THE FLYING PAINTBRUSH

Boeing 787_outlines_the_sky_630

It is reported that Boeing has flown its latest 787-8 Dreamliner aeroplane with Rolls-Royce engines for 15766 miles and over 17 hours in a route tracing out the shape of the plane over the United States.

The Boeing people are quite smart,
And one or two are good at art,
So when they thought they’d like to show,
How far their new airplane would go,
With Rolls-Royce engines, slimline wings,
Computers that control all things,
They thought they’d get the plane to draw,
Its outline as they made it soar,
Up in the sky in the US,
Just guaranteed then to impress.

They set off in the afternoon,
Not planning to return too soon;
For seventeen hours they stayed aloft,
Flown by computerware that’s soft,
And after sixteen thousand miles,
Their faces filled with big broad smiles,
As the plane landed, “Did it?”, “Yes!”
A sign of all the team’s success.

The picture thus drawn in the sky
Which showed the route the plane did fly,
Was then released to the world’s press,
So all could print it, more or less.

This was a gimmick, that’s for sure,
But one that likely will endure,
To be recorded in folklore,
As one that’s not been done before.

They can be proud of what they’ve done,
One big achievement undergone,
For it’s quite difficult to fly,
For that time non-stop in the sky.

The plane and engines passed the test,
Because they are the very best,
So maybe the next time you fly,
You should a Boeing specify!

“But what of Airbus?” You may yell.
At this stage I just cannot tell,
But if some clever thing they do,
I’ll write a verse about that too.

Image – FlightAware.

FOSSIL DEATH!

Nissan LEAF

It is reported that the Government proposes to ban the sale of new diesel and petrol cars from 2040.

If you have got a diesel car,
You really don’t know where you are,
One time they were so very clean,
And now they’re better off unseen.

In ten short years the view has changed,
Priorities been rearranged,
And whereas once low CO2,
Was quite the wisest thing to do,
The view that is now orthodox,
Is that it’s best to have less NOx.

So up steps the electric car,
They may not go so very far,
But they are really so discreet,
While driving down the city street.

That is because, as you well know,
There’s no emissions on the go,
But still there is some CO2 –
It’s just it’s nowhere near you.

Then in just over twenty years,
The Government says it prefers,
Electric only to be sold,
The cleaner to the air behold.

No longer will we cough and wheeze,
Risk extinction of the species,
And with such wonderful foresight,
Then everything should be all right.

But wait! Perhaps things are amiss,
The Government is behind this,
And when HMG gets involved,
It rarely is a problem solved.

So watch this column if you would,
’Twill say if things are bad or good;
We pray that all will not be lost,
But do please keep your fingers crossed!

Image – Richard Kelly / Flickr

THE INTERNET OF THINGS

refrigerator-37099_960_720

It is reported that home gadgets that connect to the internet can be operated maliciously and can even, like a Trojan horse, give hackers access to our internet and bank data.

The internet of things is here,
A reason, you may think, to cheer,
But don’t get too excited yet –
It could be something you’ll regret.

It means that everything is smart –
Appliances for the most part –
Like fridges, heating, lights and taps,
Designed to help you – well, perhaps.

One aspect of this is you can,
Leave your potatoes in the pan,
And have them on and start to boil,
So that the result of your toil,
Is ready, almost, then to eat,
When you get home by means of feet.

Then there’s the fridge, it keeps things cold,
And I have recently been told,
That smart ones now know what you eat,
Though they’re programmed to be discreet.

So when your eggs are down to four,
The fridge will simply order more,
And you should now no longer fear,
You’ll run completely out of beer.

But such devices can be hacked,
And as they buy for you in fact,
They might also at your expense,
Be running up bills quite immense,
Supplying food to Russia where,
They’ve lots of hackers working there.

These hackers really are just spies,
They’re partial to our cakes and pies,
And when they’ve had their fill of these,
They finish off with fruit and cheese.

We know this ’cos we are so bright,
The Russians hack by day and night,
They can the biggest numbers boast,
But still they always burn the toast.

And then there’s more that they can do,
They know when you are in the loo,
And if you’re there about to burst,
They might jump in and flush it first!

To let your watchword be ‘Take care’,
When you’re existing anywhere,
For all things can be hacked and more,
Far worse than 1984.

SUPER SHOPPER

Supermarket

It is reported that supermarkets are developing systems that change the prices of products from hour to hour through the day depending on how busy the shop is and other factors.

The prices supermarkets charge,
Are pretty stable by and large,
And though in time they will change, they
Don’t vary much from day to day.

Your shopping then can be a breeze,
The trolley filling up with ease,
Because the prices that you pay,
Are much the same as yesterday.

But now big changes are in store,
It’s something we’ve not seen before,
Because the prices quite soon will,
Be always changing at the till.

They’ll go up if the shop is full,
Be lower when there is a lull,
And if there’s no-one there at all,
You can expect the steepest fall.

I see a problem here, though slight,
For if you fail to expedite,
Your shopping trip and trolley fill,
You might discover prices will,
Have changed before you reach the till,
And you might have a nasty bill.

The answer, I think, is quite plain,
You go and scan the lot again,
And if you do it once or twice,
You might just get a better price.

But on the other hand it could,
Not do an awful lot of good,
Because if folk go round again,
It really would be pretty plain,
To the computers in the store,
That footfall has gone up some more,
And though it might make you irate,
The prices might well escalate.

So what to do? What’s the best plan?
Just go round faster if you can.
And if you still can’t get it right,
Try shopping at the dead of night!

Image – Jonathan Billinger / Wikimedia commons

ONE IS AGAST!

Aga_gc3

It is reported that new AGA cookers which are fitted with electronics so that they can be operated remotely from a phone can be hacked.

An Aga’s a fantastic beast,
It can bake bread with flour and yeast,
And as I’m authorised to tell,
It will cook other things as well.

But Agas really are quite old,
Though very lovely to behold,
And now the makers, somewhat late,
Are bringing them right up to date.

They’re fitting chips – not ones you fry –
So that you can with beady eye,
Check with your smartphone if it’s new,
And tell the oven what to do.

The oven’s programmed to obey,
And will do everything you say,
No matter soufflé, roast or pud,
It will then cook it as it should.

But now a problem doth appear,
It seems some have been acting queer,
And now the problem has been tracked,
It looks as if some have been hacked.

So when you are on your way back,
And you find out there’s been a hack,
Your caviar with artichoke,
Might well have just gone up in smoke!

Image – Wikimedia commons

DRAGGED KICKING AND SCREAMING INTO THE MIDDLE AGES

Vellum

It is reported that the House of Lords wants to end the age-old practice of printing Acts of Parliament on vellum and to be bang up to date by printing them on paper instead but the House of Commons disagrees and wants to continue the ancient practice.

You may not know but p’rhaps you do,
That all laws and there are a few,
Are printed not on paper but,
On vellum which is leather cut,
From calf-skin which has had a wash,
And really is extremely posh.

But now the House of Lords says, “No!
This ancient practice has to go.
Anachronism’s what we say,
So print on paper from today.”

The Commons says, “You’re thinking small,
Traditions like this suit us all;
You know that vellum doesn’t tear,
And cost is neither here nor there.”

The Lords replies,“Move with the times!
Paper is good for prose or rhymes;
To say it’s untried isn’t true,
’Cos paper’s not exactly new.

And it will show folk that we know,
What’s new in the tech. world and so,
They’ll realise, we think you find,
That we will not be left behind.”

The two houses could not agree,
So compromised to some degree,
And changed to paper, heavy gauge,
For all except the cover page.

So that’s the story, they’ve come far,
And it’s good our lawmakers are,
Emerging from the ages dark;
But listen well and my words mark,
It’s now two thousand seventeen so,
They might still have some way to go.

Image – Wikimedia commons

BUGGERS (ONES WHO BUG)

GCHQ satellite dishes

It is reported that GCHQ, MI5 and the CIA can spy on people through their televisions and smart phones.

Next time you watch the BBC,
Or any free or pay TV,
You should be careful what you say,
For people who are far away,
Might just be watching what you do,
And who it is you’re talking to.

For we’ve just learnt the CIA,
And agencies in the UK,
Can hack your TV, mobile too,
So that they can then spy on you.

It also works when they’re turned off,
So when you have all had enough,
Of all that guff that’s on TV,
Your words still may not private be.

So with all this what best to do?
You could go ask GCHQ,
But what they say will be no use,
Unless the spokesman’s face turns puce.

So probably you’re on your own,
When facing your TV or phone;
If you’re a terrorist or Trot.,
Perhaps you’d better ditch the lot.

But then they might suspicious be,
If you’re without phone or TV,
So just keep schtum as aforesaid,
Or shout rude words at them instead!

Image – Wikimedia commons