380 - New Year Snippets | Scoins.net | DJS

380 - New Year Snippets

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War in Ukraine

I am finding it very difficult to engage with this as a news event. It seemed obvious to me that the inaction over the Crimea would be repeated. The only question was how soon the hang-wringing would occur. I am very clear in my own mind that Russia should have no say in how the Ukrainians choose to run their country, just as I am very clear that invasion is a wrong move. I am ambivalent about refugees; yes, they need support, but so do those who stay behind to attempt to preserve their country. Not all refugees are escaping rats. I am very uncertain about the validity of hosting a Ukrainian in my house, but that is at least half due to failing to trust anything this government says.

An article in the Conversation [1] suggests that Russia cannot afford this war. It suggests that the market judgement is that Russia is close to defaulting on its debts. Those debts are relatively small; the Russian economy is stagnant (see Renaud Foucart's response). Sanctions have some effect and, if perpetuated for long enough, would reduce Russia's trade to a short list.  Read [2]. Big issue for Germany with its enormous purchase of gas and the Nord-Stream pipeline(s). Less so for the remainder of Europe, but still a significant problem. This just might push us into ecological action that avoids fossil fuels, but that (yet again) requires our government to grab an idea and stick with it: it is far more likely to do nothing, whatever noise is made.

Any collapse of Russia assumes that sanctions cause collapse. North Korea and Iran continue, so 'collapse' needs explanation and expansion. I have no doubt that a shortage of Russian oil will cause renewed sales of Iranian oil. Not collapse but poverty. It is possible that China becomes Russia's biggest customer, making Russia remarkably dependent upon the PRC. I find it more believable that Russia simply becomes (more) introverted and independent, while continuing to interfere overseas. So one desirable would be to effectively close the Russian borders, especially the European border. I do not see this occurring.

A measure of 'collapse' might be GDP per capita: Iran's is 20% of Russia's, which is 20% of Germany's.

A term one might want to investigate is import substitution.

One argument in support of Putin blundering relates the numbers of lost soldiers. In Afghanistan. 15,000 (Russian) lives were lost, over 9 years. Already, this Ukrainian intervention has cost 12,000. This would be worthwhile only if the gains are not subsequently lost. I'd like to check on territory currently occupied by Russia; perhaps chunks of Moldova, the Crimea,  the North Caucasus, bits of Moldova and, effectively, Byelorussia.

What bothers me, expressed in passing in the first paragraph here, is that the inaction over the Crimea told Putin that such behaviour succeeds. I see no incentive for him to desist. He takes land, holds it and everyone else adjusts their position, moaning the while. But he continues to hold the extra land, so there is little reason to hand it back and no-one seems to be asking if there are costs attached to holding the land meanwhile.

[1]  https://theconversation.com/the-cost-of-war-how-russias-economy-will-struggle-to-pay-the-price-of-invading-ukraine-178826?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Latest%20from%20The%20Conversation%20for%20March%2014%202022%20-%202233522156&utm_content=Latest%20from%20The%20Conversation%20for%20March%2014%202022%20-%202233522156+CID_8575e0822a201173f0d9bdc2610502f3&utm_source=campaign_monitor_uk&utm_term=The%20cost%20of%20war%20how%20Russias%20economy%20will%20struggle%20to%20pay%20the%20price%20of%20invading%20Ukraine

[2] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0014292120302178

[3] https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/03/ukraine-is-winning-war-russia/627121/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=atlantic-daily-newsletter&utm_content=20220321&utm_term=The%20Atlantic%20Daily


20220202 or 2/2/22, was, conveniently, a Twos-day. 

Consequences of the closing of Russia's borders are likely to include a lack of movement of money and materials. That includes a range of fossil fuels from Russia into Europe, such that the Nord-Gas pipeline into Germany will be stopped or shut. It also, rather to my surprise, means another hike in oil prices (not only gas, but gasoline too). Whether or not Russian oil comes to Europe or Britain matters not if the effect is that general supply becomes reduced the price will rapidly rise. Already £1.50 per litre is a 'good' price and I think we'll see it rise past £2 if this struggle (and therefore the attached sanctions) continues any length of time measured in months. Only rarely do fossil fuel prices fall at all, so we might as well view this as a general incentive to reduce gas demand and petrol/diesel demand. Maybe we won't be going on the long drive(s) we had planned.

