Wednesday, December 14, 2011
The Passionate Life, 16 stories of People Who Dared to Risk. I have not read it yet, but it appears to have nothing to do with Ultra Running and more to do with a range of people the authors find interesting.
I am all for this model of book publishing, but I must admit I am more looking forward to reading the 2nd e-book than reading the 1st one.
Friday, December 9, 2011
I am spellbound when I visit London and it is raining. What other regular event gives an excuse to carry a 10 point sharp weapon at or around head height. They don't even need a license to use one in public. How many people get blinded in one eye each time it rains in London by a lack of due care and attention from the umbrella driver? If the number is zero, I would expect fudging by the Association of Umbrella Manufactures [is there one?].
Maybe I am only at risk because I don't have or use such an irresponsible item. Applying the US right wing argument for guns, if everyone had an umbrella, then no one would get a sharp spike of metal in the eye or ear.
Given the rather obvious 3rd party risk if carrying these offensive weapons, why are they legal?
What don't commuters need training and a certificate before they are allowed to carry one on a drizzly day?
"How to teach Umbrella safety to Children" looks hopeful. Even the moral-less sharks have got wind of it.
Would it be reasonable to walk around London carrying a unguarded javalin? No, unless you are on your way to javelin training and you have the sharp bits covered. So why are such bloody dangerous items considered acceptable?
Some of it may be "sorry about your eye, but at least I did not get wet".
It says a lot about our collective attitude to risk of injury.
Monday, November 28, 2011
The BBC article suggests that hospitals are not staffed properly at weekends, particularly with senior doctors. I have no doubt this is true, but does it tell the whole story ?
For those of us who have taken a 2 year old to A & E on the Saturday night of a rugby international, there is an alternative possibility prompted by observing the wave of the self mutilated who spill in through the door after about 9pm. Drink, drugs, sporting injuries, DIY injuries and racing dads car lead to a different profile of injury. Are they more likely to pop their clogs than tuesday night admissions ? This is where some numbers would help on the profile of the incoming workload.
Do more old people die in hospital at weekends because someone came to visit them, found them in a state, shipped them off to hospital where they pass on ? During the week no one would have visited them, so they would have passed on at home. Its possible, do the numbers back this up?
The BBC article is quite balanced, needs to take a few small steps more. It would be good to see the histogram at the end split out between A& E and non A & E and by age group.
Friday, November 25, 2011
Environment Minister John Griffiths said: "We've got three organisations all doing an important job but I think if we could pool them together we would have greater integration, greater efficiency, and greater effectiveness," he said
Just because a minister or civil servant "thinks" something might be a good idea should not be sufficient. To me this demonstrates a lack of commitment and understanding of the importance of evidence based policy or even using the consensus of experts. John Griffiths was a solicitor before becoming an AM in 1999, so would have little current experience of the world of forestry I suspect.
No doubt John Griffith is the bastion of the evidence policy in the Welsh Assembly and gives appropriate consideration to all available evidence before drawing a conclusion, but he does not show it in the example above which is worrying.
Has you heard of the Co-operative party before, me neither http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Labour_Co-operative. Seems John Griffiths is a member. Maybe it is a good thing as it adds an other layer of confusion for voters.
Saturday, November 12, 2011
For the 13th year out of the 15 that the Computer Science Department at Aberystwyth has run the Interview Skills weekend I wondered up to Gregynog to put the 2nd years students through their paces. Hopefully they found it useful. This year, both in terms of C.V. quality and coming across in interview, were the best for 4 or 5 years.
The top 5 issues with the C.V.'s and the interviews this year were
- Self-starter (vomit), passionate and team worker to be removed. Tell us what you have done, give us facts about what you have done inside and outside computing, not your opinions about yourself. Let us form the opinion of what type of person you are based on the contents of the C.V. and how you conduct yourself in interview.
