A MAGIC ROCK from an ancient folk tale has been found in real life. And it really works. How cool is that?
One of this columnist’s day jobs is writing children’s books, so here are two newsflashes from the world of junior literature.
First, the magic rock. A scene in the 1,000-year-old story “Sigurd the Viking” goes like this:
Snow clouds blocked the sun all winter!
Poor King Olaf and his people couldn’t tell east from west, so were lost.
But our brave hero Sigurd had a magic rock! He held the ‘Sunstone’ in the air and it glowed to show the direction of the sun.
They were all saved.
French scientists last week found a rock called calcite crystal which actually does brighten when lined up with sunbeams, even if the sun is completely invisible behind clouds or has set. They also learned that divers had found the same rock in a wrecked ship hundreds of years old. They reckon the stone could have guided them to the Americas hundreds of years before Columbus.
It’s great that Sigurd’s stone exists. Imagine the fun you can have.
Rich brat: “Daddy bought me an iPhone 4GS with a compass app.”
You: “I can do the same thing with my MAGIC ROCK.”
Attractive members of the opposite sex: “A magic rock! Wow, how cool is THAT!”
Second, there’s embarrassment in the children’s book industry about JD Bauer, an author whose story was a minor hit last year on Amazon, selling 14,000 copies in two weeks.
It was revealed last week that JD Bauer is really Charles Kembo, a man whose day job is considered “unsuitable” for a kiddie-book author. He’s a serial killer.
Luckily, Mr. Kembo won’t be making an author visit to your local kindergarten or mine, as he’s jailed in the US.
You’d think the woman who interviewed him via email may have guessed something was odd when the children’s book author said he liked “to write in semi-darkness, alone in the nude”.
ON OTHER TOPICS:
YOU READERS ARE amazing. Last Thursday morning Lift Lurker posted a comment making the assumption that the emergency services would eventually be privatized.
An hour later, the news wires reported that the emergency services at a major hospital in the UK are to be privatized.
Here’s Liftie’s prediction of how calls to the ambulance services will sound in the near future.
Caller: “Help! I am having a heart attack!”
Emergency: “Do you have a frequent ambulance user number?”
Caller: “Yes, it's 555678678.”
Emergency: “Thank you. We’ll send an ambulance in 30 minutes—or you can upgrade to a 15-minute rescue by joining our Platinum Ambulance User Club.”
A SCIENTIST said that if last week’s massive asteroid had hit the Earth, it would have felt like a “mountain slamming into a city”. I bet Herman Cain knows how that feels.
A MAN WHO expects the world to end in 2012 has built an ark measuring eight meters by 2.5 meters at his home in China’s Henan Province. It’s a horrible cramped box, unless of course you live in Hong Kong, where it’s a spacious complex for several families.
ANTI-RELIGION activists in the US state of Wisconsin protested last week when Governor Scott Walker decided to refer to a Christmas tree as “a Christmas tree” instead of “a holiday tree”. Can someone please inaugurate a day in which we all get a holiday from politically correct people?
THOUGHT: WHAT ELSE from the world of stories would you like scientists to find?