Ravings From The Bog

Even Wind Turbines Get A Day Off!

Wind Turbine Green EnergyI didn’t realise I could get this close to the local wind turbine (North Down Borough Council’s lip service to the Green agenda). I really expected it to be protected from potential “terrorist/freedom fighter” action.

I really love the shape of the cowling of the propeller. It has a taste of nostalgia to me as it reminds me of many of the engine cowlings on Airfix aircraft models I assembled over the years. Cracking day today too!

My Flikr Photostream (for more pictures)


Hidden Belfast – Lower Garfield Street

LwrGarfieldSt1It has been some time since I posted a Hidden Belfast picture, but I thought I’d better get my skates on and take these pictures before these derelict buildings come down. The first gives you the view of the front of the building which has been affected by commercial development over the years and is now “on it’s last legs”. The detail on the “balcony” and the cornices are beautiful, or at least were, before the onslaught of 100,000 pigeons over the years!

The second, and much more interesting picture, is the one from behind which was the first aspect to attract my interest. Hidden from the street are a couple of spires complete with what look like flag poles, various chimney stacks and assorted dormer windows. It is a view of haphazard additions over the years as well as representing good solid build quality. Many of these old red brick building are fast disappearing in the centre of Belfast and are worth documenting. They have seen a lot of history and unfortunately, I am unaware of most of it. What I can remember is visiting a night-club on the first floor back in the early 1980s – but it’s all very vague!

LwrGarfieldSt2This view can be seen from the car park, which has access from North St. Have a closer look if you get the chance; it’s worth it!

Hidden Belfast – Wellington Place Beauty & The Beast!

Wellington Place BelfastHidden in plain sight, this one. One of the nicest pieces of architecture in the centre of town and at one of the busiest points, I’ve passed this for years without taking the time to appreciate the detail. I’ve no knowledge of the history of the building at all, unfortunately, but that doesn’t take away from it’s beauty. The beastly bottom half does though!

The Polar Bears Did It!
October 30, 2008, 10:09 pm
Filed under: Environment, Global Warming, News, Thoughts | Tags: , ,

Who did they really think DID the damage? The bears?

The rise in temperatures at Earth’s poles has for the first time been attributed directly to human activities, according to a study.

The work, by an international team, is published in Nature Geoscience journal.

In 2007, the UN’s climate change body presented strong scientific evidence the rise in average global temperature is mostly due to human activities.

This contradicted ideas that it was not a result of natural processes such as an increase in the Sun’s intensity.

At the time, there was not sufficient evidence to say this for sure about the Arctic and Antarctic.

Now that gap in research has been plugged, according to scientists who carried out a detailed analysis of temperature variations at both poles.

Their study indicates that humans have indeed contributed to warming in both regions.

Researchers expected this result for the Arctic – because of the recent sharp increase in the melting of sea ice in the summer in the region – but temperature variations in the Antarctic have until now been harder to interpret.

Today’s study, according to the researchers, suggests for the first time that there’s a discernable human influence on both the Arctic and Antarctica.

The research team took the temperature changes over the polar regions of the Earth and compared them with two sets of climate models.

One set assumed that there had been no human influence the other set assumed there had.

The best fit was with models that assumed that human activities including the burning of fossil fuels and depletion of ozone had played a part.

According to one of the researchers involved with the study, Peter Stott, head of climate monitoring and attribution at the Met Office, formally showing that the Antarctic was being influenced by human activities was the key development

“In the recent IPCC report for example,” he said, “it wasn’t possible to make a statement about the Antarctic because such a study had not been done at that point.

“But nevertheless when you do that you see a clear human fingerprint in the observed data. We really can’t claim anymore that it’s natural variations that are driving these very large changes that we are seeing in our in the climate system.”

Professor Phil Jones, director of the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, said: “Our study is certainly closing a couple of gaps in the last IPCC report.

“But I still think that a number of people, including some politicians, are reluctant to accept the evidence or to do anything about it until we specifically come down to saying that one particular event was caused by humans like a serious flood somewhere or even a heatwave.

“Until we get down to smaller scale events in both time and space I still think there will be people doubting the evidence.”


Clever But Wacky Italian Art Exhibit

I don’t know how high the artist had to be to dream this one up! Thousand of “icemen” in various shapes left to melt on steps on Florence, Italy by Brazilian artist, Nele Azevedo. Must been “fun” to watch..nah!

Perhaps it’s a statement about Global Warming and an attempt to get the world’s politicians to notice – who knows? Makes a good photo though.

