Friday 14th January - Roman general Mark Anthony born, 83 BCE. Anatomist Jacques Dubois died, 1555. The US Congress ratified the Treaty of Paris with Great Britain, following the American Revolutionary War, 1784. Botanist and geneticist Carrie Derick, the first female professor in a Canadian university, born, 1862. Writer and mathematician Lewis Carroll died, 1898. Roald Amundsen's South Pole expedition landed on the edge of the Ross Ice Shelf, 1911. World Logic Day (UNESCO). Saturday 15th January - The coronation of Queen Elizabeth I of England in Westminster Abbey, 1559. Actor and playwright Molière born, 1622. Emma, Lady Hamilton, mistress of Horatio Nelson, died, 1815. James Naismith published the rules of basketball, 1892. Tennis player Mary Pierce born, 1975. Actor Roger Lloyd-Pack died, 2014. Sunday 16th January - The Ostrogoths conquered Rome during the Gothic War, 550. René of Anjou, king of Naples, born, 1409. Composer Léo Delibes died, 1891. Korean singer Jennie born, 1996. Publisher Kaye Webb died, 1996. Space Shuttle Columbia launched on what would be its final mission, 2003. Monday 17th January - Giovanni da Verrazano set sail from Madeira in search of a sea route to the Pacific, 1524. Alchemist William Blackhouse born, 1593. Composer Tomaso Albinoni died, 1751. Writer Anne Brontë born, 1820. Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard premiered in Moscow, 1904. Actress Virginia Mayo died, 2005. Martin Luther King Jr Day in the US. Tuesday 18th January - The marriage of King Henry VII of England and Elizabeth of York, uniting the House of Lancaster and the House of York, 1486. Emperor Go-Hanazono of Japan, died, 1471. Isabella Jagiellon, Queen consort of Hungary, born, 1540. Willie O'Ree, the first Black Canadian National Hockey league player, debuted with the Boston Bruins, 1958. Actor Mark Rylance born, 1960. Mel & Kim singer Melanie Appleby died, 1990. Wednesday 19th January - Frankish king Dagobert I died, 639. Henry V completed the reconquest of Normandy with the surrender of Rouen, during the Hundred Years' War, 1419. Writer Edgar Allan Poe born, 1803. The last Volkwagen Beetle made in Germany left the company's Emden plant, 1978. Tennis player Petra Martić born, 1991. Actress Sheila Sim, Lady Attenborough, died, 2016. Thursday 20th January - Astronomer Simon Marius born, 1573. The High Court of Justice for the trial of Charles I convened, 1649. The British occupied Hong Kong Island, 1841. Writer and xplorer Jørgen Jørgensen died, 1841. Suffragist Harriot Stanton Blatch born, 1856. Actress Mira Furlan died, 2021.
^ THE WISDOM OF...
This week, Edgar Allan Poe:Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night.
^ FILM QUIZ
A selection of quotations from films released in the same year. Answers next issue or from the regular address.
Last issue's quotations were from films released in 2011:
- They're here already! You're next! You're next! You're next...!
- I'm gonna find me an angel. I'm gonna find me a real hootenanny of an angel!
- - Nice climate you have here. High oxygen content.
- I seldom use it myself, sir. It promotes rust.
- When I sit, you sit. When I kneel, you kneel. Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera!
- Uncle Willy, this morning you look like a tree full of owls.
- I saw this image when I was a kid. The photograph of Jupiter taken by NASA's Voyager. Beautiful. But nothing special until shown in rapid succession. Suddenly Jupiter was alive. Breathing. I was hypnotized.
-- Another Earth
- Let's kick some grass!
-- Gnomeo & Juliet
- It's coming out of me like lava!
- - You haven't met anyone?
- Single by choice. Just not my choice.
-- The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
- Even if it is an alien invasion, they're four foot high, blind and got kicked to death by a bunch of kids. We got nothing to worry about.
-- Attack the Block
^ WEIRD WORLD NEWS
Strange stories from around the world, some of which might be true...
