Thursday, December 22

Waterlooville Christmas 2016

The flats that are replacing Swiss Cottage are near completion, solar panels mounted on the roof:

Old post office building still derelict.

Shops empty:

Betting shop takes prime position, flats replace office space in the background:

The Waterlooville story continues with mixed fortunes. The overall picture though is one of empty retail properties.

The future is bright and it's electric

Robert Llewellyn takes a look at 2016 and the future.
Don't mention Brexit or Trump...
2017 will see a huge number of electric vehicles being launched, plus they will get closer to a 300 mile range.

Friday, December 16

Trump ready to censor Climate Science?

It's been a big worry ever since Trump 'won' the US Presidential election this year. He appears to be siding with the anti-knowledge mob and is heading for the censorship of science and knowledge.

Why is this so?

Well science is basically non-political, it produces knowledge that may or may not be positive and 'beneficial' to humanity, how it is used is up to us. It is just there and may influence political decisions in a positive or negative way.

This BBC report sums up the current views regarding Trumps decisions even before he has taken up the position of US President:

According to the article:

  1. Trumps team asked for all the names of the Department of Energy scientists that had worked on Climate Change issues. Basically this is the equivalent of Hitlers party supporters denouncing un-German science and forcing the likes of Einstein to leave 1930s Germany.
    Is this an extreme view? Well you either believe in the freedom to do any science that may inform government and business decisions or you try and dictate what science can be done based on your ideological preference (censoring it).
    Witch hunting scientists for their work is very, very similar to what the Nazis did in the 1930s.
    Sorry if you disagree, but if you believe in democracy then you have to accept unwelcome scientific knowledge as well as the 'welcome' knowledge.

  2. Anthony Scaramucci one of Trumps team recently made comments on CNN comparing the ancient idea of the flat Earth with Climate Change. There is a big difference between ancient 'science' and modern science. Those that believed in the flat Earth did not try and prove that the theory was correct and did not collect data to prove it was correct.
    Modern science relies on the scientific method which did not develop until the 17th century, by today's standards the flat Earth theory does not stand up to scrutiny. Scaramucci's effectively assumes and bets on the assumption that in the future science will disprove current climate science knowledge. No normal sane decision maker bases political and social decisions by betting on what science might come up with in 100 years. You can only take on board what is known now and assume it is correct because it's based on existing knowledge that is tested and well proven (Infra Red radiation, Green House Effect and basic physics etc) verified by observation (temperature measurments, witnesses like farmers and other ordinary people, melting ice records, various species struggling or doing well, sea level rise etc.).

  3. As the Ex-NASA boss points out in the article both government and businesses depend on truthful and factual climate data. If it is altered or is no longer available, businesses will have a false picture of reality and such holes will be replaced lies, myths, rumour and hearsay. We would have gone back in time to a more primitive period. We would be living a lie.

  4.  On top of the above observations Trump has appointed Rick Perry and Scott Pruitt to positions where they are in charge of departments that they are critical of.
So far it looks like Trump will significant damage in order to achieve his 'dream'. 
Then there is Putin and Trumps love in.

One has to hope that the scientists can save the climate data and keep doing good science in defiance of Trump diktats and censorship.

Wednesday, December 14

Oscilloscope Music

As far as music goes, Oscilloscope Music won't be to everyones taste, however it is fascinating if you understand how it is produced. The animations in the video below were not graphically produced by a skilled animator or by a computer programme interpreting the music.
These animations are produced by the music itself. The signals that produce the sounds are fed into the X and Y inputs of an oscilloscope, this engineering and science instrument then displays the signals which happen to create the animations. So basically the sounds are engineered and synchronised to produce the animations, they music and animations are effectively one and the same thing!

Tuesday, November 29

X9 bus route to be 'cut'

News on the grape vine is that the X9 bus service from Hambledon and Denmead to Portsmouth is to be cut, I believe the revised route will be between Denmead and Waterlooville (i'm not sure about Hambledon).

The route is currently financially supported by the one or more of the councils and they are no longer willing to support it beyond Waterlooville.

The service is currently the only one from Waterlooville to the entrances of Queen Alexander hospital and there is no information regarding any replacement service that stops at the hospital. Other services from Waterlooville require a long walk and some steps to the main entrances, not very good for the elderly, injured etc.

The change is scheduled on the 8th or 9th January 2017, so if you care about those that need public transport, get writing to your MP and your councillor.

Friday, November 11

Saturday, November 5

Unelected Newspaper Corporations, they don't run this nation

On the issue of Brexit and recent media comments...

Some of our national press (Daily Mail, Express and Telegraph) are currently enemies of the people.

Parliament will determine our future, NOT fat cat media liars.

There could be a case for legal action to be taken against the editors and other officials of newspapers for inciting hatred.

The question is... Why did the Tories and UKIP con everyone into believing that we could easily leave the EU?

Anyone who is competent does their research thoroughly then decides whether they can achieve what they want, but of course political parties just make up policies to win support then find out later that they have lied to everyone and can't achieve what they sold to the public.

If people are angry, then it isn't the judges or Gina Millers faults, it is a combination of ignorant politicians and the lies they sold to some (Brexit) voters who do not understand how are democracy works.

10 years a blogging...

Yep, in October this year the blog became a 10 year old.

Here are a few of my favorite posts:

2007 - Costa invades
Where are the independent coffee shops in Waterlooville today? 

2008 - Thermostat settings are important
Yes, a 1 degree change can make a difference.

2009 - My plastic soap dispenser made by bacteria
I still use it regularly with Suma Ecoleaf liquid soap.

2010 - Is all Carbon the same?
and Ratepayer got it wrong about Cowplain bombing

2011 - Hampshire Cosmetics and solar power
and Wellington Park

2012 - Kitchen measuring jug explodes!
and June rainfall map

2013 -  Hambledon Parade views
 and Waterlooville spot the difference

2014 - Sticky weather

2015 - The end of Swiss Cottage

2016 - Flats built on Swiss Cottage site

Winchester City Council and McDonalds team up at Waterlooville

Now you see them (trees)...
Now you don't...
The developers original plan for the ex BAE site at Waterlooville resulted in numerous trees being retained. In fact contractors spent a lot of time making sure some trees were retained. But the company that make a lot of claims about their new found environmental husbandary after years of environmental abuse (remember the McLibel case?) has now walked onto the site and appear to have demanded the saved trees be felled so that we can all see their new drive in diabetes and obesity outlet. All the claims made by McDonalds appear to be hypocritical when they are happy to chop down a few trees and encourage people to drive (adding to carbon emissions) for a meal that is only worth a pound or two.

Yep, Winchester Council make a lot of effort to protect their precious pompous city but poop everywhere else.

Thursday, November 3

Tory Government defeated at court twice in one week

Defeat No. 1
Environmental lawyers (ClientEarth) won a battle with the Tories in court over air pollution in our cities and urban areas. The court ruled that the governments plans were inadequate and would not bring down pollution to legal limits. This is frankly a classic Tory case of ignoring a part of government duties and only focusing on duties that fit with their ideology, the part they are ignoring is of couse the environment and long term outcomes.
What have they been doing for the environment?
Closed DECC (Department of Energy and Climate Change), basically the department had the words Climate Change in it's title so it had no chance at all with the hypocrites taking over the Tories.
Closed the Energy and Climate Change Committee (because DECC closed).
Cut support for renewable energy and increased support for fossil fuels and nuclear energy.

Defeat No. 2
 The Tories have tried to dictate the way they operate within our democracy and have said that they don't need to consult our elected MP's about the Brexit details. It's bad enough that the referendum vote was marginal across the nation, but the Tories wanted to force their ideas on us and parliament, ideas that would be permanent. Looks like they might have to do the job they are employed to do, that is to slug out the details in a democratic and transparent manor.

So how long before the government is defeated on their climate change policy?
Today the UN accused governments of failing to reduce carbon emissions sufficiently, missing the 2030 target by 23%.

Friday, October 14

My energy bill is going up thanks to the Tories

Carbon taxes on my green energy supply mean my energy bill is going to increase.

Only the Tories would scupper good ideas that make this nation great.

Oh joy.

Sunday, October 2

Energy with a future and for our future

The fact is wind energy and Great Britain go together. Before the fall from 'Greatness' we harnessed the wind to build the British Empire. Wind is what powered the Royal Navy and hence made Britain Great.

40% of Europes wind resources are found in British territory. If wind were oil or coal then nations would be fighting for access to use this resource. Access to fossil fuels drove Germany and Japan during WWII, but today in Great Britain a minority of people drive the campaign to make us dependent on imported fossil and nuclear fuels.

As this video points out, the government has put in place legislation to stop the wind energy industry from being economically self supporting. Their alternative is to invest in extremely expensive nuclear energy funded by a European nation and China as well as the last dregs of gas in British rocks. Worse still, the science and design of these expensive nuclear white elephants is to be conducted by the foreign investors. This shows how poor we are in engineering and science skills today, the very thing that 'fuels' the development of mobile phones, computers and cars that British citizens love to buy.

There are a number of factors that make the UK the best place for wind.

1. We sit on one of the Earths wind belts which is located at a latitude of 60 degrees. At this belt, air from the Arctic and from the 30 degree latitude fall onto us, the Coriolis Effect makes the Arctic air come from the East (Polar Easterlies) and the 30 degree latitude air from the West (Prevailing Westerlies). These facts also determine how sailing vessels travel across the Atlantic.

2. Other factors include the Jet Streams (very fast winds in the upper atmosphere) and the Gulf Stream (warm water stream passing across the Atlantic). The Gulf Stream tends to keep Britain warmer than it normally should be at our latitude.

The following map shows the distribution of wind resources across Europe.


A few wind energy web pages and resources:

Thursday, September 15

Leaning tower of bricks

Two pallets of bricks leaning precariously towards an expensive iron fence and wall.
I estimate that the centre of gravity is well over to the left and it is close to toppling, potentially damaging the wall and fence. Hope the builders have good insurance!
It's also potentially a health and safety risk, since the wall/fence could fail and injure the owners of the neighbouring home.

 Yes it did topple over after heavy rains. In this photo the top pallet is now touching the iron fence.
The good news is that later in the day the top pallet of bricks had been lifted off and were placed on the drive along with an additional delivery of bricks.

Friday, September 2

National Grid boss gives the thumbs down to old school energy

A few days ago the new energy boss in charge of the nations national electricity grid surprised the Victorian old school (many of whom are probably UKIP supporters) by announcing that the future is distributed energy generation and 'smart' use of electricity (the smart grid).

This idea has long been proposed by this blog and many educated peeps that understand these things.

According to the BBC article Nicola pointed out that more people are generating their own electricity via solar and that technological advances reduce the need for conventional power stations. People and businesses are changing the way they use electricity with the help of software and computers.

Unfortunately unions (yes the 'left') are not helpful. The left bullshit just as much as the right when it comes to facts about cutting carbon emissions and the environment. They put political ideology before the environment. The Farmers Union is just as guilty in this respect when it comes to agricultural practices and food production.

The GMB union wants Hinkley Point C to be built purely on the basis of supporting members jobs and harking back to the 1950s and the great socialist dream of nationalised centralised power generation.

BBC article on the subject:

Blog posts:

Sunday, August 28

Another visit to the Hovercraft Museum

Visited the Hovercraft museum again now it is open regularly to the public:

SRN4 (cross Channel hovercraft) passenger cabin
One of the four SRN4 propulsion pylons
Front of an SRN4 with ramp down
Emergency instructions for an SRN4 captain to announce
Model of the doomed SECAM N500

Hover bike!

Lots of models

Illustration of an SRN3

Underneath an SRN5

SRN5 pilots position
Enough fans for you?

Sunday, August 7

More subsidies for fracking in the pipe line

The media today write about the proposals by Theresa May for additional financial support for fracking on top of existing financial support for fracking drilling operations.
It's not to hard to see the hypocrisy in the governments energy policies fueled by fears that votes will be lost if rural home owners are upset when a wind turbine is built within 100 miles of their home.

The government has cut ROC support for onshore wind farms and solar energy, both of which are crucial in cutting CO2 emissions and reducing energy costs for home owners.

The so called problem of intermittent renewable energy supply is a problem that is being solved by engineers and scientists. This year global energy storage capacity has doubled, it's a market that is growing rapidly and only ignorant Daily Mail writers think it's unsolvable.

World leading Fareham based energy storage company:

As well as this increased support for Fracking (and carbon emissions) Mays government has been quick to scrap the Climate Change cabinet position and close down the Department of Energy and Climate Change as a separate entity.

It seems that Climate Change are forbidden words within government despite it being a costly problem that needs real technology solutions.

Meanwhile global temperatures this year are already close to breaking the limits set by the Paris climate agreement intended to limit temperatures to a 1.5 degrees C increase. Ed Hawkins (University of Reading) has shown that this year temperatures increased by about 1.4 degrees:

Wednesday, July 27

Milton Road Roundabout bus stop - has a litter bin!

The Milton Road Roundabout bus stop finally gets a litter bin.
My first post on this subject was in August last year. The council finally did the right thing and there is now a bin. Not only that, it looks like it's being used.

See my previous posts and photos of the Costa cups and packaging that littered the floor.

Monday, July 18

Britain sells more 'crown jewels'

Today a British company of international importance was sold to a Japanese company for £24 billion.

The company named ARM Holdings revolutionised microprocessor design and development from 1983 onwards. Last year more ARM processors were produced than Intel produced in it's entire lifetime (Intel was founded in 1968).

Everyone is familiar with Intel, because of all the adverts on TV (Intel Inside), but the fact is Intel architecture has always been bloated and they followed trends, rather than made trends.

ARM originally stood for 'Acorn Risc Machine'. Anyone familiar with the Acorn name will probably remember that they used an Acorn computer at school, or they used a BBC Microcomputer which was Acorns route into the large scale production market for home and educational computers.

When Acorn found that American microprocessors (namely Intel, MOS and Motorola) were lagging in performance, Acorn engineers Steve Furber and Sophie Wilson decided it was time to design a new processor based on RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computer) technology, hence ARM processors were born.

ARM processors are now used in smart phones, TVs, cameras, washing machines and Rasbery PIs.
(But you won't see an advert on TV saying 'ARM Inside') .

Control is now with the Japanese. Lets just hope they don't decide to move operations to
an EU country.

It's a very sad day.

Saturday, July 16

Community Police take action

I have blogged a few times about youths causing some issues in Waterlooville town centre.

Yesterday I saw that some Community Police were talking to youths in the centre, later the youths appeared to move but I didn't see where.

A commentor suggested I wasn't tolerant!

Sunday, July 10

New flats on the Swiss Cottage site

New low rent flats are being built on the Swiss Cottage site. Three storey timber frame construction from what I can make out. Is this being done on the cheap? I assume there will be a brick skin?

Electroflight - high performance electric racing aircraft

This is a great video where Robert talks to engineers developing a demonstration racing aircraft (Electric Lightning P1 E). What is impressive is the positive attitude they have. They point out the advantages electric power has for future development of aircraft including high altitude flying, fast acceleration and light weight power plant.

Tuesday, July 5

Robert Llewellyn talks about Passivhaus (Low Energy Homes)

Something that this government and large developers say would be to expensive, which is a lie of course especially in the context of long term economics and damages caused by Anthropogenic Climate Change.

More youth trouble in Waterlooville

Waterlooville for lease or demolition
Was in Waterlooville today, popped into WH Smiths and noticed 3 youths walking from the general direction of Poundland towards the clock and Subway. One was carrying a wire shopping basket with a number of packets of crisps and sweets etc. I assumed they were pranking about, had paid for the goods and walked out with the basket.

Anyway a little later I walked out of WH Smiths and in the same direction as the youths who by now had just passed Nationwide Building Society.

That's when a man shouted out and said something like 'stop'. One elderly bloke ran after the youth with the basket and caught him, then two other men tried grappling with a youth and got one on the ground. Lots of shouting etc.

Anyway it seems that the goods had been stolen and were eventually returned to the shop but I think the youths 'got away'.

Tuesday, June 28

Report Hate Crime

Racism or zenophobia are not acceptable and this negative problem has increased since the referendum. If you witness zenophobia, racism, homophobia or any other hate crime as a result of the referendum then report it:

These people need to be arrested and prosecuted under British law.

Saturday, June 25

Leaving the EU ?

A sad day for the UK, Europe and possibly the world this week. This post is an immediate reaction to the result.

