Archive for the ‘politics’ Category

Living Streets – Try20

May 3, 2016

It has come to my attention that it is National Walking Month. I realise I might not be the target audience for this (honourable) campaign, because I will actively avoid a walk which looks like it will exceed 10 minutes. I’d prefer to jump on a bike and ride for 10 mins, an hour, several hours, as long as have the time and energy for.

Ten minutes is about the break-even point for walking versus cycling for me.

I wish Living Streets the best for their efforts.


Jeremy, you can do better.

January 16, 2014

Yes, it’s about another daft posting on twitter:
I’ve long held the view that, if you ought to put your own house in order before casting criticism towards others. In this case: using a mobile phone while driving, Jeremy Clarkson.

Clearly the ‘holding up the traffic’ argument is baseless, and rule 191 of the Highway Code is unambiguous here:

You MUST NOT overtake the moving vehicle nearest the crossing or the vehicle nearest the crossing which has stopped to give way to pedestrians.

Jeremy’s own photo suggests that the cyclist has stopped to give way to a pedestrian on the crossing there.

As a cyclist I am not interested in “strict liability” (which is being considered and lobbied-for), I am only interested in using the roads fairly and legally.

Roger Lawson (Alliance of British Drivers) – You don’t speak for me.

August 11, 2013

Subject says it all really. In this interview with the BBC’s Newsnight (date 7/8/2013, about 23 minutes in) Roger Lawson says “Cyclists are aggressive and dangerous, you don’t get that with drivers!”

As the Alliance Of British Drivers represents fewer than 1% of drivers in the UK, I would say he is in a very small minority. So, for the sake of clarity:
I drive a car, for which I pay all costs associated with.
I ride a bike, for which I pay all costs associated with.
I would like to make it clear that I do not support Roger Lawson’s statement, he does not represent my views as a road-user at all.

I think his inclusion in the Newsnight program was a triumph on the part of the people who make the programme, as it reinforces the points raised by the pro-cycling part of the programmme.

Jeremy Clarkson buys a bike!

July 8, 2013

Has the world gone mad? According to Series 20, episode 2, Jeremy Clarkson has bought a bike. A simple google search confirms it.

As a long-time cyclist I say “well done” for taking the first step. And no, lycra is not compulsory. 🙂

Light-loss in 3D cinema – how is that linked to High Frame Rate?

December 25, 2012

I’ve titled this post with a question to which I don’t know the answer. I apologise for that. It seems some people are suggesting there might be a link:
Mark Kermode Uncut
From a first-principles point of view, I can’t see why there would be a link. I have witnessed a presentation of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in 48fps (a.k.a. HFR), and the image was pleasantly bright to my uncalibrated eyes. On the other-hand, it was a LieMAX (IMAX Digital) show, so it’s a very big screen to fill with light. Consider that the venue uses two separate projectors, which probably means that each projector is dedicated to showing the left and right eye images.
The talk from the (so-called) expert about triple-flash and double-flash, and the numbers quoted for number of flashes per second is all correct but redundant. The rates exceed the Flicker Fusion Threshold by a large margin, such that the number of flashes per second (in that range) is irrelevant.
I’ve watched 3D presentations on various types of Digital Cinema projectors. Systems that use varying solutions to the problem:

  • Those that use one projector and show the frames in the order LRLRLR, with a timed polariser (RealD) or filter (Dolby) to separate the images. Minimal light loss.
  • Those that use one projector to form the images stacked on the same imaging device, and a complicated lens (with polarisers) to superimpose those images on the screen. Requires more light input, and sacrifices spatial resolution for both 2D and 3D shows. The manufacturer used to claim this was better, but I was unable to find any evidence of this after exhaustive reading and research. The manufacturer’s name rhymes with ‘phoney’. I did notice this claim was quietly dropped once the projectors started selling.
  • Two completely separate projectors, each showing the image for one eye. Uses polarisers to keep the images separate. Minimal light loss with this approach also.

I think the best solution to not having enough light on-screen, is to push more light in to the system, so that more of the light reaches the screen. If techniques such as water cooling, and specially-coated infra-red-blocking filters are required to achieve this, then spare no expense. Cinema will always be a premium environment. If you are at the cinema, and think the image is too dark, don’t just sit there and put up with it. Find the manager and tell them.

Season’s greetings.

PS. I am not looking forward to the next Avatar film, except to see if the director can make it better than the first. You can have 24, 48 or 60 frames per second of junk, and it will still be junk.

Wendy Webb, of Barrow-in-Furness, oh dear!

August 15, 2012

I’ve given this a lot of thought, and I have decided that I feel very sorry for you.
I’m talking about you, just in case it’s not clear. Your birthday is 5th May, probably. You might have blocked me on facebook, but I had bookmarked your profile page prior to your actions. I do things like that sometimes, when I can see the dung flying towards the fan.