- Azteca ants living in Cecropia trees in Panama have been observed repairing damage to the trees by filling in holes drilled by researchers with sap and plant fibre. ● A six-month-old French Bulldog puppy called Bo had to be taken to a fire station in Basildon by his owner after getting his head stuck in a baby formula tin. Firefighters were able to cut the tin away using "small tools". ● Owners of satellite TV systems have for years had to cope with the signal dropping thanks to pigeons sitting on the receiver arm of the antenna. Now users of Elon Musk's Starlink satellite internet service have a similar problem. The dishes, which generally point near-vertically have a self-heating feature to prevent snow build-up, and have become a sleeping spot for cats. ● Footage posted online of a great white shark with a massive bite just behind its head prompted much speculation as to what would attack an apex predator, with theories ranging from a killer whale to a Megalodon, the extinct prehistoric giant shark beloved of several low-budget monster B movies. Experts agreed, however, that it was more likely another great white exhibiting competitive aggression. ● Residents of Chongzuo, China, were put on alert by police earlier this week after 80 ostriches escaped from a farm and were filmed running through the streets. ● Twitchers have been flocking to Brockholes Nature Reserve near Samlesbury, Lancashire, to catch a glimpse of a belted kingfisher. The bird, commonly seen across the United States, has only been officially recorded in the UK three times before the latest sighting. ● Scientists in Israel have taught goldfish how to drive. To test whether the fish's navigational ability is limited to their home environment or not, they put a fishtank on robotic wheels with a camera system. The tank was steered in whatever direction the fish were swimming. the goldfish were trained to move the tank towards specific targets for food rewards, navigating around various obstacles. Initial results suggest that goldfish's navigation skills are not specific to their nearby environment, and they can learn complex tasks. ● A seal pup that was recorded and tagged in Scotland has turned up outside a pub in Bristol, some 300 miles (482km) away. He had lost half of his bodyweight during its travels. The RSPCA took him into their care.
- The Chinese Chang'e-5 lunar rover has reportedly detected signs on water on the Moon. ● Astronomers have, for the first time, observed a supernova as it takes place [or at least as it took place 120 million years ago, given its distance from Earth]. ● Something at the centre of the Milky Way is emitting an unusual radio signal, and astronomers are at a loss to explain it. ● It has been revealed that in 2016 a care package sent to astronauts aboard the International Space Station included something unusual. Mark Kelly, whose twin brother Scott was aboard the ISS, sent him a gorilla suit, and during downtime Scott donned the suit and jokingly chased the other astronauts, including Britain's Tim Peake.
- A team of historians and archaeologists studying the bones of 2,000 horses dating from the 4th to the 17th century, found at castles, a medieval horse cemetary and other sites have determined that medieval warhorses, far from being the shire horse-sized beasts depicted in films, were probably less than 14.2 hands (4' 10"; 1.47m) at the withers (shoulders), the maximum height of a modern pony. ● The largest collection of Roman coins to be found in northern Spain has been found near Grado. It is thought that they had been uncovered by a badger foraging for food in the harsh winter. ● Researchers studying fossils discovered in the Australian outback of New South Wales three years ago have concluded that about 15 million years ago the area was a lush rainforest. ● A year ago conservationists working to drain a lagoon at the Rutland Water Nature Reserve discovered large fossilised bones, which they thought were from a dinosaur, but a paleontologist from the University of Manchester who was sent photographs of the fossils recognised them as being from an icthyosaur, a seagoing reptile. The onset of winter meant that there was not time to excavate the bones, so they were covered up to preserve them until later in the year. The almost complete remains were determined to be 30' (9.14m) in length, and represent the largest icthyosaur fossil found in Britain. ● A fossil discovered in 2015 which was hailed at the time as being the missing link in the evolution of modern snakes, a snake with four legs, has been reassessed as being a lizard. ● Work on the HS2 high speed train line in Northamptonshire has uncovered "one of the most impressive" Roman trading towns, near Chipping Walden. The site includes the remains of more than 30 roundhouses, domestic and industrial buildings and a 32'- (10m)-wide road. It is thought that people had lived on the site from 400 BCE when an Iron Age village was established until between 300 and 400 CE.
- Three suspected pirates, detained for six weeks on a Danish warship off the coast of West Africa were released in international waters in a small dinghy with enough supplies to get to shore after no country agreed to take them. ● A two-year-old in Texas discovered his parents' loaded pistol kept between the front seats of their car and shot his mother in the arm and his 1-year-old sibling in the leg. ● Two Los Angeles police officers have appealed after they were fired in 2017 for ignoring a call for backup because they were playing the augmented reality Pokémon Go mobile game and were pursuing a Snorlax. ● The city of Ontario, California, has failed in its 3-year attempt to fire police records specialist Gricelda Perez over a claim that she had stolen a $2.99 (£2.18) protein bar from a convenience store. A search of her car had turned up the wrapper of a string cheese she had bought and the receipt but neither the protein bar nor its wrapper, and grainy CCTV from the store was judged "inconclusive" by the expert hired to analyse it. A judge has ruled that Perez be reinstated to her job. ● Doctor Simon Bramhall has been struck off the UK's medical register after a liver he had transplanted failed and the surgeon operating on the patient discovered that Bramhall had branded it with his initials using a surgical instrument. He later admitting to branding a second transplanted liver and was convicted of two counts of common assault.
