fredag 31 januari 2014

HS2 benefits 'made up', economists tell MPs

Government calculations used to justify the £50 billion HS2 scheme were “essentially made up” a former member of Whitehall’s high speed rail advisory panel has told MPs.

Henry Overman, professor of economic geography at the London School of Economics said he had quit the panel after he felt its role had changed from providing independent advice to promoting the project.

Article in Daily Telegraph.

torsdag 30 januari 2014

Transport Secretary blocks HS2 report

The transport secretary has blocked the release of a sensitive report believed to undermine the case for the proposed high-speed rail network. Patrick McLoughlin took the unusual step of vetoing the publication of a November 2011 review by the Major Projects Authority, despite the information commissioner saying it should be released after Freedom of Information requests. Read more here.

lördag 25 januari 2014

Strange Lenovo X200 memory problems

I recently obtained a used Lenovo X200 Thinkpad. It came with 2GB of memory, which I wanted to increase to 4GB ie 2 x 2GB modules which is what the manufacturer states is the maximum. Unfortunately these are difficult to obtain, and according to some commentators the X200 will run 8GB. I purchased 2 x 4GB Corsair and found that one module would function in slot 0, whilst the other module would not function at all. I updated the BIOS to the latest firmware and was then able to run 5GB, which meant that the 4GB limit no longer applied.

I took the memory back to the supplier, Inet on Ringö, together with the computer. We tried another pair with the same result,. Then we tried single 8GB modules which did not work. Finally we tried a pair of AData 4GB modules which worked without a problem, so I have used those. First class service from the Inet technician. But it seems as if there is a significant different between memories from different manufacturers, though nominally of the same specification, as well as different degrees of consistency.

söndag 5 januari 2014

San Pancrazio

I was helping in the annual stocktaking at the local Catholic bookshop at the weekend. There is a roomful of devotional statues such as would give a Muslim or Calvinist an attack of apoplexy or uncontrollable rage. Some of the statues are rather difficult to identify and distinguish. Our Lady comes in many different varieties: Guadeloupe, Help of Christians, Lourdes, Fatima and the Immaculate Conception, to name just a few. There was an assortment of angels, and a few saints, including San Pancrazio. He was a fourteen year old boy who was beheaded by the Emperor Diocletian in the year 303, the same year as Saint Alban. He is depicted as a young soldier holding an open book. However, as this saint's name is better known as a London railway station, one can fancy the text in the open book reading

"Platform 1: Luton, Bedford, Kettering, Leicester, Loughborough, Nottingham, Chesterfield, Sheffield."

torsdag 2 januari 2014

Government to pay to convert 1st class vehicles to standard

Patrick McLoughlin, the transport secretary, is preparing to pay millions of pounds to turn first-class vehicles to standard-class on First Great Western trains operating into and out of London’s Paddington station.

The simple answer to this is to have a reasonable standard seating density in a single type of vehicle and change the class designation as required. A mark 3 coach will accommodate 76 passengers and their luggage comfortably, which was the arrangement before their most recent refurbishment. The virtual image above illustrates an interior with a mixture of facing bays and airline seating. This gives the same number of seats in a slightly shorter vehicle than the mark three, which could therefore be slightly wider, built almost to the full width of the loading gauge.

49th anniversary of El Fatah

An 85 year old man was killed by Israeli tear gas during disturbances yesterday at celebrations of the 49th anniversary of the foundation of El Fatah, the Palestinian liberation movement. So this conflict claims yet other victim.

The date is interesting, because this was 1965, ie two years before the 1967 war. The West Bank had been annexed by Jordan and the Gaza strip by Egypt. So what exactly was the aim and purpose of El Fatah? The annihilation of Israel, of course. What else?

The majority of Palestinians have supported this organisation ever since, thereby bringing on themselves all the miseries they have subsequently suffered. Had more wisdom prevailed in the Palestinian community, it would have kicked out Arafat & Co. In the immediate aftermath of the 1967 war, the Israeli leadership at that time would have been happy to come to an accommodation which would have been to the benefit of everyone who lives in the region. Unfortunately, Fatah, then headed by Yasser Arafat, chose terrorism instead of negotiation, with consequences that are all too familiar. Amongst the evils conjured up by Fatah must be reckoned a breed of tougher and more intransigent Israeli politicians, very different from those who ran the country for the first three decades of its existence.

Gissa vart spårvagnar går?

Göteborgs spårvagnar rullar i tjänst utan linjeskyltar. Problemet uppståd i början av förre sommar. Förklaringen är att skyltar använder ett...