Wednesday, 29 February 2012

The Arc Show

on our way back to the shires.

I learned a few things today and have seen quite a few funky idea's for design...

more later

may even tweet / FB from the train..

Electric System Inspection Could Save Your Home and Life

I dont get to blog on the 29th of Feb very often so i will keep it short and sweet...

I am sure you want to make good use of your 'spare day' so just watch this video and you can get on with your day :)

if you need an electrical inspection - Mid beds UK, click here

more on the arc show later

the arc show - lighting exhibition

we are off to the arc show (lighting exhibition) in Islington today

hoping to get some lighting 'inspiration'

see you there

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Local fire safety laws to be removed in building regulation reform

Local Acts, which include fire safety provisions, are to be scrapped in new proposed government reforms.
The announcement follows the coalition's publication of changes to Building Regulations in England. Currently, fire safety standards for new buildings are set through these regulations but these laws differ depending on the region.

There are around 23 local Acts which have one or more provisions relating to fire protection, providing discretionary power to local authorities who wish to implement additional checks in buildings such as warehouses, tall buildings and car parks.

According to the coalition, these measures result in unnecessary construction, maintenance and administrative costs for those in the construction industry and do not help improve fire safety.
This has prompted the government to launch a consultation into local Acts as it looks to reduce inconsistencies and unnecessary regulatory burdens relating to fire safety standards.
Among the changes to fire safety regulations include changes to the classification of decorative wall linings and thermoplastic lighting diffusers.

Introducing the consultation to the House of Commons on 31st January, communities minister Andrew Stunell claimed the proposals will help cut the regulatory cost for businesses.

Monday, 27 February 2012

easyJet will be the first airline to test electric taxiing system

Safran and Honeywell have designed an electric green taxiing system or EGTS that allows jets to taxi on the ground without having to use their engines.  Instead the planes would use electric motors attached to each wheel and run by the plane’s auxiliary power unit.  The electrical system should provide better maneuvering control to pilots when docking at a gate and should save four percent of energy costs.

Safran Group and Honeywell announced that easyJet will begin testing the EGTS in 2013. The companies hope to begin providing the system for new airplanes and as a retrofit by 2016. As the UK’s biggest airline with 604 routes to 130 airports in 29 countries, easyJet will be able to give the system a thorough testing.
Due to the high frequency and short sector lengths of easyJet’s operations, around 4% of total fuel consumed annually is used when the airline’s aircraft are taxiing. easyJet’s aircraft average 20 minutes of taxi time per flight – the equivalent of 3.5 million miles a year.

The tests will make sure that the fuel savings are actually realized and will determine other benefits of the system. 

Each wheel is fitted not only with a motor but also with an electromechanical actuator and unique power electronics and system controllers. One benefits of this new system will be the increased maneuverability and control over speed, direction and braking of the plane as it approaches the docking area. Currently planes are tugged into the docks.  The new system should reduce or eliminate the need for the final assist

Sunday, 26 February 2012

drones, phones and race cars into batteries

British defence firm BAE Systems has developed a battery technology that stores electrical charge within the physical structure of the gadget itself.

These so-called structural batteries can work with anything that requires electricity, from phones to vehicles. As it reduces the device's size and weight it could help lighten the load of soldiers' rucksacks.

BAE engineers merged nickel-based battery chemistries into composite materials, before moulding the combo into complex 3D shapes. This formed the structure of a device, and has been demonstrated in a rudimentary torch and a small unmanned air vehicle.

According to BAE, the device could then be plugged in when it needed recharging, or it could utilise renewable power sources like solar energy.

The Ministry of Defence is understood to have shown an interest in British troops using the batteries, says the Press Association. But the possible uses extends beyond the battlefield.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

We need an iCar...

Industry experts were polled by financial services firm Ernst & Young last week on what the electric vehicle market really needs, and somehow the answer coming out was: “The market needs an iCar.”
Apple Does Not Make an Electric Car

The poll didn’t come out and specifically ask the ghost of Steve Jobs to design and market an electric car, but one can’t help but think the idea wasn’t far from their minds. After all, Apple has demonstrated tremendous success, largely by hanging back until someone comes up with a product, and then figuring out how to put their own colors on it and make it look cool (an Apple OS is basically Linux with a pretty skin, for instance).

The conclusion reached was that the electric car industry needs to create an EV with “mass appeal.” This seems so incredibly straightforward that I’m really not sure why they needed a panel of experts to reach this conclusion; consumers want range and low cost up front, as well as somewhere to charge their EVs when they’re not using them (according to a poll published not long ago). Once EV technology can meet those demands, sales are likely to improve.

Simple - Electric Car = Consumer Electronics?

Ernst & Young’s report also pointed out something rather clever, in the midst of stating the obvious; electric cars are one step closer to becoming a consumer appliance.

In Japan, they’re regarded as giant mobile batteries that could be equally useful in a disaster scenario or during wilderness camping (not that there’s much of that in Japan) when taken out of the context of a passenger vehicle.

time to create some different and positive associations in the public eye.

Friday, 24 February 2012

Facebook, Twitter Are Harder to Resist Than Cigarettes, Alcohol

Checking a Twitter, Facebook or email account for updates may be more tempting than alcohol and cigarettes, according to researchers who tried to measure how well people regulate their daily desires.
Researchers also found that while sleep and sex may be stronger urges than certain drug addictions, people are more likely to give in to their addiction to use social or other types of media.  

More than 200 participants ages 18 to 85 were given used Blackberry phones to gauge their willpower "in the wild" outside a laboratory in the study led by Asst. Prof. Wilhelm Hofmann of the University of the Chicago Booth School of Business.

Researchers messaged participants seven times a day over 14 hours for a week to ask participants if they were experiencing a desire at the moment or had experienced an urge within the last 30 minutes.  Researchers also asked participants the type of desires they felt, the strength, whether it conflicted with other desires and if they resisted or submitted to their urge

Thursday, 23 February 2012

We now have a QR code...

you may say "Who cares", but for me it was quite and achievement..

Mild Electrocution To Brain May Boost Spatial Memory

More shocking news!!!!

A mild electrical shock to the brain before learning a new task may enhance memory, researchers reported on Wednesday.

A team of neuroscientists demonstrated that electrical stimulation to a critical junction in the brain appeared to boost memory in a few patients with epilepsy, a surprising finding that have implications for Alzheimer’s disease treatment.

Dr. Itzhak Fried and his team from the University of California Los Angeles were initially researching the source of epileptic seizures in the brains of seven patients with electrodes that were implanted deep in their brain, and discovered that electrical stimulation to the entorhinal cortex with the embedded electrodes improved participants’ scores on a spatial memory task.

Researchers had the patients play a video game where participants had to drive people around in taxis to different shops in a virtual city, and tested whether stimulation of the entorhinal cortex or the hippocampus while participants were learning their way around the city improved their recollection.

“When we stimulated the nerve fibers in the patients’ entorhinal cortex during learning, they later recognized landmarks and navigated the routes more quickly,” said Fried. “They even learned to take shortcuts, reflecting improved spatial memory.

if you cant remember where you put your car keys, please do not put your fungers in the cigarette lighter socket though...

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

€1.1bn under-sea cable to connect England and Scotland

I am not sure of the logic behind this, just seems like hard work to run a cable in the sea when we are joined together...

While politicians talk of Scottish independence from England, a world-beating €1.1bn contract has today been announced to make the two countries even more interconnected.

