Jan
01
2012
0

Are there any good beaches in the UK?

Damming the stream at Portheras Cove Beach (photo by Roger Browne - CC-BYAfter a news report about UK beaches whose water quality failed to meet regulatory standards, I heard someone say that they didn’t know there were any good beaches in the United Kingdom. There certainly are some fabulous beaches, but you need to know where to look. If you choose a beach to visit at random, [&hel[more...]

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Apr
30
2011
0

Why is "Alternative Vote" superior to the "First past the post" system?

preferential-votingVoters in the United Kingdom were given the opportunity on 5 May 2011 to choose between keeping the current First Past The Post (FPTP) voting system, or switching to the Alternative Vote (AV) system. They chose to retain FPTP. In the First Past The Post system, the elector marks their preferred candidate on the ballot [&hel[more...]

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Oct
21
2010
0

Where the ### is the hash key on a UK Apple Mac keyboard?

hash-key-macIf you want to type the hash character (‘#’, also called ‘pound’ in some parts of the world) on a UK Apple Mac, you can look everywhere on your keyboard and you won’t find the hash symbol. If you have a PC keyboard plugged into your Mac, you can type ‘#’ but it will show [&hel[more...]

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Mar
05
2010
4

How can I figure out the geographical center of my country, state, province?

centroid-of-the-united-statesIf you live in Wyoming or Colorado, the answer is quite simple, since these two states are virtually rectangular, but how does one find the geographical center of an irregularly shaped area? In geometrical terms, that is the “centroid”. The centroid of a straight-edged polygon can be calculated by breaking it into smaller objects and [&hel[more...]

Feb
14
2010
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What is Hansard?

The British Parliament (photo by Maurice - CC-BY)Hansard is the name of the record of debates in the British Houses of Parliament, equivalent to the US Congressional Record. The name goes back to Thomas Curson Hansard, a printer who in 1809 started printing William Cobbett's Parliamentary Debates, published since 1802. These were pieced together from newspaper reports, since at that time Parliament [&hel[more...]

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Dec
14
2009
0

What is the difference between a city, a town and a village?

Leeds, a city in Yorkshire (photo-painting by digitalrob70 - CC-BY)There are many definitions of what constitutes a “city”. The distinction between a city, a town and a village varies from country to country, and throughout history. Here are just a few of those definitions. In the United Kingdom, the monarch declares that a town has become a city. However, a few cities were grandfathered [&hel[more...]

Jun
20
2009
0

What is the National Anthem of the United Kingdom?

United Kingdom flag - courtesy micora - CC-BY“God Save the Queen”, or “God Save the King”, is the National Anthem of the United Kingdom. It is also the National Anthem of Norfolk Island, one of the two National Anthems of the Cayman Islands and New Zealand (since 1977) and the Royal Anthem of Canada (since 1980), Australia (since 1984), the Isle of [&hel[more...]

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Jun
17
2009
0

What is Cardiff city profile?

Cardiff Castle - courtesy Mooganic - CC-BYCardiff is the capital of Wales and its largest city. The area of Cardiff settled by at least 6,000 BC, about 1500 years earlier than either Stonehenge or the The pyramids of Egypt. Cardiff was also the site of a Roman fort. King Edward VII granted Cardiff city status in October 1905. Cardiff has only [&hel[more...]

Jun
17
2009
0

What are the key facts about the United Kingdom?

London, England, United Kingdom (photo by René Ehrhardt - CC-BY, flag by Zscout370 - PD)The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (“the UK”) lies to the west of continental Europe. It comprises England, Wales and Scotland (“Great Britain“), plus Northern Ireland. As the source of the industrial revolution, the UK became the dominant world power of the 1800s and is now a wealthy and powerful member of the [&hel[more...]

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May
07
2009
16

Where Can I Find Free Newspaper Archives Online in the UK?

George III (portrait by Allan Ramsay - PD-EXP)There are literally billions of pages of newspaper archives available online.  Only a small portion of them are from the UK, and a still smaller portion can be viewed for free.  Nonetheless, the few free archives that are available from England, Scotland and Ireland are a rich source of history writ large and small. Here [&hel[more...]

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Apr
23
2009
0

What is Edinburgh city profile?

Edinburgh Castle - courtesy mr mackey - CC-BYEdinburgh is the capital of Scotland, and the seventh largest city in the United Kingdom. Edinburgh’s history began in the Iron and Bronze Ages. At its formal founding it was a part of the Kingdom of Northumbria, an Anglian kingdom on the east side of Great Britain and finally became the capital of Scotland in [&hel[more...]

Apr
21
2009
1

What is the nanny state?

Gwinnett County sign (photo by Patrick Fitzgerald - CC-BY)A nanny is someone who is paid to look after someone’s children. A nanny state is a government which unduly restricts its citizens, treating them as if they were children unable to make decisions for themselves. It’s not restricted to the government, as nannying can be carried out by anyone in a position of authority. [&hel[more...]

Apr
19
2009
0

What is Birmingham, England, city profile?

Birmingham Centenary Square - courtesy air babble - CC-BYBirmingham is a city in West Midlands county, the second largest city in England. Birmingham was first recorded in written documents by the Domesday Book of 1086 as a small village. Centuries later it became a powerhouse of the Industrial Revolution in England. Birmingham suffered heavy bomb damage during World War II’s “Birmingham Blitz.” It [&hel[more...]

Apr
18
2009
0

What is Belfast city profile?

Belfast - courtesy lyng883 - CC-BYBelfast is the capital city of Northern Ireland, the largest city in the United Kingdom’s Irish province of Ulster, and the second largest city on the island of Ireland. Belfast has been occupied since the Bronze Age. Belfast has been the capital of Northern Ireland since its establishment in 1921 following the Government of Ireland [&hel[more...]

Mar
11
2009
0

What is London city profile?

Parliment At Night - courtesy Steve Weaver - CC-BYLondon is the capital of both England and the United Kingdom and is the country’s largest city. London was founded by the Romans in 43 AD as Londinium. London grew in both wealth and population during the Middle Ages. By 1100 its population was around 18,000. By 1300 it had grown to almost 100,000. London [&hel[more...]

Feb
12
2009
0

What are the potential problems if I raffle my house?

This cottage is not a prize. It's just a photo of a nice cottage (photo by Hellsgeriatric CC-BY) It may seem a good idea when the housing market is stagnant to put up your house as the winning prize in a lottery or raffle. Just sell the tickets at a reasonable price and you’ll have them sold off in no time at all, easily clearing the value of the house. Unfortunately there are [&hel[more...]

Jan
13
2009
0

What’s the difference between the United Kingdom, Great Britain and the British Isles?

Ireland, and the United Kingdom (CIA World Factbook - PD)The terms United Kingdom, Great Britain and British Isles are confusing, even to many people who live in Britain. It’s easier to understand the differences if you remember that United Kingdom is short for “The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland“. The British Isles are an island group containing Great Britain and its [&hel[more...]

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