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A strange thing happened on the way to the keyboard…

Like most bloggers I have a need to check the numbers of viewers/visitors more than once a day. It’s a needy thing. Like I need to know at least some people read my drivel and have signed up to read my blog on a fairly regular basis. When I first started the numbers were low as you would expect, but now they are a lot higher even although I had almost a year off in between the start three years ago and now.

I also tend to comment on other blogs, which can be fairly amusing and sometimes a bit fraught. If you’ve looked at my blog, and you must have to get this far, then you’ll see I don’t get many comments. Blogs are like mini communities and commenting works for some and not for others. I’ve had the odd troll also, although not on toast, which can be a real pain. Generally, though, it’s been an enjoyable journey.

A wee bit earlier I was about to sit down and write a blog. I opened up the blog and checked the numbers and then noticed the comment icon was indicating that I had a comment. I opened the comment and lo and behold the senders name was Judith Ralston. If you give the comments a wee look you’ll see it for yourself.

Now I would imagine that’s fairly easy to set up a profile, which may be, shall we say, a little less than accurate. Maybe there is more than one Judith Ralston within Scotland? Maybe there are several? Yes I know that there will be many versions of Judith Ralston in different quantum dimensions.

There maybe a version of Judith that didn’t have problems with her voice and has gone on to be a much loved entertainer. Since quantum dimension are infinite there will definitely be a Judith Ralston who is Head of the BBC weather department for the whole of the UK.

Dare I also say that there will be dimensions where this blog does not exist! I know pretty fat fetched but there you go.

Judith, in her comment, has said that she has been ill. I, and I would imagine a number of other chaps would want to wish Judith a speedy return to the Scottish evening weather forecast. I think for the first reappearance Judith should push the boat out, just to remind us all of what we have been missing.

I’m not a big fan of the BBC since they are the voice of the UK establishment and are perhaps far too entwined with the Glasgow Labour set, which is probably not a healthy position, to be in. I think the BBC should buy the old Scotsman building which is right beside the Scottish Parliament. This would mean that the parliament would receive better coverage and Edinburgh would gain much improved reporting. I can see Sally Magnusson being the Edinburgh anchor with Brian Taylor ranting on a bit longer than currently each night.

The thing is, who would present the weather? Can you think of anyone with the correct credentials?

 

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It’s a cycle… part 2

Is cycling dangerous? Well like everything else I had to be careful and know what to avoid. I learned pretty quickly that petrol tankers were to be taken very seriously. They had a tendency to suck cyclists in as they passed them when both were at speed. The nearest I came to an accident was at a roundabout when a woman started swerving all over the place and almost collected me when she suddenly decided which exit to take. I also had the odd knob throwing things from cars and shouting abuse etc. Cycling is like everything else, you don’t want to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and you are RESPONSIBLE for your own actions!

The current fad for cycling within the general populace, within a certain segment, is of course driven by self-righteousness. Save the planet. We hate cars. We are better than car drivers. You know the stuff.

The other day there was an interesting article in the press about cyclists and how stressed they get when cycling in the city. Edinburgh University got a group of cyclists together and asked them to cycle along a particular route. The group contained experienced and new cyclists.

You’ll be shocked by the results. Apparently the more experienced cyclists didn’t feel as much stress as the less experienced and the cyclists felt more stress when they approached busy junctions. Really? Who would have thunk it?

I’d suggest that if the beginners took some training and put some though into how they would actually cycle, like not going through red lights, not going down one way streets the wrong way, not cycling on pavements, not cycling along the left hand side of a any vehicle, not wearing and using ipods/headphones, not putting far too much weight on the bike etc. etc. etc. I’m fairly sure their stress levels would drop and the number of injuries and squishings would also drop. Also bear in mind the streets go as well as down and Edinburgh has lots of hills, cobbles and very poor surfaces.

Of course they won’t do anything. They’ll just sit and whinge and try to gain as much benefit from the council to give them a higher status, funded by the local council using taxpayers money, than every other road and pavement user. Bear in mind that they are not insured so if they crash into you what happens? Do you have to pay for their accident?

The biggest nonsense though is the current push for vehicle drivers to be deemed the cause of any accident a cyclist is involved in. That’s better known as guilty before being proven innocent.

