Monthly Archives: November 2008

Childhood traumas

I took the above photo in a local bookshop. With the exception of one or two books at the top left and lower right, all of these deal with child abuse; they are survivor stories. They are the legacy of years of abuse in this country and I don’t doubt that the writing process helped the victims to come to terms with what happened to them. But is the fact that there is such a number of books, and such a sustainable and sizeable market, an indication of us as a society? Are we so fascinated with other people’s misery?

Martian glaciers

Looks like Kim Stanley Robinson was right.

A radar instrument aboard a NASA spacecraft has detected large glaciers hidden under rocky debris that may be the vestiges of ice sheets that blanketed parts of Mars in a past ice age, scientists said on Thursday.

The glaciers, the biggest known deposits of water on Mars outside of its poles, could prove useful for future manned missions to the red planet as drinking water or rocket fuel, University of Texas planetary geologist John Holt said.

Begosh, begorrah and lazy writing of the day

From a Reuters article on mobile phone usage:

Known for their ‘gift of the gab’ or talent for speaking, the Irish lead the way in the use of mobile phones, spending around 179 minutes per month on average on their mobiles.

The Irish love of the ‘craic’ or general banter has also spread to texting with mobile phone users in Ireland sending an average of 154 text messages a month, nearly double the figure in Britain of 81.

I’m more interested in how the Ofcom survey figured out that Americans spend more than 15 hours a week on the internet. Does this include people who would, say, pull up Firefox and keep tabs open all day? That would, in my eye, taint the survey. Or is it referring to active usage? If so, who keeps a record of their time on the web?