Archive for March, 2011

Your Cynical Challenge of the Week

Posted in And thus the Mystery was solved Watson!, Irregular Features, Tenuous Link of the Day with tags , , , , on March 24, 2011 by awickerman

As you are all doubtless aware it is Earth Hour this very weekend, yes at 8.30pm you are formally requested to turn off your lights in a bid to really make life difficult for the National Grid show you care about climate change.

Thus your challenge of the week is at 9.25pm (ish) this Saturday pay a visit to this website where the nice chaps at the National Grid will tell you what the current electricity demand is in the UK in real time and for the last hour. This should tell you the real story of whether or not Earth Hour made a damned bit of difference outside all the PR stunts and press releases.

Sure they do back-dated graphs, but you get 5 minute resolution on the 1 hour demand graph, enabling you to find out at exactly which point people thought ‘blow this for a game of soldiers’ and turned the lights on again.


Cheap Joke of the Day

Posted in Even Stevie Wonder Saw That Coming, Irregular Features, Tenuous Link of the Day, The Wicker Man list with tags , , , , , , , on March 21, 2011 by awickerman

Warplanes over Libya! Revolution in Yemen! The continuing existence of the retarded fool Christian Wolmar!

I am concerned about none of these things, instead I am laughing at the name of an entirely innocent US warship that happens to be sailing to Libya; the mighty USS Ponce.

That I find this amusing to the extent of ignoring most of what it’s actually doing off Libya tells you a great deal about the human race. Or perhaps just about me, who knows?


Posted in Alas the Mystery Remains Holmes, Almost Beyond Words, Engineering, Even Stevie Wonder Saw That Coming, Posts that are far longer than I first intended, Rantings, Your cut-out-and-keep Guide with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 16, 2011 by awickerman

Those of you with long memories, and a deep held fascination with ugly concrete buildings, may remember the grippingly exciting story of Preston Bus Station, the one that looks like this;

That someone even thought about listing this makes me weep. And then hope in all these budget cuts that most of them have been sacked. Alas I fear such cockroaches tend to survive.

With the monstrosity finally declared ‘Not listed’ (hopefully due to the fact that someone on the panel had a working set of eyes) the structure was promptly marked for demolition as part of a large shopping centre scheme by Lend Lease, the people who gifted the world Bluewater and so on. After a great deal of faffing about that took most of the year (the original application went in back in 2008, which prompted all those efforts to get the concrete horror bus station listed in the first place) the planning inspector finally produced a tome which said ‘It’ll all be fine, apart from local traffic in Preston which may go up a bit.’

This was a bitter disappointment to Blackburn with Darwen Council, who had claimed because of all the shoppers going to Preston there would be social unrest, extremism, death and terrorism and said as such to the planning inspector. Sadly I’m only making up the last two, the local council genuinely said that shoppers going to Preston not Blackburn would cause unrest and extremism. In case you couldn’t guess the Blackburn and Darwen council leader at the time was Labour. I know, I was shocked too, a Labour politician using an unconvincing threat of terrorism to justify their own agenda? Whatever next?

However back to the point, as planning law says government shouldn’t approve a scheme that increases traffic in town centres the scheme should have been cancelled by Eric Pickles, he however didn’t. Perhaps he thought £700 million of investment in a historically depressed region during a recession was worth some traffic, or perhaps he just wants the people of Preston to choke on exhaust fumes, who knows? Either way it had happened and Blackburn council, complete with new Conservative leader,  said it was ‘extremely unlikely’ to appeal and piss yet more money up the wall for no good reason.

However to the great surprise of no-one, least of all anyone who’s lived in the UK for the last decade or so, the politicians have proven to be untrustworthy bastards. Yes Blackburn council will be appealing against Eric Pickles decision on the grounds of the traffic impact on Preston (well after the inspector called Labour’s claims about lack of shopping causing terrorism ‘tenuous’ the Blackburn Conservatives had to find something else to whine about). That Preston council is happy with the traffic impact is, surprisingly, irrelevant.

Thus I commend this to you as an example of anti-NIMBYism, or IIMBYism as it may soon be called, the complaint from Blackburn basically being that the shopping centre Isn’t In My Back Yard.

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