2021 Feb 20 - Harry, Australia & Mars

A couple news stories this wee. Prince Harry has been told he’s not allowed to wear formal British Army dress at official functions any more. The new directive of course is an expansion on the existing rule about not wearing German military clothing after that story in the Sun a few years ago. His grandfather the Duke of Edinburgh has also been taken into hospital and so it’s a tense time for newspaper editors up and down the land as they wait to see if it’s time to finally send out the commemorative magazines they no doubt printed years ago. Let’s just hope they didn’t include too many pictures of Prince Andrew. I heard a discussion over lunch about whether when Prince Phillip passes they plan to bury or possibly cremate him and it really put me off my Greek kebab.

Also a big story from Australia, also known as the land down under, except on Saturdays when the nickname is switched to ‘the land hungover’. They’ve gotten in an argument with Facebook whereby Facebook have decided to shut down certain news services and sharing options rather than pay a new tax to benefit local news providers. People writing news in an office in Melbourne rather than Belarus is so often Facebooks way. Although if we’re being honest here the main beneficiary from the payments would be News International and thus Australian tycoon Rupert Murdoch so in many respects I can see both sides of the story. Would Facebook be forced to hand money over to all content providers, fake or otherwise, or would perhaps an unelected commission get to decided what news the public were allowed to read? It’s all very 1984, or possibly 1985 would be a better year, that’s when Neighbors started and also Mad Max 3 Thunderdome came out. I always thoguht the problem with Mad Max is that if they just slowed down a little bit then their cars would get better fuel economy and they wouldn’t have to fight over the petrol so much

Anyway, in other sandy dry desert news, Thursday saw Nasa land the Perseverance rover on Mars which was greeted with great excitement although if you look up Mars on Yelp it only has a 1-star review, something about lacking atmosphere. Also very bad mobile internet speeds too: it says on Wikipedia that Mars only has 0.4g. Anyway, it’s been 8 years or so since Nasa last sent their last rover to Mars which is pretty impressive beacuse I once had a rover and it could barely make it to Sainsburies let alone off-world. One of my hopes for this mission is that it will once and all prove that they did in fact send it to Mars and not to a dessert in New Mexico where a combination of rain and snow currently make New Mexico look more like Newcastle. Less like the sandy planet in star wars and more the icy one but best wishes to them. I also saw a Nasa official who said that the 2012 Curiosity rover reminded him of when he met his wife: it was supposed to last a few months but here he was 14 years on. The technology behind it is all is pretty impressive although I was confused by an article stating “the software that got it to Mars' surface must now be exchanged for a software system that enables the robot to drive across that surface.” Perhaps memory cards were too expensive to install both sets before it set off, or they just took a leaf out of Elon Musks Tesla playbook with his constant software upgrades, I guess we’ll find out in a few years when SpaceX launches its own mission there. Personally I’ve been wondering if when Elon Musk eventually sends people to Mars, he’ll hire a number of Muslim Astronauts so that they can travel to mars and construct Elons Mosque.
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