Friday, 21 September 2018
This article from auntie Beeb does just have such a headline "Why is IVF so popular in Denmark" and then goes on to discuss all the effects of a *need* for and changes to regulation of IVF without once mentioning the reason.
Danish men make the least viable sperm of all nation groupings in the world.
I remember going to a conference at the Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen in 1998, where this was discussed by Dr Anna-Maria Andersson and Prof Niels Skakkabaek. They had a large collection of historical samples (I forget the exact details - it's >20 years ago) where various reproductive regulatory hormone levels could be demonstrated to be at reducing levels over time within given age groups of men. There was work going on to find causality, but I don't recall conclusions being available at the time, though environmental oestrogens were one suggestion. It's a slightly scary problem, and one the Danes seem to have dealt with in their own way.
This listing of papers by Prof Skakkabaek is interesting.
But regardless, social agenda much? BBC, you are increasingly disappointing.
Saturday, 15 September 2018
It's good to go home. YYV is very keen on it's gay symbology, full of shiny marble floors and loud announcements. Interesting selection of food too. One thing that IS impressive are the water stations for refilling empty bottles.
Our gate was due to open 5min ago, but hasn't. C'est la vie.
Friday, 14 September 2018
Tuesday, 4 September 2018
Multiple meanings aside, I'm transferring images from an SD card onto my (10 year old) MacBook using a USB 2 adapter. A couple of gigabytes took 8 minutes instead of around 30 seconds as it would on the Dell (4 years old).
Patience isn't just a virtue, so much as a necessity. At least I have nothing else pressing.
Thursday, 23 August 2018
The one fly in the ointment has been that because it's running Android 8, that comes with more options & customisations, I've needed to turn off a lot more device tracking and data scraping stuff. So Google maps really REALLY wants you to photograph & rate locations nearby, tracking you all the while you're there. And they want you to do it so badly they'll keep sending requests that you do it until out of irritation you search through & find the off switches.
Wednesday, 22 August 2018
Tuesday, 21 August 2018
Scan down to the bit below the picture of Dubcek near the bottom. While the downplaying of the Soviet invasion's negative points nicely illustrates the section heading about historical amnesia, the comment that "When the Soviets invaded, there was no napalm. There was no Agent Orange. Czech women were not forced to become prostitutes for Soviet troops," he went on, taking a swipe at America's war in Vietnam. is very telling.
How is it that when a 'Christian' nation becomes involved, situations are often worse than before. This behaviour is certainly not unique to the United States either, historically speaking, although the impression I have is that the relatively atheistic Europeans have done less of this in the last 50 years.
Driver of the lilac Nissan Pixo in front of me this morning - your vaping habit is..... not pleasant.
I would not have expected the sickly fumes to fill my car when we were driving at 55mph with a 30 yard gap between us. I can't imagine how noxious that vapour must be in your lungs.
It's funny how one forgets things.
I keep saying how I'd like to go for a run, but just don't feel like it, so encouraged by my wife on Sunday afternoon I did actually run a little. All was well that evening and yesterday at work, but last night legs, joints etc were all grumpy and sleep was scarce. This is quite normal, but it's easy to forget it.
Friday, 17 August 2018
I can just feel it...
*I just noticed the spill chucker changed Redmi to Redmond. Amusing when it's Redmond that is being replaced.
** Yes - it's called Whatsapp.
Thursday, 16 August 2018
Also as a matter of interest. I noticed that after I visited the myactivity.google.com site, without making any changes to settings, the blogger app stopped working on my phone, requiring me to enter my password, which was rejected as 'pattern unrecognised' each time. The phone had clearly remembered my google account settings (I could access gmail) and the only fix was to delete and re-install blogger.
I suspect this is probably a legitimate concern, both from a personal and governmental standpoint.
Grey Toyota Aygo Go! model - I won't put the registration number - driving between 38mph and 51mph on the B4260 (speed limit 65mph). The really frustrating part was that they were continuously accelerating and decelerating, so driving was a case of on and off the accelerator, up and down the gears. In the 50 limit for the last couple of miles into Kidlington it was down to 31-41mph, and mostly high 30s.
