Friday, February 09, 2007

Well, he did ask#3

Almost completely clueless

The latter. Or rather, just now over a cuppa, on my PC.

I truly appreciate the next-day re:view facility, and would only wish that this could be extended to all programmes and archived for permanent access at any future point.

I already view most news programmes with some caution as to the agenda being served by the selection of guests, editing and overall content. This would be further compounded by any cut down sample.

Already I dismiss any snippet of an interviewee's comments without having access to the full exchange an context.

I just tried the Breakfast Takeway link above on my Mac to see how much of Scotland wind power will supply by next Tuesday, but sadly it supplied my Mac/Firefox combo with no more than a vast screed of error data.

I think I'll keep it live as much as I can. These days there may be fact.. or was it Memorex?

A Mighty Wind

In light of recent discussions, I have decided to re-post to Newsnight:

Are domestic wind turbines an eco-con?

I very much appreciate these blog posts because, between the inevitable extremes of opinion, there are some smart cookies who do seem to know what they are talking about and can share some worthwhile facts.

Hence I have revisited after quite a while, as a consequence of a BBC news report this morning, the content accuracy (or at least diligence to put PR in context) of which rang a few bells in my mind.

My main concern was that the claim was made that a new windfarm would supply half of Scotland.

I raised some doubts on my blog - - and it seems they MAY be founded, but so far those involved in the discussion would be the first to admit we don't know.

Should anyone who does revisit these pages some answers would be appreciated.

I fear that my faith in objective reporting, even my our premier national news channel, is being seriously eroded as it becomes more and more of a PR-patsy for government and other organisations who wish to be seen to be doing 'good' in pushing their agendas.

My only concern is delivering genuine enviro-ROI from initiatives that will improve my kids' futures, and not some pol's career, activist's pension plan fund or commercial interest's lobby pot.

Or, for that matter, some unconcerned journalist/editor/producer's desire just to fill a slot under the name of 'news'.

And just for fun, I have written to the editor:

More Ethical Man territory (I've posted on his piece on the matter as well), but this does extend to other issues you have raised, such as the programme's and indeed BBC's role in sharing objective information. My main area of concern is how we are being driven in the area of environmental good practice, and what I perceive as a poor level of context and objectivity on many issues that surely demand as much as reasonably possible before people commit their money, votes and kids' futures, based on what is often little more than agenda-driven, target-based, career/empire-enhancing or profit-generating PR.

From pieces on electric cars that 'don't pollute' (they do, it's just the exhaust pipe is in a different place) to a slot on wind-farm generation today that frankly didn't add up, I'd be much more inclined to enthusiastically embrace all these planet-saving initiatives if I didn't feel I was being conned, and not very well, by all those with the most to gain... in the short term. It's as shame that I feel the media I should trust most are complicit in taking me along for the ride.

You gotta larf#2 - At least this is funny

I am indebted to Dave at Solarventi for sending me a genuine funny item (to credit the author, he is Matt from the Telegraph) in an otherwise humour-bereft day.

Much as I love my kids, because our school's staff can't cope with the snow they are now at home. I am lucky enough to be here. How many have lost a day's pay or had to pay for childminders whilst others enjoy a day off on our taxes?

Back to the funny, it does raise one issue. If you look below I file all such things under 'CLIM' for climate change. Global Warming doesn't quite sit with this image, really.

And yes, I know there are complex meteorological explanations.

Telegraph - Why does snow close down schools but not shops?

You gotta larf

Moderate motorists must speak out

I'm seeing this as further evidence of a two-tier country: those who get paid to write nonsense and those dumb enough to do it for nothing.

I, of course, am happy to admit I don't get paid. Not sure if it is nonsense, though.

As they (er... him.. young him?) are trying to kill people to defend their (his... etc) freedoms, at least Ken will make London a safe haven for them. I'm so glad I don't live there any more.

