Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Time travellers

BoingBoing carries a video from Jamie D. Grant, a magician, which purports to show a time traveller.  I don't usually like to put spoilers in my blog, and the video is only a couple of minutes long.  You can see it here....

OK... a guy who has a modern look appears in an old photograph. It's a bit like the video of the old lady apparently using a mobile phone... you see what you think you see only with the perspective of your time and place. I've embedded this version only because I think it is the original, but the guy does witter on a bit - the actual film starts around two minutes 39 seconds.

The Hakan Nordkvist case is more intriguing on first viewing. It's a hoax... how can it not be? Apparently a stupid retirement company thought a viral hoax might encourage young people to plan for their retirement. Once again, the "proof" isn't proof at all.

The most persuasive argument against time travel is simply that we do not have people from the 31st century arriving as tourists to screw up the future in some mind-bendingly confusing way. I'm assuming anyone capable of developing a time-travelling machine will be a geek who's watched enough Star Trek to know it never turns out well anyway.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Dying birds falling into the sea

Robin photograph from Wikimedia Commons CC attribution Pierre Selim

If I hadn't caught the end of the six o'clock news on BBC Radio 4 tonight, I would not have heard about the latest example of bird death to hit the UK.  There was a short report at the end of the news of birds plunging into the sea off the coast.  These are garden birds at the end of their migratory journey to our country, who are arriving exhausted, so exhausted that they cannot avoid drowning in the sea a short distance from the coast.

There's very little detail online.  It always amazes me that this sort of story attracts so little attention.  The Independent has a couple of paragraphs at the end of an article about the change in weather this week:

"The bad weather is also affecting wildlife. Thousands of migrating birds have been dying before reaching England this week because of an appalling combination of fog and winds around the coast, according to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB).

"Some fishermen have told the charity of the deaths of many exhausted and disorientated "garden" birds plunging into the sea around their vessels, a spokesman said."

The assumption seems to be that the colder weather and fog are to blame, but the scenes described on Radio 4, where they also talked to fishermen who saw birds dropping into the sea around them, seemed more apocalyptic than that sounds. I'm keeping an eye on the subject, but it is hard to summarize when virtually no detail is reported.