Friday 15th October - Edgar the Ætheling was proclaimed King of England following the death of King Harold at the Battle of Hastings; he would remain uncrowned and concede the throne to William the Conquerer in December, 1066. Actress Jane Darwell born, 1879. The "From Hell" letter, allegedly sent by Jack the Ripper, was posted to the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee, 1888. Dancer and alleged spy Mata Hari was executed, 1917. Artist and broadcaster Tony Hart born, 1925. Composer and songwriter Cole Porter died, 1964. Saturday 16th October - King Otto I of Germany defeated a Slavic revolt at the Battle on the Raxa, 955. Samurai and daimyō Niwa Nagahide born, 1535. Artist Lucas Cranach the Elder died, 1553. Marie Antoinette, queen consort of King Louis XVI of France, was executed, 1793. Abolitionist Lucy Stanton, the first African-American woman to complete a four-year college or university course, born, 1831. Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre was published, 1847. World Food Day. Sunday 17th October - A tornado, thought to have been of strength T8/F4, struck London, 1091. Courtier and poet Sir Philip Sidney, died, 1586. Dramatist Nathan Field born, 1587. Queen Elizabeth II opened the world's first commercial nuclear power station, in Sellafield, England, 1956. Singer Bernie Nolan born, 1960. Actress Joan Hickson died, 1998. International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. Monday 18th October - The coronation of Dagobert I as King of the Franks, 629. Margaret Tudor, queen of James IV of Scotland, died, 1541. Botanist Nicholas Culpeper born, 1616. The United States formally took possession of Alaska after buying it from Russia, 1867. Mathematician and engineer Charles Babbage, inventor of the mechanical computer, died, 1871. Greek actress, singer and politician Melina Mercouri, born, 1920. Tuesday 19th October - Hannibal was defeated by the Romans under Scipio Africanus at the Battle of Zama in the Second Punic War, 202 BCE. John, King of England, died, 1216. Surgeon William Cheselden born, 1688. Researchers at Rutgers University isolated Streptomycin, the first antibiotic remedy for tuberculosis, 1943. Poet Edna St Vincent Millay died, 1950. Singer Sinitta born, 1963. Wednesday 20th October - Architect, physicist and mathematician Sir Christopher Wren born, 1632. The United States and the United Kingdom signed the Convention of 1818, settling the Canada-US border on the 49th parallel for most of its length, 1818. Explorer Richard Burton died, 1890. Psychologist Dr Joyce Brothers born, 1927. Aviator Sheila Scott died, 1988. Students at Princeton University discovered the Sloan Great Wall, then the largest cosmic structure known, 2003. Thursday 21st October - Explorer Ferdinand Magellan discovered the strait between mainland Chile and Tierra del Fuego that now bears his name, 1520. Poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge born, 1772. Admiral Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson, died at the Battle of Trafalgar, 1805. Florence Nightingale was sent to the Crimean War with a staff of 38 nurses, 1854. Writer Ursula K. LeGuin born, 1929. Sculptor, artist and filmmaker Nancy Graves died, 1995.
^ THE WISDOM OF...
This week, Charles Babbage:On two occasions, I have been asked [by members of Parliament], "Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?" I am not able to rightly apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question.
^ FILM QUIZ
A selection of quotations from films released in the same year. Answers next issue or from the regular address.
Last issue's quotations were from films released in 2014:
- Nobody but a monumental bore would have thought of having a honeymoon in Budleigh Salterton. I was an eager young bride, Charles, I wanted glamour and music and romance. What I got was potted palms, seven hours of every day on a damp golf-course and a three piece orchestra playing "Merry England".
- Just room for one inside, sir.
- Do you know, I believe we should all behave quite differently if we lived in a warm, sunny climate all the time. We shouldn't be so withdrawn and shy and difficult.
- Women make the best psychoanalysts until they fall in love. After that they make the best patients.
- His stomach's like the Irish Sea, no bottom to it.
- I'm a warrior, an assassin. I don't dance.
-- Guardians of the Galaxy
- Mankind was born on Earth. It was never meant to die here.
- - Ich bin ein berliner.
- More like "Ein frankfurter".
-- Muppets Most Wanted
- I had wings once, and they were strong. But they were stolen from me.
- For God's sake, sometimes you're as useless as a knitted condom.
-- Mrs Brown's Boys: D'Movie
^ WEIRD WORLD NEWS
Strange stories from around the world, some of which might be true...
