Wednesday, December 24, 2008

You Saved 1968...

Fair enough of the beeb to mark the 40th anniversary of Bill Anders' Earthrise photographs. The most well-known one is one of two NASA images that I would argue belong in any "Best of the 20th Century" collection; Armstrong's snap of Aldrin being the other.

It was a tough Christmas for many, after a tough year. It was also my first. This moment made a lot of it worthwhile, so I urge you to make it a part of your Christmas iconography, if it isn't there already.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Message for the celebration of the World Day of Peace 2009

His Arse-Holiness is at it again.

This year's euphemism for universal bigotry is "Human Ecology". Put simply, where I put my dick is - according to Benny - just as important as where I put my old newspapers.

It appears that, when it comes to literal interpretation of scripture, the rules are still fuzzy. Leviticus is still a touchstone for Herr Kommandant, but "Goodwill To All Men" is more of a guideline, it seems.


Monday, December 22, 2008

3,262,827 to 1 against, and falling...

And as the Technicolor pharmacological cocktail that was my weekend fades to a faintly fuzzy Christmas Week, it's time to reflect on jobs well done.

It still looks as if the house sale will actually go through. I feel a bit like Scarlett Johansson, winning the lottery and going away to live on The Island (Michael Bay movies make a reasonable substitute for sleep while in a hospital bed); the Internet got the Christmas shopping done, with minimal coaxing, even managing to engage genuinely helpful humans in the process; and the foreign body to which I was playing host has been neutralized and removed, without recourse to anything resembling a "John Hurt Moment".

So far at least, nothing is becoming 2008 so much as the leaving of it.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas on the Slab

Just about to leave for University Hospital, Wales; aka Stradling's Retreat. Got a date with a long prehensile instrument, rather like that thing that menaces Ann Robinson (no, the other one) in War of the Worlds. Fortunately for Ann, she didn't posess the undignified means of entry that mine will be using; thus completing my personal score-card of intimate invasions in the process, you'll be enchanted to learn.

If successful, I will be lighter by one small mineral body. Small it may be, but it's been punching way above its weight. Time to part company. Then it's a few days in Painkiller Oz, in which I currently plan to spiritually attend three birthday parties, and counting.

In other news;


That is, accepted an offer yesterday and legal gnomes have commenced scampering. All jolly exciting. Small matter of having no-where to live until Hev repeats the feat not yet dampening my spirits...

Okay nurse, I'm ready...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

...and I feel fine!

Gallery: The Best Fictional Doomsday Devices

Great idea, questionable execution.


No Solarbonite?

No Vogon Constructor Fleet??

No Illudium Q36 Explosive Space Modulator???!!!

Some might question whether the boys @ Wired are truly committed to this all - life - in - the - universe - stopping - instantaneously - and - all - the - molecules - in - your - body - exploding - at - the - speed - of - light schtick.

Oops... there goes another one. Feel free to join in!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Caveat Elector

As the champagne flattens, some sobering thoughts on "Obamania":

  • Let's hope this is the beginning of the end of Race as a political issue in the West; because it certainly isn't the end. A black president is a big deal - but this mustn't be seen as somehow getting Redneck culture "off the hook", or as fulfilling some notional "quota" (i.e. "Black has had its turn"). History has been made, for sure - but the true end will only have come when there's no history left to be made.
  • As I alluded to previously, Americans are entitled to ask if we in Europe could elect a black man. We probably couldn't. But then, I think we stand a far better - though still rather slim - chance of promoting a homosexual, a bachelor, or an atheist to supreme executive power. We've already put women there. The truth is, we've all still got a long way to go.
  • Quietly, in California on Tuesday, throngs of black voters were marking the occasion - by overwhelmingly voting against Gay Marriage. This blogger needfully notes that plenty of non-blacks did too; but omits that, even by his own figures, no other ethnic group supported "Proposition 8" so emphatically. It is hard to imagine a more bitter irony.

"Change" may be blossoming in the garden of democracy, but no-one has quite come out smelling of roses.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Funny Old World

It was easy, in recent weeks, to be cynical about the prospects for real "change" in the USA. Even if Obama won, it seemed, there were plenty of precedents for a seemingly revolutionary change to quickly fade into something not too unrecognizable from the status quo.

Those precedents may remain, but on the night, it was a lot harder to be so churlish. After John McCain's masterclass in defeat with dignity, Obama's studied and sober victory speech seemed to me to be his best yet. Even if my secular blood ran just a little cold at the catechism of "Yes We Can", nonetheless it became harder with each sentence to keep from nodding along.

