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Current location: Scotland
Member since: Mon Sep 7, 2009, 12:57 AM
Number of posts: 5,976

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Actor Bernard Cribbins dies aged 93

One of those deaths you knew would come eventually, but nevertheless dreaded.

The news has been greeted by great outpourings of affection mixed with sorrow on social media. I think he did know he was very widely loved, which is a comfort.

His appearance as the hotel guest Mr Hutchinson in the Fawlty Towers episode "The Hotel Inspectors" was a gem of a cameo, and John Cleese later said Cribbins's performance had been so good he'd forced him to up his game to match. I think I'm right in saying that Mr Hutchinson was the only guest ever to have enjoyed the privilege of beating up Basil Fawlty, though Fawlty later got his own back in spectacular fashion, while still contriving to end up the loser.

Here's a snippet:

Dave Lee

In honour of Cribbins, they should reserve the BBC2 channel tonight and show this televisual feast.

[Twitter video]

More details about a very long career that thrived to the end here.

I'm in Scotland. Yes, I do.

Disappointingly, whenever I'm in a supermarket or shop (just about the only time I'm among people nowadays apart from close friends), I'm in a minority of close to one. Scotland had done pretty well in accepting the strictures imposed during the early stages of the pandemic, but now that clear official advice is lacking, people seem to have assumed it's all over, and COVID is "just something we have to live with".

Well, yeah. I live with it by masking up and trying to maintain at least a degree of social distancing when I'm among people in close quarters. It's not a big inconvenience. It may theoretically protect those around me more than it does me, but at least I'm doing all I can.

I had a disturbing experience in the supermarket the other week. It was a Sunday afternoon, and the place was packed, with queue at every checkout. I was trying to figure out which queue to join when a young checkout woman said she was about to open another station, so I should go ahead and start loading my stuff up on the conveyer.

I'd only just started when what I can only fairly describe as an old biddy (i.e. noticeably older than me) sidled in right up close to me and started putting her shopping on the conveyer. I told her she needed to allow me more room. She ignored me. Then she asked me to hand her a "next customer" divider, so I did so, in the hope we could stake out acceptable territory between my shopping and hers and her and me. Nope. She plonked it down hard up against my shopping. I hadn't managed to load up half my trolleyload yet, so I told her again she needed to give me more room. She said dismissively, "Oh just push it all along."

I didn't want to start a scene in the queue in a crowded supermarket, not least because I could see the young checkout woman's head was starting to hang as I'm sure the last thing she needed was a fuss at the beginning of her shift, so I just focused on loading the rest of my stuff on the conveyer belt and getting out of there as soon as possible.

I was just cashing up, when the old biddy called across to me with an infuriatingly sickly smile, "There, that wasn't so bad, was it?" That finally did it. If a scene she wanted, a scene she was going to have.

I called over to her, quite loudly, I guess, "You need to keep your distance. My wife has COVID right now."

This was true. My wife had been suffering from it for a week. When she first tested positive, I assumed it was inevitable I'd get it too. I'd been LFT testing myself every morning all week, but somehow the precautions we took (distancing, good ventilation, basic hygiene) worked, and I never caught it.

Once I said that, the old biddy went, "Oh, oh," and scuttled to the very far end of the conveyer belt (where I'd have preferred her to be all along) and huddled up to a guy in the queue behind her, looking at me like I'd just announced I had the Black Death.

I was just muttering to myself along the lines of "Oh, now you're seeing the value of social distancing" when the guy behind her (I'm not sure if they were related or not, but they were pretty close physically) called over, "Thanks for coming out and giving it to us all."

My response: "When did you last test negative?"

He replied a bit sheepishly, "Erm, maybe a month ago."

I pointed to myself: "This morning. This. Morning."

I finished up packing and got out of there amid a somewhat shocked and embarrassed silence.

I was the only person in a supermarket full of around 200 people who was wearing a mask or seemed to give a damn about social distancing when the stats were showing that around 1 in 20 people were infected.

If I'd been infected by that over-familar old biddy after the week of stringent precautions and daily suspense my wife and I had just put ourselves through, I'd have been livid. The old biddy was obviously oblivious to that possibility and was only concerned for herself when I made the risks all too vivid for her.

I hope she and the guy who called over to me may have learned something, but I doubt it.

Some in the scientific community are not impressed with this report.

A few examples among many:


Prof Michael E. Mann

This is NOT peer-reviewed science.
In fact, it's nonsense.

See @simondonner: https://twitter.com/simondonner/status/1548781210565898242

The promotion of bad science is unhelpful regardless of what agenda (denial or doomism) may be behind it.


Simon Donner

Lots of things to worry about in the world... the claim that Atlantic plankton are disappearing definitely isn't one of them. It is wrong, and ridiculous too. See this thread:


Jack Brudenell

@simondonner hi Simon, would be interested to get your thoughts on this article. It scared the hell out of me. https://www.sundaypost.com/fp/humanity-will-not-survive-extinction-of-most-marine-plants-and-animals/


Seaver Wang

"The plankton are dead!" Doomer reddit keeps dredging up only the most credible research to boost to the top page.
-the article has less text than some postal stamps
-no link to report
-research team's site really raises eyebrows

Just proof of an alarmist headline's sheer power.

Seaver Wang

The finding is bogus, full stop. I don't even need to read the report. We've had a thing called the Continuous Plankton Recorder for 60+ years.

In general any sweeping trans-oceanic finding like this is immediate cause for skepticism. The ocean + marine life are heterogenous.


Seaver Wang

A sizeable chunk of my dissertation research was on marine plankton in the western North Atlantic.

We sampled phytoplankton blooms off the New England coast 2015 and 2017 with abundances of hundreds of millions of cells/liter.

Oceans ain't empty guys.

Seaver Wang

"The team, led by marine biologist and former Scottish Government adviser Dr Howard Dryden, has compiled and analysed information from 13 vessels and more than 500 data points."


For those unaware, the guy has a history:

Prof. Eliot Jacobson

Google scholar shows that the principal author Howard Dryden does not have a track record of research outside of the GOES foundation. Clearly, ocean acidification is a huge long-term issue with ominous impacts. But the accelerated timeline is not clear.


Seaver Wang

Also "13 vessels and more than 500 data points" for a finding this sweeping in its assertions is enough to make any microbial oceanographer fall off their lab bench laughing.


Prof. Eliot Jacobson

From the GOES Project paper: "Climate regulating ocean plants and animals are being destroyed by toxic chemicals and plastics, accelerating our path towards ocean pH 7.95 in 25 years which will devastate humanity."

This is absof**kinglutely NOT tl;dr

Prof. Eliot Jacobson

The abstract is here (with a link in the abstract to download the paper):



Prof. Eliot Jacobson

Google scholar shows that the principal author Howard Dryden does not have a track record of research outside of the GOES foundation. Clearly, ocean acidification is a huge long-term issue with ominous impacts. But the accelerated timeline is not clear.


In a nutshell, where we are as a country right now


Mark 🇺🇦

I agree with the Porn Man. The Blow-Job Man should remove the whip from the Groping Man.

Theo Usherwood

Youíre not going to believe this but Neil Parish is well annoyed about Chris Pincher keeping the Tory whip.

ďCímon letís be fair,Ē he tells @heart_andy

[Twitter video]
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