- A woman in Aintree, Merseyside, who spent seven years putting up posters appealing for the return of her missing cat has been reunited with him after the charity Cats Protection took him in and scanned his chip. ● Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials have managed to remove a tyre from around an elk's neck after more than two years of trying, during which he kept evading them. Because it had a steel rim they had to tranquilise the elk and cut off his antlers to slip the tyre over his head. Surprisingly his neck only had a small coin-sized wound from the tyre rubbing on it. ● A late summer torrential rainfall in northern Arizona caused hundreds of three-eyed "dinosaur shrimps" to hatch in a temporary lake on a ball court. Triops eggs can lie dormant for years in desert conditions until there is enough rainfall to create small, short-lived lakes for them to hatch, breed and lay the next generation of eggs before the lake dries up. According to Lauren Carter, a ranger at Wupatki National Monument, the creatures look like miniature horseshoe crabs with three eyes. ● Darwin has been proven wrong. Not about evolution, but worms' hearing. In an experiment he had his son play the bassoon close to worms and concluded from the fact that did not move away that they could not hear. Worms do not have any structures comparable to the ears of vertebrates and some arthropods, but new experiments at the University of Michigan suggest that the tiny C. elegans worm uses its skin to detect sound. ● Alaska's annual Fat Bear Week, where visitors to the website of Alaska's Katmai National Park and Preserve examine photographs of the resident bears taken by staff to judge which bear has put on the most pre-hibernation weight has been won by a bear called Otis, who previously won in 2014, 2016 and 2017. This year he faced stiff competition from a bear called Walker, estimated to weigh over 1,000lb (454kg) but Otis' salmon-catching skills over the late summer led him to defeat Walker by more than 6,000 votes.
- The Jezero crater on Mars is an arid wind-eroded depression today, but analysis of photographs taken by NASA's Perseverence rover has confirmed that 3.7 billion years ago it was a lake fed by a small river. The presence of large rocks on the crater bed also indicates that it was subject to flash flooding. Satellite imagery had shown that rocks on its western side resembled river deltas on Earth, so scientists directed Perseverence to take photographs from inside the crater which have confirmed its history. ● Astronauts studying 19 red dwarf stars up to 156 light years away by examining low-frequency radio waves think they might have detected four exoplanets. Four of the stars were magnetically inactive but radio waves were still detected from them, which the team think could have been caused by charged particles from the stars passing through planets' atmospheres, in the same way that solar charged particles interact with Earth's atmosphere to cause the Auroras.
- Scientists have identified the oldest footprints yet found, in fossilised beach sediment on Crete. The footprints, first discovered in 2017, were made six million years ago, by someone who walked upright and whose foot had a ball heel, a big toe and successively smaller toes in parallel. The sole was shorter than in Australopithecus (the genus that existed between 4.5-1.9/1.2 million years ago), with a narrower heel and undeveloped arch. At the time the prints were made Crete was still part of the mainland. ● A 100-year-old German man has gone on trial in Brandenburg an del Havel, accused of being an accessory to murder in 3,518 case as a former SS guard at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp on the outskirts of Berlin in World War II. ● Archaeologists in Israel have uncovered a 1,500-year-old wine-making complex including five presses, warehouses and kilns for firing the amphorae to hold the wine, at Yavne, south of Tel Aviv. It would have been capable of producing two millions litres (0.44m UK gallons; 0.53m US gallons) of wine a year. ● New research has found that the obsidian scrying mirror used by John Dee, magician and advisor to Queen Elizabeth I, was made in Aztec Mexico. Dee would have stared into the mirror in order to see visions of spirits or angels. Researchers analysed the geochemical 'fingerprint' of Dee's mirror, along with two others in the possession of the British Museum to determine their source. ● A 'lost' drawing by C18th Italian artist Giovanni Battista Tiepolo is to be sold at auction with a guide price of up to £250,000 ($340,260). It was found in the attic of Weston Hall, near Towcester in Northamptonshire, as the building was being cleared prior to sale. The drawing had been bought by the hall's then owner Osbert Sitwell in 1936 and forgotten about.
