Thursday, 31 October 2013

BBC: "Homer Simpson's scary maths problems"

Poke him in the eye for web site

"For a character living in two dimensions, grasping the idea of life in 3D can be tough - especially if the character in question is Homer Simpson. But one Halloween episode of 'The Simpsons' forces him to confront the concept, and gives viewers a mathematical workout too.

"... Meanwhile, in Springfield, Professor Frink is giving Chief Wiggum and others an impromptu introduction to the mathematics of higher dimensions, in order to explain what happened to Homer when he disappeared through a portal. Of course, the notion of a third dimension is baffling from Chief Wiggum's two-dimensional perspective, so Frink draws a diagram:

Professor Frink:
"Here is an ordinary square."
Chief Wiggum:
"Whoa, whoa! Slow down, egghead!"

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Evening Standard: "Boris bikes to go electric next year as part of major expansion of London cycle scheme"

Link to web site

"Several hundred battery-powered bicycles will be on London’s streets next year in a pilot scheme that breaks new ground in the UK. The bikes will be introduced in some of the capital’s hilliest parts, where steep climbs put many off taking their bike or even walking.

"Earmarked corridors will run through Muswell Hill, Crouch End and Alexandra Palace, with a base station at Finsbury Park Tube. Boris bike-style docking stations in these areas will double as electric charging points for the bicycles.

"Haringey council leader Claire Kober said:
"We’re really excited to be Britain’s first e-bikes borough.

"This project with the Mayor underpins our commitment to being one of London’s greenest boroughs, and to promoting and rewarding greener travel through improved cycling facilities and sustainable transport across Haringey."

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Independent on Sunday: "Let's play God: The scientific experiments that might save the world (or destroy it...)"

"Fake volcanoes, giant space mirrors, oceans of iron filings… One of these ideas might save our planet from the worst effects of global warming – or destroy it. Memphis Barker reports on the rise of geoengineering – and the rift it has opened in the scientific community"

Link to web site

"Roughly every six years the IPCC lays out the latest climate science in layman's terms, so policy-makers around the world can understand – and base policies on – accurate information about mankind's effect on rising temperatures.

"The 2013 report consolidated the belief that we are the dominant cause of warming to 95 per cent certainty. It acknowledged that the rate of surface-temperature rise had slowed in the past 15 years – but suggested that heating continues unabated in the oceans, and made it clear that short-term variations do not reflect long-term trends.

"Sea levels are rising faster than previously projected. Ice is melting faster, too. It is 'very likely' that extreme weather events will soon strike more regularly. And what we are doing now, the IPCC stated, is 'irreversible on a multi-century to millennial timescale'.

Friday, 18 October 2013

Barnet Times: "Pinkham Way Alliance wants more oversight over the North London Waste Authority"

Link to web site

"Campaigners have called for more scrutiny of a waste authority after it scrapped controversial plans to build a huge waste plant.

"The Pinkham Way Alliance wants more oversight over the North London Waste Authority (NWLA) which handles waste from seven local authorities, including Barnet, Enfield and Haringey.

"It had proposed to build a multi-million pound waste disposal facility in Pinkham Way, Bounds Green, as part of a £3billion, 30-year strategy."

Thursday, 17 October 2013

"Your next Piccadilly Line train in 2 minutes is this thing." (Possibly.)

Link to Railway Gazette

"Siemens has unveiled a full-sized mock-up of the train which it intends to offer when Transport for London calls tenders for new fleets for London Underground's small-profile tube lines.

"Part of Siemens' Inspiro family, the articulated design for London would feature wide through gangways, air-conditioning and an option for fully-automated operation.

"The trains would use the same traction package as the Inspiro rolling stock being delivered to the Warszawa metro, but would feature a smaller-profile body suitable for London. This would include a distinctively styled cab with a front end not dissimilar to the LU roundel logo. Industrial design for the trains has been undertaken by Atlantic Design, while the mock-up was produced by Curvature Group."

The West Australian: "Outdoor air pollution a leading cause of cancer: World Health Organisation"

Link to web site

" 'The air we breathe has become polluted with a mixture of cancer-causing substances,' said Kurt Straif of the WHO's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). 'We now know that outdoor air pollution is not only a major risk to health in general, but also a leading environmental cause of cancer deaths.'

"The IARC said a panel of top experts had found 'sufficient evidence' that exposure to outdoor air pollution caused lung cancer and raised the risk of bladder cancer.

"... The predominant sources of outdoor air pollution were transport, power generation, emissions from factories and farms, and residential heating and cooking, the agency said."

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Haringey Journal: "Waste plan battle is ‘not over’ say Muswell Hill campaigners after wider scheme is shelved"

Link to web site

"A campaign group which fought to prevent a massive waste plant being built on the outskirts of Muswell Hill has warned the battle is not over, despite plans for the wider scheme being shelved.

"The North London Waste Authority (NLWA) announced last Friday it was ending its procurement process – which would have seen it grant a £3-4billion 30-year contract to manage north London’s municipal waste – to look for a 'less expensive solution' based on the continued use of its existing Edmonton facility.

"It is news which has been welcomed by politicians and residents alike."

New Scientist: "The oceans are heating, acidifying and choking"

Link to web site

"We know the oceans are warming. We know they are acidifying. And now, to cap it all, it turns out they are suffocating, too. A new health check on the state of the oceans warns that they will have lost as much as 7 per cent of their oxygen by the end of the century.

"The cascade of chemical and biological changes now under way could see coral reefs irreversibly destroyed in 50 to 100 years, with marine ecosystems increasingly taken over by jellyfish and toxic algal blooms.

"The review is a repeat of a study two years ago by the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO), a coalition of scientists. It concludes that things have become worse since the first study."

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Jean Lambert, Green MEP: "I welcome decision to scrap rubbish plan"

"LONDON Euro-MP Jean Lambert has welcomed the decision to scrap plans to privatize waste services in north London, in the face of opposition from community, environmental and human rights groups.

"The planned £4.7bn outsourcing of the North London Waste Authority (NLWA) operations has been put on hold in the face of dwindling local authority budgets - and keeping the services in the public sector is expected to save as much as £900m.

Ms Lambert, the capital's Green Party MEP, said:
"I am delighted that the North London Waste Authority has decided to ditch the proposals to outsource their entire operations. This is a massive victory for local campaigners.

"Now the North London Waste Authority should think about using existing sites more effectively, working to reduce household waste levels, and building smaller sites, closer to where the waste is being produced, where these prove absolutely necessary rather than developing systems that rely on ongoing waste production."

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Barnet Times: "The North London Waste Authority rebuffs victory claims by Pinkham Way Alliance"

Link to web site

"A waste authority has denied claims that campaigners had anything to do with a decision to ditch controversial plans to build a huge waste plant.

"The North London Waste Authority had planned to build a multi-million pound waste disposal facility in Pinkham Way, Bounds Green.

"The plant was part of a £3billion, 30-year strategy for handling waste from seven local authorities, including Barnet, Enfield and Haringey."

ITN News: Pinkham Way

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Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Evening Standard: "X-Factor star and mums' army help defeat giant waste plant in north London"

Link to web site

"Plans to build Europe’s biggest waste plant in north London have been shelved following strong opposition from residents including a 'mums’ army' led by an X Factor finalist.

"North London Waste Authority (NLWA) wanted to build a 24-hour waste plant at Pinkham Way, bordering Barnet, Haringey and Enfield.

"The facility would have processed up to 300,000 tons of rubbish a year from seven boroughs, but opponents say the site is within half a mile of seven schools and 100,000 homes."