After a day spent wrestling with a model, I am now putting my feet up in front of the idiot box. For the avoidance of doubt, I have not been grappling Graeco-Roman style with Kate Moss (or any of her ilk): my struggles have been of an intellectual nature and the model was a mathematical, computer one representing the power markets of Europe. Still, when asked what I do for a living, I do tend to reply “modelling” and only volunteer further details if my interlocutor seems to require them.
As I type, Sir David Attenborough is giving me the highlights of the Frozen Planet series. I now know that I have rather more in common with month-old wolf cubs than might have been supposed: apparently we are both always thinking about our next meal (though, again as a matter of clarification, Sir David only mentioned this fact in relation to the lupines – my own habits have yet to make it onto a blockbusting natural history spectacular, but watch this space…)
He started with the “controversial” scene of new-born polar bear cubs (are slightly older juvenile polar bears known as scouts?) and their mother. This was exclusively revealed (by the BBC on the Frozen Planet website) to have been filmed at a zoo in the Netherlands – which I must admit I had always assumed to be the case (well, I’d assumed it was filmed in such an environment, I had not been able to deduce the Dutch location – there were no clogs or windmills in shot): a fact that had no bearing whatsoever on anything said by the father of BBC2.
This led me to muse on the plight of the polar bear. As a lapsed mathematician, I did wonder whether a change of co-ordinates would help. Surely, the cartesian bear could more easily weather our warming climate?
Yes, I have to admit that the last paragraph provides the whole basis (orthonormal, obviously) for this post. If any readers found their mathematical knowledge was insufficient to understand just how side-splittingly funny this gag was, I do know a maths tutor able to offer tuition at very reasonable rates…
I feel the Beeb missed a trick with the scheduling of Frozen Planet. Watching it does make one feel rather chilly, and has surely led to the central heating being turned up across the country – with a consequent rise in greenhouse gas emissions, to the detriment of Ursus maritimus. What we need in winter is wildlife from the tropics – save the Poles for high summer (October as I remember) or efficient plumbing.
The title I hear you cry, where the devil does that fit in? Perhaps I am impugning my audience, but I needed a link to bears – and the title is the description given by a Ware pensioner to his bear and personal transport (not specified as being polar or otherwise) in a nonsense rhyme by Edward Lear. This second recent GofaDM reference to the work of the great Mr Lear is only fitting as 2012 is the bicentenary of his birth (the 21st child of his exhausted parents!). In his honour, GofaDM will make nonsense its theme for the coming year, and as Santa (or his local representatives) brought me a Rhyming Dictionary this Christmas, you should prepare yourselves (mentally and/or physically) for some nonsense verse.