- Police in West Hartford, Connecticutt, found themselves going viral for all the wrong reasons after they confiscated the phone and (legally-carried) gun of a man protesting near a DUI checkpoint. They did not realise that the phone was recording. It recorded them discussing the best way to charge him with a crime, including asking another officer if he had a grudge against the man and whether the suspect could be charged with organising another demonstration before officer John Barone declared that "We gotta cover our ass" and another replied "Let's give him something." The man was charged with two criminal infraction offences, which were later dismissed in court. The three officers are now facing a lawsuit. ● Hoping to flush out drug smugglers - or to tell them that they will not succeed - Florida Sheriff Wayne Ivey has advertised widely on social media that he wants to return 770lb (349kg) of marijuana seized from a storage facility to "its rightful owner", adding that "Once we properly identify you as the rightful owner we will gladly return your property and also make sure that both you and your property are kept in a secure area so that no one can rip you off!!" ● Australian former soldier Tony Wittan has pleaded guilty in court to storming a Melbourne animal welfare shelter in full SWAT clothing and carrying an imitation gun to reclaim his missing pet cat. He had phoned the shelter ten minutes before they closed and a staff member told him he would need to make an appointment for the next day. Wittan's defence is that he suffers from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and relies on the cat for emotional support. ● The British Police are currently at a low point of public regard after officer Wayne Couzens was convicted of abducting 33-year-old Sarah Everard by pretending to arrest her, then raping and murdering her, and several thousand instances of police officers behaving inappropriately came to light. PC Chris Dwyer, serving with West Yorkshire Police, is probably glad for all the bad press detracting attention from his own alleged misdemeanor. He is accused of breaching West Yorkshire Police's professional standards of integrity, honesty and conduct after taking two packets of Jaffa Cakes from a police station's charity tuck shop without paying in full...
- Experiments conducted at Holly Green Farm in Buckinghamshire have shown that artifical lightning can be used to remove pollutants from manure. A bolt of plasma shot into the manure produced pure nitrogen from the ammonia in it, which is absorbed into slurry. The process has the added benefit of saving farmers from having to buy nitrogen, an essential component of fertiliser, to add to slurry. Researchers found that the process reduced the ammount of ammonia in slurry by 90% and reduced the emissions of methane, a strong greenhouse gas, from the manure by 99%. Generating plasma takes electricity. At the test farm solar panels were installed for the purpose.
- There are bad dates and then there is the man Elyse Myners told her TikTok followers about once meeting for a first (and only) date. He asked her to meet him at his home to take her out to dinner. When she arrived he said he had lost his car keys and asked her to drive. Their 'dinner' turned out to be a Taco Bell drive-thru window, where he ordered 100 - one hundred - hard-shell tacos, before telling her he could not find his wallet. Myers paid for them, and they ended up sitting at his kitchen table eating tacos, before being briefly joined by the man's father, shortly before Myners called an end to the date, gathered up the remaining tacos and went home. In a follow-up video she revealed that while they had been waiting the 15 minutes for the Taco Bell staff to make the tacos - which cost her about $150 (£110) - all he talked about was his ex-girlfriend.
- Seventy-two-year-old Bosnian Vojin Kusic's wife had always complained about the views from their windows, so he came up with a unique solution. "After I reached an advanced age and after my children took over the family business, I finally had enough time to task myself with granting my wife her wish," he told reporters, as he demonstrated their new green-facade-clad, red metal roofed home, that can rotate a full 360o. Kusic, who did not get a college education, designed and built the house himself, using electric motors and the wheels from an old military transport vehicle. He added that "Now, our front door also rotates, so if she spots unwanted guests heading our way, she can spin the house and make them turn away."
- If you are looking for a more settled - or perhaps not - residence, a house in Burrillville, Rhode Island, has been listed for $1.2m (£884,274). It might - or might not - contain some additional features. It is the house that inspired the hit 2013 horror film The Conjuring, the original structure being puportedly owned by alleged witch Bathsheba Sherman who, according to local folklore, sacrificed a child to the devil and who - according to paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, whose work is the basis of The Conjuring film franchise - continues to haunt the house. Wannabe paranormal investigators or those looking for a not-so-peaceful night can book rooms in the house; currently it is booked up until next year.
- When a popular small DIY store in Ashby de la Zouch snnounced it was moving premises to a bigger shop some 200 yards (183m) down the street the owners pondered the best way to move 20,000 boxes of stock. Sales assistant Tina Bax had an idea to ask their faithful customers to help out and the response was overwhelming. Hundreds of people formed a line between the two sites - in the rain - to pass the stock hand-to-hand down to the new shop. Bax told reporters about another surprise outcome. "I just couldn't believe how friendly everyone was," she said, "People who've lived in Ashby for many years and never met each other had a natter in the line and have become great friends just like that. We had a few come up and tell us exactly that in the store, so that is the power of what something as simple as this can do."
- Surgeons at Klaipėda University in Lithuania have successfully removed more than 2.2lb (1kg) of screws, nuts, nails and knives from the stomach of a man in a three-hour operation. The man had been swallowing metal objects - the longest were 4" (10cm) long - for a month after giving up alcohol and was rushed to hospital with severe abdominal pain. Surgeon Sarunas Dailidenas, who performed the operation, described it as a "unique case".
