Thursday, 30 June 2011

Non-Industrial Inaction

I can't remember for how long people have said 'industrial action' when they mean 'strike'.

'Industrial action' conjures up in my mind's eye a picture of labourers marching on Whitehall brandishing their sledgehammers and crowbars but the current strikers are mostly office workers and teachers.

Let's call it what is is: 'non-industrial inaction' or just 'strike'

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Fruit is early this year.

I've just made my first batch of redcurrant jelly.

For as long as I can remember, I've done that in the first week of July, so this year's redcurrants have ripened a fortnight earlier than usual.

I'm tempted to attribute the change to the warm Spring, though generalisation on the basis of one example is a very risky induction.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Guilty Consciences?

Philip Davies MP recently suggested that one consequence of minimum wage legislation is that it is much harder than it would otherwise be for handicapped people to get jobs, and he went on to say that some mentally handicapped people had told him that they would be prepared to work for a lower wage if that would secure them a job.

The reaction was an astonishing tirade of abuse and vituperation.

I suspect the anger was partly a screen for guilty consciences.

Increasing the cost of anything is likely to reduce demand for it, so raising minimum wages is likely to produce more unemployment. Supporters of the minimum wage may consider it has other advantages that outweigh that disadvantage, but anyone who thinks we can avoid the disadvantages altogether must be numbered among the drippy optimists who think we need only pass a law to make all things bright and beautiful.

I notice a spokesman for ‘Mind’ denounced the suggestion as ‘preposterous’. It is easy to understand how employees of that charity might feel uncomfortable at the prospect of some of their dependents getting jobs and thereby becoming less dependent. There might then be fewer jobs for employees of ‘Mind’

Friday, 17 June 2011

Secret denunciation

The member of Parliament for North West Leicestershire was recently accused of a sexual attack on a 29 year old woman. The accusation was reported widely.

Today it was announced that no proceedings will be taken.

Although the accused was named, the identity of his accuser remains a secret.

I think it is in the public interest that people who make unfounded accusations be named, so that that anyone meeting them can be on their guard, and take care not to be alone in their company, or otherwise give them an opportunity to manufacture an embarrassing accusation.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Wanderers on the Web

I have two web sites I don't use - the one that comes with my cix subscription, and the one that is bundled with my broadband Internet Access. The latter site proved unreliable, and the former has a capacity of only 5 MB.

I have used them in the past, but in neither case for more than a year, and their index pages just provide a link to the website I do use, yet there are still visitors, typically around four per month. I wonder what attracts them?

Tuesday, 14 June 2011


I've just sorted out and browsed through a heap of old diaries. I have diaries for every year from 1969 onwards, and it's fascinating to recall what I did all those years ago.

I've always used diaries mainly to record appointments, not to provide a narrative of events, but there's still a lot of information, including visits to and from people I can't remember at all.

Monday, 13 June 2011

C. S. Peirce, Logician, Scientist and Pragmatist.

I recently gave a talk with that title at a meeting of the Leicester U3A Science and Technology Group.

The text is now on my website; follow this link

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Time to Revive Latin ?

Text messaging and tweeting require brevity, at which Latin excels. Let it be revived!

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Is Dr. Who Improving ?

I'd almost given up hope that Dr. Who would ever again be worth watching, and missed the second episode of the present series, but I watched the third episode and thought it showed some promise. It was a little confusing, but that was only to be expected when I'd missed the previous episode. Once again the story contains puzzles that are revealed a bit at a time, and things are not what they seem. I plan to watch the next episode.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

A Hesitant Genius

Inspired by an article in this week's Economist, I've tried out the online cyber genius Wolfram Alpha.

When I asked for the elasticity of demand for sugar, it just supplied nutritional information, and when I asked 'Is there a God?' it refused to answer.

I was very disappointed !!

Friday, 3 June 2011

Epson's Trojan Horse.

I have an Epson SX200 Printer, which usually works well.

I often save money by using compatible ink cartridges made by other companies. There's no difficulty in installing such cartridges but on two occasions a compatible cartridge has stopped working when not empty - when I shook it I heard the remaining ink sloshing about inside.

A chap at a computer shop said this problem is created by software that Epson downloads under the guise of keeping the system up to date, and advised re-installing the printer and making sure I don't consent to any suggestion that I should permit anything at all to be downloaded by the printer software.

The attempt to introduce the Trojan Horse is not made during installation, but when one starts to print. Even though I selected the box that said 'do not show this screen again' it reappeared next time I printed.

Anyone frugal person with an Epson printer should be on their guard all the time.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Fiddly Forms

A long time ago I experimented with forms and after some messing about managed to get one working on my website - just to prove I could.

I now actually need a form to provide feedback from visitors to the U3A Open day in August. I therefore put an experimental form on my own website but it couldn't find the cgi file to which data was to be sent.

Eventually I solved the problem by shortening the path, but that is odd.

I now have two forms on web pages in the same directory, each sending data to a file in my_website/cgi-bin, yet one form successfully uses the full path, while the other can only locate its cgi file if given the shortened path: /cgi-bin/filename.