September 30, 2011
Friday Night is Music Night (Grain Dryer Edition)
Back in t'70s I used to be on night shift on the dryer. The grain was moved with a sucker/blower which was powered by a large three phase motor. Starting it up always aurally pleasured me like the start of this track. Which explains why "Hawkwind" was spray painted on the side of the grain bins.
Hand in hand they jumped off a cliff
July 18, 2011 I spent mainly been hedging - if the euro is worth more than 86.6p on 30th Sept 2011 I have made a bad call.
Looks like a wash - which means that despite all the doommongering about the euro in the last three months the money believes the pound is still an equal to it. Which is worrying.
The European Central Bank has released the Euro exchange rate that will be used for calculating SPS 2011 payments. It will be 0.86665.
Cooking With Nigella
September 28, 2011
Indy Editor Backs Plan To Licence Free Speech
Chris Blackhurst, the editor of the Independent, has come out in support of the Labour party's controversial proposal to get journalists "struck off" if they are found to have committed gross malpractice.
...why can't we bar journalists from writing articles," Blackhurst said, adding that "newspapers had to take charge of their own industry". But he conceded that his thinking on the issue was at an early stage. When pressed he said he had "not thought about" what body would licence reporters.
My tip - Try engaging the brain before speaking as the excitement of felching the latest Labour lunacy obviously has impaired your ability to think.
Al Gore: clear proof that climate change causes extreme weather | Environment | The Guardian
Al Gore has warned that there is now clear proof that climate change is directly responsible for the extreme and devastating floods, storms and droughts that displaced millions of people this year.
Speaking to an audience of business leaders, political leaders including Scotland's first minister Alex Salmond and green energy entrepreneurs in Edinburgh, Gore said the world was at a "fork in the road".
Gore then cited a recent report from the global insurance Munich Re, that climate change was "the only plausible explanation" for the rapid increase in extreme weather events. "They're paid to get this right. It's their job," he said.
They are paid to make people worried so they take out insurance, I think you will find. They may be right but to take their financial interest as proof seems a touch odd to me.
September 27, 2011
Climate Scientists Are Different
The researchers studied the results of Myers-Brigg Type Indicator personality tests that were provided by about 200 early-career Ph.D. scientists doing interdisciplinary research related to climate change, and compared these to data on the general public
For instance, the study finds that climate scientists tend to fall within the Myers-Brigg category of those who tend to process information based on “intuition,” whereas the general public shows a preference for “sensing.”
The preference for Intuition by early career climate scientists suggests that this group is likely to be more oriented towards future climate impacts than members of the general public, who generally prefer Sensing over Intuition. For Sensors, the current situation is more relevant and more easily appreciated, and past experience and concrete facts are more trusted than future possibilities.
Another intriguing finding is that climate scientists have a “strong preference” for “judging” rather than “perceiving,” which has implications for how they handle uncertainty and doubt.
…on average, climate change researchers will prefer to reach a decision or come to closure and ‘move on’ to the next step more quickly than the general population. The general population, with a higher proportion of Perceivers, is more likely to see room for doubt, or want to take more time to explore possible alternatives, especially when outcomes are not likely to be positive.
So they tend to be judgemental dogmatic guessers rather than careful methodical data lovers....nice to have confirmation.
September 23, 2011
Friday Night is Music Night (MotorCity Mashup Edition)
A Glimpse Of A Better Past
See below the fold.
Who's this 'we,' Kemosabe?
Fracking has already been banned in France, New York and New Jersey, as well as in Quebec and the Swiss canton of Fribourg.
If they are against it that seems a pretty good reason to be for it.
But this "until we know more" that Caroline always uses, who is the we? Is everyone expected to wait until the knowledge has been absorbed into her head or is it a more general we. If the former I fear we will be waiting a long long time.
Squeal of Injustice
NEW Zealand's Labour Party has joined the battle to have the ban on playing the bagpipes in stadiums at the Rugby World Cup overturned, saying it made Kiwis look like a nation of "kiltjoys".
With Scotland playing Argentina in Wellington on Sunday, the international campaign to get the ban lifted is gaining momentum.
If they allow the Haka it is only fair they allow the Scottish "Instrument of War" as well. And how is the English practise of forming of three ranks, front rank to kneel, our traditional response to Hakas and bagpipes, going?
