Sunday Round-up

My round-up of news, events and stuff and nonsense from the last seven days –
if it’s news to me, it must be news to you!

I’m getting worried now: It seems to be a be a tradition that the New Year should be welcomed in with apocalyptic visions. I mentioned last week that both the US CDC and Amazon were preparing for a zombie apocalypse last year. Now comes news that students at Leicester University estimate that human kind would be wiped out within 100 days with fewer than 300 survivors outnumbered by millions of zombies.

Really worried: But zombies are the least of our worries. Prof Peter Turchin from the University of Connecticut predicts the end of civilisation some time in the 2020s based on the new science of ‘cliodynamics’ named after the Greek muse of history.

The end is nigh: But they needn’t have bothered working this stuff out since the world will end in November according to David Meade, author of Planet X – The 2017 Arrival.  And the world’s elite are secretly preparing for this by building bunkers to survive ‘When Worlds Collide’ which probably explains why Donald Trump wanted to join them.

Sounding a sour note: If your celebratory New Year’s Eve pint of beer didn’t quite live up to expectations, it could be that the sound of the midnight chimes made it taste sour.

Dino on tour: After 112 years at the Natural History Museum, Dippy the Diplodocus is being dismantled and will be going on tour around the UK. And Dippy won’t be returning as he/she is being replaced by the skeleton of a whale.

Iceberg exonerated: A new theory is that the Titanic wasn’t sunk by an iceberg after all and that a fire in the hull was to blame.

Out of body experience: Irish Surgeon J Calvin Coffey has discovered a ‘new’ organ in the human body that we never knew existed. It’s called the mesentery which sits between the stomach and intestine.

Altitude: You need a head for heights to cross the Beipanjiang Bridge (right) which opened in China last week. It stands 1,850 feet above the Beipan River making it the world’s highest bridge.

Gun law: In 2016, someone in America was shot by a toddler every week . You have to pity that someone getting shot every week like that and you’d think it wouldn’t be too hard for the FBI to track down the murderous toddler concerned, but should Donald Trump consider actually doing something about gun control, he should take a look at Japan where gun crime has been all but eradicated.

A cock of sh*t: Mikhail Bopposov welcomed in the Year of the Rooster by building a giant sculpture of a cockerel out of manure.

Manure art is a speciality of the former state farm worker from Yakutia in Russia’s far east. Last year Bopposov produced an even more complicated monkey sculpture out of manure and has previously sculpted horses, a dragon and a snake.

Anniversary of the week: The first week of January saw the 50th anniversary of the ill-fated water speed record attempt by Donald Campbell. His boat Bluebird was recovered in 2001 and has been restored by engineer Bill Smith.

Hyperface Prototype

Beating Big Brother: A Berlin-based artist is developing anti-surveillance clothing printed with a complex ‘hyperface’ pattern to block facial recognition systems.

Cold case: Smart appliances such as fridges and washing machines could soon become witnesses for the prosecution in murder cases and other crimes predicts Scotland Yard’s head of digital forensics.

Time in loo: Gatwick Airport has been voted Loo of the Year while Baba Sechan, an employee of Birmingham cleaning company We Clean, became the first person to be awarded the Attendant of the Year trophy for the second year running.

Vesna Vulović

Vesna Vulović

Brief lives: Vesna Vulović the air stewardess who held the world record for surviving the highest fall without a parachute and who I wrote about in 2012; Allan Williams, the Beatles first manager; Olympic athlete Miruts Yifter aka Yifter the Shifter; economist and leader in inequality research Tony Atkinson; Kinder Egg supremo William Salice; Squadron Leader Tom Long who flew Mosquitos with the Pathfinder Force in WW2; Indian actor Om Puri and; Rolf Noskwith last of the Bletchley Park codebreakers.

Nobody’s prefect. If you find any spelling mistakes or other errors in this post, please let me know by highlighting the text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

10 comments… Add yours
  • Yorkshire Pudding 8th January 2017

    Regarding the cockerel sculpture, I would just like to say:-
    Вообще-то я живу в Беларуси и у меня вопрос -сколько времени шестеро мужиков такую кучу дерьма производили , и сколько времени это занимало у уважаемого Михаил БОППОСОВА

    • Mr Parrot 8th January 2017

      I checked with Google Translate and can confirm that there is nothing too offensive in that comment!

  • Trevor Rowley 8th January 2017

    The end of the world piece made me recall a curious little scenario from my days at senior school. The story developed over a period of about four weeks. In the first week, a boy came into school and announced that the world was going to end shortly. Of course, he was laughed at by all and sundry and became the butt of jokes for a day or two. However, it came to light that he and his family were members of a religious sect who believed quite genuinely that the Earth’s days were, quite lterally, numbered (and very small numbers at that). His parents had made their formal notification to the school that the following week would be “little Freddie’s” final week, in which he would say his fond farewells to masters and pupils alike. Come the second week and the boy did what he had to do (no more homework, dodgy school dinners or cross country in the rain for this little chappie) and the next (the third) week he was absent. We heard that the members of the religious sect had gathered themselves together and trecked to Werneth Low – not exactly moorland but the highest spot in Hyde, Cheshire and, presumably, high enough to provide sanctuary from any gigantic floods which might occur. Needless to say, the end of the world didn’t come, so the “ex” pupil had to return the next (the fourth) week to reume his studies (and no doubt catch up on all the homework which he thought he might have dodged).

    When was all this? I had estimated that it was around 1959/60. A trawl through Wikipedia reveals that the Davidian sect (some form of offshoot of the Seventh Day Adventists) had believed that the world was going to end in April 1959, so I wasn’t too far off with my estimate.

    I wonder if that lad is still dreading the end of the world. Lad? – he’ll be about seventy now.

    • Yorkshire Pudding 8th January 2017

      When waiting for the end of the world, I wonder which car park it is best to park in at Werneth Low Country Park – Lower Higham, the Quarry or Windy Harbour? Personally, I would go for Lower Higham as there are toilets in the visitors’ centre there and Judgement Day is likely to play havoc with one’s insides.

    • Mr Parrot 9th January 2017

      Your memories reminded me of the Beyond the Fringe sketch with Peter Cook and Dudley Moore about an En of the World sect.

      Moore: And will this wind be so mighty as to lay low the mountains of the earth?

      Cook : No – it will not be quite as mighty as that – that is why we have come up on the mountain, you stupid nit.

      For the full transcript.

  • Trevor Rowley 8th January 2017

    Forget those parking arrangements, young Pudding. What you need is the establishment on Commode Street, back in the town centre. Aim for Armageddon Motors (motto: “We’re with you all the way – even round the bend”). Ask for Big Ronnie and ask about their exclusive rates for End of the World Parking for your car. They’ll keep it under lock and key until you’re ready to come out of the nuclear bunker and you even get a free wash and brush up – all that for 17/6, what a bargain!

    • Yorkshire Pudding 9th January 2017

      Thanks for the tip Lord Rowley. For a member of the aristocracy you are darned helpful.

  • Trevor Rowley 10th January 2017

    …and as a member of the aristocracy, I shouldn’t even be seen talking to you, young fella, but I’ll make an exception,in your case, in this season of goodwill to all.

  • Steve 11th January 2017

    After Brexit and Trump, nothing would surprise me. The End of the World seems entirely possible!


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