It was raining, but only lightly, and since they were the car in front (stupid Toyota advert strapline proving to be true for all the wrong reasons) there was no issue with spray for them, so it really couldn't have been THAT difficult. Unfortunately there was an SUV, another car and then a lorry between the Aygo and my car, and there was never a long enough stretch of clear road to safely overtake what had become quite a strung-out series of vehicles.
Am I imagining this?
Well, when I first caught up with this group there were only 2 cars behind me, but after 5 or 6 miles the stream of headlights behind went back as far as the road allowed me to see, which was a good 1/4 mile and possibly more.
Wednesday, 15 August 2018
Tuesday, 14 August 2018
I was also thinking about some of Paul's writings, how they came to us and why they were written, about whether he'd be as dogmatic about things now as he was then. It also occurred to me that, once I started analysing in a less God-focussed, more intellectual fashion then all sorts of things like women in leadership seem much more reasonable - essentially the further I am from God, the more sense they make.
I've made a big jump over the last decade, from being essentially fundamentalist but wanting to know the truth to viewing things with a far less faith-driven eye and being much more questioning. Is this good? Some would say so, but it's far from ideal, having neither the assurance of knowledge, nor the reassurance of faith.
Ever wondered how google knows where traffic jams are located, or why sometimes routes get changed on the fly?
But at the same time I hate giving my personal data away, which is why I went through my Xiaomi phone when I first got it, turning off and disabling apps & tracking, access to contacts etc. When Chris's Redmi Note 5 arrives (her Lumia 650 is becoming unreliable and the battery only lasts a day or so) in the next few days we'll need to do the same for that.
If you want to check to see whether you've been bleeding data without knowingly allowing it then wander over here. iOS users - this may apply to you too, if you have ever used any services from Google. I was pleasantly surprised to find all my tracking settings switched off, probably thanks to being scrupulous with the Xiaomi, with the exception of youtube content which is useful occasionally (they suggest good videos far less often than one might expect, although there's recently been a run on Marina Sirtis comicon appearances that had me chuckling - she's a real Lundun gel wiv a right norf an sarf).
I almost wish my phone had a sandbox mode, for openly sharing stuff that doesn't matter like location when using maps, and a private mode that locks away contacts etc so that applications which demand access are unable to filch the stuff they have no business sharing (why does an audio recording app require access to contacts?)
And while we're mentioning phones, my Xiaomi 4X did a recent OS update at the end of last week that made it go all slow for a few days. It was getting to the point where I was going to see if there wasn't some way to step it back when suddenly it became all snappy again. Weird. I miss the better wireless performance of the Lumia 640, but I don't miss the apps that didn't work, laggy performance and short screen-on time. I suspect a large part of the excellent standby battery life of the Lumia was simply because the aerial system was very good, and the phone used much less power hunting for a weak and difficult signal. Other manufacturers might learn a lot from the Lumia people.
Monday, 13 August 2018
Thinking about the Bill Hybels thing, where do you go when you've fallen in a way that you can't hide and is pretty much guaranteed to bite your bum?
Or possibly worse, where do you go when you have serious doubts, as I do now, yet you are stuck in a leadership position (which I'm not, thankfully) upon which your career and income depends? Do you do the 'honest' thing and step down or do you keep going, hope faith comes back and try not to open your mouth in 'unfortunate' honesty to those around you.
A question I have for those who I've seen in their blogs appear to talk about how good it is to be in a place of doubt & and uncertainty while yet remaining Christians, possibly even leaders - how did you do it? If you can't bring more than someone else's words of assurance, should you even try to lead others?
Some of this comes from yesterday's church meeting where Gospel Bell played. It was a 'nice' CoE church with a warm and inclusive welcome. The vicar borrow bits from CoE and celtic traditions, plus wore a hat that fitted with English folk traditions of nature (and probably a bit of paganism) and it all felt very....... I dunno, meaningless I suppose. A construct designed to provide a mix of entertainment and some religious input, some affirmation, but hollow. I made it back to the meeting of the Banbury church we're part of for the last 15min where there was some fairly intense prayer & worship, and that felt odd too, although it did at least feel like there was something solid about it.
