Tuesday, 19 January 2016

fat kitten

Hoaxes are usually fun; forgery and con-artists can be fun but can be awful; fraud is bad. I have been doing a lot of reading in these fields and these are my preliminary conclusions. Also, one book described a table in Goering's office whose massive legs were carved into the shape of penises.

But hoaxes: I'm pretty sure it was on Slate's Politics Gabfest that someone described the Great Moon Hoax of 1835. The New York Sun published a string of articles featuring new discoveries made by UK astronomer Sir John Herschel (pretty convincing authority). The reason no one had made them before was that no one else had such a fantastic telescope, which was of 'vast dimensions' and used 'an entirely new principle'.

Among the things Herschel found were brown bison-like quadrupeds, blue goats, advanced beavers who walked on two legs and had discovered fire, man-bats who appeared to be having rational conversations and a temple built of sapphire. In case you doubted this, some Wesleyan ministers were prepared to vouch for it.

It created a huge buzz. It was debunked reasonably fast, but by no means immediately. Contemporary accounts agree that most people fell for it at first. Edgar Allan Poe wrote, 'Not one person in ten discredited it'.

Anyway, this is just a sketch. The whole article is great.

In other news, stop reading this right now if you haven't seen Endeavour 3.3, which is called PREY. I will do a spoiler after a gap for a kitten.

Endeavour is hilarious. The stories are completely insane, which I am not criticising, because the characters are really fun, and this is the best series so far, I think, because the insane stories do at least sort of follow, which they didn't always previously. Anyway, PREY was the most insane so far.  Among the many questions that arise: Why did Morse never mention to Lewis in latter years his adventures with a tiger in a maze? Also, as an old Africa hand, I have to agree that a shot into the belly from behind is the perfect way to stop a big cat instantly. They never move again.