Friday, 16 March 2012

Social Tools for Death & Carbon

The leader of the Church of England, Archbishop Rowan Williams, has said the law should not be used as a tool to bring about social changes, such as gay marriage. 

You could say the same about the abolition of slavery – oh, hang on, the CofE was against the emancipation of slaves too. When the Abolition of Slaves Act came into force, the then Archbishop of Canterbury received £8,823 8s 9d, about £500,000 in today's money, for the loss of slave labour on his Codrington plantation in Barbados. The Bishop of Exeter received even more, nearly £13,000. Another bit of social change brought about by a tool called the law, which the church opposed.

Every bit of social progress, from the abolition of slavery to votes for women, has been brought about by using the blunt instrument of the law. Sadly, the church has a record of opposing almost every shred of social and moral progress, which is somewhat incongruous for an institution which holds itself up to be the nation's moral conscience.

There's a bit of a kerfuffle about the number of horses that end up dead after the Cheltenham Festival. I heard that there are some 2,000 odd (let's say 2,500) horses raced in a year in the UK. The number that died in some year (I can't remember which) was 9. That means 0.036% of horses were killed by horse racing in that particular year.

Translate those stats to football, where there are some 4,500 professional players, and it would mean around 16 players dropping dead or needing to be shot because of broken legs every year. That's more than an entire team! I have some friends who wish it could be Man Utd., although they already made their contribution in 1958.

Learned something useful from Hay last night. You know how difficult it is to remove burnt on food from crockery? Well, I've always known that washing powder is very effective, but I never realised it was because of the fact it had bicarbonate of soda in it. Burnt food is essentially carbon, which has positively charged hydrogen ions, whereas bicarb (or baking powder) is negatively charged. A pairing of the electrons renders the carbon inert and easily removed. Used a solution of pure bicarb last night (didn't have any washing powder) and the dishes came up clean as Rowan Williams' conscience.


  1. " Burnt food is essentially carbon, which has positively charged hydrogen ions," - you been listening to homeopathic practitioners again?

  2. Bloody hope not - she's a PhD biochemist... She did however say that that statement could be picked up on by some, as it's a little more complicated than that - but I'm a bloke and therefore needed it in the most simple of terms.