Category Archives: Reasons to be cheerful

Reasons to be cheerful – Part 9

This edition of comes from the wonderful world of Twitter:

David Quantick (@quantick)

When dogs see other dogs in old films on TV, do they laugh at their accents and outmoded forms of speech?

Moose Allain (@MooseAllain)

@quantick Do dogs ever stumble over their barks? Do birds ever get their songs wrong? Do whales ever mishear each other?

That’s why I love Twitter. Somebody says something ridiculous and then you have a sudden realisation of an important truth.

Reasons to be cheerful – Part 8

I’m not kidding, this is a fun moment.

Take nothing for granted especially not an article which includes the line, “Want to mess with your mind? Without the man in the photo, the photo of this man wouldn’t exist.”

Reasons to be cheerful – Part 6

We’re all just people here… riding on a pale blue dot. The beautiful words of Carl Sagan with some beautiful footage.

Reasons to be cheerful – Part 5

Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.
–Albert Einstein

Reasons to be cheerful – Part 7

One of the things that most often makes me cheerful is people going and showing off. I don’t mean this in a horrible ‘look at me’ kind of way, I mean it in relation to when a person creates a space that allows smart people room to show how clever they are. And especially one that requires those people to explain things in a way that makes sense to people who aren’t supposed to be experts in their area.

One of the great new areas of the internet is question and answer sites. The network I like the most is stackexchange. This gives you a taste of the kind of thing it covers: somebody wandered onto the maths stackexchange site and asked, “Given an infinite number of monkeys and an infinite amount of time would one of them write Hamlet?”. Now in a lot of places, a question like that would just be ignored or worse, shouted down, but if you read the answers to the question they really are intricate and fascinating. I love the effort that these super smart people have put in to something that is solely about giving a guy the answer to a kind of joke question.

Reasons to be cheerful – Part 4

Katherine is pregnant

Those pictures are from the end of December… And things aren’t due until July. In this case cheerful doesn’t really cover it.

(The scan where you can find out the sex isn’t for another few weeks.)

Reasons to be cheerful – Part 3

Well Ian Dury sang a song called Reasons to be cheerful – Part 3 so it’s only fitting that he leads us off with today’s reason to be cheerful.

I’ve always liked this song especially because it mentions Woody Allen in it. I think the reason that Woody gets mentioned is for the scene in Manhattan where Woody is upset and then reminds himself of all of the reasons he shouldn’t be so upset. He asks, “so why is life worth living” and then proceeds to mention the reasons.

These are both big parts of the inspiration for this series so here’s that scene to look at too:

It’s one of my favourite scenes from one of my favourite movies (Manhattan). I love that movie, so there’s another reason to be cheerful!

Reasons to be cheerful – Part 2

This is an occasional series pointing out how despite a continuing stream of ‘if it bleeds it leads’ stories on the news, humans are actually out there doing some amazingly positive things.

Today’s reason is the direct result of human ingenuity, humanity’s inevitable and unquenchable thirst to answer the question, “Why did you climb Everest?”, with the answer, “Because it was there”. This is what we do.

Within single life spans the Wright brothers invented powered human flight in the air (1903) and we sent Yuri Gagarin into space (1961). We’ve still got eight years to go for the next step! But we’re doing well. During the partial eclipse in early 2011 this picture was taken in Oman. And you can clearly make out the international space station in this picture. At the time there were 5 people on board, living in space.

IIS Eclipse

For a high resolution version of this image and the credit information please see this:

Reasons to be cheerful – Part 1

I have decided to start an occasional series of brief posts simply stating reasons to be cheerful. There is a lot of negativity in the world, but not everything need be like that. We can and should be hopeful.

In this five minute video, Professor Hans Rosling uses complicated mathematics and computer technology to tell an impressively easy to understand story. It is the story of 200 countries over 200 years, but it’s told in 4 minutes with statistics. And it makes me smile.