Hard also to escape a sense of irony, that even Republicans are now able to look over at us in the Old World and say, "Could you do that?" Tonight, people all over the UK will be lighting fires and firing rockets in our own annual pyrotechnic celebration. How typically British - and how much more incongruous now - that we choose to celebrate the failure of a revolution. However disturbing and alien a place the USA has seemed recently, last night showed us the positive flipside of that alien nature - the willingness to embrace seismic change. I sincerely doubt that we could do that.

Even if the change we think we see, ultimately proves to be a naive dream - for today, at least, I envy Americans the chance to dream it.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Top Spots

Wildlife Photographer of the Year - Online gallery

How's this for some top snappage? Positively heroic, I'd say.

I'm not known as a great animal lover, but I think I know good lenswork when I see it. Explore the winners' gallery to see some truly amazing work. It's enough to make you yearn for the outdoors... maybe. A bit.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

That Cold Exterior...

Cheney's heart returns to normal

Apparently there was a minor molten episode while watching "Bambi" with his grandchildren, but thankfully Dickie's ticker re-calcified after treatment.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Doner Card

BBC NEWS | Kebabs made as corpse lay nearby

Yes, yes... but what was in the kebabs? Surely someone must have at least asked?

There's you plot for the CSI: Wolverhampton pilot, right there.

Friday, October 10, 2008

15 nanoseconds

The BBC magazine liked Wednesday's effort;

but sitting where it is (scroll down to #50!), it's not obvious that I used Mr. Shea's favourite words, which was kind of the whole point. Still, any publicity etc. Cheers, Auntie.

I wonder if I'll get on spEak You're bRanes with that one?

Wednesday, October 08, 2008


BBC NEWS | Magazine | The man who reads dictionaries

I'm disposed to immediately feel dyspathy with a secretary like Shea, but after goving at his story for a while, I begin to hansardize. There's no point in being philodoxical just because an apparently mundane subject deeply happifies another. I may stroke my naiform chin skeptically at Shea's cachinnations, but if such things truly make him tripudiate, then who am I to find them pejorical?

Monday, September 29, 2008


H and I paid a visit to the exhibition of Winifred Coombe Tennant 's art collection at the National Museum. Okay, that was obviously her idea, but I was less bored than I expected. I didn't even sneak off for a gaze at Monet's lilies, like I usually do.

Speaking of the great myopic frog, however, there was this little thing; a view of the inside of Rouen cathedral, whose exterior the lad done brilliant with. This is by some obscure French hack that Tennant took a shine too, and was commissioned to show the Madonna & Child (tiny smudge bottom right) that she had donated to the church. Nice to see what it looked like inside, though. Without having to go to Rouen, I mean.

Tennant's sister-in-law, Evelyn Myers, turns out to have been a decent photographer, and one portrait, of Adelaide Passingham (who she?), is particularly lovely. Sadly, my phone camera doesn't have a polarising filter, but you can see it slightly better here.

And then we went back to Swansea and got our arses kicked in the pub quiz. Despite having been there, I didn't know that Havana was in the West Indies. I thought that name applied only to the Lesser Antilles? But then, I though Jamaica was a Lesser Antilly, so basically it's back to Geography 101 for me.

I did know what year "Dr. No" was released, though... so hurrah!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

EULA Hoops

Burned by Chrome | The Register

Just a heads-up that might make you think twice about uninstalling Firefox just yet...

I must admit, 24 hours in, Chrome was hardly oscillating my orbit anyways; looks like it'll stay that way for the foreseeable. Ho hum...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Do Not Collect £200

I don't just 'blog the bad stuff:

BBC NEWS | Man convicted over Shia flogging:

"He denied his actions were wrong, saying: 'This is a part of our religion.'"

If they need a volunteer to swallow the key, I'm there; on the strict condition that his cell is wallpapered with the works of Richard Dawkins and Salman Rushdie, and his cellmate is a jewish homosexual.

The only blot on an otherwise cheering tale, is that the CPS still felt the need to protest that
this case "was not an attack upon the practices or ceremonies of Shia Muslims". Oh, quite right - I mean, who'd want to attack the practice of forcing children to wound themselves?