- Put it in the C.V. We had a few students who needed a good slap for not mentioning distinctive and relevant technologies which they had non-trivial experience of and could talk about in some depth. They just happened to let it slip while talking about something far less impressive.
- Lack of stuff. Doing a Computer Science Degree, but many had no outside computing related projects or hacking around to talk about.
- Every student on every computing degree course in the UK and beyond does a group project. If the group project is the best example of your team working abilities, think again.
- Look at me when you are talking to me !
Thursday, November 10, 2011
The twitter joke trail is well known among the more hardened UK internet users and I won't discuss the detail here, interesting as the discussion were about what happened and when, is. The big take away's for me were
- The CPS and legal system feel at liberty ignore experts (such as the interviewing office or security coordinator at Nottingham airport) when it suits them and can use the word "terrorism" as an excuse to suspend common sense.
- A judge can weigh their own opinion over expert evidence, even in areas they have little knowledge.
- The CPS can go searching a large body of unrelated law if the whim takes them and will find something to prosecute almost any action.
- Being a knowledgeable user of the internet makes the accused more guilty because they know about the medium. If a 1st time internet twitter user had written what Paul wrote, the judge implied they would not be guilty
- Skeptic groups do make a difference to policy
- It is highly amusing to watch that various people in this area play the room, find out who is who and who they need to build relationships with. One gentleman introduced himself to me, found out I lived in Aberystwyth, am not active in this area and lacking in connections and walked off to find someone else better connected, very funny indeed.
- 20 years ago there was no twitter, boys said the same things to their girlfriends either on the phone, in letter to email which could not be searched by off duty airport security offices. We have all said similar things, just not where others can search for it.
I found out that Aberystwyth Skeptics exists seems to have past me by is probably shameful on my part for expecting one not to exist so I did not look, but also suggests they have not been well promoted.
I also bumped into Alec Muffet and Tom Crick which meant 2 extra pints, but was good to catch up.
I do hope Dave Allen Green had the mother of all hangovers, he looked like he should by the end of the night.
Sunday, October 30, 2011
- There is no reason for the Welsh government members to fund a service they don't use. After all, who wants to travel to London, the world of business is centered on Cardiff.
- Every so often Arriva would forget about the service and 2 days later someone would notice they had left a set of sleeper coaches in a siding full of people.
- We are too tied to cars and hotels to seek other options.
- The 1st time you use the service, you don't sleep much. Learning to sleep on a train takes a little perseverance.
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
As a medium to discipline a child, we make a very conscious choice to not use any physical punishment. I have found myself smacking the small people for a laugh on numerous occasions, exclusively to make them laugh, much in the way they get tickled. Does it do them any harm, I guess we won't know for years, but if either them gets exposed in 2031 on a Channel 4 documentary of the underworld of S & M, I will conclude that recreational smacking does harm your child's long term development and admit my error. Granddad, who is in his 80's, has many times given them a comical spanking, since he lives in Scotland and I don't see evidence that the Scottish Parliament is in such an advanced state of confusion, he will probably be OK.
I believe that parents should have the choice on how they discipline their children. Crossing the line into abuse should be an obvious line, perhaps these representatives in Cardiff can't see that line or have so little respect for the judgement of the people they represent that they are sure they know best. Managerial-ism gone mad.
Have these 4 A.M.'s failed to notice that Wales as an entity is a economic basket case, there as serious social, educational and crime problems which should rest very heavily on the mind of each of our collective representatives and occupy their working lives.
I can see a situation if these clowns get their way where I will be giving my kids a good slapping, they will be laughing away and I will get reported for smacking my children, complete with video evidence. Without the context of them having a good laugh, you see the potential for out of line 3rd party interpretations. Worse I don't trust some of the organisations involved and the way they will interpret a new law.
Lets hope sense prevails by an other route.
So should I continue to smack my children ?
Monday, October 3, 2011
So a very quick summary of the main points I got from reading it were
- Proposing the use of a Gaussian distribution for assessing risk for real world events is ballocks.
