The Anonymous Widower

Fall In Covid Infection Rates A Pleasant Surprise, Says Adviser

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on The Times.

The adviser who is pleasantly surprised is Mike Tildesley of the University of Warwick.

I am not surprised that Mike Tildesley is pleasantly surprised.

I have successfully built mathematical models on computers for over fifty years, and since the pandemic started I have been pursuing my own mining of UK, WHO and Wikipedia data and peer-reviewed scientific papers from sources all over the world.

Several scientists have said, that an individual’s immune system is important, when it comes to fighting the covids.

I am coeliac on a long-term gluten-free diet and we as a group have a strong immune system. This probably explains, why we are 25 % less likely to suffer from cancer, than the general population. This fact is not from the Gwyneth Paltrow School of Quack Science, but from JVT’s alma mata; Nottingham University.

It has also been shown by the University of Padua, who followed a group of coeliacs on a long-term gluten-free diet, that they did very well during the first wave of the virus in Padua, with no serious cases reported.

Look at the figures for Cambodia, which has very low figures. They have had just 22 deaths and they have a fatality rate of 0.78% according to Wikipedia. Our rate on a similar basis is 2.94 %.

Can their gluten-free diet be the reason?

I’ve also heard verified stories of groups of immigrants doing well, as they have not been seduced by Western junk food and are sticking to traditional diets.

I think there are a large number of people out there like coeliacs on a long-term gluten-free diet, who because of their diet or lifestyle are not going to get the virus and act like moderators do in a nuclear power station to slow the reaction. So they are slowing the transmission of the virus. We have already seen how some religious groups and types of behaviour have accelerated the spread of the virus, so why can’t groups exist that slow the rate of spread?

Hence Mike Tildesley’s pleasant surprise!

I have not found any UK-based scientific research on how coeliacs are faring in the pandemic and the charity Coeliac-UK has said nothing except Keep Calm And Carry On!

Let’s hope the good scientists of Padua are continuing to follow their coeliacs through successive waves of the pandemic!

We need more research now!

April 6, 2021 Posted by | Health, Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

A Thought On Covid-19

I am a Control Engineer, Mathematical Modeller and Statistician and have been following the data since the pandemic started.

Consider.

  • Systems like the pandemic want to get to an equilibrium. And preferably one where they are in control. The virus tries to infect more people, so they can pass it on.
  • But anybody, who is immune to the virus acts as a moderator does in a nuclear reactor, to slow the reaction down. So the more, who are immune in the population the better.
  • As of today, 2,713,563 have tested positive for the virus and sadly 75,431 have died. That means at least 2.6 million have had the virus and survived. Are these people now immune to the virus? If they are, can they be added to those who are vaccinated?
  • Also, how many people have had the virus and were not tested, but treated it like they might a cold? Are these safe from the virus, a second time around?
  • What about children, who seem to have lower susceptibility to the virus?
  • We can add in by the end of this week over a million, who have received the vaccine.
  • We are at the present time having about 350,000 positive tests in a week. If these people with positive tests isolate as they should, that will be breaking the transmission of a lot of carriers.
  • And then if the vaccine makers deliver two million a week and they are all used, that takes a lot of people out of the mix.
  • How many people are shielding or working from home and never giving the virus a chance to infect them? It must be a couple of million.

These are all big numbers, but most of them are on our side and not that of the virus.

I watched BBC News at six and Emma Vardy said that in Northern Ireland, the vaccine might be having a positive effect. I wouldn’t have expected that this early!

I am more optimistic, than I was before I started to write this post.

Could the combination of lockdown and increasing numbers of vaccinations cut the rate of transmission of the virus?

January 4, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 6 Comments

Cup Of Tea Brightens The Day And The Mind

The title of this post, is the same as that of this press release from Newcastle University.

This is the introductory paragraph.

If you’re enjoying a cup of tea and mince pie this festive season, you may be refreshing more than your palate, as research shows a good brew improves the attention span in those over 85-years-old.

I find this research interesting, mainly because I drink tea in large quantities, at a rate of at least six mugs a day.

