I just printed a 200-page document twice. And twice I had a paper jam (one for each copy). So far nothing amazing. But both of the paper jams occurred at the exact same page (page 96) with exactly the same kind of paper jam.

Now I really wonder, if there are some documents (or pages) which are inherently more likely to cause a paper jam and what exactly could cause such a phenomena …

If you’re at EPFL in October, then you should consider to join the Assassins Game, organized by the GSA.

If elephants mourn their dead and if gorillas can learn sign language, then I wonder how long it will take for progressive, religious zealots, who at least consider the idea that higher animals might have a soul, before they’ll try to preach whatever they consider to be holy scriptures to these pour souls.

I love whipped cream and I’ve always found it somewhat annoying that it has to come with an alibi cake, which only dilutes its true flavor.

So, on more than one occasion, I simply took the can of whipped cream and sprayed it directly into my mouth.

Until yesterday, I thought that this was a rather rare habit. But know I know that Kent Brockman does this with *two* cans at the same time! Just have a look here and search for “starts spraying them into his mouth”.

So I now I have a new idol … and a new idea to try!

Some things you might not know about animals:

1. Homosexuality, oral sex and even threesomes are common among animals.

2. Even dogs can do the “multiple choice reasoning”: I’m supposed to get the toy “xyz”, but I’ve never heard this name before. But as I know all the other 9 out of 10 toys here, it must be this one. …. Amazing. Read more about Rico.

3. Elephants show some mourning behavior for the dead. [Note, that these are only the “conservative” scientifically verified observations.]

4. Elephants can paint pictures. [I know, the elephant was trained to paint such pictures, but I still find it interesting. There are also untrained, abstract paintings.]

5. Elephants can play the drums in a very steady way.

6. Gorillas can take care of cats.

7. Ok, this is very debated, but there a strong indications that Koko knows GSL (gorilla sign language). See a video here. (Just skip to minute 2 or so, and then skip the annoying breaks.) It seems highly plausible to me, but then the amount of “creativity” in the language that is reported is hard to verify, as Koko’s trainer is pretty much the only (biased) source of information.

8. Chimpanzees understand what other know and will deceive others.

This is mostly a post for myself as I don’t want to forget three sights, which I made in Cambridge, UK, over the summer.

1. A man playing a guitar in a garbage. On Magdalene Street outside of St. John’s College there’s a big garbage can which you (apparently) can open from the back. So this musician managed to squeeze himself and his instrument in so that the neck of the guitar came out of the slit used for disposing of garbage. This struck me both as rather creative and, somehow, as very British.

2. A free hugger. I had heard/read about the Free Hugs Campaign before, but I had never seen this “live”. I thought a moment about hugging the guy, but not because I needed a hug but because I thought he’d feel good about this. But this then struck me as a rather motivation, and so I didn’t. Still, a fantastic idea … and also exemplary for how screwed up this whole liability issue is in the US. (The initial campaign had to be stopped as the founder did not have public liability insurance.)

3. Lots of rabbits on the ground of Churchill College, close to the Astronomy Department. Ok, this sight you can probably not appreciate. But I had simply never seen so many rabbits have a nibble-in (or whatever the name for their gathering is) in such a close distance. Of course, I’m aware that they are a plague and that their holes are constant concerns to the groundkeepers, but they will simply cute.

Ok, I know it’s cheap to just point to other pages, but here are two true (!) inspiring stories I only heard about for the first time over the summer, though both happened some time ago.

Have you ever heard of Cliff Young? No? Well, neither had I. But when it comes to an inspiring running story, then his story is hard to beat. He won the first Westfield Sydney to Melbourne Ultra Marathon, covering a mere 875km. So much nothing extraordinarily inspiring. But he won this race at the age of 61 … running in gumboots … without ever stopping to sleep.

Kind of embarassing to all the other young, professional runners with their high tech equipment. Cliff used to be a sheep farmer and reported that the frequently had to round up sheep while running 2-3 days non-stop. Needless to say that he immediately became somewhat of an Australian national hero.

But maybe you’ve heard of Philippe Petit? Still no? Oh, well. He only put up a rope between the two twin towers of the WTC in 1974 … and then walked back and forth for about 45 minutes … without any safeguards. Of course, this was not authorized by anybody and so it is (justly) referred to as “the artistic crime of the century“.

His story is also truely amazing. I mean, how do you get up all the equipment without being spotted? And how do you get a 450 pound rope across? This requires some serious planning. I highly recommend the recently released film Man on Wire. Philippe has a captivating personality and his passion or, admittedly, obsession has an inspiring touch to it.

Pelmanism, also known as “Memory” or “Pairs”, is this simple (in terms of its rules) game where the goal is to find all matching pairs in a deck of face-down cards. Details can be found here. A pair of guys are currently playing it in the Churchill College Bar.

Given all their geeky talk, they must be either compscis (“computer scientists” in the local language), mathmos (mathematicians) or at least natscis (natural scientists). But they don’t seem to play Pelmanism rationally.

Personally, I always disliked this game as I have a horribly poor memory. But at least I’m aware that “maximal curiosity ” is not the best strategy. Concretely, on the second move, if you don’t remember a card matching the first card already turned over, you should *not* turn over a new card, as this potentially reveals information to the opponent. This is pretty obvious and even described in the Wikipedia article.

However, to their honor, I must admit that they came up with a new variant (new at least to me), where every card has a different face value. So a pair of 10’s counts ten points, but a pair of 2’s only counts two points.

This has to be a joke: a vending machine, here at Churchill College, with a sign “This machine has been emptied of all monies.”

I mean, ok, the statement might have been true just before I paid for my coke. But what then happened to my 50p? I expected the sign to self-destruct but, given that it didn’t, I can only assume that my coin has been magically teleported away.

[On a side note, the (correct) use of the plural of “money” did sound a bit odd to me.]


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