Thursday, 31 July 2008
I've been researching the practicality of developing a steam-powered car as a means of reducing dependence on a tax mad government and petrol from kleptocracies with inferiority complexes. Unfortunately, and may St Fred Dibnah (pbuh) hurl a big spanner for saying this, steam engine technology is a bit too heavy and slow for road use.
But there is a more efficient form of external combustion engine technology called the Stirling Engine. A company in Sweden called Precer has developed a prototype technology demostrator with a hybrid Stirling Engine/Electric Motor power pack that runs on pelleted wood fuel (1-2kg per 10 km). The fuel could be specially grown zero carbon willow biofuel or processed scrap paper, cardboard, wood etc. The advantage of using that as a fuel is that waste is pretty much equally available throughout the country so transport costs would be reduced (petrol and diesel has to be road-tankered to petrol stations). And best of all one could be smugly green yet not paying any fuel tax and not bicycling.
So who wants to join me to buy the technology from Precer and set up a new car factory in Coventry?
Update: Have a look at another site here . Nice but no room for the rods.
Wednesday, 30 July 2008
Tuesday, 29 July 2008
Anyway, many thanks for all the brilliant posts and may you blog for a thousand years.
So here's the real Dave Brubeck Quartet in 1961. Nice ....
Many thanks to the makers of The Untouchables and Robert de Niro. You can buy the DVD of this excellent insight into Nulab politics here at a prudent credit crunch price. Such a pity that Sir Sean Connery played an Irish copper as in real life he does as good a Scotch accent as Mike Myers in Shrek.
Monday, 28 July 2008
Surely he was celebrating the success of African-Caribbean entrepreneurs and professionals making the most of their talents and choosing to buy world-class automotive technology from Bavaria. Such role models are a beacon to underprivileged youth from inner cities and offer a positive aspiration. Respec' blud.
What else could the disciplinary panel have thought? Honi soit qui mal y pense.
To paraphrase Alexander Pope, is it fair to break Supt Chris Pretty on Black Man's Wheels? Do the police understand the concept of proportionality? Doubtless if he had been accused of fraud he would now be banking an out of court settlement and celebrating a promotion. Trebles and QPMs all round.
I may be proved wrong about the cause of the aeroplane incident but how many similar incidents have occurred to British Airways aircraft from bottles of IPA or Bass for example? Remember making ginger ale and putting the bottles in the kitchen cupboard to mature? It was ready to drink when the first bottle shot its cap out and one had a practical demonstration of a quart exiting a pint bottle.
Sunday, 27 July 2008
Saturday, 26 July 2008
Friday, 25 July 2008
Given the failure of its policies in Scotland, its rejection by the electorate and the lack of a leader, it can be argued that Labour is now doing more harm than good in North Britain. Gordon Brown's NuLabour has reached the point with Scotland that Britain reaches with most of its colonies and possessions: Thank You Very Much But Please Fuck Off Now And Leave Us Alone. If he had any self-knowledge he would instruct Labour clubs to arrange the translation of Fabian Society pamphlets into Pashtu and similar languages. The Labour movement should transfer its assets to Afghanistan where they could educate the locals in the arcane rules of snooker, darts, dominoes and cheap brown ale. Backgammon, apricots and sweet tea might be more culturally sensitive. I look forward to the first Co-op opening in Musa Qala and the inaugural WEA lectures in Kandahar.
Meanwhile in London Abu Qatada, who hates this country and what it stands for, but can't be sent back to Jordan because he will receive his just desserts and that would infringe his human rights, lives in an £800,000 council house and gets tens of thousands pound of state benefits for himself and his large family.
To be blunt, what a person got up to behind closed doors, and increasingly in public, in a state of undress, ceased to matter after the decriminalisation of homosexual behaviour and law reform which made divorce easier to obtain. People are not expected to set or abide by any standards of morality.
