Tuesday, August 7, 2018

The Idler, Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Triangles of mystery

HAVE they solved the mystery of the Bermuda Triangle – also known as the Devil's Triangle - that area of the North Atlantic between Miami, Puerto Rico and Bermuda itself, where ships and aircraft are said to have mysteriously disappeared over the years.

Various writers have attributed this to supernatural forces, extra-terrestials, even sea monsters.

Others have debunked the whole thing, saying there's no mystery at all. The Triangle covers some of the world's busiest shipping lanes and losses are proportionately no higher than anywhere else. The mystery writers are accused of embellishment, exaggeration and often being factually wrong.

Now scientists who've been investigating the Bermuda Tringle say there certainly are monsters – rogue waves that can reach 30m as storms to north and south, and sometimes from Florida in the west as well, converge, according to British TV 's Channel 5.

That's interesting. But it does nothing to increase the sense of menace and mystery of the Bermuda Triangle. Interest tends to evaporate if anything.

Attention switches elsewhere. What about the Westminster Triangle? Here an island that had enjoyed unprecedented prosperity for more than 40 years has begun tearing at its entrails and screeching "Brexit! Brexit!" at its partners in the European Union as it prepares for a lemming rush off the White Cliffs of Dover, with consequences that could be as catastrophic in material terms as World War II. A madness seems to have taken hold.

What could be behind this? Malign supernatural forces? Extra-terrestials (possibly operating from Moscow)? Sea monsters? (Boris Johnson might well qualify). Is this in fact the Devil's Triangle? There's nothing scientific or rational to explain it.

It started out dead simple. Its supporters said a Brexit deal would be a piece of cake. It's now obviously impossible and always was. Nobody did their homework.

The Westminster Triangle. Thirty-metre waves? The Bermuda Triangle seems a millpond by comparison.




Potent zeroes

THIS week we noted some discrepancy between the American and the British understanding of a billion. To the Yanks it's a thousand million. To many Brits it's still a million million.


"Yes, you're quite right,' says reader Alan Campbell. "According to the Shorter Oxford Dictionary, in the UK, a billion is deemed to be a million million.

"Putting that in some sort of context; a million seconds is just over eleven and a half days. I think Idler's Column readers will be surprised to read that a billion seconds (a million million seconds) is just over 30 000 years).


Wow! Those zeroes kick in!


It's a gift


AND, still in the context of time, local poet Sarita Mathur sends in some lines.



Borrowed time
That's all of us
Living in the present
That's why it's called,
'The Present'
It's a gift.
Let's love and laugh
Gratitude is the key
It all becomes very simple
When we realise
From sunset to sunrise
That we're living on 'Borrowed Time'
In health
And that is wealth
Let's in gratitude be,
Let not misfortune fall on us
For us to see
That we're living on 'Borrowed Time'.

Road show

A STATE troopers' stunt show? Motorists in Texas were startled the other day to see a police car on the highway put on the kind of act you normally see only at the state fair.

A man climbed out of the window of the moving vehicle and got onto the roof, at which the police car speeded up.

What next? Would the roof passenger transfer to another vehicle?

What had happened, according to Sky News, was that a prisoner was being transferred to another jail. Sitting on the back seat he slipped his handcuffs, smashed the rear window and climbed out.

The driver radioed for assistance and stepped on the gas so the roof passenger would have no chance of jumping off.

As other police cars arrived, he slowed down and the prisoner did jump off but ran straight into the arms of other policemen.

Huge risk, huge effort and only a few minutes' freedom. But other road users did get a show to remember.






HOW many Scotsmen does it take to change a light bulb?

Och, it's no that dark.

Last word

Dreams will get you nowhere, a good kick in the pants will take you a long way. - Baltasar Gracian

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