I bet no-one who visits this blog ever goes right down to the bottom of the right hand margin - and I don't blame them. Few people reading through their favourite blogs have time to linger that long on any one. There's a whole list of links down there. I suppose they're there for my own benefit as much as anybody else's - it's a convenient place to put them. They're easier to access than bookmarks, and because they're listed, I'm reminded that they're there.
I've just added one. An astronomical poem on Poet-in-Residence's blog reminded me of a page I created a long, long time ago (you can date it by the corny design): How to Receive Radio-Signals from Outer Space - with a Wok!We'd been on a visit to the Jodrell Bank Visitor Centre. It's a great place to go. Standing at the foot of the huge Lovell telescope and looking up is a breathtaking experience. I can't think of any more impressive recent man-made structure in Britain. When we got back I wondered how crude and simple a radio telescope could actually be made to work. I had a go making one out of a wok. Once I'd cobbled it together, I optimistically stalked round the garden at night in my headphones, waving the wok, but received nothing. All I proved was that someone can, for the most rational of reasons, be involved in an activity which appears, to the outsider, to be totally senseless. Next morning, as I was telling Karen what a dead loss it was, I waved it in front of the window to demonstrate - and it worked! Well, sort of. It wasn't sensitive enough to pick up the distant hiss of the Milky Way, but it could receive radio waves from the sun. At least it worked better than the TV camera I made, when I was six, out of a cardboard box and a toilet roll. We'd been on a visit to a TV studio: some people never grow up.