The h2g2 Post 12.10.15

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Posted: 12th October 2015

Bridges

A highway bridge in the rural USA. A couple of weeks ago, I snapped a picture of this bridge. I not only found it aesthetic, but I was interested in it because my late father helped engineer it. This made me think of two things: the way the bridge connected people – I mean, how else are they going to get across the river, ferryboat? – and the legacies we leave behind us as we pass through this world. My dad left some pretty solid legacies in the form of bridges around the planet. He was a cool guy, and wielded a mean draughting pencil.

Those of us who communicate over the internet tend to think of what we do as ephemeral – not having the lasting value of something built in steel or stone. After all, we are writing, if not on water, at least on the fluid medium of moving electrons. What effect do our dancing pixels have on the world around us? I won't insist that the laser pen is mightier than the sword, or argue that even generals use Powerpoint these days. Instead, I'll point out that ideas are powerful. We influence one another through communication, for good or ill. And before we can have good ideas, we have to think aloud. That's what the Post is for. Watch us think aloud. Do some musing with us. No, we're not etched in stone. But we are available in the archives. (See links at the bottom of each page.)

This week, Willem shows us a beautiful bird that, absolutely guaranteed, 99% of us never knew existed. Read and learn. Awix talks about a movie. FWR lets us in on just exactly why he isn't likely to win a baking contest. Our historical contributors have been busy. Eddy Poe tells us about a tabloid hoax he pulled back in 1844. We're sure you remember it. Johnny Kepler and Tycho Brahe let us in on some Mars astronomy – their book's fairly recent, 1609, that's just two years after the first English settlement in the western hemisphere.

Speaking of early settlement, happy Columbus Day, or Indigenous Peoples' Day, Día de la Raza, or Hawaiian Discoverers' Day (commemorating people in outriggers is way cool). We realise that some forms of discovery were happy, others, not so much. After all, when humans run into each other for the first time, they could shake hands, or they could fight. Guess which happens more often? Look at that picture again. Building bridges, anyone? It's a lot more fun than fighting, and the positive results last longer.

Of course, the landscape around that bridge is changing these days. The leaves are turning red and gold, and the sky's a bit darker blue, as autumn sets in. What are you doing these days? Are you in your kitchen, baking? Send us recipes, pics, stories of successes or failures. Are you visiting any haunted sites for October? We want your ghost stories! Are you collecting useless information, like the h2g2 Useless Facts folks? (See this week's quiz.) Share. You know you need to.

Wrap up when the wind blows. Get out and enjoy those turning leaves. Visit an old friend, make a new one. Build a bridge somewhere. And have a glorious week, friends!


Dmitri Gheorgheni

SURPRISING THINGS
  • Swainson's Spurfowl by Willem.
  • A surprise birthday cake.

NEWS AND OPINIONS


  • The Post Quiz
  • How useless are these facts?
    Useless enough to make the grade.

FAR OUT LANDSCAPES

  • 1609 book about Mars.
  • A drive-through sign for an estate agent.

LITERACHOOR

WRITE!
  • Create October Challenge: Bake-Off.
  • A Gothic ceiling.
FEEDBACK, SUBMISSIONS AND DISCUSSION


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