What if A Song of Ice and Fire initially focussed on Davos instead of Ned? A Clash of Kings/season 2 spoilers, to be overly cautious.
Despite working day and night for the prosperity of the Korean people, our beloved Kim Jong-un has extended his devotion to the wider world in an effort for peace. Employing his remarkable diplomatic talents used to deal with the U.S.-imperialist puppet regime in south Korea and with Japanese-occupied Japan, he has accomplished a goal treacherous doubters thought not possible: he has gotten the Islamic State (thereafter ISIL) to recognise the State of Israel.
After mediating five weeks of negotiations, glorious Kim Jong-un was ready to humbly fly back from Tel Aviv to Korea on Korea’s commercial airline with common Korean citizens (such as General Hyon Yong-chol and General Ri Yong-gil), but he was surprised to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on 10th October in Oslo, Norway. Originally politely declining the honour, preferring to return to his desk of servitude in Pyongyang, handsome Kim Jong-un was eventually convinced by his wife, Ri Sol-ju, that worldwide coverage of his achievements will give spirit to the oppressed south Koreans in the struggle to rejoin their homeland.
“I’m amazed we didn’t see it before,” Caliph Ibrahim had to say in a press conference after the announcement. “Kim Jong-un opened our eyes; relations with Israel is paramount to peace in the Middle East,” he continued, “and this will also give ISIL the opportunity for trade agreements and mutual military assistance to combat the terrorist organisation in the Gaza Strip.” Slender Kim Jong-un was presented with ISIL’s highest honour, the Cane of Wisdom, awarded annually since 2014, which he brought back with him to Korea on 14th October.
Exaltedly humble Kim Jong-un’s next foreign visit will be to Liberia, to combat the Ebola virus with fifty armoured divisions.
I’VE BEEN TRAPPED IN PYONGYANG FOR A YEAR. PLEASE CONTACT EMBASSY.
This writer claims one should highlight great achievements like one should highlight text.
Is was the unforgiving winter of 2013 that overstayed its welcome. Many of the sickly students perished, and my housemates fled south that Easter in hope of a fresh hot meal that has no place in the barren wasteland of Coventry. Looking back, I imagine myself having a bushy beard, but there’s no evidence to say that’s even possible.
Although I could stand my ground by sleeping with a hammer under my bed, it was the late April exams I needed to settle to secure my place here. Solitude is a dangerous thing. Solitude makes you clean the house four times a day. Solitude makes you stare at a window, murmuring to yourself until the charity person goes away. I had listened through my iTunes library a hundred-fold, and about a fifth of the views for most of YouTube were by yours truly. I needed something new to accompany throwing my stress ball at the blackboard, hoping I could hit it hard enough to detach that chalky mess from the wall and come crashing down like my aspirations at the start of the academic year.
But there was something. It was foreign, yet I liked it. It was a patriotic speech laced with so much bullshit that it had to have a good tune to stop people from noticing. It was, ladies and gentlemen, a national anthem.
I shit you not, they are actually great little things. The fact that most of them are incomprehensible to non-polyglots means they won’t distract studying (or whatever you do). And when you’re free from exam peril, you can laugh at how the lyricist got away with their babble. Anyway, have a look at some of my favourites:
South Korea. This shares the same title as the North Korean theme, but this seems too calm to be at the rhythm of a goosestep, and too sentimental to be blared at an unimportant football match. It’s just really, really sweet.
East Germany. This was composed specifically for the East as the traditional “Deutschlandlied” was used by the West. I liked it the instant the music changes about 35 seconds in.
France. Yes, I actually like the French national anthem, but you’ll never catch me saying that publicly.
Over the last few years this site has gone from another unneeded adolescent blog to another unneeded adolescent blog with an educational focus. As you’re reading this you are here either to desperately search for past papers, or, if it’s been a while since I’ve posted this, you’re scrolling through my archives for some strange reason. Either way, it’s quite likely that you’ve only come to read this because you wanted to improve your level of education, one way or another. Now it’s time for you to do something.
A lot of you will be going to university to do a maths or computer science based degree, and you are going to struggle at some point. You are going to struggle at many points. Every now and then there will be a topic poorly explained, or one you simply just can’t grasp (I call it “mathematics”). There are many beautiful websites that break things down in just the right way, but never with enough content or interaction to completely alleviate the daily ordeals of a science student. That’s right, not even the angelic voice of Salman Khan.
