Friday, 27 October 2006

"Car ads 'should show emissions'
A Labour MP has launched a bid to force car makers to display more information on carbon emissions in their adverts. Colin Challen, who chairs the Commons climate change group, says a quarter of the space in car ads should be given over to environmental impact data.

That is a superb suggestion. And while they're at it, any mention of "environmentally friendly" in a car advert should be banned - there's no such thing as an enviromentally friendly car.

BBC NEWS | Politics | Car ads 'should show emissions'

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Wednesday, 25 October 2006

"'Gas guzzlers' face parking hike
The cost of residents' parking permits could be linked to car emissions under plans being considered in one of the country's most affluent areas. A Lib Dem council in London wants owners of gas-guzzling vehicles to pay more to park outside their homes. Richmond residents with high-emission cars could pay £750 a year, compared with £200 now, but the greenest cars would be exempt. The council hopes other authorities will be encouraged to follow its lead.

'Climate change is the single greatest challenge facing the world today,' said council leader Serge Lourie. 'We can no longer bury our heads in the sand and pretend that it is not happening, or that dealing with it is up to somebody else. And Richmond upon Thames is one of the highest CO2-emitting boroughs in London. For too long, it has been seen as a problem that only central governments or international organisations could address. The truth is that we must all start acting now at local level.'

Wow - sounds like this guy is taking a leaf out of Arnold Schwarzenegger's book, ie: taking unilateral action, when the Government continues to drag its heels.

BBC NEWS | UK | 'Gas guzzlers' face parking hike

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Tuesday, 24 October 2006

"Saving energy on the home front
'Are you doing your bit?' That has been the message to encourage households in the UK to be more energy savvy...

I'm certainly doing my bit - with the help of both electricity and gas suppliers, all the lightbulbs in the house are now low-energy. And we have a new gas central heating boiler that is over 90% efficient.

"...The green gurus in government have been telling us that just a few simple actions can cut our demand for energy, while saving us money and easing the pressure on the planet.

But when it comes to an outright ban on inefficient products, ministers say such unilateral action could breach EU free-trade rules.

My suggestion would be that individual governments should go ahead and unilaterally ban things that are blatantly wasteful (like patio heaters and 4-litre-and-upwards engined cars) then when the EU complains, just say "stuff you - we're protecting the environment". Shame them into changing their absurd legislation.

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Saving energy on the home front

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Friday, 20 October 2006

Fire in Bletchley

Photo from flickrFire in Bletchley
Photo uploaded to flickr 20 Oct '06, 4.20pm BST PST by hockeyshooter

The smell from a factory fire about a mile away drifted into my office this afternoon. Four crews of Firefighters tackled blaze at a disused factory in Mount Farm, Bletchley. No car and no camera, so I couldn't rush off and get any proper photos.

Story from the MK Citizen

Tuesday, 17 October 2006

"Fine for letter in recycling bag
Magistrates have fined a man £200 after finding him guilty of putting paper in a recycling sack for bottles and cans only - breaking council rules. Michael Reeves, 28, a journalist from Swansea, had denied putting an item of junk mail in the bag. The court was told the letter, which was addressed to him, 'contaminated' the other items put out for recycling.

After the hearing Mr Reeves said he had since stopped recycling and feared his case would discourage others.

Mr Reeves was served with a warning notice in April this year when he put his bins out a day early because he was going on holiday.

How chuffin rediculous. Have these councillors nothing better to do?

BBC NEWS | Wales | South West Wales | Fine for letter in recycling bag

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Monday, 16 October 2006

"Virtual Firefly
For those of you who are not familiar with our project, Still Flying is a fan-based site dedicated to a 'virtual continuation' of Joss Whedon's 'Firefly' in the form of scripts of additional episodes. We've rounded out Season One, completing it with seven new episodes (including a season finale based on 'Serenity: Those Left Behind' from Dark Horse Comics).

We'll see some old friends and more than a few old enemies. We can't promise that we'll entertain you as much as Mister Whedon would have, but you should know that this project has been put together by those who care about the show, and we're taking this bird up out of love.

Like most Browncoats, we know that Whedon will return to us with another movie, book, or some other way to continue the tale he started in 'Firefly.' Until that time, we'll be here. We will hold the line.

I've only read the first episode of their Season 1, but if that is anything to go by, the standard of writing is extremely high.

Virtual Firefly: Here's how it might have been...

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Wednesday, 11 October 2006

Serenity T-shirt from Stylin OnlineChuffed to bits that the Firefly and Serenity T-shirts I ordered from Stylin On Line arrived today - in less than a week since I placed the order. I quite expected (and was prepared for) them to take a month to get over the pond. The price was very respectible too - and I got a discount for ordering two shirts at the same time. Thanks, James.

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Where's my popup gone?
Popup windows are quite common in web applications (other than for annoying adverts, I mean) but one drawback they can have is that they can disappear behind the main window and re-clicking the link or button that launched them in the first place does not bring then to focus again.

