Saturday, 31 December 2016

C & H

Calvin and Hobbes

Run out of Time

Sorry folks, time to hit the road for the transfer to Kanchanaburi.  I doubt very much if we will be on air tomorrow but who knows?  I'd like to flip the switch for the new look but that all depends on what time we get to bed tonight.

Either way, hope you all have a smashing celebration and let's hope 2017 is better than this year has been.  Shouldn't be difficult.

Take That

When asked what he thought of Western civilisation, Ghandi replied, "I think it would be a good idea."

Well Said

Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted.
Aldous Huxley
English critic & novelist (1894 - 1963)

Cheers Ross

What a load of booty.  Ross, you're a star.


We Never Learn

We intended to nip out for "an early start/early finish" and got one part right- the other was woefully wrong.

Now we look forward to a three hour transfer to the River Kwai with a thumping head and then we have to do it all over again for even longer.

2017 better be worth it.

Friday, 30 December 2016

C & H

Calvin and Hobbes

As Ross Arrives

As Google celebrates the 250th birthday of Scottish inventor Charles Macintosh, here are some inventions that have emanated from Caledonia as per TInd:

Bank of England
Mark Carney has Sir William Paterson to thank for the second-oldest central bank in the world. The Scottish trader proposed the idea of the BoE. In 1694, Charles Montagu, Earl of Halifax, adopted his idea, founded the bank and was appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer. Where did we keep the gold before?
Bicycles
Blacksmith Kirkpatrick Macmillan made a pedal cycle based on a hobby horse, with horizontal pedal movement. He would "cycle" the rough roads in Dumfriesshire, but never tried to profit from his invention. Unlike the Lycra industry.
Canals
While canals date back to Roman times, we have Thomas Telford, from Dumfriesshire, to thank for the design of the Ellesmere and Shrewsbury canals, as well as the Caledonian canal.
Carnegie Hall
Andrew Carnegie's ascent from weaver's son to billionaire steel magnate is one of the greatest rags-to-riches tales ever. Of course, he had to leave Scotland to make his fortune, heading for America with his parents in 1848, aged 13. But he did put a lot back, giving oodles of money to his home town of Dunfermline to build a library and a park, and to New York for Carnegie Hall.
Chicken Tikka Masala
Glasgow chef Ali Ahmed Aslam lays claim to creating Britain's favourite dish, and the staple of a million takeaways. The proprietor of Shish Mahal restaurant, in the west end of the city, was experimenting with condensed tomato soup, and threw in spices for sauce. And culinary history was made.
Chloroform
Sir James Y Simpson, a professor of midwifery, was his own guinea pig, experimenting with chloroform on himself and later on his friends in 1847. He went on to use it as an anaesthetic to ease the pain of childbirth, leading to its acceptance in modern medicine. If only you could use it during a debate on the Barnett formula.
Colour photography
Those Kodak moments were only possible thanks to 19th-century Scottish scientist James Maxwell, who invented the "three-colour method". His theory, based on mixing red, green and blue colours of light, led him to present the world's first colour photograph – inevitably of a tartan ribbon – in 1861.
Decimal fraction
The 16th-century mathematician John Napier's discovery of the logarithm has brought misery to countless generations of maths students. And Napier, the 8th Laird of Merchiston, also invented "Napier's bones" – an abacus to calculate products and quotients of numbers.

Dolly the Sheep
The world's first cloned mammal was created in 1996 by a team of experts at the Roslin Institute near Edinburgh. Dolly survived for six years, before she died from a lung disease. The world's most famous sheep is now on display at the National Museum of Scotland.
Driving on the left
It was Scotland, not England, that pioneered driving on the "wrong" side of the road. Driving on the left entered Scottish law in 1772, more than 60 years before England and Wales adopted it in 1835. If only the rest of the world had followed suit.


Flushing toilet
Eighteenth-century watchmaker Alexander Cummings was the first to patent a design of the flush toilet. In 1775 he invented the, S-trap – still in use today – which uses standing water to prevent nasty smells backing up out of the sewer.
Gin and tonic
The drink of millions worldwide, but it would not exist had it not been for Edinburgh-born George Cleghorn, an 18th-century doctor who discovered that quinine could cure malaria. The quinine was drunk in tonic water, but it was so bitter that gin was added to make it more palatable. Bottoms up!
Golf
Scotland is the birthplace of golf – with the first written record in 1457, when James II banned it as an unwelcome distraction from learning archery. Since then, it's given us plus fours, Pringle jumpers and Tiger Woods's colourful private life. The Old Course at St Andrews dates to the 16th century. 
Gospel singing
The singing of psalms in Gaelic by Presbyterians of the Scottish Hebrides, according to Yale University music professor Willie Ruff, evolved from "lining out" – where one person sings a solo before others follow – into the call-and-response of what we now know as the black gospel music of the southern US. Hallelujah.
Hallowe'en
The word (from Hallows Evening) is Scottish in origin – arising out of ancient Celtic celebrations of Samhain ("summer's end") that signalled the end of the harvest season. Some Scots would leave an empty chair and a plate of food – believing that ghosts would come out on Hallowe'en.
​Hypnotism
The Kinross-born surgeon James Braid was the first to experiment with hypnotism, using candles to get people into a trance-like state. And, presumably, eat an onion while clucking like a hen.
Hypodermic syringes
Anyone who has seen Trainspotting shouldn't be surprised that Scotland's connection with syringes goes back a long, long way. The Edinburgh-based physician Alexander Wood is credited with inventing the hypodermic syringe in 1853. And 143 years later, Danny Boyle's underground hit would chart Renton's bid to kick his heroin habit on the streets of Edinburgh.
James Watt
Without this Glaswegian engineer, the Industrial Revolution might never have happened. He developed a way of making steam engines efficient, to speed trains along. The rail replacement bus service came later.
Kaleidoscopes
The dancing coloured shards seen through a kaleidoscope have entertained children and drug-addled teenagers for generations. The Edinburgh-based physicist Sir David Brewster first came up with the concept in 1815, but never made a penny from it as he didn't register a patent in time.
Kelvin scale
Glasgow University academic William Thomson, Lord Kelvin to his friends, discovered there was a lower limit to temperature, which he called absolute zero. His rescaling of temperature to start at this point (-273C) was named after him and is still used today. Brrr.
King James Bible
To traditionalist English Anglicans, there are few things more faith-affirming than the King James translation of the Bible. It is poetry compared with the New International Version. Only trouble is – England's James I was Scotland's, and was born in Edinburgh Castle. A scholar and author of several works, he was nevertheless called "the wisest fool in Christendom". By an Englishman, of course.
McDonald's
Descended from a Scots-Irish family, brothers Dick and Mac McDonald changed the way the world ate after they opened the first branch of McDonald's in San Bernardino in 1938. Now 64 million people are lovin' it....
Microwave
Ready-meals would be a distant dream if the magnetron had not been developed by Scotland's Robert Watson-Watt. These short-wave radio waves are now used as the source of heat in microwave ovens – essential for students, exhausted parents and rubbish cooks the worldwide.

Paraffin
After noticing that oil was dripping from the roof of a coal mine, Glaswegian chemist James Young discovered that by using heat you could distill coal to make paraffin. Homes without electricity could be lit and heated, thanks to his invention.
Penicillin
If Ayrshire-born Alexander Fleming hadn't been such an untidy scientist we would never have the life-saving drugs we have today. His discovery of a mould growing in one of his culture dishes that killed the surrounding bacteria prompted one of the greatest medical breakthroughs of the 20th century.
Piano foot pedals
East Lothian-born carpenter John Broadwood is credited with developing the foot-pedal method for sustaining the pianoforte's sounded notes. Broadwood also revolutionised the instrument's boxy design, coming up with the grand piano in 1777.
Pneumatic tyre
Where there's a hit, there's a writ. So, the question of who invented the inflatable rubber tyre had to be fought out in a legal battle between two Scots. Veterinary surgeon John Boyd Dunlop, who patented a bicycle tyre for his son's tricycle in 1888, is commonly credited with the invention.
Postage-stamp adhesive
Imagine a world without those little damp sponges for people who are too busy/posh/dry-mouthed to lick their own stamps. Thanks to James Chalmers, from Dundee, we don't have to. He wrote proposing the idea to Robert Wallace, then MP for Greenock. It is not clear how he made sure the stamp stayed on his letter.
Propeller
The screw, or a mechanical type of fan that produces a force by converting a rotational motion into thrust, is credited to Scot James Watt, who first applied it to a steam engine on board ships in 1770.
Radar
Developed in secret during the Second World War, the object-detection system that uses radio waves to determine the location and speed of an object evolved under Angus-born Robert Watson-Watt in 1936 and later tracked aircraft in the Battle of Britain.
Raincoats
First sold in 1824, the Macintosh coat is named after its Glaswegian inventor, Charles Macintosh. He designed one of the first waterproof fabrics by rubberising sheets of material in his textile factory.
Refrigeration
Considering the wintry temperatures recorded in Scotland, you would not think refrigeration was utmost in people's minds, but it was here that physicist and chemist William Cullen demonstrated the first method of artificial refrigeration in 1748. However, he did not put it to practical use.

Snap, Crackle and Pop
We'd still all be eating eggs and bacon if Dr John Harvey Kellogg hadn't dreamt up the cornflake, going on to become a cereal inventor. Descended from Scottish Immigrants, the Seventh Day Adventist from Tyrone, Michigan began working with his brother Will Keith Kellogg to develop breakfast cereals in 1897, launching the brand that would later give us Rice Krispies and Frosties. They're grrrreaaattt!
Steam hammer
A power-driven hammer used to shape large pieces of wrought iron was invented in 1837 by Scot James Nasmyth. His hammers were said to be able to crack the top of the shell of an egg placed in a wine glass, without breaking the glass. If only the same could be said of the glass in Glasgow pubs.
Tarmacadam
Ever wondered where the word "tarmac" came from? Add "tar" to the surname of Scot engineer and road builder, John McAdam, and you have it. His process, "macadamisation" developed smooth, hard-surfaced for roads in around 1820.
Telephone
"Mr Watson – come here – I want to see you," are the famous first words that Scottish inventor Alexander Bell uttered to his assistant during his invention of the first practical telephone in the 1870s. He rushed his design to patent within hours of another inventor. It took another two years before he could get Mrs Bell off it.
The shortest place name
Ae, a village near Dumfries and Galloway, boasts the claim to fame of having the shortest place name in the UK. Situated in a conifer forest, it lies near the Water of Ae, a tributary of the River Annan.
TV
The Wire, Mad Men, Take Me Out... you name it, we may not have had it without Scottish inventor John Logie Baird. In 1926, he became the first person to publicly demonstrate a working television system. Two years later, he gave the first demonstration of colour television.
US Navy
Sailor John Paul Jones is known in America as a founder of the country's naval force. Born on the estate of Arbigland near Kirkbean, southwest Scotland, he later emigrated and fought against Britain in the American War of Independence.
US presidents
An astonishing 23 presidents of the United States have Scots or Scots-Irish heritage, including many of the most distinguished: Theodore Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon, and Bill Clinton. The George Bushes, senior and junior, also originate from Scotland, though obviously it was Texas that made them that way.
Vacuum flask
The saviour of ramblers and picnickers across the world was the brainchild of Scottish physicist and chemist Sir James Dewar. He made the invention in 1892 but failed to get a patent and so did not profit from his ingenuity.
Whisky
Not to be confused with Irish whiskey, the first evidence of the production of the "water of life" in Scotland is recorded in 1494, although distillation dates back centuries before. James IV was said to be rather partial to the tipple. SlĂ inte!

Re-Use and Don't Lose

You don’t need a calendar to tell you when the holidays have ended—just take a look outside to see if rows of skimpy, dried-out Christmas trees are lining the curb. Each year, roughly 33 million live Christmas trees are purchased in North America, many of which end up rotting in landfills once the new year arrives. But making our days merry and bright isn’t the only thing a felled evergreen is good for. Here are some ways Christmas trees continue to serve a purpose long after their decorations have been packed away.

1. THEY’RE USED AS LUMBER FOR HOMES.

The tree that’s erected in Manhattan’s Rockefeller Center each November is arguably the most iconic Christmas display there is. It’s also one of the largest, reaching up to 100 feet tall and often weighing more than 10 tons. That’s a lot of lumber, and luckily, Habitat for Humanity makes sure it’s put to good use. Every year since 2007, Rockefeller Center has donated its tree to Habit for Humanity International after taking it down on January 9. From there, the festive behemoth (usually a Norway Spruce) is divided into sections in the plaza before it's shipped to a mill in New Jersey for additional sawing. It’s eventually made into 2-by-4 and 2-by-6 beams used in construction projects around the country. Homes in Bridgeport, Connecticut, Morris, New Jersey, and Philadelphia all contain pieces of what was once the world’s most famous Christmas tree in their walls.

