Saturday, July 30


We have frogs. The frogs spawn, produced a lot of tadpoles, which produced some frogs in the little pond. Just hope the local cats don't get them. We also have to be careful not to tread on one, since there is a path by the pond.

You can just see one a a dark patch of slime here

This shot shows two, one hiding under a pebble

A better shot of the hiding frog. 
Note the metalwork is to stop cats and kids.

Friday, July 29

Plastic bags re-surface

In January and February 2008 I posted some articles about plastic bags found in trees and hedgerows around Waterlooville. As a result of my campaign, nationally supermarkets began a voluntary scheme to reduce plastic bags being handed out at the checkouts (ha, well I wish I had that much influence).
Supermarkets claimed that they reduced the number of bags they were handing out for free by (I think) 40%.

Is it just me that has noticed that after an initial effort to get checkout staff to reduce the number of bags handed out, the staff where ever you went, started going back to their old ways and automatically pulled out the bag with the assumption that you need one.

In some respects, I don't blame the staff, however even when you buy a small item, a checkout person will still offer a bag, even though the item can be carried or dropped in your pocket. This suggest management training is pushing them, along with consumer laziness.

So today the Guardian reports that bag use is going back up and Defra are preparing for legislation after a failure of the voluntary code. Something has to be done, leaving it to competing monopolistic institutions such as supermarkets, will not achieve the desired results.

Thursday, July 28

Sainsburys are back

This was always going to happen, but none the less, it isn't particularly welcome. Today Councillors at Havant Borough Council were voting on the latest plans Sainsbury are putting forward for their proposed Waterlooville store.

Sainsburys always intended to come back with a new proposal and had been given indications that they might be successful with revised plans. These included the moving of the petrol station to where the current recycling centre is. As soon as a date was set for the movement of the recycling centre to it's new home, then Sainsburys would go ahead by with a new application.

We have a nation of people with wide ranging skills and suitability to those skills, so in order to satisfy those skills we need many types of jobs. Creating 350 jobs at Sainsburys, will not only remove jobs from other shops (including the possibility of Waitrose), but will totally fail to create jobs for people who are unsuitable to work in that environment because their natural skills and education are better suited elsewhere.

Councillors at Havant have a long track record making bad decisions regarding our high streets, it looks like they are continuing that tradition.

Monday, July 25

Isentropic officially relocate to Hampshire

Energy storage start up Isentropic have officially moved from Cambridge to Segensworth near Fareham. The company are developing a Pumped Heat Energy Storage system that can be connected to the electricity grid. The advantage of the system is that it uses low cost abundant materials. The company moved to Hampshire to take advantage of advanced mechanical engineering skills in the area.

See press release and web site for more info.

Saturday, July 16

Fully Charged

Someone recently brought to my notice a new series of videos by Robert Llewellyn on the subject of electric cars called Fully Charged. The popular tv show he refers to in this first video is Top Gear. The series started last year and is well worth watching. This one is the pilot, since it was made, he has investigated the latest vehicles.

Sunday, July 3

Windtronics quiet and low wind speed turbine

This wind turbine was on the news about a year or two ago. An American start up designed a really simple wind turbine which had a few interesting features. The generator wires and magnets are around the rim or the turbine, this reduces the resistive forces that prevent turbine turning in low wind speeds. The end result is that it will continue turning even in very low wind speeds. It is also quiet because the turbine blades are enclosed so the tips produce less turbulence. This video demonstrates the low speed operation. The anemometer actually stops at one point, although, looking closely the anemometer is lower on the roof that the turbine.  So low obstructions on the roof could be interfering with the air flow close to the roof.
Also it should be pointed out that low wind speeds contain less energy, so despite the fact the turbine is spinning, it might not be producing much energy. Having said that, I know one Canadian company working on low speed generators for wind turbines claimed a potential 50% increase in output, by capturing the energy from low speed winds:

Read more at the company web site: Windtronics