The boss is concerned for the few eastern European students, specifically the Russians in school. One assumes that travel to and fro would be difficult, such as flights passing through a relatively neutral country (maybe India or China, but perhaps sites in the Middle East) and that, maybe, staying put (much as through the pandemic) is going to be the safe assumption. We will see.


Stupid, stupid. I read x∊ℤ as a complex number. z is a common choice of a complex number, z=a+bi, z=1+i. Unconsciously until now I have wanted the capital letter further down the alphabet to be more complicated classes of numbers, as in ℕ, ℚ, ℝ. So Using ℂ for complex goes against the lettered trend. I can remove the problem by learning the word zahlen, the German for number. 

Original problem was to solve 2|x| + (-1)ˣ = 17

ℤ is the set of all integers, ℕ is the natural numbers (including 0 sometimes,  ℕ⁺ defintely excludes 0), ℚ is rational numbers,  ℝ is the real numbers, ℂ is complex numbers. Of those used less often, I found irrational numbers expressed as ℙ, 𝔽 and ℚ' (not-ℚ, ℚ prime, ℚ⋃ℚ'=ℝ). I think the last of these makes the most sense. There are quarternions, ℍ; and octonions, 𝕆.  I'm a little surprised that there is confusion and that there is no convention for a transcendental number (I think all transcendentals are irrational). Adding two irrationals may (!!) not be irrational. 

Here's a fine diagram offering a glimmer of understanding, c/o wikipedia.

Quarternions: 3-d complex a+bi+cj+dk and think of i,j,k as being unit vectors along mutually perpendicular axes. ℍ for Hamilton. Fundamentally, i²=j²=k²= ijk=-1.

Octonions: Obscure, but maybe so fundamental that we ought to study them a lot more. There are eight fundamental unit octonions, e₀ to e₇; to this one must add a multiplication table, though there are many (480) possible tables. For example one might make e₃e₄=e₇ and  e₄e₇=e₃ while  e₇e₄=-e₃   (because 4+7=3 mod 8). This is an 8-d space, one real dimension and seven imaginary, just as the quaternion is one real and three imaginary. Octonions generate descriptions of algebras not previously explored and provide further understanding of the well-understood (we thought) other algebras. It seemed immediately clear to me to wonder whether octonions (or some similar multidimensional algebra) is what we need to explain quantum theory. Provided we use sufficient dimensions, of course. If octonions are adequate, then finding the right multiplication matrix is going to require an awful lot of expensive research, though my understanding is that the work should be repeatable, which means we don't have to do it many times to be sure we have a piece of the puzzle.

Solution: for x∈ℤ, (-1)ˣ is ±1, so 2|x| is 16 or 18, so x is ±8 and ±9. Not at all hard, though it does look it. 
Unless you allow x to stop being merely an integer. Suppose x is complex, x=a+bi; 2|a+bi| + (-1)^(a+bi) = 17. Replace -1 with i² and we have 2|a+bi| + (i²)^(a+bi) = 17, so 2|a+bi| + (i)^(2a+2bi) = 17 and then we have to find things to do with i^i, which I can write as  iᴵ.
Let's consider iᴵ.   Any eᴵˣ = cosx + isinx so when eᴵˣ = i, sinx is one and cosx is zero, so x is π/2 + 2kπ, k
∈ℤ. S   So iᴵ = e^(-π/2 + 2kπ) which is entirely real.   For k=0,  iᴵ= e^(-π/2) which is roughly 0.208. The next value, k=1, is e^(3π/2) = 111.3 and for k=-1, e^(-5π/2)=3.9x10⁻⁴

So in 2|a+bi| + (i)^(2a+2bi) = 17 we should look at the second term,  (i)^(2a+2bi)  = (i²)^a +  iᴵ^2b = (-1)^a + iᴵ^2b. This too is only real, which means that the only imaginary term is in the first term, so that  2b = 0. The real part,  2|a| +(i^i)^2b + (i^2)^a = 17 reduces immediately (b=0 and (anything non-zero)^0 =1) to  2|a| + 1 + (-1)^a = 17, which suggests that a = 15/2 or 17/2. Which is great until you try to evaluate that, because( -1)^a = (-1)^15/2 = i^15 = -i, which means we have an unresolved imaginary part coupled with a value of x=a=±8. I think this means we reject both complex and non-integer real values of x, leaving only the solutions we have found already.

Which is a pity, because I'd guessed there to be solutions near to 8±15i and 15±8i, since these with have length of 17.


Related topic, in matrices, that (3 4 )(7 2) = (37  42)
                                                  (8 7 )(
4 9)     (84  79).  I am looking for others......


We have changes to the Highway Code brought in this month, much of which is misrepresented. There is a hierarchy of road users, from the most vulnerable (now at the top) to the least. Cyclists are (again) encouraged to use a whole lane, especially at junctions. Cyclists have always been encouraged to choose between road and cycle lane (but that doesn't permit pavement use, say I, unless it is designated as a cycle path too). There's a small but significant change to the rules about pedestrians crossing the road; where previously one gave way as soon as a pedestrian had begun to cross, one now does that if they're waiting to cross. As [31] says, good drivers won't see any change at all. Drivers are encouraged to use the Dutch reach, using the off hand, to open car doors, so that they're looking in the right direction, behind the car. One has been careful forever over opening doors into traffic, but this is still a good idea.

I wonder if telling people that no-one has noticed the changes is merely a way to make more of us aware that there is an update. If so, I think it has worked. In practice, very little has actually changed. The Highway Code has had an edit and tiny changes have occurred. I wonder whether this will, in time, be seen as a cry of "wolf!"  Meanwhile, I also wonder if the hierarchical change is actually the fundamental here. If I am right, then my next thought is that this is offering itself to abuse, particularly from the vulnerable, none of whom pay insurance. For example, if traffic is required to make way for a pedestrian, then suddenly those people who choose to cross the road in (inappropriate, inconsiderate ways that cause drivers to say swearwords) will see themselves as given carte-blanche to behave ever more so. In turn this largely adds to the incentives to stay away from built-up areas, i.e. places with pedestrians and bicycles. Further, the use of e-bikes, already edging to dangerous—mostly because their brakes are nothing like as good as their motors—creates a whole new category of road-user at risk. In the hierarchy, these ought to give way to human-powered cycles, but I am already certain that the current rulings make no distinction. Humans being the selfish bastards that they are (enough to matter, whatever your personal attributes), this means that all e-bikes must be treated as cycles and that every e-biker must be treated as inherently more dangerous. Since it is difficult to spot the difference, this means that all cycles must be treated as 'more' dangerous, not at all the intention. So the unintended consequence here is that bikes are more protected than they were, and simultaneously, a big enough minority will take all the advantage they can, thus making the group as a whole perceived as 'more' dangerous. I certainly feel no more safe at the prospect of cycling and I shall continue to avoid the possibility, possession of bicycle notwithstanding.

[31] https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2022/jan/24/common-myths-about-what-uk-highway-code-changes-will-mean  

[32] https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-01-22/big-change-is-coming-to-the-highway-code

[33] https://www.cyclingweekly.com/news/product-news/electric-bikes-uk-law-234973

                                      DJS 20220125


Revisit graphene

[21] https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/01/220106152433.htm

[22] https://www.eetimes.com/charting-graphenes-progress/#

Graphene’s incredible ability to conduct generated heat will result in less room needing to be taken up by thermal management mechanisms. Its superior radiation tolerance will make it invaluable in space-oriented applications, while a combination of its optical and conductive characteristics will be pivotal in the advancement of photonics — allowing faster modulation and higher degrees of sensitivity.

Key to graphene securing adoption within this sector will be the capacity for its production to be successfully aligned with established semiconductor fabrication processes. Looking at the development of integrated chips, the ideal would be for manufacturers of integrated circuits to find a way of utilising much of their existing plant to generate circuits with a graphene component. Currently, the commercial production of wide-area graphene monolayers relies on chemical deposition onto a metal catalyst (most commonly in the form of copper or nickel foil). If the graphene is going to be applied to a useful semiconductor substrate a transfer procedure needs to be carried out. This means etching away the copper film, picking up the graphene layer, and transferring it to a semiconductor wafer, like silicon. Copper from the catalyst that the graphene monolayer was originally grown on can end up being taken with it. The contamination impinging onto the graphene layer is detrimental to device reliability and yield. In addition, structural inconsistencies are commonly witnessed, which curb the performance parameters that can be achieved. The transfer process is labour intensive, which makes it not fit with existing processes and therefore adds to cost. As yet the lab processes have not proved scalable. Ideally, the graphene needs to be grown (deposited, perhaps) directly on the substrate. In my view, just being able to lead away the waste heat from a chip is an enormous improvement. That this same medium could simultaneously provide flexibility, structural strength and conductivity is still quite mind-blowing. That is why it is so disappointing that we are not making more immediate progress. It seems obvious to me that the early graphene-based devices will be more expensive than alternatives, but we need to see them in operation to realise what the true advantages may be. If the production issues can bring close to parity (say, less than twice the price) then it won't take long for more scalability to be discovered and Moore's law can resume its progress. [Doubling in some regard every two years].

[23]  https://hexus.net/tech/news/industry/124946-research-reveals-reason-disappointing-graphene-progress/ explains that silicon contamination is a likely cause of graphene promising much and delivering little. It is likely that it is the source material that is already contaminated, suggesting (to me) that some pre-processing to significantly lower contamination is a necessary process, almost no matter how expensive.

This also reported here and here and here

[24]  https://par.nsf.gov/servlets/purl/10147756  describes perhaps how to remove the contaminants. Abstract:   Chemical vapour deposition (CVD) is among the most utilised techniques to fabricate single-layer graphene on a large substrate. However, the substrate is limited to very few transition metals like copper. On the other hand, many applications involving graphene require technologically relevant substrates like semiconductors and metal oxide, and therefore, a subsequent process is often needed to transfer CVD to the new substrate. As graphene is fragile, a supporting material such as a polymer film, is introduced during the transfer process. This brings unexpected challenges, the biggest of which is the complete removal of this support material without contaminating graphene. Numerous methods have been developed, each having advantages and drawbacks. This review will first introduce the classic transfer method using poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) as the support material. The operating procedure and issues of PMMA residuals will be discussed. Methods to minimise/eliminate contamination will be presented, together with alternative approaches that do not require the use of PMMA.  I tried reading a lot of this and I think that the issue is that decent quality graphene—and very high quality graphene is what is needed—has a very high surface energy, which means that anything / everything around is trying to stick to it, and that too easily includes contaminants which then lodge within the surface. It struck me, reading the content, that sufficient heat would drive off many contaminants. It is clear that this research needs to continue; the need for consistently (very) clean graphene is an essential for acquiring the benefits graphene offers. Since we want, almost immediately, to multiply up layers of graphene, we really need this process to be remarkably successful.

It is obvious that a 2-D material such as graphene is mostly surface (what is not surface is the width of an atom). Past research by me on painting metal structures suggests that the available surface at atom level might be three times (how I'd love that to be π) bigger than one thinks, but I don't see that as relevant; what matters is that other atoms can lodge in the gaps within the graphene matrix and (obviously, since this is what the research has shown), other materials readily stick to any available surface. Would that be van der Waals force attraction between layers?

So there are two issues here. One is to start with very high purity of graphite and the other is to find a process that keeps the graphene clean (pure) until it is coated with whatever become the preferred and deliberate materials.

[25]  https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2095268618304269   explains (some of) the issues in attempting to purify graphite. The monetary value of graphite depends largely on carbon content and flake size. Good, relevant  content.  The degree of heat required to purify graphite (starting from petroleum coke of coal tar pitch, 2500-3000ºC) is sufficiently high to 'motivate' natural graphite sources, found successfully in China, India, Brazil, Canada and Russia, all large countries. For those with far better Chemistry than me, Purification of graphite is its physical separation from an ore mixture. This process can be explained by the thermodynamic principle of ΔGM = ΔHM − TΔSM, in which GM, HM and SM are Gibbs free energy, enthalpy, and entropy of mixing at temperature T, respectively. Except for the stability condition of ΔGM < 0 and the second partial differential of  ΔGM wrt xᵢ ( xᵢ is a mole fraction of component i), the spontaneous phase separation occurs. Accordingly, for effective separation or mixing, we may control the intermolecular interactions at the interfaces among each hydrophobic/hydrophilic or amphiphilic components. I lost it at the first equation, I'm afraid.

I liked §5.9: The processes such as microwave irradiation, leaching and filtering with acid (e.g., HCl and HNO3) could enhance the grade of graphite to more than 99%. 

End conclusions included this, which, I think, says the usual; 'watch this space, more funds/research/investment needed':

So in order to stock sufficient graphite, both the deposit assessment at natural graphite exploration sites coupled with compatible purification methods affording ppm level of impurities in graphite are required. The technique for the purification of graphite from its gangue and trace elements depends on the estimated liberated size of the flake on the rock body. Specifically, size distribution would give an essential effect to overall process designs. In this regard, the well-established automated mineralogy [§5.3], with a mineral liberation analyzer (MLA) is highly encouraged. Practically, researchers and manufacturers of natural graphite are recommended to focus on both the pre-comminution separation method for efficient mineral liberation and the precise process design for further purification. Importantly, further intensive researches for minimizing the energy, time, and cost of production, as well as for developing the eco-friendly techniques of purification are still needed, which could be carried out based on the processing-structure-property-performance relationship from materials science point of view. While many countries in the world are well-known as natural graphite deposit-owning and mining countries, the economic significance of the deposit is not sufficiently studied, indicating the available future works for mineralogists.

