Monday, 27 February 2006
I went and did some training and got incredibly frustrated with myself because I simply wasn't explaining something in a way that the person I was with could understand - my fault not their's. I hate it when that happens because however easy it is to blame the other person we all know, deep down, that it's our fault - we're being paid to help them understand a task and if they "don't get it" whose fault can it be?
Anyway. On the way back I stopped for some logs from a petrol station that I use infrequently (it's on the A2 heading towards Canterbury from the M2 if anyone knows it) and while paying for the logs I noticed that for GBP 4.99 they had my favourite film on DVD and what's more it's the two disk edition so it has all the bonus stuff. It's cheap as it's ex-rental but for a fiver? Has to be worthwhile.
People who know me know that I'm passionate about a lot of things, I'm like a cross between a magpie and a rotweiler - I see something interesting and pick it up and then, no matter how hard you might try to stop me, I will not let it go. The space race is one of those things. On a good day ask me to name the crews of the major US flights and I'll tell you. Ask me to describe the final touchdown of Apollo 11 on the lunar surface and and I can show you how the astronauts were standing, how they were controlling the motion of the lunar module and much of what passed between Houston and the crew. Ask which flight did what from 1 - 13 and I can detail the purpose of most. On a better day ask me to name the twelve men who have walked on the moon and I'll get at least 75% of them. Even on my poorest day I'll tell you who died in the fire on what was later designated Apollo 1 and why the accident happened.
I am forever amazed and in awe that men can get themselves to a position of trust and training where they will overcome the survival instinct and allow themselves to be blasted into space - or fly experimental aircraft (two words you would never wish to see next to each other), and it's not just the astronauts but cosmonauts too - Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space, was literally heading into the unknown in 1961 and fuelled the race to the moon. Sputnik, the first artificial satellite was launched the year I was born so I'm a child of the space age (and still only 37!)
On 11th April, 1970 three guys took off in Apollo 13 and that's the film I got today. Of course it's not entirely accurate, Lovell didn't say "We have a problem" he actually said "We've had a prolem", but the film is true in most regads to both Lovell's excellent book and the NASA flight logs (yes I'm that sad!). It's also well acted with Hanks good and Ed Harris excellent as Gene Krantz, a character he seems to get accurately as the other books about the space race all agree with the portrayal of this incredible man who managed a disaster with such skill while facing incredible political pressure as well as the desire to save three lives.
Apollo 13 splashed down on 17th April - the flight lasted just less than 6 days. 29 years later my father died on the same day - another reason Apollo 13 is special to me.
So why karma? Well - it's great karma to simply come across the film like that. It's also good to be reminded that a sense of perspective is needed. The mission gave us "Houston, we've had a problem" but it also gave us "Failure is not an option!"
Posted by Nogbad at 02:35:00
Saturday, 25 February 2006
They say I shot a man named Gray and took his wife to Italy,
She inherited a million bucks and when she died it came to me.
I can't help it if I'm lucky.The deadpan delivery adds to it and it always makes me smile. I mention this because I've not been able to get that song out of my head today. The full poem is here and worth reading for the way he uses the same theme, slightly shifted, on each repeat of the chorus.
Posted by Nogbad at 00:45:00
Friday, 24 February 2006
Anyway. Alert and keen eyed readers may have noticed a new piece of furniture, the ClustrMap bottom left of the blog. It's fascinating looking at where people are and trying to imagine what their little bit of the world is like - I already know some of you; Ang in her palatial Bay Side residence overlooking the Golden Gate bridge, Cheri on the alligator infested beaches of Florida, Kat oop north where it's grim, GW in Watford (nuff said?), but I wonder what Botswana is like? I wonder how many bierhalle Chiquita can walk past without having to pop in for a sip of the amber throat medicine for which Bavaria is rightly famed. We know that Mouse lives in an igloo and, according to the map, someone in the city that doesn't sleep - Grimsby - is a frequent flyer (Okay - I know it's BlueFluff). How mindbending is it that people all over the world (I've clearly upset everyone in Australia as the Pacific rim is notably absent) can find nothing better to do than read blogs all day?
Keep an eye on the map my little chickadees - you never know when your neighbour might find you lurking on here! :-)
Posted by Nogbad at 11:49:00
Thursday, 23 February 2006
Posted by Nogbad at 22:20:00
Wednesday, 22 February 2006
Instructions: Remove the blog in the top spot from the following list and bump everyone up one place. Then add your blog to the bottom slot, like so
2) Jessie Griffith
Next select five people to tag:
Whoever feels so moved
What were you doing 10 years ago?
I was "Operational audit and communications manager" for a chain of supermarkets and I was studying my fifth OU course (M205: Fundamentals of Computing). Calum was one year old.
Five snacks you enjoy:
chocolate, chocolate, chocolate - got that one?
Five songs to which you know all the lyrics:
All along the watchtower
Born to run
Most early Bowie, Queen, Dylan
Five things you would do if you were a millionaire:
Wine, women and song (and I might fritter some away)
Five bad habits:
Huh? Easier to list five that aren't too bad!
Five things you like doing:
Oh use your imagination!
Five things you would never wear again:
very high heels
big golden gypsy style earrings
Five favorite toys:
SPV C550 phone
My tatty old car
Posted by Nogbad at 19:43:00
Posted by Nogbad at 02:28:00
Tuesday, 21 February 2006
If Micah gets the most votes, in addition to being crowned FA Cup 'Player of the Round', he will win Stlg.1000 worth of UMBRO football kit for a local school, club or organisation of his choice. Micah would be the eighth and youngest player to join The FA's Team of The FA Cup this season, guaranteeing him VIP attendance at the 125th FA Cup final. John Nisbet MCVITA, edition 1200, 20/02/06So if anyone want's to vote go to The FA site and the poll is halfway down the page. Cut off for votes is next Monday (27/02).
Posted by Nogbad at 10:53:00
Monday, 20 February 2006
"History is a constantly growing tree - the more you know, the more documents become available, the more you learn, and I have learned a lot since 1989."In 1989 Irving said that there were no gas chambers at Auschwitz and that Hitler didn't know about the Holocaust. This is a man who has published books about Hitler yet found himself able to make claims such as that? I've come over all "Angie" but I'm very pleased he's facing some sort of jail time rather than travelling round the world pedalling his terrible lies.
Posted by Nogbad at 17:43:00
Sunday, 19 February 2006
Posted by Nogbad at 21:54:00
Friday, 17 February 2006
Posted by Nogbad at 15:52:00
Thursday, 16 February 2006
Here is the competition and it's in two parts:
Part 1 - Find, on Mr Rammell's home page (only!) - one web design principle that the page doesn't ignore.
Part 2 - Find a site as happy to ignore design quality as this and post the link.
Not an easy competition I'm sure you'll agree but five "nogbad points" for the winner! :-)
Posted by Nogbad at 12:50:00
Wednesday, 15 February 2006
Mr Rammell said on the Today programme on BBC Radio 4: "Part-timers is an issue that we are looking at. "Many of them are well-off, many of them are in work,"So there you are. In Blair's Britain being in work equates to being well off. The fact that many of those in work are studying to improve their job prospects makes no difference, that many part-time students are in very low paid jobs and struggle to pay their exsting fees is not a problem to Mr Rammell. Clver getting an ex-regional official of the NUS to deal with this but I'm afraid I think that PT students are in for a spanking over fees if Rammell and his mates think they can afford it.
Posted by Nogbad at 23:24:00
Posted by Nogbad at 16:50:00
Tuesday, 14 February 2006
This thing was imbued with many of the attributes we see as human but was missing a few key components. The main one was the ability to RTFM. This lack of the RTFM gene proved no barrier to gaining employment but it created a vacuum, an unfilled space in creation.
Had this space been left unfilled the whole fabric of the universe might have been torn apart so a beneficent genie, seeing the dangers, created the magic bullet - the only hope for humankind. This being, this "magic bullet", was crafted with precision and care, with muscles hewn from Italian marble and the wits and skills of an Arctic Fox, with the eyesight of an eagle and the agility of a gazelle, acute hearing to catch the futile clicking of a dead space bar and the language skills to translate grunts and growls into enough information to save the planet almost daily. These superhumans had the patience to nurse poorly servers or try to console users who have lost years of work, the sang froid to shrug when a DOS attack is beaten off by a hastily configured firewall and the resiliance to repeatedly explain why sending an email to everyone in the world about the "cute little teddy bear" virus is less than helpful.
Read about these brave souls here.
Posted by Nogbad at 23:50:00
Posted by Nogbad at 20:40:00
Monday, 13 February 2006
Friday, 10 February 2006
When I had access to Sky I used to watch The West Wing, I now only have PMT (Poor man's TV - four channels) but I'm now watching the sixth series on DVD and I'm still in awe at the way Sorkin has crafted these characters and the language they use and the way they use it. Of course they use a language to which Shakespeare is credited with adding thousands of words and phrases but Sorking is working in the modern age using modern techniques to deliver carefully crafted and timed playlets within the play. He delivers homilies wrapped up in entertainment. I'd suggest that Sorkin is up there with the best.
