As a kid I was ever so slightly geeky, and rather obsessed with space. My parents, always keen to support my quest for knowledge, bought me a telescope one birthday and I used to spend many an evening gazing up at the moon and the stars in awe. Eventually hormones kicked in, and my interest in heavenly bodies shifted somewhat closer to home.
There are approx 300 billion stars in our galaxy. And there are more than 200 billion galaxies in the known universe. So, doing a quick bit of maths, there are a shitload of stars out there. And although not all of them support intelligent life, a heck of a lot of them surely must.
Of course whether ours can be said to do so is increasingly debatable in the age of Trump, Brexit and the ongoing spectacle of a race seemingly intent on bringing about its own extinction. On the plus side, Donald Dumpf is a gift to comedy, although in the minuscule cluster of neurons that passes for his brain, he probably thinks we are laughing with him and not at him. How deluded can one person get? Continue reading →
There was a survey a while back that showed that a quarter of the American population believe that the sun revolves around the Earth, and not the other way round. This was of course the mainstream view until our old chum Nicky Copernicus upset the apple-cart with his heliocentric model, published in the 16th century. At last the Earth was put in its rightful place, although not everyone was thrilled with this particular advance in human knowledge. There were certainly some major grumblings from the Catholic church. Still, at least Mr C managed to avoid the fate of his defender and fellow astronomy clever-clogs, friar Giordano Bruno, who apparently was just too much of a rebel for the church and had his chestnuts roasted on an open fire, along with the rest of him.
The agonising wait is over at last! Here are the winners in the very first ever halfbananas awards.
There are so many amazing blogs out there, it’s hard to keep up. I hope you enjoy discovering some great new ones, and if you’ve won a coveted halfbananas award, congratulations!
The dedicated awards committee have tried to recognise the best examples in various categories, but inevitably there will be lots of other fabulous blogs that missed out this time around. But never fear, there will be more awards, accolades and virtual pats-on-backs coming soon. Let’s spread the love people!
I look forward to seeing all the lucky winners and honourable mentions, at the lavish Hollywood party I will be hosting, assuming awards condition #3 is met (see below). Continue reading →
After another depressing week of news and a Danish Summer that is currently awol, I thought I’d look for some things to cheer about. It wasn’t easy.
As the good ship UK begins to slowly sink beneath the icy, post-Brexit waves, the news from the rest of Europe is a little more heartening. A number of countries, including Denmark, are seeing an upswing in support for the EU. Polls suggest there is less enthusiasm for a referendum here than pre-Brexit and a more EU-friendly vibe among the people. Hopefully the referendum shock will make other euro-sceptic members see sense and pull back from the brink of following the UK to Davy Jones locker.
With the surge in racist attacks in the UK and the awful violence in the US, it’s been good to see citizens responding with gestures of kindness and solidarity. If every cloud has a silver lining, or at least every fifth cloud, we may see a great swell of unity and of people finally waking up to the fact that black lives matter, that immigrants lives matter and that no life is worth less because of where you were born, or because of some minor variations in hair or skin pigmentation. We are all in this together. Continue reading →
Genetically we are very similar – there is only a small variation among humans and the concept of different races is largely a social construct, not a biological one. We’re also not so different from our nearest relatives the apes – Chimpanzees share over 98% of our DNA.
We are related to all life on Earth in all its staggering diversity. Even bananas, which share 50-60% of our DNA, are distant relatives. I suspect this is why some people bruise more easily than others, and some quickly turn brown, or peel after sunbathing. They are a bit more bananas than the rest of us. (I’ve certainly encountered a few 100% bananas individuals online..)
One might think that the appreciation of all the wondrous diversity of life among our global kin would be hardwired. That Homo Sapiens would celebrate and embrace all the many forms life takes. Yet the history of our species is a bloody tale of intolerance, hatred and exploitation of our fellow man, and of the other species with which we share the planet.
It was almost a year to the day since Peter Pike – AKA Procrastination Man – had last donned his ill-fitting spandex outfit and battled the forces of evil. But Peter had not been idle, far from it. In that time he had thoroughly reorganised his cutlery drawer, joined a gym (although not actually visited it) and made detailed plans to re-decorate the lounge and repair the kitchen window. There had even been a few half-hearted attempts to start writing his autobiography.
He had also, much to his surprise, found a partner, Melanie Grant, with whom he had made some exciting and probably completely impractical plans. An attractive, if slightly geeky young science graduate, she had been inspired by the press coverage of his earlier adventures and had responded to his online quest for a partner:
WANTED: SMART, KICK-ARSE PARTNER FOR A UNIQUE CRIME-FIGHTING OPPORTUNITY! NO TIME-WASTERS PLEASE.
Their first meeting at TheBlack Crow pub hadn’t gone quite as well as they’d hoped. A nervous Peter had arrived late as usual, and then managed to spill his pint of beer all over their table. Melanie had ended up trapped in the women’s toilet cubicle, a faulty lock requiring intervention from the local fire brigade. But they had been able to laugh about it afterwards, and their disastrous evening had eventually ended on a unexpected high note.
As they had slowly gotten to know each other in the months that followed, the future suddenly seemed to be full of promise and adventure.
After a long planning phase, they were determined not to let any more grass grow under their feet. It was time for action, just as soon as they’d saved up enough cash to advertise their services in the papers, and whipped themselves into shape at the gym. And paid off the credit card bills. Yes, quite soon they would be ready to unleash the force of THE PROACTIVATORS upon an unsuspecting criminal world.
We instinctively recoil from people in authority who are publicly exposed as liars, feeling cheated and seeing them as tarnished individuals. Yet whether we like to admit it or not, we all have an intimate relationship with lies, fibs and tall tales.
According to a 2002 study conducted by the University of Massachusetts, 60% of adults can’t have a ten minute conversation without lying at least once.
I personally never lie, as I was telling Bill Gatesand his wife Melinda the other night at dinner, on George Clooney‘s new super-yacht.