The Loop: Dolphin or elephant?

Global flights, Orthographic Australasia

Welcome to The Loop, the Magazine's letters column, including the best of your thoughts on Twitter and Facebook.

Say what you see. Like a cosmic Rorschach test, the pictures of flight paths around the world - which were an enormous hit with readers of this website on Monday - inspired a range of interpretations.

"Almost like contemporary fractalisation," said an art critic. "Look at historical responsibility for aviation emissions," said an environmentalist. "It's like our species as a whole, one organism, pulsating like a jellyfish," said a philosopher. You had your own thoughts.

"How beautiful is aviation?" said Jillianne Webb.

The noticeable thing for Alex Ray ("I see the world") was the lack of light pollution.

If you squint you can see what Cannon Curt sees - a phoenix flying but can anyone see what Tiffany Harrison sees? Dolphins.

For Bryan Gough it was this: "Wonderful modern version of the story about five blind men's attempts to describe an elephant."

And, as if to prove the point, Bruce Hallas said: "Great example how one thing is interpreted differently by people with different interests."


It's 100 years since the premiere of Stravinsky's Rite of Spring caused a riot. Or did it? Ivan Hewett wrote on Wednesday: "Dozens of witnesses left accounts of the evening, but they tend to say different things. According to some, blows were exchanged, objects were thrown at the stage, and at least one person was challenged to a duel."

But was there a riot? That's not so clear.

Annunciata Walton tweeted that she for one would "like a recreation of [the event], riot included. Somebody pls organise. Or show me how to time travel."

Hewett said the event had been described as "some kind of gate to modernism, to the 20th Century". So where, wonders Ernest W Adams is the modern equivalent. "When will we see a video game this outrageously imaginative?" he asks.

But the legend has as much cultural significance as a night out at a gig with Simon Bradbury, argues Simon Bradbury, on our Facebook page. That's next Wednesday's story sorted out.

On Saturday, following a debate about France relaxing its opposition to the use of English, Charles Nevin had the privilege of reviving Franglais - the half-English, half-French argot given to the world by the late Miles Kington.

John Sanders emailed us via the form on this page from Tokyo, saying: "It's estimated that up to 60% of English vocabulary is French in origin. So who is conquering who again?"

Tim Lord from Lichfield potentially opened a new front by saying: "My favourite is not Franglais but German use of das handy for mobile phone - Denglisch, I understand."

While Philippe from Saint-Quentin (that's in France, you know) wrote: "I think one of the most well-known Englishisms in French is 'my tailor is rich' from a funny movie starring Louis de Funes. If someone asks a French person if he speaks English, he might reply to you 'Oh, yes, my tailor is rich' - mon tailleur est riche in French. Tailor and rich are both French words actually."

The least gratifying response came from Daryl in Reading who wrote: "I can't read this article at all. Let alone understand it." Sorry Daryl.

But on the other hand we did receive this from none other than Caroline Kington. "Bonjour Monsieur Niven, et merci pour ton article. Ce que vous avez dit est correcte. Mon mari, l'ecrivain extraordinaire Miles Kington a dit 'si vous etes un fluent English speaker, and si vous avez un GCSE francais, franglais et un morceau de gateau. Pour les etudiants et les fans de franglais, il y a un livre nouveau de lecons, Le Bumper Book de Franglais et il y a beaucoup de ses ecritures sur le website - amusez-vous bien!"


In last week's Loop, Steve Macbeth described how giving up doing 7 days 7 questions had helped him lose weight, after his wife left him for a local chess champion. Steve Swift, from Hampshire, counters: "I managed to lose 4st without giving up the quiz. All I did was limit my eating to eight hours per day. I used the time this saved to boost my quiz scores via research. I now regularly score 3/7."

On a housekeeping point, Terry from Deal asks why he can't find the most recent 7 days quiz if he misses it on a Friday. The best advice we can offer, Terry, is to use this box on the Magazine index, headed "Magazine quizzes - all in one place". We think you'll find what you're looking for.

And our latest potential spam comes from "hikorhys, Lopolla" in Poland. "I LOVE this mag!" he or she says.

Hikorhys, if you're not spam, we love you too.

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