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Friday Fun Thread for May 26, 2023

Be advised: this thread is not for serious in-depth discussion of weighty topics (we have a link for that), this thread is not for anything Culture War related. This thread is for Fun. You got jokes? Share 'em. You got silly questions? Ask 'em.

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What are the biggest works of popular culture that you have never read or watched and know about only via cultural osmosis?

For me the biggest ones are probably Star Wars, Star Trek and Harry Potter. I don't even try to keep up with the latest hot TV/streaming series.

Basically every live-action series, as I don't watch them at all. So: The Sopranos, Breaking Bad, CSI, Stranger Things, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Black Mirror...

Most modern Western cartoons, such as: that one with the crystal lesbians, Loud House, Gravity Falls...

Video games: Mass Effect, The Last of Us, Life is Strange, Dark Souls, Resident Evil, Doom (2016)...

Off the top of my head: Game of Thrones, Star Wars, Spiderman, Batman, Superwoman, Breaking Bad, Superman, Mad Men, Minecraft, Resident Evil, The Godfather, Six Feet Under, The Sopranos, Metal Gear Solid, Star Trek, The Walking Dead, The Hunger Games, Fast and Furious, Transformers, Twilight, the X-Men, Silent Hill....

Did anyone watch The Machine?

So uh, what are we gonna do about the organized orca attacks? It doesn't seem like a good idea to let a community of killer whales that likes to capsize boats get established. The authorities might want to nip this in the bud quick. We don't know how complex the ideas that orcas communicate amongst themselves are. It's not outside the realm of possibility that "humans are bad actually" becomes an entrenched meme in orca society. I doubt the orcas could survive an all-out war with humans, but it would be a shame if it came to that.

The article that @George_E_Hale linked suggests that scientists think it’s only a handful of individual orcas that are responsible for all the attacks, and that they might be motivated by revenge after a sailing boat caused injury to one. It’s pretty interesting. I doubt it’s a ‘humans are bad’ meme, as yet they don’t seem interested in killing humans themselves even though they easily could.

There’s a lot of research into studying the way other intelligent animals communicate, but much less on actually attempting to communicate with them. Many scientists consider it unethical even to try. There should be a far greater public investment into seeing whether complex communication with cognitively advanced animals like dolphins/orcas, elephants and octopuses is possible. Primatologists do this, but only because with great apes the similarities with us are so undeniable.

Now that LLMs have shown how banal a lot of human cognition is, there is a strong case that a ‘strong dividing line’ between us and other smart animals might be more of a blur, and lesser but still intelligent species could well be capable of reasoning about the world in ways we’ve largely dismissed or ignored.

You wouldn’t need to do anything particularly extreme, simply equipping ships with a few loud explosives (think m80 or smaller firecrackers) would still solve this problem.

Interesting. Been tried apparently.

Fireworks appear—unofficially—to be the only effective deterrent method, but it is illegal and can lead to heavy fines, because the orcas are peaceful and loud noises risk damaging their hearing.

It must be said that cannon shots, known as seal bombs, are commonly used by American authorities to scare orcas away from oil spills. However, they are detonated at a long distance.

Going for a tour of Greece this month. Any recommendations? Route is Corfu-Zagori-Athens. Trying to avoid tourist crowds as much as possible

Zagori is great, I wanted to go there, but only got as far as Parga. Parga is also great, the beach there is incredible.

You can't really avoid tourists in Corfu or Athens. Staying away from the coast might work in Corfu, but what's the point of staying on an island if you keep to the interior?

Do you have any stops planned between Zagori and Athens?

Do you have any stops planned between Zagori and Athens?

No so I was thinking of simply taking a flight from Ioannina to Athens. Unless if there is something really worthwhile

There's Meteora, but then things get sparse. You have to drive all the way across the plain of Thessaly to Thermopylae and then turn south to see the ruins of Delphi and Hosios Loukas.

It looks like you won't be going to the parts I went to, other than Athens, in which I only spent a day. I've also been to Mykonos and Santorini, which are filled with tourists which you said you want to avoid. But my impression is that the economy thrives on tourism, so I don't know how it easy it is to avoid tourists completely. The advantage of this though, is that unlike Italy, which is similar in many ways, most people there seem to speak English.