I was left wondering if the assumption of starting from a carbon-rich ore is commercially valid, that maybe starting from somewhere else entirely, like ash, and then applying careful chemistry, might be a viable solution to the required purity. Maybe the significant leap occurs when the carbon is persuaded to form flat molecules which are then persuaded to polymerise into sheets. I then wondered if that described some already known plastics.

[26]  https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/2053-1583/ab1e0a   A long overview paper, starting from assumed pretty pure and certainly consistent graphene. A difficult read. My takeaway is that there's a lot of work being done, that it is difficult and, until someone has a marked success (and shares that) we're not much nearer actually turning graphene into the basis of the next chip. Quite simply, we can't produce it in enough volume to get on with finding out what it can be persuaded to do. We can see what ought to be possible, but we don't have enough of it of any consistent performance. And, when I say 'it',  there are already many forms and I do no think we have yet discovered enough to know which forms would be worthy of extended exploration. As a breakthrough, the discovery of graphene continues to point to some sort of elysian field, but one still off in the distance.

Research paper style, we need more time (and funding, research, etc., etc.).

DJS 20220112


In South America, which language is spoken by more, Spanish or Portuguese? If given this or a similar question, the wording affects your answer. South America is from Panama southwards (Latin America includes the central bit up to and including Mexico). Brazil is usually seen as the only Portuguese-speaking nation but its population is similar to the sum of all the others. The Guyanas/Guianas speak English, French and Dutch, so the 2019 population comparison is 215M for Por to 210M for Esp. [For 2020, 212.6M Bra 422.5M SAm, so 212.6:209.9. That is very close, 1.3% difference.] So the 'right' answer might come down to detail of the question and the precision of the expected answer: probably more people understand and can speak Spanish than Portuguese, but significant numbers don't speak either language on a daily basis and some speak both. So the 'right' answer might well come down to an appreciation of the prevalence of an official language within these countries. If we replace South America with Latin America, it is easily Spanish that is more prevalent. Countries that include Portuguese as the sole official language: Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau, Mozambique, Portugal, São Tomé & Príncipe; Macau, East Timor and Equatorial Guinea have it as one of the official languages. It is not hard to find opinion that says more people speak Portuguese in South America. I say this is yet another counting problem. Babbel argues that a few South American countries have Portuguese-speaking pockets, including Argentina (58,000), Paraguay (235,000), Uruguay (30,600) and Venezuela (254,000). I'd argue that these people also speak Spanish, the official language of their home nation, so they count on both sides, again depending on the precision of the question.
Best answer: these numbers are very close, but probably more people understand Spanish than understand Portuguese. As for which is dominant, that has to be answered with 'neither', unless the answer requires one to count nations as if equal. A better follow-on question might  be to wonder how Brazil held together in unity and the remainder fractured into separate nations.


Friends passed by in a way that caused us to meet offsite while their EV charged. A strange experience, showing that one has misunderstood 'range anxiety', or that the term is due for a reset. It is not that there is a problem finding a charger, it is that there is a problem finding a charger at which you (particularly, specifically) can charge.  If there is an equivalent from the early days of having LPG as a fuel, some of those problems remain; it is a relatively unusual fuel, locating a source when away from whatever your vehicle base is has some issues (access, timing, perhaps even payment). These transfer to the EV issue, with exaggeration. Is there a free connection? Is it of a type to which I can physically connect? And electronically connect? Is this with a provider for whom I have a subscription? Is this pump working (10-15% that don't work at any one moment)? Are there some things I can do while we wait for the charging to occur?    

I noticed that the wifi or 4G connection seemed to be an issue when in proximity to the pump. I see that the chain of things that need to work is far longer (at the moment) than for fossil fuels and so there are many more possible fail points. That says to me that the point at which one might switch to an EV is still in the distance, or that one would switch to an EV for the local journeys, such that charging is mostly expected to occur at home, a place where  the line of fail points is mercifully short. This is not range anxiety as much as it is a scarcity of workable resupply.


Audi engine size references are confusing; they generally are multiples of 5 from 25 to 40 but actually run all the way to 70. The 25 badge is entry level and refers to cars that have 106hp or less. That is modest. The 30 badge is 107hp to 127hp, 35 is 145hp to 159hp, and 40 is 165hp to 198hp. Larger numbers refer to significantly more powerful vehicles. The 45 badge is 223hp to 244hp, 50 is 278hp to 304hp, 55 is 324hp to 363hp, and 60 is 423hp to 449hp. Finally, 70 is only for cars that have 529hp and greater. Come up with a rule to decipher this.  

An exponential that fits quite well is 33e^0.405x, picking coefficients one might just remember (Peugeot 405).  I've left the quadratic form in the chart because that was the simplest polynomial; higher order will have an even better fit. Quite clearly this is a non-linear progression.


Two sections moved to essay 381, one looks at the conflict between freedom and security and the other looks at what we think we mean by returning to normal or what we might mean by a new normal, along with how we perceive such possible change.  


20220105 All four defendants were cleared of criminal damage in toppling the Edward Colston statue in Bristol.  The four defendants argued that their actions were justified because the statue was so offensive. I do not understand how this was not criminal damage; there was damage (the council spent over £2500 restoring pavement and railings, ignoring the statue completely) and I do not see why the council inhabitants should pay for that. Perhaps the damage was not criminal and should be settled by a civil action? I looked up what constitutes criminal damage A person who without lawful excuse destroys or damages any property belonging to another, intending to destroy or damage any such property, or being reckless as to whether any such property would be destroyed or damaged, shall be guilty of an offence. source. The acquittal means that the jury decided that there was lawful excuse. What an ass.

§5.1 of the Criminal Damage Act 1971: A person has a lawful excuse if  they believed at the time that those whom they believed to be entitled to consent to the destruction of or damage to the property in question had so consented, or would have so consented to it if they had known of the destruction or damage and its circumstances; or...

Which is to say that the argument says that this action was in line with the consent of all, or at least a sufficient number of people. I read that as consent to damage by riot, which cannot be true. The alternative argument is that this was a preventative action but that is a stretch too far for me; this prevented nothing. Correct behaviour would be to petition that the statue be removed.

But it appears that this petitioning had occurred, so that the action to remove the statue could be regarded as action with implied consent.

The residual worry then is that the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill will be passed, including the parts about damaging memorials. the matter here may reduce to causing local authorities to somehow act in accord with public demand – in which case, one wonders how much demand is required (20% of council tax payers? a sufficiently large petition of anyone interested?) for action to be required (mandated, even).

I wonder if this constitutes 'reprisal' as in essay 374, approved illegal behaviour. There will be more on this. In particular a reprise of the effect of a jury decision in apparent conflict with previous decisions.

50] https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2022/jan/05/four-cleared-of-toppling-edward-colston-statute

[51]  https://www.theguardian.com/media/2022/jan/07/gb-news-accused-of-prejudicing-colston-four-trial

[52]  https://theconversation.com/we-attended-the-trial-of-the-colston-four-heres-why-their-acquittal-should-be-celebrated-174481?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=The%20Weekend%20Conversation%20-%202168321480&utm_content=The%20Weekend%20Conversation%20-%202168321480+Version+A+CID_82aeee3e394e02e9a70bd226f7740a95&utm_source=campaign_monitor_uk&utm_term=attended%20the%20trial

[53]  https://bills.parliament.uk/bills/2839


I'm having computer security issues. Some (horrid) people are sending me spam that purports to come from me (yes, from me to me). I'd already changed the ways in which I deal with spam every morning – 15-30 unwanted mails every day and another five per day of what amounts to prompts (e.g., of a post on FB that I may wish to see, of an account statement becoming available). One of my email accounts distinguishes between Junk and Spam and I don't see a difference in how these are dealt with any more than I see a difference in the label.

The latest Apple OS upgrade provides ways of 'hiding' one's email address. I do not understand when one 'should' do this. I'm already hitting difficulties with online purchases, something I have always had misgivings about. I've read what Apple provide and have two responses; the first is that we should not need to do any such thing and that we should instead be acting openly as ourselves, taking responsibility for our actions and being accountable for those. The second is that this provision of hiding email addresses is meeting a perceived need, probably as a response to the endless attacks of spammers and hackers, while simultaneously (it appears to me) providing those same degenerates with tools for furthering their aims.

