Remembering the tragic outbreak of Britain’s Pacific war

It’s 76 years this week since the Pacific war exploded across the British and their Commonwealth – a moment timed by the Japanese to coincide with the attack on US forces in Pearl Harbor, on the other side of the date line. The shock was compounded a few days later by the ill-fated sortie from … More Remembering the tragic outbreak of Britain’s Pacific war

The obscure word of the week is birefringent

This week’s obscure English word is birefringent. This is a physics term meaning something that has two refractive indices. Just to explain that, most transparent materials bend light in one direction, a ‘refractive’ property. Birefringence is usually a product of crystalline minerals such as calcite, and of the way light is bent in two directions … More The obscure word of the week is birefringent

Bored of the Rings versus Bill the Galactic Hero

Has anybody read Bored of the Rings? Yes, I typed that right. It’s the Harvard Lampoon parody of the well known fantasy trilogy by a certain Oxford Professor. One of the funniest scenes – for me, anyway – is where the adventurers are attacked by a Thesaurus, a monster with a pronounced gazetteer and large … More Bored of the Rings versus Bill the Galactic Hero