Nuke the uke!

I was on my bank’s website today because I needed to query a transaction. In order to help me understand the bank’s process for dealing with disputed transactions I was presented with a choice of guides – either plain text, or a short video.

My mouse hovered over the video start button. In that moment my heart sank, and I realised that I would much prefer not to click, but to read the paragraphs of dull text instead. Because I never want to hear another jolly ukulele background loop in an online video. Ever. Again.

I went ahead and read the guide and sent the transaction query. Then I returned to the page containing the video. And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire.


Whilst watching TV yesterday I was idly channel flip-flopping between the Euro 2016 football and Wimbledon tennis. What struck me was the difference in behaviour expected of the players and spectators in the two sports. It’s time to mix things up a bit.

For example, to aid players’ concentration I think the football referee should insist on complete quiet from the crowd.

By the same token, I think it would make tennis more fun if after winning each set the player ran around the court doing an aeroplane, finishing with a spectacular knee-slide.


Discounts galore

This time, I’m not talking about the dubious two-for-one offers made by desperate retailers in times of austerity. I am referring to the propensity we have to discount some piece of information which doesn’t fit our reality, or which we simply find inconvenient.

This week there was a grim reminder of the consequences when humans exhibit this illogical behaviour. Continue reading

You read it here first!

Back in 2007 I wrote that if your intention was to ‘save the planet’ then simply using oil more efficiently was futile. This is because somebody, somewhere at sometime will use the fuel that you don’t burn.

Now the journal Nature has published research which takes this argument to its conclusion. The authors argue that huge quantities of fossil fuels must be left in the ground if the global temperature rise is to be kept under the 2°C safety limit agreed internationally.

That’s just not going to happen, is it?

Really …?

An articulated lorry passed me on the main road yesterday. It was an ordinary, anonymous curtain-sided trailer – ordinary except it carried signs on each side which said

Warning do not walk close to this vehicle at any time.

I think I’ll put one of those on my car.

Trailer trash

In the UK we have to show a ‘tax disc’ in our vehicle windscreen as proof that we have paid (or are exempt from) Vehicle Excise Duty (VED). There is a fine for ‘failure to display’ which means that even if it simply falls off onto the floor of your car you are in trouble. From 1 October 2014 all this will change when Continue reading

What do you do?

One of the first questions commonly asked when meeting someone new. Usually asked before we enquire about hobbies and interests (although that might be more interesting for both parties).

Insurance companies also require this information, and I came across an amusing dropdown list whilst browsing for car insurance today. A bit like the over-detailed list of pre-nominal titles I wrote about some time ago. To the extent that it accurately reflects the vast range of jobs in 21st century Britain, it is a snapshot which might be of great value to historians in years to come. Continue reading