A Greek Uber driver who goes back every summer told me each island is very different from the rest. Mykonos is boring in my opinion unless you like to dance at clubs. It's known for as a place for partying. Santorini, which is popular with couples, is stunning. Oia, which a very beatiful city on a cliff, was packed with tourists, and that was in May. I think it gets a lot busier in the summer. I've also heard good things about Naxos.

Athens was filthy. Almost every building is completely covered in bad graffiti up to a certain height. The ground is very dirty. Everyone says to avoid it. It does have some cool ruins though and a few old buildings. In the more touristy areas of Athens everything is overpriced and there are Africans aggressively trying to sell bracelets on the street. But it's easy to find areas without many tourists. It's a huge city. Most of it is ugly and gross though.

It's definitely one of the more interesting countries I've been to and I would love to go back and explore more. For example, on those two islands, particularly Mykonos, there were a lot of vehicles that had clearly been abandoned for a very long time. And again, just an astouding amount of graffiti in certain areas. It's obviously a somewhat dysfunctional country. Every part I went to was very different from the other parts though, and my impression is that there were a lot more things to do there.

One tip: Google Maps isn't very accurate in Greece.

Africans aggressively trying to sell bracelets on the street

I have spent one night in Athens years ago (literally only the night) and it was spent walking around for hours with an African guy trying to sell me a "friendship bracelet" by proving we are friends now. He wasn't very good at it

Naxos is awesome - highly recommended for the history there.

Athens was filthy. Almost every building is completely covered in bad graffiti up to a certain height.

And don't forget the brothels... they're called "studios" there, and there was a truly surprising number of them when I went last summer.

Have been to Mykonos and stayed in Athens about a month. The cab drivers in Athens are 100% insane as is all the traffic in the area so just be ready for that I guess. Look for restaurants with mean looking old Greek men sitting outside them all day long- the waitresses might not speak english and it might be awkward but the food will be so, so good. I recommend anything with feta and any and all roast meats- roast chicken with potatoes in Greece can be insanely good, roast pork, fava bean dip, of course try spanikopita from bakeries... now I miss Greece!

The Acropolis in Athens is cool but going to have tourists, the Acropolis Museum nearby is pretty good too. The city can be quite grimy but doesn't really feel unsafe so it can be charming but I personally stayed in a suburb which was a bit more comfortable. The beaches near Athens are odd, they're mostly a few yards wide a the largest so I wouldn't really recommend them unless you're just really in the mood for the beach while you're in Athens though I imagine you'll just do the beaches in Corfu instead

But have fun, Greek people can be super super nice if you're friendly and laid back. Also just general advice as someone who travels a ton: Do a bit of research on places that interest you personally and have them starred on a map (I just use google maps.) Then when you're in an area you can pull up your map and see a handful of places that looked interesting to you beforehand and you can just go. It's good to have a variety of things, like some restaurants, snack places, museums, shops, whatever you're into so you can always have an idea for something to stop by when you need something or want to kill some time and don't know the area well already. If there's something that interests you, look into it, don't do tourist stuff just because everyone else does it.

Don’t hang the Turkish flag out of your car if you can avoid it?


One of the classic blunders. Really, it’s only one step removed from starting a land war in Asia.

Two steps. A naval war between Europe and Asia.

My small children love listening to Daft Punk - Discovery, they listen to the whole album and dance to it almost every day. They’ve been doing so for a couple years now.

It came up basically by accident, as I’m a fan of the music and just popped it on one day during the early COVID year, and they instantly connected to it. Hell it even has its own album length animated music video that you can find online.

I’ve been poking around trying to find another classic electronic / pop album to introduce to them but I’m falling flat. Closest thing to a success I’ve gotten to is ABBA.

They love listening to full symphonies and enjoy classical music but it’s not the same as a danceable full album.

Anyone have suggestions? I think they like it because it’s fun, bright, easy to follow while still complicated enough to be interesting, and infinitely danceable.

Does it need to be a single self-contained album? I saw your question a bit late, got a bit autistic, and compiled a nearly 100-song playlist that I think would hit the sweet spot between the electro-funk-disco of Daft Punk and the buoyant bubblegum-disco of ABBA, but then I remembered that some people are using music applications where they have to purchase discrete albums. I’d be happy to share that playlist I put together for you, but as far as single-album recommendations, I’ll put out 55 by The Knocks, which is more toward the Daft Punk end but a bit poppier, and The ABBA Generation by A*Teens, which puts a synthpop twist on classic ABBA songs.

