Archive for March, 2011

belting comedian

March 30, 2011

New large oil field in Israel

March 30, 2011

From Fullermoney newsletter, from New York Times report:

According to Dr Vinegar, Israel has the second-biggest oil shale deposits in the world, outside the United States: “We estimate that there are the equivalent of 250 billion barrels of oil here. To put that in context, there are proven reserves of 260 billion barrels of oil in Saudi Arabia.”

As Saudi Arabia has 60% of the World’s Oil Reserves, this could prove huge News but it’s not being pushed!!

three meals for £2:50….W.E.P.

March 30, 2011

Response to discussion in WEP on-line letters:

I’ve not needed any hospital stays and hope I never will.
I would hope that if I ever became ill enough to do so, that part of my treatment would consist of maintaining my moral by making me feel that I was being tended to, rather than treated as an inconvenience.
Despite working all my life, I do not have private health Insurance and If I had had it, I would at this stage in my life, had to forfeit it as part of a cost cutting exercise.
Scarecrow is naive if he thinks that politics has nothing to do with this discussion. As cartmankenny has hinted at, it is about cost allocation.
Trust Hospitals were set up to prepare hospitals for privatisation, by driving the unit costs (business jargon rather than Welfare state)

I suspect that Wigan Trust will be first in line for privatisation and will opt to cater for the plebs, rather than those fortunate enough to be able to rely on private medical insurance.
I further suspect that its cost units will yearn for these good old days, when they were offered a stale tuna sandwich.

Council cuts in WEP

March 30, 2011

These are some contributions to the Wigan Evening Post’s on-line letters page, where people were commenting about The Council’s implementation of the cost cuts:

Why is a Labour Council looking for private companies to take over some of these services? {there are hopes that some of the 696 jobs might be saved, for instance if a private company took over a service currently being run or subsidised by the council} How can that possibly be cheaper? If The Council can’t afford them, where would the profit come from? They’d have to charge for it. “Lollipop man, Lady?” . “Do you one for £50 a week, plus my modest commission” Labour is dead. Long Live Capitalist “New Labour”.

Peter Franzen has told us that Tory and Labour both voted for the cuts. He found that out by attending a Council meeting, as any member of the public, including you, can do. Find out when they’re on and go attend one. See how inept your Councillor is.. They won’t allow recordings or broadcasts of these meetings, relying on the fact that no-one is interested enough to try to attend. ….So their meetings are effectively secret. Go watch your Councillors, mob-handed. Ask your Councillor why he/she voted for you and your mates to be sacked, whilst looking for an efficiency expert to be on £130k.

Everyone writes as though Councillors or MP’s care about what they think. As my MP wrote to me, Hers (Makerfield) is a safe seat. I suspect most Labour Councillors and MP’s, in this region, feel likewise. They’ll keep pointing fingers at each other, knowing that they only have to do it long enough until another matter of concern rises up. Come May, how many of you will vote as you’ve always voted, or cop out by not voting? Shake their complacency by voting for some other party e.g. CAP, Independent or UKIP. Better still vote “yes” for AV and make their lives more difficult.

Commissars’ car’s in City Centre’s.

March 29, 2011

The latest “good idea” from the Green Saints of Brussels is apparently to ban cars from city centres.

Original version:

If Liverpool and Manchester had tube systems like London’s, I wouldn’t mind if cars were banned from City centres.

When I’ve visited London by car, the car has been parked up and I’ve used the Tube, because it is supremely, more convenient.
Despite this convenience, London’s Tube system does point up some of the dangers of having to rely on Public Transport.
Apart from being more attractive for terrorist attacks and being vulnerable to strike action (God knows how I would have got around, as a visitor), one has to take into account that these enterprises are no longer in Public ownership.
 Government has no control over the Gas and Electricity Cartels, so share dividends and manager bonuses are driving an inevitable increase in prices.
If the car ban was implemented then Public transport bosses would face the same pressure to raise their charges.
Politicians would have even less incentive to intercede than with fuel price rises, as official cars would, presumably, be exempted from the ban. A situation more often associated with Autocratic Governments.
Version printed in Daily Express (unfortunately making me say that all public transport is “supremely convenient”):
Ban, cars from cities and we’ll ball pay more-
IN principle I don’t object to a city centre ban on petrol and diesel cars (“Round the bend, now the EU wants to. ban cars from every city”, March 29).
However, the reality is that if this were to happen, the price of a ticket to ride on public transport, which is supremely more convenient for getting around, would rocket overnight.
If you don’t believe me, look no further than the companies that largely control the energy sector: They regularly drive up prices to consumers and post huge profits, with the Government having little say.
Of course, politicians wouldn’t have much incentive to intervene because their official cars would probably be exempt from any city ban.
In addition, more numerous train and bus services would become even more vulnerable to strike action, with commuters living with the threat of serious inconvenience hanging over their heads.
 Hell of a difference!!

