It is (boring). Are you?

The Independent – a newspaper worthier (and containing only slightly less breaking news) than the Dead Sea scrolls – displays its usual elan this morning.

Its “50 THINGS YOU NEVER KNEW ABOUT THE FULL MOON” item seems to have been something of a tall order for its authors, Jonathan Brown and Rebecca Bowle, whose 20 minutes of Googling has resulted in two pages of distilled tedium.

“The full moon is a lunar phase occurring when the moon is on the opposite side of the earth from the sun and all three bodies are aligned in a straight line,” they drone. “Viewed from earth, the near side of the moon is fully illuminated by the sun, giving it the familiar circular appearance.”

Goodness. What else did I not know? “The world’s tidal ranges are at their maximum during the full moon, when the sun, earth and moon are in line.”

That rasping you hear is my jaw scraping the floor. But wait, there’s more. “The next full moon will occur on 30 June 2007…. The Moonlight Sonata, by Ludwig von Beethoven, is probably the most widely recognised classical work associated with the moon…. The full moon is the brightest object in the night sky.”

And, perhaps the most illuminating fact of all: “An analysis of the birthdays of 4,256 babies born in a clinic in France found no relationship between the full moon and fertility.”

Honestly. There is more news in the Daily Express.

8 Responses to “It is (boring). Are you?”

  1. rivergirlie Says:

    its a little-known fact that the whole newspaper is, in fact, a zen koan and can only be truly appreciated when you have achieved spiritual mastery. the same is true of womans’ hour.

  2. rivergirlie Says:

    but not, interestingly, of woman’s hour

  3. Tom L Says:

    Someone explain this fad of “best of”, “x things you never knew” lists and fact-boxes.

  4. pouletnoir Says:

    rivergirlie – I had to look up what a koan was. I see that the answer is essentially “spiritual non-sequiteur”. It made me think I could probably be quite helpful to Buddhists by supplying pat answers. The sound of one hand clapping, for instance, sounds like a faint wafting. (Hmm, that gives me an idea for a post.)

    Tom – top 50 articles have been around since ancient times, when Archimedes composed his top 50 things to do in a bath (no. 1, observe water displacement; no. 2, leap out shouting memorable Greek exclamation). Factboxes are a modern creation to overcome the problem of readers who apparently forget why they’ve bought a newspaper as soon as they’ve parted with the cash, and need to be persuaded to read it.

  5. rivergirlie Says:

    that’s most considerate of you – and i’m sure you’ll be fast-tracked along the noble eight-fold path because of it. think of all that time buddhists waste on meditation, when enlightenment, poulet noir-style, is just a mouse click away!

  6. Tom L Says:

    No 3. Drill a hole in the bath so servants don’t have to empty the bath with a spoon anymore …

  7. Moobs Says:

    Isn’t their description of a full moon really a description of a lunar eclipse. If all three bodies were alinged in a straight line with the moon “hiding” behind the earth, it would be in the Earth’s umbra.

  8. pouletnoir Says:

    Yes, it is poorly described. It is only a “straight line” as seen in two dimensions (ie a view from above, if above means anything in space). In three dimensions there is a kink, otherwise there is an eclipse. Indy journalists don’t think in three dimensions.

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