Apparently, western Shia community leaders do discourage the practice of zanjeer matam, particularly where children are involved. Taking the "mourning" to the stage of self-harm appears to have its origins in Pakistan. So long as every cleric proscribes it, then fine; but its pratice remains a legitimate and appropriate target for police "attack".

Saturday, August 23, 2008

FTL possible... sort of.

Baylor University

An awful lot of Geordi-speak in there, but what it seems to boil down to is a multi-dimensional variant of the old Flat-Earther gag about aeroplanes.

Of course it's just my stunted planetlubber brain's fault, but I can't help feeling this is cheating. What happens if multiple spacecraft are rearranging the universe in mutally antagonistic ways? Who's reality wins? If I'm moving space around me, what about other vessels within that space doing likewise? The possibilities for autorectal implosion seem limitless.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Raspberry Beret

After a rather uncomfortable invasive procedure - and an associated sharp decrease in food intake - I have been feeling even weaker and achier than usual this week. For the first time in a while, I've been using my walking stick.

It's quite amazing the difference it makes. No, not to my ambulatory discomfort, though the improvement there is considerable; to my image. People hold doors open for me. Bus drivers wait for me to sit down. Gangs of hooded youths who last month were loitering menacingly, now part respectfully to let me pass. The sheer volume of respect is palpable. No fashion choice, no body shape, and no real-world achievement has ever afforded me such an improvement in street status.

Needless to say, the temptation to continue carrying the stick after I strictly need to, is now strong. I am always uncomfortable with, and suspicious of, melodrama... but I can't ignore the benefits I have seen, and I'm going to feel the loss if I surrender them.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Back to Old Kent Road

Sometimes, satire is redundant. Sometimes no comment, however dry, pithy or insightful, can do anything but diminish the power of the quoted words. I suspect that this is such a time.

War On Terror board game seized by police - Cambridge News:

"Kent police said they had confiscated the game because the balaclava 'could be used to conceal someone's identity or could be used in the course of a criminal act'."

Monday, August 11, 2008


There's been some netbuzz on account boffins reckon invisibilty may be a step closer. Plenty of fun with references, from H.G. Wells to David MacCallum and, of course, Kevin Bacon.

Obviously this research is driven by military goals, and thinking about it a bit, if this comes off, it'll be the first major new development in "asymmetric warfare". The armed forces of any major power you happen to meet will be spying on you from all over the electromagnetic spectrum; so being traditionally "invisible" is not going to be that much use against - for example - a squadron of Chinese helicopter gunships. However, when up against "irregulars", how handy might it be to be able to ambush small parties in open terrain? Or to get artillery up close to a mountain hideout before it's evacuated?

Of course, in reality, the invisibility cloak has been in use domestically for years. Just ask any urban cyclist, or anyone trying to get served in Wetherspoon's when there's a hen party in...

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

It Works

It may seem like the creation of a bored Mac junkie who's seen Minority Report too often, but I see a deeper significance in this intriguing Aurora concept video from Mozilla.

I'm always banging on about how, when we 30/40s were kids, transport was the cutting edge of tech, and seemed likely to remain so. Information Technology was new and exciting, but we just didn't know the half of it. Our young minds would have boggled that we'd seen our last moon landing, but would one day personally command more computing power than currently existed.

So that's how I see things like this today. I like it because it's aspirational and speculative, but in a direction relevant to the present. You can forget your jet pack - we're even retiring our supersonic airliners - but one day you'll have Deep Thought in an earring, and so will I, and we'll do magic with them. Who knows, maybe our information usage can evolve so far that there's just no new, or even uncommon knowledge left on Earth? Then we'll have to turn our gestalt thought-clouds loose on Outer Space once more; exploring vicariously, by remote sensing, as one giant non-hierarchical crew of a notional Argo; Metanauts, if you will.

And instead of a few crackly audio recordings of "The Eagle Has Landed." and "Houston, We've Had A Problem.", will the odysseys of the future be historicized in yottabytes of Twitter archives...?

Monday, August 04, 2008

Hitty Titty? Ping! Ping!

Germany hails 'bullet-proof bra'

A gem from the silly season, this one. German policewomen are to get special safety bras - though sadly the hack-hook "bullet-proof" is stretching the point... as it were. No mention of a danger of backfires on cold days, either...

I see re-makes of 70s hairspray ads as German crooks wonder, "Is she, or isn't she?" Obviously, the officer must respond with "D'ya feel lucky, punk?"

Of course, this is bound to stir up memories of killer Ursula Andress offing a mark with her norks back in the 60s. What a way to go...

