Tuesday, 28 February 2006

Good grief!

BlueFluff sent me this - I make no comment other than to remind you that he has the nuclear codes and can, should the whim strike him, decide to invade almost any country on the planet and probably get Blair to support him. I hope Ang shares this with the guys over the water :-)

Monday, 27 February 2006


I can't sleep, past the point of lying in bed wondering why I can't sleep. Read a couple of chapters of a book, wandered round the house trying not to wake up the neighbours and then had a think about today (yesterday as was).

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!"

Saturday, 25 February 2006

Idiot Wind!

Mentioned Dylan before but I wanted to return briefly. As mentioned earlier last night was a long one and during the discussions we touched on Bob's songwriting and looked at one album in particular. "Blood on the Tracks" is a brilliant demonstration of storytelling and word craft and it has one of the best lines in a song:
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.

Friday, 24 February 2006


This might be a bit rambling as I'm not long out me bed - I was up rather late (about 04:30?) sipping an agreeable red and Skyping.

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! :-)

Thursday, 23 February 2006


Do not follow this link. If you do you mustn't giggle or laugh. I did warn you!


So what is it with astrology? Am I to believe that something written by someone who doesn't know me is likely to be accurate about who I am and what I think and what will happen to me? (Okay - what is likely to happen to me is determined by a load of blokes in suits in Westminster but that's by the by). How can anyone think that when they were born can shape their ideas and views and personality? How does all that work??? If anyone is interested my birthday is in early August (so start saving now for cars and presents) and my birthsign is Tupperware on the cusp of Absolut Blue - that help?

Wednesday, 22 February 2006


Die Chiquita tagged me and I didn't know so here it is!

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

1) MikeChau
2) Jessie Griffith
3) Kat
4) Chiquita
5) Nogbad

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:
American Pie
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
Log fire
My tatty old car

760 million miles/hour

Easy innit? If you want to read a story of men and women working together, of war and peace, light and shadow and standing on the shoulders of giants - check this out. We're talking about Albert and Faraday, Clark Maxwell and Emilie du Chatelet. Linking together the work of these pioneers exemplifies what Sir Isaac meant, "I couldn't get here without the work of those who have gone before. I was able to see this far because I was standing on the shoulders of giants". It culminated in the simplicity of E = MC2. Einstein's work built on work by Planck who then appointed him to work at the university in Berlin which later became the Max Planck Institute. Check it out - I'm not trying to retell this story, just get you excited enough to have a peek.

Tuesday, 21 February 2006

Vote for Micah!

Micah Richards is one of five players selected as "Player's of the round" by the FA. It's now open to a public vote for which player should win.
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, 20/02/06
So 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).

Monday, 20 February 2006

Irving gets 3 years

David Irving has pleaded guilty to charges of denying the holocaust in a court in Vienna and has been sentenced to three years. While many, including the BBC, describe him as a historian it's difficult to square many of his statements;
"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.

Sunday, 19 February 2006


Anyone catch Micah's interview after tonight's game? He's only 17 and had just scored the equaliser four minutes into injury time in a game we should have won at a canter. Anyway, add all that together and it's not much of a surprise that he let slip a word that had the interviewer reminding him about the live, national audience and a stern looking Lineker apologising to anyone who was offended.

Friday, 17 February 2006

Latest new law is passed

Thanks to Rob for flagging this one up!


Mousely posted a link to "Coding Horror" blog and I found it fascinating. My favourite post is about presentations and how to avoid Death by PowerPoint. Thanks Mouse - this is a real treasure.

Web design

I'd like to prove that I can talk the walk as well as walk the dog (or whetever it is). About five years ago Sarah and I worked on a web page and it's still out there so that we can demonstrate our web design skills. Take a moment to enjoy it and read the tips carefully - I'm sure Mr Rammell's web team might still learn a little from it.

Thursday, 16 February 2006


Those who follow the comments might already have seen Bill Rammell's website. Bill is Labour MP for Harlow and the Under Secretary of State for Education (or some such which, I can never remember the titles in these quasi-Masonic groups).

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! :-)

Wednesday, 15 February 2006

And there's more

Just found this - it's the government's follow up to the top-up fees and mopping up the area they were struggling with, part-time students. Cards on the table, I am a part-time student and I have been for eleven of the last 13 years so I know something of this and I may be a tad biased. In fact I don't feel I can comment too much on this as I'll breach my own, self-imposed, language controls.
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.


