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Archive for April, 2009

Solar Panels Galore

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Solar power in Lorca
When last heading back to the airport after a trip to Spain in April 2009, I took the opportunity to visit LORCA  – a rather large city part way between Galera and Murcia airport. One of the benefits of carrying a sat-nav is that you don’t have to worry about getting lost – so I took a diversion off the motorway and found myself in an industrial estate behind which appeared to be a rather large solar farm…. just how large wasn’t apparent until I found myself wandering along a dirt road that would be well placed in a desert somewhere.

The “farm” turned out to be the largest collection of solar arrays I’ve ever see and after ditching the car in favour of an on-foot reconnoitre I have to say…. MOST impressed – the Spanish really DO take solar power seriously – this is a VAST collection of massive photovoltiac solar panels though no-where near as impressive as this 20MW solar collector in Sevilla, however – if you look in the photo, the panels go almost as far as you can see. According to the blurb it chucks out 2,000,000 KWH annually or put another way about enough to run maybe 100 homes as long as they don’t all run the kettle at once. I’m sure anyone sufficiently interested can Google Lorca and get some more information – suffice it to say it’s well worth 5 minutes out of your journey to take a look. 

Apologies for the obvious photo glitch on the large panel – my camera could not cope with this scene so I had to panorama it from 4 photos.

Professional Persons

I’m in the process of applying for a new passport, having put mine in the wash (don’t laugh, it’s easy to do).

In the process of filling out the two forms to get a replacement I noticed that you have to get the form countersigned by “a professional person or a person of standing in the community (for example bank or building society officials, police officers, civil servants…etc)”

Bankers… they’re kidding, right?

10 Dimensions

For believers it’s probably easy… God created the lot – end of story. For the rest of us, the choices are simple – either don’t think about the origins of the universe and “get on with  life” – or occasionally come back to thinking about the absolute absurdity a big bang, with all the matter in the universe popping out of no-where – “just like that” . How can something “pop out of no-where” – you may as well just say “God created it”.

There IS a better way to at least start thinking about all of this but it does take a little effort. You and I live in a 3-dimensional world – and most of us can’t think outside of that – except perhaps to grudgingly admit that time is the 4th dimension of a sort. So how is it that current theories demand 10 dimensions and how can we possibly imagine that?

“With difficulty” – just as imagining “infinity” can only be done with difficulty – because we are simply not biologically wired to handle such things – what would be the point… Thankfully there are some tools out there to help you get a glimpse of what this might all be about even if they are not perfect. One such example which really has proven an eye-opener for me is “Imagining the 10th dimension”.  Here is a 2-part video I recommend watching twice, or more.. it really does answer some questions.

Pay particular attention to the 2-dimensional flat-lander.

The VAT Change – Did Anyone Notice

Interesting… the government cut VAT from 17.5% to 15% to help boost the economy. No-one thought it would make any difference. The FSB (Federation of Small Businesses) did a survey in which 97% of firms questioned said the cut had made “no impact at all” (I happen to know that stat was accurate as I sent the survey out and saw the incoming results), meanwhile the Centre for Economics and Business Research insisted it led to 2 billion in additional sales.

So it the sales didn’t go to the small businesses… where did they go?

How Bacteria Communicate

Eh… what? Has Peter lost the plot? Biology lessons?

No actually. As someone who long ago gave up hoping I’d ever learn anything sensible on TV, it’s become a bit of a hobby scouring the web for stuff that makes me think, that gives a new perspective – on the other hand I’m lazy – it has to do this without too much effort.

As someone who took biology for, erm a year I think, I’ve never really thought too much about bacteria – phrases like “single-cell gloop” come to mind generally – responsible for diseases – and also keeping our guts in good order… but that’s about it.  But some time ago when sitting in a hotel, bored, I started to wonder how something as simple as a bacteria actually managed to do such orchestrated damage… and so out came GOOGLE and I ended up as I so often do, looking to see what’s on offer at TED… and hit pay dirt.

