Posts – Page 2

Happy 1st of December

You may proceed to play Christmas music non-stop for the next month and begin completing for the most colourful lighting displays around your homes.

We have.

Algorithms to Live By: No Yaks

I am currently reading

Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions Book by Brian Christian and Tom Griffiths and in particular the section on scheduling.

There is more I want to say on the subject but I want to wait until I have finished the book and ...

Traffic Fun

Normally when I collect the boys from nursery, I leave work and cycle across Grangemouth and into Falkirk to collect them. Then I hitch a trailer to my bike and tow them home.

Today, due to the bad weather1, I had the car and drove to pick them up ...

Guaranteed Health

Work have been offering free health checks including height, weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and blood glucose levels. At the end we were provided with heart risk scores, a 10 year risk and a 2 year risk1.

My 10 year figure was 2.3%2 and my initial reaction was ...

Another Thrilling Chapter

As mentioned previously, I am taking part in an SMRT1 course. One of the discussions was around being more mindful of each moment and in particular how we are reacting to various situations.

One course participant mentioned that they are always thinking of getting the current (unpleasant) experience over ...

Eatymology

Yesterday's post on Ken Perlin's blog1 made me suddenly understand why the guardian has a fixation with the term Flexitarian.

Ken pointed out that it is a bit silly to call yourself a vegetarian if you don't strictly follow a vegetarian diet. The response to this ...

Review: Galaxy Trucker

Last night we had friends staying over with the aim of playing some board games together. It was a really pleasant evening catching up, though with all the chatting, it didn't leave as much time for games as we had wished.

In the end we only played the one ...

Book It

When you meet friends that you haven't seen in a long time, a common comment is something along the lines of "we should do this more often".

A month ago, rather than just saying it, we booked a date in our calendars. These things can get moved, but once ...

Recommendation: SMRT

Stoic and Mindfulness Resilience Training (SMRT) is a free online course organised by the Modern Stoicism team. It combines the ancient philosophy of Stoicism with practices from modern psychotherapy. I found it very useful last year and have signed up again this year.

Happy Thanksgiving

Considering everyone else in my house has an American passport, we haven't really done anything for Thanksgiving. But I would still like to take the opportunity to state what I am thankful for.

I am thankful for life, the universe and everything.

This was the answer that I gave ...

Congratulations - Now Stop It

In the past week my youngest son has learned to walk. He has been standing unaided for a few months now but last week he first managed to shift his weight from side to side enough to let himself take a few steps. Over the week he has become more ...

The Great Christmas Lie

Now that the shops have started to put up their Christmas decorations, my nearly 4 year old son is getting very excited.

Unfortunately he is getting excited over the Great Christmas Lie that is peddled by society at large. It doesn't matter how many times I tell him, the ...

Disastrous Dinners Survey Responses

Summary

Since the survey has been shared with IChemE members, there have been a over 70 responses, the vast majority of which have been very supportive. There seems to be a great deal of interest for such an event, mixing both a technical aspect and social setting. It was also ...

The Joy of Going on Holiday

To celebrate a family member's significant birthday, we have just enjoyed a lovely weekend away. I have been trying to work out exactly what makes going on holiday such a nice experience. I mean objectively, why do we look forward to spending lots of money to stay in someone ...

When Endless Energy Ends

We often joke that toddlers have endless amounts of energy and if only we could go on like them.

Today was a busy day, full of activities. It was a strange experience to see that energy run out. When the toddler is asking to go to bed, you know that ...

Bullying Bosses

In one of my previous jobs, I did not particularly get on with one of my supervisors. This is not that surprising and to be honest, it would probably be surprising if I had gotten on with every supervisor I have encountered.

This particular supervisor was not my direct line ...

Post Pension Workshop Calculations

After yesterday's pension workshop, I spent some time at lunchtime collecting the various information about the different pension funds and calculating how much I might have at retirement.

It is an interesting exercise, but at the same time, inflation, investment returns, the government ruled and regulations will all change ...

Pension Workshop

I got to attend a pensions workshop provided by my work today. The presenter confirmed that for people my age, the state pension is probably a mirage. They may say that I can retire and collect the state pension at 68, that will definitely keep getting moved and possibly removed ...

The Secret to Cycling Fast

This morning, on my way to work, it felt like I was flying and I think I have found a reliable way to be able to repeat the feeling.

Simply cycle home uphill while putting a trailer with two small children in it. That way, the next time you cycle ...

Disastrous Dinners Responses

The Disastrous Dinners Survey was emailed to IChemE members in Scotland today and the response has been good.

Members of the IChemE committee got access to the survey last Tuesday, the survey was posted to Facebook and LinkedIn yesterday and I got the email from IChemE at lunchtime today.

So ...

After Dinner Comedians

I have now attended tree InstMC dinners, and I have yet to have truly enjoyed any of the after dinner comedians. Sure every one managed to get at least one laugh out of me, but at the end of the half hour, I don't think I have had one ...

Cot Death

Last night's InstMC dinner raised funds on behalf of the Scottish Cot Death Trust and included a personal speech by one of the trustees. The speech was very emotional and stirred some of my earliest memories. I had intended to write this post last year but found it too ...

Drinking Habbits

I will be attending the InstMC Dinner tonight, as the guest of Honeywell. This will be an evening of free drinks and dinner and a good chance to have fun with other folk from industry. It will be the first time I have had a drink in a while.

In ...

No Internet

It looks like most of the Falkirk area has been taken offline last night at about 7pm. Grangemouth refinery was out, along with lots of ATMs and fuel stations but most importantly, my house and therefore home server was taken out.

I am not sure if I am going to ...

