Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Labour Conference Day 4

The wind is blowing but the wind turbines are not going around as if echoing the impotence of Momentum Labour.
On the streets of Liverpool, amphetamine prices have reached an all-time, fuelled by the need of delegates to stay awake during Diana Abbott's speeches.
LSD has been stockpiled in expectation of a big demand in perpetration for the leader's speech, though some of the attendees wonder whether it had been slipped in the water over the last few days. Combi packs of Prozac and E are available fromWednesday evening, and will be handed out for consumption when the reality begins to sink in, they only have a shelf life of 2 years so that might not be enough for the hardcore Corbynites. For the people of the country, their opium is still available at either end of Hope Street, if the stuff coming from the Black-E doesn't do it.
Special supplies of 20:20 have been rushed in for Dennis Skinner and an emergency order has been placed with both Gregg's and Sayer's on the expectation of big demand from John Prescott after Joe Anderson turned up and answered the big question of who ate all the pies.
The Rosicrucians were everywhere, aided by the fact that they didn’t exist.
Ships chandlers across Liverpool reported brisk business as the Fabian wing of the party battened down for squall Momentum to blow itself out, so a course could be set to from whatever Tory nightmare the county had been blown to.




Monday, 26 September 2016

Labour Conference Day 3

It was raining so people were not standing around to chat, though I did talk to some people handing out invites to their own fringe meeting. They seem to be in agreement with the views of some others that the general mood of the conference was a bit down.

Had a quick look through one of the big windows into some form of Atrium, saw the beast of Bolsover and left. At least it getting me out of the flat for the afternoon walk a little earlier, so I at least am enjoying conference a bit.
If you are the person I spoke to about BREXIT and the legal hurdles here is the link.
The best stunt outside was by Associate British Ports(APB) with some men singing shanties, I doubt they were from ABPs operation down at Garston Docks.


Sunday, 25 September 2016

Labour Conference Day 2

Well! I did go back mainly for the free WiFi, in the course of this I took in the save the Liverpool Women's Hospital march and rally as well.
First things first the decision about where is best for the hospital should be based on clinical imperatives there are competing factors, pregnancy and birth are not illnesses and should be treated as such, this is the official position but it also can result in emergency admission. The decision should not be a political football for either side of the argument.
March turns onto Berry Street
The first thing I noticed about the placards was the usual SWP brand and Left Unity, there were the usual SWP salesmen, has anyone ever seen an SWP saleswoman? Given the exodus from the SWP, I think the entire membership was here. Given the some of the reasons for the exodus it makes the SWP presents rather tasteless. See The SWP leadership has turned the party into a sinking ship
While some organisation come to show support the SWP is usually there to gather support and to make itself seem bigger than it is, I doubt the people carrying the SWP brand banners were actually SWP, it just is just more of their attempts to co-opt members.
The March probably contained 1000 or so by the time they turned up at the entrance to the dock estate, that number quickly dropped off as the speakers began, the only one I recognised was Diane Abbot, though Tony Mulhearn was also there and the I think Lesley Mahmood, who is one of the founders of the group, both ex-Militant, Richard Branson and Tony Blair came in for particular treatment, which you would think was a bit strange, given that neither has anything to do with the hospital or the NHS these days, and the Blair/Brown governments did massively increase funding for the NHS. In short, it had descended into rather typical Corbynite/SWP territory. So basically your average every day hijacking of a good cause. If you are holding a rally do the sensible thing and ban SWP placards, they are claiming that you support them, they are not supporting you.
I did have another look around the conference and yet again saw both Dennis Skinner and Marie Le Conte, still wearing those bloody shoes, the only addition to my I Spy book of MPs was Hilary Benn. The Conference seemed to be hiding in the woods.

I missed going to the meeting of the Continuity Labour party, with Hilary Benn, because I didn't know it was happening but the Fabian wings meeting spilt onto the street.



Labour Conference Day 1

Well not actually the conference in full actually the women's conference. I don't actually have a pass for the conference, so this is basically what I heard randomly walking around and for long periods sitting on the large concrete blocks by the entrance to the arena area. The last one I did this for was the LibDems in 2014, in the same place, the BT Conference centre. That had a lot more people security but they were in government then, today's game of spot the special branch officer, was really a non-starter though there were a fair number of normal cops in the area and at least 3 evidence gathering teams with videos.
Saw 5 MPs, Lucian Berger, Louise Ellman and Angela Eagle were local, while Denis Skinner & Harriet Harman were not. There may have been others around but didn't recognise them. Saw only a few Journos, one being Marie Le Conte who has since blocked me, for taking the piss out of her god awful boots, on twitter.
Denis Skinner walked past me claiming loudly "the fucking woman with the safety pin has fooking following me around all day". Skinner looked and sounded every bit the brightly dressed arsehole I have always imagined him to be.
The main topic of decision that was in the air was, of course, Corbyn's victory, and the attitudes to it were quite predictable from different groups. There were some very happy Asian men and some unhappy sharp-suited young white men, who at various times decided to stand or sit by me and talk quite loudly of their opinions.
The main reason for going down was just to assess the mood and see what people who go to these things look like, and on that basis today was a bit of a failure, there simply were not enough people out and about in the precinct but I'm not sure I can be arsed doing it tomorrow, might just swing by on my afternoon promenade.
One thing I must do is hunt down the alleged Lib Dem recruitment stand.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

The Green Line

The quest for more green space in Liverpool continues.

