Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Adam and Alex from Plasma Music TV @PlasmaMusicTV

Today we talked to Adam and Alex from Plasma Music TV, which is an internet broadcast studio for live video broadcasts of music artists.  PMTV has been running for about one year; Alex and Adam both have experience in audio broadcasting, however the video aspect of the production was new to them.  They started off just having local artists on the show but they have recently booked a band from France.  Many of the bands they've featured, such as the Hidden Jules and Starseedz, have also been guests on our very own Drivetime Sessions. If you visit their website, you can buy tickets for some of their fabulous shows.  All the money generated from ticket sales go to thank the volunteer crew.  Just go to the website, and navigate to 'audience' to buy tickets.  If you are a musician and you'd like to apply to be on the show, visit the website and go to the 'artist' area to apply.

This is a not for profit endeavour, however Adam and Alex are looking for sponsorship.  If you are a business and you would like to sponsor PMTV, get in touch via the website.
Plasma Music TV are looking for presenters. If you're charismatic, with a passion for local music and interested in volunteering email: anr@plasmamusic.tv
Plasma Music TV's website
PMTV's twitter: @PlasmaMusicTV

Charlotte's Film Club: The Danish Girl

This week's Film Club focusing upon Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander continues today with 2015's 'The Danish Girl'.

This historic drama is inspired by the lives of Danish artists Lili Elbe and Gerda Wegener. Lili (Eddie Redmayne) and Gerda's (Alicia Vikander) marriage and work evolve as they navigate Lili's groundbreaking journey as a transgender pioneer.

The film won an Oscar for Vikander's 'Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role'.

Monday, 30 October 2017

Charlotte's Film Club: The Light Between Oceans

It's the first official week of 'Charlotte's Film Club', and now that she's been given full control of the Film Vaults, anything could come up! This week, in celebration of their recent marriage, the theme is films "starring Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander"

Tom is a World War I veteran who lives with his wife Isabel in a lighthouse on the shore off Australia. Isabel's prayers for a child are answered when an infant washes up on shore in a rowboat, despite Tom's thoughts they should notify the authorities. Fate strikes again when they meet the babies' mother on the mainland, and must make a life-altering decision.

Michael Fassbender, Alicia Vikander and Rachel Weisz star.


#AI computer beats all of humanity at Go, #OCD gene, #SotM Eva Crane and Leonid #meteor shower - Radio Verulam Science Feature 30-10-2017 with @smrolfe

AI Go-playing computer beats all of humanity

Artificial intelligence has come a long way in just a few years – previously unable to beat human players, computers have now beaten the best human players in the world time and again.
DeepMind, a Google project, has an AI player called AlphaGo. The normal approach for the AI to learn the game was to watch thousands of hours of humans playing humans to learn strategies and techniques. The newest AI player, AlphaGo Zero, didn’t bother with watching humans play, it simply started playing Go against itself. A mere three days later, having honed its skills over 4.9 million games in this time AlphaGo Zero beat a predecessor version 100-0. This predecessor had trained for several months and had previously beaten the 18-times (human) world champion.
Advanced AI like this can be applied computer learning and problem solving, not just game playing. It can help solve scientific and complex problems such as protein folding (a team is already working to apply this method to this), climate science, drug discovery and quantum chemistry.
However, it currently relies on the fact that the self-taught AI has to learn based on the rules it is given. Simple rules are ok, but tasks quickly become more challenging and then impossible, the more rules and complexity there is, such as driving.

Source: New Scientist Magazine, 21st October 2017

Genes linked to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

A team working at MIT and Harvard, led by Hyun Ji Noh, have identified four genes that are linked to OCD. The genes are active in parts of the brain (the striatum, thalamus and cortex regions) that control learning and decisions. In people with OCD, the messages passing between these regions can become corrupted, suggesting it can be harder for sufferers to tell whether a situation is safe or risky.
A genetic link also suggests that it is possible that you are more likely to develop the disorder if a close relative has it, though of course it is possible to develop it if no family member has it and it doesn’t mean that you would develop it if a parent has it.
Understanding this genetic link adds to the hope that better treatments can be developed. For example, by developing a drug that reverses the effect by targeting the linked genes or the pathway it regulates.

Source: New Scientist Magazine, 21st October 2017, Nature Communications DOI: 10.1038/s41467-017-00831-x

Scientist of the Month

Eva Crane (1912 – 2007)

Her work culminated in two seminal textbooks: Bees and Beekeeping: science, practice and world resources and The World History of Beekeeping and Honey Hunting.

