Waiting for the great leap forward

On a day off from work, it is not uncommon that my sole aim for the day, from the moment I get up, is that I will write a post on my blog.

Hmm, on second thought, perhaps sole aim is not quite the right term to use there – I fear that makes it sound like I swan around on my days off, with so little else to do that I really should give the servants a raise, and take up Decoupage.

I did have other goals for the day – if you count all the boring things like phone an electrician about the fan in the bathroom, vaccuum the floors, pick up kid and grocery shopping!!! – but write a post is the creative goal that will make my day feel worthwhile – something that grocery shopping and vacuuming will not achieve, worthy pursuits though they may be.

Each time I plan to write a post on my blog, I hope that it will be a good piece of writing, that it might even be the best piece of writing I’ve posted here so far. Each time I publish I post, I am certain that I fall short of that mark, but nevertheless, I do still get satisfaction from achieving the goal of the doing, and the posting.

After such an introduction, you probably won’t be surprised to learn that today is one of those days, a day where my sole aim has been to sit down and write a post on my blog – and here I am, starting this post at 5.08pm. That doesn’t bode well for producing a high quality piece of writing to post by tonight, since, as we all know, 5pm is the point on any day off where time starts to accelerate. Evidence suggests that the acceleration effect is even more pronounced when you have to work the following day.*

On a day off, the morning is delightfully slow, particularly if you indulge yourself by sitting in the wintery morning sun, drinking an extra cup of tea and reading your book while the laundry is washing. Early afternoon eventually rolls around, and gently nudges you into recalling that you better pick up the pace and finish off those chores if you want that image of yourself sitting by the window writing in the afternoon sun to have any chance of becoming a reality.

Lo and behold, after you’ve done the grocery shopping, put groceries away, made the marinade, prepared dinner ready to be cooked, and answered a few emails, it’s 5pm. Cue that sinking feeling, because you know that time is going to speed up from here, and the next thing you know you’ll have cooked and eaten dinner, cleaned up, had a glass or 2 of of wine, and it will be 11pm and you”ll still be plugging away at that post because you’re so determined to post it today – even though you have to be up at 6.30am and really should be in bed.

I don’t know about you, but for me, that’s the point where I frequently end up publishing my post, whatever stage it’s at, despite misgivings that it’s not my best piece of writing ever, and in fact a fear that it’s really a very mediocre piece of writing indeed.

Still, the upside is that I do gain a sense of satisfaction from getting the writing done and posted, and thus achieving that goal.

A lot of advice to writers highlights the importance of plugging away and just doing it, and by doing so, forming a habit of writing, and that certainly fits with the contentment I feel in getting a post written and published, even when I sometimes wish I’d written something far more memorable, insightful, witty, intelligent, or (insert praiseworthy adjectives of your own preference here.)

So the good news for me, and people in a similar dilemma, is that today there is apparently an extra second in the day. Yes, on June 30 in the Northern Hemisphere, or July 1 down here where we are always slightly ahead of you all, we had a Leap-Second.* I am not sure how it escaped my attention up to this point in my life, but apparently ever since 1972, Coordinated Universal Time is adjusted by a second every now and then (approximately every 3 years) to keep time with the Earth’s rotation, which is apparently irregular.

Looks regular, but you can never tell from appearances who's regular and who's not.

Looks regular, but you can never tell from appearances who’s regular and who’s not.

Pic: Fact Monster

Now that I’ve discovered the existence of the leap second, not only am I enjoying all the extra time I have on my hands this afternoon, I’m putting it to good use by reading about the leap second. I needed a topic for my post, see, and although this may have seemed like it was a post about writing posts, that little bit of navel-gazing was just a ploy to lead into the topic of the leap second. Or is the topic of the leap second a ploy to pad out a post about writing a post? Well, dear reader, you can decide for yourself, when (or if) you reach the end. (for those who don’t reach the end, please don’t write in to ask what happened.)

Firstly, it’s impressive – when you consider all the seconds that have ticked by since the Big Bang occurred – and let me assure you, there have been quite a few of them, – that this particular second gets to be singled out with a name. Admittedly it is not a proper name, but nevertheless, a categorical name.

The extra second, captured in a photograph taken at NASA this morning.

The extra second, captured in a photograph taken at NASA this morning.

