In A Place Far, Far, Far, Away...Sat 02 Oct 2010 at 16:48
A story that evoked my imagination this week is about the newly discovered Earth like planet orbiting a red dwarf star in the constellation of Libra lovingly called Gliese 581 g. In galactic terms it’s local at a mere twenty light years away. At fourteen million miles from it’s sun it only takes thirty seven days to make one revolution. This means that roughly for every five weeks that pass here on Earth, one year would go by on Gliese 581 g. I don’t think that I could handle Christmas that soon!
Notably Gliese 581 g is in what astronomers call The Goldilocks Zone, a distance from it’s sun which is not too hot or not too cold which means that it could support life. Astronomers from the University of California agree that because the planet was detected so quickly in the stellar neighbourhood, the Milky Way could be teeming with habitable planets. Even if we found just one fossilised single cell organism on this or any other place in the universe (like Mars or one of the moons of Saturn) then surely it would change mankinds perspective of it’s place in the big picture. We’d unequivocally have to view ourselves differently AND where would that leave religion?
There’s no doubt that if the human race is to continue into the next millennium we have to advance into new frontiers. My hope is that we don’t trash the next place.
3DTV, Or Not 3DTV, Is That Not The Question?Fri 16 Jul 2010 at 18:13
So the big new thing in entertainment is 3D. I found the trailer for Toy Story 3 breathtaking. The characters really do appear to come to life in more ways than one as your brain is fooled into seeing them jump out of the screen. Woody looks anything but woody! Gone are the days when 3D looked like something from a Victorian cardboard puppet show. Word is James Cameron is remastering Titanic in 3D for the 100th anniversary of the ship sinking in 2012. 3D has also slowly starting to infiltrate into our homes. However, with the average price of a set around £1,700 and glasses costing £99 for just one pair, how many people will be bolting out to buy? Is it worth it at this point anyway? The technology is burgeoning but still in it's infancy. Also, there's not much viewing choice. The industry has been pushing HDTV for a few years now and plenty of people would have upgraded for the world cup. I acquired my flatscreen HDTV last year and I'm now asking if I should have bided my time. To be honest I didn't think that 3DTV sets would be available in the high street for at least a few more years yet. This is because until recently it was kept quiet. My prediction is that by around 2012, just as the prices drop and a decent number of the population own a one - the industry will start to reveal sets that don't need goggles. This epic smacks of deja vu. Remember vinyl, CD, VHS and DVD?. I have a question for the geeks. Why can't HDTV owners enjoy a 3D viewing experience without upgrading? Surely all we need is a pair of 3D glasses. Why can't 3D programmes be transmitted and received by HDTV viewers? There's probably a technical explanation...or is there? There's no doubt that 3DTV is the future and in all likelihood the ultimate viewing experience. I can't wait to see if I'm hoodwinked into believing that I'm going to get a pair of black eyes when Pamela Anderson ambles out of the screen!
Lennon NakedSun 27 Jun 2010 at 10:59
It's not often that I rate a tv production, however the other night I watched Lennon Naked about John Lennon's life from just after the passing of Brian Epstein to when John and Yoko spilt to The Big Apple. The BBC4 programme takes the baton from the recent film Nowhere Boy. Former Dr Who Christopher Eccelston played John Lennon and I have to say that it was an accomplished performance. Andrew Scott who played Paul McCartney was equally good, if not better. Not only did he bear a natural resemblance but he also had many of Paul's mannerisms. Throughout the programme footage was shown of the real Lennon along with Beatles montages and soundbites. In my opinion it all amalgamated well. The impression I got of Lennon by the end credits was of somebody who was still troubled by his childhood and a person who'd lost touch with reality because of his genius. Cleary his 'investigations' with various substances also played a part. There's no denying his gift but it seems to me that if you're that talented you have to pay the price with your sanity. Once you've touched perfection where do you go from there? New York maybe?
The Queen's Tenuous AcquaintancesFri 11 Jun 2010 at 17:14
Just having a muse about Facebook. It's a great way to stay in touch and network but how many people actually know all of their Facebook friends or even have a vague connection with them? Seems to me that it's a numbers game to see how many friends you can add on regardless of tenuous connections. The other point I find interesting are the people who have Facebook friends but despise them outside of cyberspace. Maybe they should re brand it Two Facedbook.
I was talking to somebody recently whose mum will soon reach her centenary. It's amazing to think that this lady was only two when The Titanic sank and eleven when Albert Einstein was awarded a Nobel Prize in Physics. She also lived through a couple of world wars, witnessed men landing on the moon and watched Bobby Crush win Opportunity Knocks. Apparently when sombody is approaching a century you have to send their birth certificate to Buckingham Palace in order for that person to receive a card from Her Majesty. Naively I assumed that Liz was automatically informed of anyone approaching their 100th year by some government department. Here's the thing. When the Queen reaches 100 who will send her a card?
An Aston DB5 On A Long And Winding RoadFri 04 Jun 2010 at 16:11
The vintage 1962 Aston Martin DB5 that was driven by Sean Connery in Goldfinger and Thunderball is to be auctioned in Battersea Park for a charitable foundation. It's hoped that it will fetch 3.5 million pounds when it goes under the hammer in October. The first and only owner is an American DJ called Jerry Lee who bought the car in 1969 for £8,000. The Aston features a number of gadgets including a bullet proof shield and revolving number plates. (perfect for bewildering traffic wardens) However, my favourite gadget is the passenger seat that ejects at the push of a button on top of the gear stick. I've always wanted to own an Aston Martin. If I owned that one and Jeremy Clarkson's car was being serviced I'd be only be too happy to offer him a lift home.
Sir Paul McCartney has admitted that he can't remember many of his classic songs because there are too many. He was speaking just before he received a Gershwin Prize from President Obama at The White House. Paul revealed that if he was at a party and there was a piano he could sing Lady Madonna and The Long and Winding Road but there's a number that he'd have a problem performing. So if you ever host a party and Paul is a guest, don't forget a karaoke player with Beatles lyrics, don't ask him to sing Imagine and don't invite Heather Mills.
Up Up And Having It AwaySat 29 May 2010 at 16:16
The new Sex and the City film had it's London premiere in the week. I plan to take my other half to see it next Thursday. I have to admit to having a penchant for the series. As a straight guy I accept that this is irregular. However, my philosophy is, if you want to try and figure women out you have to learn to think like them. The uni of Sex and the City is a fantastic learning curve. Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda are back for Sex and the City 2 and as ever they are confident, sassy and in vogue. Additionally, let's not forget the fifth character...NYC. I always thought that this stood for New York City but after watching most of the tv shows and the first SATC movie I think that it must be a synonym for Nymphomaniac.
My favourite story from the last seven days is about an American daredevil who made history by crossing The English Channel carried only by hilieum filed balloons. Thirty-six year old Jonathan Trappe, a qualified pilot, is the very first 'cluster' balloonist to cross this stretch of water. He set off from Kent Gliding Club near Ashford and took about three hours to silently float across the channel to Dunkirk at an airspeed of 19mph and an altitude of around 2,000 feet. Waxing lyrical he elequently said 'It was tremendously peaceful, tremendously beautiful...it was just an exceptionally qiuet, peaceful experience.' To aid his descent he had to cut away some of the balloons and eventually landed in a cabbage field. This is a great allegory of daring and audacity with a dash of craziness. However, me no understando. It's called The English Channel so why didn't an Englishman do this first? Where's Richard Branson when you need him?