Sounds neat, can you send this to me as well?

”Classic” - The Knocks & POWERS

“Burning Up” - Marianas Trench

“My Type” - Saint Motel

“Dance” - DNCE

“Bulletproof” - La Roux

“Classic” - MKTO

“Talk (Single Edit)” - Two Door Cinema Club

“Brokenhearted” - Karmin

“Kill The Lights” - Alex Newell, Jess Glynne, etc.

“Mamma Mia” - A*Teens

“Time To Groove” - Majestic & Nonô

“Funhouse” - P!nk

“Cake By The Ocean” - DNCE

“Collect My Love” - The Knocks

“Preach” - Saint Motel

“Fireworks” - Purple Disco Machine

“Black Magic” - Little Mix

“Don’t Start Now” - Dua Lipa

“Safe And Sound” - Capital Cities

“Sway” - Fitz & The Tantrums

“Try Me” - Josh Ramsay

“The Feeling” - The Knocks

“Better Days” - NEIKED, Mae Muller, etc.

“Upside Down” - A*Teens

“Everytime We Touch” - Cascada

“We Like To Party” - Vengaboys

“Our Own House” - MisterWives

“Want To Want Me” - Jason Derulo

“How 2 Dance” - Kaiser Chiefs

“I Don’t Like It, I Love It” - Flo Rida

“Sugar” - Maroon 5

“Nightcalling” - Red Rum Club

“Dancing Feet” - Kygo & DNCE

“Break My Heart” - Dua Lipa

“Can’t Stop The Feeling!” - Justin Timberlake

“Disco” - Sub-Radio

“Moves Like Jagger” - Maroon 5 & Christina Aguilera

“Shake It Off” - Taylor Swift

“Hard Times” - Paramore

“Shut Up And Dance” - Walk The Moon

“Rhythm Of Your Heart” - Marianas Trench

“Dancing Queen” - A*Teens

“Animal” - Neon Trees

“Came Here For Love” - Sigala & Ella Eyre

“Kiss You” - One Direction

“Move” - DNCE

“Kings & Queens” - Ava Max

“Je Viens De La” - Two Door Cinema Club

“Sugar” - Robin Schulz & Francesco Yates

“HandClap” - Fitz & The Tantrums

“Steal My Sunshine (Single Version)” - LEN

“Ride Or Die” - The Knocks & Foster The People

“Talk Too Much” - COIN

“Kiss” - Prince

“Troublemaker” - Olly Murs & Flo Rida

“Vowels” - Capital Cities

“Rock Your Body” - Justin Timberlake

“Hot Wheels” - Doom Flamingo

“Up All Night” - One Direction

“Waterloo” - ABBA

“Perfect Mistake” - Josh Ramsay

“Work This Body” - Walk The Moon

“Anyway (Rhythm Shed Refix)” - CeeLo Green

“Moves” - Olly Murs

“Emotions” - Mariah Carey

“Coloring Outside The Lines” - MisterWives

“Rose-Colored Boy” - Paramore

“Closer” - Tegan And Sara

“Everybody Talks” - Neon Trees

“Kissing Strangers” - DNCE

“Shut Up And Kiss Me” - Marianas Trench

“Cinderella” - The Knocks

“Uma Thurman” - Fall Out Boy

“Happy” - Pharrell Williams

“Daydream” - The Aces

“Toxic Pony” - ALTÉGO, Britney Spears, Ginuwine

“Cheap Thrills” - Sia

“Never Gets Old” - Penguin Prison

“I Sold My Bed, But Not My Stereo” - Capital Cities

“Misery” - Maroon 5

“Do Me Right” - Vintage Trouble

“Dance Monkey” - Tones And I

“Crazy In Love” - Beyoncé & Jay-Z

“Moneygrabber” - Fitz & The Tantrums

“Stutter” - Marianas Trench

“Walking On Sunshine” - Katrina & The Waves

“Feel It Still” - Portugal, The Man

“Blurred Lines” - Robin Thicke, T.I., Pharrell Williams

“No Need For Dreaming” - MisterWives

“Shut Up And Let Me Go” - The Ting Tings

“Come Alive” - FMLYBND

“Paper Wings” - Taylor Swift

“1901” - Phoenix

“Feels” - Calvin Harris, Pharrell Williams, Katy Perry

“Feels Like Summer” - Panama Wedding

“Untouched” - The Veronicas

“Popular Song” - MIKA & Ariana Grande

“Levitating” - Dua Lipa

“September” - Earth, Wind & Fire

“101” - WALLA

“Rain On Me (Purple Disco Machine Remix)” - Lady Gaga & Ariana Grande

“Total Eclipse Of The Heart (Dance Mix” - Nicki French

“Sucker” - Jonas Brothers

“What You Know” - Two Door Cinema Club

“Here (In Your Arms)” - Hellogoodbye

“It’s All Happening” - Saint Motel

