Things You Read on Planes

What I learned from reading today’s Daily Telegraph, en route from Larnaca, Cyprus to London:

In the Philippines, a large worm is devastating the centuries old system of terraces, upon which farmers grow their rice crops. Because of loss of forest habitat, a vociferous worm that grows up to six inches long is burrowing into the sides of the terraces and forcing them to burst. The cost to repair the neatly built rows is six times as much as the farmers yield in a year. Few of the younger villagers are interested in fixing the terraces or sticking around to farm them, so it is feared that the terraces and the farming way of life will disappear. There is hope that a rat that eats the worms but not the rice may offer some hope.

Finally, it is a sad day for Oliver. The little tyke who played The Artful Dodger in the film Oliver Twist died, and it was a sad tale of a childhood prodigy falling hard. Jack Wild was on top of the world when the movie came out and he was nominated for an Oscar, and went on to play other roles, even moving to the US to be on a TV show. But he drank, smoked and recalled wild parties “where LSD, pot and cocaine were served in little bowls on the coffee table,” and he got cancer of throat and lung. He was unable to speak for the last part of his life, and died at only 53.