A few things

It’s been a while since i did one of these and my Pocket is filling up again. So…

It’s Springtime! (in the UK) and time to switch to BST. But this isn’t the correct way to put your clocks forward:

And this might work, but is also very confusing:

Pro-tip: Use a whiteboard marker and you can simply use a damp cloth to change the clocks back again in October.

Good news for me on this change is that evening football matches now kick off at a more reasonable time and so I can watch them and still get enough sleep (see below).

However, that good news is tempered somewhat by the fact that their Spring means our Autumn. And the weather has been doing its bit to remind us of the changing seasons. We’re losing 2 minutes of daylight a day in Cape Town each day at the moment, and we crossed the 12 hours daylight/12 hours nighttime line yesterday.

I was reminded of this Soy, Ginger and Chili salmon recipe today. I must cook it again. Today is all about the big boneless gammon joint on the hob, though. The whole house smell of cloves and all-spice (coincidentally also the name of the giant robot formed when all the Spice Girls zigazig-arred together like the Power Rangers). Delicious.

The future is bright: Sheffield United win the Professional Development League (North) for the third season running.

A fact made even better when you look at the whole league table:

LOL – mind the gap!

A Long Read about Long Covid here.

tl;dect (didn’t even click through) – risk of developing LC drops after a secondary infection (UK 4.0% to 2.4%), but that’s still not zero!

and just for reference, 2.4% of the UK population is one and a half million people. That’s a lot of potential cases, and a huge burden on individuals, families and the health service.

Covid really is just like the common cold.

I was out on a run earlier this week and was thinking about how I couldn’t even manage a staircase in the aftermath of my acute Covid experience. Things are clearly much, much better now, although it took over a year to get back to normality. That said: three things I have noticed post-Covid: I need more sleep, my lung capacity still isn’t what it was before, and my memory (which use to be very good) really isn’t as good any more. Especially on people’s names. Other random nonsense (phone codes, capital cities, song titles/bands) – generally fine. Names (famous ones or personal acquaintances) – nope.


Stop stacking rocks on beaches (and elsewhere), say SANParks.

…The problem is that people are increasingly building rock cairns to leave their mark or symbol of their presence in a natural setting or for posting on social media. Therefore, when engaging in this activity, it is important to be mindful of the potential negative impacts on the environment, wildlife and other people’s experiences.

Moving rocks and stacking them can disturb the natural habitat of tiny creatures. On the rocky shore, these organisms, such as crabs, molluscs, and algae, depend on their environment’s rocks and other structures for shelter and protection. By moving or stacking rocks, we may inadvertently destroy or disrupt their homes, harming their populations. Similarly, rock stacking can also have adverse terrestrial impacts on insects and moss in wilderness areas.

The article has a (terrible) picture of Agulhas National Park in it. So this is a local thing, close to my heart. And when the kids were younger, we did used to do this from time to time, albeit that our towers were built near the low tide mark, ready to be knocked down as the waves came in, and never for social media purposes.

Anyway. No more. Stoppit.

Lastly for today: a new way to filter flights on flightradar24. This is the update that everyone as crying out for. And it works. From being a very cool tool, its now also massively powerful. You can now get it to do whatever you want (and even more if you pay for a subscription). A lot of the features are in the free Beta version at the moment, but it seems to be stable and full rollout isn’t likely to be far away.

Bits and Pieces

It’s Curry Club this evening, so I’ll likely be enjoying a Jal Frezi rather than blogging in front of the fire. In the meantime, please enjoy some (or more) of these snippets which don’t quite deserve a blog post of their own, but equally don’t deserve to be completely ignored, either.

The last phone boxes
5 million phone calls are made each year from the UK’s remaining 20,000 phone boxes. I think that both those numbers seem ridiculously high. This is a lovely long read about phone boxes and their place in an ever-changing society.

The Boy Wonder is hiking the Lion’s Head tonight, with the promise of hot chocolate on the summit. It’s actually getting ridiculous how many Bootlegger coffee shops there are in Cape Town now. (Substitute Costa in the UK or your local ubiquitous high street coffee outlet in to make this “joke” work for your country.)

Ironically, there is usually a Vida e Cafe truck parked at the gate to the Lion’s Head hiking trail.

UCL Draw
Once again, Sheffield United have missed out on a place in the group stages. I might still pop over to the UEFA Youtube page to watch the draw for the 2022/23 competition live this evening though. 5pm BST = 6pm CAT.

With no apologies to Elvis
…John Cooper Clarke’s (You Ain’t Nothing But A) Hedgehog

“You ain’t nothing but a hedgehog
Foragin’ all the time
You ain’t nothing but a hedgehog
Foragin’ all the time
You ain’t never pricked a predator
You ain’t no Porcupine”

“Hedgehogs! Leave some hedge for everyone else!”

August is nearly over. So, in a mall near you:

It’s a very seasonal thing:

And, as you can see from this graph of interest in that song on Google, the interest in that song is very much waning. This is great news, but it’s also worth noting that even if people aren’t quite as bothered as they used to be, history shows that we are likely to see the annual uptick beginning in the next few weeks.

Don’t say you weren’t warned.

Empty your Pocket

Every now and again, I save some (possibly) interesting thing to my Pocket account so that I can either:
a) read it later,
b) blog it later, or
c) forget about it for ages until I realise just how full my Pocket account is and I dump all these (possibly) interesting things into a single blog post.

Yes, this is a c) moment. So let’s not beat about the proverbial here.

No water for Cape Town ships

I’ve made that sound worse than it is. Yes, we have got a drought, but the sea is still full. Ships can still come and go from Cape Town. That’s not a problem.
What they can’t do – for the first time in history – is stock up with fresh water for their onward travels. Because that is something that we don’t have much of. I suspect that this is only “the first time in history” thing because of the combination of a bad drought and enough actual organisation to prevent ships from taking on fresh water.
Still, it does show how bad things are.

