Monday 21 September 2009

Newsfalsh! - September 2009

Welcome once again to Newsfalsh!, where we look at some of the news stories you may have missed the first time around.

Microsoft in web photo racism row

This made me laugh so hard when I read the first blurb. Microsoft, one of the biggest multi-national corporations in the world or indeed history, can still become affected by something as silly as casual racism. I would dearly love to be involved in the meeting where that decision was made (I don't speak Polish, but I'm paraphrasing and translating as best I can):

"Looks like the ad's about ready, want to take a look at it?"
"Wait, what's that in the photo?"
"It's a black person."
"I've never seen one of those before."
"Well, this has been sent over from the US arm of the business."
"Yeah, but have we EVER had a black person in one of OUR meetings?"
"I guess you're right, I'll get that changed."

Suggestions according to the article are that the Polish culture is predominantly white people, and thus they decided to change the face of the black man in order to do that. Now, I'm not the cultural attaché to Poland, but I'm sure they have at least SEEN black people in their lives, and thus the idea of a black person in existence shouldn't be that earth-shattering. I'm sure the Polish spirit can cope with the idea that black people are involved in meetings in many other countries. Besides, surely if they wanted to satisfy the largely white Polish community, they'd have done well to photoshop out the Asian gentleman behind him as well.

Ok, and say for argument's sake I supported the idea of removing the black guy from the photo completely. I don't, largely for the reasons stated above, coupled with a liberal dose of common sense. I do, however, believe that if you want to go about removing any sort of ethnicity from a person you should do it completely and NOT LEAVE THEIR FUCKING HANDS BLACK. I mean seriously, that shows a lack of attention to detail akin to the temp who signed for the wooden horse on behalf of Troy.

As if all that wasn't enough, it's not even a good photoshop job. Would YOU want a photo of this sort of photoshop quality on your website, especially if you were working for Microsoft, one of the most important corporations in the world? Surely they must have SOMEONE at Microsoft who can photoshop better than the guy they surely paid to do it. Well, in the spirit of shit photoshops, I thought I'd weigh in with my own. I did this for free as well, bear in mind.

Fake Dutch 'moon rock' revealed

I love stories like this for a very simple reason; Sometimes, in the span of human history there's a certain level of innocence to the actions of mankind. From the aforementioned Trojan Temp, all the way to Jim Henson deciding he'd be alright with just a Lemsip and an early night, humanity sometimes allows its sense of what's easiest to overshadow what's more logical.

Take, for instance, this news story. Rather than question the validity of a moon rock given to them by the Apollo 11 astronauts just under fourty years ago, or indeed even TAKE A GOOD LOOK AT THE MOON ROCK, the Dutch former Prime Minister was fine to just sit there and stare longingly, mouth agape, at what turned out to be a nice sturdy lump of wood.

Who was it who noticed? Was someone passing one day with another bit of wood, and noticed the similarities? Was there a visit of some local lumberjacks who'd never seen the 'moon rock' before? Was it as simple as someone being short of a doorstop and getting the rock out of the case for the first time?

See, more than anything, I'm intrigued by the technical and clearly very scientific tests that they must have done on this rock in order to ascertain that it was actually a piece of wood, so much so that I googled "How to tell a rock apart from a piece of wood"

Unfortunately, the search yielded no results of that variety. However, I do now know the best way to make a wooden bike. As well as the lyrics to "Piece of Wood and Steel" by David Allan Coe.

Named: The UK's Deadliest Biscuit.

Finally, a Facebook group I can get behind. Imagine it: Rob Wade becomes a fan of "NAME AND SHAME THE UK'S DEADLIEST BISCUITS!" Frankly, they've been getting away with it for too long, and it's got to stop. I'm amazed that there's not been one of those preachy television pledges, telling us that "Biscuit eaters need a voice, but they're choking on crumbs so give us money for a drink so they don't choke and stuff. Eight pounds a month should do it."

What troubles me about this article is that the makers of the Rocky biscuit have CALLED for this survey to be taken of biscuits. Why the hell would they want to do that? Were they sick of being told that Rocky was the most dangerous of all biscuits, causing more fatalities and injuries per capita than any other biscuit brand? You can see the logic to a degree.

"Your biscuit causes more deaths than any other."
"You're wrong...and I'll PROVE it!"

Reading some of these injuries makes for depressing reading, especially when you consider that the repeated injuries caused in this category led to the establishment of something called the Biscuit Injury Threat Evaluation (ahh, it abbreviates to BITE, how clever...). Ultimately, such injuries as "People poking themselves in the eye", "Falling off a chair while reaching for the biscuit tin" and "Suffering burns after dunking a biscuit in hot tea" can all be reclassified under the E14 Arsehole Stupidity Evolutionary Ladder, or EASEL.

Oh, and incidentally, Rocky bar didn't even place on the top ten riskiest biscuits. Probably because no fucker buys them at all.

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