313 - Snippets

This page is currently a collection point for stuff I'd like to explore further. So for example the content now in Essays 314, 315319 and 320 started here.


Having been presented with the 3-tier system of levels of coronavirus lockdown —which I think ought to be a ten-point scale as explained in essay 318—I looked to see if there is such a scale in existence. I found the CDC biohazard 4-point scale, which puts SARS-CoV-2 at level 3. I found a 5-point scale in the Telegraph which says it is quoting the Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC) - this is the JBC' five-point alert level. 

There are five levels:

  • Level 1: Covid-19 is not known to be present in the UK
  • Level 2: Covid-19 is present in the UK, but the number of cases and transmission is low
  • Level 3: a Covid-19 epidemic is in general circulation
  • Level 4: a Covid-19 epidemic is in general circulation; transmission is high or rising exponentially
  • Level 5: as level 4 and there is a material risk of healthcare services being overwhelmed.

This is the telgraph's interpretation of that same list.

Level one (green) For our lives to return to normal, we would need no transmission of infections in England. This situation is currently only foreseen in the event of a successful vaccine being administered across the country. Oxford University hopes to have a vaccine ready by as early as September. Likely response: No venue closures; clinically vulnerable able to leave homes.   

Level two The Government would need to be confident that virus transmission was at minimal levels. Likely response: Shops and restaurants could be allowed to open with social distancing measures. Supermarkets have already successfully implemented social distancing and restaurants are considering ways to space out tables. Clinically vulnerable people are likely to be advised to remain indoors.

Level three (orange) The number of new infections would not be increasing significantly. The reproduction rate, or R number, would be below one, meaning that each infected person is transmitting the infection to less than one other, on average. Likely response: Partial lockdown, although with significant relaxations compared to level four.

Level four    The virus is not contained, with the R number above one in at least some areas. However, as is the situation now, hospitals would be able to cope with the levels of admissions.  Likely response: Nationwide lockdown imposed by the Government, with the vulnerable shielded and those who can work from home asked to do so. During the UK lockdown, Britain was at this level.    

Level five (red)  Infection spreading at a highly dangerous rate, with the R number significantly above one. The NHS would be overwhelmed with patients, with many hospitals over capacity. This is the situation the Government has managed to avoid so far with it's 'Protect the NHS' strategy. Likely response: Nightingale hospitals re-opened to provide more beds with ventilators; offices and factories shut.  

So I wondered if there might be a case for a non-compliance scale. I'm thinking of individual behaviour, not corporate. There are high levels at which non-compliance is criminal, there are medium levels where it is likely there will be some consequence and there are low levels where often there will be non consequence at all, even if there ought to be. I was thinking of equivalents to the Beaufort scale for wind, which I learned at school as having eight points, then ten and today I discover that hurricane is rated as Beaufort 12 and that my previous understanding has been largely wrong. Even that there is an extension up to 17, perhaps compatible with Hurricane grades 1 to 5.

This is then my first offering for the Cummings non-compliance scale. I expect it to flex, in the sense that I expect to make adjustment as there is reaction from the limited readership I have.  I'd like the levels to indicate the point at which one's behaviour affects others, but the whole point of compliance in the sense I intend is that the perpetrator has no regard for the consequences to others; at all levels what occurs is 'this rule does not apply to me'; the only gradations are in the measure of the consequence upon others, though there is an argument that the levels ought to be defined by the consequences on being found out, called out, or some active equivalent.

Take speed limits as a case in point; many people exceed the limits in the UK. On the motorway this can largely be described as disagreement at where 70mph is, at what version of '70' is acceptable, or what by how much one dare exceed 70 and be sure that you'll not be told off, let alone be penalised. How do you feel about doing 90mph on an empty motorway? It is clearly breaking the law, but if the motorway is genuinely empty (think 0300 sort of time) is it doing any harm at all? No of course we can't change the law, but who is going to know? And so you argue with yourself. The same conversation in a 20mph limit is not at all the same. Far too many people designate 20 inappropriately and a different and larger group disagree with the designation. Yet if properly applied it should be properly followed (as I think all speed limits should be applied and followed). Doing 26 in a 20 is provably dangerous (essay 156.). The 50mph limit through empty roadworks is one of the routinely ignored ones, which makes it perhaps level 1 rather than 2. Opinion?

0 This person is fully compliant. There are no rules that need to be followed, beyond those such as "Breathe".

1  The sort of instruction where part of your reaction includes querying whether anyone has the right to make such instruction. The sort of instruction where if you've missed the notice, you'd not think of what it requires as 'normal' behaviour. Sometimes 'no photographs' fits this. E.g., Do not walk on the grass.