Imagine if we decided to name (even categorically) every second. For a start, we’d have to think of names that could be said in less than a second, so obviously we’d be looking for one syllable words for names – eg,  Jeb, Dan, Syd, Bip, Bam and Pow. We’d also need to think up the names in fractions of seconds, and we’d need to have our Second Naming Department staff do nothing else but think up and name seconds, 60 seconds per minute, 60 minutes per hour, 24/7. No toilet breaks. Obviously to undertake this endeavour we’d need a large team of rotating staff and a large supply of speed.

Who even suggested that idea? Clearly naming every second would be an outright waste of taxpayers money. Let’s get back to the second in question – the leap second.

The leap second does not have the upper case status of a proper noun, but nevertheless I enjoy the many references online to the leap second as a noun that needs to be dealt with. I have decided to picture it as Coordinated Universal Time’s equivalent of a little green frog. (which would make the Leap Year a large, ugly, overgrown toad.)

It seems the humble little leap second manages to generate controversy. The Wikipedia entry on the leap second (linked above) has a section devoted to the  Proposal to Abolish Leap Seconds. What – no! Yes, Reader, I’m afraid so. It also has a section entitled Examples of problems associated with the leap second. (I note the careful wording, whereby Wikipedia avoids saying that the problems are “caused by” the leap second, in order to avoid being sued by the leap second. It’s not so cute when it’s mad.) There is also a section on Workaround for leap second issues, which may be useful if your mobile device is telling you that it’s still June 30. (or perhaps you’re just in L.A. and it IS still June 30.)

The poor old leap second. Soon we’ll be reading articles about how it’s been misunderstood and neglected, and then soon after that, articles on its impending extinction.

So there was an extra second today, and that extra second has led to this post. To wrap up, I thought it might be nice to pretend that this was always the plan: here is a list of things that happened in that extra second today*:

– a snail moved approximately 0.1 mm

– a bee beat its wings 270 times

-light travelled all the way from the moon into our range of vision here on earth

– 4 babies were born

-2 people died

-neurons in my brain transmitted a response after I read an article about leap seconds; that led to this post.

 

*

 

 

*references for the list of things that happened within that second:

Top Ten Incredible Things

Ecology Global Network

Space.com

 

X will mark the place

Lovers of poetry may gasp, but I will admit right here that while I am a fan of theatre, books, music, visual art, and just about any form of the arts, I generally do not seek out, or expect to get a lot out of, contemporary poetry, of the traditional variety. By traditional I mean, poetry presented as a written text, for example in a literary magazine or highbrow newspaper – as opposed to a spoken word performance, which to me feels like a whole other artform.

Generally, and very unfairly, when I come across contemporary poetry by accident – which does happen – I expect it to be obscure, or indulgent, or both, and when I see a poem printed in a newspaper or magazine, I will simply turn the page to read the next story. I know this is unfair of me. When I studied poetry in Year 12 English Literature, and discovered Sylvia Plath and Robert Lowell, I was totally inspired, even to the point of writing my own poems, as all 17 year old girls do. Unfortunately, I liked poetry so much that I took poetry as an elective at uni the following year, where, sad to say, I was far less inspired – my memories are of interminable lectures about Alexander Pope, and what he wrote, I cannot tell you. (Now that I’ve remembered that, I blame Melbourne University for my suspicious approach to poetry.)

It’s hard for all forms of the Arts to compete for attention in a world where people are constantly plugged in and listening to podcasts, watching Youtube clips and reading their friends’ status updates on Facebook, on their mobile phone on their way to work. So it’s particularly hard to understand how Poetry, an artform that has been around since the ancient Greeks and Chinese were wooing lovers and hailing conquering heroes, an unobtrusive, pared-back artform that relies entirely on the internal landscape of the reader’s imagination for any accompanying loud noises, pretty colors or handsome character in the main role, can still expect to fight for a portion of that audience.

(If Poetry had any thoughts at all on the matter, I guess it would first turn up its hearing aid, and then agree that it has passed its prime but is quite enjoying its twilight years.)

Yet while I mostly avoid reading poetry, at the same time, I’ll readily listen to song lyrics, and be quite willing to ponder the possible meaning contained within, if they are obscure and hard to fathom. It seems that I’m able engage with lyrics the way I do with visual art, that is, by taking the approach that it’s up to me, the viewer/listener, to make my own meaning from the work when the meaning does not seem clear, and that there is no right or wrong answer.  In some cases, where lyrics seem nonsensical, I’m even willing to imagine that the songwriter was just having fun with words, and perhaps had no other intention beyond that.

Whack fol the diddle all the di do day.
So we say, Hip Hooray!
Come and listen while we pray.
Whack fol the diddle all the di do day.
The Clancy Brothers*

Music has its own power, but there is a kind of chemical reaction that results when the perfect combination of some simple words, music that captures the right mood, and the human voice are put together. When that happens, even contemporary rock music has the potential to achieve the pinnacle that art is capable of, in my opinion. That is, that it’s capable of giving us a momentary glimpse of something deep within ourselves that also connects us to the universe (through shared experience with the human condition). I’ve written before about the shiver that runs down my spine when I hear, or read, Macbeth’s final soliloquy. That particular shiver is one of awe, in recognition of the insignificant smallness of human life, in relation to the unimaginable eternity of the universe.

Sometimes when listening to a song, a line jumps out at me that causes a similarly tangible response. Often that response is a sense of sadness, or poignancy – a particular line that captures something I have experienced, or something I have lost, or the grief I felt at the death of my younger brother. It’s a very personal response so I’m aware that the same line may mean nothing to another listener, and quite possibly meant something completely different to the person who wrote it, but in that moment of emotional recognition, it is of no importance whether my interpretation of the line is what the songwriter meant by it.

The example I have in mind today is a song by Radiohead, from the album Hail To The Thief – yes, the album I was addicted to about 2 months ago. You’ll be pleased to know that in-between, I did stop listening to it for a while.

The song is Where I End And You Begin. Lyrics are as follows:

There’s a gap in between
There’s a gap where we meet
Where I end and you begin
And I’m sorry for us
The dinosaurs roam the earth
The sky turns green
Where I end and you begin

I am up in the clouds
I am up in the clouds
And I can’t and I can’t come down
I can watch and cant take part
Where I end and where you start
Where you, you left me alone
You left me alone

X’ll mark the place
Like the parting of the waves
Like a house falling in the sea
In the sea

I will eat you alive [x4]
There’ll be no more lies [x4]
I will eat you alive [x4]
There’ll be no more lies [x4]
I will eat you alive [x4]
There are no more lies [x4]
I will eat you alive [x3]

 

Now, I really don’t know what Thom Yorke had in mind when he wrote this, and any interpretation I can give it doesn’t quite add up – for example if I was to suggest that some of the lyrics could be spoken by someone missing a loved person who has died Where you, you left me alone, then the earlier lyric I am up in the clouds doesn’t make sense – that sounds like the person who has died speaking. And what can I make of the last lines, I will eat you alive, there are no more lies? – I have no idea. For purposes of writing this post, I prefer not to look up the various websites where people spend time analysing lyrics, and do as my English Literature teacher advised me to do when responding to a text –  give my own interpretation.

So whatever is meant by the song as a whole, if anything is, I don’t know, but theme of separation, ending, and possibly death in the earlier section of the song mean that when I first heard Thom’s ethereal voice sing the line,  X’ll mark the place, I felt a jab at my heart. I don’t care what interpretation anyone else gives the song, or the line, but that line gave voice to a new thought for me: that an imaginary X will mark forever the place where my brother died, and another X will mark the place where I was when I heard that he had died. I guess those imagined X’s mark in my mind the physical place where we separated forever.

*

This post was meant to continue on, as I was going to tie this all back into poetry, and how there are plenty of beautiful lines in contemporary music that have been borrowed from poems. I did start down that track, but the post was getting too long, so I think I will end this here.

So stay tuned for part 2, where I admit that what I said in this post is not entirely correct, that there are poems I do like (at least from the canon of poems written up to about 1960, I haven’t studied any poetry more contemporary than that) and that there are lines from poetry that do exactly the same thing, ie, jump out at me and suddenly bring a tear to my eye. It’s just that those are often brought to my attention courtesy of a contemporary musician, who works them into their music.

So bless those poets for plugging away at their craft.  Maybe those ancient Greeks were onto something.