The High Line

New York has the High Line Park, a disused overhead railway converted to a park.
The High Line by Beyond my Ken
Unfortunately, the Liverpool Overhead Railway was not only closed but demolished in the 1950s

Even after that had gone between Sandhills and Exchange were a large collection of raised lines of which only a small amount now remain, some of which now carry Merseyrail, a small unused section running parallel to Love Lane seem to have greened itself but there is no access. It only 250m long but with something to separate it from the rail would make a park. Some of the bridges over roads have been removed, so it would not be the cheapest park in the world.

The Very Low Line

There are a lot of people asking for more green places in Liverpool, the problem is there are very few places that do not have more profitable uses, but there are a few. Take a look at the image here.
When Lime Street station was first opened  it was connected to Edge Hill via a tunnel. The tunnel was not well ventilated and the build up of smoke caused vision problems, which lead to several accidents, so in 1881 large portions of the tunnel were opened out.
\Opening out the tunnel
As times and signalling improved the ventilation became irrelevant and some places had the cuttings covered over. The most obvious section was the section the rough the university from Brownlow Hill to Crown Street, only a small section now remains open. The changes can be seen here on side by side maps.
Lime Street Approach, cuttings outlined in black
The total length of the cuttings combined is about 676 metres, with a width of at least 16 meters, which give a total area of 10,816 m2, 1.08 hectares or 2.6 acres.
Cuttings North of Kirkdale on various lines.
These are deep cuttings, the system used to cover these was large I-Beams at the surface level, so leaving a large amount of space over the lines. The walls of the cutting act as the load bearing element. I'm sure the beams could be placed closer to the track or arches within the cutting but this might be more difficult while the track is in use. Though if you were building a structure above it would provide some basement space.  

In addition to the cuttings above, there are others in Dingle.

The Not so Low Line

There is another technique that has been used down south most notably at Gerrards Cross, though it made the news for all the wrong reasons, see the Gerrards Cross Tunnel Collapse. This is suitable for shallower or wider cuttings, it could even be used on surface lines to reattach 2 pieces of land, bisected by the railway leaving with only a modest hill.

Timo Newton-Syms
Timo Newton-Syms
As you can see it was quite a simple idea put an arch over the line then backfill. Like a rather delayed Cut and Cover operation. This was all done while the line remained in operation. The technique is sufficiently common that specialised systems exist and several projects have been completed since Gerrard's Cross, such as  BEBO® Concrete Arch System & Tech Span  PreCast Arch
There are several places that such a system could be used on Liverpool's various used and disused railway, perhaps the most obvious are near Kirkdale and perhaps the main line at Speke.

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Hell in the PDF:Liverpool’s Draft Local Plan Consultation

Liverpool’s Draft Local Plan Consultation

First impressions

This is possibly one of the most tedious documents I have ever read. Though given the subject matter that is entirely excusable. What isn't is that in this age of PDF files with hypertext ability and portable e-reader when the draft is provided in a PDF form that none of the advantages of the format is used. this is clearly a document designed to be printed and at 301 pages that will not be cheap. Far better in this day and age to take full advantage of the technology available and have the print version slightly compromised, than the other way around.

In the beginning

The first 5 chapters are mainly descriptions of the city and its history which are not really controversial or interesting, at least from my point of view. I will point out that the line "Liverpool lies at the heart of the former county of Merseyside" is wrong. The county still exists it is only the metropolitan council that was abolished.

Chapter 6: Liverpool City Centre

6.7/6.8 Commercial Quarter/Pumpfields

The first thing that occurs to me on look at map 1, is that I've always assumed that the centre goes further north. The map seems to truncate it at Kingsway. I would include the area bounded by Vauxhall road and Sandhills Lane. This is in part just down to my own judgement but also based on its history, with the likes of the Tate and Lyle factory. I view the Eldonian village as being misplaced, a prime example of land that should have been reserved for industry/business or high-density housing, not a semi detached suburb. The area should be treated as an extension of Pumpfields and be of similar mixed-use high density. This would blend in with Liverpool Waters and help provide the commercial space needed by providing some large plots without the restrictions of the World Heritage Area.

6.10 The Waterfront

If the city centre is extended up to Sandhills Lane, then this area should be extended at least to include Stanley dock and incorporate all the docks, not in their original use. Putting a boundary through them will just make planning difficult if there are conflicting requirements in the different divisions.

6.38 Historic Quarter

Sandwich between the Commercial and the Historic quarters is the area between Dale Street and Exchange street. This area needs some special attention due to the street layout, which is amongst the oldest in the city. The area around Hackins Hey has great potential with the current street layout. Development in the area needs to take advantage of this intimate possibly medieval street layout and produce an area with character. To just bulldoze it for a large office block what not use it to its greatest advantage. It will require an imaginative scheme, which keeps the current street layout.

