h2g2 Post 02.05.02

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Posted: 2nd May 2002


May Madness strikes again

What is it about May 1st? It was once a celebration of the fertility of the coming season, signified by the traditional Maypole dancing which took place throughout most of the UK. It was hijacked by the communists, especially in the Soviet Union, where they organised huge displays of military strength to attempt to impress perceived enemies and satellite states alike. Although not officially declared a Bank Holiday in the UK - that short break always falls on the first Monday after May 1st - it still attracts demonstrators and marchers. This year was no exception although, at the time of writing, only a few minor scuffles had been reported rather than the overt violence of previous years.
Paris was also clogged by protestors; for a personal view and more details why not read Ormondroyd's excellent 'Notes' column.

In amongst all this mass-meeting of like-minded people, however, a rather amusing side story has emerged. In quite a few places in the UK there are some interesting relics of a bygone age. These take the form of white horses or figures cut into chalk hills. Some, such as the Lion of Whipsnade Zoo, are a modern invention. Others are much older, their origin lost in the mists of time. One such ancient monument is The Long Man of Wilmington. Thought to have been created by the ancient Druids, this chalk 'man' strides majestically across the South Downs encompassing a height of 231ft. Mysteriously, during the course of May Day eve, the figure suddenly sprouted an appendage measuring all of 20ft. Thought by white witches to be a woman, the addition certainly belies that fact! Speculators think that the extra artwork, luckily only painted onto the figure and not cut out of the ground, was the result of either the Celtic Festival of Beltaine or an obscure fertility rite. Either way, it certainly gave visiting tourists more than they bargained for.

The new Advanced Camera for Surveys recently installed on the Hubble Telescope is producing some spectacular photographs. If you haven't seen the most recent, then a quick trip to the gallery is well worth taking.

This edition of The Post is bursting with news, views and information. Join Researcher Austin while he ponders Adjusting to Creation - imput from those of a scientific persuasion would really be appreciated. If you have ever thought of earning extra money by Table Dancing, then lilithcookie's article is a must-read! Demon Drawer continues his 45 words project with a special report with far more than 45 words. We also welcome back DoctorMO with his Weird World series and present more from all your favourite writers and cartoonists.

Don't forget to avail yourselves of the Hermes Messenger Service offering delivery of baskets of flowers - more details in the Announcements section.




  • ~jwf~ sends out a May Day call

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