An important day for Salut!, of which more in a minute, and an important evening for Roger Highfield, a valued former colleague who has just left The Daily Telegraph to become the editor of New Scientist.
As the Telegraph's science editor, Roger (seen above at his party at what seemed to be the bottom of a lift shaft at the Royal Institution HQ in Mayfair) was a class act.
He knew his stuff, and also how to make it accessible to a mainstream audience. If his explanations sometimes left news editors confused enough to disturb his Sundays for simplification of some story he'd left over for Monday's edition, that probably said more about the news editor's knowledge than anything else.
My own record as a student of science is a particularly sorry one. Once, my school inexplicably decided to mark the end-of-year General Science exam out of 45, then double each pupil's score and add on five to obtain a percentage.
With apologies to readers who may have heard this tale before, the school's bizarre marking strategy meant that no boy could get higher than 95 per cent. This was tough on the 45-out-of-45ers. It was no less tough, in the manner applied, on the one pupil who couldn't get beyond nought out of 45.
Nul Point was a richly deserved result for the shocking paper entered. I know that because it was mine. But my nought having been doubled to get, er, nought, what happened to my five added on? In a vindictive move that was to leave mental scars for life, the science master withheld them. And to make matters more shameful, this stunning achievement was read out - with no attempt to protect the privacy of the guilty party - at morning assembly.
Roger's ability to make science seem fun might have made all the difference to young Randall's attention span in class. I join the DT editor Will Lewis, shown below making his speech at Roger's party, in wishing him well in his new role, where he will surely have the kind of readership that needs no such mollycoddling.
Speaking of readerships, Salut! reached a notable landmark yesterday. Add the number of visits to this site, and to Salut! Sunderland, Salut! North and Salut! Live and you get a total of 1,020.
The Salut! group had never previously passed the 1,000 mark. It did so yesterday because of the interest created in by the birth of my younger daughter Nathalie's baby, Maya, and a welcome surge of claret and blue from an Aston Villa fans' site towards Salut! Sunderland. But it would not quite have reached four figures without the "hits" won by the latest Christelle in Africa posting and whatever draws people to the folk music and North-eastern nostalgia sites.
Nothing scientific about this, Roger. Just a combination of helfpul factors. The numbers will settle down again. But to anyone who strayed here for Maya, Christelle or Villa, and liked it enough to return, please accept Salut!'s warm welcome....
And just one more thing. I am not sure of the science involved here, either, but my colleague Erika Niedowski, a superb American journalist who reports on US affairs for The National from Washington, DC, reckons that when she worked in Moscow, the Russians came up with an official calculation that a blog with 1,000 hits a day is a media organisation.
If Salut! and its satellites can be considered a single group for the purposes of the exercise, then you are visiting a media organisation, hardly comparable with the BBC or Murdoch, but a media organisation all the same.