next whenever

It appears from a couple of confusing arrangements recently that Americans1 who say e.g. ‘next Friday’ mean ‘Friday next week’. Whereas I, being literal-minded, interpret it as ‘counting from today (which is Monday), the next Friday is Friday this week’. In other time-related language, people here say ‘quarter of’, and I still can’t remember if […]

Health Care Debate part 1

I’ve been meaning to write comparing British and US health care for a while, but it’s not a very easy topic to get around. However it is the main subject in the news these days so it’s about time I weigh in. The most emotive piece I’ve heard on the radio this week was from […]

election edition followup

In which I may express an opinion I took my wife to her polling place this morning, and there was a queue to get in – she’d said before she’d never had to queue. Since I wasn’t going to vote, I left her there and carried on my way to the office. I’ve heard about […]

US vs. UK election edition

So US election day is here, which leads me to compare how things work here compared to home. As a first comment I’ll point out that I’m not allowed to vote, since I’m not a US citizen. If I’m lucky I may get to vote in 2010. Like a lot of things in the US, […]

US vs. UK pencils

Thanks to XKCD – Scantron and Wikipedia – Pencil today I learned that there is a different system for grading the hardness of pencils in the US. US ‘#2’ roughly equals European ‘HB’.


Today’s “TripAdvisor Photo of the Day” is on Oxford Street, looking towards Selfridges. I recognised it immediately because it’s just round the corner from where I worked for many years. It made me sad.

housing in the Boston area

My latest ‘project’ is… buying a house. (Sorry, not much geekery involved here.) My wife and I have been looking at houses for a few months, so it’s been interesting to compare the typical features of houses here with those where I grew up. Where I come from, normal houses are invariably built of brick […]

US vs. UK driving

It is about two months since we bought a car here, so I’m starting to feel slightly more comfortable with the US kind of driving. Whenever I mention learning to drive here to someone, they tend to reply with a comment about driving on the other side of the road. While being on the other […]