The only thing that automatically causes the loss of a person's reputation is an allegation of racism of any definition to which there is no defence.
The lady in the photograph is allegedly about to take part in a consensual sex game. "Justice" is the pre-agreed codeword to stop the activity.
Thursday, 24 July 2008
A bit of plastic surgery, a sunbed season ticket and Lucan's your Bob. The parallels are obvious. They're even wearing the same shirt! Has Private Eye noticed this yet?
Wednesday, 23 July 2008
I was born with a minor physal disability that was not corrected despite much physiotherapy and surgery. It blighted my childhood and has blighted my adulthood. Don't believe that one can rise above the ignorance of strangers and strike one's own path in life. To do that you need money. Lots of it. When the well meaning person asks how one hurt one's ankle and then smilingly suggests an activity that is safe and suited to one's ability but is mind-numbingly dull, it takes a special sort of bravery not to respond with "big tits, well we won't be wearing a safety belt then." No wonder many people with disabilities are aggressive and rude: it's like the sign in the French zoo "this animal is dangerous; when attacked it defends itself.
I remember my first line manager in the Civil Service. After a month of working in a mindless mind-sapping job, I asked him how I was doing (I was proactive in seeking feedback before it was invented). He said, very well as they hadn't had to install rails. "Fuck me you turd-burgling arse bandit", I wanted to scream at him, "I meant how well am I doing this crap job?" I stopped working then as I realised that I would never be assessed for my achievements but instead marked down for my differences. Fortunately, as their are a lot more thicker people than me in the working population, jobs are designed for their abilities so I was able to switch off and coast along knowing that success would never be rewarded (and it wasn't on many occasions).
To be honest, the way I feel at the way I have been treated would earn me lots of folding money if I were a fenian or muslim just to stop me putting any violent thoughts into practice.
Tuesday, 22 July 2008
According to the BBC report of the incident:
"Spokesman Graham Thompson said Mr Glass - a 24-year-old post-graduate student at Strathclyde University - had smuggled a small amount of glue through Downing Street security checks in his underwear at about 1700 BST. "
Now Gordon Brown is unpopular and there's a war on terrorism going on but security checks in one's underwear is a bit, well kinky. What could they be looking for? I'm not going anywhere near the place now.
Hat tip to Womble On Tour for the original story.
That is why we should stretch him with the ID Card Project. It will teach him that leaders are not necessarily the most popular members of the Junior Common Room, that application of hard work to the immediate matter in hand is most important and, hopefully, it might take the irritating twerp down a few pegs in his own estimation. He'll be better for it. And if he does make a pig's ear of it then all the better.
* St Abbs, actually.
He scored 10 victories (two shared) in 13 days between 6 and 19 July 1918 on his return to flying duties following recuperation after a serious air crash on 6 December 1917. The types he bagged in his SE5A (similar aircraft shown below) included Hannover Cs, Fokker D VIIs and were regarded as particularly difficult opponents by highest scoring British ace, Major Mick Mannock.
Monday, 21 July 2008
22 July 2008 -
6 October 2008 (76 days)
Sunday, 20 July 2008
It is to be called the Wormhole. Unfortunately, with Peter Mandelson as a famous former MP, local wags are bound to rename it something else ending in hole.
Old Geordie joke - They used to build warships in Newcastle: well they wouldn't be making them for the Germans...
My reaction is akin to the interviewer's in this famous Belgian TV interview
The way that muslims claim to be discriminated against by almost everyone else is similar to how Jews have actually been treated over the centuries: with the exception of the massacres, expulsions, pogroms and Holocaust. And the fact that nobody disputes the right to existence of muslim homelands. Perhaps, if it jettisoned its anti-semitic agenda, the muslim umma would win powerful and influential friends to champion its right to equal treatment in the world (until it meets Chinese communism)?
Such a move from the comfortable status of self-inflicted institutional victimhood would mean a radical change for a religion, many of whose adherents appear to be like Millwall supporters:
"No One Likes Us, No One Likes Us, No One Likes Us – We Don't Care!
