Married people are better gamers?


Well, perhaps not but it’s interesting that they might be able to handle stress better than singletons if the study I read about in the Sunday Times is right.

On the other hand they probably have kids so that puts a huge limit on the amount of time one has to devote to gaming!

Oh, I don’t really believe my post title. I’m usually so tired by the time I play games I get trounced. This was a post to try out the Android WordPress app here. Works a treat!

Zhong Tai, the 250 mile electric SUV

Zhong Tai

I read during the week about the Zhong Tai, a 4 seater car based on the body of the 2006 Daihatsu Terios with a claimed range of 250 miles and thought, “this is a car that would suit my family”.

The Sunday Times has the full scoop as they’re the first western publication to put this Chinese car to the test. They were impressed!

New Power, by contrast, claims to have developed an electric four-seater with a range of 250 miles and plans to bring it to the UK “within the next couple of years”. Known as the Zhong Tai (the name translates roughly as “peace and safety for the people”), it has lithium-ion batteries that can be recharged in 6-8 hours from a conventional socket, or in two hours from a high-power recharging point. With a top speed of 75mph and an estimated price tag of between £16,300 and £20,500 in Britain, the Zhong Tai could be both practical and affordable enough to make drivers part with their internal combustion engines for good.

I wonder what the resale value on electric cars will be like? It’s well known that batteries degrade with time so that component will bring down the price. Then there’s the strides technology is making in this field. Will people want the latest whizz bang gadget?
Hopefully advancements in battery technology will be backwards compatible. An electric motor is an electric motor (I guess), but battery tech is getting so much better all the time.

Is anyone driving an electric car in Ireland?

Peeing into the wind at the North Pole

The funny thing is, when I started reading Richard Hammond’s account of racing Jeremy Clarkson and James May to the North Pole, I did not expect to find out quite so much about the toilet habits of sub zero temperature travellers. Still, a fun read about the Top Gear crew.

“Bloody hell, guys, there’s a bog here. I’ve found it. It’s beautiful. I want to see if it’s real. Give me the gun. And the bog roll. If I’m not back in half an hour, tell my family I died a happy man.”

If that’s a little too squeamish for you, then you really should avoid Clarkson Island. Thanks Mark for twittering this excellent little piece. I love the bit where the young Clarkson gets on the quad bike, and the announcer’s comment that follows ..

PS. WP Super Cache update to follow in a few days. If your blog uses a mixture of query strings and fancy permalinks I’m testing a mod_rewrite rule that may make your life easier:

RewriteCond %{QUERY_STRING} !.*=.*

When a dog loves a woman

The happy and sad story of Goofy, a dog rescued from Greece, who took over Belinda Harley’s life.

If you enjoyed story of Goofy’s rescue, look for the book, “Marley and Me”. It’s a lovely story, and you’d need to have a hard heart not to shed a tear by the end of it.

The only time that Mark Birley, that quintessentially reserved Englishman and ruler of the nightclub Annabel’s, sent me a love letter, it began: “Darling Belinda, I know I only saw you last night, and will see you again in a few days, but there is something I wanted to put in writing. I want to tell you how much I love and admire you” (here, I caught my breath) “for rescuing that divine dog.”

The rest of the letter was not about me at all. It was all about Goofy, the mixture of spaniel and scamp with the wonderful, intelligent eyes that I had brought home, after nightmarish battles with official-dom, from the Greek island of Paxos.

Top five movie car chases

The Sunday Times hitlist listed the top 5 movie car chases in memory of the grandfather of stunts, Bud Ekins died earlier this month at the age of 77. He appeared in several films including The Great Escape, Bullitt and coordinated the stunts in CHiPS. I won’t subject you to Poncherello, but thanks to Youtube, here are the best car chases of all time:

The French Connection (1971)
… it’s never better than when Hackman’s character Popeye Doyle commandeers a Pontiac LeMans and hares off after an elevated E-train driven by a hitman.

Continue reading “Top five movie car chases”

When columnists go bad

It’s a wonder sometimes why some bloggers hold journalists to such high standards. Quite often what appears in our newspapers is ripped entirely from press releases, or is poorly researched. Case in point are the two columns by Jeremy Clarkson and India Knight in last week’s Sunday Times (I’ve been away, catching up on my blogging!)

Jeremy Clarkson may be a funny guy, but is he a little thick? In Biggles, you’re a crashing bore he says,

Then you have to spend more months learning how to use a radio. Why? I know already. You just stab away at various buttons until someone comes over the speaker. Then you tell him what you want.

Oh no you don’t. You have to talk in a stupid code, saying “over” when you’ve finished speaking for the moment and “out” when you’ve finished altogether. Why? When I ring the plumber or the local Indian restaurant, I am able to convey the nature of my request perfectly well using English. So why when I’m in a plane do I have to talk in gibberish?