I was in Hyde Park recently and they have all these wee routes all marked out and cyclists and pedestrians share the same tarmac paths. The speed of cyclists compared to pedestrians is, in a lot of cases, significant so walkers are likely to take the brunt of any collisions.

How did we ever come to all this crap?

 
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Posted by on November 27, 2014 in Cycling, Edinburgh, Health, Traffic

 

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It’s a cycle… (Part 1)

Cycling used to be looked down upon by most of the people who are now very keen to cycle themselves. After all cycling used to be the preserve of the workingman, it was a cheap way of getting to work, it saved them time and maybe they felt fitter. Kids had bicycles also but mostly hand me down adult bikes without much in the way of gears and certainly no suspension apart from a couple of springs under the seat. Then in the 60s things changed a bit.

Cars became more affordable making it easier to transport kids and all sorts of stuff and go out for drives and holidays. Kids still cycled and some bikes, like the Raleigh Chopper were interesting from a design point of view but they weren’t good dynamically.

Some chaps in the USA started racing down dirt hills on their bikes, which led them to needing better gears since they had to get up the hills first. They also needed much wider tyres so they had enough grip and the tyres didn’t puncture as easily. They started messing around with various things one of which was to make the weight of the bike much less since pedalling up hill is easier if weight is lower.

It caught on and before we knew it mountain or all terrain biking was born.

I joined the ranks of cycling many years before that, when I was big enough to reach the pedals of an ancient maroon Raleigh ladies bike with no gears and brakes worked with solid metal rods rather than the much better and safer cable operated brakes. Years later, my re-entry in cycling was to buy a mountain bike which had some 15 gears to choose from but it was still pretty heavy. I then moved onto a bike, which I had to tie down to stop it floating away which had 21 very expensive but beautifully engineered gears. I also started wearing cycling shorts and lycra tops in hideously bright colours etc.

I started off doing around 5 miles at a time and then expanded that to 25 or more miles depending on time, light and weather. I was doing more than 120 miles a week just for fun and was certainly fitter for sure. There were lots of hills where I lived which was a bind but at least going downhill was pretty good. On the flat I’d usually manage around 18 mph cruising speed on the mountain bike I had and I’d see around 30 mph on some downhill sections.

I’d learnt the cycling highway code thing and done the cycling proficiency but not got the badge. I wore a helmet sometimes and I timed and recorded all my runs out on my bike in a sort of cycling diary, which I still have. I had a wee computer that I used to measure all sorts of things for each time I went out.

More exciting cycling stuff in part 2!!!

 
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Posted by on November 26, 2014 in Cycling, Edinburgh, Health

 

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He’s at it again.

Our good friend Mr George Monbiot is now telling us how to get rid of all those pesky floods. He knows stuff you see and he has his column in the Guardian loss making newspaper, his wee blog bless him and the BBC where he is treated like a demigod, quite a small demigod but a demigod nonetheless.

If you’ll remember a wee while ago he was against nuclear power, he was against eating meat and he was also against people with large houses not taking in complete strangers to fill their otherwise empty bedrooms.

But then… suddenly nuclear power was really a good idea as far as George was concerned. Why had he not noticed this before he mused? Suddenly (again) meat eating was also a very good thing to be doing. Why hadn’t he noticed this before he again mused? He had repented on both and had been humble about it apparently.

Next of course was another turnaround but not as dramatic as the other two, and there are others of course if you care to look. This wasn’t as dramatic because the problem for George was that he had a large house and he hadn’t filled it with people who needed a roof over their heads. Oh dear.

Still, better having an opinion is better then not having an opinion even if wee Georgie Monbiots opinion was complete pants. Free speech is so important don’t you think? I am a great believer in free speech especially when it’s complete bollocks provided by wee Georgie Monbiot.

This time he has another theory. It involves sheep. Doesn’t he live in Wales or thereabouts? He may well know a lot about sheep as well as everything else. Anyway the floods will go away if sheep stop walking on the grass in the uplands and compressing it so the water doesn’t sink into the ground it just runs off.

There you go. Very simple. Done deal.