- The events that you need to worry about are the ones you don't worry about
- Don't forget the positive black swans
- Few experts have any better insight into what disaster/wonderful opportunity may arise next and when it might appear
- Those who get predicting the future right are lucky
- Don't worry, it won't help much
At both events I was the only male who was not warning a dark suit and was one of the very few who was under 50. I raise this issue with Karen, the C.E. of AllenbridgeEpic who for different reasons was not warning a dark suit and we agreed that moving forward 15 years there is a risk that the pensions industry will be very short of experienced trustee's. There will be no shortage of people to sell their services as professional trustees, but that is not the point. Trustees from the membership and the company are highly valuable, something missing from the trend of D.C. schemes moving to Group Pension Plans with insurance companies which are great for the company, but much worse for the member.
Can't predict the future, but I can see a serious lack of knowledge trustees and scheme managers in 15 years time to deal with what will be very taxing issues.
Sunday, September 25, 2011
I understand there are 100,000 people in a constituency and he does have a reputation for dealing with real problem that constituents have, so fobbing off is valid workload control mechanism. However, come 2015 there will be 2 weak areas which will leave him personally exposed I believe.
I meet him to talk about Broadband about a year ago, shame nothing visible has happened or even threatened to, despite a couple of prodding's on my part. There may be stuff he is doing around Broadband that I have not seen and between Google Alerts and keeping my ear to the ground I should have picked up an non-clandestine activity in this area. It may also be he feels powerless and that responsibility for improved communications infrastructure is Cardiff. If that is the case he needs to make it clear.
I would not tell any elected representative how to vote. M.P.'s should have access to a bigger picture and better quality information we would hope. One would hope an M.P. gets better information than I get via The Economist and the web, but I do wonder sometimes. However, I do feel it is important to raise some matters so they get a view of how a constituent thinks and I am concerned that the Tory health service plans will damage the NHS beyond repair, they are ideologically driven and poorly thought out. I have yet to meet anyone in the Health Service who thinks they are a workable solution to the NHS's problems. Those I have spoken with see it as privatization by the back door. The NHS does need change, but the argument appears to comes down on the side that the required changes are not the ones making their way through at the moment.
I emailed Mark my thoughts. To his credit he always replies with an articulate response. This time though he wrote the head and tail of the email and inserted a fairly obvious party line response of around 1000 words, a fair enough workload control measure, I would probably do the same [its an email between Mark and myself, so it would be wrong to reproduce it here] and a pdf of curious letter from an a Conservative MP who was also a QC with his view on a 38degree web site posting. If you were taking a legal view would take it from a QC who happens to be an M.P. for the party putting forward an bill? maybe not.. I suspect Mark is getting the sharp side of the Lib. Dem. whip to tow the line over NHS reforms, but come 2015 he will wish he kept the backbone he had for tuition fees when judged by his constituents. Shame, I really like the chap.
Sunday, September 11, 2011
The Arriva train from Aberystwyth is a non-starter unless you go down the night before. The 1st train leaving Aberystwyth at 5.14 would get you to Reading for 10.30am 2 changes later [Shrewsbury and Newport!], add the 30 minute walk to the office and half the day has gone. Adds to my assertion that Arriva is a service unsuitable for business at this time.
I had been looking for other viable options and last week found that the 1st Great Western service from Hereford leaves at about 5.40. Gets into Reading at about 8.30 with no changes and cost 36 quid return.
Now getting to Hereford from Aberystwyth for 5.40 is non-trivial and a little anti-social to say the least, more so if you want to read to your kids the night before.
However, I managed to sleep for an hour on the train down and read half of the Economist. Coming back I wrote a 30 minute ZFS Solaris 11 features presentation for next week and read the rest of the Economist, so quite productive, a lot better than driving the whole way.
I had been looking for something to replace the Wrexham and Shropshire service since it shut back in January. Arriva from Aberystwyth is well, Arriva from Aberystwyth is not viable for business travel.
