It's not about the music
It's all that showboating about leaving the country if Labour came into power. That's why people don't like him; the political views of the super-rich are best kept ti thenselves.
272 posts • joined 18 Jul 2008
also has a reputation for stripping its oil pump drive, leading to almost certain engine death as metal contacts metal at high revs. It's not the best design of all time; the old 1.9TDI was a lot tougher.
Anyone who's owned an ageing BMW can tell you that German engineering is not all it's cracked up to be. After decades of making cars, BMW still can't make a decent handbrake mechanism (you often hear a BMW that sounds as if it's towing a raft of tin cans; that's where the handbrake shoes have fallen off the backplates) nor tailgate wiring that doesn't break.
The Japanese do car engineering a lot better but their ventures into the snobby world of executive cars always seem a bit naff; you can't really invent a new prestige brand, although they had a good crack at it with Lexus.
VW cheated because they wanted an Euro VI compliant engine that DIDN'T require urea aftertreatment of the exhaust but would still pass NOx tests. The other manufacturers decided (rightly) that this wasn't possible to achieve while maintaining acceptable on-road performance and economy. On the test cycle the VW engine presumably uses a lot of exhaust gas recirculation and/or injection tweaks to ensure NOx doesn't breach the limits. On the road this would give a very sluggish engine with loads of flat spots and rubbish economy.
Couldn't agree more. Diesels have had a free ride compared to petrol cars for years and they are a fundamentally dirty technology. Diesel fuel doesn't burn in the liquid phase so you are spraying it into hot air and hoping that all of it vaporises in time...anything that doesn't makes soot or those nasty little PM10s that go into your lungs and never come out again. The high compression and excess air, while giving higher thermal efficiency* and negligible CO, also create lots of NOx.
*CO2 and economy benefits are rather overstated; diesel fuel has about 10% higher calorific value per litre and (you don't get owt for nowt) emits more carbon per litre. But that's compensated for by the higher overall efficiency, right? Not so: the availability of diesel power is the only thing that's made the explosion of SUVs and other humungous cars possible in the UK; average emissions for diesel cars are actually higher than for petrol ones, because the cars are larger. Only 'merkins and Arabs with very cheap fuel can afford petrol SUVs!
Unless you want to argue that massive SUVs are a real benefit to society rather than a symbol of conspicuous consumption/get-off-my-road intimidation and we really couldn't manage with 7-seat estate cars.
I've always got very close to the "combined" figure too, and I don't drive like a granny. Most people, however, speed furiously on motorways* and do lots of very short trips (on cold start, running-rich cycle) when they should get their fat arses round the corner a different way.
*as the power required to overcome air resistance increases with the cube of speed, there is usually a big difference in consumption between the usually-seen 85mph and 70mph, unless you have a car that happens to run very efficiently at the higher speed due to gearing and engine management quirks. It happens, but not often.
This isn't about being an eco-warrior. It's about making the air breathable, which even the most rabid anti-greenwash zealot like Lewis Page might care about. Same as catalysts on petrol cars; they don't reduce global warming at all (in fact they increase it for a couple of reasons, all other things being equal) but they do stop you choking on CO, NOx and unburnt hydrocarbons. With current traffic volumes you woud barely be able to breathe in UK cities, were catalysts still not fitted.
Diesels are only tested for smoke under acceleration (there are visual checks for the presence of DPFs on newer cars, but no actual measurement). Even a 1970s diesel in good nick can pass that test, especially if it's had a good thrashing on the way to the test centre. Turbo diesels are allowed more smoke than non-turbo diesels (very rare these days as they are dog-slow and not usually as economical as TDs, but some taxi drivers liked the VW SDI engines as there is less to go wrong).
What's really funny is when a dating site matches you with your own wife* and gives you a 90% compatibility rating. We had a very good laugh about that one. It was rather like that Rupert Holmes song.
*we were already separated at the time, I hasten to add - and no, no-one played away while we were together
Corbyn will never be PM and I'm sure he knows it; the Nasty Party are pretty sure to win a third term since re-election of ANY party depends more on the state of the economy (which is bound up more with the world trade cycle than anything else) and, barring Islamic fundies nuking the City or something, I don't see a global crash in the next five years since we're only just emerging from such a long depression. Then we'll probably get Boris for the third term and by the end of that the wheels will have come off the economy (not necessarily Boris's fault, as I said, the government always gets the blame for what's happening in the trade cycle) so Labour will be back in, but Corbyn will have retired.
What Corbyn will give Labour, and what they probably want right now, is an effective opposition. They know they can't get Cameron out for the next five years, and they almost certainly know they can't do it in 2020 either. So it doesn't matter.
Is that a practical 90m water resistance or the usual static test? If so,on the usual scale 50m is good enough for doing the washing-up and surface swimming and 100m is good enough for surface swimming (including snorkelling). You have to go to 200m resistance if you want to dive underwater at all, including throwing yourself off the high board at the swimming pool.
Still don't see the point of a smartwatch, as it's too small for the screen to be useful for messaging or maps and it's silly for telling the time compared to a normal watch, a bit like buying a car just so you can play CDs on the stereo. I kind of saw the point of Google Glass, so I'm not totally against wearable technology. A sports goggle version of Google Glass with an HD cam would kill off GoPro's market and also ensure you didn't get lost on your bike ride or Nordic ski trek...
There are three types of music:
1. Studio-recorded, multi-tracked, mixed, autotuned, normalised (i.e. compressed dynamic range to make it VERY LOUD) pop. No point in making that hi-res, since it's all been through a load of computers first and bears no resemblance to original vocals or instruments. I remember students preferred the "fizz" of 128k MP3* to the original CD as that was the sound they were used to!
2. Live rock/pop. Few of the pros can sing or play as well as on their records (the X Factor is unmitigated drivel but at least they have to be able to sing live) and you have crowd noise/stage buzzes so no point in hi-res.
3. Classical recordings. There might be a case for hi-res but it's a small market.
*I can hear that 128k MP3 is a bit crackly but 256k or high quality VBR, with any reasonable encoder, is as good as CD for me.
The trouble in situations like this is that you can't just try a fix and see if it works, since that might result in duplicated payments, payments going to the wrong accounts etc. It's not like trying to get a Quake II server back online. Any fix has to be extensively tested because, once the money is in an account, it may well be gone for ever, So four days, while not reasonable from the customer's POV, is par for the course.
I'm not making apologies for GnatWest of course; they need to test their changes properly. IT failures are only usually caused by one of two factors:
1. Breakdown of the infrastructure (server goes pop, data centre floods) for which you can and should have contingency, if the application is critical
2. Someone changed something and didn't test it enough.
Google's shopping search results have always been hopeless. Too many rubbish eBay items, wrong items or unavailable items from old web pages. On a level playing field, they wouldn't be able to compete at all because they're so laughably bad at "doing" shopping. Hence the Foundem story - if true - is entirely believable.
Google jumped the shark a long time ago, notably when they tried to take on Farcebook in a market where mediocrity, poor usability and privacy concerns are all clearly trumped by critical mass. Not a very intelligent move. The basic search engine is still good, though, and Android is sufferable, so it's not all a disaster.
Can we first have working 2G on the Great Western Main Line, please? It's near-impossible to make a voice call except when you're sat at Reading. And that's not a good trade-off.
Anyway, all manifestos will be ripped up within a few days of the result, since we now know that a coalition means all bets are off and all promises are cancelled (Clegg). This generally means that really nasty stuff can be implemented on a "needs must" basis, when they know they wouldn't have had a hope of getting in , had it been in the manifesto. Clever, eh?
It's also huge for the amout of interior space you get - has anyone noticed how you can't walk between cars in car parks any more, because they';ve become too wide for the spaces? It's basically a hatchback for someone who wants a higher/more dominating car.
Anyway, I wouldn't buy one because I live where they're made and every Honda "associate" of more than two years' standing (they don't seem to have "employees" any more) gets to drive one for £99 a month, so the town is infested with them.
My DAB radio lives on FM because the same stations (Radio 4 and Classic FM) just sound better on FM than on DAB. In the living room there's a 20 year old Sony tuner with a proper roof aerial. 70dB SNR on Classic FM, no hiss. Yeah, I know FM (apart from tedious Radio 3, which must be the most expensive radio station per live human listener, anywhere) is subject to dynamic compression by the broadcaster so isn't actually hi-fi, but it still kicks DAB into touch.
I bet DAB+ will just be used as an excuse to cram in more bland or duplicate mono stations and drop the bitrate even further. As Bobbi Flekman says in "This Is Spinal Tap", money talks and bullshit walks.
To add insult to injury, many Pure radios are DAB+ capable only if you pay Pure an unspecified fee for a firmware "upgrade", or rather a "reversal of deliberate crippling". It's like the old Intel 486SX processor, which was a lobotomised 486DX.
I see an increasing number of cars driving around in total darkness with no lights at all, not even sidelights. I blame (a) dash lighting linked to the ignition, rather than to the lights and (b) people thinking all cars now have automatic headlights.
A black car being driven through town at night with no lights is a scary prospect. I've seen it (only just, though).
Has 5.1 allowed us to get the black background back for texts etc? That was the worst thing about 5.0 - forcing a WHITE background which is just horrid to use at night, Oh, and removing the usual way to put the phone on silent or not-silent. And there's nothing new in 5.0 that I actually wanted.
Well, yer big naval guns weren't just designed for firing at other battleships (torpedoes are better for actually sinking ships anyway, unless you get lucky with your shells and hit something vital or explosive) Big 16" and 18" guns are also for coastal bombardment; you can pulverise defences or level a city many miles away, without having to risk bombers (which may, in any case, not be able to get there if we're talking about an enemy on the other side of the Pacific and you haven't captured a few convenient airstrip islands yet). And a battleship could lob shells at a target day and night, whereas bombers only get a few minutes over the target.
There's a very good Wikipedia photo of USS Iowa firing a broadside. You might not want to be on the receiving end of that.
is that they still have the two biggest disadvantages of a normal bicycle, viz. exposure to the elements (so you still have to face 5 miles into a headwind with sleet, as I did this Monday) and the danger of sharing the roads with people in fast armoured motor vehicles. The effort involved in pedalling a conventional bike is really not even a tiny part of the problem, and at least it keeps you fit. Cycle paths? Nice in principle, if only they were swept of broken glass, salted in winter and somehow kept free of uncontrolled dogs.
Of course, popular perception is that we don't pay "road tax" and all of us jump red lights and knock over old grannies when we take a short cut on the pavement, so this post was probably a waste of time.
Speaking from personal experience, if you "settle for" someone, it won't last and you won't enjoy it. You'll both always be looking around and wondering what might have been, and after 10 years it will eat away at your soul. Luckily my ex and me both agreed on this, it was amicable (even if it meant I needed to get a mortgage again after paying off the first one, the financial split could have been a whole lot worse) and everyone is much happier. Better to stick to people seemingly out of your league (in looks, educational attainment, general social capital, whatever)...you'll get knocked back almost all the time but it's awesome if it works. And I still don't know what she sees in me.
Two problems spring to mind:
1. HDDs usually have a filtered breather hole to cope with the innards heating up during use. So this one must be built to cope with pressure changes.
2. According to a former student colleague who has worked at BOC these last 25 years, helium is notoriously hard to contain (unlike hydrogen, it's a single-atom molecule and can squeeze through the smallest gap). So even a "hermetically sealed" (see 1 above) drive casing is hard to design as you need special helium-proof gaskets where the case is screwed together, unless they are literally welding it shut.
Get the above wrong and it reverts to an air-filled enclosure (or a partial vacuum when cold, as the heated helium escapes) fairly quickly. Must be a real design headache.
Of course, any massive expansion in Uber cars at the expense of public transport will cause more congestion on the roads - a shared public resource - and then none of Uber's services, or those of the black cabs, will work well. So there's another limit to the size of the market, unless we want to build twelve-lane expressways through London. And that investment in the public resource is a lot more expensive (leaving aside its unacceptability to residents) than paying a little extra to get in a car instead of on a bus because you feel richer.
You already see this in city centres where deregulated bus services have resulted in a logjam of half-empty buses in different colours, trying to compete for the same lucrative routes. Obviously you can't get a bus at all on the less lucrative routes any more because even the councils have given up subsidising them. Mind you, you can't get a black cab to take you sarf of the river after chucking-out time, either.
I remember when Racal Vodafone was a little company in the centre of Newbury. Now Vodafone owns Newbury to the extent that it tells the local council what it wants, and they have to do it. Mind you, I also remember when Orange had really good customer service and you could get through to a helpful person in the call centre after just one or two rings.
BT Cellnet was for the suits.
is the race to the bottom. If all your competitors are cutting services and increasing prices, so can you. Look at per-second charging of calls (quietly dropped ages ago by most operators), charging a king's ransom for Freefone 0800 numbers, connection fees, mid-contract price rises (what - you can't even set a flat price for TWO miserable years?), hopeless call centre queues etc. Sometimes the industry acts as a virtual cartel, knowing that anything Ofcom says will be like being savaged by a dead sheep.
Worstall should do an article on that. I'd like to read it.
Windows 8, and 8.1, sucked. I'd rather use Linux Mint and do on the desktop PC but, in the case of my HP Pavilion laptop, Linux support for the wireless interface is a bit iffy (drops WiFi regularly) so i ended up paying for Windows 7. Oh, and I also ended up paying for a dual-boot copy of Windows 7 for the desktop because I needed to drive a Reflecta film scanner with no Linux support. So MS have done pretty well out of me; the Windows 8 tax and then a copy of Windows 7. Maybe it's a strategy to release a rubbish product every other version, and benefit from the downgrade market.
Booked a test drive of the 5 door. Never got it out of the showroom in the end. My 11-year old would never have been able to sit in the back with the seat adjusted for me (and I'm under six feet); the legroom and headroom are non-existent. Buy a Fiesta or something; the A1 is just a fashion accessory for couples.
Also, unless they've added balancer shafts to the VW 3-cylinder engine, it's as rough as a buzzard's crutch. I've tried it in a Skoda Citigo and, while that is an otherwise excellent little car (much better packaged than the A1), the engine stopped me from buying one. It felt as if it would shake itself apart within a few thousand miles.
The Mamod steam engine always seemed terribly weak to me; the steam pressure is very low and it can barely move itself on level ground. Unlike Stephenson's Rocket, it doesn't use a multi-tube boiler, nor does it use the exhaust steam to create draught for the fire. The most annoying thing was that you couldn't top up the boiler without allowing it all to go cold first, although if you were a bit adventurous you could get two fills of meths to every fill of the boiler. It would run at impressively high speeds with the drive band disconnected, though; probably 1000 rpm or so (the cylinder was a blur).
When I got a bit older and wanted to know how big steam locomotives worked, the Mamod was no use at all. Oscillating cylinder (which covers and uncovers the steam and exhaust ports without the need for valves), no crosshead, no smokebox, no superheater, no reversing gear, no regulator...pfft.
Oh, lovely cherry-picking on the death figures. How many premature deaths do you think Chernobyl is going to cause? Thousands? Tens of thousands? And a large area of Ukraine is uninhabitable for decades. Imagine that in an economically productive area of the UK, for instance.
I'm actually a fan of nuclear power but the safety standards have been shown time and time again to be not only necessary, but probably insufficient, and certainly flouted by the monkeys running the facilities. Some of the things that went on at Dounreay were appalling and the clean-up is seriously expensive and difficult. The real answer is to use reactor technologies that create less waste and are inmherently safer to operate. Maybe not fusion, but thorium.
I have Blu-Rays and DVDs, and also a 46" HDTV. I can't tell the difference between the formats AT ALL from where I sit about 3 metres away. If I had a massive screen or sat really close to it, maybe I could, but that would mean the living room was utterly dominated by a big 2001-style black monolith, and I don't want that.
So no, 4K is of zero interest to me.
The big problem is that there's nothing on worth watching. Sometimes my TV doesn't even get turned on for a week, apart from maybe to watch a DVD. Programming seems to be wall-to-wall reality pap and soaps, with desperately unfunny comedy like Miranda. Used to have Sky but the frequency and length of advert breaks (on pay TV!) drove me up the wall, aside from the rapacious cost.
I could happily live without a licence, if it weren't for my kids visiting.
As a left-handed mouse user (no left-handed surfing jokes...it's due to RSI in my preferred right arm years ago) all this talk of left-clicking and right-clicking is highly confusing. When swapping from right to left hands you generally reverse the buttons so you can still use your forefinger for a primary click - which is now a right click, not a left click.
I'm not sure what "real" left-handed people do, since they were all burnt as witches when i was younger.
I don't know if CO2 causes global warming but I don't think increasing the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere by 20% in 50 years is a very good idea; it's bound to do *something* to the balance of plants and animals on the planet. Nor is it a great idea to waste fossil fuels - although I accept it makes no real difference to the atmosphere whether we do it all next week or eke it out over 100 years - until we have a suitable, economic alternative for uses like transport and chemical feedstocks.
However, some people will always see an international Communist conspiracy behind anything that threatens to affect their high-polluting lifestyle, the like of which most people in the world copuld never dream of.
A 3-cyl engine has rather poor balance (rocking couple) and needs balance shafts. VW didn't bother with the little 1 litre engine in the Citigo, which is why it feels as if it's going to shake itself apart (and why I didn't buy one after test driving it). Ford economised on their EcoBoost 3-cyl engine by using an unbalanced flywheel to compensate, whcih is a bodge first tried years ago.
I suspect BMW did it properly and used balance shafts in this one, especially as the capacity is too large just to try and ignore the problem, as is tempting with a 1 litre or smaller.
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