Friday, 13 November 2009

A Mixed Bag

Friday the 15th – a great day for those with paraskevidekatriaphobia. It’s interesting to note that there’s no record of paraskevidekatriaphobia before the 19th century.

It would appear that the Cornwall council are to put the Cornish language on road signs in Cornwall. An excellent use of public money to pander to the 300 or so speakers of Cornish in the population of 500,000 – that’s 0.06%. The Council reckons it will cost nothing, as the sign makers will not charge extra. What about the cost of all the accidents that happen as people slow down at road signs to try to find the English among the Cornish? We probably have a higher percentage of Urdu speakers in England than there are Cornish speakers in Cornwall, so let’s all persuade the government to mandate Urdu on all English road signs.

I hear that Italian churches are starting to install holy water dispensers due to people’s fear of contracting swine flu from traditional fonts. I’d have thought that the Catholics believed in the miraculous properties of holy water and that it was a natural antiseptic capable of curing everything from warts to the clap.

While on the subject of matters superstitious, the Greek Orthodox church is coming out in support of the Catholics in their battle with the Italian government’s decision to ban superstitious symbols in state schools. One cleric, Bishop Nicholas from central Greece, lamented that: “At this rate youngsters will not have any worthy symbols at all to inspire and protect them. Football and pop idols are very poor substitutes,” he said. Football at least provides exercise which wards off obesity; God alone knows what protection a marketing logo can provide. I’d hazard a guess that it would be no more efficacious than the Conservative Party logo.

Here in the UK the government is to insist that from 2015 all nurses have a degree. While I can see some benefits, I can’t help but feel that this desire for every Tom Dick or Harriet to have a degree is closing off many avenues of employment to the non-academic and restricting job mobility. This headlong dash for academic qualifications in occupations that used to be based primarily on work experience is making us all specialise at an early age and ensuring we are qualified only for that one job from then on, putting massive power in the hands of the employers – which in this case is the government.

Heard some crass misinformation coming from the British Wind Energy Association on Farming Today this morning. A scientist was interviewed who stated that wind turbines on average were 30% efficient – the calculation being easy to perform by simply inspecting the records of Ofgem for the electricity being produced from all British wind farms and the maximum possible annual output and dividing the former by the latter. A chap from the British Wind Energy Association then came on to state that this was nonsense, as wind turbines generate electricity 85% of the time. Generating electricity 85% of the time does not mean they are 85% efficient when you consider that for the vast majority of that 85% they are turning very slowly and producing hardly anything. I’ll stick with science rather than spin - if you'll forgive the pun.


  1. paraskevidekatriaphobia! I am irrationally afraid of long words!
    Cornish on signs, I don't think this will be quite as effective as the " Hello Boys " Wonder Bra advert for causing road traffic accidents.
    Wind turbines would certainly be reaching their optimum efficiency in this caravan park right now.

  2. Friday the 13th is a good day! Friday brings the energy of Shabbat, and 13 is the numerical value for the word Love. So I wonder what triggered paraskevidekatriaphobia after the 19th Century - curious!

    Kerrie - you are suffering from Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia - the fear of long words!

  3. Kerrie: You're irrationally irrational anyway. Do you have a wood-burner in the caravan?

    Kabbalah: I thought you'd have something to say on the matter.

  4. Chairman: whatever gave you that idea? :o) I always have something to say. Not necessarily something meaningful to say, just 'something'...

  5. I've got a holy water dispenser in my kitchen. And it's free.
    Want some Bill? :))

  6. Braja: Do you mean 'A River Runs Through It'?

  7. Holy water might be better for the sad bastards in the UK that drink the antiseptic hand wash from public buildings here (its got alcohol in it)... cheap night out I suppose..