Loo leak

It’s bad enough having plumbing problems here on earth, but just imagine if you get a burst pipe in space. Well, that’s what has happened on the International Space Station. There’s been no official confirmation from NASA, but the Russian Space Agency… er… leaked information that a loo in the American bit of the spacecraft had malfunctioned:

“Our colleagues at the Tranquillity module had an incident on Friday. Astronauts separated the water supply line and the liquid leaked. Over 10 liters of water leaked before the problem was fixed. The crew had to collect the water using towels.”

I think that it’s cool that they used towels to collect the water. That’s exactly what I would have used down here on earth, and basically means that I have space age equipment in my bathroom. Amazing.

Relations between the US and Russia aren’t all that great on earth at the moment, and there are issues 420km up as well: remember the hole in the ISS window? Well, as was pointed out in the comments on that post, there’s a suspicion that it might have been sabotage, and Russia aren’t happy about it.

But Rusky or Yank: if your toilet leaks in a confined space all that way up, you know urine trouble. A genuine case of “Houston, wee have a problem”. It must be driving them potty, but I’m sure they’ll soon get to the bottom of it.

I wonder what Vladimir Poo-tin will have to say about all this?

Octopus! Dead ahead!

This screenshot from the BBC News website really tells you all you need to know about this particular incident…

…but there are more delicious quotes to be had by clicking through:

Octopuses are not unheard of in the seas off the south coast of England, but this particular cephalopod would have had to crawl more than 5km over hills and fields to find itself in the path of a car on the A381.

So it looks like you’d have to be a real sucker to believe his story.

A load of bull

I love art.

No, really. I honestly think that in this world of poverty, hunger, sickness and never quite enough Castle Milk Stout, there’s genuinely nothing better that money could be spent on than art.

Like this new exhibition at the Museum of English Rural Life, for example. It features the work of artist Maria McKinney. She’s made art from cattle semen straws. Yes, those are the tubes used to artificially inseminate cattle.
(This is, at least, I suppose, better than making art from the tubes used to naturally inseminate cattle.)

Ms McKinney was inspired by collections of 18th and 19th century livestock in the museum’s collections, which exaggerated the features bred into the animals and turned them into ‘the first viral celebrities’.

Of course it did. One can hardly miss the endless references to the cattle of the day on Ye Olde Facebooke, nor forget that all six finalists in the first series of Britain Hath Talent were bulls.

Here’s a bull with coloured plastic stuff on its back. Note also the expression on the bull’s face. It is – understandably – going to kill someone very shortly.

McKinney states:

“It was essential for me that the sculptures communicated something about the lived reality of these bulls.”

And I honestly feel that she’s hit the nail on the head there, because “the lived reality” of these animals – that they regularly have coloured plastic stuff attached to their backs – is often overlooked by the general public. If nothing else, this exhibition – featuring images of bulls with coloured plastic stuff attached to their backs – breaks the silence on this difficult and entirely pointless topic.

The exhibition, beginning this month and running until early May, is the only chance to see the results of this project, which started in 2015 and was funded by a Wellcome Trust Arts Award to the tune of £29,125:

Well done, artist.
Four years and a whole shedload of cash well spent right there.

CLS

Another game of football beckons this evening; something that I am really looking forward to. Or rather, I was. I do need to somehow mend my lower limbs first though, as after a hefty gym session yesterday (and despite a gentle one this morning), I am very much suffering from Concrete Leg Syndrome.

You won’t find any reference to Concrete Leg Syndrome in any of the medical books, because it’s a name I just made up. There are no visible contusions, no specific damage to the muscles or joints of the legs, nor is there any one area or part which is particularly painful. It’s just that in CLS, it does genuinely feel like your legs are made of concrete. Heavy, immobile (no, not the Italian centre forward), generally slow and a bit grumpy.

I’m not in agony, not even pain. To be honest, even ‘mild discomfort’ is going a bit OTT as a description. I’m simply just aware that my legs appear to be made of concrete at the moment.

Because CLS isn’t actually a thing, there’s also no real treatment for it. Sure, stretching helps a bit, and generally a little light exercise assists with easing the weightiness of the thighs.  I’ve also tried popping a couple of anti-inflammatories, but it seems that time is the only healer. And given that tonight’s game kicks off in about 6 hours, it’s something I don’t have a lot of. Later, I may slather my lower half (no, not all of it) with Deep Heat in a last ditch attempt to wake my legs up from their petrified stupor.

There may be advantages too, of course. It must surely be difficult for an opponent to injure a concrete leg, and if I get time to swing one of my mighty trunks backwards and then forwards again into the ball (and I get it on target), there’s likely to be no stopping it – even the net may be in danger. But 5-a-side relies mainly on speed and dexterity: attributes I was already running a little short of given my advanced years. CLS will likely only make things worse. Just call me The Statue.

Watch this space tomorrow, as I report back on the game and my personal experience of 40 minutes of high tempo, leg-dragging football.

da Vinci

The Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing exhibition has arrived in Sheffield. When a similar exhibition came to Cape Town about 5 years ago, it cost a lot money to go and see it, but this one is free.

I don’t need to go though, because I’ve already got my own unique picture of Leo’s work, taken at the Louvre last summer:

(I know someone who will like this picture…)

Aside from the Samsung S, a Huawei wotsit – and golly gosh, is that smart new iPhone? – you can see the Mona Lisa’s mysteriously smirking visage. Yes, just above the all-American college sports student’s perfectly groomed head, but below his outstretched hand.

Aside from my beautiful composition, I’m most impressed with the guy on the right. How the actual hell has he managed to get such a clean shot of the chick with the smile? Or has he just googled “Mona Lisa on a light background” and then held his phone aloft? Clever.

Whichever it is, I’m definitely going to do that next time I’m there – just so that someone else might ask the same question 8 months after their visit.