Posted by Nogbad at 21:20:00
Thursday, 9 February 2006
Those who haven't looked under the bonnet of web pages and HTML might be surprised to know that in amongst the gobblydegook there is some very poetic stuff. In the beginning there were 16 "web safe" colours available and they could be invoked using their hexidecimal code or by name. Thus "white" is #ffffff where each pair of characters is a hex value and indicates the amount of a colour to add to the mix. The pairs denote red, green and blue so white is made up of 255 parts red, 255 parts green and 255 parts blue, "ff" is hexidecimal (base-16) for 255 and, as all artists know, white is all the colours in the visible spectrum. Black is the absence of light and thus is #000000. But this is where we take a sharp left. The idea that we can use names as well as the hex value means that good old #fffacd is also known as lemonchiffon (add the space yourself, the browser interpreting the code would choke on it so we concatenate the words). The background to this page is aliceblue but I might have chosen palegoldenrod or papaya or thistle or bisque - all are valid names for colours that the browser will support. If I add a horizontal line the colour I use is steelblue and when constructing web pages for others I'll use ghostwhite or whitesmoke as a background rather than using pure white.Some years ago I put together a web page showing just some of the available colours with their hex values and their name - I picked the ones with the best names. The page is still available here and serves to show that techies are not as hardbaked as people would like to believe.
Thanks for inspiration Fiona.
Posted by Nogbad at 16:59:00
Wednesday, 8 February 2006
Posted by Nogbad at 22:30:00
Tuesday, 7 February 2006
Posted by Nogbad at 23:19:00
Seattle fans have a right to feel sick. Their team just suffered the most unjust loss in Super Bowl history.This from Kevin Hench (who he?) on FOXSports where he dissects a sport which loves statistics almost as much as cricket. But why was I there? Well I followed a link from Ang's site to a site which lists and reviews all the adverts shown (on US TV) during breaks in the game. How anal is that???? Go check it out - marvel at the sheer range of mainly male biased advertising. Gasp at the fact that they are still allowed to call Bud and Miller Lite "beer", giggle that the first car advert, during a game based in the Motor City, was for Toyota nand wonder why anyone would spend so much time and trouble compiling this site! To my friends over the water - get the BBC to cover the game, as they do with the FA Cup, and you won't get all this rubbish.
Posted by Nogbad at 17:50:00
Monday, 6 February 2006
Posted by Nogbad at 13:37:00
Sunday, 5 February 2006
Posted by Nogbad at 23:22:00
It's the "Salami Principle" - taking a little at a time until you have everything (or nothing).
When I was young cars were far fewer, the motorways had no speed limits and seatbelts were rarely fitted much less used. The cars also had little in terms of safety equipment, the braking available in most family saloons was roughly as effective as opening the doors at speed and letting the increased drag slow the vehicle. The chassis and bodywork didn't have today's crumple zones and had unpredictable deformation characteristics and the overall strength, when two cars bashed together, of a damp tissue. Motorcycles were similarly built - before Brembo braking and on early Japanese tyres a few drops of rain made riding a Triumph Trident or a Ducati Le Mans a test of skill, balance and determination and could cause no end of problems in the underwear department. Of course now we have cars capable of cruising at 120 MPH on roads limited to 70 MPH. Cars and bikes have braking systems which make stopping happen rather than the old "slam it down and pray" process. Tyre technology means that even the worst driver in the world should be able to get a car round a tight corner, in the rain, without losing control and the side-impact, front-impact, rear-impact protection, allied to more airbags than the Montgolfier brothers would have dreamt of, means that people walk away from accidents that would have killed drivers 30 or 40 years ago. And we have to wear seatbelts as soon as we start the car.
In the 1940s and 1950s most doctors smoked. Now any admission to partaking of nicotine is, at best, frowned upon (rightly because the medical evidence has progressed but stick with me). I won't mention booze, we all know about the public campaign against its use. Salt is a baddie too - food manufacturers are highlighting salt content of processed foods and we now know that there are "good" fats and "bad" fats.
Yesterday two manufacturers of chocolate announced that they will be printing health warnings on their products. Chocolate, when abused, is bad for us - we all know that but it seems we need reminding!
I have no doubt that as a result of all this legislation coming generations will live longer, more productive lives and the daily ingestion of all these bad things will go the way of the opiates that William Blake, et al used and which, possibly, led to pieces as powerful as the words to "Jerusalem". But I think we should be careful what we wish for - reading, particularly from compter screens can damage the eyes. Radiation, we are bathed in it daily from the sun, causes all sorts of problems. Where will it end?
The drug I started with? Caffeine - it's already under threat and coffee and tea manufacturers already offer decaff/lowcaff but in the words of a man killed by Aids and a prolific drug and alcohol user "Who wants to live forever?"
