14 January 2011 (Friday) - Sat-Nav, Aliens, Cards

The news was interesting today. I *know* I shouldn’t read it – it only winds me up. The news pundits are all relating the story of the Oldham by-election. As is always the case, the first by-election after a General Election was won by the major opposition party. This comes as no surprise – it always happens. This is *not* surprising, especially in a climate where we have a government for which nobody voted and that nobody wants (have I done this rant before?). But over on Google News there are nearly two thousand articles about this election result. Two thousand articles about something which really is quite trivial, mundane, totally expected and utterly unexciting.
It bothers me that you actually have to search to find the news of importance. Perhaps the planet-finding successes of Kepler and COROT together with the mass interest in astronomy stirred up by the recent Stargazing Live programmes have touched a nerve with officialdom. No less an august body than the Royal Society has warned the United Nations of the potential dangers posed by First Contact with extra-terrestrials.
And they may well have a point. After all, mankind *could* launch an interstellar mission within a few years using current technology. It would not be easy, and it would take a massive investment of time, effort and money. But given the right impetus it could be done. What might be the right impetus? Total environmental collapse might fit the bill. (Look at the floods hitting Brazil and Australia).
And with the Earth uninhabitable, and the remnants of humanity unleashed into starships which would effectively be life-rafts, what would be our reaction to any E.T.s we might meet on their planets? Would we be friendly and respectful to them? Or would we merely see them as being in our way on some very valuable real estate that we intended to steal?
Just a thought…

To work, where I received an invitation to a rather dull meeting. Said dull meeting is planned to take place several counties away. The directions to the venue were rather sparse. The directions were merely a post code prefixed with the words “Type this post code into your sat-nav”. It’s a sign of the times that everyone is expected to have sat-nav. Fortunately for me, there is sat-nav on my phone. It’s one of the apps on it that is actually worth having.
It’s a shame that I don’t intend going to this meeting, really.

Home, tea, and then round to South Willesborough for a game of cards. Tonight I amazed even myself when I managed to have a pair of twos beat a pair of aces. But this was more than compensated by my being dealt the seventeen of b*ll*cks later in the evening. (The seventeen of b*ll*cks is a rather unusual card, it has to be said)
Various hobbies come and go in my life, and playing poker seems to be staging a comeback. Personally I think that’s a good thing – I like a game of cards, even if I am rubbish at it.

And in parrot-related news, any possible plans to keep the parrot on a long term basis have taken a further step backwards. It turns out that far from being the parrot’s favourite, “My Boy TM is as likely to receive a bite as his sister. And today his sister received a bite which drew blood. I saw it happen: “Daddies Little Angel TMoffered the bird a peanut – the bird ignored the food being offered and deliberately bit the finger offering the food.
Having the parrot only being handlable by “Yours Truly” isn’t going to be practical.
But this would seem to be in agreement with what I’ve heard about parrots – they are usually one-person birds. She is truly soppy with me – I can stroke her, fuss her and pet her and she seems to love it. But she is vicious with anybody else who tries to touch her. Having said that, I received a rather vigorous chewing this evening. To be fair to the parrot, I had been feeding her garlic bread (which she loves) and my hands probably did smell tasty…

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