Statics & Statistics

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"Have you ever walked across the room to pet your dog, but got a shock instead? Perhaps you took your hat off on a dry winter’s day and had a “hair raising” experience!"

"In a year when mysterious monoliths literally appeared out of nowhere, you'd think the first real detection of alien life would be a stone's-throw away. Well, 2020 didn't bring any little green men, but it did bring astronomers closer to finding extraterrestrial life than ever before. From organic molecules turning up around the solar system to mysterious radio signals finally being traced back to their source, here are some of the biggest findings of the year about where aliens may be (and definitely aren't) hiding in the universe."


"Space exploration also offers its rhythmic certainties. Grand missions require long-term planning and set celestial schedules. Whatever unforeseeable events may happen down here, good or bad, we know that 2021 will offer some grand new adventures up there. Even if there are accidents or malfunctions, the coming year promises to be a banner one in our ongoing peek into the solar system. And no matter what we say or do or think, the cosmos will continue its steady dance, delivering eclipses and conjunctions and other visual delights to anyone willing and able to look up."

"Chances are, you will not personally be flying into space in the coming year. You probably won't be building a robotic probe to navigate beyond Earth (although I hope a few of you are involved in the process). But there are no limits on who can enjoy the beauty of the universe. All you need is a clear, dark sky and maybe a simple pair of boots"




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Alpha Spaghetti

"‘American space technology is tinfoil post-Bauhaus, Mies van der Rohe minimalist, with no room for an ounce of fat anywhere.’

One look at a sign reading ‘Do not enter rough area infested with poisonous snakes’ and James was back on the bus, making him realise he didn’t have the right stuff, where ‘the whole object is to deprive events of their excitement by reducing them to routine’.

‘One day the romance will come back… We just got used to the idea of people going up through the air and out of this world.’"

"Examples of reasonable excuses to leave the home: 

(a) obtain or provide— 

(i) food and medical supplies for those in the same household (including animals in the household) or for vulnerable persons, 

(ii) supplies for the essential upkeep, maintenance and functioning of the household, or the household of a vulnerable person, 

(b) work or provide voluntary or charitable services, where it is not possible for the person to do so from home, 

(c) access, provide or receive childcare, education or training, including a support service for parents or expectant parents, 

(d) lead an act of worship, 

(e) provide care or assistance to a vulnerable person, 

(f) visit a person detained in a prison, young offenders institution, remand centre, secure accommodation or other place of detention, 

(g) provide or receive emergency assistance, 

(h) provide or obtain medical assistance, including accessing any of the following— 

(i) audiology services, 

(ii) chiropody services, 

(iii) chiropractic services, 

(iv) dental services, 

(v) ophthalmic services, 

(vi) osteopathic services, 

(vii) services relating to mental health,

(viii) vaccination services, 

(i) accompany a person obtaining medical assistance, or visit a person receiving treatment in a hospital or who is residing in a hospice or care home, 

(j) avoid injury, illness or other risk of harm, or support someone who is doing so, 

(k) move home or undertake activities in connection with the maintenance, purchase, sale, letting, or rental of residential property that the person owns or is otherwise responsible for, 

(l) participate in or facilitate shared parenting arrangements, 

(m) fulfil a legal obligation or participate in legal proceedings where it is not possible for the person to do so from the place where the person is living, 

(n) vote, or register to vote, in an election (including to vote as proxy),

(o) donate blood, 

(p) access public services, including any of the following, where it is not possible for the person to do so from the place where the person is living— 

(i) social services, 4 

(ii) services provided by the Department for Work and Pensions,

(iii) services provided to victims (such as victims of crime), 

(iv) asylum and immigration services and interviews, 

(q) access services provided by voluntary or charitable services, including food banks,

(r) access waste disposal or recycling facilities, 

(s) obtain money from or deposit money with a business mentioned in paragraph 2(3)(j) or 

(k), where it is not possible for the person to do so from the place where the person is living, 

(t) undertake exercise or recreation— 

(i) outdoors, 

(ii) that starts and ends at the same place, which place must be— 

(aa) in the local government area in which that person lives, or 

(bb) within 5 miles of such local government area, and 

(iii) is either undertaken— 

(aa) alone, 

(bb) with members of that person’s household, 

(cc) in a gathering within [a specific legal] meaning  

(u) where the person is a professional sportsperson, or the coach of a professional sportsperson, coach, train or compete, 

(v) attend a solemnisation of a marriage or registration of a civil partnership, 

(w) attend a funeral or to travel for compassionate reasons which relate to the end of a person’s life, 

(x) feed or care for an animal, including obtaining veterinary services,

(y) where the person is a member of an extended household, visit a member of the household which forms the other part of the extended household in the place where that other member is living, and 

(z) facilitate the formation of an end of term household, where either or both of the student or the other household which will make up the end of term household live outwith the same area or, as the case may be, in a Level 4 area. "

"The murk surrounding Donald Trump’s likely whereabouts on his last day as president has thickened considerably with news that an official plane he has used in the past is due to fly to Scotland the day before Joe Biden’s inauguration."

"And since Mars is extremely far away, our email transmissions were delayed by 20 minutes each way to mimic the actual communication lag to be experienced by Martian explorers. It wasn’t your typical Hawaiian vacation."

"“Transitions, which all of us have experienced, are a crucial part of the successful transfer of power. They often occur at times of international uncertainty about US national security policy and posture,” the former defence secretaries wrote. “They can be a moment when the nation is vulnerable to actions by adversaries seeking to take advantage of the situation.”"

"“In my experience, there is no such thing as luck... Maybe that’s why they tend to shoot from the hip, which as we all know makes it notoriously hard to aim (even if it works for John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, Indiana Jones and, well, Han Solo).”"

"The new legislation does not include an expiry date."

"Dodos actually still exist, but in real life they closely resemble pigeons. The story about them being extinct was made up to prevent panic... "

"There are actually only four known elements, "Earth", "Wind", "Fire" and "September". Nuclear power is actually the name given for when there is a higher density of fire in one place than normal."

Oh Dear ... ;-))




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The Thought Police

""Cancel culture" refers to the removal of support, including the boycott of someone, usually a celebrity or public figure, who has expressed an opinion that is perceived to be offensive.

Speaking about the issue, the star, who is also a free speech campaigner, told the publication it filled him "with fear about the future".

"The problem we have online is that an algorithm decides what we want to see, which ends up creating a simplistic, binary view of society," he said.

"It becomes a case of either you're with us or against us. And if you're against us, you deserve to be 'cancelled'.

"It's important that we're exposed to a wide spectrum of opinion, but what we have now is the digital equivalent of the medieval mob roaming the streets looking for someone to burn.

"So it is scary for anyone who's a victim of that mob and it fills me with fear about the future."

Atkinson's comments come after more than 150 writers and academics signed an open letter denouncing cancel culture last year."