Saturday, December 12, 2009

TWEET 'N LOWDOWN - I see you one, and raise you one

I guess the 'big' story yesterday was the generosity and statesmanship of our PM.

Time will tell where this money comes from, where it goes to, whether it is used wisely and well, and what % gets redirected in the name of green if not for it.

I start with a post I made to Newsnight:

Headline: Why micro wind turbines don't work (with relative directions of vanes on weather cock and turbine in telling complement)

Text: In most urban locations in Britain wind turbines simply do not work

And folk wonder why the public are cranking eyebrows. There is what we know, there is what we don't, and there is what we are told. Seldom is this done without a narrative being enhanced or an event being interpreted.

Which becomes pertinent, and key, when it comes to what we are told*, especially about vast amounts of money to be dedicated to 'solving' things, which seem a bit shy on detail as to what, specifically, and how measured to assess enviROI, etc. Numbers do matter, even as science gets settled (if often in creative ways), and passed on by those we pay, and trust to be our guides.

It makes a nonsense of the claim made by the Energy Saving Trust,

But I am glad I persevered, as there was much to ponder of value, and I appreciated the maths lesson. Makes me wonder why such calculations are often beyond those who claim (all dutifully passed on by those copy-typing press releases as 'reporting') that 'such and such 'could' power 1/2 of 'so and so' for 'free' (exc: construction, operation, maintenance, repair and disposal).

And there is also the power of editorial, often, possibly, via omission:

3. At 9:01pm on 11 Dec 2009, simon noble wrote:
You forgot to mention that those big wind turbines are also erratic, so you need a big back-up source of power to manage the lows.

One just has to hope that, when given the massive importance of the basic intent to reduce GHGs, and the vast monies involved in securing that laudable aim, those with the power to take and dispense the funds in securing this, plus those tasked to hold them to account, know what the heck they are doing.

And are guided by honest, unselfish influences and not the lures of personal advancement, ratings, career influence, lobby-influence, bonuses, targets and box ticks.

*Clarified, often, only after the the hyperlink and/or in the small print.

As you'll gather, I appreciate a done deal when I see one; I just express the hope that it will be upfront and accurate.

And.. reported with competence and objectivity. I have this slight concern the media are every bit as much a part of the problem of public understanding and engagement.

guardianeco - Gordon Brown bangs heads and crunches climate figures in Brussels - as he is so good with numbers here

climatebiz - What's Keeping Climate Investment Out of Africa? - maybe that money in Africa often doesn't end up where intended?

UN - UN online tool allows people to track nations’ pledges on climate change - as to delivery...?

JaymiHeimbuch - RT @planetenvy Rainforest Nations: We'll Drop Deforestation Targets if Rich Don't Put Money on the Table: - Blazing Saddles anyone?

kate_sheppard - Stern: "We have to combine science and pragmatism." That.. would be nice

timesonline - Gordon Brown and Nicolas Sarkozy: banks should pay for climate change - No reward for failure! Thank heavens I have very little in the bank. Mainly due to Mr. Brown p*ssing money away on things that don't work.

DowningStreet - PM: Excellent result in Brussels - got EU up to £6.6 billion for developing countries over next 3 years. Big boost for Copenhagen - like a drunk at an auction trying to impress the girls in the onlooking crowd

wwwfoecouk - Press release: EU barely budges an inch on climate: Commenting on the conclusion of the EU Council today, Friends o... - sometimes twitter can throw up reasons to look around for more...

ThinkPolitics - EU agrees climate pledge that may boost Copenhagen - and end up scratching your head

iaindale - Blogpost: Cost of Insuring British Govt Debt Rises by 1000% in 2 Years

guardianeco - EU set to double climate aid for developing countries to €2bn - Game, set and fudge?

TheIndyNews - UK giving £1.5bn to climate fund - we are a giving sort, apparently

the_ecologist - A toothless cap-and-trade scheme is a planetary wrecking ball - let's see what we get

Meanwhile, in other tweets:

GuyKawasaki - The Six Twitter Types - Modesty prevents me assessing my self

fivenineteen - RT @twitwalk "To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk." ~ Thomas Edison #quote #creativity #green #recycle (via @quotme) - like, I need to explain:)

ChristianaCooke - A man should look for what is, and not for what he thinks should be. Albert Einstein - like, some in science might need that explained to them, before they get too 'settled'

Ecosaveology - Google opens satellite images, tools, to study deforestation:

mickwill - I can't believe it! Just got up at 5.30 to get taxi to BBC Centre & they just phoned to say I'm not on at 7.20 now. GRR! - The joys of dealing with our media

jimpenny - - I save and reuse my false eyelashes, I care about the planet! (via @theboygeorge) - every little bit helps? I am presuming irony at play.

guardianeco - A £480 train ticket to Copenhagen makes it hard to care about the climate | George Monbiot - No, it makes it harder to trust and/or believe in hypocrites who say one thing and do another. It's different. And rubbish pricing on more eco transport options is not mutually exclusive with caring that the bozos making decisions seem to be 'selective at best'.

mickwill - If you want to know if your boiler is g-rated for the Boiler Scrappage scheme, you can check here - talk is cheap, knowledge is power, action is golden

wwwfoecouk - Safe #climate news: Helen Baxendale heading for Copenhagen: Actor, mother, campaigner calls for justice - Bless, in so many ways

thegoodhuman - Wondering this morning if all of us writing about environmental issues does anything in big picture. What should we be doing instead? - My shed beckons

