P&J Column 8.2.18


‘Tiger, tiger – shining bright’

VIEW FROM THE MIDDEN – Rural affairs with MTV (Meikle Wartle Television) presenter, JOCK ALEXANDER

Well it’s been a zoological wik in the village. There wiz much excitement in the air on Tuesday as we had a Police Scotland armed response unit clattering doon the high street. I thocht tae masel ‘Aye aye, Skittery Wullie’s been up tae his aul tricks again’ (he swears blind that he wizna the secret mastermind behind the Hatton Garden job, but we dinna believe him. He’s niver satisfactorily explained fit a pig fairmer wid need wi’ a Hilti DD350 industrial power drill; nor how come he stairted weering Prada dungers). But it turns oot it wisna him they wiz efter, they had jist got a bittie lost on the wye oot tae a farm near Hatton (easy done syne Feel Moira reversed the road signage at Tipperty in the hopes that a JCB fae the bypass might end up in the village by mistake. She’s ayewis winted een). They hid swung intae action because a nervous fairmer had stumbled upon fit appeared tae be a tiger lolling aboot in his cowshed, and so understandably perturbed, had pit the call oot tae Police Scotland. I say ‘appeared tae be’, but tae be honest, ye’d only hae thocht yon if yer idea o’ fit a tiger looks like came solely fae a box o’ Frosties. Needless tae say, it turned oot tae nae be a vicious man-eating beast o’ the jungle efter a’, but a great big cuddly toy.

Of course, in fairness, in this neck of the woods, tales of big cats roaming aboot are frequent, and hiv tae be taken seriously. Ye niver really ken if there’s a fierce predator escaped fae a wildlife park, or if there is some mair humdrum explanation. The Beast of Meikle Wartle has been sighted mony a time. Innocent revellers, stumbling hame efter a good skite, have reported suddenly coming face tae face wi’ a wild, hairy, slavering creature fit leaps oot fae the dark wi’ a terryifing roar. Of course, it’s Moira, efter she’s been chucked oot early fae the pub.

In mony wyes a Tiger wid be preferable. Cheerio!
Prof Hector Schlenk, Senior Researcher at the Bogton Insitute for Public Engagement with Science

As a scientist I am a frequent visitor to Aberdeen’s Science & Technology Park, where people are always asking me questions. Questions like; “Did you put these business cards on my windscreen?”, “Do you know this is private property?” and “Can you stay where you are please sir and keep your hands by your sides while I call Security?”. But this week, I was amazed, astounded, not to say relieved, to read the news that a chemical used in the preparation of McDonald’s French Fries has been found to cure baldness and even regrow hair. Being a man of science, my head is, of course, constantly full of full of hypothesis, formulae and equations; but not, sadly, much hair. Despite having cultivated a suitably professorial neatly trimmed beard on my chin, unkind children on the street still shout “Chromedome” at me, and when I retort that chromium is in fact a steel grey coloured alloy produced by silicothermic or aluminothermic reactions and consequently bears essentially no resemblance whatsoever to the epidermis which actually covers my cranium, they then shout “Baldy” at me. So this development is most welcome.

Apparently, Japanese scientists have mass produced hair follicle germs from a chemical used in McDonald’s fryers to prevent cooking oil from foaming, with which they have managed to regrow hair on nude mice.

Well, before you could say ‘dimethylpolysiloxane’, and pausing only to Google ‘nude mice’ and then to immediately delete my browser history, I embarked upon an experiment of my own devising designed to test this claim in laboratory conditions. Although by ‘laboratory’, in this case I mean, of course, ‘fast food restaurant’.

Since the news broke on Monday, I have been ensconced in my nearest McDonald’s, (located at the charming Ring Road Industrial Estate, Peterhead) in order to discover if the exclusive ingestion of chips might promote a reversal in my follicular fortunes. After several days I have to say results are inconclusive; as I am no longer able to fit through the door of the gents in order to inspect the top of my head in a mirror. However, scientific progress depends on the careful accumulation of experimental data, so I shall endeavor, in the interests of human advancement, to continue with my current diet until such time as either definitive evidence can be found, or they run out of barbecue dip.

See the Flying Pigs live in ‘Now That’s What I Call Methlick’ at HMT Aberdeen from 26th – 30th June 2018