2  The sort of rule that ought to be obvious, sensible and reasonable behaviour. Speed limits belong here, though one suspects that generally we would disagree that all speed limits are equal.  Failing to apply the rule of six because the household is seven people (parents and five kids)  and you all go for a walk. E.g. Take your litter home. 

3 At this point, the assumption that you are compliant has an effect on the behaviour of others and in turn that behaviour of others generates potential danger to you. So in this case we can place, for example the 50 mph speed limits through roadworks, where you 'know' that the roadworks are empty and the signs are irrelevant, so you're going to continue at 70mph. But sharing the road with you are people who don't 'know' this, such that now there is a speed difference of 20mph or more, making both parties dangerous to the other. The distinction between level 3 and level 4 is a matter of reflected risk and in terms of the example given, would be a reflection of traffic density.

So level 3 is where there is a rule for a good reason, but a section of the population expected to abide says this reason is invalid (which is indeed the case with all these levels). For level 3 the difference is relatively mild and for levels 4 and 5 the differences become more extreme. I think the measure of which of levels 3-5 applies depends upon the consequences of the behaviour being proved wrong

4 Escalation somehow; far from certain what generates the next distinction. Sensible speed limits go here, especially 30 and 40mph. Sensible, valid, appropriate, justifiable rules and regulations; more, that non-compliance is demonstrably dangerous to others, particularly those assuming that you are obeying the rules. Thus, that assumption of your compliance makes them a danger to you. So a 20mph limit where kids are actually playing and where kids understand and expect all traffic to be doing 20mph makes their behaviour predictable and makes your disobedience very dangerous to both you and to them.A 20mph limit at the dead of night might be level 3 but the same ground at school open or close times is level 4 or 5. I think here is where discarding needles on the beach belongs, deliberately breaking bottles on the road on the way home after closing time.

5  This is where the Cummings moment belongs; something you do that should get you fired. Margaret Ferrier and trains, too. Stuff that is borderline illegal, thoroughly irresponsible and endangers others in unspecified ways. The sort of person who does this would argue that this is not level 5 but level 1 or 2. Exceeding 40 in a 30, for example.

6 The escalation here is that whatever you did would get you fired if the boss heard about it.

7 And here you'd go to court if the authorities knew about it; that's not police involvement, but council.

8  Here you'd go to jail if the authorities knew about it. Being more precise, the police charge you with a criminal offence.

9  Well into criminality here, where I'd place rape and murder

10 Extreme behaviour; treason, mass murder. Total rejection of all rules.

I wonder if an individual can declare their compliance level; that is, I wonder whether we are consistent at all and if so, whether those consistencies might give us ways of defining or refining such a scale. I am largely unaware of rules I choose to ignore — a two sided comment, for there are rule with which I disagree but follow and rules I do not follow from ignorance of such restriction. There are general opinions, matters of societal acceptance, with which  I disagree markedly, so there are quite a few unwritten rules I choose to ignore wholeheartedly. But then I also think that is part of our culture, to be allowed to be different and to be tolerant of those differences.


https://www.theguardian.com/money/2011/jul/02/dilnot-funding-old-age   Dilnot report to read  but this explains what one needs to know beforehand. Of course, it went nowhere; it is just one of those opportunities that UK.gov won't get around to sorting out. And of course Covid simply underlines that nothing was done. The 10 recommendations. What went wrong.



International Energy Report 2020 summary here. More required reading; it is only seven pages of summary.

With sharp cost reductions over the past decade, solar PV is consistently cheaper than new coal- or gas- fired power plants in most countries, and solar projects now offer some of the lowest cost electricity ever seen.    Hydropower remains the largest renewable source of electricity, but solar is the main driver of growth as it sets new records for deployment each year after 2022, followed by onshore and offshore wind.    Electricity grids could prove to be the weak link in the transformation of the power sector, with implications for the reliability and security of electricity supply.   In the absence of a larger shift in policies, it is still too early to foresee a rapid decline in oil demand.  Natural gas fares better than other fossil fuels, but different policy contexts produce strong variations.   Reaching net zero globally by 2050, as in the NZE2050, would demand a set of dramatic additional actions over the next ten years.

My take on this; we're all involved, we all have to do quite a lot and even then we're rather likely to see most of another 2ºC rise worldwide. As money moves away from fossil fuels, unevenly, very large energy businesses must adapt very quickly. The comments elsewhere (319) by me on whether the infrastructure can cope are found here too (no, it clearly can't).

A thought: is it possible to estimate how much energy os required to, for example, make a wind turbine. and how does that cost when applied to the large numbers of turbones the UK is contemplating? Like, do we have the resource? How would we carbon tax that construction?


A question often asked on Quora is about 'average running' times. Here's what Runner's World has to say:

Sure, you've been training to run a faster 5K at your Saturday morning parkrun, but are you faster than the average runner? To find out more, we took a look at recent data collated by RunRepeat, who analysed 107.9 million race results, from over 70 thousand events in 209 countries between 1986 and 2018 and asked them to share the UK specific data with Runner's World. 

The average 5K finish time in the UK is 00:33:54. For male runners, the average finish time is 00:29:08 and for female runners, the average finish time is 00:38:12. What is the average 10K finish time in the UK? 

Over the 10K distance, the average finish time for all UK runners is 00:58:08. For male runners in the UK, the average 10K finish time is 00:53:38 and for female runners in the UK, the average 10K finish time is 01:03:18. 

Over the past ten years, race participation got more popular, with a 164% growth in the UK alone. Yet unsurprisingly, as the fields got larger, the average pace got slower. In the 5K distance, the average pace got 00:02:57 slower, and in the 10K distance, the average pace got 00:02:51 slower. 

As I have written before, this is the average time for the (very) restricted population of those that run, those that have offered themselves to be measured against the clock. [Timed run, not a race; the difference is subtle but important.] It is not at all easy to estimate how many runners there might be, but there were around 10,000 (not)parkrunners in the UK last week and there were 5 million registered parkrunners worldwide in 2018. Source. (Not) park run because we're not to do it, so people post their best time from the week, measured by themselves. 11,000 people got their parkrun barcode since March 2020. There are almost 53,000 males registered with runbritain, 64,000 in total. These are, generally, what one would describe as club runners. I looked at our last published parkrun result from March 2020 and 150/250 were unregistered. A very small sample, but that might suggest the 64,000 registered runbritain numbers would increase to beyond 100,000 runners in total. In a population of 67 million, that is paltry. In the last parkrun I did myself, only 37/250 were affiliated, suggesting that the running population for the nation might be nearer half a million. The number of women registered is very small, but the number at parkrun is large, much nearer half. Of the 250 in parkrun 155 at Blackpool, 130 were male, 110 female, 30 were not known or unregistered, total 270 and numbers counted fast by me, so a little unreliable. But at least 40% were female on a date in February. One might say that the biggest estimate of the running population is around half a million, and it could be twice that. Even so, that is at best around the 1% level in the population, when one might expect a reasonable target to be more like 5-10%.

I found a site exploring how many might run a mile, here. Self-reporting said 60% thought they could (28% said they could not, 12% would be slower than 4mph). Draw the line at 5mph and we're down to 43%. And that, of course, assumes that the sample used was valid for the population you're thinking of extrapolating to. This was Americans, whose nation admits that around 1% can run and is quite possibly data transferable to Britain or even to Europe.

RunRepeat has some interesting data. While not explaining who their population is (that is, to whom it applies), they say 35 mins is 'average' for 5km, 64 mins for 10km, 2:03 for the Half and 4:30 for the marathon. Gender adjustment to make. The old fit git tapers rapidly at distance according to these figures, somewhere in the top 20% for both 5km and 10km – though I'm assuming this is when I have prepared for race conditions.


I note that the idea of the 15 minute city is spreading slowly. My article was, it would appear, early. The spread of pedestrianised spaces causes binary response, extremely for or extremely against; the viable issue is the lack of consultation, but at heart the decision is between improving the street space for those who live there or for those who wish to traffic that space (at some speed). This reduces to acceptance or denial of the use of the car, or, if you like, right of access to tarmac, 'right to road'. If we were to accept that all rat-runs were to be closed and that therefore all routes—up to the point at which you turn into 20 mph zone because you're within the odd hundred metres of target—were on more 'major' roads, those designated as thoroughfares perhaps, then we'd also be accepting of traffic loads. These loads would be permitted because the aim is to persuade you to not use the car, to restrict the car to 'permitted' spaces only, so as to (dramatically) change the way we view that form of transport. This has possibilities, but in turn demands that there be sufficient parking space. And perhaps it implies prodigious provision of (cheap, even free) public transport. In a C-19 world public transit is failed (scary, unused, crowded, unsafe, empty; conflicting ideas) and in a pollution-sensitive world we need to do everything we can to encourage localised (15-minute) transport, which could be to walk, to cycle, to use public transport or publicly (public-ally) available transport. That also presumes a load of other infrastructure that moves stuff (people included) between hubs and it does nothing at all to preserve business and leisure in any version of countryside. For example, I don't see any form of public transport taking me to or from a walking route in the hills. Matters of socialisation and leisure seem to conflict with this ideal.


Trump has Covid.

Just desserts, one might hope. Three days later he is declared clear. I am unable to square this with the frequent observation that incubation is 7-14 days. Meanwhile the White House is a known source of the virus. Lies and obfuscation. I noted that around the 20th Oct, Melania missed some meetings, being somehow not well enough. The Donald was out of action a day or two, only.  

Trustable Reporting. News broke 01Oct and by 09Oct is declared clear. But no-one close to the resident is admitting this must have started earlier to finish to quickly and the spread within the staff is widely reported. I wonder if this will ever be adequately explained. If not, it will simply be added to the nest of lies and half-truths. This is disinformation; we are being dissed. Melania's position.



Money Laundering in Britain

I read about Britain being something of a centre for money-laundering [1] at the time it was published (July 2019) and, stupidly, thought not much more about it. This article explains what it is that has turned Britain into a place quite perfect for rendering any ill-gotten gains 'clean'. Do read it for yourself, but here's a short version.

Back in 2011, the business secretary, Vince Cable ( tehs ame who was susequently Liberal party leader) decided to reform, to 'open up', Companies House. As a result of this so-called reform, anyone, anywhere with an internet connection, could set up a UK company on the very cheap – and no-one would check any part of the information. Indeed, one of the very few prosecuted cases was that of one of the very few people who has tried to alert the authorities to the problem. Companies house simply doesn't have the resources to do any checking, but then that is the fault of their funding and remit. Do read it for yourself.

I've crossed a rubicon of sorts and no longer give trust to any part of the machinery of national government but the ONS. What is described in source [2] pads out the story a little more. In 2019 I shrugged and moved on, thinking that the authorities would read, react and fix this. Now, my thinking is rather the reverse and I wonder instead quite who is supplying whom with rewards for continuing to turn a blind eye.  Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?, as Juvenal put it, but I want something stronger, since I want the government not just held to account, I want the deceits stopped at source – as many as are found.

I find this situation coupled, in my mind, with the position of "the most expensive MP", Robert Halfon in his repeated campaigns to prevent any increase in fuel duty. Not least the proposal for feebates [4,5]. See bonus malus.  I wonder who benefits from his campaigns, and therefore who funds them;  I wonder how Halfon himself benefits, since I simply cannot believe he does this only out of conviction. Such is my jaundiced view of the nation state.

[1] https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jul/05/how-britain-can-help-you-get-away-with-stealing-millions-a-five-step-guide

[2] https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/sep/10/uk-corrupt-nation-earth-brexit-money-laundering

[3] https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/the-budget-puts-petrol-in-the-tories-political-tank if you can see it. try here instead https://capx.co/can-the-tories-win-over-the-workers/

[4] https://bettertransport.org.uk/sites/default/files/research-files/Feebates_report.pdf and 

[5] https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/sep/04/treasury-raise-fuel-duty-chancellors-freeze and 

[6] https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/sep/09/petrol-and-diesel-cars-could-cost-up-to-1500-more-under-proposals


Solar Panel Update

I discovered, today, that the stoppage of the Feed-in Tariff scheme (FIT) back in March 2019 has been replaced with the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) as of January 2020. If this was announced in Jan 2019, as described, it was done very quietly. I rang my supplier about the whole issue of giving away electricity to the grid for no return and enquired of several other sources, but nothing came back with any positives. I only found others like me frustrated at the situation. I certainly did not find news such as at [7], or I would have reacted immediately.          

I wait to see if my application is acceptable and will report back. The legislation demands that suppliers pay something, but does not stipulate a rate. The only good news is that one may 'sell' surplus power to someone different from who it is that one buys it. So if I buy from EDF, say, I may apply to sell to E.ON – with good reason, since EDF buys at 3.5p while E.ON does so at 5.5p per KWh. One innocently assumes they are buying the same thing, measured the same way. [8] shows a table. My previous attempt at solar panels yielded 50% of I think 9p per unit via the FIT scheme, right between these figures — and I recovered perhaps as much as £700 in a year, though most of that was realistically subsidy. We will see and I shall report. As yet I am not even certain that our meters record what we export, and though one of the smart-meter gadgets (the IHD, in-home display) does show that we're exporting, it doesn't record running totals. I really cannot be bothered to argue, since my opinion is of no value: it is only the official attitude that counts, so if I do the work that shows me what we've exported, or even succeeded in not buying, that figure will only serve to annoy me. When and if there is a return for supplying the grid has little to do with what I want. I am happy that the system has been returned to something approximating fairness (something is better than nothing); I am unhappy that I've missed the whole summer's gain for no return and I am at the same time happy at the prospect of not having to try so hard to use energy when we are generating. I have been cultivating the habit of running around the house turning stuff on (and off a little later) so as to use excess power rather than give it away.

 DJS  20201007. Nothing to add 1022.

[7] https://www.energylivenews.com/2019/10/23/smart-export-guarantee-seg-to-replace-feed-in-tariff-fit-payments/

[8] https://www.solar-trade.org.uk/seg/


Email: David@Scoins.net      © David Scoins 2018