Sunday, June 25

Building cladding in the Portsmouth area

 Southdown View block of flats at Hilsea. For some time now the ground floor intended for retail businesses has been boarded up. The boarding has been removed and it appears that glass windows are being installed. This is of course a modern build so should be to a higher standard than older blocks.






Portsmouth University has a big portfolio of clad buildings, the most recent being student accomodation blocks.
It does seem though that the latest conversion appears to use fiberous insulation that is seperate from the external weather proofing panels.


This photo shows a panel removed from the new student block near Portsmouth and Southsea Station (maybe for inspection?).


Friday, June 23

Murray Energy (Coal) sue John Oliver (British comedian)

The dying American coal industry (avid funder of Donald Trump) has decided that one man, John Oliver, and HBO are responsible for their woes, as a result Murray Energy and others are suing John Oliver for defamation.

Amusingly the legal document which Murray Energy is submitting has a lot of ranting in it appealing for the sympathy vote rather than any substantial legal claim.

The sad fact is many wealthy business folk think they are important beyond any reality just because they have wealth. Anyone who has watched John Oliver knows that he has a go at people, nations and businesses in a satirical manor which is very amusing and democratic.

The  reality is that renewable energy employs many times more people in America than the coal industry, it could employ many more including ex-coal workers!

This video posted by a lawyer deconstructs the Murray Energy lawsuit:


 Added 24/06/17...

It should also be noted John Oliver actually defames himself in the same broadcasted show! So maybe he should sue himself as well. Oh, wait a minute John Oliver has a sense of humour.

Note this video may not work for long:



Links:

https://www.youtube.com/user/LastWeekTonight

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/tv/news/john-oliver-last-week-tonight-robert-murray-coal-mining-lawsuit-sued-hbo-a7802266.html

http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2017/06/22/coal_baron_robert_murray_is_suing_john_oliver_over_his_segment_featuring.html 

http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2017/06/22/coal_baron_robert_murray_is_suing_john_oliver_over_his_segment_featuring.html




Sunday, June 18

Upgraded street lamps become EV charging points

A German company has developed street lighting technology that allows Electric Vehicles to be charged at adapted street lamps. When street lighting is upgraded to low energy LED technology, the cables that supply the lamps with power are effectively under used. This is where the EV charging technology comes in. Ubitricity can install the EV charging technology in any style of lamp post, retro or modern.

Once a street lamp is installed all an EV owner has to do is to sign up with Ubitricity, the owner then receives a special cable from Ubitricity which monitors electricity usage of the owner. The user is then debted the cost of the electricity. The cable has an inline small box with buttons and a display, so I presume that it is password protected to prevent possible mis-use. However I assume that if the cable were stolen, it could be reported and the account suspended until a new cable were supplied.

No additional load is put on the local electricity cables because they were originally designed to take a bigger load than the LED lighting puts on the system.

Robert L explains in this video how it works and interviews the local council that has installed the lamps as well as a representative of Ubitricity.



https://www.ubitricity.com/en

Friday, June 16

Designer 'Edison' light bulbs

Not sure what the legality is regarding the sale of high wattage designer filament bulbs.

But the fact is you can get low power LED versions I bought this one for £12 in IKEA.
1.8 watts as opposed to 40 or 60 watts for an incandescent filament lamp.

Now I am not sure where to put it!

Grenfell Tower fire and Daily Mail Green Target misinformation

The despicable Daily Mail today were pointing the finger at green energy targets for fueling the Grenfell Tower fire in London.

This of course is a political tactic from a political activist media company, it is designed to divert attention from real financial issues relating to the buildings upgrade.

Setting a green target does not imply that cheap flammable materials should be used as a cladding/insulation material in order to achieve that target. The alternative to insulation is cold damp rooms and high energy bills for the poor people living in the building.

Other newspapers (including the Express) have highlighted the fact that fire proof cladding would have only cost £5000 more for the WHOLE building. Yes the WHOLE building could have been made safer for an additional £5000.

For the cost of the Daily Mail editor (Paul Dacre) installing trendy bi-fold doors in his expensive privately owned home or installing a new bath room etc. the Grenfell building could have been made safer.

So the FACT is - 60 peoples lives were taken away so that the contractor and council could save £5000. Green targets were not responsible for that.

Please someone take the Daily Mail down in court, even social media can do better news reporting than that despicable company. It isn't amusing and we can no longer make excuses about the 'Daily Mail'.

