On a lighter note: Of spelling errors, space dandruff, and space shuttle cats…

by | Apr 12, 2016 | On a Lighter Note | 0 comments

The month of April has had its fair share of amusements, none of them related to April Fool’s Day.

That most excellent space physicist and orbit tracker, Jonathan McDowell, initially reassured his followers, in a twitter explanation, that the debris being fired off the disabled Japanese Astro-H (Hitomi) spacecraft could be just “dandruff” and so was not necessarily serious. Well, that was until he realised that major chunks were falling from the obviously ripped orbiting observatory including the solar panels.

Dandruff can, of course, present its own hazards to the operation of space vehicles – the reason for the stupid hairnets/hats in spacecraft preparation clean rooms – and to the operation of vehicles on Earth as well. For example, your dandruff-prone correspondent often has his wife asking him to shut the car window as he drives for visibility reasons on the grounds that “it is like a snow globe in here!”.

On the subject of mishaps, while titillating spelling errors involving the Higgs Boson were always likely, given that it can so easily turn into a “Higgs Bosom”, in fact, it was one involving the Large Hadron Collider that caused all the mirth.

The BBC has been caught unintentionally mis-captioning one of its scientific television news stories about the CERN-based machine – see below.

Our thanks to the reader who sent this one in. By the way, your correspondent’s advice to our gentlemen readers is that if you ever get one of these, don’t waste it. And if it is a large Hadron one, even better.  By the way, while the Large Hadron Collider (LHD) is an impressive machine, it is not invincible. A weasel managed to shut down the LHD in April when it sadly got electrocuted, shorting out the LHD’s power supply.

And finally, in true television news style, we have our amusing animal story. As regular readers will know, about a year ago your correspondent’s household gained two reconditioned cats, one of whom was called Alfie. Apart from his friendly nature, he was picked because he had unusual facial markings that looked like the underside of the Space Shuttle.

Of course, not everyone could see the space connection and there were a few lewder suggestions as to what his feline facial marking looked like. Nevertheless, for us, he became “Alfie the Space Shuttle Cat”.

However, while he and we thought he was the cat’s whiskers, it seems there may be other feline space shuttle challengers (excuse the pun) for Alfie’s title – although obviously not quite as good as him.

Of course, there are other amusingly marked cats. There is even a website dedicated to “cats that look like Hitler”, with the website link of “siegmiaow”!  http://www.catsthatlooklikehitler.com/cgi-bin/seigmiaow.pl.

Here is probably the best one with Hitler apparently reincarnated as “Kitler”.

For those cats that prefer a more distinguished look than the Nazi dictator’s toothbrush moustache, there is always this chap below.

Of course, whether you look respectable or not, you need the right accent to get on in the cat world. Scientists at the University of Lund, in Sweden, have started a five-year research project to see if cats pick up and use their owners’ regional accents.

Post Script: Following on from last month’s report about SpaceX’s amusing names for its landing barges, Elon Musk’s outfit finally managed a safe landing on “Of course I still Love You”. Meanwhile BoatyMcBoatface easily topped the internet poll to name the new polar research ship for the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). Those killjoy nerks…

nerk
nəːk/

noun

Britishinformal
noun: nerk; plural noun: nerks
  1. a foolish, objectionable, or insignificant person.
    “you little nerk”

…at NERC warn, however, that they may not be bound by the vote, but they risk international unpopularity if they go against the wishes of the public.

 

About Seradata

Seradata produce the renowned SpaceTrak Launch & Satellite Database. Trusted by 100 of the world’s leading Space organisations, SpaceTrak is a fully queryable database used for market analysis, failure/risk assessment, spectrum analysis and space situational awareness (SSA).

For more information go to www.seradata.com/spacetrak

Related Articles

On a lighter note: Cosmonauts find leak on International Space Station…using tea-bagging technique

While “tea-bagging” now has a secondary, rude meaning, it could be said that cosmonauts on the International Space Station (ISS) Read more

On a lighter note: The poisonous perils of provoking President Putin (Updated)

On a lighter, but slightly grimmer note, the cause of the sudden illness of noted critic of Russia's President Putin, Read more

On a lighter note: Musk & Grimes name baby boy after Mach 3 jet…but only Roman style

The SpaceX and Tesla billionaire Elon Musk and his rap-star girlfriend Grimes’ attempt to name their new baby boy X Read more

On a lighter note: The biggest scandal of the Coronavirus crisis is, of course…politicians’ haircuts

"We are all in this together," is the politicians refrain with respect to the Coronavirus crisis. Well maybe not. While Read more

On a lighter note: Even in adversity let us laugh…if only nervously

Among all the doom and gloom of the coronavirus pandemic there have been some amusing moments...even if they have been Read more

On a sadder note: We say goodbye to Monty Python’s Terry Jones, to actors Derek Fowlds and Michael J. Pollard, and to showbiz long-stayer Nicholas Parsons

The comedy actor/director/writer Terry Jones has died at the age of 77 after suffering from a form of dementia.  He Read more

On a lighter note: US Space Force needs new camouflage…if only to hide embarrassment

While SpaceX is working to make its satellites less visible in space lest they upset Earth’s astronomers, the new US Read more

On a lighter note: Interesting use of the word “squelching” hints at why it is not allowed on space missions

While the comedian-interviewer Graham Norton is famous for inviting an eclectic and interesting collection of guests onto his BBC TV Read more

Categories

Archives