Archive for February 2012

The BBC has made Bristol Welsh

Last year the BBC moved filming of Casualty from Bristol, where the programme is based, to Cardiff.

Since moving to Wales, most of the extras are now Welsh – presumably recruited from the local population.  We now have the ludicrous situation where, if you watch Casualty, you would be led to believe that most people in Bristol are Welsh.

When the filming of Dr Who was moved to the same studios in Cardiff, the Doctor suddenly found himself talking to an awful lot of Welsh people and spending a lot of time in Welsh towns and villages.  No doubt the new series of Upstairs Downstairs that is being filmed there will be based in a London full of Welsh people as well.

The BBC’s desperation to spread the British brand through the “nations and regions” has ruined one of its flagship programmes and frankly, I couldn’t care less if I never see Casualty again.

Met Office can’t predict tomorrow’s weather but can predict it in 10 years’ time?

The British government’s Science and Technology Committee yesterday said that the Met Office needs to spend lots of money on new supercomputers to enable them to more accurately predict the weather 5 days in advance.

Met Office DartboardDespite being one of the top three weather prediction services in the world, the Met Office struggles to predict tomorrow’s weather.  Only a couple of weeks ago they predicted several inches of snow overnight and we got nothing at all.  The other day they predicted no snow at all and we had snow.  How often have you watched the weather forecast, gone on a day trip and been caught in a deluge despite the Met Office predicting a glorious day?

People have very little faith in the Met Office’s ability to predict the weather and rightly so.  The media are slowly turning away from the Met Office because of their poor track record and turning to alternative providers.  According to Chaos Theory it should be possible to predict the weather from any event – a butterfly flapping its wings in China can cause a hurricane on the other side of the world, it’s all cause and effect.  The computing power required to calculate an accurate weather prediction based on the small amount of data available is phenomenal though and it’s never going to be possible to get a completely accurate forecast.

With enough technology and accurate data, it would be possible for the Met Office to produce weather forecasts with an acceptable margin of error.  But the technology doesn’t exist yet, the data isn’t accurate enough and the costs involved in developing the technology required would be prohibitive.

All of this raises an important point: the Met Office, by its own admission, can’t predict the weather 5 days in advance but they are one of the primary sources of data for the British government’s global warming tax scams.  It’s hard to believe that the British government would employ fund managers to manage UK Plc’s investments if they had a track record of losing more money than they made or economists at the Treasury who’ve consistently been unable to budget more than a week in advance so why do they employ the Met Office, who can’t predict tomorrow’s weather with more than 70% accuracy, to tell them what the weather is going to be like in 10 years’ time?

Urban myth: it’s too cold to snow

How many times have you been told “it won’t snow, it’s too cold”?  Hundreds I expect but has it ever occurred to you how it manages to snow in Antarctica where the temperature never goes above freezing point, even at the coast?

There is only one temperature where it is too cold to snow and that’s -237°C, the temperature at which atoms freeze.  The colder it gets the less likely it is to snow but it can snow, theoretically, at as high as +8ºC.

Too cold to snow?

My first week with a hearing aid

Thanks to the wonders of medical science and an uncharacteristically prompt service from the NHS, I can now hear properly out of my right ear.


Mrs Sane has nagged me for a long time about my bad hearing so a few months ago I went to see my GP about it.  A nice student doctor asked me some questions, stuck a tuning fork behind my ear and referred me to an ENT consultant.

A week before Christmas I went to the hospital and had a hearing test which showed a bit of a dip in the mid range which is where human speech is and it drops right off at the high range which is things like running water, rustling paper, birds, etc.  The consultant shoved a camera up my nose to see whether there were any blockages up there that might be causing the problem (not a pleasant experience and there was nothing wrong up my nose) and then pronounced that I needed a hearing aid, an MRI and they would send for me shortly.

I was expecting a 6 month wait at least but was pleasantly surprised to get an appointment for a month later for an MRI and then to be measured for a hearing aid the following day.  I was even more surprised to actually walk out with a hearing aid on the day, expecting to have to wait months for one to be ordered or for someone to die so I could inherit theirs!

So that was a week ago today and what a difference it’s made.  I walked out of the hospital and the first thing that struck me was how loud the world is.  I could hear people talking, car doors slamming, birds singing – I really hadn’t realised how bad my hearing had got.  It does take some getting used to though.  Running water is particularly loud, especially the toilet flushing.  I’ve had to ask for a new keyboard at work because the clattering of the nice Dell keyboard I had was too loud and noisy places can be a bit overwhelming.

It’s well worth having though and if anyone is experiencing problems with their hearing I would definitely recommend going to get it checked out.  Saying it’s been life changing would be exaggerating a bit but it’s made a real, positive difference.  It’s a tiny thing and unless they’re looking for it, most people don’t even notice it’s there.  After a while I forget I’m wearing the hearing aid but when I take it out it sounds like I’ve got cotton wool stuffed in my ear.  Even after just a week, if I didn’t have it I’d really miss it.