Colder than the Coalition’s core, not even a whisper of atmospheric movement, even less skywater and bugger all solar stuff at the Castle this morn, it’s been an “interesting” week, the interweb router thingy went tits up on Monday and I spent a fair portion of the day talking to several different inhabitants of the Sub continent in order to obtain a new one.
So I chilled out on Monday, did a bit more chilling on Tuesday and Wednesday, did a bit of shopping and went to see the toof doctor Thursday and then some cleaning of the Castle, played chase with his Maj and when the new interweb router thingy arrived spent a while setting it up.
I really can’t stand the excitement.
Apparently the three to five billion squids welfare-to-work “scheme” isn’t doing too well, according to Auntie and the Public Accounts Committee only 3.6% of people on the scheme managed to get orf benefits and into secure employment in its first 14 months.
And according to Labour MP Margaret Hodge of the 9,500 former incapacity benefit claimants referred to providers, only 20 people have been placed in a job that has lasted three months, while the poorest-performing provider did not manage to place a single person in the under-25 category into a job lasting six months."
Allegedly not one of the 18 providers has met its contractual targets and their performance ''varies wildly'', the committee said.
"The best-performing provider only moved 5% of people off benefit and into work, while the worst managed just 2%," said Ms Hodge.
A spokesman for the Dept of Witless Pillocks said: "This report paints a skewed picture. More than 200,000 people have moved off benefits and into a job thanks to the Work Programme.
"It is making a real difference to tens of thousands of the hardest-to-help jobseekers. Long-term unemployment fell by 15,000 in the latest quarter.
"The Work Programme gives support to claimants for two years and it hasn't even been running that long yet, so it's still early days. We know the performance of our providers is improving."
So who is telling porkies then?
It seems that the sick are to blame for the dragons behind the reception desk.
Scientists observed 45 receptionists at work for 200 hours and found they are often trying to protect the most vulnerable patients while acting as gatekeepers for doctors.
In a research paper, entitled 'Slaying the dragon myth, the team from Manchester University, argue that receptionists were faced with the difficult task of prioritising patients, despite having little time, information, and training.
They felt responsible for protecting those patients who were most vulnerable, however this was sometimes made difficult by people trying to ‘play’ the system, they said.
Receptionists often had to negotiate with patients over the urgency of their condition to establish if they needed an emergency appointment or could wait for a routine one, despite having little information or training to do so, it was found.
Interesting that, at my General Medics surgery there is a touch screen log in system (when it works) which negates the need to talk to the dragons, but if you need to make a follow up appointment I have discovered that “they” would rather talk to someone on the phone than interact with half dead people.
Wonder why? well it's not as if they are being paid to do their jobs is it....
A British inventor has made a “tsunami survival” capsule — and plans to test it by hurtling over Niagara Falls in it.
Aerospace engineer Julian Sharpe, 50, believes his lifesaving pod will protect people from tidal waves, tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, super-storms and many other natural disasters.
He says he has no qualms about riding the aluminium ball over the world-famous 167ft falls.
The impact will be like being rear-ended by a car at around 20mph, he claims.
He said: “We can tell people how strong it is but until we have proved that it has saved a life they might not believe what we say.”
Julian, born in Carmarthen, south west Wales and now lives in Seattle.
He hopes the capsules, holding up to six people, will sell for between £650 and £3,250.
A prototype shown at the Yokohama Expo is to go into production soon.
Good luck with that-I do like an optimist, on the bright side if it fails at least there won’t be a mess to clear up...
The Dee Why Grand shopping complex north of Sydney has told customers screaming children "will not be tolerated".
After complaints about children becoming too loud near the centre’s play area, a notice has been put up saying, "Stop. Parents please be considerate of other customers using the food court. Screaming children will not be tolerated in the centre".
Centre manager Brenda Mulcahy said staff and customers complained about children "running amok" in the food court and said children were sometimes so loud she could hear their screams in her office, which was "miles away".
"People deserve the quiet enjoyment of their cup of tea," Ms Mulcahy told The Manly Daily newspaper.
"Mothers have to be more responsible. We have had so many complaints."
She said some staff avoided the food court because they found the noise "unbearable".
Child psychologist Dr Michael Carr-Gregg said: "I do think we are becoming increasingly selfish and intolerant ... this shopping centre needs to watch itself because I’m not sure legally it has much of a leg to stand on. This could be a violation of the United Nations rights of the child.
Bollocks-here’s an idea, why not build a sound proof dome which you can shove the spoilt little gits in?
Located in South Australia, known for being the driest state on the driest continent on Earth, the town of Coober Pedy was established in 1915, when opal was first discovered in the region and miners started settling in. The temperature and weather conditions were so harsh that the miners began digging their homes into the hillsides. All they wanted was to find some respite from the scorching sun, but in the process they ended up creating a small town for themselves. To this day, the people of Coober Pedy prefer to build their houses under the ground. Summers are harsh around here, with temperatures easily rising over 40 degrees Celsius. Air conditioning is a necessity, not a luxury, if you choose to live above ground. But the scenario is completely different in the underground homes of Coober Pedy. The temperature remains at a cool, constant 24 degrees and the humidity doesn’t go beyond 20%. Winters can be rather cold, but people are willing to make that kind of compromise.
To the outside world, all that’s visible of Coober Pedy is a vast expanse of land, interrupted by chimneys and shafts that seem to be sticking up out of nowhere. The town’s entire population of about 3,000 people lives underground, in a series of intricate tunnels. The name Coober Pedy is said to have originated from the Aboriginal phrase ‘kupa piti’, meaning ‘white man’s hole in the ground’.
Don’t tell the LibDems, there will be a stampede to enter the white man’s hole in the ground....
A University of Buffalo engineering team, led by Qiaoqiang Gan, PhD, has come up with an efficient way to absorb different frequencies of light, an improvement that could lead to advances in solar energy, stealth technology, and other fields.
The “hyperbolic metamaterial waveguide” developed by Gan and his team functions like a microchip made of alternate ultra-thin films of metal, semiconductors, and insulators. The waveguide stops and absorbs each frequency of light at slightly different places in a vertical direction, allowing it to catch a “rainbow” of wavelengths.
“Electromagnetic absorbers have been studied for many years, especially for military radar systems,” Gan said. “However, it is still challenging to realize the perfect absorber in ultra-thin films with tuneable absorption band.
We are developing ultra-thin films that will slow the light and therefore allow much more efficient absorption, which will address the long existing challenge.”
Because light photons move so quickly, they’re very difficult to tame without the use of freezing materials, like cryogenic gases, that can only be used inside a laboratory. But this new metamaterial waveguide provides a more practical way for engineers to slow down light, one that can be put to use in the real world.
And the material’s ability to absorb many different wavelengths, including some commonly used for location and detection, also means it might be used as a coating material on objects like the stealth bomber or may be useful in developing new military technology.
Oh good, can’t wait for that...
And today’s thought:
My heart bleeds