I think the term 'divided we fall' is the most appropriate sentiment and it is difficult to believe that the UK has only managed just over 40 years in the EEC/EU. A tiny instant in time that was never going to be long enough to achieve much.

The fact is that our ageing population, our grandparents and parents, have voted to disrupt our futures and a large number of them won't have to deal with the consequences, they won't be alive to see the outcome. The fact is the EU referendum and nationality are a trivial sideshow compared to the real environmental problems that will hit us in the future.

The result has opened a massive and potentially violent can of worms, there are now a whole string issues that now increase the risk to the UK. These include Scotland, Ireland, Gibraltar, The Falkland Islands, the EU itself, Expats in the EU and many more.

The reality is that coming out of the EU will just hand over power to a new set of politicians that ignore our opinions. They are all to happy to have a referendum to allow us to decide which politicians and civil servants manage the nation, but I see no sign of them giving us the power to vote for which energy policy we want or a vote whether to increase or reduce taxes.

Brexit: How much of a generation gap is there?

Referendum Petition - reachs 3.3 million (5.20pm 26/06/16).
"We the undersigned call upon HM Government to implement a rule that if the remain or leave vote is less than 60% based a turnout less than 75% there should be another referendum."

Family split by referendum (Young vs Old):

Monday, June 20

Renewable energy does the job

Robert highlights some facts:

Portugal is almost self-sufficient in renewable energy and manages a few days on renewables only.
UK manages without coal power stations for a number of hours.
Germany has so much capacity that electricity suppliers had to give money back to customers.

Robert does a better job of explaining it though...

Sunday, June 19

Why do we have the EU?

1950s Marshall Plan Poster
Here is a potted history of the EU:

1945 - 1951
World War II finished and Europe was economically a mess. The Cold War started up with the threat of Russian Communism reaching further across a Europe thatg had been weakened by the WWII conflict. Financially bankrupt and made up of national markets that were outdated and small in comparison to the US, Europe was not well placed for modern economic development. European nations each had their own old trade laws and 'patriotic' protectionist policies.

At this time the US Marshall Plan (European Recovery Plan) was devised to help European nations rebuild their economies after WWII and was the seed for the creation of the European Economic Community.

The European Coal and Steel Community was created and was the first step towards greater economic and trade cooperation between the previously warring nations. The first step towards a common market. Even at this stage France was still worried about possible Germany militarisation and saw the new body as a way of monitoring German industrial activities.

1953 - 1959
France, West Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg formed the European Economic Community (EEC), a step towards economic and political cooperation and designed to counter growing Russian influence in Eastern Europe (East Germany, Poland, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Czechoslovakia). The two goals of the EEC were the establishment of a common market and greater political union. The idea was to create a more harmonious environment that reduced differences between regions and abolished trade restrictions that hindered economic development.

1960 - 1973
Britain initially declined to join the EEC but as the Community grew wealthy it was harder to resist membership. Britains membership was also vetoed by Charles De Gaulle durring the 1960s. Eventually in 1973 Britain joined along with Ireland and Denmark.

A referendum was held in Britain on the 5th June to allow the British public a vote on whether to remain in the EEC. The public voted to remain. The Labour government of the time renegotiated Britains membership of the EEC in 1975 and parliament agreed to the new terms on 9th April.

1990 - 2016
In 1993 the EU was formed from the EEC. The Maastricht Treaty established the European parliament, a central bank, a common currency and defence policy.

Monday, June 13

Robert Llewellyn tests an Electric Quad Bike

Robert test an Electric Quad bike and talks to the Eco manufacturer:

Sunday, June 5

Wind Turbines and Hugh McNeal

According to a Telegraph article this weekend "England not windy enough, admits wind industry chief".

The wind industry chief is Hugh McNeal. So what does the article actually say?

  1. McNeal thinks that there is a case for more onshore wind farms in parts of the UK despite withdrawal of financial support via ROC (Renewable Obligation Certicates that the Telegraph refers to as subsidies).
  2. Without ROC further onshore wind farms in England are probably not viable.
  3. Wholesale electricity prices are to low to invest in new generation, but the government is subsidising gas rather than supporting onshore wind energy to build new generation.
  4. Wind energy is the cheapest form of new electricity generation in the country.

So basically the headline does not reflect McNeals comments or views. The government according to the Telegraph is subsidising gas despite onshore wind energy being cheaper. Even without ROC system support, onshore wind farms can be built and would be cheaper than any gas fired power station.

Plus this doesn't even take into account that new technology and economies of scale reduce costs further.

And then there is the Climate Change factor. The Telegraph does not include the 'energy' costs of dealing with Climate Change damage. Although economists, politicians and journalists like to keep things simple because their poor old brains will hurt if they are overloaded, the fact is the damage that Climate Change will have should be factored into the equation of whether wind farms are economical or not.

There is a cost to doing nothing or not doing enough about Climate Change. Something that the owners of the Telegraph  probably don't care about in their island fantasy home.

Sunday, May 22

Waterlooville Music Festival 2016

The yearly Waterlooville Music Festival starts in a few weeks (11th to 19th June).

Shame about the badly designed supporting web page (, fortunately the Facebook page looks much better.

Highlights include:

HMS Collingwood Volunteer Band
Langstone Big Band
Portsmouth Shantymen
Ukulele Workshop for Schools
Mumbaba for Toddlers
Hampshire Police Male Voice Choir
The Octaves

Sunday, May 15

The Koch brothers fund anti-electric car research?