IN BRIEF: The Boynton Beach City Commission in Florida is being sued over a mural honouring Latosha Clemons, the city's first Black female firefighter. The mural depicts her as being White. ● Two men have been rescued after drifting in a boat - surviving on rainwater, oranges and coconuts recovered from the sea - in the southwest Pacific for 29 days. Livae Nanjika, one of the two, told reporters how they had heard no news about COVID or the world, and that, while he was looking forward to going home, it had been "a nice break from everything". ● An unexplained boom and tremors were felt across New Hampshire on Sunday morning, but nobody knows what it was. The USGS did not register any earth tremors, there were no military flights and, unlike a previous boom, no explosives-laden gender reveal parties. It is thought that it could have been a meteor breaking up, but no sightings have been reported. ● The V&A Dundee museum had received £100,000 ($136,400) from the auction of a complete set of Dalmore Decades No.6 single malt whiskies, comprising releases from 1951, 1967, 1979, 1995 and 2000. ● Scientists have found a DNA 'signature' in identical twins which suggests that identicality is not, as previously thought, a random occurrence for twins. ● A mural that appeared on the side of a Stockport pub on Sunday drew speculation that it might be a new work by Banksy, but by midweek another, local, street artist had claimed responsibility. ● The US Navy has sold the aged aircraft carriers the USS Kitty Hawk and the USS John F. Kennedy for scrap, for 1c (0.007p) each; the deal means that the Navy will not have to pay International Shipbreaking Limited to haul them to the breakers' yard. ● Electricity supplies in Kirkcudbright were knocked out for a few hours last Friday when the mast of a replica Viking longboat, being transported on a flatbed lorry as part of celebrations for the Galloway treasure hoard's arrival at a local gallery, knocked them down. ● Scott Pio, a Republican candidate for the Loudon County, Virginia, seat in the state legislature has announced a solution to rising sea levels - "I'm curious, do you think the sea level would lower, if we just took all the boats out of the water?" he tweeted... [The difference would be about six microns, a little over the diameter of a single strand of spider silk. -Ed]
CORONAVIRUS ROUND-UP: More than 500 cases of COVID-19 have been traced to last month's TRNSMT three-day music festival in Glasgow, and around 1,645 people have been traced as close contacts of those infected, despite attendees having had to show proof of a negative lateral flow test. The festival is not being considered as a "super spreader" event. ● One of the US Capitol rioters in court has asked not to go to jail because they might get COVID-19 (being unvaccinated, of course...)
UPDATES: Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and Workplace suffered another outage on Friday; this one lasted just two hours and was again blamed on a "configuration change". ● Cases of "Havana syndrome" have been repored at the US embassies in Berlin, Germany, and Bogota, Colombia. ● Another mysterious hum, this time in Holmfield, a suburb of Halifax, West Yorkshire has been heard on and off for a year and efforts to trace its origins have so far proven fruitless. ● As this issue was being written William Shatner was blasted into a short sub-orbital flight aboard Jeff Bezos'
giant phallusBlue Origin rocket.
Mountain gorilla Ndakasi (became famous around the world after photobombing a ranger's selfie, 14), politician James Brokenshire (MP for Hornchurch [2005-2010] then Old Bexley and Sidcup [2010-death], Secretary of State for Northern Ireland [2016-2018], Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government [2018-2019], 53), actor Granville Adams (Oz, Homicide: Life on the Street, Homicide: The Movie, 58), musician Paddy Moloney (Ceoltóiri Chualann, Claddagh Records, co-founder of The Chieftains, 83), musician and TV presenter Rick Jones (Fingerbobs, Play School, Meal Ticket, 84), actress Juli Reding (Tormented, Darby's Rangers, The Interns, 85), writer/producer Ava Ostern Fries (Born Famous, created Troop Beverly Hills, 87), actress Cynthia Harris (Mad About You, Edward & Mrs Simpson, Three Men and a Baby, 87), stuntman Bob Herron (Rocky, Diamonds Are Forever, Spartacus, 97), animator Ruthie Tompson (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Fantasia, The Rescuers, 111).
^ DUMBLEDORE BEAR'S LOTTERY PREDICTOR!
Dumbledore Bear, our in-house psychic predicts that the following numbers will be lucky:2, 41, 45, 47, 49, 51[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...
It was maths class. "OK, children", the teacher said, "Here's a slighlty harder problem for you to think about. If a school has eight classes, and each class has twenty children in it, how many pupils are there?"
The children sat and thought about it, then Little Jennifer's hand went up. "Yes, Little Jennifer?"
"Three hundred and twenty, Miss!"
"No, I'm sorry, Little Jennifer, but that's wrong. How did you get that?"
"Well, Miss, eight times twenty is one hundred and sixty, and then you double it."
The teacher looked puzzled. "Why did you double it?"
Little Jennifer pointed at her face and smiled as only she could. "Because we each have two pupils in our eyes, Miss!"
^ ...end of line