Allotment

Poly tunnel Raised Beds

Poly tunnel raised beds
Poly tunnel raised beds

 

Today I built the raised beds for our poly tunnel, these were made of scaffolding boards and bolted together with M10 x 120mm coach screws from UK Fixings in Sheffield. The coach screws required 7mm pilot holes to ensure that they did not split the scaffold boards, after that they were pretty easy to put together.

On the left hand side we have beds spanning the full length of approx 6m, in the centre and right they span about 4m in length and we plan to build a small potting station in the right hand corner where we can start off some of our plants and possibly grow a few herbs.

Now the next job is to fill all the beds with manure and soil, and then get planting a ton of vegetables!

Politics

Greens oppose neonicotinoids

The Bassetlaw Green Party is opposed to current plans to ignore the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) recommendation to ban neonicotinoids. British Environment Secretary, Owen Patterson, has already indicated that the Government is likely to ignore the EFSA who said the chemicals “pose a number of risks to bee health”.

Neonicotinoids are a type of insecticide used to control pests on farmland crops, unfortunately there has been increasing studies showing that this is leading to a drastic reduction in bee populations.

The Government should be representing it’s people as a whole and not its vested interests in mega corporations. Concern about bee populations may seem ‘hippy’ but without bees we will cause bigger crop problems in the country than the pests these chemicals are designed to stop.

As someone with an allotment I deeply appreciate the job that bees and other pollinating insects provide to us. All too often we forget the intricate balance of the ecosystem that has evolved over the millions of years that the Earth has existed, we cannot just continue to plague the planet like the insects these farmers are trying to kill.

Health

First blood donation of the year

Done my first blood donation of the year today!

The only problem with improving your health is that it seems to take longer to fill the bag when your resting heart rate is low and you have donated blood enough times that it no longer bothers you too much. Blagged myself a packet of crisps and a biscuit whilst having a drink after donating, bit of a quick lunch before heading back to the office.

Anyway hopefully it will save a life or two, I highly encourage others to take 30 mins of their time to go and donate blood if they are healthy enough to do so.

NBS0778-Adult-Masthead_4

Gigs

Slipknot and KoRn gig

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Photo by Danny Payne http://www.gigwise.com/photographer/Danny%20Payne

Went to see KoRn and Slipknot last night with my brother Nick at the Sheffield Motorpoint Arena. Not seen either of these bands for quite a few years, I think the last time was at Download Festival and I believe Jon Davis didn’t actually end up being there for KoRn as he had his vocal chords?

Anyways the gig was really great, KoRn played quite a lot of their older material which put me on a bit of a trip back to my teens and gothing it up. Slipknot were as heavy and brutal as every time I have seen them, definitely got my heart going and screaming along with the songs, fists pumping in the air.

Bit deaf today and with a sore throat, but totally worth it! Nothing quite like a night of chest thudding metal to get you going in the new year!

Politics

Joined the Green Party

Today I have joined the Green Party as I have had enough of just ranting online, signing petitions and pestering my MP. It’s time to take some real action in sorting out this mess we’ve got this country in to!

There are many groups that I am a big advocate of which align with the Green Party’s policies such as the Open Rights Group and Positive Money. I really don’t think this country can continue down it’s current path any more.

We are continually seeing scandals in the newspapers, the Government continually ignoring advice from scientific research and just blatantly ignoring its populace as a whole. This just can’t continue, we are supposed to have a democracy but it seems our Government is mostly there just to benefit businesses and those that are stinking rich.

I am going to do my best to get a local Green Party up and running in Bassetlaw and ensure we have a candidate for the General Election, even if it ends up being me standing!

Allotment

Winter harvest

10882111_10101392279210098_3875173840084149448_nBeen to the allotment today and done a bit of a winter harvest and to grab a few things ready for Christmas. Grabbed several leeks, some radishes, white beetroot and various leafy greens. All in all a pretty nice selection of veg for the winter, shame the temperature is likely to plummet soon.

Pretty happy with what we’ve accomplished on our allotment this year, hopefully next year will bring us closer to being less reliant on shopping at the supermarket.

Computing, Programming

Intel Developer Workshop

Currently attending an Intel Developer Workshop at The Genome Analysis Centre in Norwich. Learning lots more about more advanced techniques for optimising code for speed. I already knew a fair bit about parallelization, vectorization and other such things but it’s nice to go into a bit more depth into the various aspects of performance tuning such as avoid cache misses and filling the various processing pipelines.

The Travelodge I am staying at isn’t exactly the nicest place on Earth, but I suppose it’ll do for a couple of nights. Hoping to be able to put more of the things I have learnt into practise when I am back at work, we should be getting licences for the Parallel Studio XE package so I can make use of Vtune and the various performance libraries to speed up the Simcyp Simulator.

Computing, Programming

Intel Developer Conference

Today I attended an Intel Developer Conference at the Mayfair hotel in London. The presentations covered various aspects of the Intel Parallel Studio XE software suite as well as informing people of the upcoming features of their new processors including the AVX-512 instruction set that will be similar to those in the Xeon Phi co-processors that are already available. These new instruction sets will be very useful for some of the number crunching that we do at Simcyp, just a shame they are a few years away from mainstream use really.

The best bit of the conference though was that they had a raffle at the end I won the main prize with was an Intel powered, Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro. Only had a quick look at it but it’s really light and looks to have lots of cool features such as being able to be a laptop or fold on itself to be a tablet. Definitely worth getting up at 5am to travel down to London for!

Also I found out there will be a developer workshop in a weeks time at the The Genome Analysis Centre in Norwich which hopefully I will be able to attend.

Uncategorized

My niece Elsie-May

My niece Elsie-May
My niece Elsie-May

Today Donna and I went to visit her sister to see our new niece, Elsie-May. She is the cutest little thing and we are so happy for Mary and Ryan, also we are so thankful for the neonatal intensive care unit that looked after her due to her being born many weeks early, weighing only just 4 pounds!

Hopefully Donna doesn’t get too broody now her sister has had a baby!