On a lighter note: Nessie spotted by satellite?…What are the chances of that happening eh?!

by | Apr 22, 2014 | Add category, On a Lighter Note, Satellites, Science | 0 comments

The UK bookmaker William Hill used to offer odds of 500-1 that the Loch Ness Monster (“Nessie”) would be proven to exist by the British Natural History Museum in London during a given year.  After a number of recently reported sightings of a long necked large animal in Loch Ness in Scotland, those odds have been since cut to 100-1.  And they may be about to fall even further after satellite images allegedly show the prehistoric monster.

Is it a boat or the Lock Ness Monster?  Courtesy: Apple Maps via socialnewsdaily.com

Is it a boat or the Loch Ness Monster? Courtesy: Apple Maps via socialnewsdaily.com

The Apple Maps image (thought to be via DigitalGlobe satellite photography) appears to show a large animal or fish near the edge of Loch Ness.  Other more sceptical observers note that it is more like a boat and its wake. 

The earliest report of a monster associated with the River Ness and Loch Ness was in 565 AD as was seen by St. Columba who managed to tell it to “clear off” in the name of God which it duly did. Since then several sightings have been made over time, as well as several hoax sightings.  The monster is alleged to be a sea-going pleisiosaur which has somehow survived from prehistoric times.

Plesiosaur skeletons have long been collected by museums giving an indication of what they looked like. The Loch Ness Monster is allegedly one of these.

Plesiosaur skeletons have long been collected by museums giving an indication of what they looked like. The Loch Ness Monster is allegedly one of these.


Perhaps the bookies know best.  As a comparison, the odds of finding “Nessie” alive, are considerably better than that of the Japanese racing driver Kamui Kobayashi winning an individual Grand Prix this year.  Kobayashi’s odds of winning a Grand Prix are a massive 5000-1, odds implying an eventuality fifty times less likely than the Loch Ness Monster being proven to exist, or even of life on another planet being discovered – both with odds of 100-1. 

While he is brave and skilled, the odds for a Kobayashi win are probably fair as his Caterham car remains very much off the pace this season, despite being sponsored by the air and space conglomerate, Airbus.  Worse, “Koby” now has the weight of this writer’s tip upon him. And your correspondent is to tipping and betting, what King Herod was to baby sitting. 🙂 

It will thus take a miracle for this writer tipster to collect any winnings, including few beers promised to him by a Grand Prix-loving space insurance executive if Kobayashi ever makes it to the podium (top three) this year.   His beer-money is probably safe.  Space insurance is, after all, a profession well versed in measuring relative risk.

Caterham's car at the Chinese Grand Prix  with its Airbus sponsorship clearly showing. Courtesy: Caterham F1 Team

Caterham’s car at the Chinese Grand Prix with its Airbus sponsorship clearly showing.  But there is more chance of seeing the Loch Ness Monster than seeing one of these take the chequered flag in first place.  Courtesy: Caterham F1 Team

However, miracles and unexpected occurrences do happen from time to time.   As the British comedian Harry Hill likes to recount, he once saw a house fly die of a heart attack just before hitting the electrical grid of an insect killer.  The electric shock the fly received restarted its heart and brought it back to life.  As Harry says: “What are the chances of that happening eh!?” 🙂

While that one is an apocryphal miracle, your correspondent does have a “strange coincidence” true story to tell you about. 

One of the perks of your correspondent’s job is that he gets to go to lunch from time to time with some of the hotshots of the London insurance market.  It was on they way to one of these “tough” lunchtime assignments some years ago, that your correspondent once saw a blind old man trying to get onto a train at Baker Street underground station.  Deciding to do his “good deed for the day”, this writer made sure the man was able to find his right train and carefully helped him up onto it.

The business lunch was a long boozy affair, as they used to be in the old days, and your somewhat worse-for-wear correspondent made his way home via the same Baker Street station.  As he arrived he spied his train about to leave and ran over the bridge and down the stairs in an attempt to catch it.  In his careless and selfish rush from the stairs, he accidently knocked a man over.  As he helped the swearing, moaning man up, your regretful correspondent recognised him to be the same blind old man he had helped earlier that day! 

Of course, as he helped the blind old man back onto his feet, this writer wanted to apologise but also exclaim: “What are the chances of that  happening eh?!”  He was, however, too ashamed to say anything, not least because the angry blind man might have recognised your correspondent’s voice!   It was after all “a good deed undone”.  🙁 🙂

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