Spongy cities are the future

Los Angeles is an unlikely champion of a new wave of water savvy urban planning. A city most of us think of as all about cars and concrete has introduced more permeable surfaces to soak up water rather than turning it into run off. The change has been so successful that not only was severe flooding avoided during recent extreme rainfall but it will help solve the city’s water supply issues.

https://www.wired.com/story/los-angeles-just-proved-how-spongy-a-city-can-be/


Time for the Tories to go

For a while, I thought Rishi Sunak was only as useless as David Cameron- in other words, actually an improvement on the incompetents he succeeded. I’m a big enough man to admit I was wrong. He’s at least as hopeless as Truss, even if he has managed to cling on a bit longer.

Things are looking awful for the Tories after two by-election losses. Here’s hoping they get worse.

Of course, they’ll be replaced by a Starmer Labour party, who’ll be both a massive improvement and blandly useless at the same time. But we’ll deal with that problem after the Conservative party is burnt down.

https://theconversation.com/wellingborough-and-kingswood-byelections-its-never-been-this-bad-for-the-conservatives-and-it-could-still-get-worse-223666


An open letter to ‘Gender Critical’ Greens

For a few months, I’ve been arguing on Facebook with ‘Gender Critical’ Green Party members. It’s hard to fit my thoughts into the restricted space of a Facebook post (and I’ll probably still miss stuff out in this extended format), what follows is addressed to them, in an attempt to explain my position-

I’m a middle aged, white, cis man, from a middle class background. I’m a little bit bi, so I do have some skin in the game, but most of my opposition to your stance comes from basic empathy and having read enough history to know where this could go.

Your language and logic is full of tropes lifted from right wing talking points and the moral panics of previous generations. You’ve thrown out unexplained (likely unexplainable) references to postmodernism, critical theory and the like, as well as that boogeyman beloved of the empty headed reactionary- Cultural Marxism. All to try to justify your opposition to the terror of ‘trans ideology’- something with even less substance than all your other words.

Being trans is lived reality for millions around the world. It’s not an ideology, it’s a fact. Proportionally, the trans population is tiny, but over the last few years, prejudice against them has ramped up. They’re almost up there with immigrants now as the most popular scapegoats of Tories and Republicans.

Something that is an ideology is your beloved protected Gender Critical belief. It’s the ideology the Tories and Republicans use to justify proposed and actual laws designed to persecute trans people. It’s been the driver of at least one murder in the UK, and doubtless many more worldwide. GC ideologues have talked about how their world would be so much better if they could just get rid of trans people. They have drawn the support of neo-nazis.

You’re going to tell me that you don’t agree with those people, that you’re not like them. But you’re lying. You’ve cited Linehan to support your points. You stand with JK Rowling. You’ve demanded support for the LGB Alliance. And those are just the examples I can think of off the top of my head.

I was going to be generous, and say that the line between Gender Critical belief and rabid transphobia is so fine it’s basically invisible. But I’m not even sure there is a line. You hold a belief that makes you think less of a group of people because of how they were born. That belief makes you think it would be acceptable to place restrictions on their freedoms. You may not say the quiet part out loud- even to yourself- but you occupy ideological space with the absolute worst of our politicians.

That is why I think you don’t belong in the Green Party. We’re a progressive organisation, and you’re trying to force regressive beliefs on us.

I plan to waste less of my time on you from now on. I’ll still call you out when you deserve it and I’m feeling feisty, but I’m going to spend more time on positive actions. Be proud for yourselves for that at least- you’ve inspired me.

There’s still a version of my trans kids and allies vs the terfs novel that needs to be written. I may try to break the writer’s block on what I’ve got so far, or it could need a whole new start, but I will keep trying.

More immediately, I have signed up to do Miles for Mermaids in March. I’ve committed to put in at least 100 miles on my bike whilst raising money for a charity that supports trans kids and their families. Thanks for getting me off my arse and back to improving my health and bank balance by cycling to work. Click here to chip in and do your bit as well.


We are governed by thin skinned wankers

Unable to cope with their constant failures being reported, Tory ministers are stoking the culture wars against the BBC again.

The BBC is far from perfect, and studies have shown it’s more likely to side with the establishment. But what the Tories want is to force it to be a propaganda machine paid for by the people it tells their lies to.

https://www.theguardian.com/media/2024/jan/23/bbc-radio-4s-news-quiz-is-completely-biased-minister-claims


Death to the Tory party

Personally, I think the best result in this year’s general election- for the long term health of the country, planet and democracy- would be Labour winning a majority just small enough they have to rely upon votes from Green and other MPs to guarantee bills pass. They could be forced into concessions on the environment, proportional representation, and progressive taxes that they’d be too cowardly to make by themselves.

On the other hand, the utter collapse of the Conservative party would do wonders for the mental health of the nation.

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2024/jan/15/yougov-poll-telegraph-tories-disaster-analysis


Should Trump be tried for murder?

(Manslaughter would be a more plausible charge, but murder makes a better headline.)

Hydroxychloroquine used to treat Covid 19 killed people. A study has estimated that there were around 17,000 deaths where the drug was involved. With all the overlapping factors of pandemic medicine it’s hard to give a number where it was the primary cause. But there can be little doubt there were people who would have lived if they hadn’t taken it.

So what should be done about all the people promoting it at the time, such as Trump? I’m sure some were out to profit from it, playing stock market games with tragedies. Trump, I think, was primarily stupid, grasping at anything to distract from how badly he was handling the whole situation. I’d still like to see him face some consequences. Maybe this could be added to the 90+ criminal cases, and who knows how many civil ones, that he faces.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2024/jan/12/hydroxychloroquine-covid-increase-chance-death-trump


The return of Smersh

Not just a name from Bond stories, Smersh (“Death to spies”) was a real organisation. As much an instrument of terror to control the civilian population as an intelligence unit, it was responsible for thousands of deaths on its own side.

Now the name has resurfaced in the Ukraine war, though it’s unclear whether there’s a new version of the organisation operating or if it’s just being used for propaganda purposes.

https://theconversation.com/smersh-why-putin-has-reinstated-stalins-notorious-and-much-feared-anti-spy-unit-220627


The conspiracy to choke us all on exhaust fumes

Tory attempts to destroy schemes promoting walking and cycling were heavily influenced by conspiracy theories.

At the point where they’re governing by tin foil hat, the Conservative Party needs to be destroyed. Not just voted out of power, but comprehensively dismantled, with some of them serving well deserved prison sentences.

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2024/jan/10/shift-from-15-minute-cities-in-england-partly-due-to-conspiracy-theories


Project City part 2- The Dashboard

Just a quick one for this stage of the build, the dash didn’t need as much detailing as the door panels. I added a stereo system, and the newly designed vent mounting coffee cup holder. All the Spinneyworld shop items used in this build can be found at https://spinneyworld.com/collections/honda-city-build

The Microace Honda City is available from Hobbylink Japan (affiliate link).