Posted by Nogbad at 12:52:00
Saturday, 4 February 2006
You scored as Postmodernist.
Postmodernism is the belief in complete open interpretation. You see the universe as a collection of information with varying ways of putting it together. There is no absolute truth for you; even the most hardened facts are open to interpretation. Meaning relies on context and even the language you use to describe things should be subject to analysis.
What is Your World View? (updated)
created with QuizFarm.com
Posted by Nogbad at 20:26:00
Friday, 3 February 2006
An aide for Rep. Meehan made two edits to the article on Meehan's biography. The first was on July 18, 2005 and replaced the article with his official biography, which was biased towards Meehan.The second edit seems to change a statement made by Meehan that congressmen should sit no more than four terms - possibly because although he made this commitment part of the platform on which he was elected he's now been in the congress for seven terms. This story is also being run on the press wires.
Ignoring for a moment the implications this might have for the veracity of some infomation on Wikipedia I wonder what it says about the percieved power of this online commons? It's clearly important enough to some politicians that their staff will edit out the things they see as problems. Oliver Cromwell famously told anyone commissioned to paint him that it should show "warts and everything" (sometimes quoted as "warts and all"). Few of us are perfect (probably just me in fact) and many of us change our minds about things but the idea that we should go back and hide the problems seems to be a particularly 21st century political disease.
Posted by Nogbad at 15:30:00
The right to free speech and the right of people to have their beliefs respected is being banged together to no useful purpose other than to incite both sides. In a world where religion is driving both sides do we really need this being dragged out? I have no problem with the cartoons but I'm not a Muslim. I have no problems with anyone worshipping any god or none. I am far from a paradigm of anything but it doesn't take a degree in rocket science to see that both sides are going to use this as an excuse to carry out yet more acts of violence. And today Griffin and Collett walked out of court with some charges still outstanding but acquitted on others. We need this all sorting out boys and girls or the world we leave our children will be that little be nastier than the one we inherited from our parents.
Posted by Nogbad at 00:44:00
"His is a penetrating, detailed account of the extent to which those who claim to be spreading global values have ridden roughshod over them."The author, Philippe Sands is a QC and professor of international law at University College London so seems unlikely to make assertions he knows to be inaccurate - or am I being naive?
Posted by Nogbad at 00:12:00
Thursday, 2 February 2006
Posted by Nogbad at 21:06:00
Of course time blurs the memory and age addles the mind so she's got a place for this year's race and has set up a site for people to sponsor her. She's running to support The Children's Trust, a national charity working with children with multiple disabilities and complex health needs. Even if you can't sponsor Gill hit her site and you'll see a photo of her looking windswept and interesting at the finish last year and hit The Children's Trust site to see some of the amazing work they do.
Posted by Nogbad at 16:18:00
Lawro clearly reads this blog as his first comments about Barton were that he's been very poorly advised - exactly what I said!
Posted by Nogbad at 02:31:00
Lt Cdr Woodruff said it was a distinct step forward for the Royal Navy.Now I may be a tad old fashioned but my understanding was that an email travelled slightly quicker than "a couple of hours". I'm not convinced that Lt Cdr Woodruff has a firm grip on the electronic communications age but I suppose his main job might be driving the boat or something.
"We've certainly caught up with the electronic age," he said.
"Nowadays the crew can write home on their laptops and it can be with their loved ones within hours rather than days, which is what I was used to when I first joined up."
Seriously - I wonder if there is some inbuilt delay to allow for censoring posts in and out? I know it's usually the MoD or RAF who leave files or laptops with top secret plans lying around in cabs or pubs in London but there may be some issues about the element of surprise if Johnny sends an email to his mate at The Sun telling him that they are sailing at full speed to carry out a suprise attack on.............
Posted by Nogbad at 02:11:00
Wednesday, 1 February 2006
Key to diagram
1 Flight deck to take Lynx or Merlin combat helicopter
2 Navigation radar
3 Long-range radar monitors air and surface threats
4 Communications mast
5 Small-calibre gun
6 Multi-function radar can guide ship's missiles and detect enemy ones
7 Gunfire control system
8 Vertical-launching system for short- and long-range missiles
9 Medium-calibre main gun
10 Bow sonar (under keel)
14 Otter sanctuary
15 Multiplex cinema
16 Captain's greenhouse and allotment
17 Olympic sized swimming pool
18 B&Q Retail Centre
19 Fluffy dice (not shown but hanging from the rear-view mirror on the bridge)
20 Equestrian centre with indoor and outdoor sand schools
21 Eighteen hole golf course designed by Arnold Palmer
Posted by Nogbad at 22:25:00