24th June 2022
The following is the text of a prophetic letter I submitted to the DT over 4 years ago 7th December 2017, but which was never published:
“The First Law of Thermodynamics, that ‘you don’t get anything for nothing’, applies just as much to investing in crypto currencies as it does throughout the engineering world. The Second Law adds that ‘neither do you break even’. Crypto currencies have no element of wealth creation, but a considerable amount of wealth absorption, particularly of electricity and computer purchase. They are only increasing in pseudo-value because of the vast amount of genuine currency that is being converted to them. As soon as investors realise that it is a bubble that will inevitably burst, they will sell back their investment for sterling etc, which will immediately accelerate the bursting of the bubble. The great unknown isn’t ‘if’ it will happen, but ‘when’ it will happen, since the forthcoming crash is a certainty.”
6th June 2022
Having studied ‘Astronomy and Planetary Science’ at the OU, I always read the DT articles (6 Jun) on astronomy with very great interest. Here on the edge of the Cambridgeshire fens, if the sky at night is apparently clear, then I will always see the moon if it is above the horizon, together with a very faint Sirius if it is in my hemisphere, but I have not seen a night-time sky full of stars for years. How many readers are in my position? How widespread in the UK is air pollution?
Published Sunday 22nd May 2022
You report (15th May), that Oscar Hammerstein was “furious” that the composer Richard Rogers received more credit for their work together.
In Opera, it is universally accepted that the composer gets the praise, not the librettist. Musicals are not so different. The tunes from Oklahoma, Carousel, South Pacific etc are enjoyable if played by an orchestra without anyone singing the words, but few if any would be interested in hearing just the words spoken, without the tune.
16th April 2022
The recent suggestion that significant road speed reductions might save lives has not been thought through. I am a life-long mountaineer living on the edge of the Cambridgeshire fens. For many decades I have driven long distances to the hills after work on a Friday evening, and long distances back after a full day in the hills on a Sunday evening. If I am required to drive at significantly reduced speeds, my focus and attention will be made more difficult to maintain, and my journey times will be significantly increased, meaning that I will finish my journeys more tired than at present. Significant road speed reductions might therefore cost more lives than they save.
Published Sunday 23rd January 2022; (but only the first 3 paragraphs.)
The letter in the Sunday Telegraph (16 Jan) against foxhunting tells just one side of the story, but both sides deserve to be heard.
Some years ago, when foxhunting was still legal, a research project was undertaken in which every fox killed by a particular hunt was sent to a laboratory to establish how it had died. In every case, it was found that the fox had died instantly following a bite on the back of the neck by the lead hound, and all the wounds to the body had been inflicted after the fox was already dead. This proves that hounds do not rip foxes to pieces. The first hound to catch the fox despatches it very quickly. That which is subsequently torn up is not a fox, it is the dead body of something that was once a fox. Tearing up dead meat is not cruel. Hunting must be preferable to the current situation where so many foxes are shot and injured. It is very difficult to shoot dead such a small swiftly moving target – and so they get away and die slowly in agony.
Few of those who hunt have ever been near enough to the front of the chase to see a fox despatched, so it is a myth to claim that enjoying such a spectacle is the reason for hunting. Those opposing it raise no objection to the depiction of savage predation in television wildlife programmes, which are regarded as good family entertainment.
The first banning of fox hunting was by mad King Ludwig II of Bavaria (1845 – 1886), but since he was insane, he should perhaps be ignored as having had unsound views.
The first major nation state to ban fox hunting was Germany’s Third Reich, quite openly claiming that it was based entirely on class enmity, bigotry and hatred. A state that treated Jews as vermin would certainly not ban foxhunting out of any sentimental feeling for genuine vermin, such as foxes. The ban was promptly overturned after the end of WW2.
The second national ban was carried out by Scotland. For many generations the Scots had been ruled from Westminster, but with independence that changed. When the Scottish Parliament passed their hunting ban, MSPs were quite openly quoted as saying things like: “That’s in return for the highland clearances!” which gave the game away about their motivation. (Both those responsible for the highland clearances and those able to afford to own a horse and ride it to hounds were seen as wealthy upper-class toffs).
31st October 2021
In Sunday’s Telegraph there is something that Zoe Strimpel might have overlooked.
The population density of Homo Sapiens on Planet Earth was fixed at 1 billion for thousands of years, until around 1800. In the last 200 years or so it has shot up from 1 bn to over 7.4 bn, with no sign of the rate of rise slowing down, evidenced from our ever-increasing life expectancy and no sign of our birth rate declining. There are already too many of us for our planet to avoid serious climate change, and in the next 200 years or so, our population is set to double. This would require twice our current provision of power, water and sewage disposal facilities and twice our current acreage of land for farming, housing estates, shops, town centres, industrial centres, factories and warehouses, quarries, land fill sites, etc. Where is all this land to be found? Since there already too many of us for our planet to cope with, its rate of destruction is surely set to accelerate.