Interesting POV on the subject of electric car batteries, dodgy research, nuclear energy and community energy:

Riversimple - now for something completely different

Interesting company rethinking car design and ownership:

Friday, May 13

Brits only bodge for a few weeks

I take it all back:
Previous blog post:

But I have to say this is unusual. Most surfaces are left as bodge jobs and Waterlooville a classic case, with holes filled in with temporary tarmac years ago and haven't been 'corrected'.

Wednesday, May 4

Robert test drives the BMW i3 REx.

This car is electric with the addition of a small engine (647cc) that is used as a generator to charge the batteries and extend the range of the vehicle. There is no direct drive from the engine to the wheels and for most driving it can be operated as an electric vehicle.

Tuesday, May 3

I visited Stonehenge!

Here is my photo of the visit.
Did you really expect a tourist style boring photo?
Or a hippy Spinal Tap view of the stones?

Did you know that stone age folk put solar panels on their stones? They didn't just worship the Sun you know!

It was an interesting day, but certainly not the most interesting day out I have been on. I reckon that about 50% to 70% of the visitors were Asian, which is fine, but although Stonehenge is obviously important to preserve, it is massively over hyped and over sold.

There are far more interesting places to visit and I am guessing that most foreign visitors are not going to be aware of them.

Sunday, April 24

The clue is in the name

A lot of EU Skeptic hyprocrisy in the news this week with Obama's visit.

Boris Johnson apparently called Obama or the US position on the EU referendum hypocritical.
But of course Boris and some of the UK national press fail to point out that USA is an acronym for United States of America (US - United States being a shorter variant).

Previously EU skeptics pointed out that they didn't want to see the EU become a United States of Europe, this basically implied that they viewed the United Kingdom to be the equivalent of California or Oregon within the United States.

So where does this logically take us then?

Clearly prominent EU skeptics did not see the UK as being the equivalent of the US, rather they saw us as being a small 'State' that was being sucked into the United States of Europe (USE ??).
But now Boris and co are creating a logical fallacy that contradicts the previous stance by saying that the UK is the equivalent of the US and should not allow it's laws be determined by what they now see as a foreign government.

Suddenly we have gone from being a state within the USA to being the whole of the USA!

This is the sort of game ideologists play because it is the only game an ideologist can play. It's like using a metaphor in the design process of a product, eventually the metaphor becomes broken and (for instance) the use of the word 'Windows' to describe a computer interface no longer has the same meaning or context. The fact is a political ideology is doomed lie to and mislead the public in order to survive, otherwise it must destroy itself.

It should be pointed out that the EU is effectively the result of a post WWII project that was started in order to combat the propaganda of Soviet Russia (and other Communist states) during the Cold War and to create a peaceful movement of unity within Europe in order to prevent war in the future between its nations. Public information films during the 1950s all across Europe were designed to emphasise European integration and peaceful coexistence, it was a 'capitalist Western' project.

The fact is the US is practicing it's independence and saving on bureaucracy costs by negotiating a single deal with a big block of nations. That is exactly what Boris Johnson and co would expect from a nation, reducing costs and putting itself first. So why is he whining? If he thinks that is wrong, then he should be campaigning to stay in the EU.

Tuesday, April 19

The youth problems of Waterlooville continue

The groups of youths were congregating again in Waterlooville shopping centre this evening. In my last blog post about this a commentor was suggesting that I should be more tolerant.

This evening there were various groups in Waterlooville and a shouting match occurred which attracted various adult onlookers and people just strolling through town on a sunny evening.

I did take a photo, but my phone camera isn't very good so there is no detail. I would think some of them had been drinking, the girl who was shouting at other kids was also on a mobile phone. How much is 'social media' and mobile technology to blame?

Do their parents know what they are upto?

Monday, April 18

Retirement is big business

 Not one

Not two
But three large 'retirement' home complexes are currently being built at Waterlooville.
But only one of them is in Havant Borough, due to the perverse nature of British politics the other two are in Winchester City Councils domain. Winchester being 20 miles away.

Sunday, April 17

Wellington Park - Urban Park Project

A nice example of Pinus Pylonus behind the Urban Park Project sign.
There has been a lot of tree and shrub planting next to the Wellington Park housing development recently. This magnificent Pinus Pylonus is near the road and I managed to take this superb photo while the Sun was out. This isn't the tallest I have seen, but it is a good specimen for the area and it's great that the council and developers decided to keep it. You can see to the rear and right of the photo an area of shrubs has been planted.

Sunday, April 3

Support Fully Charged

Roberts back with the first Fully Charged video of the year and a request for support:

Computers in the old days...

Interesting BBC article about computers in schools and colleges in the 1970s.

Although I agree with the general picture the article creates, it does not reflect my experience.

Quote Kevin Murrell, co-founder of The National Museum of Computing :
"We write in languages that are akin to English which are converted into binary by the machine. For 99.9% of programmers, maths isn't an issue at all because modern computers do so much more."
That is just rubbish. A good understanding of logic and mathematics is essential for producing good quality 'code' of any sort, whether it is some simple script in an application or some complex computer application. If you don't have good knowledge of these subjects then you will produce products that are difficult and expensive to maintain. On top of that, poorly structured scripts and programs will cause problems at a later date.
"Today's programmers can afford to be less precise as "the sheer brute force of modern computers gets you through"."

I have had to educate my young and inexperienced colleagues in the importance of boundary testing of software. Why? Because a lack of accuracy and precision results in serious errors such as a worker paying to much tax, a student getting the wrong mark in an exam or a jet airliner falling out of the sky. The idea that precsion is not important is a fallacy.

What was my experience?

