28 September

World Rabies Day

So we are drinking a...

Bat Bite

Today is World Rabies Day, spreading awareness and advice on how to prevent this fatal disease. Indeed, rabies is one of the most fatal diseases in the world causing thousands of deaths every year.

Rabies is spread through the bite of an infected animal – be it wild or domestic dogs, cats, bats and so on. The virus takes hold of the nervous system and quickly creeps into the brain. Many animals show signs of increased salivation, aggression and a sort of madness, to the point of foaming at the mouth, chasing and biting anything that moves, which in turn spreads the disease to more unwilling victims.

Sure enough, modern-day writers have found inspiration in the disease. Stephen King's St. Bernard in Cujo transformed into a vicious, rabid dog following a nasty bat bite on the nose. Old Yeller portrays a dog in a similar sad tale following a rabies outbreak. Not to mention, the award-winning novel To Kill a Mockingbird also features a rabid dog that unnerves the neighbourhood.

While these bloodthirsty canines live among the pages of books, rabies is a present day concern. If you happen to get scratched, licked or bitten by wildlife you're advised to wash the wound with soap and water then seek urgent medical care. Luckily for us Brits, no recent cases of rabies have been recorded, even though some wild bats are suspected to carry the disease. But perhaps think twice before turning down a vaccination if you're travelling to Africa or Asia where the virus is primarily found.

With the United Against Rabies initiative committed to eliminating human rabies deaths by 2030, rabid animals may soon be a thing of the past. In the meantime, don't overlook the gravity of an animal bite. So deadly is this disease that if a vaccination is not sought out swiftly, rabies is almost always fatal. And if you find yourself in an enclosed area with a wild bat, try not to pet it. Instead, have a Bat Bite made with light white rum, raspberry liqueur, cranberry juice and lime juice.

The day the first private spacecraft launched

Risking everything he had gained from the sale of PayPal in pursuit of his ultimate goal – enabling human kind to live on planets beyond earth – Elon Musk founded SpaceX in 2002. And, on this day in 2008, SpaceX's Falcon 1 became the first privately owned rocket to enter earth's orbit.

Since then, the company has continued to break records and is focused on another game-changing breakthrough: developing reusable rockets. Tonight we're gazing upwards, thinking about Elon and his team's incredible vision, and enjoying Harry Craddock's 1930s cocktail The Star. You may consider a Falconi, an adult, classically-styled cocktail, more appropriate.

The Radio Times birthday

Happy Birthday, Radio Times! On this day in 1923 the first ever edition of a magazine that we can barely believe is still going rolled off the presses. The masthead featured the snigger-inducing slogan "The Official Organ of the B.B.C."

For in those days not only the interwebz but even telly were a distant dream, and the Beeb itself was barely a year old. Radio was broadcast for a bare hour a day, in London only, with a break every seven minutes, and only 30,000 households even had a license for the newfangled technology. But things would move on: before 1925 there were eight new stations in other cities, with locally produced programmes.

Today, as even listings dinosaurs like the Yellow Pages crawl into the digital era, the Radio Times is, well, still going strong. We are toasting it with a BBC Cocktail.

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