Didn't see this one coming did we? The price of full time higher education has gone up by up to three thousand pounds and despite this enrolments are down by 13,000 - who would have thought it?


Okay now I'm confused. We've got all these "big" laws being passed through Parliment right now so I'm getting muddled up. Can I smoke while my irises are being checked for my biometric ID card? Do I need my ID card to glorify terrorism? Can I discuss international issues in a pub if I have my ID card and don't light a cigarette? If I do smoke in a pub will I lose my ID card? Can I get half-price drinks with a student ID card? If I binge drink, light a ciggy as I leave the pub and then go home and have a bacon sandwich have I breached any of our latest statutes?

Tuesday, 14 February 2006

Once upon a life.....

in a time long, long ago an ogre created a new thing.

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.

Help research into climate change

Remember SETI@home? Or the search for a cancer drug? The latest use of "meshed" computers is being supported by the BBC and aimed at predicting climate change. "Distributed computing" has been a viable concept for years but every now and again I have to wonder - if we have all this computing power and we're not answering the "big" questions are we asking the right question? Makes you wonder doesn't it?

BTW - The OU has a resource about climate change that is very interesting.

Monday, 13 February 2006

I'm posting this early to remind anyone who hasn't sent me a Valentine's Day card that............... Do the clicky thing here to go to the Anti-VD web site. (Found on the Wrath of Dawn)

Hair colour

I got this from GW

Your Hair Should Be Pink

Hyper, insane, and a boatload of fun.
You're a traveling party that everyone loves to follow.

Friday, 10 February 2006


The other day I was chatting with a very, very, very clever lady from America (I usually chat with people far cleverer than I will ever be but she is stellar). We were discussing cultural exchanges at the level of McDonalds Vs Magna Carta and Dick van Dyke Vs Olivier - you know the kind of thing. She offered Scott Fitzgerald Vs Shakespeare but I think she missed a trick.

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.

Thursday, 9 February 2006

A rose by any other name would still be hex value

This was prompted by fjl's comment (two different links close together there!) which made me think about colours. It's also a break from reading "Using Constructivism in Technology-Mediated Learning: Constructing Order out of the Chaos in the Literature".

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.

Wednesday, 8 February 2006


So they planted a test unit in the sea so that they could collect wave data for six months - it lasted 48 hours. Now they've decided that building the real thing, Turner Contemporary, in the sea will cost a few bob more than the first quote. The latest estimate is £50m and the council have said that they don't think they can get that past the tax payers of Thanet. We will still get culture in Margate because they've decided to build the thing on land, on a car park, instead.

Tuesday, 7 February 2006

Late breaking news!

The Mermaid isn't going to be closed next week but the week after. This is straight from Jackie who was browsing this very blog this evening and rushed (okay - she didn't rush) down to tell me knowing that I (okay she didn't know) was in the bar. Anyways, open next week - closed week commencing 13/02 - got that? Good! You have this before the Kentish Gazette!

Didn't I say that?

I know I commented that the Superbowl officials had a mare on Sunday and I'm not alone in that view.
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.

Monday, 6 February 2006

Local news

Our local paper, the one covering Canterbury, Herne Bay, Whitstable and the rural bits in between, comes out once a week. As the playground of the gliteratti Bishopsbourne news is always included even if it's just the latest flower rota at the church or something about the village hall. Last Thursday's edition carried news of a different kind though - news that will effect many people in and around the village. The Mermaid is to close for a week! I've known this for a while but I've been able to drive the news from my mind - this sort of stuff can lead to serious trauma so I have to approach the idea carefully and from an oblique angle. Anyway it's happening now so realisation is kicking in. The proposed work will make the little bar area where I often sit with a book larger and non-smoking. This week is okay but when the whole pub is shut next week I may need some support :-)

Sunday, 5 February 2006


I've got me crisps (chips in American) and a bottle of red (a glass of red a day is good for you and I haven't had one all week so I can have a bottle tonight!) . The heating is on override so it won't go off and the sofa is cleared of books and papers and half-read newspapers. I'm ready for the Superbowl!


