Saturday, June 23, 2018

Sign of the times

Sometimes when you're out and about you do have to wonder what the fascination is for many people?

Cracking evening

Since it was a cracking evening yesterday (weather-wise) we couldn't resist popping into the Fox & Hounds in Caversham for a swift half before picking up one of the kids from school and heading into Reading for an Honest Burger (new'ish burger-chain in town that I previously posted about here) The food was v. good again and the Siren beer was à point as usual! The beer in the photo (taken at the pub) is from a brewery called Magic Rock based ooop North (Huddersfield I think) and is a 6% hazy IPA called "The Fabulist", a very dank and resin filled little number with a lingering sweetness on the finish, most agreeable on a sunny Friday evening.

Walking back to the car park through the town centre we saw a hot-air balloon flying overhead, it looked v. cool framed by a perfectly deep-blue sky. At one point earlier in the walk it lined up exactly with the moon which would have made a great photo - unfortunately my photo-opportunity senses are nowhere near fine-tuned enough and I only thought about it after the moment had passed. 

Friday, June 22, 2018

Taking offence

The excellent Crispian Jago with some humble suggestions for what (some) Christians (indeed many different stripes of religious people) should be getting offended about rather than the things they often seem to be offended about. Good to see Crispian posting again, his cancer blog is well worth a read if you haven't seen it already.

Friday Smirk

Apparently this cartoon was recently widely circulated on Chinese social media, clearly some Human behavioural observations carry across cultures unaltered.

Planning rationally

I see that Airbus is making noises about abandoning the UK after Brexit - I hope this will make the politicians sit up and take notice, especially Labour! It won't be particularly good for UK jobs if this world-leading manufacturer ups sticks and leaves the UK, many talented engineers around the country will become out of work and it's difficult to see where they could go, the home-spun aircraft design and manufacturing industry being practically non-existent. No doubt the Airbus company will be criticised by the likes of Fox and Johnson in the media "project fear" they will call it. They are simply waffle merchants, their life experience is that rhetoric carries the argument and the day, unfortunately for all the workers in the UK, engineers don't factor rhetoric into their planning.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

No they don't...

1) No they don’t.
2) No they don’t.
3) Yes they can.
4) No, they reduce SIDS by 50%.
5) No they don’t.
6) No they fucking don’t.
7) No they don’t except for fleetingly rare anaphylaxis.
8) No they don’t.
9) No they don’t.

I love it when real doctors critique ignorant medical memes.. 
The only thing vaccines cause in children is adulthood..

Wednesday wit

This contradiction must be a real problem for Christian Conservatives... but then again, they're very well used to deluding themselves..

Militant secularists

Excellent new J&M, illustrating perfectly why a secular approach to matters of public and state policy is the ONLY fair way of dealing with things in a modern pluralistic society.


I noticed the other day that the US has quietly overtaken China in the supercomputer arms-race. China has held the record for the most powerful computer for a couple of years now, their "TaihuLight" machine weighed in at an astonishing 93 Peta-FLOPS. "Peta" means 10 raised to the power of 15 or a thousand million, million and FLOPS stands for "Floating Point Operations per Second". That's a lot of calculations! If a single Human attempted to do the same number of arithmetic operations that this machine does in one second, it would take a length of time equivalent to the remaining life of our solar system. The Sun would have swelled into a red-giant and destroyed the Earth long before the Human calculator had finished, and I thought scoring a darts match was challenging!

Now, the US has regained the title with their "Summit" machine at Oak Ridge. Build by IBM but using a variety of technologies this new machine ups the ante to 200 Peta-FLOPS, the kind of power needed to do some pretty impossible calculations, like designing fusion-powered reactors or modelling our climate at a planetary scale. In this current era of a renaissance of interest in AI systems it would be fascinating to try out some of the chunkier models on such a machine. I'm sure scientists can't wait to do things like model genes at molecular scale to help predict cancers and then find suitably "shaped" drugs to combat the multitude of different types, anyway, I hope that's what it'll be used for rather than boring old "war-games"..

The race to achieve a machine capable of "Exascale" computing (which is what Human brains achieve at the neuron-level) is most definitely still alive and might even be achieved in the next year or two, bring it on!

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Fathers day

My family treated me to a slap up brunch today at a local pub called The Sherlock Inn in a village up the road from us called Sherlock Row, it was fab! We all had different dishes (see menu below) and every one was enjoyed by its recipient and hoovered up completely, 100% empty plates!

I decided to go for the full-English, it was delicious, just the thing for a slightly hung-over Sunday morning (we attended a friend's 50th birthday party yesterday evening) The black velvet made with English sparkling wine and Siren stout (my favourite Berkshire brewery) was also outstanding.

Tee-shirt meme's

Finally a tee-shirt meme I can get-behind... (I love stupid stuff like this!)

Saturday, June 16, 2018


It seems as though Trump has us all trapped inside his delusional game-show, the people of the world have become the camera fodder that fuels his ego and lines his pockets. Talking shite has become the norm, even blatant lying would appear to go unchallenged, or perhaps people in the mainstream media have simply lost interest in this political chav-fest?

I was unfortunate enough to catch part of a recent interview with this orange bloater on his recent meeting with the North Korean dictator, "rocket-man" Kim Jong Un. In it Trump claims that thousands, yes, thousands of parents of fallen soldiers from the Korean was had approached him whilst on his election campaign and asked him to get their children's remains back. A quick back of a fag-packet calculation would show that for someone to have been the parent of a KIA soldier in Korea (1953) they would now be at least 101 years old and more likely between 110 and 120.

Mind you, with MP's in our own UK Parliament lying through their teeth about and presiding over, the biggest act of self-mutilation that any supposedly first-world country has ever inflicted upon itself, we can't really shout too loudly, can we...

Friday, June 15, 2018

"could try harder.."

Stephen Hawking was (ceremonially) buried at Westminster Abbey today. His memorial slab is next to that of Newton and Darwin, which if you ask me, is quite some achievement. Many will debate whether or not his impact on our understanding of our universe will turn out to be as impactful as that of his two co-interns but in many ways that's a fairly irrelevant point. In my view, what matters is that he overcame enormous impediments to achieve fantastic advances in his particular field of study. On the normal-distribution of academic scholarship he was definitely at the extremity of the bell-curve, I can't comment on the substance of his theories as to be perfectly honest I don't understand most of them, my academic record consisted mainly of teachers commenting things like "could be clearer" and "could try harder" in the margins of my (in comparison to Hawking's) pedestrian efforts.

Friday Smirk

Very true, if I were a foreign footballer in Russia at the moment I'd double check my underpants every morning pretty thoroughly!

Thursday, June 14, 2018


Saw this the other day, since Reading is my nearest big town I thought it was neat..