The Anonymous Widower

Mon Dieu! Le Soleil A Volé Notre Titre

The Sun today has a headline of Brexit 1 – Brussels 0!

The title of this post, is possibly the reaction of the editor of the leading French newspaper; Le Figaro, that according to Andrew Marr, used the headline first.

January 31, 2021 Posted by | Health, News | , , , | Leave a comment

Macron Rex: Interfuctus Est.

The title of this post, is a tagline in the big cartoon in today’s copy of The Times.

It is drawn in the style of the Bayeux Tapestry and has all the players in our spat with the EU.

Many have been shot by syringes.

Does President Macro have a sense of humour?

Try to see a copy and examine the detail!

 

January 30, 2021 Posted by | Health, World | , , , , | 5 Comments

A Way Out Of The AstraZeneca Vaccine Row With The EU

This article on the BBC is entitled Brexit: EU Introduces Controls On Vaccines To NI.

These are the introductory paragraphs of the article.

The EU is introducing controls on vaccines made in the bloc, including to Northern Ireland, amid a row about delivery shortfalls.

Under the Brexit deal, all products should be exported from the EU to Northern Ireland without checks.

But the EU believed this could be used to circumvent export controls, with NI becoming a backdoor to the wider UK.

The row involving AstraZeneca, the UK and the EU is now getting serious,

I think, the EU are missing an opportunity.

My Experience Of The AstraZeneca Vaccine

Yesterday, I received my first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which I wrote about in Job Done – I’ve Now Had My First Covid-19 Vaccination.

As I am an engineer, who helped to finance a drug-delivery system, I know a bit about the subject of drug delivery.

My jab yesterday seemed to have been administered very quickly and painlessly, without fuss. I regularly have B12 injections as I’m coeliac and this AstraZeneca one was certainly less painful for me.

Have AstraZeneca designed the vaccine and its delivery system so that it will have application in mass vaccination situations like refugee camps, where thousands may need to be vaccinated quickly?

Consider.

  • It can be transported and stored at easy-to-manage temperatures.
  • I suspect that a skilled vaccinator can vaccinate more patients per hour, than with other vaccines.
  • I didn’t feel a thing, which must help those with needle phobia.
  • The vaccinator didn’t need to apply a plaster, just using a cotton wool pad and pressure. This must save time.

This looks to me, like disruptive innovation is at work.

Surely, though by streamlining the vaccination process, this will increase the number of patients vaccinated by a well-trained team. This will be what doctors ordered.

The Real Problem With The AstraZeneca Vaccine

I have worked a lot in the design of project management systems and very often, when projects go awry, it is due to a lack of resources.

It strikes me that the problem with the AstraZeneca vaccine, is that there are not enough factories to make the vaccine.

As it is easier to distribute and AstraZeneca are making it without profit, perhaps the EU should approach the UK about creating a couple of large factories to make the vaccine in suitable places across the UK and the EU.

A proportion of this increased production could be distributed to countries, that couldn’t afford a commercial vaccine or didn’t want to get ensnared by the Chinese in a Vaccines-for-Resources deal.

It should also be remembered that Oxford are at the last stages in the testing of a vaccine for malaria. That would surely be a superb encore for Oxford University and AstraZeneca. I suspect the UK will back it, but it would surely be better, if the EU backed it as well.

January 29, 2021 Posted by | Health | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Lockdown Scepticism Is Part Of The Brexit Divide

The title of this post, is the same as that of an article on the London School of Economics web site.

It is a must-read article about the views of the British on lock-down.

This is a paragraph.

Additionally, there are indications that lockdown scepticism is becoming increasingly entwined with the Leave/Remain divide that dominates most aspects of British politics. Many pro-Brexit Tory MPs are increasingly critical of the high costs of lockdown on individual freedoms and the economy and have been pushing, both publicly and privately, for easing of the restrictions.

If this view is reflected in the general population, will it increase your chance of Brexiteers getting the Covids, simply because they may be more tempted to break the rules?

January 6, 2021 Posted by | Health, World | , , , , | 4 Comments

Brexit: Duty-Free Makes A Come-Back For Travellers Returning From Britain

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

This is the first two paragraphs.

For the first time in more than 20 years people travelling to the State from British ports and airports will be able to load their luggage or their cars with tax-free tobacco, alcohol, perfumes and so-called luxury items once the new year bells chime in less than a week.

Duty-free between Ireland and Britain was abolished 21 years ago as it was not considered compatible with the emerging single market. However with the UK now leaving the EU and its single market from the start next year the old rules are set to revert.

As someone, who never buys anything in duty-free, I can’t say I’m bothered.

January 3, 2021 Posted by | Food | , , , , | 2 Comments

Activists Cheer As ‘Sexist’ Tampon Tax Is Scrapped

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

This is the first two paragraphs.

The 5% rate of VAT on sanitary products – referred to as the “tampon tax” – will be abolished in the UK from 1 January.

EU law required members to tax tampons and sanitary towels at 5%, treating period products as non-essential.

My late wife; C had very strong views about this and I suspect that my late mother and my granddaughter would share C’s views.

Is this a glimpse of the future, where when we feel European Union policy is wrong, we can diverge?

It would certainly be a good test of unfair policy by the UK government, if the EU objected and tried to stop us removing the tax.

At least smugglers, who decided to switch from smuggling drugs and other nasties to  sanitary products would be doing something that caused less harm!

January 1, 2021 Posted by | Health | , , , , | 4 Comments

EDF Determined To Play ‘Major Role’ In UK Flexibility As It Signs 50MW Battery Optimisation Deal

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on Energy Storage News.

This is the opening two paragraphs.

EDF is set to optimise Gresham House Energy Storage Fund’s 50MW Wickham Market lithium-ion battery site.