Sunday, June 4

June 2017 Election Manifesto Analysis

Lets have a look at the main issue that the manifestos cover:

Liberal Democrats 

The Liberal Democratic manifesto commits to 60% renewable energy by 2030. Similar to Labours commitment (see below). Unlike the Conservatives and Labour, they explicitly commit to restoring onshore wind energy and solar energy to our supported energy mix.
.

Conservatives

The Tories manifesto states that the party does not believe that more onshore wind energy is right for England and oppose large scale onshore wind projects, but supports continued investment in offshore wind energy.
But Hampshire does not have any wind farms, even small ones! Hampshire has land and wind resources, but no wind farms harnessing those resources. Not only that but Hampshires nearest offshore wind energy project was cancelled. So the Conservatives are applying ideological reasons for not pursuing onshore wind as well as putting their wealthy rural supporters before the nation and the planet.
They also commit to low cost energy, which economically and technically must mean more onshore wind and solar energy, so they have contradicting statements in their manifesto

Labour

Labours manifesto is even less detailed than the Conservatives but commits to 60% zero carbon or renewable energy by 2030.
What is zero carbon energy??
All energy has at least a small carbon footprint.
They don't however say what technologies will make up this new commitment, they don't mention onshore wind or solar energy.



Green Party

Like the Liberal Democrats, the Green Party are commited to removing the Conservatives effective ban on onshore wind energy projects. They also want to scale up offshore wind and marine energy projects.

UKIP

The party has a record of denying mainstream climate science so it is not surprising that they wish to remove 'subsidies' from wind and solar energy projects. To be honest in a few years time they won't need such a policy because even in the UK government encouragement won't be needed. Solar and wind are becoming cheaper than the old school fossil fuel sources that we became to dependent on.


Well that's the analysis of the main policies of the locally relevant political parties. Energy and the environment are the key issues.


Wednesday, May 31

Trump can't stop progress

It is now inevitable that electric road vehicles, boats and even aircraft will replace our fossil fuel transport. I really don't think anything can stop it now, certainly not the ignorant Trump.
Bloomberg this week reported on research about battery technology reducing in price in the next 4 years to the point that Electric Vehicles will likely be cheaper than diesel or petrol engined cars.
Cheaper maintanance as well, with so few moving parts in EVs.
Robert in this video says a company is installing super fast chargers in the UK that have the capacity to charge the batteries of a suitable EV in 5 or 10 minutes. An Israeli company has developed batteries that might take that charge.


Anyway here is Roberts latest video:

Saturday, May 20

Empty Shops of Waterlooville in May 2017





Council approve demolition of The Wellington pub


The state of Waterlooville. The Wellington pub boarded up. The pubs name reflects the relationship Waterlooville has with the Battle of Waterloo. It was originally built in 1867.

The pub has been approved for demolition by our Tory led council, yet another example of the long standing destructive attitude Havant Borough Council has had regarding Waterloovilles heritage and history.

Thursday, May 18

Tories out, Tories out, Tories out, out, out

Those of a certain age will recognise the chant in the title of this post.

I am no great fan of the Tories, largely because of many supporters and MPs that have shown little understanding of renewable energy and climate change/science.
The trouble is they are going to far with their ideology and are lying their heads off about the miracle change they are going through, suggesting that they are going 'mainstream'.

The fact is their manifesto is full of the same ideological attacks on British life and everything that we know as being British.

The NHS is falling apart under their watch. Lack of funding has resulted in the IT meltdown this past week. Although I do not work in the NHS or have anything to do with it, but the incident has directly impacted on my work.

Our retirement prospects are gradually deteriorating as the Tories gradually bring in more 'liberal capitalist' policies (cutting state costs) sneaking them by us in a sugar coating and claiming that they are 'mainstream'. When you wake up you will realise that nothing that we built since 1945 still exists, the sum total of all Tory policies will be a Britain with a 1930s (or earlier) feel, including all the injustices and inequalities of those times, supported by intrusive modern technology.

Their Social Care policy outlined in the manifesto will mean many of us will pay for the care of a parent in one way or another and the economics are false. The government will probably end up paying for care even if they do not do so directly.

Take time off work to care for someone and you have less money to spend and you pay less tax, you are also investing less for your own retirement and that in turn means you may need government support or will have less to spend in your retirement. If you don't take time off work and you get government help to pay for care for a parent, that will cost you during the care period or later when the government claim assets from your parents estate.

If you live with your parents, then you may be forced to sell your inherited property to pay for the care, that in turn will reduce your prospects and may result in you needing government support including social housing or council housing. In many cases the government will probably end up paying down the line anyway, if not the all a families wealth could be stripped away over a number of decades.

