Thursday, 20 January 2011


This is well worth watching, is safe for work and you don't need to hear it.

What would you do after that, especially if you were on your way to work?

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Back Down to Earth

Since writing the previous blog I have discovered that Pekka Pohjola died 27 November, 2008 and Bo Hansson died April 24, 2010. What with the recent deaths of Gerry Rafferty, Pete Postlethwaite and Professor Sir Maurice Wilkes it would seem that I have reached a certain age.

Esoteric Music Tastes

Whilst working on my computer this evening I decided to do what my children do which is use YouTube to provide some musical entertainment. I thought of some of the albums I had not listened to for a long time and came up with the following esoteric list of tracks that I fancied listening to again:

Pekka Pohjola, Mathematician’s Air Display, Title track
Bo Hansson, Lord of the Rings, The Black Riders
King Crimson, Lizard, Indoor Games
Kevin Ayers, Joy of a Toy, Girl on a Swing

I am still amazed that every single one of them was there. I had a lovely evening.

Repeated Highway Robbery

I thought it was time to update my post on how much petrol actually costs before the government gets involved, see original post here. The fuel duty is now at 58.95 pence per litre, see here and VAT is now at 20%. This means that the £1.239 per litre that I paid the night before last consists of 20.65p in VAT, 58.95p in fuel duty and 44.3p as the actual retail cost of the petrol. This means that I am now paying a total of 79.6p in tax on a litre of fuel. This is up from the 72.71p per litre I was paying last March which represents an increase of 9.5%. The cost of a litre of fuel has gone from £1.109 to £1.239 which is an increase of 11.7% which is larger than the tax increase thus the effective taxation rate has come down from 190.4% to 179.7%. The final sentence of this blog is depressingly similar to the previous one; it is sobering to note that the duty will increase by 1% above inflation every 1 April from 2011 to 2014.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

A Lack of Respect

I was alerted to the existence of this story from Big Brother Watch. What I learnt is that a gentleman in Grimsby has been fined £175 and ordered to pay £250 costs after being found guilty of wilfully obstructing a police officer in the course of her duties. So, what did Mr Thompson do that led to him gaining a criminal record? Well he flashed his headlights to warn oncoming motorists of a mobile speed hand gun.

Now, forgive me for being naive but I thought that the point of a speed trap in any form was to encourage drivers to slow down. I think that Mr. Thompson’s actions were made with the same intent. So how can he be considered to have been ‘wilfully obstructing a police officer in the course of her duties’?

As a mathematician I am aware that a proof using Reduction Ad Absurdum means that an absurd consequence implies that the original hypothesis must be false. I have an absurd consequence, namely that Mr. Thompson as obstructing the police officer when he intended to effect the same outcome. Thus my hypothesis that a speed trap exists to reduce speed must be false. This leaves me to conclude that the only reason that the police officer was there was to capture speeding drivers in order to gain revenue.

There was a time when I used to have respect for policeman; I wonder when I lost it?