LilGreenFingers - New blog post where I get a bit cross with Kirstie Allsopp and her gilded pears... - There's making and mending, and there's buying in posh shops, making and suckering daft luvvies, or not

timesonline - RT @Times_Live Is Man largely responsible for global warming? Join our live debate at 1.30pm today - I did. It was a zoo

richardbranson - Have a read of my views on @Virgin_Galactic ethics on @virgindotcom -props for stating his case. Not asked or tasked once by the MSM

futerra - Ed Milliband on C4 using #sizzle message "we need a positive vision, let's sell dreams not nightmares". - Now, where did he end up at that notion? Guess we won't be seeing the ASA-referred, inaccurate, scaremongering ActOnCo2 bedtime story ad again, then?

journalismnews - PDA: ‘Algorithms will replace journalists’ - speaking of our mighty 4th estate... Well, it can often seem that much reporting these days is mainly cut and pasting of press releases with little checking or critical oversight.

MoreEco - Eco News - Budget to include electric car tax break: Company drivers who choose electric cars are to.. - now, about the green 'leccy generation and distribution

Greengamma - 'Dirty' battery cars 'make more CO2 than they save' - see the issues,

myzerowaste - My Zero Waste is up against Guardian ethical living and You Gen 4 best green site. Please vote 4 us! - sadly, nor Junkk Male RE:view were not deemed worthy*. But MZW was, and as she is also a contributor of ideas (and winner) to the site, she gets my vote:)

adamvaughan_uk - Voting is open for the @greenwebawards - go vote before 31 Dec [disclaimer: I was one of judges who shaped shortlist) - *all comes clearer. he's not a fan of greens who crank eyebrows:)

GlobeGuard - RT @packagingdiva: A perspective about why #Packaging reduction goes out of the window at Christmas @ - I find this site great for scoops on ppackaging to help RE:tie

..and finally, as we are a reuse advocate and it's Xmas...

CAGW - Make a Gift Bow Out of Scrap Paper:

And that's just the retweets in a day. I really can't be bothered to go through all the others I favourited, as they are usually the contentious ones, and really, life is too short.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

TWEET 'N LOWDOWN - S****page!

Sorry for that headline.

It's not what you think, but merely a media trick to get more folk reading... did it work?

I wasn't expletive deleting, but in writing that was reminded that it would be on the website, which has a rather over-enthusiastic 'swear filter' that takes out anything it think innocent eyes should be spared.

Anyway from yesterday's twitter surf RT/save collection, the dominant story that caught my eve had to be the boiler scrappage initiative introduced in Alistair Darling's pre-budget wassname.

About the only good thing there, as it's hard to find much else when 'we' owe' billions, if not more already.

But this one makes sense. Subsidy money is being given away left, right and centre, and this seems to be a rare 'win-win', with it going to reductions and efficiency increase, and hence lowered GHGs and reduced expenditure for those who can ill-afford it.

I just hope this government actually has the money to do it.

guardianeco - Boiler scrappage plan aims to help 125,000 householders - AIMS?

IndyPolitics - Boiler scrappage scheme unveiled

hmtreasury - An extra 75,000 households will benefit from an extension of the Warm Front scheme #pbr09

MRW - Chancellor announces boiler scrappage scheme in Pre-Budget Report

I also was keen to crank an eyebrow here:

solarguy2034 - In Copenhagen, Stores Heat the Streets: To encourage Christmas shoppers, many stores in Copenhagen leave their .. as has noted, and suggested a response, more than once before.

Then there was this, for no better reason that on my last visit t'other day my Mum did not recognise me for 30 minutes:

jerryjamesstone - Scientists Working on Cure for Alzheimers Invent Self-Cleaning Solar Panels (Now Just Cure Alzheimer's Please) - Amen

TWEET 'N LOWDOWN - Teetering Pedestals

Actually, more like a teetering tower... that of Babel.

This is my first 'round up' of yesterday's retweets.

Not sure it will work. There were so many.

Which at least serves for the point of this post.

I was once appalled to be in the midst of a council meeting where there were about twenty folk shouting the odds. Whatever the intention it was a total waste of time, effort and resources as nothing got agreed, or done.

I, and a few others there voluntarily did note that most 'officials' there were all on salary, plus expenses, whatever happened.

I can only imagine what it must be like with tens of thousands, all shouting, such that not only no one can hear each other, they but won't even bother listening.

All paid, or paid for. As are all those there to 'report' on it. Like they really care.

The planet, meanwhile, goes on, if perhaps with a tear in its eye.

If there were a few 'tweets' that stood out to me, it was these:
Right we're on air. Do climate deniers deserve to be part of this discussion? - Nice of the BBC to ask, but who are 'they', and who are 'they' asking? Ed Miliband? Voltaire (possibly) rotates in his grave.

RT @thomsmith: How can we take climate change seriously when Richard "@virgindotcom" Branson is talking about space tourism? - More crucially, when some irony deficient MSM outfits run 'sombre' climate stories and then happily send their teams off to the mojave to film rockets that don't get airborne without some stuff out the exhaust.

Could you be the winner of the Fun Theory Award!? (from @ClimateSquad) - Hope so, as I have several entries in:)

And one more* that has now dropped off the archive, which rather makes me feel that RT'ing is a pretty short term, useless facility if you want to keep an archive record. So I think I'll give up on this before I end up a messy creek sans paddle.

Twitter is good for getting stuff in and as it happens. No more.