Hey Fatty! Don’t Kill That Polar Bear…Nonsense!

Rarely have I read such tosh. Evil fat people are now blamed for global warming, instead of the governments around the world, particularly in the UK and US, where successive regimes have failed to invest in public transport and freight-carrying railway systems and allowed countless “entrepreneurs” with their small and medium haulage companies running thousands of small and large trucks across the country. What about those buses too? I was continually blasted by huge amounts of exhaust fumes and hot furnace-like air being expelled from the backsides of New York buses when I was there in July (it was already 98°!) and there were hundreds driving and parked with both engines and air-con running. How many fatties does it take to waste the energy or create the CO2 that one of the behemoths release in one day?

Conveniently, and I fully expect that this study was funded by some Big Pharma company, oil company or other vested interest, this argument completely ignores the fact that big business and their puppets (Thatcher and Reagan) have created such a massive cheap and under-educated labour force and have failed to create the conditions to sustain this workface fairly and healthily (hence the almost twenty-eight million Americans expected to receive food stamps this year and the fact that Wal-Mart, McDonalds and Yum Foods, owners of KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, all pay such low wages to their employees that they need to rely on welfare packages such as Medicare).

My point is that many millions of obese British and Americans are obese largely because they rely on cheap fast food to feed their families.

And now it’s their fault that Global Warming is increasing – I don’t think so!


Don’t Eat That Burger – You’re Killing A Polar Bear!

The weight and consumption habits of the overweight and obese are worsening the pace of global warming, said two researchers from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine in a letter to the medical journal Lancet.

It takes more fuel to transport people who are obese and therefore heavier, Phil Edwards and Ian Roberts wrote. In addition, heavier people do not just tend to eat more food: they actually require it. The researchers calculated that it takes an obese person 1,680 calories per day just to maintain their body functioning and another 1,280 to sustain their daily activities. This is 18 percent higher than the caloric intake required for a person with a normal body mass index (BMI).

BMI is a measure of weight relative to height that is used to calculate healthy body weight. A BMI of 18 to 25 is considered normal, while a BMI above 25 is considered overweight and one of 30 or more obese.

But according to Edwards and Roberts, 40 percent of the global population has a BMI in the neighborhood of 30 or more.

“We are all becoming heavier and it is a global responsibility,” Edwards said. “Obesity is a key part of the big picture.”

The production and transportation of food is a major source of greenhouse gases, the researchers noted, with agriculture responsible for a whopping 20 percent of global emissions. They also faulted the overweight for contributing to global food shortages.

“Promotion of a normal distribution of BMI would reduce the global demand for, and thus the price of, food,” the researchers wrote.

Tim Church of Louisiana State University questioned Edwards and Roberts’ focus on obesity, noting that 25 percent of the food produced in the United States is thrown away.

“We throw away far more food than the extra 460 calories per day [that Edwards and Roberts] point out,” Church said. “In other words, most of our food overproduction is due to waste, not overeating.”


Belfast’s Broadway Lido (or Cooler as we all used to call it!)
August 24, 2008, 3:37 pm
Filed under: Belfast, Fun, Life, Memories, Society, Thoughts, Weird & Wonderful | Tags: , ,

For those of you not resident in Northern Ireland, over the last few years we’ve seen some major investment in infrastructure since the reduction in violence here (note: reduction).

The main road through Belfast joining the M1 and the M2 together, known as the “Westlink” has been the subject of much frustration for motorists while some remodelling has been carried out. In the last few months, the finishing touches have been applied and the last few construction vehicles and oils drums are being removed. 

On 16 August, following some very heavy rain, the new underpass flooded completely, and five vehicles were trapped, their drivers narrowly escaping death.

Excuses from those responsible for the design of the underpass ranged from “two rivers run nearby the underpass” (d’oh!) to “unseasonally heavy downpour”. Now, it may have escaped some of the folk living in the Amazon rainforest, the jungles of Sarawak or a few non-cable subscribers in Nome, Alaska, but for the rest of us, the climate has radically changed over the last ten years or so. You’d think that the brainiacs in the planning department in our fine city would have allowed for some wiggle-room in their calculations and the possibility that NI might be included in the GLOBAL warming effects that the rest of the GLOBE are experiencing. Note to all cinema-goers – hopefully the message about saving the planet contained within WALL*E landed with you; make sure you tell your friends.

As can be seen from the tastefully Photo-shopped photograph above, it was quite a sight. 20 million gallons of water! It was reported that there were floods at this exact spot in December 2007, yes 2007, not 1807, just less than a year ago!!!

Time for some retraining I think…