Tuesday, 26 July 2016

I Do Like To Be Beside The Sea-Side

As my dear Swiss friend Ruth said, "Why would Swiss people go to Dubai, when they could come to Wales!"

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

It's Tuesday Again!

Which is when I ALWAYS remember MicroblogMondays!

Thank you Mel and fellow bloggers for all your support.

Today, a poem:


I dreamed

I lived in the attic

And you, in the cellar

But we never passed on the stairs

This was just the way of it.


Then, last night,

You heard my laughter, and you opened the

Door to your subterranean apartment

And sat on the stairs with me.

We didn't talk.

There didn't seem any need.


Besides, I couldn't stop laughing.


Some dream eh?

Monday, 11 July 2016

About Town

Newent is a small town, with a long history. It has a medieval market that received it's charter in the twelfth century, it has an ieighteenth century church, a lake, and around 10 000 inhabitants of whom I am one. It is tucked away in the northern corner of Gloucestershire, three hours east of London and half an hour from Wales.

Yesterday I had cause to go about some business in town, so I paid twenty pence to park next to the lake, and set out to accomplish it.

The Library first. I use the library online mostly, downloading, for free, audio and e-books that sit under my hands here on my iPad, but I fancied holding a real book for a change. Quick check in the disaster-purse: the one that has so many nooks and crannies that I can never find anything in it, nothing. An even deeper scrutiny confirms my fear: no library card. Oh well, I'll chance it.

I explained to the librarian and she is wonderful." Do you have something with your name on? "

With pride, I draw my Labour Party membership card from my back pocket, and hand it over and am, after a quick check, able to pack in my bag a Grisham novel and a romance .

Next stop the doctors' surgery. I need a repeat prescription for my meds, and I've lost it. The pharmacist has to deal with losers like me all the time: "Name, first line of your address, medication" she says, not unkindly, handing me the 'write your details here if you've lost your repeat prescription' clipboard.

Now to the optician. Last Sunday, an arm fell off my spectacles and the temporary fix I'd cobbled with a pin and a pair of pliers is not aesthetically pleasing.

"I've lost a screw!" I explain to the unflappable receptionist. We both laugh at the ambiguity, and she offers to 'Look in the drawer," to find a replacement and effect a repair. "Finish your shopping and come back," she advises. ..

A woman a little younger than me turns from the florists window. It's Grace from Gloucester, who has come in on the 32 bus to rummage through the Charity Shops. She is a member of the congregation of Outdoor Church, of which I am a Trustee, and she is a friend. We stop to chat. I am a frequent shopper at the Charity Shops,. There is a regular turnover of stuff from my possession to theirs. We exchange pleasantries, and move on.

I have some grocery shopping to do: soft fruit, picked yesterday, from the green-grocer, and, from the Co-op, chickens (two for £7) and the Thursday sweetie 'bribe for good behaviour' for the grandchildren.' Who are my next stop.

There's a street vendor under the market house today, with a tempting array of loose summer tops. I succumb, and for £40 I am now the proud owner of a delightful outfit that will do for the Party party next week, and the Poetry Workshop on Saturday.

I sometimes put in a reminder that this blog is written for my grandchildren, and here it is: an ordinary day. Today the world is a happy place where kind people help an elderly woman who frequently loses things, and sometimes needs a little help to get by. I stop in amazement having written those words. "Good heavens! That's me!"


Believe it if you like X


Saturday, 9 July 2016

Why Labour Should Abandon Support for Trident


Underwater drones may make hiding a nuclear missile sub harder David Hambling

Will a rise in anti-submarine drones mean it's game over for Earth’s best hiding place 
for a nuclear deterrent as critics claim, wonders David Hambling

AS THE UK debates spending billions to update its nuclear missile submarines, critics 
claim that underwater drones will soon blow their cover, making the project pointless. 
Are they right?

In recent years, marine research has been transformed by a new type of uncrewed 
submarine known as a glider. Typically looking like torpedoes with wings, they don’t 
have a propeller, instead altering buoyancy in order to glide. This slow, frugal propulsion 
allows them to go for months on a single battery charge.

Gliders have been used for extended tracking of oil spills, pollution and fish. And they 
are near-silent, making them ideal for anti-submarine missions.

This would explain the proliferation of US navy glider projects, including the Persistent 
Littoral Undersea Surveillance system, the Littoral Battlespace Sensing-Glider and
stealth-bomber shaped Liberdade Series gliders.

The Chinese are also interested. Their first glider was launched in 2011 and there are 
now dozens of projects, with a focus on speed, endurance and getting multiple gliders 
to work together. Chinese state media reports its Haiyan glider has an anti-submarine role.

Anti-submarine drones will benefit from rapid gains in computing power, since the search 
is all about signal processing. Whichever detection method the drone uses, the challenge
 is telling signal from noise. Drones have the advantage: they now pack more processing 
power than submarines of a few decades ago, thanks to Moore’s law. New sensor types, 
including lasers that can pierce seawater, are making them more capable.

In addition, much US research focuses on multiple sensors networked in sparse arrays
. Small, cheap drones could be deployed to form arrays covering a wide area. That’s 
great for whales, as low-power sensors are less damaging than high-powered sonar, but 
bad for submarines trying to hide.

Aerial drones have spread rapidly in military and civilian life. When the successor to the
 UK’s Trident nuclear submarine fleet is launched in 15 years or so, it would be surprising
 if the seas were not full of robots waiting to follow its every move.

This article appeared in print under the headline “That sinking feeling”

David Hambling is a science writer. His latest book is Swarm Troopers: How small drones will conquer the world