Sunday, August 13, 2017


I read something the other day about the Mars Curiosity Rover ... that, all alone on the Red Planet (as far as anyone would be aware), it had been programmed to sign "Happy Birthday" to itself once a year.  How sad!  But then it became just a little sadder.  Last week marked the Rover's fifth anniversary on Mars ... but there was no "Happy Birthday" this time ... in fact, there was only one "Happy Birthday" sung and that was back in 2013.  Why?  The report I saw quoted Florence Tan, the deputy chief technologist at NASA's Science Mission Directorate as saying (after she had said that "the answer to your [Marina Soren - the author of the article] questions will sound rather cold and unfeeling" ):  in a nutshell, there is no scientific gain from the Rover playing music or singing 'Happy Birthday' on Mars.  Marina Soren's comment in response:  In the battle betwen song and science, science always wins.   Why did it do that one time?  Well, in that case, it was to see if it could be done:  so ... Curiosity (Rover) won!


Is memory fickle, fragile or something else entirely?  At lunch yesterday, one of the guests was a retired teacher - who had taught at Rangeville State School back in the '60's.  That sounded a bit familiar ... and, sure enough, I had also been at Rangeville State School in the '60's  - as a student.  Our times there had not overlapped - we had missed each other by a couple of years ... but she asked an interesting question ... who was head of the school when I was there.  I told her I couldn't remember ... I can't remember any of those years with any clarity. The first teacher I can remember clearly was Mrs Tremble, who taught me during my first year at High School in Charters Towers.  Mrs Tremble used to send chalk home with me for my (by four years) younger brother.  The next teachers I can remember were at my next High School - a couple of years later - on the Gold Coast.  I can't remember lots of their names - and the memories of some of them are much clearer.  And it seems that might not be everyone's experience ... others at the table talked about how well they remembered their school years - even their primary school years - and their teachers.  How amazing would that be!


Imagination is alive and well!  While the kids were playing on their tricycles this morning, one was making a call on his mobile phone (a toy one) to the other - who answered on his tennis ball.  The reason for the call:  When you will be home?  I guess that bit may not have been that imaginative at all and probably shows what today's 4-year-old boy thinks a mobile phone is for.  Gone are the old Star Trek days when a mobile phone could have been a space-age communicator!

Monday, August 07, 2017

Names of things

I wonder if this was intentional?  The Brand name for the toaster is VERO but you could be forgiven for thinking it is NERO ... does anyone else smell something burning?