Wedding Season

It’s getting to that time of year again – the wedding invite stage. It’s a time when a couple suddenly becomes split into “my friend + guest”, even though the host knows fine well what her best mate’s husband is called.

Just received this one though, which is unsubtle, but probably a true reflection of a great number of invites:


(Thanks to Si and the original location of this image)

Plane Sailing

There was a story on the BBC News website recently about a pilot (from Sunderland) who was recalling the recent events where he nearly crashed in the Channel Islands.

Mark Eddlestone’s single-engine aircraft began plummeting at 300ft-a-minute as the crew headed to Jersey.

Plummeting at 300ft-a-minute? There’s nothing plummeting about a descent rate of 300ft/minute. That’s a very gentle downward slope for even the most nervous of passengers.

Don’t forget that once descending at a constant rate, it’s only air pressure which tells you that you’re dropping in height. You can only sense a change in rate of speed (i.e. acceleration), not speed itself. That’s why in a car you can feel hard acceleration yet you’re only doing 30mph, but you can’t feel anything at a constant 70mph.

Plummeting indeed.

What Recession?

For the first time in its history, IBM has announced revenue exceeding $100bn, with record pre-tax profits of $16.7bn.

Either figure represents a lot of money – to give you some idea here’s some stats: on average, last year IBM received over $3,200 in revenue per second; that’s over £23,000 per hour in profit (note that really is pounds).

Software group (the bit I work in) earned over $22bn last year in revenue at a gross profit margin of 85%. That means for every pound IBM receives, they can keep 85p of it as profit. Compare that with the personnel-intensive Global Business Services area who can only manage a margin of less than 27%.

Rain on my Parade

I mentioned at the very end of 2008 about my new tripod, and the fact that we were visiting the Lake District where we were seeing friends for a Christening. The hope was that I got at least half an hour outside with my camera to take some pictures, but that hope was quickly dashed when we arrived in the Lakes.

By the time we got there, it was dark (about 4:30) and not “town dark”, which is a sort of orangey-hue twilight; but “countryside dark”, which means it’s starlight, moonlight, or nothing. We had thick, low clouds which meant nothing was visible. Anything you could see was being blown around by the gale-force winds, so that ruled out any long-exposures too.

The next morning we needed to be at the Christening for 9:30 – 10 minutes drive from our hotel for the night. With a little one, that means getting up at 6 to get everything ready for the day ahead. We still managed to be 5 minutes late to the venue because I left my mobile phone in the hotel room. Problem was, we were godparents so couldn’t just sneak in at the back either.

After that was more gale-force winds, torrential rain and driving to another venue for a very nice n-course meal. I don’t remember exactly how many courses there were because I lost count. So no pictures there either.

I finally did manage to “get it out” (oo-err!) while at the second venue to take some family photos for the Christening party, though. It was worth every penny.

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