Coffee Shop Owner Bans Mobile Phones

On the phoneThere is an interesting news story on the BBC website about a coffee stall owner banning customers who are on their mobile phones. He has taken a dislike to customers who try to order whilst they are on their mobile phones to someone else!

Well, I have to agree with this guy and well done to him for putting a sign up about it. Mobile phones have taken over a lot of peoples lives and they can’t live without either speaking to someone or texting someone every few minutes. Next time you walk into a bar or restaurant take  a look to see how many people are using their phones rather than actually speaking face to face with someone. You will be amazed how many people seem to be losing the art of conversation !

Watch the BBC video about this news story here http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-17687054

HS2 is not money well spent

I’m all in favour of spending money to improve transport links but I think that the high speed rail link from London to Birmingham is probably not money well spent. £33bn for something that will take 21 years to fully be completed and will probably be delayed and cost twice as much as first thought does not make sense to me.

People argue that there is a strong business case in improving journey times but has the government thought about whether there are alternatives that are cheaper and better ?

Most of the UK’s major cities have major transport problems. Millions of people a day spend hours commuting into our cities on journeys that should take half the time they actually take. Imagine how much more productive we would be as a nation if we saved time travelling to work!

The government continually blocks the development of tram systems in our cities because they say there is no money available. These schemes cost a fraction of the cost of HS2. Imagine what cities could do with a budget of £10bn. If all of our major cities were given just £250m each that would mean all our cities would have tram systems. If they had more they could probably build their own underground systems !

Another blow for British manufacturing.

I don’t normally buy newspapers but on a Sunday I buy two. I’m at the newspaper shop by about 8.30am on a Sunday morning and start the day with fresh coffee and a good read about what is happening in the world and closer to home. One of those papers is the Sunday Times because I like the in-depth coverage, particularly of foreign news.

In today’s paper I noticed one small story that barely got a mention and the news article could be easily missed but I think its a significant story and its another sign that Great Britain is losing its manufacturing capability. The story was about the fact that Britain’s last remaining manufacturer of trains is probably going to close. This is because they have heard that they have lost a bid to build and maintain trains for Thameslink which would have been worth over £3 billion and guaranteed the jobs of thousands of workers at the Bombardier plant in Derby.

Britain was the country that invented the steam locomotive nearly 200 years ago. It was George Stephenson that invented the first railway line in 1825 which was the start of Britain’s Industrial Revolution. In a bizarre decision the Department of Transport has given the contract to build 1,200 train carriages to the German firm Siemens. The Derby firm employs 3,000 people in Derby, 2,000 elsewhere and another 10,000 in the supply chain.

The reason for awarding the train contract to a German company have not been given but this is a terrible decision for British workers and the country. As a nation we are gradually losing the manufacturing skills that we have and once they are lost these skills are lost forever. Does the department that makes these decisions not consider the knock on effects? When jobs are lost it affects everybody as these people lose their spending power so local shops and other industries suffer too.

Was the bid from Siemens so much better that it warranted harming the British economy and more importantly the lives of thousands of British workers? I doubt it !

How to Win Friends and Influence People

Carnegie’s 6 Keys to Success

Become genuinely interested in other people.

Smile. It is possible to smile in your writing and be positive and cheery versus bland and boring.

Remember that a person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language.

Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves. Ask questions.

Talk in terms of the other person’s interest. Find the pain, offer to help.

Make the other person feel important — and do it sincerely. Things like: “Congratulations on a win,” “sorry to hear about the loss,” and “happy to be on the team” always work well.

Is de-icing the answer to snow chaos on roads?

Following on from my last article about heated roads the weather shows no signs of improving and our transport system has been badly affected by a modest amount of snowfall and sub zero temperatures. It should be no surprise that our road system grinds to a halt after a snowfall. Our roads are so badly congested even at the best of times that the smallest interruption to the flow of traffic causes chaos. There is no slack in the system to absorb problems like snow or an accident. Even the best laid plans would struggle to deal with the amount of snow that fell in such a short period of time.

What the government now needs to do is investigate what new technologies exist that will keep our roads free of snow and ice. The spreading of salt is too slow an operation as it can take several hours before an affected road is reached by a gritting lorry. What is needed is an instant solution and I have been reading about just a solution. A section of the A2 has been running a trial of a new system designed by Vaisala in Finland. Sensors next to the road can detect the temperature of the road surface and when it drops to zero degrees de-icer is sprayed onto the road from a dispersal system. This winter the trial has gone well apparently but large amounts of snow still need to be moved from the road by a snow plough.

There must be many systems available for keeping our main roads clear of snow and ice which don’t involve a gritting lorry. The sooner that the process starts to find these new systems the better !

Does Alien life Exist ? – Sorry, it doesn’t !

I read a really amazing book recently called The Eerie Silence – Are We Alone in the Universe.

If you are interested in the search for extra terrestrial life then this book draws some very interesting conclusions and is well worth reading. The book starts off by looking at our own world to see if we can draw any evidence about whether the human race might be a one-off  species or whether we might be just one of millions of life forms that throng the universe.

The conclusions of the book are a little depressing because of the authors opinions about whether there might be life on other planets. He also gives a fascinating insight into the future of the human race.

I say depressing because the author is the head of SETI, which stands for “search for extra terrestrial intelligence” so this guy should know a thing or two about the chances of finding  alien life. His conclusion is that he thinks the human race could be alone in the universe. After reading his book he certainly offers compelling evidence that we might well be alone.

Firstly, we have been looking for evidence of alien life for about 50 years. Our technology over the last 10 years has improved greatly to the extent that we can see much further into space that we have even been able to see. So far, all this searching has found not one once piece of evidence that there may be life elesewhere.

Secondly, if you look back at the history of the human race it is a series of accidents that quite possibly could never happen again. The author of the book describes the chances of life emerging as being like a “whirlwind going through a scrap yard and putting together the best aeroplane that ever existed”. I think that is a very good analygy.

If we were to discover radio signals coming from another planet the distances involved are likely to be so great that it would take hundreds of light years to them to reach us and for us to reach them. As we can’t travel at the speed of light yet and probably never will be able to this means it would take thousands of years to travel the distances involved. This poses several problems, of course. By the time we have travelled the distance the life we are trying to reach may well have died but more importantly, we can’t live for that long either !

This is where things start to get interesting because in our quest to seek out new life forms us humans will have to change and this also ties in with the way us humans are evolving. I think that it is clear that humans will evolve artificially. What I mean is that medical science will prolong our lives by genetic engineering and by giving us man made bits of body that don’t wear out. Effectively, this means we will eventually change into machines !

Scientists think that they will be able to download the contents of a human brain onto a computer by about 2030. Already, we have man made limbs. All the body does is do what the brain wants so if you can have a computer as a brain and a man made body then you have a robot. This will lead to humans living longer and more importantly, it will mean that we can travel longer distances in space. This will happen because it is the only way that we will be able to travel the incredible distances involved in deep space travel.

By the year 2100 us humans will be completly different !

Buy the book. It’s excellent !

 http://rcm-uk.amazon.co.uk/e/cm?t=davbridotcom-21&o=2&p=8&l=as1&asins=1846141427&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr

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World Cup in Qatar !

There must have been deals done by the FIFA executive committee which gave the votes to Qatar for the 2022 World Cup finals. Never can there have been more of an unsuitable place to play football than in this scorching desert country that has never played in a world cup.

Playing football in June and July in Qatar will not be a pleasant experience. Average temperatures in summer reach over 40C but the temperature at midday is over 50C. Most people in Qatar leave the country in summer because it is too hot and dust and sand storms are also a common occurrence.

What is the logic of ignoring those countries that have done so much for football and choosing a country that is too hot and difficult to get to.

Part of the Qatar bid is that they will build the stadiums they need and then dismantle them after the World Cup and build them again in places that need them. So much for a lasting legacy for football in the Middle East.

Heated Roads is the Answer to Snow Chaos

December 2009 and January 2010 were bad winter months for snow and ice here in the UK. This country can’t cope with transport chaos that snow causes. Our roads are over crowded so that when we do get snow cars grind to a halt. Even our trains don’t seem to like snow and our airports even have to close as well.

We spend millions of pounds on gritting our roads and we lose countless millions more in lost production and time off work because we can’t get to work.

Isn’t it about time that a new solution is found ?

Last year I wrote an article about heated roads. The technology is available and I would have thought that as a long term investment it would be worthwhile considering. The government is to have an enquiry about how local authorities have handled the snow situation I hope they also look at ways of avoiding similar situations in the future.

The Election is Not Just About Policies

It seems that all the political parties are intent on confusing us all about what their policies actually are. It is all about slagging off each other at the moment which is not good for political debate. Maybe after the TV debate with the party leaders will things become clearer.

However, I think that we must not forget that this election is also about which party and which leader we trust to guide the country through a crisis or difficult times. Out of the three main political parties I think that David Cameron or Nick Clegg is the man I would trust most.

The Day a General Election was Called.

Today Gordon Brown, leader of the Labour Party called a General Election. After 13 years of Labour government has the time come for a new party to lead us all to prosperity ? The next 4 weeks is going to the most boring in terms of media coverage and I am inclined to not watch any of it on TV or read very little. That’s because I already know who I will be voting for and as all the political parties start squabbling about who is best for the country the next four weeks may well be a political turnoff for most people.

All I know is that Labour has not done a good job but the question is will the other parties be able to do any better ? Burdoned with massive debts the next few years are going to be difficult for us all and whichever party gains power they will have to make unpopular decisions. politicians also need to show us all that they are in it because they want to do the best for the UK rather than in it for themselves.

Many major issues need tackling by the next government.

1. There are too many people in this country so there needs to be limits because the infrastructure is not sufficient.

2. End the benefits culture and get people back to work.

3. Treat criminals as criminals and don’t put them up in hotels that are called jails where they have an easy life. A jail sentence in jail should be harsh to prevent the chances of re-offending.

4. Clamp down hard on anti-social behaviour and parents who do not control their children.

5. Spend only what we can afford as a country.

6. Force banks to lend money to businesses that are wanting to create jobs.

7. Encourage a culture that hard work will lead to success.

8. Cut taxes on everything. If we have money we will spend it and this will create jobs.

9. Spend more money on roads and trains to get the country moving more efficiently so that we spend longer at work rather than travelling.

10. Encourage enterprise so that the UK becomes bigger and better as a producer of quality goods and services.

This election looks like it’s going to be a dirty fight as Labour seem to want to doing anything to hang onto power. All the parties will eventually promise things that they know they can’t deliver but one thing is for sure…I can’t wait until 7 May when it will be all over !