*

 

*Have I ever mentioned that I grew up listening to my dad’s Clancy Brothers albums? I’m sure there was a song that went “O, ro di diddly dum, o ro di diddly dum, de diddly diddly diddly dum, de diddly diddly diddly dum.” (I could sing that if you like.) Now we see where Ned Flanders got his inspiration from.

Trouble Is My Business

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “A Dog Named Bob.”

I skimmed the skin off a cold cup of coffee that had been sitting on my desk since Tuesday, and took a sip while I tried to recall what day it was. In return, my stomach sent word that it wasn’t accepting any more of Tuesday’s cold coffee. I figured it must be about Thursday. I couldn’t remember anything about last night, but judging by the way I was feeling it must have involved either a lot of alcohol, or contracting a deadly disease that was now invading my brain and stomach.

My notebook was under a plate with half a jam donut on it. An entire colony of ants had died in an attempt to swim through the syrup oozing out of the donut, but if I wiped them off, it would do for breakfast. According to townhall clock I could see from my office window, it was 3.15pm.

I flipped open my notebook and reviewed my notes on the case so far, in an attempt to get my brain to kick into gear. There had to be something I’d missed. The mysterious message I’d received 2 days ago led me to a mailbox, containing a note written in old-fashioned pen and ink. The note led me to a mansion out in the hills, where an elderly dame lived with a pack of birds – of the feathered variety. The old dame, a Mrs Fennessey, had more money than she knew what to do with. She was particularly fond of a bluejay that basically had its own apartment. I could have put my office inside the bird’s apartment and built a nice little house for my retirement in the space that was left over.

Mrs Fennessey also had a butler, a maid, a dog, an aquarium full of fish, a room for her jewellery, and a story that was so weak that if I had poked it with a feather it would have fallen over. I didn’t poke it just then though. Something was up with the bird lady, but I wanted to find out more before I quizzed her any further.

I put down my notebook and rifled for a cigarette. My head was aching like I’d used a cement block for a pillow last night and wound up in a pillow fight with a chum. The 2-day old coffee was making my stomach join in on the fun.

I glanced out the window as I patted my pockets for matches. The weedy guy who runs the laundromat below my office was across the road buying the paper, and on the footpath next to the newspaper stand, a dog was sitting, waiting for its owner. It was untethered, just sitting there looking like it had all the time in the world to wait for whoever it was waiting for. I knew that dog. His name was Bob, and he belonged to the bird lady, Mrs Fennessey. Not too many brown dogs have large white patches on both ears, but more to the point, not too many dogs that head out to do the shopping without accompaniment wear a collar that’s worth about 50k. What was he doing here, in a crummy suburb, miles away from his mansion in the hills? Who was he waiting for? Was he keeping an eye on me?

I felt way too crappy to care what the answers to those questions were, but I knew that I’d have to find out.

*

**I cheated!! This is a response to a Wordpress Daily Prompt (Link at top of page), but part of this particular challenge was to write the piece in 20 mins. When my timer went off, I had the basic 4 paragraphs that make this “story” written but was having so much fun I didn’t want to stop. So I’ve spent about another 20 mins changing bits here and there, embellishing and tidying it up. So total time was 40 minutes, with no pre-planning (I start writing and then think!). I’ve stopped here in order to honour the idea of having a time limit, but also because I’m really not sure how Bob, or the bluejay, were going to bring the case to a close. I’d like to say “Stay tuned…” but I’m sorry to say that there may never be any satisfactory conclusion to this story.

Dear Spam

DEAR SPAMMER,

Good day. This is to inform you that your sentences make no Sense in this office Files records over here. I’ve also checked in the office Files records Over There as well, but they still made no sense, Here, There, or Anywhere.

We founds your email in our  Junk mail folder/Federal Ministry of Finance, (as we like to call our Junk Mail folder from time to time), but it was clear that your email is Genuine and is most Definitely Not a scam.

Despite your awkward sentence structure and Strangely random Use of Capitalisation, which we put down to a probable culturally and Linguistically Diverse background where English is your second, or possibly Fifth, language – and/or that the letter was generated by a Computer Program, designed to generate letters that could only be described as Vaguely coherent at best, and send them out to confuse Approximately a million people, of whom perhaps one will respond – we are Pleased to be doing Business With you.

We are Excited to hear about the Victim unpaid Compensation Funds program, and happy to Update your information by contacting you Through this email (obvs). The amount of $3,800, 000.00 USD (surely about $4,500 000 AUD!) sounds entirely believable – please write out a Cheque for immediate payment without further delay. Although somewhat confused by the content of your Letter, I surmise that as long as I am Alive, I will receive this amount from the Victim Compensation Fund, for being the victim of a Scam. This comes as a pleasant Surprise as I was not even Aware that I had been scammed, but I’m sure that I am alive.  

Please accept this email as signification (as requested) that I am alive and Willingly to Receive my funds payment. I make a practice of never making Guarantees about things over which I have no Control, Particularly if they are a Condition of Payment, so I must Emphasise that while I am alive at Time of Writing, I am unable to confirm the Exact Timeframe on how much longer this State will continue. Unfortunately, I will be unable to Inform you via Email, Fax or Phone if this condition should alter.

For this Reason, I urge you to Make payment of the $3800 000 USD as soon as possible. Finally please e aware that Mr Willams Cooksey is attempting to scam you. I’ve never heard of him, he is no relation, and not entitled to inherit my windfall, Regardless of whether I am alive or dead.

As requested, I have filled out the form you sent, below.

FORM FILLING SIGNIFICATION CONFIRMING YOU ARE ALIVE;

PERSONAL DETAILS

Your Full Name: Blathering*
Full Residential Address  (P.O.BOX NOT ALLOWED). This is problematic as I live in a PO Box, please advise what I can do about this?
Direct and Current Phone:  I have both, in fact they are one and the same.
Nationality: Australian
Occupation: Wool-gatherer
age/sex: any age is ok amongst consenting adults
Present Country: No – I am presently in the city
passport identification: Photo
*I go by just one name, like Cher

Virtual Transport System

Note to readers: I spent time today going through some old folders saved on a usb stick,  and stumbled across this piece I wrote 10 years ago,  for a writing course I did back in 2005.  As not too much has changed I thought it was worth publishing for a laugh! 

*

Virtual Transport?

Apparently I’m not the only one who loves op shopping. I was surprised to read in The Age last week that State government employees are doing the rounds of the second hand shops too – to source parts for the antiquated  computer system running Melbourne’s metropolitan trains!

According to the article, the computer network currently in use was installed in 1981 when the City Loop was opened! Back in 1981, when I had just started Year 7,  computers were still a fairly new phenomenon. I got right through school and only used computers for one semester, in a subject called, aptly, “Computers”, where I learned how to start one up in DOS, by typing “run” at the white cursor that flashed on and off on a black screen.

Imagine any school or business still using the same computers now as they were using back then!  It is not surprising that the only way for the Metrol computer system to be maintained is with  “parts sourced from garage sales and op shops”. (The Age, 2/7/05)

I must look out for computer boffins from the Department of Transport sifting through the goodies at the Salvation Army. In fact – here’s an idea – perhaps I could keep an eye out for them, if they care to pass on a general description of what they are after! Surely it would only cost about 50 cents for a keyboard from 1981, so if it doesn’t work perfectly, it’s not a big loss for the government’s transport budget, is it? The Lilydale  train might get stuck at Ringwood station for a while when the Shift key jams, but currently it goes backwards whenever the Caps Lock is on, so anything is an improvement….

Do government employees sent to browse through op shops and garage sales enjoy it the way that seasoned op shoppers like myself do? Do they get a thrill out of finding a real bargain in vaguely working order – “Wow, a mouse from 1982, only 20 cents! The right click won’t work, but hey – that will only affect the Northern Suburbs lines at peak hour.” There is also the satisfaction of discovering a new use for an item that no-one else has thought of – “Oooh, look at this great Dot Matrix printer I picked up for a song, perfect for updating train schedules!”  I imagine the excitement of being given a budget – say of $5 – probably goes to their heads, they  get carried away, and come out with things that they – and even our dusty old computerised train network – don’t need. “Huh…I guess this old Beta video player is not really going to improve services on the Epping Line.”

er....."RUN"? Oh ok, I see, it's not on.

What do you mean the train hasn’t left the station yet?…Oh, I see, it’s not turned on.  Oops.

Eager employees may become addicted to the search, and become collectors of historical computer parts, attending garage sales and op shops in their own time for another fix. They may start gravitating eagerly towards the book section of the charity shops, where all sorts of treats would be in store for anyone needing technical computer book written in the 80’s.

Of course, for the private company now running our trains, that’s just another benefit of this thrifty approach to technology – purchasing the ‘how-to’ manuals is another whole area of budget savings. If you go to your local Op Shop on the right day, you could get a whole bag of technical manuals from 1981, enough for your entire metropolitan train system, for $2!

According to The Age, the government is finally looking to upgrade, and is calling for tenders to replace the system. I think I can help here. I have a ten year old computer, a spare monitor, a laptop bought second hand four years ago, on which the screen no longer works, an old walkman from the early nineties, a few old computer leads and a mouse. If  you plug them all into a power board, they could probably replace the entire computer system from 1981 currently running our trains.

Industry sources allegedly  told The Age that “a new system is a virtual certainty.” I hope the sources didn’t mean a virtual reality.

*

Pic of old computer: old-computers.com 

Lovely spam

Lovely, lovely spam

Lovely, lovely spam

Welcome back to that extremely irregular* segment of our program where we take a look at the spam we’ve been receiving here at It Keeps Me Wondering Laboratories. 

 

This week we received an unusual correspondence from Mr Joseph Orongo, which we have published below in full. (omitting the sender’s email address).

 

Now, we’ve been receiving spam for many years here at IKMW Labs, as I’m sure you have too, dear reader. A decade or more ago, I admit that it was vaguely amusing to open an email, purportedly from a total stranger writing from the other side of the world, addressing you as “Dear Beloved,” explaining that they had inherited an enormous amount of wealth, so much that they are keen to give some of it away to you, since they had come across your details randomly, and felt that you sounded like a deserving soul who could do with a break. All you have to do is provide your date of birth and your bank account number and they will hastily deposit the sum of $300,275 473.24 into your bank account.

 

Haha, yeah no worries, I will get back to you, random stranger, with my bank account details for the deposit, just as soon as I’ve seen a pig fly past the window. That’s what I replied in 1999, anyway, and I’m still waiting to see that pig go by – damn that pig, it’s holding me up from becoming a wealthy billionaire!

 

More than a decade has gone by since I received my first spam, and while organic life continues to evolve, and technology continues to develop at an ever-increasing pace, it seems that spam has not changed much in that time. Spam bots, human scammers, or whoever/whatever is at the other end, send out the same old tired missals, claiming that you’ve inherited money from a long-lost ancestor, or that a random stranger desperately wants to give you money they’ve inherited or won – such is the generosity of the human spirit, apparently.

 

Variations are: a random stranger has selected you as someone who they’d like to invest millions in business with, or, a random stranger, (allegedly a nubile 24 year old Russian girl, but more likely a piece of coding in a computer server somewhere), would like to marry you, and promises to make a good wife.

 

Back in 1999, all of these provided the occasional moment of amusement when the office was quiet, but these days, their tired, cliched devices, combined with awful grammar, spelling mistakes, cut-and-pasted nonsensical sentences and terrible imitations of a non-English-speaking person writing in English mean that you can find more amusing writing to read on your coffee break, even right here on this blog. I may resort to tired, cliched devices, have awful grammar, and write nonsensical sentences but at least I usually check my spelling before I publish. That’s a tip to spammers everywhere.

 

So I applaud the new, creative approach which I encountered this week. Please read below and enjoy. There will be questions* to follow.

 

* intermittent meaning that in 4 years of blogging I think I’ve written one other post on spam, which I’m not linking to here because I’m too lazy to go and look for it.
*Questions to follow may mean, another post, in response to this spam, to follow. It may mean that, but it’s not yet certain.

*************************************************************************

Reply-To: (address deleted)
From: “MR JOSEPH ORONGO”
Subject: DEAR BENEFICIARY
Date: 1 May 2015 10:23:15 am AEST

 

DEAR BENEFICIARY,

Good day, this is to inform you of your long overdue Compensation Payment In this office Files records over here. This department founds your name and email address in the Central Computer / Federal Ministry of Finance among list of Scam Victim unpaid Compensation Funds and have to update your information by contacting you Through this email for your immediate confirmation response back to my Office without delay. The value capital Compensation fund amount of $3.800, 000.00 USD (Three Million Eight Hundred Thousand dollars only) is to your favor listed name for immediate payment.

