I am an anarchist………

……..so sang The Sex Pistols. Well I think that if our unelected government doesn’t sit up and take note really soon, many people will have no real choice but to turn to anarchy.

Fuel in every form is increasing in cost by the second. Be it petrol or diesel for your car, gas for your heating or electricity for your lights, it is increasing faster than inflation. A lot faster.

Centrica announced this week that it anticipates that come winter, gas prices will increase by 25%! Yes, I said 25%. Who is increasing the price by a quarter? Damn sure the workers on the oil rigs haven’t had a 25% pay rise so if this isn’t blatant profiteering then what is it? In 2008 when oil prices were rising by the hour the fuel stations had no qualms in putting the fuel price up twice a day. When crude oil prices fell, they weren’t so fast, blaming the fact they were buying fuel six months in advance.

Now I don’t object to paying for petrol. I object to paying over 60% tax on the petrol.

Back to The Sex Pistols or at least, the song. Our government seem blind to what is happening to the man (or woman) on the street. Apparently in you listen to our millionaire prime minister (you know, the one 60% of the population voted against in the election) we are all in this together. Okay, then give me some of your money Dave.

You see, I think that if the general population continue to struggle to pay bills because energy companies and the government continue to screw them over, whilst seeing valuable services cut and banks bailed out to the tune of millions while expense fiddling MPs fail to be held to account for their disrespectful (to the taxpayer) behaviour, I think it won’t be long before people march on Downing Street with pitch forks and torches. And who can blame them, certainly not me.

AV or not AV

Well since I last blogged we had the referendum on the alternative vote system. Now I won’t go into the ins and outs of how AV would have worked, it’s a moot point now. I will however offer my opinion as to why AV was proposed by the Tories as the alternative to First Past the Post.

A point (and there aren’t many) where I agree with the Tory Lite party (formerly the Liberal Democrats) is that the ideal basis for electoral reform would have been to move to a system of Proportional Representation. PR is simple. 43% of the population that vote vote for your party. Your party get 43% of the seats in parliament.

The Tories wanted AV to be proposed as the alternative the FPTP as they hoped that once the blue media publications started to confuse the general public by making AV out to be far more complex then it was, many people would stick with the devil they knew (and weren’t confused by) and vote to keep the existing system. That’s my theory anyway.

Posted in Finance and banking

I was recycling. Honest.

Some people call it hoarding. Personally I like to think of it a future recycling-making use of something another day.

I ought to stop and confess here. Something my wife will more than happily agree with, as would my mum about my dad. I am, and come from, a line of mass hoarders. I am a hoarder. My dad is a hoarder and my paternal grandfather was a hoarder. None of us can bear to throw anything away. And it’s not just down to the odd length of wood or some old tools no. We hoard anything from used screws to old (broken) vacuum cleaners, to washing machines (also broken), to car parts (usually broken or worn out) and anything and everything in between.

We have had cupboards full, sheds full, garages full and any other place that the better half doesn’t notice full. And why? Well, we all worked under the idea that “one day” we will need that broken alternator, 12″ length of 2″x1″ or rusty and worn nut and bolt.

“One day” however, never seems to come. Dust builds on the “future needs” piles and more clutter arrives, keeping the original clutter company as none of it EVER gets used. Occasionally  we’ll have a bonfire and discard of SOME of the timber. Not all of it as any seasoned hoarder knows, that would be asking for trouble. Occasionally, we’ll fill a bin or take a trip to the tip. Never usually under our own initiative, usually under instruction from the more sensible “other half”.

Why bring this up today. Well, earlier today I spent about 4 hours working on my Land Rover. What did I achieve with this time? An oil and filter change? A new clutch fitted? A thorough de-mud? Nope, none of those. I did clean up one indicator bulb holder as it was a little green, which took about 5 minutes. The other 235 minutes were spent (with obligatory intermittent coffee breaks, well I say coffee break, more like, make coffee on third kettle boil, then remember said coffee exists, half hour later) cleaning the “future stuff” as I would call it, “junk” as the wife would call it, out of the back of the Land Rover. It’s truly amazing how much the back of a 110 CSW can hold. I found all sorts from a new water pump (honest, I had remembered it was there) to odd bits of wire, damp and useless masking tape and even seized pliers.

So, after developing an albeit temporary ruthless streak for the sorting, a few hours and many walks to the shed (hey, I’m not throwing out potentially useful stuff) and even more to the wheelie bins I could see the floor once again. After some sorting I even regained one of the tool bags and had spare room in the tool box!