The Western HVDC Link will be the first submarine grid interconnector ever that uses a high voltage direct current (HVDC), and is to join the Glasgow and Wirral areas along the bed of the Irish Sea. It is planned to be up and running by 2016.

No ordinary wire, this grid connection has two other claims to fame: it will be the longest 2,200MW capacity HVDC cable in the world, as well as the first to use a voltage level of 600kV (600,000 volts).
This will increase the link’s capacity and provide lower transmission losses.

The highest voltage level used to date has been 500 kV; Siemens says that raising the voltage level in the cable by 20% raises the amount of electrical capacity it can handle by the same amount, while still using the same diameter of copper in the cable, thereby reducing the cost of this expensive material.

Furthermore, the transmission losses over its 420km will be reduced to below 3% (including cable and converter losses). A conventional 400-kv A.C. connector would lose about three times this amount.
The project has been commissioned by the National Grid Electricity Transmission and its counterpart Scottish Power Transmission from Italian cable company Prysmian and the German company Siemens Energy, to bring renewable energy from Scotland and the Irish Sea to help England meet its 2020 renewable targets.

The order comprises cable installation along the route and construction of converter stations in Hunterston, in Ayrshire, and Connah's Quay on the Wirral peninsula on the Wales-England border.

Ignacio Galán, chairman of ScottishPower, said that the project should be seen "in the context of a vital upgrading of the UK electricity grid over the coming years, with the electricity grid between Scotland and England already running close to maximum capacity".

He said that ScottishPower expects to invest a total of £2.6bn between 2013-2021 on upgrading its transmission network in the UK.

"Overall, we are projecting investments totalling £12bn in the UK over the course of this decade, including major offshore wind projects around the country,” he added.

Nick Winser, executive director at National Grid, said: “This link will have a vital role of play in helping to address the problem of climate change.

"We are investing in an innovative solution using the most advanced technology. The benefits for consumers and electricity generators in being able to transport power in the most efficient way, will be felt for years to come.”

Hertz - 155 years old today :)

Heinrich Rudolf Hertz has been honoured with a Google doodle marking the 155th anniversary of his birth. German physicist, Heinrich Rudolf Hertz

Lighting the way – Electrical safety comes of age .

Plugging (sorry for the pun) the ESC

The Electrical Safety Council (ESC) makes an impact through a wide range of initiatives which support both consumers and the industry. Here Phil Buckle, director general of the ESC, explains how the Charity is leading the charge for electrical safety
Electricity is so seamlessly integrated into modern life it is easy, particularly for people outside the profession, to forget just how powerful and dangerous it can be. It is, however, the fundamental reason for the Electrical Safety Council’s (ESC) existence. Put simply, our mission is to reduce the number of injuries and deaths in the UK caused by electricity.
The electrical industry is generally well-respected in the UK. However, with the ever-growing proliferation of electrical gadgets, the explosion of counterfeit goods and on-line shopping – plus the introduction of smart meters and a ‘challenging’ economic climate – it is a sector living through interesting times.

We believe consumer protection is best served by working with the industry to ensure public protection is always a primary concern and an important part of our approach is developing evidence-based policy. Our extensive research programme helps us identify and address key concerns and informs our strategy and campaigns. Basically, it ensures we focus on the most important issues and we have the data to support any position we might take.
We are fortunate in having a pool of leading technical experts, who sit on various UK and International standardisation committees and provide advice to electrical contractors and the public alike. Our technical team also produces a number of authoritative resources for the industry, including a series of Best Practice Guides and The Essential Guide to the Wiring Regulations – a key reference source for electricians, installation designers and college lecturers. Currently, our technical division is closely involved in stakeholder discussions regarding the introduction of smart meters, providing both technical expertise and insights gained as consumer advocates.
As part of our collaborative work with industry, we have also organised a number of round tables on significant subjects, such as smart metering and counterfeiting. Events such as these bring together industry and consumer bodies, enforcement agencies and government departments, to develop an integrated approach to core issues. Most recently, we arranged a round table on the government’s upcoming review of Part P of the Building Regulations for England and Wales – the only regulatory framework (in England and Wales) that addresses the safety of electrical installation work in domestic properties. Following on from the success of this event we convened a working group to source impact assessment material on Part P, for submission to the government’s review and – where possible – to establish joint policy positions.
Our intention has been to offer government an informed view to help balance the competing needs of the public, who need to be confident in the standards of work being carried out in their homes, while respecting the industry’s desire to avoid unnecessary red tape. The bottom line is the government wants to reduce the complexities of Part P without compromising safety. The ESC believes revoking Part P would undermine consumer safeguards and, particularly in these financially uncertain times, could contribute to an explosion of DIY-related electrical injuries and fires. We have no doubt this would negate the considerable efforts made in recent years by the ESC, and the electrical industry, to improve the safety of electrical installations in UK homes.
We are keenly aware, however, consumers need to be educated about electrical safety and all our consumer material incorporates a message which reinforces the need to use a registered electrician when having electrical work carried out. We also run a number of consumer campaigns which cover various aspects of electrical safety. Our biggest campaign to date - Plug into Safety - was launched last summer. It aims to increase the awareness and use of RCDs in much the same way that the government’s Fire Kills campaign boosted the installation and use of smoke alarms.
Media coverage of this campaign has been excellent but to make it fully effective we have been working closely with a range of stakeholders. A programme of partnership marketing with manufacturers of electrical products and accessories, as well as major DIY and garden retailers is ongoing and we have been particularly keen to bring electrical contractors into the campaign. To achieve this, we have created a Plug into Safety promotional ‘toolkit’ for electricians, to help them engage with clients and explain the benefits of the additional protection provided by RCDs.
But Plug into Safety isn’t our only consumer-facing initiative. The ‘Safer Homes’ campaign aims to make people – particularly those on low-incomes – aware of electrical safety within the home; and to ensure landlords are aware of their legal responsibilities in relation to electrical safety.  As part of this initiative, we produced a new Tenants Leaflet, for people living in rented accommodation and our Landlords’ Guide to electrical safety has become a respected and popular source of information for responsible landlords. After the success of the English version of the Landlords’ Guide, in 2009, a revised version for the Scottish market has been produced and achieved similar popularity.
But our portfolio of activities doesn’t stop with campaigning. We also run two grant schemes to support electrical safety. The ESC’s Fire Safety Fund provides a means of engaging with, and supporting, local organisations to undertake fire prevention work – with a particular focus on high-risk and vulnerable groups.  This year, we provided £100,000 of funding to 23 organisations throughout the UK, including regional fire and rescue services, trading standards officers, councils and charities. Successful projects ranged from electric blanket and product testing/replacement events, to training sessions for young carers and a school play. All the schemes are locally based and all are inspired by a specific need in the area. To be awarded funding applicants needed to demonstrate that their projects would benefit those who may not receive help through other funding routes.
Our other grants scheme is designed to help vulnerable people by providing them with a safer home environment, through partnership working at local level. In the last year, 662 households across the UK were able to have urgent, small-scale electrical works carried out by Home Improvement Agencies, which administer the funding we provide. Grants are awarded to members of the community who are householders over 60 years of age and on means-tested benefits, or registered disabled, who cannot afford to pay for the electrical work required to make their homes safe. A beneficial side-effect of our work with these Home Improvement Agencies is the fact they are now giving a greater focus to electrical safety issues in their own training programmes for health and social care workers.
Regardless of the route we take to increase awareness of the need for electrical safety, the industry itself is one of our best channels for communicating this to the general public. And we believe it is by working in partnership that we can best serve the interests of the consumer and achieve our overarching objective – to prevent injuries and deaths caused by electricity.
If you would like to keep up-to-date with ESC activities, visit the keeping in touch section of our website at
If you would like to obtain a Plug into Safety toolkit, please go to our site and visit the news and campaigns section for industry, where you will find a download available under the plug-into-safety/electricians-guide section.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Ken Livingstone wants to 'hang bankers'

Labour mayoral candidate Red Ken Livingstone has made a series of contentious remarks about the banking

Ken Livingstone has provoked fresh controversy, after telling an audience: "Hang a banker a week until the others improve."

