Hat tip to Vlad for this Daily Mail article:
Picking up another habit, Jeremy? Clarkson, 57, is demolishing ten packets of nicotine chewing gum per DAY as he battles to quit his 43-year smoking addiction.
The TV presenter announced he would be quitting earlier this week, after confessing that a bout of near-fatal pneumonia made him think again.
Doctors diagnosed Clarkson with pneumonia in the midst of his summer getaway to the Balearic island of Majorca earlier this month, and he decided it was time to put down the lighter.
‘I was told, by everyone, that I had to stop. Immediately,’ he wrote in a column for The Sunday Times. ‘I had no choice at the time because the blood poisoning was so bad and I was so racked with the resultant rigors that I couldn’t work a cigarette lighter.’
However, he also said:
After his bout of pneumonia, Clarkson said lung tests showed he still had 96 per cent capacity for a person his age and he could ‘breathe out harder and for longer than a non-smoking 40-year-old’.
‘In short, getting on for three-quarters of a million fags have not harmed me in any way. I have quite literally defied medical science,’ he wrote.
It doesn’t quite add up. He stopped smoking, he says, because he couldn’t work a cigarette lighter. But I’ll bet that it was also that he wasn’t allowed to smoke while in hospital. Or that if he wanted to smoke he’d have to walk half a mile to the front gates of the hospital. And yet he declares that his lungs are now in better shape than a non-smoking 40-year-old. So if he thinks smoking hasn’t harmed him in any way, why stop smoking?
It sounds to me like he just got subjected to a very heavy dose of antismoking propaganda for several weeks, when he was in no state to resist.
But I also think that people in the public eye, like him, are probably under intense pressure all the time to “set a good example”. And that’s why smokers like Barack Obama and David Cameron and Theresa May have to at least make a pretence of not smoking. And that’s why Cameron, now out of office, can smoke in public.
It’s probably much worse for people in the public eye than it is for us grunts at the bottom. We’re not supposed to set a good example. They are.
When the EU parliament voted to ban smoking, it was reported that
Celebrities who smoke will also be targeted and exposed publicly as smoking offenders.
I was interested enough in the close approach (happening right now) of asteroid 1981 ET3 – aka Florence – to become a member of Slooh.com, and watch its motion in the night sky courtesy of telescopes in the Canary Islands. The motion of Florence against the fixed stars behind it resulted in trails. In the image below, captured off my computer screen as they developed, there are a series of short trails, because each exposure lasted 50 seconds, and there were a few seconds in between each exposure. It seemed that what they were doing was make 3 exposures, one after the other, to get three short trails, and then they swung the telescope to a new position further along the path.
Florence is currently about 7 million km from the Earth. That’s about 18 times the distance of the Moon from the Earth. What’s most interesting about it is that it’s a very big asteroid. The Chelyabinsk fireball of 2013 was about 15 metres in diameter, but Florence is estimated to be over 4 kilometres in diameter. The comet or asteroid that is supposed to have caused the extinction of the dinosaurs 60 million years ago was reckoned to be around 10 km in diameter.
Apparently it’s possible for radar images of Florence to show details in the range of about 10 metres, so I’m hoping that there will soon be some very interesting images of it being published (here’s the first from Arecibo). It may even have a companion (it has two moons, each about 100 m in diameter).
Slooh is also going to going to be broadcasting the close approach (50,140 km from the centre of the Earth, according to my calculations) of the much smaller asteroid 2012 TC4 on 12 October. I created a video of this a few weeks ago: