Musings and a place to store stuff

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How to have a damn and blast whilst in Swindon

Swindon often struggles to be represented in a good light – but I had to laugh at the article yesterday from Swindons premier free paper SwindonLink.

The article entitled: How to have a blast whilst in Swindon (SwindonLink 1/2/2017 is a veritable rollercoaster ride through things that aren’t in Swindon, aren’t open or strange irrelevancies.

I’d assumed it was written by a volunteer contributor or student but we have the creator of the Ocelot and ex-Daily Mail, ex-Evening Advertiser reporter Jamie Hill to thank for this gem. I assume Jamie is paid by the word and also that he was having an off day.

The opening paragraph promises that visitors to Swindon will be ‘in for a treat’ and that anyone in a travel party will feel happy and entertained. Sounds great – what follows is a handy guide to the area, as Jamie puts it ‘to have a good ol’ blast’.

First up Shopping – we are advised that there are shops, and are given the helpful tip that in order to fully enjoy shopping it may be worth visiting ‘after payday’.

Here, you can expect to find almost every well-known national and international retailer so it may be worth visiting after payday to fully enjoy spending your days here!

Next up – we are into the section on Casinos. Swindon doesn’t have any casinos, but this doesn’t deter SwindonLink from making it number two on the handy Swindon visitors guide. We are told that the ‘Casino Lover’ amongst us, during the visit to Swindon may like to drive a further 50 minutes to Reading.

If you’re not inclined to drive a quarter of the way across the country to feed your gambling habit, we’re advised that we can gamble online and a link is provided to online casinos. Strangely the only link provided in the entire article.

 If you’re a casino lover looking for a little gambling action while visiting Swindon, then maybe pop in on your drive up here or alternatively curb your cravings by visiting the numerous UK online casinos ( available.

We’re then on to safer ground – with the famous Great Western Railway Museum. That’s a fantastic place and should arguably have come above gambling in Reading or the existence of shops in Swindon – it may also have benefited from a web link.

Next up we seem to be needing the use of a car again. This time Jamie advises us to go visit ‘Go Ape’ in Swindon forest. Now the closest ‘Go Ape‘ facility to Swindon I could find is certainly in a forest – but its the Forest of Dean over 50 miles away in Gloucestershire. Sadly in the opposite direction from the casino.

With the next item I thought for a second that Jamie had got us back on track with advice to visit the Maize Maze.

The Maize Maze is a great day out for all the family as it allows you to take the time to become one with nature and walk around the amazing maze! There is a picnic area and a shop that offers great cakes and snacks too.

That sounds great…… unfortunately… as the ‘Maize Maze’ website explains (he didn’t include a link), the maize this year only managed to grow to a height of 6 inches in places. Far from ‘becoming one with nature and walking around the amazing maze’ – it seems you would be able to step over it, which is why it is closed apparently until next year.

Finally the handy guide, closes as it began with another vague title. This time simply Parks. It doesn’t bother to list any, other than to say that they are on the land, and that Swindon is full of them (they certainly outnumber casinos).

One of the great things about Swindon is that it is a land enriched with Victorian parks and gardens. Swindon is full or areas that offer extended woodland and centres of cultural heritage so you will never be short of things to do

Swindon is a fantastic place with lots to see and do – and I can only assume that SwindonLink were having an off day but as a Wiltshireman might say ‘ It did make I chuckle’.



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The Magic Traffic Lights (23 traffic lights for one junction)

I’ve always thought the number of traffic lights on the Great Western Hospital entrance on Marlborough Road Swindon were excessive. Today though I just thought I’d count them and post them online.

The picture below shows the view coming from East to West (Top) from West to East (Lower left) and from the hospital (Lower right).

In total then (and I have no doubt I’ve missed some) I counted 23 separate traffic lights. This is a junction which you can only approach from 3 directions! It’s essentially a T-junction with 23 traffic lights?

Is the road planner trying to one-up the Magic roundabout which is only 3 miles from here, by designing something equally magical?



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Fox News Trying to Sell Boeing P-8 Poseidon on missing flight MH370

Watching the BBC news last night I saw that the Malaysian Prime minister had gone on TV to report that the UKs AAIB (Air accident investigation branch) in conjunction with British satellite Inmarsat had provided some new data based on calculations they’d performed. The data puts the missing aircraft MH370 in the middle of the Indian ocean, too far from land to have done anything but crashed into the sea.
This news was reported widely and was included in the prime ministers speech below:

“This evening I was briefed by representatives from the U.K. Air Accidents Investigation Branch, or AAIB. They informed me that Inmarsat, the U.K. company that provided the satellite data which indicated the northern and southern corridors, has been performing further calculations on the data. Using a type of analysis never before used in an investigation of this sort, they have been able to shed more light on MH370’s flight path.
“Based on the new analysis, Inmarsat and the AAIB have concluded that MH370 flew along the southern corridor and that its last position was in the middle of the Indian Ocean, west of Perth. This is a remote location far from any possible landing sites.

I was curious as to how Fox News decided to report this, and was a little surprised to see ‘Bill O’Reilly’ on the ‘O’Reilly Factor’ play back the video from the prime minister, with the front chopped off so that it just left his statement that the plane was in the ocean without any evidence. Fox then went on to attack the Malaysian prime minister and Malaysia using words like unreliable, botched, premature, conflicting, lack credibility, incompetent, slow on analysis, conjecture and ‘obscure facts’.

Later in the day on the Sean Hannity show on Fox – the same thing, they had cropped it even more this time – and then ripped into the Malaysians, and mentioned that a Boeing P-8 Poseidon was on its way out. Strange I thought, why mention that aircraft that’s not even there. Next thing they’ve got an aircraft expert up and put three different planes up behind him and he mentions the superb Boeing P-8. Later on a question to him from Hannity, “Which of these 3 planes do you think will be best used in this case”!!!!!!!! WTF.
Alarm bells are ringing and I’m wondering – why on earth is a Boeing P-8 being mentioned more than the Inmarsat and British Air accident investigation board which has just been pushed down in the conversation. The British expert gets very close to saying the Chinese aircraft is better and gets shut down by Hannity.

Has Fox got shares in Boeing I wonder – do a quick google and no, so what about if I google ‘Rupert Murdoch’ and Boeing. BINGO. Twice.

Two weeks ago apparently Murdoch got into trouble for claiming that it was probably terrorists that took out the plane. Here’s some of his tweets:
“777crash confirms jihadists turning to make trouble for China. Chance for US to make common cause, befriend China while Russia bullies”
“World seems transfixed by 777 disappearance. Maybe no crash but stolen, effectively hidden, perhaps in Northern Pakistan, like Bin Laden.”
“777. Still think this a reminder that US and China should be working more closely on Muslim extremist threat.”

Then I discover that Rupert Murdoch is close friends with the CEO of Boeing and run an organization together with 6 other capitalists called the ‘Partnership for a New American Economy’. Can it be that Murdochs and Foxes desperate attempts to make sure this is terrorists on no evidence, and preferring to talk about the Boeing rescue aircraft in a good light rather than the satellite data that’s just determined the aircrafts probable location – has anything to do with this?

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Bing is Cheating, Copying from Google

Google are claiming that a honey trap sting operation they conducted proves that Bing steals search results from Google.

They randomly generated 100 meaningless strings of characters and pointed them at 100 random websites. This means that should you search on google for one of these random strings (extremely unlikely unless you knew what they were) then you would get back the one dummy search result. This basically means that there should be no way that any other search engine could give the same results (the random strings are not anywhere on the internet so impossible to discover by crawling or indexing). Then google gave 20 new computers to employees, running IE8 and Bing search bar and had them search for the strings on google. A few days later the same results start showing up on Bing.

“Foul” shouts google, Bing is ‘cheating’

To clarify  though what’s actually happening is IE8/Bing toolbar are monitoring what the users doing (IF YOU ALLOW IT TO IMPROVE THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE). So Microsoft are not mining google in any way, they are learning about the relationship between the random strings and the website that was subsequently visited by the 20 google employees, through the Bing toolbar, they’re not simply passing a search across to google and returning the results.

I like the comments in the thread below – which points out how hypocritical it is of google to complain about this – after all the nature of the search engine is to collect and index everything that isn’t yours. Google have got into several hissy fits where they’ve screamed ‘free data’ while gathering other people’s legitimate content (against their will) and then past it on as if it were their own making money in the process (online museums, online art galleries, books and newspapers).

They’ve got into trouble for photographing your house and capturing wi-fi data in your street (just in case), they suck up every bit of info like a sponge – so why shouldn’t Microsoft try to improve its search engine by monitoring the relevancy of your browser searches and acting on them, as Microsoft have stated this is one piece of info in about a thousand considerations that normally impact search results. Google have just been fairly sneaky in deliberately removing all other factors to make this one seem more important.