But then my family seems to have an unusual drink problem.

  • I drink decaffinated builders tea and usually in a day, I’ll also drink two bottles of 0.5 % alcohol beer from Adnams and other soft drinks too!
  • My father was the same except that he would have a pint of Adnams a couple of times a week.
  • But his father drunk so much, he became an alcoholic and died at forty, well before I was born.
  • I also tend to have a mug of tea before I go to bed.
  • I’ve always preferred tea to coffee.
  • My fifty-year-old son is teetotal, but seems to drink a lot of tea and soft drinks.

As both my father and myself share a skin problem, which is probably related to coelic disease. I think, I sweat a lot of water through my skin, so I need to keep topping it up.

Conclusion

After reading the report from Newcastle University, I think I’ll keep drinking the tea.

 

December 29, 2020 Posted by | Food, Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Equilibrium With The Covids

The rate of lab confirmed cases in six cities per 100,000 of the population are as follows.

  • London – 836.6
  • Leeds – 2128
  • Liverpool – 2113.6
  • Manchester – 2879.6
  • Sheffield – 2291.2
  • Hull – 1013.9

In addition, if you look at many individual London boroughs, they are around the 600-900 range.

Is There A London Equilibrium?

As London is a more-or-less coherent entity has  the virus found an equilibrium with the city?

As a Control Engineer, I think London is showing a classic example of water finding its own level.

I would suspect that the average Londoner, visits a couple of other boroughs very regularly.

Does this mean that the virus gets transferred regularly across borough boundaries and this levels things up?

Is There A Northern Equilibrium?

It also looks like the virus has found a higher equilibrium with the Northern cities.

If you look at other areas in the North, that sit between the major cities, they seem in line with rates in Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds..

The city that is out of line is Hull, which has a rate half that of the others. Could this be because of its location?

Suffolk In The Sixties

I remember Suffolk in the 1960s, when it was three counties; East Suffolk, West Suffolk and Ipswich.

All counties had different pub opening hours  people would drive miles to get an extra half-hour of drinking.

I wonder if the different regulations and lock-downs across the various parts of the North have actually increased travel across regions and spread the virus.

This behaviour has created an equilibrium between the virus and the population.

Is There A East Anglian Equilibrium?

These are the figures for the three East Anglian counties.

  • Cambridgeshire – 596
  • Norfolk – 536
  • Suffolk – 531

There is not a large spread in the figures.

Other Areas

I have looked at other areas and a similar pattern seems to apply, where the figures are more or less the same in somewhere like the West Midlands, the South West (Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Somerset and Wiltshire) or Wales.

October 21, 2020 Posted by | Health, Uncategorized | , , , , , | 4 Comments

Potential Site For New Cambridge South Station Named

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Rail News.

The article says this about the site of the proposed Cambridge South station.

There had been three options for the station site and the preferred choice, which is the furthest north and nearest the guided busway, will offer improved connections with other railway routes as well as the busway. Although the detailed plans for East West Rail between Bedford and Cambridge have not yet been confirmed, it is possible that EWR trains will call at Cambridge South.

This Google Map shows the area.

Note.

  1. Addenbrooke’s and Papworth Hospitals and the Cambridge Biomedical Campus in the South-East corner of the map.
  2. Long Road going East-West across the map.
  3. The West Anglia Main Line going North-South, at the Western edge of the Cambridge Biomedical Campus. Cambridge station is to the North and Shelford station is to the South.
  4. Running diagonally away from the railway towards the South-West corner of the map, is the Cambridge Busway. which connects the Trumpington Park and Ride to Cambridge station and the City Centre.

It would appear there would be plenty of space to put a station with enough capacity for this important medical complex.

