Friday, February 16

Some positive activity around Waterlooville?

Waterlooville is struggling to survive as a retail and business area, but it is good to see three shops openning, two in Waterlooville centre and one opposite Hambledon Parade.

The two in Waterlooville are food/cafe units. One is a bakery/cafe selling Cornish pasties, cakes and drinks, the other is still being kitted out, but it looks like it will be a Pizza cafe of some sort.

Meanwhile, at Hambledon Parade the empty shops under the new Wellington Park flats appears to be acquiring a Premier convenience store. However given there are two existing convenience stores (Mace and McColls) in Hambledon Parade itself, it looks like something has got to 'give' and someone is going to lose out.

The other issue of course is that we have plenty of cafes and food stores already!

Oh and charity shops.

I'll have pictures and other details later.

Monday, February 5

Falcon Heavy

I'm a great fan of SpaceX and I'm a great fan of electric vehicles.
Hopefully tomorow SpaceX will successfully launch a Tesla Roadster into orbit around the Sun using the new Falcon Heavy rocket, on top of that they hope to land all three Falcon 9 first stages that make up the Heavy. It will be the first flight of the heavy and the Tesla car is the test cargo for the mission.

Monday, January 1

The political plastic waste time bomb

The plastic waste time bomb has been ticking for many years or decades. This blog was started as a result of observations of plastic litter around Waterlooville.  Today we hear that China will no longer take UK plastic waste for recycling, some 25% of UK plastic waste in total, and why should they?

European and American companies happily exported industry to China because labour was and still is cheap, in turn British European consumers happily bought Chinese produced goods with British brand names (once produced in the UK, some in Havant), names such as Bush, Clarks, Morphy Richards and Kenwood. We exported our carbon emissions to China and then imported the products to use in our homes which inevitably became waste (partly because the products were not designed to be repaired).

A lack of action at Westminster and at our local Councils has resulted in a lack of recycling facilities and as pointed out previously Hampshire County Council has opted to reduce facilities (a political ideological decision, not one based on technological know how, science or the pseudo science of economics). Hampshire County Council have a record of banning wind turbines and approving the burning of hosuehold waste for energy.

What is wrong with plastic?

You have to distinguish between the material and the product designed to use the material.
You can view plastic as a wonder material that lasts many hundreds of years and this was how it was sold and marketed in the last 60 to 70 years, a cheap and cheerful material that can be used to make dishes, bowls, pipes, clothes, packaging and food wrap etc.

This is fine, these products would last forever wouldn't they?

Unfortunately nature and physics was ignored and of course the products did not last forever, joints break, fractures appear, threads unravel or break, babies out grow the baby products etc. So then the plastic products were buried in the ground (hidden) or burnt (causing polution and carbon emissions).

Manufacturers and governments failed to have a long term plan for the material (a typical fault of industrial economics), they didn't plan how to recycle the materials or even attempted to design recyclable products. Selling, marketing and jobs were more important and maintained a stable society for government to manage. They didn't want to take responsibility or knew they had to.

Today we know that we have to take responsibility. Plastics don't just crack and fracture, plastic threads don't just break, plastics also erode into tiny fibres and microscopic particles, they form dust that will still be in our air, water and earth for hundreds of year and we are adding to this dust as we produce more products. It isn't just waste plastic that you put in a bin that creates microscopic plastic waste, the daily use of plastic products also creates microscopic plastic particles and fibres.

Can we burn all the plastic waste?

When we burn plastic we are in reality using it as a fossil fuel like coal, diesel or petrol. We create particulate pollutants in the atmosphere and toxic residues in the furnace, we also produce carbon emissions in the same way that fossil fuels do when burnt. Climate change is already having an impact on people around the world including us in the UK, this includes migration of species to these isles following changing weather and climate patterns.

The only solutions are as follows:

1. Use no plastics or reserve plastics for very specific and essential uses (medical, military etc).
2. Use biodegradeable plastics that meld into nature after they have been used by us. This is similar to natural materials like wood, cotton, wool etc. They last just long enough to be useful and then return to nature to be used again.
3.Recycle all plastics and invest in extensive recycling facilities. Frankly if a council or Westminster is unwilling to do this then they should be legally enforcing 1 and 2.

Westminster and councils should be legally accountable for any lack of action on their part.

Monday, December 25

Wired - December 1996

Whilst waiting for the Turkey to cook and for the family to arise, I was wondering what to do. Looking around the living room and the book cases and listening to an old radio show on Radio 4 Extra, I spotted my small collection of Wired magazines.

The first issue I have was publised in 1995, the last is 2000. The first December issue in my collection is for 1996, so here are some things that were 'cool' at Christmas in 1996:

1. Avocet Vertech Alpine wrist watch with that essential built in altimeter for mountain climbers.

2. The Tribal prototype snowboard/skateboard crossover, this had 3 wheels inline with spaces in-between to stand on.

3. Kodak Ektachrome film (advert) - cameras still used film. I think I bought my first digital camera a few years later.

4. Motorola Microtac 8700 mobile phone (advert) - Ah those were the days. Motorola were still a major digital electronics company.

5. Iomega Zip Drive (advert) - 100 megabytes on one floppy disc sized magnetic disc. Mind blowing!

6. Nintendo 64 to be launched in March 1997 - article suggesting it is the PC of the future. LOL.

7. Jargon Watch - COUA (Compulsive Use Of Acronyms) - Get it?
I might try using that one at work.

8 Swiss bank notes include counterfeit proof technology with microtext, watermarks and optical variable ink.

9. Swatch (advert) - Swiss anwser to the growing digital cultural. Cheap fashionable plastic watches.

10. Sega (advert) - Sega games now available on PC CD-ROM discs.

Thursday, December 21

Carbon Isotopes and Climate Change

A while ago I explained the basics of Carbon Isotopes and how they help in understanding what is happening to our climate:

Today Skeptical Science have posted a more detailed article about the subject:


Monday, December 11

A little Brexit Truth...

The UK send approximately 43% of its exports to other EU countries.
Those same EU countries send approximately 16% of their exports to the UK.

What does this tell us about MPs that say the EU need us more than we need them?

Basically the loss of exports to the EU would have a greater impact to the UK than the loss of exports to the UK would have on the EU. The EU would find it easier to absorb the loss of the UK as an export market, partly because of the distribution of those exports across EU nations, the UK on the other hand would have a greater loss focused on it's own single economy.

Friday, December 8

Rapanui Clothing and The Expanse Season 3

According to who plays one of the lead characters in The Expanse, filming of Season 3 has completed. Yippee, just got to wait many months now before it is available in the UK.

Whilst I was reading the December issue of The MagPi I spotted an article about Rapanui Clothing based on the Isle of Wight. They make eco friendly clothing and were started in 2008, I have been following them on and off for about the same time, being initially impressed by their Bamboo T-shirts that were as smooth as silk.

There is a link to their web site in my list of links down the right hand side of this blog.

So why did Rapanui feature in a magazine devoted to the best selling computer in the world (the Raspberry Pi)?

Turns out that they started on a budget of £200 in 2008 and since then have grown greatly. They now have a factory in an old Coop supermarket and have developed a lot of their own custom manufacturing hardware using Raspberry Pi's. They even have an Alexa that employees can ask questions about production runs and other factory stuff. The really cool thing is that they even encourage employees to learn programming!

So basically it is an eco company that is driving innovation and changing the rules.