Thursday, January 15, 2009

A question for any statistician among you:- You are in a sleeping compartment on a train. There are three of you. One of the other two snores like a speared pig and the other sniffs and coughs around every three minutes. What are the chances of you:- 1. Getting much sleep? And 2. Being equable when you get up? Additionally, what are the chances of your mood improving when some inconsiderate bastard spends the entire last 45 minutes of the journey in the compartment’s only toilet? Finally – What are the odds on this person being a woman applying her make-up?

Of course, any non-statistician can have a go at this question - Why on earth did I say I looked forward to travelling on a train?

Another day, another abandoned speedboat washed up on the rocks of the Galician coast. This time after a chase involving a police helicopter which resulted in the narcos leaving almost 4 tonnes of cocaine aboard. I wonder if the shares of speedboat companies in Galicia are bucking current market trends.

There’s an almighty public row taking place between the Ministress of Development and Iberia over who is responsible for the appalling delays visited on travellers at Madrid airport over the past week or so. Indeed, the former has said she’ll be taking legal action against the latter, and/or summoning them to answer to a parliamentary committee. If so, this would be a first for a publicly listed company. Meanwhile, Iberia has taken out full-page ads in the national newspapers referring to the work-to-rule strike of their pilots, admitting their service hasn't been at its customary high level and offering an apology to all concerned. I have no personal experience of the airline but my impression is the reference to high quality service may cause one or two hollow laughs. Or at least wry smiles.

Talking of strikes – Spain’s judges say they’re so fed up with the treatment they’re getting from the government that they plan to drop quills, as it were, some time later this year. Which will do absolutely nothing at all for the reputation of the country’s infamously slow tribunals.

Finally, it seems no organisation in Spain can resist the temptation to sell good building land near the sea. Up in Galicia, the Roman Catholic church will be getting 14 million euros for a plot which happens to be within the 500 metre legal limit. The excuse given by an Episcopal spokespriest is that there are already some houses between the planned properties and the Galician main. It sometimes seems in Spain that the problem is not that there are too few laws but that there are too many. One for you, one for me and one for that Archbishop over there. Or maybe I’m just confused by the niceties of the law.

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