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Monday, 19 October 2009

When you wish upon a star


I haven’t written on my blog for an age. I had nothing to say. Nothing which couldn’t wait to sear the airways and demand attention. Honestly, I don’t think I have now, but I’ve been reading another blogger who is in hyper drive - he does three or four articles a day – and I felt pressured into doing something.

I could bang on about the continuing depressing state of Waltham Forest- its public space and build. But that’s too depressing. Or I might rant about the inability of Walthamstow to attract any quality retail into the area. Recently a video rental and a computer repair shop have closed down. They weren’t exactly top draw but they’ve been replaced by two sun tanning and hair dressing establishments. Also a few months back a property developer closed down on Hoe Street (good riddance you might say seeing what developers have done to the borough over the past 10 years). But what do we have in its place; a Nail Bar. There are already 4 on Hoe Street – I’m at a complete loss to know how this business model works. Or for that matter how the 5 men hairdressers in 500 yds of Hoe Street manage to keep the wolf from the door. And of course there are the take aways. There are zillions of them all churning out a product that would embarrass any third world capital.

No today I will salute the fact that we’re less likely to be alone than we were yesterday.

As I understand it astronomers have found evidence of a largish number of modest sized planets orbiting other suns in our galaxy. There are now enough examples of extra- solar system planets orbiting stars for scientists to estimate that at least 40% of solar-type stars have low-mass planets. In effect t low-mass planets are everywhere. And if they’re everywhere, given the number of stars in our galaxy, there’s a good chance that one (or more) will be similar to ours. That not the same as saying that such a planet(s) would have life forms similar to ours; but it’s encouraging.

Or not. For as H G Wells pointed out “Yet across the gulf of space, minds that are to our minds as ours are to those of the beasts that perish, intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic, regarded this earth with envious eyes, and slowly and surely drew their plans against us.” In the voice of Richard Burton.

The first “War of the Worlds” film made in the 1950’s was very good. It starred Gene Barry, who later in the early 1960’s played Amos Burke in Burke’s Law. The more recent remake with Tom Cruise was technically vastly superior but…one long yawn. And who can forget “The Forbidden Planet”.

The Krell, the natives of Altair IV may not be dead and are, at this very moment, somewhere in deepest deep space screaming towards our earth with unfathomable enmity in their souls (if they have any that is; for they may be machines).

Which in a roundabout way brings me back to Waltham Forest and the mindless beings that control our fates. I’m talking about our unloved, and, very likely soon to be, unmissed elected representatives who have for too long cast their baleful look over our benighted borough.

Where, oh, where are those aliens. Come soon and blast our Cabinet members to smithereens with your invincible ray guns.

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