Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Naptime! I’ll buy that, I’ll even take out a subscription!

After it apparently became ‘acceptable’ for kids to be taken into pubs and restaurants, and not ‘PC’ to object as parents were taken aback by the slightest suggestion that they control them, tone down their offspring’s volume, or not use other patron’s tables and chairs as playground equipment, I used to regret trying to take clients out for business lunches.

Eventually, we just stayed in the work, and came to deal with a nearby ‘greasy spoon’ whereby they’d send in sandwiches.

(That part’s actually true. Not only did the uncontrolled kids make it impossible to hold a discussion, they caused so many other problems the level of service became atrocious as the serving staff tried to cope. It eventually just took too long to have those lunches.)

If only Naptime had been available back then 🙂



19/01/2019 Posted by | Civilian | , | Leave a comment

2019 marks 200 years of James Watt’s achievement since his death

I’m glad to see that the message of James Watt’s actual achievement, that of IMPROVING the steam engine (in a BIG way), is finally seeping in, and it’s becoming less and less common to see items appear which claim he was the inventor of the thing.

Watt was lucky enough (or maybe the steam engine was the lucky one) to come along just as the original steam engine was about to be destroyed by its own success. useful as it was, the pre-Watt steam engine was horribly inefficient, and burned huge amounts of fuel (coal and wood) to the extent that it had consumed most of what was available at the time. Mines had been emptied, and forests cleared, leaving little or no reserves. Supplies were being transported vast distances, but were also becoming scarce, and uneconomic.

By adding his condenser to the steam engine, and improving its efficiency, Watt allowed it to remain in service, and just get better and better.

The pioneering work of James Watt will be celebrated by the University of Glasgow with a year of events marking 200 years since the engineer’s death.

This year also marks the 250th anniversary of Watt’s steam engine patent, credited with kick-starting the industrial revolution and earning him a place in the history books.

Watt, born in Greenock, Inverclyde, on January 19, 1736, undertook the work during his time as mathematical instrument maker at the university.

He will be the focus of a dedicated exhibition, a competition for school students, and an international symposium for engineering researchers.

Further events are planned by Heriot-Watt and Birmingham universities, and Historic Environment Scotland.

It was while repairing a model Newcomen steam engine in 1763 that Watt realised he could improve its efficiency by adding a separate steam condenser to avoid heat loss and conserve fuel.

Colin McInnes, professor of engineering science and a James Watt chair, said: “While Watt is best-known for his improvements to the steam engine, he was a restless inventor who developed new devices including a portable document duplicator and a mechanical three-dimensional sculpture copier.

University celebrates life of pioneering Scots engineer

Glad I collected pics of his statue on Glasgow Green (and his ‘stone’) recently.

James Watt and Condenser at the Peoples Palace

James Watt and Condenser at the Peoples Palace

19/01/2019 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

People’s Palace Viewing Gallery became the Glasgow Green Viewpoint

Some years ago I discovered an ‘Undocumented Feature’ in the People’s Palace, and eventually rattle off a couple of Blog posts about it, so won’t repeat the tale here, these are the originals…

People’s Palace Viewing Gallery is an official thing now

People’s Palace Viewing Gallery – Part 2

Although they still don’t seem to do anything to promote the existence of this feature, it seems it has undergone ‘rebranding’ at some point, and is now the…

Glasgow Green Viewpoint.

People sPalace Glasgow Green Viewpoint

People’s Palace Glasgow Green Viewpoint


People's Palace Viewing Gallery doors

People’s Palace Viewing Gallery doors

Still the same view 🙂

People's Palace Glasgow Green Viewpoint View

People’s Palace Glasgow Green Viewpoint View

A tad wider.

Click for bigger.

People's Palace Glasgow Panorama

People’s Palace Glasgow Panorama

19/01/2019 Posted by | council, photography | , | Leave a comment

Gerry Anderson’s Firestorm is progressing

I’ve lost touch with most of the science ficton related contacts I used to have, so it’s nice to get the occasional nudge towards things I’ve let slip.

One was the promise of a new series bases on one of Gerry Anderson’s ideas, still being followed up although we lost the man himself back in 2012. I was following this for a while, but got diverted, and eventually forgot to check back.

I was lucky enough to see his panel at one Glasgow’s science fiction conventions when he was still doing the rounds, and it was a great discussion of his career.

Find out more about the progress of the new series here…

Gerry Anderson’s Firestorm

One of the big bonus points in its favour is that it has turned its back on CGI (computer generated imagery), unlike the remakes we saw of Anderson’s work a few years ago.

They didn’t quite work (for me at least) on a number of fronts, not least of which was that CGI, and lack of ‘real’ models and puppetry, together with the physical special effects that go along with them.

Part of the original magic was the puppets.

And that leads me to one grouse – a problem acknowledged with the original series was the difficulty in making characters walk.

They didn’t have all those swivelling desks and personal transport gadgets just to be futuristic. They all avoided the need to have character walk.

Firestorm seems to have arranged some shots that show that limitation has been overcome, maybe.

I think they should forget that particular effort, and stay with the original.

Oh… there’s a Scottish character.

Here’s the first minisode, to give an idea of what’s to come…

19/01/2019 Posted by | Civilian | , , | Leave a comment

Today is Tin Can Day

19 January is Tin Can Day.

Surprisingly, the only information that came with this alert of the day was the name, and the date.

Peter Durand patented the tin can in 1810.

Guess you’ll have to try Wikipedia if you want more.

I could say I’ve seen rather more of them than I care to remember, having worked for companies that canned food, I was often to be found playing with machines that checked their weight after filling, or scanned the contents (before filling) for any stray pieces of metal that might have made its way into the various goodies.

One thing I’ve seen online is that they’re quite popular with crafters.

I suggest taking care though, especially if they end up out of doors.

The coating of tin (tin cans are actually steel, or even aluminium) is very thin, and only really good for the life of the can if kept indoors.

If not cared for, they will begin to perforate and rust (in Scotland anyway) if used outside and not given additional protection. Even then, the coating is so thin it only takes a scratch to see the can decay in a few years.

But it works really well within its intended life.

Tin CansTin Cans

Tin Cans

19/01/2019 Posted by | Civilian | | Leave a comment


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