Monthly archives: January 2006

I am the Resurrection

A very modern Madchester Passion Play is to be performed this Easter. Featuring Bez as a disciple and versions of songs by Joy Division, the Buzzcocks and M People, it will take the form of a parade through Manchester from Canal Street to Albert Square culminating with an “as yet undisclosed song from the top of Manchester’s town hall”.

Canon Robin Gamble, canon evangelist at Manchester Cathedral, has been tasked with encouraging churchgoers to attend the event.

“I wouldn’t know a Buzzcock from a ballcock so I couldn’t really comment on the music. All I can say is that they are not doing a Christian service, it is a piece of contemporary theatre and that is going to get people to think about the story in modern terms,” he said.

“It is going to come from the streets, with the sounds of traffic and people bustling around and it will make people think about this story in a new way. It is going to be challenging and shocking and is going to get things rumbling – it’s going to be brilliant.”

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I thought we were better…..

In a poll of Britons carried out for a Horizon programme over 40% of respondents said they believed that creationism and/ or intelligent design should be taught in science classes. I want to scream.

If anyone starts touting this idiocy in Manchester I’ll be running a campaign of ridicule to stop them.

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Ashes to ashes, mountains to meadows

The trend of spreading the ashes of loved ones on top of mountains is upsetting the ecological balance of hilltops.

“These areas are acidic, they are impoverished and they have very small amounts of minerals such as calcium. They are also very wet, and in an environment such as that the ash is providing you are getting luxuriant growth.

“I realise this is a very sensitive and private matter and I would never tell people not to do this, but it is going to have a lasting impact on a wild mountain landscape.

“Perhaps people would think about scattering ashes lower down a mountain on grass, around a tree, or into a corrie where it will have less visual impact.”

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GCSE Level heat pumps

The Guardian on the wonder of heat pumps.

With fossil fuels becoming alarmingly expensive, this environmentally friendly and low-cost alternative to gas central heating is finally coming into its own in the UK. It is incrediblyeffective, capable of achieving 400% efficiency – giving out more energy (typically 3 to 4 kilowatts) than the householder puts in to run it (typically 1KW). By comparison, an average gas boiler works at 90% efficiency at best.

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Nomadic looking for a home

The Nomadic, built a year before the Titanic, was a luxury ferry that transported first class passengers to the doomed liner. It’s up for auction and there’s a campaign to take it back to Belfast.

Nomadic saw service in both world wars and was later used as a restaurant on the Seine in Paris.

More recently, it has been languishing semi-derelict in the port of Le Havre.

A feasibility study by Belfast City Council estimated the cost of buying the ship and bringing it back to the city would be around £750,000.

It would then need about £7m to restore the ship to its former glory.

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Titanium nanotubes to increase solar energy efficiency

Researchesr at Penn State university are using highly ordered arrays of titanium nanotubes to increase the efficiency of photolysis- the breaking down of water to hydrogen and oxygen by sunlight.

“Basically we are talking about taking sunlight and putting water on top of this material, and the sunlight turns the water into hydrogen and oxygen. With the highly-ordered titanium nanotube arrays, under UV illumination you have a photoconversion efficiency of 13.1%. Which means, in a nutshell, you get a lot of hydrogen out of the system per photon you put in. If we could successfully shift its bandgap into the visible spectrum we would have a commercially practical means of generating hydrogen by solar energy. It beats fighting wars over middle-eastern oil.”

via Warren Ellis

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A little reminder

Today is the most depressing day of the year, apparently. I wasn’t miserable enough, so I decided to start my tax return. Every year I say that next time I won’t leave it to the last minute and, so far, every year I lie.

Of course, I wasn’t earning any money from self employment in 04-05, and I’ve gone and lost an important P60 as well.

Le sigh.

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