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Archive for January, 2009

Climate Change Scandal?

Global Warning Scandal?

Today I read this little item entitled The amazing story behind the Global Warming Scam in which John Coleman casts grave doubt on the legitimacy of blaming carbon dioxide for our problems. Change is happening of course, no doubt about that, but the direction that change is taking us – and who or what is responsible – I think that’s a lot more in doubt than some would have us believe.  

Peter Scargill

The Obscene New Jaguar XFR

I was reading in the papers about the new Jaguar XFR high performance sports saloon which will, it is claimed exceed 225mph with it’s 510bhp V8 engine.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not an environmentalist, I’m not even a socialist and I most definitely don’t eat any greens… but perhaps my change of attitude over the years is something others increasingly share?

As a teen back in the 70s I’d be drooling over such a car just as I drooled over my first 3-litre, power-bump-equipped Capri! But today somehow, none of that really seems appropriate.

We live in a time when we’ve already seen the effects of fuel shortages, where we are left in no doubt at all about the damaging effects to the environment (climate change) and people (record levels of asthma and allergies) of pollution – and here we have the press celebrating a car that is designed to exceed most legal speed limits by 3 times – and suck in as much fuel as possible in the process, no doubt throwing out proportionate pollution in the process.

By glorifying such designs we send a clear message to the next generation – we don’t give a toss about the environment or law – as it’s much more important that we get our kicks!

I drive a luxury, comfortable car which sounds like it’s idling at 70mph and is ideally suited to faster roads of Europe, yet it’s top speed is more than enough to get me a ticket almost anywhere in Europe, acceleration is good enough to get me out of a jam and it’s fuel consumption exceeds 40mpg – which means in terms of efficiency and environmental factors it competes favourably with most family cars.

Would it not be better if Jaguar and other designers who are very capable of influencing the young, put their skills to moving the car out of the 20th century, not just by producing token hybrids to put up at shows but by mass producing something that will help us reduce our dependency on people who would like to kill us, that would no longer contribute to polluting our air and which would be safe. NONE of that means such a vehicle can’t be exciting. There is no reason at all why hybrid and electric cars have to look like toys as some recent models have shown – and performance can still be well-acceptable… it’s all down to mind-set.

As it stands, the new Jag in the context of today’s issues really to me seems like the height of stupidity.

The Obscene New Jaguar XFR

I was reading in the paper today about the new Jaguar XFR high performance sports saloon which will, it is claimed exceed 225mph with it’s 510bhp V8 engine.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not an environmentalist, I’m not even a socialist and I most definitely don’t eat any greens… but perhaps my change of attitude over the years is something others increasingly share?

As a teen back in the 70s I’d be drooling over such a car just as I drooled over my first 3-litre, power-bump-equipped Capri! But today somehow, none of that really seems appropriate.

We live in a time when we’ve already seen the effects of fuel shortages, where we are left in no doubt at all about the damaging effects to the environment (climate change) and people (record levels of asthma and allergies) of pollution – and here we have the press celebrating a car that is designed to exceed most legal speed limits by 3 times – and suck in as much fuel as possible in the process, no doubt throwing out proportionate polution in the process.

By glorifying such designs we send a clear message to the next generation – we don’t give a toss about the environment or law – as it’s much more important that we get our kicks!

I drive a luxury, comfortable car which sounds like it’s idling at 70mph and is ideally suited to faster roads of Europe, yet it’s top speed is more than enough to get me a ticket almost anywhere in Europe, accelleration is good enough to get me out of a jam and it’s fuel consumption exceeds 40mpg – which means in terms of efficiency and environmental factors it competes favourably with most family cars.

Would it not be better if Jaguar and other designers who are very capable of influencing the young, put their skills to moving the car out of the 20th century, not just by producing token hybrids to put up at shows but by mass producing something that will help us reduce our dependency on people who would like to kill us, that would no longer contribute to polluting our air and which would be safe. NONE of that means such a vehicle can’t be exciting. There is no reason at all why hybrid and electric cars have to look like toys as some recent models have shown – and performance can still be well-acceptable… it’s all down to mind-set.

As it stands, the new Jag in the context of today’s issues really to me seems like the height of stupidity.

Waste-of-space protesters at the Airport

The green-munching environmental protesters at Heathrow remind me so much of the anti-nuclear bunch back when I was a kid – a bunch of bored middle-class rebels who’s only achievement was to set back the progress of alternatives to coal by 20 years or more. I can’t help thinking they’re really still getting back at their parents. A bunch of silly, idealist girls and boys with nothing better to do than go off on a cause. The headlines said it all “sat and ate cakes and sandwiches” – for goodness sake – no doubt ONLY “fair-trade” cakes !!!

If they really want to reduce pollution they’d be better off holding a rally in protest against the very REAL pollution coming out by the billions of tons daily  from certain far eastern countries – or better yet, go off and do some research into stopping volcanoes erupting or cows farting!

They are not going to stop us all travelling around the world – only excessive pricing will do that… sadly those of us who’d like to go down there and give them a good punching simply don’t have the time – maybe these people don’t have jobs? I can see where Alistair McGowan might have nothing better to do but as for the rest?

Such wasted effort CANNOT make any significant difference to the environment compared to the crap that the likes of CHINA is putting out. If we TOTALLY eliminated all the damage we do to the environment (which is impossible) – the difference would not be worth a LIGHT in comparison. These protesters would be FAR better employed sitting outside of the Chinese embassy or encouraging the public to boycott cheap Chinese imports – which would also serve the dual purpose of boosting the UK economy at a time when it really needs the help! Simple economics will ensure that aircraft designers continue to push the boat out in making their planes more efficient – not a bunch of overgrown schoolkids.

One wonders if they WALKED to these protests or used some form of pollution-generating transport to get there, in their fancy hats, no doubt produced half way across the world and shipped over here at what cost to the environment.

Lunar Rainbow

Lunar Rainbow by Peter ScargillHow often do you see one of these? Most likely not very often. This is not what it looks like… a rainbow, but a moon rainbow or “moonbow” taken around 8pm on 12th of January 2009 in pitch black in Wark, Northumberland (UK). Apologies for the less than ideal focus, in each case these shots took 10 seconds exposure with a handheld camera propped against something solid.

My thanks to neighbour Chris for pointing this out to me and challenging me to take a photo. I can’t overstress that this was out in the country in absolute pitch black. We were in a rush to go out and the camera batteries were flat – which is a shame because as we headed off west up the military road – again, out in the wilds, you could not only CLEARLY see the entire 180 degrees of rainbow, but notice in the photo it seems to be “filled in” with a lighter colour. In fact when we saw the whole thing away from streetlights that was indeed the case.

Exactly like a normal rainbow and again as you can see in the image, this one contains the full spectrum of colours from red on the outside through yellow, green, blue.

Meanwhile over to the east we had a full moon surrounded by clouds which again had a variety of colours you would not normally see. This entire phenomenon lasted for at least an hour, maybe more and could be readily visible to anyone looking up at the sky.

Apparently the conditions for such an event include the moon being less than 42 degrees high and the sky much be dark.

Lunar Rainbow

How often do you see one of these? Most likely not very often. This is not what it looks like… a rainbow, but a moon rainbow or “moonbow” taken around 8pm on 12th of January 2009 in pitch black in Wark, Northumberland (UK). Apologies for the less than ideal focus, in each case these shots took 10 seconds exposure with a handheld camera propped against something solid.

My thanks to neighbour Chris for pointing this out to me and challenging me to take a photo.

Lunar rainbow in Wark, Northumberland January 2009

I can’t overstress that this was out in the country in absolute pitch black. We were in a rush to go out and the camera batteries were flat – which is a shame because as we headed off west up the military road – again, out in the wilds, you could not only CLEARLY see the entire 180 degrees of rainbow, but notice in the photo it seems to be “filled in” with a lighter colour. In fact when we saw the whole thing away from streetlights that was indeed the case.

Exactly like a normal rainbow and again as you can see in the image, this one contains the full spectrum of colours from red on the outside through yellow, green, blue.

