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Muggle Quidditch? Cereally?

If you harbored a mental picture of Oxford students being all prim and proper, harbor it no more.

To onlookers it may have seemed outlandish and bizarre, but to these mostly teenage Oxford students it was the realisation of a dream. For Quidditch, the game they grew up reading about in the pages of Harry Potter books, is no longer a fictional activity played by witches and wizards in the air. It is a fast-paced and disconcertingly rough team sport that is played firmly on the ground and results in very real cuts and bruises.
Instead of flying, players run with broomsticks between their legs, and instead of a golden ball with wings attached, the Snitch is a person dressed in yellow.

One student is quoted as saying he hopes to make people "see Quidditch as a sport in its own right".

Yes, i'm sure many share your hopes and aspirations that a game involving young adults running around grasping a stick between their legs will one day be taken seriously.

You know what would have been kewl? If they loved the game in the books so much that they developed some sort of device that actually levitated and flew like the broomsticks in the Harry Potter books. With science and genius and all that. That i could have gotten behind. Instead we get this.

This just makes me sad (and yes, those are capes).

Damn you, J.K. Rowling!

By min | January 23, 2012, 2:39 PM | Boooooks & Ummm... Other? | Comments (0)| Link

I've Always Advocated Lying to Your Parents

For two reasons.
1) The truth will inevitably earn you a lecture on what you're doing wrong and how this will ruin your life which you'd realize if only you weren't too stupid to see it for yourself but luckily you have parents who are wiser and aren't afraid to offer advice. Best to tell a lie that is close to what they want to hear, but not exactly because that would be too obviously a lie.


2) What they don't know, they can't use against you at some future date. It doesn't matter how innocuous you think it is, it will most certainly be used against you in some way at some point. It will come when you least expect it, and it will be in a form you could never have foreseen. Trust me.

So, as i've always advised my younger sister, LIE.

Next week's lunar new year is China's biggest festival. It can also be a major headache for those returning home without a potential spouse. Pressure on young adults to settle down goes into overdrive, as gathering family members begin the inquisition and line up possible candidates.

Taking a boyfriend or girlfriend home is a fast way to curb the speculation, which is why Li, like other twentysomethings, has hired a fake partner through an online agency.


"I don't need him to stay long, just one night, New Year's Eve, and he can just say work is busy and he has to go back the next day, like [the guy I hired] last year," she said.

There's always the chance you might be getting involved with someone untrustworthy who will turn into a stalker or a burglar or something. But when faced with the alternative - a weekend spent being made to feel guilty for upsetting your parents as well as having all your shortcomings discussed by the entire family loudly and repeatedly - i can see why they would take the chance and shell out the cash.

And, hey, is it such a strange idea? I'm sure there are plenty of people out there who asked a friend to pretend to be their SO at a wedding or reunion their ex was also attending. It's a fairly common movie theme. There's The Wedding Date, a movie about a woman who hires a male escort to play he boyfriend at her sister's wedding.

And let's not forget the lengths the characters in The Wedding Banquet go to keep the main character's parents from discovering he's gay. As we all know, if it's in a movie or on tv, it must be true.

By min | January 20, 2012, 9:25 PM | Ummm... Other? | Comments (0)| Link

I Just...I Mean.....Pockets! C'Mon!

Thanks to fudge005 for bringing this article to my attention.

There are a lot of annoying things about being a woman, like periods, childbirth and not being able to play basketball in a way that keeps spectators awake. But near the top of the list has got to be buying clothes.
One thing I think a lot of men take for granted is pockets. It seems like men always have pockets. They're a requirement in men's pants, men's coats always have functional pockets and I guess even men's prison jumpsuits must have them, since I hear about people smuggling goods into prison all the time.

Women's clothing manufacturers, on the other hand, seem to believe women can't be trusted with pockets. Something like 99 percent of dresses have no pockets at all, and the more formal you get, the more likely a women's coat or pants pocket is going to be a fake, decorative pocket.

What the fuck is with the decorative pocket? Is that just to fake me out? You went to the trouble of designing it. Just add a little pouch so i have somewhere to put my stuff!

I know the arguments -- "But women's clothes are so carefully cut and tailored. If you put anything in a pocket, it would bulge and look bad!" That's bullshit.
Sure, there will be unsightly bulges if they put too much in their pockets, but the solution isn't to take them away -- the solution is to trust women to have the common sense to not put a bag of rocks in their pocket. These pockets are just fine for carrying a key or some cash or credit cards, and it's stupid to not give anyone that option because some idiot might try to put, I don't know, night-vision goggles or a piece of cake in their pocket.

If you're interested in finding out what the other 6 things are about women's clothing that baffles the author the most, read the rest here. She even throws in a nod to Liefeld (Liefeld!! Arrgghh!!! *shakes fist*)

By min | January 19, 2012, 6:38 PM | Ummm... Other? | Comments (0)| Link

Group Work Stifles Genius

We here at SuperMegaMonkey fully support The Introvert. See here if you have an introvert, and you're worried about how to properly care for them.

That said, here's an article about why having to work in groups all the time sucks. (h/t wnkr, a fellow introvert)

Research strongly suggests that people are more creative when they enjoy privacy and freedom from interruption. And the most spectacularly creative people in many fields are often introverted, according to studies by the psychologists Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and Gregory Feist. They're extroverted enough to exchange and advance ideas, but see themselves as independent and individualistic. They're not joiners by nature.
And yet. The New Groupthink has overtaken our workplaces, our schools and our religious institutions. Anyone who has ever needed noise-canceling headphones in her own office or marked an online calendar with a fake meeting in order to escape yet another real one knows what I'm talking about. Virtually all American workers now spend time on teams and some 70 percent inhabit open-plan offices, in which no one has "a room of one's own." During the last decades, the average amount of space allotted to each employee shrank 300 square feet, from 500 square feet in the 1970s to 200 square feet in 2010.
Studies show that open-plan offices make workers hostile, insecure and distracted. They're also more likely to suffer from high blood pressure, stress, the flu and exhaustion. And people whose work is interrupted make 50 percent more mistakes and take twice as long to finish it.

Many introverts seem to know this instinctively, and resist being herded together. [yay, introverts! --min]


Solitude can even help us learn...Conversely, brainstorming sessions are one of the worst possible ways to stimulate creativity...The "evidence from science suggests that business people must be insane to use brainstorming groups," wrote the organizational psychologist Adrian Furnham. "If you have talented and motivated people, they should be encouraged to work alone when creativity or efficiency is the highest priority."

The reasons brainstorming fails are instructive for other forms of group work, too. People in groups tend to sit back and let others do the work; they instinctively mimic others' opinions and lose sight of their own; and, often succumb to peer pressure. The Emory University neuroscientist Gregory Berns found that when we take a stance different from the group's, we activate the amygdala, a small organ in the brain associated with the fear of rejection. Professor Berns calls this "the pain of independence."

The one important exception to this dismal record is electronic brainstorming, where large groups outperform individuals; and the larger the group the better. The protection of the screen mitigates many problems of group work. This is why the Internet has yielded such wondrous collective creations. Marcel Proust called reading a "miracle of communication in the midst of solitude," and that's what the Internet is, too. It's a place where we can be alone together -- and this is precisely what gives it power.

Remember having to do group projects in school and there was always that one slacker you ended up with who never did anything so the rest of you had to do more work since your grade was riding on it? Grr...

I've rarely attended a meeting at work where actual things were decided on, where progress was made. They usually end up being 2 hours of saying the same 3 things over and over again because people aren't paying attention, or they are paying attention but they don't understand words unless they're coming out of their own mouths. And then we all get assigned some task that's part of the bigger project and told to go work on it for the next meeting. You know what? Could you have just emailed that task to me so i could save myself the trouble of wasting those 2 hours of my life that i will never get back?

The author of this article also wrote a book titled "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking". I'm thinking of buying copies and just leaving them everywhere. I don't know why i'm thinking that. It just seems the thing to do.

By min | January 17, 2012, 11:41 AM | Ummm... Other? | Comments (0)| Link

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