The French energy giant will use its Powershift platform to optimise the asset to deliver optimal value and minimise battery degradation at the site in Suffolk, England.

This is a paragraph from the article.

Recently, EDF has signed a number of agreements with battery storage owners, including to optimise SWGT‘s 30MW utility-scale battery earlier in December. The company is also working to build up its own battery portfolio, investing in cleantech startup PowerUp to support its 10GW of storage by 2035 ambition.

Note.

  1. I suspect in this section of the article, whoever wrote it, doesn’t know a MW from a MWh or a GW from a GWh. Storage or capacity should be measured in GWh not GW.
  2. SWGT would appear to be Still Waters Green Technology, who are building the 30 MW battery near Swindon.
  3. EDF purchased Pivot Power in June 2020.

It seems to me that EDF Energy are moving fast into both building and optimising energy storage.

Conclusion

Brexit seems to making little difference to EDF’s plans to invest in the UK.

But then we have the potential for the generation of Gigawatts of offshore wind, that is less of a resource for France.

December 24, 2020 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , | Leave a comment

Ready To Charge

The title of this post is the same as that of this article in Issue 898 of Rail Magazine.

This is the sub-title of the article.

Vivarail could be about to revolutionise rail traction with its latest innovation

The article details their plans to bring zero-carbon trains to the UK.

These are a few important more general points.

  • The diesel gensets in the trains can be eco-fenced to avoid unning on diesel in built-up areas.
  • The Transport for Wales trains could be the last Vivarail diesel trains.
  • A 100 kWh battery pack is the same size as a diesel generator. I would assume they are almost interchangeable.
  • Various routes are proposed.
  • In future battery trains will be Vivarail’s focus.
  • At the end of 2020, a battery demonstration train will be dispatched to the United States.
  • Two-car trains will have a forty-mile range with three-cars managing sixty.
  • Trains could be delivered in nine to twelve months.

The company also sees Brexit as an opportunity and New Zealand as a possible market.

Modifying Other Trains

The article also states that Vivarail are looking at off-lease electric multiple units for conversion to battery operation.

Vivarail do not say, which trains are involved.

Vivarail’s Unique Selling Point

This is the last two paragraphs of the article.

“Our unique selling point is our Fast Charge system. It’s a really compelling offer.” Alice Gillman of Vivarail says.

Vivarail has come a long way in the past five years and with this innobvative system it is poised to bring about a revolution in rail traction in the 2020s.

Conclusion

Could the train, that Vivarail refused to name be the Class 379 trains?

  • There are thirty trainsets of four-cars.
  • They are 100 mph trains.
  • They are under ten years old.
  • They meet all the Persons of Reduced Mobility regulations.
  • They currently work Stansted Airport and Cambridge services for Greater Anglia.
  • They are owned by Macquarie European Rail.

I rode in one yesterday and they are comfortable with everything passengers could want.

The train shown was used for the BEMU Trial conducted by Bombardier, Network Rail and Greater Anglia.

The only things missing, for these trains to run a large number of suitable routes under battery power are.

  • A suitable fast charging system.
  • Third rail equipment that would allow the train to run on lines with third-rail electrification.
  • Third rail equipment would also connect to Vivarail’s Fast Charge system

As I have looked in detail at Vivarail’s engineering and talked to their engineers, I feel that with the right advice and assistance, they should be able to play a large part in the conversion of the Class 379 fleet to battery operation.

These trains would be ideal for the Uckfield Branch and the Marshlink Line.

If not the Class 379 trains, perhaps some Class 377 trains, that are already leased to Southern, could be converted.

I could see a nice little earner developing for Vivarail, where train operating companies and their respective leasing companies employ them to create battery sub-fleets to improve and extend their networks.

February 16, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Are Extinction Rebellion Counter Productive?

I am coming to the conclusion that Extinction Rebellion are a bunch of climate-change fascists of the left, that mirror, the racist and immigration fascists on the right.

Both have unrealistic ambitions and just like Hitler and Stalin want to control out lives and give themselves and their acolytes absolute power.

In my mind, there is no difference between the extreme left and extreme right. For instance the extreme-right is generally thought to be anti-Semitic and who is being accused of that now? The once respectable Labour Party, which is now more useless than a chocolate teapot.

I am scientifically green and have been so since my I left Liverpool University round fifty years ago.

I have believed in global warming for about thirty years, ever since I was told by a guy on the NASA team, that measured the Earth’s temperature from satellites, that the world was warming up.

No matter what Bolsonaro Trump, Xi Jinping and other leaders say, global warming is a NASA fact!

But large numbers of people don’t believe in good scientific practice and behaviour.

  • Some are anti-vaccination.
  • Some believe in homeopathy.
  • Many believe in religion, some of which are totally bonkers!
  • Some think the 9/11 attacks were faked or carried out by the Israelis.
  • Some believe the moon landings were faked!
  • Some believe in log fires.
  • They drive hundreds of miles to work every year.
  • They drive their children everywhere.
  • They never talk to anybody of a different race or religion.
  • Some have a holiday home in Cornwall, North Norfolk, France or Spain.

There is only one way to convince morons like these to change to a more scientifically-green lifestyle.

By nudging them to it, by showing them it can be better and more affordable.

Extinction Rebellion and their ilk just alienate Middle England and they push green issues under the carpet for another day.

Incidentally, we need politicians at both a National and local level to stop playing stupid games about Brexit and get on with the job of improving the lives of all of the residents of the UK.

 

 

October 7, 2019 Posted by | World | , , , , | 5 Comments

Perhaps We Should Ask The Japanese To Sort Out The Problem Of The Irish Backstop?

September 28, 2019 Posted by | Sport, World | , , , , | 3 Comments