RT'ing might help keep others on one's journey in the loop and valuing what you come across, and takes seconds, so may be worth maintaining. I'll have to see how far back favourites goes (Encouraging. I went back over a few weeks over 50 pages with no 'limit', so that might mean they are all 'held' - it is also worth 'saving', too)

But mainly I think I'll just favourite the stories linked to on my browser so I don't lose them, and use the browsing history to blog from in future.

Sorry, twitter, it's just not going to work out as I'd hoped. At least like this.

* - In addition to the message being rather overshadowed by less than green messageboard materials, I do rather wonder what the awareness that is being raised here actually is.

Know that 'incentive' mantra I keep chanting?

Bottle Bank Arcade

Kudos to


Here are my entries as inspired by this:
(No idea why this last one seems to be a different URL)

Took a loooong while as I had upload issues and the system couldn't cope with my 'suite'* idea, but the organisers were very helpful.

Doubt they'll be in with much of a chance now as the competition closes soon, but at least they are now in.

*One to freak out the health and safety guys, but here goes.

It has always frustrated me that many public recycling facilities involve a dirty great (heavy) steel container that requires a big-engined, high-powered truck to haul away often only a few kilos of 95% fresh air surrounding a veneer of card, glass or metal.

They are also often smelly, and boring. And no one crushes waste bottles, cans, etc because they are already confused by a plethora of do’s and don’ts regarding what’s cool and/or not.

But one thing is clear: we need to get stuff as small in volume as possible to make the most of the logistics’ systems carbon footprint. This also tends to help with recycling anyway.

Then we need to make it so people a) want to do it so they try, and try again, and b) enjoy it so much they do it again and tell their mates. So… pretty much fun, then.

Any other advantages that roll along as a consequence we’ll take as plusses. On balance, win-win-win-win-etc


RE:Gymberation RE:Spa Planet Fitness

We need venues. And where better than supermarket foyers or shopping centres, which would confer green kudos to savvy CSR marketers who can sweeten the extra traffic likely to be attracted by offering reward opportunities to those bring in the correct materials? Possibly consumers get to hand in waste in exchange for Junkk bonds to use on… eco purchases.

RE:Gymberation posits a ‘zone’, where by human energy is harnessed in the cause of greater fitness and… reducing recyclate volumes for transport.

All the shredding, smashing and/or flattening is done by one human power on a series of exercise devices that serve to not only dispose of waster materials, but in an entertaining manner.

Some could indeed be prone to misuse or vandalism – so possible solutions are sensors to divert metals or, more practically, human oversight, hence being located near staff, which also supports reward redemption. A few complementary freestanding systems are suggested, specific to particular recyclates.

What was weird is one submission included that had to be dropped (pix above), which had to be dropped:

The Whack a Can Pan – For Cans Or Cartons


Based, almost identically, on either a fairground mallet and bell concept, or the ‘Whack-a-Mole’.


The can or carton is introduced to be crushed by a wide head mallet, with the flattened result dropped into the receptacle below.

Here's why

How spooky is that? Annoyingly, it's a top 10 idea. He who hesitates - or has a less than compatible browser... is lost.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Nice when you get it

Just had a nice call.

Remember my Voucher Tree idea?

Well, one of the schools we helped has just advised me that they had enough coupons in their coconut to be redeemed for a new wheelbarrow for their organic garden.

Every little bit helps, eh?

But I still can't stop wondering how much better it would have been, for all in the community, if Morrison's had allowed us to put the tree in their foyer to catch folk as they were leaving.

It would have reminded those without kids to collect them anyway, the schools would have got tons more... and the store itself would have gained awesome PR.


The problem with online experiments is that the positives can be matched equally by the negatives.

So for all the advantages of speed, ease of creation, etc, there is that slight worry that the minute you hit 'send', it's out there, for all to see, with its flies open.

And one thing I have discovered is that few in the blog, and especially twitosphere seem of a mind to sidle up and say 'Psst... actually, this doesn't really work [for this reason....]. Maybe time to think of a wee review?'

Anyway, nothing ventured, etc.

Following some truly appreciated support, I am beta-testing (ok, trying out) a new twitter regime.

Basically, I am going to use the new twitter retweet button to scoot throught what comes my way, morning, noon and night. And as the system permits no comments, I can't and hence won't. So if the content delights... or enrages... with luck the twitocrats will realise that to get context they need to follow the trail, to bouquet or brickbat the authors accordingly for their <140 masterpieces.

Meanwhile, the plan is for me to go back over the day (if I have time... most likely next morning) and do a quick review of those that tickled my fancy.

Working title: TWEET 'N LOWDOWN (see who salutes:)

Well, that's the theory.

The issue.. as some would have it?

Just heard on the BBC as the talking head reads out what he's told to ask Prof. Sir David King: 'the issue is that a large number of people are saying there is nothing to be concerned about'.

Is this true?

Or is this how the government and its media shills would wish to see 'the debate' framed?

Anyone who thinks there are no issues of concern regarding PMWNCC is a) not being too rational and b) in a very small minority. Hence why play that up?

My concern, and I suspect that of others, is that 'climate' gets used as an excuse by already mediocre minds to try and compensate for fiscal failures elsewhere that will have zero or, worse, negative enviROI impacts on my kids' futures.

I smell straw men, and the media using them to frame...more like steer the issues stinks.

At least the talking head raised the contradictory point of Ed. Miliband shrieking about reductions whilst the government he is part of is advocating a 3-fold increase in air travel.


