Impossible Insects

There is a common belief that bees can’t fly, given the known laws of physics. That’s obviously incorrect, because bees can fly, they’re just not allowed to tell us how. Laws of physics or otherwise, it’s very clever. What’s even more clever, and even more baffling, is how a tiny spider can span such huge gaps when building their webs.

In our back garden, sometime between 8pm last night and 1pm today, there have been a collection of spiders out and about building themselves webs on a large scale. I don’t really know why they expend so much energy in building a web across such large distances when a small one would surely do. I’m sure it’s got a bit to do with ego, because it’s a bit like the struggle to build the tallest building in Manhattan, back when skyscrapers first became possible.

Mouse over pictures to show exactly where the lines and spiders live. Note that if you’re reading this on Facebook or other feed, you’re probably best visiting the actual post on my blog. Circles show where the spider lives, lines show the path of the anchors.

Between the washing line and the hedge is about 2.5m (8ft).

This one just seems daft.

Here’s the spider which built the massive web (next two pictures):

Shouldn’t this be completely impossible? For reference, the house is 4.5m (14ft 9in) wide.

Flying bees? Pah!

Stacking Cups

Here’s something which is thoroughly pointless. A world record for the fastest person to stack a set of cups. You’ll be amazed at how quick this girl can do it though.

I challenge you to only watch this video once.

New Look

Having been bored with the old look of my website, I’ve just updated my website to a newer theme. It’s supplied by my hosting provider (Siteground) and I think it looks quite good.

For those reading this post through an aggregator (or via Facebook), it’s still basically a two-column blue affair. You can visit me at www.ianburnett.com to see for yourself.

Comments always welcome.

Water Bill

Why the hell are they called standing charges? After receiving my water bill today, I needed to sit down after seeing all the “pay us an arbitrary amount for just living there” expenses applied to my account.

My water bill has been a bit of a sore point for a while now, after my parents complained about having to pay half my monthly outgoings on the old so-called-expensive “water rates” scheme. Our bill is steep compared to theirs because of a combination of several factors:

  1. The charge per cubic metre of clean water is quite high – up at 92.30p per unit.
  2. As well as being charged for clean water, we’re also charged for disposing of the dirty water. Southern Water assume that 92.5% of the clean water you get into the house will be sent back to the drain system. This charge per volume is very high – 169.80p per cubic metre.
  3. Then there’s the “standing charges” – over the past 6 months we’ve had the following standing charges applied to our account: “Water supply” (£13.23), “Wastewater drainage” (£9.12), “Surface water drainage” (£11.03), and “Highway drainage” (£3.51). Adding on all these standing charges means £73.58 a year – an extra £6.13 on the bill every month.
  4. When we first moved into the house, we were underpaying by quite a bit. Because water bills are only issued every 6 months, we had built up quite a large debit on the account before anyone noticed and our payments were adjusted to suit.

Combining the water supply and wastewater drainage charges together effectively means that for every cubic metre of water we use, we are charged an eye-watering (pardon the pun) 249.365p per cubic metre. That’s right: 1000 litres of water costs £2.50. Put it this way: every time I wish to “spend a penny” at home (about a 10 litre flush), it actually costs over twice that.

Thankfully, this blog entry has a happy ending. We’ve now caught up on our underpayments and from next month will be paying £15 per month less.

About time too.

1st Class Way to Travel

I once used Parcel2Go.com to quote for how much it would cost to send something after selling it on eBay. F***ing fortune was the answer, but that’s irrelevant. What is relevant is the fact that I gave them my e-mail address and I’m now getting spammed by them twice a week.

I was about to remove my e-mail address from their database, when yet another mailshot from them caught my eye. Bearing in mind this is a firm which finds the cheapest way to send things via courier, this is their subject line:

Parcel2Go.com Exclusive Offer – Take the whole family to Wembley for £30

Yeah – so long as you don’t mind being crammed into a small rickety box, being jostled around in transit, and passed from pillar to post by idiots who can’t read the “this way up” stickers. Actually, putting it like that, I think they must have done some contracting work for South West Trains…

How do I apply?