Originally a lecturer in physics at Sheffield University, with a BSc in mathematics, an MSc in quantum mechanics and a PhD in nuclear physics, her resulting lifetime work and interest in bees began when she and her husband were gifted a beehive for their wedding, where the giver hoped it would help supplement their wartime sugar ration.

She was shy and self-effacing and wrote over 300 papers, articles and books, contributing widely to the subject. She founded the Bee Research Association in 1949, an organisation with international aims, but only became the International Bee Research Association in 1976. She also formed the Eva Crane Trust, with aims to advance the understanding of bees and beekeeping by the collection, collation and dissemination of science and research worldwide.

Sources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eva_Crane

Night Sky this month

13th Nov: Conjunction of Venus and Jupiter
               Can be seen between 6:15 and 7:15 am (before sunrise) on the eastern horizon. The planets will appear only 0.3 degrees apart, so less than the diameter of the full Moon (0.5 degrees).

17th/18th Nov: Peak of the Leonids Meteor Shower
               Has a rate of 15 meteors per hour. Meteors appear to radiate from the constellation of Leo, but can appear anywhere in the sky. Best viewed after midnight, from a dark location. This meteor shower results from the debris trail left by the comet Temple-Tuttle, discovered in 1865.

18th Nov: New Moon
               The new Moon will help with viewing the Leonids meteor shower.

Source: http://www.seasky.org/astronomy/astronomy-calendar-2017.html

Friday, 20 October 2017

The Radio Verulam Film Guide: Friday 20th October 2017

So, I've got a confession to make. Sometimes, Simon and Danny pre-record the film guide. I know, I know, you're shocked. What's even more shocking is that the pre-record for today's show happened in July 2003. Simon, who used to be a bit boring and repressed, not the flamboyant and expressive character you see today, managed to successfully predict the UK box office top 10, as well as all the new releases in the cinema this week. How did he do it, you say? Well, theories vary. One is that Simon is a Dr Who-esque timetraveller (which is why he wears all that beige, because beige blends in boringly into whichever time period you're in); another is that he's some kind of wizard or warlock. My personal view is that he is a being outside of time and space, one who sees all of history and all of the future at once, which is why he occasionally seems to space out and lose touch with this reality. That's my theory at least.

Ok, that was a lie, but Simon was in the studio to talk about the UK box office, new releases in the cinema, and his pick of films on TV for the coming week.

11.35pm – 1.40am

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
6.45pm – 10.20pm

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
6.25pm – 10.00pm

11.05pm – 1.10am

11.55pm – 1.40am

Tomorrow Never Dies
9.00m – 11.25pm

Unlikely Angel
1.00pm – 3.00pm
True Entertainment

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Charlotte's Film Club: Kingsman 2

Charlotte rounds off her first official week of being in charge of the Film Club with another recent release and sequel, "Kingsman 2".

After the events of the first film, the Kingsman must face a new enemy as their headquarters are destroyed and the world is held hostage, and band together with the American secret service 'The Statesmen'. In an adventure that tests their strength and wits, the elite secret agents from both sides of the pond band together to battle a ruthless enemy and save the day, something that's becoming a bit of a habit for Eggsy.

The film features an all-star cast, including; Taron Egerton, Colin Firth, Mark Strong, Halle Berry, Juliane Moore, Channing Tatum and Jeff Bridges.


Ian McNabb from 'The Icicle Works'

Our guest this week was Ian McNabb, from the 1980s band 'The Icicle Works', who had a hit with 'Love is a Wonderful Colour', which reached #15 in 1984.  The band broke up in 1990 but reunited in 2006 for a series of UK concerts.  Ian has also had a solo career, and has worked with artists such as Ringo Starr.  He was also a member of band 'The Wild Swans'. 

Ian McNabb and the Icicle works are playing at Harpenden Public Halls on the 20th October. Tickets are available: click here

Ian's website: click here
Ian's Twitter: @empiresend

If you want to listen to the program again, click here:

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

The Drivetime Sessions with @Thepapersnakes sponsored by @FightingCocksSA

On this weeks Drivetime Sessions we were joined by local artists The Paper Snakes! They performed their singles 'On My Own', 'Do The Walk' and a cover of Stevie Wonder's 'I Wish'.

For more information on The Paper Snakes, including details of their upcoming gigs, you can visit their Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/thepapersnakes

If you would like to listen to the Drivetime Sessions again then visit listenagain.radioverulam.com and navigate to Wednesday at 5:30.

Charlotte's Film Club: Blade Runner 2049

Following on from Charlotte's pick yesterday of "Blade Runner", today the Film Club looks at the recently released sequel "Blade Runner 2049".

The Denis Villeneuve-directed sequel to the neo-noir classic sees Ryan Gosling as new Blade Runner Officer K, who discovers a long-buried secret when hunting down replicants that threatens to change society dramatically. To get answers, he must track down Rick Deckard, who has not been seen for thirty years.

Along with Gosling, Harrison Ford, Jared Leto and Ana De Armis star.


Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Charlotte's Film Club: Blade Runner (The Final Cut)

Charlotte continues to rule over this weeks Film Club today, looking at the final cut of  Sci-fi classic "Blade Runner" today, in anticipation for the recently released sequel.

Set in a bleak distant future, Harrison Ford plays Deckard, a man who is searching for escaped ‘replicants’,androids who look just like humans.  Directed by Ridley Scott it also stars Rutger Hauer in a memorable role as Ford's nemesis, Young and Edward J Olmos.

Monday, 16 October 2017

Charlotte's Film Club: The Mountain Between Us

Chris, after several years of diligent service, has decided to pass the reigns of the Film Club onto someone younger and more knowledgeable about films! Shocker! In his place, Charlotte has been given control of the Film Club, starting us off with 2017 release "The Mountain Between Us".

This dramatic thriller sees two strangers stranded on a mountain together after a plane crash work together to endure the extreme elements of the remote terrain. Realizing that help is not on the way, they embark on a perilous journey across hundreds of miles of wilderness, pushing each other to survive and discovering their inner strength.

Kate Winslet and Idris Elba star.


Theatre update

David Widdowson from OVO joined us tonight providing an update on upcoming local events.

The Crucible

8th – 18th November 2017
Maltings Arts Theatre, St Albans
By Arthur Miller | Directed by Janet Poddhttp://www.ovotheatre.org.uk/#section-coming-soon-two

A Musical Tour of Europe
20th & 21st October 20.00 at the Maltings Art Theatre

St Albans Chamber Opera present A MUSICAL TOUR OF EUROPE via London, Paris Vienna, Berlin, Prague, Seville, Venice and many more. With Verdi, Mozart, Puccini, Handel, Bizet, Strauss and others.
Hazel Neighbour… Soprano, Olivia Barry…. Mezzo, Peter Martin… tenor, Jonathan Saunders… Baritone. With the SACO chorus and Julian Barber MD at the piano.

Tickets: £15

More details can be found at the web site

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Chris' Film Dump: Funny People

Chris saves the best (or worst?) for last on the Film Dump this week, looking today at Adam Sandler drama from 2009 "Funny People".

Recently learning that he has a fatal disease, comic George Simmons (Adam Sandler) spots a struggling performer named Ira (Seth Rogen) and decides to become his mentor. As George teaches Ira the art of stand-up comedy they become close friends, with Ira helping George define his legacy. When an old flame (Leslie Mann) reappears and the disease goes into remission, George gets a chance to re-evaluate his life and figure out what is truly important to him.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

The Drivetime Sessions with @GraeJ Wall & Los Chicos Muertos! Sponsored by @FightingCocksSA

On this week's Drivetime Sessions we were joined by the blues and folk band Grae J and Los Chicos Muertos! They performed the singles 'Murder In Mind', 'Into The Sun' and a cover of Tom Petty's 'I Won't Back Down'.

For more information on Grae J and Los Chicos Muertos, including details of their upcoming gigs, you can visit their website at www.trashville.co.uk and their Facebook facebook.com/trashvilleuk

If you would like to listen to the Drivetime Sessions again then visit listenagain.radioverulam.com and navigate to Wednesday at 5:30.

Chris' Film Dump: Speed 2: Cruise Control

Chris continues to fill the "Film Dump" with features to avoid this week, today choosing  "Speed 2: Cruise Control".

Moving the action of the first film to a boat, Annie (Sandra Bullock) is looking forward to a Caribbean cruise with her cop boyfriend, Alex (Jason Patric), but their trip (unsurprisingly) turns dangerous. When an explosion disables the ship's communication system and it becomes clear that the vessel is under someone else's control, Alex and Annie must fight for survival as they discover that John Geiger (Willem Dafoe), a crazed passenger, is behind the chaos.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Chris' Film Dump: The Man with the Iron Fists

Continuing to look at Films worth avoiding, "The Man with the Iron Fists" is the "Film Dump" entry for today.

This 2012 Martial Arts thriller sees a humble blacksmith settle down in a feudal Chinese village. When a band of warriors, assassins, and a rogue British soldier descend upon the village and its people, the blacksmith is left with no choice but to turn himself into a living weapon to protect his people.

RZA, Russell Crowe, and Lucy Liu star.


