The Dangers of Wind Power

I’m not sure how much I believe in the global warming/climate change argument.
However, I do recognise that pollution is a bad thing and therefore that reducing pollution would be a good thing. Thus, I find myself in cautious favour of any steps being taken towards the reduction of pollution.

Wind power is one of those steps. Good old renewable energy.
Less dirty than coal, less challenging than solar, less dangerous than nuclear – or is it?

Take for example, this NY Times article in which it is stated that Britain could become a global leader in electricity production from offshore wind farms by 2020:

Britain could become the largest producer of electricity from offshore wind by the end of the next decade, according to the Carbon Trust, a group funded by the British government.
With carefully targeted subsidies and regulations, Britain could build 29 gigawatts of capacity compared to a global total of 66 gigawatts by 2020, giving it 45 percent of the offshore power market, said the Carbon Trust. By comparison, Germany would have 12 gigawatts by 2020, the group said.

All sounds very promising – even if Vestas is about to go under. But have these sort of plans really been thought through thoroughly? Not according to concerned, angry and apparently terminally stupid commenter Lyle Vos:

I am very concerned that these wind farms will affect the natural wind patterns thereby affecting weather patterns. A consensus of my friends who are scientists believe that a wind farm of this scale will shift the earth off its rotational axis and send it hurtling toward the sun in a matter of decades. Who stupid are these Brits? Don’t they realize that human actions on such a scale have worldwide consequences? Such an attempt to destroy the planet should be considered an act against humanity and declaration of war. Where is the condemnation from the UN?

Where indeed? What are the UN doing ignoring this blatant act against humanity and declaration of war against the entire planet?

As a scientist, I’d like to meet with Lyle’s “friends who are scientists”, partly to discuss with them their hypotheses regarding the shifting of the planet from its rotational axis due to the suddenshift of meteorological patterns, but mainly just to see if they exist.
And of course, hurtling towards the sun will also probably make the world hotter, thereby negating any of the positive effects of reducing the use of fossil fuels to generate electricity. Which won’t help either.

Having given the matter a lot of thought, I think that the only way to combat these terrible implications is to build an equally big wind farm on the other side of the world and have it running the other way.

Lonely on the IoM?

Not me. I have family deluxe, since we were joined by my brother, his wife and their 40kg farting rottweiler this morning. However, obviously, some people don’t have the luxury of companionship (whether or not it’s a flatulent canine) and may require some assistance in avoiding loneliness.

Step forward Google Ads. They identified that there were posts about the Isle of Man on 6000 miles… and that the site was therefore likely to attract people from the Isle of Man. And that some (or more) of those people from the Isle of Man may be lonely, single or ugly. Or all three.

And they suggested: Isle of Man Fish Dating.

I haven’t delved too deeply (if you’ll excuse the pun), as the “woman” with the fishbowl in her hand on the front page scared me off by being too manly. I’m not sure why anyone would want to date a fish, but I have heard that there are certain genres of Japanese “adult entertainment” which revolve around octopuses. Maybe this is similar?
Cod only knows.

The UK Dating Group which runs this odd contact site is also responsible for lovegundating.co.uk which urges you to “Just point and click” and is designed for those individuals who lose it it bit when relationships end.  Especially those with access to firearms. Shockingly, all the faces on the lovegundating site are the same as those on the IOMfishdating site. Maybe they only have 7 members. Still, that’s three happy couples.

And Penny (49), who is destined to remain single. Forever.

Torchwood: Children of Earth

Three minutes until the final episode.

Here’s my best guess. They are about to hand over the 10% of the planet’s children to The 456 and then this giant salmon appears from nowhere and drops onto Thames House. Terrifying.
And there’s a tent and some jam. Lots of jam. And some rabbits.

After the jam and the rabbits… who can say?

But possibly some After Eight mints.
Always a nice way to round an evening off.

Smelly penguins are a thing of the past

Here in the Cape, we’re lucky enough to have a couple of local colonies of the African Penguin (Spheniscus demersus) which one can pop along and visit, should one feel the need. Summer days are obviously nicest to spend in the sun, by the sea, getting up close and personal with these curious birds; with just one rather large drawback – the smell.