[30]  https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT210425

[31] https://www.idropnews.com/how-to/why-you-shouldnt-use-hide-my-email/155787/   This among the comments: [This] article seems to be written from the POV of a company that is losing power over hide my mail. It is true that there will be a lot of email proliferation using hide my mail, as you generate a different email address for each site. However, you also need to generate a unique password for each site and you need to keep track of that too through a password manager that will keep your random email. Even if you use the email for a newsletter, Apple will keep track of the emails you generated, and as long as you add the name of the site when you generate the random address, you can find the address you are looking for. What the article does not mention  is that by using a randomly generated email unique for every site you can identify who is selling your data, and you now have the power to block that fake email and take your business somewhere else. I wonder if this is the reason behind this article.



To discuss with SE in Capetown.  Despite me saying it's what we give up for Lent, apparently 80% of us have given up NY resolutions by the start of February, before even CNY.

Particularly I'm bothered by the continued association of 'lose weight' with 'do exercise'.


Amused that the new Chinese year is the tiger, but I misremembered teacher (lao3shi1) as lao3hu3, remembering hu3 alone as tiger. The always out-of-date teacher is lao3shi0 lao3shi4 lao3shi1, to be remembered as lao shi 041. I always heard the teacher version as laoshuh. Being a snake, personally, I sought lao3 she2, which might be an old snake, but probably one ought to prefix a gui3, gui3lao3she2.   [Gui, at least at home, is pronounced as gway; the third tone dips in the  middle.]    When track running in ZhaoQing I was often referred to as gui3lau3, where the dictionary tells me the correct Mandarin would be yang2 gui3 zi0, possibly xi1yang3 guizi (western foreign devil, 西洋 鬼子。 So 鬼佬 guilao is the Cantonese version; there were locals in my building with even less Mandarin than I had at the time, so even the boss had communication difficulties on occasion. 


[40]  https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2021-12-13/farmscraper-design-takes-vertical-farms-to-new-heights?cmpid=BBD121421_CITYLAB&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&utm_term=211214&utm_campaign=citylabdaily    describes a proposed building in Shenzhen and the pictures show people using a mall. Which is fine, except they have the occupation (visible people) way, way too low. This is the right density for midnight to dawn. For 'normal', picture the crowdest (most crowded) you'd see in Britain (think the week before Christmas in a non-covid year or a half-term break where we all coincide for holiday). Shenzhen is a wonderfully modern city close to Hong Kong and, in many ways, is what HK would be like if built anew. Your new word for today is farmscraper.  The biggest challenge is not engineering them in the first place — it’s maintenance.


Historical note: 01Jan was a very warm day; 14º locally, 16º peak in London, the warmest such since records began, in some regards, detailed on the linked page. 

[51]  https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/about-us/press-office/news/weather-and-climate/2022/new-years-day

The extremely mild spell is driven by a flow of warm, moist air pushing across the UK from the Canary Islands and further south in the Atlantic and has resulted in the unusual situation of one weather system breaking weather records for two days in separate calendar years. As well as mild temperatures it has also brought cloud and outbreaks of rain for some.


This warm weather was balanced by a spell of very cold and a drop of ten degrees across a single day. The difference is caused by whether warm air comes from the south or cold air from the north; for several days we had the separator lying more or less at the England/Scotland border.

Balance that picture with storm Eunice (EU-nice, I thought, still preferring to be European and British but now denied such). 100mph is very rare here. But then we used to use 'rare' for once in a century effects and here we are comparing this with only 2021, Arwen, the last red (risk to life) warning. Before that, the 'beast from the east', Emma, in March 2018. I think we should look back at 1987, the 'great storm'. Guardian reference. Hurricane force winds are 75mph-plus. Definitely reached. The red warning has passed (16:00) but amber remains; going to band may be affected and tomorrow's half-marathon looks grimly wet and cold. There was a photo from the year we moved here of runners under what looked like a wave of water (they run along the Front). Tomorrow may be similar.


BBCNews 18:02 on 20211223: someone infected with omicron rather than delta is up to 45% less likely to attend A&E and up to and up to 70% less likely to be admitted to hospital.

What an awful way of presenting information; the 100%, that essential for understanding, is quite well buried. Later those numbers become 30-45% and 50-70%. Having said this was awful, I cannot think of a better way to put it without requiring a lot more detail, like an absolute risk, measured or perceived. I suspect that bald numbers would be better.

