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mike Meehan

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Everything posted by mike Meehan

  1. Just started in the last few minutes, temp 1.1C, slight snow, settling easy on frozen surfaces, wind easterly moderate, which could cause drifting. Humidity 88% and intensity of snow increased whilst typing, temp down to 1.0C.
  2. Quite heavy snow for the past 30 minutes or so at Watford, large flakes, settling, approx 1cm - temp +0.8 humidity 90%. First snow I've seen this winter. Strange - NW Europe radar shows rain, not snow,
  3. I missed that, went through that region on Saturday, travelling over the Massif to Clermont Ferrand. A journey we have made quite often over the last few years, with the weather ranging from thick fog - warmth, mid 20's in mid November, and snow a couple of times above 900 metres
  4. Final figures not in but it is reported that this July has been the third hottest in France since 1900, being surpassed by 1983 and 2006: http://www.languedocliving.com/third-hottest-july-in-france-since-1900-news-10113.html Temperatures forecast to reach 40C this week in our area.
  5. I was saddened to see the fires in Attica, Greece earlier this week. A few years ago my son was working on detachment in Athens for a couple of years and we went out to spend a fortnight with him. Overall we were impressed with the Greeks, with the exception of the driver of a cab who charged us €13 for a short journey, we were impressed with them. Overall they are friendly, hard working, sociable and hospitable, so we have happy memories. Hearing about a catastrophe in an area you know at least to some extent affects one much more than just a dot on the map, in any case it does me. When I first saw the news I thought it was closer to Athens but now realise it was on the East coast the other side. Watching the clips on the TV news it seemed so strange that there were a number of different pockets of fire, though such fires, once big enough, can produce their own localised weather conditions - in this case a 60 mph wind caused by the up draught which could transfer sparks to ignite different pockets. But see now the authorities are now suspecting arson a number of different pockets is an indication of this: https://abcnews.go.com/m/story?id=56836370&sid=81 Obviously the people on the ground will have a much better idea but it is not unknown for such fires to be ignited deliberately. I recall reading in the press some years ago about some French retained Pompiers staring such fires deliberately, so they could get called out to earn more money. As it is it must be heart breaking for those involved, those who lost their lives and the others who were injured consisting of both tourists and local people, then their friends and families. My heart goes out to all those who lost their lives and wish those injured as quick a recovery as possible. The cost of the damage I would imagine would come to a number of €billion and this is at a time when Greece was just starting to get back on its feet after the terrible credit problems. Should arson have been involved let's hope the culprits are found and dealt with accordingly. Poor Greece - it has had its woes and tribulations in recent years, then this on top.
  6. Have been down here since 02.07.2018 with temps mostly in the low 30's C and we have had a couple of wet interludes in the form of storms but not amounting to too much in precipitation which has been mostly at night - the kind of weather I dreamed about having as a youngster - warm sunny days with the rain falling at night. However, in the last few days it has warmed up a bit more up to the 36C mark - we are obliged to turn on the air con - the problem we have with that is that the temp sensor is in the vicinity of the outlet to the air con which pushes out warm air, so the figures won't be totally accurate. Earlier in the week there was a large variation between Capestang and our nearest beach, Valras Plage - 34C and 25C, the latter having sea mist. Yesterday we went down to La Jonquera just over the border in Spain - here Accuweather spoke with forked tongue - although they gave out a max of 36C at Capestang, they forecast a cool 33C for La Jonqurera. We left latish morning with a temp of 34C and by lunchtime at La Jonquera it was 36C there. We left there in the late afternoon 1700 hours and at the frontier the car thermometer registered 38C and back at Capestang an hour later it was 34C. I note that 38C is forecast for most of next week. France recalling the 2003 summer which resulted in a number of deaths is getting prepared more: http://www.france24.com/en/20120817-france-weather-government-ministry-health-braces-heat-wave-canicule-prevention-measures/
  7. I do tend to agree with CM - if you look at nature generally there does appear to be a progression, albeit it isn't linear. I do sense that there is a purpose to life and that purpose I to improve albeit that we are still struggling with baser instincts still quite a bit of the time, although we no longer have public executions in Europe, we longer have the gladiatorial games but as recent as the last century we have had some appalling atrocities and there is a big danger that it could happen again. At the same time we do get some remarkable people for example Baroness Tessa Jowell , who gave her time and sympathies freely even though she was herself suffering with a terminal brain cancer. In order to progress we have to be tested an we have to learn - it appears quite logical to me that the improvement of people could come over several lives, each with different lessons and experiences to be had or to learn from and if we fail we would have to do the lessons again with as the eastern folk believe Karma develops. None of us can say for sure whether or not there is a God, or some supreme intelligence which overlooks our lives. Many people jump to one supposition or another without any real evidence, which to me appears to be a form of arrogance - I prefer to keep an open mind on these matters.
