Couple of new posts

I have written a couple of new blog posts at my political and travelling blogs:

Beanz meanz Bush?
In the UK, Beanz Meanz Heinz, or sometimes Branston, but in the USA, it means something else entirely.

On the justice of shooting terrorists
Britain’s idiotic leader of the opposition – as hopefully he remains on Thursday – believes it is wrong to shoot people who have murdered and wish to continue slashing and murdering innocent bystanders. What is my view?


The Argument for Environmental Optimism: Opinion by Smithsonian Secretary David J. Skorton

Is it foolish to be optimistic about our environment and its future prospects? Every day, we hear dire warnings about the health of the planet …

Source: The Argument for Environmental Optimism: Opinion by Smithsonian Secretary David J. Skorton

Lyme disease

Since I learned about Lyme Disease here in New England, I have been a little paranoid about deer ticks. So when we sat on a friend’s lawn on Saturday, my wife and I checked ourselves very carefully when we​ got home. I had a shower after being checked, because I had smoke in my hair. While laying on my bed later, I found a tick on my finger walking around. So we checked the bed and laundered all our clothes.

Sunday evening, after a long day of touristing in Washington DC, I had a much needed bath in our hotel room. And what did I find on my stomach? A bloomin’ tick, attached.

Needless to say, I read WebMD and the CDC’s website, and I feel pretty safe with that knowledge. But my question is: How hardy are these ridiculous critters?

Reader view

Some websites are too busy to read. This little trick helps fix that.

Since the update to Windows 10 Creator’s Update, I have been enjoying Edge a little more than I was before. It was when I made this website, though, that it ruined itself in my opinion. If you look at this site on Edge, it jerks through the background images, while on Chrome it remains smooth. So I came back to my preferred browser: Chrome.

Today I was reading a document for my university studies, and remembered reader view in Edge. So I used that to read my first document and it was amazing. It turned an unreadable website into an eBook on the cloud:ReaderView

This is nice, but now that I have decided that Edge is not for me, it seems silly to keep going back and forth. And then I thought of the Chrome Webstore. And sure enough, the first result of my search was exactly what I needed. So I hereby recommend this extension: Reader View for Chrome which works in basically the same way, creating an “R” icon in the extensions bar that turns into lines of text when a page is suitable for reader view. It even works nicely on this very website, keeping the image above, but not keeping all the other screen decoration.

Database modelling

I’m doing a bit of work with databases at the moment, and the following document is very useful but appears to have been deleted from its original location. So here’s a copy for anyone who wonders what to do about a many-to-many relationship in a database they are designing:


What a Brit notices in America

Historically a lot has been written about how the two most famous English-speaking nations differ. We must not over-egg this, there are major similarities. We believe in freemarkets in both countries, we share an idea of right and wrong, and we generally believe in the power of the individual to shape their destiny.

But there are differences, and most of them are amusingly subtle. Americans, for example, do not describe a cold day as “parky”, don’t get into “argy-bargy” when they disagree, and they have many, many more adverts on their TVs.

On that last fact, I don’t know whether CBS et al are aware that they are pushing people towards Netflix and Amazon Prime. It gets really tiresome waiting for a show to resume after five or more minutes of commercials. And that after the patient TV watcher has paid an exorbitant fee for the cable service in the first place.

Why are cell phone service plans and cable service so much cheaper in the UK?