Monday, September 24, 2007

Surreal humour

Surreal humour is a form of humour, stylistically linked to the artistic ambitions of the Surrealists, based on bizarre juxtapositions, absurd situations, and nonsense logic. A general element of surreal humour is the non-sequitur, in which one statement is followed by another with no logical progression.

Humour which we might now think surreal has been around at least since the nineteenth century. Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass both use illogic and absurdity for humorous effect. Many of Edward Lear's nonsense stories and poems are also principally surreal in approach. Thus, Lear's "The Story of the Four Little Children Who Went Round the World," is filled with contradictory statements and odd images planned to provoke amusement.

"After a time they saw some land at a distance; and when they came to it, they found it was an island made of water quite bounded by earth. Besides that, it was bordered by evanescent isthmuses with a great Gulf-stream running about all over it, so that it was perfectly beautiful, and contained only a single tree, 503 feet high."

Monday, September 17, 2007


An avalanche is a slide of a large snow down a mountainside, caused when a buildup of snow is released downward a slope, and is one of the major dangers faced in the mountains in winter. An avalanche is an example of a gravity present consisting of granular material.

In an avalanche, lots of material or mixtures of dissimilar types of material fall or slide rapidly under the force of gravity. Avalanches are often classified by what they are made of, for example snow, ice, rock or soil avalanches. A combination of these would be called a debris avalanche.

A large avalanche can run for many miles, and can create massive demolition of the lower forest and anything else in its path. For example, in Montroc, France, in 1999 300,000 cubic meters of snow slid on a 30 degree slope, achieving a speed of 100 km/h. It killed 12 people in their chalets under 100,000 tons of snow, 5 meters deep. The Mayor of Chamonix was convicted of second-degree murder for not evacuating the area, but received a suspended sentence.