eternal sunshine

It’s a long time since I first came across Sydney Smith’s comment to his brother, “We have reversed the law of nature: you have risen by your gravity, and I have sunk by my levity.” And probably just as long since I first heard it suggested that we should repeal the law of gravity.

Somewhere in the same space in my brain where I access those ideas is a link to the idea of climate change, in particular to scientists’ warnings that, despite its name, global warming will bring harsher winters.
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pizza again?

Full moon through clouds

All the recent news about the New Horizons mission has brought to mind a poem inspired by Pluto’s demotion from planet status in 2006:

In the dog house

My Very Excellent Mother used to be
the soul of generosity, and her beneficence
a universally-acknowledged truth.
Around the world, students rejoiced
when they recalled that she
Just Sent Us Nine Pizzas.

But as time passes, so it seems, the universe
contracts; mom’s liberality is capped
and scientists decree that students
will make do with

I’m banished to my room. I must redo
my fourth grade science project.

Apparently the latest discoveries strengthen the argument to have Pluto reinstated as a planet. I suppose that means pizza may be back on the menu.


The DCTN strap-line is “(mostly) first-person poetry, prose and opinion” and I try and keep the blog more poetical than political. Of course, with the UK election looming, this is going to be more and more difficult; I suspect there’s more politics in poetry than there is poetry in politics.

So, recognising that politics are bound to enter into things sometime soon, I’ll get started with a few fairly random recent thoughts. First, a somewhat startling headline snipped from the BBC website:

Headline: Labour plans abuse
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hot and cold

However bad the weather is when you’re reading this, I doubt any UK readers will be witnessing anything quite as extreme as that shown in the video of this news story:

BBC News story Yellow River waterfall turns to ice in China

What struck me, of course, was the “read more” headline at the end of the story. Why has the year 2014 been so hot?

just for fun

It doesn’t matter how good your writing is if no one reads it, so one of the skills of journalism must be composing attention-catching headlines. Whoever realised they were in a position to use the phrase Most dangerous alien species in a story title today must have been sure they were on to a winner.

The words certainly caught my attention and I clicked through to an article in the Independent about Quagga mussels.

Not only did I read the story, but I clicked on the gallery of Alien attacks: The invasive species damaging the UK, past the grey squirrels, through the Japanese knotweed and the Giant hogweed, all the way to the end, where I found this innocuous-looking creature:

killer shrimp
image from gallery link above
Of course appearances are deceptive and the accompanying text tells us it is a killer shrimp:
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a new dawn

Perhaps it’s just me, but the headline below (on the BBC website the other day) conjured some bizarre images.

BBC headline: DNA project 'to make UK world leader'

As I wondered what a “UK world leader” would be like and whose dna the scientists would mix and match, there was one name that kept recurring.

Fortunately, the somewhat depressing image of the UK taking over the world with Churchill at the helm was brightened by a mental soundtrack of Tim Curry singing “I can make you a man.”

(For those who want to know the real story of the UK’s genetic research project, it’s here. As for me, I think I’ll go and re-watch the Rocky Horror Picture Show.)

news at the cutting edge

swiss army knife and pearl-handled penknife
There’s been a lot of talk this past week about “Tory knife crime plans”. (The plans under discussion are for mandatory prison sentences for anyone convicted twice for carrying a knife.)

News websites change rapidly, so one headline that particularly caught my attention – “Clegg attacks Tory knife crime plan” – is no longer to be found. I’d made a note of it, though, as that badly chosen verb “attack” bothered me.

For a bored subeditor, making up punny headlines can be fun, but I think there’s a point when serious news should be treated seriously. (True, my post title is slightly frivolous, but this is a personal blog not an official news provider.)
Continue reading “news at the cutting edge”