Tid-bits

Friday, 11th July 2008 at 7:52 UTC Leave a comment

I’ve decided on a clear out of some of the random stories I’ve flagged to mention in Bloglines. From Asparagus on Mars, to Orang-utans in court, here’s some of what I never quite find time to blog about.

“Nasa Tips Asparagus as top crop for Mars”

This amuses me because it seems so bizarre. But then I realised how worrying it was. Mars has a heavily CO2 filled atmosphere and no sign of ability to support animal life as we understand it. If it ever was a sustainable biosphere, then it somehow lost most of what enables us to function. If we ever discover proof of past life, we must be careful not to be too excited, as we shall be looking at a post-apocalyptic world, a sobering thought.

The post I was going to write would have been entitled “Lets all eat Asparagus”, a comment on the fact that Mars is one of the two directions our planet might be headed if we can’t stop destroying it. The other, of course, is even more apocalyptic: Venus. And so we should perhaps not find the whole Asparagus thing so amusing. But then, I’m no scientist, and I really can’t predict how Earth will end up beyond the insatiable forest fires and the sea spewing out its entire CO2 store.

Man sells his ‘entire life’ on eBay for $383,000

The expat experience in a box. Another one of those weird Ebay sale stories. A guy with a tough story. But lets face it, this is basically what the dream of a disposable culture is all about; the relinquishing of responsibility when we decide we want rid of something. And there’s no such thing as a real “fresh start”, we will always take with us something of the old, even if that’s just the memories and scars.

Air France eyes move to railways

Wow, an airline prepared to do the right thing. Long haul flights might be lamentable, but really, short haul flights must be transferred to rail. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. And it seems Air France is going the right way, long ahead of British Airways and others.

Which brings me to a proposal I’ve wanted to make for a while: upgrade the rail link into Heathrow to take Virgin Voyagers headed to Birmingham New Street, Manchester, Glasgow, Eurostars (yes, its really quite plausible) headed for Paris and Brussels, stopping at Stratford International (people get off for docklands, get on for the continent), and maybe even some trains headed for Leeds and Newcastle via the East Coast Mainline. Its all do-able with little investment beyond a single loop of track from the Heathrow Express line back towards Reading, and some interesting routing from Acton Junction.

Australian PM in new nude art row

Yeah, I nearly wrote about this on the last occasion. But this brought a new thought to my mind: perhaps its OK if the pictures are kept from display and publication until the child is old enough (though 13? perhaps still too young) to decide whether the image can be used. That way, art isn’t affected (beyond the enormous time delay) and the subject gets to make an adult decision about the image. Or maybe the art world will always be on a collision course, given its inherently liberal nature alongside the very socially conservative nature of Australia in many regards (though not all).

Tourism turn-off?

Perhaps what we have here is just a case of East-meets-West attitude problems. China believes a good party is well organised, while everyone who goes to Western parties knows for sure that the best is always the surprising. No one wants to travel to a big brother state to party, and no one wants to be told how exactly to party. I think these games more than any other will be like a trip to Disney land: everyone is told to have fun and shown exactly how to do it. But there’s a reason why Revel and Rebel are only a consonant apart, and for most everyone who isn’t a die-hard China fan, being told that nearly a million school kids must learn a special “Patriotic Olympic Chant” amongst other things will hardly inspire images of enjoyment. Culture clash might well kill these Olympics.

Rights granted for Great Apes in Spain

Great, we really are being placed at the mercy of Animal Rights bullies. I despair. No really. How long before the entire world is forced into the classic activist situation of being too scared to admit to eating meat? And what happens when we give potatoes rights? Will we just eat rocks instead?

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Entry filed under: Culture, Environment, Freedom, Human Rights, News, Politics.

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