I and two student friends programmed a Star Wars game in Basic on the local FE college mini computer at about the same time the first Star Ears film was released.
Later at university we all had to write programs in Fortran using punch cards, then later at university I used a computer similar to 'Research Machines' to write a program in Zilog Z80 assembler language and it was designed to control a sputtering machine at the university.
Then from 1982 onwards I worked with assember and high level languages. Contrary to the article, assember language (which is a slightly higher level than machine code/binary/hexidecimal) was used throughout the 1980s because it allowed low cost electronic systems to be developed. High level languages at the time required to much memory and processors were still to slow to run them.
It wasn't until the late 1980s that high level languages could replace assembler completely and this was becuase of faster processors, better electronics and cheaper memory.

Monday, March 21

BBC article about fuel poverty...

Interesting article by the BBC (Panorama) which says it is about 'fuel poverty'.

Quote "Their entire home is poorly insulated and so it takes a few hours for it to warm up."

This isn't fuel poverty, it is insulation poverty.

Something that if the government put energy saving first, before their support for fossil fuel companies, the result would be a greater cut in carbon emissions and families like the one in the article would have lower fuel bills and far fewer mould problems.

However at the same time one has to question the family and the article.

Quote "However, cold houses are often damp houses. Every room in the family's home has damp but Ava's room is the worst. Mould grows along her window..."

Actually the cold doesn't cause mould as such, mould is often caused by cooking and heating resulting in an increase in water vapour in the air which condenses on the cold surfaces, creating breeding spots for mould.

A lot of people these days do not understand how the process works and why ventilation is important.
A small amount of ventilation and making sure that furniture does not create cold spots can help to control the issue. It doesn't help that walls are not insulated and the mother in the article is doing the right thing by using the bleach.

But it is important to becareful when cooking, lids on pots reduces water vapour escaping, plus switching on a ventilation fan or opening a window a small amount allows the vapour to escape.

My bathroom can be very cold (no heating there) but I can control the mould be being aware of how much water vapour is likely to be created by my activities and turning on the fan and possibly opening a window for a short time.

Basically water vapour is the culprit and that is caused by human activities. But poorly insulated walls resulting in rapid heat loss probably results in the homes occupants being reluctant to open a window even a little bit, so poor insulation is probably determining their behaviour and the ultimate outcome.

BTW in the article the girl is worried about the mould causing the roof to fall in. She should be more worried by the effect the mould spores have on her lungs. I suspect she often has a cough!

Quote "In winter, I get really poorly and I'm up all night coughing."

I suspect the cough is worse as a result of the mould or totally caused by it.

So when is this government going to take home insulation seriously along with climate change?

Tuesday, March 15

Bodge Britain

Just months after a path in Cosham was reconstructed and a new porous coloured surface applied, a utility company dug a trench and completely destroyed the aesthetic look with cheap black tarmac.

Such is the cowboy loving legislation we have in this nation, courtesy of Westminster Parliament, not the EU.

Cheap short term 'economic' and 'budget balancing' solutions. It's functional, but it looks shit and shows that the accountant is more important than the artist, scientist and designer. But the fact is, making this good could be budgeted in normal maintenance procedures and accounted in taxes.

If you want Britain to look good, you have to pay, not just initial costs, but also long term maintenance costs.

Saturday, March 12

Sad news about Keith Emerson

Yep I was an ELP (Emerson, Lake and Palmer) fan in my youth.

Still have vinyl versions of some of their LP's. Sadly when I 'converted' to Mod and Punk music I got rid of some of them, which I regret now. Where did that Brain Salad Surgery vinyl LP poster/insert ever go?

Wonder what sort of conversations John Peel and Keith Emerson are having up there in the heavens??


Some interesting Youtubes featuring later renditions by various artists of ELPs work:

Sunday, March 6

Pigeon and youth problems in Waterlooville

There is a growing pigeon and youth problem in Waterlooville shopping centre (on top of the issue of the charity shop and cafe issues).

Over a number of years now the pigeon population has been growing.

You may say "wait a minute, aren't you a supporter of the environment?"

Well that would be true, but that doesn't make me an animal rights supporter. UK pigeons are goften not native, they have migrated across Europe over the centuries and decades then settled here. We have a lot of problems with our activities causing extinctions of many species and that issue is getting worse, in the case of pigeons our activities are also causing a problem with an expansion of species. So in both cases extinctions and growth of various species are a result of our own growth and influence.

There is a distinct problem of male youths gathering in significant numbers in Waterlooville early in the evening. Initially they congregated around Subway in small groups, the food outlet appears to be popular with school children and teeneagers, for some time Subway also wasn't kept very clean and by evening time the floor was often littered with food packaging and remnants of food. My last visit suggested it was cleaner, but that was just one visit, the staff in the outlet is generally young and maybe the work ethic was not there.

Anyway a digress, a bigger problem  appears to be intimidating males youths on their cycles and walking around the town centre in the early evening. I walked past the centre at about 18:00 recently and there were about a dozen youths larking about, one of them was kick boxing with another youth.
On another evening I noticed a police car had been parked outside Lloyds bank, it was empty and I assume it was there to send a psychological message.

It appears to be clear that in common with other shopping centres in Havant Borough, Waterlooville is potentially declining further. The centre still manages to maintain some character, but it is close IMO to an irreversible decline. Pigeons and larking youths just add to the issues.

Sunday, February 21

Better off in or out of the EU?

Quick quote from a BBC article that analysises the issues:

"Better off out: It would be a major shot in the arm for British democracy as the Westminster parliament regained its sovereignty and reconnected with voters...."


