Category Archive:education

World Community Grid ( admin posted on May 28th, 2013 )

My current WCG Status.

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Categories: education, general

New year, new picture ( admin posted on February 22nd, 2012 )

The only flying Avro Vulcan XH558 needs our help again. Buy some stuff here.

This is what it looks like on my desktop:-




Would look (and sound) better in the air.

First flew in 1952 so 2012 is it’s diamond jubilee.

Designed (initially) by Roy Chadwick (of Avro Lancaster fame) and yet took to the air only 12 years after the Lancaster. An amazing bit of British engineering, which gladly never had to carry out it’s grim primary mission. Stretch the profile along the length and see the Concorde (really – it is uncanny).

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XH558 again ( admin posted on April 29th, 2011 )

Well the world’s only flying Avro Vulcan has moved home. They need more funding here

And here is a picture :-

Vulcan XH558

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Categories: education, general

Panama Canal Webcams ( admin posted on February 1st, 2010 )

In case you haven’t already seen it, the Panama canal has some superb webcams where you can watch ships traverse the locks 24/7

This is miraflores locks.

Image captured 17:38 local time, 1st Feb 2010. Temp. 32C. Makes you sick doesn’t it?

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Categories: education, general

A modern parable ( admin posted on January 28th, 2010 )

Two football teams are gearing up for a match. The home team manager talks a good game – aggressive, loud, abusive to all other teams, particularly the away team. He runs his own team with a rod of iron – more stick than carrot. He is hated as much by his own side as by the opposition.

The away team didn’t really want to come – it’s a long journey, but their manager has been goaded and pushed too far – the match will go on.

The away team has many supporters, one in particular who even acts as a substitute player when required. He used to be a main team player but these days is mostly just a supporter from the sidelines.

As the teams gather on the pitch, it becomes clear to the spectators that this game is not very even – the home team only seems to have a couple of defenders, a blind goalie and no strikers. Their kit looks a bit pathetic, mismatched boots, holes in shirts. Yet the home manager keeps shouting that “we will win”, “we will fight to the end”, “the away team are cowards and useless” etc. etc.

The away team, on the other hand, has brought about 50 players, all in the latest sports kit, matching bags and water bottles. Surely they can’t have that many on the pitch at the same time!

The excitement mounts, but the referees are not yet on the pitch – they are still at the side arguing with each other, and with one or two of the spectators!

The away team starts to move onto the pitch, more and more players drifting towards the half way line, looking very aggressive, with the away manager swapping abuse with the home manager all the time. Then the away manager turns to his friend and says “ok buddy, get your tracksuit off, you’re playing”. The little friend looks scared, “but the referee isn’t ready yet” he says, “we need to wait for him to blow his whistle”. The away manager turns really angry “listen pal, we’ve come a long way and this match is going ahead. If you don’t want to play that’s fine, but don’t expect me to be your friend any more. Now get your kit off, get on that pitch and kick the ball.”

Slowly the little friend removes his tracksuit, and walks onto the pitch, hoping that the referees will stop the madness. By this time the away team has put all it’s players on now, ready for the kickoff – the spectators and referees seem paralysed, not really believing what they are seeing. The squabble on the sidelines gets louder with everyone oblivious to the impending carnage on the pitch.

The away manager blows his own whistle, his team surge forward and annihilate the home team, with the spectators watching with shock and awe. Even at the very end, as the goalie is fouled, the home team publicity officer is still shouting “The situation is excellent” and “We are winning!” It’s the one funny part of the whole sorry episode.

The rest is history, leaving the spectators to argue about what happened for years to come.

For the film version, here is a suggested cast of characters:-

The home manager — Saddam Hussein
The home publicity officer — Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf
The away manager — George W Bush
The special friend — Tony Bliar
The referees — The UN
The spectators — You and me

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Categories: education, general

Just about sums it up ( admin posted on September 20th, 2009 )

Operating system summary

song chart memes
see more Funny Graphs

Thanks Graphjam.

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Categories: education, general

ODF ( admin posted on May 13th, 2009 )

As a user of OpenOffice I was interested in the rumbling argument regarding interoperability between office suites, and MS attempts to screw it up every chance they get. Those who are still forced to use MS Office may like to use the Sun ODF  plug-in available for free here. Apparently this one works.

Those struggling to get to grips with a new office suite can find help here.

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Categories: education, general

Low Frequency Thinking ( admin posted on March 24th, 2009 )

Is my phrase of the day. I heard it on the radio this morning in the context of thinking deeply and carefully. But thats not what I think it means. The best examples I can think of are:-

“Alan had mastered the art of low frequency thinking early in his life – he was thick”.