Meanwhile over to the east we had a full moon surrounded by clouds which again had a variety of colours you would not normally see. This entire phenomenon lasted for at least an hour, maybe more and could be readily visible to anyone looking up at the sky.

Apparently the conditions for such an event include the moon being less than 42 degrees high and the sky much be dark.

Advertising Standards What?

I thought you might be interested to see this.  If you’ve a mobile Smartphone you’ll know EXACTLY what I’m talking about. I just wrote to the advertising standards agency in the UK to complain about the farcical figures that one particular mobile phone supplier (they’re all the same) quotes for STANDBY times on the phones.  On the website in question – they claim as just ONE EXAMPLE, 7.9 days standby for the Touch Diamond phone.

The reality of course is that these phones rarely last more than a single day without a charge. All of the suppliers are the same – they simply copy the manufacturer’s farcical claims – and repeat them on their websites and literature.  To me this was a clear case of misleading the public – but apparently not.

Here is the reply from the ASA – verbatim…

Dear Mr Scargill

Thank you for your recent complaint about the specifications of a mobile phone on the [providers] website.

I’m sorry to tell you that we are unable to deal with your complaint because our Code only applies to certain kinds of material on websites.  They are:      

  • online ads in space sold by the website owner to a third party e.g. banner and pop-up ads
  • sponsored search results (i.e. the links advertisers pay search engines to offer when you enter particular search terms)
  • sales promotions such as free gifts and prize competitions

The Code does not apply to other parts of an organisation’s website because either they are forms of editorial material or they carry material that consumers have chosen to access in much the same way as they would walk into a shop and ask for information.  The ASA does not regulate either of these areas. 

I would suggest in the first instance that you contact the mobile phone manufacturer for their response to your query, as it appears that all the companies selling the phone simply reproduce the phone specifications given by the manufacturer.  If they cannot help, you may wish to contact your local Trading Standards Department whose details can be obtained from your local area phone book or at www.tradingstandards.gov.uk.

Our website, www.asa.org.uk, contains more information about the ASA and the work we do.  I hope you find this useful and are able to pursue your complaint.

Yours sincerely

Laura Edwards

Complaints Executive

Advertising Standards WHAT?

I thought you might be interested to see this.  If you’ve a mobile Smartphone you’ll know EXACTLY what I’m talking about. I just wrote to the advertising standards agency in the UK to complain about the farcical figures that one particular mobile phone supplier (they’re all the same) quotes for STANDBY times on the phones.  On the website in question – they claim as just ONE EXAMPLE, 7.9 days standby for the Touch Diamond phone.

The reality of course is that these phones rarely last more than a single day without a charge. All of the suppliers are the same – they simply copy the manufacturer’s farcical claims – and repeat them on their websites and literature.  To me this was a clear case of misleading the public – but apparently not.

Here is the reply from the ASA – verbatim…

Dear Mr Scargill

Thank you for your recent complaint about the specifications of a mobile phone on the [providers] website.

I’m sorry to tell you that we are unable to deal with your complaint because our Code only applies to certain kinds of material on websites.  They are:      

  • online ads in space sold by the website owner to a third party e.g. banner and pop-up ads
  • sponsored search results (i.e. the links advertisers pay search engines to offer when you enter particular search terms)
  • sales promotions such as free gifts and prize competitions

The Code does not apply to other parts of an organisation’s website because either they are forms of editorial material or they carry material that consumers have chosen to access in much the same way as they would walk into a shop and ask for information.  The ASA does not regulate either of these areas. 

I would suggest in the first instance that you contact the mobile phone manufacturer for their response to your query, as it appears that all the companies selling the phone simply reproduce the phone specifications given by the manufacturer.  If they cannot help, you may wish to contact your local Trading Standards Department whose details can be obtained from your local area phone book or at www.tradingstandards.gov.uk.

Our website, www.asa.org.uk, contains more information about the ASA and the work we do.  I hope you find this useful and are able to pursue your complaint.

Yours sincerely

Laura Edwards

Complaints Executive