The British Bankers' Association rounded on the comments, made at an after dinner speech to the Electrical Contractors' Association on Wednesday evening, and reported in Friday's Sun. The paper said the Labour mayoral candidate was criticising the finance sector's failure to contribute to securing Britain's future at the time.

The British Bankers' Association hit back at the mayoral candidate's latest broadside against the industry. Chief executive Angela Knight said: "Continual demonisation of the entire banking industry – which employs around half a million ordinary, hardworking people in the UK and over 140,000 in London alone – is unhelpful and won't attract jobs and business to the UK.

Spintronics would create electronic devices with no electrical currents

Today, electronic devices rely on electrical currents to store and process data. However, electrical currents produce heat and energy losses, a major problem challenging continued innovation.
Heat is physically harming the device

As devices become smaller, the insulators become smaller as well,, When the insulators are smaller, leakage currents occur.

The IRG team explores the spin of electrons and the exploitation of their properties to store data. The team coordinated by Binek involves a number of researchers of different disciplines.

Binek has worked closely with Peter Dowben, a chemistry, physics and astronomy professor who analyzes interface properties and measures magnetization at the surface, and Kirill Belashchenko, a physics and astronomy professor and an electronic structure theorist who is working on building models that can be verified experimentally.

"Nebraska has one (MRSEC, funded by the National Science Foundation) and should be very proud of it," Binek said.

watch this space for updates :)

Monday, 20 February 2012

Renewable Heat Incentive Planning swings into overdrive

The plans for a domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) over the next year have taken a giant leap forward.

Commenting on recent industry meetings with Government officials Kelly Butler, BEAMA’s marketing director, says: “There has been some negative ‘hot air’ in the media about the potential for a Renewable Heat Incentive, but the reality is that Ministers and officials remain committed to renewable heat.

“The Government’s entire integrated energy policy relies on de-carbonising both electricity supply and demand side building services. To achieve this Government has no choice, but to invest in the uptake of renewable heat technologies such as heat pumps; officials understand that the clock is ticking towards the 2020 legally-binding target to reach 15% renewable energy generation in the UK”.
BEAMA welcomes sensible public spending approach

Regarding the prospects for announcements about the RHI, Butler confirmed that DECC officials are planning to announce a firm timeline for the RHI phasing-in within the next month.

He continues: “Naturally, the Government is keen to ensure that the RHI policy is affordable and costs do not spiral out of control. Along with other industry bodies, we welcome this sensible public spending approach and have been working with officials to conduct further analysis on costs and how to control them.”

Considering the more complex incentive policy Butler adds: “Of course, there are additional issues to consider on the Government side such as how the RHI will link with the Green Deal. These things take time, but we are hoping to see announcements confirming regular long-term incentives for renewable heat in the next month or so, along with a commitment to align RHI with Green Deal as soon as possible”.
Installer advice
Butler advises installers not to get caught in the cold when the RHI and Green Deal launch. “Start working now on identifying appropriate training courses and MCS accreditation routes so you can hit the ground running this Autumn.”

Micropower Council calls for predictable cost control mechanism
Dave Sowden, Chief Executive of the Micropower Council stated: "We would prefer to see a cost-control mechanism that is predictable rather than get into the same mess we got into with solar.
Renewable heat firms would welcome a well-structured policy that avoids a ‘gold rush’ of installations and a framework that gives investors confidence.”

Heat Pump Association view
Completing the industry outlook for RHI, Tony Bowen of the Heat Pump Association comments: “Government commitment to RHI is further reinforced by the huge effort that the heat pump industry has made to ensure high quality domestic installer and product standards under the MCS scheme, available for all to see at”.

Energy 101: Wind turbines

more on NCW (see previous post)

Don’t cook if you have been drinking alcohol.

Take care when cooking with oil – if it starts to smoke it is too hot, so just turn off the heat and leave to cool. Don’t add water!

Children should not be left alone in the kitchen when cooking on the hob, and keep the saucepan handles and matches out of their reach.

If you have to leave the kitchen, take pans off the heat and keep electrical leads, tea towels and cloths away from the cooker.

Woo Hoo national chip week...

Keep safe in the kitchen, warns fire service at the start of National Chip Week

NATIONAL Chip Week begins today and Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service is issuing some tips to help people cook safely in their homes.

More than half of house fires in the county start in the kitchen and most of them are caused by cooking. It is likely to be a busy week in the kitchen as it’s also Pancake Day on 21st February.

The kitchen is the most dangerous room in your home - but Gloucestershire Fire & Rescue Service is keen to change that.

Although smoke detectors undoubtedly save lives, they don’t prevent a fire occurring in the first place. Homeowners need to take the necessary precautions and actions to minimise the risk of a fire occurring.
It’s important to: Keep the oven, hob and grill clean and in good working order because a build-up of fat and grease can start a fire.

46 percent of SME electricity use happens outside of business hours

British Gas will today launch a new service designed to help small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) save the energy used after staff have left for the day. According to new research, businesses are spending up to £1 in every £2 of their electricity bills on powering an empty workplace.

By installing 6,000 smart meters in trial locations, British Gas was able to track SMEs’ energy use 24 hours a day. The results showed that 46 percent of business electricity use happens between 8am and 6pm, or outside of normal business hours.

Keeping shop window display lights on in closed shopping centres, lighting car parks at the weekend when no one is at work and leaving vending machines switched on in offices overnight and at weekends were all common examples of this inefficient electricity use.

British Gas hopes that by utilising its free ‘Business Energy Insight’ initiative, SMEs can keep track of when and where they are using electricity in order to save money on their energy bills. Businesses will also be advised on which energy efficiency measures could work best for them.

Dawn Ryan, from The Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS), who was one of 100 customers who trialled the Business Energy Insight service, said: “Managing our costs has been our number one priority since the economic downturn. But before signing up to the trial, I had no idea of the amount of money I was wasting by not paying closer attention to my electricity bills. Business Energy Insight has opened my eyes to this.”

Sunday, 19 February 2012

UK Pay-as-you go electric car charging

UK launches first pay-as-you go electric car charging scheme
The first ever Pay as You Go scheme for electric car charging in the UK is now being trialled in the North East.

Run by Charge your Car (CYC), the North East’s Plugged in Places programme, the new pay-as-you go system is designed to make it easier and more convenient for electric car drivers to use public recharging posts.  What’s more the new system will give drivers visiting the region access to charging posts, as there is no requirement for CYC membership to make use of the local facilities.

EV drivers will be able to access the Pay as you Go chargers through an automated text service, similar to those used in some car parks. Drivers will be able to pull into a bay, text the number and be charged accordingly before charging their vehicle.  A number of the North East’s most frequently used standard and quick charging posts are being used in the trial which will run until April.

