The Plastic Hippo

December 19, 2015

Fractious

Whiter shale of paid

Whiter shale of paid

I freely admit that I have absolutely no idea if the process of extracting shale gas and oil using hydraulic fracturing is either economically viable or environmentally safe.

Mercifully, this shocking ignorance is quite rare as the rest of the planet is divided into those who are convinced of the definition of “viable” and others who are certain of the definition of “safe”. Even sensible “experts” not usually prone to the smooth hyperbole of drilling companies or the hysterical claims of anti-fracking campaigners seem divided. Some say; “Yup…it`ll probably work” but others remark; “Hmm…I dunno…needs more research.” (more…)

December 17, 2015

Ignition sequence start

Filed under: Environment,History,Media,Science,Transport,World — theplastichippo @ 4:00 am
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The Right Stuff

The Right Stuff

In a relatively short space of time, an awful lot of flying things happened in the years separating the Wright Brothers from Yuri Gagarin. Exactly 112 years ago, on December 17th 1903, Orville and then Wilbur took to the air each making two controlled, powered flights in a machine constructed of spruce timber, muslin and string. The first flight by Orville covered 120 feet and the fourth flight by Wilbur went for 852 feet. The average altitude was 10 feet and the average airspeed was 6.8 miles per hour. (more…)

December 15, 2015

How Green Was My Valley

Filed under: Environment,Media,Politics,Science,World — theplastichippo @ 4:00 am
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Rosebud

Rosebud

The uncanny ability displayed by politicians to deflect any suggestion of responsibility or accountability when something goes horribly wrong is matched only by an inevitable clamour for praise when something accidentally goes well. Even when nothing happens at all, it is immediately redefined as being profoundly splendid and our leaders take every opportunity to remind us of their wisdom and selfless sacrifice.

One particularly fine example of this double talk came at the weekend with the conclusion of COP21 Paris Agreement on a global approach to reducing carbon emissions. Emerging bleary eyed after being up all night, the delegates from 195 nations at the Conference of the Parties indulged in an orgy of backslapping and self-congratulation not witnessed since FIFA awarded the World Cup to Qatar. (more…)

December 7, 2015

Abigail`s Party

Filed under: Environment,Media,Politics,Science,Society,World — theplastichippo @ 3:00 am
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Before via BBC Northwest Tonight

Before via BBC Northwest Tonight

I think I must have missed the memo informing weather obsessed citizens of the UK and Ireland that storms were to be allocated human names in order to raise awareness of potential severity. Hurricanes and cyclones have long been given names to highlight the difference between weather and a severe weather event and so warn those in its path of disruption, a danger to property and a risk to life. (more…)

July 23, 2014

In the Ghetto

The Sims

The Sims

On a bright and sunny Walsall morning another little shady deal is born in the ghetto.

It does not require a genius to understand that there is a shortage of houses for people to live in. Building houses stimulates economic growth, creates jobs, increases local authority revenue and goes some way in alleviating overcrowding and homelessness. Only a complete and utter buffoon would hesitate in encouraging a building programme that would combat urban decay and regenerate dying communities. Fortunately we are blessed by the presence of Chancellor George Osborne. Understanding that demand exceeding supply is very good for profit, he is happy to allow the major players in the building industry to leave huge tracts of land that come complete with planning permission dormant in order to fuel a housing bubble. His bizarre help to buy scheme helps to buy time until the bubble bursts and the donations to the Conservative party from the major players in the building industry are safely in the bank not called Lehman Brothers. (more…)

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