bookmark_borderAmerican states

The more I learn about the US, the more it strikes me how badly the state borders reflect the real political, economic, physical or cultural boundaries.

For instance, the New York metropolitan area covers parts of New York State, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, while these states all contains bits of different metropolitan areas.

Given the American Constitution, it’s extremely unlikely the map of the US will ever be completely redrawn (the current states would all have to agree, which just won’t happen), but I still think it’s interesting to contemplate how the US would look if state borders were redrawn based on some more obvious criteria. I’ve found a few on the net:

  • This one reduces the number of states to 38. It looks like a fairly well-designed proposal, although many of the proposed names are awful. It does appear, though, that the author has prioritised states with similar areas rather than similar population sizes.
  • This one, on the other hand, creates states with similar population sizes. This means that some metropolitan areas are cut into pieces, but I quite like the rest of it. (To be fair, it’s not really designed to create new states, just new electoral regions.)
  • Finally, this one claims to be based on research asking people what major town influences their area. This sounds good, but the resulting map looks messy.


soup challenge – ask me!
Originally uploaded by phil dowsing

Jeg ser, at det nu skal være obligatorisk at have husgerning i England. (Jeg er ikke sikker på, om det allerede er obligatorisk i Skotland.)

Det er i allerhøjeste grad tiltrængt – alt for mange briter er ude af stand til at lave almindelig mad fra bunden.

Jeg havde selv husgerning (hvilket i praksis var madlavning – rengøring etc. fyldte ikke meget) i to år (fra jeg var 12 til jeg var 14, vil jeg tro). Jeg véd ikke, om jeg lærte meget nyt, da jeg på det tidspunkt allerede havde lavet mad i lang tid, men alle i klassen var da i stand til at følge en opskrift til sidst. Jeg frygter lidt, at det ikke vil nytte meget, hvis de i England kun sætter det på skemaet i et term (= 1/3 år).

bookmark_borderBrown’s incompetence

Northern Rock
Originally uploaded by David Farrer

There’s a very interesting and scary article in The Times today about how disastrous Brown and Darling’s handling of Northern Rock has been.

I particularly like how he puts in perspective how much money we’re talking about:

[W]hat else could the Treasury have done with £55 billion? Here are a few ideas: it could have rescued MG-Rover and turned it into the worlds strongest car manufacturer after Toyota. It could have acquired control of the Airbus programme and shifted its headquarters to Bristol from Toulouse. And even after these industrial subventions there would have been plenty of change from £55 billion to set up a permanent endowment fund to finance Britain’s universities, or build a new high-speed rail system covering much of Britain, or a new London airport in the Thames estuary to replace Heathrow or underwrite the entire economic risks of a new generation of nuclear power stations.

bookmark_borderThe end of A&W

A & W
Originally uploaded by sneaky monkey

When I moved to Glasgow, a burger place that I used to pass almost every day was the A&W on Renfield Street.

I didn’t enter it for a long time, but the signs advertising root beer, floats and other American oddities were puzzling me.

When I finally tried it out, I was pleasantly surprised: They made lovely milkshakes (with real ice-cream), their burgers tasted of beef, and so on.

According to the photo, it used to be only an A&W, but the way I remember it, half of the place was taken up by a KFC (same owner).

However, now KFC seems to have taken over the whole thing, and as far as I can gather, there is now no A&W in Glasgow any more. 🙁


a wee beer
Originally uploaded by PhylB

I dag blev Anna Bridget én måned gammel.

Det føles som længere tid – jeg er begyndt at arbejde igen, og hun har udviklet sig så meget: Hun er ved at vokse ud af det tøj, hun fik på i starten, hun har lært at smile, hun kan næsten holde sit hovede, og om natten ligger hun og slår til et trælegetøj, Miriam gav hende, når hun ligger i vuggen og keder sig.

Det er også allerede ved at blive svært at huske, at der var en tid, hvor hun ikke fandtes endnu.

bookmark_borderTumble dryer

In the rented flat in Mavisbank Gardens where I lived for the first three years in Scotland, there was a washer/dryer. And when I needed a new washing machine for Rose Street, I bought a washer/dryer. Both were fairly crap at drying clothes, but I thought that was the best you could get without going for the big industrial tumble dryers found in laundrettes.

Imagine therefore my surprise when Phyllis talked me into buying a real tumble dryer at 200 quid and it turned out to dry a whole washing-machine-full of washing in an hour with ease! Furthermore, the clothes come out almost non-creasy.

So why is it that people buy washer/dryers, except for very small flats where there is no alternative? Do people just na?vely assume (like I did) that washer/dryers will do the same work as separate washing machines and tumble dryers?