Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Complementary log-log

I had my day of advanced SPSS today...I've spent the day doing all sorts of weird and unusual data analysis. I learned all about different types of regressions and we had some fun looking at this credit rating database and the variables which are used to decide if someone gets a loan or not. I never knew in statistics you could have something called negative log-log or complementary log-log...(link functions used in ordinal regression - my knewly learnt knowledge is still there!)

I also had the interesting experience doing a workshop in an English university with 15 or so other people of whom none were English and the lecturer were Cameronian. There was a German girl but apart from her and me everyone else came from middle east or far east (the university has a postgraduate dean whose job it is to recruit postgraduates from those parts of the world because they usually pay rather than get paid to do PhDs)

My help is requested in the kitchen. David has been putting the pelmet, the picturerail looking thing that goes on top of the cupboards, up in the kitchen but it's time to finish for the day and I get to help with the tidy-up.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Something educational

After Moses' outburst yesterday I think it is turn for something bit more intellectual than canine complaints. As part of the lectures I am doing we will have the opportunity to choose between some exiting options for the second half of the modules, these include mutlivariate analysis & regression, lognitudal data collection, one I can't remeber and one on geographical deprivation measures. The lecturers who are doing the options have come in the begining of our lectures to do little sales speeches for their option. Today it was the turn of the geography guy and he showed us this cool website.

It's basically a collection of world maps where the countries are resized according to subject of interest. When I got home I had some fun looking through the maps. They are done by some cartography geeks at Sheffield university whose aim was to create one map a day for a year on various topics.

So here is assorted selection of information you can use to amaze others:

Tourist origins
The international tourists that made 665 million trips in 2003 were primarily residents of Western Europe, North America and Eastern Europe. Very few tourists came from Central Africa, South Eastern Africa and Southern Asia. International tourism includes both crossing into a neighbouring country and taking a trans-oceanic flight.

On average the residents of Antigua and Barbuda left their islands 3.66 times per year – at the other extreme residents of Angola left on average 0.0002 times per year. In other words less than 0.02% of the Angolan population made tourist visits abroad in 2003.

Fish ImportsEight of the ten territories with the lowest per person net fish imports are landlocked territories. Of the other two, Senegal has some coastline, and Haiti is half of an island. Only three of the ten territories with the highest per person net fish imports are landlocked. So distance from the coast is not the main determinant of the value of fish imported. As with almost all trade, rich countries tend to either import the most, or make the most money from their exports.

The highest net fish imports are to Japan, followed by Western European territories, followed by the United States. Together net imports to these territories constitute 89% of net fish imports to all territories.

Wood and paper exportsEarnings from wood and paper exports are 4.2% of world export earnings. This category includes prepared timber, wooden and cork items, paper, pulp and plywood.

Canada, Finland, Sweden and Indonesia export the most wood and paper (US$ net). These territories export almost two-thirds of all net wood and paper exports. Most territories have net imports of wood and paper.

Per person, Finland exports (net) almost twice as much US$ worth of wood and paper than does Sweden, the territory exporting the second highest value of wood and paper per person.

Patents grantedIn 2002, 312 thousand patents were granted around the world. More than a third of these were granted in Japan. Just under a third were granted in the United States.

A patent is supposed to protect the ideas and inventions that people have. Patenting something will then allow the owner of the patent to charge others for the usage of an idea or invention. The aim is to reward the creator for their hard work or intelligence. But patents can prevent people from using good ideas because they cannot afford to do so.

A quarter of all territories had no new patents in 2002, so will not profit from these in future years as others will.

The range of maps they have is amazing ranging from natural disasters (Europe seems to be the place to be if you don't want to die because of natural disasters) to education levels in various countries.

PS: I thought Finnish ate lots of fish but look at the Japanese (the big purple blob)

PPS: the text underneath the maps is from the wordlmapper website in case you were wondering not the product of my brain

Monday, February 26, 2007

On my master and mistress

I have been in this household for nearly a year now and I still haven't got my master and mistress organised. Little dogs need to have regurlar bedtimes - a concept that does not enter in to my owners head! I regurlarly need to give them hints so that they realise that it is time to let me out and then put me in my cage.