My first foray into how the print media complement the narrative:

Good to have standards. Not to have them as doubles

But this is an MSM that seems to see the US EPA and its timely actions as somehow unconnected with media management in a new era of command and control by big government.

And is one that also doesn't 'do' irony.

At least, watching today's broadcast news as I now catch up on the print.

Dancing to the tune of PROs of your mates and issuing news by press release does the BBC (or any medium) little credit. Especially when it is contradictory.

You either think greenhouse gasses are a here and now issue, or you don't.

Stick Ed Miliband and Richard Branson up together on this and I think most environmental correspondents' brains would freeze as anything either comes out with gets shared with zero critical thinking attached by our star-truck, government-slavish media.

IRONY ALERT - We have standards; at least double most

Just had to pop this one in to Aunty and SKY:

Watching today's news.

Some entirely welcome, and valid coverage on Copenhagen, and the issues at stake.

Then a few more pieces, followed by a commercial for favoured son Richard Branson and his next moneymaking scheme taking the uber-rich into space for a quick Kodak moment.

But it's all ok it seems, as the design of the craft is, according to the [at least in the case of the BBC, astoundingly] reporter, 'fuel efficient'.

Dancing to the tune of PROs of your mates and issuing news by press release does the BBC little credit. Especially when it is contradictory.

You either think greenhouse gasses are a here and now issue, or you don't.

Stick Ed Miliband and Richard Branson up together on this and I think your brains would freeze as anything either comes out with gets shared with zero critical thinking attached.

To be fair (if conceding two wrongs makes an MSM consenus) SKY had the same double standards as well. Who gives a sod about the planet if you get invited [to the Mojave Desert] by a ratings-cert Celeb billionaire to play with his rocket?

News generation by PRO and reporting by press release. Unique.


Having taken the broadcast media to task (and found that what was troubling viewers more... at least as claimed by those who select the emails... was a ban on 'pink'. Go figger), it was interesting to move on to their print cousins:

'The environmental impact would be minimal, Branson said.

"It's almost zero carbon output. We can put people into space for less carbon output than say, a flight from New York to L.A. and back, and that's for your particular seat on the flight from New York to L.A. and back," he said. "And I think in time, we will almost definitely be able to get to zero carbon output."

That is almost definitely a meaningless crock of... unsettling science.

Apt as the various debates around reducing GHG's swirl like contrails from a plane taking off from one of Gordon Brown and his government colleagues' (esp. Miliband. E) expanded airports.

But saying that would seem to make me a denier, or maybe saboteur? Too the too-cosy double-standard world some in the politico-media bubble live in, perhaps. Welcome to a Britain where the media is managed, and barely managing professionally it seems, other than via 'news' from press release by government or corporate PRO.

Meanwhile back at Copenhagen...

Telegraph - NEW - Virgin spaceman's flight of fancy

Monday, December 07, 2009

A time for RE:appraisal

Yesterday was my birthday.

And amongst a few nice things (my wife has been active on FaceBook and reconnected with some old friends who it was lovely to hear from) there was one, truly horrible one.

Which, though it affected me badly, and still is a matter of upset, might have been the best thing that could have happened in a long time.

It was a truly awful, personal 'tweet' on my twitter page.

This person had got a very wrong end of a stick, and instead of thinking for a few seconds had sought offence which, as I am oft prone to quote, if you are looking for in any way, it will happily present itself easily whenever required.

I was shocked by the passion and the bile. All in 140 characters or less. And all because we are in a time poor world where people react rather than think, and cheap talk has more value than considered actions.

Well, and here's the 'good' bit, after 24hrs pondering, I have decided enough's enough.

I enjoy debate. I think I am good at it. And I do think what I say can have value.

But talk can also be very cheap. And pointless. I have valued Twitter for the information it has brought my way, but 9 times out of 10 it has been in a form that is hard to trust and hence needs a lot of checking.

But not just Twitter. At the other end of the communication spectrum, even the so-called 'MSM' (main stream media) is now so corrupted by agenda, dubious affiliations and the seduction of career-driving ratings in an already facile 24/7 'news' environment, nearly all 'reporting' now is commentary, and all commentary is only as good as the person passing it. And that, these days, is near zero.

I have seen Copenhagen as an iconic event, much as many other sincere, idealistic folk. But now it has arrived I think it will just be another jamboree of tribalism and hypocrites jockeying for personal gain, be it monetary, career or ego-boosting legacy coverage.

Maybe there will be 'a deal', and maybe it will involve some positive aspects. If so, great.

But I cannot see the juggernaut that is the various competing global lobbying groups being influenced one jot by what I might think, say or even if the latter resonates with the few I share my views with.

So all the Twittering, blog-surfing and contributing has to stop. It was, is, and I suspect will be mere exercises in futility.

To make a difference I have to get back to doing, even if it is just in the smallest of ways. Because a deed that is appreciated and inspires can lead on to more, bigger and maybe even better ones.

So to that very sad, angry person: thank you. But I am not above hoping that by your words I will be returned to actions that will one day come back to haunt you and what you stand for.

'A great person makes others feel small. A truly great person makes others feel great'

Words to live by. And act upon.

Monday, November 30, 2009

The value of that cranked eyebrow

Been a bit quiet here of late.

More than I'd like.

It's just that, on top of the day job, I have been trying to stay on top of some rather hairy bits and bobs swirling around the blogosphere regarding the science of climate change.