Actually it is some politicians ideological obsessions with the EU that has disenfranchised many voters. On top of that, wealth and the pursuit of personal gratification (something the Conservatives push as a good trait) has resulted in a complete lack of interest in voting and politics. I know for a fact that my colleagues think the latest computer games are more important to talk about than anything else on the planet.

The referendum is primarily a battle within the Conservative party and it's fringes (UKIP, the national press) and a single political party does not represent Britain.

The EU issue in the UK is all about attention seeking. Another reason why people don't vote, is because life is relatively stable and settled. Many Conservatives want to manufacture problems in order to make themselves and parliament more relevant. They want the state to be smaller and do less, but at the same time they want more personal influence and power.

This is all about them, far more than it is about us, other political parties or the nation. Yet we are being sucked into their personal battles. The fact is parliament can only gain relevancy by changing itself and using technology to include more direct democracy. That has nothing to do with the EU, which is a red herring as far as reconnecting with voters is concerned.

Saturday, February 20

Channel 5 - the politically biased TV channel of the year

Is Channel 5 just a mouth piece for right wing and Conservative policies and ideology?

Well it seems it is.

Apart from the endless 'Benefits' TV shows that I assume are there to support cuts in state spending, the Gadget show seems to be the latest TV regular on the channel that is there just to sell us junk and serves along with the Channels other output as a support mouth piece for Conservative ideas and policies.

I have always had a love/hate relationship with The Gadget Show, unlike the poorly informed presenters, I worked as a technology design engineer (microprocessor and microcontroller software). The fact is the show is there to sell products, it is a glorified advertising platform which is why companies flock to it to have their products mentioned.

This week they managed to give an appallingly bad account of electric cars, implying that you can't travel long distances in todays models, motorways are apparently an issue. But of course no one on the show mentioned the fact that all motorway service stations have FREE quick electric vehicle charging points provided by Ecotricity.

One of the amateur vehicle testers mentioned that she was surprised that the vehicle she had been given was quite fast and expected it to be slow like a 'donkey'. Which sums up the lack of engineering input the show has. These vehicles do not have lead acid batteries and most electric cars are capable of outperforming all ICE vehicles on the road when it comes to acceleration.

Yep the idiots on this show are so incompetent at journalism (or more accurately, politically biased like our newspaper media) that they forget that they are supposed to do some research and provide an whole view of the situation. Plus of course they failed to mention tax breaks and vehicle low carbon emissions.

Channel 5 certainly beats them all when it comes to biased broadcasting. Although when it comes to bullshit journalism about cars, the Top Gear is up there with the Gadget Show.

Saturday, February 13

Conservative anti-democracy and anti-British plans - part 1

I'll start off by saying that I have witnessed personally the arrogance of Conservative opinions at Havant Borough Council, so current anti-British or anti-English policies from the Conservatives do not surprise me.

Plan 1 - Ban charities and other organisations using grant money for lobbying government.

This is allegedly justified by suggesting that charities shouldn't be paid to lobby government.

But what does it really mean?

Well governments pay consultants, businesses and civil servants to advise them. Also that advice does not always agree with the governments current ideology. So effectively the government already freely pays for lobbying (advice), there is no point at all in paying advisors and other professionals to only give you advice that just confirms your beliefs and ideology, if you do you are wasting your money.

So basically it is normal and democratic for charities to lobby government and even use government money to tell that government that the got it wrong. I often tell my bosses they are wrong and need to change policy or processes, they still pay me.

Curent Conservative policy is dictatorial and shows they do not want to listen to the public or non-profit organisations. Maybe the next plan is to remove votes from those on benefits, or those that use the NHS.

Plan 2 -Cut off some Labour financial support via Union legislation and policy.

I'm not a great fan of Labour but I am reluctantly being driven in that direction by the extremism in politics today. If you are a political party in power and you know your policy is going to weaken your main opposition, you are behaving in an anti-democratic and dictatorial way.

These anti-patriotic and anti-democratic moves could be avoided through a complete overhaul with the way political parties are funded.

There do seem to be more plans, just two are mentioned here.

Some words from MI5:

The Act (Security Service Act 1989) refers to actions that are "intended to overthrow or undermine parliamentary democracy by political, industrial or violent means"

Maybe Conservatives should read that carefully. Parliamentary democracy is only maintained if there is an effective opposition, IMO some Conservative policies could be deemed to be undermining our democracy.

Sunday, January 31

A great and historic British invention is about to be destroyed

Some time ago I visited the Hovercraft museum at Lee On Solent:

BBC has reported that the two iconic cross-channel SRN4 Mountbatten class hovercraft kept at the museum are to be destroyed.

So why is it that these locally (Cowes, Isle of Wight) built machines that are one of a kind are being destroyed? This is a British invention and nothing like the SRN4 has been built anywhere else in the world, yet politicians, councillors and nutters can only complain about immigrants and the EU!

No immigrant or the EU can be blamed for this appalling disrespect for British invention, creativity and intellectual knowledge. How many of the political moaners and nutters have bothered to visit the museum or offered financial support?

Latest news is that the government own the site and hovercraft:


Saturday, January 30

We should stay in the EU

Thought I would post my opinion regarding the EU.

My perspective is one of seeking facts, rather than one based on political ideology.

My personal experience has been that EU law was beneficial to the companies I have worked for. My first job was as a design engineer for a global electronic equipment design, development and manufacturing company. I use those three terms, because I think the single term 'manufacturing' doesn't express reality. Before you can make anything you need educated people to design and develop it.

The company in question indeed had market share outside the EU, but that wasn't where it's main competition was. Also the global market was for lower grade equipment whilst the EU was a market for higher grade and hence higher value equipment along with higher volumes of such equipment.

