Thursday, July 28, 2016

Has Chris Huhne been brainwashed?

Chris Huhne's 'performance' at the memorable Shell/Daily Telegraph Energy Scenarios event in London back in 2010 was impressive. He indicated strong commitment to energy efficiency, renewables in general and in particular a European supergrid for renewables, major study on which was translated by the HE Translations team and published by the Institution of Engineering and Technology. Notably, Chris Huhne told the audience – in direct response to a question I put to him on this subject – that he was "completely sold on interconnection".

Equally impressive  was Chris Huhne's passionate broadside against anti-wind pontificators at the Renewable UK 2011 conference in Manchester, during which he referred to an "unholy alliance of short-termists, armchair engineers, climate sceptics and vested interests ... selling the UK economy short by their refusals to acknowledge the benefits that renewables will bring".

Sadly, his performance in an interview about the Hinkley C madness on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme this morning was lamentable. In complete contrast to his previous enthusiasm for renewables, he pontificated about the variability or renewables in a manner one is used to from unenlightened renewables sceptics and about the alleged need for new baseload (which is an outdated concept), verging on enthusiastic support for the Hinkley C white elephant. A classic Victor Meldrew moment! Tom Burke, on the other hand, was in his usual excellent form on the same programme.

Chris Huhne at the Delabole windfarm in Truro, England, c.2011.
Photograph: Matt Cardy/Getty Images

Virtual Reality

Memorable comment from John Humphrys at the end of a piece about Virtual Reality on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme this morning:

We've had VR on the wireless for ages, of course – you just shut your eyes...

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Wir sind nur Gast auf Erden

The other day The Flowing River sculpture at Harlow Lock by Anthony Lysycia (see photo below) was brought to my attention by a fellow narrowboater. It reminded me of the wording on my father's gravestone – see photo below. When we chose the wording for the gravestone, I knew that "Wir sind nur Gast auf Erden" is a hymn, but I didn't know much about its history/origin – it just seemed very appropriate, and it still does. I assumed that the hymn is 'quite old', and that there may be an English version, but it turns out that it was only written in 1935. Interestingly, according to Wikipedia, the theme is said to be critical of the Nazis, as were other works by the author, Georg Thurmair – see here, for example.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Feel the Power

Following the Brexit debacle and further depressing news and developments in  the UK and elsewhere on a daily basis, there is a sense of disillusionment amongst some campaigners, and one could be tempted to use the recent Feel the Power Savage Chickens cartoon for 'guidance'.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Tuesday, July 05, 2016


During the EU referendum propaganda battle, Michael Gove (in)famously declared: "the people of this country have had enough of experts". One can't help wondering how many Leave voters wish they had realised that "being anti-expert is the way back to the cave", as Prof Brian Cox put it the other day. See below for further reading.

Michael Gove before a Sky News interview with Faisal Islam

Saturday, July 02, 2016

Royal Enfield

If one was going to resurrect one's enthusiasm for motorbiking (abandoned some time in the last millennium), Royal Enfield would be an option.

On that note, in February 2015 the Leicester Mercury reported: Royal Enfield motorcycle firm to create design centre in Leicestershire

Update January 2018: Unfortunately the above article seems to have disappeared from the Mercury archive. A truncated version is available here.

A further article appeared in the Leicester Mercury in December 2017 under the heading: Leicestershire at heart of global expansion plans for Indian motorbike giant Royal Enfield

Friday, July 01, 2016

Energy Institute

Attended Energy Institute events this week in my capacity as Treasurer for the East Midlands branch:
  • AGM
  • 2016 Melchett Award Lecture by Sir David King
  • Branch Forum
The home of the Energy Institute was recently refurbished to an impressive standard – see photos below. Note the plaque commemorating the eminent Alfred Waterhouse, architect for the Natural History Museum and described as "probably the most successful of all Victorian architects" (financially speaking).