And it's still swirling, at least in some quarters.

Which makes a little episode I was involved in today all the more pertinent.

From this blog:

It's all up there (for now... excuse me if I have some concerns about stealth editing from on high in certain quarters) so I'll just past the last one:

Further to my last post, I have now heard again from the BBC, and as it is not fully referred to in the note above, feel the explanation is worth sharing:

We owe you an apology.

The post as originally published did indeed contain a mistake, which was
corrected on Sunday morning.

We have now published an update to the blog, which makes this clear.

The reason we confidently informed you that no amendments had been made
to the blog was that we believed only one person on duty on Sunday had
the privileges required to make changes to Justin Rowlatt's blog - and
that person made no changes the copy. We have since discovered that
there was another person on duty with the ability to change the blog,
and this person made the change referred to in the blog comments.

Apologies again for getting it wrong in our first reply to your

To which I have replied:

But I think you may owe the guy who spotted it more of one, and thanks for catching it. Which kind makes the general point I was making about a policy of flagging changes even more pertinent.

Order, for now, one trusts, is restored. But it does show the value of checking, and persistence. On top of not being above a cranked eyebrow when things do not seem to be adding up.


Friday, November 27, 2009

Take the rest of the day off

I wish.

This was sent by a nice fellow from here.

A few idle moments at least, well spent.


(and as a pure aside, I seem to have now been given 'extra' Label space over the 2k limit I blew a while ago. Ta Google/Blogger)

Decisons, decisions...

Needing get back on the old blog horse more.

And as it's Friday, maybe ease in with lighter fare.

Amongst my worryingly burgeoning twitter follow list is this fine fellow, who I tracked back to his blog to share:

Reusable Bag Roundup

‘Which reusable bag is your favorite ?’
Still, gotta be… the one I made…:)

A subject dear to my heart

In so many ways!

Waste is a potential resource, not a problem

As a passionate advocate of reward over fine, nanny, guilt, scare, etc, all of which have worked so well with the public so far, I have to concede a cautious welcome to the principle at least.

But... shopping vouchers? To go and buy yet more stuff to throw away?

As some here have raised, reduction and reuse remain ahead of recycling in the waste hierarchy, so at the very least make the incentives as pertinent as they should be tangible. Discounts on energy saving schemes or items, maybe. Points towards big ticket items that lead to further savings, such as:

Or, if legal, allow aggregation and/or transferability, for compo or as a donation. I'd be happy to allow my 'points' go to buying a match-funded boiler for a pensioner over most tax-gouging redistribution schemes in the name of green that seem to be flying about (or to Copenhagen) from many in high office and held in low esteem at the moment.

Also encourage reuse at every turn:

Better yet, encourage getting it designed-in:

All IMHO, better than an addiction to recycling which, as a last resort, is fine, if done properly:

I remain unclear on where all this box-ticking, target meeting recyclate ends up. Better than landfill to be sure, but... where?

IRONY ALERT - Timing is all

Forbes - Will The World Go Shopping? - today

And tomorrow?..... Buy Nothing Day

Addendum: Buy Nothing day is only the beginning for a new counter-consumer culture

Guess this one (from top right on the page) won't be operational tomorrow:)

Addendum 2:

Brand Channel - Today's Consumer Is [Insert Adjective]

Reuse gaining favour again?

I have Dave of Solarventi to thank for this:

An £800,000 programme has been launched to ensure more household goods will be reused and recycled across Scotland.

Recycling agency WRAP Scotland has been given the cash from the £7.5 million INCREASE III fund to encourage community organisations to improve infrastructure for collecting and reusing furniture, white goods, carpets and other household items.

Grants can cover up to 50% of the eligible project costs and will be focused on innovative ideas that:

Work in partnership with local authorities to recover items for reuse from civic amenity sites, such as household waste and recycling centres.

Fill gaps in current service provision, either geographically or by type of household item.
Announcing the new fund, Environment Secretary Richard Lochheart said:

“Reusing furniture and household goods is a perfect example of a simple, cost-effective step that can be taken to help us reach our goal of a Zero Waste Scotland.

“This latest round of investment will specifically target areas where reuse facilities are not up to scratch, encouraging the public to reuse and recycle rather than dump their furniture and household goods which are often still in working order.”

Funding will be allocated through a single bidding round. Applications must be submitted by 8 January 2010.

For further information about the programme, visit the WRAP Scotland website (opens a new window)

Source: Scottish Government, 13/11/2009

Not certain quangos I cold mention, who have in the past done their best to ignore me, and my efforts, even to help them in theirs. But I shall persevere.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

RE:PAIR - If it rains, this reigns

A little repair to the missus' brolly I am quite proud of.

And very 'Junkk', as it saved us £15 on a new one, and cost no more than a few moments of my time.

QUOTE OF THE DAY - 'World Leaders' Say The Funniest Things

‘The fact that I flew here to sit on a panel for one and a half hours, then I´m flying straight back to the US, is an example of our commitment to environmental sustainability,’ boasts Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo, blissfully unaware of the irony of her statement.”

Taking Care Of Business

I have been, here, of late.

Lots of reasons.

The main one is the sheer volume of information one can get, and needs to process, can overtake the ability to actually DO anything.

But I have also been subdued by 'events'.

The sheer incompetence of our political classes still astounds even as it exceeds one's worse expectations and fears. Matched only by the superficiality at best, equal incompetence and complicity at worst, of most major media... which frankly depresses.

