What Is It? #3

What is it? #3

What is it? (click to enlarge)

It’s that time of the week again – time for Prof. Dowling to get irate and berate my poor-quality English and inefficient bloggery (honestely, we’d give him his own login, but there’s only so many times we can have the word ‘fuckbadgers‘ on our site per day, by law). Indeed, it’s time for our regular ‘What Is It?’ competition. Same rules as ever – take a look at the image featured here, and leave us your best guess as to what it is. Closest answer gets a name-check next week.

Last week we showed you this photo and asked you what it was. The correct answer was – a burner from a DVD RW drive. We didn’t get an entirely correct answer, but Mossman suggested it was “some kind of sensor (thermal, stress/strain, acoustic), phone keyboard or piezo-electric speaker”, which is probably the closest answer we got. I fully prepare for the Prof to take me to task on this one, too!


  1. #1 by Jon d on February 7, 2010 - 19:55

    X ray crystallograph – but I can’t explain the denim background texture.

  2. #2 by Jon d on February 7, 2010 - 20:01

    Changed my mind… it’s a main sequence star approx 60 million years old about ooooh 39 parsecs from the sun with directly imaged extra solar planets highlighted.

    you should have changed the name on the JPEG file

  3. #3 by Michael on February 7, 2010 - 20:14

    Jumping badgery fuck! My fault. I should have changed the name before I sent it to that witless moron. Which, by the way, also had the name of the thing in the brief. I think I need my own log in!

  4. #4 by Sean on February 7, 2010 - 22:47

    Yes, immediately thought it was very 8799-ny and therefore assumed multiepoch observations have shown counterclockwise Keplerian orbital motion for all three planets. Or at least that’s what Google tells me.

  5. #5 by aimara reques on February 7, 2010 - 23:27

    I read with great interest in a local paper last week (31st Feb), an article about a street protest against Homoeopathy organised by a group whose name I can’t remember. This left me very puzzled.

    I would like to start by saying confidently – thanks to my many years of experience using this form of medicine for my family and myself – that I consider homoeopathy to be a serious science and an extraordinarily cheap, effective and powerful way to treat diseases. So much so, that even though I’m not in the medical field, I have taken a personal interest in studying it and in trying to understand it. It is fascinating. It should be considered carefully and it should be only practiced by people who really know what they are doing.

    However, what motivated me to write this note is, that at a time when we live in a world seriously threatened by Mad-Scientist-Syndrome, this group of pseudo-protesters choose to waste their time and confuse people by campaigning against homoeopathy- one of the very few serious options to combat disease. Are we really connected with what is affecting our health these days and with the fact that people have turned into real guinea pigs in the hands of the pharmaceutical industry? I’m all up for the right to protest in a democratic society and to celebrate the power of this force when used to fight serious issues that are threatening us all.

    Let’s take for example swine flu as an important topic to turn anyone into a street protest campaigner. This overly exaggerated world threat, frantically exploited by the media thanks to the contribution of ‘health experts’ has turned into a worthless, misleading and expensive myth. The chief medical officer Sir Liam Donaldson said, “65,000 could die”, an average of 300 dead bodies a day; virologist John Oxford estimated that half the population would be affected and that a minimum 6000 people were expected to die in the UK; the World Health Organization’s deputy chief Keiji Fukuda said it was short of a full pandemic. However, this has turned out to be the most overblown and expensive medical speculation in history. The same experts would now agree that it was all rather exaggerated and that the swine flu is indeed even milder than ordinary flu. However, governments around the world have spent billions of dollars to stockpile antiviral (ie. Tamiflu) and to propagandize, produce, and distribute the H1N1 vaccinations. They now don’t know what to do with so much vaccine stock and are even forcing people to take a dose of this unnecessary drug.

    I was not surprised to learn whilst reading about swine flu, that Sir Roy Anderson, the chairman of this government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, is also a non-executive director of Glaxo-Smith Kline, the drug company that made hundreds of millions in profits and benefited more than most from the swine flu panic. This government spent well over £1bn on Tamiflu. Would this be a conflict of interest? But who dares to blow the whistle on the link between multinational pharmaceutical companies and national and international institutions dealing with health policies?

