24 December 2008

Sunday 21 December 08 Cool Yule Volume 2/2 Chat

Only the Americans would investigate the effect of climate change by introducing plastic ducks into the equation!
Yep, 90 of the little yellow bath-mates were chucked into a drainage hole in the Greenland ice in September.
But not one of the pesky critters has re-emerged.

The low-tech experiment, conducted by NASA, the US Space Agency, aimed to establish how melt waters find
their way through 'plug holes' to the base of sheet ice.
It was hoped the duckies would float along subglacial channels and eventually pop out into the sea.
But not one has so far reappeared.

There's nothing quite so disappointing as taking your ducks to water... and having them sink.

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It's a well known fact that Christmas makes us sentimental and perhaps sentiment, as well as canny business sense, prompted the purchase of a collection of drawings this week.
The originals by EH Shepherd for AA Milne's Winnie the Pooh children's books fetched £1.26m at auction in London.

The top lot, "He went on tracking and Piglet ran after him" was sold for £115,000, a record for the artist, whilst another, "Bump, bump, bump, going up the stairs" fetched £97,000, twice that estimated.

I remember my own much-worn, hard-cover edition of Winnie of Pooh.
The drawings by EH Shepherd drew me into Milne's stories and even now I recall feeling sorry for Eeyore and childish frustration at Pooh's ineptitude.

Between them, Milne & Shepherd created a wonderful world of much-loved characters that helped to shape my childhood.
Judging by the sums raised at this week's sale, clearly they did the same for many others.

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According to an academic at Durham University, one of our most popular Christmas carols contains a secret political code.
Prof Bennett Zon, head of music at Durham, believes O Come all ye Faithful is really a birth ode to Bonnie Prince Charlie, who became the focus for Catholic Jacobites wishing to restore the monarchy to the House of Stuart.

The Bonnie Prince was born in exile, grandson of the last Catholic king, James II, and killed at the Battle of Culloden in 1746 after raising an army to take the British throne.

After the Prince's death the Jacobite cause lost impetus and the carol's secret meaning seemingly faded from memory.
Whatever its rascally political origins, O Come all ye Faithful remains one of Britains' best-loved carols.

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