September 22, 2011
Who's Not Laughing Any More?
The Maldives' acting high commissioner in London has written to the newspaper's editor seeking a clarification and apology.
He said the post had implied that his country's climate change plight was a con-trick, and this, he said, was despicable and hurtful.
However, he added that Maldivians had as strong a sense of humour as anyone.
September 21, 2011
Geoffrey Lean Doesn't Know His Greens
In 2007 - Further south, at Qassiarsuk broccoli was being harvested for the first time in Greenland,
At Umanak (70° 40' N.) is the most northern garden in the world. Broccoli and radishes grow well, turnips (but not every year), lettuce and chervil succeed sometimes, but parsley cannot be reared. Greenland - 1911 Edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica
So over a hundred years ago broccoli was being grown in Greenland, not for the first time in 2007.
Geoff - learn to google old mate.
Huhne Determined To Turn The Lights Off?
The UK's "dash for gas" will be halted by the government because if unchecked it would break legally binding targets for carbon dioxide emissions, Chris Huhne, energy and climate change secretary, said on Monday evening.
"We will not consent so much gas plant so as to endanger our carbon dioxide goals," he told a fringe meeting at the Liberal Democrats party conference in Birmingham.
The number of gas-fuelled power plants is increasing rapidly because they are fast and cheap to build compared with alternatives. ...
David Porter, chief executive of the Association of Electricity Producers, said: "Electricity produced from gas is important for security of electricity supply. Gas-fired power stations offer flexible, reliable electricity, which is vital as we increase our renewable electricity production and prepare for new nuclear power. Unabated gas will play an important role in the transition to a low carbon electricity industry. We must keep the lights on and do so cost-effectively...
... globally gas price rises have been curbed by increasing supplies of unconventional gas, driven from shale by hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking. Exploration has begun in the UK near Blackpool in Lancashire and has attracted protests....
"I recommend you look at the film Gasland, which is a bit of a wake-up call," Huhne said. "There are some extremely alarming pictures of people setting fire to their taps because of methane gas bubbling up."
September 20, 2011
Anybody Got A Match?
ilms that depict actors smoking should be handed an automatic 18 certificate, according to research published by the British Medical Journal.
The report, produced by researchers from the UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies, called for movies that feature smoking to attract a similar age classification to those that portray sex or violence.
Cold shower time.
Scot Speech To Be Controlled Everywhere.
Scots who are recorded making threatening remarks anywhere in the world could be hunted down like sex offenders....
The Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications Bill is currently separated into two parts, with the second offence - making threatening communications - currently restricted to religious hatred.
However, the first part - offensive behaviour at football - also covers offensive remarks on someone's social or cultural group, colour, race, nationality, ethnic or national origins, sexual orientation, transsexual identity or disability.
Mrs Cunningham told Holyrood's Justice Committee today: "In terms of the second offence, widening that out to include the same categories as the first offence, I have no huge antipathy to that."
The Lord Advocate added: "I'm fairly relaxed about broadening out the second offence, but that is a matter for parliamentarians."
Mrs Cunningham said she was also open to extending the discriminatory remarks to cover those based on age and gender as well to bring it in line with other discrimination legislation.
.... "no huge antipathy"..."fairly relaxed".... Is it only the Scotch who are going to be monitored worldwide for thoughtcrimes, or are they relaxed about the idea of ensuring no body anywhere says anything nasty about anyone.
September 18, 2011
England vs Georgia Rugby - 7 am kick off and the King's Arms is open to show it. Then off to work at 8:40.
Touching The Flesh
Noblesse oblige and all that, how jolly decent of him. I'm not sure if anyone has asked Her Maj if she is willing to meet him, Uncle Dicky and all her loyal subjects are such old history aren't they?
Of course she is a professional so she would, but some wet wipes in the handbag to clean one's hands would not be inappropriate.
September 17, 2011
Huhne - It's your fault, and the CPS's fault and the euro is a success.
Mr Huhne told The Times that families could treat themselves to a £300 mini-break if they showed as much interest in hunting for gas and electricity bargains as they did with smaller items.
“They do not bother,” he said. “They frankly spend less time shopping around for a bill that’s on average more than £1,000 a year than they would shop around for a £25 toaster.