- Spring flowers across the UK are blooming up to three months early because of unseasonably warm weather. ● Data from the European Union's Copernicus Climate Change Service show that the last seven yearrs were the warmest on record for the Earth, with 2021 the fifth-warmest. To avoid the worst effects of climate change the average global temperature need to be kept below 1.5oC above pre-industrial levels; it is currently 1.1oC, 73% of the way to the limit. The US had its fourth-hottest year on record last year, with 20 separate billion-dollar climate and weather disasters identified, according to the National Centers for Environmental Information.
- In 1953 Mark R. Sullivan, director of the Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Company, wrote that "In its final development, the telephone will be carried about by the individual, perhaps as we carry a watch today. It probably will require no dial or equivalent and I think the users will be able to see each other, if they want, as they talk. Who knows but it may actually translate from one language to another." Sullivan lived long enough to see the first commercial mobile phone go on sale, although it was hardly comparable to a watch; the Motorola DynaTAC 8000X weighed 28oz (790g), was 10" (25cm) high (plus a rubber aerial), had an LED numeric display, gave 30 minutes' talk time between 10-hour charges and cost $3,995 in 1984 [$9,952 (£7,270) at 2020 prices]. ● Rodong Sinmun, North Korea's state newspaper, is claiming that Kim Jong-il, father of current leader Kim Jong-un, invented burritos in 2011. The first known reference to modern burritos - described as "Tortilla arrollada, con carne u otra coas dentro" (a rolled tortilla with meat or other ingredients inside) comes from the 1895 Diccionario de Mejicanismos (Dictionary of Mexicanisms) by Feliz Ramos i Duarte, although it is known that the Mayans wrapped food in tortillas as early as 1500 BCE.
IN BRIEF: A "strange and irritating noise" coming from the River Ribble in Yorkshire was eventually traced to boards creating vibrations in the water as it flowed over a weir. ● Several older models of Honda and Acura cars are marking 2022 by resetting their clocks to 01:00 on January 1st 2002 every time the vehicles are started. ● Meghan Markle was awarded damages of £1 ($1.37) in her lawsuit against the Mail on Sunday newpaper over its publication of a letter she had sent to her father. ● Communities Secretary Michael Gove, en-route to an interview on BBC Radio 4's Today, got stuck in a Broadcasting House lift for 30 minutes. [We hope they piped in some dance music for him... -Ed] ● The Welsh Ambulance Service has revealed some of the time-wasting calls it received last year, including someone wanting a lift to A&E and another person suffering a paper cut to their arm. ● Research published in BMC Psychology last year has found that people who are obsessed with celebrities and Hollywood gossip tend to have below-average intelligence. ● The Millenium Tower in San Francisco, opened in 2009, is tilting 3" (7.6cm) a year. ● A set of 93 Star Wars figurines bought from a Tesco supermarket's bargain bin in 1983 and kept unopened has sold at auction for almost £50,000 ($68,443). The set included a Princess Leia figurine with a ~100,000% return and a Return of the Jedi Sebastian Shaw Anakin Solo figurine (Shaw was edited out of later versions, replaced by Hayden Christensen). ● A lorry was left dangling over a cliff edge on a mountain road in China for three days until it could be hauled back onto the road. The driver and passenger had managed to escape unhurt. ● Bodycam footage has recorded the rescue of a pilot whose small aircraft had crashed onto a train track in Los Angeles. He was pulled to safety by police moments before a train plowed into the aircraft. You can view it here [Twitter/LAPD]. ● The president of Turkmenistan has ordered that the "Gateway to Hell" - a crater where natural gas has been burning off since at least the 1980s; there are various stories about how it formed - be extinguished. The last attempt to put out the fires was in 2010. The "Gateway", officially renamed the Shining of Karakum in 2018, is one of Turkmenistan's most popular tourist attractions.
CORONAVIRUS ROUND-UP: An Indian man named Kovid (Sanskrit for 'learned') has become something of a celebrity online after sharing his experiences of living with his name. ● A Texas teacher has been arrested after allegedly locking her COVID-positive son in the boot of her car to protect herself as she drove to a testing site. ● A group who posted videos of themselves partying maskless, dancing and drinking in the aisles while on a chartered flight from Montreal to Cancun on December 30th were condemned by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and found their return to Canada delayed as no airline was willing to carry them until they agreed to terms including sober boarding and no alcohol aboard the plane. The group of 27 were also told that they were liable to be fined up to C$5,000 (£2,900; $3,970) each per offence. ● QAnon follower and anti-vaccine podcaster Doug Kuzma died of COVID-19 after attending a three-day "ReAwaken America" right-wing rally last month. The last photo of Kuzma posted online was of him holding a phial of ivermectin, the equine antiparasitic drug mistakly taken by some vaccine deniers as a cure for COVID-19. ● Kelly Ernby, Deputy District Attorney for Orange County, California, has died of COVID-19. Enrby, a Republican activist who spoke against vaccination mandates at a right-wing student group Turning Point rally last month, was 46.
UPDATES: The Banksy model stable left at Merrivale Model Village in Great Yarmouth last August is to be auctioned. It is estimated that it could raise "up to a seven-figure sum" for the attraction which was badly affected by lockdown regulations last year. ● Ben John, 21, who was ordered to read classic literature as part of a sentence for possessing a copy of The Anarchist's Cookbook has made "encouraging" progress, according to Judge Timothy Spencer QC. ● NASA's James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has successfully completed its deployment and will arrive at its destination near the Earth's L2 Lagrange Point (a gravitationally-stable location in the orbit of the Earth-Moon system) four times further away from the Earth than the Moon in the next two weeks. It will then spend about five months being fine tuned. Unlike Hubble, which astronauts had to visit to install a fix to correct a fault in its mirror, each hexagonal segment of the JWST's mirror can by finely adjusted remotely.
African giant pouched rat Magawa (retired last June after five years of detecting landmines in Cambodia, cleared an area equivalent to 20 soccer pitches, awarded the PDSA Gold Medal in 2020, 8), nurse and former child actress Miranda Fryer (played the infant Sky Mangel in Neighbours [1989-1991], 32), actor George Rossi (The Bill, Taggart, Roughnecks, 60), playwright & videogame writer-director Russell Lees (The Dark Eye, Assassin's Creed series, Watch Dogs series, 64), actor and comedian Bob Saget (Full House, How I Met Your Mother, America's Funniest Home Videos, 65), opera singer Maria Ewing (Carmen, Salome, The Barber of Seville, 71), singer & bassist Burke Shelley (Budgie, 71), music producer & festival organiser Michael Lang (co-creater of Woodstock , Woodstock '94, Woodstock '99, 77), actor Gary Waldhorn (Brush Strokes, Lovejoy, The Vicar of Dibley, 78), filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich (The Last Picture Show, Paper Moon, What's Up, Doc?, 82), actor Nicholas Donnelly (Grange Hill, Dixon of Dock Green, Carry on Sergeant, 83), TV producer Donald A. Ramsey (Roots, H.R. Pufnstuf, The Bugaloos, 86), screenwriter & producer Joyce Eliason (The Last Don, Titanic [1996 miniseries], Mulholland Drive [co-producer], 87), TV director Dick Carson (The Merv Griffin Show, The Tonight Show [hosted by his brother Johnny Carson], Get Smart, 92), lyricist Marilyn Bergman (16 Oscar nominations with her husband, won for "The Way We Were", "Windmills of Your Mind" & Yentl, 93), actor and director Sir Sidney Poitier (Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, Heat of the Night, Lilies of the Field [1963 Academy Award], 94), supercentenarian & veteran Lawrence Brooks (the oldest-known surviving US WWII veteran and the oldest living man in the US, 112).
^ DUMBLEDORE BEAR'S LOTTERY PREDICTOR!
Dumbledore Bear, our in-house psychic predicts that the following numbers will be lucky:1, 39, 44, 54, 55, 59[UK National Lottery, number range 1-59]
You can get your very own prediction at http://www.simonlamont.co.uk/tfir/dumbledore.htm.
^ AND FINALLY...
Little Jennifer and Little Mary were discussing their grandparents. "My Grandad is 85," Little Mary said. "How old is you Granny?"
Little Jennifer thought for a moment. "I don't know," she said, "but we've had her all my life so she must be quite old!"
^ ...end of line