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Category: Odds & Sods

Things that don’t fit the other categories

Keep active, keep healthy

Keep active, keep healthy

It is well known that, to be healthy in both mind and body, it is important to keep active. As Juvenal (55 – 138 AD) put it, Mens sana in corpore sano. These days there is plenty of advice on how to keep active. My personal preference is for active travel, as it is the easiest way to include regular physical exercise into your daily life. These days, when there is an app for everything, there are of course apps to help you lead a healthy life. One that recently caught my eye is the Human – Activity Tracker, not so much because of the slick graphics on their website (although those are very nice), but more because of the data it has collected and presented in the video below –



The thing that fascinates me about this is the way it shows us the different patterns of activity across different cities, for different modes of travel/activity. At this point it is necessary to add a caveat about the way that the data have been collected. This app is only available for the iPhone and therefore represents the activity of only a small section of the community, but it is never the less fascinating. See more visual data here, sadly Edinburgh is not one of the 30 cities listed.


Trivial fact for today: No. 2

Trivial fact for today: No. 2

Some time ago I decide to run an occasional series called “Trivial fact for today”, it is very occasional so here is…

Trivial fact for today: No. 2 In 1228 the Scots’ parliament passed an act to allow women to propose marriage to men, a legal right which then spread through Europe. However, some historians dispute this suggesting that it may not be true, spoilsports…

Absam the village of the Olympians?

Absam the village of the Olympians?

I have long been told, by Ulli, that Absam (in Austria) is the village of the Olympians, that it has more Olympic medal winners and Olympic medals than anywhere in the world. Today when the Linger brothers (Andreas and Wolfgang) won silver in the men’s doubles luge in Sotchi, I tweeted:

Which I followed up with:

This was then challenged by @Ojars_E_Kalnins from Latvia:



The challenge laid down, now all I had to do was work out just how many Olympic medal winners there are and how many Olympic medals these Absamers have actually won.

NameDisciplineGames (year)Medal
Andreas Lingermen’s doubles lugeSotchi (2014)Silver
Wolfgang Lingermen’s doubles lugeSotchi (2014)Silver
Christoph BielerNordic combined teamSotchi (2014)Bronze
Andreas Lingermen’s doubles lugeVancouver (2010)Gold
Wolfgang Lingermen’s doubles lugeVancouver (2010)Gold
Andreas Lingermen’s doubles lugeTurin (2006)Gold
Wolfgang Lingermen’s doubles lugeTurin (2006)Gold
Christoph BielerNordic combined teamTurin (2006)Gold
Christoph BielerNordic combined teamSalt Lake City (2002)Bronze
Ernst Vettoriski jumping individualAlbertville (1992)Gold
Ernst Vettoriski jumping teamAlbertville (1992)Silver
Andreas Felderski jumping teamAlbertville (1992)Silver
Olga Pallwomen's downhill skiingGrenoble (1968)Gold
Josef Feistmantlmen’s doubles lugeInnsbruck (1964)Gold

This works out as seven people with 14 medals between them, all this from a village of less than 7,000 people. Or to put it another way, that works out at one medal for every 479 people!

Just remember, this could yet change, the Sochi Games ain’t over yet!

Addendum: It has been pointed out to me that Olympians are all people who compete in the Olympics, not just those who win medals. This would mean that I need to up the count as there are Olympics competitors from Absam who have (yet) won an Olympics medal, such as Georg Fischler. Really I should change the title of the post, or find the missing athletes, but not tonight.

World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims 2013

World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims 2013

Today is the annual World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) there are 1.24 million road traffic deaths every year and Road Traffic Accidents (RTA) are the number one cause of death among those aged 15-29 years. However, it is the young and the elderly who are most vulnerable on our roads.

Here in Scotland I recently discovered that there is a framework for road safety in Scotland, which was drawn up in 2009. As part of this framework there is a 0% casualty target for the year 2020. Sadly in Scotland over the last four years there has been a rise in the number of vulnerable road users killed or seriously injured, which suggests that the strategy currently in place is failing badly and needs to be revised.

Here are a few headlines from the last few days. This is not an extensive list, just a short snapshot:

Girl killed in lorry accident named
Woman killed in two-vehicle crash
Motorist dies day after car crash
Woman seriously injured in A9 crash

Grow Wild update

Grow Wild update

Last month I wrote a post on the Grow Wild Scottish Vote, the vote has now taken place and almost 20,000 people took part (some of them through this blog). The winning project is the Barrhead’s Water Works project, they will have been awarded £100,000 from the Big Lottery Fund to help their development for the benefit of their local area.

The Waterworks in Barrhead aims to transform an abandoned sewage works into an industrial wildlife area for the community to enjoy, using derelict sewage tanks as giant experimental planters where beautiful displays of Scottish wild flower habitats can be carefully created. The site is located near Dunterlie in Barrhead, which is one of Scotland’s most deprived communities, the project is led by East Renfrewshire Council, in conjunction with Barrhead High School and Still Game community group for older residents.

Runners up for Grow Wild in Scotland were the Frog Pond Rises project in Livingston, West Lothian which will see a much-loved pond and park area undergo a transformation through wetland creation and the design of a wild flower structure. And Belville Community Garden in Greenock which planned to deliver a community garden on the site of former high rise flats in Greenock to encourage community participation in healthy activities. These projects will receive £4000 each to help their progress.

Grow Wild aims to engage young people by providing opportunities to take direct action and transform local green space, giving them the chance to showcase their drive and creativity for the benefit of the local community. The Scottish project was the first to go ahead in the UK, with sites in England, Wales and Ireland will follow in 2015 and 2016. Over the next three years, 250,000 seed-sowing kits will be sent out by Grow Wild partners with the aim of reaching young people, aged 12 -25, creating a new audiences who wouldn’t usually engage with environmental or community projects.

If you have found this inspiring and think there is an opportunity to do something for your community, you can apply for funding for a Grow Wild community project in Scotland here.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!
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