British kittens and other organisms
1] The threat to Britain’s pets
2] Journalists unable to see past other side of goldfish bowl
3] Science: How to save the planet with grass (no, not that sort)
4] Linguistic corner
Brexit: Britain’s kittens could die
Senior scientists representing the Royal Association of Biological Institutes in England and Scotland (RABIES) have issued an urgent appeal to all citizens to vote for the In-siders in the forthcoming referendum. They warn that a national vote to leave could threaten the health and even lead to the deaths of thousands of kittens, lambs, and puppies of many breeds, as well as of similar wild mammals such as rabbits and squirrels. It is clear that Brexit would mean a major realignment of British international trade leading to a vast increase in air traffic over the North Atlantic on routes to both North and South America. Further, it is well established that aviation is one of the major causes of air pollution, specifically the pollution involving very small particles, and we know that the latter present serious risks to health, not only in respect of respiratory illnesses and problems of the cardiovascular system but also of other vector-borne diseases, and even neuropsychiatric problems. The prevailing directions of winds in these latitudes mean that the British Isles will be severely affected by the increase in such pollution. The effects on living organisms are especially damaging during the stages of early development, and young of the species we have cited are exceptionally vulnerable because of the very high proportion of fur and wool to body weight, allowing such particles to accumulate to high levels, thus causing the creature concerned to involuntarily turn its immediate environment into a serious danger to itself. We appeal to all voters to be very much aware of this threat to the life of so many of Britain’s best loved young creatures, and therefore to cast their vote resolutely against the Out-siders on 23rd June. (for more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org/23-06/gov.uk)
Readers over the age of 7¾ will long have realised, I trust, that various kinds of arguments are put to us from time to time to persuade us to publish some item or other. I feel free though to express my amazement at the flexibility of the backbones in some news organisations that we have dealings with, unless, that is, their bleatings of approval for government actions simply show their callow credulity. For instance, a few days ago the British media were full of ‘good news’ brought to them by express donkey from No.10 rejoicing that the noble British government had done a ‘U-turn’ on its scandalous, and thoroughly dishonourable rejection of a parliamentary proposal to admit refugee children, many with good and valid links to Britain, who were living without family or any other adult support in Europe, and in some cases without adequate food or shelter, but who had been denied entry. (On what grounds can any moral being refuse help to a child in such circumstances? On what grounds? On grounds of invincible – and also, looking at the broad economic picture, entirely pointless – selfishness. Pure and unadulterated selfishness, therefore. See the final item in the posting 17th April.) So in what did the trumpery ‘U-turn’ actually consist? The government had merely withdrawn the declaration of its refusal, and announced that it was ‘in talks’ with ‘various organisations’ ‘to see what arrangements could be made’. What is the level of political IQ that can think that it sees there a good deed? There are frequently other such devious plays on the gullibility of lackadaisical media outlets in today’s benighted journalistic circus, relying on governments to deliver prepacked ‘news’ and social networks to deliver unhinged views which can be ladled out, without benefit of sub-editing, to anyone who might still be listening (and is this a recipe for commercial survival?) To be fair, though, [Why? (Meta-editor)] sometimes events further up towards the thinking end of the supply chain are manipulated so as to push innocent young journos into the leap which takes them to an entirely mistaken conclusion. For example, that allegedly eavesdropped conversation which had the Queen (our much respected head of state in this island too) criticising some of the Chinese officials for improper behaviour (a damned sight closer to proper than some of what we see on the other side of the big pond by the way, but that’s irrelevant), was far more likely carefully staged so as to let Peking know, without telling them formally, that the behaviour was misappreciated and that London still has certain aspects, admittedly few and clearly in process of fossilisation, of sovereignty.
Manos (officially known to bureaucracy as ‘Costas’, to answer queries we have had since ‘Beyond selfishness’ in the previous posting) may this time be on to something more promising than any of his previous get-very-very-rich-quick schemes. He is currently in Germany hoping to meet some big names in the field of molecular biology. We are slightly worried that we may lose him. His idea is very simple and does seem within the range of current technology. He has read of the experiments involving transplantation of a gene into an organism that does not have it until interfered with by scientists, thus producing for instance green earthworms (adopted as their icon by the EELV ecologists in France, and welcomed world-wide by parents of infants who need buy no night-light for their bedroom since the child emits a gentle glow without need for any extra power supply.) He has read that the onward gallop of global warming is going to trample many underfoot – within the lifetime of people who were already born before the end of World War I, and that, among the many ideas to counteract it proposed by scientists, certain women’s groups, charlatans, and others, are projects to reflect much of the solar energy back into space. (The women, following displeasing experiences on Mediterranean holidays, join in because they believe that solar energy tends to raise male testosterone levels.) At an earlier and less rational point in his new career in ‘normal’ Europe, Costas suggested whitewashing Russia (very much in the interests of the West, by the way, but that’s another matter). He reasons that with the tools now available to science it should be the work of an afternoon or two to tweak the genome of the main plants found in the world’s grasslands so that the chlorophyll is white (and hence to be renamed ‘leukophyll’), therefore reflecting a greater proportion of solar energy back into space. Another couple of tweaks and you can turn the grasses with this genetic modification into dominant species that will take over half the land surface of the Earth in half a decade. Problem solved for the next century or so.
Editorial note: we assure readers that the implication that Greece is not a normal European country in this piece should be taken to mean that the Hellenic nation and people are well above usual European standards (for what little that’s worth).
The European Partnership for Linguistic Reform, a semi-independent offshoot of the EC, which last month added Czech to its list of officially recognised dialects for Cork, in Ireland, and La Coruña in Spain, has declared English to be European language of the year for 2018 (which will involve all citizens of member states being required to learn at least 15 words of English during the course of the year). It has also announced the following phrases of the year for 2017: ‘Wirtschaftsfortschritt’ (German), ‘economic unrecovery’ (English), and ‘dérapage économique’ (French).