Monthly archives: March 2010

Nuclear reactors that eat their own waste

I’m not keen on it, but I think nuclear power will have to be part of any low to no carbon future. There’s a lot of other stuff that should be done before going nuclear, but that’s another post.

The design of reactors which burn up most of their radioactive waste has to be a step in the right direction. As the article points out there are still a lot of other ethical and physical problems with the technology, but reducing the amount of stuff which has to be buried for millions of years is a good step in anyone’s book.

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Objects of Desire- the Morris Minors of Didsbury 2

I went for another architecture wander this morning, but as well as the buildings I also found a few Morris Minors. No other classic cars today, just three rather nice examples of Sir Alec Issigonis’ second greatest design.

Morris Minor Morris Minor

Morris Minor Morris Minor

Morris Minor Morris Minor

I’d love to have a Minor, though I’d want to make a few minor tweaks- disc brakes, improved suspension and a newer engine. Nothing too silly, I reckon it should be easy to find something that’s both more powerful and more economical than the old block that would come with a vintage Moggy. It’s not like I’d try to emulate Nic Mann’s creation, which was the fastest street legal car in the country for a few years-

And how could I possibly pass up a chance to play this-

I’ve been driving in my car, it’s not quite a jaguar
I bought it in primrose hill from a bloke from brazil
It was made in fifty-nine in a factory by the tyne
It says morris on the door, the g.p.o. owned it before
I drive in it for my job, the governor calls me a slob
But I don’t really care, give me some gas and the open air

It’s a bit old but it’s mine, I mend it in my spare time
Just last week I changed the oil, the rocker valves and the coil
Just last week I changed the oil
Last week it went round the clock, I also had a little knock
I dented somebody’s fender, he learnt not to park on a bender, ha ha ha

I’ve been driving in my car, it don’t look much but I’ve been far
I drive up to muswell hill, I’ve even been to selsey bill
I drove along the a45, I had her up to 58
This copper stopped me the other day, you’re mistaken what could I say
The tyres were a little worn, they were o.k., I could have sworn
I like driving in my car, I’m satisfied I’ve got this far

I like driving in my car, it don’t look much but I’ve been far
I like driving in my car, even with a flat tyre
I like driving in my car, it’s not quite a jaguar
I like driving in my car, I’m satisfied I’ve got this far

MAdness- Driving in my Car (Available, along with a load of others, on Total Madness)

Congratulations to the USA on joining the civilised world 2

More or less. The USA has taken a big step towards having a healthcare system they can be proud of.

I can’t be the only person who’s watched this unfold and felt that the Republicans weren’t opposed for ideological reasons but out of fear. By doing the right thing- making life easier for millions of people- Barack Obama will win a huge number of votes. The Republicans are facing years in the wilderness, no wonder they were scared of health care reform.

Point of Contact, page 4

I’m not sure whether the ship swooping out of the pack, approaching and becoming increasingly ominous works. Every page involves learning a bit more, and then applying that to future pages. I’m going to try to get the production rate above one page a week, so that I have more of a buffer of finished pages. 3 of the next 4 pages are splashes, so that ought to help.

If you’d like to follow just the Point of Contact comic you can subscribe to its RSS feed.

The Webcomic List

Object of Desire- Patina finish Chevrolet pickup 1

Patina finish Chevy pickup

You can keep your Ferraris and Lamborghinis. This is the sort of car that gets my attention. I spotted this lowered, rust finished Chevy pickup in Salford on the ride to work yesterday, and soon regretted not stopping to take pictures. But it was still there on the way back, so this time I got off the bike and grabbed a few shots.

Patina finish Chevy pickup Patina finish Chevy pickup Patina finish Chevy pickup

The number plate says it all- “Rough as toast” and just as tasty.

Can someone solve my DNS conundrum? 4

My other main blog is, which has been running on paid for hosting for several years. However, Blogger is about to shut down its updating by FTP functions, so I thought it would be a good time to let the hosting lapse (it ran out last week) and move the blog to being hosted by Blogger.

My hosting may have ended, but I still have my domain registered with the same company for another year. I’ve logged in to their DNS management page and, following Blogger’s own instructions, made changes to the CNAME record which should point to hosting on Blogger. Except nothing’s happening, so I can’t complete the move to Blogger.

I’ve obviously misunderstood something. Could somebody who understands DNS have a look at the instructions and tell me whether I’m right to have created a new CNAME for the www subdomain or if I should be doing something else entirely.

The helmet debate hits BoingBoing

The cycle helmet debate can get a little lively at times. I’m sure BoingBoing is better moderated than most cycling forums, but it’s still getting a taste of the strong feelings after Xeni made a throwaway comment about cycle helmets in a post. I’ve even commented.

I wear a helmet whilst riding, but I don’t think other people should be forced to. There’s no law that says you must, and there shouldn’t be. The problem is that some people insist that cyclists should wear helmets for their own safety, when they do absolutely nothing to make us safer. A helmet can’t prevent a driver cutting us up or tuning without indicating. All it can do is reduce the damage to our heads if one of these idiots hits us.

Anyone wanting to make cyclists safer shouldn’t call for mandatory helmets. They should call for mandatory cycle training for drivers- to make them more aware of whatit’s like for other drivers- and harsher sentences for dangerous driving.

I Pay Road Tax

I’m not a cycling jersey wearing type- I don’t cover enough miles- but if I were I think I’d like one of the I Pay Road Tax ones. (The IPRT website isn’t loading for me at the moment. Hopefully it’ll be back up soon.) The “You don’t pay road tax.” non argument is one of the weaker ones that certain drivers use to cover their sense of entitlement. The jerseys, and the campaign, may not stop them, but it may derail their train of thought long enough to let you put some logical arguments to them.

via Brian.

Email your MP about the Digital Economy Bill

I just sent this email to my MP, John Leech-

Dear Mr Leech,

I wrote to you last week about an emergency motion to be discussed at the Liberal Democrats’ spring conference. The motion was passed unanimously and your party now stands against a key feature of the Digital Economy Bill. However, with the election imminent, the Government is planning to rush the Digital Economy Bill into law without a full Parliamentary debate.

If you followed the debate on the emergency motion you will know that the law is controversial and contains many measures that cause concern. The Bill deserves proper scrutiny so please don’t let the government push it through. Rather than helping, many people think it will damage schools and businesses as well as innocent people who rely on the internet because it will allow the Government to disconnect people it suspects of copyright infringement.

Industry experts, internet service providers and huge internet companies like Google and Yahoo are all opposing the bill- yet the Government seems intent on forcing it through without a real debate.

As a constituent I am writing to you today to ask you to do all you can to ensure the Government doesn’t just rush the bill through and deny the democratic right to scrutiny and debate.


Ian Pattinson

It’s a variation on the message suggested here. There’s more information here (including a postcode lookup so you can find your MP).

Only the deniers are allowed to exaggerate, it’s the rules

Two of the Government’s climate change adverts have been banned by the Advertising Standards Agency. To be more effective they presented possible effects of climate change without waffling that there’s only a 90+% chance that manmade CO2 is affecting the climate in potentially catastrophic ways. The lack of this, frankly irrelevant, caveat means that the Government ads made “exaggerated claims” according to the ASA. Silly Government, didn’t they know that only the people with no evidence to back up their denial are allowed to exaggerate?

In an ideal world there would be no need for these emotive adverts, people would simply be presented with the facts and statistics and allowed to make up their own minds. In this ideal world the denial lobby would be stumped because they have so little evidence, and we could get on with doing something about the problem. But we don’t live in an ideal world, and the tiniest scrap of misunderstood data which appears to support the denial lobby gets orders more coverage than the reams of evidence which says they’re wrong.

I had issues with the Government ads. I didn’t think they were radical enough. Telling people thay can turn off a light and save the planet is nonsense. Far much more than that is needed, but that’s a different post.

John Redwood’s delighted by the ruling, of course. But then, he’s shown he either doesn’t know what he’s talking about or is feigning ignorance to curry favour with denial vote.

Manchester Irish Parade pictures

Manchester Irish Parade 2010

A selection of the pictures I took yesterday are up on Flickr.

It may have appeared seamless by the time it got to Albert Square but where I was standing, across from Urbis, the parade kept being held up for busses coming down Shudehill. And it was very windy there, I think I’m suffering from getting so cold (and so old the cold can affect me so).

There were a lot of marching bands, as you’d expect. I kept trying to get a shot with a drummer’s hands blurred as they hammered away a rhythm. This is the best I could manage-

Manchester Irish Parade 2010

What I didn’t expect was all the tractors. I guess farming is still a large part of the Irish identity. Whatever the reason, it warmed my country boy heart to see so many of them. This one, in particular, I took a lot of photos of-

Manchester Irish Parade 2010

It’s a Minneapolis Moline. Even without the name giving it away there was something about the size and stance tha marked it as an American creation. Flickr has many more Minneapolis Moline photos if you want to get your Yankee tractor on.

Check out the rest of the pictures. I’ll leave you with one of the man himself, the very Saint Patrick-

Manchester Irish Parade 2010

Some things, it seems, you can’t find online

Or they’re so deeply buried that you give up before you get to them.  One of the subjects discussed in the pub on Friday was the paintings of L S Lowry and where exactly they depicted.  There’s a book- Lowry’s City: A Painter and His Locale
which tries to track down a few of them but, after a bit of searching, I can’t find much online.  The wiki entry for Lowry names some locations (I didn’t know he’d done paintings of Cleator Moor, for instance), but no-one’s tagged them all on Google Maps.

Consider this a Lazyweb request- someone put Lowry’s paintings on a map for me please.

Build your own Batmobile

Citizens of Warrington, or anybody else with access to a trailer, you can own your own Batmobile. Okay, it’s only the body, you’ll need to supply your own chassis and running gear. It’s from the Tim Burton movies and whilst that’s still cool as, it’s not a Tumbler.

My surfing of the Ebay classic car pages also turned up this Daimler Conquest/Century which is also a star car, having been in Heartbeat.

Watch this now- Requiem for Detroit

Requiem for Detroit is available on BBC iPlayer until March 20th. You should watch it, it’s incredible.

From being the USA’s fourth largest city in its heyday Detroit has suffered a slow apocalypse, destroyed by- amongst other things- the very cars which made it great. Now nature is reclaiming whole neighbourhoods, schools are closing, historic buildings are decaying and being cannibalised for scrap and the roads are all but empty. Requiem for Detroit takes us for a journey through the city and its history. It’s a powerful, scary film, but with just a hint of optimism at the end.