Has Antarctica been getting warmer? To the frustration of many environmentalists, it’s not an easy question. Manned weather stations have existed there for over 50 years, unmanned stations from 1980 onwards. Coverage is patchy both in space and time, with weather stations clustered in a few spots and records full of gaps from when sensors got buried in snow, breakdowns occurred or stations were closed.
What are the chances, do you reckon, of my finding a taker for my DNA? I’d like to make the offer on account of the forthcoming (Protection of) Freedoms Bill, which promises to make the police drop the DNA details of roughly a million people from the national database who have never been found guilty of an offence. I’m against, which I know puts me at odds with the mass of right-thinking opinion.
I wonder what happened to Edward Nkoloso? And, for that matter, the pouting, pneumatic Ms Matha Mwamba? They were last heard of in the early winter of 1964, when reporters descended upon a disused farmhouse on the outskirts of Lusaka to watch the intensive preparations for the exciting Zambian space programme. Edward was the boss of the operation, the 16-year-old Ms Mwamba one of the putative astronauts.
Among the many heartening images coming from Egypt’s winter revolution in Tahrir Square was a photograph of a Muslim and a Copt holding up, respectively, a Koran and a crucifix. While the President of Iran, with motives that were all too plain, nervously hailed what had happened in Egypt as an ‘Islamic revolution’, many of the demonstrators vehemently contradicted him: ‘No — it is our democratic, secular revolution.
What’s the right analogy to describe the parallel careers of Arianna Huffington and Tina Brown? The hare and the tortoise? All About Eve? Alien vs Predator? Nothing quite works, not least because the race isn’t over. But there’s little doubt that with the sale of the Huffington Post to AOL for $315 million, Arianna has momentarily eclipsed Tina Brown as Queen of All Media. Arianna is said to have pocketed $100 million.
Three decades ago, when his voice still carried some weight, Malcolm Muggeridge reckoned that social historians of the future would be puzzled by the middle-class death wish that took root after the second world war. It isn’t hard to see what he meant. Some time in the Sixties, politicians and other public figures who had been educated at private schools started to feel ashamed at their good fortune, and moved heaven and earth to deny those who followed the advantages they had enjoyed.