tag: Trees

Feb 2008

Media hyperbole in a microcosm

An item on the BBC website caught my eye. It’s under the headline “Giant palm tree puzzles botanists“, and is an interesting little piece about an obscure species of palm tree that literally kills itself in the act of flowering. It’s a floral form of autoerotic asphyxiation. Quite mad.

Tahina Spectabilis: So big it can be seen on Google Earth (or so it is said)

But the silliness isn’t restricted to the behaviour of the tree (surely destined to become a cautionary tale for monks all over the world), but extends to the caption that the BBC have added to the image… “The plant is said to be so big it can be seen on Google Earth”. Wow. Just think about that for a second. So big, it can be seen on Google Earth. Seen from space! It must be fricking enormous!

Well. No, actually. It can be seen from space alright. But only with the aid of a very powerful telescope. This makes it like every other tree on the surface of the earth. Here, for instance, is the tree in the grounds of Trinity College, under which I sit and have lunch when the weather’s fine.

Another tree: So big it can be seen on Google Earth (or so it seems)

So big it can be seen on Google Earth!

5 comments  |  Posted in: Opinion

Mar 2007

Standing outdoors. Then: don't see 300

Having spent almost no time online this week, I kind of binged today. There was a moment this evening… I was fetching some juice from the fridge… when instead of reaching out to grasp the fridge door-handle, my hand moved semi-consciously as though to mouse-click a notional ‘open’ button on the fridge. The cognitive dissonance was unsettling to say the least. So I immediately went for a long walk outdoors.

I stood under a tree at the edge of a field and watched a small group of cows. They were, like myself, standing around doing very little. Unlike myself, they were very occasionally taking mouthfuls of vegetation and slowly chewing them. For my part, I ate a portion of heavily-vinegared chips from the village chip-shop. It turned out to be an excellent antidote to information-overload.

Sound of lazy cows
Taste of grass, and vinegar
Broader horizons

Later, myself and a cousin went to see 300. I feel compelled to say the following; please don’t waste your money. It’s an awful film! It has enough redeeming features — just about — to keep you sitting in the cinema once you’ve paid your money. Though having said that, I’d possibly have walked out if I’d been on my own. At the time I wasn’t to know that my cousin was thinking exactly the same thing.

Redeeming features… it is occasionally very pleasing to the eye. But so is MTV, and I don’t want to pay a tenner to watch two solid hours of that. Hmmmm… OK, redeeming feature then.

Because beyond that, it’s a bunch of unlikeable and interchangeable half-naked body-builders shouting “We’re Fucking Hard, We Are!” Occasionally the King of Sparta gives a speech to his men in a style that veers oddly between Genghis Khan and the President of America as played by Harrison Ford.

With some judicious editing, 300 would make a fantastic six minute video for a Rammstein track.

UPDATE: Via Ken MacLeod, check out this review of 300.

3 comments  |  Posted in: Poetry, Reviews » Film reviews