“Dance” - Tim Halperin

“Raise Your Glass” - P!nk

“Midnight City” - M83

“I Think I Like You” - The Band CAMINO

“It’s Time (Penguin Prison Remix)” - Imagine Dragons

“Kids In America” - Cascada

“Untouched” - The Veronicas

“I Can Talk” - Two Door Cinema Club

“What Makes You Beautiful” - One Direction

“Do Me Right” - Vintage Trouble

“Paper Rings” - Taylor Swift

“Brave” - Sara Bareilles

“How Will I Know” - Whitney Houston

“Girls Just Want To Have Fun” - Cyndi Lauper

“Time & Time Again” - Sleepy Tom & Hotel Mira

“Locked Out Of Heaven” - Bruno Mars

“You’re Gone” - Smoove & Terrell

“Shadows” - Alphabeat

“Valerie” - Mark Ronson & Amy Winehouse

“Fire Alarm” - Castlecomer

“Electric Love (Oliver Remix)” - BØRNS

“Paralyzed” - Rock Kills Kid

“Hey Ya!” - OutKast

“Stutter” - Marianas Trench

“Fiona Coyne” - Skylar Spence

“Watermelon Sugar” - Harry Styles

“Around The Bend” - The Asteroids Galaxy Tour

“Play That Funky Music” - Wild Cherry

“I Wanna Dance With Somebody” - Whitney Houston

“That’s Not My Name” - The Ting Tings

“ABC” - The Jackson 5

“Paralyzer” - Finger Eleven

I too know the autistic pull of making huge playlists.

I’m trying to introduce them to discrete bodies of work as I feel that’s a mode of listening that’s falling out of fashion but shouldn’t.

I’ll take those album recommendations to heart, though.

The Go! Team - Thunder, Lightning, Strike

Seconding Since I Left You by The Avalanches. That album is definitely a classic and is full of fantastic stuff. Check out the title track, Electricity and ETOH for a sampling of what the album has to offer. It has a bit of a sound collage feel (being a plunderphonics album) and it might be a bit more crunchy and loose than you want, perhaps, but the album really offers a seamless experience.

There's also another Australian band called Parcels which would probably be a good fit for you - not only do their tracks do have the "fun, bright, easy to follow" and "danceable" quality you mention, they make music in the same vein as Daft Punk (french house). Here is an early EP of theirs, titled Hideout, and here is their first album, also titled Parcels.

My daughter loves The Blues Brothers. Some of the songs aren't appropriate, but Rubber Biscuit is one of her favorites, along with Soul Man, Messin' With The Kid and Everybody Needs Somebody To Love.

Fever, Body Language and X by Kylie Minogue are all great and super fun danceable albums

Kelis put out a house record in 2010 that's still so good called Flesh Tone (Not sure if the Kelis or Kylie albums have kid friendly lyrics if you're sensitive about that)

Definitely look into some old Nile Rodgers produced disco, I Want Your Love is one of my favorite songs of all time

Also Giorgio Moroder- Coast to Coast AM legendary theme song The Chase and his work with Donna Summer I Feel Love are amazing but I'm sure he has some full albums that are great

Not exactly what you're looking for but I think kids would love the Bust a Groove 1 and 2 soundtracks, the Katamari soundtracks (1 2 3 etc.) and anything from Dance Dance Revolution :)

Edit: I also used to listen to this CD on repeat when I wanted to dance

Lone Digger by Caravan Palace is pretty good

Grum - Heartbeats : fun, bright electro-dance album

Edit: oh, and probably the Mystery Skulls animated music videos

I like Justice but it might be on the heavier side at times for small children.

Yellow Magic Orchestra might be good but I haven't listened to any of their albums all the way through.