We Are Millwall, Super Millwall, We Are Millwall From The Den!
No One Likes Us, No One Likes Us, No One Likes Us – We Don't Care!
We Are Millwall, Super Millwall, We Are Millwall From The Den!"
Isn't Tony Blairmeant to be doing this already in his dual roles as faith Tsar and Middle East peace facilitator.
But he wouldn't put an artificial timetable on withdrawal of British forces from the Morecambe of the Middle East. Is it because he fears a military coup when the squaddies return to their barracks in Blighty? Or because it's cheaper to send them on to Afghanistan from Basra?
Saturday, 19 July 2008
Friday, 18 July 2008
I am rather puzzled why, out of the 170 religions or belief systems practiced in the UK, islam is the only one that is deemed to be in need of public funding to dissuade its adherents from blowing up other British citizens.
* Oh for the days when Joyce Grenfell saying "George .... don't do that" sufficed.
**"A victorious line of march had been prolonged above a thousand miles from the rock of Gibraltar to the banks of the Loire; the repetition of an equal space would have carried the Saracens to the confines of Poland and the Highlands of Scotland; the Rhine is not more impassable than the Nile or Euphrates, and the Arabian fleet might have sailed without a naval combat into the mouth of the Thames. Perhaps the interpretation of the Koran would now be taught in the schools of Oxford, and her pulpits might demonstrate to a circumcised people the sanctity and truth of the revelation of Mahomet."
Thursday, 17 July 2008
We have a much more sophisticated version of the 419 scam in England called the Barnett formula whereby English taxpayers pay money to other members of the Union in return for the English spending decisions to be determined by the votes of Scotch, Welch and Northern Irish members.
(photo copyright UK Parliament )
This would actually contravene pig stocking density regulations* during the Budget speech but would qualify as free range for the rest of the time.
* floor area of chamber is 3128 square feet, stocking density for porkers 50-80kg is 5.9 square feet, number of MPs in the chamber is more than 530.
Wednesday, 16 July 2008
Of four American-built (rigid) airships, two ditched in the sea and one was wrecked in violent winds. (The German-built Los Angeles flew safely until retired.)
The British used (hydrogen-filled) rigid airships for passenger mail, but our airship programme came to an end after the appalling tragedy of R-101. France and Italy had similar experiences.
Yet somehow the airship is too seductive a vision for people to give up on it. It floats like a butterfly as it travels quickly (? 80 knots max) and silently to its destination.
Helium-filled airships such as the Stella Artois Star over London have yet to prove themselves in bad conditions. " (Er, the USN flew helium filled patrol blimps in all weathers for many years until withdrawn in 1961 for policy reasons with a commendable safety and availability record. See the K, M and N classes)
N Class Blimp
So comparing the helium filled Zeppelin NT with the hydrogen filled Hindenburg is like comparing apples with oranges and not factoring in eighty years of technological improvement (compare a Dakota with a 787) is bananas.
Please take time to complete the Witanagemot Survey.
I've just been called precious and prone to histrionics by Good Doctor North of EUReeferendum so I'm happy to nominate him for his continued excellent work exposing the deficiencies of UK defence procurement.
Tuesday, 15 July 2008
This is the Patrouille de France aerobatic team.
Apparently there were only seven prisoners incarcerated at the time of the storming of the Bastille.
Monday, 14 July 2008
Imagine if a pair of staunch BNP members had objected to being married by anyone other than a white British person because of their firmly held views on racial purity derived from the many books that had been written on the subject. They would still be wrong and, hopefully, thrown out of the Register Office without more ado.