Ministers fear that energy bills, and the rising number of households in fuel poverty, could become one of the dominant issues of the winter. Mr Huhne conceded that the pursuit of new nuclear power stations and green sources of energy by the Government would push prices up over the coming years. But he said that a Downing Street estimate that they would increase bills by 30 per cent by the end of the decade was “simply a mistake”. Bills would actually fall because of better insulated homes.
“The traditional British sport ever since the 1950s of predicting that whatever the Europeans are up to will come to nothing because they are a bunch of incompetents ... will once again be proved completely wrong.
“The political will in the eurozone is such that it means there will be success, it will work, the euro will be around for a long time to come.”
Mr Huhne has long intrigued colleagues by appearing to shrug off the police investigation into his driving record, and accusations — which he denies — that he persuaded his now estranged wife Vicky to put his speeding points on her licence.
Asked how long he expected the investigation to continue, he said that it was a matter for the Crown Prosecution Service. He added: “I would imagine that there are limits to the extent they can string it out.”
It is a good job this is a non-political blog because I might be tempted to comment.
The Lee-Metford's Contribution To Global Prosperity
Keith Tantlinger - Telegraph
Keith Tantlinger, who died on August 27 aged 92, developed the technology that launched containerised shipping – in the process redrawing the global economic map by transforming the way cargo is moved internationally.....
Containerisation did for shipping what Henry Ford’s assembly line had done for car production. It introduced efficiency by standardising cargo handling and integrating rail, river, road and ocean goods transport into a single coordinated system. Before containerisation, cargo handling required boxes, bales, barrels and bags to be stowed individually by dock workers into irregular spaces in the holds of break-bulk freighters, a process which was not only slow and inefficient but also resulted in large quantities of goods “disappearing” at the ports.....
The containerisation revolution had an impact on the patterns of world trade that no one predicted in the early days. By reducing the costs of shipping to a negligible proportion of overall production costs, containers made it cheaper to, for example, have clothes and electrical goods made in Asia then shipped to markets in the West, rather than have then manufactured closer to home.
So while it has helped make a profusion of low-cost goods available to consumers, it has also, arguably, accelerated the decline of manufacturing industry in the West and, indirectly, contributed to current imbalances in the world economy....
The idea of transporting cargos in a sealed metal box is a simple one, and indeed containers had been in use since the 19th century to haul heavy cargo like coal. It was not the box that Tantlinger designed, but the all-important twist-locks, corner posts, cell guides, spreader bars and other paraphernalia which make it possible to lift and lower containers on and off ships and stack them safely. He patented several dozen inventions. His most important design feature was the slotted eyelet at each corner of the container into which a lock, called a twist-lock, could be dropped. The twist-lock could be lowered into an eyelet and automatically engaged and disengaged from above, without extending beyond the edge of the container. A second container could thus be stacked on top of the first, and the two locked together. The device was based on the principle of a bolt-action rifle.
The action is closest to James Paris Lee's one I think.
A SCOTTISH renewable energy company went into receivership with the loss of 55 jobs yesterday as hundreds of wind-turbine owners were warned to shut down the company's machines amid fears that the blades could fly off.
An estimated 500 people in Scotland, mainly farmers, are believed to operate the small wind turbine, manufactured by Ayrshire-based company Proven Energy, which is at the centre of the major safety alert.
Not good news.
September 16, 2011
Friday Night is Music Night (Working This Weekend Edition)
What a 2.2 in History From Cambridge Tells Us
With that lack of logic and knowledge, (do I need to mention opportunity costs of actions?), I feel a Desmond was generous.
September 15, 2011
A TWO-DIVISION Europe in which debt-burdened southern nations are handed back their own national currencies is the most "likely outcome" of the current debt crisis, former Liberal Democrat leader Paddy Ashdown declares today.
One of Britain's strongest advocates of closer European ties, and of British membership of the single currency, Lord Ashdown says he now sees no future for the euro in its current form.
Instead, he says that a new "core" euro area, made up of Germany, France and other northern European nations could be retained, with the more indebted southern nations allowed to devalue their own currencies in the bid to return to health.
For Paddy top be rolled out to say this means it must be serious. Run to the shelter when Fatty Pang is brought on and if a Kinnoch appears then it really is all over.