The drive to Hereford takes about 1 hour 45 and parking is easy enough. The food on the train which not quite up to W & S standards, but was fine. The train only started to fill up around Oxford and was quite empty most of the journey.
No doubt something will happen to this service in the next few month, it will be withdrawn or the price will treble, but it does look quite a viable option at the moment. I think I have also found viable and cheap accommodation within striking difference of Hereford to avoid the very, very early start.
The best part of the day was the walk along the Thames which was very pleasant. So Reading now has 2 things going for it, the other being this.
Sunday, August 28, 2011
- Bob Graham Round
- Beautiful Day Festival
- Half Man Half Biscuit gig
- Myra away in Canada for 2 weeks holiday with sister
- Myra's 3 day north to south of Wales cycle (left the top and bottom bits for next time)
- That job thing!
- Summer child care rotation (probably the most fun bit)
- I wrote some stuff for Waleshome.org this year
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
[Other Stouts are available]
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Subject: I NEED YOUR TRUST IN THIS MONEY PLS:
Date: 19 July 2011 17:44:50 BST
To: undisclosed recipients: ;
Attension Dear Clive,
I am Mr Youssouf Kobanne, i am one of the aides to Mr Laurent Gbagbo, the president of Cote D'ivoire,
I am in charge of Finance & protocols in the government of Mr Laurent Gbagbo,the president of Cote D'ivoire,
Sir,you may be surprised of how i came across your name & contact, It is not far fetched, to be precise,I got your contact through plaxo.com,
My reason for contacting you is very simple, sincere, secret & profit oriented if you can maintain absolute confidentiality & secret into the whole arrangement,
You are aware of the recent and present crises going on in my country Cote D'ivoire right now because of the post election crisis between Mr Laurent Gbagbo and Mr Alassane Ouattarra,
THE UNITED NATIONS(UN), UNITED STATES OF AMERICA(USA), AFRICA UNION(AU)EUROPEAN UNION(EU) FRANCE OUR COLONIAL MASTERS AND ECONOMIC COMMUNITY OF WEST ARICAN STATES(ECOWAS) HAVE ALL PLACED SANCTIONS ON US(THE GOVERNMENT OF LAURENT GBAGBO, HIS FAMILY AND HIS LOYALISTS,),
Right now, we cannot travell outside Cote D'ivoire and our funds in various banks had been frozend,
To this end, i am contacting you so that i will direct you to where you will Get the considerable amount of USD$ been saved by me on bahalf of the government of Mr Laurent Gbagbo, i will not mention the accurate figure and the name of the banks where the funds are been kept until i get a positive response from you and your willingness to go this message for us,
The money runs into millions of Dollars, you will act as our eyes while going for this mission for us,
It is risk free business, the only impedement here is our inability to travel outside our country to collect the funds from(The banks) where it is been deposited/kept,
I used a different name to save the funds there, this is to ensure that people'e eyes are not on the funds, i did it that way in order not to raise eye brows, i did not use my name or any of the names of the serving personells in the government of Mr Laurent Gbagbo to save the money because of security reasons and coupled with our positions in government,
Declare your interest to this business to me by a return mail & let us follow this business because it is truth that i am telling you and you will see everything to be truth very soon, don't underate/commonise this business please, this is good business for us, so put good interest on it please,
Please sir, maintain adequate secrecy & confidentiality this business deserves, & ask question(s) where you deems necessary.
Don't let anybody know about this deal (This is top secret please) & you should maintain its secrecy & confidentiality it deserves.& ask me question where you are not clear,
I will mention where the funds is been kept in the bank and direct you to where and how you will collect it after hearing from you,
Contact me through my email address at (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Mr Youssouf Kobanne
So this sounds like a good deal, but my grandfather always said you can't trust a man who confuses their semi-colons with their full stops (well he did not, he was a tool maker in the ship builders in Belfast and I only meet him once when I was 4, but you get the picture).
