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Thu, 23 Nov 2017
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Cringe factor! The 10 most awkward moments of #GE2017

© AFP / Reuters / Global Look Press
Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May, Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron.
What's a general election without a few gaffes, blunders and car-crash interviews? Here are the top 10 most cringe-inducing moments in the race to Number 10.

1. Diane Abbott exits stage... left?

Labour's former Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott has had a tough ride throughout the election campaign, stepping aside on Wednesday on the grounds of ill health.

One moment that stands out, however, was her blunder while speaking at the Police Federation national conference.


Jonathan Pie: UK General Election 2017

© Peter Brookes
An analysis of the UK General Election 2017, from intrepid UK News reporter Jonathan Pie.

Warning: contains strong language


Russian supermarket staff & customers unfazed by armed robber; send him away without a fuss

© ЧП 360 / YouTube
Footage of a failed robbery attempt at a Russian supermarket shows a cashier nonchalantly scanning groceries while being held at gunpoint, before the perpetrator leaves the store empty-handed like a guilty schoolboy.In the CCTV video from a grocery store in Moscow Region, the female cashier is seen serving a customer when an unmasked man, wearing a black coat and a hat, enters the shop and heads directly to the cash register. He then produces a gun and points it right at the cashier's head.

However, contrary to all expectations, no drama follows. Demonstrating tranquility worthy of a Buddhist monk, the woman continues to serve her customer, who also appears to be totally unmoved by the armed perpetrator.

The only person who seems concerned is a man who is seen entering the shop and retreating as soon as he notices the gun.


Potty paper...what it reveals about your personality

© PsyBlog
Do you hang your toilet roll with the end of the paper hanging 'over' or with the end hanging 'under'? According to a survey by Dr Gilda Carle, 'over' people are more assertive. Assertive people are more likely to be in leadership roles and to have a take-charge attitude, says Dr Carle.

Those hanging the roll 'under' are more likely to be submissive. Submissive people tend to be more agreeable, flexible and empathetic, says Dr Carle.

To create the toilet paper personality test, Dr Carle surveyed around 2,000 people of all ages, asking them whether they rolled the paper over or under. Some people, Dr Carle has found, actually switched the toilet roll in other people's houses (around one in five). Naturally it was those 'over' people imposing their dominant personality on submissive 'unders'.

The rich roll over. Rolling under might also be linked to lower earnings, another survey has found. 73% of those earning under $20,000 rolled under, while 60% of those earning over $50,000 roll over.

(Who knew there were so many surveys on toilet roll alignment?)
© PsyBlog

Comment: What did the toilet paper say to the 'bum'? "Let's stay in touch." What did the 'bum' say to the toilet paper? "You're on a roll."


BlessU-2! Robot 'priest' offers automated blessings at German church

A robot priest that beams lights from its hands is giving 'auto-blessings' in the German city of Wittenberg.
A robot priest that beams lights from its hands and grants automated 'blessings' to people is being met with mixed reactions at a church in Germany.

The robot, called BlessU-2, was developed by the Evangelical Church in Hesse and Nassau.

With its metallic body and touch screen, the robot asks a person what blessing they want, after which it raises its arms and appears to smile. Lights then start to flash as the robot says "God bless and protect you" and recites a biblical verse. After the blessing, the user can printout the dictum.

Take a look at how the robot priest operates in this video:


Journalist whisperer: Lavrov gives perfect answer to extremely boring question

© Russia Insider
Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov shows once again why he's an all-star diplomat

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is an experienced journalist whisperer—giving him all the skills he needs to subdue feral members of the press.

Sometimes these wild beasts ask questions so profoundly mindless that you can actually feel your brain-cells being kidnapped by ISIS and lowered into a shark tank.


Union Jack to be replaced with a picture of a mug of tea

© News Thump
The Union Jack is to be replaced by a flag with a picture of mug of tea on it to better reflect the British spirit.

Plans announced by the government would replace the criss-crosses of red, white and blue with a shot of a lovely cup of hot brown just before it has a Hobnob dunked in it for the first time.

The change will mean all future marches by the EDL and BNP will have to be carried out with members dressed like the Tetley Tea Folk, which will be a great improvement.

The Treasury has approved the proposals, reasoning that anyone owning Union Jack merchandise will have to go out and buy a replacement meaning bumper additional revenues.

"It's what Britain is all about, really," said spokesman Simon Williams.


Meteorite that struck a woman sells for more than its weight in gold

The recently sold bit of Sylacauga meteor, worth 18 times more than gold (Christie's)
At 2:46 P.M. on November 30, 1954, 34-year-old Ann Hodges of Sylacauga, Alabama, was napping on her couch. Suddenly a nine-pound object bashed through the ceiling of her home, smashed into her radio, ricocheted off and hit her in the thigh, reports Kat Eschner at Smithsonian.com. The object was a meteorite and it left a nasty bruise in the only well-documented case of a person being struck by a rock from space. A piece of that meteorite sold last week at auction at Christie's fetching more money per gram than gold.

As Daryl Pitt, a meteorite consultant for the auction house, tells Rae Paoletta at Gizmodo, the 10.3-gram specimen of meteorite sold for $7,500. "By way of example, the price of 24K gold today is $39.05/g," Pitt says, "and so this specimen sold for 18.5 times its weight in gold."


Babushka blues: Video of Belarus granny playing guitar with a light bulb goes viral

© Згомеля Католік / YouTube
Lydia Drobyshevskaya
A video of a Belarusian granny in the street playing blues on the guitar with a light bulb has so far received over six million views.

Most of the people commenting on the viral YouTube video were touched by the performance, and wondered about the woman's fate.


Stanky Bean & Dorkwood: This is what happens when AI invents paint colors

Who came up with these names? Welp, it wasn't an AI.
At some point, we've all wondered about the incredibly strange names for paint colors. Research scientist and neural network goofball Janelle Shane took the wondering a step further. Shane decided to train a neural network to generate new paint colors, complete with appropriate names. The results are possibly the greatest work of artificial intelligence I've seen to date.

Writes Shane on her Tumblr, "For this experiment, I gave the neural network a list of about 7,700 Sherwin-Williams paint colors along with their RGB values. (RGB = red, green, and blue color values.) Could the neural network learn to invent new paint colors and give them attractive names?"

Shane notes that, at first, the algorithm seemed to be forming words that are a combination of brown, blue, and gray. Shane told Ars that she chose a neural network algorithm called char-rnn, which predicts the next character in a sequence. So basically the algorithm was working on two tasks: coming up with sequences of letters to form color names, and coming up with sequences of numbers that map to an RGB value. As she checked in on the algorithm's progress, she found that it was able to create colors long before it could actually name them reliably.