The cause of this dramatic rise in our population is the introduction around 200 years ago and the subsequent growing ascendancy over our lives of the medical, surgical and pharmaceutical industries, which have turned on its head the hitherto immutable law of the survival of the fittest, upon which evolution depends. A necessary consequence is that our gene pool is being damaged, and at an ever-increasing rate, which can only lead eventually to species extinction.
The real underlying cause is surely obvious and must not continue to be ignored.
19th October 2021
We are all quite rightly convinced that we have a perfect right to live for as long as possible and to enjoy as healthy a lifestyle as possible. This goes without saying, and no-one would dare argue with it. It has inevitably caused an ever-increasing escalation in the medical, surgical, and pharmaceutical industries, essential to satisfy our wholly justified needs, but there are two unavoidable consequences of this which we continue to ignore at our peril.
Until around 1800, the world’s population density had been fixed at 1 billion, but over the last couple of hundred years or so, our ever-growing health industry has driven it up to 7.4 billion. Since our birth-rate isn’t falling, our population density must still be climbing, which means that in another couple of hundred years or so it might well double. If it does, we will need to double our current provision of power, water and sewage disposal. We will also need twice our current acreage of arable land for growing food crops and of pasture for grazing livestock; importing it all would just be shifting the problem elsewhere. It will also double our current acreage of land taken up by housing estates, shopping centres, town centres, schools, playing fields, care homes, industrial estates, quarries etc. Where is this land to be found? Boris Johnson’s recent demand that no green-field sites may be used for development cannot be met unless we are forced into vertical development, but that is ignoring the principal issue. The key problem is that our population is already too great for our planet to avoid global warming and climate change, (which would not be happening at all had Homo Sapiens never evolved), and consequently, we need to accept that we are destroying our planet at an ever-increasing rate.
The second consequence is that the evolution of all plant and animal life depends on their natural strict obedience to the law of the survival of the fittest. Our ever-increasing health care industry is overriding this law, with the inevitable consequence that we are slowly but surely damaging our gene pool, which will eventually lead to the extinction of Homo Sapiens.
The inevitable conclusion is that our (correct or selfish?) demand to live for as long as possible and to enjoy the best possible health is slowly but surely destroying Planet Earth and driving Homo Sapiens towards extinction. There is no solution that would ever be politically acceptable. We will just have to shrug our shoulders and accept the inevitable. Although it might not significantly harm many of us in our lifetimes, our distant future generations will not be so lucky. Who was right, Corporal Jones (don’t panic!) or Private Fraser (we’re doomed!)?
7th October 2021
The PM’s pledge not to build on green-field sites cannot be honoured. Due to the growing ascendancy of the medical, surgical, and pharmaceutical industries, (caused by our insistence on living for as long as possible and as healthily as possible), Planet Earth’s population of Homo Sapiens, which was static at 1 bn for thousands of years, started climbing steadily upwards from around 1800 and has now exceeded 7.4 bn. Since our birth-rate is not falling, it will almost certainly continue to rise, so could double over the next 200 years. This means that by 2221, we might need twice our current acreage of arable land for growing food crops, twice our current acreage of pasture for grazing livestock and twice our current acreage taken up by housing estates, town centres, shopping centres, industrial estates, and everything else that requires land.
But there is much more to consider and of even greater importance. Firstly, since Planet Earth would not be faced by global warming and climate change had Homo Sapiens not evolved, doubling the sheer quantity of us will inevitably tend to speed up our planet’s destruction. Secondly, by overturning the hitherto immutable law of the survival of the fittest, upon which evolution depends, we are wrecking our gene pool and consequently driving Homo Sapiens towards global extinction.
Even though there is no politically correct answer, these problems certainly deserve widespread discussion. The DT should lead the way with an appropriate article.
25th September 2021
Objecting to the terms Chairman and Batsman are not examples of gender-neutral politics, they are merely examples of a failure to understand our rich language heritage.
The 3-letter word ‘man’ appears as both a noun and a verb in English. As a noun it refers to a male of the human species and is gender specific. As a verb, it means to handle, and comes to us from the Latin for hand, the invariable root of which is ‘man’. When the cries came out “Man the guns!” or “Man the pumps!” they meant handle the guns or handle the pumps.
Centuries ago when the King held court, he was traditionally the only one seated, the courtiers always stood. From this came the obvious fact that whoever ‘manned’ the chair, ran the meeting. Obviously, the one who manned the chair was called the chairman. Similarly, the cricketer who mans (handles) the bat, is correctly called the batsman. Gender has nothing to do with it.
23rd September 2021
What might well concentrate the minds of the idiots responsible for our current energy policies would be to insist that in the event of any power shortages, then the first load to be shed on every occasion, and the last load to be reinstated shall be the City of Westminster. Leaders should lead from the front.