2. THEY’RE MADE INTO UNDERWATER ECOSYSTEMS.

If you were to walk along the bottom of Lake Havasu between Arizona and California long enough, you’d eventually come across the site of a Christmas tree graveyard. What may be a creepy scene to holiday lovers is a lush utopia for fish—the branches of the spruces, firs, and pines provide a hiding place from predators and attract food for the fish to nibble on.
The 875-acre artificial reef resting on the lakebed consists of PVC pipe, cinder blocks, concrete sewer pipe, brush, and thousands of Christmas trees weighed down with sandbags. Decades of decomposed plant matter have built up a healthy layer of moss and algae around the non-degradable structures. This green coating attracts insects, which in turn attract fish looking for a snack. The end of the holiday season marks the introduction of 500 new trees to the reef, each of which will take about five or six years to break down completely.

3. THEY’RE USED TO BUILD SAND DUNES.

Spend a day on the beach in summertime and Christmas trees will likely be far from your mind—but on at least one beach along the East Coast, there are thousands of abandoned conifers buried in the sand. That’s because Bradley Beach, New Jersey depends on recycled Christmas trees to build its sand dunes. Discarded trees are laid out on the beach and held in place between two parallel fences. Sand that blows in from shore gets caught in the branches, eventually packing into a full sand dune over the course of several seasons. Unlike piles that have been pushed together with bulldozers, sand dunes that are allowed to build naturally over time provide a more stable barrier against storm surges. When the time is right, the town plants dune grass to give the structures even more stability, with the vegetation's hairy roots anchoring trees in the sand.

4. THEY PROVIDE ENRICHMENT TO ZOO ANIMALS.

An elephant plays with a Christmas tree at a zoo in Germany. Image credit: Odd Andersen // Getty Images
In the wild, many animals encounter plant life that changes with the seasons. The Oakland Zoo in California hopes to simulate this seasonal variety in captivity with annual Christmas tree donations. Each year, a local Christmas tree lot hands over whatever’s left of their inventory at the end of the season. The zoo’s residents are more than happy to take the trees that others didn’t want—zebras munch on the needles, squirrel monkeys swing from branch to branch, and otters play games of “smell and seek” with treats hidden in the trees by zookeepers. Oakland’s zoo isn’t the only one to take advantage of the surplus of trees at the end of year. The Staten Island Zoo, the North Georgia Zoo, the Linton Zoological Gardens in the UK all accept tree donations.

5. THEY HELP RESTORE MARSHLAND.

Christmas trees are a key tool in the fight to save Louisiana’s marshland. The state loses 25 to 35 miles of coastal wetlands a year to advancing ocean tides, and one thrifty way to prevent further damage is by building fences around the marsh’s perimeter. Since the Santa Saves the Marsh project began in 1986, over 1.5 million Christmas trees have been used for this purpose. Following the holiday season, bundles of timber collected from around the country are flown in via a helicopter on loan from the Army National Guard and dropped into the wetlands below. These trees are used to stuff pre-built wooden pens surrounding the bayou. Today, more than eight miles of Christmas tree fencing lines the vulnerable habitat, and it’s already proven valuable: When Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana’s southern coast in 2005, the shoreline behind the barricade was better protected.

6. THEY’RE USED AS AN ENERGY SOURCE.

Christmas trees likely aren’t the alternative fuel source of the future, but that hasn’t stopped Burlington, Vermont from ringing every watt of energy they can get from their seasonal haul. The Joseph C. McNeil Wood and Yard Waste Depot collects hundreds of unwanted trees from households and Christmas tree lots at the end of each holiday season. That organic waste gets fed to a wood chipper, and part of the mulch that comes out is sent to the local power plant where it’s tossed into a boiler. The heat generated from the boiler evaporates water into steam that's used to power the turbine in the plant's generator. Each tree that's incinerated amounts to about 36 cents worth of energy for the town.
The Merry Mulch Project isn’t able to produce enough fuel to keep the plant running on 100-percent Christmas tree power (for that, the boiler would need to be fed the equivalent of 100 trees per second), but luckily, Burlington uses other renewable resources like wind and water to keep the city running throughout the year.

