Of all the animals of prey, man is the only sociable one.
Every one of us preys upon his neighbour, and yet we herd together.
The Beggar's Opera: John Gay

Wednesday 28 May 2014

Back again!

So... I've opened the shutters and removed the worst of the dust in Tavern following a short absence; did anything important happen while I was away?

Certainly the election seems to have produced a predictable crop of nannying politicians telling us that the voters who failed to succumb to their blandishments and voted UKIP didn't really mean it  - "It's not big and it's not clever" - and Man's myriad inhumanities to Man (and Woman) continue, alas, unabated.

One thing that turns out not to be happening is the future impact of a 10-mile-wide asteroid, a headline which caused a media sensation on CNN's citizen journalism website:
"The asteroid is calculated to have a potentially lethal encounter with the Earth on March 35, 2041 [sic]"
Now, of course, the news story is 'Earth NOT to be hit by killer asteroid', which takes reporting of non-events to a whole new level. The whole thing appears to be the result of an enterprising hoax combined with lax editing at weekends.

Those of an apocaholic disposition who find themselves unaccountably bereft as a result can take small comfort in the fact that today brings a bumper crop of near-Earth approaches - six known ones in all - ranging from the 'big and far away' 2014 GD45, several hundred metres wide, to the diminutive 2014 KC45 passing a mere 80-odd thousand miles above our heads.

Five of these are recent discoveries, courtesy of new, improved surveillance. The recent spate of newly identified space rocks has been so dramatic that it has - mirabile dictu! - even brought about the return of Lembit Opik to the asteroid fold (and thence to a call for Clegg to resign; the leopard definitely hasn't changed his spots).

This is cheering news; although it appears Opik has been keeping the flame alight on the speaker circuit, he has, of late, been more active in other spheres when celestial bodies have hit the news. Perhaps his ill-fated foray into dog-show judging has finally convinced him where his true métier lies.

Despite the increase in the numbers, we still aim to drink to every near miss, which makes this evening something of a gala occasion; you are very welcome to pour yourself a drink (or six) and join me in a toast to tonight's clutch of space rocks.



  1. 2041 - hell, that's getting close.

  2. JH, the date was presumably calculated to be close enough to alarm but far enough away to avoid instant panic - interestingly enough, there have been several genuine alerts (now downgraded) for the 2030s and 40s.

    Thanks, Julia; whenever I take time of, it reminds me that I am always in awe of your blogging stamina.


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