2013 — 19 April: Friday

Not quite up with the lark this morning1 but more or less functional in time to hear Mr Garden Waste Collection bustling skilfully around all the cars that my neighbours keep anywhere but their garages. Which always struck us as odd since almost all the houses here were built with double-length garages. Mind you, we soon turned the back half of ours into a dining room — I wonder whether I'll ever clear it to the point where I can once again use the dining table that I think is still in there.

Big Pharma...

... is up to its (anti)depressing tricks. Mr News just told me that GSK (which managed to get itself fined $3,000,000,000 in a US fraud scandal last year) now stands accused of offering payments ("within the law", it claims) to three rival companies to persuade them all to delay launches of cheaper alternatives to one of its profitable range of pills. Why don't they just go back to medicalising grief so they can bribe doctors to prescribe pills for that? What a singularly charmless industry.

Blimey! Rolf Harris? Whoever next? I shall have to give up news yet again, it seems.

Good ol' Grauniad

Delicious. Trouble at t'mill, heh?


Not to mention letters 7 and 8?

Confirmation bias

Reading the summary of IBM's Q1 performance (link) gives me no reason to regret my decision to retire early, despite the 15% pension cut. The 2015 financial roadmap is being called the 2015 Roadkill, it seems, by some of the unhappy peons still employed there.

Just in case...

... there was ever any doubt where Andrew Niccol got the title of his excellent 1997 film "gattaca" from!

Nitrogen nucleotide bases

In his book "The Real Cost", Richard North informed me:

It has been estimated that there may be 1,300,000 million kg dry weight of terrestrial animal biomass alive in the world today. About 4% of that is human weight. But our non-flying domestic livestock represents a further 15% of the total dry weight, or about 200,000 million kg.
Thus to feed, haul or entertain ourselves we have arranged that for each of us there is almost 4 times our weight in cattle, pigs, sheep, and a small number of mules, horses, asses and sundry dogs and cats, in total about 3,000 million animals.

Date: 1986

I note that the "Nature" paper from which I lifted the little table above opens by stating "Bacteriophages (or phages) are the most abundant biological entities on earth, and are estimated to outnumber their bacterial prey by tenfold." But not a hint as to their biomass. Though I read just recently that we each haul around 2kg or so of bacteria wherever we go... At least they don't normally include the Vibrio fischeri that light up a squid.

While my lunchtime...

... salad gently attains thermal equilibrium with the kitchen ambient on the sunny windowsill for a couple of minutes, I'm pleased to see that dear Mama's Funded Nursing Care contribution from the Primary Care Trust has soared from £434-80 to £439-16 for each four-week period.2 Mr Postie also dropped off the first of this month's dollop of goodness from Uncle ERNIE, and this DVD:


I'd caught (or been hooked by) the last 30 minutes of Episode #2 after midnight on BBC4 recently. Since a lot is imaginary CGI I didn't feel it would merit the BD at twice the price of the DVD.

Meanwhile, if you happen to be suffering a miscarriage, I suggest you don't admit yourself to a hospital in Ireland. Good grief! (Link.)

I'm scanning my way...

... through a further batch of CD artwork this evening while also catching up with this afternoon's Kermode & Mayo film review podcast because I was busily blagging tea and a biscuit with Roger and Eileen when the show was actually being transmitted. Mr Multi-tasker; that's me.



1  Yesterday's excessive supply of contour lines helped ensure that.
2  This is still a mere 8.9% of her total nursing care home fees but, as her long-departed husband would doubtless have remarked: "Ev'ry little helps!"