So, here's a solution. It relies on creating the window as a named object, which you can then check for the presence of, see if its closed and also change the focus to.
var myWindow=null;
function popupWindow() {
if (myWindow && !myWindow.closed) {
} else {
Lets looks at the key features here:
1. we start by defining a variable 'myWindow' which will eventually contain the 'object' that is the popup window itself. This means that we can later test for it without running into 'undefined' problems.
2. when we create our popup, we define it as this named object, making targetting easier
3. so, what the function does is first to check to see if the myWindow object already exists and is NOT closed (ie: open). If it is, we simply switch the browser focus to it, which will bring it to the front. If not, we create the popup window using whatever parameters you want

We launch the function with an ONCLICK action on a button or link in the body of the page, eg:
<INPUT TYPE="button" VALUE="click for popup" ONCLICK="popupWindow();" TITLE="click to open the popup window">
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My Walkstool arrived this morning from Robert White but I can't say I'm overly impressed. The build quality is good, and I'm sure it will last longer than the cheap ones I've been buying from Argos, but despite being a Swedish design, the low-end model I bought is still made in China (and therefore massively over-priced) and with the legs extended, it is quite wobbly. I would have preferred it if the legs were simply in once piece rather than being telescopic.

Tuesday, 10 October 2006

WalkstoolIf you happen to be looking for a really decent stool for covering sports like football (soccer), then this is what you need to look at:

"Walkstool is the only patented three leg stool with telescopic legs that exists in the world! The telescopic legs offers 2 sitting positions; low position with the legs retracted and normal sitting height with the legs extended. Walkstool has been tested by the Swedish National Testing and Research Institute – SP and managed a load (pressure) between 200 kg – 350 kg!"

Three leg adjustable stool from Walkstool

Monday, 9 October 2006

Wind farm"Work begins on largest wind farm
Work is set to begin on constructing what will become the largest onshore wind farm in Europe. The £300m Whitelee project will see 140 turbines built on the Eaglesham Moor, south of Glasgow. It is claimed that they will generate 322 megawatts of electricity - enough to power 200,000 homes.

Some 16% of Scotland's electricity already comes from [renewable] sources, compared to 4% for the UK as a whole, and Whitelee will save a further 250,000 tonnes of harmful CO2 every year.

BBC NEWS | Scotland | Glasgow and West | Work begins on largest wind farm

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Sunday, 8 October 2006

"Firefly, Harry Potter Sweep Genre Awards
(October 01 2006) - When it comes to the Emmy and the SyFy Genre Awards, it's tough being 'Battlestar Galactica.'

For the second year in a row, the critically-acclaimed SciFi Channel series led nominations, but was completely shut out once again in the seventh SyFy Genre Awards, this time playing second fiddle to a show that hasn't even been on the air for more than two years: 'Firefly.'

OK, so I'm a little late with this, but the fact that Firefly and its cast are winning awards so long after cancellation is awesome. Please note that I have nothing against BSG - I have both Season I and II on DVD.

SyFy Portal | Firefly, Harry Potter Sweep Genre Awards

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Friday, 6 October 2006

"Inspired by recent conversations with cartoonist pals, we thought it might be fun to build a website hosting a slew of fan comics set in Joss Whedon's 'Firefly' and 'Serenity' 'verse.

Think of it as an ongoing anthology book -- along the lines of Dark Horse's 'Star Wars Tales' or 'Tales of the Slayer' -- only delivered online, free of charge. We'll also link to established comic strips that mention 'Firefly' or 'Serenity.'

Serenity Tales

Lots of hooha and frankly innacurate reporting flying around the web at the moment in relation to Jos Whedon's comments regarding any sequel to his movie Serenity. For the real skinny, have a read of his postings on Whedonesque...

"Those Joss Whedon Serenity sequel comments. In light of the growing coverage of Joss' comments made here at the weekend, here's a special one-off Whedonesque blog entry for posters to discuss the remarks and indeed the coverage as well. (ETA - now with extra vitamins and a Joss post)."

Whedonesque : Comments on 11513 : Those Joss Whedon Serenity sequel comments.

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Thursday, 5 October 2006

Beware those of you who use open wireless networks at airports and stations to quickly grab your email before setting off on your journey:

"Research shows that free wireless public networks located in airports and other public places are ripe for exploitation by hackers. Launch a freely available network stumbler and you will quickly see far more advertised WiFi spots than are sanctioned by the airport and its tenants-these are typically consumers' computers attempting to connect."

Remember that many email clients use open-text logins, so these 'man-in-the-middle' attackers, with their keyloggers, can intercept your account settings and then gain access to your account.

I must admit that I make use of wireless networks when sending photos from some football grounds - but not many of them are open.

Hidden dangers of free public WiFi | Tech News on ZDNet

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Wednesday, 4 October 2006

David Puttnam at the OUFamous film producer Lord (David) Puttnam (Chariots of Fire, Local Hero, Memphis Belle) has just been appointed Chancellor of The Open University. This is a photo I took of him on a previous visit back in 1999 where he was shown a number of our schools collaboration projects, including 'First Flight' on the history of aviation.

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Monday, 2 October 2006

Just heard on Firefly Talk that the DVDs of the series are going to be travelling to the International Space Station on the next Shuttle mission. Will this be the first time a sci fi series has left the planet?

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Sunday, 1 October 2006

Got my DVD Done The Impossible from the USA. Definately worth getting hold of a copy if you're into the series and movie.
One interesting snippet of information from the clever interactive timeline is:
Firefly became profitable during its original run on US TV, generating $2.5 million per episode from advertisers - that's more than Star Trek Enterprise, or Joss Whedon's other creations Buffy or Angel.
Just why the hell did Fox cancel the series?

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