Marxy Poppins

Artur Müller, librarian at Bremen’s Wasserbibliothek, has demonstrated that the story of Mary Poppins is actually a study in Communism, with references and symbolism littered throughout the books.

“The most obvious notion is that she (Mary Poppins) arrived on a wind from the East. What was the address? Cherry Tree Lane – cherries are red, a harbinger of the impending wave. What was the surname of the household? Banks!” says Artur, “What better way to say that the unruly and uncontrollable desire of capitalism can only be tempered by the chastisement and wisdom of a pure communist manifesto?”

He goes on to cite the various stories that were told, mostly centered around the working class and the folly of nobility, capitalism and private ownership. Inside her bag was an apron, boots, flannel nightgowns, all symbols of the working class. There was also a bottle of dark, red medicine.

The scene in which she pastes gingerbread stars bought Mrs. Corry on the sky is dripping in symbolism, he says.

“The star is a strong symbol of the socialist regime. Communism would march across the globe, just as the stars were painted on the sky. The flags of the world would all have stars upon them. When Mary Poppins danced with the planets, which we can take to be world leaders, and the sun, which is clearly a reference to Japan, her cheek was burned. This is a very real and open statement by (Travers) of her beliefs.”

Disney may or may not have understood the full intent, says Artur, but he has his concerns.

“The movie is interesting. The song, ‘A Spoon Full of Sugar’, when taken in context, is about a charge of gunpowder, that socialism would be enforced by the bullet if necessary, in order to ‘make the medicine go down’. Whether this is intentional, I am still looking into it,” he says, “Another, more blatant scene, besides the dancing sweeps and dismissal of investment over feeding the pigeons – or the masses – is the horse race. The protagonists make a big show of the insane, never ending carousel of Capitalism, and how when one breaks free from the cycle, one is truly free from the insanity.”

Artur is looking to publish his findings later this year.ChesterLogoSmall

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Talk like a Neanderthal

Ronald Treharn, of the Society of Ancestors, has released his latest breakthrough detailing the language, complete with grammar and pronunciation, of Neanderthals.

“We know that they have lips and tongues, and we know the shape of their mouths, their brains and their ears. Based on this, and cultures throughout the world, I have developed a form of linguistics that I believe accurately depicts their speech,” he says, “Don’t think of the speech as perfect sentences, rather an expression of abstract ideas.”

When asked for a sample, Ronald obliges, “The shortest and most common terms would be for shouting. Ba! – which means food – and Mek! – which means bad, or watch out – are short and unambiguous . Thus, Ger, a noise made at the back of the throat meaning sex, is for personal, quiet use.”

He goes on to explain that the meanings behind words would certainly be phonetically based. Words formed at the front of the mouth were more imperative than those formed at the back, for example, while guttural sounds contained an emphasis on the self.

“They would not have used the voiceless sibilant (s – sound). It was reserved for hushing a child or indicating surprise, rather than acting as part of a word. This leads to a further theory of mine that words were pronounced in a staccato fashion, each syllable enunciated with care. We can see that, because of the way the jaw is formed, and the apparent length of the tongue, lip-attitude is more important to the formation of words,” he says, “Thus Der-der would be an idiot or a dullard, while Wow means something wonderful.”

When pressed, he admitted, “I do think that there is a crossover from Neanderthal language to ancient languages, and these have carried through from the basic, grunts and utterances, all the way through the thousands of generations to today.”

Treharn is currently working on a book, detailing the language and its grammar.ChesterLogoSmall

Uber-Lice ain’t Uber-Hip

Lousy at it sounds, a new breed of lice has been discovered living almost exclusively in the beards of Hipsters.

The new breed, tentatively named “Pediculus hipsterus” after the place of its discovery, has larger claws, a thicker shell and is ideally suited to long, shaggy chin hair.

“It may well be that this louse has been around for a while, adapted to the facial hair of humans, and that we have only seen a resurgence in its population since the proliferation of the hipster lifestyle,” says Robert Deakin, Curator of the National Louse, Mite and Tick Association, “We have seen this before with fleas and mites, where a given species was thought to be extinct, only to reappear as society’s habits changed.”

This case is different, he goes on to say, in that the louse under question has never been catalogued before, and shows a particular predilection for long, shaggy beards, a favourite of the hipster movement. Not only this, the louse have shown a strong resilience to conventional treatments, requiring nothing less than physical removal to treat the problem.

“The usual anti-lice shampoos only slow them down. Eggs are attached more strongly. The correlation between the adoption of the hipster lifestyle and the discovery of these lice is too strong to ignore.”

When asked why other periods of high beard usage would not have seen such a creature, Robert replies, “It’s a myth that lice like dirty hair. In fact, the cleaner and more well groomed, the better. In the past, beards would have been hostile, dirty places to live. Hipsters are unique, in that they regularly clean their beards and have access to conditioners designed to soften the normally wiry hair. It is my theory that the shampoos, conditioners and perfumes used to maintain hipster beards is breeding this uber-lice.”ChesterLogoSmall

Whale Ranch

Agriculture experts have teamed up with scientists and engineers to develop the first ‘whale farm’, an enterprise that seeks to increase the population of whales with breeding programs, protected migration, controlled slaughter and even milking.

“The husbandry is similar to land-cattle. We are enlisting the help of engineers that specialise in aquatic environments to help design the equipment and machinery required,” says Brennan Horswich, head of the program based on the Ivory Coast ‘Ranch’, “It is a real team effort. [The venture] is expensive, yes, but worth it. Just think of the benefits such a program would bring!”

