From parking penalties to life on Mars

I WOULDN’T wish parking penalties to be imposed on anyone, but if they must be, I would much prefer them to go to the luxury car owners of this world.

If they are going to flaunt their wealth in front of the envious rest of us, and break the law at the same time, then they deserve to be punished.

If I were to park illegally outside posh shop Harrods – which is unlikely as I can’t imagine there is anything inside on which I would squander my hard-earned cash – then I would expect to be penalised.

And so it should have been for the owner of a car worth �1.2m who returned to his Swedish-made Koenigsegg CCXR – there were only six ever made, don’t you know darling – to find it had been clamped.

Nearby, the same fate had befallen a Lamborghini Murcielago LP670-4 which is worth a mere �350,000.

I must admit to a little smile creeping across my face when I read about this.

Putting aside earthly trivialities, I admit to an abiding interest in aliens from outer space.

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From an early age when I got a ray gun which flashed and shone and emitted a satisfying zapping noise I have been convinced that there must be beings somewhere out there. It does not seem logical that we would be the only living things in the universe.

The idea that there was a man in the moon was quickly discounted, along with the notion that the satellite was made of cheese.

But the notion that Mars is or has been populated is an enduring one.

Now I learn that researchers have identified rocks that they reckon could contain the fossilised remains of life on early Mars.

What has got them so excited is a trench on the dark side of the red planet. They say this has very similar characteristics to a region of Australia where some of the earliest evidence of life on Earth has been buried and preserved in mineral form. Often, the fossilised remains of shells and bones become carbonate when they are buried, if they don’t turn into oil.

And it is carbonate which has been identified in the trench on Mars.

I told you it was fascinating stuff, didn’t I? The scientists who came up with this discovery suggested the trench area as a potential landing site for Nasa’s new rover, the Mars Science Laboratory, which will be launched in 2011.

Sadly for them, it was eventually rejected on the grounds that it was too dangerous to set down there.

Perhaps it is for the best. If there are Martians still there, what are the chances of the hugely expensive rover being clamped when it lands?

Just like the star ship Enterprise, the Coalition government is going where no man has gone before. Changes are being introduced at bewildering speed. One of the latest left me near dumbstruck with admiration. Large people will no longer be called obese. The word to use now is fat, and that’s official. What will they think of next?