Friday 23rd July - Three hundred colonists sailed from Dieppe for New France, 1623. Composer Domenico Scarlatti died, 1757. Thomas Brisbane, 6th Governor of New South Wales, born, 1773. The first Ford motor car was sold, 1903. Jenny Pike, Canadian servicewoman, photographer and darkroom technician, born, 1922. Physicist and astronaut Sally Ride died, 2012. Saturday 24th July - Margravine Matilda of Tuscany died, 1115. Explorer Jacques Cartier became the first European to set foot on what is now Quebec, 1534. Novelist Alexandre Dumas born, 1802. Martin Van Buren, 8th President of the United States, died, 1862. The Dust Bowl heatwave peaked with a temperature of 43oC (109oF) in Chicago, 1935. Actress Lynda Carter born, 1951. Sunday 25th July - Archivist Brian Twyne born, 1581. The coronation of King James VI of Scotland as James I of England, joining the kingdoms in personal union, 1603. Adventurer Friedrich von der Trenck died, 1794. Biophysicist Rosalind Franklin, whose work led to the discovery of the structure of DNA, born, 1920. Journalist and activist Amy Jacques Garvey died, 1973. Cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya became the first woman to perform a space walk, from the Salyut 7 space station, 1984. Monday 26th July - Conquistador Francisco Pisarro González was appointed Governor of Peru, 1529. Pickpocket and fence Mary Frith, aka Moll Cutpurse, died, 1659. Nobel laureate playwright George Bernard Shaw born, 1856. Disney's Alice in Wonderland premiered in London, 1951. Actress Olivia Williams born, 1968. Chemist William A. Mitchell, inventor of Cool Whip and Pop Rocks, died, 2004. Feliçan Esperanto-tagon! Tuesday 27th July - The English Parliament passed the second Navigation Act, requiring all goods for the American colonies to be sent in English ships from English ports, 1663. Charlotte Corday, assassin of Jean-Paul Marat, born, 1768. Chemist and physicist John Dalton died, 1844. Bugs Bunny debuted in the animated short A Wild Hare, 1940. Anthropologist Dorothea Bleek died, 1948. Actress Maria Grazia Cucinotta born, 1968. Wednesday 28th July - The marriage of King Henry VIII of England and Catherine Howard, his fifth wife, 1540. Playwright Cyrano de Bergerac died, 1655. Poet Gerald Manley Hopkins born, 1844. Vinnie Ream, aged 18, became the first and youngest woman to be commissioned by the American government for a statue, of Abraham Lincoln (now in the U.S. Capitol rotunda), 1866. Singer and actress Rachel Sweet born, 1964. Author and journalist Margot Adler died, 2014. World Hepatitis Day. Thursday 29th July - Otto II, Duke of Bavaria, died, 1253. The Zong massacre was committed by the crew of the British slave ship Zong, 1781. Composer Gaetano Donizetti born, 1797. Atari released Pong, the first commercially successful video game, 1972. Heptathlete Jennifer Oeser born, 1983. Actress Irene Handl died, 1987.
^ THE WISDOM OF...
This week, Jane Austen:What dreadful hot weather we have! It keeps me in a continual state of inelegance.
^ FILM QUIZ
A mixed bag of quotations. Answers next issue or from the regular address.
Last issue's quotations were from films released in 2008:
- - What do you think you like most in life?
- I like lots of things. But there are three things I like most. Love, love and love.
- Uh-uh, Mother, m-mother, uh, what is the phrase? She isn't quite herself today.
- Your presence here restores my basic disbelief in the goodness of human nature.
- Good luck, and may fortune smile upon... most of you.
- - Mister Filby, do you think he'll ever return?
- One cannot choose but wonder. You see, he has all the time in the world.
- My name is Elizabeth McIntyre. I don't know why this is happening. And we're going to wait here until this passes.
- - Since when do girls together smoke cigars, answer me that.
- If I want to smoke cigars, I'll damned well smoke cigars, thank you very much, and to hell with your opinion.
-- Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day
- How ironic, Tony! Trying to rid the world of weapons, you gave it its best one ever! And now, I'm going to kill you with it!
-- Iron Man
- - Have you done your homework?
- School's cancelled on account of the aliens.
-- The Day the Earth Stood Still
- You barbaric piece of pulp fiction!
^ WEIRD WORLD NEWS
Strange stories from around the world, some of which might be true...
- Officials in Queensland, Australia, have renamed shark attacks as "negative encounters" in an attempt to dispel the perception that sharks are mindless man-eaters. More than a third of all encounters between sharks and people leave no injury. Eight people were killed by sharks off Australia last year. Worldwide some 100 million sharks are killed by people each year, mostly for their fins, which are used in some cooking recipes. ● Three construction workers in Estonia saw a dog struggling in the icy water of the Parnu river, so they cleared a route to it through the ice, pulled it out, wrapped it in a towel and drove it to a vet after calling animals rescue. It was only when a hunter saw it by chance that the 'dog' was identified as a wild wolf, male and about a year old. It was nursed back to health and released into the wild with a GPS-tracking collar. The Estonian Union for the Protection of Animals covered the cost of treatment. ● Police in Milton Keynes have appealed for the owner of a stray eagle seen flying over the town to come forward and recapture it. The eagle was trailing a bell and jesses, the leather straps used by a falconer to tether it. ● Paddleboarders on the River Parrett in Somerset last Sunday saw a calf in distress, having fallen into the water so they rescued it, taking two attempts to get it to stay on a board, and Vicky Hamilton paddled about a mile holding on to the calf until they reached a spot where they could safely return it to land. Phone calls to a vet and the local council led to the calf's owner being contacted, and the farmer came to meet them. The calf, nicknamed 'Splash' was checked over and returned to his mother. ● Dog owner Carlos Fresco, 57, wanted to take his beloved Labradoodle Monty on a final adventure after the dog had fought an 18-month battle with leukemia which had returned eight weeks before, so he drove Monty 180 miles (290km) from London to the Brecon Beacons in Wales, where they had enjoyed walking holidays. Knowing that 10-year-old Monty was too ill to walk the 2,900' (884m) ascent to the top of Pen-Y-Fan Fresco sat him on blankets in a wheelbarrow and started pushing. He did not have to push Monty to the summit all by himself. Fellow dog-lovers pitched in and they all took turns pushing and making a fuss of Monty. Monty passed away peafully at home a few weeks after his last great adventure.
- Analysis of rocks on Mars by NASA's Curiosity rover has suggested that - at least in the crater studied - any evidence of ancient life has been 'erased', washed away by supersalty water seeping through cracks in the bottom of the crater when there were lakes on the planet. ● The Ingenuity helicopter continues to make flights above the surface of Mars, exploring areas the Perseverence rover would have problems reaching. On July 5th Ingenuity broke its own record for distance, cruising speed and flight duration with a 2,051' (625m) flight lasting 2 minuites and 26 seconds, dipping into a crater then rising to land on the other side. Ingenuity was designed to fly over generally flat terrain so the flight also tested its navigation capabilities. ● Forty years ago Jupiter was found to emit bursts of X-rays every few minutes, but the cause remained a mystery until now. Data from NASA's Juno probe orbiting the planet and the European Space Agency's XMM-Newton observatory, in orbit around Earth, has shown that the X-rays are caused by periodic vibrations in Jupiter's magnetic field lines that cause heavy ionised particles to crash into atmosphere releasing X-rays. ● The US Space Force [That name still makes us think of a cheesy 1970s American scif-fi TV show... -Ed] is looking to locate a giant radar system in the UK to track objects up to 22,370 miles (36,000km) away in space, almost twice as far as the existing ballistic-missile radar detector at RAF Fylingdales in North Yorkshire. Other radar sites would include Texas and Australia. Each site would have between ten and fifteen 50'- (15m)-wide parabolic dish antennas. ● With all the fuss over the US military's report on Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (summary: there are things we cannot identify that might involve technologies we are unaware of; no mention of the word 'alien') it is, perhaps, unsurprising that a recent video from one of the International Space Station's external cameras drew attention recently. The camera, pointing at the then-night-side of the Earth showing a network of bright lights seemingly moving in formation. The mystery was quickly resolved, however. It was neither UAPs nor aliens, but squid fishing boats using ultra-bright lights to lure their catches to the surface. ● Jeff Bezos has become the second billionnaire to fly to space, although the Twitterati were more focussed on the design of his Blue Origin spacecraft, which bore a remarkable resemblance to the phallic rocket of the 1974 sci-fi sex comedy Flesh Gordon... The unnamed person who paid $28m (£20,530,000) had to drop out because of a "scheduling conflict" leaving the seat to be taken by 18-year-old Oliver Daemen (Blue Origin declined to say how Daemen had been selected). Also on the flight was Wally Funk, who had been one of a group of women to undergo the same training as the Mercury astronauts but who never flew in space. At the age of 82 Funk became the oldest person to have flown in space, while Daemen was the youngest. ● A risky attempt by NASA engineers to repair the ailing Hubble Space Telescope (HST) which has been out of operation since June 13th by switching to a backup power control unit was successful and the telescope was back in working order photographing the cosmos a day later. Launched thirty-one years ago the Hubble cannot be serviced by astronauts following the end of the Space Shuttle programme ten years ago, and is due to be superseded by the James Webb Telescope, scheduled to be launched later this year.
