Not too shabby

LAST NIGHT I headed outside with a beer and found a clear view South. 140 miles away at 10:49PM a Delta II rocket carrying the Kepler telescope vaulted out of Cape Canaveral and I shortly saw a bright star rise quickly through the clear night.

I think you’ve got to be a lot closer to count as watching the launch, for one thing I missed the apparently awesome roar of the thrust, but I found the sight unexpectedly moving. I expected to come back inside marvelling at the feat of engineering (and it  is remarkable that humans can put 250 tons of rocket into orbit), but I think that misses a point. Last night was amazing because humans are spending time, money and the white heat of ingenuity to put a telescope into space to figure out, in the words of Kepler Project Manager James Fanson, “if our Earth is unique or if others like it are out there”. Humans can be pretty cool sometimes.


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Spot the difference

I HAVEN’T eaten in eight hours and I’m not even remotely hungry. Most likely because I had one of these bad boys for lunch:

I ate the one the right. Obvisouly.

I ate the one the right. Obvisouly.

As a Brit relatively new to the US, I’ve just discovered Wendy’s. This is the Triple with Cheese, the next logical step after the Double with Cheese. It’s packing three quarter pounders of beef and most of my recommended daily calories. I’ve been eating pretty well out here with my elitist European five-a-day dogma, but the dirty truth: it was delicious and I’d do it again.

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Work for Obama-Biden

THE OFFICE of the President-Elect has gone and got itself a website, the excellently named

If you fancy spreading democracy, liberty, opportunity and unyielding hope you can even apply for a job online.

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Democracy, liberty, opportunity, and unyielding hope

IT’S A WELL rehearsed whine that political reporting “just isn’t what it used to be”; and often offered up as evidence is that fifty years ago newspapers used devote the space to reproduce political speeches word for word. Yet yesterday, newspapers did just that. And, wow, what a speech.

And to all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of our world – our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand.  To those who would tear this world down – we will defeat you.  To those who seek peace and security – we support you.  And to all those who have wondered if America’s beacon still burns as bright – tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity, and unyielding hope.

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Nut for me

I bought a pot of yoghurt with apricot compote at lunch yesterday from the JCR. Just as I was lifting off the lid to tuck in I noticed a little bit of small print: “This product contains nuts”. Sorry, come again? It’s a pot of yoghurt with apricot. Show me the nuts.

"This product contains nuts"

Yoghurt and Apricot Compote: "This product contains nuts"

A lot of food companies cover themselves by warning that their products may contain traces of nuts. Fair enough, if your production is so sloppy that you can’t guarantee a couple of peanuts won’t slip into a Mars bar then it’s only right to alert people with allergies. Whatever. It pisses me off I can’t eat Mars bars anymore without taking my life into my own hands, but I can at least understand where Mars are coming from.

But it’s a big leap from warning that your product may contain traces of nuts to claiming that your product contains full on nuts in all instances. Prawn mayo sandwich? Contains nuts. Tomato soup? Contains nuts.

Grow up Imperial College catering. Yes, there are nefarious nuts out there who are intent on getting you sued by jumping out of their bag into the yoghurt, but such sentient nuts are mercifully rare. If you can’t throw some yoghurt into a pot and scoop a dollop of compote on top without compulsively sprinkling in a handful of nuts then I dread to think what goes into the SCR’s beef bourguignon.

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Blueberries on the go

I like fruit. And when I’m on the go, nothing beats a Cornish Pasty and a banana. But for variety this evening I picked up a some “fresh blueberries” packaged by Snackerries. I was easily taken in by the tagline- “a healthy snack on the go”. Brilliant, I thought. I’m too easily swayed by marketing when it concerns fruit products.

Anyway, those blueberries. They were tasteless mush. So much for apparently only selecting “the freshest, juiciest ones to enjoy”. And, since it’s October they were flown all the way from Argentina. This is the worst fruit related purchase I have ever made.


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Dilema: I’m a best man, do I live blog the ceremony?

It’s 2008 after all. In the end all I managed during Tim and Sarah’s wedding on Saturday were two facebook status updates:

 Alex Guite at 1:35pm October 11

Didn’t loose the rings. Phew.

 Alex Guite at 7:12pm October 11

Done speech. And relax.

It was a great day and I had too much fun to mess about on my iPhone. In fact I was so happy for Tim and Sarah I went around with an inane grin for most of the evening (and it wasn’t the drink showing- I hardly toched the stuff till I’d done my speech). Congratulations Tim and Sarah, hope you have a long and happy married life.

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