Friday, 27 June 2014

Eco Show Brighton Centre - Some Good Stuff.

Spent a couple of hours at the Eco Show at the Brighton Centre yesterday (the Landlords Show was on as well, so popped in there too afterwards).

I am looking at getting a small holding, off grid, in a few years so am keen to see what self-reliant renewable tech is available. I am also keen to see what bogus stuff is being touted too!

The best single product has to be the civilised composting toilet - it was there last year, and seems to have been on the up since then - with an even smarter stand this year. Waterless and with a solar powered fan, a completely isolated device for your 'convenience'. In fact they do a toilet cabin (complete with shed) that can be dropped off complete,  put anywhere, for around £1000. http://www.eco-toilets.co.uk/blog/

Sussex Uni had a display - a product that caught my eye was a reservoir that catches the first cold water from your shower before the hot comes through (rather than letting it run straight down the plughole), and then feeds it back into the flow when the water is hot. A saving of 10pints of water per shower would mean an annual saving on a water bill of over £100 for a family of four. No power required, all done passively!

Rainwater reclaiming was interesting to - for the garden/car etc and can be used for flushing toilets. They all now seem to have mains 'top up' feeds, so no need for two pipes to everything - which is neat. We may well put  a big flat vertically mounted tank on the back of our garage...

Saving the best service till last...

The Green council have savaged our public transport to help their pet Coach company get a bus route, and have thrown millions at cycle lanes which help a few central Brighton cyclists but inconvenience all Brighton motorists... This means my wife and I have to give regular giving regular lifts to our lads, either to a better served bus stop (loads of short, inefficient trips) or all the way to/from college/work.

But at the show we discovered 'Wheels to Work'/'Wheels to Collage' http://www.eastsussexwheels2work.co.uk - who rent fully serviced/insured etc electric bikes and motorbikes to victims of the Greens, like ourselves. Just need to check the cover the city, not just the county(!).

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Voting and keeping (resurrecting?) confidence in it.

English voting is kept reliable and secure by the physical security over the ballot papers - so simple a child can understand and be sure of the system.

The principle is that a single paper is issued to a voter, and is then monitored from voting booth to the count. It is either in sight, or in a box with a seal -approved by the polling staff and candidates (or their agents). So a candidate can be as confident as humanly possible that there has been no tampering to rig the result.

Postal votes are a different matter, as they enter the polling system by post - there can be no certainty as to who they were completed by, and no assurance that a ballot is even received by the polling staff - it needs complete reform.

I believe it should be a criminal offence with a significant minimum term (say 5 years) to mark or tamper with another voters ballot paper in anyway.

Any alternative voting system, must retain this simple, visible, security - electronic/mechanical voting or counting should only ever be considered if it can meet this same standard. A machine for counting ballots may be possible if it visibly cannot introduce, change or discard ballot papers, and its results can (could) be manually verified.

A voter must be confident that their vote has been accurately counted, and that only (and all) valid votes cast by other legitimate voters are included in the result.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

It is essential to resist a tyranny before it exists - G.K.Chesterton. Vote #UKIP

The wisest thing in the world is to cry out before you are hurt. It is no good to cry out after you are hurt; especially after you are mortally hurt. People talk about the impatience of the populace; but sound historians know that most tyrannies have been possible because men moved too late. It is often essential to resist a tyranny before it exists. It is no answer to say, with a distant optimism, that the scheme is only in the air. A blow from a hatchet can only be parried while it is in the air.

G.K.Chersterton, 1922