I BELIEVE I CAN FLY (Melissa)
After checking and re-checking that you have you passport, sun-block, and rubber ring, you’ve made it through the rigours of airport security, and trekked the distance to your departure gate, dodging runaway golf carts loaded with luggage, and salesmen armed with the lastest au de dead cat, only to find yourself a prisoner on the runway with 200 fellow would be holiday makers, each wishing their seat was equipped with a little red button clearly marked “Eject!” Well this week a passenger flight from Las Vegas to Phoenix, Arizona was in just this predicament when some passengers decided to lighten the mood with a rendition of R Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly.” Although this surely lightened the mood, the fateful passengers were stuck for a reported 5 hours and we think even an appearance by R Kelly himself wouldn’t have helped a jot.
METHOD IN THEIR MADNESS? (Sarah)
Most of us, whether through over exposure to violence and depravity afforded through new media or an innate attraction, are intrigued by violent crime. Whether this manifests itself in a love of horror films, crime fiction or history, we all seem to like to know what happens to societies ‘really bad people’. So this article on the Daily Mail is sure to appeal to most. Entitled ‘Portraits of madness. Some were brilliant. All had a compulsion to kill.’it looks at some of the earliest images of those who were committed to Broadmoor and Bethlem – now infamous insane asylums. I am not sure what worried me most on reading the article; the fact I didn’t think any of the crimes committed were that gruesome, or the fact that some seemed to have been overly harshly punished. At the end of the day though, the development of such institutions showed a change in mentality for the Victorians, who previously either executed or release those deemed ‘mad’.
AGE AND HEIGHT – JUST NUMBERS (Rod)
Dorothy Cluster is no conventional 102 year old, if such a thing could be said to exist. Instead of celebrating her recent monumental birthday with family and friends, Dorothy decided to mark the occasion in truly hair-raising style by base jumping from a bridge in Idaho. Born in 1911, this intrepid centenarian originally wanted a quiet celebration but was convinced otherwise by family, not to mention that she had to top last year’s effort of zip-lining over Idaho’s Snake RiverCanyon. We can’t imagine what she will come up with for 103.
FLYING TRAYS – A RECIPE FOR DISASTER? (Lisa)
Back in 1988, the LA Times asked 30 futurologists what life would be like 25 years in the future. Whilst the article accurately predicted satnavs it avoided the temptations of flying cars and commuter space travel, but it trips up when it comes to robots. Each year we’re told that robotic helpmeets are just around the corner, but sadly specimens slightly unreliable robotic manservant Billy Rae, who cooks, cleans, does the washing and makes the bed, haven’t quite materialised. Yo Sushi’s latest product, however, comes close with the flying iTray. A new innovative way to serve customers you may think – the busy restaurant chain should probably hold off before it replaces waiters altogether.
NO ARM DONE (Aimee)
When considering the misfortune of some in countries less developed than ours, or ones with a less protective welfare state, it truly makes one appreciate how lucky we are to be living in Britain. However, stories of those less fortunate than us can also prove inspiring. For example, a Chinese farmer created his own pair of functional artificial arms from steel. Sun Jifa, from Jilinprovince of China, lost his arms almost a decade ago when an explosive went off prematurely while fishing and he could only afford a good pair of prosthetic arms. Despite lacking the required resources and prior knowledge, he spent almost a decade building his own pair of bionic arms. His invention has turned into a lucrative business; to date, Sun estimates that he has sold more than 1000 handmade artificial arms with each going at 3000 yuan ($490).