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Fuel Enough, And Time

NASA Confirms Liquid Lake On Saturn Moon

So, there's hydrocarbons in them there planets.

History tells us that the discovery of combustible fuel reserves in a territory, exponentially increases that territory's signature on the U.S. Government's radar. Might this be the shot in the arm that the space programme needs?

Expect imminent speculation about the Saturnian nuclear weapons programme, and new evidence linking Titan with 9/11.

Who'd have thought that Robert Heinlein's The Puppet Masters would prove so prophetic?

Watch out, Titanians... the Free Men are coming!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Greek Eek!

As if The Antikythera Mechanism wasn't already mysterious enough...

I hit the page linked above randomly via Stumbleupon, and scanned it briefly. It's from July 2007.

I shit ye not, no more than 60 seconds later, my RSS reader pinged with a new headline from the BBC.

I am now very, very spooked...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

What About Us Grils?

Lesbos climax as lesbians lick Lesbians | The Register

Major kudos to The Reg for that headline; shows that even an open goal can still be tucked away with a flourish. Very good indeed. Gold star.

In other news: Steven Moffat has exploded.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

'Hardly Any' War Crimes

BBC NEWS | Armed forces chief defends troops

'Air Chief Marshall Jock Stirrup told the BBC that "virtually all" of the "tens and tens of thousands" posted overseas had behaved "impeccably".

He conceded that this "has not been universally the case".'

Hurrah for our side! And what a comfort to those victims of abuse, to learn that their ordeal virtually didn't happen! How overjoyed must the family of Baha Mousa be, to find out that their son is virtually still alive? It's truly heartwarming stuff.

And okay, it's technically true that our troops might not be universally averse to touching up young boys; but at least when they do, we can rest assured that it's virtually harmless...

Reality Top-Up

Pope visits Australia (Reuters):

"After a refueling stop in Darwin..."

This passed without further comment in the Reuters report. Disappointing, perhaps, but in one way you have to admire the writer for resisting such a hilariously open goal!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Water on Canvas

What a stunning image this is. On first sight, my eye immediately imagines a classic oil painting of some heroic folly on a Napoleonic battlefield. But this is a photograph, taken this week in Jakarta, Indonesia, by a Reuters photographer. It shows student protesters being hosed with water-cannon.

Call me a neophilic philistine (or just call me 'Phyllis', if you prefer) but for me this knocks spots off "The Death of Wolfe" or "Scotland Forever". Journalism as Art, mateys. Bloody brilliant.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

It's All MemeMemeMeme, Isn't It?

Nothing Tra La La?: Memes don’t work; pass it on

Apparently I turn into a pumpkin if I don't play ball. Okay, just so long as I don't have to send anything to Nigeria...

“To participate,” say the rules, “you grab any book, go to page 123, find the fifth sentence, and blog it. Then tag five people.”

...and it goes thusly;

"The audacity of his gesture had won hearts, and everyone considered the matter signed and sealed."
- Arturo Pérez-Reverte, "Captain Alatriste" p123

Duty done, I pass the flame on to:

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Mice Were Furious

H took me to see the Swansea Little Theatre's production of "Of Mice & Men" last night, as a coda to my birthday pampering. I'd never seen it on stage and was very impressed; particularly, I'm delighted to say, with my old mucker Brian Willis in the role of Candy. George and Lennie were also perfectly cast and both played the emotional arpeggios perfectly; and Rhian Matthews brought her own fan club, which must surely now grow.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Billion Dollar Prang

Video: Stealth Bomber Crashes (

Skip 2min in to witness the end of possibly aviation's most valuable no-claims bonus.

I suppose that's what's bound to eventually happen when you build an aircraft that can't actually fly. Hurrah for the pilots, staying with it to the last instant but getting out safely. At $1.4 billion-a-piece, though, for their sakes I hope the USAF doesn't operate a "you break it, you bought it" policy...

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Nailed Us!

Just a-strollin' past the Old Library and caught an ad for Dan Green's Cardiff Characters photo & multimedia exhibition. I'm glad I did. His stuff captures the feel of "The 'Diff" perfectly, by focussing on individuals that everybody recognises; be they artists, street hawkers, or ubiquitous screw-loosers. 'Diffians can expect to spend a merry half-hour going "ooh" and "a-ha!" and "so that's his name!" The photography is very simple and unpretentious, using colour and depth creatively but not ponsing about at all. These are subjects many of which I've shot myself, but he's caught them with a professional eye.