September 14, 2011
Al Gore's Day Of Action On Climate Reality - The Video
September 13, 2011
White Elephants To Power Scotland
THE Scottish Government has placed its ambition to transform the nation into a low-carbon economy at the heart of its new strategy for growth.
But experts have warned the commitment to creating a renewable energy powerhouse could be a "white elephant" and that millions of pounds in subsidies pouring into the sector are unjustified
r Euan Mearns, an energy expert at Aberdeen University's school of geosciences, said: "On the one hand we've got to say that we're in favour renewable energy and it would be wonderful if Scotland was a leader in it – but we may end up a world leader in a white elephant.
"The full cost of large reliance on renewable energy needs to be taken fully into account.
"That includes the cost of maintaining back-up power supplies, building new storage and new inter-connectivity, in addition to the building and maintenance of a vast new renewable energy infrastructure.
"Care needs to be taken that the dream doesn't turn into a nightmare should Scotland end up with an unreliable grid. If we end with an unreliable grid, then companies are going to go south of the Border."
And what about the poor bloody consumers cowering in their crofts with only a bowl of porage to keep them warm...
Google Censors Or SEO Failure
Transport tycoon Sir Brian Souter has accused Google of stopping links to his website http://www.briansouter.com/ appearing when people search for it.
The website tells the entrepreneur's life story, has a photo gallery and a section headed "Brian Souter Beliefs" listing recent controversies such as a £500,000 donation to the SNP and the campaign he led to retain Clause 28 banning schools from teaching children about homosexuality.
On 13 August the site "mysteriously disappeared" from results returned for a search on "Brian Souter"....
Yes a security officer at Derby University does rank higher, very odd, but at least getting everyone writing about your website might improve its rankings.
Treehuggers in the north of England are poised to grab the world record for the largest group tree hug.
On Sunday 821 volunteers travelled to the Delamere forest in Cheshire to take part in the record attempt, and 707 people managed to simultaneously hug a tree for one minute or more.
All of them gathered in one place, what an opportunity that was.
September 11, 2011
We Remember Ten Years Ago
September 10, 2011
Tora Tora Tora
19:28 – Some cagey play from both Japan and France, but nobody has made the breakthrough in terms of a try. Seven points is the gap, 14 minutes left in the game.
19:20 – Japan piling on the pressure to the French, who don’t seem to know what has hit them. This match looks like it’s going to have a very close finish.
19:11 – 30 minutes to go in the France v Japan match, and it’s game on. Another breakaway try from the Japanese have closed the gap to 7, Japan 18 – 25 France.
Some choking on the croissants this morning, but in the end normal service resumed. Shame. But what a cracking game to peel open the eyelids to.
Now for the Full English Breakfast....
September 9, 2011
Friday Night is Music Night (Extra Late Night Castle Law Edition)
Friday Night is Music Night (Cross Cultural Edition)
John Vidal Sucker
Sea levels are rising so fast that the tiny Pacific state of Kiribati is seriously considering moving its 100,000 people on to artificial islands....
If John Vidal believes that it is a serious plan rather than a shakedown, and as he can't be bothered to check the facts I have got a bridge to sell him.
September 8, 2011
That'll do nicely.
The president of the Pacific island nation of Kiribati is so worried about climate change wiping out his country that he's considering ideas as strange as building a floating island.
United Nations Secretary-General leader Ban Ki-moon visited the Solomon Islands and Kiribati before coming to New Zealand and said it only strengthened his view that "something is seriously wrong with our current model of economic development."
Tong said he'd seen models for a $2 billion floating island...Other ideas to combat rising ocean levels include building a series of seawalls at a cost of nearly $1 billion, Tong said, and relocating some residents to other Pacific nations.
He said he's yet to see much in the way of financial aid from Europe despite ambitious pledges.
But in an interview with the Associated Press, European Commissioner for climate action Connie Hedegaard, who was attending the conference, said Europe has granted more than 7 billion euros for specific environmental projects around the world over the three years ending 2012.
The Pacific leaders leave for a retreat Thursday on Waiheke Island before the conference ends. Many leaders are staying on for the Rugby World Cup which begins here Friday.
Which is nice for them. Luxury hotels, retreats and best seats for the rugby. Oh, and lots of dosh from European taxpayers to fight a problem that isn't happening!
September 7, 2011
Political Reality In Climate Change
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Tuesday that visiting Pacific nations threatened by rising seas had reinforced his belief that climate change was real and posed a genuine threat to humanity.
Ban stopped in the Solomon Islands and Kiribati on his way to New Zealand for the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), and described the two small nations as "on the front line" of the climate change issue.
He said Kiribati, where some villagers have been forced to relocate as the rising ocean encroaches on their land, dramatically illustrated climate change's impact on the planet.
"For those who believe climate change is about some distant future, I invite them to visit Kiribati or the Solomon Islands and most of the Pacific island countries," he said in a speech at Auckland University.
"Climate change is not about tomorrow. It is lapping at our feet - quite literally in Kiribati and elsewhere."
Ban said that in his role as UN leader he had seen the impact of climate change first-hand in areas of the globe ranging from Antarctica to the Amazon Basin and Tanzania's Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa.
He said scientific evidence backed up his view.
The question is who do you trust - the science - http://www-cluster.bom.gov.au/ntc/IDO60102/IDO60102.2009_1.pdf -
the sea level trends are not yet indicative of long-term changes in mean sea level, they are showing coherent regional short-term changes.
or a politician?
If the data, rather than anecdote, is there, show it to us.
(graph clipped from official report here)
September 6, 2011
Like all theories, though, the game theory analysis has been based on assumptions, and here's why it seems unrealistic. Firstly, it assumes that all countries will act in a fundamentally rational way. Secondly, it assumes that the players all share the basic aim of climate protection.
And, as we all know, any country that does not take climate change seriously cannot, by definition, be acting rationally.
Let's assume that all he assumes about climate change is true, it is still rational for countries to act as "free-riders". Ruralstania knows its tiny bit of CO2 is a drop in the ocean compared to the big boys, but if it doesn't tax and ban as much as the big boys it gets all the lovely trade and the downside is only a unmeasurable increase in global warmth.
So either Comrade Vidal doesn't understand game theory, or the game simulation is crap or both.
The arguments against drilling for oil in the Arctic are so clear they should make themselves. ...The alleged greed of big oil companies, and pressure from gung-ho local populations eager for a slice of the lucrative hydrocarbon action...
it has to be acknowledged that the pressure for new oil sources is driven by valid fears over the risks that uncontrolled oil prices – and future oil shortages – carry for global stability.
Such concerns only make the argument for fossil-free alternatives, from nuclear power to renewable energy generation to biofuels, stronger than ever. Against the backdrop of galloping growth in developing economies and a global population set to rise by a third by 2050, it is the development of sustainable energy supplies that must be the priority, not the false promise of Arctic oil.
What is Ink?
The pigment used in news ink blacks is carbon black. Carbon black is produced by cracking oil in a continuous furnace. These furnaces are highly controlled in order to produce a specific grade of pigment varying in particle size and structure. The oil used is also of a specific grade so that certain requirements can be met. The oil or carriers used in today's news black are treated napthenic petroleum oils.
I think I have spotted an opportunity to stop a waste of fossil fuel.
Google Arctic Ocean Natural Oil Seepage to see how much black stuff oozes into the ocean every year naturally and is naturally cleaned up.
September 4, 2011
Tony Blair and The Plagiarised PhD
Britain's former prime minister Tony Blair helped Moamer's Gaddafi's son Saif al-Islam with his doctorate at the London School of Economics (LSE), according to a press report Sunday based on documents found at the abandoned British embassy in Tripoli.
The Sunday Times reported that a letter, signed by Blair - "Best wishes, yours sincerely, Tony Blair", addressed him as "Engineer Saif", and thanked him for outlining his proposed thesis.
It then went on to suggest examples that "might help you with your studies."
BBC News - LSE investigates Gaddafi's son plagiarism claims The London School of Economics has confirmed it is investigating allegations that Colonel Gaddafi's son plagiarised his PhD thesis.
Green Back Laundering
"They have their ill-gotten gains and they want to legitimise their money in some way and the environmental industry is an emerging one.
"It's a big business and quite easy to try to launder illegal money and legalise it."
Can you guess who they are talking about?
September 2, 2011
By Richard Black
Environment correspondent, BBC News
The paper, by US scientists Roy Spencer and William Braswell, claimed that computer models of climate inflated projections of temperature increase....and the rate at which the Earth radiated heat into space.