I had a moment of conscience when I discovered the effect of serving Notices to Treat and Enter as part of the compulsory purchase of land and property for road schemes. People who had lived in their homes for thirty or forty years could be forced to move out as a result of a government minister's decision following a public inquiry. It was always ordinary people who bore the brunt of road schemes; large concerns would be negotiated with to minimise the impact. I suddenly realised that what I was doing was morally wrong to me. However, the actions of the department were lawful. I could not say to my line manager that I would do every part of my job except serve the notices because that was simply another stage in the road-building process. Consequently, I asked for a transfer to another part of the department that did not deal with compulsory purchase. I was fortunate that a vacancy arose.
The moral of this story is that if you live by your sincerely held conscience then you should be prepared to accept the consequences.
Sunday, 13 July 2008
Lt. Col. James Hecker (front) and Lt. Col. Evan Dertein line up their F/A-22 Raptor aircraft behind a KC-10 Extender to refuel while en route to Hill Air Force Base, Utah. Colonel Hecker commands the first operational Raptor squadron -- the 27th Fighter Squadron at Langley Air Force Base, Va. The unit went to Hill for operation Combat Hammer, the squadron's first deployment, Oct. 15. The deployment has a twofold goal: complete a deployment and to generate a combat-effective sortie rate away from home. [U.S. Air Force photo by TSgt Ben Bloker]
Saturday, 12 July 2008
Dan Snow and Kate Silverton introduce live coverage from RAF Fairford one of the largest fly-pasts ever seen in Britain. Watched by Her Majesty The Queen, ninety aircraft, from bi-planes of the First World War to the modern jets and helicopters flying in Iraq and Afghanistan today, celebrate 90 years of the Royal Air Force.
* For the benefit of Dan Snow, this is a Nieuport 17
Friday, 11 July 2008
Thursday, 10 July 2008
Now this chap has been given an £800,000 house and £56,000 a year benefits for him and his large family. The Daily Mail thinks that is a bad thing.
I think it's a good thing because Al Quaeda are hardly going to risk killing the wierdy-beardy in a terrorist attack on London. Question for would be islamic terrs: how many senior management level jihadists button on the old semtex waistcoat? "Martyr" (ie murderer) is a recruitment grade with little scope for career development.
And there is no threat from anti islamic groups because there never was a threat from anyone in the West to the islamic way of life (except the freedom to embrace democracy with equal rights and freedom of speech for all). Besides, the PC police has its eyes and ears alert to any possible or impossible trace of disrespect.
So, for under a million quid, London is safe from the reasoned argument of an oppressed community. It reminds me of the time when, being driven around Belfast, we found ourselves behind the Mayor's car. I was either in one of the safest or the most dangerous places in the Province. But, like all the best anecdotes, nothing happened.
Wednesday, 9 July 2008
I suggest that the House of Lords is scrapped and the United Kingdom becomes a unicameral legislature with devolved parliaments for the constituent countries. There will be no need to create Lords and Ladies as Knight and Dame is sufficient public recognition of acihevement or service to the nation. The argument that the House of Lords contains people with valuable knowledge and experience that might not be available if they had to be elected to the Commons is a specious one. House of Commons Select Committees could summon the experts for examination. MPs would concentrate on legislation and holding government to account instead of being mainly social workers (much of their constituency work is done better by CAB and local councillors- the only advantage is that letters to ministers and agencies from MPs and Lords are dealt with more expeditiously than those from members of the public).
The redundant part of the Palace of Westminster would be suitable for an English Parliament with the same powers and responsibilities of the Scottish Parliament. The size of the English Parliament would be limited to 200 members, elected on the basis of one per county with the remainder from same-sized two-member constituencies using proportional representation.
Salaries and allowances would be pegged to Civil Service grade 7.
I advise da boyz in da hood to swap der blades 'n' iron for BMX bikes. Then if they wish to harm others that is their choice but the law will treat them more gently - unlawful possession of a knife = 5 years in chokey, unlawful possession of a bicycle = pat on back from Dave and Boris and all the other green parasites who get money for bike lanes and cycle proficiency lessons (ha!)
You may think I am biased against bicyclists. Quite right! There are two sorts:
Ones who are scared to death of ending under a lorry, bus or car and therefore adopt a sensible and polite laissez faire attitude to road users and pedestrians;
The arrogant spiteful bastards who think they are above the law, who take all manner of risks and offload on to pedestrians the bile and swearing they have rightfully been given by drivers forced to slam their brakes on to avoid them careering on their own sweet way.
"You can't blame me, I'm a cyclist" is their motto. I was attacked a few years ago by a cyclist in the middle of Birmingham. Knocked down a pavement. As I picked myself up, I shouted to the departing bikenazi, "Oi!" He turned is rat-faced head and said, " I said sorry". If only I had been able to counter attack him with the same force that he used on me I would have served 2 years in prison.
My policy on cyclists is simple: register and tax all bicycles and make sure that offenders are punished for lack of bells, lights and reflectors, make cycle third party insurance compulsory, put causing death or injury on a bicycle on a par with motor vehicles.
In conclusion, there are good cyclists and there are bad ones. It is in everybody's interest that the killings of innocent pedestrians like Rhiannon Bennett and Gary Green are not allowed to happen again.
In a recent employment tribunal a hairdresser was ordered to pay £4,000 for injury to feelings as a result of "indirect discrimination" to a job applicant who refused to remove her head scarf.*
Has a legal precedent been set that adherence to religion is, in effect, almost three times more serious a disability than epilepsy and CP? Is the old legal principle of "one law for you and one for me" operating here?
* I wonder how much a job applicant at a halal or kosher slaughterhouse might get for refusing to slaughter animals without first humanely stunning them?
Tuesday, 8 July 2008
Lance-Corporal Limbu and two other Ghurkas were in the van of a sixteen strong patrol. Despite extremely difficult terrain and vegetation, they made their way up to a machine gun post on the crest of a hill. When they got within ten yards it opened fire. Limbu then ran forward alone killing a sentry with a grenade. The entrenched thirty man Indonesian platoon opened fire, seriously wounding both his comrades. Disregarding his personal safety, Limbu left cover four times despite heavy automatic fire and mortaring, to report the situation to his platoon commander, to carry the two wounded to safety, recover the Bren and then proceed to account for several more enemy soldiers.
Here's the London Gazette of 21 April 1966.
And Marks & Spencer are installing anaerobic digesters to convert waste food into heat and energy. A good idea for local small scale energy production that doesn't rely on the sun or wind. but if Prescott gets the munchies get out the candles...
Monday, 7 July 2008
Sunday, 6 July 2008
* I hope EYLA will not be damaged by this scandal which has nothing to do with its marvellous work.
Please reconsider your decision.
This is the CPS guide on Majid Ahmed's spent offence of burglary dwelling. You can see that four months' community service is at the low end of the tariff (although if it's done properly like Majid did it, it's tough) which shows the severity of the offence and mitigation. And if anyone thinks I'm being soft, my house in Manchester was burgled at Christmas nearly twenty years ago but I would be more than satisfied if the toerag concerned had shown the remorse and put his life back on the track again like Majid Ahmed.
And here's a report on the June 1958 "prank" whereby a car was put on the roof of Cambridge University's Senate House. How many crimes could have been committed?
"The then Dean of Caius, the late Rt. Rev Hugh Montefiore, had an idea of who was responsible and sent a congratulatory case of champagne to their staircase, while never revealing his suspicions in public."
Different times indeed. As one of my Law Professors said, The Criminal Law only comes into operation if the police are aware of a breach.
