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Random acts of connectivity

The neural pathways through our brains seem to be able to throw random thoughts together in ways that defy any logical assumptions, unless of course you are seriously into seriously weird stuff. So, on the one hand, and like a significant proportion of the UK, my brain is trying to come to terms with the outcome of last week’s ‘Brexit’ vote, and on the other hand, I’m indulging in a ‘let’s pretend it didn’t happen’ daydream, and seeking solace in music. So all around us is a political train wreck, as everyone who engineered this crisis chooses to walk away and leave someone else to clear up the mess. In an attempt to escape ‘resignation bingo’, I listen to music. . . . → Read More: Random acts of connectivity

Robbie’s Marathon

At the time of writing, we’re just a few days away from this year’s running of the London Marathon. In amongst the runners this year will be a young man taking on the 26.2 mile challenge from a different perspective. His name is Robbie, and Robbie is autistic. The severity of his autism means that his day to day life is not without challenge, he requires 1 to 1 support to engage in everyday activity. A simple change in stimuli or a slight change in routine can lead to Robbie lashing out at those closest to him. He may become very angry and upset with a situation and his family and friends are vital in helping him to overcome these . . . → Read More: Robbie’s Marathon

Feline Harrassment

A while ago I wrote about the family cat, as she sadly edged into her dotage. In time, the inevitable happened, albeit with some humane assistance, and a hefty bill, from the vet. It was the right, but difficult thing to do, to spare further pain and discomfort for Treacle, whose quality of life was very much at the low end of the scale.

cat5-1

Cat5

The next inevitable thing to happen was to bring on a replacement from the substitutes bench, i.e. the local . . . → Read More: Feline Harrassment

How did this happen?

Fat cat: Treacle in her heyday

We have a cat….. No! Let me start again. There’s a cat that lives in our house. It has done so for about 16 years, which according to my reckoning puts her at about the human equivalent of 300 years old. She wasn’t new when she arrived, probably the feline equivalent of a teenager. She was acquired from a local cat rescue mission, in response to daughter #2’s need to . . . → Read More: How did this happen?

Windows’ support scam ringleader convicted

A Windows’ support scam ringleader has been convicted for masterminding a familiar scam in promising to fix non-existent problems on Windows PCs. Sadly its just the tip of the iceberg; one down, but quite a few more to go. I’ve had a number of these calls over the past year or so, the latest two being within the last fortnight. Here’s how I deal with them.

The opening gambit is that the automatic problem reporting system on my PC has indicated that some malware/virus etc. will cause something bad to happen very soon, but fortunately they can help me resolve the problem immediately. At this point, I play the total innocent and express great concern that my PC may . . . → Read More: Windows’ support scam ringleader convicted

Brains of Britain – why Cambridge University isn’t in Leicester

Somewhere in a dusty corner of the Bolt Hole is a link to a YouTube video (I thought Europe was a country) that illustrates a remarkable grasp of geography by a contestant on a US TV Quiz show. Sadly, us Brits cannot claim the intellectual high ground. The following arrived in an email today:

UNIVERSITY CHALLENGE (BBC2) Jeremy Paxman: What is another name for ‘cherrypickers’ and ‘cheesemongers’? Contestant: Homosexuals. Jeremy Paxman: No. They’re regiments in the British Army who will be very upset with you

BEG, BORROW OR STEAL (BBC2) Jamie Theakston: Where do you think Cambridge University is? Contestant: Geography isn’t my strong point. Jamie Theakston: There’s a clue in the question. Contestant: Leicester

BBC NORFOLK Stewart White: . . . → Read More: Brains of Britain – why Cambridge University isn’t in Leicester

Units of Measurement

There’s a story on the BBC website today (7 Mar 14) exploring some of the causes of the severe flooding experienced across England and Wales this winter. In the midst of the story is a classic example of the media’s obsession for converting measurements into ridiculous equivalents, presumably in line with their relentless ‘dumbing down’ approaches to communication. I quote “By the time the restoration of the catchment is completed, the moor will be able to hold the equivalent of 104 Olympic-sized swimming pools of water.” Right, who knows the volume of an Olympic-sized swimming pool?

So, the Olympic-sized swimming pool has now become a standard measurement unit, and takes its place proudly alongside the versatile double decker bus. . . . → Read More: Units of Measurement

Doing something for nothing

Today is the 1st January 2014; This time last year I, along with 70,000 other people were reflecting on our experiences as volunteers with the London Olympics. Even then, I wasn’t aware of how big an influence those few weeks would have on me. My personal experiences are all here on this website, including some final thoughts, but as the curtain fell at the closing ceremony, the media went back to business as normal and turned the focus on ‘legacy’ i.e. stadia, infrastructure, finance, etc. etc., I suspect that I was not alone in thinking that the real legacy might be the preservation of the spirit we experienced during those few weeks when London was really buzzing; when 70,000 . . . → Read More: Doing something for nothing

The Prodigal Summer Returns

Having gone missing for a number of years, the Summer has returned to the UK. It’s time to kill the fatted calf, and fire up the BBQ. With temperatures consistently around 30 deg C – for those of you still using the other system: C/5 = (F-32)/9 –us Brits are finding it rather warm. This time last year we were bracing ourselves for the London Olympics; this year we’re basking in the sunshine, celebrating the fact that a Scottish Brit won Wimbledon, the Lions’ won a test series in Australia, and we’re already one up in the Ashes. What else can possibly happen?

Of course, we’re headed for the predictable doom-mongering response from the media. Newspaper editors are dusting down . . . → Read More: The Prodigal Summer Returns

HoP TEDx Talks on YouTube

The previous post gave some background to the TEDx Event at the Houses of Parliament (actually, the QE2 Conference Centre across the road). The full set of talks under the theme of Democracy and Representation are now available on YouTube; see below:

Individual talks can be selected here. The embedded video runs through them all sequentially.