How to scare your fellow Europeans this Halloween.

If you’re still looking for a costume for tonight, do not despair. Dispenser, your ultimate supplier of unrequired wisdom, has an answer for you: the British nuclear scientist.

mad-scientist

British nuclear scientist at work

Since you most probably live in England, you are aware that the Government has recently reached an agreement with the French company EDF to build a new nuclear power plant in Somerset, called Hinkley Point C.

This seems to be part of a broader Governmental plan to enhance atomic power resources in the country, a sort of New-Deal for nuclear nostalgic post-Fukushima. Meanwhile in Europe, member countries are gradually dismantling  their reactors and switching to other sources of power, like wind, solar and hydroelectric. Germany, which is bigger than UK by population and geographic area, is steadily phasing out its nuclear plants to adopt a more linear path towards renewables.

But I see what you are saying: switching to your hippy-go-green windmill is going to be costly. Let me tell you something.

From November 23rd your electricity bill will be 10.5% more expensive than last month and, while UK utilities are performing much better on the stock market compared to their counterparts in Europe, energy prices in Britain have increased of around 28% over the last 4 years vis-à-vis 8% on the other side of the English channel.

A guy even took pen and paper and started doing some math. Do you know what he found out? That in a year or so the price of power in UK will be something like 85% more expensive than in Germany.

And do you know the reason? The German advanced renewable energy program is keeping the prices down – and it can be easily replicated (with less mistakes) in the UK as well.

So now off you go, to your Halloween party! Go scare the hell out of your friends, threatening their existence on this very earth as a British nuclear scientist – and don’t forget to ask them money: you’re not going to build a nuclear plant with a simple smile.

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What you have missed in this week’s show.

Germany US Allies Spying

Frau Merkel taking a selfie with her new phone
(photo credit: AP)

In spite of the ferocious storm raging outside, our team has managed to get Dispenser on air this Monday as well.

With our yellow ocean jackets on, we discussed with reporter and blogger Michael Ertl the NSA phone hacking scandal implications and the reaction of European governments to this massive US surveillance program.

Then, we imagined how Jonathon “the Impaler” Sharkey would deal with NSA spying on German Chancellor Angela Merkel if he was the American President and, now that we are dealing with storms and scandals, why not read a book about the conspiracy behind the death of Pope John Paul I and his thirty-three days of papacy: A Thief in the Night by John Cornwell.

If you have enjoyed the show, we’ll be hijacking Smoke Radio once again next week at 6pm.

This week’s soundtrack:

Satellite of Love – Lou Reed:

Mr. Telephone Man – New Edition;

You Got It – Jacuzzi Boys;

This Too Shall Pass – Ok Go.

It’s not what it looks like! European phone conversations are pretty boring.

something more

Mr. Obama enjoys the view on Europe. photo courtesy El Jueves

This week it came out the American government has been listening extensively to our phone calls, reading our emails and finishing the toilet paper in European bathrooms without replacing the roll.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel didn’t take it well and she has made clear that “Friends don’t spy on each other”. Friends are only allowed to switch girlfriends every once in a while – not spy, though.

The US government released a statement saying that “Merkel’s phone conversations were boring anyhow”, in fact a couple of NSA agents committed suicide after spending the last three years listening to the German Chancellor calling the local wurstel and sauerkraut delivery place across the street to get lunch.

Plenty of other NSA agents quitted their job a couple of years ago: they are now running a well-known brothel on the outskirts of Milan, providing girls to former Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi. After spending years and years listening to Berlusconi’s conversations, they had their phone book filled with call-girls and escorts cell phone numbers so they decided to undertake a more lucrative business.

Even Spain was targeted by the NSA but for a whole other reason: the US wanted to know how a country can sustain itself while taking so many siestas. NSA, Nasa and Stephen Hawking are still busy doing the math and it seems they haven’t come up with a solution just yet. NSA tried to ask physicist Peter Higgs to solve this incomprehensible paradox but he replied that discovering God’s particle was surely easier.

Dispenser, the radio show.

dispenser pop art

If you’ve enjoyed this blog so far, there are chances you might appreciate our new radio show – Dispenser, your weekly supplier of random knowledge for awkward situations.

Hopefully we are going to be on air every Monday from 6 to 7pm London time, live streaming on Smoke Radio for the pleasure of your ears. In the meantime, a horde of monkeys are finalizing the script for tomorrow’s program while our team is sipping fine Chardonnay on the porch. Or the other way around, I don’t remember.

