Wednesday, 31 March 2010

That's No Space Station, It's a Moon!

As the Millennium Falcon flies towards Alderaan to deliver the stolen plans to Princess Leia's father, Han Solo and crew hit an asteroid field where the planet used to be. After a bit of turbulence and finding a stray TIE fighter, they watch as the small imperial ship floats towards what Luke refers to as "a small moon." Obi-Wan perks up and says, "That's no moon." While Kenobi was able to correctly identify the Death Star when he first saw it, pictures of the Saturn moon Mimas would confuse the hell out of him.

NASA has revealed new photos of the moon, and there is no doubt: it looks identical to the Death Star. Without thinking about it, the small celestial body looks the same as any other - gray with craters - but it is the huge crater with what appears to be a peak in the middle that makes us reminisce about one of the greatest sci-fi epics of all time and pray that a green beam doesn't shoot out and destroy Earth. Upping the geek factor, when a thermal scan of the moon was taken, hot spots were discovered that made the moon look like a giant game of Pac Man, the superlaser focus lens suddenly becoming a dot on which the yellow creature can nosh.

These pictures were released by NASA yesterday taken by the Cassini spacecraft which is a joint international venture and is in orbit around Saturn. So what does this tell us? Two things, really. The first is that surface texture variation may be responsible for the different temperature zones, though the pattern is inexplicable. The second is that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration is full of nerds B )

Sunday, 21 March 2010

No room at the Inn

There has been furious response from gay rights campaigners, bordering on harassment, towards Christian bed-and-breakfast owner that is facing legal action for breaching discrimination laws after turning away a gay couple.

On Friday, 19th, Michael Black and John Morgan, from Brampton, Cambridgeshire, intended to stay one night at the Swiss B&B in Cookham in Berkshire. But when Susanne Wilkinson discovered that 2 men had booked a double room to share a bed, she refused them entry. Mrs Wilkinson did so in cold but polite way and refunded the full amount. The B&B owners have reclined from public view after the wave of hate mail, but talking to the BBC on Monday Mrs Wilkinson insultingly added that she was given no "prior warning" about their sexuality. It saddens me that there is so much ignorance in any area of society, but its particularly disappointing when found in the educated and "respectful" middle classes, who should, apparently know better.

The couple had been in town to meet some friends for dinner and to see a local play, after their cancel room they had to drive the 80miles home for the night. They later reported the discrimination to Thames Valley police and it is being investigated. Michael Black, a 62-year-old self-employed exams consultant, said: "We're two respectable middle-aged men. John is leader of the Liberal Democrats group on Huntingdon town council. Both were - obviously -thoroughly embarrassed by the reaction of homophobic Susanne. I agree that Susanne has the right to her opinion and has the right to say who and who doesn't stay in her home, but by going into business as a bed-and-breakfast opens you to the public, removing that right of favouritism and enforcing the law upon you.

The whole situation is dramatic and I hope it doesn't escalate to proportions as it did in March last year in Penzance, Cornwall, which lead to a gay couple suing a hotel for for thousands in damages after not letting them share a double room because they weren't married. It is a shame that people have taken it upon themselves to send abusive and threatening letters to the other wise respectable Wilkinson family, but then everyone loves a scapegoat.

Friday, 19 March 2010

The Blame Game

I haven't done many political posts recently, mostly because I haven't been keeping up with the news - or in my case the olds - but a sideline I heard yesterday reminded me of something; Its so infuriating when the media blame social services for child abuse, and there for encourages the public to do so as well, and even the bosses. I'd like to think they are trying to avoid a witch hunt but I doubt it.

Christopher Sellman, 24, killed Tiffany Sellman Burdge, his 25 day old daughter the first time that he was left alone with her. Social services came into the blame after a family member told a social worker, who was working on another case, that he had a bad temper before the baby was born. The story was printed in the Telegraph yesterday.

Maybe I'm being cynical (its happening more and more these days) but if one person mentions in passing about a another man's bad temper, a man who has no previous history of violence? The grandmother didn't report it correctly, there is a lot of information available on how to report concerns for child welfare to social services. I do not think mentioning it to a health visitor or a social worker in passing is acceptable for someone who is "seriously concerned" from what I've read it seems Chris' mother made a casual comment instead of a raising her concerns seriously.