Many people do the best they can, work and earn money, do what they can to improve their lives with little dependency on government help. But the Tories still go out and try and penalise our efforts, with reduced pension guarentees, higher taxes, reduced health care support, poor financing of our defence forces, reduced social care support and scrapping free school lunches.

Sunday, May 14

Isentropic lives!

I have blogged about this company a number of times. They got into trouble a while ago and went into insolvency, however their energy storage technology was world class and cutting edge, so they have risen like a phoenix and live again.

Based in Fareham, they are now supported by Newcastle University and the grid level energy storage demonstrator project is now being commissioned and will start being tested at a sub station this summer. This is an important project as the technology is both cheap and efficient.

To read more about this great project visit the Isentropic (now the National Facility for Pumped Heat Energy Storage) web site:

http://www.isentropic.co.uk

Ugly block of flats proposed for Waterlooville

Havant Borough Council appears to be determined to allow the ugliest buildings to be built in Waterlooville. The proposal for Wellington Way probably beats them all, some 8 storeys high and the design looks like a typical 1960s block.

https://www.havant.gov.uk/sites/default/files/documents/briefing%20note.pdf

When will we ever learn in the UK?
We know cheap well designed energy efficient buildings are possible, yet councils allow appalling crap to be built. British bodging dominated by cowboy developers and builders.

If you would like a say in this proposal, the council consultation will be on 24th May starting at 6pm at Havant Borough Council offices (The Plaza as they now call it).

https://www.havant.gov.uk/planning-and-environment/development-consultation-forums


Progress tackling climate change?

So many good things have been achieved over the period since I started blogging. The fact is humanity is brilliant at finding technological solutions to problems that climate science throws our way, including solar energy, wind energy, energy storage, electric road vehicles, electric aircraft and electric everything!  However politicians and vested interests do what they can to slow down the inevitable technological change. We are going through such a period now. Political Luddites try to reverse policies that achieved great things all in order to support an unsustainable economy and gratify voters that have been lied to by political ideologists and propagandists.

The fact is the science remains the same, the planet that we live on is warming at a faster rate because of human produced greenhouse gases. The Arctic is warming at the fastest rate which is exactly as predicted by mainstream climate science. There are literally thousands of other signs and facts that support mainstream science, yet there are people that choose to find alternative theories or more often than not they do not even know (or want to know) that the world around them is changing.

So what has been achieved?

Electric Vehicles

This is a growing success story. The revolution probably started around 2000 when Toyota started getting serious about hybrid cars (Prius), then around 2008/2009 Tesla started producing the Roadster. Since then the pace has picked up, with huge improvements in last few years in battery development and vehicle design. This development is also linked to automation features in new vehicles, such as self driving cars.

One unexpected path has been the growing field of electric car racing, including drag racing, Tesla car racing and the more formal yearly Formula E season. There is a long way to go, but the fact is 'range anxiety' is gradually fading and the incredible performance of electric vehicles along with low maintenance costs means the future is bright for electric road transport. Worldwide there are about 50 electric models on sale in 2017 and Tesla are launching their first electric truck later in the year.

Solar Energy

Another success story, largely driven by common sense and foreign uptake of the technology. The success of solar photovoltaics is largely due to automated mass production capabilities, enabling economies of scale. The more installations there are across the world, the cheaper the technology gets.

This is why solar energy is predicted to be cheaper than coal and other fossil fuels, these old (Victorian) technologies can not compete with the reliability, low maintenance costs and low life cycle/energy costs of solar energy.  

Wind Energy


Wind energy has been more controversial as a result of lies and myths (many discussed on this blog) regarding wind farms. There have been campaigns to discredit wind energy for purely political purposes and to prop up ailing fossil fuel energy businesses. Nearly all of the British countryside is industrialised by agriculture, so the idea that a wind turbine is going to industrialise natural habitats is largely a result of a poor understanding of the British landscape.

Energy Storage

This is a growing area for investment and it is sad that Fareham based company Isentropic went into administration. However the good news is that the development of their Pumped Heat Energy Storage (PHES) system continues with the support of Newcastle University at the Sir Joseph Swan Centre and work continues at the Fareham site. According to the new web site the grid scale demonstrator is being commisioned and will be going through performance testing this summer.

Apart from Insentropic the current popular technology is the battery and the improvements in this area as a result of electric vehicle development is spilling over into grid and domestic energy storage.
Tesla is again a leader in this field although there have been many other companies less well known that have been developing battery technology for a number of years. Energy storage will help to remove power stations from the grid, allowing renewable energy to be stored when there is excess and to be distributed when there is shortage.