And then, there are the rest. From activists to big business, as typified by that quote above.

Yes, I am keen to learn all I can and DO more to make the world a better place for my kids.

But the sheer, rank, hypocrisy of those who have set themselves up, and above 'us' is proving very hard to stomach... much less try and work around (as 'with' seems only to occur to them if there is money to be made, careers to enhance or a target to be met).

I love the resource that is twitter (and upon which this will appear in the net 24 hrs), but even with only a few hundred folllowees I can no longer do justice to following and re-tweeting (on sharing) what they post.

Hence a pause is called for.

Equally here, though I see more value to the 'causes' of, RE:tie and, by extension 'proactive, pragmatic, enviROI+ green advocacy' to popping out the odd post to maintain a presence. Probably more around my thoughts than on specific topics, as I simply do not have the time, or support, to do each one the justice it requires.

To get to that happy stage I need to earn some money. First up to feed the family. But then, if it flows as I hope it will again, to enable me to invest in what I need to make, and all that surround it, all I have always hoped it can be.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Funny what arrives in the mail

For obvious reasons, I try and figure out, or collect uses for RE:tie.

Helps when folk say... 'but who would use it, and what for?'

So it's nice when things fall in your lap.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Neee...Oh.... Daaaaaad!

A while ago a writing competition was posted.

This is my entry:

To : My sons, as you approach adulthood

My Dear Sons,

I have always told you that the most we can expect is that you do your best, for all, and in support of all the right reasons.

What I have before now neglected to add was that you must never stop doing it. Follow those two principles and while you may never get rich monetarily, at the very least you will find a sense of purpose and rewards in other ways with, if you are lucky, the bonus of a legacy to be proud of.

But you only have one life, so don’t beat yourselves up on it; live it to the full as best you can, whilst you try and DO the best you can.

Now considering the topic theme I would like… need to make an apology. Not for anything I have done (though there are many things for which I am sure I should), but I am sorry to have been part, so far, of an ongoing failure.

It is the failure of my generation, plus one at least above (and a few below) to have sensibly managed very well this precious planet that all our futures so depend upon.

At one time I could offer the reason, if not excuse, of ignorance, and even less credibly, being ‘too busy’. This can no longer be true, of me or any in a position to effect necessary changes; from voters to those in, or seeking power with their blessing. Plus all those who also are attached to and can influence the process of local, national and global governance. Media, activists, etc. You know who your are.

Where the message is so key, so many messengers, often self-appointed, have failed with the importance of getting it through. Yet still so few seem able, or willing, to look inward and cease blaming others for failing to understand, but instead to hold them…ourselves to account for being so poor at explanation and/or persuasion.

It’s not enough to believe, you need also to convince by the power and skill of argument. Turning incomprehension or the shake of a head into a nod is an art, and a very rewarding one to cultivate. Do it well and you not only create converts; you make new friends. Always a plus.

Sadly, despite my best efforts at self-education, I must confess to still remaining confused on much of what to do for the best. And I fear the human condition, and all its manifestations, today, are simply too much for one person or even ‘leaders’ to get fully to grips with global issues sensibly in any form to simply hand me the answers on a platter. I don’t think most 'know', or can 'know' either. There is a strong case for admitting ignorance, so long as you show commitment to filling that gap quickly.

All I am aware of is that there is much that seems very broken, and hence needs fixing. And that we as individuals are well equipped in this regard, with our minds and our hands, to tackle the challenges ahead.

I give my pledge therefore to do my best to help support all laudable aims based upon just causes. It is all I can do to live up to what I have tried to inspire in you. And that is to do our best to spare humanity going to waste.

I might fail, at least in my lifetime. I hope not. But at least I will know I tried. So I invite you to join me. Always follow the positive path if you can, but don’t be afraid, especially of outside and especially peer pressure, to challenge what you feel is wrong. And remember, a question is not a threat (or should not be) if it invites an answer that moves the discussion along. Stay true to your instincts, but never be too proud to find out more, or admit error… and then be quick to change. And evolve. Seek to inspire rather than suppress; you may win arguments but hearts and minds can be much more sensitive, and hence of great value to win on side. And don’t be afraid to lose, so long as it has been for the right reasons. That said, see merit, and no shame in sticking to your guns to gain victory. People love, and support winners. And we all need the support of those around us.

Most of all, whilst there can and will be valleys to balance the peaks, only do what you do if you truly enjoy it. Bitterness or frustration are poor companions on the road to success. And while I do no decry words alone (this is a letter after all), never forget the value of setting examples, especially through DOING. The result of the smallest effort in this regard can place you way ahead and above the loftiest pronouncement or claim, no matter how high the author’s perceived pedestal.

If nothing else, this notion is something, I hope of value, that I can give to you now: not just to hope, but to try as best you can to make the world a better place.

If we do, others might. And in banding together we can make anything happen. Who knows, this may even register with a few in power too, if enough of us walk the walk as well as expecting that we all talk sense, and with honesty.

Never miss the opportunity to take pause to listen... every step of the way. Broadcast-only devices make poor communicators.

Oh, and if you can get to wangle decent careers to support you families whilst doing all that, your Mum says she will be thrilled to.

With love,


Not sure I dare show it to the little sods yet, mind. Their new XBox game has just arrived.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Cry Havoc, too often, in the wrong way, and...

Storm winds batter Britain

No looking good, to be sure.