Charge your Car project manager Josey Wardle says that by testing the new Pay as you Go technology, the next stage in EV charging will move one step closer: “Although Plugged in Places has come a long way since it launched two years ago, with 300 EV charging posts in place throughout the North East alone, as yet there is no agreed way forward in terms of interoperability between UK schemes, making it difficult for visitors to move from one region to the next.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

We announce to you - Derrick Stock has retired

a "billion dollar business"

Chargers for electric cars may become a "billion dollar business" by 2017, said an executive at Swiss engineering firm ABB, which is teaming up with governments and companies such as RWE to roll out a network.

Building up a network of charging stations is vital to help fuel demand for electric cars, experts say, with some drivers put off by "range anxiety" -- the fear their vehicle will run out of power miles from a charger.
The Zurich-based group, which makes equipment for oil, mining and utility companies, has announced a string of projects in recent months, including a 6 million euro deal to build 200 fast-charging stations throughout Estonia.

"In about five-years' time the infrastructure side of the business will be a billion dollar business," Hans Streng, head of electrical vehicle charging infrastructure at ABB, told Reuters in an interview. The current global market is worth about $50-$100 million he said.

Pressure to cut emissions and reduce pollution in cities has led to ambitious targets for electric vehicle take-up, with some governments targeting as much as a 60 percent market share for electric vehicles over the next 20-30 years.

Consultancy Pike Research forecasts cumulative sales of plug-in electric vehicles to reach 5.2 million worldwide by 2017, up from just shy of 114,000 vehicles in 2011.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Comments made by OTHERS on electric cars!!!!

You drive a new car off the forecourt and it loses half its value. That's the old adage but it still people buy new cars. However there is a booming market in used cars and even 10 year old cars with a few repairs still have years of life left in them . An electric car on the other hand if bought second hand at 3 years old will not have the range it had when new and in all likelihood will need a new battery . If you bought a used car and it needed a new engine it may set you back £1500 but if you need a new battery for your used electric car it will cost you more than a second hand car and thats on top of the cost of the car. They also quote "economy 7" electricity when giving charging costs and this can double when ordinary electricity tariffs are used . Then after a year it loses 20% of its range sometimes more . This situation is going to get far worse before it gets better .I can see 5 year old electric cars being scrapped because they won't sell at any price

An electric car is a complete waste of money, To be viable a car has to be able to go at least 400 miles at night ,in the winter,in the rain,using lights windshield wipers and heater .If it wont do that then forget buying an electric car . On top of the cost of the car, nobody can say how long the batteries will last and how much to replace them. An utterly useless form of transport except around town

comment please!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Should HMRC have paid for stolen information? Off topic!

While the Leveson Inquiry scrutinises phone hacking by newspapers, HMRC’s payment of an undisclosed sum for a data disk stolen from a bank in Liechtenstein demonstrates that even Government departments believe the end sometimes justifies the means. Armed with the names and addresses of British residents with an estimated £3bn hidden in the tax haven, HMRC launched the Liechtenstein Disclosure Facility (LDF) more than a year ago.

Yesterday, Dave Hartnett, permanent secretary at HMRC, said: “As the number of disclosures already exceeds the total we originally expected for the whole period of the LDF, we have agreed with the Liechtenstein Government that it makes sense to extend the facility by one year to April 5, 2016.”

While some MPs criticised the Telegraph for its series of scoops about many MPs' expenses because the informant was paid to disclose these frauds, the taxman also paid to get results. Chas Roy-Chowdhury of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) commented: “If estimates of the amount stashed away in Liechtenstein are correct, HMRC could have uncovered an extra £1.5bn of tax and be well on its way to meeting the Government’s target of finding an additional £8bn tax revenues during this Parliament.

with HMRC taking a hard line on tradesmen who accept cash payments to evade tax, it’s beginning to look like one law for the plutocrats and another for plumbers.

Wrest Park, Silsoe

we are very lucky to work in some very nice places

we did the elecs in this room including fitting this rather magnificent chandelier

Stretching electrical conductance to the limit

Individual molecules have been used to create electrical components like resistors, transistors and diodes that mimic the properties of familiar semiconductors. But according to Nongjian (NJ) Tao, a researcher at the Biodesign Institute at ASU, unique properties inherent in single molecules also may allow clever designers to produce novel devices whose behavior falls outside the performance observed in conventional electronics.
In research appearing in today’s issue of Nature Nanotechnology, Tao describes a method for mechanically controlling the geometry of a single molecule, situated in a junction between a pair of gold electrodes that form a simple circuit. The manipulations produced over tenfold increase in conductivity.
The unusual, often non-intuitive characteristics of single molecules may eventually be introduced into a broad range of microelectronics, suitable for applications including biological and chemical sensing electronic and mechanical devices.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Chinese electric cars are worse for the evnvironment, states that electric cars are worse for the environment in China than traditional gasoline cars owing to the way that China generates its electricity.

The question remains, how many pure electric vehicles are there are on Chinese roads in 2012? Our unofficial guesstimate places the no of electric cars – that’s passenger cars at sub 1,000 (that’s probably way over the actual figure) and the no of EV Buses in a similar range. The number of electric bikes on the other hand is likely to be in the millions area.

Electric cars in China are having an impact on pollution more harmful to health than petrol vehicles,  researchers say.

Researchers at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, analyzed the emissions and environmental health impacts of five vehicle technologies in 34 major Chinese cities.

While electric cars have been seen as environmentally friendly, the researchers determined they are in fact responsible for more overall harmful particulate matter pollution than gasoline cars, a university release reported Monday.

The reason, they said, is because for electric vehicles, combustion emissions occur where electricity is generated rather than where the vehicle is used, and in China 85 percent of electricity production is from fossil fuels with about 90 percent of that from coal.

“An implicit assumption has been that air quality and health impacts are lower for electric vehicles than for conventional vehicles,” civil and environmental engineering professor Chris Cherry said. “Our findings challenge that by comparing what is emitted by vehicle use to what people are actually exposed to.”
The researchers say they discovered the power generated in China to operate electric vehicles emits polluting particles at a much higher rate than gasoline vehicles do.

In terms of air pollution impacts, electric cars are more harmful to public health per mile traveled in China than conventional vehicles, they said.

“The study emphasizes that electric vehicles are attractive if they are powered by a clean energy source,” Cherry said. “In China and elsewhere, it is important to focus on deploying electric vehicles in cities with cleaner electricity generation and focusing on improving emissions controls in higher polluting power sectors.”

More from the Top Gear team on elec cars

Good ol floppy haired James May highlighted the possibility that cars can be unplugged while charging at a public charging point.

In Sunday’s Top Gear episode, during the regular car news round-up, May showed the audience a picture of the upcoming pure-electric 2012 Renault Fluence Z.E. – or, as he called it, “the ‘Influenza’…or something a bit like that” – before helpfully highlighting the fact that plug-in cars can also be… wait for it… unplugged.

“I was wondering,” May mused, “when, in the future when we’re all driving electric cars, as they all tell us we will, the cities are full of these charging points, won’t 10-year-old boys just go around unplugging cars, because that’s what we would have done when I was 10.”

