There was a total solar eclipse yesterday. These things happen on a fairly regular basis, but this one was important because it was visible from the USA, so we all had to take a whole lot more notice of it than we did of the one in Indonesia last year, or the one in the Faroe Islands in 2015.

But for the rest of the world, the day (or night) went on as normal. So, I’ve collected together the best bits of eclipse ephemera so that you don’t feel that you have missed out.

Most exaggerated emotional response (written):

I was lucky enough to experience a total solar eclipse in the Britain in 1999. It’s a weird experience, sure, but it’s brief and it’s not something that I really dwelled upon after the event. So I think this description by Dr Francisco Diego of University College London is a bit lah-di-dah:

It steals your soul and it happens in complete silence.

Apart from whooping Americans. Lots of them.

Best photo

This much-shared image from NASA, featuring eclipse, sunspots and the ISS in transit.

Worst photo

Lots of competition for this one, but this cellphone pic from Trisha O’Farrell in Oregon is really appalling.
I’m not being rude; I’m being honest. I mean, she must know, right?

Most interesting phenomenon

We all knew what was going to happen. It was going to go dark for a couple of minutes and then it was going to get light again, so we’re actually after secondary phenomena here. This image of traffic congestion from Google Maps, perfectly matching the path of totality across the Southern US states, hits the spot:


Least interesting phenomenon:

Unaffected goats.


Best live reaction from a broom cupboard somewhere in a South American embassy in London:

Which is almost the same as this (satirical) article from last week. But real.

Next total solar eclipse

July 2nd, 2019 19:24:08 – visible across central Chile and Argentina.

Next total solar eclipses visible from South Africa

November 25th, 2030 06:51:37
August 2nd, 2046 10:21:13
July 24, 2055 09:57:50

See you there.



Herewith the album cover for a-ha’s MTV Unplugged session, recorded on pretty close to the Summer Solstice in north-western Norway. 

It’s due for release on 6th October and will feature two new songs: This Is Our Home and Break In The Clouds, along with nineteen acoustic versions of previous work.

Of course I’m looking forward to it. Why wouldn’t I be?

Different sounds

This has been doing the rounds on BBC 6 Music for a while now:

It sounds properly exotic, and it’s by Four Tet, who turns out to be a 39-year-old from Putney called Kieran Hebden. Which is kinda where the exoticness ends. Although I’m pretty sure that we’re listening to a Hammered Dulcimer here (like this one, remember?), so maybe it’s not that mundane after all.

Kieran has been in the music business for twenty years, and has worked with artists like Thom Yorke, Floating Points and Jamie xx. He’s widely respected in the electronic music community, but that doesn’t stop Soundcloud user “Infinbeatz” from telling him to

throw a high lvl filter overlap on the 10k range

at 2:21.

I’m not convinced that doing that would make an appreciable difference, to be fair.
I’m not 100% sure where this unusual, hypnotic track fits into my music collection, but I feel I have to make room for it somewhere, high lvl filter overlap on the 10k range or not.

QOTD No.549

Here’s one that I saw recently. It’s from Blaise Pascal, 16th Century French mathematician, physicist, inventor, writer and Catholic theologian:

All man’s miseries derive from not being able to sit in a quiet room alone.

It’s a rather simplistic outlook on life, but I am kinda inclined to agree. Although I’m wondering if there’s a TV in the room (and wi-fi?) because there’s more to life than just not deriving misery.
It does seem like I’m advocating a monastic lifestyle, which I’m not, but you rarely see a crying monk, do you?

Just saying.

Blaise Pascal also gave us some equally salient, but far more important quotes, pertinent to the present day, like:

Justice without force is powerless; force without justice is tyrannical.

and the chilling observation that:

Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction.

Blaise Pascal knew his stuff.

The dangers of a soggy August

No danger here in Cape Town, of course. We need that rainfall.

But if you live in Bristol in the UK, then a soggy August so soon after a warm Spring is a frankly terrifying prospect. Not because your kids will be bored, stuck inside during the long school holidays (although I accept that that isn’t great), but obviously because of the invasion of super fleas with giant penises that those conditions will inevitably lead to.

Super flea with giant penis infestation isn’t something that I had ever had to deal with personally, although I have first hand experience of half of the problem. Unfortunately, it’s the first half of the problem, as the beagle had a bout of fleas a couple of years ago. These were normal fleas though, not super fleas with giant penises. I have very limited experience of giant penises.

It’s important to note here that the penis size that they are referring to (which is ‘giant’) is expressed relative to the size of the flea. And fleas aren’t huge. Their penises, however, are:

The August damp weather so soon after a hot spring has created the ideal breeding conditions for fleas with penises two-and-a-half times the length of their body.

Just for the record, I’m 188cm tall. Hello! [winks suggestively; overbalances]

But how… how does that even work?
Ag. Never mind.

Anyway, in the event that your pet and home become overrun by superfleas with giant penises, what measures (not measurements) should you take? It’s not rocket science, folks:

The British Pest Control Association recommends regularly treating pets with flea treatment and removing infested bedding to prevent the pests returning.

Who knew?

I know that I have some readership in Bristol, and I’d be deeply indebted if that readership could let me know if it has seen any super fleas with giant penises in the local area. Or any giant fleas with super penises. Or any super giants with flea penises.

These are the dangers of a soggy August.