- Scientists studying seismic imaging of the rocks under central Louisiana collected ten years ago by an oil exploration company have found evidence of ripples in the rock suggesting that the asteroid impact in the Gulf of Mexico which killed off the dinosaurs created a tsunami a mile (1.6km) high. ● A petition has been launched calling for all statues of Confederate heroes to be replaced with statues of Mothman. An urban legend originating in West Virginia (WV), Mothman is a dark, winged humanoid figure with red eyes whose appearance is said to foretell disaster - the first reported sighting is said to have been before the December 1967 collapse of the Silver Bridge in Point Pleasant, WV. Mothman was brought to a wider audience by writer John Keel and has appeared in comics, video games and a 2002 film starring Richard Gere and Laura Linney. Quite why Mothman would be a suitable replacement for Confederate figures is not explained, but at the time of writing the petition has 4,666 signatures. ● Historic England has found the remains of a C17th water garden under the fairway of a golf course at Belhus Park in Thurrock, Essex.
- Lulu Lakatos, 60, is in court charged with conspiracy to steal diamonds worth £4.2m ($5.73m) from Boodles in New Bond Street, London. It is claimed that an accomplice had approached the jeweller's about buying diamonds as an investment and brought in Lakatos, purportedly as a gemologist, to assess them before the purchase. Lakatos is said to have examined the diamonds in Boodles' basement, then individually wrapped them, placed them boxes and locked the boxes in a bag before switching the bag for one containing identically-stored pebbles, later changing clothes in a pub toilet and leaving the country on the Eurostar train. She was arrested in France last September on a European Arrest Warrant and extradited to Britain. ● Police called to the scene of a car crash in Cathays, Cardiff, found something unexpected. The car had crashed into a house, knocking out a window and part of a wall revealing a cannabis farm inside the building. The house owner was not in, but the police are keen to contact him. ● A Texas resident has been arrested after a four-hour armed standoff with police because he had not mown his lawn. Under Fort Worth city laws lawns must be kept to below 12" (30cm), but the man had ignored seven citations in two years so police and representatives from a city-appointed landscaping company turned up, but got no reply when they knocked on his door so the gardeners started mowing at which point the man opened fire from inside the house. Nobody was shot, but a couple of their vehicles were hit. Police eventually used tear gas to subdue the man, who was wearing a (presumably-not-very-good) hazmat suit.
- UK businessman and apparent (or not) Britney Spears fan Karl Baxter, was hoping to cash in on the #FreeBritney movement (to have her father removed as conservator of her finances), ordering 10,000 T-shirts which he planned to sell to her fans. Unfortunately, when the first specimen shirts arrived he realised that instead of specifying that the shirts be printed with "#FreeBritney" he had asked for them to be printed with "FreeBrittany" and it was too late to change the order. Quite what the northwestern region of France famous for its cider needs to be freed from is unclear, unless Baxter is calling for another Hundred Years' War... Spears, meanwhile, has vowed not to release any more music until her father's conservatorship is removed. [So not all bad then... -Ed]
- New research published in Nature has found that, thanks to deforestation, significant parts of the Amazonian rainforest are now emitting more carbon dioxide than they absorb, and have seen maximum temperatures rise by the same amount as the Arctic, around four times the global average. ● With England sweltering in a heatwave - though not as bad as the recent northwestern US/Canadian one - and the Met Office issuing its first ever extreme weather warnings, some areas in the east of England have seen bad flooding as the heat turned to heavy rainfall while a number of cars in Beauchamp, Leicestershire, were written off by hail the size of golf balls.
- Online gaming can often lead to fierce debates or arguments. When players of tank combat game War Thunder recently got into an argument over the game's representation of the British Challenger 2 battle tank one player, going by the online ID of _Fear_Naught_ tried to settle the argument by uploading several pages from the tank's Army Equipment Support Publication (AESP), the manual for military personnel who work with the tank in real life. The extracts were labelled as "UK Restricted", which had been crossed out and relabelled "Unclassified". _Fear_Naught_ was traced back to a 40-year-old man from Tidworth, Wiltshire. The Royal Armoured Corp, parts of which use the Challenger 2, is based at Tidworth Camp. Gaijin Entertainment, the game's publisher and operator of the forum on which the manual pages were posted contacted the Ministry of Defence (MoD) who confirmed that the pages appeared to be genuine and that the "Unclassified" stamp has never been used by the MoD's Defence Equipment and Support section; the AESP was still classified information and posting the pages contravened the Official Secrets Act. Gaijin deleted the relevant forum posts and the MoD is investigating and considering action against _Fear_Naught_. [The biggest argument I can recall from playing World of Warcraft since soon after its release was about the chances male gnomes had of successfully hitting on female night elves, who are about twice as tall... -Ed]
- With the iconic red telephone boxes being decommissioned and removed across Britain as landline then mobile usage has grown, a Lancashire village has saved its decommissioned phone box as a tribute to a late resident. Eric Dewhurst lived near the box in Bretherton and used it to keep in touch with friends and family - he refused to have a landline installed in his home and never even tried to use a mobile phone his family gave him. When British Telecom first tried to decommission the box some years ago Eric and parish councillor Karen Wait successfully petitioned to have it saved, but Eric died at the age of 76 in 2019 and the phone box was subsequently decommissioned. His family and the council have arranged for the box itself to remain; it will be a small book and DVD exchange point and the council plans to replace the "TELEPHONE" signage with "ERIC'S PHONE BOX".
- As the world's economies start recovery efforts in the wake of the COVID pandemic a nearly-fifty-year-old warning has come back to light. In 1972 a team at the Massachussetts Institute of Technology (MIT) looked at the risks of civilisation collapsing. Their system dynamics model suggested that overexploitation of resources would lead to industrialised civilisations collapsing at some point in the 21st century. The model's key terminology became the title of a bestselling book, Limits to Growth, that environmentalists and economists were still discussing when the Editor was at school in the mid-1980s [I still have my copy -Ed]. A new study by a director at accounting firm KPMG (though the study was not conducted on behalf of KPMG, nor is it affiliated with them, and does not necessarily reflect their views) suggests that the current trajectory of global civilisation to return to "business as usual" could see a terminal decline in economic growth within a decade and - at worst - societal collapse in around 20 years' time.
- The Tokyo
20202021 Olympics are due to formally open on the 23rd July (although the women's soccer started two days earlier) but continue to be mired in problems. The games will be held behind closed doors with no spectators and winners will not be presented with their medals by dignitaries; instead they will collect them from a table. ● The bed frames in the athlete's accomodation rooms are made of strong cardboard, with the intention that they will be recycled after the games, but a rumour quickly spread that it was to prevent athletes from having sex on them; Irish gymnast Rhys McCenaghan promptly debunked that myth with a video of himself jumping up and down on his bed. ● At least 70 cases of COVID-19 have now been found in the athletes' village. ● Floats in the Sea Forest Waterway in Tokyo Bay, where canoeing and rowing events will be held, have been sinking because of massive numbers of oysters attaching themselves to them. More than 14 tonnes of the shellfish have had to be removed at a cost of ¥140,417,500 (£930,000; $1.28m). ● Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee, added fuel to the already-widespread unpopularity of the Games across Japan last week when, after completing quarantine, he gave a speech that was supposed to be a pep talk to make the Games more popular but referred to the Japanese people as "Chinese" ● Toshiro Muto, head of the Tokyo 2020 organising committee has still not ruled out cancelling the Games. ● Becca Myers, a deaf-blind swimmer who stood a good chance of medalling in four events at the Paralympics that follow the Olympics, has withdrawn from the American team in disgust after being told that she could not bring her mother (who is her personal care assistant) to Tokyo because the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics have limited who is able to attend citing the pandemic as reason.
IN BRIEF: Bruce Springsteen's manager has settled a 46-year-old debate over the lyrics to "Thunder Road" - does Mary's dress wave or sway? "The word is 'sways'" Jon Landau told the New Yorker. ● A documentary about the late chef Anthony Bourdain has stoked controversy by using an AI simulation of his voice to read extracts of his writing. ● Clippy, the bane of Microsoft Office users between 1997 and the mid-2000s is back - as an emoji replacing the standard 'paperclip' one in Office apps. ● Coca-Cola is reformulating Coke Zero to "deliver an even more iconic Coke taste" - do they not remember what happened with New Coke in 1985? ● Norway's beach handball team have been fined €1,500 (£1,295; $1,775) by the European Handball Federation for wearing shorts instead of bikini bottoms at the European Beach Handball Championships. ● The film most complained about to the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) last year was 1980's Flash Gordon - because of the portrayal of Ming the Merciless as 'oriental'. The BBFC reclassified it from an A to a 12A. ● A Michigan homeowner renovating his porch discovered 150 bowling balls buried underneath it. ● Retired solicitor Archie White, 96, has become the UK's oldest ever graduate after completing a bachelor's degree in fine art at East Sussex College. ● A collision between three robots at an Ocado delivery fulfillment centre on Friday led to a fire that caused thousands of orders to be cancelled. ● Google Maps has been shamed into changing its displayed route up Ben Nevis after it was pointed out by mountaineering charities that it was "potentially fatal", including directing people to walk off a cliff... ● New York Police officer Ronald Kennedy has been praised for using an empty crisp packet and tape as a makeshift dressing to cover the wound on a stabbing victim. The victim is now in critical, but stable, condition in hospital.
