Monthly archives: April 2005

Staying Current

Bring up the subject of banking and you’ll quickly hear me moan about how shit NatWest are. Not so much the charges and other bullshit, because I expect those from any bank, but the repetitive incompetence that’s seen me in negative feedback cycles of ever increasing charges and overdraft. I’m changing bank sooner or later and the Cooperative has been at the top of my list of potential new homes for my cash for a while.

Hippyshopper draws attention to the Coop’s Privilege account, which is full of special offers designed to warm the Green heart. As with all premium accounts, you have to weigh up the pros and cons. Money off Ecotricity electricity is tempting, and an incentive to switch, but travel insurance deals aren’t much use to me at the moment. And there’s a charge, of course. Discounting the other benefits the interest rate on the account means you have to maintain a balance of over 5 grand to cover the expense of the account. If I had that much money to sit in a bank account I’d find one where it worked for me.

The Coop is still top of my list for my next current account, but I don’t want their Privilege account for the time being.

Technorati tag:

John "Solar Panel" Prescott

Tucked away at the bottom of this news piece about a defecting Labour MP

Elsewhere, four Greenpeace activists tried to install a solar panel on the rooftop of Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott’s home in Hull in protest at the government’s energy record.

Update Ananova has more information.

[Ben Stewart, of Greenpeace,] said: “We have people up on the roof who have got the equipment to fit a solar panel.

“We want to draw attention to the Government’s record on energy efficiency.

“We have unveiled a banner which says ‘Oi Two Jags. Hit Targets, Not Voters’.

“I don’t know if Mr Prescott is at home but we think his wife, Pauline, is inside.”

Technorati tag: ,


I touched Spinneyhead earlier, gently stroking its purring black heart.

Then I pressed the button and rebooted it because the server had crashed.

All these years of running this website and today was the first time I’ve actually seen its physical manifestation- a server sitting in the corner of a room. It was borderline mystical, so it was.

Plus, having pressed the button, Tim says I’m now upgraded from chicken soup machine repairman third class to second class. If I can just learn which way round to hold a screw driver I might even make it to first class.

Nuclear Future

Honourable Fiend has a compelling take on the recent upsurge in interest in Nuclear power as “environmentalyy friendly” and a good stop gap towards the zero carbon future.

It’s also extremely bad news for the commercial entities which depend on that weapons-power-weapons cycle for their bread and butter. Hence the current US fad idea of building new nuclear power stations “to reduce CO2 emissions while renewables are too expensive”. Which is obviously a complete crock of shit since it’s only cheaper because it’s subsidized to the lug’oles, and it’s only subsidized to the lug’oles because it’s required to maintain a weapons programme. Plus of course there’s the minor issue of waste management.

I worked at Sellafield for a while in the early nineties and there was a certain smugness that must come from being a protected industry. The biggest example of which has to be the THORP programme, which went ahead before the main customer, Japan, had signed any contracts on the understanding that if anything went wrong then the Government would surely underwrite something that had already cost X hundred million pounds rather than risk BNFL collapsing.

Technorati tag:

Monday is becoming minor disaster day

Last week Casa Spinneyhead was disconnected from the Interweb for a day whilst the broadband threw a paddy, today I’ve been hit by two annoying setbacks to my blogging. One is short term, the other means a re-think of my plans for the next six months.

I left the computer on last night to run scheduled tests and because there were some sites left open I wanted to revisit. Some time during the night it crashed, corrupting the OPML file that detailed all the RSS feeds I check every morning. So now I have to track them down and rebuild it. You can bet I’m going to back it up this time.

More annoyingly, the training scheme I was booked on which was going to give me, amongst other things, six months support to become a pro blogger, is no longer open to me. Now I have to go and jump through other idiot hoops just to satisfy the JobCentre and get a job I’ll hate.

Grumble, grumble, complain.

At least it’s sunny out.
Update I think Monday heard me complaining and decided it hadn’t done enough, because the server crashed at about five and had to be manually restarted (by me). Not a major problem at all, but, in keeping with the rest of the day, mildly annoying.

Technorati tag:

London Green Lifestyle Show

Scheduled for World Environment Day on June 5th, there is to be a big Green living show in Greenwich. It’s a bit far for me to travel, I should check out what similar events MAnchester council has planned.

Londoners will be able to pick up tips on how to make changes at home, work or in their leisure time to help improve their own standard of living and protect and enjoy the environment.

The event is part of Mr Livingstone’s aim of making London a sustainable city powered using renewable energy sources, where waste will be minimised and recycled, food waste will be composted and noise and air pollution will be reduced.

Technorati tag: ,

Hydrogen Village

One of the major complaints about wind power is that it isn’t an “on demand” power source, you get electricity when the wind speed is within a certain range, which isn’t always the time when the power is needed. A pilot scheme on Canada’s Prince Edward Island may have the answer. It uses power from windmills to convert water to hydrogen, which can be stored and used as combustible fuel or in fuel cells. Though there are questions about the efficiency of conversion it does offer one possible solution. Possibly future wind farms could incorporate a small hydrogen power plant. When output is greater than demand hydrogen can be produced that would run the plant when output from the windmills dropped below a certain level.

Technorati tag: , ,

Dry Ton

Biomass could provide up to one third of the US’ fuel requirements, without requiring major changes in production methods, a scientific report has concluded.

Looking at just forestland and agricultural land, the two largest potential biomass sources, the study found potential exceeding 1.3 billion dry tons per year. That amount is enough to produce biofuels to meet more than one-third of the current demand for transportation fuels, according to the report.

Technorati tag: ,


Burt Rutan sees franchises as the future of commercial spaceflight.

Rutan declined to give detailed information about his future business plans before the US House Committee on Science�s Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics on Wednesday. But he did say he sees it running like a Wendy�s fast-food franchise, with his company implementing strict rules for tour operators about safety and operations. �We won�t sell spaceships to space lines that aren�t safe to fly,� he says

Technorati tag: ,