7. THEY’RE MADE INTO PATHS FOR HIKING TRAILS.

It’s hard to go for a hike through Dunbar Cave State Park in Tennessee without trampling on ghosts of Christmas past—all of the mulch used to cushion their trails is made from old Christmas trees. A thousand trees are mulched by the park as part of their annual Trees to Trails program and laid along pathways by volunteers. According to the National Christmas Tree Association, Friends of Dunbar Cave board member David Boen said they stick to Christmas trees exclusively because “by definition they don't have any invasive species or seeds.” In addition to making them easier to walk on, mulch also protects trails from damaging water run-off.

8. THEY’RE TRANSFORMED INTO ART.


Since 2012, artist Michael Neff has installed a seasonal art project in New York City. “The Suspended Forest” started with a handful of forgotten Christmas trees hung illegally beneath an overpass in Williamsburg. The most recent iteration included 40 floating trees harvested from sidewalks and tree lots after Christmas. They were on display in a warehouse in Queens through the month of January (this time around, Neff had actually received permission to put them there). He hopes to keep bringing the exhibit back to New York and potentially re-imagine it for different cities in the future.

9. THEY PROVIDE FREE MULCH TO GARDENERS.

If a Christmas tree doesn’t end up hanging in a warehouse, decomposing on a lakebed, or providing festive scenery for a landfill, it’s most likely turned into mulch. Plenty of towns pulverize their discarded Christmas trees for use in parks and public spaces, but San Diego does something a little different with theirs. For decades the Miramar Greenery has invited city residents to pick up free mulch and compost for use on private property. After dropping off unwanted trees at locations around town or dumping them on the curb, families can visit the Greenery later in the year to collect the mulch they helped contribute to. In a single year, the recycling program can make mulch out of nearly 1000 trees, making the city’s Christmas trees the gifts that keep on giving.
MF

Unavoidable

A man from Southend has dramatically threatened to lose his shit if his girlfriend drags him into Primark. 
Police are currently at the scene in Southend High Street, and a source has confirmed that he has already been forcibly marched into TK Maxx, Evans, H&M and Debenhams since lunchtime. 
He added: ‘The area has been sealed off while trained negotiators are trying to stop him from putting his head inside a Miss Selfridge bag, chucking in a few sprays of Lynx Africa and seeing where things go from there.’
‘His girlfriend is adamant that this fourth visit to Primark in the space of seven days will definitely be the last, probably.’
‘Things got pretty heated at one point – some of the grammar was shocking.’
‘One sentence is particular had so many double negatives in it that it was impossible to tell who was or wasn’t ‘mugging off’ whom.’
‘As the shouting got louder and louder, their Staffordshire terrier got more and more anxious and a lady on a mobility scooter was growled at viciously. She is being comforted at the scene.’
Southend Community Policing Lead PC Ernest Peacie said: ‘Ladies need to ask themselves a few simple questions every time they are going to take their male partner into a clothing retailer.’
‘Can I find this online instead? Is he going to kick off? What is the correct conjugation of the verb ‘to be’ when using the plural ‘we?’ 
SNN

Well Said

The cure for writer's cramp is writer's block.
Inigo DeLeon

As it Stands in 2016

Premier League
Standings
#
Team
GP
W
D
L
GF
GA
GD
PTS
1
18
15
1
2
38
11
27
46
2
18
12
4
2
45
21
24
40
3
18
12
3
3
39
20
19
39
4
18
11
4
3
39
19
20
37
5
18
10
6
2
33
13
20
36
6
18
9
6
3
27
18
9
33
7
18
7
5
6
23
21
2
26
8
18
6
6
6
18
20
-2
24
9
18
6
5
7
23
22
1
23
10
18
6
4
8
22
30
-8
22
11
18
6
4
8
23
32
-9
22
12
18
6
3
9
23
31
-8
21
13
18
5
6
7
20
28
-8
21
14
18
6
2
10
17
28
-11
20
15
18
4
6
8
16
20
-4
18
16
18
4
5
9
23
31
-8
17
17
18
4
4
10
29
33
-4
16
18
18
4
2
12
16
31
-15
14
19
18
3
3
12
21
41
-20
12
20
18
3
3
12
14
39
-25
12