“John took the opportunity during double maths to do a spot of low frequency thinking – he fell asleep”.

Should be added to the list of words frowned upon by the LGA

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Categories: education, general

Holmfirth High ( admin posted on March 14th, 2009 )

The school did it again:- sent letters home with a duff web address. I wrote to them a couple of weeks ago, but got no reply. About 1300 kids got the letter. Here is my response :-

Att:- Hxxxxx Sxxxxx (you know who you are…)

Hello. You have just sent a letter home encouraging parents to start using new methods of communication. You also suggest we can register via your website

Although this domain is owned by the school (registered in 2004) you have not yet done anything with it. The same applies to and (which I first registered and gave to the school to prevent abuse – look it up, according to whois I am still the registered owner). 

For a school specialising in computing, you show a remarkable lack of knowledge around the use of the internet and computing in general. Not a very good example to our children then. This is not the first time you have sent letters with a non-working domain, but can I suggest you get with the program and try a bit harder.

You should be using those domains yourself – allowing kids to create their own content etc. At least post a redirect to digital brain, since you insist on using them. Either that or stop publishing duff web addresses.


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Categories: education

How to not be fat. ( admin posted on January 3rd, 2009 )

The short version :-

Your size (i.e. your weight) is determined substantially by how much you eat. Your fitness and stamina is determined substantially by how much you exercise. These two characteristics are not significantly interchangeable by normal mortals.

Anyone who tries to tell you different is talking rubbish.

The longer bit :-

Interesting to note :- the average human male (me) needs about 2500 calories a day to sustain himself. Lets round this down to 2400 i.e. an average of 100 calories per hour. Every hour. Doing what you normally do, breathing etc.

You can burn up to several hundred calories in an hour of very vigorous exercise. Then you put 400 calories back immediately with a snack bar and a packet of crisps. I can’t burn calories at such a significant rate because my name is not Michael Phelps and I am not an athlete. I can eat snack bars and crisps very easily. See the problem?

So we need a different approach – we need to cut down the calorie intake if we are going to avoid blimp mode. Hence the fascination with diets.

What I have learnt about diets by observing people over the years – they are a waste of time. I have never tried to follow a diet.

Here is the solution :- miss a meal. Every day. Of course you can – trust me, you get used to it. There is no charge for this advice, by the way, but it does work.

Just think about it for a minute :- when you were a baby, you snacked at will. As a small child you had 4 or 5 meals a day. Then it got down to 4, including supper. This is a habit that tends to carry on into adulthood, and it’s not a good one. Why 3 or 4 main meals a day? It’s a habit.

As an adult, you should have already dropped supper, or already be 3 stone everweight. Remember you only need 2500 calories (2000 for the ladies). Easy to get that – too easy.

(p.s. when has any doctor not said to someone over 40: “Stop smoking, lose 3 stone, take more exercise” at every opportunity).

Think back to the old saying “Breakfast like a King, lunch like a Prince, and dine like a pauper”. How many of us do that? Not easy is it?, we tend to do exactly the opposite! But it is easy to drop the lunch, especially if you work. Don’t go to the canteen/chip shop/butty shop etc. Don’t take those sandwiches with you. Probably harder if you are at home all day – you need a distraction.

In order for this to work, you have to have a good breakfast, and that means protein. Whoever thought up cereals for breakfast was an idiot. It just leaves you craving proper food 2 hours later. Been there, done that. No, the answer is proper food for breakfast, eggs, ham, bacon, pie etc. whatever. Toast will not cut it – I’ve tried.

So are you going to change? This is not a diet, remember, it’s a new way of life – forever. Has to be a proper change – you need to get your head round that. Bit like getting a dog or the giving up smoking thing – it’s forever.

The good news:- It gets easier, it saves you a bunch of money on lunches, your body changes shape slowly so you can continue to do all the things you normally do, buy smaller clothes over time etc.

You can cheat if you have a business lunch, sunday lunch etc and not feel guilty – you are not on a diet!. Just make sure you miss all the lunches you can in between.

If you want to get the most from this change, you need to do the other thing the doctor recommmends – more exercise. Has to be without the snack afterwards as well. Gym, fitness classes, walking, running, swimming, doesn’t matter, just take up something. Personal trainer if you really have no will power and money to burn.

Personally I swim – twice a week normally, 30 minutes, non-stop (about 1 to 1.5km). Again it’s amazing how it gets easier and you get faster. Really I should do more but time etc.

Good luck – no charge.

Kids – you can ignore all the above until you get to 25, after which you can decide for yourself when you need to start missing a meal or two – clue – your clothes are getting bigger.

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Categories: education, general