Wednesday, January 30, 2013

When the logical road solution isn't always the right one.

Water pipe replacement work is being carried on in Stourport at the moment necessitating a set of controlled traffic lights to allow traffic through as these sit at a three-way junction it would seem logical to put up a set of three way traffic lights. Instead a set of two-way were placed at the junction itself; yesterday they were switched out for a three-way set and this morning back to a two-way. The question is why?

Welfare Cash Cards

It's good to see an MP introducing a "Welfare Cash Card" system simply to look for the reactions in the House.

The 'right' seem to stumble caught between their own policies of reduced government interference and their vote-grabbing rhetoric of demonising of welfare recipients. The 'left' take the reflexive stance of evil 'right'; while those supposedly in the middle scratch their heads and wait to be told what to think.

What appears to be missing is how exactly it's supposed to work and once again highlights our current masters' lack of technological knowledge or implementation.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Mathematics - bases taught in schools?

After my post regarding the new methods of multiplication and division I recalled an incident with the Bratii over the holiday period. As is often the case the entire family were discussing various topics one of which was Imperial vs. Metric measurements. My father was complaining regarding news and quiz questions that used the 'new' methods on the grounds that "no-one can understand them" this was quickly dismissed by presenting the point that it was not everyone merely himself and that this generation and the next would have no difficulty in imaging a "plume of dust 3km high". Also that this was far better for school work due to the reliance on base10 which was also used for basic mathematics. A point reinforced when I asked ho many feet there were in a mile and he came back with 1760 (which is yards) and then had to multiply by 3 in his head to provide an answer.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Gridding and Chunking the new maths multiplication and division

Either it's a slow news day or a producer at the BBC has finally come across the new method of multiplication and division now being taught in schools. Either way in a feat of sheer brilliance they decided to explain it to parents by cramming in a short session before the local news at 8:30; you know when parents are out dropping their kids off at school. Due to the short session they also did a poor job of explaining it; or to be precise why these new methods are being taught and why they might be better in the long run.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The difference between deficit, debt, and borrowing

I was amused last night by the Conservative Party Political broadcast; there they were happily citing figures of much better they've made the economy. Unemployment is down, more jobs have been created etc. I'll deal with that in another entry. For this post I'll deal with their claim that they've reduced the deficit, for the record it's perfectly true, but I think there are some out there who don't quite grasp what the deficit actually is particular those shown in the broadcast. I also think it's in the best interests of all the political parties that people don't understand it either. To hopefully remedy that here's a simple explanation.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The EU referendum

Ah good old Dave has said he'll give the country a referendum on whether we should leave the EU or not. Yay everyone get ready to vote... or not because this referendum isn't going to be held now or even in the near future it's going to be held sometime in the next Parliament in 2017 only after the discussions have taken place as to the UK's role in the EU and, of course, only if the Conservatives win the next election. Oh and presumably only if Cameron remains Prime Minster and nothing has happened in the four years between his promise and the event itself; or if they just decide not to bother.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Why does the UK come to a stop when it snows?

It gets asked every time usually in comparison with other countries - why does the UK grind to a halt when it snows when others seem to be able to carry on? Here are my thoughts on the subject.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Giving it 110%

It's a common phrase "I'm going out there are giving it 110%" used particularly in sports and certain types in business and is of course wrong. If you're giving something your best effort that equates to 100%; if you have more left to give weren't giving it your best effort. However it seems that some therefore assume that you can't have more than 100%.

Borderlands 2 still playing

I've already done a review of Borderlands 2 I played through as a single character and got to the end with the expectation of popping the disc and slotting in one of two games I've yet to play before slowly returning to a few of my older games such as Kingdoms of Amalur (huh I've done a full review but it's still draft, better look at that sometime) or even the first Borderlands.

I'm still playing Borderlands 2.

No I've not picked up the extra content; I'm also not playing through with my original character at the next challenge level. I've started again with a brand-new character. I'm doing all the same missions as before and yet somehow it's not boring. Being set-up with different weapons, different skill trees and a damn fine story makes this seem a different game. Sure I know what's coming and can anticipate, but with a different character I have to approach these things in a different way.

Annoyingly I now have the urge to experience the game through the eyes of the other characters too.

Snow collecting on opposite side of wind

Where I'm sitting I can see the front of my car. Relative to that the snow is blowing from right to left, but the 'right' side of my bonnet (passenger side) is clear with snow piling up on the 'left'

Seems wrong, what gives? Well the right side of my car is in the wind so any snow that lands there is likely to get blown off before it sticks. The left side is out of the wind so the snow sticks and then more snow can stick to that and so on.

Snow fun driving in this weather

At the moment it's not really too bad, the main roads are clearish, but with all the heavy traffic around a lot of it's turned to slush which is slippery. Not good when you need to drive up and down multiple slopes.  Combine that with the poor road conditions and oddly enough I tend to slow down and keep my distance from the vehicle in front.

Seems I'm the only one doing that. I watch strings of traffic in front of me nose to tail pulling away from me. I watch the traffic behind catching up. No I'm not driving along at 5mph it's not that bad; but I am driving around 20mph which is only 10mph under the limit. Yet despite the weather conditions it seems some people think they should still be able to drive at the full speed dictated by the limit. After all it's a posted 30mph limit so that's what you should be doing! Well no.

The limit is the maximum speed you can travel at if conditions are ideal. In other words when the road is dry with clear visibility. A slush covered road while snowing does not constitute ideal conditions so no-one should be driving at the maximum limit. Yet they do. Why?

When taught to drive we're all taught this and there are multiple pleas to "take care" if out on the roads in these conditions; yet somehow some people think that just doesn't apply to them. I honestly don't understand it. Do we just have that many bad drivers on the road that they skew the average statistics? Are they just long-term drivers operating on muscle memory and simply not paying that much attention to what they're doing (i.e. they're so used to driving at 30 they just do so regardless)?

I wonder how many accidents will be caused today by people simply travelling at a speed not suited for these conditions? How many of them will be genuinely puzzled about why this accident happened?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Kidderminster trying for own town council.

Not much appears in in my local Conservative News Feed and given that it is titled simply as "News" I often forget it's even there. However a news story appears "A Town Council for Kidderminster". What's this; letters have been sent out asking members of the Kidderminster Electorate if they want a town council? Gosh it's good to see the Conservatives so on the ball when it comes to communication, I mean it's not as if the Shuttle published exactly the same story in November 2012.

Is this supposed to be a reminder; is the deadline running out? Read the Conservatives news story and it's written as if this is just happening now. So is it another attempt to get a town council started in the same "We'll keep asking until you give us the answer we want" that we've come to know and loathe from politicians or do they just have nothing else to say?

Beef burgers? Neigh!

And so the country wakes up to find the real reason why some of those own-brand burgers and ready meals are cheaper than named brands - run out of beef; just add horse. On a lesser note they can also contain pig... well a lesser note for those of us who aren't strict Jews or Mulsims for whom eating pig is against the rules. Lawsuits ahoy perhaps?

Monday, January 14, 2013

Why do people hate MPs?

For some reason the Gloria De Piero MP's question of why people hate MP's has resurfaced. Gee I've no idea; oh wait let me count the reasons.

Let's start with earning three times the median salary of those you obstentiously work for. That they get to determine your own salary and invariably increase it beyond that of inflation while at the same advocating cuts for everyone else. That they get to treat the government as their own personal piggy-bank; not only in the obvious manner of paying for their accommodation, goods, transport, and meals, but also indirectly via subsidised meals.

Can we ignore the fact that they can't be fired, but instead have a fixed tenure while at the same time having no oversight as to the hours they work? That regardless of how much work they've done or how poorly they've performed they have their own final salary pension scheme (a rarity in the private sector).

How about the tendency to employ their own family? A trait that would be castigated and deemed nepotistic in anything other than a family firm (and even then on occasion). Perhaps the flattery and cajolery of companies to those who occupy more senior positions that lead to 'fact-finding' trips or non-executive positions upon 'retirement' may irk some members of the public.

Or maybe, just maybe, it's having all of the above and then asking "Why don't people like us?"

