Tuesday, 28 January 2014

First Capital Connect: The Hertford Loop

First Capital Connect (Hertford Loop)

[Dr William McCrea in the Chair]
2.30 pm

Nick de Bois (Enfield North) (Con):
It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship for what I believe is the first time, Dr McCrea. I am delighted to see so many colleagues here. I think that we have all linked up on the First Capital Connect line, which shows how integrated we are, and how integrated we would like our transport to be.

Many of us in this place often focus, understandably, on the important political policy shifts that often divide us, despite the fact that sometimes we have common goals and desired outcomes. Those political policy shifts understandably dominate the political agenda, and of course have a significant impact on our constituents, but although they may capture our imaginations and dominate most of our time, this debate is, I suggest, on one of the most pressing issues facing hard-working constituents who commute to work.

It is perhaps worth bearing in mind that a typical commuter from Gordon Hill in my constituency to Moorgate will spend approximately 230 hours a year on a First Capital Connect train, if all runs well.

Mr Charles Walker (Broxbourne) (Con):
If the trains are not running well, as is often the case, they will spend another 230 hours waiting for the train to arrive.

Nick de Bois:
My hon. Friend anticipates me neatly ... [And so on. Click for more.]

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

WIRED: "Mozilla Calls on World to Protect Firefox Browser From the NSA"

Link to web site

"Brendan Eich is the chief technology officer of the Mozilla Foundation, the non-profit behind the Firefox web browser. Among many other things, he oversees the Firefox security team — the software engineers who work to steel the browser against online attacks from hackers, phishers, and other miscreants — and that team is about to get bigger. Much, much bigger.

"In a recent blog post, Eich calls for security researchers across the globe to regularly audit the Firefox source code and create automated systems that can ensure the same code is used to update 18 million machines that run the browser. That’s not an option for other browsers, but it is for Firefox. The code behind the browser is completely open source, meaning anyone can look at it, at any time.

"The move is one more way that the giants of the web are responding to revelations that the National Security Agency is snooping on web traffic via popular services and software."

Saturday, 11 January 2014

The Independent: "Secret report shows how organised crime infiltrated judicial system as well as police, with prison service and HM Revenue & Customs also compromised"

Link to web site

"The entire criminal justice system was infiltrated by organised crime gangs, according to a secret Scotland Yard report leaked to The Independent.

"In 2003 Operation Tiberius found that men suspected of being Britain’s most notorious criminals had compromised multiple agencies, including HM Revenue & Customs, the Crown Prosecution Service, the City of London Police and the Prison Service, as well as pillars of the criminal justice system including juries and the legal profession.

"The strategic intelligence scoping exercise – 'ratified by the most senior management' at the Met – uncovered jurors being bought off or threatened to return not-guilty verdicts; corrupt individuals working for HMRC, both in the UK and overseas; and 'get out of jail free cards' being bought for £50,000."

Thursday, 9 January 2014

"The UK remains on course to retain its throwaway culture"

"As a new government report on waste fails to make a splash, the UK's unsustainable economy looks likely to continue to generate excessive waste, writes Tim Cooper"

Link to The Guardian

"Issuing a waste prevention programme at the peak of the Christmas shopping period might have been a master stroke by the coalition government. What better time to highlight and address the excesses of consumerism? Presents that are cheap and cheerful, designed for the moment rather than a long life, and little more expensive than the glossy, excessive packaging that supposedly communicates the giver's generous feelings towards the recipient?

"Yet the timing has proven less successful. Far from hitting the headlines, the coalition government's new report, Prevention is Better than Cure, has evidently been wholly disregarded by national broadcast and print media alike."

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

"David Cameron 'very much suspects' climate change is behind recent storms"

Link to The Guardian

"David Cameron yesterday angered some in his party when he said the storms and flooding causing havoc across Britain could have been caused by climate change. 

"During his weekly questions in the Commons, the prime minister said he suspected global warming could be responsible for an increase in extreme weather events, including the recent storms that have left seven people dead and hundreds of homes under water.

"... The prime minister said:

"Colleagues across the house can argue about whether that is linked to climate change or not. I very much suspect that it is. The point is that whatever one's view, it makes sense to invest in flood defences … it makes sense to get information out better, and we should do all of those things."

New Scientist: "Electricity use drops as UK passes 'peak light bulb'"

Link to web site

"We have passed peak light bulb. The average amount of electricity needed annually to light a UK home fell from 720 kilowatt-hours in 1997 to 508 kWh in 2012, a drop of 29 per cent.

"Brenda Boardman of the University of Oxford's Environmental Change Institute says this is largely down to the phasing out of inefficient incandescent light bulbs. 'Because of the amount we are switching to compact fluorescent light bulbs and LEDs, there is a huge drop in demand,' she says.

"From 2007 to 2012, the UK's peak electricity demand fell from 61.5 to 57.5 gigawatts. The benefits of efficient light bulbs are good news for the UK, which will have to work hard to maintain its electricity supply."