“Hello, it’s Jeremy. Is it all right to land?” is a much easier way of saying, “Weston Tower, this is Charlie Victor Tango on 8453.113 requesting a westerly approach to runway 27.”

That’s not sarcastic and witty. That’s plain dumb.

On the same page India Knight states that many people suffering from allergies and food intolerances really don’t have allergies at all and are simply rude. Try telling that to me after I’ve had a cheese covered pizza.

Millions of people have imaginary allergies and food intolerances, according to a survey last week. Many of them have diagnosed themselves online; one in 50 says they only noticed their “problem” when a friend had similar symptoms; and 39% of people questioned think it is “trendy” to claim a food allergy. Twelve million people claim to suffer from allergy or intolerance, of which less than a quarter are medically diagnosed.

The mind boggles. I love cheese and milk. I would love nothing better than to drink a cool glass of milk with a spicy curry, or homemade brown bread with a thick slice of cheese on top. It’s not bloody trendy to have a stuffed up nose and phlemmy throat a few hours later. Poor Ms. Knight lives in a very black and white world.

Good to know I’m not the only one to think this way about India Knight’s article. Actually, India Knight was never good so she couldn’t go bad. At least Clarkson’s articles are mildly entertaining!

Health food firms told to "Prove it!"

It’s about time for this to happen. Food companies have been claiming X, Y and Z about their products for long enough. An article in the Sunday Times goes on to say that, “FOOD companies that make false or unsubstantiated claims about the health benefits of their products will be forced to withdraw them under a new European Union crackdown.”

One of those products listed in a table that accompanies the paper version of the article is the baby food Aptamil. There is very little proof that it helps a baby’s immune system. Looks like Milupa were quick off the mark changing their packaging.


The prominent label, “Supports your baby’s natural immune system” is now missing on the new packaging. Score one for consumers!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, Adam needs annother feed. Typing one handed takes ages!

While on the subject of feeding babies, there is an Islamic Fatwa that says adult men can be breast fed. Strange, but read more here

Boldly going where no 76 year old has gone before

William Shatner was interviewed by the Sunday Times for it’s In Gear section and in typical fashion it’s mostly about cars, but don’t let that put you off if you’re not a motorhead. He talks about his marriages, his future flight into space in a Virgin Galactic Shuttle (not looking forward to it), horse riding, and his hopes for good health which must play on the mind of an active 76 year old.

To lift the mood I ask what dreams Shatner still wants to fulfil. “Not to get sick,” he says. “I’m so healthy and I feel so strong and I jump up on a horse and I drive fast cars. And I’m thinking this has got to end soon, and I don’t want it to end. That’s my biggest dream.”

While on the subject of high achieving 35 year old septuagenarians, I want to congratulate my mother-in-law, Philomena Burns for winning “The James Stack Memorial Perpetual Trophy” and a gold medal in this year’s Feis Maitiu poetry and recital competition in Cork. She is of course delighted and we’re very proud of her! I hope to update this post with a photo of her and her trophy and medal next week.

I forgot to ask the midwife

We’re just back from our first ante natal class and I forgot to ask the most important question that every dad wants to know,

Can the prospective dad get a few gulps of the gas and air?

I did remember to ask another important question.

When the baby is upside down in the womb, does the blood run to it’s head? Is the baby in a constant state of wooziness?

Apparently the unborn baby’s blood runs in the opposite direction to your’s or mine. When a baby is born two valves close off in the heart and the blood flows in the right direction! So much happens when a baby is born, they must start breathing for themselves, they have to heat themselves.. Complicated business.

Brenda Power writing in the Sunday Times has a very positive article about older mothers. This is a subject close to my heart because my pregnant wife will be 42 on her next birthday, although if you met her you’d hardly know it! I would link to the article but the Times Online website has been redesigned. They’re looking for feedback so here’s mine. I don’t mind the new colours, it’s not as cluttered as other news sites, but some of the database and archive functionality could be improved. When I tried to view last Sunday’s Sunday Times content the drop down didn’t work, and searching for “Brenda Power” in the search box returned zero results! Does she still work for you? Looking forward to seeing those problems fixed because half the enjoyment of reading the newspaper is that I can blog it later!

One more criticism of the new Sunday Times website – not all articles are available there. The two I wanted to blog about this week are missing in action, presumed lost in the server somewhere. Please fix it! *sob*

Getting to know the Trotts

Just goes to show what a hectic week it was last week. Despite it being on the front cover of the Business Section, I completely missed this Sunday Times interview with Mena and Ben Trott, the founders of Six Apart, makers of blog software Moveable Type, Vox, Typepad and owners of Livejournal.

It’s a personable interview that doesn’t go into any great technical detail but it’s interesting for me to find out a little about the competition from my outpost across the Atlantic.