Online Insights on fiveAA, Sunday, March 23, 2008

March 23, 2008

SA Water

The SA Water website is worth a visit if every you’re feeling worried about our water supply. You can click your way through our water catchment, storage and distribution system for a daily snapshot on how much water we have on hand and how much water we used in the previous 24 hours. For example, our metro reservoirs can hold just under 200 gigalitres, and at the moment they are holding about 100. On Good Friday, we consumed 412 megalitres.

Then, you can keep clicking in on a particular resorvoir and see its 12-month data, with 5-year average and current holdings. Hope Valley, for example has 76% capacity at the moment – but the reservoirs it feeds from are very low – Kangaroo Creek 36% and Millbrook 54%. Water from the River Torrens also feeds into the Hope Valley reservoir which has been with us since 1873.

You can also access River murray flows, but you need to know what you are looking at – the reservoir information is much more user-friendly.

What I’d also like to see is a breakdown on how much water has come from the sky, or natural catchment systems, as opposed to being pumped from the Murray. Visit the site at

Laugh Lab
Professor Richard Wiseman spent one year combing the planet for the funniest jokes. back in September 2001. It’s been ages since I visited this site so I thought it was time for a revisit. Richard received 40,000 entries from people all around the world and narrowed down the winning joke to be:

Two hunters are out in the woods when one of them collapses. He doesn’t seem to be breathing and his eyes are glazed. The other guy whips out his phone and calls the emergency services. He gasps, “My friend is dead! What can I do?”. The operator says “Calm down. I can help. First, let’s make sure he’s dead.” There is a silence, then a shot is heard. Back on the phone, the guy says “OK, now what?”
The rest of the site has a selection of top jokes in the different categories of humour, such as Freudian Funnies (His basic idea was that we all have sexual and aggressive thoughts, but that society does not allow us to express these ideas openly. As a result, they become repressed deep into our unconscious and only emerge via the odd slip of the tongue which we call tthe ‘Freudian slip’. But Freud was also fascinated by jokes and humour. He believed that they represented another way in which people could release their pent-up thoughts in a socially acceptable way. Thoughts about death, sex, marriage, authority figures, certain bodily functions – anything, in fact, that it is socially unacceptable to say with a straight face), Superiority Theory (we tend to laugh when someone slips over a banana skin or has a custard pie slapped into their face because these types of situations make us feel superior to other people), and Incongruity Theory (rhe idea is that we laugh at things that surprise us because they seem out of place, like clowns wearing outrageously large shoes or people with especially big noses).
If you’ve ever wondered why you laughed at jokes, this site makes an interesting read

Happy News

Well, there is one news source guaranteed to not upset you over breakfast – This site gathers stories from science, health, sports and heroes and serves them up in one spot. The site’s credo is: “Real News, Compelling Stories, Always Positive. We believe virtue, goodwill and heroism are hot news. That’s why we bring you up-to-the-minute news, geared to lift spirits and inspire lives. Add in a diverse team of Citizen Journalists reporting positive stories from around the world, and you’ve got one happy place for news.”

For example, today’s headlines are:

  • Giant Marine Life Found in Antarctica
  • Good Marriage Equals Good Blood Pressure
  • Japan Appoints Cartoon Ambassador
  • British Queen Likely to Visit Ireland
  • Courteney Cox & Friends Raise Funds
  • Who Likes Asparagus? Men More Than Women

Good marriage: A happy marriage is good for your blood pressure, but a stressed one can be worse than being single, a preliminary study suggests. That second finding is a surprise because prior studies have shown that married people tend to be healthier than singles, said researcher Julianne Holt-Lunstad. It would take further study to sort out what the results mean for long-term health, said Holt-Lunstad, an assistant psychology professor at Brigham Young University. Her study was reported online Thursday by the Annals of Behavioral Medicine.

Who likes asparagus: A study of eating habits of adults confirmed conventional wisdom that most men eat more meat than women, and women eat more fruits and vegetables. But there were a few surprising exceptions: Men were much more likely to eat asparagus, brussels sprouts, peas, and peanuts.

Read more at – you’ll even find links to “unhappy” news sites like the BBC.

Monty Python wall

Given that it is Easter and it is traditional to watch Monty Python’s Life of Brian at this time, I thought it might be good to point out a wonderful Python resource – the Monty Python Video Wall. This is a very simple site, consisting of a wall of videos. Click them and watch them one by one. Unfortunately, there is not much there from the Life of Brian film, but it does feature the famous Stoning of the Blasphemer scene. Go to It also has the Witch scene from Holy Grail in which we witness the wonders of logic from the middle ages, struggling to convict someone of being a witch.