Update 21:10 Thanks to Tom in the comments I've checked the Imperial College School of Medicine website and found some interesting links regarding criminal records. They are clear. But see this quote from Imperial College: "Thank you for your letter of 20 december...Since your conviction is regarded as spent my understanding is that you would not be expected to disclose it in your application. Consequently, the information you have provided me will not be attached to your application..." But mistakes can be made - and, if possible, corrected. Everyone needs to have a CRB check completed. Majid Ahmed ought to have mentioned his spent conviction as it might not have disbarred him from a place. But not mentioning it may (without seeing the risk assessment) have raised doubts aboubt his openness and judgement. I was wrong in making this assumption from the scanty facts and timeline then available to me.
Thanks, Tom for helping me dig deeper. I respect your opinion. But I was wrong. And Majid, if you read this, please don't give up. Reapply next year and disclose everything. Next time I see you in the papers or on the telly I hope it's because you've got a place at Imperial or Harvard. I'm sure you'll make an excellent doctor - although you have the persuasiveness of a politician or barrister, you must follow your vocation. Good Luck.
Saturday, 5 July 2008
It's all very well having a couple of big boats in the bath but a navy needs a balanced force to support these targets as they are known in naval parlance, from air and submarine attack. A radar and sonar bubble has to reach to the horizon and appropriate weaponry and counter-measures for distant and close in threats deployed around the flagship to protect it. Only when this protection is in place, is the carrier able to project its offensive strike capability in hostile waters.
To protect the two carriers the Royal Navy plans to have eight Type 45 destroyers and seven Astute class submarines. It's not really enough hulls in the water given the worldwide commitments of the Royal Navy.
I suggest that naval ship design and procurement is changed to enable three 27,000 tonne carriers of the HMAS Canberra, Juan Carlos I, or Cavour type to be acquired. These are more flexible ships more appropriate to the types of war the UK will fight and more useful in peacetime for projecting soft power. The Daring class destroyers will be used to support the smaller carriers. For the maid of all work, patrol and drugs interdiction tasks of the Royal Navy, a dozen ships based on the USN littoral combat ship concept should be procured. Alternatively, a steel hulled upscaled Sea Fighter should be considered because of the benefits of its swath hull design which enables more helicopters or UAVs to be carried. And the FAA should be expanded to have more general purpose helicopter squadrons.
And the reference to the Yamato and Musashi in the title? Well, they were essentially defenceless without the support vessels and aircraft that the USN had sunk and shot down.
Friday, 4 July 2008
Couldn't they say they'd done the work on time but left it on the bus? We expect so little of this government that that excuse would have been accepted with a sigh provided the government kept quiet in class and didn't drink ink.
* My infant school was brilliant because we wore a proper stiff brimmed hat when handing out the little bottles with a straw at breaktime. Must admit the milk tasted a bit cheesy on hot days (the crates were refrigerated in a shady corner outside) but my generation sat on coconut matting to "Listen With Mother" on the radio. And we made batik scarves in art - hot wax, 36 in the class, no classroom assistants, no lasting injuries. That taught me all I need to know about health & safety: be very careful and don't sit at the same table as clumsy Nigel.
Anyway, have a nice holiday. Enjoy the hotdogs, burgers, ice cream, fireworks and baseball.
(click to enlarge)
Thursday, 3 July 2008
Sadly, the death by stabbing of Dee Willis just off Peckham High Street on Tuesday night shows the gap between reality and the wonderful world of the Leader of The House.
One really ought to wear a stab vest or stay off the streets in South London. Have the Met lost the Battle of South London? Why doesn't Home Secretary Jacqui Smith put £20 in the envelope, sign the leaving card and replace Sirianblair with someone with the relevant experience leadership ability and
Wednesday, 2 July 2008
Thanks for your comment, Private Hook. I have to admit that at first I thought it was the animal rights people that were offended by a stuffed puppy inelegantly stuck to a woman police officer's hat. Rather like an old foxfur stole or a shaman's headdress. Isn't there an Italian regiment with a crow roosting on their ceremonial helmets? It may be ok for Ascot but it's not a patch on a Guardsman's bearskin for creating gravitas. Mind you, those eyes would be ideal for mounting minicams