Thursday, May 18, 2006

All the news that's fit. Well fit.

Doing well at the moment PR-wise.
Our little bit of radio (still figuring out how to lift that off a steam driven cassette and upload digitally) was very good, thanks in no small measure to a very nice and professional interviewer, Nicola, who put me at ease and charged around all our Junkk features seeing great ways to talk about them. She also took some video too, which will be edited and uploaded later on in the summer.
It was going to be sooner, but by coincidence the Rural Media-organised feature by the Yarrantons was posted as well the other day, and this can be seen here and viewed via here.
So we do seem to be getting our message out slowly and surely.

This... I like.

Via a variety of resources (quoting this as the earliest 'origin' I could find, outside of the creator of course), I found this.
Just wanted to share. For every ugly lamp I have with the panels bolted on, this one is just geeeorgeous and a triumph of form and function.
Thanks dude for making it. Thanks dudes for sharing it.
And Ya-Boo to the posters who are having a whinge. Right though you may be about the efficiency (or otherwise) of the design, I hadn't thought of it, hadn't seen it before now. And it is inspirational. Now, do better if you can.

Plane Crazy

I get many business newsletters, and one I do enjoy is from the Telegraph Business Club. It does have interesting articles, and often rather challenging debates, many initiated by their editor, David Sumner Smith. One of which I have pitched into. I can't seem to find a URL on their site, so I'll have to quote it in full here, followed by my reply:
"It's scary. The statistics we learnt at the Business Club seminars about the growth of the Chinese economy (for details click here) are impressive. But one can't help but wonder how the UK can compete with such an awesome pace of development. Take air travel, for example. Every time plans are made to build a new runway or extend a terminal at a British airport, it unleashes a furious debate. Environmentalists and 'Not In My Back Yard' local residents spend long enough squabbling with the airport authorities and local businesses for the minister for transport to have been replaced at least once. Fair enough. That would not be a problem if all the UK's competitors behaved in the same way. But compare that process with development in China. Over the next five years, China will spend £9.4bn to expand the three biggest international hub airports and build 48 more airports. While they are at it, China will buy 100 planes and recruit 1,000 new pilots every year until 2010. Digby Jones, director general of the CBI, points to the business benefits to British companies that are involved in the development programme. "Our idea is to get China wealthy as quickly as possible," he says, "so they can pay for all the value-added goods and services we can provide." In the short to medium term, that might be feasible. But it is only a matter of time before companies in China and elsewhere in Asia start providing those services. If the UK is going to retain its competitive position, then it will have to stop spending so much time listening to NIMBYs and environmentalists and give business its head. But is that what we want? Do we want to sacrifice our 'green and pleasant land' to compete in a race we can never win?
Yes, it is scary. The Chinese economy of course, and perhaps a few other not unrelated nor insignificant issues.
Such as air travel. As I look at the sky above Ross-on-Wye criss-crossed by contrails caused by a single flight - which I couldn't match for greenhouse gasses driving a Veyron for a lifetime with Jeremy Clarkson paragliding off the back - I do feel a slight shudder of the prospect of 50 more airports adding to the airspace race. Even if they are over the other side of the globe. Sadly jetstreams do have a habit of sharing things about evenly.
We could of course try and set a small example to get them to ignore the precedents we in the West have set and learn from our mistakes, but then again we could also simply gun the engines of commerce and see about beating them.
Trouble is, with a world of finite land and finite resources to sustain a growing population, trying to out-produce, consume and hence pollute those with whom we share a common atmosphere seems to point at a dubious end-game eventually.
I recently caught, and as it appealed quoted in my blog, the tail end of yet another academo/journalistic spat about climate warming - A Tart Counterpoint To Ibbitson's Irrelevance - and without comment on who said what to whom, why and who has had the latest laugh, would just like to share a neat analogy made that seems apt and pertinent to this topic:
[You are] flying on holiday and the plane is ½ hour out over the Atlantic. Of 150 aerospace engineers on board, 90 say that there's been a fuel leak and the plane has 40 minutes of flying time left. It's time to turn around. The other 60 say that there's no conclusive evidence of a leak and [you] should not turn around because it would inconvenience the CEOs in business class. Who [do you] listen to? The answer seems clear: You listen to the journalist who tells [you that you] should really do something about the in-flight service.

The conclusion is also worth sharing: '[The] debate is about risk, not certainty. [We] might choose to listen when more than half the experts are warning of a problem that threatens our entire species'.
I'm all for the need to compete, but maybe it's time we thought ahead a tad from the consequences to our green and pleasant land, to those that may affect our green and pleasant planet?
Today's debate about the A380 show the dilemmas faced. More passengers per plane: good for environment? Or just lowering prices and encouraging more flights? Personally I'd advocate designing greenhouse gas-free aero engines to flog to any of our Asian friends who may, like us, be unwilling to forgo travelling, but are enlightened enough to see that copying us to spite us literally will be losing the nose... and more than face.
I don't think of myself as a NIMBY, but no one does until something happens next door they don't fancy and decide to take a stand, so I guess we all are, potentially and/or eventually. And what is an environmentalist, especially when used pejoratively? I consider myself to be no more than a guest resident on this planet, and parent of future occupants, concerned about the state of the land I leave to the coming generations.

STOP PRESS: My comment has been kindly added. Looks like it may be shaping up to be an interesting debate: