Tuesday, 18 November 2014
stopping the leaves from falling
I was around by Parliament today and decided to have a quick peep at where they are de-leafing the lime trees inside New Palace Yard.
I took a quick snap and you can just see the trees in the background. The ones on the left in the picture still have the bright yellow looking leaves, then there's a couple of stepladders and the trees on the right are de-leafed.
The gardeners have explained that its a more efficient process than letting nature take its course and then raking up the fallen leaves.
I originally thought it was in some kind of major public thoroughfare where thousands of tourists would be slipping over on the wrong kind of leaves.
No, actually its around that secure bit leading to the underground car park for MPs.
In one of the reports it said something about the leaf removal being a form of planching. I don't buy it. I thought planching was knitting the branches together to make a sort of canopy or trellis. This leaf denuding seems to be more like a performance art installation.
Still, it can't be as expensive as that other MP thing going on.
The High Court investigating whether the MP said something unpleasant to the police in Downing Street when they would't open the gate for his bicycle. The MP is suing the Sun Newspaper and apparently has racked up just over £500k costs via his legal representatives Atkins Thompson.
I don't know whether these fees include the speculated £150k for expert inputs to the case. Last year it was reported that one academic was supposed to have been paid £80,000 to calculate the time it would have taken to deliver the MP's alleged “59 syllable” exchange (which apparently took 48 seconds).
I would have provided the speaking rate information for half that fee, but now it is too late, so here's a free version.
Using spoken presentations as an available metric, the average words per minute spoken is around 163 and the average syllables per minute is around 230. So in, say, 45 seconds it would be easily possible to deliver 59 syllables and as much as 230*.75 = 172 syllables. In approximate terms it would only need 15 seconds to deliver the phrases at presentation speed.
But, of course, the MP is saying he didn't actually utter the alleged words.
It all seems somewhat disproportionate. I gather the MP has some previous form for fruity-language exchanges with the police, so somehow this one all seems to have got a bit out of hand.