Monthly Archives: March 2017

Political Protesting – Brexit.


My sign may have been a bit intellectual….

This Saturday I went on my first political protest!  I joined the North East for Europe March on March the 4th.  There were about seven hundred of us in Newcastle to protest about Brexit and the accompanying chaos.  My motivation for going is not just about the referendum of the 23rd of June but the events since then.

I am also absolutely disgusted with the position the government is taking on the issue of EU citizens living in the UK. These are people and to treat them as bargaining chips in a negotiation is simply contemptible. This is not an abstract issue it affects real people right now.  I am unimpressed with the attitude of those who call these people foreigners and act if they matter less as a result.  I don’t call the lovely young lady who married my brother-in-law a foreigner, I call her my sister.

As a remain voter I am also unimpressed by the attitude of the EU in this matter too there are millions of people affected by this issue and I view their lack of effort to resolve this matter rapidly as disappointing to say the least.

Going on a March is a very analogue experience in a digital age.  There were some good speeches, some great speeches, a guitarist or two and quite a lot of shouting.  It was fantastic to be amongst like minded people.  A few interesting takeaways from the speeches which hadn’t occurred to me before:

  • In the UK we have chosen to make employing people here as easy as moving goods across the EU.  So the pressures on our un-skilled and low-skilled labour market are not an automatic result of EU membership and there is a lot more that is under our control than the Brexiters would have you believe.
  • The NHS is already under pressure from a dramatic reduction in recruitment and retention from EU nationals.
  • The current plan for everything to be wrapped up in two years is unrealistic.  This will still be going on at the next election and perhaps the one after that.
  • The current Brexit fallback plan of a deregulated, low tax economy (like Singapore) is something that only works for a small elite who are rich enough not to worry about things like health insurance.

However for me the most striking thing was the very small counter demo, these folk were mainly wearing balaclavas or face masks, saying refugees were not welcome and holding Trump posters.  I was very happy to be counted where I stood….

Plotting 2D Unstructured Data Using Free Software – an update.

A while ago (ten years ago!) I wrote a post called  Plotting 2D Unstructured Data Using Free Software

I thought it might be useful to revisit that post to see how things have moved on.  Nowadays I do most of my plotting in Matplotlib – a library which has matured nicely since 2007, though I get confused quite a lot 😦

In the previous post I looked at GSharp, gri, gnuplot and matplotlib.  I will talk here about only about gnuplot and matplotlib.  Amazingly gnuplot has changed very little – the script I wrote ten years ago works without any modification and produces the same sort of output, i.e. not hugely impressive.  You might be able to get better outputs if you have more skill with gnuplot than me.


The matplot script however required modification to run.  A user called darksid3 pointed out a much better way of doing in 2010 but I think the matplotlib library has developed somewhat so the code is now very straightforward.  My script is now as follows:

Script to plot contour data using Matplotlib
import matplotlib.pyplot as plt
import numpy as np
from scipy.interpolate import griddata

# Read and assign data
data = np.genfromtxt('contourdata.dat',names=['x','y','cp0'])
x = data['x']
y = data['y']
z = data['cp0']

# Do the interpolation
xi = np.linspace(x.min(), x.max(), 500)
yi = np.linspace(y.min(), y.max(), 500)
zi = griddata((x, y), z, (xi[None,:], yi[:,None]), method='cubic')

# Plot using the interpolated data
plt.xlabel("tang / [m]")
plt.ylabel("radial / [m]")
plt.title("Loss Coefficient CFD Jan 2006 - matplotlib")

You might be able to make it a bit smaller but I favour a longer, readable code over something that is very compact.  The output is pretty straightforward too:


A better reference can be found in the SciPy cookbook.

So it is nice to see things advancing in the free software world!!

Search Problems with Thunderbird

Recently I have found that Thunderbird search has been a bit annoying.  You will search the database and get results that you want, e.g. the document that Fred sent you two years ago about widgets.  You can see some details about the e-mails – a tantalising glimpse of the header and the attachments but when you click you cannot access the full e-mail.

The solution appears to Rebuild the Global Database:

Which I am doing at the moment.  Tools -> Activity Manager allows you to watch the process…..

Update: this works as intended.  I can now find my e-mails in Thunderbird.