Babies vs. Patio Heaters

So…  Having a third child is “worse than having a patio heater“, is it?  In an age when this country’s birthrate is dropping rapidly and where the under eighteens are outnumbered by the over sixties for the first time it seems to be to be highly disingenuous to suggest that population growth is a problem in the UK.  In fact, much opinion suggests that exactly the opposite is the case.

Not only are many couples opting to have either no children or only one child, we are also having our children much later in life.  These two factors combine to cause a genuine risk of Britain not even achieving the “lowest low” (a birthrate of ~1.3, where population halves in 45 years and the decline becomes unrecoverable) let alone the “replacement rate” of 2.1. Countries like Japan, South Korea, Italy, Spain and Greece are already below 1.3, while the UK is at 1.65 and falling.

I may be biased (Claire is expecting our third child in January), but I can’t help feeling that a country at least maintaining its replacement rate can’t be anything but healthy.  I can’t even persuade myself that this is controversial view, surely?

This article on the topic of birthrate at the New York Times is long (10 pages), but well worth the read if you’ve got 5 minutes.

What is wrong with this picture?

This BBC news story “illustrates why UK families are under pressure” (apparently). That image is the first piece in a bunch of infographics ably demonstrating their point.  What confuses me is this…

How many families pay for their food and petrol with capital from their houses?

That graphic, like so much reporting around this topic from the BBC, is a) meaningless and b) designed to scare. Tossers.

The importance of good mackup strategy

First up, I have to apologise for the mactard thing.  I just liked the word….  Many of my good friends are mac users and many of them politely laughed but I could hear them muttering “wanker” as they pretended to cough…  So – sorry about that.  You can call me a freetard in return if you’d like 🙂

Anyhoo.  One of the things I really like about Apple is the seamlessness of everything.  The Time Machine particularly impresses me as one of the myriad of must have devices that Apple make.  I know that Tom has been having some awful trouble with backing up his Mac (while trying to get his Time Machine working, natch).  I was therefore pretty disturbed to read Simon Brunning’s problems with his Time Machine.

Is the seamlessness a myth? Is my back up strategy of rsyncing to a remote machine the only real way to ensure no data loss (at home at least)? Or are the economics of home back up still too skewed for anyone with ‘real’ amounts of data (photos, video, music)?

Blip – oh look, it’s another web property for me to exist at and update.  That said, it’s pretty compelling.  So compelling, in fact, that I’ve had to try and ignore it.  I’ve often twittered about the music I’m listening to; is just that service.


Isaac Hayes, RIP

Isaac Hayes has died.  It’s easy to remember him for South Park and the Scientology spat that followed, but his work as a session musician and writer for Stax and his own, darker sound made him one of the cornerstones of seventies soul. Here is Walk On By, the opener from his breakthrough album, Hot Buttered Soul. Get the whole album – four 10 minute workouts of dark, brooding, groove driven soul that hasn’t been bettered. This video doesn’t do it justice, but it will give you a taste.