RSS feeds for categories

Incidentally, I’ve now added RSS feeds to each of the categories in this blog, so you’ll know when I’ve added to them. In particular, there’s now a Highbury feed, so you’ll know whenever there’s been an update (not that there’ll be many more, I suspect).

Welsh speakers told to breed

Well, it’s one way to get more people to speak Welsh, isn’t it?

Still, given the teen pregnancy rates in Wales, isn’t the advice a bit superfluous? This may sound like a joke, but this conversation really happened to my (Welsh) wife when she was back in Wales just before we got married:

Person: “Oh, you’re getting married then? When’s the baby due?”

My wife: “It’s not”

Person: “Oh there’s posh then!”

An alternative to antibiotics

Interesting piece on Slate about phages – viruses that attack bacteria. They’re available in the former Soviet Union over the counter and could prove the answer to increasing immunity to antibiotics. I think I remember reading about them in a book about the former SU’s biowarfare programme, so they’re not making it up…

Cursed Linux

Nearly killed my new iMac last weekend. I’d just got everything running nicely, including Windows, when I had a ‘bright’ idea. “Why don’t I install Linux onto that extra partition I reserved for it.

Bad idea.

Bloody Gentoo wiped the partition map and I spent about 48 hours having to recover everything. I got everything back but that was a pain in the arse in spade.

So my new resolution is this: never have anything to do with Linux unless it’s going to be installed in a virtualised environment that can’t do anything bad. I’ve never yet had a good experience with Linux and somehow I don’t see that changing…

Pause for thought for bloggers and journalists alike

From today’s Poynter Institute email:

Conventional wisdom states that news sites must update to attract readers. Well, quite the opposite happened on Norway’s site Bergens Tidendes ( this week.

Instead of giving heavy coverage to the recent Scandinavian Big Brother finale (in Swedish), decided that an ultra-short and to-the-point article (in Norwegian) would suffice — adding that they probably would not be updating.

It was an obvious attempt to distance the site from a TV concept seen by many as vulgar and lowbrow.

The whole article reads: “Jessica won Big Brother. Jessica is 21 years old and comes from Kalmar. The first prize is one million Kroner. probably won’t come back with more.”

In a world gone reality crazy, the article was a little reminder of what’s news and what’s not, so it became something of a phenomenon in Norway this week. After having been e-mailed between friends and referred in other media, it attracted 25.000 readers during Tuesday, according to NA24 Propaganda (Norwegian). That kind of readership is usually reserved for much bigger stories and happenings on Bergens Tidendes.

Says Bergens Tidendes news editor Anne Gjerde: “We have never had so many readers for such a short article.”

Move Heathrow?!

Heathrow airportI’m all for environmentally friendly ideas, but I think they need to be practical. If they’re not, environmentalists are going to get laughed at and ignored. So well done to this particular urban planning charity, which has come up with the entirely feasible concept of moving Heathrow airport to the east of London. That doesn’t make greens look stupid at all. Oh no.

Travel is stressful

It’s not fun, driving down the motorway. There’s the monotony, the roadworks, the constant risk of falling asleep (bet you’re looking forward to driving behind me). Case in point: yesterday. It took us seven hours to get home from Swansea, a trip that normally takes four and a half hours or so. You see, there’d been a really nasty accident on the M4 that closed down junctions 17-19. So we ended up diverted to the middle of nowhere and it took us two hours to get to junction 17 from junction 18 via Cirencester. Not good.

The first services we came to, we stopped. 10.30pm and most places should have been shut. But Burger King was very nicely keeping itself open past the point it should have closed. It was doing that to help out us and all the people like us had been stuck on the motorway.

What was their reward? Abuse. Abuse because they didn’t have enough food of the right variety. Abuse for the whole motorway incident. No good deed goes unpunished, huh?

Stress is understandable. Taking it out on people who are trying to help you isn’t. So thanks Membury services Burger King staff. Thanks for helping us out. And all you nasty people who abused them: shame on you!

Things I really just don’t need

Just been reading the latest issue of Private Eye. Found a story about Barking’s BNP situation. Turns out one of the councillors is called “Robert Buckley”. How much did I need that? Precisely not at all. And the thing is, now I’ve written about it, I’m going to get all the Google hits for him. Curses.