So Doddy, did this piece of yours work out for the best in bridging racial, cultural, urban/country media elite/rest of us divides, ya think?

Looks like someone has been reading my blog!

'Do as we say, not as we do' attitude fuels consumers

Good article. Good last questions. I look forward to answers.

Actually, I'd say this attitude fuels no one.

If an example cannot be set, then one needs to be made...
at the voting booth.

ps: Can anyone help me? Not that I can afford one, and worry about
the impact of buying a new car (eco-impact through manufacture
5-25% (depending who tells you) of total through lifespan), as I live in
the country and have to (yes, have to) drive pretty much everywhere,
and almost all on motorways, is a hybrid the best solution (and I don't
mean the dirty great 4x4 the commissioners will opt for to look good if
not do much better)?

I just wonder how spending the majority of my journey using a small
engine to lug a big battery can be more efficient.

You see, I am more keen on saving the planet for my kids than
looking good at the AGM, the climate conference in Bali, or 'who
hit the best target' awards.

Well, you know, it's just not practical.. for some of us.. not to

'Blair ready to cut out Bush in quest for a green legacy'

Well, everything is relative. With Bush as a bar, TB is in with a chance
of looking better in comparison.

Tick 'dem boxes, meet 'dem targets!

Test to steer learners on a greener route

This is, of course, all good eco-stuff and any sensible embracing
of such advice and practice is to be encouraged. However, I do have a few
points/questions bearing in mind drivers are '...examined on their
knowledge of “eco-driving” techniques for reducing fuel consumption
and harmful emissions...'

2 - I am unclear on the point here. The faster you go the more fuel
you use, obviously. Are we to drive on motorways at 50mph to save fuel?

4 - Interesting. And this improves eco-driving how?

5 - Supertrams or LRTs are [more] environmentally friendly [than ?]
because electric power has [a greater eco-efficiency?]

It does make one wonder what the rest of the facts/questions are.

This is when to put your foot down

So, who is correct?

If it is JC, then surely people face the prospect of failing by giving
the correct answer?

Where and when do we see this proof?

And if proven, what happens next?

An eco-shredding of all the literature?

ps: I'm pretty sure driving at 150mph will get you somewhere quicker,
but possibly not home.

Telegraph Blog - Test, Tyres and Cat Litter

Talking Heads

I really question the value of our 'news' these days.

Hot on the heel of my last blog on the plastics recycling, here I sit with BBC Breakfast on, and up pops a presenter to tell us that the UK has hit a major milestone in alternative energy production - the establishment of a wind farm that 'produces 2GW.

And then we cut to the sole interviewee, the MD of something to do with wind ra-ra.

Apparently this is awesome, because it's enough to supply 2M people, or half of Scotland.

The line of questioning then dives off to shredding seagulls via a brief mention of too slow/too fast efficiencies, which are put to bed by the claim that they run at 70-80% of the time. At 2GW? Actually what is that figure? Per what?

I should be over the moon, but such is my level of trust in all parties, the government, the industry and the media that deals wit them, I am merely overcome with a deep unease that I am being fed a line.

It would have been so much better to have had at least some expert, independent (though where one finds anyone who is not in the pay of an agenda group is anyone's guess) balance to put these figures in context.

My letter:

The Power of Wind

This milestone is encouraging news. Is it possible to have more context on the figures quoted in layperson's terms?

What actual delivery does 2GW apply to? Is it an average? Over what period?

Times: Green light for energy station

In this day and age, I am intrigued by the way eco-initiatives are shared.
Hence, may we be told what '...the POTENTIAL to produce UP TO
200MW of electricity' translates to in reality?

If you are investing £280M surely one should know to a fair degree of
accuracy what WILL be produced?

If it means that half of Scotland gets supplied with wind energy 70-80% of the time that's fantastic.

Is this really the case?

Forbes - Green is the new black

BBC - UK wind power reaches milestone
Times - Wind farm ‘marks step towards cleaner energy’