Anyhow, since we are going to air a pilot, tomorrow’s program will be rather essential but I ensure you by next week we are going to have the best jingle ever, a spectacular guest line-up and tons of unrestrained hedonism.

But I know you are curious and you want to have a preview of what is going to happen on Dispenser. Here’s a glimpse:

– The do-it-yourself religion: how God has changed in the open source era;

– The unusual comfort of Pop Art Design. An insight of the Barbican Art Gallery exhibition;

– Book of the week. The Paris Review Volume 1.

Tune in and take part in this bizarre mean of communication, so delicate and superbly mysterious.

the Gay-o-Meter

gaydar

Smile, Kuwait thinks you’re gay. Last century there was Lombroso and his theories on linking the shape of human heads to the attitude of criminal behavior. Which was proved pretty wrong.

Now, Director of Public Health in Kuwait Yousuf Mindkar declares that the country is developing a new, secret gay-o-meter to prevent gays and lesbians from entering Gulf Cooperation Countries, which include Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

That’s mainly because gays don’t match Mr. Mindkar’s purse.

However, the gaydar, or the study to assess the homosexuality of a specific person, is not a new concept in the scientific community. Although the Government of Kuwait is treating the gay-o-meter as an issue of national security, soon every expatriate will be tested to ensure his or her complete heterosexuality when crossing the border.

The question I’ve been asking myself for the last couple of days was simply how can you tell if somebody is homosexual as long as he’s not riding a unicorn singing a Britney Spears song while crossing the border.

It is hard to say based on the information given by the Kuwaiti Government although it is legitimate to think that it might be set on a test called “Gaydar” which is meant to judge empirically someone’s sexual orientation. The main idea behind the “Gaydar” is spotting with high accuracy whether a person is homosexual based on race, ethnicity, nationality and facial features, such as eyes shape, the pronunciation of the letter ‘s’ and hair style.

Based on this I would be judged not even gay, but a woman instead.

Unfortunately the test does not hold a high rate of accuracy since the percentage of certainty is stuck around 60 per cent.

Which, basically, is the same percentage of determining heads or tails when flipping a coin.

The banality of evil

priebke

I’ve always wondered how it was possible for anyone to be living next to a Nazi. Erich Priebke, the former SS captain that never spent a single day in a prison, lived in Rome until his death last week. He was 100 years of age.

Imagine how it is like to come home to your family, at night, and find him on the door step waving at you, like any other grandpa in Italy. The only difference is that he killed in cold blood 335 civilians while sipping fine cognac in one single day.

On March 1944 he pulled the trigger of his firearm. Again and again for 335 times. He aimed at people’s head with the pure intent of killing them despite their age or gender. “Ten Italians for each German SS killed” was the order.

Now that he passed away, it seems nobody wants to have anything to do with his body. Germany is suddenly deaf. Italy and the Vatican refuse to have him buried under their soil. Argentina, where Priebke spent 50 years of his life before being extradited to Italy, said the casket is not welcome in the country.

Somebody suggested to disperse his ashes in the Ardeatine caves, where he ordered and executed the slaughter. Some others brought up the solution adopted for another SS chief, Adolf Eichmann, and spread the ashes in the ocean to prevent any pilgrimage to his tombstone.

I would suggest the third way: organize him a Jewish funeral and bury him in Israel. He mocked us with his unrepentant smirk for 100 long years – now it’s our turn to have fun.

Giuseppe Verdi would twerk better than Miley Cyrus

Giuseppe Verdi, the great Italian composer, was born 200 years ago today in a little town called Le Roncole, not far from my hometown.

There are many stories about him: the Maestro was turned down when he applied to study music at the Milan Conservatory, for example. And for many years it’s been said his second opera was such a fiasco the public booed him and the cast.

Despite being a grouchy old man with glacial eyes under his topper, Verdi keeps on living in the collective imaginary as one of the best composers of all time. And if he was still alive, he would have been the greatest rock star of our generation.

The ignored article that could have changed the course of history.

George W. Bush will never be considered the brightest US President of all time.

