Although I love my gadgets, one of the most popular that I’ve avoided so far is the Kindle. My problem with it is that although one might store a library within its circuits, you don’t have the reassuring presence of much-loved titles looking down on you from the bookshelf as a reminder to be re-read. One such book of mine is the collection of three works by the Victorian/Edwardian humorist, Jerome K Jerome. Read more ›››
That’s it folks
Among all those who support Brexit there are many who long for a simpler time when we weren’t in the EU. But to illustrate that things move on and get more complicated, here is a map of the internet in 1973, the same year we joined the EU. Yep, that’s all of it.
One of the iconic moments of the modern era took place on 12 April 1961 when Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space. But was he? Or does that honour belong to Vladimir Ilyushin as the conspiracy theorists would have us believe?
Vladimir Ilyushin was the son of Sergei Ilyushin, the pioneering aircraft engineer responsible for some of the most famous Russian military aircraft and deputy of the Supreme Soviet from 1937 to 1970. Read more ›››
Manchester United has ordered a couple who make their own “terrible” football stickers to stop selling “wonky drawings” of the team’s ex-players. Known as Panini Cheapskates, they hand draw their own images and sell them on Etsy.
You piffling little swishfiggler!
A lexicographer has a children’s dictionary of swearing and expletives. Roald Dahl’s Rotsome & Repulsant Words is designed to help them explore language. Read more ›››
The Reverend Robert Stephen Hawker was an eccentric English clergyman remembered for writing the patriotic Cornish song Trelawny, originating the tradition of the Harvest Festival – and dressing as a mermaid.
Hawker was born in Plymouth in 1803 the eldest of nine children. When he was ten years old, his father took holy orders and left Plymouth leaving his son in the care of his grandparents. Read more ›››
A horse in pyjamas
Scientists have dressed horses in zebra suits to work out why their cousins have stripes. And it’s to confuse parasites. Of course, the real mystery is whether zebras are black with white stripes or white with black stripes?
The Age of Discovery gave us the names of many great European explorers who opened up Africa, the Americas and Asia, but their discoveries often owed more to luck than judgement. And the unlucky ones tend to be forgotten.
One such is Sir Humphrey Gilbert, half-brother of Sir Walter Raleigh, who managed to lose most of the ships under his command and ‘discovered’, claimed and abandoned Newfoundland within the space of a few weeks in 1583. Read more ›››