Health Matters - NHS Future, Stay Well, Patient Transport, Nascot Lawn

Four Issues in Tonight’s DriveTime

·         NHS Future is Precarious
·         Stay Well This Winter
·         Patient Transport
·         Nascot Lawn

1. NHS Future is Precarious says CQC
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) published a report this morning on the NHS highlighting
·         Staff shortages (vacancy rates up 16% over the last two years)
·         Bed shortages as a result of reduced capacity and bed blocking
·         Falling numbers of nursing home beds (down by 4,000 beds over 2 years)
·         1.2m people now not getting social care support they need (up 16% in 12 months)
While the quality of care was being maintained currently thanks to the efforts of staff, that resilience is not inexhaustible given the rising pressures. The report says “We are going to see a fall in the quality of services that are offered to people and that may mean that the safety of some people is compromised.”
Locally, we’re already experiencing this as a result of the Commissioning Groups £45m deficit; this leads to rationing and operational delays.

2. Stay Well This Winter
There’s a lot we can do to help ourselves, and this web site covers them all
·         Keep Warm – wrap up warm; keep your house warm; get help if you need it; watch out for others
·         Ten Common Problems, and how to deal with them! There are tips for each of them! They cover Heart Attacks,  Colds, Sore Throats, Asthma, Winter Sickness, Painful Joints, Cold Sores, Cold Hands & Feet, Dry Skin, and of course the FLU!
·         Watch Out For Winter Tiredness – get as much light as you can, sleep well, relax, and eat a healthy diet.

3. Patient Transport – another Commissioning Group problem!  The company providing patient transport in our area (“Private Ambulance Service”) went into receivership at the beginning of OCT. The local Ambulance Service is providing a caretaker service until new arrangements are completed.
Patients are being prioritised based on clinical need, but if you need any help call 01603 481 208; it operating weekdays 8:00 am to 6:00 pm each day.

4. Nascot Lawn – Nascot Lawn is a large Victorian house in Watford that has been converted to provide respite care for children with complex health needs and learning disability. In June our local commissioning group (HVCCG) announced that they were cutting £600K a year of funding to the unit. But, after the threat of a judicial review they have changed their position and Nascot Lawn, or rather what remains as some staff have already left, will remain open. A short-term relief for patients, but such a pity they’ve had to endure the last 4 months of chaos – and the future is still uncertain!

Have you been affected by these issues? Have you had a good or bad experience with the NHS in the last few weeks? Let us know here.  

Monday, 9 October 2017

Chris' Film Dump: Grown Ups

Chris is back on the Film Club, this week looking at Films worth avoiding on the 'Film Dump'!

Up first is 2010's 'Grown Ups', in which Adam Sandler, Kevin James and co. play a group of childhood friends reunited for the funereal of their old baseball coach. Picking up where they left off, the buddies -- with wives and children in tow -- discover why age does not, necessarily, equal maturity.

Salma Hayek, Chris Rock and David Spade also star.

Friday, 6 October 2017

The Radio Verulam Film Guide: Friday 6th October 2017

Simon, original lead singer of New Jersey rockers Twisted Sister, was in the studio to present the Film Guide today, but before he could start, the studio spontaneously burst into flames. Danny tried to tell everyone that it was because he was 'hot stuff', but people had long since stopped listening to Danny (both in person and on the radio) so that was quickly dismissed. A little investigative work was done, which determined that the source of the fire was Simon's chair. Digging a little deeper, it became clear that Simon was keeping a lit Cuban cigar in his back pocket. After everyone had finished facepalming, he explained that he had the cigar to celebrate successfully making it through a week without starting any fires. Oh Simon! 

Ok, that was a lie, but Simon was in the studio to talk about the UK box office, new releases in the cinema, and his pick of films on TV for the coming week.

American Hustle
12.10am – 2.30am
Channel 4

9.00pm – 11.40pm

11.05pm – 1.50am

10.00pm – 12.40am

I Origins
11.15pm – 1.25am

Legally Blonde
10.10pm – 12.10am

Les Misérables
12.45am – 3.55am

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Chris Film Club: Z for Zachariah

The Film Club week of "Dystopian Futures" comes to an end today with Chris' choice of 2015 drama "Z for Zachariah".

In the time following a disastrous event that has wiped out human civilisation, one scientist (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and one miner (Chris Pine) find themselves caught in a love triangle for the affection of what seems to be the last woman on earth (Margot Robbie).

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

The Drivetime Sessions with @abbie_gathard sponsored by @FightingCocksSA

On this weeks Drivetime Sessions we were joined by the talented folk singer Abbie Gathard! She performed her singles 'I Waited All This Time', 'Your Ex-Man' and a cover of Katie Melua's 'The Closest Thing To Crazy'.

