Monday, April 10

Brantanos goes into administration

Having ripped apart Waterlooville shopping centre a number of years ago, Brantanos has itself gone into failure mode.

Waterlooville once had about half a dozen or so shoe shops, in fact Subways is now in the location of one of them. When Brantanos appeared in the retail park all but two of the shops closed down. A combination of Havant Borough Councils mismanagment and the greed of retail park developers allowed Brantanos to plonk itself outside the shopping centre.

Consumer choice and hence competition was reduced locally.

Sunday, April 9

Tories continue to push anti-environment agenda

Latest news which is supported by local Hampshire Conservative thinking regarding the economy and the environment shows that the Tories are brushing aside environmental issues when negotiating trade deals following the UK leaving the EU.

Local Tories have regularly expressed that the economy comes before environmental concerns when discussing environmental issues. This is highlighted by MP Alan Maks campaign to only ever discuss business and the economy, even when there is a terrorist attack!

This attitude (ignorance or arrogance?) is also reflected in national policy according the
national press. The Times report that both Climate Change and Illegal Wildlife trade are to be ignored during trade negotiations.

Why are we winding back time?

Monday, April 3

The Expanse scientific realism and politics

Yes us 'green' folk understand science. This blog post is again not the normal thing I write about, but The Expanse is an exception.

Some articles about The Expanse (Netflix in the UK) science:


A detailed description of the launch of the Nauvoo, a giant interstellar ship paid for by the Mormons:

The Coriolis effect and other things:

The best SciFi TV show (ever?) that you are not watching:

It's a great pity that The Expanse isn't more widely available. Hopefully it will eventually.
Google Play appear to have place holders for the episodes broadcast by SyFy, but they aren't available on Google Play to purchase yet. One can only assume that they have rights to 'rent' and sell episodes at a later date.The Expanse is available on DVD and Blu-Ray discs in the US, but not anywhere else. I don't really understand why they limit access? These days it is normal to get a product out to as many outlets as soon possible.
Meanwhile if you have access to Netflix, it is a must see.

Season 2 sneak peek:

Solar energy cuts demand to the National Grid

As I have pointed out in past blogs, solar panels placed on home and business roofs remove the electricity demand that those properties have on the National Grid. It turns out that is also what the National Grid think and it is reflected in their supply and demand calculations.
Robert talks about solar energy and various other renewable energy topics. Apparently Trump used a spoof information poster about wind turbines to support fake science and personal views about wind energy.

Saturday, March 25

Exploring Berewood and Wellington Park

A few photos I took during my recent exploration of the new housing developments.
Some mature trees have been left alone. The new school is in the background.


Looking towards Waterlooville through the Berewood Estate. St Georges church clock tower can be seen in the distance.

More homes on the Berewood estate. The drainage systems are found throughout the estate. Yep, the joys of moronic British 'political' boundaries means that these Waterlooville homes are in the boundaries of Winchester City Council 21 miles away, as opposed to Havant Borough Council 5.4 miles away.

Paths and roads have been created joining different parts of the developing areas. Many of the roads are currently blocked off until the development work is completed.

Another drainage system, new homes in the distance.

There is a bridge that connects Berewood with Wellington Park. Like many of the roads it is blocked off, although it is open to cyclists and pedestrians. The wood crash barrier is a nice feature and gets thumbs up here! Why can't all crash barriers look like this!

The stream as seen from the bridge.

Not all the Wellington Park homes look ugly brick boxes. These are boxes, but they have wood cladding. Why can't the whole estate look like this?

Sunday, March 19

The Expanse vs Battlestar Galactica

This isn't the normal sort of subject I blog about, but The Expanse is probably the hottest Science Fiction series out now (available in the UK on Netflix) and I like science fiction.

Battlestar Galactica (the remake) has been praised as being a cutting edge expensive modern Sci-Fi series, but the fact is much of it is a low cost 'soap' with very few CGI sequences. Plus of course the science portrayed is largely garbage. I picked up season 2 to 4 of Battlestar on DVD for £2.75, so it looks like it hasn't stood the test of time. That's a huge number of episodes for next to nothing.

The same can not be said for The Expanse which has just started it's second series in the US on the SyFy channel. The first season was very addictive with the storyline progressing throughout the season (unlike Star Trek where episodes are self contained).

The Expanse is set about 200 years into the future, Mars and the Asteroid Belt are both colonised with Earth governed by the UN (probably the least convincing part of the scenario!). Mars and the Belt have their own governments or political factions and none of the three factions seem to trust each other.
This leads to many undeclared battle scenarios where space stations and ships are destroyed with much loss of life. There are many acts of genocide, but remember this is space and it is vast, so you can get away with murder. It can take hours to send a message for help across the solar system, then it can take hours for help to arrive, by which time the crooks have left the scene (or not!). It turns out the writers love these delays because it reintroduces old style problems of communication, eliminated by modern smart phone technology.
Flushing someone out of an airlock is an instant answer to any personal or political disagreement.

What does stand out by far is the attention to engineering and science detail. Unusually for science fiction The Expanse (with the exception of the space ships main rocket engines and unusually normal gravity on small astroids!) does take real science into account.

The ships are armed with kinetic weapons, not lasers. There are few or no explosions when these kinetic projectiles hit their target, they smash up their targets or produce holes in the hulls.
This means that if you are on the receiving end of one of these space projectiles you need to be suited up because the big holes in your ship will vent atmosphere (Whipple shields don't offer much protection).

The weapons used are the space equivalent of the modern Phalanx CIWS and instead of laser flashes, you see tracers fly across space to their target. The big Mars and Earth battleships have rail guns (electric guns). Missiles are also used and they can carrying nuclear warheads.

Gravity is another thing that is taken seriously in The Expanse. The ships do not fly unrealistically in space like aircraft (as in Star Wars and Star Trek), they have to manoeuvre using thrusters and rocket engines. To make a 180 degree turn, a ship first has to use manoeuvring thrusters to make the turn and then the main engines to de-accelerate to a stop and accelerate in the new direction.

Gravity onboard these huge ships does not exist unless there is acceleration or de-acceleration (or there is a centrugal force system). The ships are built like skyscrappers with the engine at the equivalent of 'ground level'. When they accelerate, all the decks (skycrapper floors) experience artificial gravity, sometimes to much!

When there is no gravity onboard ship, crew engage their magnetic boots to walk around, these can be turned on and off instantly with a click of the heel.

Is all this science bad for the narrative and story?

Hell no. The story includes an element of fantasy and an engaging plot. If you like politics, mystery, intrigue, 'alien' culture, who dunnit etc. then they all exist in The Expanse.
Some unofficial space war science at Atomic Rockets web site:

Season 2 trailer:

Saturday, February 25

Froggy is back

Mr or Mrs Frog is back in the garden, keeping guard on a lot of frogs spawn again.