Roe Valley Newsbrowser on-line since 1997


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July 2012

The Nartello tower outsice Limavady

The Jubilee beacon Part II

It appears that Limavady Council are going to have another go at trying to light the Jubilee Beacon.  As we reported last month, the first attempt fizzled out because the venue was changed to 'Benevenagh point' - where ever that may be. More than a hundred people were left waiting in the dark without either a beacon or even a cup of tea.

On the 27th of this month another attempt is going to be made to light the thing. They say this will happen at the Gortmore Viewing Point, so that is obviously not the place to go. If readers would like to have a guess where that beacon is actually going to be lit, please drop a line to the editor.

We will publish the most imaginative (clean!) answers

disabled toilet

Call the plumber

This month's silly sign can be found in many different places because it is a sign-writer's favourite. Our sample was spotted in the local college, a place where one would think that students are learned to talk proper!

All we can suggest is: Why put up a sign - why not just fix the thing if it doesn't work?

And here is a link to our famous 'Silly Signs' collection

The Longest Day

If some of our readers felt that the first day of this month felt unusually long and dreary, they would have been quite right, because the 1st of July was the longest day of the year. In fact, it was precisely 1 second longer than any other day of the year 2012. This is because the people who have better clocks than the rest of us, decided to insert a leap second at midnight on the 30th of June 2012. But because of British Summertime, this actually happened at 1 o'clock on the 1st of July. Experienced readers will instantly know by now, that the rest of this article is going to be wonderfully complicated!

The time standard clocks adhere to is UTC - Coordinated Universal  Time - and all  computers, electronic items and alarm clocks - if they are on time - adhere to this standard.  In the UK this is broadcast by the National Physical Laboratory via the Anthorn (formerly Rugby) transmitter. This broadcasts the time measured by the atomic clock in the NPL laboratory.

Unfortunately our planet is not so precise. The revolution of the earth around its axis is slowing down. This is caused by tidal friction, earthquakes and other natural variations. Hence a correction has to be made every once in a while.  The News Browser - sparing no expense - commissioned the writing of a special computer program to show the insertion of the leap second in greater detail. Two screen shots from this are shown below.

Before:  -600ms


After: +400ms


The yellow graph represents the signal from the atomic clock as it is broadcast. The line of 0's and 1's is the decoded signal. Below this are partitions showing what each of the binary groups represents : offset, year, month, day  and so on. We have pointed to the interesting bits with red text.

The top picture shows the signal from the atomic clock before the change was made. Notice the six markers indicating that UTC was 600 milliseconds behind Greenwich Mean Time.

The bottom picture was taken after the leap second was inserted. Notice that the markers have changed to +400 ms. From  -600ms  to  +400ms is exactly 1 second.

Isn't all this wonderfully complicated and interesting?  You can watch a recording of the above procedure via the link below:

video of the 2012 leap second

Some very wet fields

The Agricultural Show

This event at the end of last month, was unfortunately marred by incessant rain, which drenched the fields to such an extent that only people wearing very high boots dared to walk about.

As can be seen by the car park to the right of our picture, attendance was quite good. But notice the mown fields on the left. Normally these would be covered by dozens of horse trailers and their two- and four-legged occupants. But this year the ground was so soft, that the two-leggers decided that they might get stuck in the mud and never get out again, and hence only very few of them attended.

It is not known what the horses made of all this.

The three first yachts

The clipper round the world yacht race

At the beginning of this month all but one yacht in the 'Clipper Round the World Yacht Race' have arrived in the harbour of that town at the end of Lough Foyle with the long name.

The yacht still to arrive is the Qingdao, which for unknown reasons left America, went a third of the way across the Atlantic, returned to America and then came back again. We suspect that either someone forgot a toothbrush or they have a very faulty compass.

Our picture on the left - taken by  Maurice Quinn - shows the first three boats to arrive. On the right is the Gold Coast from Australia, which won this lap. 

Place two was taken by the 'Singapore' - the boat in the middle - and third place went to the yacht on the left. This one is called 'Welcome to Yorkshire' - a name nearly as awkward as Derry/Londonderry!


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Limavady signpost with a collie

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