Compare and contrast:

Telegraph: Hurricane Sandy: Atlantic City becomes Atlantis
Much of Atlantic City, the Las Vegas of the US East Coast, was under water on Monday night as America's storm of the century threatened to come ashore on top of the iconic resort.


SandyHitsAtlantic City

The clues were there for us all to hear, if only we'd opened our ears and listened.

Accept no false prophets. The Bruce is out there.

Meanwhile, in related news, there's a curfew in New Jersey. I wouldn't be at all surprised if access to E Street is banned.

In retrospect

One year ago today:

Times: Your stars for 2007

In the first part of a two-week horoscope special, Shelley von Strunckel explains why next year is all about healing the planet—and it starts with balancing your own personal ecosystem…

March 21–April 19

You struggle to maintain your inner balance this year. While your independent streak is a strength, it sometimes turns into rebellion, as could be the case early in 2007, when you're given advice. Once you realise others are wiser, however, you'll listen. This begins an informative year, in which challenges provide a springboard for valuable insights. Thus, by mid-May, when your ruler Mars's move into Aries begins an intensive six-week-long review of your life, you're up for it. What's more, with your world in constant transition, you're challenged to justify goals, personal and otherwise. This is timely, since, with eclipses in March, late August and September shaking up elements of your daily life, work and obligations, a regular reorganisation is inevitable. More important, you finally make the link between your energy crashes and clashes with others, and your tendency to overcommit. Instead of vowing to become better organised, you begin meditating and suddenly seem to have more hours in each day.


Full moon

Compare and contrast these two different approaches to prophesy:

King James Bible: Revelation 13 v1—4

And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.

And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.

And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.

And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?

BBC: Eclipse set to be 'best in years'

Skywatchers eagerly awaiting Saturday's total lunar eclipse say that the spectacle could be the "best in years".

The eclipse begins at 2018 GMT, with the Moon totally immersed in the shadow of the Earth between 2244 and 2358 GMT.

During "totality", only light that has been filtered through the Earth's atmosphere reaches the Moon's surface, making it appear a reddish colour.

The eclipse will be visible from the whole of Europe, Africa, South America, and eastern parts of the US and Canada.

Spot the difference? That's right: one is total bollocks, is impossible to understand, and, because no precise time is specified, impossible to test, even if we could understand it; the other is a precise, testable prediction.

That's the key difference between science and mumbo-jumbo.

There will definitely be a lunar eclipe tomorrow night. Scientists can confidently predict this because one of their predecessors, a chap named Isaac Newton, came up with some surprisingly simple and beautiful equations that describe how things like moons move about. So confident can we be that this prediction will come true that I will personally bare my peach-like arse outside Greenwich Observatory if it doesn't.

On the other hand, if a seven-headed, ten-horned, becrowed, pardine, bear-footed, lion-mouthed beast ever turns up, I will personally eat my hat.

Then I'll shit my pants.

Rowling, Rowling, Rowling…

BBC: Betting opens on new Potter plot

Bets are being taken on whether boy wizard Harry Potter will die in the final instalment of the series - with his arch-enemy the predicted killer…

William Hill spokesman Rupert Adams said: "JK [Rowling] mentioned that Harry might be killed off and the general consensus seems to be that Harry is the final Horcrux and to ensure that Voldemort dies he will need to be sacrificed."

Close, but no Quidditch Cup, I think.

Ever since JK Rowling mentioned in an interview a couple of books back that she knew how the series would end, and that she had already decided the final book's final sentence, I have been sure that I knew what the ending would be. Those of you who do not want to know the result, please look away now. (To prevent accidental reading, I have cleverly encoded my prediction á la The Mirror of Erised.)

.em dna uoy ekil tsuj ,elggum dlo ,nialp a emoceb dna srewop yldraziw sih pu evig ot eb lliw ecifircas etamitlu sih tub ,tromedloV taefed deedni lliw rettoP yrraH

Remember, you heard it here first.

See also: Pottering


I have just sent the following email to Stense (WARNING, it might freak you out):

S T E N S E !

O H   M Y   G O D !

You are so not going to believe this. It's going to do your scatty, little mind in, mark my words:

Every now and again, I like to see what I was doing on the current date X years ago by going through my old letters to you (they're the closest thing I have to a diary).

Well, brace yourself, Stense, I know you're into all that mystical shit, so this one really might freak you out a bit. Here's something from the beginning of a letter I wrote to you three years ago today (look it up, if you don't believe me)—I have emphasised the key phrases in bold so you don't miss them:

I had a strange dream about you last night. No, not that kind of dream, you naughty woman. You turned up unexpectedly at [my house]. We were walking along the drive together, and you were telling me about something which was evidently very important, when I suddenly noticed that your hair was very different: it was incredibly straight and incredibly black and incredibly long (finishing about half way down your back). Once I'd noticed this amazing barnet, I became completely distracted by it, studying each strand of hair in great detail (no, really) and admiring how all the strands swished backwards and forwards together when you moved your head. Needless to say, I wasn't listening to a word you were saying by now, so have no idea what you were trying to tell me. Stense has got long hair, I kept thinking to myself. Suddenly, I decided that I had to show Jen this remarkable haircut, so I ran into the house to get her out of bed. When I came back downstairs (leaving Jen to get dressed), I couldn't find you anywhere. I ran all through the house (which turned out to be the mirror image of Irish Mick's parents' house, and not like [my house] at all), looking for you, but couldn't find you anywhere. I kept calling out your name… By now, Jen was on the landing (which was Carolyn's parents' landing—the right way round), and said she'd come and help me look for you as soon as she'd been to the loo. She then stomped off (as only a person on a landing can stomp off) in the general direction of Carolyn's parents' spare room. Then you stuck your head round the door of Irish Mick's parents' downstairs loo with a cheeky grin on your face… You'd been seeing to your hair and had cut it into a short, stylish but clumpy affair, and had dyed it pure white with a few pale yellow highlights. The overall effect was not unlike a cockatoo. Then I woke up.

Jesus Haircutting Christ, Stense!

Is this totally freaky or what? Did I foresee your Hippy Chick Wig and your new blonde with highlights hair style THREE WHOLE YEARS AGO?

Coincidence? I don't think so!

Listen, Stense, we have simply got to go to Australia together! (If you can't work out why, check out my letter of 29th March, 2003.)

Love and psychic hugs,

Ri xx

P.S. This one is going on Gruts.

It's a gift I tell you.

(No, I'm not going to tell you what was in my letter of 29th March, 2003, but here's a clue.)

See also: