Daily archives: August 18, 2010

links for 2010-08-18

  • Germany's renewable energy institute has calculated that global CO2 emissions fell 1.3 percent in 2009. The organisation, which advises the German government, pinned the credit for the fall on the global recession and on greater investment in renewable energy around the world.

    That investment rose slightly last year, from 120 billion euros to 125 billion euros, but the lag time between investment and the roll-out of new power generation equipment would mean that 2009 actually saw the benefits of prior increases in investment.

  • Every year we ask our summer intern to do a survey of cover art elements for the top US fantasy novels published in the previous year. This year we looked at covers from 2009, and compared them against 2008′s findings.
    (tags: books fantasy)
  • This claim is one that the young-earthers have been making. The claim is that the theory of evolution (or major supporting concepts for it) is increasingly being abandoned by scientists, or is about to fall. This claim has many forms and has been made for over 178 years. This is a compilation of the claims over time. The purpose of this compilation is three-fold. First, it is to show that the claim has been made for a long, long time. Secondly, it is to show that entire careers have passed without seeing any of this movement away from evolution. Third, it is to show that the creationists are merely making these statements for the purpose of keeping hope alive that they are making progress towards their goal. In point of fact, no such progress is being made as anyone who has watched this area for the last 40 years can testify. The claim is false as history and present-day events show, yet that doesn’t stop anyone wanting to sell books from making that claim.
    (tags: evolution)

Tiger- Part Eight

Gloria was sat at the breakfast bar with a digital camera plugged into a netbook and that connected to her phone. She was studying fingerprints and flipping back and forth to a rough schematic of the flat. “Was there any excitement?” she asked when Kay and Irwin returned.

“More like embarrassment.” Irwin admitted, “Do you have anything interesting?”

“Prints from four people- one child and three adults. They’re being run for me now. This one,” she tapped an image of smudged whorls and ridges, “is the one I’m most interested in. I found it on the tap in the bathroom and nowhere else.”

“We’ve got a couple of number plates being run.” Kay said as she pulled up a stool “Now I guess we just wait and see if any of this stuff tells us anything useful.”

The fingerprint result came back first. Gloria’s netbook pinged and they crowded around it to see what it said. When the file opened they all made little groans of disappointment. The print had been pulled from what was left of three stolen and stripped cars, but no name had been attached to it. Further details of each theft were included and, because whoever was on the other end of the message was thorough, a number of similar thefts. Before Irwin even had to suggest it Gloria was mapping the thefts to see if they were centred on any particular area.

“It’s quite a step from car theft to kidnapping.” Irwin noted, “And it looks like whoever’s organising this has subcontracted some of the work out to local talent.”

“But that doesn’t get us any closer to finding the wife and kid, does it.” Kay fretted.

“No, I guess not. Do you have anything for us Gloria?”

“I’m afraid not.” Gloria pushed the netbook away from her so they could all see the screen more clearly. The various car thefts were marked on the map as little stars, with the three which had donated prints in red with the rest in yellow. They were spread almost evenly over the map, the only pattern that could be discerned was clustering in the sort of area where more expensive cars would be more common. “Sorry.”

“Hey, it’s not your fault the thief goes where the best hauls are.” Irwin leant against the breakfast bar and crossed his arms, “Now I guess we have to hope that the vans can tell us something.”

If Morse were American- Drag Jag

Dragster Jaguar Mk2

Another image from Butch Pate’s Fotki galleries, which gave us the hot rodded prison bus last week. A Mk2 Jaguar dragster (or possibly even Pro Street car, it has the headlamps and indicators as a nod to street legality, and it looks like there’s a number plate on the rear and the Oklahoma equivalent of a tax disc in the window). I can’t imagine Morse piloting this through the sleepy country roads around Oxford. Unless he really needed to get to the pub, which was a quarter of a mile away, in about 12 seconds.

Drag Jag Drag Jag Drag Jag Drag Jag Drag Jag interior Drag Jag interior Drag Jag

The United Kingdom Gravity Sports Association

Every so often I get the urge to build a go-kart (the unpowered type, AKA a soapbox racer) and find a hill to speed down. It must hark back to sledging and plastic bagging down hills in my youth.

It turns out there is an association for people who race down hills with only gravity to power their rides. The UKGSA is our local chapter of the International Gravity Sports Association and officiates over race meetings in these isles. There are several different ways you can speed down hill. I’m not brave or foolish enough to want to get on a skateboard or street luge, and even gravity bikes are scary to me (though I could rustle up most of the parts for one from stuff lying around the flat), I want something with four wheels and a roll cage. Though not something as complex as the rides put together by Formula Gravity. And, remembering the sledging and plastic bagging again, I’d quite like to run my soapbox off road……

The School Run patrol

Bedford Borough Council is doing something drastic to make its roads safer- it’s taking on the school run. The council has invested in a car mounted camera system which can be used to patrol outside schools and record instances of bad driving, so selfish parents are going to start getting fines for dangerous driving.

Unsurprisingly, spokesmen for Big Brother Watch, Association of British Drivers and TaxPayers’ Alliance fail to get the point, basically whining that mums who break the law should be allowed to get away with it. School runners who park on double yellows are a danger, they put other parents’ children, and other road users, at risk, cause congestion and are promoting unhealthy and antisocial behaviour to their kids.

My only issue with the council is the impression they give that this will be an ongoing, multi year operation. They should aim to stop this sort of behaviour completely, so that the car can then be used to penalise those bastards who park in cycle lanes.