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Media bias

Why do our news media have to be so unrelentingly pessimistic?  Because bad news sells papers.

A couple of weeks ago, there was widespread reporting that the pound had “fallen to a 37-year low”.  The real story was that the US dollar had risen spectacularly against the vast majority of other currencies, including Sterling.  The way it was reported in British media served to unnecessarily alarm the public and create doubts about Sterling in the minds of foreign market makers. Continue reading “Media bias”

2021 Census

Humanists UK is targeting the non-religious – a majority in the UK population – because it wants to see them counted accurately in the upcoming census. Their reasoning is that millions of people have never thought about the implications of their answer to questions about their religion. Many who have grown up in our secular society to have no religious belief still put themselves down as belonging to the church of their forebears. To read about why this matters, please follow this link.

Nuthatch protection

Years ago, we had a wooden nest box that was used regularly by the blue tits in our garden but it eventually proved itself not to be woodpecker-proof.  On seeing a woodpecker industriously enlarging the hole in the front of the box we had to make emergency repairs with gaffer tape, which also deterred the woodpecker so the tits could fledge.  We replaced the damaged wooden box with a woodcrete one, and the blue tits came back every year until three years ago when we noticed that nuthatches had moved in. Continue reading “Nuthatch protection”

Helmets for car occupants?

What a bizarre idea.  Or is it?  Many years ago, when I was walking to school, any friend passing by on a motorcycle or scooter could offer me a lift, and I would just hop on without a care. Then we had compulsory helmet-wearing, despite the best efforts of the then newly-formed Motorcycle Action Group. Now the busybodies are trying again to get helmet-wearing made compulsory for cyclists.  I thought it odd that the notion of helmets for car occupants never, ever, gets a mention so I consulted Dr Google to find out if being in a car makes you invulnerable to head injuries.  Continue reading “Helmets for car occupants?”

Lifelong learning

Before committing to becoming a post-grad researcher in my old age, I tried a Stanford University MOOC course in Special Relativity just to see what I was letting myself in for.  MOOCs (massive open on-line courses) from some of the world’s top universities are freely available, but they’re not the only internet resources for lifelong learning and re-skilling.  Link

From the heavens to the depths of hell

Ever wondered what title you have to the space above and below your property?  The laws in the UK and the US were founded on the principle of Cuius est solum, eius est usque ad coelum et ad inferos (whoever owns the soil holds title up to the heavens and down to the depths of hell).  Modern day pressures are changing all that… Link

Batteries not the answer

This article in MIT Technology Review explains clearly why battery technology is unlikely to enable renewables to provide the li-ion’s share of our energy needs. Nevertheless, dogma is likely to drive us down an unsustainable path. Link


A great quote from The Yellow Birds* (my emphasis):  “It reminded me of talking, how what is said is never quite what was thought, and what is heard is never quite what was said. It wasn’t much in the way of comfort, but everything has a little failure in it, and we still make do somehow.”

*Powers, Kevin. The Yellow Birds: A Novel (p. 225). Hodder & Stoughton. Kindle Edition.

Don’t leave it too late

From my company’s Health Assured newsletter this month: “With one third of our lives being spent at work, there is little wonder why many look forward to the golden days of retirement.”

To me, the moral of this is: make sure you enjoy your work.  If you don’t, and you are fortunate enough to have a choice, then do something else.