CORONAVIRUS ROUND-UP: A woman in quarantine in a hotel on Australia's Gold Coast has been fined after a hotel staff member saw a drone being used to deliver cigarettes to the balcony of her room. ● Controversial right-wing British columnist Katie Hopkins has been dropped from Australian reality show Big Brother VIP before it started filming and deported after boasting online about breaking quarantine regulations in her hotel. As at least one person on Twitter commented, it is probably some form of retribution for all the criminals England sent to Australia all those years ago... ● One in five Americans still believe that COVID-19 vaccines contain microchips despite zero evidence. ● A trial is underway at Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust in London looking at whether a COVID-19 patient's own blood can be used to effectively treat the lung scarring caused by treatment for the virus in hospital. ● A doctor in San Diego, California, has pleaded guilty to trying to import hydroxychloroquine from China to include in treatment kits he claimed would cure the virus' infections. The shipment was labelled as "yam extract" but Jennings Ryan Staley believed it was hydroxychloroquine. It was actually baking soda. ● A homeopathic 'doctor' has been charged with selling fake vaccine cards and 'immunisation pellets'. ● Infants across America who have been kept at home by the pandemic and spent much of the time watching Peppa Pig are stunning their parents by using British idiom instead of American...
UPDATES: The couple whose gender reveal party featured a smoke bomb that allegedly sparked the El Dorado Wildfire in 2020 have been charged with 30 crimes including involuntary manslaughter. ● The 200-million-year-old fossil footprint discovered by four-year-old Lily in Wales is now on display at the National Museum Cardiff; curators have described it as "one of the best-preserved examples of its type from anywhere in the UK". ● American diplomats in Vienna are coming down with the same illness first reported in Havana, Cuba, in 2016-17. It is thought to be caused by directed microwave radiation. ● The drawing of a bear's head by Leonardo da Vinci sold at auction for £8.8m ($12.06m). ● New research suggests that the phosphines detected in the atmosphere of Venus could be the product of volcanic eruptions. ● Wally the Walrus is still enjoying the waters off the Isles of Scilly and has been given a specially-built pontoon to bask on after capsizing several small boats attempting to climb onto them and rendering others unusable as he slept on them for up to 42 hours.
Photojournalist Danish Siddiqui (2018 Pultizer Prize, Myanmar, Afghanistan, 41), Darron Coster (retired Royal Military Policeman who was present at the 2017 Manchester Arena bombing and treated victims, 54), rapper and beatboxer Biz Markie ("Just a Friend", Goin' Off, "Vapors", 57), darts player Andy "The Viking" Fordham (1995 British Matchplay champion, 2002 Welsh Open champion, 2004 BDO world champion, 59), opera director Sir Graham Vick (Scottish Opera, English National Opera, founded the Birmingham Opera Company, 67), wrestler Paul 'Mr Wonderful' Orndorff (GCW, WWE Hall of Fame, WCW trainer, 71), singer and violinist Robby Steinhardt (Kansas, "Dust in the Wind", "Carry On Wayward Son", 71), comedian and TV presenter Tom O'Connor (Opportunity Knocks three-time winner, Name That Tune, Crosswits, 81), cartoonist Kurt Westergaard (Jyllands-Posten newspaper, the controversial 2005 cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, 86), actress Mary Ward (Sons and Daughters, Neighbours, Prisoner, 106).
^ DUMBLEDORE BEAR'S LOTTERY PREDICTOR!
Dumbledore Bear, our in-house psychic predicts that the following numbers will be lucky:8, 23, 35, 36, 41, 44[UK National Lottery, number range 1-59]
You can get your very own prediction at http://www.simonlamont.co.uk/tfir/dumbledore.htm.
^ AND FINALLY...
Little Jennifer's teacher had shown the class a video of dolphins performing at a sea park, hoping to start a discussion on animal welfare. "Well, children, what do you think that video showed you about dolphins?"
Little Jennifer's hand shot up. "Those dolphins must have been very clever. Miss! They'd trained those people to stand at the side of the water and throw fish at them!"
^ ...end of line