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ISSUE 18 ARCHIVE - LEON WILDEBEEST'S SCUBA DIVING NEWS NUGGETS

Leon Wildebeest

Origin of BWRAF Mnemonic Discovered

Scientists at the University of Newtonian Genetics (UNG) have finally uncovered the origin of the “Bangkok Women Really Are Fellas” mnemonic used by instructors the world over, as a means for remembering the process of buddy checks.

The initialism BWRAF has been the blight of the dive community for centuries, and it has long been argued that PADI’s attempt to resolve the crisis with the phrase “Begin With Review And Friend” only served to muddy the waters. “As a mnemonic it fails on almost every level”, says Richard Richovsky at the US Diving Institute in Houston, “it doesn’t make sense, it’s unhelpful, and it’s harder to remember than the list of steps it’s supposed to help with: BCD, Weights, Releases, Air, and Final OK. And what was Final OK about in the first place? Don’t get me started”.

Salvation came at the hands of “Bangkok Women Really Are Fellas”, which for decades has been used by dive professionals as a hilarious alternative to the PADI line. “Really, it was an absolute Godsend”, says square-jawed Richovsky, “Suddenly we went from having this useless mnemonic to something that not only would people remember, but would actually have students and instructors alike literally rolling on the floor in paroxysms of laughter”.

Paroxysms that nearly ended in the phrase being banned in 1964, when two students died by laughing themselves overboard on a dive vessel and drowning. “That was a difficult time for the mnemonic”, says Richovsky, “but in the end it appears the students might have survived the joviality had it not been for a hungry pack of rogue dolphins waiting for the mnemonic to take effect and for the laughter to kick in. They’re pretty clever, those dolphin bastards.

“But that’s the thing with the mnemonic, it was so effective and it ticked every box. The only mystery was everyone was like ‘Woah, where did this come from?’, and the thing is, nobody knew”.

All that changed this week with a paper published in the scientific journal Nature. Using advanced DNA amplification techniques, the team at UNG were able to finally sequence the genome of the mnemonic, and from there determine its origin both in time and geographically.

Brett Parker of UNG explains: “By ascertaining the rate of mutation [change in the mnemonic over time] in “Bangkok Women Really Are Fellas”, which was 0, and comparing this to samples of the mnemonic found in nature, we were able to work out that the phrase almost certainly entered human society some time in the fifteenth century. We were also able to do genetic comparisons with similar jokes told by Asian macaques and some great apes, and can now say with three sigma certainty that the mnemonic crossed over to our species in one zoonotic event at Twycross Zoo, when a chimp told the joke to a dive instructor in about 1487”.

Pimlington Divers Launches Course Hopes with new RIB

Members of Pimlington Divers recently “clubbed” together to purchase a new XJ40 RIB, and are now “floating” their hopes that the new purchase will help promote their ailing Boat Diver course.

“It’s pretty much make or break with the Boat Diver course”, explained Kenneth Positron, head of marketing and washing-up at Pimlington Divers, “So I was thinking: ‘What if we just buy a boat and market the heck out of it? You know, send a bunch of press-releases to dive magazines under the flimsy pretence that this is news and hope that it encourages the punters to cough up some cash in that cow-like way that they have’”.

According to paragraph three of the press-release, choosing the right boat to market the right course was integral to Pimlington Divers’ strategy; they wanted to be sure their boat was packed-full of the “wow” factor. “That’s why we chose the XJ40”, mouth-farted Positron, “Unlike many solid objects, it floats in water rather than sinking. It’s the Rolls Royce of RIBs”, he plopped.

Have Pimlington Divers considered offering a more vibrant and less lazy selection of courses instead?

“The thing with the Boat Diver course, I think, is that people are saying to themselves: ‘I dive from a boat every weekend, why do I need to do a course in it?’, but they couldn’t be more wrong”.

Couldn’t they?

“It’s got two engines”, responsed Positron, hanging up.

Shark Ambiguity Unambiguated

Scientists at the Charles Darwin Institute of Quantum Mechanics have also published a paper in Nature this week. Inspired by PADI’s wagon-banding Project AWARE (Aquatic World Awareness Responsibility and Education. No, really, that’s what it stands for) shark conservation movement, they believe they have uncovered the puzzling source of much of the dive world’s ambiguity when it comes to shark conservation.

Denise Dennison, primary author of the paper explains: “It’s unfair and wrong to pin the blame on page 133 of the PADI Open Water Manual, which features a picture of a blue shark accompanied by the caption ‘It is rare for humans to suffer attacks from aquatic animals’, but it amused us, so we did it anyway”.

X-Factor penis Simon Cowell was available for comment.

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