I’ve been following the growth of interest in Thorium as a source of energy, it seems to me to be one of the best ways of producing large quantities of energy in a consistent way with a balanced ecological impact. Baroness Worthington was Raised to the House of Lords in February 2011 and as an ecological campaigner she brings something interesting to the mix. She made her maiden speech in the House recently and having seen it I thought I should send her a message sharing my views. Don’t know how it will be received by her (I used http://www.writetothem.com to do it) and if she will accept what I have to say, but without input Politicians can’t be representing the people. Bellow is my correspondence for your consideration and yes I am terrible at finishing correspondence:

Continue reading “Letter to Baroness Worthington”

Each year for the past twenty years I recall someone mention the idea of moving the UK’s time zone to CET, or changing daylight savings or some other such tinkering with the clocks. As I have come to understand time more and more this confuses me more and more. Not that I am confused by the concept of changing a clock, I’ve done that enough that it doesn’t matter to me, but my confusion is to why we need to change a unit of measure rather than changing our attitudes. One of the arguments for changing timezones or using DST is for “safety”, the idea is that if it is too dark in the mornings people going to work or school are more at risk. It is also said that energy can be saved because people wouldn’t use so much lighting if the clocks were different.

What this fundamentally ignores is the fact that time itself is not really variable, not on a scale that matters to our daily lives anyway, in each SI day there are 86,399, 86,400 or 86,401 seconds (yes there are not exactly 24 hours in a day because the earth isn’t perfect). When people talk about fiddling with the time they are really just doing it for political reasons, to assert themselves and their own importance. If it really mattered about the time at which children went to school then schools could open earlier or later, businesses can make their own decisions about when to open and operate. I currently work at a business that opens at 08:30, but I have started at 05:00, 08:00, 09:00 and 10:00 in differing jobs. Delivery drivers, bakers, presenters and many more people get up at a time that suits their work (Shift Work). I once worked with a team that didn’t even assume a 24 hour day, they worked on a short but intensive cycle over many days, living on site and then had a long period off at home.

I imagine the counterpoint to the argument is that if schools started earlier then people would be in difficulty if their employer didn’t change the hours. But already it is difficult for people who are constrained by employers who enforce archaic working practices, changing the clocks isn’t going to make better employers and if children went to school earlier then it wouldn’t be as bad for parents worrying about getting to their 8am start at work. There is supposedly evidence that indicates that some deaths on the road, especially those of commuting school children, can be attributed to poor light levels. Well, I would point out that if the children were to leave school when it was more light (irrespective of clocks) then they would be equally likely to be outside on the streets (doing whatever children do) afterwards which wouldn’t make it much more safe.

I just had an idea and I think it might be rather cool…

So, I was reading the morning’s blogs/news/etc. and I came across an article in which the author had clearly just mistyped the sentence “but the company has said” instead saying “but then company has said”. This made me think, in these days of the social web editors and the distribution chain are spending less time proof reading, in addition there are a greater number of people who are less extensively educated being involved (I think we can all agree that education is less strict at the bottom echelons). Personally I don’t think my standard of English is bad but at the same time I know I regularly make mistakes while typing and that there are doubtless many errors that I don’t pick up on (my family occasionally corrects me). Continue reading “Correcting The Social Web”

Following a posting by my brother about mortgages and negative equity I thought it was time to publish an article that I have been sitting on for some months. Why I didn’t put it up here earlier is beyond me, but I also thought that someone might like to actually take this up.

Read it, comment on it, share it!

The article is about how you can build a housing project in not only an ecologically sustainable way but in a way which is also economically sustainable. It might not be vastly profitable from a capitalistic point of view but it is sustainable and has room to make some money. You can find it here.

This is the kind of posting that will likely make me no friends in government security, but I’m tired of all of that.

Traveling

I’ve been reading far too often lately about the liberties being taken away from us in the UK for the sake of our protection from terrorism. As a regular traveler I have never minded airport security until recently. I flew out of New York a few months after “9/11” and felt quite satisfied that security was sufficient. However, since then the authorities have stacked on more and more restrictions on travel based on badly founded risk assessments. Examples of these are:

1) That all persons carrying liquids could be a threat to safety

2) Our shoes are a potential hiding place for objects/substances that could threaten safety

So, lets take a look at those threats:

1) There was a reported threat that it might be possible to make a binary explosive by mixing two or more chemicals in the bathroom of an airliner. This is the stuff of Hollywood legend and has very little practical application.

