View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Flu pandemic

The World Health Organisation has declared the current outbreak of swine flu, H1N1 (an electron microscope image shown above), to be a pandemic, i.e. occurring in at least two different areas of the world. At the moment, the pandemic appears to be causing only moderate illness. An extensive article can be read on the BBC website.

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Thursday 11 June

Cloudy but with some sunny intervals as well as the odd shower. Not too cold either.

I am disgusted to read that Man United footballer Christiano Ronaldo will be transferred to Spanish side Real Madrid for a trifling £80 million. It's a record breaking amount, and a shocking demonstration of the cattle mart phenomenon that top flight football has become. I mean, here you have 22 men gallivanting over a grassy pitch for 90 minutes once or twice a week and getting 7-figure salaries for their efforts.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, California's state Governor, has proposed to do away with all printed books in schools and have everybody read their textbooks off the web. What a load of tosh. I know from bitter experience that trying to revise off a computer screen is a total non-starter; I can tell you safely it earned me a big round zero back in 1988. Arnie thinks that not having to continually replace text books in schools and colleges is a good way of saving money. Well, the Terminator forgets that this requires everybody to have an Internet connection - is that the case in CA?

Scientists have formally discovered the chemical element 112. This was made by smashing two atoms together, causing their nucleii to fuse. A rather unstable proposition, so the new nucleus falls apart in milliseconds.