Blackpool trams are going places. Blackpool can too

I love Blackpool, mainly because of the rides, from sedate Blackpool trams to the rides at Blackpool Pleasure Beach, culminating in the enormous Big One. There is surely no finer Blackpool experience than plummeting towards the promenade at 87mph, as the sun shines on the sea. Continue reading “Blackpool trams are going places. Blackpool can too”

Olympic football: South Korea, Switzerland and a big hand for Coventry

Yesterday, Mexico defeated Gabon 2-0 then the Republic of Korea worked hard to beat Switzerland 2-1 in group B of the men’s Olympic football tournament. Not the sort of matches that get much attention here – although South Korea and California showed an interest – but a great day out and a great advert for Coventry, which hosted the two matches. Continue reading “Olympic football: South Korea, Switzerland and a big hand for Coventry”

The National Museum of Computing – Acorns, Colossi, Spectrums and a Witch

I recently visited the National Museum of Computing for a Guardian Government Computing article, which you can read here. I also took a lot of photos – here are some of my highlights, all of which are mentioned in the article. Click on an image for a larger version and caption.

If you’re interested in the history of computing, both Bletchley Park in general and the museum specifically are well worth a visit. It’s also worth finding out more about Alan Turing, genius, key contributor to the invention of computing at Bletchley Park and owner of Porgy (top-left): his centenary is on 23 June.

I’ve previously written about the history of computing, specifically on Parc Xerox and the word email.

Alan Turing's teddy bear Porgy face on
Alan Turing’s teddy bear Porgy at Bletchley Park

Update, 25 July: due the popularity of the picture of Porgy, Alan Turing’s teddy bear, here’s the chance to meet the bear face to face. More about him here (see end of post).

If you’re interested in Alan Turing, a private members bill has been introduced into parliament to pardon him for ‘gross indecency’ (in other words, being a gay man). More from co-sponsor John Leech MP here, and this is where you can sign the e-petition.

Religion and healthcare: why the NHS provokes holy arguments

The Hospice Comtesse, just north of the historic centre of Lille, opened in 1245, more than seven centuries before the formation of the NHS. It treated the sick for free, using income from its estates and donors, until 1796 when post-revolution reforms turned it into a hospice, a role it performed until 1939. As a tour of the buildings, now a museum, makes obvious, it was an explicitly Christian institution, with a chapel adjoining its huge dormitory ward and its healthcare provided by nuns. Continue reading “Religion and healthcare: why the NHS provokes holy arguments”

Blackpool vs Scheveningen: which is the better fun, if slightly faded, seaside resort?

Both Britain’s Blackpool and the Netherlands’ Scheveningen are seaside resorts that, though they may have seen better days, are lots of fun. And they have a lot in common: trams, piers, cheap tat… but which is better?

Beaches: Blackpool has a great sandy beach, but it’s a bit hidden behind a big concrete sea wall (for understandable reasons involving winter storms and flooding). Scheveningen’s equally sandy beach is easily accessible, features posts with novelty logos and its beach cafes are really quite cool, even if high winds can end up dumping quite a lot of that beach in your drink.
Schev 1-0 BPL Continue reading “Blackpool vs Scheveningen: which is the better fun, if slightly faded, seaside resort?”