The database of laughter – serious research, lest you scoff [Article]

The ILHAIRE database is accessible to those who agree to certain conditions. The encompassing ILHAIR Project web site includes a list of public deliverables, some demos (including the Body Laughter Index), and more.  [via Improbable Research]

There are times for levity in the Australian High Court [News/Article]

On Wednesday, the Australian High Court had to rule upon a dreadful case of coitus interruptus. A hilarious write-up in the Sydney Morning Herald:

The matter revolved around a claim for compensation by a female public servant from Canberra who, while out of town in the NSW coastal town of Nowra on a brief work trip, met a chap and retired to her Commonwealth-paid motel bed for purposes other than sleeping.

Letters of note: Make your soul grow – Kurt Vonnegut

Back in 2006, a group of students at Xavier High School in New York City (one of whom, “JT,” submitted this letter) were given an assignment by their English teacher, Ms. Lockwood, that was to test their persuasive writing skills: they were asked to write to their favourite author and ask him or her to visit the school. Five of those pupils chose Kurt Vonnegut. His reply was the only response the class received

A one-man submarine by Olivier Feuillette [Video]

This unusual underwater journey in South Africa involves kayaking legend, French expat, and mad inventor Olivier Feuillette, and a modified kayak. With a waterproof top, a ballast (so that it will sink), scuba tanks for oxygen, a CO2 filter, an oscillating fishtail, and pedals, Feuillette’s SUBO becomes a one-person submarine that’s ready to go where no kayak has gone before.

Communicating also means Listening: [Article]

I quite often forget that listening is as important as speaking in communication. Dave Winer had a very pertinent post about this a couple of days ago:

I tend to do a lot of talking myself, I’m aware of it, so I try to reign it in. Tell my mind to listen and not talk. That’s hard for some reason, but it’s important. Otherwise why bother spending time with others? I can hear myself talk any time. This is a different person across the table. Someone I don’t see every day. What’s their experience? What can I learn from them? I want to know. And if I can’t get my mind to quiet down, none of that happens.