Some time ago I seriously told someone that the days of C8H10N4O2 as a widely available, legal drug were numbered. Many of us use it daily, frequently in large amounts, but its use is becoming proscribed.

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?"

Saturday, 4 February 2006

Got this from Kat's site - I think it's pretty accurate for me :-)

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.





Cultural Creative












What is Your World View? (updated)
created with QuizFarm.com


I got here from a link I followed on Ang's blog. I don't think it's the full story by any means but some food for thought certainly.

Friday, 3 February 2006


End of an era stop Western Union has stopped the telegram service stop Blame the Internet and mobile phone stop

Wicked doings at Wikipedia

Wikipedia are investigating some edits made to pages about US congressman Marty Meehan as it appears congressional staff have been airbrushing out information which casts Mr Meehan in a less than flattering light.
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.

Those cartoons

I've been mulling over how I feel about the uproar about these cartoons but was struggling to put it into words until I read Tim Ireland's take on the situtation here. He's said, far more eloquently than I could, much of what I was thinking.

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.

Are we really surprised?

This is terribly depressing. As the number of dead, servicemen and women and civilians, continues to rise in Iraq we are now being told - by someone who certainly appears credible - that the decision to use military force in Iraq had been agreed between Bush and Blair months before it was discussed in parliment. The BBC report is here. In The Observer review of the original edition, the details of the meeting at which it is said the decision was reached is in a new edition being released today, John Kampfner said
"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?

Thursday, 2 February 2006


Anna had a great idea (not Annarid, a different Anna). We are both tutoring the same OU course and we'd both started blogs to bung stuff that might be useful to students on the course. In a fit of genius Anna suggested that we combine our meagre efforts so far and blogged together. It was almost like living with someone again! We had to choose a colour scheme and then how we'd categorise posts and what to do with comments and the date/time formats and so on and so forth! She didn't even make me a cup of tea - but she is a few hundred miles away. Anyway, after a few hours of looking at curtains and sofas and carpets and other such stuff our new pied a terre is open. It's here and please don't anyone say they don't like the colours..............

My mate and the marathon

My mate Gill Wilson ran the London Marathon for the first time last year. Battling against her advanced years (it's okay, she doesn't read my blog :-)) she finished in about 4 hrs 40 minutes and said she would never do that again.

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.

Photo from the BBC site. For those who haven't been following this story I won't go through it again - Rob and I know what it's about! Anyway - the fans, as predicted, were less than happy about Joey's antics this week but he fronted up and played very well by all accounts. He made the first goal despite being loudly heckled whenever he got the ball and according to the highlights on MOTD this evening he got a standing ovation when subbed late in the game. Psycho is far more pragmatic, he was interviewed after the game and pointed out that Barton still has 18 months left on his existing contract so he'll play when picked - and however daft our Joey is he can't be stupid enough to fall out with SP can he?

Lawro clearly reads this blog as his first comments about Barton were that he's been very poorly advised - exactly what I said!

For Kat!

Kat asked about the connection speeds from the cabins on HMS Daring so I went back to the BBC report to see what it said.
Lt Cdr Woodruff said it was a distinct step forward for the Royal Navy.

"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."
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.

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.............

Wednesday, 1 February 2006


New piece of kit was launched today. HMS Daring has had some wonderful claims made for it - during testing of the radar it was able to track all incoming and outgoing aircraft at Schipol, Heathrow, Gatwick and Charles DeGaulle - handy if EasyJet ever launch an unexpected attack. The missile system can shoot down an object the size of a cricket ball travelling at mach 3, that's faster than most West Indian bowlers I'll grant you but there has been no mention of it coping with anything slightly larger - like an incoming missile or one of Stelios's Airbus A319s attempting a sneak in under the radar. The firepower of this new Type 45 Destroyer is equal to a fleet of the Type 42 which it replaces and instead of having the old-style messes where up to 40 men lived and slept they have cabins sleeping six and each cabin has an internet connection - yes they see this as a recruitment tool too! Of course the Royal Navy have been very active in the Gulf but it's difficult to see them getting a great deal of action if Bush keeps picking on landlocked countries so I'm wondering whether he has plans for regime change in the Isle of Wight? Daring comes into service in 3 years time so there's still time to start peace talks in Ventnor!

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)
11 Sauna
12 Bar
13 Conservatory
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
22 Basingstoke