male casual dress

March 29, 2011
I usually agree with most of Bryan Robson’s look at issues but I think he may be out of touch with reality in backing this Male fashionista in his bitchy comments about men, who don’t support his industry:
Sorry Mr. Robson but you are wrong to side with Paul Ford (who he?). Most of us aren’t David Beckham’s and regrettably most of us do look as unprepossessing as Rod Stewart.
However, I would contend that “real men” don’t give a damn what we look like.
Unless we are being nagged by a woman, we wear clothes for comfort and I bet even David Beckham wouldn’t be getting your tick of approval, if Victoria wasn’t choosing his clothes.

Cougars and silver foxes

March 29, 2011

I wrote this to Vanessa Feltz, who used her column in the Daily Express to register her disquiet about becoming an older woman:

There is no point in bemoaning the predominance of Silver foxes in the film industry and there is no point in bemoaning the dearth of cougars.
Whilst many women are attracted to older men, most men are attracted to young women.
Women find powerful men attractive, men find young flesh and bright eyes appealing.
In addition, men look to older men as role models.
Can anyone imagine Daniel Radcliffe  in roles made famous by Clint Eastwood?
In practically all action films, the hero is “a seasoned veteran” defeating “young punks”.
It just doesn’t work, the other way around, even when it leads to scenes with the likes of James Garner shuffling after escaping 18 year old villains.
The most famous screen Cougar is Mrs. Robinson in the Graduate.
That scenario would appeal to most young men but both young and old men would be more likely to fantasise about being let loose in a “Carry on up the Khyber” scenario.
We know that Helen Mirren and Kylie are pleasing to look at but consider your own picture of Keira Knightley and her pal and consider what makes them attractive.

pebble bed nuclear reactor

March 29, 2011

I’m grateful to the Fullermoney newsletter for making me aware of this type of nuclear reactor. Despite the concept being around since 1947, I, personally, had thought that there were only two basic types of reactor, of which P.W.R.  were gaining ascendancy, because of U.S. commercial pressure.

This type of reactor is being developed mainly by the Chinese (effectively immune to U.S. political pressure) and appears to be a safe option for nuclear reactors, in that it effectively shuts itself down in the event of an accident.  It appears that it won’t go bang and there is an extremely low  chance of radiation leakage, something which the Chinese are attempting to further reduce.

I think this info should be disseminated further abroad, in order to prevent Japan’s problems leading to anti-nuclear alarmism.

Wikipedia has details and the Fullermoney text is given below:

A Radical Kind of Reactor – This is an informative article from The New York Times. Here is the opening:
SHIDAO, China – While engineers at Japan’s stricken nuclear power plant struggle to keep its uranium fuel rods from melting down, engineers in China are building a radically different type of reactor that some experts say offers a safer nuclear alternative.

The technology will be used in two reactors here on a peninsula jutting into the Yellow Sea, where the Chinese government is expected to let construction proceed even as the world debates the wisdom of nuclear power.

Rather than using conventional fuel rod assemblies of the sort leaking radiation in Japan, each packed with nearly 400 pounds of uranium, the Chinese reactors will use hundreds of thousands of billiard-ball-size fuel elements, each cloaked in its own protective layer of graphite.

The coating moderates the pace of nuclear reactions and is meant to ensure that if the plant had to be shut down in an emergency, the reaction would slowly stop on its own and not lead to a meltdown.

The reactors will also be cooled by nonexplosive helium gas instead of depending on a steady source of water – a critical problem with the damaged reactors at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi power plant. And unlike those reactors, the Chinese reactors are designed to gradually dissipate heat on their own, even if coolant is lost.

If the new plants here prove viable, China plans to build dozens more of them in coming years.

The technology under construction here, known as a pebble-bed reactor, is not new. Germany, South Africa and the United States have all experimented with it, before abandoning it over technical problems or a lack of financing.

But as in many other areas of alternative energy, including solar panels and wind turbines, China is now taking the lead in actually building the next-generation technology. The government has paid for all of the research and development costs for the two pebble-bed reactors being built here, and will cover 30 percent of the construction costs.

Despite Japan’s crisis, China still plans to build as many as 50 nuclear reactors over the next five years – more than the rest of the world combined. Most of this next wave will be of more conventional designs.

But if the pebble-bed approach works as advertised, and proves cost effective, China hopes it can eventually adopt the technology on a broad scale to make nuclear power safer and more feasible as it deals with the world’s fastest growing economy and the material expectations of its 1.3 billion people.

My view – China is rapidly becoming the leader in most forms of green energy, including nuclear. India will not be far behind. The USA is the unquestioned leader in fossil fuel technology, including shale-gas and shale-oil.

let youngster’s work out their own sexuality.. they don’t need “help”

March 28, 2011

response to an article about a questionnaire, intended to determine whether, or not, kids will turn out gay etc.

What is the point of trying to determine the sexuality of 11-year olds?
Let us assume that sexuality is totally determined by genetics and that social interactions have no part to play, or, even, if they do, that their effect  should be suppressed.
All this still being open to question.
Why then choose 11-yr olds?
Genetically, they may be biased towards a particular sexuality but as pre-adolescents, their genes are causing physical and mental changes, with their hormonal balances careering all over the place.
They are entering a stage where they can go into suicidal depression, or homicidal rages. They don’t need some adult trying to “guide” their life style decisions.
Nature has already genetically arranged for them to take up a role in their own, future, adult society.
Between the ages of about 13 and 18, they gang up with others of their own generation, rejecting the social mores of their elders and formulating their own.
By all means provide counselling for those, who have trouble finding their own way, but only when they are in deep depression or, later, when they are more aware of their own sexual pre-disposition.
This attempt to “guide” 11-yr olds, could at best be counter-productive and, at worst, be exploited by those with their own private agenda.


nuclear waste

March 26, 2011

One problem with nuclear power is the spent fuel and the low level waste.

Even though I’m not fully immersed in the categories of radio-active waste, I, personally, don’t think these need to be serious problems.

Low level waste includes rubber gloves and overshoes, which may even be less hazardous than the elements on Gaz light mantles, the smoke detectors in our homes, the natural radiation in granite in places such as Edinburgh, or the concentrated isotopes of instant coffee.

These could be incinerated to produce ash that is probably as dangerous as that obtained from burning coal.

Some of the materials such as the radiated structures of nuclear plants could be vitrefied (embedded in molten glass) and used as low level energy sources for things such as lifebuoy lights, or satellites. These vitrified sources may leech back into the environment, over time, but the effect won’t be any greater than the original ores that they came from.

Spent fuels can be re-processed and used in fast breeder reactors. I believe these were originally developed to provide fuel for nuclear warheads but that doesn’t mean that they couldn’t be used for domestic purposes. 

It should be possible to develop ways of utilising all Radio-active sources, instead of trying to find ways of disposing of them.

The ionising radiations are only dangerous because of their energy. That energy does work on matter that it hits and its energy is dissipated as lower grade energy. Even if that lower grade energy can’t be used to drive a turbine, it should still be possible to capture and exploit it in other ways.

A final thought. The Earth’s heat is being produced by nuclear processes and it’s likely that our evolution owes itself to mutations caused by the isotopes chucked up to the surface. i.e. the background radiation. In the long term, nuclear waste may have a positive role. We simply need to spread it out in time and space. I mean bury any definitely, unuseable waste in subduction zones or under lava flows, such as thos formed in Hawaii. (in fact that might be the way to go with asbestos, heavy metal and other hazardous wastes.