Blog posts written during April 2012

A bit off topic for Ava - Original T-shirts for the discerning

Friday Friday, April 20, 2012 by Ian Pettman

Ok, this is a bit off topic for Ava: Original T-shirts for the discerning. Is Science becoming ever more sexy?

Let me take a short while to explain. In general the amount of data we have "at our fingertips" is increasing at the same rate as the power of the computers which generate this data. There has been a "law" associated with this phenomenon. It's called Moore's Law. It's usually and simply associated with the ever increasing power of computer chips.

What has this go to do with T-shirts? Well these days you can make your own. But if you do, IMHO a stunning image is always helpful.

I've always been interested in Astronomy: after all, the origin of our universe is quite an important question (as questions go). And the images that come from modern telescopes are ever more stunning.


Seems a bit obvious once its pointed out. Moore's law is associated with the amount of data that we can gather about everything. These days Astronomy is powered by the same technology as computers: chips that detect light, processors that control the huge (sometimes multiple) mirrors that focus ever more accurately on the most distant objects the human race will ever see.

Lunchtime saw me browsing the article "How big data is changing Astronomy again". Now it is a bit stodgy in some ways. But one of the links led me to the good old NASA site and The Majestic Sombrero Galaxy (M104), and also the Hubble space telescope site Much as I trust NASA to understate their achievements: in this case, a few biilion stars do nicely for the word "Majestic".

For your information, there is also the index page. Just take a few minutes to browse through literally hundreds of images selected for their impact. They are available in various sizes, sometimes it takes a couple of clicks to find the right one for the T-shirt. What is really nice (to me) is that the images are largely public domain, so you can go to a "design your own T-shirt" site and legally upload a galaxy or two to display on your chest, back or indeed anywhere else the t-shirt company will print the picture!

And if you think you'd like it as your desktop wall paper then just click on the picture to go to the various resolutions available.

The Majestic Sombrero Galaxy (M104)


Changes in employment law for April 2012

Friday Friday, April 13, 2012 by Ian Pettman

There have been a number of changes in employment law introduced this month. These have been reasonably widely reported in the media. However if you need to get to the original source, here are links to the government web sites concerned all in one tidy place.

Changes in sick leave benefits when an employee is ill or injured

Sick leave

Changes in Maternity benefits

Maternity benefits

There have also been a reduction in red tape for accident reporting requirements (possibly no change in accidents though)

Health and safety

The condition to go to tribunal for unfair dismissal have been amended, and this is considered by most as of benefit to employers.

Employment tribunals

The actual act is here:

Employment tribunals: the Act

and lastly, reforms in work place pension law

Workplace pension reforms

Happy reading.

Privacy, the internet and you

Thursday Thursday, April 5, 2012 by Ian Pettman

As someone who is of more advanced years, I have a reluctance to fill in (accurate) personal data on any web site be it Google, Facebook or any other. Even in the early days of email, I used to misspell my name, email address, etc and was not surprised when unsolicited emails came back to Albut.Einstine@ whatever. So when I read the blog linked below, I felt that it merited a link because of its reasonableness and sense.

Privacy contexts and Girls around Me

By the way, my first programme was written using cards which required me to punch holes in them. Actually while I remember, Dad made a tool for punching the "chads" from a very small nail and a dead ball point pen by removing the empty ink holder, warming the business end of the plastic over the gas hob and pushing the nail into the soft plastic. I then had to complete the next 20 orders for the tool from the Maths teacher for the rest of the class!

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