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back to article Reg hack uncovers perfect antidote to internet

I was on holiday last week, and as is the local custom, I took the chance to disconnect completely from cyberspace, shut down the PC, and retire to the alfresco chillax zone of the Special Project Bureau's mountaintop headquarters for a few well-deserved beers. Mercifully, I don't suffer from internet withdrawal jitters or …

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Anonymous Coward

Hands up everyone

Who rather than thinking about their own gardens, immediately went on the web to look up how to make wells properly, or HSE statistics relating to unsupported excavation collapses?

No-one? Good.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Hands up everyone

I think if anyone was likely to jump to another site on the Internet whilst reading this article it would have been right after the paragraph about the Chinese masseuses and Brazilian female beach volleyball team limbering up.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Hands up everyone

the government will keep you safe if you worship them hard enough

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Thumb Down

Picture 6, the man in the hole.

Going down a hole like that (and *allowing* someone else to do so) : Utter madness.

Do that here and you'd have Health and Safety over you like a swarm of angry hornets.

And rightly so. Very silly.

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FAIL

Re: Picture 6, the man in the hole.

fuck "health and safety"

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Happy

Re: Picture 6, the man in the hole.

You'll find that Health and Safety regs over here in Spain are somewhat different, to say the least.

Every 23rd June they have a festival called Noche de San Juan, which involves a bonfire, fireworks and general cavorting on the beach (at least where I live) into the early hours. Separating us from said fire-related entertainment is a mere strip of red and white barrier tape.

In previous years there have been no problems. However this year, the firework launching tube thing (I'm no expert) fell over, with the result that fireworks were being launched horizontally across the beach. In fact I got hit in the back of the neck by one of them. Once righted, the display continued and there was no permanent damage thankfully! Later on, people dance through the cinders of the bonfire.

Would I change any of it? No way. I can't imagine the same fun being had whilst stood hundreds of metres away from the display.

Meanwhile, back on topic, good work guys!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Picture 6, the man in the hole.

Yeah but not all countries allow you to sue for things like wind shear from having to dodge a lamp post at the last second due to it not being painted bright orange and having an accompanying beeping noise.

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Bronze badge

Re: Picture 6, the man in the hole.

We have the same sort of thing here in France just north of the border.

Being near Canigou we have our fire in the car park and in the 20 years I've been here we have only had one case of someone getting a burn when jumping over the fire and even he agreed it was his own fault by taking a table cloth with him.

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Pint

Barrier tape?

I thought that when someone throws a firework at you in Spain, etiquette requires that you smile and throw it back.

Well, it works for me - and I like the way they have proper mains outlets in their bathrooms.

Cold beer for the firework throwers.

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Re: Barrier tape?

You mean those mains outlets that look like a tangle of bare wires hanging down the wall?

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FAIL

Re: Barrier tape?

Not always a good idea having proper mains outlets in the bathrooms.

I used to be the IT Manager for a holiday resort on the Costa del Sol. I went out to the resort once and the accounts girls were complaining that for the previous few days when they tried to print to their deskjet printer it would physically switch itself off (which I didn't believe until I saw it for myself) and switching on the computers would put a terrible buzzing on the phones.

I suspected an earthing fault somewhere in their office, a not uncommon problem in Spain, so i called our head of maintenance. He brought up one of these plugs that has lights on it to show faults on the mains, when he plugged it in it lit up like a Christmas tree. He quickly ushered us all out of the office.

It turned out Unelco the local elecricity supplier had been doing some work on the block the offices were in, and had somehow managed to cross phase the supply. For 5 days we had had 415V coming out of the sockets in our offices, reception and 15 holiday apartments. In those 5 days the only device that had blown was one guest's hair dryer in one of the bathrooms.

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Mushroom

Re: Picture 6, the man in the hole.

Ah, that's nothing. My parents have a house in a small town called Cantoria, in the mountains of Almeria. Every January they have a three day festival in honour of Saint Anton. On the first day they fire fireworks into the town square – while the townspeople huddle together and watch, presumably excited by the prospect of being hit by one. On the second day, the 'carratilleros' (rough translation: 'firework throwers') walk the streets throwing roman candles at the houses. And drinking wine. To make sure the emergency services don't spoil the fun they light huge bonfires at the major road intersections.

It's not all bad though. To make sure the children don't get hurt, they have their own time slot for firework throwing; the kids can throw fireworks between 8 and 11pm, which is when the crazy drunken adults come out.

On the third, anticlimactic, day, the town takes the saintly effigies to the chapel on the hill, and firecrackers and rockets are set off around them. No real risk of injury, except to the eardrums.

I think I may go back next year...

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rho
Unhappy

Re: Barrier tape?

For 5 days we had had 415V coming out of the sockets in our offices, reception and 15 holiday apartments.

That gave me the full-body piss shivers. Horrific.

That well is awesome. Simple--therefore reliable--and very clever in its simplicity.

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Mushroom

Re: Barrier tape?

@Richard Mason, 415V is not a good idea no matter where the mains outlet is, bathroom or not. Your case is not an argument against mains outlets in bathrooms. Considering that just about every other country in the world bar the UK has sockets in the bathroom and there aren't millions of people getting shocked then we can safely say that it isn't a major safety failure. There is such a thing as personal responsibility. The UK government is keen on removing that from people's brains and making them think that the state and it's regulations will keep them safe even if they do stupid things.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Barrier tape?

in the early 70s-80s, Belgium had this insane requirement to fuse the "0" of a 380V star setup as well. As you draw 220 from 0 and a "leg" of the the star, blowing the fuse in the null circuit meant that devices were in series across 380V(*). If one was a heavy device (say, an electric heater) and one light (for instance a radio), the light device basically got the full 380V whack and blew up.

I think they eventually figured out that there would be fewer fires if they gave up on that idea..

(*) 3 phase power shifts phase so you don't get 440V..

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@ The Axe Re: Barrier tape?

The regs regarding electrical outlets in Zone 2 are taken directly from EU regulatory directives (in turn taken directly from some ISO agency tasked with standardising such things). Regulatory directives are not passed through member-state governments and go straight on the books without even examination by the civil service, let alone parliament. The only oversight any UK body has on them is when the IET writes them in a form suitable for inclusion in BS7671 and that won't change anything except formatting or internal references to other parts of the regs.

The regs don't ban electrical outlets from bathrooms, believe it or not. They ban mains outlets within Zones 0 and 1 and require outlets within Zone 2 to be IPX4 or better (that is, protected against splash and mechanical ingress). Outside of zone 2 you can place any number of outlets you like. It's just that most modern bathrooms don't extend much beyond the dimensions specified for zone 2 due to the recent practice of building houses so small that a hamster could feel cramped.

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Boffin

Re: Barrier tape?

As I recall, all mains electrical products must be designed and proven to handle voltages in excess of 415V without posing any risk to anyone attempting to operate them. Devices are allowed to fail safely (i.e. burn out, blow fuses, trip cutouts etc.), but they may also carry on normal operation. These gold-plated safety standards, eh?

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Thumb Up

Heck, I dug a deeper hole than that when I was a kid! lol

Well, me and my two younger sisters did.

One crisp October when I was about 15, my dad decided we needed a new dry well as an extension of our sewage system before the snow fell. Naturally, he was too busy to do much digging, so it fell to us kids to get the job done.

The soil on our lot was mostly sugar sand, which made it easy to dig in. It had just enough clay in it to stick together, thankfully, as you'll find out in a minute.

We started by dropping an iron ring on the ground that was 8 feet in diameter. Using your basic #2 shovels, a wheelbarrow, buckets, a block and tackle, and a long ladder, we started digging inside the circumference and underneath the ring so it could settle into the ground.

As the ring dropped below the surface, we started adding interlocking bricks that were designed to fit on it. Each one foot high brick had a notch cut out of the bottom so the sewage would eventually leach out through the holes.

8 feet and courses of brick later, we stopped adding bricks and kept digging. At 13 feet (4 meters) we finally stopped, climbed out of the hole, and had a concrete cover lowered into place.

That last 5 feet of digging while the sand occasionally slumped in was a little exciting, to say the least! :-) We learned to stand in the middle as much as possible to avoid having that cold sand dumped on our back. Still, it could have been a lot worse. The clay in the sand held it together just enough to prevent anything like a major cave in.

Just goes to show what can be done with a little sweat and creativity when you have to save a buck or two. ;-)

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FAIL

Amateurs

My dad dug his own well on his farm, with a spade. None of this borrowing a mate's JCB. Kids of today eh?

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Thumb Up

Re: Amateurs

A spade?! Luxury! My dad dug his own with his bare hands!

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Coat

Re: Amateurs

A Spade? Luxury! We used to have to get out of the well at six o'clock in the morning, clean the well, eat a handful of hot gravel, work twenty hour day digging holes with our face for tuppence a month, come home, and Dad would thrash us to sleep with a broken bottle, if we were lucky.

And you try and tell the young people of today that ..... they won't believe you.

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Re: Amateurs

For an amatuer effort, I thought it was very well done.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Bare hands? Dug?

If we wanted water we had to dig with our tongues, drinking as we went along.

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TRT
Silver badge

Re: Bare hands? Dug?

I was impressed by the chap's azada. Great tools. Can turn over the top foot of an allotment in minutes, and the triangular ones are the only tool for potato trenching.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Amateurs

Bah!:

http://www.bigwell.org/

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Scary

Thumbs up for the hydrogeology - massive massive thumbs down for the actions in the photo at the bottom of page 1 - working in an unsupported excavation like that is basically typing out an application for a darwin award.

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Alert

Re: Scary

Yep - whilst one may argue that some health & safety laws are there in order to counteract the threat of lawsuits should anything go wrong (and one may also argue that this culture is more attributable to the rise of blood-sucking ambulance chasers than eager bureaucrats, despite popular opinion), excavation support and temporary retaining walls in deep holes are definitely not used for arse-covering legal reasons!

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Nev
Stop

Madness

Reminds me of:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01m7rnj/Toughest_Place_to_be_a..._Series_3_Miner/

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Childcatcher

That, Mister Anderson... is the sound of inevitability.

Are the any kids in the village named 'Timmy?'

If so, I would get that thing under 24 hour surveillance.

Childcatcher... because wells do.

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Facepalm

Re: That, Mister Anderson... is the sound of inevitability.

Time to buy a Rough Collie.

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Anonymous Coward

Sod the well...

...where is this beach you speak of?

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Paris Hilton

Re: Sod the well...

My thoughts EXACTLY!

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Impressive!

But I bet you it rains every day for the next four months now

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Z80
Coat

Well done

That is all.

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Re: Well done

Seven comments in before the first well joke? Maybe everyone's at lunch.

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Silver badge
Coat

Re: Well done

Everything is a bit slow, especially in Spain where they use Manuel Labor to do the work.

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Anonymous Coward

Cool story bro

Looks ready for your blog/facebook wall.

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Coat

BTW, what is a diving rod?

I cannot find any in the nearest scuba shop.

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Silver badge

Re: BTW, what is a diving rod?

Presumably meant to be 'divining' rod?

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Happy

Re: BTW, what is a diving rod?

Oh really?

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strop

Which poor sod had the job of pulling the stropping out?

I take it each section was lowered onto a bit of wood, the stopping pulled out, and then the section gently angled over, wood removed, and then angled back?

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(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: strop

Correct.

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Alert

Safer idea?

I'd always wondered about something similar (but for rain-water storage rather than a well), but starting with the concrete rings at ground-level, and just digging out inside them, and a little bit under the bottom edge as it slides down. Probably need a larger diameter than used here, and couldn't use a machine......

Would it work - how far down would you get before the rings got stuck?

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Bronze badge

Re: Safer idea?

Brunel used a similar idea, I believe, for the Thames Tunnel although on a slightly larger scale:

"The shaft, from whence the Tunnel works are carried on, was built at Rotherhithe in the form of a tower, 50 feet in diameter, 42 feet in height, and 3 feet thick, at about 150 feet from the edge of the wharf, and it was sunk into its position by excavating the earth within."

"From An explanation of the works of the tunnel under the Thames from Rotherhithe to Wapping (1836)."

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Re: Safer idea?

That's a fairly standard technique for constructing a well. How deep you would go would depend on the local geology, but assuming that the superficial deposits are reasonably stable, wells made with this technique are often carried down to bedrock.

If the caisson gets stuck you can just narrow the diameter and carry on....(assumes you have a ready supply of different diameter concrete rings)

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Bronze badge

Re: Safer idea?

Even better: high pressure hose and pump the resulting mud out?

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Boffin

Re: Safer idea?

Well, you'd probably need a water supply from, oh, I don't know, say a well, to supply your high-pressure pump, wouldn't you?

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Happy

Re: Safer idea?

>> If the caisson gets stuck you can just narrow the diameter and carry on....

Or do as Brunel did and get a load of workers to jump up and down on it...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Safer idea?

Wrap the concrete pipes in multiple layers of plastic sheeting so they'll slide down easier.

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TRT
Silver badge

Re: Safer idea?

Yeah. You get a cast iron ring with a sharp cutting blade on the bottom and a lip wide enough to hold a layer of bricks. You put it on the ground, dig out the inside and let the weight of the ring push it down. Build a layer of bricks on the ring and dig again. You end up with a lined well as deep as you like.

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