Hexstatic - Rewind. Ticks the simple, fun and danceable box, ticks the audio-visual video synchronisation box. Might be a bit too retro in its references to Speak'n'Spells, Space Invaders and Kung Fu films that were already explicitly retro when it came out in 2000.

Since I Left You by the Avalanches should be a perfect fit.

Yeah this was a good suggestion. They like it already.

They might like Aphex Twin, particularly Richard D James album.

That's one of my favourite artists and is certainly suitable for children. After the RDJ album, I recommend showing them the accompanying EP, Come To Daddy, and the title track's music video.

I'm aware, I'm just being facetious - rather, I'm pointing out that there are a lot of Aphex Twin tracks which are probably not suitable for small children (something which I assume the contents of the links I provided would immediately make clear).

nightmare fuel is its own category of objectionableness, but I lol'd all the same.

I see Americans complaining online about how many spam telephone calls they are getting, to the point they don't even pick up the phone when the caller is unknown.

This is pretty alien to me; I live in Sweden and have literally never gotten a spam call in my life. (Maybe the reason for this is that the scammers naturally won't bother learning Swedish?)

So, potential silly lifehack: why not get a foreign telephone number from e.g. Denmark or something, and then never get spammed again? Presumably your calls will be more expensive as you'd be paying the international rate constantly, but this can be ameliorated by getting a plan where that's cheaper.

I have a US number from a state I used to live in but don't have any contacts in anymore. Spammers assume I live there, so it's been a pretty effective filter, and more practical than using a foreign number. Only downside is some people won't answer out of state numbers, but most people don't answer their phone these days anyway.

You can do this, through various SIP or other voice services. But a lot of normal people can't or won't be able to call you, including a lot of services that you may specifically be after a phone number to support: a large portion of Americans don't even know how country codes work and may literally have never used one other than 1, a VOIP solution I've deployed defaults to not recognizing any of them at the dial plan level, and a lot of businesses that require phone numbers to talk to you won't recognize anything but 10 digits (or may find that their shitty phone TFA doesn't work).

So there are tradeoffs.

Not sure.

If there are any, they aren't enforced as Czech republic has an ecosystem of web pages listing telemarketing numbers and telemarketing companies.

Nice thing is newer android phones integrate this so suspicious numbers are tagged by default and you can probably reject numbers that appear often enough in such databases.

I'm wondering when we're going to get a first case of a businessman hiring someone to get his competitor's phone numbers listed there just to bully them.

I get about 1-3 phone spam events per week.

Spam text messages seem restricted to the operator, but no way of getting the greedy assholes at o2 to stop sending me the nonsense at times.

So does America, but roboscammers in India don't much care. It's automated mass calls from computers in India.

And for me occasionally fake IRS calls from Caribbean islanders.

Yeah, but presumably scammers don't care about that wherever they are.

Sweden is probably too small of a market, it's smaller than Moscow alone. I get a few spam calls a week, about two thirds are robocalls and the rest are split between actual humans trying to sell me something and scammers.

One other explanation is that Swedish service providers are more aggressive about terminating spammers' accounts. How easy is it to get a burner phone number in Sweden?

I live in a smaller market than Sweden and still get an occasional scam attempt. Being on the business registry might have something to do wih it.

That and American law enforcement is kinda lax on consumer protection laws. A lot of consumer products are legal here and illegal elsewhere, a lot of chemicals are forbidden in foods in Europe that are perfectly fine in America, and Europe takes consumer privacy much more seriously than Americans do. As such, the odds of what’s being done being illegal, the person getting caught, and serious consequences following are slim to none in the USA.

The introduction of the Do Not Call List more or less ended "legitimate" spam calling in the US. The remaining spam calls are almost all scams, which would be illegal regardless of the medium of communication. The reason they are so prevalent here is that VOIP technology has made it extremely cost-efficient for foreign actors (mostly in India) to operate outside the reach of US law enforcement. If someone tried operating these kind of boiler rooms inside the US using a POTS system they'd be shut down pretty quickly. Overseas with Google Voice there's little the FTC can do but warn people.

Before 2022 it was really easy, you could just buy a prepaid card with cash in a store and it'd have nothing tying it to yourself. Nowadays you need an ID. I checked a random telephone provider (Telenor) and they require you to use the national e-ID to buy a SIM card (or apparently upload a photo of your passport for international customers).

But yes, it's probably the limited market size and language barrier; especially since the prime target for scammers are old people who don't speak English very well.