Train Services

Trains passing through that area include in trains per hour (tph)

  • CrossCountry – 1 tph – Birmingham New Street and Stansted Airport via Cambridge
  • Freater Anglia – 2 tph – London Liverpool Street and Cambridge North via Cambridge
  • Greater Anglia – 1 tph – Norwich and Stansted Airport via Cambridge and Cambridge North
  • Great Northern – 1 tph – London King’s Cross and Ely via Cambridge and Cambridge North
  • Great Northern – 1 tph – London King’s Cross and Kings Lynn via Cambridge and Cambridge North
  • Thameslink – 2 tph – Brighton and Cambridge
  • Thameslink – 2 tph – London King’s Cross and Cambridge

That all adds up to 10 tph to Cambridge and 5 to Cambridge North.

When you add in future services on East West Rail, and do a bit of reorganisation, there could be twelve tph through the three Cambridge stations.

June 23, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hanwell Station – 12th June 2020

These pictures show the current state of Hanwell station.

Note.

  1. Two lifts have now been installed to Platforms 1/2 and 3.
  2. The station is a Grade II Listed building.
  3. In Will Crossrail Open To Reading in 2019?, I worked it out that Hanwell station, will have a train every ten minutes all day.

Compare the pictures with these I took in 2014 and posted in Before Crossrail – Hanwell.

June 13, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

£35m Station Transformation Launched By Tees Valley Mayor

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Rail Technology Magazine.

This is the introductory paragraph.

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen has announced (June 9th) a £35m transformation of Middlesbrough Station to transport more train services to the town, including the first direct rail link to London in decades.

The Rail Technology Magazine article indicates that Platform 2 at Middlesbrough station will be extended to handle Azuma trains. As the current platform looks to be around 150 metres long and this would be long enough for a five-car train, does this mean that in the future nine-car and ten-car Azumas will be able to run services to Middlesbrough?

Currently, LNER run one train per two hours (tp2h) between London and York. Could some or all of these trains be extended to Middlesbrough?

  • TransPennines’ trains between York and Middlesbrough take fifty-eight minutes, but they are timed for slower Class 185 trains.
  • I would expect faster Class 800 trains could go between York and Middlesbrough and back to York in under a convenient two hours.
  • In addition, the lengthened Platform 2 at Middlesbrough would allow longer trains on the service between London and York to turn back at Middlesbrough.
  • As the York service, which has a frequency of 1tp2h shares a path with the Lincoln service of a similar frequency, there must be the possibility to run a 1tp2h between Kings Cross and Middlesbrough.
  • The same path is also used to run one train per day (tpd) to and from Hull.
  • It should also be noted that all Class 800 trains have the ability to split and join together in under two minutes.

There would appear to be a large amount of scope to develop a comprehensive timetable between Kings Cross and Hull, Lincoln and Middlesbrough.

  • If the first train left at 07:06 and the last at 22:06, there could be sixteen trains per day on the Kings Cross and Lincoln, Hull, York and Middlesbrough route.
  • Each train could be two five-car trains that split and joined en route, which means there would be a total of 32 tpd.
  • If five tpd went to both Lincoln and Middlesbrough and perhaps three tpd to Hull, that would leave nineteen tpd trains for other destinations.
  • As many trains as possible would need to call at York.

I can certainly see extra destinations built into a intricate pattern in Lincolnshire, Yorkshire and County Durham.

  • Nottingham could be served from Newark.
  • Grimsby and Cleethorpes could be served by extending services from Lincoln.
  • Sheffield, Hull, Scunthorpe, Grimsby and Cleethorpes could be serves from Doncaster.
  • Scarborough could be served from York.
  • Washington and Newcastle could be served on an alternative route using a reopened Leamside Line.
  • Sunderland could be served by extending services from Middlesbrough along the Durham Coast Line.
  • Saltburn and Redcar could be served by extending services from Middlesbrough.

Splitting and joining could occur at the following stations.

  • Newark for Nottingham and Lincoln, Grimsby and Cleethorpes
  • Doncaster for Sheffield, Hull and Scunthorpe, Grimsby and Cleethorpes.
  • York for Scarborough and Middlesbrough.
  • Middlesbrough for Sunderland and Redcar and Saltburn

Middlesbrough station would need to be able to take two five-car trains for splitting and joining, so the platform extension is required.

