Lets talk about pranks

For some reason I spent a large portion of last Saturday watching videos of people torturing other people with pranks. I was hungover, that’s my excuse.

I’m not generally much of a fan of pranks. For the most part I think they’re a low form of humor, often they are humiliating for the victim and sometimes they can even be traumatic. Pranks can however be incredibly funny…if done right and thought all the way through.

One problem I have with many pranks is that they have quite a bit of potential for serious injury or even death. Anything that involves causing people to fall, such as slippery stuff on the floor, removing furniture that would break a fall (this one does make one wonder seeing as the victim seemed to have something of a death wish already) or scaring people while showering (slippery bathtubs/shower stalls anyone?) are simply spectacularly stupid. I do wonder how many people have died as a result of such pranks. I also have a problem with deliberately hurting someone simply for laughs. A swat on the ass is mostly all right. Punching someone in the face (or in this case making them hit themselves in the face), hitting people over the head with solid objects and hitting men in the balls. Not so smart. People have been known to die from head injuries (duh!) and a solid kick in the balls can be quite dangerous.

I also have a problem with pranks that all about scaring people by messing with existing fears or phobias. A real phobia is no joking matter. Using a person’s fear/phobia against them in such a way is not only not funny but also incredibly cruel. Using a real (or even fake) tarantula to prank me like this would not only probably scare me to the point of a real panic attack, but also create a serious trust issue between me and the pranker.

When planning a prank it is also important to make sure you really know the person you’re pranking. Some people find this sort of thing funny, a lot of people don’t. Some people react violently, and as in the second example sometimes they are pretty much justified. Sometimes people react badly to fairly innocent pranks.

The worst pranks though are the ones where the victims are children! I saw quite a few of those and in all of them the perpetrator was the parent. Why would parents deliberately scare their children into tears? I don’t understand. The most common ones were parents filming their children while they play games online that end with that famous picture from The Exorcist and the screaming. You know the one? Yeah. It’s cruel. Here’s one, and another one, and another one, and another one. These aren’t funny, they are horrifying. In the last one the kid is crying and the dad is still laughing!!

Then there’s this one. I can’t even begin to describe how angry this one makes me. Tricking a poor kid into thinking he’s getting an Xbox when he’s not and then laughing at his humiliation? Disgusting. Some people aren’t meant to be parents.

There was one video I saw on Saturday which really, honestly made me think “this is going to have a lasting effect”. A woman is tricked into a basement where she sees a hanging body. Who thought this was a good idea?! She’s obviously seriously traumatized!

BUT! That’s not to say that I don’t have a sense of humor. My sense of right and wrong is simply stronger. :P I did find quite a few videos hilarious. Such as the snow in the shower one, wrapping everything in pink paper one, filling the room with newspapers one, almost all water+flour ones.

Basically my message is this: pranks can be funny, if done right. A lot of the time they aren’t.

To end this all on a good note, here’s a video of laughing babies. :)


The importance of Ida

Ed Yong at  Not Exactly Rocket Science tells it like it is: Darwinius changes everything.

The new fossil is remarkably complete and well-preserved, although the media glossed over these facts in favour of the creature’s ability to cure swine flu. Ida was hailed as a “missing link” in human evolution, beautifully illustrating our transition from leaping about in trees to rampant mass-media sensationalism.


Recreated through CGI, Ida is also set to play a pivotal role in the climax of the new Harry Potter film, where she will be voiced by Keira Knightley and wield a powerful ‘Changus Totalus’ spell. Special effects will also be used to insert Ida into previous seasons of the Wire and past G8 summits.

Here’s a slightly more serious discussion of the find from PZ Myers. Darwinius Masillae.

People have been using remarkable hyperbole when discussing Darwinius. She’s going to affect paleontology “like an asteroid falling down to earth”; she’s the “Mona Lisa” of fossils; she answers all of Darwin’s questions about transitional fossils; she’s “something that the world has never seen before”; “a revolutionary scientific find that will change everything”. Well, OK. I was impressed enough that I immediately made Ida my desktop wallpaper, so I’m not trying to diminish the importance of the find. But let’s not forget that there are lots of transitional forms found all the time. She’s unique as a representative of a new species, but she isn’t at all unique as a representative of the complex history of life on earth.

And yes, I will at some point write something myself. I’m just currently trying to get this blog going and thinking of topics. Any ideas?

NOM? Not so much

The National Organization for Marriage put together an advert called Gathering Storm. I’m sure this hasn’t managed to pass anyone’s notice. In case it has, here it is.


Fortunately the there has been a great deal of negative reaction to this video and many parodies made. Just look it up on YouTube, you’ll find a lot.

Recently they made another video. This time using children to push their bigoted agenda. Apparently children are confused as to how someone could have two daddies.
While these videos are to most of us somewhat funny and ridiculous, they are also in my opinion disgusting and harmful. So by all means spread the word and do not be shy to speak against their nonsense.

Like PZ Myers said: Oh, and for any kids who are actually confused, here’s how to tell who your parents are. They’re the people who love you and take care of you and worry about you all the time. That’s all that is important. Their anatomy? Not so important.

That’s the bottom line.