Not one to fail to rise to the banter, indomitable co-presenter Jeremy Clarkson quipped, “Do you have to be 10? Why wouldn’t you do that aged, I don’t know, 52? You would, wouldn’t you?”

so wait for the first court case to give a 10 years old a supervision order for 'malicious unplugging', his (or her) defence will be.. James May told me to do it...

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Its ‘bin’ a bad week J

Our bin collection day is normally Friday. On the third they did not turn up, Friday the 10th they did not turn up either, I presume because of the snow.

Today they finally turned up, but when they loaded our bin onto the lorry and the bin got stuck in the lorry, so now our bin is not full, but we do not have a bin either...

a comedy of errors

have a nice day.

Charging up an all-electric 320 km/h racing car - tech - 13 February 2012 - New Scientist

Charging up an all-electric 320 km/h racing car - tech - 13 February 2012 - New Scientist

Making the electric car 'sexy'

You gotta admit it, electric cars dont mek you drool. well, let me rephrase that, they dont make me drool, not even the Tesla... so some dudes (presuem it was dudes) have lottered themselves to the petrol heds levels and created the 'Pump Rebels'

will it make you buy an electric car? I doubt it.

Pump Rebels 2012 calendar makes electric cars sexy

Read more:

Monday, 13 February 2012

the Joint Industry Board

this from the socialist, so not strictly unbiased, but quite well written. it does ramble on a bit and could do with a bit of editing, but readers of the socialist have plenty of time on their hands :)

Electricians are currently fighting a 35% pay cut and the deskilling of their trade, being imposed by seven companies using the new "Besna" contracts.
There have been huge walkouts to defend current terms and conditions under the "Joint Industry Board" (JIB).
However, the JIB itself has been opposed for years by rank and file trade unionists in the electrical industry.
Rather than a collective-bargaining structure where unions can negotiate with employers, instead it has always been a "social partnership" agreement between the electrical union tops and the employers, to the detriment of ordinary electricians.
After the right wing seized control of the electricians' union (EETPU), it wanted to consolidate that control, and so under a legally-binding agreement in 1968 a unique partnership was forged between employer and union and introduced to British industry.
It was the Joint Industry Board (JIB) and consisted of the Electrical Contractors Association (ECA employers) and the Electrical Electronic Telecommunications and Plumbing Union.
The two parties were the only two permanent members, under Rule 6 of the JIB's constitution. Its national board consisted of members appointed by the ECA and EETPU and this was the principal executive committee (Rule 23). dont you just love it when they quote rules... :)

This JIB was imported into the British Electrical Contracting Industry after a delegation visited New York to meet with the JIB there which had been in existence for more than 20 years.

New York model (thought this was going to have some sexy stuff in it, but sorry, NO!)This New York model was effectively a sweetheart deal between the JIB partners, the ECA and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 3.
In return for the union disciplining its members, improving productivity and eliminating strikes, the employers delivered an agreed package of pay, welfare benefits and training.
Eric Hammond, then an executive member of the EETPU, who had been part of that delegation to America described it, as his "first revolution" in how trade unions operate.
The JIB replaced the old National Joint Industrial Council, in which the NJIC hammered out agreements between two opposing sides in the industry.
Instead of normal collective bargaining of trade union and employer on different sides, they would now work in partnership.
Right from the outset, the two parties to the JIB formed a trade union, namely the JIBTU, even though the legality of such registration was always in doubt.
Even the chief registrar noted in his 1967 annual report that it was an unusual type of union as it included representatives of both employers and employees.
It was challenged in June 1991 by electrician Frank Graham and John McAllion MP (for Dundee East). Addressing parliament, John McAllion stated:
"When Frank Graham and I challenged it about its registration, it claimed initially to have received special dispensation to register in 1968 from the then Minister for Labour, Mr.
"Ray Gunter. The JIB made that claim in letters to the certification officer and to the Chairman of the Employment Sub-Committee, but the claim is bogus.
"The then Under-Secretary of State at the Department of Trade and Industry, told me in a letter in 1996 that he could find no reference to such dispensation in the Department's records.
He added that he could find no statutory basis - past or present - under which anyone in any Government could have given such a dispensation." (Hansard, 26 Oct 1999).
"No statutory basis"
Yet the dispensation claimed by the JIB allowed for a provident fund to be established to provide benefits to members.
The JIB gained considerable material benefits from being registered as a trade union, such as tax exemptions.
In reality the JIB had received tax allowances to which it was not legally entitled. Following the 1991 challenge, the JIB asked to be deregistered as it followed the JIB was not and never had been a trade union.
Yet the relationship between the two parties grew ever stronger and the detriment to members ever greater and in 1979 another unique dispensation was granted by the Tory Secretary for State Patrick Mayhew.
This gave exemption to the JIB by allowing it to substitute its own dismissal procedure for unfair dismissals, it is the only such exemption order granted in any industry.
It effectively denied access to independent arbitration for the electrical personnel. John McAllion explained to parliament that:
"... although on paper the JIB dismissals procedure allows for access to independent arbitration, in reality that access is blocked.
"The JIB's procedure, as set out in its handbook, makes it clear that any appellant must give good reason to the JIB national board to justify reference to independent arbitration.
"Clearly, if the JIB national board does not accept those reasons, there will be no reference to independent arbitration for that appellant."

there, did you survive that history lesson, dont worry, shorter tomorrow

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Off topic - literally

Actually, I rather enjoy it when people force a "literally" where the antithetical and more pretentious "figuratively" would do – would, in fact, be more literal.

But as Anthony Burgess once said, the poet and the pedant are as one, and grammar is glamour. So let's be poetical. Let's indulge ourselves in some glamour. It is tiresome to merely point out the ridiculousness of a statement such as "that cross to Rooney was literally on a plate" (Jamie Redknapp) or "Barca literally passed Arsenal to death" (Jamie Redknapp) or "he had to cut back inside on to his left, because he literally hasn't got a right foot" (Jamie Redknapp). It is even more boring to then counter this with a pained attempt at sarcasm such as "did he smash the china?", "someone should call the police" or "wow, a uniped footballer" (Unglamorous Pedant). It is far more interesting and glamorous to question what we are doing when we say "he walks into the room and he's literally like a hurricane" (Chantelle Houghton) or when, over a contemplative cuppa perhaps, we merely observe that "centre forwards have the ability to make time stand still. And when Chopra got the ball, it literally did just that" (Jamie Redknapp). What, for instance, might these phrases have to say about our relationship to reality?

I'm no socio-linguist or cognitive-scientist, but I do like to float some hypotheses: maybe we're a generation that is scared of commitment, linguistically deferring reality with our false literallys and our compulsive "likes" and "sort ofs" and "kind of things" that make everything seem only tentative and approximate; maybe our literallys are geared for emphasis, betraying a touching desire to be taken seriously or a cry for attention; maybe our misuse reveals a deeper insecurity about what in fact is real; maybe it reflects a sheer disregard for proportion or accuracy; or maybe it arises from a subconscious need for universality in a confusing age of spiralling subjectivities and relativistic hopscotch, longing to pin down objective truths in even the most fantastical of scenarios …

Of course, we might just be lazy and imprecise users of language. But what happens when James Joyce uses "literally" incorrectly, as when he says that "Lily, the caretaker's daughter, was literally run off her feet" or tells us that to Leopold Bloom's mind the Gloria in Mozart's Twelfth Mass is "the acme of first class music as such, literally knocking everything else into a cocked hat". Is James's "literally" any better than Jamie's?

snippets from an article by Ben Masters at the Guardian

now I am literally scared of using the word literally, just in case.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

BMW's new word of the day is...........electronauts

BMW is ‘calling all electronauts’ as it opens the recruitment process for drivers interested in leasing its first electric car model as part of trials taking place in the US.

