Monthly archives: April 2006

Germany has the world's largest solar park

16.5 km (10 miles) of solar panels have been mounted on former military grounds at Pocking, near Passau in Bavaria. The installation saves 10,000 tons of CO2 yearly–the equivalent of 1,000 hectares of woodlands. Construction cost 40 million euro (£27.8 million) and started in August 2005.

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MPs' Green press releases- who gives a damn about the profits of Tesco

Something of a slow week overall. Tesco’s profits do merit investigation and curbing in some manner, I think.

Shadow Trade and Industry Secretary Praises Weston Recycling Initiative

Alan Duncan MP Shadow Secretary of State for Trade and Industry has praised the recycling work of local waste management and recycling company, Towens of Weston, following a visit with local MP John Penrose.

Speaking after the visit, Mr Duncan said; “The company has an impressive set of recycling kit and an 83% recycling rate. It shows what can be done to protect the environment and reduce the enormous demand on landfill space.

“We’re currently conducting an energy review so I listened with particular interest to their proposals for sustainable energy production. The idea of converting local waste into energy for nearby homes and businesses is an exciting option which deserves detailed consideration.”

Sassy Nappy Fashions on show in 10th anniversary – Real Nappy Week

Mike Hall, MP for Weaver Vale joins more than 147 other MPs, MEPs, Welsh AMs and MSPs to celebrate the 10th anniversary Real Nappy Week from 24-30 April.

Fashion shows, “nappuccino” coffee mornings and hundreds of other events across the UK and abroad will reveal how far real nappies have come in the last decade. No longer just an eco and economic option, real nappies are now a fashionable lifestyle choice.

Biba Hartigan of Women’s Environmental network, which is co-ordinating the week, says, “There are nappies to suit all tastes: bright and funky Day-Glo, leopardskin and tie-dye prints, classic whites and pastels in fluffy fleece, silky-soft bamboo or organic hemp fabrics, and a choice of snug-fitted styles”.



Following today’s announcement of record Tesco profits of £2.25 billion for the past year, Roger Williams, Liberal Democrat MP for Brecon and Radnorshire has warned that the extreme power of supermarkets is destroying Welsh farming.

Commenting on these latest figures, Roger said:

“These figures show the huge imbalance in the UK Groceries market. Tesco’s profits are a staggering 17% higher than last year. Meanwhile, the once-thriving Welsh farming industry is now over a barrel. Producers, farmers and convenience stores are in decline, whilst the ‘big four’ supermarkets have gone from strength to strength.

“These companies are making billions whilst farmers are struggling to make ends meet. On average, three Welsh dairy farmers go out of work every week, while the average income from farming in Wales is just £14,000. Tesco makes profits of £228,000 an hour.

“Supermarkets are raking it in by keeping prices static and passing costs on to the farmers. For every £1 consumers spend on food in supermarkets, just 8p goes to the farmer.

“The Supermarket Code of Practice has proved useless, a toothless tiger since its inception four years ago. If this government is serious about helping our farmers and consumers, and curbing the power of retailers, the Office of Fair Trading needs to extend its review of the groceries market and work toward truly fair trade between farmers, suppliers and supermarkets.”

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Solar Power Grants

A bit of an info dump. I’m rounding up links for later investigation-

The Energy Savings Trust has a funding database where you can check out who’ll subsidise your move to Green energy. They also run a Solar Photovoltaic grant on behalf of the DTI with the aim of creating a long-term, sustained and viable market for solar photovoltaics.

Clear Skies is a well known scheme, which offers case studies of various projects.

The Solar Energy Alliance has a lot of solar information and gadgets as well as some stuff on wind turbines.

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Heavensent 2.2

Rey handed the field glasses to Lensman. “Some kind of camp. There are firing ranges, an assault course. And look at all the pitons and ropes on those cliffs. I think they are trying to turn flatlanders into real troops.”

Troops and soft skins milled around the assembly area near the gates, readying a clean up squad for the collapsed tunnel down the road. “They are not leaving many guards.” Lensman commented.

“What are you thinking of?”

“They have an artillery range. We have no heavy weapons.”

“You want to steal their guns? That would give us away, you know?”

“Not if we do it properly. There has already been one aerial raid. What if we can convince them there was another?”

Rey took back the glasses. The work crew was pulling out, crossing the small river that ran along the near boundary of the camp. He counted the soldiers left behind. “I will get Kess up here. He can pick off the guards before we go in. If we put a fire crew there,” he pointed at the bluff above a curve in the river, “they can strafe the barracks while I lead a squad against admin and the canteen and Mov takes the armoury. Then we plant enough charges to suggest bombs.”

“A good plan. But one change. I shall lead your squad, you guide the covering fire.”


“There is only yourself and Mov who have seen action in this squad. Everyone else, including myself, needs the experience. And where better than against a soft target such as this?”

Heavensent 2.3
Heavensent 2.1
Heavensent 1.1

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Airfix Classic Car Collection

I’m resisting buying the classic car collection, but I’ll probably cave in soon in fear that they’ll all be gone and I’ll regret not having them.