So where have all the sheep to go then? Well they’ll no doubt go the giant sheep dip in the sky. Some people are going to miss their lamb chops soon. Oh dear. What about woolly jumpers? Greenies like their woolly jumpers and knitting and such like as long as they are gaily coloured and maybe have a political message on the front. “Stop sheep walking on the hills”. Not particularly catchy but it’s never stopped them before.

He must have missed the big news about all the rain and the floods. The amount of rain hasn’t been exceptional and neither were the surge tides. So it’s not down to weather or even climate and Georgie likes a bit of climate now and again. He used to like it more but then he found it wasn’t nearly exciting as he thought it was since it wasn’t getting warmer and stuff.

Poor Georgie. He may well be campaigning soon to have the rivers dredged and having farmers who know the land look after it again. Such a pity that Georgies friends at the Environment Agency have been cuddling the countryside instead of looking after the environment which, and this will be a surprise for Georgie, includes humans.

Come on Georgie you’re  late with another U-turn.

Hey!!!!! There’s the very thing for putting on the front of his home knitted jumper.

“U turn if you want to, Georgies not for turning”

 

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Panic.

Panic. It’s such a nice little word. Panic attacks. Panic on the streets of London. It says a lot.

Apparently the meaning of panic is – “sudden uncontrollable fear or anxiety, often causing wildly unthinking behaviour”. Very apt really.

I think it may be a useful word, which could replace another word. It should perhaps replace “left”. I don’t mean as in “right” and “ left” being changed to “right” and ‘panic”. That would be silly. I mean “left” as in “lefties” being changed to panic is what I had in mind.

You can see why this might work, the left panic all the time: tediously so.

The global warming scam. It started in the 1970s although it was called global cooling at that point, followed by the population explosion, followed by smoking, followed by the loss of the rain forests, followed by acid rain, followed by the hole in the ozone layer, followed by recycling, followed by global warming, followed by climate change, followed by severe weather, followed by obesity epidemic, followed by salt, followed by cycling, followed by sugar and no doubt sooner rather than later breathing.

In all of these scares the reaction has been the same – “if we don’t do something about it in the next 15-20 minutes” the whole planet is doomed I tell you, doomed.

The reality is different.

  • Cooling didn’t cool;
  • The population did grow but not as it was predicted;
  • It’s looking more likely every day now that smoking doesn’t cause nearly as many cancers as was claimed and so much of the evidence used has been lies;
  • The rain forests have been growing bigger except in areas where they’ve been torn down to grow environmental biofuels;
  • Acid rain isn’t mentioned at all now;
  • The hole in the ozone layer is still huge and gets bigger and smaller as it likes;
  • The recycling cult continues a pace but has become a rip off and a local council scam;
  • Global warming was based on a few years of hot weather then it stopped;
  • Climate change was used to include various other weather events which weren’t directly connected to warmth;
  • Severe weather is currently still in vogue although even the MET is clear that it’s not that severe and it is well within known parameters.
  • Obesity isn’t an epidemic, it’s mainly based on changes within our society away from manual work to much less manual work.
  • Salt intake doesn’t matter that much, our bodies just get rid of the salt which isn’t need;
  • Cycling isn’t a panacea, if people want to do it them fine but they should stick to the rules and pay up for the privilege like everyone else;
  • Sugar is present in a lot of foods and in a number of growing cases it’s there to make the food palatable since the fat has been removed;
  • Breathing? The amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is around 400 parts per million. When a human breaths out the carbon dioxide count is 16000 parts per million. Pollution!!!! Especially if the person breathing out is doing any sort of exercise like cycling for example.

There will be more scares and phoney claims of doom and gloom all coming from the same sort of people. Someone writes a paper, which says there is a problem. Others then point out that there is indeed a problem and we’ll better do something in the next 15-20 minutes to stop it from being a world ending problem.

They tell their mates. It becomes fashionable to be doing something about it, chatting about it in a café is perfect. Then someone debunks it. Then the believers shriek about it being true. Then they move onto the next thing.

Panic, Panic, panic.

Dare I mention fracking?

Here we go again.

 

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Who’s land is it anyway?

It’s been a rough few weeks for people all over the country. The wet and windy weather along with huge tides, has created floods which have been costly for all those unlucky enough to be caught up in them.

Extreme weather? Apparently not. Unpleasant certainly but nothing record breaking. Check for yourself. Even the MET say it’s nothing to do with the fallacy that is global warming/climate change etc.