Bonnie Bassler has managed to explain in a short talk how bacteria communicate. It’s not technical, not gobbledegook and if you take the time to listen to her short talk, it is INCREDIBLY enlightening and offers hope for the most amazing developments in the future.

REALLY worth watching…

Electric cars for all?

When I started watching this (and having just learned all about Obama’s lack-lustre plan for so-called “high speed” trains) I must admit I did so expecting it to be another loser – we’ve no intrastructure for electric cars, range is limited etc… but really – this fellow is worth listening to – and it would seem he has the ear of politicians…

Lily Allen – the Root of All Evil?

Maybe I’m just getting TOO OLD for this – or maybe I can see something that the pathetically out of date BBC and others just can’t handle in their golden years.

Here’s an example: Lily Allen has produced, as anyone who has not been in a cave in Spain for the last year knows, an INCREDIBLY catchy record called “The Fear”

For those of you who have not yet discovered mankind’s best-kept secret, SPOTIFY (I know – great service, pity about the name) in which FOR FREE you can listen to most songs as long as you don’t mind an advert every 30 minutes… lets you listen to various versions of many songs – including the delusionary edited versions, the BBC versions, the originals – you name it…

Here is “The Fear” by Lily Allen

http://open.spotify.com/track/3Uj1jEITnV9wQPIaXqQIPF

Try listening to it, say 3 times by which time you should be totally hooked or you are perhaps DEAF… OH and did you notice she happens to SWEAR a couple of times??

Well the BBC have and so have others because in their pathetically out of touch state, various publishers have ALTERED the music so it misses the swearing out or even CHANGES them DESPITE the fact that it is completely in context, humerous and musical.

So it is ok to broadcast 24 and a TON of other UK and AMERICAN shows in which people are shot, dismembered, tortured, reduced to an animal state and otherwise treated to personal ARMAGEDDON – but FRACK-ME as they say on Galactica – don’t let our children hear a pop-star swear!!!

So these kids (or very sad adults) who are protected from this onslaught of immoral words – they don’t go to school? They don’t watch YouTube……. they never see SKY channels that are all about SEX late at night and yet which are NOT password-protected and they have CERTAINLY not heard of Google…

Lets get our priorities right – killing people is BAD, damaging people is BAD, stealing is BAD, vandalism is bad… some would say that believing in fictitious deities is bad (as long as it’s someone ELSES deity)… but using a few colourful words in context…. get a life!

 

 

 

Lily Allen – the Root of All Evil?

Maybe I’m just getting TOO OLD for this – or maybe I can see something that the pathetically out of date BBC and others just can’t handle in their golden years.
Here’s an example: Lily Allen has produced, as anyone who has not been in a cave in Spain for the last year knows, an INCREDIBLY catchy record called “The Fear”
For those of you who have not yet discovered mankind’s best-kept secret, SPOTIFY (I know – great service, pity about the name) in which FOR FREE you can listen to most songs as long as you don’t mind an advert every 30 minutes… lets you listen to various versions of many songs – including the delusionary edited versions, the BBC versions, the originals – you name it…

Here is “The Fear” by Lily Allen

Try listening to it, say 3 times by which time you should be totally hooked or you are perhaps DEAF… OH and did you notice she happens to SWEAR a couple of times??
Well the BBC have and so have others because in their completely out of touch state, various publishers have ALTERED the music so it misses the swearing out or even CHANGES them DESPITE the fact that it is completely in context, humorous and musical.

So it’s ok to broadcast 24 and a TON of other UK and AMERICAN shows in which people are shot, dismembered, tortured, reduced to an animal state and otherwise treated to personal ARMAGEDDON – but FRACK-ME as they say on Galactica – don’t let our children hear a pop-star swear!!!

So these kids who are to be protected from this onslaught of immoral words – they don’t go to school? They don’t watch YouTube?.. they never see SKY channels that are all about SEX late at night and yet which are NOT password-protected and they have CERTAINLY not heard of Google?

Let’s get our priorities right – killing people is BAD, damaging people is BAD, stealing is BAD, vandalism is BAD… but using a few colourful words in context…. please!