My Fingerprints are Everywhere

During the Process Hazard Analysis that we are currently carrying out, there have been a number of occasions when we are referencing procedures and other documents to check how we are currently managing the various hazards.

It is always a bit worrying when you see that the document in question ...

Disastrous Dinners Survey

I presented the suggestion to members of the IChemE committee tonight and the feeling was positive. The next stage is to publicise the survey:

Disastrous Dinners: Part social event, part technical talk and part workshop. Something for everyone!

We are looking to host a series of these events next year ...

Ways to Make a Bang

It seems almost fitting that on the 5th of November, Guy Fawkes night, that I would spend the day working out different ways to blow stuff up.

Today was the first day performing a Process Hazard Analysis (PHA) of the plant I used to look after as an operations engineer ...

Teaching the Hypothesis

When writing yesterday's post I remembered my own introduction to experiments at school. I loved science and I loved finding stuff out. What I didn't love was getting things wrong and I could not understand why they forced us to make a guess about what would happen before ...

Science with a 3-Year-Old

On Friday, I was handed a "science kit" as I collected my 3 year old from nursery. It looks like all the kids get handed it at some point and asked to do some of the experiments and write something in the book about the experience.

So we decided it ...

The Joy of Running a Script

I had the joy today if running a script which took about 20 seconds to run, and in that time, saved another member of my team days of work.

Of course it took me several hours to write the script, to work on the first file but once that first ...

7 Years at Grangemouth

Today marks the seven year anniversary of my employment at Grangemouth Refinery. Unfortunately it has been spent at home recovering from a stomach bug.

I am sure that I managed the first few years without having to take any time off for sickness, but in recent years it has become ...

A Short Message to Your Leader Part 2

Monday's post, posted the question, if I could send a short message to my countries leaders, what would I say?

I have already stated that a simple "Don't be evil" is a wasted opportunity. Similarly I don't want to waste the opportunity by writing abuse (though there ...

We Also Have The Plague

It was interesting to see today's raspberry pi blog post, mostly because it describes exactly how our family are feeling.

Hopefully normal service can resume soon.

A Short Message to Your Leader

When filling in a Google survey, I was asked, if I could send a short message to my countries leaders, what would I say?

I hadn't given this question any thought before and (as it was a quick survey) u just gave a quick answer:

Don't be evil ...

Sunday Mornings

With the clocks changing this weekend, it has just exasperated a problem we have most weekends: what do you do with a kid on a Sunday morning?

Unlike most folk, small people seem to like getting up early and don't see any need to change their routine on a ...

Stop Rubbing It In

Firefox has just recommend an article from The Cut for me to read titled:

It’s Astounding How Many Problems Can Be Solved Just by Waking Up Early

I haven't actually read the article, so I have no idea if it is any good. But when I have just ...

Starting to Cleanup My Own Mess

At the start of the year, I hacked together a small spreadsheet that did many things that a spreadsheet is not meant to do. It was meant as a proof of concept however is started adding more and more to it. I had a few goes at tidying up the ...

Habits and AI

I am currently reading The Power of Habit: Why we do what we do and how to change by Charles Duhigg. One of the things the book describes is the habit loop: a cue, a routine, and a reward. The cue triggers a part of the brain to take over ...

One Idiot Can Spoil a Day

Earlier this week, I cycled from work into Falkirk town centre. After the journey, I was asked how the trip went and my first reaction was that it was horrible. But then I caught myself.

Most of the trip went fine. It was just one particular part that spoilt it ...

An Apology to RSS Feed Users

On Friday evening, I changed the script that I use to update the site. The new script is much more efficient and faster, however it caused the RSS feed to be modified in such a way that my feed reader thought that every article was a new article and reimported ...

Ending Inactivity

After my post where I sketched out the idea of Disastrous Dinners I noticed that I have been very inactive with my IChemE membership.

I am supposedly still on the IChemE Scottish Members Group committee, however I don't think I have done anything to help in the last year ...

Wanted: A Good Jacket with Pockets

When out at the shops today, I tried to find a new jacket to replace my current one. My main issue with my current jacket is that it is water resistant but it doesn't hold up to heavy rain. It is also not particularly warm if I am standing ...

Disastrous Dinners

I have just come up with an idea this evening for a regular IChemE event. I will take the time in this post to get my idea into the screen before deciding if it is a good idea or not.

Background

There are a few challenges that occur when trying ...

Happy Birthday Little One

I just want to say
To my young bundle of joy
Happy first birthday

XML Woes

My dislike of XML has just gotten stronger.

I have been working on, and failing to succeed with, two projects involving XML.

One involved manipulating XML written by another program. The problem is that this program was not intending to share this XML with any other programs, so there are ...

90% is Not Good Enough

I have spent most of my day trying to convert some graphics for a up coming project. We have been provided a method of manually converting the graphics but it takes around 5 minutes per graphic and we have hundreds.

So rather than simply using the manual method, I have ...

Morning Bell

Swing a kettle bell
Early in the fitness suite
While sweating like hell.

New(er) Laptop

For a few months now I have been having problems with some of the programs on my work laptop. Today I was given a 'new' laptop with a fresh install. I said 'new' with scare quotes because I think that the laptop is the same age as the old one ...

Picking Pumpkins

Today we went to a farm for pumpkin picking. I had envisioned going into a field where the pumpkins were being grown and picking them fresh from the stock. Of course this wouldn't have worked with the number of participants.

Instead you picked your pumpkin from a whole field ...

Painting and Disasters

Today has been a day of DIY, mostly painting in the downstairs toilet. This was a good opportunity to catch up on podcasts and I spent most of the time catching up with the DisasterCast back catalogue.

I don't have much to add except that I found it an ...