6.41 Residential Neighbourhoods

The document talks about Marybone first, which seems to be a totemic place for the council and refers to it and later L1 as Older established areas with low-density housing. While people have lived in these areas for a longer time,the low-density thing is a fairly recent, thing as can be seen in this picture of Fontenoy Gardens, in Marybone, Gerard Gardens was over the road.

Fontenoy Gardens
and these in L1.

Kent Gardens
Sussex Gardens
The move to low density has changed the character of the area, I think some plans need to be put in place to turn it back to high density. In addition to these areas mentioned I'd want the area previously occupied by Myrtle Gardens and some of the other "Gardens" recovered, as well as the Eldonian village.
While people complain about tower blocks, there seems to be nothing but nostalgia for this size of buildings. Designed and built properly they can be fit for the modern era and at the same time take pressure off the green belt. Within the City centre area, there needs to be a minimum density specification as well as a minimum height for new residential. Some buildings in Marybone adjacent to Leeds street do seem to conform to something like the requirements, but semi detached do not.
I'm not sure of the ownership of these buildings but an active plan that respects the rights of the people to live in the area and maintains the standard of their housing, but works toward moving to a higher density regime, should be put in place. Semi detached have a place but it is not in the city and not in any area that is urban. I think this is a necessary step but one that would require more bottle than the council has, even to suggest it.

6.115 Transport and accessibility

Mention is made of reopening a St James station and the provision of a new station for Liverpool Waters. Later in  14.9 the Edge spur is referred to, though only the Wapping Tunnel option mentioned. The Merseyside Area land use Transportation study (MALTS) project report of the late 60s makes similar costed proposals and offers alternate plan which seems to be better. I have outlined possible further changes in my blog A New Edge Hill. The proposals made by the Mayor for Paddington Place station would seem to rely on using the Victoria tunnel


This would use the complete length of both Wapping and Victoria tunnel which in addition to the link to Central would provide a link to the waterfront. The two tunnels being linked by tram lines and a full train tram service providing a loop from Edge hill.
In the council's document, there is no mention of Trams or Train/Trams, which seem to reflect a bias in Merseytravel rather than an objective view. In 14.8 the tunnels are described as having a junction with the Northern Line, no such junction exists or has ever existed.

7 Employment Land and the Economy

Several references are made to the knowledge economy, this is a very wide area, I would suggest emphasising some more specific areas. Some mention has been made in other places of what is fundamentally Industry 4.0, this and several other areas could be emphasised. Perhaps 1 could be medical science, building on the current base and the proposed Royal College of physicians. It may advisable to look to a way of exploiting the renewed interest in space-related activities, while launch and recovery are unlikely, mission control is not, which could be extended to include the control of commercial UAVs/Drones globally. The exploitation of UAVs in urban environments might be a tag.

7.33 Liverpool John Lennon Airport.

The extension of the runway and a decent rail connection are important. The extension into the river should be considered. While the protected status is a problem, provided some remedial work is undertaken such as removing part of the dry land to keep the mud flat area the same or perhaps greater, the nature of the reserve would allow quick recovery of the reserve. See needs to be longer at Liverpool.


8 Housing Provision

8.1.2 Land at Chaucer Street, Grosvenor Street, Juvenal Street & Peover Street

I think this area may conflict with area desired by Merseyside Police for their new HQ. This and the area once occupied by Gerard Gardens to the south is a prime site for high-density development. Merseyside Police should not be allowed to squander it on a low rise building and worse still with above ground car parking. See Cops getting away with daylight robbery.

8.1.5-8.1.8 Land Between Great Mersey Street and Lancaster Street

This and several other plots along Scotland road are identified. I believe these need to be at least terraces designs and preferably above 2 stories, simply to give the feeling of entering the city centre. This need for some theatre on the main trunk routes into the centre does not seem to be addressed, another place that this needs to be taken into account is West Derby road, Edge lane, Park Road and the bottom of Kensington.  The areas outside of them have become separated from the city centre psychologically if not physically.

10 Urban Design

The rise of the car, though it has been going on for over a century still seem to be problematic. With it comes the need for car parks, which are in all honesty a waste of space, unless there is a very good reason all parking space associated with new build should be within the footprint of the building, either underground or as an undercroft.

12 Green Infrastructure

This part of the document is incomplete and waiting on Simon O'Brien's report.

One of the first things mentioned is the creation of 2 new woodlands. One I suspect is the park Melrose Meadows in Kirkdale. The other may be Grant Gardens, a park which had 0 visitors on a bright May bank holiday. Personally, I would like to see it naturalise itself, it would be a good educational resource as it went through the process of Ecological succession.

