Category Archives: Earth and cosmos

Northwest storm live blogging


19:00: Still pretty wild but unless it gets worse, signing off from this post. Going to bed early to watch Clara er the last Doctor Who – The Name of the Doctor.   Boat’s still solid.   New bed’s nice too.

18:00: Raining inside my place onto the bags, thinks beginning to break out there on the house, seems to be getting stronger. How are the commuters at this time?

17:06: First loss of power, came back on. I’ll blog till it dies. My place is right at the point the elements hit – top of large mansion. Oops, power just went again.

17:01: Sky over river opaque, water scudding across the water and other water scudding across that. Not dry. Was talking today to locals about flooding possibilities – how could it, they asked – everything is a waterway around here, taking it out to sea. Just had a bad gust come through and almost took the roof off. Lots of fun.

16:43: Hit like a smackeroo blurby, branches straining – actually flapping – things flying about in the yard, boat as solid as a rock.


Dave’s Cobra Committee

The sheep are panicking up our way

Cab Q

Was just in town now and did something profligate – took a taxi. Did the doings and laden with bags, went to return by taxi, not bringing the phone with me but chancing the taxi rank.

Trouble with the rank is it’s a fair way off and though downhill in the out direction, to walk back to town is uphill. Should have known when I saw a dozen people waiting down there. We all thought the taxis were parked the other side of the precinct where they’re guaranteed higher fares.

Eventually one came and once inside, I asked him why no taxis for half an hour. There are, he said – you’re in one.

Then he said that everyone was calling for them because Prince Charles had said something or someone else had about 80mph winds up this way around 13:00 today. It’s 12:25 now. Driver said everyone panicked and rushed out to get shopping in – I wondered why the shops were full on a Wednesday, usually a slow day in town.

Now how effing stupid to rush out like that. I mean – people are rightly called sheep.

I checked the Beeb just before going and it said 30mph and rain – not an issue. It was my regular shopping day anyway. So there are all these people in blind panic over not having enough food when their fridges and freezers are crammed.

For the record, I bought some mince and Dover sole, as well as the core items – veg, fruit.

And choc.


OK,  I take it back – there are warnings and it has started out there:

beeb forecastI admit it’s fanciful but doesn’t it seem interesting – south and south-east get it and we escape.   So, someone orders it for up here and contacts the media and then, on cue, it hits the parts of England which missed out on the past few weeks’ mayhem.

Reading the Beeb blurb, seems we could be losing our power – this was the main idea, of course.   There are two more scheduled posts today at NO but if you see no more after 5 p.m. or if I miss a Skype schedule or whatever, you’ll know why – I’ve been killed by a giant branch crashing through the roof and skewering me to the floor.


It will be interesting to see if the North East has its turn in a few weeks.   By the way, it just started raining from the ceiling in this flat.   I’ve put out the bucket and sponges and have the sandbags at the ready.

See you when I do.

Two opposite ends of the earth, two opposite issues

We have our floods and:


The incompetent and ambitious employ and promote the incompetent and ambitious

chris smithThe Somerset levels debacle, the EPA, has greatly angered much of this country, it would be fair to say.

But it’s by no means a unique debacle. Do you remember one which was covered at OoL about the flooding of the Missouri basin. Naturally you’re not interested in that at this time but it does give a perspective on the current troubles.

Jodi Farhat is exactly what Lord Smith is – a bumbling fool but accompanied by certain traits which are the last thing one needs in the head of an agency or company: Continue reading

Somerset rivers – to dredge or not to dredge?


Guardian says – among these problems the Environment Agency points out are:

  1. Massive expense. Once you have started dredging, “it must be repeated after every extreme flood, as the river silts up again”.
  2. More dangerous rivers: “Removing river bank vegetation such as trees and shrubs decreases bank stability and increases erosion and siltation.”
  3. The destabilisation of bridges, weirs, culverts and river walls, whose foundations are undermined by deepening the channel: “If the river channels are dredged and structures are not realigned, ‘Pinch Points’ at structures would occur. This would increase the risk of flooding at the structure.” That means more expense and more danger.
  4. Destruction of the natural world: “Removing gravel from river beds by dredging leads to the loss of spawning grounds for fish, and can cause loss of some species. Removing river bank soils disturbs the habitat of river bank fauna such as otters and water voles.”

If that is so, are the calls for Smith’s head right?    I ask only for information.

Alice in Quantumland


Continuing this morning’s theme about all things weird, there is this article by a lass called Maria Popova, via haiku, himself a mysterious character.

Now our Maria, naturally, in looking at quantum physics, must needs bring the gender issue into a review of Alice in Quantumland, by particle physicist Robert Gilmore of CERN, that organization with the statue of Kali outside.

It’s not so much the particle physics but that he gets a female to discover all this difficult science which Maria is so proud of and sees the need to head the article with. No doubt there should be quotas governing that.

No matter. This from Gilmore: Continue reading

Friday quiz

This is becoming more or less regular now and it fits nicely into Friday evening, through Saturday, with answers given Saturday evening.   Apparently I’m making them too difficult or rather too broadly across disciplines so today we’ll stick to one discipline – countries.

Idea is to name the country.   Rules are that, as I can’t control what you do to get the answer, even clicking on pics for the info – there are no rules.   Find the answer best way you can.

  1. irrigation nation

  2. This country is long and sprawls across many islands, as well as half of another big island it disputes with its large southern neighbour.  It’s fond of bombings and beheadings.

  3. This country has many engineers, especially automotive, and likes causing wars which it doesn’t win.  For centuries it was not even a country – it was a series of dukedoms, under one loose banner.

  4. It’s mainly desert and grassland, with some tropical rainforest.   One of its animals is the quokka.  There are two major cities.  Temperatures range from about minus 15 to plus 50 Celsius.

  5. It has high mountains and is landlocked but it is not rich.  It isn’t even a nation in a way because its northern neighbour claims it doesn’t exist. There is a religious man connected with it.

Psychedelic beach

JD sends:

While vacationing on the Maldives Islands, Taiwanese photographer Will Ho stumbled onto an incredible stretch of beach covered in millions of bioluminescent phytoplankton. These tiny organisms glow similarly to fireflies and tend to emit light when stressed, such as when waves crash or when they are otherwise agitated.




Whilst I am prepared to accept that organic foods offers very little in the way of additional nutritional benefits, the following makes one wonder about just how much the scientists are ignoring …

The United States is facing an epidemic of herbicide-resistant “superweeds” that some activists and researchers are blaming on GMOs, an accusation rejected by industry giants.

According to a recent study, the situation is such that American farmers are “heading for a crisis.”

Many scientists blame overuse of herbicides, prompted by seeds genetically modified to resist them. Continue reading