My friends are building a solution. It’s called Sigma, but only you can decide if it’s the right solution. On the right hand side of the page there is a vote tab to decide if it’ll get off the ground at all. I’d much appreciate it if you could vote, but I’d appreciate it more if you vote because you genuinely think that it’s a good idea. It’s more likely to go up in the world if you’re from a different university (in which case please use your university e-mail address (they won’t send anything (parentheses))).
Subliminal messages are the best messages. But seriously, have a look.
EDIT: Success! Sigma (now called Mimir) was selected and is being funded. Many thanks to anyone who voted, and you can witness the development on their blog, here.
Yes, I’m still alive. It’s getting stale that I have to remind you every time I post (but as the third and fourth website birthday posts are both on the main page I feel I have no choice). I’ve been busy, sure, but not too busy to avoid looking at cats. I suppose I’ve not found much to talk about, at least to a large audience where most of whom have not met me and know nothing about me except that I’m a past paper pirate who likes moaning about things. So what have I been doing lately? Well take a seat, the news might be disturbing.
A large part of university is experimenting. Students are young, a lot of them have emerged from a sheltered existence, and the appeal of new things that don’t instantly reveal their dark side seems nothing more than an innocent temptation. Students question once firmly held beliefs and ideals. Consequences are for people with jobs and families. I am no different. I have been experimenting as well. I have my own dark secret that came to being as harmless curiosity. I don’t want you to judge me, but accept me for who I am.
It started with seeing what the fuss was about, thinking a small investigation couldn’t hurt. Yeah, sure, the Bible was against it, but the Bible is against a lot of things. This is [insert year here], get with modernity. I liked it. It was something new. Behaving as a man in such a colourful fashion seemed unacceptable, unconventional, unnatural. But natural was the only word to describe my true feelings. Although I kept it from friends and family, I accepted my true self. This true self dressed to impress, took up personal grooming, even got fitter. I was even a platonic shoulder to cry on for the fairer sex. I knew there was no turning back when I went to Blackpool in another man’s arms.
But what about my friends? Sure, homophobia is as extinguished as smallpox. But no number of Facebook red equals signs could quell an unaccommodating reaction from what used to be my dearest friends. It taxed what was left of me when I finally told them the truth. The truth…that I dance.
Yes, I dance. I’ve been dancing for exactly one year. I put on a waistcoat and move around a fancy floor, keeping a rigid frame with the crack of a whip, or I half-arsedly do some suave-looking arm and leg movements. Being old fashioned (and tall), the former is my preference by far. I do find it funny how the sport (yes, sport!) with the most favourable gender ratio is considered gay, but the bottom line is that I love it. It’s a skill that’s only practical at weddings and at gunpoint to impress a deranged former dance coach, but practical skills are boring. I’d highly recommend it, a lot of universities have their own dance club (and Warwick’s is amazing!).
I won’t leave it this long between posts, I assure you. Turning twenty was my punishment this time.
I was moved in a few weeks before term started, but after settling in and sorting out teething problems my housemate and I were rather bored in an otherwise free house with no control or supervision from real adults. After finding out we can access the shed we thought we should probably utilise it. A small crystal meth lab was the first option but this wooden shed was too damp and not particularly sterile. We also would have to wait for the key to the backdoor gate so we don’t have to wheel barrels of methylene through the house. Then came the epiphany: as students we spend a lot of money on beer. Beer isn’t a particularly high-profile drink, but a lot of the time the price-tag suggests so. With an insultingly low cost of production, why not homebrew?
A nice idea on surface, but what were the practical difficulties?
1. Don’t know shit about homebrewing.
2. Where would I get the ingredients and tools?
3. Our incoming housemate is female so will moan and nag us about how silly this idea is.
So I did my homework through forums, YouTube, and generally making good friends with Google. The general principle is making a sugary mixture (wort) and adding yeast to convert this sugar into ethanol (i.e. the alcohol), and carbon dioxide gas in a process called fermentation. Fermentation is variable but usually takes over a week. You’ll have an alcoholic beverage by then that reminds you of beer, but the flat, awful beer you find at the end of your bottle or glass. To get something more drinkable you either keg or bottle and carbonate the beer. I chose to bottle, and you carbonate by adding sugar in the bottles then capping them so the remaining yeast will ferment with that sugar and the carbon dioxide gas produced is the gas that makes it fizzy when you crack it open. But for carbonation to finish, you’ll have to give the bottles two weeks or so to prime (the current stage I’m in).
