Saturday, May 12, 2012

Books and stuff

There is still a ride in the pipeline to mention, but for a while some pictures of some books I have read have been hanging around waiting for their “5 minutes of fame on my blog”. Since this is an out of sequence post I can also report that there won’t be a POETS day ride post.

And while I think about it last week featured another Patch Tuesday which does cause my heart to sink a little. Anyway 25 patches all installed, just the re-boot. You get all that blurb about not turning off your machine and the percentage countdown, then it turns on and then the Blue Screen of Death (BSOD). I start thinking about fishing the rescue disk out but manually re-start the machine and it starts up, does its install countdown and there it is and even more surprising it doesn’t decide to check my RAID disk system. My laptop and my wife’s laptop both installed the patches without problems so I do winder it the issue is my RAID system. My son’s only comment is he never has such problems on his MAC.

Now the weather has been pretty wet and  I haven’t been able to (or willing) to cut the grass for the last couple of weeks.  Mind you here in the flatlands it has been welcome rain. It has been helping Spring along and the grass has benefitted and looks much better. The leaves on most trees are now well on their way out, with the Beech trees and the Copper Beech amongst the last. However last place seems to be occupied by our old walnut tree. I am happy not to have had snow like some parts of Scotland or in the River Morpeth – good job it was a Disco.

My Old Disco in the Lake District – in search of Swallows and Amazons?

So for me Friday afternoon was more of a CTGTS (Cut the grass tomorrow's Saturday) and as it takes a while and is exercise entitles me to a bottle of beer with my supper. The rain certainly has done the lawn some good though.

In fact there has been so much rain that the “Drought status lifted for Cambridge Water customers” – although not the surrounding areas. Well as far as I can see, Cambridge Water don’t know that (on their website on the 12th May 2012. and never banned hosepipes anyway). Mind you I am not even washing my bicycle in order to do my bit for the shortage. It is carrying around quite a lot of mud from the last proper ride. I also seem to remember the Water companies saying that the rain would never fill the reservoirs and the drought would go on. Well not in quite a lot of the UK. except for the Flatlands of Anglia Water it would seem (some of our water comes from bore holes). The article also suggests that there Companies still covered by a hosepipe ban are allowing almost a quarter of all treated water to be wasted through leaks in the pipes. Unbelievable.

A Lake somewhere in Cambodia

Whilst on the subject of water “Money set aside for new cycle bridge on River Cam” is good news (IMHO), the Chisholm trail draws nearer and is part of providing access to the proposed Chesterton Railway Station in Cambridge in the area of the Chesterton Sidings along Fen Road. Which has a bit of a reputation – it this the gentrification process? Apparently in Cambridgeshire there are 408 caravans North of the A14 and 58 to the South. Will this development of Chesterton Sidings (which are to the South) alter that balance even more?

Whilst on the subject of rivers there was a river rage attack on the River Cam. Apparently two rowers were allegedly assaulted by a narrowboat owner, one with a broomstick.

Rowing on the River Cam

The infamous rail bridge on the way into Ely was also struck by a van, although the driver managed to extricate the van. And on another bridge (in Texas)  a man was arrested for naked unicycling. .Apparently he felt like cycling naked, I think if the urge came over me to cycle naked I would stick to a normal bike. It would appear from the picture in this news item that even cyclists couldn’t get past this lorry that broke down when trying to turn around on Arbury Road in Cambridge.

The double-decker cycle racks at the Cycle park at Cambridge railway station have also featured in the Cambridge News. Along with the story that Cambridge;’s local MP had his bike lock cut and his bike removed to make way for the trial racks.

Trial Double-Decker Cycle Parking – Cambridge Railway Station

I used to be quite keen on riding motor-bikes and so was shocked to see that a local motor-cyclist had his compensation reduced to zero for an accident when he was hit a glancing blow by a lorry and subsequently lost his leg. The County Court Judgement awarded a substantial sum, but the court of appeal found that although the lorry driver cut the corner the motorcyclist was deemed to have been too far over to the centre, although in his lane.

I am pretty shocked, apparently the Judge said “A finding of negligence in this case would, t my mind, be to impose an unacceptably high standard on the driver.” To lose all compensation despite being on his side of the road seems harsh for the motorcyclist. Surely that is what insurance is for.  Surely driving such a large vehicle requires a higher standard of driving just as say,  flying a plane requires a higher standard of training. In the context of cycling this article addresses the issue that there is a failure of motorists to fulfil their responsibilities.  We talk about vulnerable road-users we also need to consider potentially dangerous road-users and the bigger the vehicle the greater the potential danger and this the greater the responsibility.

Oops I almost got to the end without mentioning my recent reading. Now I love reading, from the Swallows and Amazons series (which got me camping and taking the kids to the Lake District 6 or 7 rears on the trot. To the Lord of the Rings which I have twice read aloud to both of my kids as a bedtime story. Once each child. As I have gotten older my reading has gotten more eclectic but from an early age I have also enjoyed science fiction starting with Arthur C. Clarke and Isaac Asimov. I read a lot less Science Fiction nowadays but do drop back in when I can. I am a fast reader and so my favourite story form is the trilogy, with each book being of 500 or more pages. That helps in terms of the story complexity and range that can be covered and frankly just makes it all last longer and be a more immersive an experience.

Now I listen to a BBC podcast – Dr Karl who answers listeners questions various matters. He is a bit of a poly-math having started with a Physics and Maths degree, with an MSc. in Astrophysics along the way leading to a degree in Medicine and Surgery. He in the course of his programs has mentioned an author called Alastair Reynolds with a first career in Astrophysics and a subsequent career as a Sci-Fi author. Well I bought the Revelation Space Sequence a trilogy written by Alastair and thoroughly enjoyed it, almost 2,000 pages of story.

And finally some real “space pictures” Nasa have probed the edge of our Solar system and it is not what we expected. And this picture of the planet Earth – which the headline says is 121-megapixels and the text 121 million mega-pixels. (Hey is is the Daily Mail what is 6 orders of magnitude between friends.) 

And really, really finally, how about this for a train tunnel.


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