Penguins eat fish (which smells) and then they defaecate (which smells). It’s like smell². In short: penguins stink.

The penguins at Boulders Beach (so called because of the huge boulders there) and at Stony Point (so called because it’s all stony)* are a huge draw for the tourists, most of whom go home with a head full of wonderful memories, a camera full of wonderful photographs and a nose full of wonderfully fishy poo. Each time I go and visit Boulders, I am reminded of the need to do something about the dreadful whiff that greets me as I open the car door. And again when I arrive there.

But now I can, thanks to an offer from The Guardian in the UK. The UK isn’t known for its penguins, but there are, of course, several zoos and wildlife parks which have penguins in them. And I’m guessing that’s the market that The Guardian is trying to corner here, with the Penguin Steam Cleaner:

psc

They’ve even made it look a little bit penguinesque, so as not to frighten the birds on approach.

The Penguin Steam Cleaner features:

  • Continuous 1600 watt high-pressure (good for repeated penguin cleaning)
  • Steam exits at 105°C (bit warm, but penguins are well insulated)
  • Powerful jet nozzle, ideal for awkward spaces (beak, webbed feet, wingpits etc)
  • And it removes creased feathers. What more could you ask for?

    It’s expensive, but I reckon that the SanParks, who run Boulders, could get a better deal if they bought a job lot. After all – they have a whole load of penguins to clean.

    I will be pitching my idea to them later this week by getting one of these wonderful devices, “borrowing” a penguin and demonstrating the myriad of benefits a steam-cleaned penguin colony would bring to both their visitor numbers and their beleaguered olfactory systems.

    * I don’t make the rules.

    The Curse of The Stig

    In news that has shocked the world, and just a week after he was revealed as the human face of Top Gear’s “The Stig” , comes the sad news of the death of Michael Jackson. Few would argue that Jackson’s story was amongst the most incredible in modern day history. Having released the best selling album of all time in 1982, Michael went on to win no fewer than seven Formula One Drivers Championships, while successfully defending himself against allegations of child molestation and, less successfully, of being German.

    Jackson’s trademark was the Moonwalk, in which he would go out on slick tyres on a wet track and spin backwards around the circuit, while the wheels would actually appear to be going forwards. He was also famed for wearing one glove while driving (and often, another glove on the other hand). 

    Michael’s family played a large part in his career, most notably in Scream, a 1995 duet with his youngest sister Janet, and also many on-track duels with his younger brother Ralf who drove for Williams. In addition, bizarre allegations surrounded whether Michael and his sister La Toya were actually the same person and, while these rumours were discounted, Ralf did – at one time – drive for Toyota, who was Jackson’s older brother.
    You can see where the confusion arose.

    The most successful part of Michael’s career was spent with Ferrari, during which time he released the critically-acclaimed album Bad. A track on the album, called Speed Demon was his tribute to Jeremy Clarkson, and featured the lyrics:

    I’m Headed For Gambon, It’s On My Mind
    And Coming Round The Follow-Through, I’ve Got To Be On Time

    while Man in the Mirror was seen by many as a dig at Jacques Villeneuve, who regularly finished behind him in races.

    Jackson was also infamous for his repeated visits to plastic sturgeons around the world and is widely believed to be the mastermind behind the tacky “plastic singing fish” craze which swept across America in the late 1990s.
    His nose was also made of plastic, but didn’t sing.

    His final revelation, that he was racing driver “The Stig”, came as a huge surprise to fans of Top Gear and Jackson alike. However, doubts still exist as to the veracity of the claim and many believe that the revelation was nothing more than a publicity stunt. Commentators pointed to the lack of sequins on The Stig’s racing suit and his apparent fear of children.
    However, the transformation of the ‘tamed racing driver’ from black to white while the King of Pop underwent the same change is surely solid evidence that Michael Jackson was indeed The Stig.

    He will be sadly missed. He touched many people (and now they can’t sue him).