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A green (white in winter) and pleasant land. Probaly.

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World Snooker Championship + top 10 favourite players

The 2013 World Championship is underway. I'm particularly intrigued as to how Ronnie O'Sullivan will fare after his sabbatical from the sport, but if anyone can come back "rusty" and put in a fine performance, it would have to be him. I have the players as most likely to win the tournament as Neil Robertson, Mark Selby and Mark Allen. I think Judd Trump has been going into his shell a bit recently so he has slipped from my list of pre-tournament favourites. In last year's blogs I commented o

Victorian and 1950s family values- not what they're made out to be?

I quite often read about how society is becoming broken due to the decline of traditional family values since the 1950s. I often read about how the 1950s were a golden era where people loved and cared for one another, families functioned as a strong unit and, since mothers generally stayed at home and raised children, children got more frequent parental care than they often do today. For sake of balance, I refer readers to a couple of opinion pieces on the internet which paint the 1950s in a


There's usually a clash of "rights" when it comes to people being slow, say, at the front of a queue in a supermarket. There's the right of the people at the front to be leisurely and not be in a rush, vs. the right of the people behind to be able to progress in the queue without being heavily delayed. The need for consideration towards others works both ways and both sides can be guilty of being inconsiderate. We know about the impatient people who put pressure on those in front of them to

Thundery wintry showers

Thundery wintry showers


December forecast

Like many forecasts, my forecast for December started off well then veered rather wide of the mark. [quote]Changeable and generally cold, some snowfalls During December 2012, the jet stream will be tracking from north-west to south-east over the eastern North Atlantic and Europe for most of the month, and this will enable a succession of northerly and north-easterly outbreaks to affect the British Isles. It won't be as intensely cold as December 2010 was, but it will be cold enough for snow

November 2012 forecast

The forecast ran as follows: [quote]Changeable, near-average temperatures November 2012 will be a changeable month with low pressure set to control the weather for most of the time. The long-range signals point to near-average temperatures and no significant cold spells during the first two-thirds of the month at least. Low pressure centred over northern Scotland will bring a rather cool and showery theme during the first five days of the month, with the majority of the showers in western

Thundery wintry showers

Thundery wintry showers


October 2012 forecast verification

Here was my forecast for October 2012: [quote]October 2012 will start off changeable with low pressure dominating, but high pressure over the Azores and mid-Atlantic will often influence our weather, particularly around the middle of the month. After a showery spell during the first five days of October, with some longer outbreaks of rain on the 2nd, the weather will dry up from the west on the 5th/6th as a ridge of high pressure pushes in from the west. The night of the 6th/7th is expected t

Thundery wintry showers

Thundery wintry showers


September 2012 Forecast Verification

[quote]High pressure will be dominant over central and northern Europe during the first half of September, which will bring plenty of warm dry sunny weather to most of southern and central Britain, although Scotland and Ireland will always be more prone to banks of cloud. During the second half of the month, low pressure will take up residence to the west of the British Isles giving us a changeable but rather warm south-westerly type. Dry, sunny weather will dominate over most of England and

August 2012 Forecast Verification

Here was the August 2012 forecast: [quote]August will complete a full hat-trick of cool unsettled summer months, although the first third of the month will continue on from late July in the sense of offering more in the way of "summery" weather. A slow-moving low pressure area will continue to drift eastwards across the British Isles between the 2nd and 6th of the month, but the weather will be rather brighter and warmer than we've seen during most recent low pressure spells. Frontal activit

Thundery wintry showers

Thundery wintry showers


Are Rules Rules?

I've stated recently that I'm not a big fan of the phrase, "rules are rules". Firstly, what does the phrase mean? It's often not entirely clear, but in general there are two main interpretations: Definition 1. "Rules must always be obeyed and infringements must always be punished" For example, [i]X is prohibited.[/i] [i]People who do X should therefore be punished for disobedience. If you allow people to get away with breaking rules you'll end up with anarchy.[/i] [i]If people want t

July 2012 Forecast- Month Ahead Validation

Here's a recap on my month-ahead forecast for July: [quote]With pressure often high in the Arctic and low pressure systems taking a relatively southerly track, it will be another cool cloudy wet month, though probably not as cloudy or wet as June was. July has commenced cloudy and wet, but as we head through the first week the emphasis will shift towards sunny intervals mixed with slow-moving thundery downpours. The 3rd July will have an area of cloud and persistent rain moving through Wales

Snooker Blog Part 2 Of 2

In this second part I'll present some questions that I occasionally get asked, and provide some answers. [b]Q: Do you think Barry Hearn is doing a good job for the sport?[/b] A. On balance yes, I think the vast majority of his ideas (e.g. expanding the number of tournaments, experimenting with different formats, promoting snooker overseas and making the ranking system more of a running thing) are all good for promoting the game and increasing interest. Snooker as a televised sport was becom

Some Snooker Stats

I follow snooker very closely and have done since the late 1990s (basically ever since Stephen Hendry stopped winning everything in sight), though I'm sometimes afraid to admit it due to the "boring" reputation that televised snooker has. [b]Favourite snooker players[/b] It has to be Jimmy White and more recently Judd Trump for their all-out attacking styles and spectacular shots. Other favourites over the years have been Ronnie O'Sullivan, Stephen Hendry, Mark Williams and Steve Davis. Ron