Partly because of this

bush dance

And to some extent because of this

bush exit strategy

At some point during his presidency though, he ignored (among other things) a long article that the former representative of Ayatollah Khamenei and now president of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, wrote on Time Magazine suggesting a detailed path to improve Iranian-American talks on nuclear weapons, reaching out to the international community and advocating the creation of an international consortium that would manage the Iranian uranium enrichment project.

In other words, back in May 2006, Rouhani delivered to press the possible and credible solution to stop the frictions between the two countries in eight, detailed bullet points. He made clear that “a nuclear weaponized Iran destabilizes the region” and he was willing, backed by the Supreme Leader, to talk straight about the Iranian nuclear project.

Although the article appeared on one of the leading magazines in the world, it was broadly ignored by the Bush administration probably because the president had other arrangements for that night

bush turkey

But that article, if someone in the White House had read it, could have changed the course of history indeed.

Gender equality is faking orgasms.

There are things in life I do not fully understand. First being the exact distance when you are supposed to hold the door for someone who is approaching. You don’t want to be rude, of course, but at some point you’ll look like a doorman.

The second thing I don’t fully get is how men can fake orgasms. Because, according to a study conducted by Datingadvice.com, it seems that 1 in 4 men say they have faked at least one orgasm in their lives.

Twenty two per cent of American adults have revealed their outstanding skill of faking the climax of libido when making love to their partners.

Two quick questions, though: why would they do that? And, most importantly, how?

“Men tend to fake for similar reasons that women fake: to help their partner’s ego, to not hurt their partner’s feelings, to end sex so that they can go to sleep or go home,” said Debby Herbenick, co-director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University interviewed by NBC News.

I can name at least four of my closest friends whose entire professional careers were built around a single concept – engaging in sexual intercourse with someone from the opposite sex – and just now, in my early thirties, I realize that there are people out there that would give up sex for a nap. What has happened to us?

The best part is yet to come though. When Googling  “How can men fake an orgasm?” I was expecting, as a result, a photo mural of John Wayne pointing at me and saying “They can’t”. Apparently they can indeed and an acute and virile website, Askmen.com, provides us not only an answer, but it gives us an entire manual that describes step-by-step the best way to fake an orgasm during sex with a practical overview on how to not overact, how to avoid face-to-face intercourse (with a distinctive selection of alternative sex positions) and tips on how to not arouse suspicion.

I’m too afraid to Google “How to fake entire relationships” because I’m pretty sure somebody has an answer for that as well.

Conservatives are real men.

Hardworking people don’t buy their bread. They make it. Can you imagine a head of state in line at the baker, at 7:30 in the morning, to get three French baguettes, a couple of bagels and half a ciabatta? I don’t think so.

Rare footage of Cameron eating a hot-dog he just made with his breadmaker.

Rare footage
of Cameron eating
a hot-dog he just
made with
his breadmaker.
(TheTimes.co.uk)

Neither does David Cameron who candidly admitted it earlier this week. Bread? I got my own bread machine in the kitchen. Where do you think I live, in the 18th century? “It takes 30 seconds to put in the ingredients. I’d recommend the Panasonic. There you are, that’s a shameless plug. Very easy – even Nick Ferrari could work a Panasonic breadmaker”.

Too bad at this point for the small businesses and the family-run baker shops the Conservatives are supporting because, let’s face it, a breadmaker in the house gives you what it takes to get up happy in the morning: “You set the timer overnight so when you wake up there is this wonderful smell wafting through your kitchen”.

Cameron is not the only Conservative who thumbs up hard workers but prefers to do the job on his own. Another eloquent example of real masculinity is Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, who doesn’t have a clue on how much is a pint of milk in stores nowadays.

But that’s not because he’s detached from reality. On the contrary, as a distinctive member of the Conservative party he has his own cow to milk each morning in his backyard.

Close-up of Mrs. May Swarowsky-encrusted shoes.

Close-up of Mrs. May
Swarowsky-encrusted shoes. (Olycom)

Cameron and Johnson are the kind of people who prefer to do things their way, a do-it-yourself kind of guys. Real men who won’t stand having somebody else doing the job for them. They’re not like the Home Secretary, Theresa May, who actually has the time to go to Tesco every day in her £2.000 trouser suit and Swarowsky-encrusted shoes to buy broccoli and rice for her kids.

They’re not ashamed of getting their hands dirty when it comes to get food for their families. They are real hard workers. And the Conservatives are all about that – real men with real jobs.

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