I feel very guilty that a person, or persons unknown, seem have taught you:
(a) Everyone in the world owes you great respect.
(b) You are allowed to treat others with contempt.
(c) The solution to criticism is to (forgive the metaphor) run upstairs to your bedroom and slam the door shut … then to come out a few hours later and pretend nothing happened.

It is over-due for you to learn these three things are wrong. Perhaps it might have been your mother ‘Angie’ or father ‘Rodney’ who made these mistakes – I don’t know.

(a) If you want people to respect you, you need to respect yourself and others. If someone is trying to help you, respect them and yourself by considering what they have to say. Chances are good that this helpful person is not trying to belittle you, or commit some grevious sin against you.
(b) If you tell someone to (quote) “stop being stupid and talking a load of shit” – it demonstrates that you have no respect for yourself (rule a) and it undermines any credibility you might have had in the past. As you have said that, any respect I might have had for you is irrevocably destroyed.
(c) You had your tantrum on July 9th this year because I gently suggested your administration of the group “Barrow Things Wanted” may be improved and enhanced by actually publishing _all_ the group rules and guidelines. Referring to parts (a) and (b) what you actually did was throw a tantrum, and then quietly edit the group document a few days later. To me that seems like such a long-winded effort, when a shorter alternative would have been to say “That’s a decent idea, I’ll consider that”. I know that, in the long run, you would feel better about it too.

(I know you edited the group rules a day or two later, I have several friends who are group members. They found the whole episode amusing and tragic at the same time.)

Assuming the red mist has not descended by now, I want you and everyone to know that I have more than enough information to defend myself against any legal action you might be considering.
A quick question, and on the same subject, have you heard of The Streisand Effect?

I am also concerned about the foul language you use in you facebook messages, and I might suggest that it is not compatible with your self-proclaimed position as “full time single yummy mummy”. Children learn to swear in their own time, you don’t need to teach them gutter language first.

I am also aware that facebook does not like their platform being used for sending abusive and offensive messages.

I have spent a considerable amount of time learning about management techniques, while I’m not an expert I am in a position to comment from a knowledgeable point of view. If want people to follow rules, then you need to ensure those rules are known by everyone. It’s very poor practice to withhold rules, then to have the screaming ab-dabs when it all goes wrong(1).

(1) There are several other people I know who would benefit from this advice.

Over the years I have received many critical comments and complaints, but I’ve learned from all of these. I know I am a better manager and person because of it.

Amy Scott Webb, of Walney Island: Known troll and time waster.

November 14, 2011

After an entertaining 25 minutes on Facebook, Amy Scott Webb of Walney Island has made defamatory comments about myself and my family, and then hidden her profile because she has not got the maturity to defend her comments.
Edit 14/11/2011 15:43
Here is the full, unedited, conversation thread.

Trusted computing – there’s a place for it. Somewhere.

October 23, 2011

There’s been a lot of talk recently about “Trusted Computing” and UEFI secure booting.
I share the concern of most of the critics, on the grounds that when I buy my desktop PC then it is only me who decides what software runs on it.
On the other side of the discussion, will be the many companies and other organisations who (rightly) want to control what happens with their computing hardware.
There’s no need to fear UEFI.
If I’m considering buying a UEFI-enabled computer system, the first question I will ask the seller is does it allow Secure Boot to be disabled, under the user’s control? If the answer is any thing other than “Yes” then there’s no sale. Easy peasy.


I’m quite flexible on the subject of computer operating systems. I recognise that the idea of Microsoft’s next consumer OS having a secure boot process is (in principle) great[1]. At the same time I also give equal merit to the idea that I can (and do) use some flavour of Linux on my personal computer.

I’m not going to sit here all smug and say Linux is bullet-proof[2], but my experience has been overwhelmingly positive. Perhaps I’m biased, but I have lost count of the number of times I’ve had to clean-up Microsoft boxes due to malware infections[3].

[1] It would help the average non-technical user a lot.
[2] There are Linux viruses and malware. Thankfully they are very rare (like their hosts), and patches and new kernels are available very quickly to limit their spread.
[3] I have done this many times (gladly) for family and friends, to the point where I recommend Linux over anything else for a simple web-browsing machine for a beginner or non-technical user.

Daily Mail newspaper confuses coincidence and causation.

July 1, 2011

With my condolences to the family and friends of Sophie Howard, this article seems to be suggesting that the public sector workers’ recent strike action was linked to the death of Sophie Howard.
I say “Coincidence is not the same as causation”.

Red Light Jumping bike user makes me sad.

May 24, 2011

With reference to my previous post, a small minority of bike users are setting a very poor example. Look at this short video. I’m trying to set a positive example, and trying to do everything the right way. Then some clown arrives and decides not to bother with petty little things like the Road Traffic Act 1988 section 36, and The Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2002 regulations 10 and 36.
To a certain extent I can understand how the image of cyclists everywhere is tarnished by this type of behaviour.