P&J Column 20.7.17

A wifie Dr Who? It’s about time!

Hector Schlenk, Senior Research Fellow, Bogton Institute for Public Engagement with Science

As a scientist, I am often asked important questions like ‘What is that strange orange orb in the sky? Why am I so hot? and When will this painful red colour vanish?’ but this week I have been mostly concerned by the cross-over between Sci-fi and the real world. Readers will be astonished to learn that I am a colossal Star Trek fan, and give pride of place in the lab to a photo of me in full Klingon regalia laughing with Casualty staff during my trip to Foresterhill last Halloween when the Cornish Pasty I had glued to my forehead wouldn’t come off. So I was of course highly excited by the news that, for the first time ever, a group of Chinese scientists have managed to teleport something into space; a real world example of the famous ‘transporter’. That something was a photon, the elementary particle of visible light and the carrier of electromagnetic radiation. Something which has absolutely no mass, weight or electric charge – think of it as the quantum equivalent of ‘Love Island’.
Elsewhere in the world of Science Fiction there was uproar over the news that Doctor Who was to become a lady. Like many, I’m convinced that a male Time-lord can’t become a female one, despite the fact that the Doctor is a fictional alien with two hearts, a respiratory bypass system and regenerative capabilities. However, such a gender transformation is not unheard of in nature. Interestingly, the clownfish is a species in which a change of sex from male to female is a normal biological process, (a fact which makes me both marvel at the wonders of zoology and very much look forward to the future Finding Nemo sequel when his Dad turns into his Mum). However, for highly developed complex organisms, like humanoids, such a process is quite categorically scientifically impossible.
Right, must dash – I’ve got tickets for the Ladyboys of Bangkok.

Cava Kenny Cordiner, the football pundit who’s away goals count double

Come on you reds! The Dandies is playing their Euro away leg against Sikorsky Birds-Egg tonight, hoping that conceding last week’s cruciate away goal hasn’t not left their selves too much to do in Bosnia and Herzegovina (though I still cant get my head around how the Dons can be at the kick off at both them places at once. Mental). Last week I was thinking about making the trip to cheer them on, so I tried googling ‘Bosnia Herzigova’ to find out about flights. What come up was a load of pictures of a blonde lassie called Eva. I think she must run the club shop. The lovely Melody wasn’t best pleased, even though I swored blind it was completely insolent. It was just like the time I was making pancakes but couldn’t remember the right name for Maple Syrup and ended up googling ‘Sweet American Honey’.

It’s great to see former Don Kari Arnason returning to Pittodrie for a second spell at the club. The only tip I’ve got for Kari is to remember what strip he now plays in. Back when I was playing I re-signed for Locos after a spell at Rothes, who play in orange and black. My first game back was a friendly against Dundee United and my first touch was a square ball to someone in the familiar tangerine. Except Locos play in red and black and I’d just gifted the Terrors their opener. You can imagine my embezzlement! But 10 minutes later I done it again when I absolutely halfed our winger. Ever since the first mistake he had been looking at me funny, so he had it coming.

Doddie Esslemont, Radical Independence campaigner

As the world’s most prominent – and indeed only – campaigner for the recognition of 39G Seaton Drive, Aberdeen as a sovereign state, I know just how tiring and isolating fighting for independence can be. I was therefore delighted to hear that Jenny Gilruth, the SNP MSP for Mid Fife and Glenrothes, has found love with the leader of the Scottish Labour Party. There is much to find encouraging about in this relationship. It may bring some much-needed civility back to Scottish politics, or perhaps add a frisson of domestic disagreement to parliamentary proceedings. I am looking forward to hearing the question, “How can the people of Scotland be expected to trust the honourable member on matters of health and education when she cant even bee relied upon to unload the dishwasher and put the bins out?”