  8. My sister in law moved to Norfolk, there the cold winds normally come off the North Sea - the locals call them lazy winds - they don't go round you, they go straight through you.
  9. I'm getting confused now Pete - first of all there is a MAD thread I can't find, then there is a WNW wind which whizzes across from the North Sea to the Baltic. I still remember the lecture relating to Katabatic and Anabatic winds when I was an air cadet 60 years ago - something to be aware of when coming into to land in a hilly area, or near a polar ice cap. Anyway monkeys don't have brass balls, except for the 'See no evil, hear no evil and say no evil' variants. The suggestion was that they were brass triangles on board the old fighting vessels used to store cannon balls but to pile them high on board a tossing ship, a lot would likely fall off anyway with the movement. Also it is suggested that there is insufficient of a coefficient of expansion between iron and brass to cause sufficient of an expansion and contraction to cause the balls to fall off. so that is another one of life's mysteries to depict it is bloody cold. But all is not lost apparently there is scientific evidence to say that having cooler nether regions enhances fertility, not that it will bother me too much in my dotage.
  10. Take it that it would be a Katabatic effect, see there is snow about and the air on the tops of the hills gets cooled down more, thus heavier, then it rolls down hill. They can be pretty vicious in the cases of where they come off the ice caps of the Arctic and Antarctic.
  11. Well, yes Pete, I agree, the ultimate prognosis is that with an expanding universe the matter will grow too far apart to permit the reformation of new stars, so eventually the existing ones will gradually die out, though I am not really expecting that within the next week or two. At the same time nobody has really worked out what was before the 'big bang' and what triggered it off, though some speculate it may have been interference via a parallel universe. Nature also goes in cycles, so may it be that universes are created and die in cycles, as stars and galaxies do currently? I don't really know, I wasn't around when all this happened being a tad younger than 13.7 billion years old. All I really know is that it is mind boggling and too much for my little pea brain to take in - I just ask questions and wonder. There will always be competing theories, some of which are eventually accepted because there is evidence for them but in the meantime, during this 100 years, I expect there will be more discoveries, some of which will be firmed up but they will also serve to produce further questions which will lead to good arguing points - that is assuming we don't blow ourselves up in the meantime - but little by little the sum of man's knowledge will increase - so the world is not flat after all.
  12. It's something I have often wondered about - some scientists will say that everything we see about us happened by accident starting with the 'Big Bang' but for these things happen according to the various laws of science, physics, chemistry and biology combine in the overall rules of nature. But the question I keep coming back to is who or what formulated all these rules in the first place? I can't help but think that there must be some kind of intelligent process behind it all. This takes me on to other dimensions, further than the normal 4 we experience in everyday life - serious scientists are now postulating that there are many dimensions and are also speaking of multiverses as opposed to just one universe. Apart from theorising about them we do not really have any clues as to their nature, content or even if the laws which apply to our universe and dimension apply in a similar fashion to these others. All this leads to conclude that as far as total knowledge is concerned, we only know a very tiny fraction of all there is to know. Though I expect with time and research scientists will start to uncover the answers to some of these questions and suspect that some answers we get will surprise us. I would love to be there to see it happen but it is likely to be far beyond the scope of my life time. But it is also worth bearing in mind the ancients were not as daft as we may think - ancient Greeks decided that the Earth was round and it travelled around the Sun, they also spoke of a granular matter, which we now recognise as atoms, they also spoke of other forces which we now recognise as electro magnetic and gravitational forces and all this was some 2500 years ago. The history of man has been going on though process of gaining and losing knowledge - what else did the ancients know which we have not fully investigated to date? There is a pretty well universal belief in a supreme being many refer to as God, does he exist or doesn't he, many different peoples often well separated from others came up with the same ideas independently. Was it a way of trying to explain the unknowable, or did they actually tune into something? If when reach the end of our lives we find ourselves in another place and still able to think and operate we would then know that there is a lot more to everything than what we previously thought. On the other hand everything may go black and we would not even have the consciousness to perceive that - none of us will really know until it happens. Yet, I suspect it may well be the former - if you look at nature, nothing is ever wasted, it is transformed, yes but not wasted. The same could happen with our accumulated knowledge gathered over a life time, there may be some way of preserving that, so that may mean life after death after all. As to the different religions, man may have got an inkling of what an actual God could be, or what they think He is, but most religions were man made centred around the kernel of an idea but mostly devised as a means of political control and if we wish to get to the truth we have to fight our way though this extraneous fog which tends to distort the picture.
  13. Drug addiction is something which more enlightened countries treat as an illness, rather than as a crime in our country. I know something of it because I used to work on the county drug squad, though I have never participated myself but each year there are a number of deaths which arise from the misuse of drugs. The galling fact is that most of these are preventable because the trade is in the hands of criminals who have no conscience at all - they are just out to make money. The punter who buys them does not really have any idea of the strength or the purity, some drugs are adulterated with all sorts of substances, even rat poison at times. Then consider how many get into the drug scene in the first place - it often happens through low level pushers hanging around at school gates at going home time to inveigle the kids into trying them. Kids being kids simply do not realise the dangers and to them it is something big and cool. Many start on something pretty innocuous but with time and some this can develop into the 'hard stuff' which can lead to the ruination many young lives. The battle against drugs has been going on for all of my adult life and if anything the use of them is continuing to escalate. You can't really blame the kids who get hooked in the first place because they are doing what kids do but what can be controlled more is the production and distribution. The first thing to do is to recognise that for the user it is an illness, rather than a crime - whatever we do we will not stop its use, so why not bring the production and distribution under control, have licensed manufacturers who produce quality control drugs relating to strength an purity, properly labelled, so that it is not a game of Russian roulette for the user, and to sell these through properly licensed outlets with VAT added to price for the drugs which are normally considered as recreational? In respect of those addicted to the harder substances create the ability for them to obtain their supplies on prescription and all these would come under the classification of legal drugs and allowed under medical supervision. Then as far as the illegal drugs are concerned that would remain a crime for users and dealers alike who should be punished with exemplary sentences in an effort to deter this trade and take it out of the hands of the criminals. Don't forget that for the state to be acting as a drug dealer is not without precedent - weren't the Boxer Wars in China about that? The profits and the taxes on the legal sale could then be usefully used to help the financing of rehab centres. This brings me back to the medicinal use of cannabis - if this approach were to be adopted there should be no reason at all to prohibit its medicinal use, in fact where it is necessary, it could be prescribed by the NHS. However I did vote for the decriminalisation of cannabis but subject the conditions which I have mentioned above. Whilst we are about put prostitution under proper control as well to supervise the health of the workers, get them to pay tax, help eliminate modern day slavery and take that trade out of the hands of the criminals as well.
  14. I'm not so sure about that Lauren, towards the far right of the chart, it made a difference of £25K which could be borrowed - it may not seem like much but in my part of the world where property prices are relatively high, it could make the difference between getting anywhere half way decent. Also, didn't I hear recently that the interest rates on student loans were being increased to 6%? If so this is bound to make a difference. My interest in this is that my eldest granddaughter has just finished her first year at Falmouth, then I have another who should be ready to start 2 years next September and a grandson coming up two years after that. Then you hear stories about principals getting paid something like approaching half a million a year, it makes you think. It wasn't so bad with my son, who graduated in 1982 because there were no tuition fees in those days but even so, the purchase of the necessary books and living expenses away from home came to a tidy amount. My view is that tuition fees can make a financial millstone and bearing in mind that the country requires at least some to have a good standard of education in order that the country progresse in the future and to depend to an extent, as they must do, on rich families, is discriminatory. When you consider the relatively high costs of living and taxation in our country, it makes me wonder where all that money is going to, perhaps it is the eighth wonder of the world. Maybe it all goes to Theresas' chums.
  15. My view is that the young are the future of any country therefore, as the first premise, it is essential that the governments invest in their young. It should also be realised that in order to have a well balanced productive society that the education of all is considered. We come in all sorts of different types, sizes and styles but it has, as far as it is possible to devise a scheme where round posts are fitted into round holes. Broadly speaking some are academic more suited to university, though this can be split further, again broadly speaking into the classics, science and technical subjects. At the same time the courses available should be designed and rationed to realistically fit with the jobs likely to be available. An over subscription to some courses where the job opportunities are so much less will lead to some degrees becoming relatively worthless. Yet on the other hand a degree in some subjects where there is an employer's demand for such qualifications will enhance the value of that degree. Unfortunately there appears to be an imbalance in what are the more and the less attractive degree courses to students leaving many who effectively end up with a qualification to say, "Would you prefer ketchup with your fries". The system of sorting this out should start much earlier in the education system where a finger could be kept on an effective system of noting the trends in different areas of employment so that pupils could be steered in a direction which befits their aspirations and abilities and this should be done prior to, to use an old fashioned term, their 'O' levels, in manner of what used to be careers advice. Some of the pupils, being more practical than academic will have no aptitude for any type of university education, so instead of playing with apprenticeship schemes this should be made a meaningful path. Such would not mean that any are less important than others, all would be valuable and respected as such. Taking it from the sublime to the ridiculous, even the bog cleaner has a place and is necessary to our modern society and not many would wish to do that job, so let's respect him or her as making an important contribution. Although class distinctions have diminished with time, they still exist together with snobbery but there should be no room for that type of thinking in the UK in the 21st century. To have a universal attitude of respect and value of other people would diminish the resentment, quite justifiably, felt by some and bring about a smoother running society. In short, if we are to succeed well in the modern world a holistic policy must be taken towards the development of our young. A parting shot is that for those who do attend university the fees are far too high and there is some debate as to whether there should be any at all, they serve as to provide a financial brake in later life.