From this week, the German car maker begins the hunt for 700 drivers in the Boston, Hartford, New York, Los Angeles, Sacremento, San Diego and San Francisco areas. The electric car, based on the car maker’s 1 Series model will be available to lease in these first trial regions for $499 a month on a 24 month contract with a down payment of $2,250.

its a nice car too!!!

Friday, 10 February 2012

450,000-home wind farm - is it a dream???

A WIND FARM as wide as Mid Sussex that could power 450,000 Sussex homes will be showcased in Albourne.

Energy firm E.ON unveiled this morning (monday)draft plans for Rampion Offshore Wind Farm about seven miles off the Sussex coast, due South of Brighton and Mid Sussex and stretching from Worthing in the west to Seaford in the east.

Albourne is one of the communities staging a public information session as the development enters its formal community consultation phase.

The proposed offshore wind farm, which would be located 13km off the Sussex coast at its nearest point, could feature between 100 and 195 turbines depending on the model used.

The site could accommodate an installed electrical capacity of up to 700MW, which E.ON estimates could generate enough electricity to supply the equivalent of around 450,000 homes.

Energy 101: solar PV - sunlight to electricity

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Solar panel subsidies could be slashed again

Solar panel subsidies could be slashed again by next year, the Government has said, after it confirmed the first cut in the feed-in tariff will happen from next month.

The Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) today announced plans to halve the tariff, which pays people to generate electricity, for anyone who installs and registers from 3 March 2012.

While this was expected following a legal challenge to its original plans to slash the benefit in December, buried deep in this morning's consultation document lay proposals to almost halve the gain again by April 2013 in three further stages.

After the March cut, the subsidy would be slashed by at least another 20% for those who install from 1 July 2012. Payments would drop again in October 2012 and April 2013, or earlier if too many people install solar.

Those who already have panels keep the rate at the time of registration, which follows the installation.

I see trouble, with a Capital T

Fire safety

Around half of all accidental house fires in the UK in 2010/11 were caused by faulty or misused electrical equipment. A common winter cause is overloaded sockets.
During 2011 Dorset Fire and Rescue Service alone attended over 220 accidental fires in the home, with an electrical cause.

“Electrical equipment is an inescapable part of all our lives, from essentials like heating and lights to luxuries like entertainment systems or beauty products.

We recommend that you follow our top 5 simple electrical safety tips
• Don’t overload plug sockets
• Regularly check for worn or frayed wires
• Unplug appliances when not in use
• Keep appliances clean and in good working order
• Consider using an RCD – Residual Current Device - which works like a circuit breaker to protect against electric shocks and reduces the risk of electrical fires

stay safe

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

undertakings to improve the way the extended warranties market

Britain's three biggest electricals retailers, Dixons, Comet and Argos , have offered the competition watchdog legal undertakings to improve the way the extended warranties market works and avoid a referral to the Competition Commission (CC).

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) said on Tuesday its study of the 1 billion pounds ($1.6 billion) a year electrical goods extended warranties market found consumers may not be getting the best value for money.
It said the promised measures from retailers to address its competition concerns include improving information provided to shoppers and the launch of a comparison website.

'The OFT will now consult on whether to accept (the undertakings) instead of referring the market to the Competition Commission (CC) for a detailed investigation,' it said.

($1 = 0.6331 British pounds)

Update on the EV cars to charging points ratio...

Recent figures are not electrifying: just over 1,000 new 100% electric vehicles (EVs) were sold in the UK last year. There are now 2,149 EVs on the road, outnumbered by the 2,500 special points at which to charge them. But here's the positive spin: last year's sales are eight times those of 2010. The optimistic might call this a comeback. In 2006 a polemical film on the suppression of EV technology by the car industry, Who Killed the Electric Car?, suggested the plug had already been pulled.

the prime issue is 'our' approach to personal transportation. We buy a car. We drive it. Sometimes, we put petrol in. Who wants extra complications, such as "range anxiety"? But the distance covered has improved. The Nissan Leaf (the world's first mass-produced electric car) claims a range of 100 miles per charge. Research shows that 80% of our car journeys are pitifully short (and therefore disproportionately polluting in a normal car) and well within the capability of an EV.

Nevertheless we (I) still want the ability to drive the length of the country.

By March there will be a national registry of charge points – – and critically, these are fast-charging points: drivers can charge their cars in 20 minutes to two hours rather than eight to 10 hours at home. In fact we're lucky EVs haven't taken off.

If they were charging on every street, the grid would be at peak levels a lot of the time – expensive and not very green.

Exploring the Mysteries of Epilepsy

Random one today...

Epilepsy is a medical condition that produces seizures. A seizure happens when a sudden increase of electrical activity interferes with normal operations in the brain.

Nerve cells use electrical particles to communicate with each other. Millions of electrical particles pass between nerve cells in the brain. When the brain has a sudden burst of electricity, the body experiences physical changes called epileptic seizures. Victims can shake uncontrollably for brief periods. They also can temporarily lose the ability to think clearly or communicate.

New research is helping to explain how cells communicate to cause conditions like epilepsy.  Douglas Fields is a researcher with America's National Institutes of Health. Two years ago, he showed that a chemical called ATP could be linked to disorders like epilepsy and chronic pain.

more @

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Survey - Electric cars are priced too high

The range of an electric car - with the largest percentage agreeing that an ‘acceptable’ range for a pure electric vehicle should be between 100 and 200 miles. More than 40% agreed with that, with 38.5% reckoning between 200 and 300 miles is the sweet spot.

When we asked what is the main thing preventing you from buying an EV, a whopping 74.3% of those polled saying it was down to purchase cost. The next most cited reason was ‘range anxiety’, which 38.1% gave as a reason for holding off on a purchase.

Interestingly, 21.2% agreed that there isn’t enough choice in the electric vehicle market, something that will change fairly dramatically in 2012.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

A physicist, a biologist and a mathematician...

are sitting in a street café watching people entering and leaving the house on the other side of the street. First they see two people entering the house.

Time passes. After a while they notice three people leaving the house. The physicist says, "The measurement
wasn't accurate." The biologist says, "They must have reproduced." The mathematician says, "If one more
person enters the house then it will be empty."

drum roll! ta-dah! :)

California loop hole in New Electric Car Rule

When California adopted new rules that require 15 percent of all cars sold in the state to be electric, plug-in hybrid, or hydrogen-powered by 2025.  But the devil is in the details, and some plug-in car advocates believe the California Air Resources Board simultaneously engineered a positive spin on the rules—while creating a giant loophole allowing more modest gains in electric car adoption.

“Unfortunately, the California Air Resources Board, and particularly CARB chairwoman Mary Nichols controlled the spin battle on this one,” said Jay Friedland, legislative director for Plug In America, an electric car advocacy group. Friedland is referring to a so-called “greenhouse gas overcompliance provision,” which allows automakers to only produce about half the number of required pure electric cars it needs to produce between 2018 and 2021 under the new rule—in exchange for reducing the carbon emissions from its entire fleet by 2-gram-per-mile beyond targets.

“Honda, Hyundai, and Toyota are once again trying to game the system,” said Friedland. “CARB has let them off the hook just we see the great progress being made by Nissan, GM, Ford, Mitsubishi, Tesla, Coda, and other automakers truly committed to building a sustainable business around electric vehicles. The GHG overcompliance provision is a bad deal for California and for the United States."

Saturday, 4 February 2012

few, if any, of today's drivers will see electric cars outnumber petrol / diesel models in their lifetimes.

The biggest oil companies in the world have calculated that few, if any, of today's drivers will see electric cars outnumber gasoline and diesel models in their lifetimes.

While politicians and green lobby groups insist the future of transport is electric, in the past two months BP and Exxon have released data which points to electric cars making up only 4-5 percent of all cars globally in 20-30 years.

Meanwhile some governments are targeting as much as a 60 percent market share for electric vehicles over a similar period.

The oil company forecasts may appear self-serving, but if they are widely accepted could provoke a policy shift that offers greater incentives for electric cars to end our addiction to oil.

And unlike more optimistic predictions from consultants like McKinsey, these forecast are backed by cash. They guide tens of billions of dollars in long-term investment in oil production and refining and it is oil that stands to lose if they get it wrong.

They don't, of course, take into account a major breakthrough in battery technology that could give electric cars a cost and performance edge over the internal combustion engine.

In its Energy Outlook for 2030, released earlier this month, BP predicted that electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids, will make up only 4 percent of the global fleet of 1.6 billion commercial and passenger vehicles in 2030.

"Oil will remain the dominant transport fuel and we expect 87 percent of transport fuel in 2030 will still be petroleum based," BP Chief Executive Bob Dudley said as he unveiled the BP statistics on January 18.
The balance is seen coming from biofuels, natural gas and electricity.

Plug-in hybrids can be powered from the mains and only rely on their small gasoline engines when the battery dies.

Standard hybrids are principally driven by an internal combustion engine whose efficiency is boosted by the recycling of energy generated from braking.

Exxon Mobil, the biggest oil and gas company in the world, says the continued high cost of electric vehicles compared to petroleum cars, means take-up won't even increase much during the 2030s.

In its 2040 Energy Outlook, released in December, the Texas-based company said electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids and vehicles that run on natural gas would make up only 5 percent of the fleet by 2040.

Peter Voser, Chief Executive of Royal Dutch Shell, the industry number two, sees a rosier future for electric vehicles. He predicts they will account for up to 40 percent of the worldwide car fleet, although only by 2050.

There are more charging points than electric cars in UK

Sales of electric cars have slumped so badly that there are now more charging points than vehicles on the road.

Just 2,149 electric cars have been sold since 2006, despite a government scheme last year offering customers up to £5,000 towards the cost of a vehicle.

The Department for Transport says that around 2,500 charging points have been installed, although their precise location is not known.

The government grant has boosted sales - from 138 in 2010 to 1,1082 last year - but only £3.9million of the £300million set aside has been paid out.
A spokesman for the DFT told The Sunday Times: 'It's fair to say that there hasn't been a huge take-up over the past year.'
The high cost of electric cars has put many off. The Nissan Leaf still costs £25,990 even after the £5,000 grant has been deducted.

Friday, 3 February 2012

Boris's maths is not his strong suit says the electric car fairy

its all about london today, despite us living in the shires... Blondy bonce Boris Johnson’s self-imposed target of 100,000 electric vehicles (EVs) is looking like the wildest guess in the history of guessing... whoops! the numbers acturally are only 588 have been registered in London in the three years since he made his pledge, giving EVs just 0.08% of the capital’s 3m cars.

The mayor was criticised last year by the Green party over the scaling-back of his original proposals and by April last year only 534 people had taken up the government’s £5,000 grant to buy EVs. Figures published by Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) suggest either a massive success or a slow take-up, depending on how you choose to spin the data — 2011 saw 1,082 total EVs registered against 138 in 2010. It’s certainly a big increase, but it’s nowhere near Boris’s projected 100K (although his disclaimer of ‘as soon as possible’ does allow for some wiggle room presumably).

Despite the £5k grant, the electric vehicle revolution is in its infancy; the choice of eligible cars is tiny, with just five being currently available but due to expand to nine by the end of 2012. Going electric is also costly — the Nissan Leaf starts at £25,990. Availability of charging points and the car’s travelling range are also concerns; no-one wants to run out of power on a busy roundabout. SourceLondon’s charging point map shows a growing network of around 400 but still far short of the 1,300 points promised by 2013.

That’s next year...

£25K is a high price to pay to be a member of the environmentally-friendly motoring club and given a choice between spending £5K on a reasonable second-hand petrol or diesel car and £20K on an EV (with grant applied) you’d have to be pretty determined to prove your green credentials to want to part with that extra cash, especially in these times of austerity. And for inner-city driving, the whole raison d’être of the push to reduce pollution via the EV grant, a car is not always the most practical transport solution anyway. That leaves the occasional run out of town, away from all those lovely charging points. What’s that you say? A range of 110 miles? Oh.

With any technological innovation, Within 10 years we could see a far more extensive range of attractive, cheap-to-buy electric cars with a greatly-extended battery life which would make them a viable option for those on lower incomes.

London to run wireless charging trial

A wireless recharging system trial for electric cars is set to begin in London later this year in an effort to remove plug-in posts from streets and car parks. This new trial is supported by London Mayor Boris Johnson and Transport for London.

The system - developed by electronic chip manufacturer Qualcomm - works by parking cars fitted with a plate underneath over a plate on the ground. An in-car display will tell the driver if the two plates are lined up and that charging has started.

The data collected during the two year trial will see the first wireless charging points being installed in UK car parks and shopping centres from 2014, allowing motorists and car insurance policy holders to charge their vehicles quickly and conveniently.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Our Oki LED printer

I questioned why, when the spec say 20k pages, our image drum averages just over 10k pages per drum.

we got the this rather convoluted reply

The image drum specification of  20,000 is based  on 3 pages per job, simplex ,A4.

If you do just  1 page jobs , simplex,  A4 , you will get approx 12000.

If you do a mix of 1,2,3,4 page/job then you will get somewhere in between 12-20 K.

If you do double sided printing (duplex) the page count  only counts 1 page but the drum  count is doubled (as print is on both sides)

Also turning the printer off/on or opening closing the covers   will use up the drum life but not count toward the  page count .This is because  the printer has to go through a warm up cycle which rotates the drums.

all I can say, is please quote me actual realistic numbers, not 'broaband' figures (maximaum spped will be 20 meg, but you will actually get 5.5 meg...),urumph

Is IBM’s Lithium-Air battery technology

Electric cars begin and end with this one word, range. The range of an electric car refers to how far an electric car can go before its battery stack requires recharging. So far, a range of 160 kilometers is what all electric cars have achieved reliably(read without adding excessive weight or bulk to the car). Needless to say, electric cars have remained in the fringes of the car market, both from the manufacturer’s as well as the consumer’s perspectives as this limited range makes electric cars more of city runabouts than of an automobile with a genuine long distance capability. All that could change in 2013.

2013 is when IBM’s team of researchers working on a new battery technology called the air battery technology would unveil their first working prototype. While the commercial launch is expected no earlier than 2012, the air battery technology is quite a promising one as it promises almost 800 kilometers of range before a recharge would be required, even as its size and weight is comparable to that of the lithium ion battery stack in a conventional electric car. The big idea behind this seemingly game changing breakthrough in electric car technology is that of higher energy density.