12.53

A couple of comments are made about the impact of trees, which are I think inaccurate, firstly there is the mention of oxygen generation, this is quite minor especially for deciduous trees, most of the atmospheric oxygen comes from phytoplankton. The second is carbon uptake, it is true that trees do take up carbon but they do that mostly while they are young, once they reach maturity the carbon uptake drops dramatically. To improve the impact, once a tree reaches maturity, it needs to be felled and objects made of it, while a new tree takes up its space. The trees and the wood they produce need to be seen as a resource and a crop in order to maximise carbon capture.
Trees are far more important than grass, any area that is kept as only grass, is an oversized lawn and either needs to have a use as a sports pitch or be left to return to woodland. If someone can find a way of introducing red squirrels and excluding greys even better.

14 Sustainable Transport and Accessibility

14.25

In addition to the routes names the routes to Wigan, Warrington Wrexham, Preston and Manchester need considering. Viewing rail connections as IntraCity, IntraRegional or InterCity makes a gap in the IntraRegional rail apparent. A journey from Kirkdale to Salford Crescent is slow and makes that commuter route untenable. This sort of IntraRegional link needs to be addressed perhaps by decision between Mersey Travel and adjacent Transport Authorities, rather than with London. See  Liverpool does not need HS3 to connect to Manchester, it needs it to connect to Leeds.

14.31

A train/tram line along the route of the old overhead railway, perhaps even a raised line, with connections to Edge Hill via the Wapping and Victoria tunnels should be considered.



Saturday, 3 September 2016

Lymm to Lime Street

Having worked out a route for HS2 to connect to Liverpool with minimum fuss and cost I thought I had better price it. I found some estimates done in 2007 by Network rail for upgrading various lines to GB & GC gauge to take double decker trains or extra long trains. It is Version: 1.21Preliminary Evaluation of Double Deck Extra Long Train Operations Table 1.3 provided most of the information.


The plan I outlined requires the upgrade of the Ditton to Lime Street section which already has OHLE, so I used the figures for the London-Ipswich Route which is similar.

For Bank Quay to Ditton, the line exists but is not electrified, so I took the low from London -> Brighton and the high from London to Southampton.

To estimate the reinstatement of the line from East of Lymm to Bank Quay was a little trickier, I took the numbers from HS2 own estimates for Phase 2 and took out the irrelevant bits. Such as there being no Tunnels this gives a cost of £64 million per mile of which on £17 is construction costs.


Route Miles Min m£ Max m£ Low Per Mile High Per Mile
London →Brighton 51 810 1200 15.8823529412 23.5294117647
London →Ipswich 68 890 1340 13.0882352941 19.7058823529
London →Southampton 79 610 1440 7.7215189873 18.2278481013
London →Oxford 63 800 1720 12.6984126984 27.3015873016
HS new build


64.375 126.333504






Ditton-> Lime Street 10 130.8823529412 197.0588235294

Warrington BQ->Ditton 8 61.7721518987 188.2352941176



192.6545048399 385.2941176471







2007->2016 Pounds 1.31 252.3774013403 504.7352941176







East of Lymm 8 515 1010.668032







Total 26 767.3774013403 1515.4033261177


from my spreadsheet East of Lymm to Lime Street.

If we take the cost of East of Lymm down to just construction, then the total cost is £469m, if you wanted you could knock another £130 million off and just have the classic compatible running into Lime Street. I'm assuming that there would be little to saved by using only W10 on reinstatements and upgrades. So that should be done to GC gauge.
These numbers do not include building a new station at Lime Street or a complex remodeling of Ditton junction, to bring the lines in from Warrington to the centre 2 without crossing at grade, which would be needed for optimal performance, as would a complex junction between HS2 and this spur or the extra work needed on the viaduct over the Manchester Ship canal. Nor does it involve and remodelling of the route around Warrington Bank Quay. This is simply to get the trains through with no traffic.
So a cost of between £0.5 billion and £1.5bmillion doesn't sound unreasonable, just to be on the safe side say 1 billion. It is still less than Liverpool City council offered to pay.

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Jeremy Corbyn why he is useless.

Corbyn goes off the rails

The #traingate saga is very revealing about Corbyn and co, it highlights a couple of major problems. Someone, on this journey out of London, seems to have hit on an idea of how to highlight some of the problems with rail services, so far so good. They have then decided to make a little video, however, they should have noticed while going off to make this video some of the problems, namely the empty or apparently empty seats. If yu make an attack or criticism of someone, they are most likely going to defend themselves, they are likely to ask their staff who are witnesses, then go on to look at CCTV, so you had better make sure you argument and video is bullet proof.
A proper approach would be first to check the train and if it was not viable on this train as it wasn't, then plan to get a train with worse overcrowding and do the video on that. It should be difficult to find a more overcrowded train or an excuse to be on it.
In this case, the team don't seem to have been able to imagine that others would not just take their statements at face value, this is a massive failing in empathy and shows a rather great defect in a work theory of mind.
On s simple price level if you are arranging a journey then you do pre-book it, to get the best price and to secure a seat. If you don't it shows a very great lack of organisation, that JC and his team didn't do it shows they don't care about costs and the have no idea how to turn up ready to get to work, at best it shows monumental disorganisation, something which is not good in a leader of a party never mind a country.

Impractical

Practicality does not seem to be a trait Corbyn suffers from, he has the air of someone who has gone through life without having to make any hard decisions on everyday subjects, he has never been a government minister or shadow. When things did go the way he wanted he has just walked away, whether it is from polytechnic or his marriage, and that the way his politics work. He is like a child given a choice between 2 things that they want and unwilling to give up either ends up with neither. He may want to make everyone's lives rich and fulfilling but when they only option is to give them a bit more food and some more heat & power, he will forgo that in pursuit of his nirvana.
He seems to have acquired lots of followers of a similar ilk, some of them like him from posher more privilege end of the society, others of the more SWP persuasion. The first group will let the world burn rather the compromise out of selfishness. The second group do not want a Labour government they want the Tories to keep grinding the face of the poor into the dirt so that in the end they can pick up the pieces in a revolution. Though when you take into account the suffering to get to that point and the suffering to recover from it, you may have added to the total misery of the poor not relieved it one iota.

Childish

One of the most childish traits amongst political followers is the belief that everyone else actually knows that they are right and that they are simply being opposed by people for their own vested interest. In the case of JC's followers, he rebelled against the labour leaders ship because of principle, while anyone who rebels against him is doing it out of treachery.
They seem to think that if the party votes for JC in the upcoming leadership vote then the PLP should fall into line. David Cameron one the countries leadership batter at the polls, do they think everyone should just fall into line, after all, more voted in that election than in the party election. You can see hints of this in the #BREXIT vote, JC is quite clearly pro #BREXIT as are a lot of his supporters, so that another case of towing the line because of the public's vote.
I can't tell whether this is hypocrisy or stupidity but one way and the other they are simply picking the votes to follow and votes to ignore to suit their own opinion.

What is his place in Politics

The best place for Corbyn in Politics is as a prophet, crying in the wilderness occasionally prodding into asking questions about their own compromises in a practical world. At the moment he and his followers are acting like a group of 6th form politicos, who haven't even had face up to reality in any way, even someone with experience of undergraduate politics would not be a nieve as JC and the crew. Simply having to debate the allocation of mini buses or agree to fund the Tory student group as much as the Labour one would be a step into the practical world they have yet to take.
The person JC and the boys most remind me of, is Jake Morrison not a name that most of you will have heard of but an object less in impractical politics.
By putting their agenda before getting a Labour government JC and his supporters are stabbing the poor in the back, and twisting the knife.



Thursday, 11 August 2016

Nimrod reborn

If you grew up in the 70s or 80s the RAFs Nimrod was a common sight on TV and in the sky. It was based on the de Haviland Comet the world's first Jetliner, sometimes referred to as the pregnant comet. There were several attempts produce a different version of the aircraft. The last 2 the AEW3 and the MRA4 never entered service but did cost a lot of money, the cancellation of the projects very near to completion was controversial as was the capability gap left by the MRA4.

Remains of MRA4

A lot of the MRA4s problems were put down to trying to graft new wings onto an old fuselage, designed and built before the days of computer-controlled machining, basically, every airframe was different. The decision to do this part replacement was always controversial, BAe did not want to do it but HMG insisted, the logic was unclear but to me, it seems flawed and possibly the product of some accounts wizardry. Now 6 years later we are left buying Boeing patrol Maritime Aircraft and the intellectual property to build half of a new aircraft.
The RAF still has large capability gaps, which need filling, the MRA4 for all it fault had some impressive capability, most notably it's range of about 7000 miles, which exceeds the range of any of the V-bombers. With a bit of work and a few 100 million quid, you could build a new aircraft using all the new bits designed for the MRA4, wings, engine, flight avionics. Design a new fuselage and you have a decent airframe with potentially many uses. Let us call this the Large Combat Airframe(LCA), it not stealthy it's not at the bleeding edge of anything, but it is big, it has a bomb bay and it can carry a large combat crew.
I propose the following:

1st Production line

First, a new body is fuselage is designed, with a bulkhead between the cockpit and the main body. That cockpit is a self-contained 2 man unit, that the crew enter via a ladder up the landing gear, possibly it has ejector seats. The tail is a V tail because while this isn't a stealth aircraft there is no point in giving it a radar cross-section bigger than needed.  The rear section is as bare as possible, perhaps some cables hanging down from the roof, for use later.
There is a full defensive avionics fit, and the passenger section can be empty and unpressurised. The rear bulkhead has a door in it and some steps for self-loading, or if it can be done wide enough for parachuting from. There is at least 1 big cargo door, perhaps a full quarter section, through which modules/pallets can be loaded into the top floor pre confined for the specialised roles.
The only state of the art bits I'd consider is Fly by Light, as used by the Kawasaki P-1, which is fly by wire but using fibre optics rather than heavy wires and Power by Wire, partly used on the F-35, which eliminates all those heavy hydraulics and replaces them with light wires.
When it rolls off the production line underneath is a big hole filled with a stress-bearing structure to make the airframe flyable. It fully equipped with defence avionics it might even have wing hard points for general use but other than flying up to the enemy and waving it is useless.

2nd Production line

This is where the aircraft is specialised. 

