Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Most popular cat names today

It seems GoCompare has been snooping on pets.

Did anyone ask the dogs and cats if they agreed to have their data recorded and used for this survey?

Has the ICO been informed?

Will GoCompare receive a £500,000 fine?

(Doubt it).

From the results, it seems that you (I don’t include myself in this result, as I wouldn’t lumber a pet with the sort of names reported) are a sad lot – it seems the days of Rover and Fluffy are a thing of the past for the UK, and today’s cats and dogs are lumbered with unusual names, with TV shows, celebrities and famous brands often an influence.

Surprising to say, Americans seem to be kinder to their four-legged friends, and seem to be less inclined to use these disgusting commercially oriented sources to makes unwitting and unpaid free advertising sources of them. Until I saw these UK lists I thought they were somewhat unimaginative, as one of the photo-sharing sites I ‘live’ in often has them showing pics of the latest kitten rescued from the streets, with the new owner pleading for inspiration for a name from the rest of the community.

See the lists here.

GoCompare – Pet Names

CoCompare UK Cat Names

CoCompare UK Cat Names

The onlne page only seems to give results for the whole of UK (looking at some 500,000 names), but I found this info when I tripped over an item claiming to give the most popular pat names in Scotland – maybe they were given more detailed, localised, results the rest of us don’t get to see. The only problem seems to be that the localised info does not differentiate cat and dog names.

Alfie was top in the G postcode – followed by Poppy, Molly, Bailey, Bella. Charlie, Millie, Max, Oscar, and Lola completing the top 10, and Cooper, Bailey, Skye, Hugo, Tara, and Bonnie more popular there too.

Least likely to be found there were Teddy, Tilly, George, Bella, and Ruby.

Unusual pet names in Glasgow were Dotty, Scooter, Cole, Travis, Rita, Laika, Haggis (thank goodness), and Link.

Wait! No Porridge?

The most popular name for cats was Charlie, with Bella, Poppy, Molly, and Oscar making the top five.

(Bella was the most popular name for dogs, with Alfie, Poppy, Charlie, and Max following.

Food based names included Cookie, Biscuit, Muffin, Pumpkin, and Noodle.

Films delivered Ghost, Sansa, Arya, Khaleesi, Nala, Simba, Albus, Sirius, Leia, and Yoda.




13/10/2018 Posted by | Civilian | | Leave a comment

I miss everything, even on my own doorstep

While I might not be too upset about missing most of the action around me (it usually involves some sort of serious injury or death these days, and I’m glad not to have been anywhere near it at the time), I was ever so slightly irritated to have missed something almost outside my door.

I had even seen the signs, but trees blocked my view of the scene.

I’d glanced at the rear of a strange car in a neighbour’s drive, attracted by what looked like flashing, coloured LEDs in the rear light housing. After looking closer, I realised it was the amber warning lights on a vehicle I couldn’t see because of trees. This is not unusual (even the street sweeper has strobes), and I didn’t pay any more attention.

A few hours later I headed out to the shops, and found out why there had been flashing light behind the trees.

The broken grille and various other bits from a Vauxhall had been swept off the road – clearly there had been a collision, but with only the breakable parts from the front of the Vauxhall (and some recognisable bits from inside the grille area), I could only guess the driver had not noticed ‘the car in front’ slowing down, or even stopping, as it got ready to turn right at this junction.

Unfortunately, there’s not much to break, or have fall off and get left behind from the back of most cars, compared to the front, so there was nothing lying around except these Vauxhall bits.

A handy reminder of how hard it can be to take a decent pic of items on a wet road, due to the way the layer of water acts as a mirror-like reflector, making it hard to pick out items thanks to the small size of the lamps on lampposts. And, down here at least, we seem to be quite far down the list for getting LED street light updates.

The low-light sodium yellow shot needed a fair bit of shadow/highlight tweaking to make the broken bits appear under the monochrome yellow light.

The flash actually fared little better, and also needed a lot of manual processing. This is because the flash is little more than a point source on the camera axis, and the wet surface act like mirrors, so most of the light is lost as it reflects off it into the distance, and only a little is reflected back to the camera.