In the mean time, a few links-

The Vauxhall Viva HA.
The Viva Outlaws Club (mostly HBs and HCs though).

Triumph Herald images (including an appearance in a Tintin comic).
Triumph Herald wikipedia entry.
A stretched Herald.

Ford Escort Mk1 pictures.
A lot of Ford Escort desktop images.
The Escort RS2000.
Escort Mk1 rally cars.
An Escort funny car.

Related- onethirtysecond, a resource for 1:32nd scale car kits.

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Ming's Green challenge

He may just be calling Cameron’s bluff, but Menzies Campbell is calling for the Tory leader to agree to five broad “green principles” that would underpin policy. His justification is that should Cameron stop fannying around and agree to them the combined votes could make an immediate difference to tax policy on environmental issues.

As outlined in a speech in Norwich the five points are-

* Green taxes should be used to change behaviour

* Green taxes – including excise duty on fuel – should not fall in real terms from year to year

* There should be a substantial increase in the top rate of Vehicle Excise Duty

* The climate change levy should be reformed into a universal carbon tax – including household emissions as well as business emissions

* Air passenger duty should be restructured as a tax on aircraft emissions, not passengers

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Be safe, brothers

Be safe, brothers
Be safe, brothers,
originally uploaded by spinneyhead.

I seem to have stumbled upon a cross between a union meeting and a memorial to construction workers killed or injured on the job. I just caught the end of it and couldn’t really make out what was being said from my discreet distance.

Update It was International Workers Memorial Day.

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Slayer Day

06/06/06 is, amongst other things, National Slayer Day, celebrating the Californian gods of Satanic speed metal. You can celebrate by playing their music really loud, or-

Taking that participation to a problematic level

# Stage a “Slay-out.” Don’t go to work. Listen to Slayer.
# Have a huge block party that clogs up a street in your neighborhood. Blast Slayer albums all evening. Get police cruisers and helicopters on the scene. Finish with a full-scale riot.
# Spray paint Slayer logos on churches, synagogues, or cemeteries.
# Play Slayer covers with your own band (since 99% of your riffs are stolen from Slayer anyway).
# Kill the neighbor’s dog and blame it on Slayer.

via BoingBoing

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originally uploaded by spinneyhead.

I think i have the only sharansky’s t-shirt left in the wild. Only nostalgia is keeping it from being torn up and used to clean bikes.

Does anyone else still own one of these? Do you too refuse to call it ‘north campus’? Are we old and sad?

(Don’t answer that last one.)
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Heavensent 2.1

None of them had slept well. They had taken turns at sentry duty, though there was little to guard against.

Sheel stripped to the waist. She passed the rope through a belt loop on her shorts and Bobb tied a knot to secure it. “I’ll try to do this on my own power, but if I start tugging pull me back in right away.” She dived over the edge before they could acknowledge.

Away from the shore, the water was clear, with sunlight penetrating deep before beginning to diffuse. Closer in, a soup of algae swallowed the light and restricted the view. Sheel swam into the thick green water. She passed under the shadow of the shore and the temperature dropped.

Groping around, she found something firmly anchored. Tugging on it brought her in close to a thin root, with another just beyond. Pulling herself from root to root, Sheel worked further under the floating island. Up ahead, the roots became thicker, wrapping and twining together in a criss cross pattern. Small fish swam through the gaps, feasting on the algae. Something dark trailed into the depths. There was no way she could get close enough to examine it.

There was a movement, just at the edge of view to the left. Sheel turned her head to see a large dark shape leaping at her. It was as long and thick as her arm with teeth upon teeth and tiny eyes ringing its mouth. The fish ran up against the net of roots, jamming part way through one of the larger gaps. Now it was trapped. It thrashed and thrashed, becoming sluggish as water stopped flowing through its gills. Smaller fish darted in to take nibbles out of the predator. Chunks of flesh floated off to be wrapped in algae.

Sheel kicked away, aware of the pain in her lungs. She broke the surface with the opposite of a cry, the painful sound of great gasps of air. She lay on her back in the water, revelling in the sun, as Gim and Bobb dragged her in.

Under the tree, with the first of the purified water at her lips, Sheel explained what she had seen. “We’re sitting on an ecosystem growing on a giant plant. There is a root, from the tree, trailing into the depths. I don’t know whether it’s attached to the bottom, maybe it’s just a trailing anchor. There are smaller roots branching off near the surface, and the algae has coated itself to these. The dead stuff’s building up over time to make this, ‘soil’. The roots drape down below, knitting together to make a net of sorts. The net catches larger fish, smaller fish feed on the corpses, breaking them down for the algae and plankton, and the tree feeds on the nutrients provided by the single celled animals.”

“But can the system support humans?” Bobb wondered.

“I guess we’re going to find out.”

Heavensent 2.2
Heavensent 1.7
Heavensent 1.1

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Heavensent 1.7

The orgy had lasted four full days. It hadn’t been the greatest the citadel had ever seen- only three of the older monks had expired- but the Lang had tried to impregnate all the nubiles from the surrounding villages and the Yin had taken her pick of the men. Now both gurus had all their fleshly desires satisfied, they could be prepared to enter the world.

As the grounds were cleared and the joyously deceased monks laid to rest, the gurus went into isolation. Their bodies were steamed and their loins salved and oiled. Pampered, powdered and in pressed clothes, they reappeared two days later.

They went down to the lake one last time, to look at the island- glowing in the
morning sunlight- then walked back along the tree lined path to the temple. Trees gave way to mud huts, wattle and daub, stone, half timbered and finally glazed brick. The gate had been dismantled and moved down the valley so a new extension could be marked out. A missionary had returned with news of a material- a powder and water mix which cured hard as sandstone and could be strengthened with ferrous bars.

The dark wood doors, over a span thick, had been re-hung for the occasion. A lazy traveller could walk around the gates, but the Lang and Yin put all their strength into pushing them open. Neither had passed beyond the threshold before, though both knew more about the world than anyone outside the temple. “We should take names.” The Yin suggested.

“Mine shall be from the first person I meet, I think.”

“I shall be Dana. After one of the goddesses of the Northern countries, as that is where I am headed.”

“I am heading down the river. From what I hear, there are many down there I could help.”

They stood for a while, staring up at the mountains and down at the river. In all probability they would never meet again. They touched fingers.

“Farewell Dana.”


Heavensent 2.1
Heavensent 1.6
Heavensent 1.1

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own your streets

There’s a campaign on to stop people littering (this being manchester council they’ve probably stretched the remit to cover graffiti and skateboarding as well) and lots of the city centre’s bins tell us to own our streets. I’ve interpreted this by, where possible, taking up my fair share of the road.
The inside two feet of the road is the most likely to hold debris or have pot holes. When i can i stay out of this danger zone. Not only does my bike suffer less damage, it’s easier to drift out to get round parked cars.
Drivers approaching from behind generally accept my right to be there and give me plenty of space as they pass. Some of them give me so much space they’re on the wrong side of the white lines.
Some places, however, seem to bring out the moron in certain drivers. There’s a one way stretch between whitworth street and portland street where i have to get into the right hand lane. Here i stick to the right of the lane, though i might as well ride up the middle because it’s so narrow they’d have to force their way into the middle lane to get past. Yet still they try, desperately wanting to be at the lights a whole second earlier.
Any empathy i’ve built up for drivers is removed every time i see one do something like this. Or blocking the advanced stop lane, parking in the cycle lane, speeding up on amber, parking on the pavement, the list goes on. So, motorists, next time you get the urge to complain about the behaviour of cyclists stop and review your own. Are you really without sin?

Finest* Goths

News worth going out and burning down a Tesco over.

Planning permission has been granted on the building that houses Jillys/ Rockworld that could see it becoming yet another bloody supermarket.

One of the commenters on the LiveJournal thread dug up some online information about the application

Change of use of ground floor and basement nightclub to offices, retail unit for use as Class A1 (shop) or Class A2 (financial and professional services), B1 (business) and car parking for 28 cars

Others are certain it’s just a ploy to increase the value of the property and that there is no way a landmark like Jilly’s is going away. I’d like to believe that as awell, but I’m not so confident. The applicants, Bruntwood, seem to be all about turning a profit making the city centre a nice safe place for bland people to live and that’s a prime piece of Oxford Road for a developer.

I can imagine getting the planning permission was quite easy as well. There’s a part of Manchester council that doesn’t like youth and alternative culture. These are the people who last year drove skate boarders from an open, busy area where they could mingle safely with their non-plank pushing friends by threatening to fine them a grand if they didn’t start using a dark and isolated cage under the Mancunian Way. No matter that there’s already a Sainsburys less than two hundred yards away, these people would happily see a Mancunian icon shut down if they could replace it with the sort of cookie cutter capitalism they can more easily understand.

I shall see if I can find out more about this in the next few days and report back.

Jillys official site.


Spinneyworld on Jilly’s

Psychodiscography, including Music Box and Rockworld

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Green roofs growing

The area of green roofing in North America grew 72% between 2004 and 2005, and by over 80% in the United States, Green Roofs for Healthy Cities has announced. North American green roof infrastructure implementation increased from 1.3 million square feet in 2004 to 2.5 million square feet in 2005.

The 4th Annual Green Roof Conference, Awards and Trade Show takes place in Boston, MA, on May 11-12, 2006.

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You can work for fun (from home)

People who run their own businesses have such flexibility and independence that they enjoy far greater job satisfaction, experts claim. The income may be sporadic and the hours sometimes long, but it’s things like the feeling of control that work for them.

Just as soon as I hit on something that’ll allow me to work from home that’s exactly what I’m going to do.

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Top of the Not-Pops

The 25 worst things to happen to popular music, allegedly.

6. Light air craft: Responsible for the early retirement of Patsy Cline, half of Lynyrd Skynyrd, John Denver, Ricky Nelson, Stevie Ray Vaughan and – on the day the music died – Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper and Ritchie Valens. There’s a good reason the tour bus is still so popular.

3. Ecstasy: Guilty of convincing a generation of young adults to cram into filthy warehouses, wave glow-sticks and bounce along to the same monotonous groove for hours on end.

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