However we received an email from one Mr.Williams Cooksey, who told us that he is your NEXT OF KIN and that you died in a car accident last four Months back. He has also submitted his account information’s to the office Department for transfer of the fund payment credit to him as your Inheritor of the fund stated herein.

Below are the Account Details:

CHASE Bank
2075 S. Victoria Ave
Ventura, CA 93003
800 788-7000 FREE
Acct. name: Mr.Williams Cooksey
Type: Checking
ABA # 322271627
Acct # 1951204345


We are now verifying by contacting you through your email address as we have in our Bank records before we can make the transfer into his account and for us to conclude confirmation if you are still alive.You’re the last person on the List to receive this Compensation Fund as per the Federal Ministry of Finance Directives on Inheritance Funds Outstanding Payment.


Please, if still alive, do urgently send email confirmation by Filling the form details below as signification you are alive and willingly to receive your funds payment.


FORM FILLING SIGNIFICATION CONFIRMING YOU ARE ALIVE;

PERSONAL DETAILS

Your Full Name:
Full Residential Address  (P.O.BOX NOT ALLOWED).
Direct and Current Phone
Nationality:
Occupation:
age/sex:
Present Country:
passport identification:


PLEASE, CONTACT OUR CUSTOMER CARE MANAGER (MR JOSEPH ORONGO) ON HIS EMAIL ADDRESS FOR SECURITY REASONS: (email address deleted)

Thanks,

BARCLAYS BANK PLC

+254706463854

You’re as cold as ice

Astronomers have discovered the biggest known structure in the universe, and it turns out it’s a hole.

This is surprising information to many of us who thought that a hole usually constituted a gap, with a distinct lack of any structure. But there you go.

In any case, it’s an incredibly big hole (as you might expect of the biggest known structure in the universe), even bigger than the hole in the wall between our lounge room and bedroom in our previous house, and you could put your fist right through that one.

This newly discovered hole is 1.8 billion light years across, and is “distinguished by its unusual emptiness.”

Our reporter is on the scene now, talking with the hole.

R: Wow, man, you really are LARGE. I’d even say gargantuan. I can’t see the other side of you from here. If I tried to, I’d die about a gazillion years before I got there. If you don’t mind me asking, how did you get to be so big? 

H: Hey, dude, that is a bit hurtful. You know, I don’t get to talk to many people, and I start thinking it’s because I’m lonely that I feel this unusual emptiness. Then someone like you comes along with your judgemental comments and I remember why I prefer to be alone in the first place. It’s a real bummer always being talked about in terms of your size. Lay off. I have plenty of other good qualities.

The Hole, yesterday afternoon.

The Hole, yesterday afternoon.

Pic: The Guardian/ESA and the Planck Collaboration

The existence of the large hole was discovered as a result of a targeted astronomical survey, which confirmed that around 10,000 galaxies were missing from the part of the sky where the hole is.

(I’m not a scientist, but I think it’s stating the obvious when I say that if 10,000 galaxies are missing from exactly the spot where there is a gaping big hole, clearly they’ve all fallen out and you’ve lost them all, and it’s your own fault for not sewing up the hole before it got any bigger and you lost all your galaxies.)

Questionnaires sent out to the millions of galaxies in that neighborhood had a surprisingly good response rate, but it became noticeable that none of the 10,000 galaxies within a particular radius had sent back a response. Extra time was allowed, in case they had used Australia Post.

Finally, however, the deadline was reached, and still not a single response was received from the area in question. When surveys from the other galaxies were collated and the data was analysed, scientists’ fears were confirmed: a recurring response from dwellers on nearby galaxies was, “where have the 10,000 galaxies just past the next solar system disappeared to? We just had them over for a barbecue a fortnight ago – now all I can see is a dark patch of nothing where they lived.”

Now as it happens, the scientists who sent out the survey had been hoping to come across a large void, because previous research had revealed that the sky was unusually cool in that region.

