Archive for April 13, 2013

Target Exoplanet

Posted: April 13, 2013 in Astronomy

NASA targeting exoplanets for study

Greenwich Royal Observatory: Aliens

Posted: April 13, 2013 in Astronomy

Went to the Planetarium the other day to see ‘The alien revolution’ a new exhibition at the Royal Observatory Greenwich ( ). The exhibition looks at our changing views over the centuries about the possibility of life in space. A particularly interesting section was the one dealing with abduction and encounters as it shows how these have been moulded by media. For instance the first couple who claim to be abducted by aliens told a story almost exactly the replica of a science fiction programme that had been on the TV two weeks previously. Similarly many encounters since Speilburg’s ‘ close encounters’ have involved aliens who look like those in the film. There are almost no records of such creatures being reported prior to the film.

Also saw the new Planetarium show ‘we are aliens’ which looks at modern scientific views on extra-terrestrial life (most likely microscopic) in our solar system (favourite site Europa) and else where in the universe including the identification of potential Earth-like planets (exoplanets). Fascinating presentation.

For more details

This for me is a must listen every week. This radio show from the Boston area of the USA, hosted by Ray Brown, deals primarily with the birds of that area but there are often items of more general interest. Having done a bit of birding in the USA I enjoy the weekly mystery bird competition as I try to figure out exactly what the bird heard and described is. Surprisingly since it is over 5 years since I was last in the USA I still manage to get some right!

A thoroughly entertaining listen

Available on iTunes and at

Swindon Railway Village

Posted: April 13, 2013 in History, Trains, UK
Tags: ,

The GWR built a small railway village to house some of its workers.




The facilities provided in the village included a health centre and a hospital. The workers had a small fee deducted from their wages to cover part of the cost aaand the services were freely avaialble for workers and their families.The health centre included clinics, a pharmacy, laundries, baths, Turkish baths and swimming pools
The Mechanics’ Institute was formed in 1844 and moved into an imposing building and this was the centre of social, cultural and educational activities for the community. It also included a library and a covered market space. It has been neglected for close on 35 years but there have been recent plans to restore it to use.


Across the road from the Institute is the Glue pot, which started life as a shop. Eventually converted into a public house it drew its name from association with the wordworkers from the carriage works.


The village was connected to the works (on the other side of the mainline tracks) by a tunnel. In the picture below workers at the end of a shift can be seen exiting from the tunnel at the village end


The roads in the village are all named after destinations on the GWR – Oxford Rd; London Rd; Gloucester Rd etc.