It may be because I'm not leading Chris into good spiritual places either, but I don't think the present format of church we are involved in builds us up. Or perhaps it's just me, although I suspect that's not all of the issue.
Sunday, 12 August 2018
It feels a lot like when we were in Israel last year, with religions that weren't mine going on around me. As it is, I'm here to play with Gospel Bell at a fringe event run by the local church at the Fairport Cropredy festival. Being a 'wise virgin' I'm here early so as not to rush or scramble for a non-existant parking space.
The church interior is quite attractive, but this definitely feels like a 'not my church' type of place, and I think I can smell incense too
Thursday, 9 August 2018
Little surprises me these days about people failing, although it's disappointing when they've been getting away with it for a long time, assuming the BBC is reporting accurately (which may not at all be the case - it's not exactly a paragon of virtue, impartiality and truthfulness any more). We're all human, but it can be hard to not be all too human.
Monday, 6 August 2018
Although AFAIK I don't have Alzeheimers, but both of us forget stuff these days. And I do find this kind of humour amusing.
I should probably also point out that the slightly eclectic, rambling words and pictures below were an attempt for me to re-live my childhood memories, visiting the Zoologiocal Society of London gardens at Regents part via canal boat. It was warm (30+ celsius) we got a bit tired and my blogging was less careful and descripive than it might have been.
Sunday, 5 August 2018
But sometimes one finds something new. Like the chap opposite with a ' superdry' label dangling from his sunglasses. Said chap seems to move his head to make the label swing around.
Chris wondered if it were to counter a problem with flies, like the corks on a jolly swagman's hat.
No pictures, because.
Saturday, 4 August 2018
Wednesday, 1 August 2018
Spent 30min watching a tutorial on calculating root mean square values in excel, then applying it to some data. Followed that with another tutorial on calculating EC50 vales from sigmoidal curves, at which point I almost fell asleep.
We know how to have a high old time here. 😋
Sunday, 29 July 2018
As a family we were poor as church mice, but somehow my parents always found the money to manage the trip, plus on a couple of occasions in included travelling on a boat, right into the zoo itself. Having just enjoyed a little remembering back to childhood, it was natural to spend 30sec in google, and lo & behold, it's still possible.
We never did this for my son, and at this point in time I sorely regret it (we were dirt-poor too at that stage) although he might never have actually been interested*, but no matter. Perhaps I'll get to take the grandkids sometime.
*Retrospective regret is a useless fantasy. I frequently beat myself up with it, when the reality is that a) we did the best we could at the time and b) Cadbury world was of greater interest then. I hope he has good memories of those trips, like I do of the trips my mother took me on.
Back then I was helping lead a church. How different today, when it's really not something I want to do any more.
I still care for people, still want to see truth and righteousness at work, but there's no way I could lead in the way I used to because I have more questions than answers and am sure things aren't like I thought they were. TBH I don't know how you can lead people if you have doubts yourself - it seems dishonest to me. So I'll serve where I can and try to cope with the tension while hoping I'm not just another hypocrite.
* it was this post.
Friday, 27 July 2018
Currently exporting all the images from Lightroom to a USB stick, ready for hand over tomorrow night. There is some good stuff in there and nothing 'bad', but I still hope they go down well.
For years I've heard the objection to the wearing of branded clothes, about people becoming walking advertisements, but it's never bothered me. I see no cache in branding (no woman ever approached me in the street and asked to have my babies because I wore Adidas trainers or Levi Strauss jeans) though I know for some it can make a difference *for them*. I think I've removed brand names a couple of times, but usually because they were a) embarrassingly naff, but even more b) simply large and ugly.
No, the big objection to online ads is that it simply fills the space one withes to view with garbage and consumes available bandwidth and processor cycles. I like the idea of paying some kind of small subscription in order to view pages ad-free (I'm going to block those ads anyway, so you get NO revenue otherwise) but it's hard to envision how such a system might be managed? Could it be like royalties for music? Probably not a great idea, since the rich b*st*rds who already run the music streaming systems will cream off most of the money instead of giving it to the people actually making it. I know they guys who started the Brave browser were looking at something, but that's gone quiet recently.
