The Apollo 11 spaceflight that allowed Neil Armstrong to take his first small step for man, giant leap for mankind, had on board a computer with 2048 words of memory which could be used to store ‘temporary results’.
This type of memory is referred to as RAM (random-access memory) and the Apollo Guidance Computer had 32,768 bits of RAM memory.
Today’s smartphones typically have 4GB of RAM – that is 34,359,738,368 bits, more than one million times more memory than the Apollo computer had in RAM.
This crossed my mind when I heard that in a giant leap (backwards) for mankind The Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland are planning a “virtual 12th” next month, taking their biggest march of the year off the streets and into cyberspace. ‘Did someone mention rockets?’
In a year when people fought over bog roll and a Netflix show called Tiger King, featuring a character called Joe Exotic, topped our must-watch list, this latest bit of news from the self-appointed ‘statue defenders’ had me digging out the straightjacket, dear readers.
Jim McHarg, grandmaster of the Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland, said the virtual parade will be made up of footage of old parades and speeches, there will be live Bible readings and some marchers are expected to use treadmills to make the experience more realistic. Grandmaster McHarg said: “It will be a bit like watching Sky Sports just now with football matches from years ago.”
‘My sides – make me a cup of tea and pass the Orange Club biscuits over here while I search for the remote.’
Here’s hoping they’ve got footage of the classic 1974 walk from Larkhall or the 1983 march in Armadale – considered a masterpiece in baton twirling and peeing in the street.
At least the good people of Glasgow will be given breathing space and won’t have to put up with the disorder that has marred the last two marching seasons.
Never has the phrase ‘would you do that in your own house?’ carried such weight.
At least McHarg has admitted that marches passing Catholic churches were a big problem for some people and the Orange Order are now working with the Catholic Church.
A new study is set to reveal the bizarre initiation rituals of the Protestant-only Grand Orange Lodge based on interviews with members.
The claims made by Joseph Webster, an anthropologist and lecturer in religion at Cambridge University, include initiates being blindfolded, wrapped in a blanket, kicked and whipped with spiky branches while members imitate the bleating of goats. Sounds like my local golf club.
The argument around statues has unfortunately dominated the news agenda and is in danger of overshadowing in the UK at least the killing of George Floyd and the subsequent protests by the Black Lives Matter movement.
My tuppence ha’penny is that all statues to those who profited from the slave trade should topple regardless of what else the particular person achieved and in the case of Churchill you don’t get a pass for making a few rousing speeches during wartime. You can’t be half racist – you either are or you aren’t.
Anyway, I’ve been watching the stunning four-part Hillary documentary on Sky about trailblazing feminist and terrible husband picker Hillary Rodman Clinton and I’m now a massive fan.
Hillary was undone in her attempt to become the first female president of the United States by another Orangeman – Donald Trump.
‘Boom’ – you can’t buy segues like that.
Before watching the programme I only knew the basic facts about former First Lady Hillary who had served as Secretary of State under Obama after running him extremely close in the Democratic presidential primary.
There was no doubt she was ‘whip smart’ but I was ignorant of her history other than a passing interest in the various scandals like the Whitewater controversy and the fallout from the Monica Lewinsky carry-on.
The series touches briefly on her time spent as a key member of the impeachment team who brought down President Nixon after Wategate where she did the research on what constituted a high crime and misdemeanour.
All of this turns full circle when the House of Representatives votes to start impeachment proceedings against President Clinton.
Although wanting to kill her husband, Hillary doesn’t want her country to lose its president and knows the charges against Bungalow Bill (nothing upstairs) stemming from the sexual harassment lawsuit filed by Paula Jones and the testimony denying a sexual relationship with White House intern Lewinsky fall short.
There’s a lingering feeling of sadness throughout the documentary and a sense of what might have been.
I came away thinking Hillary was smarter and knew more about policy than all the men who have been president in her lifetime including Barack Obama but has suffered terribly for simply being a woman.
This programme has stayed with me and been on my mind for days and I urge everyone to watch it.
With the benefit of hindsight, it seems like the Democrats got the presidential running order the wrong way round. Hillary should have been their candidate in 2008 and Obama, who is still only 58, should have gone up against Trump who he would have destroyed in 2016.
However, hindsight is a wonderful thing and no doubt things wouldn’t have played out like that.
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