Geothermal energy

As I talk about energy forms from time to time, I was pleased to spot this bit of news and to be able to share it with you. Not all areas on the planet are very good places for geothermal energy winning, but many are. There is a geothermal energy plant in Southampton, for example.

The ERC awarded its 10,000th grant to Inga Berre, an applied mathematician and leading Norwegian researcher in geothermal energy. Read the interview with Berre to find out how mathematics is helping us understand more about this ancient energy source first used by the Romans in their spas as well as what role geothermal energy can play in the transition to a carbon-neutral future.

https://erc.europa.eu/projects-figures/stories/maths-in-the-Earth-s-crust

Columba livia. Those damn sky rats are much more able and intelligent than you and have been used abused by humans for centuries. We have a duty of care towards them.


On the morning of 28 June 2021, I caught a kid on her way to the Manor Infant School in Portsmouth saying to her mother that she was going to scare the pigeons.

The mother was fine with it, just like most English parents are fine with the abuse of women in general (often including themselves, yes, sadly), of all foreigners as well as other strangers and of just about anyone over 45, not to mention the so-called feeble-minded and the so-called disabled.

These parents teach their kids that abuse is okay.

It is not.

Was this mother like those parents in Woolston, Southampton who taught their teenagers that it was okay to throw water, sand and stones at me while I was sitting on a bench, working on the Dutch version of Forensics for Dummies? Because that is what one does in England to single women over the age of 45? Just like it is okay to abuse feral pigeons? Yes, it is basically the same thing.

These youngsters in Southampton felt invincible even though elsewhere in England, two English people had just died as a result of similar attacks. There was a trial scheduled at the Old Bailey concerning the death of one of those two victims (Ernest Norton).

So they should have been scared, really scared.

Instead, these lads who attacked me felt so invincible, so supported by the adults around them – including police officers, no doubt – that they decided to sit down on the low wall in front of my home the next day. That had not happened before. These utterly spoiled brats are taught that it is okay to be abusive.

Would the mother be okay with the idea of her little girl taking a cat by the tail when she is a few years older and swinging it around by its tail?

No, this was not the innocent act of a little kid running after the pigeons because it is fun to see them fly away. I see that a lot and it does not bother me one bit. It does not bother the pigeons either. This kid was intentionally mean. She was not spontaneous about it. In fact, I first thought that she said she was scared of the birds. I can imagine a little girl being scared when birds suddenly fly up.

But no, she said that she wanted to go scare the birds.

I told this mother – whose kid was screaming like banshee at a bunch of pigeons quietly having some breakfast – that it was a very uneducated thing to do. I added that she should consider going to school because she might actually like it. (Oh yeah, 17 years of dealing with the English have taught me a few things.)

Humans have been on the planet for just about a second if you look at the geological time scale or the timeline of the development of biological species. A mere couple of hundred thousand years. Intelligent bird species like parrots and pigeons have been around for 55 million years.

Who’s done the most damage to the planet, to other species and to fellow members of their own species? The mammal species called Homo sapiens. Homo sapiens? Homo bloody destructive is more like it.

Pigeons can accelerate like almost no other bird species. Their agility in flight is exceptional. Their wing beat is immensely powerful. They love exercising their flying skills and can grow bored in captivity. To deal with that, they sometimes set themselves challenges such as landing on an steeply angled surface or landing on an object that always falls off – until it no longer falls off.

They can modulate how they flap their wings, making a whistling or slapping sound or not, among other things to communicate danger to each other. They also watch and listen to other bird species for any warnings of potential danger, such as a raptor, a helicopter, a fox or a cat.

They can see across a distance of 42 kilometres.

Source: The secret life of pigeons. 2015, with David Suzuki
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t4cw-Av2Pk4

There is also a NatGeo documentary for which I will add the link later.

They know behind which doors good humans live and what the size of their home is. They know which homes are occupied by people who bear them ill will. They can recognise the faces of humans, from a distance and in photos. But we humans, by contrast, we can have ten pigeons right in front of us and unless a bird has distinctive markings, we wouldn’t know one from the next to the next.

Many pigeons instantly understand what a mirror is. They can also be taught useless stuff such as to distinguish between the 26 letters of the western human alphabet and to differentiate between music by different composers and paintings by different artists.

Humans took pigeons out of their natural habitats and spread them all over the world. Humans did that. They are everywhere now, except Antarctica. Humans took them all over the world and released them, just like they did to so many other species.

Female pigeons ovulate just like human females, once a month. The cycle of pigeons is about 26 days. Just like human females when they give birth, female pigeons can get very emotional when they’re laying eggs and want support from their partner.

Pigeons dote on their eggs and their young the way good human parents do too. They mourn the death of partners and offspring. They can get sad and frustrated when their eggs remain barren and won’t hatch. They can cheat on their partner, too.

When they are happy and content, they can purr like cats, only much softer.

They retreat to invisible spaces when they know their time has come, if they can still fly. Others don’t feel like waiting and deliberately decide to commit suicide by car, for example when they can no longer fly, for example after accidentally having gotten locked into a space for too long. Some contemplate it for a while, hesitantly, and then one day, they make their final decision.

This mother I saw this morning was not only teaching her kid that it is okay to harass wildlife but also that it is okay to break the law and that it is okay to abuse others who may not look exactly the same.

I spoke out. I live in a town with a culture that glorifies abuse throughout all levels of the local community. I live in a country that has a tendency to celebrate cruelty and cronyism.

The Animal Welfare Act 2006 – which focuses on domestic animals – also protects feral pigeons. To be precise, the Animal Welfare Act 2006 tends to apply to commonly domesticated species. This means that it also for example protects feral cats (but not Scottish wildcats).

This is based on the idea that these animals originated from domestic stock. A good example of what is meant by that is that you can often spot ringed birds – both racing pigeons and deliberately released white pigeons – among flocks of seeming “wild” feral pigeons. Some of these racing pigeons among the seemingly local flock are actually on their way back to their loft and some of these racing pigeons are worth a fortune. These groups can also include escaped pets because many people keep pigeons as pets.

Remember that I just said that it’s humans who have spread pigeons all over the world? There are even pigeons who have become decorated war heroes for their unbelievably heroic acts of bravery and persistence to do what humans weren’t capable of. (For example to tell WWI soldiers in France that they were shooting at their own, helplessly trapped in gunfire, and dying.)

We humans have used the intelligence of these birds and their meat and eggs when it suited us. We’ve done the same thing to chickens. We similarly discard them, like the plastic trash we carelessly litter all over the world.

But pigeons – and chickens – are not plastic trash, are they? They are intelligent sentient beings (with abilities that we can only dream of).

The Animal Welfare Act also deals with all issues relating to cruelty and unnecessary suffering. For pigeons, this is commonly associated with the installation of bird control products, such as nylon bird netting.

For example, if the use of bird nets to keep feral pigeons away from a building or from the underside of a railway bridge results in the death of any of the pigeons or their young as a result of becoming trapped behind or in the netting, the property owner – not the pest control company – can be prosecuted for cruelty under the Animal Welfare Act 2006. Apparently, this does not even need to be done by the police but can be a private prosecution undertaken by the RSPCA or by any civilian.

There is also the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 to consider. Part 1 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, for example, deals with the killing of feral birds and the removal of their nests. Also with regard to feral pigeons, killing them or removing a pigeon’s nest requires a licence and strict adherence to the guidelines laid down by the licence. Killing a pigeon or removing a pigeon nest can only be done as a last resort in very special circumstances. For pigeons, such circumstances rarely ever occur.

These licences and a great deal of this information comes from DEFRA and from Natural England, both not exactly known for their wildlife-friendly stance.

To scoff at pigeons is to scoff at all life.

The above bird just happened to cross my path.

I have since started to experiment a little with pigeons to learn more about the species and to find out how you can work with them. They can sit on my windowsill, watching me do the dishes and curious about what it is that I am doing (or just resting). Yes, pigeons are inquisitive and the ones who are getting older may be sitting around a bit more than the younger ones.

That’s because I have experience with wild and feral birds and, as John Hadidian in the US knows, I am interested in humane wildlife deterrence. We must learn to live in harmony with the species of which we inherited the earth, otherwise there is no future for the human species. It’s as simple as that.

