As a race us humans never cease to amaze me. Driving south along the M5 motorway this afternoon the radio warned of a serious multi-car accident on the northbound carriageway. As usual this affected the traffic going south as people slowed down to rubber-neck, a term that I dislike but will use. The accident on the other side of the road involved several cars and must have happened at high speed. The police had closed two of the three available lanes, with traffic able to use the third lane to get around the collision. The fire-brigade had just managed to cut someone out of their car, the paramedics had him on a stretcher with their bare feet out in the open air. But this wasn’t what amazed me. I also understand that when a traffic accident occurs it is natural human inquisitiveness for us to want to find out what happened. As I was driving slowly past I noticed that on the hard shoulder, about 200 yards after the accident, a BMW had parked up. The BMW hadn’t been involved in the collision as far as I could see. What I could see was the driver leaning round in his seat holding a video camera. This individual had the audacity to film another person being cut out of the wreckage of their vehicle and attended by paramedics.
You may remember that a few weeks ago I posted about the dumbing down of GCSE physics. As a follow-up to that post the instigator of the complaint, Wellington Grey, has created a petition on the No. 10 website. If you agree with his stance, that the dumbing down of GCSE physics is generally a bad thing, then I would urge you to sign his petition.
I follow an online blog and cartoon published by Wellington Grey. For the last three years he has been teaching physics to high school students in the UK. Recently the examination board AQA changed the physics syllabus from what was a science based course to what is increasingly becoming a political debating subject. Please read his letter of complaint to the government. I received a C at A-level physics, I don’t recall what I received at GCSE. However the sample questions that Wellington posted are not the physics that I was taught and in my opinion belong more in a politics class than a physics class.
Wow, Vauxhall make it really difficult to fit a third party radio into one of their cars.
- Bit of wire to convert from the Vauxhall Quad Lock connector to the radio: £30
- Fascia adaptor: £20
- Cost of bits that I was sold but didn’t need and will be sending back: £50
- Listening to my ipod and getting some quality audio out of it: Priceless
Lots of effort but worth it in the end. I have lost the stalk controls (that would be another 60 quid) and also the speed dependant volume system but I think I can just about cope without them. Vauxhall also don’t provide a dimmer output in the standard wiring loom so that the radio doesn’t know the cars lights are on (which would normally cause the display to dim slightly). In their wisdom they also don’t provide an ignition wire which means I have had to wire the stereo directly to the battery cable – this means that as far as the stereo is concerned the car is always on. Apparently Vauxhall have moved these signals into a digital data bus and I can only have access to this by paying the £60 upgrade for the stalk controls.
After fitting all this into the car I went for a drive on Sunday, taking Norm off to Bristol Airport. When we were passing the new Broadmead extension I started to smell an acrid electrical burning. This is generally not good and I thought the car might be about to set on fire. I got Norm to start sniffing various bits of the car – although he had a cold so maybe this wasn’t the best approach. The smell turned out to be that bit of Bristol rather than that car… still quite worrying!
I was hoping that Bad Science would cover the Panorama debate about the safety of WiFi. As it happens they have, although not in amazing detail. Check out Bad Science’s article.
BBC News have also done a follow up article on the program.
Tonight the BBC documentary program Panorama are going to be broadcasting a half hour show investigating the claims that electronic smog and modern living can cause long-term health effects. Today’s papers have been gearing up for this by yet again getting themselves worked up about the safety of wireless data connections otherwise known as wifi and its use in schools.
Considering that I have two wifi access points in my flat along with a microwave oven and several cordless phones you might think I would be worried about this. However, I am not and neither do I think wifi should be banned in schools and colleges. I refer you to an article by Bill Thompson published on the BBC News website who sums up the arguments far more eloquently than I.
He concludes by saying that you can’t ever prove that wireless communications are safe, you can only aim disprove the supposed damaging effects on health.
Almost eight months ago a Canadian national, on holiday in the UK, crashed into the back of my old car – writing it off. Today, after many phone calls and emails, I have been told that the claim is closed and I have won. I get my policy excess back (£150) and also get to keep my three years no claims bonus. Yay! Why this took so long to sort out I will never know. I think the third party insurance company was just stringing us along hoping that we would give up. I also get the impression that my uninsured loss recovery company only ever did anything when I rang them up and pushed them into action. Hopefully I will get my cheque in the next week or so.
The whole process has left me feeling quite exhausted and it doesn’t really feel like I have acheived anything other than a bucket load of finance on the new car. I think insurance companies should be given a maximum amount of time in which they are allowed to do certain tasks, especially when in this case it appeared to be such a clear cut claim.
This has been a long and strange weekend. I had a party on Saturday and while it was good I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind and I am not sure if I enjoyed myself. I was tired and just feeling rather low I think. I think I am having a bit of a low weekend in general. It was nice to see everyone, especially Rose who I haven’t seen since last year and Tracy who ventured to her first meetup with the #exeter lot. Also I must thank Tracy and also James and Roz for their housewarming presents (a bin for the bedroom and one for the living room). Oh and Rosie and Norman (who I keep typing as Normal) for their bottle of wine with a foot on it. Thank you all for coming along.
I have loads of food left over but I think it is going to spoil before I have a chance to eat it all which is a bit of a shame. I have spent most of this evening chomping my way through a bowl of party saussage rolls.
The insurance claim from the crash back in August isn’t sorting itself out. It is getting messier. Basically my insurance company and the TP insurance company are in dispute over the amount of the claim. The TP insurance company are saying that while they accept liability they dispute that the accident would have written off my old car. My insurance company made the decision to write off my car. What do I stand to gain? My excess back. What do I stand to loose? My excess plus two years no claims bonus. Also the Third Party has alleged now that I am attempting insurance fraud. How is that possible? It wasn’t my decision to write my car off. I took it to the approved repair centre that my insurance company told me to take it to. Rant over.
Oh and my house insurance company has automatically renewed my policy. This is annoying for several reasons and can only get messy. More on that later. I just hope I can sort it all out tomorrow morning without causing any more problems.
Queen Convention is coming up again soon. Fingers crossed that will go ok but I have a feeling it probably won’t.
Roll on pay day. I have had quite a few double bills this month because of moving out of the old place and into the new place which is leaving me a bit short of cash.
For years now I have been thinking that “Dr” Gillian McKeith and her claims are farcical. Now someone at the Guardian has provided me with evidence. While the message of “eat your greens” is reasonable her claims of being a doctor and the pseudo-science mumbo-jumbo she often spouts have always sounded a bit far fetched.
Most news organisations are reporting that heavy snow is causing travel chaos around the country. My local news, BBC Points West, told me that there was heavy snow in Wiltshire including Chippenham, where I work, and various other towns around the county.
What I want to know is what counts as heavy snow these days? Because last time I checked 1″ of snow is not considered heavy. I wonder what the news would call it if we actually had some proper snow in this country.