There's also a short video film, using some of the characters and making music from the sounds of their lives. It drags you in. You can buy prints (ouch!) or postcards (hurrah!) but no book yet, although Dan admits "Everyone says I should!"

Sadly, this is too late to be an effective plug, as the exhibition closes tomorrow. But look out for the name Dan Green, and if he points a camera at you, smile...

Dan Green Photography

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Under My Skin

Lots of new images coming in now from Phoenix. As I look at them, something dawns on me.

Any educated layman knows the score with Mars. We know that the atmosphere is thin, that there's no evidence of complex organic molecules, that the ground seems to lack basic nutrients. Moreover, we perceive - logically, at least - that the origin of life on Earth was a random and unlikely event, even in such a complex and fertile environment. The Anthropic Principle tells us - against our instincts but within grasp of our reason - that "surely we cannot be alone?" is a subjective fallacy.

Some observers, with more or less imagination than I, can look at the Phoenix images and say "Hmmm.... rocks." Try as I might , I can't. Something hard-coded in my being lies to me when I look at them. Something visceral and reflexive, that insists, against reason, that there is no such thing as "just rocks". Something that protests that, in a landscape so fundamentally familiar, surely to postulate the absence of all life is the extraordinary claim? And yes, the rationalist in me recoils in self-disgust.

But thankfully, reason allows me to turn this warped perspective back to my advantage, and thus to preserve the sense of wonder: While some see a disappointingly familiar, Earth-like desert, when they were secretly hoping for tangerine trees and marmalade skies - I can see an Earth-like desert, but with no life of any kind. How weirdly, wildly fantastical is that? Put that way, it's hard to imagine anything further outside the realm of Human experience. Pepperland teeming with hallucinoforms may be attractive to the imagination, but Nevada with nary a microbe? Wow; now that's something else!

Monday, May 26, 2008


The weather couldn't spoil this bank holiday weekend, where beige ruled. Despite an inevitable increase in overall beigeness, Indiana Jones proved a calendar-defying proficiency in excavating the mustard, delighting a whole generation with the affirmation that, our own depreciation notwithstanding, we still have a cool dad. I must confess, under normal circumstances the old Von Daniken tropes piss me off royally - but this is, after all, the franchise where I have already accepted Yahweh and Shiva's vengeful pyrotechnics and - albeit with clenched teeth - the Holy Bastard Grail. So, I confess, the goalposts are wider. Indy may have scuffed the shot a little, but it still ended up in the back of the net.

MARS, lest we forget, is also beige. After the actualization of that foreshadowed "Seven Minutes of Terror" for the intrepid übergeeks of Phoenix, we're getting fuzzy pictures of beige rocks again and it feels bloody marvellous. To put my admiration into transatlantic terms, "You guys rock", in any colour. Hurrah for Space!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Fuzzy Blotches

Gilbern Invader
Originally uploaded by Brainless Angel
This is about as good as it got, light-leak and all. It's a shot of the Gilbern Invader on display at the National Waterfront Museum.

So, the Ful-Vue works, and I've got a bunch of monochrome film to shoot now...

Monday, May 12, 2008

Boxing clever

Boxing clever
Originally uploaded by Brainless Angel
You can't get much for 50p these days... unless you like things like this. It's an Ensign Ful-Vue box camera, c1946. It's a TLR (twin lens reflex) design with a two-speed shutter (1/35 or Bulb) and that's yer lot. This baby wouldn't know a megapixel from a MiG-21.

I've successfully loaded it with some 120 roll film and will spend the rest of the week trying not to waste my 12 exposures...

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Carrot Still Invisible...

Further to my moan last year, this year's Cardiff Bus price "revision" is another 8%. But then, I doubt that luxury items like bus travel are an inflationary indicator these days, eh? The table is full of things like iPods, which conveniently plummet year-on-year.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Together Alone

BBC NEWS | UK | PM 'stands by stance on cannabis'

He stands by his stance! The Prime Minister is beside himself!

Classic Auntie!

The Gentle Touchdown

JPL's pages for the Phoenix mission carry probably the most dramatic video ever made for a nerd infodump. Kudos to those involve for creating a genuine sense of the excitement, enthusiasm, and anxieties of performing multiple impossibilities before breakfast, as these guys do. If we're going to get kids wanting to be aerospace engineers, this is surely how to do it.