Last night was a typical example, they sat on the sofa watching some detective thing called Lewis and it was getting late. I can see the appeal in top gear...they have a dog...but this thing is so boring...so I have retired myself to my den, a nice warm spot behind the sofa in front of the radiator...and it was getting later and later and they are not getting the hint...and the detective thing finished so up I leaped (I am getting very good at recognising the end tunes of tv programmes) but oh dear...there was some football on and I feared I'd have to wait even longer to get to bed.

Thankfully my mistress was tired and she went to get a glass of water before heading upstairs. So I waited by the backdoor thinking she'd get my hint that I want to go outside and then to bed. But no, she was very slow to catch on to the idea, I finally convinced her that I wanted to go to bed! I guess I could put myself in the cage without them closing the door but there is something very nice about your master or mistress coming to close the door and say good night to you.

And don't even get me started on my dinners...how can they sit doen so calmly on the sofa drinking a cup of tea when it is five minutes to six...five minutes to my dinner time. And they have the cheek of looking at tehir watch, pointing at it and telling me that it is not time yet! I know when my dinner time is as well as I know when my bedtime is...the problem is that these humans have to be reminded about these things...if you don't keep pestering them I am sure one time they will forget to feed you or put you to bed...I am not willing to take the risk!

Friday, February 23, 2007

Lemon merengue pie

We drove to town couple of days ago, we were lazy and we were late. We found a parking space outside this toyshop and there was something very funny in a window...football league table for kids! Made out of soft stuffed cotton pieces...all the teams in the top four leagues of English football...we thought it would make a brilliant birthday present for Tony!

We went down to York last night and had a lovely dinner with Amy. Cottage pie and lemon merengue pie...yammee...and it was also nice to see Amy :)

This morning we finally managed to walk to church and be there on time! Last couple of weeks we've had to drive and we've been late - every single time. Today we even had couple of minutes to spare. The church is on the other end of Whitley Bay High Street so it's a good 15 minute walk. Just the right distance, not too far so that you get there hot and out of breath but not too close so you feel like you've actually walked somewhere.

Tonight we are having a roast...we went to the butchers yesterday and got this nice piece of beef...tonight it is roast potatoes, roast parsnips, yorkshire puddings, gravy, carrots, nice pink beef...I am already salivating...David has also requested a steamed pudding for a desert...

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

correlation between shoelaces coming undone and being late for metro?

Very high...if my experience is anything to go by! At least three times my shoelaces have come undone pretty much the moment when I realise I need to run for the metro (i.e. I can see it coming from the corner of my eye and I've still got 100 metres to the station). Each time I have made the decision to run with shoelaces undone rather than do them up and risk missing the metro.

I must have been very amusing sight trying to run whilst consciously avoiding stepping on the trailing shoelace! But I have not missed the metro because of my shoelaces - yet. I guess the sensible option would be to do my shoelaces up properly before I leave the house rather than just pulling my shoes on without undoing the laces ;)

I've spent a whole day doing SPSS workshop (beginners). Regardless of doing stats for three years for my degree I had to do the beginners workshop in order to go to a advanced workshop that is on next week! So I've spent most of the day hearing things I knew but I did learn couple of handy tips I didn't know so it wasn't entirely wasted day :)

Monday, February 19, 2007

What does it taste like...

The tail-end of my cold is still bothering me...I can't really smell anything and even less taste anything :( Very problematic...I am starving hungry but I've got no apetite. David has cooked me some lovely meals which seem like wasted on me as I can't taste them.

I went to uni this morning and David came to pick me up around lunch time. I like IKEA meatballs so off we went to IKEA for lunch. And the meatballs hardly tasted anything! As far as tasting food goes they tasted the most exiting meal I've had in days but they were nothing like usual :( Tonight we have some lasagne...I wonder what that tastes like.

One of my sisters came for a flying visit over the weekend with her boyfriend. It was lovely to see her and she brought me some chocolate, salmiakki, tea and rye bread which was nice. We introduced her to real englisg culture in form of fish&chips...very topical considering it was the national chip week last week!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Quiet life

Last couple of days have been very quiet in the Lindsey household. I've had a horrible cold/coughing thing. Last two days I spent in the bed, trying to sleep and hoping that I would get better. Drinking lots of hot blackcurrant, orange juice smoothies. I couldn't really bite or swallow anything so my diet has largely consisted of the combination of yogurth and porridge.

