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One of the things that struck me when I moved to Canada was the number of teenagers killed in car crashes. It seemed that a lot of people went to school with someone who died in a car crash. Back in the late 1970s and 80s few British teenagers had cars. But in Canada secondhand vehicles and petrol were cheap. In Scotland, or at least in Livingston, most folk knew someone from Craigshill High School who had been murdered or had murdered someone. A different world.

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Well, that's basically Award Season pretty much over. I heard Radio's stupids lamenting that more of the winners didn't use their time on the podium to use it as a platform to make a statement on world affairs or some social issue. I'm glad they didn't. I don't think I've ever changed my opinion about anything because of something some celebrity has said about something. Stick to your field of expertise. I don't care what you think and your opinions are no more valid than any other man or woman on the street. They might even be less so. A depressing number of musicians who do station promotions for the local university radio station, and some of them are legends, are unable to give the frequency correctly. If they can't do that, why should I take them seriously when they opine on events in Gaza or teenage sexual identity issues?

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This happened a long time ago. I was still at high school. And the genocidal actions of Cambodian dictator Pol Pot were in the headlines. The school decided to raise money to help the survivors. One means of this was a raffle. The first prize was a bottle of whisky and a tin of biscuits. A mate and I were there when the winning ticket was drawn. It had been bought by the teacher we had after morning break. We offered to deliver the prize. Instead, we went to the staff room and told the teacher we could fix it for him to win. He said he wasn't much interested in the biscuits and we could have 'em. We then went to the home economics department and borrowed eight or nine glasses, one for the teacher and one for everyone in the class. So, the teacher arrived to find a bottle of whisky and nine glasses on his table. He took the hint.

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I wonder if artillery gunners and bomber crews really chalked stuff on their munitions. Or was it all faked for the photographer? All those Kaiser or Hitler Special Delivery shells or bombs. Did people really bother? It's much the same when it comes to unit nicknames. All those Ladies from Hell, Devil Dogs or Green Devils. I have a feeling that enemy troops would not come up with awed descriptions of their opponents. I tracked down the term some German troops used for kilted regiments during the First World War. It wasn't exactly awe filled or respectful. It sounded like how German troops really would describe kilted soldiers and was more than somewhat disrespectful.

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I heard some on the BBC's Life Scientific which caused me concern. The programme profiles and interviews leading scientists. Two of the British women scientists on recently were privately educated. How many women in the UK are privately educated? Statistically, it's surely unlikely that even one privately educated woman would appear on the programme. What worried me was the possibility that opportunities in scientific research were heavily weighted in favour of those whose parents could afford to pay for private school. One of the women I heard went to a school that saw its mission as teaching Home Economics to create good little housewives. And yet it appeared that whatever job this woman wanted to try, doors were opened for her. I think Africa suffers badly due to lack of opportunity for youngsters whose parents are not rich. I worry that maybe perhaps a career in UK science is no longer a question of talent, but of parental income. That's something we can't afford.

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