Thursday, May 31, 2007

When visiting Japan ...

... it is most surprising to find that Japanese people do not always walk around in groups of 20 led by a guide.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Beam me up Scottie

The ashes of Scottie from Star Trek were blasted into space according to the Times

A "symbolic portion" of his ashes was loaded into a silver capsule with those of 200 other people whose families paid $495 / £248 for the privilege.

Now, whilst this is pretty bizzarre anyway, my attention was drawn to the price.


Not only is this - to my mind - a rather low amount to charge to blast anything into space at all, but its a rather convenient "Price-drop TV" price point as well.

Can you see the pearly-white dentured presenter reading off the autocue whilst holding a toy space rocket (erm, "scale model of the actual rocket to be used") ;

"I'm not asking $10,000, I'm not asking $5,000, I'm not asking $1,000 - I'm not even asking you to part with as little as $500 - Yes, its true, your ashes can be blasted into space for as little as $495 !!"

Come off it - if your ashes can go into space for $495, how come NASAs 1996 budget was $16.45 billion ? - and they only launch a handful of real live people for this money. I reckon that the only place these peoples ashes are launched are on a one way trip down the great white telephone as some bloke pockets the cash and runs away into the night laughing ...

Then again, maybe it is true? Maybe the cost of space flight for ashes is quite low? Maybe its anew route for NASA? If $495 is a true value, it means instead of the international space station NASA could instead spend their budget launching the ashes of nearly the entire cast of Casualty and The Bill into space next year ...

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Hunt for statue saboteurs continues...

Moscow Times
Thursday, May 10, 2007. Issue 3653. Page 3.
Monument to Nazi General Is Vandalized Near Church

A monument to a Nazi general and Russians who fought for the Germans in World War II was vandalized in northern Moscow on the eve of Victory Day celebrations. The monument, a gravestone bearing the names of Nazi and Cossack generals, was smashed by unidentified vandals Tuesday evening at the Church of All Saints, near the Sokol metro station in northern Moscow, said Yanis Bremzis, a leader of the Volunteer Corps, a tsarist organization dedicated to remembering those who fought against Soviet rule.

The monument has attracted controversy since its erection, with several attempts by opponents to have it removed. The monument, opponents say, is disrespectful to those who died fighting for the Soviet Union.

Police are looking for three men of Slavic appearance suspected of vandalizing the gravestone, Interfax reported Wednesday