OU blog

Personal Blogs

Design Museum

The worst cold ever ...

Visible to anyone in the world

Have you had it? I'm on day 8 and feel like I've got a few more days at least to get over this. Not Covid, not 'flu and it won't kill me, but this thick cold of sneezing and coughing is waring me out. I'm asthmatic so I monitor my Peak Flow. From my highs of 720 it has dropped to 500 and is just recovering to 620. Teens competitive swimming helped me develop big lungs, otherwise I might have been seeking help.

I am feeling like a race horse inadvertently jammed into the starting gate ... I want to be out there doing things especially with COP26 and being an active Green Party Member and elected Town Councillor. 

The world wont't wait. We're sliding down a steep mountainside with a cliff edge ahead of us - there is a tipping point and we are gambling with where this might be. 

I'm less worried for the British Isles - we are wet, and green. We have hills. I am deeply worried for 100s of millions of people living in marginal parts of the world who as the world sinks/dies, will be penned in by national immigration controls. Is this inevitable?

Or can Elon Musk offer them Mars?

Who will live long enough to know? None of us. Whose still around from the 14th century coming out of the plague? 

Permalink 1 comment (latest comment by Gill Burrell, Monday, 1 Nov 2021, 18:53)
Share post
Design Museum

If only it were this simple - I'm a worrier !

Visible to anyone in the world

What's not to worry about?

Friday 13th December

Mass starvation

Mass extinction

Catastrophic weather events

Authoritarian Government

World War III

No future for our kids

Wealth in the hands of too few

The Crown series II spells the end of the Royal Family - its a dirge which paints a poor picture of the Queen. 

Meanwhile I'm stitching together a 360 tour for SEND students to make the journey from College to McDonalds (or Greggs) and by way of contrast a 360 tour of the German Cemetery at Langemark. 

Permalink Add your comment
Share post
Design Museum

Conference of the Parties 26 : A Roadmap for Success

Visible to anyone in the world

14 months away. Worth reading the background work and planning to be there. 




Permalink Add your comment
Share post
Design Museum

Climate Change Close Up

Visible to anyone in the world

To conclude a sabbatical after the desperately sad loss of his wife Frederic sets off (two of them) tio traverse the Greenland Plateau. It is supposed to be covered in snow. Rain has washed the snow away leaving bare ice. Dragging a sled is impossible. After a few days years of training and months of planning comes to a sad but sensible end. 

Permalink Add your comment
Share post
Design Museum

Algal Blooms occurring more often and earlier due to Climate Warming

Visible to anyone in the world

On 7th July the Environment Agency were called out to investigate the condition of Piddinghoe Lake, East Sussex as there were a number of dead fish. Acting quickly to test the water first an emergency pump and then two industrial scale pumps were brought down and set to work re-oxygenating the water.

Speaking to Mark Bennett, Team Leader at the regional headquarters of the Environment Agency, Worthing an explanation was offered. Warm weather, a lack of shade on the lake and little wind or rain lately had caused the temperature to rise. This had resulted in an algal bloom. Not a worry in itself, these blooms might crash suddenly at night or even with a thunderstorm. 

Blooms such as these are a summer event. It is rare but not unknown for these to occur as early as February. Algal blooms like these have been occurring more often in recent years so there is no doubt that climate warming is a factor.

This event impacted on the larger fish and eels. Smaller fish and carp have proved more resilient. 

The water is not a health hazard so long as people don’t ingest the water and you wash your hands before eating. There were no signs of the blue/green algae which would have been a cause for concern.

Permalink Add your comment
Share post
Design Museum

The armchair skier

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 25 Apr 2015, 06:44

Unable to get near a mountain this winter I've nonetheless gloried in watching the seasons start and gradually melt away into spring from the Katalys HD livecams at 1250m, 2750m up in the French Alps. 

 Fig.1 La Grande Rochette looking south east towards Mt Bellevarde from summer into early winter.

Once there is snow the landscape changes little. The weather changes dramatically. People comes and go. The snow mounts up, then sinks away.


Climate change is telling. Three decades ago the winter 'season' kicked off in Val d'Isere with the first races of the World Cup on the 17th November - they are now lucky to race at all at this height in December. Three decades ago, closer to four in fact, having worked 12 hours days 6/7 days a week since early December I finished my 'season' on 2nd May and could still ski down to 1250m ... just. The snow below 2000m has, without artificial snow largely melted away.

A paper studying fifty years of snowfall in the Alps paints a convincing story: snow cover is variable, the season later and shorter, the freezing level consistently higher making rain as likely as snow even as high as 2000m through-out the season. Yet to confound the 'industry' a nice fall of 47cm this weekend and early next week falling down to 1500m is forecast. All but a handful of resorts with glaciers close this weekend.

Share post
Design Museum

23 ways to a FutureLearn fix

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 6 May 2015, 08:56

The courses I've done with FutureLearn over the last 18 months.

  1. World War 1: A history in 100 Stories: Monash University
  2. Medicine and the Arts: The University of Cape Town 
  3. The Mind is Flat: University of Warwick 
  4. Understanding Drugs and Addiction. King’s College, London 
  5. World War 1: Changing Faces of Heroism. University of Leeds 
  6. Explore Filmmaking: National Film and Television School 
  7. How to Read a Mind: The University of Nottingham
  8. Start Writing Fiction: Fall 2014. The Open University
  9. Word War 1: Trauma and Memory: The Open University 
  10. World War 1: Aviation Comes of Age: University of Birmingham 
  11. World War 1: Paris 1919 - A New World: University of Glasgow 
  12. How to Succeed at: Writing Applications: The University of Sheffield 
  13. Introduction to Forensic Science: University of Strathclyde, Glasgow 
  14. Shakespeare’s Hamlet: University of Birmingham 
  15. Climate Change: Challenges and Solution. University of Exeter
  16. Managing my Money: The Open University
  17. Community Journalism: Cardiff University
  18. Developing Your Research Project: University of Southampton 

Those I'm on or have pending

  1. World War 1: A 100 Stories: Monash University
  2. Start Writing Fiction: Spring 2015: The Open University
  3. Monitoring Climate From Space: European Space Agency
  4. Behind the Scenes at the 21st Century Museum: University of Leicester
  5. Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tales:  The Hans Christian Andersen Centre
Permalink Add your comment
Share post
Design Museum

Have you noticed?

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 19 Jan 2015, 07:36


It may be cold, but I'm sure for us in Lewes this is only the third night when we've had frost this winter. November was like October, December was not even much of a November. Weatherwise December no longer exists?

I'm loving studying Climate Change with FutureLearn.

Share post

This blog might contain posts that are only visible to logged-in users, or where only logged-in users can comment. If you have an account on the system, please log in for full access.

Total visits to this blog: 12169117