Both pretty poor, even after processing, but you can at least see the evidence of a Vauxhall – although the other bits are still hard to see.

Collision Low Light

Collision Low Light

This really is the same scene, photographed a few seconds after the first under the street lights, but using flash.

The two different light sources make quite the difference, and could be significant if pics were being taken for use as evidence. Taking a lot, of each, would be a really good idea if that was their purpose.

Some items appear to missing when the pics are compared, and even the detail on some objects appears to be different when they are matched.

Collision Flash

Collision Flash

Quite a surprise when I got the original back and saw how bad they were.

Then again, it’s so long since I took pics like this, I’d almost forgotten about the hassle of rainy, wet pics as I tend to prefer staying dry these days.

Weird observation…

Later(as in days, not hours), when I passed this again, it looked as if someone had thrown a bag of that white stuff used to mop up oil and chemical spills. Given the rainstorms of the past say or so, I think that might have been a waste of time, and was needed when this collision happened, not days later, after heavy rain.

13/10/2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | , | Leave a comment

October is Dyslexia Awareness Month

October is Dyslexia Awareness Month.

Dyslexia was first identified by  a German physician, Oswald Berkhan, in 1881, and officially named ‘dyslexia’ by ophthalmologist Rudolph Berlin 6 years later. Berkhan discovered the existence of the developmental reading disorder while studying the case of a young boy who had severe problems learning to read and write, although he was clearly bright, and intellectually and physically capable. Since the discovery, physicians around world over have been working on different ways to help people manage the disorder, and a special dyslexia font has been invented to help those affected read more easily. Dyslexia Awareness Month was Created by The International Dyslexia Association and takes place over the entire course of October each year.

I was never diagnosed (I don’t even think it was a popular option to find when I was a kid) but there was a time when I began to wonder if I did suffer from dyslexia, or maybe something related, or similar.

When I started writing seriously (at and for work), I began to notice a disturbing trend – no matter how diligently I proofread work that was complete and ready to be published, it still seemed to go out the door with a load of errors I had simply never seen, even after repeated checking, sometimes to obsessive levels (I can do very good ‘obsessive’ when the mood takes me).

What was even more interesting, and ultimately helpful (for me at least) was noticing that if I left a piece of work for an extended period (and we’re talking weeks here, not a few hours or days), then I COULD find the mistakes when I took another run through the documents.

Seriously infuriating, if you came across it later, and the first thing you saw was those mistakes jumping out of the page at you!

Later, I came to learn that this was both a good and a bad sign.

Bad, as it meant the chances of not producing error free writing would not get any batter, no matter how careful I was, or how many times I went over freshly completed work.

Good, as it means I’m probably pretty good at this job…

The reason typos get through isn’t because we’re stupid or careless, it’s because what we’re doing is actually very smart, explains psychologist Tom Stafford, who studies typos of the University of Sheffield in the UK. “When you’re writing, you’re trying to convey meaning. It’s a very high level task,” he said.

What’s Up With That: Why It’s So Hard to Catch Your Own Typos

That article’s not long, and worth a read if you are a writer, and are completely fed up with finding that first thing anybody does with your perfectly crafted work is hand it back, with all the mistakes highlighted!

Unfortunately, it also confirms there’s not really much you can do about it.

Unless you can afford to have someone who has not seen the work proofread it independently.

Or, you can wait a week or two until it is out of your head, then you can reread it yourself, when the mistakes should become obvious.

Don’t forget to use a spelling AND grammar checker too. It’s bad enough making ‘invisible’ mistakes without compounding them by letting avoidable errors go uncorrected (just don’t autocorrect though, that’s usually just dumb).

I like to grab an interesting illustration to end an item, but I was disappointed to find that many belonged to sources which were still spreading ignorant myths regarding dyslexia, or were from sources out to profit from offering supposed help or cures – none of which I wish to be seen promoting or supporting.

But I did find this short Ted-Ed video ‘What is dyslexia?’ by Kelli Sandman-Hurley, which seems to be a good introduction.

13/10/2018 Posted by | Civilian | | 2 Comments


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