"Phoenix will hit the top of the Martian atmosphere at 5.7 kilometers per second (12,750 miles per hour). In the next seven minutes, it will use heat-shield friction, a parachute, then descent rockets to slow to about 2.4 meters per second (5.4 mph) before landing on three legs."

In case that all sounds too simple, it's got to be done with a 10 minute time-lag, due to all that infinitely irritating speed-of-light malarkey.

"By the time we even hear from the lander that EDL (Entry, Descent & Landing) has started, it'll already be over."

Bloody Hell, as they say in space. "7 Minutes of Terror" about covers it. This truly is Extreme Sport for geeks. If they can't get laid after pulling that off, there's no justice.

May 25th is now firmly in my diary. Please put it in yours.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

He Won't Do THAT Again!

U.S. acknowledges navy warning shot killed Egyptian | Reuters

Chalk up another coup for the U.S. Department of Bending Over Backwards to Fuck it Up.

Seriously - how hard can it possibly be to deliberately miss a moving target? Still, bonus points for getting the message across; once thus "warned", I'll bet the re-offence rate is remarkably low.

Monday, March 17, 2008

One Track Mind

All a bit slow here, sorry. That's mostly because of the Six Nations;

which seems to be taking all my attention. I wonder why?

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Specious Relationship

BBC NEWS | Politics | UK apology over rendition flights

We sanctioned torture, and we're not sorry.

We facilitated kidnap, and we're not sorry.

We lied about it, and we're not sorry.

We allowed ourselves to be lied to about it - oh, shit. Yeah, that's a bit off. Fair enough. Our bad. Oops.

Monday, February 11, 2008


Originally uploaded by Brainless Angel
On the streets of Cardiff for the Wales v Scotland rugby international.

Man, I feel so much safer!

This really is disgraceful fearmongering. What on Earth is the threat? And how are machine-pistols going to counter it? Is there a Taleban army coming down the M4? So, the only conclusion is that he's there to convince me to be scared.


Thursday, January 24, 2008

Hain in the Past


Duh-duh dum, dum, dum,
Duh-dum dum doodle doo...

He's resigned "to clear [his] name". Nothing like leaving it late.

Hain's Resignatometer:

Resigning when it's first discovered that you failed to declare a £100,000 donation? - Way too early.
Resigning when this is blamed - by the Prime Minister, no less - on an "incompetence" over which you presided as a minister? - Still too early.
Resigning when it emerges that a transparently fraudulent "think tank" was used to obscure the money? - Er, nope; still a bit previous, that.
Resigning when the police finally get involved? - Yes! The perfect moment to create an impression of transparency and integrity! The man's a genius!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Clip-Winged Messenger

That there is the far side of the planet Mercury - the one always pointed at the sun, that we don't get to see. Things like this don't make the front pages any more, of course, but in fact this is a pretty rare event these days - a genuine, honest-to-goodness piece of New Frontier. A place seen by human eyes for the first time. Those less disposed to be impressed will point out, understandably, that it's just another load of craters and dust. They have a point, but they're missing THE point. This is sense-of-wonder stuff. It's why kids want to become scientists. This picture should be posted on every school noticeboard in the civilized world, dammit!

I'm reminded of a conversation I once heard at a job club, when a quarry miner was asked what made his work special. After a short pause he said something like "when I chip away a piece of rock, I'm the first human being to ever see what's behind it." It was an image I've never forgotten, and it made me wish that there were more quarry miners in government. Here we are worrying about financial irregularities and the definition of "incompetence", while at the front of the class, weary teacher is desperately trying to grab our attention; "Look, children! Look! It's another planet, for Pete's sake!"

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Hot Dog, Jumping Frog...

BBC NEWS | Politics | Hain under fire over think tank

You've gotta give credit for that headline; great meter. Hain under, fire over, think tank. A dancefloor hit beckons, methinx. To be played straight after "Another On Bites The Dust", with any luck.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Half A Miracle (But Hey, Who's Counting?)

BBC NEWS | World | Americas | US worker survives 47-storey fall

"If you are a believer in miracles, this would be one," Dr Philip Barie, a surgeon
at New York's Presbyterian Hospital.

Dr Barie seems strangely unwilling to add that believers in miracles should still plan on having at least two sons, just to be on the safe side.

Meanwhile, one hopes that the younger brother is lawyered-up in the celestial courtroom. After all - where there's blame, there's a claim, right?