There Is More To The Weather Than Whether It's Settled Or Unsettled

As time goes on I am fearing that the Model Output Discussion is going to degenerate into the usual summer fare, where the UK's weather is over-simplistically divided into two types: "settled" aka "good", and "unsettled" aka "bad". The main problem is that the desire for "settled" weather, for most people, is tied in with images of clear blue skies, warm sunshine by day, and evenings spent in the garden with the barbeque going. Of course, high pressure can bring such weather, and many of us w

A Journey Is Not Just A Means To An End

In many walks of life, a journey doesn’t just have to be a means to an end- it can also be about incorporating enjoyment along the way. We see this in sports (referenced in my previous blog) where many fans like to be entertained with end-to-end football matches that end 4-3, in preference to the mechanical grinding out of 1-0 wins. We’ve all heard about the major downsides of cars, but they’ve also given society many benefits. The thing is, though, the main advantages of cars are soci

The "all Out Attackers" Vs "all Rounders" In Sports

Having kept a close eye on the recent snooker tournaments and been thoroughly entertained by the all-out attacking style of Judd Trump, I've been seeing a fair number of comments flying around like, "he needs to tone down his attacking instincts, play more safety, mature into an all-rounder". This is a common situation in sports- we had the same sort of thing when Blackpool were fighting in the football Premier League with attacking football, and Alan Hansen in particular saying exactly the sam

Thundery wintry showers

Thundery wintry showers


Copyrights Revisited

Firstly, a reminder of what copyrights are for: they are to give content creators some control over the use and distribution of their work, typically to protect ownership and/or financial revenues and thus give them an incentive to continue producing. There is a balancing act to strike between copyrights and "fair use", because too much copying can erode revenue margins (and in some cases produce plagiarism) while too much protectiveness over copyrights can stifle spread of information and resu

My Proposals For F1 Penalty Systems For 2012

I've been quite a big critic of the F1 penalties for wheel-to-wheel incidents this year, although having recently seen the "Senna" movie, we are still in a much better position than we were a couple of decades ago, when inconsistency was rife, relatively minimal penalties like drive-throughs didn't exist and some drivers got away with a lot while others got banned for multiple races. While the introduction of lesser penalties such as drive-throughs and time penalties are a positive thing, I th

Pc Gaming And Digital Distribution

This blog article will explore the future of PC gaming using DRM on the one hand, and online extras/support on the other, and how things may pan out if we see numerous competitors such as "Origin" compete (if that's the right word for it, as we will see below) with Valve Software's "Steam". As many will already know, I am a strong opponent of forcing Digital Rights Management (DRM) on consumers because of the vast potential for abuse (as DRM basically gives the DRM owner scope to set whatever

Thundery wintry showers

Thundery wintry showers


Monogamy Revisited

Some may have wondered what on Earth I was blithering on about in the monogamy thread and some other related ones. I don't have a problem with the demand for [i]sexual[/i] monogamy (except when it's thrust upon people who consent to having "open" relationships). My opinion on polygamous/polymorous relationships has changed a fair bit since posting in the "Monogamy" thread, as there is strong evidence that they are eminently workable in cultures that don't frown upon them. However, at the sam

Sustainability- A Brief Final Summary

The other two posts are a bit in-depth, so here is an overall summary of my views- extending to sustainability generally and not just sustainable transport. In short, I am 100% behind the concept of sustainability, but the key is that in order to be sustainable, we have to make some sacrifices and determine what is "necessary" and what isn't- and this is wherein my main objection to conventional "sustainability" policies lies. I think of "unnecessary waste" as primarily practices that we can

The Police Show Their Lighter Side

http://www.youtube.com/watch?gl=GB&hl=en-GB&v=qfME9mVT5tY Police in Surrey, who were on patrol, decided to join in a snowball fight! Just thought that with the stick that a lot of police get (some deserved, some not) that it would be worth showing that not all police are averse to having a bit of fun.

Sustainable Towns And Transport Proposals Part 2

Here's my sustainability manifesto, continued over from Part 1. [b]3. Some general urban planning ideas.[/b] I am in favour of "filtered permeability" in city centres and around "home zones", the idea being a high density of pedestrian routes, a moderate density of cycle routes and a low density of roads. The idea is similar, to combine it with a decent network of relatively high-speed roads outside of those areas, thus helping to filter traffic outside of these areas which prioritise walk

Sustainable Towns And Transport Proposals Part 1

Here I'm going to put my neck on the line and suggest a series of proposals that will be rather controversial, as many of them contradict conventional ways of thinking. But I strongly believe that they should be challenged, since although many of their aims are good, they seek to achieve said aims in unnecessarily negative ways. [b]1. Encourage a more sustainable/balanced transport system by aiming to turn cars into more of a recreational thing, promoting the use of alternatives for point-to

The Desire For Extreme Weather

I've been seeing a few comments floating around recently about how we shouldn't hope for thunder and lightning because of the problems that it causes and that we shouldn't discuss looking for the "best" storm, instead using the traditional terminology of "worst", and also that we "need" rain but we don't "need" thunder and lightning. Rather than going into an in-depth analysis, how about the following question: why don't people get pulled up for hoping for the "best" heatwave or prolonged dr

Small Incremental Change Is Easier To Accept Than Large Changes All At Once

My piece of insight for the day: when it comes to the erosion of our freedoms, watch for the "small incremental measures add up" problem. When deciding to curb a freedom, no matter how small, before thinking, "well this loss of freedom is a small price to pay for 'doing something'", we need to think, "are our arguments for this measure case-specific, or can they be used as arguments for curbing most other freedoms?". Why? Well, typically, we don't accept an "all in one go" curb on 100 activi
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