Thursday, 29 May 2008

Chip Chop

I see that yesterday's Cambodian UFO story from the Sun has now become "real" news. It must be, since it's featured by the Telegraph this morning, along with a number of other stories that nobody in their right mind would ever believe.

The clearest hint that the loonies are now running the asylum is in this report from the South West, in which the fire brigade has stopped doing live demonstrations of the dangers of chip pan fires. Think back to your school days - they've been doing these demos for over 20 years, so you might have to think back quite a few years! - and you'll remember being taught that the only way to safely deal with a chip pan fire is to place a wet towel over the top of the pan.

The absolute worst thing you can do is pour water on the blaze, and I'm sure the live demo has been instrumental is saving an awful lot of people from injury, or even death, over the years. It won't be doing so any more, though, because Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service has now withdrawn the dramatic chip pan demonstration for schoolchildren — in case it encourages children to tackle one at home. Isn't that the whole damn point? Where else would they be likely to encounter a blazing chip pan?

Then again, how many folks of child-sprouting age are likely to know how to make their own chips, these days? As products of the British education system, they're far more likely to buy them frozen and stuff them in the microwave.

Staying in the South West, the aforementioned Fire and Rescue Service has been swamped with emergency calls after flash floods tore through their patch, forcing them to request that folks only dial 999 if lives were threatened. Ironically, according to Telegraph, the Sunrise Festival, due to play host to around 20,000 tree-huggers in an eco-friendly way has been cancelled because of the bad weather. You've got to laugh, haven't you?

Unless you're Gordon Brown-Trousers, who probably wants to cry. A YouGov poll today shows the Labour party in its worst ever position since polling began, with the McBean even managing to do (fractionally) worse than Michael Foot. It will be no consolation to him to be on the same kind of ground as John Major at his lowest ebb, and he's going to be even more upset to find that this poll was conducted AFTER he'd poured over £2 billion into "fixing" the 10p tax debacle. What's it going to take to get him out of this mess? More than he has, I think - shouldn't have bottled out of that election he couldn't have lost, should he?

And then there's NASA. I like them. I really do. They do lots of cool (and very, very important) research, and come in for a lot of bad press for their efforts. Tiny minded people don't understand that the research they do into things that may seem a little "out there" to the average dweeb has significant applications in everyday life - an awful lot of the things we take for granted today sprang from their research. Plus, of course, they have cool toys like the Phoenix probe that's busily sending back pictures of the Martian landscape.

Again, very, very cool, even if those pictures are astonishingly similar to those sent back from the Viking probes 30 years ago - i.e. they feature a lot of red rocks! Of course, the purpose of the Phoenix mission is completely different from Viking, but I was just a little bit worried to read that "Mission leaders had begun giving names to the rocks and depressions in the 'work space' where Phoenix will spend the next three months digging, said Peter Smith, the mission’s chief investigator."

Naming rocks? Yes, I know why they do it, thanks, but wouldn't you think that some of the biggest brains in the world would find a way to express the concept in a way that wouldn't make them look quite so, well, odd?

Billy Seggars.

No comments: