Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Ecological Modernisation and Renewable Energy

Some extracts from review of "Ecological Modernisation and Renewable Energy", by David Toke, published in November 2011.

Back in 1990, Dave Toke published a visionary book with the ‘says it all’ title ‘Green Energy – A Non-nuclear Response to the Greenhouse Effect’ (D. Toke 1990, published by Green Print in conjunction with SERA), which is as relevant today as it was then. At the time Toke wrote: ‘If we are to avoid use of nuclear power with all its environmental, political and economic disadvantages, the only alternative is the speedy deployment of renewable energy sources’, and in his conclusions, Toke urged: ‘We must do this now. We have no time to lose’.
This is where Dave Toke’s latest book, entitled Ecological Modernisation and Renewable Energy and published as part of a wider Energy, Climate and the Environment series, comes in.
In view of the fact that the UK is about to make key energy policy decisions that will set the energy scene for years to come, Toke’s new book could hardly be more timely.

Click here for the full review. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Radio debate with Roger Helmer MEP

Yesterday I had an opportunity to (briefly) debate wind farms, nuclear power and energy policy in general with  Roger Helmer MEP on BBC Radio Leicester. You can listen to the brief recording (approx. 10 minutes) by clicking here.

Friday, July 01, 2011


According to extensive work carried out by Swansea Friends of the Earth in conjunction with Buglife, the Invertebrate Conservation Trust, ragwort is a plant that is very valuable for biodiversity. Like many plants, ragwort contains certain poisonous chemicals and there have been cases of animal poisoning. However, it would appear that the risks associated with ragwort tend to be grossly exaggerated in the media and other publications from bodies such as the British Horse Society.
Further information can be found on the Swansea FoE website, on Ragwort blog and at Ragwort Facts.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Wanlip wind turbine: Beauty or Beast?

On 16 June I took part in a BBC Radio Leicester phone-in programme to discuss Severn Trent's wind turbine at Wanlip. I'm not sure why this was a big story today - after all, the appeal decision was published back in March and has been listed on the Pro Wind Alliance website as a success story for weeks! In any case, you can listen to a recording of the programme by clicking here.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Westminster Seminar 'Fukushima: Lessons Learned'

Very interesting seminar, with some eminent speakers and delegates.

The delegate list is available from here.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Royal future in hands of royal couple

Good Opinion piece in today's Leicester Mercury. Click here to read it.

Monday, March 28, 2011

I have a (non-nuclear) dream...

In view of yesterday's amazing/historic election result in Germany (see below), I'm dreaming of a time when: a) the British electorate might be similarly concerned about nuclear issues, and b) the outdated British (in particular English) election system might have changed sufficiently to allow similarly amazing outcomes.

See also extract from today's edition of UK Nuclear News below.


An estimated quarter of a million people took to the streets in four German cities on Saturday to call for the closure of all nuclear power plants in the country. The demonstrations in Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne and Munich were organised by a wide range of environmental groups and supported by the main opposition parties in parliament—the Social Democratic Party, the Greens and the Left Party. The German federation of trade unions (DGB) also put its name to the list of sponsors and its chairman was the main speaker at the rally following the march in Berlin.

World Socialist Web 28th March 2011

Morning Star 27th March 2011

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition was defeated in its southwestern heartland and failed to win control of a second state as the anti-nuclear Greens vote surged to a record, forcing her to reassess energy policy. The Greens were poised to enter the regional governments in Baden-Wuerttemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate after state elections yesterday conducted in the shadow of the nuclear disaster in Japan. In Baden-Wuerttemberg, the Greens were set to lead their first state administration, ejecting Merkel’s Christian Democrats from power in Stuttgart after 58 years.

Bloomberg 27th March 2011

Telegraph 27th March 2011

Guardian 28th March 2011

Four nuclear power companies are preparing lawsuits against the German government in the wake of its decision to idle seven of the country’s 17 nuclear-power stations. Officials at the companies – Germany’s Eon, RWE and EnBW and Sweden’s Vattenfall – said no top-level decisions had been taken, but obligations to shareholders made suits “almost an imperative”.

FT 28th March 2011

Sunday, February 27, 2011

What is translation?

According to latest issue of Jost Zetzsche's excellent Tool Kit newsletter, translation is not "something" that multilingual people do, but a profession of highly qualified individuals who themselves can do a lot to make this apparent for anyone who cares to look.

Jost goes on to distil some overarching themes from the recently published book, The Prosperous Translator, into six useful bullet points:
  • Writing skills in the target language are one of the key components to success as a translator.
  • Above-average subject-specific knowledge is another key to success.
  • There is great value in membership and active participation in professional associations.
  • Networking with colleagues and clients is essential.
  • Low prices devalue your proposal and make you less attractive.
  • There is lots and lots of work out there for lots and lots of us, provided that we adhere to the points listed above.

Jost concludes that: the (translation) world would truly be a better place if we followed these suggestions (and if those who can't would choose a different profession!).

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

We owe the internet for changing the world. Now let's learn how to turn off

Next time we have people round for dinner or meet friends in the pub etc. and they get carried away with their blasted smartphones, I'll point them to this article that appeared in the Guardian's Comment is free section yesterday:

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Oma Ziska (Franziska Gutfleisch)

Bin beim Aufräumen gerade mal wieder auf den Nachruf auf meine Oma Ziska (Franziska Gutfleisch) aus dem Mannheimer Morgen vom 19.11.2002 gestoßen und finde, dass sie durchaus endlich einmal eine Erwähnung im Internet verdient hat!

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Swan & Rushes real ale pub, Leicester

'Re-discovered' an excellent traditional pub just up the road yesterday evening - see Swan & Rushes website at