Every now and then I toy with the idea that there might be countless alternate universes, places exactly like this one and yet different in at least one crucial aspect.

The theory goes that each time we make a decision, no matter how small, in another place the opposite course is taken and things turn out differently. Read more ›››

Of all the brave pioneers of flight, perhaps the most remarkable was Captain Eric 'Winkle' Brown, arguably the greatest aviator who ever flew.

Brown was born near Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1919. His father had been a balloon observer and pilot in the Royal Flying Corps during World War One and he gave his son his first taste of flight at the age of eight when he flew a single-seat biplane with the younger Brown sat on his lap. Read more ›››

Sunday Round-up

Back in black: After writing about doughnut ice cream cones last week, the latest food fad is the perfect accompaniment – black ice cream coloured with coconut ash. Or if you really want to pile on the pounds, try an Eccles cake burger.

Healthy bad habits: As someone who bit his fingernails as I child, I now know that I was doing myself a favour since this bad habit, along with thumb-sucking, sparks your immune system and prevents allergies. Read more ›››

Jimmie Angel was an aviator, adventurer and stuff of legend, most of which he perpetuated himself. What is certainly true though is that Angel Falls in Venezuela, the highest in the world, is named after him.

Angel was born in Cedar Valley, Missouri, in 1899, but would spend most of his 57 years outside of America. He claimed to be mostly American Indian which at least had some basis in truth as his mother was part North Carolina Cherokee. Read more ›››

I'm starting to get an inkling, or at least an inkle, of what it must have been like to live in one of those apocryphal banana republics of yore when governments rose and fell overnight.

It all started with that fateful referendum result, supposedly a triumph for democracy, and suddenly Britsh politics has all the stability of a drunk on a penny-farthing. Read more ›››

Sunday Round-up

Hit the paws button: The University of Central Lancashire has designed a tv remote control for dogs so that they can choose what they like to watch when their owners are out.

Taking liberties: A controversial new theory would have us believe that the Statue of Liberty is a transsexual and that its creator, Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, modelled the face on his brother and not his mother as previously thought. Read more ›››

Wartime can throw up some strange heroes, but the strangest was Eddie Chapman, audacious safe-cracker, womaniser and conman who became the most extraordinary spy of Word War Two, better known as Agent Zigzag.

Born in County Durham in 1914, Chapman was a bright, but unruly child who often skipped school and by the time he was seventeen, he had become bored by life in the north east and took himself off to London. Read more ›››

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