Kings Cross and Middlesbrough Could Be A Zero-Carbon Route

In Could Some of Hitachi’s Existing Trains In The UK Be Converted To Battery-Electric Trains?, I indicated that as Middlesbrough station is only 21 miles and 29 minutes from Northallerton and the East Coast Main Line, that a five-car Azuma train converted to battery-electric operation should be able to run between Middlesbrough and Kings Cross, totally on electric power, which would be zero-carbon, if the electricity were to be renewable.

 

 

June 10, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 1 Comment

Will Bread And Circuses Help Us Through COVID-19?

Bread and circuses is an old phrase that goes back to Roman times.

It looks like TV and on-line cooks and chefs and the supermarkets have given us the first, so do we need more of the second?

At the weekend, I enjoyed watching quality horse-racing on ITV, so wouldn’t it be sensible to get football on free-to-air television as soon as possible.

It might encourage people to stay-in, rather than gather in groups.

Would it cut the spread of COVID-19?

June 9, 2020 Posted by | Food, Health, Sport, Uncategorized | , , , | 3 Comments

Funding Award to Supply An 8MW Electrolyser

The title of this post, is the same as that of this Press Release from ITM Power.

This is the main body of the Press Release.

ITM Power, the energy storage and clean fuel company, is pleased to announce it has signed an agreement to supply an 8MW electrolyser in the UK.  The agreement, including associated project costs, has a total value of £10m and funding will fall across FY2021 and FY2022.  Further details will be announced in due course.

I bet they’re pleased!

To get a hold on what 8 MW looks like, these Class 90 locomotive each have a power output of just under 4 MW and are capable of hauling an eight-coach express train at 110 mph.

Working at full rate, the electrolyser will be able in a year to convert 70 GWh of electricity into hydrogen.

Why Would You Want An 8MW Electrolyser?

These are a few ideas.

Green Hydrogen For Humberside

This is a project described in this ITM Power Press Release.

This is the first three paragraphs.

ITM Power, the energy storage and clean fuel company, is pleased to announce that it has won, with partner Element Energy, a first stage deployment project in the UK Government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund competition “Decarbonisation of Industrial Clusters” to assess the feasibility and scope of deploying green hydrogen with some major industrial partners in Humberside.

“Green Hydrogen for Humberside” will lead to the production of renewable hydrogen at the Gigawatt (GW) scale distributed to a mix of industrial energy users in Immingham, Humberside. Decarbonisation of this cluster is critical in reaching the UK’s legally binding 2050 net zero emission targets. Humberside, the UK’s largest cluster by industrial emissions, (12.4Mt of CO2 per year), contributes £18bn to the national economy each year and has access to a large renewable resource from offshore wind in the North Sea.

The project will work with customers in the region to establish the feasibility of switching to renewable hydrogen and justify a number of 100MW deployments of electrolysers. The project will cost the supply of hydrogen to these end users. This includes the electricity supply to the electrolyser, the hydrogen production facility, hydrogen distribution across the Humber and conversion of existing processes to use renewable hydrogen.

The study talks about a number of 100 MW deployments of electrolysers.

Will the 8MW electrolyser be a demonstrator for this project?

To Convert Surplus Renewable Energy Into Hydrogen Which Is Injected Into The Gas Grid

The Wikipedia entry for ITM Power has a section entitled Energy Storage Power To Gas. This is the first paragraph.

Power-to-Gas is a methodology of introducing such hydrogen to the natural gas network, essentially converting renewable electrical power to a clean gas that can be more conveniently stored using existing assets. There are two main Power-to-Gas mechanisms. The first involves metering pressurised hydrogen into the gas network directly. The second involves combining hydrogen with carbon dioxide via a methanation process to produce synthetic natural gas prior to introduction to the grid.

The electrolyser could be used to convert a lot of electricity into zero-carbon hydrogen for use in the UK gas network.

Improving The Resilience Of The UK Gas Network

This article on the BBC is entitled Major Power Failure Affects Homes And Transport and it describes a major power failure, when two generators failed in August 2019.

