General Election: David Cameron’s Family Tree Edition

In an interview with Heat magazine, David Cameron has let slip that he is 13th cousin to Kim Kardashian.

I first read about it on April Fool’s Day, and thought it might just be an inspired prank; but he gave the interview several days previously and it seems to be legit. The Daily Mail even put together this handy graphic, showing their joint family tree:

David Cameron Kim Kardashian

It’s strange how the ‘Giant Arse’ gene can express itself in such different ways, isn’t it?


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In a recent post I alluded to a recent law ensuring plain cigarette branding, with only brand names and health warnings allowed.

This is to make cigarettes less glamorous, so smokers don’t think they look like this…

Lauren Bacall Smoking…but like this…

Ugly Smoker

The Puritans in Parliament won’t be happy with Georges Bizet, because in his opera Carmen*, he has a Cigarettes Chorus:

Regardez-les! Regards impudents,

Mine coquette! Fumant toutes

Du bout des dents, la cigarette.

Dans l’air; nous suivons des yeux la fumée,

Qui vers les cieux monte, monte, parfumée.

Cela monte gentiment à la tête, tout doucement,

Cela vous mets l’âme en fête!

Look at them! Impudent glances,

Flirtatious looks! All smoking,

At the end of their teeth, a cigarette.

In the air, we follow with our eyes the smoke,

Which towards the sky, mounts, perfumed.

It climbs gently to ones head, sweetly

It puts your soul on holiday!

Absolutely beautiful. I’m surprised the tobacco industry don’t take it up as their theme song.

I mention this because yesterday I went to see the Welsh National Opera perform a show called Chorus! at the Theatre Royal. It was a selection of opera’s chorus numbers, with Lesley Garrett providing the occasional solo.

Other highlights for me were the Spinning Chorus from Wagner‘s The Flying Dutchman:

And finally the Anvil Chorus from Verdi‘s Il Trovatore:

It was a wonderful show, and I look forward to watching the same company perform Mozart‘s The Magic Flute tomorrow.

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The A-Z of Music: R

You’d best put seatbelts on your ears, ‘cos I’m gonna take them for the ride of their lives.

This is ‘Gimme Shelter‘ by the Rolling Stones (with female vocal backing by Merry Clayton).

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General Election: Scottish National Party Edition

The starting gun has been fired for the General Election. In a series of blog posts I’ll look at some of the key players and arguments in election campaign. First off, the…

Scottish National Party

The Scottish National Party, or SNP for short, is a party committed to making Scotland an independent country.

Ex-leader Alex Salmon almost persuaded Scotland to quit the UK last year. Now, under Nicola Sturgeon, it looks likely the SNP will win most of the Scottish seats in the UK Parliament – making them the third largest party and king-maker.

Alex Salmon and Nicola Sturgeon

Alex Salmon and Nicola Sturgeon

Economy spokesman, Hamish Trout, has committed the party to taxing high earners and reducing austerity – causing consternation among more affluent English voters if the party should prop up a left-wing Labour government.

Perhaps more worrying are the Culture spokeswoman, Morag Haddock’s plans to replace the National Anthem with ‘Hoots Mon, There’s A Moose Loose Aboot This Hoose‘, Received Pronunciation with Sean Connery‘s accent and the image of the Queen with that of Wee Jimmy Krankie on all stamps and coins.

Wee Jimmy Krankie

The real importance of the SNP’s success lies in the changed relationship between Scotland and the rest of the Union. It is well-known that the SNP wants to break up the 300 year old marriage, despite its outstanding success – and will continue to push to do so.

Even falling short of this, it is likely that Scotland will get more powers to set its own taxes and decide how to spend the revenues. This has led to demands that England and Wales should get similar powers.

There are questions about whether Scottish MPs should be allowed to vote on English matters, or whether this should be reserved for English MPs only. Wiser heads question whether MPs should be allowed to vote on anything at all, with any signs of clear-thinking, consistency or courage still forthcoming.

Plain Cigarette UK Constitution

One thing all MPs can agree on is that it’s good news that they have recently passed legislation to introduce plain cigarette packaging, as this will leave more space for them to hastily write out a new Constitution in the weeks after the election.


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Is It Just Me Or…

…are kids becoming teenagers much sooner now?

My 11 year old sister is doing a pretty good impression of Kevin the Teenager right now:

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Camera On Cameron

Speaking of egregious howlers committed to celluloid, Prime Minister David Cameron seems to have put his foot in it by ruling out a third term during a television interview*.

Everyone is now wondering whether he’ll be a lame-duck PM, and there’s even speculation about a Tory leadership contest.



Mr Cameron made his frank comments in an interview with the BBC. Viewers were treated to scenes of the PM making a meal in his designer kitchen, slicing up carrots, and talking with this beautiful wife; fueling speculation that the PM is bidding to become the new Jamie Oliver on retiring from politics.

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If He Only Had A Brain

For the last several months, I’ve been working on a website called Mathematics Monster. I hope that one day it will be the go-to website for people wanting to find out about any mathematical subject.

Today, I have been writing about Pythagoras’ theorem:

In a right angled triangle:

the square of the hypotenuse is equal to
the sum of the squares of the other two sides

More visually, if you have a right angled triangle (where one angle is 90°), and draw squares onto each of the sides…

pythagoras_visualization…then the area of the red square is equal to the area of the blue square added to the area of the yellow square.

This is useful for those wanting to pass Maths exams*, but a little dry.

So I added a little bit of movie trivia…

In The Wizard Of Oz**, Scarecrow joins Dorothy and the gang’s quest to find the Wizard, hoping to get a brain:

I hope it’s no great spoiler to tell you that Dorothy & Co. finally reach the Wizard, and after melting the Wicked Witch of West are duly rewarded with a ride back to Kansas, a brain, a heart, and  ‘the noive’***. But, once Scarecrow is given a brain and handed a Diploma, the straw-headed nincompoop only goes and commits one of the most egregious mathematical howlers ever committed to celluloid.

He says…

scarecrow“The sum of the square roots of any two sides of an isosceles triangle is equal to the square root of the remaining side”

..which is neither Pythogoras’ theorem nor correct.

That Wizard of Oz, eh?! You’d think he’s some charlatan hiding behind a curtain, pulling on levers…

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