Saturday, 28 November 2020

Praising Solitary Shopping


I try to shop as quickly as possible to minimise my exposure  to infected droplets emitted by other shoppers. Serious obstacles are groups of people blocking aisles. I can usually navigate my way past solitary shoppers quite easily. The great problems are the blockades constructed by people shopping in pairs.

Couples tend to have prolonged seminars about the tensile strength of the cucumbers. Sometimes they block not only the shelf containing whatever it is they contemplate buying, but several other shelves too. There will be their trolley, with one of them behind the trolley, often with a bottom sticking out behind them, and the other in front of the trolley waving about a sample of whatever it is they might eventually decide to buy. Sometimes one of the pair minds the trolley on one side of the aisle, while the other inspects the opposite side, contorting themselves so that there is too little space for anyone to pass between their buttocks and the trolley. I suspect that many people are not aware of themselves as physical objects

 Shopping should not be a social occasion.

Thursday, 26 November 2020

The Last of the Homegrown Tomatoes


For the first time for several months I bought some tomatoes today. Apart from a few unripe fruit that may or may not ripen indoors, I've now used up all the crop from my own plants. They ripened rather later than usual this year - I attribute that to a shortage of sunshine at the time they should have started to ripen, but I still had plenty of fruit in the end. I have saved seed for next year.

Saturday, 21 November 2020

Praising Virtual Firework displays


We didn't hear a great many fireworks this year. Despite the cancellation of the usual town display in the park individual efforts seemed quite restrained though they were spread over several days.

I did wonder though whether actual displays of arial chemistry are needed. Spectacular displays in many places have been filmed in recent years. Those could be made available on the Internet, or even broadcast on television on special occasions.

It should be possible to write a program to simulate a firework display, at a virtual location chosen by the user.

Pets need not be terrified, spectators need not be injured. Let all fireworks be virtual.

Wednesday, 18 November 2020

A Floriforous November


Even though it is now the second half of November, less than five weeks before the shortest day, there are still quite a few flowers in the garden - two sorts of jasmine, begonias, Mexican daisies, zonal pelargoniums, blue campanula, cyclamen, feverfew, and several others whose names escape me.

Friday, 30 October 2020

Immortality ?


A while ago I boasted that I'd killed my mint by neglect - something few gardeners achieve. Now I have to withdraw that boast.  This morning I noticed small sprigs of mint where the old plant used to grow.

It's back!!

Thursday, 29 October 2020

A Reminder of Old Money

I recently saw an advertisement for gold coins, described as one eighth of a sovereign. They cost £69.

That is equivalent to a sovereign costing £552, When my parents were children sovereigns were still in use as currency and were valued at one pound.  An eighth of a pound was a half crown. Moderately distant relatives sometimes gave me a half crown as a Christmas present. £69 would have been much more exciting!

Wednesday, 28 October 2020

Check Bank Statements Carefully


 Before the lock down in March I almost always paid for shopping with cash. Since then I've usually used a bank card like a magic wand, nonchalantly waving it over the shop's machine. After a while I decided to compare deductions from my account with receipts from shops. In one case I noticed a deduction 99 pence more than the sum shown on the receipt, so DON'T TRUST THE SYSTEM !!!

Sunday, 25 October 2020

Nudity in Wales


I read that during the current 'lock down' in Wales shops will be allowed to sell only goods officially considered 'essential' and that that does not include clothes.

Is that official approval for people to shop in the nude?

Wednesday, 21 October 2020

David Hume

I notice that the University of Edinburgh has changed the name of a building that used to be named after David Hume, one of Britain's greatest philosophers. It has been alleged that he was a racist.

I have read a great deal of Hume's writings without ever encountering any remarks about race. I thought this remark on the BBC website significant.

"Elizabeth Lund, who started the online petition, wrote alongside it that Hume "wrote racist epithets not worth repeating." "

Thus she declines to refer us to the passages to which she objects. Without such a reference I shall treat the objections as frivolous, a case of the intellectually insignificant jealous of a mind superior to their own.

Saturday, 10 October 2020

Zooming Again


On Thursday I hosted a Zoom meeting. Although I'd used Zoom before that was the first time I'd hosted a meeting. There were only four of us so it was easy to experiment without confusing each other. We pressed every button we could find so I now have quite a good idea how the software works. I plan to hold regular virtual, meetings henceforth, replacing the monthly meetings the U3A Science and Technology Group used to hold on Age UK premises.

Friday, 2 October 2020

Misplaced Faith


Depressing stories have emerged about Post Office staff convicted of alleged crimes that had never been committed either by themselves or by anyone else. What had actually happened was that the Post Office computer systems made errors. Gullible managers had assumed that the computers could not have erred. 

Ever since computers came to be used widely there have been cases of people making the absurd assumption that computer systems cannot err.  No one making that assumption should be allowed to hold any senior post in any organisation.

Wednesday, 30 September 2020

Double Counting


I just heard a comment that all the money people spend on cigarettes would suffice to pay for inoculating the entire world population against the corona virus. In Britain at least most of the money people spend on tobacco goes to the Government in taxes and so is already available for whatever good deed the Government is inclined to perform, so persuading smokers to give up, though in itself highly desirable, would not solve the problem of corona virus.