Stor baby



Baby scan
Originally uploaded by viralbus

Som jeg sikkert har nævnt tidligere, skal Phyllis efter planen føde den 9. januar.

Det betyder, at afstanden fra skambenet til toppen af livmoderen gerne skulle være 28-29 cm.

Men da de målte hende i dag til et rutinetjek, var afstanden 34 cm.

De sagde først, det sikkert bare var for meget væske, men de sendte hente til scanning for at tjekke.

Men nej, det er rent faktisk pigen derinde, der er kæmpestor: De vurderer hende til at veje mellem 2500 og 3000 gram på nuværende tidspunkt.

Anna vejede 3500 gram ved fødslen, så det lyder jo umiddelbart ret stort.

De regner med at tjekke Phyllis for sukkersyge i næste uge, men der er ingen tegn på noget i urinen, så hvis ikke det er årsagen, er det sikkert bare en meget stor baby.

Det kan selvfølgelig godt være, at hun vokser meget langsomt fra nu af og altså kommer til at veje ca. det samme som Anna ved fødslen, men det kan man ikke sige noget fornuftigt om på nuværende tidspunkt.

Jeg er i øvrigt meget imponeret over billederne fra scanningen. Phyllis er aldrig blevet scannet så sent i graviditeten, og det gør altså en stor forskel.

Se blot, hvor tydeligt man kan se hendes profil på billedet øverst til venstre.

Should only public-sector workers own houses?



Mortgage
Originally uploaded by Rev Dan Catt

The FSA yesterday made a proposal to make it harder to get a mortgage.

While it’s clear that some people have been allowed to borrow crazy amounts, I’m not sure that their new rules would help.

First of all, for those of us who already have mortgages, what’s the consequence if we can’t remortgage? We’ll be left on the Standard Variable Rate, which at times can be much dearer than the deals on offer. So rather than protect consumers, the FSA’s rules could actually make some people lose their homes.

I agree with Vince Cable (quoted in the article I linked to above) when he says that a “distinction has to be made between existing mortgage holders struggling to renew who clearly need help and those chasing new mortgages.”

However, even if the rules were only imposed on those people taking out new mortgage, I’m not sure the consequences would be desirable.

The one thing this country needs more than anything else is a lot of new export-oriented companies.

However, if the consequence of leaving paid employment to set up a limited company is that one cannot get a mortgage for many years, this will deter people.

Also, the FSA will soon discover that private-sector jobs aren’t really secure any more, so will they also start restricting mortgages for this group?

At the end of the day, the only group of people with fairly secure earnings over several years is public-sector workers.

But if the only way to get a decent pension and a house is to work in the public sector, why should anybody work in the private sector, given that salaries are also lower there?

I hope the next government will reverse this structure, so that the best mortgage deals become available to people running companies, and so that private-sector workers find it at least as easy as public-sector ones to buy the house they want.

Modern curries

I’ve already written about the wonderful Curry Secret cookbook, which shows you how to cook Indian restaurant food.

Not only will it give you the recipes for dishes you’ve encountered in restaurants, but it will also teach you how to pre-cook the sauce and the meat, so that you can cook two curries in half an hour after work.

So when the New Curry Secret was published, I bought it immediately.

I assumed it would just contain more recipes and better illustrations (the old one was a black-and-white paperback, whereas this is a proper cookbook with colour photos), but I was pleasantly surprised!

It turns out she’s moved with the times, and whereas the old Secret would advocate ground spices and food colouring, this one cheerily tells you to put in whole cinnamon and cardamom pods and leave them in, just like in the best modern restaurants.

If you only want to own one Indian cookbook, buy this one!

A different perspective

John Redwood today is trying a new approach to explaining the scope of the financial crisis:

Let us look at the financial plight of an imaginary Mr and Mrs Public Sector. They are on a good income of around £50,000 a year. They don’t feel it is nearly enough, as they are spending this year £67,500, financing the extra £17,500 from borrowing. They are lucky, because they do not have to pay any tax on the income, so what they earn they can spend.

They already have an £80,000 mortgage. They owe £110,000 to the pension fund, as they have not paid any pension contributions in for years. They have borrowed another £50,000 on credit cards and hire purchase to buy furniture they fancied and to undertake some training courses. They have guaranteed a couple of businesses that have gross debts of £300,000, but the businesses also have plenty of assets so they are hopeful they wont lose too much on them.

All these figures are about 1/10,000,000 of the real public sector ones.

It does put things in perspective, doesn’t it?

Dyrø, Skid, Bredvig og andre skotske stednavne



Islay-Sunset1
Originally uploaded by flickrbug

De norske vikinger har haft en meget stor indflydelse i det vestlige Skotland.

Det kan bl.a. ses på, at mange stednavne går tilbage til oldnordisk.

Tag fx den lille skotske ø Jura.

Dens navn kommer fra oldnordisk Dýr-ey “Dyreø” (med den østnordiske sideform Djúr-ey), hvilket blev lånt til gælisk som Diùra, og det ord blev så til engelsk Jura (på gælisk udtales ‘di’ foran vokal ca. som engelsk ‘j’).

Det samme gør sig gældende for hundredevis af andre stednavne, som fx Skye (< An t-Eilean Sgitheanach < Skíð [lånt fra et tidligere sprog i området], hvilket på dansk ville være blevet til “Skid”).

Eller byen Brodick på Arran, der på gælisk hedder Breadhaig, hvilket tydeligt kommer fra oldnordisk Breiðvík “Bredvig”.

Desværre kender jeg ikke nogen pålidelige bøger eller websites, der omremser alle oldnordiske stednavne i Skotland.

De oldnordiske former er ofte nævnt i Wikipedia, men ofte med tydelige ortografiske fejl, der gør dem svære at stole på.

TECkit

Mixing three alphabetsAfter the Mac arrived last week, one of the first programs I installed was TeXShop.

That caused me to play around with XeTeX, which – although it’s also available for Linux – I had never really got around to playing around with.

One interesting feature I noticed immediately was the maps: When loading a font one can specify an input mapping like this: \setmainfont[Mapping=tex-text]{Gentium} and this will cause -- to be mapped to – etc.

I wanted to play around with this, but there didn’t seem to be an information on these maps included.

However, a bit of googling told me that it’s a SIL invention. On Linux/Unix, just download the source code and compile it, and on Windows and Mac, you can download precompiled programs.

Once that’s in place, you can start having fun!

As an example, create a map file with the following contents and call it firsttest.map:

LHSName	"FirstTest"
RHSName	"UNICODE"

pass(Unicode)

;Greek
U+0061    <>   U+03B1    ; a
U+0062    <>   U+03B2    ; b
U+0064    <>   U+03B4    ; d
U+0065    <>   U+03B5    ; e
U+0074    <>   U+03C4    ; t
U+0069    <>   U+03B9    ; i
;Cyrillic
U+0063    <>   U+0446    ; c
U+006C    <>   U+043B    ; l
U+006D    <>   U+043C    ; m
U+0067    <>   U+0433    ; g

Now compile it with teckit_compile firsttest.map, and you can now load it in XeTeX like this: \setmainfont[Mapping=firsttest]{Gentium}.

After doing this, anything typeset with the main font will come out in an interesting mixture of Latin, Greek and Cyrillic (see the illustration above).

This is of course a fairly silly example, but it can be really useful if you’re not comfortable typing another language directly, or if there is no keyboard layout available and you don’t want to define one yourself.