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Wednesday 17th November
Surely you jest?
which are, happily, more or less the same as those from last year and those from the year before. I think daweaver has the details from previous years. (ETA: here they are!)
Middlesbrough were at home to Lazio of Rome in the UEFA Cup, the second most prestigious European-wide association football (soccer) competition. This is by far the most glamorous match in international competition that Middlesbrough football club have hosted, though they do get occasional international national-team football matches and have hosted fine teams in friendly competition in the past. Middlesbrough won 2-0 through playing an effective and pretty sophisticated long-ball game against a relatively weak Lazio team. (Bear in mind that three teams qualify from the group of five, so there must be a tendency for the nominally-top-three teams to only try hard against the nominally-lower-two in the group and take games against their top-three rivals rather less seriously.) Nevertheless, it was an impressive display and Middlesbrough will be very hard to beat at home throughout the rest of the competition. A very fine day for the town's team, reflected in hefty traffic.
The North Eastern England local assembly results are expected at about midnight tonight. I did vote "Yes" in the end, rather hesitantly, and look forward to seeing whether the WHY AYE campaign or the HADDAWAY, MAN campaign has been successful. Turnout has been estimated at about 47%; I have a gut feeling that this compares reasonably favourably with counterpart figures for Wales, Scotland and London, which I shall look up and edit in later. ETA: Scotland voted 74.3% in favour with a 60.2% turnout, Wales voted 50.3% in favour with a 50.1% turnout - mandate, mandaaaaate! - and London voted 72% in favour with a whopping 34% turnout.
ETA: North-East England votes AGAINST by 77.9% to 22.1% on a 46.5% turnout. Full figures, modulo mistyping, here.
A new version of http://www.meetup.com/ was launched a couple of months ago, which seems to have rather done away with the concept of there being specific Meetup cities. Every city can be a Meetup destination, and there is a focus on the concept of "if there isn't an X group in your city Y, there are X groups in cities Z1, Z2 and Z3 which are the closest to city Y". Good stuff, but I'd also like to see similar concept of closeness in subject as well as closeness in geography.
In any case, I have signed up - and effectively founded, because someone has to be first onto the dancefloor - an LJ Meetup in Middlesbrough, a board games Meetup in Middlesbrough and a The Settlers of Catan Meetup in Middlesbrough. (The latter is a specific board game.) It's interesting to see the groups represented in nascent Meetup cities; there is one Meetup member in nearby Durham, who has founded the Durham Dragons group and the Durham Otherkin group, not that there's anything wrong with either of those. Nevertheless, it's amusing to note that there's only one Meetup to get to two members in Middlesbrough so far: Teen Vampires. After mocking Newcastle for Teen Vamp Meetup prevalence some time ago, that shuts me up...
The school I (and sir_gareth) attended was in the news today. Not only is the head of mathematics the same as it was 15 years ago - a good sign, in my view - he has spoken out against the way that the GCSE qualification in mathematics has become statistics-heavy and coursework-heavy. Consequently, Yarm School will no longer offer GCSE Mathematics but instead offer the International GCSE in Mathematics. An interesting development and I tend to trust his judgement, but I tend to worry a little about whether the award will properly be accepted by employers.
I'm very idly considering starting a weblog dedicated to following that school in the news. It's easy to search the local newspaper for a school name; a really good weblogging tool would be able to compare the results of the same search from one day to the next in several different newspapers and then automatically post the relevant links. Does such a tool exist? What aspects of such a tool exist? I know there are utilities which will visit a page every day to see whether it has changed from one day to the next, but don't know whether these can cope with sites that have plenty of adverts and where changes may not reflect new news stories.