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Is there Anyone Out There?

(Graffiti in the Rivulet)
I am supposed to be fixing up the bad formatting in some of last week's posts, but there have been a couple of distractions. In the first instance, while trying to contact a human at Discovery to request permission to use the lovely cartoon which was featured in Mad Magazine in 1974, I typed Contact in the search box and all I got was news about Alien Invasions and a bit about Contact Lenses. It looked rather like this:

SETI 2060, Do We Make Contact By Then? : Discovery News
Will SETI observations be successful 50 years from now? We imagine possible scenarios.
Do Aliens Exist? If So, Will They Kill Us? : Discovery News
In a new Discovery Channel documentary "Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking", the world-famous physicist goes on the record about his concern for
Spooky Eye Contacts Can Damage Eyes: Discovery News
Those spooky lenses may complement your ghastly attire, but they can come at a price -- your eyes.

A couple of other items tickled my funny bone this week. The first was in a story on the ABC Current Affairs Program Four Corners  about the Irish Debt crisis, in which the people are being asked to pay back the enormous debt created by its banks.The subject is not funny, but what one of the commentators said was. Apparently upon opening of the Bank of Ireland's books, they discovered " of the greatest works of fiction to come out of Ireland since Ulysses."

In another discussion on the ABC, this time on Q & A, panellists were asked if there was a danger in using social media for causes such at the Kony Affair, because of young people’s short attention spans, to which Malcolm Turnbull (Liberal Party member and Shadow Communications Minister) replied,
 “Well there's no point in trying to capture their long attention span.”
Nice to see a glimmer of wit here and there. There was also a brilliant headline in the Sydney Morning Herald last week. “Bogans* in Business Suits." I thought the story was going to be about individuals with excessive personal wealth trying to dictate government policy. It wasn’t. It was about business travellers who travel economy but insist on putting their seats back in the recline position, thereby crushing the knees of the person behind, or forcing their coffee up their nostrils.

To finish off on a more serious note, four  small petitions crossed my desk this week. The first is urgent, the second relates to the previous work on Oceans and Reefs, the other two are heartfelt pleas on behalf of  loved ones brought by their families:

1.   URGENT must be signed today.  Aussie journalist Austin Mackell, his translator Aliya Alvoi and US student, Derek Ludovici who have been arrested and gaoled in Eygpt. Austin faces seven years goal  for reporting on the situation in Eygpt. So please click here to have a Senate motion tabled today.
2.  Save Moreton Bay, Queensland
3.    A mother pleading for the life of her son and that of another young man in Belarus.
4.    One calling on the Italian and French authorities not to give up searching for passengers still missing   as a result of the sinking of the Costa Concordia.

STOPPRESS 20/3/2012

* Bogan for those unfamiliar with the term  and eager to learn more about Australian culture  “Bogan” used be a somewhat derogatory term similar to Redneck in the USA, applied  to persons with little education, a particular style of dress and  a preference for utes or large petrol guzzling SUVs, beer and football.  . More  recently it is also being applied to people who may be able to afford Armani suits, but still don’t have any manners.