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  • Total Eclipse February 12, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary, Modern
    Total Eclipse

      A reader – Moonman to friends – has written in to remind Beachcombing of the old ‘cover thy face’ trick whereby ‘the civilised’ with knowledge of an eclipse, show their power over the elements by ‘ordering’ the sun to disappear in the presence of the unenlightened. Beachcombing knows this trick from Hergé’s Prisoners of […]

    Dragons and Hairy Stars in Early Ireland September 30, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
    Dragons and Hairy Stars in Early Ireland

    Beachcombing knows that there is a fashion for exaggerating the achievements of the medieval Irish. So let Beachcombing be emphatic. The early Irish did not have a table of elements. They did not talk of words like ‘relativity’ or ‘displacement’. They did not make clones or drop atom bombs. However, recent research has suggested that […]

    Life on Mars and Other Stories September 14, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Life on Mars and Other Stories

    Beachcombing has always had a bit of a thing about Percival Lowell (1855-1916) word-smith, Orientalist (author of Noto, 1891) and Ivy League rebel. And of all Lowell’s accomplishments none stand as high in Beachcombing’s estimation as Lowell’s  theories on Mars set out in three books – all happily now available in pdf form: Mars (1895), Mars […]

    Bat-men and New York, 1835 July 31, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Bat-men and New York, 1835

                Beachcombing alluded in a recent post to the danger of misinformation in a world that had less instantaneous communications than our own. After all, if Beachcombing flies from London to Washington DC today and asserts, on arrival, that the French island of Corsica has sunk beneath the waves a […]

    ET Phones Home in the Fifteenth Century? July 18, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
    ET Phones Home in the Fifteenth Century?

                    Beachcombing has been thrilled by correspondence over his posts and hopes to put up the useful (as opposed to the merely nice or amusing) ones towards the end of this month. However, he has been disappointed by the almost complete silence over some of his early pieces from the […]

    Marchers on the Moon June 14, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Marchers on the Moon

                        Beachcombing has previously enjoyed picking over the Victorians’ and their telescope-fuelled speculations about intelligences on nearby planets. Today though he offers up not a Victorian astronomer but an early twentieth-century newspaper clipper: Charles Fort (1874-1932) who flirted with the idea of life on the moon (and, indeed, […]

    Victorian Venus Spokes June 9, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Victorian Venus Spokes

                        Beachcombing has had a gratifying amount of correspondence over his recent article on Martian Vegetation. He thought then that he would call into cause another planet, Venus and the great Percival Lowell (1855-1916) who wrote on both planets in works including Mars and Its Canals […]

    Vegetation on Mars June 2, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Vegetation on Mars

                    Mars has a long history of befuddling human minds. Think of Giovanni Schiaparelli mapping out the ‘canals’ of that planet. Poor Perceval Lowell wrecking his scientific reputation with such publications as Mars as the Abode of Life. Nevermind all those hopped up Americans taking to the streets […]

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