So suppose there were 100 people with delta who attend A&E, of whom 10X are admitted to hospital. Replace these delta cases with omicron it would seem that there are 55 that attend A&E and 3X that are admitted to hospital. So if omicron figures are a lot higher, let's say twice as big as an equivalent delta sample, then 110 are at A&E and 6X will be admitted. If omicron is three time as big, then 165 attend A&E and 9X are going to be in hospital.

Let's go back to that 50-70%, then (50-70% with omicron instead of delta are less likely to be admitted). If the issue is to do with swamping the NHS and if we were very close to breaking the NHS at 21,000 in hospital (adjust the number to suit, but we learned some limiting numbers in early 2020, with a peak of 34,000) and if, on average, people occupy a bed for three weeks, then our limit per day is 1000-1500 new hospitalisations. So in turn that means that the limiting prevalence of omicron (case count) is between 40% and 100% bigger than for the delta waves.   42% comes from 1/70% but these are crude numbers so I've rounded it off. So, while we watch the case figures go sky high, we know that in terms of 'protecting the NHS' the numbers we need to watch are for hospitalisation rates, which vary tremendously with the age group that is being infected. We also observe that something like ⅔ of the acute (covid) beds are taken by people who are not vaccinated (not even a little bit, and they commonly think that now is a suitable moment to be jabbed, when they are so very wrong; they have to survive first). That figure clarified later as 90% not totally jabbed and 60% totally unjabbed (of those hospitalised with covid).

Another figure to watch is the staffing levels at NHS, which hits big problems when absence exceeds 20,000, needing external support (e.g., drafted soldiers, firemen, etc). Today's figure is just under 19,000.


This relates to essay 290, 15-minute access, and takes some of those ideas quite a good deal further. The essential idea is that facilities be accessible.  

One immediate issue is that the space outside your habitation is primarily used for the moving and storage of vehicles. This may be your own car, of course. One minute access means everywhere within perhaps 100m of your property edge. The Swedish idea is to move intervention to the immediately local level, but the underlying idea is to show that there could be very much more interaction with urban development. Sweden being what it is (and the home of IKEA) some of the suggested solutions fit exactly a car parking space (or more), such as a bike rack or an e-scooter interchange. I note immediately that those ideas move the idea of a 1-minute idea to something larger, like the 15 minute city. What the concept is about is moving one's focus to local in a more immediate sense. Obviously we cannot move everything to a hyperlocal position; obviously we still have a need for transportation of people and goods. Realistically, the module design allows for experimentation—suck it and see—such that a neighbourhood might discover an opinion by trying out a sample idea. It struck me that crowded Britain can only produce such space by losing that same space from another use; as it is, the new legislation that allows councils to stop people parking on the pavement is going to be rapidly counter-productive as it makes pavements bigger (in usability) but roads narrower. I look at my own street and I think that taking parking onto only the road makes two-way traffic even less possible, which is fine if the protected kerb lengths (where a house has off-road access protected by a don't-park white line) constitute passing places. Which would, I agree, reduce the traffic using the street as a rat-run. Maybe that should be an objective.

The 5-minute idea is also based on a presumption of walking. For me 5 minutes is 500m or so and that (just) includes my health centre, quite an extensive range of shops and reasonable access to public transport (if I were so inclined; I'm not). Five minutes does not quite get me into the local park (wonderful space, fantastic asset, more like 700m) and I'd imagine that some nearby green space would be a desirable. As I wondered in the earlier piece, I think we might manage a drop-off point for goods at that sort of frequency but we are not yet accepting the implied loss of convenience. It is only lost convenience if we are not participating in the concept of localised neighbourhoods; if one was going to (let's call it the) village shop every day and that was where you picked up deliveries from mail to eBay, where there was enough interaction and social trust that I might drop off your package since I'm going past both, then we'd be trading one sort of convenience (staying at home for deliveries, as I have been all morning) for another, that very social interaction that the pandemic has shown us we can put a value upon.

DJS June 2009

[90] A Tiny Twist on Street Design: The One-Minute City - Bloomberg

[91] https://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2018/10/17/Five-Minute-City-Better-Vancouver/

[92]  https://ww3.rics.org/uk/en/modus/built-environment/urbanisation/one-minute-cities-could-put-the-world-on-your-doorstep.html


How a Street Moves project street might look with various parklet elements added. 

Utopia Arkitekter

15 minute city   Email: David@Scoins.net      © David Scoins 2021