The Anonymous Widower

Refrigeration Technology

Dr. Booth taught me A-level physics in the mid-1960s and he instilled a love in the subject, that I still have. I even count Advanced Level Physics, by Nelkon and Parker as one of my ten favourite books.

One thing he said was that in a few years, we would be using the Peltier effect for heating and cooling.  He was right about the technology, but it is only in the last few years that we have seen practical applications of the effect.

I have just purchased a Baumatic wine-cooler from Currys.

Baumatic Wine Cooler - Click for Large

Baumatic Wine Cooler

The salesman said it was a normal fridge, working with coolant, pumps and fans.  It isn’t, as it’s a Peltier effect fridge.

It will be interesting to see how it works.

One point to notice is that it is a lot cheaper than a comparable cooler working in the normal way.  But does it use more or less electricity?

November 14, 2009 Posted by | World | | 1 Comment

Aspall Cyder in Greene King Pubs

My local pubs, which are Greene King, have now started serving Aspall Cyder on draught.  I’m not sure whether this is Greene King policy, but I suspect that as Aspall is a Suffolk brand and we tend to be parochial, you can’t sell Strongbow against a proper local cyder.  So I suspect that Greene King have had to allow their landlords to stock a rival product, as Aspall is distributed by Adnams.

If you haven’t tried it yet, draught Aspall Cyder has made me forget all about trying to find any decent gluten-free beer.

November 14, 2009 Posted by | Food, Health | , , , | Leave a comment

Was Robert Enke a Coeliac?

When I heard of the sad death of Robert Enke, the German goalkeeper, I wondered if his depression was caused by being a coeliac.  Note that one of the symptoms of coeliac disease is depression, because your brain doesn’t get all the vitamins it needs. All top class sportsmen are fit and extremely well-monitored for any small health problem.  They also often take high-pasta diets to improve stamina.

There have been several cases of top-class sportsman suffering depression and other similar problems, when they appear to have everything going for them.

I would never have posted this question, but someone found this blog, by typing “Robert Enke Coeliac” into a search engine.  So I’m not the only person who thinks that this might possibly have been his problem.  Note that I said might and I’m only speculating.

It should also be said, that if one in a hundred of the UK population is a coeliac, why is Hayley Turner, the very successful jockey, the only known coeliac?

November 14, 2009 Posted by | Sport | , , | Leave a comment

An Uplifting Idea

When you live alone as I do, you sometimes get up in a miserable mood.  You wonder why you bother and perhaps a better idea would be to get another bottle of cyder, sink back under the duvet and listen to the radio.  I don’t often, in that I have the responsibility of a basset hound, who has to be let out to do her business.

This morning wasn’t one of those mornings, but a friend pointed me to this item in the Daily Mail.

Ruth Amos was just 16, when she designed the StairSteady, a device to help the elderly and infirm get up the stairs more easily.  It looks very good and I suspect it will do very well.  Good luck to her!

I speak with grim experience.  My late wife’s cancer meant that in her last days she couldn’t climb the stairs to bed.  Her pride said she was going to sleep in her bed and she came down every day until the day before she died.  But our house has innumerable short stair cases and installing a stair lift would have been impossibly expensive, as we’d have needed three short ones.  But it would not have been difficult to install three of Ruth’s devices.

If you read the comments on the Daily Mail article, some are saying it is expensive.  It is not, as I suspect most have to be individually made-to-measure and designed to be robust.  For instance, if the person using the device stumbled, it would have to support the weight of the heaviest.  Strength never comes cheap!

But, because it is cheaper and more adaptable than a stair-lift, I suspect that in many cases, it will be cost-effective to install the device in a house, to keep the user in their own home.

Ruth and her idea have really got my day off on a high!

I shall be watching the progress of the StairSteady.


November 14, 2009 Posted by | News | | 3 Comments

The Trial of Khaled Sheikh Mohammed

The attacks of September 11th will always leave an indelible mark on my mind.

It is absolutely right that he is being brought to trial in a civilian court on the mainland of the United States.  Just because someone is accused of probably the worst crime of this century, it doesn’t mean that he should not be given the same rights as to someone who has committed a much lesser crime.  In both cases too, we should ensure that the standard of justice is impeccable. 

In fact, you could argue that we should make sure that terrorists are tried by the best judges, prosecuted by the best and most persuasive lawyers and defended by the most innovative and most-respected counsel, as we must attempt to persuade the terrorists followers, that what they did was completely wrong.  If there is any chance of a bias or a mistake in the trial, then you will act as a recruiting sergeant.

What is not right is for President Obama’s Attorney General, Eric Holder, to call for the death penalty.  For a start, I believe strongly that the death penalty should have been consigned to the dustbin of history many years ago.  I have many reasons, least of which is the fact that miscarriages of justice can’t be rectified.  I also believe that just because someone is an objectionable human being, we shouldn’t descend to their level.

So President Obama may have gone up in my estimation by trying Khaled Sheikh Mohammed, but he totally loses respect for calling for the ultimate penalty.  Does he want the United States to be bracketed with Iran, China and North Korea as those who feel that the death penalty should be retained and used with relish.

In fact, I suspect that the defendants will want to be executed, as this will give them immortality and more publicity for their vile and backward, nihilistic cause.

He also has a difficult problem to overcome.

According to this article in The Times, Khaled Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded 183 times in March 2003.  Now that wasn’t down to Obama, but his predecessor.  But can anybody tell me what was the point?  I’ve met quite a few senior policemen, who have interrogated some of the nastiest criminals.  I doubt they would have found that using the same dubious technique that number of times would have been at all productive.

It is probably not the fact that they used the technique that will cause the problem, but the fact that defence counsel will make sure that it is broadcast all round the world. 

Those 183 times will be the another impeccably dressed recruiting sergeant for Muslim terrorist organisations.

They may also result in a wrong judgement after the trial.  I hope not, as that would be a disaster for us all.

November 14, 2009 Posted by | News | , , | Leave a comment