Sunday, May 25, 2014

Belgium tries to be more annoying than the vuvuzela with "diabolica"

We're all still trying to forget the obnoxious sound of the vuvuzela, the plastic horn that rose to infamy during the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. This year, as the soccer world turns its eyes on the 2014 World Cup in Rio de Janeiro, a new noisemaker will take its place as the most annoying thing in the world.

And it's Belgian.

From The Star Online:
Fabio Lavalle, 26, and David dos Santos, 31, from the southern Belgian town of Mons, have invented a collapsible, pocket-sized trumpet, which, not unlike an air horn, produces a sound at around 98 decibels – equivalent to an electric hand drill.
 Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the diabolica: one less reason to follow the World Cup this year.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Jukebox Friday: Incredible Bongo Band - Last Bongo In Belgium

The Incredible Bongo Band are most known for their 1973 cover of "Apache", originally recorded by The Shadows in 1960. This cover version was sampled in, among others, The Sugarhill Gang's "Apache" and Sir Mix-A-Lot's "Jump On It". The former can be found below.

Despite having no apparent connection to the land of chocolate and fries, the Incredible Bongo Band released "Last Bongo In Belgium" in 1973 on Bongo Rock, and album which also featured the aforementioned "Apache" cover. The song has since been sampled in the Beastie Boys' "Looking Down The Barrel Of A Gun" and Massive Attack's "Angel".

Monday, May 12, 2014

Homeopathy recognised as therapy by the government, still doesn't work

There's nothing like a good dose of government-sanctioned superstition to distract me from doing actual chores and get me in a blogging mood.

From's The Bulletin:
Homeopathy is now officially recognised in Belgium as a distinct therapeutic system, according to the Royal Decree published today in het Staatsblad.
(Full article)

Until today, Belgian Health Minister Laurette Onkelinx (PS) had been well under my radar (like most figures and facets of Belgian politics). By officially recognising homeopathy as therapy, she's finally earned my disrespect.

For those who don't know, homeopathy is the practice (belief may be a more fitting word) of using preparations consisting of mostly water, with no proven effects, as medicine. Which it isn't. No self-respecting government would allow such nonsense. By attempting to regulate it, they're only making even bigger fools of themselves.

The new Royal Decree does impose strict regulations on who is allowed to practice homeopathy (initially only dentists, doctors and midwives with 400 hours of homeopathy training are allowed), but by taking it so seriously, the government only further legitimizes the hoax. Many current practicians will have to cease their activities because of the decree, which is going to have no effect on public health whatsoever.

It's been said a million times, but I'll say it again: if alternative treatment had any effect other than as a placebo, it would be called medicine. It's not. Now go see a real doctor. If you want water, buy a bottle of Spa. It's cheaper.