Friday, September 30

Pork Pies and Pickles

A long traditional match of two different food stuffs seems to have entered the political arena this week. For many years we have associated Pork Pies with that other cold food, a jar of Pickles. It appears Eric Pickles is carrying on that tradition with his love of Pork Pies.

This week Mr Pickles has come back with his misinformation about weekly waste collections and basic rights. In the past he has claimed that it is a 'basic right' that we have weekly (non-recycling) waste collections. If this is true, is the fat man going to take this campaign to the United Nations and have a mandate drawn up so that the 6 billion (and counting) humans on this planet all have this basic right??

The lack of logic and misinformation in claiming weekly waste collections are a basic right is astounding. Hiding behind the 'carrot' of £250 million that Pickles found, is a political ideology intent on going against waste reduction and environmentally sustainable management of waste. The ideology states that choice comes before the environment and the vocal minority have a right to force weekly collections on us, just because they are often kick up a fuss with their local MP or councillor.

Giving people what they desire often has damaging consequences. Certainly in Havant Borough the system we have works for the vast majority, but Pickles does no one any favours by using national funding to influence local issues. Pickles is using central government funding to manipulate 'localism' and to do what central government want, this is left wing ideology wrapped up in a thin layer of Conservative packaging.

Backlash against Pickles in the Twittersphere -

Press Association - Weekly bin funding plan attacked
Dorothy Thornhill, deputy leader of the LGA Lib Dem group, said: "Eric Pickles has revealed his true colours as an extreme centraliser. His statement flies in the face of the coalition Government's commitment to localism. It appears that local services must be provided according to Eric Pickles' demands." 
Business Green - Waste Industry Blasts Pickle's Weekly Collection Plans
In a statement, the CIWM (Chartered Institute of Waste Management) said the £250m could have been better spent on widening the range of materials collected for recycling, especially food waste, which it said was the main area of householder concern regarding collection frequency.

Thursday, September 29

Daleks taking over Waterlooville?


Daleks have been spotted in the Waterlooville area, run for the hills!

Robert LLewellyn reviews the electric Ford Transit

Excellent video that takes a look at the new Transit van:

Toilet repairs!

Last year I got heavily ripped off by a plumbing franchise that over charged me for a simple repair. Recently the flush stopped working on my toilet and I was loath to find a plumber again to fix it. I think they would have charged at least £50, probably £100 would have been closer to the mark.

So I decided to research the components via the DIY stores web sites (B&Q and Wickes) and spotted the Syphon component I needed, total cost £16.99 (bought the component from the local store, not online).

Here is a photo of the old unit (my loo is old fashioned). The new unit is black plastic and does the same job. Had to turn the water off and emptied the cistern before making the replacement. I also tied back the ball cock lever as an extra precaution to stop water getting into the cistern whilst working on it.

Anyway, once the old syphon had been removed I discovered the only fault was that the thin plastic 'valve' had split in two and could probably be repaired with some new plastic cut to shape.
I decided to put the new syphon in and try and repair the old one, to be used as a back up in case the new one breaks in the future.

Thankfully the toilet is working again. Total cost, £16.99 and completed in about 30 minutes!

Tuesday, September 13

The consequences of car dependency, supermarkets and online shopping...

The old Post Office building, briefly came back to life as a cafe, now
unoccupied.Email and other electronic communications have
reduced business for most Post Offices.

A row of shops near Waterlooville library unoccupied, although one is
being taken up by the Naomi House charity

The Curzons and a small unit next door. The Curzons has been empty
for how many years?
Another empty shop unit not far up from the library

Sunday, September 11

Climate Change still a major issue

Climate change is just as much on the political agenda as it ever was and the climate deniers/skeptics have been just as busy trying to make claims that there are no problems. I think this latest from the Climate Denial Crock of the Week series makes a clear point from an American perspective:

So what is new in the science??

Not a lot really, despite all the shocking misinformation put forward by the denialsphere, the climate is still warming and the science continues to offer evidence that it is humans that are causing it.

Recently physicist Jasper Kirkby and his team conducted an experiment at CERN to try and prove that the Sun and cosmic rays (protons) are responsible for seeding clouds and hence regulate climate. The results published in Nature last month have been discussed quite a bit but are inconclusive because the particles in the experiments chamber created by the protons are to small to seed clouds. He does however intend to do further experiments, so the results are likely to be fed into models and climate science in general.

Also recently the Spencer and Braswell paper published in a journal called Remote Sensing suggested that there would be far less warming than the majority of scientists have been predicting. However the paper came under a lot of criticism partly because the model used by Spencer was over simplified, partly because he published the paper in a journal with a specialism on the borders of climate science. More recently Andrew Dessler has a paper in press that criticises the maths/science of the Spencer/Braswell paper.

On top of all the criticism, the editor in chief of Remote Sensing stepped down because he realised the Spencer/Braswell paper probably was not of sufficient quality and the journal had not the expertise to review the paper effectively. Spencer has also been criticised for deviating from science and delving into politics and economics, publicly stating his political views and his purpose in life.

For more information, the Skeptical Science web site (which recently won an award) has some useful articles:

So what has been happening around the world this year?

1. Arctic ice extent is again at a record low, similar to 2007.  So despite the claims the planet is (bizarrely) cooling, the average ice extent is continuing downwards. Why else would nations and oil companies be interested in these regions?

2. The US has suffered a very serious drought and wild fires as shown in the video above and news reports.

3. King Crabs have been found on the edges of the Antarctic.

4. Research has shown that species migration away from the equator towards the poles is about 20cm per hour.

Just a few observations out of many around the world, that our warming of the planet is gradually have an impact. But it isn't predicted to be gradual forever, positive feedbacks are likely to make things worse.

Tuesday, September 6

Polar Talk

Just spotted a talk called The Frozen Planet at Portsmouth Grammar School on 24th November, looks good. More details at The News.