The World’s Smallest Drummer

Commonwealth Games opening ceremony, Delhi 2010

OK it’s not that the drummer is small, it’s the drum that is huge.

And look at those drumsticks, no wonder they are used to describe fried chicken legs.

Wind farm

Eyesore or necessity?

This wind farm has just opened near the coast of England. This will provide enough power for a small town.

It is not free power. There is the cost of the turbines and their maintenance, and the salaries of the workers, but it is much cheaper than other power sources and there is very little pollution.

However it spoils the view. Should we put up with this inconvenience?

Friday 13th, part 4

Next week we will have Friday 13th, which is considered to be an unlucky day in some Western cultures.

In one year there can be one, two or three Friday 13ths. In 2009 there were three, there was one in February, and one in March, and one in November.

But in 2010 there is only one. The next Friday 13th won’t be until May 2011.

Paraskevidekatriaphobia is fear of Friday 13th. It comes from three old Greek words, ‘paraskevi’ means Friday, ‘dekatria’ means 13, and ‘phobia’ means fear.

Where is Jason?
Why is Friday 13th considered an unlucky day? Nobody really knows, but it seems that it is the combination of the unlucky number 13, with the bad day, Friday, which equals the mega-unlucky day of Friday 13th.

There is no doubt that 13 is considered by many people to be unlucky, for example:

Many buildings have no 13th floor.

Many condominiums have no apartment 13.

Many cities have no 13th Street nor 13th Avenue.

Many airports have no Gate 13.

Many hospitals and hotels have no Room 13.

Many people will leave a party or a meal with 13 guests.

And there are many more examples, plus of course Apollo 13!

So why is 13 so unlucky?

The most popular view is that there were 13 guests at the Last Supper of Jesus Christ, before he died, as shown in a famous painting by Leonardo da Vinci. Added to this is the view that 12 is a ‘complete’ or ‘perfect’ number. There are 12 months in the year, 12 signs of the Zodiac, 12 apostles of Jesus, 12 tribes of Israel, and many more, which suggests that 13 is an imperfect (and evil?) number.

And what about Friday?

Christian belief is that Jesus Christ died on a Friday, and it is also thought that Eve gave Adam an apple on a Friday.

So, 13 and Friday make a strong combination. On Friday October 13th 1307, about 700 years ago, King Philip of France arrested, tortured and killed thousands of Knights Templar, who were a very powerful group that protected Christians (though there are many stories of their corruption), and who are included in the  book, ‘The da Vinci Code’.

There is also the fact that every month that includes Friday 13th starts with Sunday 1st which, according to Christians, is God’s day of rest, but why this is a sign of bad luck I don’t know.

One other fact: research in the UK shows that on Friday 13th there is less traffic on the streets (lots of people stay indoors), but there are more traffic accidents than normal. Is this because of bad luck, or because people get more nervous and panicky?

To be honest I’m not at all superstitious about Friday 13th, but I’m glad that my children weren’t born on this day.

Maze in Trafalgar Square


Trafalgar Square, in the heart of London, is famous for its bronze lions, its fountains, its statue of Horatio Nelson, and many other things, but it has never been famous for its maze …. until now.

Someone had the idea of ‘getting lost in London’ and now there is this maze for just this, quite a piece of marketing.

Plastiki, plastic boat

To raise environmental awareness

From San Francisco to Sydney is about 15,000km, and it is a long way for any ship.

But for a boat made from plastic bottles this journey is a real adventure. It took about 5 months to complete the trip and the owner of the boat hopes to raise awareness that using plastic bottles (one time only) is such a waste of resources.

Gandam at Higashi Shizuoka

This is just a model, the real one is even bigger!

Some of you have probably seen this hige model of Gandam at Higashi Shizuoka station.

But I have a question: why is the station called Higashi (east) Shizuoka when it is in the west side of Shizuoka?


For many people the name Daddy-Long-Legs is the nickname given to an animal. In many cases it is the crane fly, an insect with (as you might imagine) very long, thin legs. In some other parts of the world it may be a spider with long legs, and in some places it is a harvestman.


A harvestman is neither an insect nor a spider. It has eight legs and no wings so is more similar to a spider, but it has only one body part (a spider has two, and an insect three).