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Thursday, 26 May 2011

Today's show 26/05/11

My apologies for being a bit late today ... but a late egg and bacon breakfast was far too important and interrupted my usual routine.

Before we look at today's menu there are some other points of interest today...

Do you have any idea what the most important thing that happened in Wales yesterday might have been? Well, according to our 6:30 BBC TV news programme "Wales Today" it was that BBC Wales may be facing financial cutbacks. This was the LEAD ITEM on this prime time viewing programme. Nothing that happened here today was more important than the possibility (and it is only that) that some BBC Wales staff could be losing their jobs. See
 for more details. The number of times per week that Wales Today manages to report anything from North Wales can be counted on one foot of a three-toed sloth. Nothing north of Aberystwyth usually, and it is not known as "South Wales Today" around here for nothing. All a little incestuous, don't you think?

Going back to yesterday's show, and the discussion on volcanic ash, did you hear the 5pm news on Radio 2 yesterday evening? It featured an interview/recording of volcano expert Dr Clive Oppenheimer of Cambridge University giving his opinion of what could happen to an aircraft jet engine. He said, "The only problem with ash is that it can re-melt inside an engine which is obviously very bad news if you've got molten lava slopping around in an engine". This statement flies in the face of all other evidence of jet engine damage that has been disseminated to the UK public by the press and broadcasters, including the BBC. The ash does indeed melt when heated by the engine, and it then coats the turbine blades, inner surfaces and engine sensors with a glass-like coating, and so reducing the engine's efficiency and viability. There is also the potential for simple abrasion damage as the ash passes through the engine turbines and combustion chambers. I found Dr Oppenheimer's email address and challenged him about his statement and he quickly replied at some length, but opened with this sentence: "I am guilty of hyperbole talking about molten lava in an engine.". So, he made it up. Frankly, I am surprised that somebody of his standing should promote such misinformation. Frankly too, I am not surprised that the BBC grasped his comments with open arms as they attempted to increase the level of sensationalist and hysterical tosh that they are peddling to the public in the name of "fact".

Continuing on this theme, and according to the BBC this piece of complete b0ll0cks is what we should be believing, apparently:
. At 01:15 Mr Stansfield says "The hottest part of a jet engine gets to 1500 degrees", presumably Celsius and which I would consider to be reasonably accurate. However, in the demonstration he is clearly using an oxy-acetylene cutting torch, as used for cutting steel, and with his "let's give this a bit more oxygen" comment he raises the temperature to over 3000 degrees - double what he said happened in a jet engine.  Moving on, he then trains the gas torch flame on one of the dummy turbine blades, but he has failed to reproduce the behaviour of a jet engine as the blades shown are not rotating. This causes the turbine blade to become red hot. Never, never, never does the turbine blade in a jet engine become red hot. At only 1500 degrees there is simply insufficient temperature for this to happen. This is utter tosh from start to end.

Is it any wonder why I treat BBC "news" with such suspicion? I guess if you keep feeding the public rubbish then somebody, somewhere might start to believe it. In the meantime, we should all keep a lookout for jet aircraft dropping molten lava on us.

Right, on to today's stuff...

1) PARACHUTE REGIMENT CUTS - The Ministry of Defence wants to cut the special allowance that goes to members of the parachute regiment, if they're no longer parachuting : The misconception being put forward here is that the UK will have NO parachuting capability, yet the BBC news page that you link to says "... the SAS - of which more than 50% are Paras - parachuted in the Falklands, as well as more recently into Baghdad". I get paid for what I do, and not what I don't do. Next...

2) BALL GAMES - A fifteen year old who broke a neighbour's greenhouse with his ball, was pursued by police, a helicopter and thermal imaging equipment. Some say the police over-reacted, but have you been plagued by children playing ball games and not had it taken seriously by the police? : And bring on the Daily Mail! I can't think of a better place for publicising this catalogue of over-reactions. Next...

3) POLLUTED BEACHES - Many of Britain's beaches are still polluted by sewage. Have you ever been on a beach and been poisoned by sewage? : No, I haven't. I got some oil on my foot about 40 years ago, does that count? Next...

4) GOOSE ATTACK - Have you ever been attacked by a goose? A retired dentist is recovering with a broken leg after a goose attacked him on his quad bike : No, I haven't. So, let's get this straight... The goose was defending its territory after an incursion by a person on foot, so was provoked. The retired dentist (is that important?) decided that the quickest way to get away was to climb on to his quad bike, start the engine and drive off. Why this was quicker than running or walking briskly remains a mystery. The dentist then suffered a broken leg after crashing his quad bike in to a tree, which was due to his apparent inability to drive it. It sounds quite different now, doesn't it? Perhaps the headline should be: MAN DRIVES QUAD BIKE IN TO TREE, BREAKS LEG. Known for its (reasonably) accurate reporting, I can only assume that the goose shown in the Telegraph's photo is the actual one that attacked the dentist. I read that the geese are OK, but what about the tree? As for the dentist: I couldn't care less.

I see that you featured in an article in The Guardian on Tuesday:

I loved the first comment, and could not have put it better myself.

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