Monthly archives: September 2015

Why some scientists are worried about a surprisingly cold ‘blob’ in the North Atlantic Ocean

This isn’t the plot from The Day After Tomorrow, luckily, but could still lead to some serious changes in sea level and local weather patterns.

Which is nice.

Some researchers think the cool temperature anomaly suggests a slowing of ocean circulation.

Source: Why some scientists are worried about a surprisingly cold ‘blob’ in the North Atlantic Ocean – The Washington Post

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BBC’s Stephen Sackur accuses Tories of spreading propaganda about Jeremy Corbyn, and of being unaccountable and undemocratic | Politics and Insights

A coup d’état is an anachronistic and violent method of political engineering that happens only in one-party fascist, totalitarian and despotic states, it’s not an event you would expect to see used as a threat in a so-called first world liberal democracy. Regardless of how far-fetched the threats may seem, that a general feels it’s okay to threaten a coup or “mutiny” against a future left-wing government using the mainstream right-wing press as a mouthpiece is a cause for some concern.

Source: BBC’s Stephen Sackur accuses Tories of spreading propaganda about Jeremy Corbyn, and of being unaccountable and undemocratic | Politics and Insights

Ancillary Justice (Imperial Radch, #1)

Ancillary Justice

After following the silliness around the Hugo awards this year, I thought I’d read one of the books that all the fuss was about.

Ancillary Justice won the Hugo, and several other awards, last year, and is, supposedly, exactly the sort of thing that’s destroying good old, hairy chested science fiction. To hear the various Puppies tell it, this is one long feminist diatribe with no redeeming features and too few spaceships and rayguns. They must have been reading a different book.

This is intelligent space opera in the Iain M. Banks mould, with gigantic empires ranging against each other, but with individuals still able to make a difference.

The narrator is Breq, an artificial intelligence inhabiting a human body. She used to run a space ship and whole garrisons of ‘corpse soldiers’, but a betrayal has taken all of that away. As we follow her through the end of a twenty year quest for vengeance, the full details of the betrayal are also revealed.

I had some problems with the story arc of the main supporting character, but also got the impression that Breq wasn’t completely convinced by it either. Perhaps it’s something that will be explored in the rest of the trilogy.

The fault with the story, as far as the Puppies were concerned, was with the handling of gender. The culture that Breq is from doesn’t differentiate between the sexes. Everyone is referred to as her, or she. Not knowing who’s really a boy or a girl upsets certain types of fanboy, apparently. It’s a dumb thing to get so angry about, and I’ll take this sort of interesting feminism over yet another story dwelling upon fantasy white guys and the size of their guns.

From:: Ian Pattinson Goodreads reviews

Buile Hill Park hothouse

Earlier this year, I shared a few photos from a wander around my council ward- Langworthy.

Amongst the buildings I took photos of was the skeleton of a large, wood framed greenhouse. I vowed to go back and try to get closer to take more photos, but haven’t managed to do so yet.

Buile Hill Park greenhouse skeleton
An article on SalfordOnline has given me some more information about the hothouse, built in the early twentieth century and, up until the 80s, full of exotic flora and fauna. This just makes its decay even sadder than when I though it was ‘just’ a big greenhouse.

While filming an archeological dig, was shocked to discover the skeletal remains of the once-grand Buile Hill Park hothouse in Salford.

Source: Watch: Salford’s Buile Hill Park hothouse abandoned to the elements –

Kettled- Rain and Bullets 4

kETTLED-CVR-200Kettled is published on October 2nd. Pre-order your copy now.

The Tories are in Manchester, and thousands have turned out to protest their presence.

In the midst of the peaceful protest, a small group of hired troublemakers are planning to cause trouble. They want to start a riot, to distract from the demo’s message, and usher in new laws.

Irwin has been working with an MI5 agent to track them down before they can do any damage. But now, she has been stabbed, and he is trapped in a big crowd being held on a square by Police. Just the right place to start a fight.

With the reluctant help of Kay Wood, Irwin must track down the troublemakers before it’s too late, and find out who stabbed the MI5 agent.

Land Rover Range Rover Sentinel- big and bulletproof

Maybe I’ll write one of these into a future Rain & Bullets story. I’d really like to do a car chase.

Designed in-house, the Land Rover Range Rover Sentinel can withstand impacts from incendiary bullets, grenades and even a 33-pound charge of TNT.

Source: Land Rover Range Rover Sentinel | News, Pictures, Specs | Digital Trends


Floodgate, by Alistair MacLean

An un-thrilling thriller.

The premise is interesting enough- terrorists are holding the Dutch to ransom, threatening to breach dykes and canals and flood the country. A top Amsterdam detective and two undercover cops are the best hope of stopping them in time.

But all the action happens off-page, and the reader is left with a tension free trudge, as coincidence is piled on coincidence, and the threat is rendered ever more laughable. Even worse, plot development was mostly delivered by way of long, stilted, info-dumps of dialogue as one character after another explained the reasons for their actions or showed off just how cleverthey were for figuring something out.

I kept reading to the end, in the hope that the story would shift up a gear and provide a worthwhile climax.

It didn’t.

From:: Ian Pattinson Goodreads reviews

The Brooklyn Plague

This is a fascinating story of how the bubonic plague nearly hit New York’s harbours at the height of the second world war. Almost as fascinating as the original “Wyoming incident” is the run around the writer went through to find out about it.

This is the story — kept secret at the time, still largely unreported today — of how the most infamous disease in history broke into New York City in the midst of World War II. This is the story of the ominously-named “Wyoming matter,” and how it took me months to track down evidence it ever happened.

Source: The Secret Story Of How Bubonic Plague Nearly Broke Out In New York City