Then this arrived:

A Flood Warning has been issued for the River Wye from Hereford To Ross On Wye area. Flooding of homes and businesses is expected. Act now!

The Environment Agency advises you to act now:

- Ring Floodline on 0845 988 1188 for up to date flooding information
- Stay tuned to radio and television weather, news and travel bulletins
- Keep a watch on water levels
- Move family, pets and valuables to safety
- Help neighbours
- Use sandbags or flood boards to block doors and airbricks
- Don't drive through flood water
- Be prepared to turn off gas and electricity supplies
- Find more information at

Above all - be careful. The Environment Agency cannot be held responsible for any accidents, injuries, or losses, financial or otherwise, which occur as a result of this email. Forecasts cannot be guaranteed.

I don't know the best answer, but this cannot be it. Yet again, the footy field next to the river ended up waterlogged.

First time I move the family. Second time we glanced out the window. Fool me once...

Now we feel they are more making sure they can say they tried to avoid criticism rather than being sensible about helping folk make decisions. Box ticking. Target meeting. I called to suggest that this was losing value rapidly by being such a blanket alert and why not be more honest on the limits of the system and parameters. I was advised to unsubscribe.

Is there a metaphor here?

IDEA - Bus Shelter

Bus Stop Shelter – A bus shelter made of school bus parts


Slightly 'off-enviro', but still pertinent to all involved, or interested in honing their online/IT skills with blogs, sites, etc.

Evolving content

Basically as I see, use or get sent 'em, I'll share.


Spotmixer - some useful free creation bits but distribution costs - does what it says on the URL

Analysis -

Animation - -

Anonymity -

Answers - tin. says. does. what


Mostly benign, and always nice to find stuff you thought had gone. But also... what is may not always have been, and the truth is out there. So have a care what you commit to the web... and then try and change, especially if it is not to add truth or further clarity. You will be caught out, Mr. Nixon. - via makeuseof - The Wayback Machine - Browse The Internet Of Yester-Yore -
newssniffer - - Looks like a good resource for aired TV shows
waybackmachine - - download-youtube-videos-to-desktop/


Audiohijackpro - recording for Macs - costs, mind
Call recorder - Mac Skypes
Herewho - text to audio
MP3myMP3 - to record stuff you hear online
pamela - skype recording
Screaming Bee - vocal shenanigans

Bookmarking - also for promoting your site/blog (which I really need to do)
BBC - what are these?
Wikipedia - social bookmarking -
now public - actually a bookmarking bookmarker. Looks nifty.
Windows Live
Yahoo/My Yahoo


Flock - an eco-version described in Grist

Calculator & Conversion - Windows only
google calculator - -

Databasing - an online database

Dictionaries, Encyclopedias & Sources of General Wisdom

List of dictionaries - - -
wikipedia - - Indy review

Duplicate/Redundant Files - -



Wikipedia - 'backskatter' - can be an issue if people or, worse, listing-systems think you are the originator. Firebird gest thousands of bounce-backs a month.



HP - Smart web printing tool to reduce waste


Eraser -

FACT-CHECKING - Big Brother knows who you are...


FUN - We are allowed

bennyhillifier - !
John’s Background Switcher - Perk up your monitor background!


BBC Click - Most of what you see here.... probably
Times - Austerity chic software - sticky notes you can add files too


For PC -
For Mac -

caution - Beware the traitor in your pocket -

free tracking via mobile


HTML - Generates HTML code. So useful. I've popped a link over on the right

Flikr -
stock.xchng -


Wabmail - Get a list of all the e-mail addresses in your address book

discovery earth -
specifically to help track the state of the Earth
getmapping -
google earth - -
tracks satellites. How cool is that? - FREE wiki - -
Windows Live Maps -


General - How many Albert Halls do we fill with waste again?

MEMOS - Hat tip @bricksandbread


SiteMeter Widget -

NETWORKING - social collaboration software
Twitter - Defined on Wikipedia



- NEW -

Macs have 'Grab' - much awesomeness.

For PCs:

Bugshooting -
Screen Grab Pro -
SnagIT - Costs!
websnapshot -

For Browsers

Fireshot -


Times - Software that remembers your passwords - I'll list 'em one day!


Responding Heads - (WIN) - Responding Heads enables you to launch programs, commands and actions via voice commands spoken into your PC microphone.


Red Ferret - 30 Alternatives to Adobe Acrobat + 1
Make Use OF - Grant PDF Print Power To Your Website Visitors - Could be very useful! Note it is beta at time of posting -

Gimp -
Image Composite Editor - Windows only



Google Picasa -
Multiply -

PICTURE EDITTING - for avatars! - Test and adjust colors on your own web page layout without leaving the browser. -


PRESENTATION - a free PowerPoint

PRINTING - Not quite as eco as an 'e', maybe but it is also FSC

QUIZ (not doing 'em.. making 'em) -

REGISTRATION - Tricky one this, as requires registration! But we do have good reasons. Thing is, ours is opt-in, so you say whether you want to get the newsletter etc. This looks useful for the catch-all database trawl.

REMINDER - No more than the same thing on your calendar (Google does me), but fun


LogMeIn -



What is RSS?, Wikipedia

BBC - The feed factory - helpful intro... I need it! - How to Monitor Websites that don’t have RSS Feeds

When I dig 'em out from other posts! (Click RSS link below for now)





Google Desktop - -


Daily Blog Tips - 50 Tips to Speed Up Your Website

Daily Writing Tips - How to Write an SEO Article - Part 1
Daily Writing Tips - How to Write an SEO Article - Part 2

ukbusinessform - 10 Top Tips to Make Your Website Search Engine Friendly - Free Guide, but you do swap your details and get a plug for the sponsor. 'Ain't no such thing as a free...'