Logistics is not the biggest hurdle, he says, even though tracking and driving a pod of whales across the expanse of the ocean is a feat in itself. Problems lie in how to artificially inseminate whales, or, if this proves too difficult, to encourage the right bull to mate. Further issues arise in predator control, health checkups, birthing and ensuring that the whales are happy.

“There are three main economic benefits that will come of this. First, there is the tourism for eco-watchers. Secondly, we aim to be able to harvest the milk of the cows (female whales) in the same way as we do cattle. Thirdly, the meat, bones, skin and especially the blubber is amazingly valuable,” says Brennan Horswich, “Tourism is easy. For milking, we are creating launches that will act similar to a suckling whale and float gently underneath. The milk is very rich, very nutritious.”

Once the milk is harvested, it goes into great, cooled vats to be pasteurised and processed. While the taste is not to everyone’s palate, efforts are underway to provide cooking techniques and examine ways to filter unwanted flavours.

He goes on to say that until a painless and reliable slaughtering technique is devised, his team will concentrate on the tourism and milking aspects.

“In any case, with proper breeding and farming practices, we will end up with more whales, and healthier whales, than what we started with and this, we can all agree, is the greatest benefit of all.”ChesterLogoSmall

Global Warming Linked to Earthquakes

A team of Japanese seismologists and meteorologists have joined efforts to determine whether ambient temperature fluctuations have a bearing upon tectonic activity.

“It came as a surprise. We decided to compare [data from separate studies] on a whim, just to see if there was any link,” says Professor Yamato, Head Meteorologist in the study, “There is no direct correlation, not in a perfect sense, however we did see that the patterns of environmental fluctuations were followed, after the order of several years, by deviations in tectonic activity.”

In layman’s terms, it appears that there is a 14 or 15 year shift between extreme temperatures on the Earth’s crust manifesting and subsequent tectonic activities. Extreme cold and hot years cause a rippling effect, a contraction and expansion on a global scale, that disrupts the motion of tectonic plates.

“Think of it like metal fatigue. Thermal fluctuations cause ultra-long scale oscillations. Rapid expansion and contraction, and when I say rapid, I am talking about the order of years in this case, can loosen the macroscopic bonds, freeing up plates so that they move more easily.”

Professor Hiro, Head Seismologist, is more cautious when it comes to the claims.

“I will not accept that a hot spell ’causes’ earthquakes,” he says, “For that would be going too far. I will [accept that] there is a distinct and uncanny correlation between the two if we perform the time shift.”

He states that the Earth has a natural, complex cycle and that while his team’s research is potentially revolutionary, causality cannot be established with any confidence given the current research.

“More research is required, specialised and particular, and it will take many more years, I am afraid. I would hesitate to jump to any conclusions.”

An application for further research is expected to be submitted in the coming months.ChesterLogoSmall

18 Holes or 40 Winks?

Watching paint dry is more mentally stimulating than watching a match of golf, according to a report released by Neufchatel Research Insititute.

Candidates were given various interactive tasks, such as playing games or reading books, while others were given passive tasks such as watching television or, in some cases, watching paint dry. Each wore a calibrated cap hooked up to an EEG to record the activity of the brain.

While it may come as no surprise that passive tasks produced brain patterns closely resembling sleep, what scientists were not expecting is that watching golf produced similar results.

“In fact the brain was demonstrating cycles akin to phase 2 sleep in the ‘golf’ subjects. They had effectively switched off. The ‘paint’ subjects actually had a higher level of brain function,” says Renee Curvelle, member of the research team.

Delving into the possible causes of the result proved insightful.

“It seems that in a minority of candidates, watching the sport elicited an excited response. For the majority, though, their brain went through stages of annoyance, boredom, then active imagination to relieve that boredom, finally reaching a quiescent acceptance, at which point it shut down. The ‘paint’ watchers, in contrast, did not exhibit the acceptance stage and remained in the imagination stage,” Renee says.

The study hopes to shed light on sleep disorders related to over-stimulation of the brain and develop non-drug alternatives.

“It is possible that, in the future, rather than prescribing sedatives, we might find doctors prescribing a comfy chair and watching mundane sports like golf.”ChesterLogoSmall

The Best Medicine

Forget laughter as a cure-all, unless it’s part of a romp in the sheets. A new study reveals that the exercise and reproductive hormones that come as part of a sexually active lifestyle actually contribute greatly to health.

“The study was so conclusive,” says Jim Barker of the National Administration of Drugs and Procreation, “We were all shocked at the result. Sure, there is the obvious exercise and endorphin, but it’s more than that. Thirty minutes of sex, twice a week, had a more positive effect on the body’s overall health than daily, hour long exercise regimes.”

Scientists measured resting heart-rate, blood sugar and fat content, cortisone, salt and fluid levels, along with less tangible elements such as mood, alertness and cognitive ability. When compared to the control, candidates who did little or no exercise and did not engage in sexual activities, a sexually active lifestyle far outshone a lifestyle of exercise.

Other factors, including alcohol and tobacco consumption, age, level of education and the subject’s demographic were taken into consideration. Interestingly, these factors had little bearing on the overall results when it came to those who regularly made love.

“It’s like chalk and cheese. It’s easy to see how anecdotal evidence spawned this research. Those who had regular sex performed better across the board. They were less stressed at work, enjoyed life more and were fitter both mentally and physically. I wouldn’t be surprised if a doctor were to prescribe it as a precautionary measure.”

He stresses that maintaining a healthy diet and performing regular exercise outside of the bedroom is still recommended, despite the research.

He laughs, “Think of it as a super-food, a booster for your general well-being. Please, by all means, keep eating kale and carrots and going for runs, but, every now and then, drop the dumbbells and start playing sack races.”ChesterLogoSmall