There has to be a better system than the non-system presently operated, but it would need to work across borders and legislatures, and it's hard to see how that might pan out, especially given the moronic rush for everything to be free in terms of cash transfer, but expensive in terms of energy, efficiency and giving away of data.
Perhaps the (in)famous GDPR will help?
Thursday, 26 July 2018
Look, I grew up in London, granted in a relatively spacious street, but just around the corner from '2up-2downs' with a front door that opened directly onto the street. It was fairly crowded, but we knew that 15min drive up the road was countryside, fields, woods, open spaces and very few people. It may have been this way for the last century or so, but it *feels* like this place is disappearing under concrete faster and faster, with the gaps between villages and towns getting ever smaller.
No, it won't fix it.
Last night we semi-jokingly talked about retiring somewhere else, as in another country (Brexit may kibosh that, although I am still an Austrian citizen, therefore European) and we talked around where we might go. Italy, where we've just stayed, isn't exactly crowded but I doubt it's terribly affordable on a longer term basis. Then I suggested going all 'Marigold Hotel', and Chris wondered how she would manage to do the shopping.
All our married lives, we've shopped in a supermarket, and India, very sensibly for their local traders, has effectively banned supermarkets as we know them.
But there was a time when supermarkets like that didn't exist. When we were children.
I have distinct memories of being taken around Caters in Croydon by my mother (memories from the pushchair - so probably 1964ish) but I have many more memories of the local (as in South Norwood) fishmongers with live eels and crabs, butchers with fake grass and porcelain statues of bullocks, bakers, grocers, hardware etc shops. Yes, there was a small Tesco in the town, even then, but it wouldn't even qualify as a mini-market now, with just a single set of shelves of good running the length of the small store and an aisle that looped around it from the front door to the rear & then up the other side to the tills. There was a shop that sold working cloths and teddy-boy gear (Wolfs) in Portland road, several sweet shops (the nearest was Foucaulds - pronounced foldcards by us higgerant locals) and a toyshop (one of 3 in the town) called Noteus (which local pronunciation mangled into notice's).
I mention this lot because Bicester has no toy shops and 1 chocolatier (a Thorntons franchise) which might possibly be classed a sweet shop. It's not that I'm being nostalgic for those businesses that have closed since we moved here in 1990, but as a nation we probably have no idea how to 'go to the shops' any more.
And then, once shopping was done you would have to carry your goods home, often long distances, instead of loading it into the back of the car. I bet if this was the only way to shop, our houses would have a LOT less junk in them.
I wonder how difficult it would be to move to Jaipur?
*This has nothing to do with previous post, apart from the title.
**that's another post.
Tuesday, 24 July 2018
Because of the heat, Chris didn't want to do aerobics in the village hall, so I cancelled running & we walked for a couple of hours in the evening after dinner. The fields round here really are 'white for harvest' in a way that we've not seen before, and the wheat and barley or definitely not golden this year. Even more curious, although many of the fields looked really dry & the ears a little shrivelled, in fact they were still somewhat tender and had not finished groing.
The farmers are hard at the harvesting in some parts, clouds of dust rising like smoke in the air. I hope harvest is good this year, and not blighted by drought.
Thursday, 19 July 2018
There's a game that it's difficult not to play with cars, where one tries to get the maximum mileage from a tank full of fuel (the other option, minimum mileage, is neither wallet, nor license friendly). Apparently I had 4 miles remaining, although just before getting to the petrol station it estimated only 1 mile, however it's the other figure of 510 miles on a single tankful that I'm pleased about.
And this reminds me of the first time we filled the car in Italy. The 'self service' petrol station wouldn't, so the attendant wandered over and we got a mutual understanding of 'full'. And he took it as a personal challenge. He rocked the car several times, went slowly with the filling speed, all to get a full 60 euros into the Fiesta. I've never seen anyone so determined to squeeze every last drop from a sale.