Archive for the 'Energy' Category

Nationalise the lot?

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

Well then, the private sector triumphs again eh?

National Express, the same people that have a near monopoly on buses in the West Midlands, have pulled out of running the East Coast Main Line, as they’re not prying enough money from passengers, and the passengers aren’t happy either. Ticket prices are high, the service is poor.

So then: a question. Do you favour privatisation? Does the private sector improve efficiency, or merely ensure someone gets very rich? Can the public sector manage things effectively? Should the following be publicly or privately owned?

* Healthcare

* Roads

* Public Transport

* Energy supply

* Anything else?

I’ll go on record: I think the private sector just creams off the profits and runs away when things get hard, and I think all of the above should be in public ownership with profits ploughed back in to keeping costs down and service good where the service has a potential to make profit. I think public transport should be run as an essential service, not as a way to make money. Maybe that’s a bit utopian.


Old Energy

Sunday, September 14th, 2008

I’ve found myself getting wound up by Age Concern raising issues with fuel pricing and help for pensioners. Not because I think they are wrong, I hasten to add, but because they say that pensioners often can’t get the best tariff, and they are campaigning for a ‘Social Tariff’. This is what annoys me.

The ‘competition’ and ‘freedom of choice’ that means we all have the choice of either:

a) Paying too much, or
b) having to chop and change and deal with the salespeople.

Essential services like this should be publicly owned and everyone should get the best tariff. Energy should be supplied at a price that it costs, allowing for sufficient investment for the future of the suppply network.

Good sense at Last?

Thursday, January 31st, 2008

It’s some time since I ranted, and now there are calls to ban patio heaters, and remove standby from TVs. This makes good sense: while that standby mode of a good, modern TV doesn’t use a bit of power, fitting a proper, hard-wired off switch is a good idea that has little downside. As for the heaters? Calor (who just happen to make the gas that fuels them!) say the effect is minimal.

Right. Pumping several kW straight into the atmosphere for no purpose but to warm up people too lazy to wear a coat? At least the energy wastage from the TV is only a few watts. The patio heater hits things twice too: It heats the atmosphere directly, and produces unwanted emissions and wastes petroleum-based fuel doing so. If you must heat your garden, buy a Chimenea and burn some waste in it- still not good, but better.

The emissions (in carbon terms) from patio heaters probably isn’t that high, but what an utter waste. Like shops with the heating on and the doors wide open, or heated shops with open freezers. Bet that uses more than we’ll save with CFL lights…

Power Up

Thursday, September 27th, 2007

LeeW (or should that be LeeH-W) these days has some scary stats on his power usage over at his blog. I know ours is much less overall (no fibre channel array here, just an IDE disk in a PC!), and I don’t run a server 24×7 anymore- the rather complicated, messy mail arrangment I use means I don’t have to (even if it makes new mailboxes a several-step operation), but even though….

Go on. Do it with a tumber dryer, and then ask me why ours only gets used rarely.

International Superstar

Wednesday, June 27th, 2007

I like rats. I’ve liked rats for ages, even the Durex-Eared puppet rat, so any news involving them intereests me: I still have a press cutting from some years ago about ‘Ratty’ the rat, who had been trained to crawl through cable ducts dragging cable behind him, and now, we have the (environmentally freindly) Rat Powered PC (scroll down). Yay. Must buy rats.

Woo and Yay

Tuesday, February 20th, 2007

The DVD Writer has been exchanged for a new one, and is now happily burning a dual-layer disc, and I have a shiny new Cisco router to play with. I have a feeling it will take a while to get it to successfully replace the IPCop Linux PC-based firewall, 3com access point, and hub, but it should be possible. It’s just a case of learning how. It will take up less space, and use a little less energy- one diskless device replacing three, one of which is a desktop PC crammed with ethernet cards- and The Bumpkin will have to bow before my l33t h4x0r IOS sk1llz now he doesn’t have a Cat5000 in the loft any more.

How many Australians…..

Tuesday, February 20th, 2007

…does it take to change a light bulb?

Foux! There to eat lemons, Axe Gravy soup.

Ooops, wrong joke.

Australia is planning to outlaw the sale of incandescent light bulbs as a gesture towards cutting energy use. California is hoping too as well. They’re actually a pretty scandalous waste of energy, as in terms of light output against power input, they’re only about 5% efficient. Compact flourescents are everywhere and cheap now, even if they don’t fit everything, and for Halogen fittings there are LED alternatives. (Has anyone used one?)

More Power Saving

Tuesday, November 28th, 2006

I made the first step towards power saving for my computers a while ago when I moved the blog to a shared linux virtual machine in the states a while ago (rather than hosting it on an old PII here), and now I’ve made another step.

LeeW demonstrated that a Mini-ITX low-power PC wasn’t worth the money, so a cheaper, more direct approach was needed: total cost £10.

I’ve now got the IPCop router PC and Debian internal server doing timed shutdowns overnight: The boxes do a halt, and a cheapy plug-in timer from Maplin shuts the power 10 min later, then wakes them back up in the morning.

cheaper than water

Tuesday, November 21st, 2006

Our driver into NYC said what we all knew already…Americans dont care about mpg or pollution, and will carry on driving large, innefficient cars as fuel is so cheap here.

Oh Fuck It

Saturday, November 11th, 2006

I’ll admit it. The Countrie Bumpkin has got to me. I had to order some stuff from Screwfix the other day (primarily disposable seat covers for the car, as the seats are an insanely pale grey, but I also bought a truckload of low energy bulbs with ES fittings, without having to suffer Ikea). I tried to change the ouside light one, I really did, but the securing screw has seized, so sorry, it will have to wait until I can face taking a drill to it.

This does mean most of the house now has low-energy bulbs. The loft still needs more lagging, but we do now have a more efficient boiler, and a timer that runs the central heating at different times for the weekend. I’m still keeping the TV on standby though, and guess what? All the world is still wasting more than me ;-). At least me and LeeW are sharing a machine (with others) for webhosting: I’m going to look at reducing power consumption here a bit further, if it’s practical.