So what is happening?

Simple. Two things really; firstly rivers are no longer being maintained and dredged and secondly houses are being built on flood plains.

The first is a simple one to fix. Farmers are well aware of the stream and rivers, which run through their land. They’ve known where the flood plain is and how it deals with river concrete banks being built which then cause issues further down stream. They also know that dredging is a key practice, which greatly reduces flooding, but of course it’s not good for the environment according to some.

Many years ago I lived in a small town and the local council were keen to promote businesses to come in and create jobs. A factory was to be built in an area just outside the town and plans were drawn up and building work carried out. A local farmer who had sold the land to the council told the council and then later the developers and builders that their plans would result in flooding.

Did they listen? Of course not. The result? Flooding and a delay to the factory opening until they got the drains sorted out properly this time.

There always seems to be an on going need for more new housing because of all the immigration over the past few years. That puts pressure on builders and developers who build on the flood plain and wall in rivers.

The bottom line on this is probably that more building should take place away from flood plains and where building does take place it should take into account the implications of river courses down stream and of course what’s already there upstream.

There is plenty of land in the UK suitable for building on. The green belt should be used more, it’s not like we are short of green belt. The trouble is that 90% of the land in the UK is owned by 10% of the population. We are living in small cramped houses, which are squeezed into the available land.

In Scotland, the government is currently carrying out a consultation to try to find a way to reduce the size of the huge estates that run to thousands and thousands of acres of land. Some of these estates are even owned by Scottish institutions so that would be a good place to start. Getting the lords and ladies to divest themselves of some of their land may well be a bit trickier but doable. It all sounds a bit Soviet but again there should be a solution which either hasn’t come up or has come up but it’s still too frightening to talk about.

Meantime the environment will adapt to water courses and the people who need the benefits which water course management will bring will continue to find their environment unpleasant until such times as a solution is implemented.

Perhaps the original builders and developers of buildings which are prone to flooding should have to pick up the cost?

 

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There’s something fishy going on…

A few days ago I saw a man pop up on the C4 News who had, at one time, been terribly embarrassed about his performance on national TV. It wasn’t any of the full on favourites like Michael Barrymore (remember him?), Jim Davidson (currently in Sleb Big Brother) or Murray Walker (a British institution or a very confused commentator who knew less than the viewers at home depending on your point of view).

Nope none of those. Let me give you a clue. Does the following ring any bells.

“For those of you who have been calling the BBC to check if there is a hurricane heading or way let me assure you that there isn’t”.

It is of course Mr Michael Fish. There he sat in all his glory, a little rounded in the face and whiter on the head. He was of course a weather forecaster and presenter when the MET used an abacus, bits of seaweed and somebodies granny who knew how to read natures clues like whether the cows were standing or lying down or were in the shade or not to find out if it would rain or be sunny etc.

That’s how it was then. Now we have a MET with a computer, which cost £20 Million pounds of taxpayer’s money. That’ll be progress then. Well no it isn’t or if it is it’s very little progress indeed.

Mr Fish was asked whether all this “extreme” weather was due to Global Warming. His immediate answer was that firstly he didn’t work for the MET or BBC anymore and as such he would only state his own opinions. Now I would have thought that someone who got the weather so wrong would be the last person who would be sought out to provide an opinion once again.

He said that global temperatures were increasing. There he goes again. Even that very strange and dyed in the wool warming alarmist chap Dr Hansen late of NASA states with confidence that any warming has been stopped for some 17 plus years. This wouldn’t faze Mr Fish though. He felt it in his water that he was right.

It’s always comforting when some people stick to their guns as it were. It’s just a pity that his guns should be quietly removed and put back in their box and he should return never to show face again on the nations TVs. Of course it wasn’t his fault. Someone must have thought it was a fabulous idea to get him out of his retirement to make his ill considered statement.

It was also peculiar that within a number of days of him saying the world was warming that a group of warmist alarmists got their boat stuck in the Antarctic Ice sheets. It has been worrying that since then they have managed to get stuck on not just one rescue boat but in fact two.

The weather does what it does. We can’t influence it one way or another.

Unless of course you can positively find real scientific information based on the real scientific method?

No?

I thought not.

 

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