So the moral of this…………wait a minute. I am not cured of my hoarding. Doubt I ever will be. My grandad wasn’t even til his last days, but, and it’s not a big but, I do accept that on the odd occasion, when you have lost the floor of the shed, can’t get in the loft or can’t put anything in a usually cavernous Land Rover, maybe, just maybe, then it is acceptable to do a little spring cleaning. After all, where are you going to put the stuff you’re going to aquire over then next twelve months!

Posted in Land Rovers, Life, the Universe and...... | Tagged as:

Moshi Monsters

Sometimes you come across something that has become a phenomenon and you weren’t even aware of it’s existence. Moshi Monsters is one such phenomenon to myself. Until my children started playing it recently I had never even heard of it, let alone seen any of the characters.

Moshi Monsters is a social network game, created by the media company Mind Candy and launched in April 2008. By September 2010 it had 25 million users.

It is aimed at 7-12 year olds though ages well above and below this range do play it (just ask my wife). A player adopts a pet monster and then cares for it. By playing a range of educational (but well disguised in some cases) games the player can earn Rox to buy food, gifts, houses, carpets and more for their monster’s enjoyment. A monster has a health and happiness scale and also can have moods.  By growing different combinations of special plants you can attract ‘Moshlings’ which are miniature monsters, pets for your pet, if you like. These can then be kept in a zoo.

You can add friends like a normal social network site and sent gifts and messages between each other. It’s heavily monitored and moderated to provide a safe environment and limitations on achievement are set so no matter how long you play the game in a given day, you can only progress a certain amount. Thereby discouraging any reason for endless hours of playing.

What’s more is it’s free. You can join and play most of the game just by registration. Yes, you can become a member and gain extra ‘moshlings’ and access but it’s not essential to be a member.

Now the merchandise side of the industry has jumped onto the bandwagon and you can now get cuddly monsters and collectable ‘moshlings’.

For once, it’s nice to see something for kids that is safe, not money grabbing, and educational for them, even if they don’t notice it. Bit like hiding mashed vegetables in with mash potato.

Moshi Monsters

Moshi Monsters

Posted in And now for something completely different. | Tagged as: , , , ,

So just how large is Google????

I came across this info-graphic about Google earlier today and whilst I can’t think of anything to really add, please click to enlarge and read, it’s quite interesting.

Google statistics

Posted in Life, the Universe and......, Web | Tagged as: ,

Covini C6W

Now I am a fan of Formula one motor racing. Have been for some time and while as a sport it has had it’s ups and downs in terms of interest, it has always been the pinnacle of motor sport.

Even though I am not old enough to remember the 1976 and 1977 seasons I do remember seeing pictures of one of the most famous and unique Formula 1 cars ever built, the Tyrrell P34.

Tyrrell P34 image courtesy if Adriatic Veteran Cars

The famous "six-wheeler"

Now whilst the P34 only lasted two seasons in F1, it’s legend will live on for a long time. The idea behind the concept was simple, smaller front wheels would equal more grip, higher brake force and less lift which would all lead to better performance. It’s short lived life was partially due to the lack of development of front tyres and the extra weight from the steering and suspension for the second front axle. It did place first once and had a number of second podiums during it’s brief career and now resides in museums and makes occasional appearances on ‘Veterans’ racing days.

The reason I bring up the P34 is because I recently came across the Covini C6W. Now this was developed in 2003 and officially went on sale in 2010 (the project originally began in 1974) but had taken much inspiration from the Tyrrell P34 in as much as two axles of smaller front wheels on the car. The cost of this beast, £260,000 (approximately, depending on exchange rate).

A stunning pair

Now Covini are as you might expect, an Italian engineering company and I believe it shows in the design of the C6W. They currently manufacture 6-8 of the cars a year and I hope they continue to make them. The cars are powered by a 4.2 litre Audi lump and will reach 186mph. Whilst the four front tyres give better braking and traction, apparently, there is less feedback to the driver than would usually be expected from the steering wheel of a supercar. Obviously you also have double the components that can wear out/fail.

Personally I think it is a stunning design and in a world where all supercars look pretty much the same, I think it’s a welcome addition and I can’t wait to see it go round the Top Gear test track.

Must go, need to get a lottery ticket so I can order mine.

Posted in And now for something completely different. | Tagged as: , , , , ,
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