DroneDefence is a thing
And a company.
I’m not saying that all drone pilots are as pure as the freshly driven snow. Nor that drones can’t be used for nefarious purposes. I’ve told you that already. But the fact that there are now businesses out there who are selling guns which fire drone nets and signal blockers to bring down drones seems a bit over the top. The photograph of the mysterious hooded individual with the remote control in his hand makes a welcome and sinister return.

Sheffield United keep winning
I don’t think many United fans could genuinely have believed that the Blades would start the season so well. But hey, we’ll take it. Reading were the latest victims of our currently continuing success.

And staying in the Steel City:
Sheffield gives you wings!
Yep. Soon, the plane taking you from Cape Town to Johannesbegale or Dubai might be flying thanks to wings made in Sheffield. The facility, due to open next year will make (bits of) wings for Boeing’s 737, 737 MAX and 777 planes.
Technically, the bits are called actuation system components, so if you have any systems that need actuating, now you know where to go. Sheffield. It’s Sheffield.

Is this man in a 1937 painting holding an iPhone?
No. No, he’s not. Obviously.
But, yes. Yes, it does look a bit like he is:

However, since the iPhone came out in 2007, and the painting was completed 70 years previously, you really shouldn’t need me to help you out with the obvious negative response.

Soviet Space Shuttles
If you were thinking of breaking into the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, you shouldn’t, because that would be illegal. However, reading the stories, looking at photography and enjoying the videos of people that have broken into the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan is completely legal. And you can do that using the link above.

The Soviet Union’s Buran space shuttle program stands as one of the saddest episodes in aerospace history. After NASA began working on its space shuttle program in the early 1970s, the Soviet Union conceived of its own orbiter program, the eerily similar looking Buran shuttle. Ultimately, the vehicle made just one flight, an uncrewed mission in 1988. The Soviet Union’s collapsing economy doomed the program.

Some amazing footage.

And thus ends this quick trip into my Pocket. Not because I have run out of stuff to share, but because the lab is calling. And so there may be more in the near future.
Head to the 6000 miles… Facebook page and click LIKE to stay informed. And tell your friends to do so too. I’m quietly hoping to get to a million LIKEs before the end of the year. Hold thumbs.

On this week’s show…

[Puts on Jeremy Clarkson Top Gear voice]

A boat gets rescued
Batman consults his smartphone
A spider eats a mouse
A church is turned into a swimming pool
An amazing 3D printed sundial
An academic says not to worry about burning cars

…And Richard Hammond visits a brewery in Norfolk.

[comprehensively fails to punch an Irish producer]

Tuesday Ephemera

Apparently, this is the third Tuesday ephemera post I’ve done, as you may have noticed from the URL above. Evidently, after the chaos and panic of Mondays (they always seem to surprise people, don’t they?), Tuesdays and Fridays are the days when I unbundle all of the links I’ve collected and collated in my Pocket. Today is no different, as thus, without further ado… Stuff, but with more additional comments than usual:

3 month YouGov polls show folly of campaigning:


At least, it shows the folly of competitive campaigning. I’m sure that if one party didn’t campaign while the others did, that would make a difference, but given that no-one’s percentages have really done anything very much since mid-January, think of the money, effort and tedium that could have been saved by everyone just not doing anything to woo voters.
Also, it shows the danger of having (really) crap policies – support for UKIP and the Greens having actually dropped as they revealed their plans should they score an unlikely victory.

Local beach clean up yields skull 

The skull is hundreds, perhaps even thousands of years old – the remains of a young adult probably part of a hunter-gatherer community.

Yes. The real surprise was that it wasn’t a more recent murder victim.

This Xilent remix of Ellie Goulding’s Figure 8 is very pretty:

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A nice piece on the memories recalled when your childhood home is sold. My parents still live in the same house that I grew up in, so I’ve never really experienced this. Also, it isn’t a massive seven bedroom Yorkshire farmhouse and we didn’t have our wedding reception there, so this is a bit foreign to me as well:

Thirty people slept in the house, with 20 more in tents in the field. Many never made it to a bed, and Mum and Dad reckon that’s the highest number of overnight visitors they have ever had.

How could there actually be any doubt? Were there other occasions when there were “ooh, maybe 49 or 51 – I can’t quite recall”? Or did they previously also own a hotel with 26 double rooms, which may once have been very nearly at full capacity?
But look, this rather bizarre statement shouldn’t detract from what is an otherwise lovely, heartfelt piece.

Finally: Sheffield now and then. Or then and now, depending on how you poke the pictures.

For me, this was interesting not just because I come from Sheffield, but also because firstly, it’s really well done and secondly, just the way that some photos showed massive differences between the old and the new, and some where there were still elements that had been preserved. Sadly, I can’t link to individual photos, but if you have the time and/or inclination the 1945 VE Day crowd outside the City Hall (about a third of the way down) is especially interesting, showing the shrapnel holes from German bombs in the columns, and the patching work still visible today.

On the downside, many of the older photos were taken in the heyday of the city’s industrial past. That’s because that was the thing that made Sheffield special then. That was what was happening, that was the interest. Essentially, that was why the photo was taken – to show that industry, not the green spaces and parks, which didn’t exist back then. The modern day equivalents of those industrial scenes are fairly depressing, in that much of that industry has gone and has been replaced by soulless office buildings or (only arguably worse), nothing at all. It doesn’t help that the present-day photographer seems to have successfully avoided getting any sunshine in any of the photos.

Historical interest 10/10.
Accurate portrayal of modern-day Sheffield: 2/10.

Still. At least it’s not Luton.