2) Richard Reed, a disturbed English/Jamaican man from Bromley who found religion after being in prison. He failed to ignite a small quantity of explosives hidden in his shoes. So that is one failed attempt to blow up a plane with a badly conceived and executed plan.

So overall, I now have to have my liquids scanned (what use is it to put the bottles through an x-ray machine?) and I have to take off my shoes to prove I am not hiding any explosives in them. Apparently for some people it makes them feel more secure to know that action is being taken, but do they really realise how ineffective this action really is? How much of a waste of resources it really is? If I wanted a knife on-board an aircraft I could make one out of readily available materials (drinks cans), or I could just fly first class and order the steak!

Photography

Apparently it has now become a crime to take photographs in a public place and even where it isn’t a crime it is now decided that if you are taking photographs of public places that you must be a terrorist planning something. When did it happen that actions that many could consider common actions became so suspect. Not all of us just take photographs when we are tourists, some of us like to take pictures when we are out and about of interesting but everyday subjects. It also is becoming a crime to refuse to give your identity when asked by a Police Officer and this I also disagree with.

I am not an opponent of the Police, I think many of them do a sterling job but I felt I had to write an email to the Kent Police Authority just as an appeal to their better nature and it is in the Read More section below and as always I welcome comment.

Continue reading “Liberties in the UK and Photography”

This June there will be local government and European Parliament elections in the UK, this will occupy many peoples minds and for the first time it will challenge me personally. Mainly because it looks like for the first time ever: I will be voting.Yes, I am twenty nine years old and I have not yet voted. Personally I have always disliked the idea and these are my reasons:

Continue reading “Politics in the UK (or anywhere)”

At the weekend I saw an advert on TV while visiting my mothers which was very familiar and so I sought it out to share. The following is the new advert for Mikado chocolate biscuit sticks:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z8kxB3nSTn0

However here is the dutch advert for ‘AA paper’ which is suspiciously identical and predates the Mikado advert on UK television:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_zLDTu4QYtI

A shame that the advertising company didn’t check that their advert was original… It seems ‘AA paper’ do know how to make original adverts:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V7CfGj406u0

 

There pop-up on the forums from time-to-time, and they complain why we don’t have one feature or another. In the latest thread on DigitalSpy they complained that our product didn’t feature 1080p, or DiVx decoding. So, I thought I wanted to post something on DigitalSpy, however common sense and experience tells me if I post it there I might regret it because it could be a reactionary posting by me, so I will post it here to vent:

It depends on where you are targeting a product in the market as a manufacturer. We pay a licence for all technology we use (this may be different than you experience) for example we even have to pay a royalty for the use of Phono connectors. It would be a cost for us and eventually for the consumer, we already have people complaining about cost, should we limit our market further?

I won’t defend the scaler in the product, I have been over this issue countless times. Personally I recommend if you aren’t satisfied with the scaler to use the “Original” mode. We manufacture Televisions as well, and I know that the scaler chip we use can cost as much as the entire MPEG decoder chip (in a good TV). In a TV part of the cost you are paying for is the scaler, if we put a dedicated scaler chip in our STB product you would effectively be wasting the money you spent on your LCD TV and paying double.

An experience of using the scaler in a DVD player is more about ensuring the quality of the output of the DVD decoder and is mostly enhanced by using HDMI output for a digital-to-digital movement of signals.

In the end it comes down to a matter of choice, as a manufacturer we make choices that we have to balance (costs/sales) and the consumer has to make a choice to decide if the product is right for them. We make the product we feel most appropriate to make, we even take feedback, but ultimately the we are responsible for the choices and how they affect our sales. Some might even say they don’t have a choice because we are the only manufacturer of Freesat approved HD PVRs, that is still about choice, you don’t have to buy anything or you can buy a non-Freesat product or you can wait until another manufacturer decides to make a product.”

At least here I can remove it…

lol @ http://www.freedom-to-tinker.com/?p=1271

 I love the idea. In fact I love it so much I have decided to work on a strategy neutral lifestyle. For every positive step I make I will make an equally stupid decision. Wait… I think I do that more than I realise already!