Nimrod:Andraste Bomber standoff, bomb bus or patrol

If you want a bomber, you take out the lower blanking structure and bolt in a bomb bay, perhaps not the whole length of the aircraft. The front section is fitted with a designator pod, while the rear section has some extra intelligence gathering, extra fuel tanks go above in the unpressurised rear section so if it takes a small hit no problem.

Nimrod:Sulis Maritime Patrol

A bit smaller bomb bay, this time, the front underneath section if fitted with an observer post were the MK1 RAF eyeball can be put to best use. The rear module fitted with a module for dropping sonar buoys.

Nimrod:Toutatis Arsenal plane

Full-length bomb bay stuffed with all sort of effectors.

Nimrod: Coventina Forward refueller

With all the defence avionics you can put this a lot near the front line than a converted passenger jet, just put tanks everywhere.

Nimrod Belatucadros: Defended transport.

To haul personnel and machinery it to the hotter spots, perhaps drop them off view the back door. Use the bottom as a cargo bay.

Nimrod:Vinotonus Standoff Radar.

A bigger version of Raytheon Sentinel.

Nimrod:Visucius ELINT/SIGINT

Well it should be quiet with the Fly by Light

Nimrod:Alaisiagae Forward UAV/Drone control.

Pilots flying planes from Planes.

Nimrod:Clíodhna


Other users

If you were France/Germany/Indian or even the US you could buy airframes of the 1st production line and then fit them out yourself. You would benefit from the reduced cost of the production line of the airframe and then tailor it to your own use.
The US has made good use of the C135 in a fair number of these roles, and it wasn't designed for such flexibility.

Reconfiguring

If the production of a dedicated version is a 2 stage process then perhaps the 2nd stage can be undone, allowing a fleet to be reconfigured perhaps not on the front line and not overnight, but an airframe that could go from a transport to full armed bomber in a month would make for a very flexible fleet. It would also allow for upgrades with far less downtime.

Monday, 25 July 2016

Needs to be Longer in Liverpool

As it is

Liverpool airport current runway is a modest 2,285m, while this is a reasonable length it prevents the biggest aircraft from taking off at their maximum takeoff weight, which limits either the payload(passengers) or the fuel load(range).


What is needed

In the images below the lengths of other airport's runways are marked. The pink is the current runway at Liverpool, while the red extension is the approach lighting system(ALS). The green line in the middle is Manchester airport's 3,050 m runway, the light bit again the ALS. Yellow is Heathrow's 3902-metre strip.

What is needed

Madeira Airport Runway by Richard Bartz
On Madeira the runway has been extended stilts, this does somewhat limit the load the runway can take.

Sydney Airport
Sydney was extended by building a cofferdam and infilling.

What it would look like

To get to the length of Manchester's runway, with a taxiway would need a strip 375m wide  and would require reclaiming a triangle 11.5 hectares
Manchester Length Runway
 to go to Heathrow's length would require an additional 854 meters oblong of 32.3 hectares

Heathrow Length Runway

How it could be done.

There are several methods of reclamation that could be used the simplest is building a cofferdam around the perimeter of the area and then filling it with dredgings from the river.While this would damage the river bed and remove some of the existing shore, the total length of shore would be greater when it was finished. The river would be made slightly narrower which would increase the flow rate and probably result in a change in the deep channel position. This happens anyway and requires the river to be regularly surveyed.
To build on columns there are numerous methods but one to consider would be building floating the extension sections, the float them into position before sinking them on to a prepared river bed, this would interfere with the flow of the river less. The columns would soon be covered in various forms of life but would quite likely soon silt up. Unless this could be done considerably cheaper than the perimeter dam, I doubt it would be worth considering.
One system for doing this is below.



and another here

Why extend it at all?

The world's largest aircraft in passenger service is the Airbus A380 at its Maximum Take of Weight it requires 2,950m  of runway, meaning it can just about operate from Manchester's runway, while the 777-200ER takes 3,380 m and several 747 variants cannot take off from Manchester at full load . So any growth in that aircraft which requires a long run, will not be capable of using Manchester and obviously it cannot use Liverpool now. So if an extension is built then it would seem sensible to at least reclaim sufficient land to build a Heathrow length runway.
Changes in aircraft propulsion system to say electric may require longer runways as the installed power would be less, leading to lower acceleration and a need for a longer run to get up to speed.
The Northern Space Consortium investigated using Liverpool as a Spaceport that would need a longer runway to operate something like Skylon, the increase runway speed and weight would require a very strong runway. The current runway is very strong due to the nature of the ground, any extension would need to match that strength.  Even for Suborbital Point to Point hops like the proposed Reaction Engine A2 or SpaceShip 3 the longer runway would be useful.
It is IMHO a project worth doing, I'm not sure of the cost though a lot less that Liverpool possibly in the region of £75,000,000 for a Manchester length & £200,000,000 for a Heathrow length but that is simply a guess, assuming land reclamation at about £5,000,000 per hectare ,runway at £7000 per linear metre of runway and £6000 per linear meter of taxiway see here.

