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Archive for July, 2008

Your Right to Dump Rubbish

Our friendly socialist government is currently sneaking through a bill to allow councils to refuse to collect rubbish “if homeowners fail to abide by stringent rules that may include leaving bins in the right place, sticking to weight restrictions and following strict recycling policies”.

Of course, as they’ll have the final word, what happens if you have a disagreement with the bin-men or an un-related falling out with the local council? And what of your council tax? Will you get a refund if rubbish is left uncollected? (Don’t be silly – we don’t have rights like that in this country – after all, this isn’t REALLY a democracy)


Johnny Lee and Head Tracking

If you’ve never hear of Johnny Lee – watch this – I’ve ran his software for a number of his projects and they work – guy’s a genius – if the games designers have any imagination – expect some pretty impressive stuff just around the corner.

Head Tracking using the WiiMote
by johnnylee

Motoring Insanity

I got up early this morning and managed something I rarely do these days – read the paper from cover to cover. One item that caught my attention was a feature showing a new Lotus – the “Eagle” capable of doing 160mph and accelerating from 0-60mph in under 5 seconds.

My gut reaction was “that looks nice” – I’ve always been a fan of Lotus and it sounds like a lot of fun… but then it occurred to me how irresponsible in an age of dwindling, increasingly expensive fuel, to be designing, never mind actively promoting such vehicles – surely, it occurred to me, our car designers should be spending their time coming up with innovative ideas for making more efficient, not faster cars.

With speed limits in Europe generally around 70mph to 85mph and with UK law offering, at least most of the time, instant loss of licence for anyone travelling over 100mph, what on EARTH is the point of getting the British public enthused about a car that does 160MPH.

Don’t get me wrong, I get into trouble for speeding all the time – anyone who travels the M6 regularly will know that average speeds there are nearer 90mph – and I don’t have trouble with that personally – I like to get there quickly as much as the next person – but knowing as I do how car efficiency drops as the speed goes up, I cannot imagine what benefit there is – apart from to racing drivers, of making a car do 160mph. Lotus are not alone – and indeed demand for fast cars is apparently as high as ever.

For once I’m hoping the government WILL have the guts to force people to take a more sensible route – no matter how much money they have. I have a Mercedes diesel – it is fast and modern – and manages 40mpg without difficulty. Surely the goal would be to make all cars handle this level of fuel efficiency or better? If it were up to me, car tax would be based purely on the number of miles per gallon with a very STEEP climb for those cars that simply throw fuel away – that would safeguard the public against the current government’s far-left tendencies (taxing 4-wheel drive cars mainly to get at the middle class rural folk they so despise) while ensuring that over a period of time, only efficient cars were allowed on the road – and the more efficient the better. It really doesn’t matter what size or shape a car is – miles per gallon (or litre if you want to be confusing) is all that really matters.

If you’re interested in the science of cars, you’ll remember an Indian company is producing air-powered cars with a range of 100 miles – well, it looks like the Californians are on the ball at last – there’s a car coming out next year which runs on air – with a petrol engine compressing the air for long journeys and a more useful range of 800 miles… but, of course, pollution-free during inner-city travel and with the ability to fill the air tanks from mains electricity overnight. This kind of technology, properly developed and funded could make a major difference to the amount of fuel we consume – but continuing to feature glossy ads for supercars really does not help put is into the mindset for a private-transport future that will be very different to that enjoyed in the 20th century.

Wouldn’t it be nice if British car manufacturers were once again first at something like this instead of trailing behind?

Taking the easy option

According to the British Chamber of Commerce website, a report published by the University of Durham revealed that students may be more likely to choose to study ‘easier’ subjects, and not opt to study science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects that are desperately needed by employers.

Surely the answer is simple? Why on EARTH are we stupid enough to finance courses that this country doesn’t need? Microsoft technology courses cost the earth and I’m sure many courses in science and technology do also (unless of course you’re a no-hoper in which case they’re likely to be free). Surely the solution is to make science, technology, engineering and math courses extremely cheap or free (after all Britain PLC will benefit in the end) and charge the earth for courses that people take out of personal preference and which we don’t actually need.

Technology books are very expensive and yet I don’t ever recall seeing ways to get subsidies for these.

As far as I’m concerned we screwed our educational system the minute we went comprehensive back in the 70s and we’ve been going downhill ever since. Our position in the world stage pretty much reflects this.

In the future, with permanently rising fuel prices and intense competition from overseas, we will increasingly need people who can innovate, manage and sell hi-tech, advanced solutions to the many problems facing us. Less talk, more action and a desperate need for the left to stop trying to smother our potential best at birth.