Could the 8MW electrolyser be part of the solution to make the UK power network more robust, if parts of the network fail?

To Create Feedstock For An Oil Refinery Or Petro-Chemical Plant

Hydrogen can be used as a feedstock for an oil refinery or petro-chemical plant.

This ITM Power Press Release, describes such a project, where wind power from the North Sea is used to create hydrogen for Phillips 66 Limited’s Humber Refinery.

As Part Of An Experimental Steel-Making Plant

This is pure speculation on my part, but steel-making creates lot of carbon-dioxide.

I do believe that using hydrogen to make steel is possible and ITM Power are based in the steel-city of Sheffield.

On the other hand look at the HYBRIT web site.

This is the introductory paragraph.

In 2016, SSAB, LKAB and Vattenfall joined forces to create HYBRIT – an initiative that endeavors to revolutionize steel-making. HYBRIT aims to replace coking coal, traditionally needed for ore-based steel making, with hydrogen. The result will be the world’s first fossil-free steel-making technology, with virtually no carbon footprint.

During 2018, work started on the construction of a pilot plant for fossil-free steel production in Luleå, Sweden. The goal is to have a solution for fossil-free steel by 2035. If successful, HYBRIT means that together we can reduce Sweden’s CO2 emissions by 10% and Finland’s by 7%.

This page on their web site is entitled Steel Making Today And Tomorrow. This image compares traditional blast furnace steelmaking with HYBRIT.

Note that at the heart of the process is the production of hydrogen from renewable electricity. This process will need a large electrolyser.

 

Could someone be doing something similar in Sheffield or more likely, Scunthorpe?

  • British Steel may be owned by the Chinese, but it has a record of innovation.
  • We will need a lot of long steel products, like railway rails and girders, in which British Steel specialise.
  • In a few years, Humberside will have enough renewable electricity from North Sea wind to create an electro-magnetic gun to fire space capsules at Mars.

I will be watching out for hydrogen steelmaking.

Is Jim Ratcliffe Up To Something?

Jim Ratcliffe is a very rich man and the chairman and CEO  of INEOS, which has a turnover of $83billion.

Consider.

  • INEOS must know about hydrogen.
  • I read some years ago, how they were using waste hydrogen to generate electricity on Teesside.
  • I have a feeling that they have backed a hydrogen fuel-cell company.
  • They own the hydrogen factory in Runcorn, where I worked in 1970.
  • They have extensive interests in the North West, North East and Scotland.
  • The company probably has an enormous carbon-footprint, that they’d probably like to reduce, by perhaps using hydrogen instead of natural gas as a feedstock for some processes, like production of ammonia.

But above all the cost of an 8MW electrolyser would be small change and probably cost a lot less, than running the cycling team.

The Fallback

It could of course be used to produce a large amount of hydrogen to power buses, cars and trains.

May 3, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized, World | , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Health Lessons From Lockdown

Are some of us learning things about ourselves during lockdown?

For myself!

Mental Health

I certainly think, that I’m handling the mental side well, as I’ve had several lockdowns in the past, usually when I want to get some software written.

Another programmer has told me, that he has used lockdowns to get software written in the past.

I am certainly getting bored though! You can only do so many serious puzzles from The Times.

Normally, if I feel bored, I get on a train or a bus and go somewhere interesting.

Exercise

I’m taking exercise regularly and go for a regular walk most days. I’d probably walk more, if I felt like taking public transport more. But, I do feel, buses and trains could be a place to catch COVID-19.

Drinking

My house tends to get a bit warm, so I’m drinking a lot.

Not strong alcohol, although there is quite a bit of 0.5% Adnams beer going down my throat, but mainly, still lemonade, tea and water.

The amount of fluid seems to have cured my periodic constipation.

On the other hand it does seem to have increased my INR, so I have reduced my Warfarin dosage from 4 to 3.5 mg. per day.

Sleep

I seem to be sleeping well! But then I always do!

Conclusion

Except for the boredom, I think, that I’m doing OK.

April 27, 2020 Posted by | Transport, Uncategorized | , , | 2 Comments