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

What is the buzz.

These are pictures of a new art installation in Derby Square Liverpool.

For those people with even the most basic understanding of the National Grid will appreciate that the 50hz buzz, for the early years of Radio broadcast, was an annoyance that was solved by using batteries even in homes that had electricity installed, many still used Gas lighting.
The techniques for extracting it from recordings have been known since the early 19th century when Joseph Fourier invented Fourier analysis it been used for forensic analysis for more than 10 years but to describe it as "surveillance" is simply tin hat conspiracy theory click baiting. The only thing that HMG actually watches for this technique is the mains itself and it isn't just them people who specialise in forensic analysis for court use make their own recordings.
The signal in the UK has always been tightly regulated in part to allow synchronous clocks to work, there was a requirement for the number of cycles in a day to be a fixed number, so the national grid had to make adjustments to counter the natural variation. In conjunction with Radio Clocks and the time signal, this created a nationwide accurate time, which replaced railway time, which had replaced solar time.
It is just a pity that the entire thing has been hijacked by the word surveillance.
Oh and one other thing if you are an electronic engineer or a HiFi enthusiast who has spent years trying to get rid of the 50hz buzz or perhaps someone who likes to sit quietly in Derby Square and watch the world go by, it is too noisy. 
If anyone fancies playing with FFTW I have used this C library on several occasions FFTW    there is even a play one in Java for the amateur in JTransforms.  It is not limited to sounds but can also be applied to images see here.






The view

Thursday, 30 June 2016

Corbyn v Farage

There are a lot of similarities between Corbyn & Farage, in terms of their personality. Both are demagogues appealing to different people, the difference in terms of actually getting power is that Farage has a far more sympathetic and powerful right wing press behind him.Corbyn has some very badly behaved followers who constantly lead to sanction and investigation from the party by spouting rather unacceptable views. The Faragists and their views on sexuality related weather events and explicit racism are well known. Today as the press release of the Chakrabarti inquiry: Labour not overrun by anti-Semitism  some of Corbyn's supports could be controlled their mouths.
Despite his own person record of ignoring party policy, Corbyn is intent on making it easier to punish MPs who do not toe that party line. He only managed to follow party policy 7.5 out of 10 in the run-up to the referendum. This need for personal control is something both have.
The biggest similarity that they have is who bad they are at basic politics. One of the most important rules is to never leave you self-hostage to fortune, Farage did that with his 48% is unfinished business. Corbyn does it on regular occasions his 7.5 out of 10 was one.
Corbyn's supports say he just being honest and Farage's that he is just express the views everyone thinks. However there are ways of getting you message over without leaving yourself open to attack and neither of them is any good at it, while Corbyn seems to be able to survive the Guardian and Mirror pointing out his mistakes, the rightwing press does a far more thorough job, his supporters ignore these problems but the public do not.
In public every opportunity has to be taken to attack the opposition's arguments the political player cannot sit and wait till they are asked to do this but must turn every question about their policy into either something positive about their own policies or a criticism of their opponents. Corbyn is incapable of doing this, he is incapable of politics.

Corbyn v Foot

The similarities between Crobyn& Foots policies are very similar, however just about everything else is different, Michael Foot was a political player who had not shirked away from public office, and had held senior government posts, he also had a non-political job before he became a politician, though admittedly only as a journalist.  He was a generally a more intelligent and better-educated person than Corby.
Foot was the leader who produced The longest suicide note in history the Labour parties 1983 manifesto. the result of this election was a landslide victory for the opposition. It was a manifesto which still haunts the labour party. It was arguably responsible for the next 3 Tory victories as well, and over these years the population moved to the right, to such an extent that the Labour party had to move to the right to get elected and in order to keep in power has to stay to in the center ground rather than gradually move to the left. Where it did maintain it leftwing identity was in more intellectual areas of politics which have always chaffed with large sections of Labour's natural supporters. Who began to feel more and more left out, certain areas like child poverty did go down, but the dominance of big business and the growth in the pay gap between the rich and poor grew.
The 2008 financial crash brought back questions about the Labour government ability to run the economy and allowed the Tories into power in 2010 with and an austerity budget.The picking of Ed Milliband as Labour leader, what tipped the balance for Ed where the Trade unions, he was not the pick of the MPs. The Unions liked his more left-wing rhetoric but unfortunately, he was a political liability, prone to gaffs, and able lieutenant but not a leader.
Despite widespread unhappiness with the Tory government, the rise of the SNP and UKIP added to the woes of Labour, who despite a small increase in lost seats, in Scotland. This was on a platform that was more left leaning than Blair and Brown, and with a leader of greater ability, it would perhaps have lead to a Labour lead coalition with the SNP. Arguably the difference was the selection of Ed Milliband rather than his brother David,
The recriminations lead inevitably to the end of Ed's leadership, and because of changes to the way the leader was elected brought Corbyn to the role.
If Corbyn is allowed to go forward to the next election he will damn Labour not to defeat in just that but in several elections afterwards, as I suspect his manifesto will be an even longer suicide note. In order to get back into power Labour will have to shift back to the position of Blair et all or even further right, that is if it can get back into power at all. It place could well be usurped by a new 3rd party.
In order to do anything the party must be in power, the duty of the Labour party is to be elected on the most leftwing agenda it can, if this is not leftwing enough for some then they should leave and join a pressure group. A sustained period of Labour government with competent management of the economy and gradual drift to the left is the best and only way to ensure socialists ideals.
Corbyn is not a man who can deliver this.

