You hadn't heard? Then you're probably relying on the BBC for your news. Despite having reporters all over the world, the BBC's news programs don't really extend beyond, sport, 'celebrities' and Salford-related incidents. So if the Martians invaded Salford that would probably make the news. But what if they invaded New York, Washington, Beijing, London? Nah. Unless, of course, one of them was a footballer or played a few rounds of golf on the moon on the way here. The Martians' best chance of making the news headlines would be if they were what the BBC (and, to be fair, other broadcasting companies) consider a celebrity.
You might think that invading Earth in itself would make you a celebrity but you'd be wrong. Being a super-bimbo who's been chucked out of Big Brother – that's a celebrity. Even so, being a celebrity in the BBC sense of the word is indeed the Martians' best chance for news coverage because, from what I've seen of Celebrity This and Celebrity That, a celebrity is someone you've never heard of. That's the Martians' secret publicity weapon – no-one has heard of them.
Phew! That's alright, then. If the Martians really invaded Earth, I'd know, right? Possibly, but what if Putin decided to invade a few Baltic states or ISIS landed in Pevensey? Putin might squeeze in because he's into martial arts so that ticks the sports box. But those ISIS lot aren't sporty sorts of guys and I wouldn't mind betting none of them have been on Big Brother or even Strictly Come Dancing. And Pevensey is a long way from Salford.
I hate all weather forecasts on radio and television. Instead of giving us the simple facts (or, rather, inaccurate predictions), the forecasters try to turn the forecast into a narrative and, since they are uniformly dull people, and although I am a patient man, they are unable to keep my attention for even a couple of minutes.
The BBC's television forecasts, however, bring a new level of tedium and inaccuracy to the proceedings. Instead of the old idea of a map of the UK adorned with magnetic cloud, rain and sun symbols, they present us with a detailed map over which they roam, hovering over parts of the country that one has never visited and (in the case of Salford) never wish to visit. While you want to see what is supposed to be happening in your part of the country or some place you intend to visit, the map is displaying the Humber Estuary or the Cairngorms.
There is another, more insidious, aspect to these weather maps. You will, perhaps, see that a shower is going to fall on Bath at 2 p.m. or a thunder storm will strike Leigh-on-Sea at 7. Thus the Met Office is creating a spurious impression of precision. If one were taking a maths exam (even, I assume, at the dismal GCSE level) and one were working to two decimal places and then presented the results to 4 decimal places, one would be penalised. This is a sort of fraud or imbecility, I'm not sure which.
Next time you hear a meteorologist pontificate about climate change (as they often do), ask yourself if he or she is even numerate.
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