    How can such a sum of money from the health budget be allowed to be wasted without impunity? Should you trust those policy decision makers to define which drug they consider to be right for you to protect your health? I certainly don’t. Thus, I turned to homoeopathy many years ago to successfully deal with my health issues. I would welcome a government initiative that would wisely invest money in training and research in this field. Even more importantly, money should be invested in making this form of medicine accessible to all rather than being the privilege of a few. The Royal family for example, have used homeopathy for many years.

    My homoeopath, a very experienced and respected professional, told me that homeopathic remedies when used, go on working for many months. So, she expects that those demonstrators, if they really did take homeopathic pills to protest last week, will develop symptoms associated with the remedies that will go on for a while. If they need help, she would be happy to treat them free. Contact, Margaret Roy at the Scottish College of Homeopathy, 3 Lyndoch Place, Glasgow G3 6AB.

    I would suggest to the anti-homeopathy protesters of last week to consider investing their time and energy on health issues that matter to us all and that are having a serious impact on the quality of our lives.

  6. #6 by Andy Wilson on February 8, 2010 - 00:50

    You know it’s really good of you to drop by and share your wisdom. Especially in a thread about A PICTURE.

    Perhaps good old Margaret could prepare a remedy for your displaced topicality. Tell her we sent you. It’ll be free.

    I have considered the question of investing my time and energy on health issues that matter to us all and are having a serious impact on the quality of our lives.

    I decided to “overdose” on useless sugar pills.

    How long did it take you to write that? All you needed to do, evidently, was look at the bloody filename.

    For the record, My foirst guess was that this was some kind of cool dee filed shot of a star with some planets. BUt no-one will believe me now.

    Note to self…enter earlier!

  7. #7 by Andy Wilson on February 8, 2010 - 00:51

    Oh dear

    not dee filed. Deep field!

  8. #8 by Yorkshire Skeptic on February 8, 2010 - 01:33

    It’s the logical fallacy roadshow!

    Anecdotes aren’t evidence; double-blinded peer reviewed studies which all point to Homeopathy (somehow) working is evidence.

    What has your Swine Flu screed got to do with the efficacy of Homeopathy? I sort of agree with what you say about the handling of Swine Flu (but surely it’s better to be safe than sorry than to be caught short?) Massive Non-Sequitor.

    Likewise, so what if the Royal family endorse Homeopathy? Are they trained medical professionals? Royalty can be just as stupid or naive as any other pleb, empirical infallibility isn’t immediately conferred on those in authority. Classic argument from authority there!

    Lastly, as Andy says below, this is a thread on a PICTURE, not on Homeopathy. Thanks for posting, but couldn’t you have posted this somewhere more relevant? 🙂

  9. #9 by Yorkshire Skeptic on February 8, 2010 - 01:37

    i was going to go with something sub-atomic before the answer was spilled…very cool pic!

  10. #10 by Marsh on February 8, 2010 - 02:07

    Aw, Bloody Hell, I give up!

    Colin can do these competitions in future, then!

  11. #11 by Sel on February 8, 2010 - 07:29

    Never mind Marsh, it’s a frikking cool image

  12. #12 by Jon d on February 8, 2010 - 10:40

    Yeah congrats on the 10^23 btw. I initially was a bit grumpy about it cos afaik homeopaths never claim ‘overdoses’ can be harmful so by necking a bottle you weren’t attacking a false claim directly, But it caught the medias attention even if that ment phone in’s with an expert and a crank ‘debating’ and the host wrapping it up with a bland ‘yeah so a difference of opinion on homeopathy there’ it got people’s attention.

  13. #13 by Terry S on February 8, 2010 - 11:20

    I love the instruction ‘(click to enlarge)’ under the image.

  14. #14 by Paul on February 8, 2010 - 19:51

    I wonder how Margaret would treat symptoms associated with the homeopathic overdose remedies. If like cures like, I guess she’d just give us more of the same!

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