If he had a bad temper why didn't the baby's mother, Pamela Burdge, mention something? Why didn't the close family know about this temper? And it couldn't have been that bad as Pamela trusted him to be left alone with the baby. Chris did have issue with social services, in the past there have been concerns of neglect with regards to 2 older children but no reports of violence or physical abuse. Not that I'm condoning his actions, or berating Tiffany's family but this baby was let down but half a dozen important and supposedly responsible people in her short life, not just Kent social services. This has to be the most tragic case of misplaced trust and betrayal I have heard of, my thoughts are with Pamela and her family, Chris' family too for that matter.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Hips Dont Lie

Belly dancing has taken on a surge of popularity in recent years, following the trend of alternative fitness like pole dancing and boxer-sizing, with classes popping up all over the place.

Belly dancing actually involves all parts of the body but most specifically the hips, modern belly dancing is an Arabic folk dance and has different traditions depending on its origins. For example in Egypt dancers are not allowed to touch themselves during performance or have their midriff showing, where as Turkish dancers are much more seductive, often wearing mini skirts and high heels.

I've always been interested in the flamboyant folks dances so when the opportunity arose to attend a belly dancing workshop I eagerly took it. It was great fun, made us all feel very sexy and confidant and is a great way to keep fit. During the first lesson, held on 13th March 2010, we learnt a simple dance for beginners. It still needs practice and polishing but even though it was our first go we had great fun : )

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Tumble Down is burning down!

I've always fancied being a reporter (April O'Neil was a strong role model) and this afternoon I was in the right place at the right time to do some on scene reporting, unfortunately we witnessed a fire break out at a once loved pub - The Tumbly : (

The Tumble Down Dick in Farnborough, Hampshire, has a long history dating back to the 5th century and its name comes from drunken Richard Cromwell who was, according to local legend, a one time visitor of the inn. In recent times it has been a haven for the alternative scene, and intill its closure in 2008 "Dicks" venue next door held weekly Rock Club nights at Quarantine.

Today at 15.30 a fire broke out at the old pub,
dark smoke that emanated from the roof was blown quickly away. Within 10 minutes the first fire engine had arrived and fire fighters started to prise open one of the shuttered windows with a crow bar. 2 more engines arrived before they gained access to the building at the rear with a top floor window. It is un-known at this time the outcome of the fire and the extent of damage caused.

Friday, 12 March 2010

Dakimakura Otaku!

In the past people have fallen in love with inanimate objects and some have even been married, both the Berlin wall and the Eiffel Tower have brides. But for the first time a man has officially married a pillow. Last Thursday, 4th March, a Korean man married his Dakimakura, a hugging pillow that has a printed picture of anime charterer on it, in this case it an imagine of Fate Testerosa from the series Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha.

Lee Jin-guy, 28, dressed his dakimakura, a hugging pillow, in a bridal gown and before guests was wed to her by a priest. It was extensively covered by local media at the time and was printed in the London Metro today.

A friend at the ceremony told London Metro: 'He is completely obsessed with this pillow and takes it everywhere,' They also added in their article; 'They go out to the park or the funfair where it will go on all the rides with him. Then when he goes out to eat he takes it with him and it gets its own seat and its own meal,'.

If you didn't believe in true love before then this might sway you, but then you might also think the world has gone totally mad, it depends how you look at it. I wish him great happiness : )

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Dude leads the charge

A family in Basildon, Essex, discovered at the weekend that Dude the cockerel had lead his brood of 3 hens into a frenzied attack on a fox intruder, and won! It would appear that a small table inside the coop was knocked over and hit the fox on the head, knocking him unconscious which enabled the chickens to peck him to death. I hope that in the future foxy visitors will stay clear of Dude and his girls.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Chickens at the Carrington household

After 9 months of research, applications, letters requesting permission, buying and building the chicken coop, painting and setting it up, buying supplies of tonic and medicine as well as food grit and straw . . . what is still missing? Chickens!

On Monday 1st of March we drove to Smilers Farm to pick up the girls and here they are:Belle the Bluebell, Big Bertha a Rhode Island Red, Gwen (Guinevere) Sussex White and Esmerelda, Black Comet.

We spent most of day enjoy the first of crisp bright spring sunshine and watching them wonder around our garden. They have settled in happily although the first Bluebell had to go back to the farm because she was sick, they can care for her needs much better than us, we are not experienced enough to know what is best for her.

Bertha is the eldest so I expect the first eggs to come from her in a couple of weeks time, and then Gwen who is 2nd eldest, the other girls will follow a few weeks at a time after her. Yummy fresh eggs, I can't wait!