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Talking about higher powers

Had a chat with an old friend yesterday. I won't get into too much about what started the discussion, but it turned to religion how it's not necessarily about God (capital G) or even god (lower G) but about a higher power - believing in a higher power. As examples he tried to throw concepts of infinity, and cause and effect at me... at me can you imagine :-)

Anyway as the concept of 'higher power' is helping him I didn't throw the big guns at him; despite what some people might conclude I'm not into breaking people's faith I'd rather they came to their own conclusions and help them with some of the false 'scientific' concepts religions tend to throw at their followers.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Sexting app in rubbish news

For some reason I ended up watching Daybreak on ITV this morning (still half asleep I think) and the first story presented from the newspapers by one of their guests was regarding a "sexting" app on page 7 of the Daily Mail no I'm not going to provide a link as I'm sure you're not interested in seeing a sidebar of photos of underage celebs looking "all grown up" [shudder].

In essence this is an app that means the sender can destroy the photo sent after a set period of time. So send that photo of you looking stupid and no longer have to worry it's going to end up as a meme on a Demotivational Poster. Of course the media being the media  and the Daily Mail being the Daily Mail (unofficial slogan: Scary enough to print) instantly turns to how this could be used for "sexting" sending dirty pictures with no recourse as they've been deleted.

Borderlands 2 PS3 review

Other than catching up with telly I spent a vast majority of my time playing Borderlands 2 on the PS3, so is it really any good or just a useful time-sink?

The "2" at the end of the title should give the subtle hint that this is a sequel to the 2009 game Borderlands; for those unfamiliar with that title it's a first person shooter with role-playing elements set on the planet of Pandora and features a choice of four playable characters called Vault Hunters as they roam the planet in search of the fabled Vault which is rumoured to contain a fabulous treasure.

This sequel follows on from the opening of the vault, the rumours of another, and the arrival of yet another set of four Vault Hunters.

The first reaction from some may well be "Oh no yet another Shooter than tries to have 'customisable' role-playing elements" that's not Borderlands. This game really is a nigh-perfect marriage between FPS and RPG; in fact I'd say some of these elements are better than in some full-on RPG games.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

The problem with 'realistic' fantasy

As mentioned in my previous entry I managed to catch-up with both "Death Valley", "The Walking Dead" and "Monsters". As you may infer I like this sort of thing, the trouble is I really have to disengage certain reasoning aspects of my brain to enjoy them. Namely the parts that comprehend the laws of physics and biology; and the part that doesn't assume that all world governments are staffed by morons (which I admit is a little harder to switch off).

Why do I name these types and not the "Iron Man" "Batman" type of films? Because I know they take place within a specific universe that allows this. Both Marvel and DC have magic; what's an ultra-thin metal that can withstand the actions of a whip that can cut through a F1 car compared to that. These other types seem to try to take place in our universe where the premise of the action is the only 'weird' thing to happen.

End of the holidays

I'm back, miss me? I managed to spend so much quality time with the television over this period, not that there was really that much being broadcast. Instead I took the opportunity to catch up on some things I'd recorded. I therefore managed to watch the end of season 1 of "Death Valley"; season 2 of "The Walking Dead" and the film "Monsters" that I recorded last Christmas! Oh and yeah managed to squeeze in some time with my family too :-)

Of the poor quality stuff that was on over Xmas I was lucky to have "Have I Got News for You" on series link as they'd snuck it on a day early. I recorded "Charlie Brooker's 2012 Screenwipe"; and just managed to spot "Kull the Conqueror" wow that was cheesily bad. I noted that "Up" was on, but I've always seen the synopsis and the trailers and thought "Meh". However upon switching over in the middle of a catch-up fest I caught it a few minutes in during the fast-forwarded life scene and quickly rewound and hit the record button. Damn you Pixar and your emotion grabbing.

I did manage to get out of the house um thrice. The first time to visit Stourport and my first visit to the Olivaceous Deli which opened on the 11th November... 2011. Yeah it's just in the wrong place for me to 'pop-in', but it's definitely somewhere I'll now be making time for.

The other times were to Kidderminster to buy a colander, the handle fell off the old one Xmas Eve. Then again for some water filters; whoo-hoo so Christmas-ey :-)

Anyway a new year and the world didn't end through either Mayan prophecy, fiscal cliff, or Eurozone meltdown. Then again train fares are going up 4% and Berlusconi wants to be Italian Prime Minster again so there's still plenty of time for an Apocalypse.