Typically Oracle's (previously Sun's) SPAM filters have been very effective in getting rid of these types of email. Even the browsers things its spam. I tried sending it to E-Crime Wales but their spam filters thought it was SPAM and bounced it, very good indeed.
This message was created automatically by mail delivery software.
A message that you sent could not be delivered to one or more of its
recipients. This is a permanent error. The following address(es) failed:
(generated from email@example.com)
SMTP error from remote mail server after end of data:
host cluster.gsi.messagelabs.com [220.127.116.11]:
553-Message filtered. Please see the FAQs section on spam
553-at http://www.messagelabs.com/support/ for more
553 information. (#5.7.1)
and this is a harder problem. How do you detect an email that is reporting SPAM[or similar], rather than actually being SPAM.
Why did I pick E-Crime Wales? In the metrics driver world that they exist as I understand it this can be counted as a crime and a contact with the wider world and used to justify their existence which is very worthwhile in my view. I have not doubt every SPAM filter in the world already knows about this lot (well not every).
Friday, July 15, 2011
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Thursday, June 23, 2011
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Monday, June 13, 2011
Saturday, May 28, 2011
Think mature and well known footballer mentioned a number of times by name on both Have I got News for You and The News Quiz last night for something his wife would not have approved of and then being advised to go to court (I can't imagine he came up with the idea himself) to get a injunction to prevent him being named. He is now better known for being a victim of the Streisand effect. Like most people I don't care where said footballer dips his wick or with who, but the effect of technology and the way society uses it has fascinating consequences for enforcing an aspect of the law which is fundamentally broken.
Friday, May 20, 2011
An elected 2nd house is the last thing you want and really young Clegg should see it.
There may be be reason to change the selection process, for example I see no good reason why being a Bishop in itself is qualification for the 2nd chamber, but that said in some ethical debates they may add value.
What must be avoided is career politicians who have had a career to date as a MP's researcher or case worker being part of the machine that is responsible for picking holes in laws as they are made.
Clegg, suggest you are better off leaving it alone.
Friday, May 6, 2011
Dr Clive King
03 May 2011
Your Case Reference: ATW-110330-BDV
Dear Dr King
Thank you for contacting us regarding the incident that took place on the last service from Shrewsbury to Aberystwyth on 29th March. I was sorry to hear that a customer had become unconscious on our train and needed attention.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for the assistance you provided our staff on this occasion as it was well received. It was also good of you to let us know how well you thought the conductor had dealt with the situation and a copy of your correspondence has been forwarded to her direct manager to record and to pass on.
Our train crew only receive basic first aid training and the equipment provided on board the train is very much the same. They are not required to perform more extensive aspects of first aid within their role and are advised to contact our main control in these incidents so an ambulance can be arranged to meet the train.
I do however take on board your detailed account of what could have potentially gone wrong and I have now passed your comments on to our more senior managers for consideration.
Thank you again for taking the time to write to us with your kind words regarding the conductor and thankfully this situation did not escalate to something more serious. If I can be of any further assistance please do not hesitate to contact me directly.
Customer Relations Advisor
Arriva Trains Wales
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Sunday, April 3, 2011
- Ynys Mon/Anglesey county council councillers have been fighting so much between then selves that the big children in the Assembly government have got tired of telling them to stop fighting and get on with the job of delivering services to the people of the Island.
- Big bad A.M. Carl Sergeant spent a lot for time thinking about what to do, ignored some advice by some people who had looking into the problems in some detail and then decided to appoint his friends (some of which has done a bit of infighting in their time) to do what the naughty councilors of Ynys Mon should have done in the 1st place
- All the new commissioners are retired public servants of some sort and it is unlikely that they will all still be standing by the time Council elections come round again given their advanced age.
- Ieuan Wyn Jones does not do or say much for the area he represents, but with a majority of over 4,000 I would be surprised if his seat is in much real danger, though Paul would like his job very much.