Today I've been feeling a bit better and I got myself downstairs where I spent the day dozing and watching friends. I even found an episode which I had not seen before! The first two days I was just coughing but today I am sniffing as well. Moses is very pleased as he has got three cardboard rolls from toalet paper rolls to play with...so I have been sniffing a lot.

Consequently our Valentine Day was not very romantic...David did buy me some lovely flowers though :) I could hardly speak as my throat was hurting so much and I was all dozy, shivery and not very well at all...but thankfully I am much better now :)

And David is cooking now - what more could you ask! Macarone cheese. Nice and soft meal to start with after my porridge diet :) After watching friends for all afternoon I did really fancy some pizza or popcorn - they seem to eat them in most of the episodes...

Moses was very worried about me every time I had a extended coughing fit...he came and sniffed me and gave me a little lick to make sure I was ok.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Aren't we cute?

There was a whole picture story of these little pandas on bbc news website. They'd had an official naming ceremony for them. The most popular name suggested was Tao Tao, which was one of my favourite kid's programmes when I was little. I also liked Nalle Luppakorva, a finnish doll animation which main charachter is a funny little bear...I can still sing the theme tune...
Weekend went very quickly, I painted the kitchen. We are not really sure on the colour though! When we did little test patch it looked quite nice and light green...now the whole room is painted it is very definitely light blue! I kind of like it but David thinks it's too girly.
We went for a walk with Moses last night and he managed to roll on something smelly so we had a great operation 'de-smellify Moses'. Out hose outside is not working so we had to keep filling the bucket from the kitchen tap. In the end, he was cleaned and he still smelled so we had a dog that smelled wet and very slighty cow pooy...he was not invited into the living room. This morning the smell had subdued a bit so he got few more cuddles than last night ;)

Friday, February 09, 2007

Brownie monster

I baked some brownies day before yesterday. I've got really lovely recipe that doesn't actually use any chocolate - just cocoa....which is very good as I am more likely to have cocoa rather than chocolate in the house!

I was very good yesterday and included one brownie in my packed lunch. By 10 am I had had an email from David telling me he had already had two brownies with his coffee! And I was saving my one and only brownie for lunch :( Just before lunch time I got another email telling me that he had had another piece of brownie! Definitely not fair!!! And he had another piece in the afternoon :( I did after all make the brownies...and I only had one piece when David had four...next time I might not be so self controlled.

Thankfully there were some left so I could have anohter piece in the evening to make up for just having one at work :)

PS: it snowed again last night, only very slighty, and it's all melted again but at least it snowed.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

It snowed...

It has been frosty here for two mornings in the row and yesterday afternoon there was a dusting of snow...very light dusting...there was probably one snowflake for every 5 square centimetres...and it was clear in the night so I wasn't even thinking snow could be possible but...

When we woke up there was snow! And lots of it - by English starnards - i.e. enough to cover the ground and little bit on the trees! But it is snow and I am happy :)

Finally my snowdrops get to be real snowdrops rather than pretty little flowers surrounded by mud! I've always wanted snowdrops but in Plymouth the slugs and snails ate the snowdrop bulbs before they got to flower. I planted them couple of times but they never came up and I can't really think any other explanation for it. The lady who lived in the house before us obviously liked snow drops as there are tens and tens of them in both back and front gardens :)


Moses hasn't really seen proper snow before but he really seemed to enjoy it. He bounced around trying to catch snowflakes, sniffed and generally seemed very pleased with life.

And he got some snow stuck on his nose...

Here is a picture from front of the house (you can just about see the front garden and the nose of our car). It was really nice waking up to snow covered roofs and trees but unfortunately the sun is shining now and my snow is dissapearing :(

As we were having our mornign cup of tea we thought it would be very funny if this turned out to be the coldest February in years after the warmest January for years...I'd be up for that. If there had been a bit more snow we could have built a snowman and see how Moses reacted to it, most likely barking and bouncing around it...it would have been fun to see.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Fish and roses

We bought some wild alaskan salmon yesterday from sainsbury's. As I had lectures untill 6pm David offered to cook for me :) There was a powerfailure somewhere along the metro line so I had to wait for 20 minutes for a metro. When I got home both him and Moses where very exited. They'd been to the beach, Moses was shedding sand everywhere he went...