I think Elon Musk the founder of Tesla, Space X and Solar City deserves a mention. Musk is a modern day Thomas Edison which is ironic considering he named his company after Nikola Tesla a rival of Edison (Teslas AC electricity distribution system was superior to Edisons DC system, but Tesla ended gained little for his efforts). Musk is a visionary engineer and business man, he cofounded Pay Pal, sold his share and used the money to revolutionise road vehicles and the space transport industry. He knows that climate change is a serious problem caused by our carbon emissions.

Friday, May 12

St Georges Font vandalised

Photo of font at Easter, before vandalism,
I have been made aware that the font at St Georges Church was vandalised at the end of April. Basically it was pushed over and as a consequence was smashed to pieces.

If you would like to help with donations for the font repairs/replacement and to improve security at the church, visit the church web site:  http://www.stgeorgesnews.org/

http://www.portsmouth.co.uk/our-region/waterlooville/vandals-smash-church-font-to-pieces-1-7928389

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.

http://www.portsmouth.co.uk/business/budget-shoe-store-chain-with-shop-in-waterlooville-goes-into-administration-1-7901000

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.

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/less-climate-concern-key-to-brexit-trade-g6lrs6cw3

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/brexit-ineos-climate-change-laws-lobbying-exploiting-uk-eu-withdrawal-foi-documents-a7665136.html

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:

Gravity:
https://www.pri.org/stories/2017-03-13/very-real-science-behind-expanse

A detailed description of the launch of the Nauvoo, a giant interstellar ship paid for by the Mormons:
https://www.forbes.com/sites/kevinmurnane/2017/03/01/science-and-tech-in-syfys-the-expanse-the-spectacular-launch-of-the-nauvoo/#7804e71224ba

The Coriolis effect and other things:
http://www.npr.org/sections/13.7/2016/03/10/469626620/the-expanse-best-science-fiction-show-in-a-decade

The best SciFi TV show (ever?) that you are not watching:
http://www.rollingstone.com/tv/news/the-expanse-the-best-sci-fi-tv-show-youre-not-watching-w474075

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.

http://www.syfy.com/theexpanse
Some unofficial space war science at Atomic Rockets web site:
http://www.projectrho.com/public_html/rocket/spacewardefense.php
http://www.projectrho.com/public_html/rocket/spacegunconvent.php

Saturday, February 25

Froggy is back


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


Sunday, February 19

Trump has all the hallmarks of a - potential - totalitarian leader

But will he succeed?

Why do I suggest Trump has the character of a totalitarian leader?

Well, the final clue is his 'rally' this weekend. In a working democracy an elected leader accepts the rules of the process that defines the democratic system. If the leader wishes to change things, they do so using the government processes and the rules that define democracy.
Elected leaders once in office are required to work within the process. This includes public meetings and events, they accept that process and address the nation as a whole that elected the leader.

Trump this weekend is doing what all dictators do (or presidents in deep trouble??), they define the rules and bring in their own supporters to a rally, they then claim that those supporters represent the nation and implicitly suggest that anyone else can't exist or is not worthy to be a citizen of the nation.

Another indicator of a dictator is the attack on the media. Trumps claims of Fake News and lying media is straight out of the Dummys Guide to becoming a Dictator. Trump claims everyone who attacks his ideas and position are liars. This process in itself is not important, it is the fact that Trump does it and believes it makes sense to continue down that path that indicates that dictatorship is a trait he has.

Let us not forget that Hitler basically whined and complained his way into power and he pulled thousands of others into power by suggesting their problems were basically the same as his.

I'm not a great fan of Thatcher, but the fact is she didn't complain about Spitting Image or the numerous other attacks on her politics and personality made by the media. She new it was a part of the democratic system and free speech.

Trump and his buddies do not appear to tolerate democracy or satire. This is either a ruse, or the they are incompetent or they genuinely have totalitarian tendencies.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-39018096

This blogger BTW has become a real fan of Saturday Night Live, it is the key to prevent the likes of Trump destroying his nation and taking the world with it!




Sunday, January 15

DAB reception improved in the area?

I purchased a Pure DAB/FM radio-alarm clock many years ago. The old radio alarm clock was getting annoying after many years of good service because it was manually tuned.
So some 6 years ago (I think) I bought the Pure clock radio for £25. It turned out to be a bargain because of all the automated features, including keeping track of the yearly time changes. However I struggled to get good DAB reception, so after a few years I gave up bothering and stuck to FM radio.

That changed recently when I decided to try DAB again and was surprised to hear perfect glitch free audio. Plus it has been consistently perfect ever since, this is particularly useful for listening to Radio 4 Extra which is a digital only channel. So finally my little £25 radio has become a real bargain.