Thursday, March 31, 2011
A lad on the seat behind me on the train back from Shrewsbury on Tuesday collapsed. No obvious smell of drink, could have been pills and potions or could have been concussion from some type of accident or diabetic comma or something else. The train manager could not wake him once he had collapsed between the seats and she made a lot of effort.
It does not really matter the cause from a 1st aid point of view. Make sure their airway is clear and put in recovery, seek help. Our poor unfortunate had his head against the side of the carriage, forcing his head forward. The possibility of doing a Hendrix is somewhat raised and if he had been sick, well, you know what could happen.
The conductor who was both most caring and intent on doing the right things, called for an ambulance to meet the train at Machynleth Station. All good. However, neither she or the driver-manager(not quite sure I understand what they are) felt that they could move our friend to release the pressure on his neck because of Arriva rules(thats my understanding at least of their conversation). So I did it and put him in the recovery position [ which he promptly moved out of, but at least his neck was not constrained ]. I figured that should he die, it would spoil my evening more than the shadow of a no-win no fee solicitor.
We can't expect all train staff to be 1st aid trained, but they could at least ask if any passengers are. If he had stopped breathing, he may not have made it to the paramedics without CPR and that would have fallen to a passenger, in this case probably me, to keep his breathing and circulation going.
So if you are going to take drugs, drink yourself into oblivion, bang your head or not manage an illness properly and wish to travel on an Arriva train while unconcious, take someone with you who knows how to handle the situation. The Arriva staff will do their very best for you, but believe they are constrained by the rules their company gives them to follow.
No idea what happened to him or the cause, but he was still breathing at Machynleth as the Paramedics took over and I got off.
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Monday, February 28, 2011
I am working in Prague this week and was on holiday in the Lakes last week, so I have already voted in the referendum to give the Welsh Assembly Government the ability to make laws in devolved areas without recourse to Westminister.
Certain events which are quite minor make you think if this deserves a protest vote. I am quite supportive of WAG, they have done some good work and have many good A.M.'s but on somethings you have to wonder how capable the underlying civil service really is.
Returning from the Lakes on Friday at about 2pm, we spent 90 minutes crawling through Newtown. Having a phone with Internet I looked up the Powys Highways number and found out that the design work for the new junction layout was paid for by Tesco and done by an external consultant. W.A.G. should have overseen the work. I normally travel through Newtown before 7am or after 8pm, so its the 1st time I have seen this chaos. Talking to a few people who travel that way regularly they say it has been bad for a long time, but got much worse as Tesco opened.
A quick Google search yields this, this and this, plus lots more. This is a high point though
I was told today that the Assembly’s experiences elsewhere indicates that traffic flows will improve as drivers become familiar with the new layout and that WAG does not intend therefore to make any fundamental changes immediately. I accept that flow will improve a little as drivers get used to the layout, but WAG are just not in touch with what is happening here in Newtown and are making excuses.
- have let such a scheme be implemented by Tesco
- To have ignored the need to short term remedial measures [if shutting Tesco till the underlying issue is resolved is the only option, then so be it, this is a trunk road after all]
- To only have a long term plan of a by-pass which looks to be at least 3 years away
Sunday, February 13, 2011
- Bankers have found a way of avoiding various taxes that I am not party to.
- Bankers are an easy media and political target.
Friday, February 11, 2011
Monday, January 31, 2011
- Tuition fees. The may make sense as a party policy as few students vote Tory
- Sell the national forests. I can't get my head round how this is anything other than an attempt to get rid of voters. Lots of people will feel strongly about this.
- Modernization of the NHS. Talking to people who work in the NHS and I know a few, the big problems they face is poor management and struggling to keep up with change. Radical structure change is the last thing they need and most view it as privatization by the back door. Claire Rayner will be coming back to haunt you Mr Cameron.
- High speed Rail through the Chilterns. So we have a huge deficit, lets spend lots of money on a railway we don't need though countryside that our votes live in. It makes no sense to me either.