Archive for March, 2012

The Sun is back

Saturday, March 31st, 2012 | Life

Hey, anyone else remember the Sun? You know, the big glowing thing in the sky.

It’s back and we’ve been cashing in. I spent Saturday with Norm, George, Oli and Raby on Millenium Square, soaking in the rays (and in everyone else’s case, soaking in equal amounts of beer). That has been followed up with a lunch in The Box’s beer garden and two lunches in The Oak’s beer garden this week. It’s a hard life.

Leeds PHP User Group

Friday, March 30th, 2012 | Life, Tech

Last week, I finally made it down to the Leeds PHP User Group.

The meeting consisted of a talk by Lorna Mitchell on Git, Github and Open Source. It didn’t tell me anything that I didn’t already know, but it was interesting none the less. They also provide free food at their meetings, so I then regretted eating before I went 😀 .

By a perhaps unfortunate coincidence, the next day one of my friends sent me a contact they recommend I speak to about my career. The name rang a bell – turns out the recruitment agency had in fact been sponsoring the event and she was there – if only I had known 24 hours earlier I could have introduced myself in person! Still, there is always next month.

Dr Neil Cooper – Arms Regulation

Thursday, March 29th, 2012 | Foundation, Humanism

This month’s meeting of Leeds Skeptics in the Pub welcomed Dr Neil Cooper from the University of Bradford’s Peace Studies department to talk about arms regulation.

It certainly captured the interest of the audience as the talk itself was followed by one of the longest question and answer sessions we have ever had at Leeds Skeptics!

March 2012 Wendy House

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012 | Friends, Life

This month’s Wendy House saw Will lose his Wendy House virginity and Hugh make a return after what he claimed was an eight year absence. That would mean that we was 16 last time he went, though if he settled into looking adult as easily as he has the bumbling old professor role in equal speed, it is in fact a perfectly plausible story.

A far bolder claim, but one I can assure you is true, is that Elettra given took to the dance floor and strutted her stuff! Add that to other things that happened and you actually have quite a strange, but very much enjoyable, night.

U never know what’s around the corner

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012 | Distractions

Upon checking my emails recently I found an email with the following content in. It was not addressed to me, nor did the email it was sent from match that of the email in the body. But nobody would lie on the internet, right?

Good evening, master

I want to be your servant which is ready to make all your dreams come true. My name is Marya. I am 25, young, pretty beautiful and I like sexual experiments like BDSM, roleplaying and other. I am sure that sex is about freedom and not only about missionary pose, right?

I am searching for a man who is ready to satisfy me fully, u know what I mean, right?) If you ready to break any boundaries and ready to experience the most ardent desire and best sex in ur life then do not hesitate and write an answer as soon as you can! I am already waiting!

Please kindly send your respond to maryaredrose@ymail.com.

Can’t wait to hear from you!

P.S.: To accelerate you I’ve attached some ero pics of me…

Yours, Marya

She had also attached a picture of herself, and it turns out she was quite attractive.

So I emailed her back.

Hi,

You’re gorgeous. Where are you? How did you get my details?

Chris

She hasn’t responded. It’s almost as if it is some kind of scam…

Leeds – Second biggest city in the UK

Monday, March 26th, 2012 | Distractions, Religion & Politics

One topic that often comes up in discussions is regarding how big Leeds is. So I thought I would clarify the situation, by pointing out that we are in fact the second biggest city in the UK.

Leeds now has a population of 810,200. That isn’t the West Yorkshire Urban Area which includes all the surrounding towns, of which the population is 1,499,465. So we’re not talking about Greater Leeds if you will, just Leeds.

Compare this to Glasgow, which has a population of 629,501, or Manchester, which has a population of 394,269. Of course, Greater Manchester has over two million people, but as we’ve already discussed, we’re not including surrounding towns.

Only one city can out-match us for population – and that is Birmingham, with a population of 970,892.

What of that London place you say? Why the City of London is only a square mile, and has a population of 11,700.