  16. In answer to the question starting this thread - Not as far as I am aware at all - All I ask is that people are decent towards each other regardless of sex, gender, sexual, orientation, creed, colour or race. Life is too short to go nit picking and getting on the band wagon for every imagined slight - I have more important things to worry about.
  17. Just looked at radar and it looks pretty active. As it happened we were forecasted fine weather at Watford for most of the day with temps reaching the low to mid 20's, as it is it has been raining for nearly the past hour, the temperature is languishing at 14.6C, so it appears that things have moved further north than what was expected. In a few hours time we may well be sharing your current experience. However we are grateful for yesterday which allowed us a lovely family barbecue in the garden.
  18. mike Meehan

    Russia

    https://uk.yahoo.com/news/poland-says-russian-gas-pipeline-084006236.html The disadvantages of this system are obvious and it should add to the urgency of Europe to develop alternative sources of power. Until then Europe will continue to be exposed to Russian blackmail. It may well be that Mr Putin has no desire to bite the hand which feeds him in relation to earning foreign currency but can we depend on that? As far as I was concerned, when I had our house in southern France renovated some 8 to 9 years ago, I gave this situation some deep thought and as a result opted for 'all electric' and including solar water heating, an air to air heat pump and a wood burning stove, knowing that France did have a number of other sources for the generation of electricity.
  19. The Evolution of Society 1) Small tribal units of nomadic hunter gatherers – circa 10,000 BC 2) Settled farming existence developing city states – circa 8,000 BC 3) City states combining to form small countries – circa 460 AD 4) Some to combine via conquest into Empires, which grew and eventually fell – circa 2,000 BC to 20th century. 5) Small countries combining to make larger countries circa 800 AD to 19th century. 6) Countries combining to make continental blocs, mainly 19th and 20th century. Yes, tribal units of hunter gatherers still exist, city states still exist and small countries still exist but probably about half of the Earth’s population now live in continental blocs, each which consist of several states with varying degrees of autonomy. Some were formed by conquest and others by settlement. Along the way, some blocs sub divided into smaller units but these are still relatively large in their own right – e.g. Indian sub-continent. In the second half of the 20th century, there was a first, as far as I am aware and that was by a group of countries, volunteering to yield a small part of their sovereignty to form a bloc which worked in freedom and democracy for the common good of all. That was the European Union, which until then, the continent of Europe had been punctuated by a series of fairly frequent wars based on nationalist self-interest. Since then there have been none within the borders of the EU, whilst if we look at the rest of the world, particularly the Middle east, wars, caused through nationalistic and religious ideals still punctuate the everyday life of the people living there. Progress moves in fits and starts but generally speaking its overall direction is forward. Prolonged periods of peace have not been the natural state of man’s history but it is a precious commodity to be guarded. Our aim should be to extend on what we have already achieved and with hard work, understanding and respect of others, we may extend that further with time. The big danger is that with an ever-increasing global population and increasing desertification, pressures for instability will increase. It is therefore necessary that the democratic free blocs remain true to their principles and act as a beacon for the remainder of the world in order to encourage co-operation. It can be done but it requires this active co-operation, a broad perspective, universal respect and will of all to achieve it, otherwise we could end up with a regression back to the dark ages. We all have a responsibility towards the preservation of our planet and its peoples for subsequent generations. I think it is something worth thinking about, don’t you?
  20. Boo'iful sunshine now, mostly blue sky if slightly hazy - temp 22.8C - humidity 71% - Barbe set up
  21. 16.5C - 83% humidity - still cloudy but teasing slightly because getting slightly brighter. Think it will shift - got our family over for a barbe this afternoon and have put in a specific request to the weather gods. In the time I have written this, temp now up to 17.1C - humidity 81%, so going the right way. Happy Bank Holiday All
  22. My thermometer is showing 33.5 C - but I sited it on a north facing fence but at this time of the day it starts to catch the sun, so it can't be an accurate reading. Not that much showing on the radar too close to us but there is quite some height in those cus, so I expect some rain in next few hours.
  23. I can understand that but one goes with the other. I get fascinated myself and don't ever recall being frightened even though on one occasion had to cycle 5 miles home in a bad storm. Apart from getting wet, I reasoned that with the rubber tyres making contact with the road I was relatively safe from anything other than a direct hit, which would have been unlikely. Much safer than stopping and sheltering under a tree. Like everybody else I do get worried about lightning hitting the house and if I think it is getting too close I start disconnecting things like the TV from the aerial socket and the telephones.
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