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Brexit 3

If you cut it down to BoJo wanting to be PM and Gove wanted to be free Euro regulations so he could stage his libertarian/laissez faire experiment. Then it makes sense.
Farage was just used by them to bring along the racists xenophobes, to get the vote up.
However, the majority of disgruntled Labour voters think the UK is already too libertarian/laissez faire .
The next stage should be some massive distancing of themselves from Farage. 

The racists aren't going to get reduction in immigration as that will help keep wages down.
They hope the peasants will not notice they have been used for a while.
If all goes to plan we will be paying the same into the EU, with nothing coming back but BoJo & his backers will be using the UK as a sweat shop to trade the mainland.

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Brexit 2

I had a look at article 50, I have reproduced it at the bottom, strange thing is that it doesn't require a referendum just that a government apply. Given the UK government's normal method of working you have to ask what is the referendum really for? It is scary that almost on a whim a government could decide to leave the EU with no electoral mandate.

Legal

The legal position is quite clear the government is required to do nothing. The legislation made this an advisory referendum, you and I, given advice should take the time to consider it but we are entitled to ignore it, we are also entitled to ask for a second opinion.
The EU itself can do nothing until it receives a Chapter 50 notification, in some way it is being irresponsible in making comments, the decision is still in the hand of the UK government. 
One learned professor of Law in Scotland claimed I was rather ill-informed on this but the problem is there is no case law, the nearest you can get is in commercial law, with things like cooling off periods and misselling. Everyone is ill informed on the subject of the legalisation until it goes to court. I have had legal advice which I have ignored before and be proved right to do so when the court took my side. I have also one a case representing myself when the organisation I was up against had got barristers advice and was trying to scare me with the idea of costs, I won.

Sovereignty

The Sovereignty of the UK parliament was one of the big concerns of the #brexiteers, they wanted it preserved and maximised, by making the vote advisory, the UK government kept maintained that sovereignty. It would be hard for them to complain about sovereignty being used to thwart their ambitions.

Democracy

The settled will of the people is hardly what we have at 48%-52%, even Farage said as much when claiming that 48%-52% or closer would be unfinished business, admittedly he was trying to legitimise a 2nd ref in his favour.
The government itself was voted in by less than 40% of the people and happily ignored the other 60% but according to a lot of people that is just the system we have and we have to put up with it. Well, the system we have put the word advisory in and kept Parliament sovereign, so the system we have does allow the choice.
UKIP amongst other have suggested recall votes and in one case UKIP has actually asked for one, the trigger point being a petition by 10% of the electorate, so what happened if the call for a second ref gets to 4,532,510, will the Kippers join in and request a 2nd vote.

Ethically

Even before the vote, this was termed the beginning of post fact democracy, reflecting the sheer amount of lies told, it seems that lots of people had no real idea what they were voting about. They didn't read the average size print, just the headlines of their favourite tabloid. Admittedly the had the opportunity to become informed about the subject but didn't take it, but they still claim they didn't make an informed choice. If there was a larger margin then the decision would be clear

Result

Omnishambles, no one comes out of this looking good, well at least no one in the UK. The legislation was a mess, the campaigns were a mess. the entire thing was a mess.
The other question is why aren't Boris and Co demanding the article 50 be enacted immediately? This referendum was not about getting a simple answer to a simple question, it is deeply bound up with political manoeuvrings in centre right politics

Where are we?

In a mess.
One thing is for sure the next time someone thinks of having a referendum they should think long and hard about the rules best out of 3 is not a bad idea, it would give more time for thought and reflection and in the end a more considered view.
It probably should be binding unless there is a very small margin.



Article 50

1. Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements.

2. A Member State which decides to withdraw shall notify the European Council of its intention. In the light of the guidelines provided by the European Council, the Union shall negotiate and conclude an agreement with that State, setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal, taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union. That agreement shall be negotiated in accordance with Article 218(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. It shall be concluded on behalf of the Union by the Council, acting by a qualified majority, after obtaining the consent of the European Parliament.

3. The Treaties shall cease to apply to the State in question from the date of entry into force of the withdrawal agreement or, failing that, two years after the notification referred to in paragraph 2, unless the European Council, in agreement with the Member State concerned, unanimously decides to extend this period.

4. For the purposes of paragraphs 2 and 3, the member of the European Council or of the Council representing the withdrawing Member State shall not participate in the discussions of the European Council or Council or in decisions concerning it.

A qualified majority shall be defined in accordance with Article 238(3)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

5. If a State which has withdrawn from the Union asks to rejoin, its request shall be subject to the procedure referred to in Article 49.