I also got in touch with a guy who runs a humane fox deterrence service in England. These services were getting many more calls for assistance than they could handle at the time and were looking to expand and cooperate as well as teach, through workshops.

But there is no market for such services in Portsmouth. Or is there? I believe that it is often quite possible to work with pigeons instead of against them.

It’s been done before. Also in England.

By the way, a lot of local pigeons did not survive the winter of 2020/2021.

Human rights under threat in the UK

Human rights are NOT about being allowed to watch porn in prison or only about people in third-world countries. Human rights are about things like the right to safety in your own home and the right to choose a profession, the right to own things, to have legal recourse and not to be discriminated against. Health is part of it too as is education.

(Do the universal human rights have a western values bias? Yes. Are they still slightly sexist? Yes.)

In The Guardian today.
Continue reading

Aquind

I am an earth and life scientist. A geologist as well as a marine and environmental scientist. I am based in Portsmouth.

Last week, I walked along in the local Green Party’s Clean Air Day event. I saw people with signs and t-shirts that said “Stop Aquind”. It was mystifying. What was that about? Eve handed me two leaflets about it.

I dove into it. Okay, that’s about money. Aquind is about money.

I was amazed to see that even local Conservative Party MP Penny Mordaunt is against it, but she of course, is saying that she does not want France to be able to shut off the power whenever it is ticked off with the UK.

Labour MP Stephen Morgan has spoken out against it and so has Lib Dem Portsmouth City Council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson.

Wow! For the first time in what must be at least a century, the three main parties in Portsmouth agree on something. Are they cooperating on the issue, however? I very much doubt it. (Not done, is it? Cooperation. Because it means you can’t claim a potential victory and not blame a potential defeat on the other parties.)

I found that Portsmouth City Council has earmarked £250,000 to fight Aquind. Wow.

So as a result, there has been a lot of… stuff. What kind of stuff? No idea. I found the following two local links. Do they give any information? No. They just tell you that you will be kept up to date as to what is happening. Really. Really?

There is a Facebook group that is probably doing that, keeping people informed (I haven’t looked), but it is certainly not what Portsmouth City Council is doing. Perhaps that’s for strategic reasons, granted. In real life, you do not deal with Aquind much, after all, you’re more likely to deal with its law firm or with the planning inspectorate.

https://www.portsmouth.gov.uk/2021/03/12/aquind-interconnector-examination-closes/

https://interconnectorportsmouth.co.uk/

I had NOT heard of this at all. None of it.

But as it apparently is a hot issue in Portsmouth and has been for quite a while, I guess I do not have to add any information about what Aquind is and who is behind it.

What I wondered about is how this project may affect the aquifer(s) under Portsmouth. I used to be a member of Portsmouth City Council’s Environmental Forum, just before it folded. Lynne Stagg and Darren Sanders were on it too.

A lot of useless waffling went on in that forum but not all of its activities were useless, not at all. At some point, we had a presentation by, I think, a guy from the Environment Agency. I think the topic of his talk was geothermal energy?

(There also was an occasion on which Farlington, flooding risks and Portsmouth Water including licences were discussed but I don’t think it was that time when the following happened.)

The guy who gave that talk made a remark about how lucky Portsmouth was, that it runs out of water less quickly in times of shortages, such as summer, because of the local geology.

(But there is no local geothermal energy potential.)

Now I of course, according to many of the locals, am just a delusional old cow who’s been making up her professional background for years. And Priti Patel has confirmed that by saying that people like me are cheap low-skilled labour so I must indeed be lying about my background. I can’t possibly for starters be a geologist.

And Portsmouth City Council has already done a lot of work on this.

But frankly, I have been underwhelmed with Portsmouth City Council for a while.

I had a meeting with some guy – who was it, the head of the planning committee? – some years ago that didn’t impress either. (That feeling was mutual, I am sure, as our objectives were diametrically opposed.)

(I also think that many of these folks do what the Dutch did when they missed out on the AstraZeneca deal. Civil servants are not great original thinkers, as a rule, and rarely take initiative.)

So I’ve tried to find out what was so unique about Portsmouth’s geology. I suspect it’s the combination of the limestones cropping out to the north (the …

(While I am typing this, Jerky McJerkface – i.e. the hacker –
is freezing my computer again; have to reboot,
by throwing power off the computer.)

… Portsdown Hill anticline; an anticline is an UPward fold, whereas a syncline is a downward fold, a valley, so to speak) and which only crops out to the north of Portsmouth (a blob on the geological map) and the depth of the limestone layer under Portsmouth (as opposed to its depth north of the anticline). But I am only guessing. You’d probably have to talk with the geologists at Portsmouth Water to find out the specifics.

(What I also wonder about is how rising seawater levels will affect this, though.)

So I tried to find what Portsmouth Water had said about Aquind.

I found two e-mails, online at the Planning Inspectorate, from Simon Deacon. You know what…? He may actually have been the guy who gave that talk at the Portsmouth Environmental Forum back in 2009. He was at the Environment Agency at the time. (Jane Di Dino might know.)

I wonder if the combination of “Protective Provisions risks” (regarding the safety and security of the public water supply in Source Protection Zone 1) and whatever is so unique about Portsmouth’s geology that it means its freshwater supply is safer here than in the surroundings may give Portsmouth the out it needs. Perhaps you could argue that these protective provisions risks mean that it is not sufficiently guaranteed that Portsmouth’s freshwater supply will remain unaffected by the Aquind project.

Because freshwater is a precious commodity too, after all. And everyone worth his or her salt knows that.

I also suspect that Aquind may just say that it will use horizontal drilling techniques in response to many, most or all of the objections to do with disruptions in Portsmouth. (But I am only guessing. I haven’t even gone through any of the PDFs yet that I found last week other than to spot that the Planning Inspectorate was unable to find much about the optic cables and data lines for some of the other interconnectors either and if you look at what is happening with those now, you may be able to draw some conclusions with regard to their role within the Aquind project.)

For those who just like me until three days ago have no idea what Aquind is, see the links below.

In Normandy, France, where the interconnector is supposed to be coming from, the project is not liked much either, is my impression.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-56030674
(about Lord Wharton’s involvement)

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-hampshire-50345575
(about the Aquind interconnector project)

Just now, I found this:

Okay. That answers why I too had wondered what on earth the South Downs National Park was supposed to have to do with it. (I assumed that I simply had my regional geography wrong.) Misinformation is NOT THE WAY TO GO, people! That goes for both sides.

(Source info below: Greenpeace.)

Ukrainian energy magnate and prominent Conservative party donor Alexander Termerko, who was previously a strong supporter of Boris Johnson – together with his firm OGN, which builds oil and gas rigs – gave £690,000 to the Tories in the last parliament.

Termeko is joined on the board of Aquind by Conservative peer and leave campaigner Lord Callanan, who has previously spoken out against the “madness” of the UK climate change act.”

Please do not make the mistake of thinking that anything other than gas and oil is better. Some alternative energy forms effectively constitute a huge step back. “Green” and “sustainable” have become marketing buzzwords that often hold little real substance. Anything that makes the difference in energy generation has to be local – without much transport. (Think, for example, very SMALL-scale generation of wind-based power?) And we need better energy storage solutions. I am not so sure that interconnectors are the answer.

(At which point Jerky McJerkface kicks in again.)

Also, what we keep doing is finding ways to require MORE energy, aren’t we? That’s because this makes some people a lot of money, isn’t it?

(I stopped using my fridge a few years ago and was amazed to discover I don’t actually need it. I now only run it for a few days very occasionally. We’ve all been taught that we need a fridge. We blindly assume that that’s true. Is it? I used to need mine to refrigerate my eye drops, but since Pfizer’s latest innovation, that’s no longer required. I wish they’d also upgrade the design of the dropper bottles.)

(I also use a twin tub washing machine these days and I’ve discovered that it allows me to recycle almost all the water that I use in it, sometimes even more than once. That’s not doable for everyone; I understand that.)

(The next thing I want to do is recycle my shower water.)

Make no mistake. I am mostly just guessing, with regard to Aquind, making educated but off-the-cuff guesses. (Also, I am not a hydrologist, but that does not necessarily matter much within this context.)