David had found this amazing looking recipe (no3) on google and we missed some indegredients for it, i.e. the tagliatelle and parsley and off we went to the supermarket again. I got highly exited as we got there. One of the shop ladies had a huge trolly of flowers which she was reducing as their sell by date was today.

I spent 1.47 and got two bunches of fairtrade roses (above) and some gorgeous lilies. It made up for getting a papercut from a lecture handout and the wait for the metro!

I've been requested to lay the table so I'm off.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Explorations

So today was our first day of looking for alternative walks. On top of the beach being busy, most beaches have a dog ban from April to end of September so we really need to find some more walks before that!

When we were driving back from the beach yesterday we took a different route home to avoid the town centre which was busy with sunday walkers. We drove past this wooded area and thought that might be worth investigating...when we got home we had a quick look on the OS map and it looked like there was a little river there...very good...Moses likes water...and I like water because it de-muddyfies his paws.

So today we had our great exploration into this little woodland which turned out to be a local nature reserve. All the better :) Little information board we came across told us that there are kingfishers and otters there. Our only nature observation was hearing the woodpecker knocking away at a side of a tree. Moses approved on the walk so we'll be going there again.

The other exiting highlight of my day was having a chair safety assesment at uni. Basically checking that my chair is not a hazard, I sit at the right position, my computer screen is at the right level etc. Apart from ticking lots of boxes on a form the lady who did the assesment concluded that I needed a new chair which she mentioned in long term outcomes of hte assesment (anything up to a year!). Medium term outcome (up to 8 months) was sorting out my phoneline - at the moment I am sharing with Yadelah (another PhD student I share an office with who is from Iran). So hopefully in years time I have a fancy new chair and sooner my own phone...I can always hope ;)

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Sunday update

Six nations has started...yesterday we watched Englang surprisingly beat the Scots and now we are watching (or David is watching and I'm playing on the computer) Wales against Ireland. Rugby players are not very pretty...broken ears, funny noses, necks like tree trunks...but at least they are quite articulate, no need for subtitles like you'd need with some of the football players ;) It seems very even so far, the welsh just scored a penalty to take 6-5 lead.

Olly and Becky came for a flying visit on their way to snowboarding in Italy, they flew from Newcastle so we got to spend an evening together and took them to the airport early this morning.

We went to church this morning as well. It was very nice even with a lady singing somewhat out of tune somewhere behind us. God gently reminded me that it is the heart that matters...

The weather has been really nice all weekend. We went to the beach with Moses after church and it was packed and it's only February. It is really nice on the beach but it gets a bit frustrating as Moses wants to say hello to every single dog. Mission for the next couple of weeks is to find more walks with less dogs. Moses seemed to enjoy the walk though which is the main thing.

There has been funny little mishap, involving playing the wrong national anthem, that was mentioned in the news this morning.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

How sweet

There has been lots of interesting stories in the news this week, like the holy socks of the president of the world bank but this is definitely the sweetest...11 months old rotweiller pup mothering two little lambs. They look so cute, don't they.
I think Moses' first reaction would have been to chase them and try to round them up! Moses was very naughty this morning, while we were having out morning cup of tea we heard some dubious noises downstairs but ignored them...wrong choice...Moses had found the bin and eaten anything edable that was in the bin...including some couscous that was defintely past it's best before date...but it doesn't seemed to have affected him at all! We rolle dup the rug in the front room as a precautionary measure - just in case.

Moses has been very faithfully waiting at the window when I'm coming home. I can see him looking out and hte moment he recognises me he runs to the front door and shuffles about very exitedly. It is nice coming home and knowing that he is waiting impatiently for me. COuple of days ago my keys were at the bottom of my handbag so it took longer than usual for me to open the door...Moses did not approve of that and gave me a little bark as to say 'please hurry up mistress, I have waited a long time for you and want to say hello to you NOW'!!!