So what was it like within Europe before the EU, dealing with individual national laws and regulations?

The company spent a lot of money and time developing special versions of their product to satisfy an individual European nations rules and regulations. Germany in particular regularly changed the goal posts and made sure their own industry were well informed of any change a long time before the British company I worked for. The end result was that although our technology was superior (yes it really was better than the German equivalent), the German company always got a bigger market share within their native country. There were armies of civil servants across Europe checking that imported equipment satisfied the nations regulations, this of course was very expensive for the individual nations.

What was it like after EU law and regulation?

The change had a MASSIVE positive impact, it really can not be underestimated.
The British company designed and developed products in which a single version could be sold all over Europe. There was less bureaucracy to deal with in each nation. The company was so successful that it bought that German competitor. It also took over a number of other EU companies. Company costs were reduced.

The fact is we shouldn't be having a referendum. If we come out we will have just as many 'problems' as we allegedly have staying in. Plus of course if we have a referendum now, we will have to have another one in 5 or 10 years time because we will want to be back in.

I was listening to an individual calling into a radio talk show about the referendum, the caller said they were fed up with EU laws. The presenter then asked for a specific example of a EU law.
After a lot of thinking, the caller could only come up with one alleged law.
Apparently the EU insists all our cucumbers are straight!

What are the facts?

The mythical bent banana rule never banned bent bananas. The EU rules graded bananas into classes, any banning was done by supermarkets who refused to sell lower class fruit and veg. The fact is that if we were outside the EU, the big corporate supermarkets would still be banning mis-shaped fruit, plus there have been many TV campaigns and programmes that clearly show that it is these corporate companies (Supermarkets being in the news recently about rejecting food and failing to pay their suppliers) that ban food not the EU.
Finally the EU regulation that graded bananas was replaced in 2012.

Friday, January 29

Some cyclists abuse the Eclipse priority bus lane

I'll start this blog post by saying I am a big supporter of cycling. The only personal transport vehicle I own is a bicycle, if I don't use that, then it's walking, bus or train.

Sadly some selfish cyclists abuse the facilities that are provided for public use and this is the case I witnessed recently on the Eclipse bus route.

I posted about this service before:

There are some cyclists that are using the long straight section of the Eclipse route as a cycle race/training track. I witnessed two cyclists on racing bikes and (yes you guessed it) lycra basically racing up and down the stretch of special road at least 3 times whilst I was waiting for a bus.
I witnessed them reaching the end of the road (Hutfield Link) and turning around to head back towards Fareham for another circuit.

On top of that they broke the highway code by overtaking the bus parked at the bus stop and forced an oncoming bus to slow to a stop, something the highway code specifically warns against because it is dangerous. The bus driver in the oncoming bus threw his arms up in the air in despair.

Imagine if two car drivers decided to use a stretch of road to charge up and down in preparation for a motor race?

The fact is it would be an illegal use of the road and the police would at least give both the drivers fines. Isn't this cyclist behaviour just as bad?

There are a lot of cyclists that use the Eclipse route to transport them to work and shops, they use it for the purpose it was designed for. Cyclists that want to race on a track (because that is what these cyclists were using the road for, they didn't have a destination) should find a dedicated track just like motor racing enthusiasts do.

I don't think it would be unreasonable to ban this type of use on this special road. There are already restrictions on vehicle types, it wouldn't be unfair to ban these fanatics and make sure other cyclists that use the road are protected.

Wednesday, January 20

10 Cloverfield Lane movie trailer - my two pence worth

OK the trailer for this future movie release has caused some buzz, so here is my opinion:

It takes place at the same time as the original Cloverfield film.

It is a different POV of the same events. The 3 in the nuclear bomb shelter bought the shelter just in case humanity decided to destroy themselves, they watch the news about the monster or see it and immediately go down below to wait out the mayhem above to finish.

Well, we will have to see when it is released or someone spills the beans.

20/03/16 - Well I haven't seen this film yet, but it looks like my guess was wrong. Seems like the only thing common between this and the original is the use of the name 'Cloverfield'.

Saturday, January 16

New bamboo desk

Replaced an old computer desk this weekend which was no longer used for a computer but used as a general 'workbench'. The keyboard and printer shelves were basically redundant and made it very difficult to clean underneath with a vacuum cleaner (the castors were also broken).

So decided to buy a new traditional desk and work station. Really liked a unit at John Lewis which looked like it was made from wood, but in reality it was made of particle board and veneer finish. Plus it cost nearly £200!

£200 for a sub-standard desk??

Anyway had a look at what IKEA were offering and noticed a new desk that had a tubular steel frame/legs and a bamboo top. Perfect!
It is brilliant, light to. One person can pick it up, so no castors needed. The bamboo is the standard 'ply' engineered stuff  which is very strong. The desk top is about 2.5 inches thick and has 3 little draws in the front that are useful for storing pencils, rulers, paper etc

The desk is also very sturdy despite the steel frame looking a bit flimsy in the photo. You could also use it as a table. The rear has a good finish, so it doesn't have to be placed against a wall.

Bamboo is definitely the 'miracle' natural material of the decade, fast growing, very robust for furniture making but also silky smooth when used to make clothing and textiles (Rapanui clothing).

Removing litter at bus stops

Apparently Havant Borough Council does pickup up litter around bus stops.

But wouldn't it be more efficient to install bins which can be quickly emptied and would reduce the amount of litter in the bushes and grass.

This guy was picking litter for as long as I was waiting for a bus (about 5 minutes). He was there when I arrived and was still picking litter when the bus was leaving.