For more information on Abbie Gathard, including details of her upcoming gigs, you can visit her Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/abbie.gathard15

If you would like to listen to the Drivetime Sessions again then visit listenagain.radioverulam.com and navigate to Wednesday at 5:30.

Chris' Film Club: Twelve Monkeys

Continuing to look at "Dystopian Films" this week, today Chris picks "Twelve Monkeys" from 1995 to discuss.

In the future, time travel has been invented and is going to be used to find a cure to the population-destroying virus that swept across the earth. Bruce Willis stars as the Convict chosen to gather information on the virus, but is left with little help aside from the manic Jeffrey (Brad Pitt).

Directed by Terry Gilliam, Brad Pitt won a Golden Globe for his supporting role.


Health Matters - Patient Transport

Urgent Update - Patient Transport
The Provider ceased trading; East of England Ambulance is providing the service. They have set up a contact centre telephone 01603 481 208, which is operating 8am – 6pm, Monday to Friday (with an answerphone taking messages outside of these times). All patients who are eligible for patient transport, and have transport booked for their next out-patient appointment, can call the contact centre to confirm their transport arrangements. Eligible patients should also use this number for making bookings.

We are encouraging users to phone the call centre for bookings or to confirm imminent journeys, rather than enquire more generally or ask about bookings into the future. In this way we can ensure that operators' time is freed up to help patients with urgent queries. Patients who can make their own way to their appointments are being asked to do that if they can. 

If you know anyone that needs to use patient transport to get to an NHS Facility, do let them know! Many thanks
Alan Bellinger

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Chris' Film Club: The Road

"Dystopian Futures" is this weeks theme selected by Chris, we continue looking at dark dramas with "The Road"from 2009.

Set many years after a grim catastrophe that left America as nothing but a grim wasteland, a man and his son aim to travel across the continent to make it to the sea. Along the way they must survive as best they can on what they can scavenge, and try to avoid roving gangs of savage humans who will turn them into slaves, or worse.

Viggo Mortensen and Kodi Smit-McPhee star as the two main characters.

Local Literary Feature with Chris Aikman @ccaikman

On the show today we had the first Local Literary Feature since coming back from our summer break, and sitting in the hot seat now is West Herts Drivetime's Chris Aikman, who has taken over from Marie Kemplay who sadly cannot present the feature any more.

On the feature this week Chris and Danny discussed the six books vying for the Man Booker Prize (4 3 2 1 by Paul Auster; History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund; Exit West by Mohsin Hamid;
Elmet by Fiona Mozley; Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders; and Autumn by Ali Smith), as well as the news that legendary writer Marcel Proust used to pay newspaper editors to review his books favourably.

Chris also chose two 'Books of the Month', one fiction and one non-fiction: Munich by Robert Harris and What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton. And finally Chris and Danny discussed big local literary event this month - The Chorleywood Literary Festival - that sees the likes of Richard Osman, A.N. Wilson, Andy McNab, Henry Blofeld, and St Albans' own Roger Protz all making appearances. For more information on the event please visit the website here.

Monday, 2 October 2017

Chris' Film Club: What Happened to Monday?

Chris is back with a new theme for this weeks Film Club, setting the theme as always on a Monday, look forward to a week of "Dystopian Futures", starting with "What Happened to Monday?".

Set in a future in which overpopulation has led to families being restricted to having one child, Noomi Rapace plays each sister in a family of identical septuplets, forced to hide the truth of their birth from the government. When one of their own disappears, the sisters must take action to find her.

Willem Dafoe and Glenn Close also star.

Health Matters - Nascot Lawn and Patient Transport

Two quick updates on decisions impacting people in our area.

1. Nascot Lawn – I mentioned Nascot Lawn in the last Health Matters - It is a large Victorian house in Watford that has been converted to provide respite care for children with complex health needs and learning disability. The local Commissioning Group (“HVCCG”) said it would close on OCT 1. But it hasn’t as, after pressure from key stakeholders, HVCCG reversed its decision. That’s a relief for many parents in our area; such a pity that they have been put through the trauma of the last three months.

2. Patient Transport – the company providing patient transport in our area (“Private Ambulance Service”) went into receivership over the weekend. The local Ambulance Service is providing a caretaker service until new arrangements are completed.

Although patients are being prioritised based on clinical need, this may lead to some disruption in the immediate term; if you are concerned about your transport then ring the hospital or care setting where you have your appointment. 

Have you been affected by either of these issues? Tell us how.

Alan Bellinger - 2/10/2017