Then was the matter of getting what I needed. Getting the individual ingredients and preparing them would be long and more likely to fail, so I got a pre-made kit from Wilkinson (Cooper’s Lager). It contains the ingredients (barely-malt and hops) in the right ratio and with a packet of yeast. It’s about £13 and makes forty pints. The rest of the shopping list was as follows:
1. Cooper’s kit ~ £13
2. Brewing sugar, 1kg ~ £2
3. Fermenting vessel ~ £12
4. Thermometer ~ £2.50
5. Hydrometer (it checks how much is fermented) ~ £3.50
6. Steriliser, 100g ~ £1.50
7. Siphon ~ £2.50
8. Trial jar ~ £2.50
7. Big spoon ~ £1.50
This racks up to about £40, approximate values due to rounding, price changes over time and place, etc. After you’ve made your first batch, you’ll only need the kit, sugar and I guess more steriliser. £16.50 for forty pints is not bad. That is, if you have forty pint bottles, a capper, forty caps and probably a lot more steriliser. The capper is about £12, and is just another start up cost. Caps are around fifty for £1. Bottles are tricky. New pint bottles made for homebrewers are about 70p each, annoying considering how much empty glass you and the bartender throw away. However, thankfully old glass bottles are fine as long as they’re washed with a pretty aggressive agent (something with ‘Oxi’ in the title will do, and this will remove the label) and sterilised. Brown bottles are a lot more preferable than green or clear.
Although you ferment forty pints of wort, you won’t really get forty pints because gunky dead yeast sinks to the bottom of the vessel (and if you’re clumsy like I was you spill as much as you bottle). Whatever downsides I’ve found, it’s something I’d heavily recommend, that is, until I crack open my first bottle in the next few days and taste something akin to feet sweat at best and at worst spend my night in Hotel NHS. I’ll keep ye updated.
Oh, problem 3? Ignored her and did it anyway.
So this child of mine is enjoying pre-school and loves running around and eating play-dough. They grow up so fast…
University has dragged me away, but the academic side is still booming and being maintained after a mob of e-mail requests reminding me that past papers are still being released when I’m away learning my big boy maths. The recent setback of answers being removed has shaken the very foundation of this site’s fame. The site itself was a crappy blog read by a couple of school friends at gunpoint and now is a popular fire fighter extinguishing the nightmares prevailing exam season (and a crappy blog). For some time I’ve come to accept that it has moulded into a predominantly academic resource and so it shall remain.
As some third party content that keeps my grasp on traffic has been stolen (by its rightful owners), who knows if this is the first in a line of dominoes? I hope not, but the advent of revision guides for maths is my project for this year, along with a domain name change (though thomas-reddington.com will still work for now) to come in the next few days. I’m not sure how progress will be in the next twelve months. More than the last I’m sure, I guess we’ll have to see when I post about this child of mine starting primary school.
I have an empty section on the top bar, I’m writing a couple up at the moment and by the end of the month should have something uploaded. They will be on further maths topics for the mean time but hopefully if they’re any good I’ll branch out to the maths commoners.
There may well be a domain change soon to something shorter, but I’ll renew thomas-reddington.com for another year (Sept ’12 – Sept ’13) and redirect to it so the seasonal hoards of A-level students don’t get startled and confused.
Running from the law
I got a PDF letter from Nelson Thornes requesting to take off the answers to the exam-style questions for physics by the end of the month or there’ll be legal action. In the next 24 hours I will have taken all the answers down as by the looks of it they will have to come down eventually. The exam papers, for now and hopefully for the future, will be unharmed.
Disclaimer: just to let you (but mainly companies with a wanted poster of me depicted as a question marked silhouette and fancy fedora in their offices — not reflecting a large ego of mine at all) know, this website does not make a single penny. It costs a certain amount a year to keep the domain(s) and if I’m not on Weebly Pro my hosting is provided for free by Weebly, costs that are not expensive but costs I do not get back. The only benefits I get from supplying third-party material to help pupils in their exams is a larger audience for my posts and a warm feeling inside akin to a nice cup of tea. Of course this doesn’t override a legal right for me to remove stuff, it’s just something to take into account if the warrant happens to be signed.
