Germany, on May 5th, 1818.

The faux bill - which features a portrait of Karl Marx - is slightly larger than a 20 euro note, and is made of the same security paper used by the European Union currency.


Trump's Walk of Fame star mysteriously multiplies

trump star hollywood

Fake Trump Walk of Fame stars pop up on Aug. 9 after the president's real star was destroyed again. A crew laminated vinyl stars and placed them on blank squares in Hollywood.
Fake Trump Walk of Fame stars pop up on Aug. 9 after the president's real star was destroyed again. A crew laminated vinyl stars and placed them on blank squares in Hollywood.

Donald Trump's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame - destroyed on several occasions by detractors who sometimes wield a pick-ax - mysteriously multiplied over night so that on Thursday morning there were several dozen stars.

The effort comes from a conservative street artist who wishes to remain anonymous, but says he was motivated not only by the destruction of the president's real star, but also a recent unanimous vote by the West Hollywood City Council to recommend the removal of Trump's star due to accusations he has mistreated women.