Aha, that’s what all these sirens the other day were about

Police release update on ‘sensitive’ London Road incident in Portsmouth

Three men arrested after ‘chemicals’ were found in a house in Portsmouth have been released, police have said.

C12H22O11? Diluted acetic acid? Dihydrogen oxide?

(Sorry, I know I should not be joking about this – as drugs labs usually have a risk of explosions -but after over 12 years in Portsmouth, how can I not, now I know what Portsmouth Police is like?)

https://www.portsmouth.co.uk/news/crime/police-release-update-on-sensitive-london-road-incident-in-portsmouth-3279431

(Oh wait, those sirens, that wasn’t yesterday.)

The rights of nature

My computer froze at 12:12, requiring me to throw the power of it, has been hiccuping ever since,is hiccuping now too and at 13:09 I needed to throw power off the pc again to get it out of its hacking-induced freeze. The mysterious “he” has also disabled the control-key copy/paste function again. (Oh, that’s just press duration.) And my phone told me that I was in Devon this morning. Okay. (I’m also often in Scotland.) And I had an automatically forwarded e-mail from an e-mail address that I no longer own. (And it looks like my older computer has suddenly folded again, lol.)

(14:44: I am now in the West Midlands? Location is “on” and I am not in the West Midlands, just like I was not in Devon this morning either.)

Anyway…

Last night, Hank Greely tweeted this article:

https://www.newyorker.com/science/elements/is-mars-ours

It made me remember a discussion on LinkedIn; the Dutch were contemplating giving the Wadden Sea legal status. Here is a related article. Food for thought.

https://www.openaccessgovernment.org/protect-biodiversity/102506/

If you consider the question whether humans own parts of earth or other species, you also have to ask whether other species have “priority rights” so to speak and whether other species might have claims on or against us, in view of the fact that most have been on the planet much longer than the species Homo, let alone modern humans.

(We are supposed to be the smart ones. Are we?)

LG shutting down its phone department?

That’s what I just heard. That’s a shame. I bought an LG phone over a decade ago, one that was pretty rare, modelled on a Blackberry, one of those models that O2 does briefly and that you then can’t find anywhere else. It’s indestructible! No, I have never thrown that one at a wall, but I have dropped it many many times – outside too – and all that has been affected over time, by age, was its energy management. (It does not always know whether its battery is full or empty.)

I use it mainly as an MP3 player and for notes and reminders these days.

Maybe that sturdiness is why LG is shutting down its phone department? (If that is the case, then that would show why the planet is going to hell in a handcart because of our wastefulness.)

They’re also very user-friendly, LG phones.

I have another LG phone that I use for 2FA only.

And I have one that I got because of the settlement app and then used mainly for my videos.

(LG had 6 years of losses, tried to sell the department but the sale fell through, is what I gather.)

On another matter, time to stock up on food because if the first jab response is indicative of what happens after the second, I am gonna be ravenous this weekend. And very sleepy. All’s well that ends well, also for little M and Czarina.

But, to come back to the sustainability angle, I started making totes out of lovely old curtains. I freewheeled the first one, on a mini sewing machine, and I use that one as my shopping bag now. It’s far from perfect but it does the job. It apparently makes me look so fancy that street-fundraisers now ask me to sign up for donations in support of big charities again.

They’re lined and lovely, these bags. (I have made two more, am experimenting with size, handles and design – including bottom/bottomless – as well as thread and thread colour, but ran out of thread. I need to adjust the handle placement in one and add a little detail on the bottom, and still need to finish attaching the handles on the other one.)

The fabric has a chintz-like soft sheen and is a washed vintage Texoprint fabric (412-24333). Peach and green and cream against a lovely pale blue.

The original blue was darker, but if you wash it, as I did, as opposed to chemical cleaning, it becomes much nicer for the purpose for which I am using this fabric. Also softer, almost cuddly. I have tons of it. Almost broke my back carrying it home a few years ago, lol. I had used some of it already, but still had a lot left and my own old shopping bag was starting to grow holes, so I decided to give it a go.

(I didn’t use the best part of the fabric for the first bag, obviously. It contains a slightly worn seam edge, in fact.)

(This is my own, freewheeled shopping tote.)

Mysterious Skype calls, anyone ever had one of those?

I have a call of 1 minute and 10 seconds that took place on 6 April 2021. In the call are three other people. I only know one of them and one of the other two is not a Skype account but a German phone number.

In a Skype chat message, the person who I know told me it showed up on that person’s screen too and the person didn’t know what to make of it either.

The person recognised the German phone number as well as the fourth person. Skype indicates that the person who knows me added me to this call.

Is there such a thing as Skype viruses?

Or is there some kind of logical explanation that escapes me?

A nice example of how a belief in appearances gets it wrong

And this is only a very simple example:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-essex-57071805

“People from Essex and London were judged to be less intelligent than people from other areas.”

“In addition, people who are working class (from across all of south east England) were judged to be less intelligent, friendly and trustworthy than middle class people.”

“And people from an ethnic minority were judged less intelligent than white people…”

Based only on their accent.

And it’s not me who is “making this up”. It’s Dr Amanda Coles’ work. She is a post-doctoral researcher.

And she too, by the way, is often assessed as less intelligent than many others.

Based only on her accent.

The article mentions “self-bias”. This is also a major problem here where I live. A lot of people here assume that if you live here, you HAVE to be stuck in poverty forever, that there is nothing else out there for them. This is how they see themselves, as poor powerless sods.

That can also make them pretty resentful.

Dutch PPE scandal


For those of you who consider me too critical of England… The Dutch have a PPE scandal too. One guy (former lobbyist/commentator Sywert van Lienden) made over 9 million euros (30 million, with two partners) on the purchase and sales of 40 million face masks. He sold them to the Dutch government for 100 million euros.

(He apparently initially claimed to be providing the masks “for free” or at cost through a non-profit, while he was in fact making good money.)

(They were not even considered still urgently needed by some at the time.)

He asked the Dutch government to pay 2.52 euro (2.28 and 2.78) while others were selling them at 1.50, including transport and import fees. The Dutch government chose to buy from the seller with the high price. He also sold some at 1.50, to others.

The problem may have been that civil servants have no idea of the market, its fluctuations and of what is a reasonable price and what isn’t.

The price difference may also relate to a difference in quality, however.

The Dutch government is launching an external investigation into the matter.

In the UK, such initiatives are rarely taken by the government but usually by organisations like the Good Law Project which have to take the UK government to court over such matters. You will also note a difference in scale between what happened in the Netherlands and what happened in the UK.

We earlier saw that Dutch civil servants acted very passively with regard to the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine that is being produced in the Netherlands.

(Gleaned from a quick look at Dutch media.)

Continue reading

Sex without consent about to become “rape” in the Netherlands (and 11% of female students at Dutch universities raped)

https://nos.nl/artikel/2384251-een-op-negen-studentes-verkracht-tijdens-studententijd

Sex without consent = rape = insertion of body parts or objects

It will carry a custodial sentence of 4 to 9 years.

(Amnesty International has been campaigning in favour of sex on the basis of equality, consent and free will for over a year in the Netherlands.)

It’s not clear to me from which date the new legislation will apply.

All is well!

When the computer started doing that thang again, I thought “sod it”, shut down the power and started doing the dishes.

Then I heard on the radio that Donald Trump arrived at the office this morning with his trousers on backwards. I know he is not going senile – according to his personal physician who has stated emphatically that Trump is in excellent health – so it was okay that I burst out laughing.

Because, let’s face it, how did he manage to do that?

Shirt inside out, yeah, I’ve done that. But, pants on backwards? A guy? How does one do that?

It made my day.

I repeat, is your GP about to give your data away?

“The Tories have worked out how to pull off an NHS data grab: do it during a pandemic”

Marina Hyde

“Taking data from patients in England was so unpopular in 2014 it had to be shelved. Now it’s happening without the scrutiny”


https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/jun/04/tories-nhs-data-grab-pandemic

See also this, and it includes a petition:

https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/ournhs/legal-threat-sharpens-over-uk-government-plans-harvest-patient-data-gps/