Helmets on re-entry are a matter of personal choice, says head of UK space programme

As the UK hurtles back to earth after its long journey into the loneliness of space, authorities are insisting that the decision to wear helmets and spacesuits is down to astronauts themselves.

“By backing out of mandating things, we’re encouraging astronauts to really get the data in their own hands to able to make the decisions on what’s best for them”, said the head of the UK’s ‘Spaced’ Programme, two-headed Sir Zaphod Beeblebrox.

He also said that astronauts pinged by the programme’s own Extra-Terrestrial Exposure App will not need to self isolate in a plastic bubble if suspected of alien…


Freedom for the English means getting loaded and having a good time

Freedom is a pretty tricky concept for the English. They are subjects, not citizens, and have no written constitution to be guided by. Daily Telegraph columnists may cite the absence of an event like the French Revolution in recent English history as evidence that the country is more stable and confident than its immediate rivals. But we know this isn’t the case. For one thing, 2016’s attempt to “take back control” by leaving the EU has left the country poorer, more divided and still ruled by an unelected upper house.

So, as “Freedom day” unfolds today, and the English are…


ScreenProd / Photononstop / Alamy Stock Photo

The UK is “walking into the unknown” as Doctor Frankenstein confirms plans to bring his monster to life

“It’s now or never”, claims the man at the centre of a controversial project that will bring an actual monster to life on July 19 — as he admits the creature is far from ready and could pose a threat to the public.

Doctor Frankenstein has been working on his creation for 18 months and plans to give the creature its freedom later this month “without fail.”

Only a short while ago the Doctor claimed his work would be “governed by data, not dates”, while previous attempts to bring the monster to life were delayed after objections from the local…


The best thing to do with a poor opinion is to keep it to yourself.

Far from being ‘all in it together’, it’s increasingly obvious that Covid-19 is the latest in a series of polarising events that pitches extreme opinions against each other, while a mass of people in the middle roll their eyes, roll up their sleeves, and knuckle down.

During lockdown, every anti-vaxxer and Covid denier has been matched by a curtain twitcher taking note when a neighbour ‘bumped’ into a good friend on the daily solitary walk. …


Rave in the grave: the Delta Variant Crew brings you the Dead Can Dance plague party!

Tulun, Mexico (TBC, check our feeds)

DJs!

  • Marco Payola
  • Walletphat
  • Solardough
  • Maceo Cheques
  • Nono Kraviz

Great venue!

  • Audiophile 10k sound system
  • Lightshow by Dexamethasone Inc.
  • Heated pool, communal hot tubs and a 24/7 massage parlour
  • 5G-free Faraday Cage chill out zone curated by Cytokine Storm

More than music!

Events, readings and happenings in our intimate performance space:

  • Cavity torch shining workshop by the Bleach is Best posse
  • Beating radiation sickness through yoga with the Yogavangelists
  • Tinfoil hat fashion parade
  • Anti facial recognition face painting
  • “Howling at the Moon” panel session hosted by Naomi Woof

Great food and well-stocked bars!

  • All…

I give you a system for naming Covid-19 variants that doesn’t stigmatize — and lends itself to epic pub bantz!

The World Health Organization has stopped naming variants of Covid-19 after the countries where they were first identified, and in future will adopt the letters of the Greek alphabet to classify these variants instead.

The WHO has provided two reasons for the change: firstly, it believes it will ensure those countries that identify new variants of the virus are not “stigmatised”. Secondly, it hopes the new naming methodology will help the “average person” talk about Covid’s variants.

Hmm.

On the face of it, it might seem unfair to name newly discovered variants after the countries where they were first identified…


Three lessons to be learned from a global pandemic

As we enter the final straight of the lockdown 500 and a shimmering finish line appears in the distance, could it be time to consider what we have learned from the pandemic? Yes, that oil spill left by the Indian car on its penultimate lap must still be safely navigated before the race is run and champagne can be sprayed over a group of more than six spectators. But the end is tantalisingly close.

Plus which the blame game here in the UK is already well underway, so now seems as good a time as any to learn something /…


How those left after Covid-19 skipped the party and went straight to the hangover

With the benefit of hindsight, it’s easy to look back and dismiss the widely held belief in 2021 that a boom period would follow the Covid-19 pandemic. Having been through so much, people were told to expect a ‘roaring twenties’ in marked contrast to the dismal start to the decade. They deserved it.

The 455 days that the UK spent under lockdown between 23 March 2020 and 21 June 2021 gave rise to the belief that communal suffering would be rewarded by good times ahead. Commentators at the time drew on supposed historical precedent in the form of the 1920s…


“Heat”, (Michael Mann), © 1995 Warner Bros., PictureLux / The Hollywood Archive / Alamy Stock Photo

What corporations can learn from a group of professional hackers

On the face of it, there is no better example of corporate guff than the explanation provided by the hackers behind a recent attack on the Colonial petroleum pipeline: “Our goal is to make money, and not creating problems for society” (sic.)

The actions of DarkSide, which offers “Ransomware as a Service”, spelt the shutdown of over 5,500 miles of US pipeline, prompted panic buying of gasoline and stoked fears of an increase in gas prices. The group typically charges between $3m and $10m for the encryption keys that will allow a business like Colonial to regain control of its…


It was Digital Awareness Day last week. (No, me neither. I was too busy slaving away on a computer.)

We clearly need to rethink our relationship with technology. It has become a master/slave affair that has only grown more spiky, leathery and strangely unsatisfying during lockdown.

Yes, technology has provided the sole means of staying in touch with friends and family and, for many of us, doing our job. But the price it has exacted in return has been considerable. Even the CEO of Zoom has admitted to zoom fatigue, which must present a challenge for his PR people.

Looking closely at the way technology increasingly rules our lives is therefore important. Our addiction to our devices, oversharing of…

James Tate

A pick and mix of words; now online, better packaged and more expensive, like everything post-COVID. The sour cherries are best. The opinions are my own.

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