Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Weather Trends

So, in the spirit of science here is the latest in my series of weather photo's. Every year on February 25th at 12:15 I take a shot of a scene during my regular lunchtime stroll, i.e. from the same spot (roughly). So, from left to right we have 2018, 2019 and now 2020, as you can see the sky had much more of a February vibe to it this year although the temperature was still above average (which is 7 degrees) at around 11 centigrade. Just goes to show that weather is not the same as climate but I reckon if I keep going for another 20 years the proportion of anomalies we'd see compared to the averages in 2018 would be significant.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Superstition will get us in the end

I read that the epicenter of the huge spike in COVID-19 cases in Korea (the largest outside of China) emanates from a fringe religious sect called the "Shincheonji Church". The sect is Christian in character and like superstitious sects the world over clearly attracts a certain "mind-set". Apparently patient zero was a 61 year old Woman who refused to be admitted to hospital and instead attended several religious gatherings where the disease was transmitted. 

Unfortunately in this case it seems as though her arrogant and ignorant attitude that "Jesus (or insert whatever imaginary deity you like here) will save me" has put a huge number of people at risk. Viruses don't care what wacky shit you believe, they're just genetic robots that will do what their bio-chemistry dictates they must do, which is to hijack our eukaryotic cell replication mechanism killing the cell in the process, 1st century Jewish mystics or greedy Korean hucksters claiming to be the second coming of said mystics simply don't enter into it.

In another travesty of ignorance it seems that the original animal incubator of this new strain of Corona virus may well have come from the much abused Pangolin. This is an animal that is prized in Asia for it's scales and being essentially a scaly anteater has quite a few. The scales are used for that ultimate bastion of confirmation-bias "Chinese medicine" or in other words an industry founded on ignorant superstition and fueled by greed and snake-oil. The Pangolin is on the brink of extinction, as are many of the animals having the misfortune of being valued by this utterly bankrupt and vile trade.

So, superstition of two different flavours contributing to significantly helping to (potentially) kill millions of people, let's hope the Korean outbreak can be controlled and the good weather arrives before we have a pandemic to deal with. Anyway, make a mental note, when someone tries to convince you that their particular superstition is "harmless", perhaps challenge the point and use these two examples as evidence to the contrary.

Monday, February 24, 2020


Sometimes I get news that makes me really think, I suppose it's the same for all of us. This weekend we learned that a lifelong friend of my Wife's, who was just about to retire to the Sunny uplands of Southern Spain with her husband (literally next week) had a stroke on Friday evening, and is now in intensive care. Apparently it was a serious episode and her condition is still critical several days later. Of course we remain optimistic that she will make some kind of recovery, and will be going to see her as soon as we can to lend whatever support we can, but the news put me in a reflective mood. As we get older I guess it's normal to start to see older generations as well as some peers starting to fade away; it's never easy but the longer I live the more I feel I understand those cheesy quotes that you occasionally read on the subject. The one that sprung into my mind this weekend was "life is a tragedy filled with joy". I can't even remember who said it or where I read it, but thinking about all the wonderful things our two families have witnessed and enjoyed together over the years while simultaneously trying to comprehend the terror of her current predicament, I can certainly see where they were coming from.

Sunday, February 23, 2020


No, not parrot flavoured beer just a rather quaint name for a craft brewery based up in North Wales. I've had a few of their beers before over the last couple of years and have always been impressed, this one was no exception, totally delicious, a real murky fruit bomb, perfect for a rainy Friday night with a handful of peanuts!

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Slippery knowledge

I was helping my daughter with her Chemistry revision (GCSE) yesterday afternoon and was starkly reminded that there are some things that you just have to know, and I'd forgotten them. I suppose at least it's much easier to acquire facts these days than in my time, a quick Google sorts most questions out. Funny thing knowledge, it's sometimes slippery and sometimes rock-solid and it's unclear why. If our brains are anything like the neural networks that we implement AI software with these days then we should be able to remember and recall every single thing we've ever learned but clearly that's not the case (well at least it's not in my case!)

Friday, February 21, 2020


What it feels like to walk into a lot of large craft-beer bars in London these days...
(not complaining BTW, just observing)

Friday Smirk

Lawyers reside the set of things that you really can't see the justification for and therefore don't need, until you do.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Baggage games

This is a pretty good idea. I always hate to wait for luggage to appear in the airport baggage hall, not because it's too long necessarily but because at that point I'm usually keen to crack on with the next leg of my journey. Something like this (above) would give that inevitable delay a distraction value, making it seem shorter; maybe even indulge in a big of gambling to spice things up a bit?