October 29th, 2005


It's only a game, so put up a real good fight

1) The clocks go back tonight. Well, they do for a minority of the world, but the majority of my Friends list. (No move for Arizona folk and lambertman, I think, and they go forward for at least sylvertongue.)

2) If you want to know a little more about the Quidditch tournament we held at The Witching Hour a couple of weeks ago - though it feels like months back! - then you may well enjoy this extremely accessible piece that the US National Public Radio's "Only A Game" radio show featured about us. It is affectionate, supportive and lovingly produced, with several people getting air time. Well done, everybody! (Slight inaccuracy: the referees had significantly more than five minutes' training before the start - an hour, though it was frequently interrupted throughout.) The Quidditch segment starts about 37 minutes 28 seconds through. It appears to be in RealAudio format only, I'm afraid, which might put a few folks off. Suddenly I want to go and listen to all Karen Given's quick overview pieces now... ;-)

3) I have had something like 50 hours of driving lessons by now - probably more - and will be sitting my practical test at 9:37am on Saturday November 12th. While I made 10 minor faults and 3 serious errors in only 20 minutes' driving in the lesson before last, the most recent one went so much better that I'm not giving up hope. The most recent driving lesson also featured a spectacularly beautiful double rainbow, which was a real treat; possibly the single best rainbow(s) I've seen.

4) Very interesting article from the BBC about the development of weather records. The backlash is surprisingly rational and unsensational, possibly to excess; I have a theory (there is so little, or no, evidence or rationale behind it, so either superstition or supposition are probably more accurate than theory) that we are not so likely to experience mass global warming as we are to experience mass global climatic extremism: not only will the hottests get hotter, the coldests will get colder, the driests will get dryer, the wettests will get wetter, the windiests will get windier and so on - to a significantly greater extent than if we were simply continuing to take many data samples from a distribution that does not change over time.

5) People travelling from the UK to the US may well be interested in Thomson's current offer: load an American Express Traveller's Cheque Card up with at least $700 and they'll give you $50 free. The card works as a prepaid stored value card wherever Amex is accepted; I loaded mine with $714, plus $50 free, so to be able to withdraw $380 from cash machines twice and pay $2 fees each time (unless I use one of a few particular banks, which I probably won't). The free money makes the effective exchange rate exceptionally good; my USD 764 cost me GBP 418.02 for a rate of USD 1.827 per pound, a full five cents better than Interbank. Heck, there's even an arbitrage opportunity here (bring $760 back home and sell them for more than £418.02) but we don't need arbitrageurs.

ETA: I think AmEx will hit the card with a $2.50 fee every time I use it to withdraw cash from an ATM as well as the ATM owners charging me $2. Woe. Must stick another $5 on there accordingly. Still a good deal, but not as good a deal as I thought.

6) Lastly, Collapse )
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