Evenin’. I guess you could say I’m back now to regularly post and stuff. But just a one sentence update about the crap that’s happened in my life since the last post before I begin: finished exams, got a 2:1 overall, got back home at the end of June, went away to Devon for a week, all the time I was draining resources and ignoring any website obligations.
Anyway, I like a good war film, and by that I mean one depicting an actual historical war. I like learning when country X sent an array of tanks into country Y and how the men of country Y have a sudden career change through mass conscription, and how we find out some way in the film (before the Americans join in on behalf of country Y and claim total victory to further their well-fed egos) that the men of country X are not just youthful images of their dictator but are fathers and husbands and detest this monstrosity of a war as much as the Y soldier he just bayoneted. These films can be very powerful, showing the unimaginable feats and ordeals the men have actually had to go through (and not too long ago either), as I watch them on my sofa, increasing my cholesterol level and complaining about hay fever.
Though it’s not universal praise from my part. There is an issue that goes unnoticed and uncared for by a lot of people: most wars, contrary to how some films depict, don't have every single combatant speaking English. Believe it or not, there are some wars between countries where neither of them have English as an esteemed language. So you may have guessed, I’m a subbed man and not a dubbed man.
My objection is that if you inherit the English language into the characters, along with a native English accent and not that of character's motherland, it severs the reality and the characters adopt the mannerisms of the accent (Pushing it a little: soldiers with British accents sound like they’re in a Carry On film). What’s worse is that some directors just go “fuck it” and allow British and American actors to use their natural accents and mingle together as naturally and unnoticeably as females in a LAN-party. An important part of a film, especially one depicting a slice of history, is immersion. It’s hard to believe that the men in The Bunker and Hitler: The Last Ten Days are as German as the Kaiser when we have the polite happy go lucky British Hitler, and the American Goebbels commenting on the American enemy. (Although I’ve yet to watch it) I can’t dare passively watch Enemy at the Gates if I find Red Army soldiers speaking the Queen’s.
I do allow a compromise to this, however, and examples include Defiance and The Pianist. In Defiance, Daniel Craig and everyone in his community are Belorussians hiding in forests from the Germans. They’re supposed to speak Belorussian (Belarusian) in reality but on film they speak English with a slavic accent. Russian soldiers speak Russian and German soldiers speak German, but their appearances in the film are secondary to Daniel Craig’s group. This works because I’m convinced in the film that they are Belorussians and need no reminding, and there’s no confusion between who’s one of the three (I must say Daniel Craig doesn’t do a bad job with the accent at all). The use of spoken English is perhaps better because most Western viewers cannot distinguish between Russian and Belarusian. A similar example lies in The Pianist. Adrien Brody and Polish characters speak English with a slight Polish(-Jewish) accent, some don’t bother which doesn’t help, but the language barrier between “Polish” and German is displayed adequately when Adrien Brody collects his German words when reasoning with SS men.
Just to note why these examples tend to involve Germans in WWII: it’s because my personal collection of war films are set in the 20th century Europe during World War II or one of the East Asian wars such as Korea or Vietnam. I can’t use the East Asian war films in my examples because they have the languages accurate for the belligerents, and for two reasons:
Well I’m in the midst of exam season and by the looks of it I’ll end up wounded enough to earn a nice military pension if I come out alive. Consequently if you’ve tried to contact me about site stuff I’ve likely only replied now.
Anything on the A-level stuff section is all I have for now and all I will have until some time after exam season (unless people send me stuff to fill the gaps), and as I can’t host ZIP folders as they are too inconvenient for me to bother with at this stage into the exam season.
But I come here with something for people who aren’t finishing this year: maths guides. After exams I’m going to write PDFs with LaTeX (the program that makes maths text look neat and pretty) on A-level maths and further maths topics to break it down for any of you that might need alternative explaining (bearing in mind I don’t assert any credibility as a maths tutor). Each volume will be on a subject (like Functions, Complex Numbers, Differentiation I…) instead of following strict module and board specifications. There might be exercises but there will definitely be worked examples. Expect stuff popping up some time in July.
I finish on 15th June, just a heads up.