Webcopier - Mac
Webzip -

SOCIAL NETWORKING - aggregator - as tested here


Make Use Of - Free Open Source Counterparts of Windows Software -

Alternative to Microsoft Office
Open Office - NEW
IBM Lotus Symphony -

Alternative to Internet Explorer
Firefox 3 -

Alternative to (almost) every other Instant Messenger
Pidgin -

Alternative to Adobe Photoshop and other image editing software
Gimp -

Other alternatives to popular applications
Open Source Windows -

- Definition from


instantrimshot - made me laugh -


Carbonite - paid - for mobile data - FREE -
filemail - paid
Mozy - paid
Outlook Express Backup Version 6.5 - FREE

STORAGE/SHARING - - - - - - for images. No idea how you find 'em again, but it's free. - - -
pando - via makeuseof - large file storage
Ringo - images & video -
weefolio - beta


survey monkey -



cueprompter -
DIY Teleprompter - Now that's playing my song!

TEMPLATES - - does what it says on the ti... URL... free - Graph paper - Lists for moving house -


Google for FireFox -




Blogger - here! At least, into Indian sub-continent languages
babelfish -
babelfish -
freetranslation - - instant messaging/instant translation

TROUBLESHOOTING - Looks a worthy fix resource - a URL availability checker. Neat!
Ask Jack - He's worked for me!
Ask Rick - well, if you have to ask...:) I wonder if techno fixes have political slants?
MakeUseOf - The PC Repair Toolkit in your Pocket: Boot CD on a USB Stick


Fontstock - - Design your own! How fun is that?
designm - 50+ Fonts for Big, Bold Headlines

TYPING - The Best Free Apps to Help you start Touch Typing - Too late for old two fingers me!

editurl - -
metamark -
shorturl -
tiny -

VALUATION - how-much-is-your-blog-worth - Requires a lot of data, which may make it more accurate


Animoto - Looks fun - a free video editor designed for simple cutting, filtering and encoding tasks. Available for Linux, BSD, Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows
Camtasia - made just for screen recording rather than just still grabs. It's not free
but there's a 30 day trial on their website.
Blinkxx - Brand Republic - Blinkx launches online TV and film platform
fixmyvideo - Paid for correction service - archive tv footage. Currently US only
irfanview - image viewer/converter
kwout - screen grabs
miglia - for Macs
Photo morpher - from Real. £14.99 at time of writing. Looks a hoot. - More fun manipulation
snag it - Video capture off PC. Costs. Free trial
Free-Video-Flip-and-Rotate - Does what it says on the tin. - drop shadow tool
tubemogul - a posting service to upload your videos
YouTube -
Downloading (via a blog) - NEW - Type "download youtube" into google for a selection of websites you can download with. Just enter the youtube URL and it will download a .FLV file for you. Then go to and search for "FLV to AVI" to get a file
converter - there are plenty of free ones. Convert the file you've downloaded and it will now be an AVI movie playable on most computers You can also find converters that change it into other formats like MPG4, Quicktime etc - depending on what format you need.

Reuters - YouTube helps video creators track viewership - download-youtube-videos-to-desktop/
youripper -


Skype -


Second Life - a rather amazing world. See my lovely missus play concerts without leaving home (go to news>calendar). Well worth it, and an interesting insight into lots of folk meeting up without burning travel miles.


webanywhere -



Times - An online guide to weather

WEB 2.0

knol - from Google, what's the (do no) harm? At least you can weigh this against this:


NMA - Widgets


theultimatesteal - legal, kosher... but you need to be a student

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Distract and rule

And rule seems to mean licence to gouge without check or balance.

Plus a few worrying stirrings on democratic process and freedom of speech. From the top, plus some less exalted, but oddly on message sources.

As it is still relatively small, usually civilised and may get read by the powers that be, I still invest in the Newsnight blogs (some BBC ones, like Richard Black's, are now beyond parody, as are most via such as the Guardian, which is a pity as they seem to wield influence out of all proportion to their readership numbers).

My big issue, as we barrel up to Copenhagen, is not so much whether there are climatic issues happening (though pertinet), but what the enviROI of proposed impositions being rushed through actually represent. Sensible, tangible global GHG curbs are one thing; giving every lobby-funded chump with a box-ticking wheeze the keys to the exchequer for a comms budget quite another.

I have thrown my hat into the ring on a few occasions in the last 24 hrs. A sampling:

Guardian - Should climate deniers be allowed to speak on the Today programme?

The exclusion of the barking to the biased from 'the oxygen of publicity' would be interesting, especially from entities that are happy to allow even terrorists to make their case. The trick seems to be inviting the right kind of 'unbalanced' individual on just enough to show 'balance', bit still follow agenda whilst not putting the glee club offside.

BBC - The Editors: A balanced approach to climate change

From the title on it tends to go downhill

BBC - Newsnight Thursday

BBC - Ethical Man Blog

And I fear I am not alone in my concerns about the trend

Iain Dale's Diary: Climate Change Poll: Britons Are Unconvinced

There also seems to be this odd notion that it is a wing' thing. For the life of me I cannot fathom how or why. Except where it comes to relative comfort with state, and state media levels of control.