Monthly Archives: February 2008

Planet X

A Japanese team believes there may be a planet 70% the size of Earth at the far reaches of the solar system. As I still recognise Pluto as a planet, that would make it the 10th.

The researchers at Kobe University in western Japan said calculations using computer simulations led them to conclude it was only a matter of time before the mysterious “Planet X” was found.

“Because of the very cold temperature, its surface would be covered with ice, icy ammonia and methane,” Kobe University professor Tadashi Mukai, the lead researcher, told AFP.

The study by Mukai and researcher Patryk Lykawka will be published in the April issue of the US-based Astronomical Journal.

“The possibility is high that a yet unknown, planet-class celestial body, measuring 30 percent to 70 percent of the Earth’s mass, exists in the outer edges of the solar system,” said a summary of the research released by Kobe University.

“If research is conducted on a wide scale, the planet is likely to be discovered in less than 10 years,” it said.

Breaking 10k

I’m quite pleased to have racked up more than 10,000 visits since starting this blog. The landmark was set by somebody from Arizona who, sadly, spent no more than 1 second here. You can’t win ’em all.

Oh for flock's sake


People of Ireland, have you no shame? Or have you not a care for what the world thinks of you?

It was perhaps inevitable that Dustin the Turkey — a puppet who has released several albums — would be voted the nation’s entrant to the Eurovision song contest. As well as it just being a sense of mischief, we did choose John “Hasn’t a Note In His Head” Aldridge as winner in a celebrity singing show.

Dustin’s entry is a parody of the Eurovision.

Composed by Darren Smith and Simon Fine, the tune draws strongly on the campness of the Eurovision contest, which has become notorious in recent years for its tactical geopolitical voting.

“Shake your feathers and pop your beak, shake it to the west and to the east,” crooned Dustin in Limerick’s University Concert Hall.

“Wave Euro-hands and Euro-feet, wave them in the air to the turkey beat.”

And it gets better:

Dustin’s song urges voters to “give douze points to Ireland” for its lowlands and its highlands, for Terry Wogan’s wig and Bono’s leather pants.

It says: “We brought you Guinness and Westlife, 800 years of war and strife, but we all apologise for Riverdance.”

Bookmakers William Hill have installed Dustin as 10-1 favourite to win. Their Irish spokesman Tony Kenny said: “A singing turkey will possibly be one of the most bizarre things that a Eurovision audience will ever see. He’ll go to Belgrade on a wing and a prayer and, fingers crossed, he’ll ruffle a few feathers when he gets there.”

End of an era

It was inevitable that the voracious march of consumer technology would lead to casualties, though I think this one has been something of a slow-bleeder.

Polaroid is dropping the technology it pioneered long before digital photography rendered instant film obsolete to all but a few nostalgia buffs.

The firm is closing factories in Massachusetts, Mexico and the Netherlands and cutting 450 jobs as the brand synonymous with instant images focuses on ventures such as a portable printers for images from mobile phones and digital cameras, televisions and DVD players.

The company, which once employed 21,000 people, had (stupidly) believed it didn’t have to embrace digital technology, thinking traditionalists would stick with the old-school tech.