The so-called Cold Spot was discovered in the last decade. It was named when an astronaut on a passing space shuttle felt a chill run down her spine, and remarked “Wow, that is a really cold spot!” Ever since then, scientists working on modelling of the expansion of the universe have shaken their fists at that pesky Cold Spot, because it disproves current theories about how the universe has evolved following the Big Bang. The Big Bang was named when….oh, never mind.

The Cold Spot has created controversy within scientific circles. As Prof ____, a cosmologist at the University of Durham, said: “The Cold Spot raised a lot of eyebrows.”

(A note to our readers: in some parts of society, if you are upset you throw a hissy fit, trashing your dressing room and refuse to go on stage even though your promoter is begging you to. In the scientific world, they raise their eyebrows.)

Of course, the main reason so many eyebrows were being raised was because scientists had previously determined that the coldest spot in the universe was in the refrigerator section at an IGA supermarket. This has been taught in the science curriculum at secondary schools for years, which is why everyone knows to take a coat when shopping at IGA. So it was a shock to the scientific community, the wider public, and the skinnier members of the public, to discover that there was a larger, colder, (and unusually empty) cold spot somewhere else in the universe.

H: Hey, I have to admit I kinda like being called The Cold Spot. It’s better than being referred to as a Hole. From now on I’ll be know as The Cold Spot, or Mr Cold Spot.

R: OK….um…look, I’m sorry Mr Cold Spot, man. Forget I said anything about your size. What I’m more interested in is how it feels to be the coldest spot in the universe. I mean, I’ve shopped at IGA in winter time, and brrrr, that place is cold. While we’re on that topic…..I’m kinda curious as to where those other 10,000 galaxies have gone. It’s kinda fishy that they’ve all gone and disappeared, and meanwhile, you are so large…..did you eat them to keep warm?

CS: Wow, that’s really heavy, dude. You are really starting to freak me out. First I’m unusually empty, then I’m incredibly large, then I’m unusually cool, now I’m almost a cannibal. I had no idea this was what people were saying about me. If it’s cold around here, it’s probably because the Sun is a vindictive bugger and we had an argument a while back – I guess it’s payback. And to answer your other question, no, I don’t know where the galaxies have gone, and no, I didn’t eat them!  As if. I’m on the paleolithic diet.

The supervoid is not an actual vacuum, but has about 20% less stuff in it than any typical region of the universe. “Supervoids are not entirely empty, they’re under-dense,” said Prof ____, a co-author at the Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest.

CS: Is he talking about me – a Supervoid?  That sounds pretty cool, like I’m the void that saves all the other voids in the universe. From now on I think Ill be known as Supervoid.

R: Ok…..Mr….er…Supervoid…..so anyway, Hoover asked me to see if you’d be interested in some kind of advertising deal. Look, of course they know you’re not an actual vacuum because obvs you’re way too large to fit inside anyone’s broom cupboard….but they think there’s potential for some kinda cool advertising gimmick given how you suck energy out of light as it passes through you. 

S: What? Yeah, whatever…..just wait a minute…….I’m still trying to process that last information. So I’m not completely empty after all? That seems like a good thing, right? But then that dude said that I’m under-dense. What does that even mean? I must be too dense to know. Wow… I don’t know if it’s because I’m under-dense, but I can’t tell if you people are trying to bring me down, or if you’re on my side. 

Poor Mr Cold Spot. He now knows how it feels to be a victim of the paparazzi. In a matter of days, (*Earth time) he has been described in the media as everything from “The greatest supervoid ever discovered,” and “the Everest of voids” to “an empty spherical blob.” It seems that even an incredibly big hole struggles to maintain its credibility in the fickle world of scientific journalism.

We hope that this article will help to provide some balance, by giving a voice to the supervoids.

*

*We contacted IGA Supermarkets for comment. A spokesperson said that they had never set out deliberately to be the coldest spot in the universe but they just couldn’t get the hang of how to work the store thermostat. He said it was a relief to hear that a colder spot had been discovered and he wished The Cold Spot all the best.

*

This post was inspired by the words and phrases used in an article in the Guardian about the discovery of the incredibly large hole. You may be excused for thinking that the post was just me taking a flight of fantasy – ok it is, but it’s peppered with entire words/phrases/descriptions lifted from the Guardian article, possibly some that you will think I invented.

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