Public sector pay

Sunday, March 25th, 2012 | Religion & Politics, Thoughts

A proposal by the government to introduce regional variation in public sector pay has been greatly discussed in recent times. The idea is that because the cost of living is more expensive in one place and less expensive in others, pay should variety to reflect that.

Having listened to the arguments on Question Time last Thursday, one of the suggestions was that, taking teachers as an example, the areas which have higher pay would then become magnets for the best teachers and other areas would be left with lower standards.

This completely misses the argument that the cost of living is different and therefore the pay would simply reflect this – in actual fact, it is the lack of regional variation should cause such a problem – if you get paid the same but your cost of living is cheaper, your effective pay is currently higher in the North East than it is in London.

However, I don’t support regional pay variation for that reason.

I’m going to use London as an example here, but in reality London could be replaced by any other big city. Indeed, London is perhaps not the best example given a divide in pay already exists in the form of London weighting. But given its relative size to other places in the UK, I’m going to proceed none the less.

Whether you truly believe there is a strong North South divide or not, it is hard to deny that as a country, we are very London centric. Not to the extent of other countries (Helsinki in Finland for example), but the best jobs, the biggest companies, museums, theaters, events, etc, etc are almost always bigger and better in London.

It then becomes self propelled – the big cities become more attractive places to live as they grow and grow, adding more exciting attractions, therefore attracting more people, and the cycle goes on.

London in itself is attractive enough to bring in talent in the public sector, and therefore we don’t need to offer people a pay packet which is effectively equivalent to those in other areas. To maintain a balance between the biggest cities and the rest of the country, we actually want to pay people more for not living in these places, which are attractive enough already.

The Budget

Saturday, March 24th, 2012 | Religion & Politics, Thoughts

This week, George Osbourne rolled out The Budget. Norm described it as a budget he found “impossible to get angry about.” But I disagree.

The increase in the personal tax allowance is great, thumbs up there, well, on the most part. I’m not too bothered by the granny tax either, as state pensions have in fact gone up quite considerably in a time when many working people’s pay have been frozen despite the ever marching climb of inflation. Not to mention is that all that is happening is that their personal allowance is being lowered to match that of working people.

However, when it comes to the top tax bracket, it is nothing moe than a traditional Tory budget. There is little justification for giving 14,000 millionaires a tax break given the financial crisis we are in.

One of the clearest messages we have received from this government is that the previous one has left them with a huge hole in the budget and that strong austerity measures would need to be put in place. So, if it so important to plug the hole in the budget and pay back some of our borrowing, how can we afford to give tax breaks to the rich?

Foundation’s Edge

Friday, March 23rd, 2012 | Books

Having recently re-read the Foundation trilogy by Isaac Asimov, I went on read the forth book in the series, Foundation’s Edge.

Despite high praise elsewhere, I was somewhat disappointed by the book. While it was certainly an enjoyable read and one I don’t regret, I don’t feel that it played out with quite the brilliant design that the original trilogy did. It was a great read, but not as good as the first three.

Street fundraising

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012 | Religion & Politics

While listening to the radio this morning, I heard that some councils are planning to place restrictions on fundraisers. I’m very much in favour of this, so I write to my local councillor to voice my support.

Dear Elizabeth,

I am a resident living in your ward. As you may have heard, several city councils have proposed restrictions on “chuggers” raising money for charities on the street. I am writing to you to voice my support for similar restrictions in Leeds.

I walk though town on a regular basis and often feel like I am “running the gauntlet” as I walk up and down Briggate or Lands Lane only to have people madly waving their arms at me and block my path.

Worse still, as a trustee of a local charity based here in Leeds, I am familiar with the industry and know that these people are almost always professional fund raisers that are primarily funding their own salaries, and taking money away from local charitable causes. This to me seems dishonest, as when people give to charity, they expect that money to actually end up in the charities pocket.

Therefore, given they provide benefit to neither charities nor residents, I would strongly support any move to reduce this nuisance.

Yours sincerely,
Chris Worfolk

I would encourage you all to do the same.