IBM’s physicists working on this project point to the lithium-air batteries achieving theoretical energy densities of more than 1000 times than that of conventional lithium ion batteries. The main reason behind this massive energy density, is that the lithium-air batteries using a carbon in the positive electrode instead of the conventional metal oxides. Carbon electrodes are lighter and react with oxygen in the air around it to produce electricity. However, the physicists are yet to achieve chemical stability, which is essential for large charging-discharging cycles, which is something that an electric car’s batteries would be subject to.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

HMRC is to focus on electricians...

from next month in order to improve tax compliance.

Contractors working as sole traders in the UK's electrical trade are set to come under increased scrutiny with regard to their tax affairs.

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has announced that it is to target electricians in order to improve tax compliance in the industry.

The department has confirmed that anyone who installs, maintains and tests electrical systems, equipment and appliances under stringent safety regulations will be placed under the microscope of the campaign.
HMRC's move comes as it plans a number of campaigns to crack down on tax avoidance in what it deems to be high-risk industries.

"This builds on HMRC's plumbers' campaign and gives an opportunity to another group of tradespeople to come forward and declare unpaid tax," the department explained.

A number of sole traders working in the industry could now be tempted to seek the help of a contractor accountant in order to ensure that their files are up-to-date.

this is what you get when you introduce more computers and automated system.. lots more tax men (persons) that need to justify their further employment. due to the recent cuts HMRC is now virtually the fattest department, and still extremely inefficient.

Like it or not, you have to pay your taxes. The trouble is that understanding taxation requires more than a genius mind. Even Albert Einstein admitted, "The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax." So, if you are wading through reams of paperwork, trying to make sense of all the mumbo jumbo, it's time to take a break. have a kit kat, but make sure you declare it as i am damn sure there is some way the tax man can get a percentage

Preventing slips and trips at work

Over a third of all major injuries reported each year are caused as a result of a slip
or trip (the single most common cause of injuries at work). These cost
employers over £512 million a year in lost production and other costs. Slips and
trips also account for over half of all reported injuries to members of the public.
Recognising the importance of slips and trips, the Health and Safety Executive and
local authorities have included this topic in their programmes of work designed to
achieve national targets set to improve health and safety performance. These
targets were published by the Government and the Health and Safety Commission
in the Revitalising Health and Safety strategy statement of June 2000.

Legal actions brought as a result of an injury can be extremely damaging to
business, especially where the public are involved. Insurance covers only a small
proportion of the costs.

Anyone at work, but particularly employers, can help to reduce slip and trip
hazards through good health and safety arrangements.
Effective solutions are often simple, cheap and lead to other benefits.
Managing health and safetyA good management system will help you to identify problem areas, decide what
to do, act on decisions made and check that the steps taken have been effective.
A good system should involve:

Planning Identify key areas of risk and set goals for improvement. Employers can
work with employees to identify areas on site that they think are a slipping and
tripping risk (remember that there will be about 40 cases of a slip or stumble,
resulting in no or minor injury for every major injury accident). Careful selection of
materials, equipment and work practices can prevent or contain slip and trip
hazards from liquids, fine powders and objects. For example fit splash guards and
anti-slip floorings in areas that can’t be kept dry and use cordless tools to avoid
trailing cables across working areas. This all helps to remove or minimise risks.
Organisation Workers need to be involved and committed to reducing risks. Give
people (eg supervisors) responsibilities to ensure that areas of the workplace are
kept safe, eg getting spillages and objects cleaned up quickly, keeping access
routes clear and ensuring lighting is maintained. Keep a record of who is
responsible for which arrangements; take special care to include cleaning and
other contractors. Make these details clear to everyone.

Control Check to ensure that working practices and processes are being carried
out properly, eg smooth floors are not left wet, housekeeping is good, and any
leaks from equipment and roof lights are repaired quickly. Keep a record of
cleaning and maintenance work etc and encourage good health and safety.
Monitor and review Monitor accident investigation and inspection reports. Try to
identify any deficiencies in your management arrangements. Do they show any
improvement? Talk to any safety representatives about slip and trip risks – they can
be a great help when identifying and solving problems. Employees should also be
encouraged to be involved in reviewing existing control measures. They are often
better placed to assess the effectiveness of the measures implemented to reduce
the risks of slipping and tripping.

Examine slip and trip risks
All employers have to assess the risks to employees and others who may be
affected by their work, eg visitors and members of the public. This helps to find out
what needs to be done to control the risk. It is also needed to satisfy the law.
HSE recommend a five-step approach to risk assessment, and slip and trip risks
should be among the risks examined.

Step 1 Look for slip and trip hazards around the workplace, such as uneven
floors, trailing cables, areas that are sometimes slippery due to spillages. Include
outdoor areas.
Step 2 Decide who might be harmed and how. Who comes into the workplace?
Are they at risk? Do you have any control over them? Remember that older people
and people with disabilities may be at particular risk.
Step 3 Consider the risks. Are the precautions already taken adequate to deal
with the risks?
Step 4 Record your findings if you have five or more employees.
Step 5 Regularly review the assessment. If any significant changes take place,
make sure existing precautions and management arrangements are still adequate
to deal with the risks.
What the law saysThe Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (HSWA) requires employers to
ensure the health and safety of all employees and anyone who may be affected by
their work. This includes taking steps to control slip and trip risks.
Employees must not endanger themselves or others and must use any safety
equipment provided.

Manufacturers and suppliers have a duty to ensure that their products are safe.
They must also provide adequate information about appropriate use.
The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 build on
HSWA and include duties on employers to assess risks (including slip and trip
risks) and where necessary take action to safeguard health and safety.
The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 require floors to
be suitable, in good condition and free from obstructions. People must be able to
move around safely.
Good working practiceGet conditions right from the start - this will make dealing with slip and trip risks
easier. Choose only suitable floor surfaces and particularly avoid very smooth floors
in areas that will become wet/contaminated (such as kitchens and entrance halls).
Ensure lighting levels are sufficient, properly plan pedestrian and traffic routes and
avoid overcrowding.
Cleaning and maintenanceTrain workers in the correct use of any safety and cleaning equipment provided.
Cleaning methods and equipment must be suitable for the type of surface being
treated. You may need to get advice from the manufacturer or supplier. Take care
not to create additional slip or trip hazards while cleaning and maintenance work is
being done.

Carry out all necessary maintenance work promptly (you may need to get outside
help or guidance). Include inspection, testing, adjustment and cleaning at suitable
intervals. Keep records so that the system can be checked.
Lighting should enable people to see obstructions, potentially slippery areas etc,
so they can work safely. Replace, repair or clean lights before levels become too
low for safe work.

Floors need to be checked for loose finishes, holes and cracks, worn rugs and
mats etc. Take care in the choice of floor if it is likely to become wet or dusty due
to work processes. Seek specialist advice when choosing a floor for difficult
Obstructions and objects left lying around can easily go unnoticed and cause a
trip. Try to keep work areas tidy and if obstructions can’t be removed, warn people
using signs or barriers. Cardboard should not be used to absorb spillages as this
itself presents a tripping hazard.

Footwear can play an important part in preventing slips and trips. This is especially
important where floors can’t be kept dry. Your footwear supplier should be able to
advise on shoes/boots with slip-resistant soles. Employers need to provide
footwear, if it is necessary to protect the workers’ safety.