The paper, published in July, was swiftly attacked by scientists in the mainstream of climate research.
They also commented on the fact that the paper was not published in a journal that routinely deals with climate change. Remote Sensing's core topic is methods for monitoring aspects of the Earth from space.
Such as "the rate at which the Earth radiated heat into space"?
Dr Spencer is a committed Christian as well as a professional scientist
obviously guilty then
Scientific papers that turn out to be flawed or fraudulent are usually retracted by the journals that publish them, with editorial resignations a rarity.
But Bob Ward, policy and communications director at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics, said Dr Wagner had done the decent thing.
"I think it remains to be seen whether the authors follow a similar course."
Mr Ward described the tactic of publishing in off-topic journals as a "classic tactic" of scientists dismissive of man-made climate change.
"Those who recognise that their ideas are weak but seek to get them into the literature by finding weaknesses in the peer review system are taking a thoroughly disreputable approach," he said.
Weakness in the
pal peer review system, who ever heard of such a thing?
Dr Spencer is one of the team at the University of Alabama in Huntsville that keeps a record of the Earth's temperature as determined from satellite readings.
He is also on the board of directors of the George C Marshall Institute, a right-wing thinktank critical of mainstream climate science, and an advisor to the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, an evangelical Christian organisation that claims policies to curb climate change "would destroy jobs and impose trillions of dollars in costs" and "could be implemented only by enormous and dangerous expansion of government control over private life".
Double obviously guilty then.
In other news several journal editors have admitted their errors in Stalin's Russia for not recognising that Lysenko was the only authority on genetics. They happily renounced their mistakes as they were lead away to be re-educated. New editors have been appointed by the party the state broadcaster announced.
Friday Night is Music Night (RIP Blues Edition)
David Honeyboy Edwards, the “Last of the Great Mississippi Delta Bluesmen” has died.
September 1, 2011
The 2011 Interim Report from the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change presents an overview of the research on climate change that has appeared since publication of Climate Change Reconsidered: The 2009 Report of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change.
Available on line.
Key findings, as outlined in the interim report’s executive summary, include:
“We find evidence that the models over-estimate the amount of warming that occurred during the twentieth century and fail to incorporate chemical and biological processes that may be as important as the physical processes employed in the models.”
“More CO2 promotes more plant growth both on land and throughout the surface waters of the world’s oceans, and this vast assemblage of plant life has the ability to affect Earth’s climate in several ways, almost all of them tending to counteract the heating effects of CO2’s thermal radiative forcing.”
“The latest research on paleoclimatology and recent temperatures [finds] new evidence that the Medieval Warm Period of approximately 1,000 years ago, when there was about 28 percent less CO2 in the atmosphere than there is currently, was both global and warmer than today’s world.”
“New research finds less melting of ice in the Arctic, Antarctic, and on mountaintops than previously feared, no sign of acceleration of sea-level rise in recent decades, no trend over the past 50 years in changes to the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (MOC), and no changes in precipitation patterns or river flows that could be attributed to rising
“Amphibians, birds, butterflies, other insects, lizards, mammals, and even worms benefit from global warming and its myriad ecological effects.”
“Rising temperatures and atmospheric CO2 concentrations, by increasing crop yields, will play a major role in averting hunger and ecological destruction in the future.”
“The latest research suggests corals and other forms of aquatic life have effective adaptive responses to climate change enabling them to flourish despite or even because of climate change.”
“Global warming is more likely to improve rather than harm human health because rising temperatures lead to a greater reduction in winter deaths than the increase they cause in summer deaths.”
“Even in worst-case scenarios, mankind will be much better off in the year 2100 than it is today, and therefore able to adapt to whatever challenges climate change presents.”
.... it looks like a summer of grey skies and damp weather, and it's probably safe to say that there will be no BBQ summer again this year.
And for this winter he is predicting -
I therefore expect the 2011-2012 winter to follow a similar pattern in terms of how November and December was in 2010 for the vast majority of this winter. It will be exceptionally cold and snowy with well below average temperatures. I fully expect to see records broken with the highlands of Scotland being once again particularly hard hit. It is therefore vital to start preparing now in terms of high energy bills and raising awareness amongst the most vulnerable and elderly people of society.