21st September 2021
The ongoing discussion on climate change and global warming is only addressing the symptoms, and is ignoring the underlying root cause, undoubtedly due to political correctness. Since 1800, our world-wide population, which had been static at 1 bn, has risen to 7.4 bn, and the ever-increasing demand for more housing suggests that it is not tailing off. In another 200 years’ time we might need twice our current acreage of arable farmland, of pasture for livestock, of housing estates and of supporting industrial infrastructure. But our population is already too high for our planet to cope with. The cause of this dramatic population rise over the last 200 years is undoubtedly our ever-increasing reliance on the Medical, Surgical and Pharmaceutical industries, which none of us dare challenge. These industries are also causing another serious problem, in that they are overturning the universal law of the survival of the fittest upon which evolution depends. As a result, our gene pool is being progressively weakened, leading in turn to the need for yet more medical interventions. This downwards spiral is undoubtedly exponential and it will certainly result in the eventual extinction of Homo Sapiens, other than in such places as those jungles in South America which are free from medical interventions. Eugenics is certainly not a politically acceptable answer. It might be tempting to ignore it since it will not bite hard while we are still alive, but we must encourage an open discussion before it is too late.
8th September 2021
Here is a topic that is far too controversial for anyone to dare express an opinion on, so one can only stick to the following irrefutable facts.
The dialogue on stemming climate change is focussed on addressing the symptoms and ignoring the root cause. Had Homo Sapiens never evolved, Planet Earth would not be facing its current challenges, since we are the cause. But what is it about us that is the cause? Our human population was fixed at 1 billion for millennia but started to rise in around 1800. Over the last 200 years it has risen from 1 billion to over 7 billion, and it shows no sign of tapering off, the evidence of which is all around us, such as the pressing need for yet more housing estates. It is already far too great for our planet to cope with. If it continues to rise at this rate, then in another 200 years we will require twice our current acreage of arable land, pasture, and housing estates. But what has happened over the last 200 years to cause our world-wide population explosion? The only possible answer is the ever-increasing dominance in our lives of the medical, surgical, and pharmaceutical industries, supported by the welfare state. But these will always be no-go areas, so we must accept the destruction of our planet as inevitable.
Ever since the advent of plant and animal life, successful evolution has depended solely on the immutable law of the survival of the fittest. Our dependence on the medical, surgical and pharmaceutical industries has turned that law on its head, with the result that our human gene pool is continually being weakened, a trend that statistically must rise exponentially, eventually resulting in the extinction of Homo Sapiens, especially since eugenics is universally condemned.
We are destroying both our planet and our species. There is no politically correct solution, so we must just shrug our shoulders and let events unfold.
3rd September 2021
Since our bodies can build up a natural resistance to infections, they are quite likely to build up a resistance to AstraZeneca etc, as they do to antibiotics. The more drugs we take, the more we will need them.
28th August 2021
Whoever proves that you can extract more power from nuclear fusion (ST 21 Aug) than is taken up creating such nuclear fusion will undoubtedly be awarded a Nobel Prize for overturning the First Law of Thermodynamics. The Second Law adds that neither can you break even. It isn’t going to happen!
29th July 2021
Gardeners prefer to hand-wash dishes. It is an easy way to remove the soil from underneath your finger nails.
9th April 2021
The Law Commission’s warning that facial recognition software is ‘racist’ since it might not spot dark-skinned faces when pedestrians cross the road (DT 19 April) is flawed. Firstly, if the face is looking away from the vehicle, then whatever its colour, the vehicle would not see it anyway, and if the face is looking towards the vehicle, why is the pedestrian wilfully walking into obvious danger? Secondly, if each of us, whenever in the role of pedestrian, never stepped off a pavement onto a road, even at a pedestrian crossing, without first making sure that it is safe to do so, then collisions between pedestrians and vehicles would fall to inconsequential levels. The subconscious problem is that in every pedestrian/vehicle collision, we pedestrians are the one who come off worse, with the driver emerging unscathed, so it is assumed that the driver must always shoulder the blame. As long as this attitude prevails, we pedestrians will never apply obvious common sense and accept responsibility for our own stupidity.
3rd April 2021
The following logical line of thought is universally ignored, so it must be flawed, but where? A fish only enjoys physical contact with its outside world via its mouth, which is soft and therefore easily damaged, and yet all of the fish we see seem to have undamaged mouths. It must surely follow that fish must have very sensitive pain receptors in their mouth parts, leading to the conclusion that fishing with hook and line is an act of barbaric cruelty.
28th January 2021
Increased UK flooding in the future is an inevitable consequence of global warming. As the Gulf Stream crosses the tropics, more sea water will evaporate due to its increased surface temperature. When these clouds reach our cooler climate, these increased clouds will obviously condense into heavier and more frequent rain than we have ever seen before. The current flooding is not a one-off event, but the harbinger of worse to come.
22nd December 2020
If children may no longer be sent to jail, (DT 22 Dec), it means that they may no longer play Monopoly. At times like these we must never lose our sense of humour, which might be all we have left by 2021.
20th December 2020
Janet Daley’s article (ST 20 Dec) reflects a popular point to view, but its implementation would inevitably hasten the destruction of both our planet and our species.
Those attempting to address global warming and climate change are merely dealing with the obvious symptoms and ignoring the underlying cause. If Homo Sapiens had never evolved, Planet Earth would not now be facing its current challenges. Our population has risen from 1 billion to 7.8 billion over just the last 200 years and the rate of annual rise shows no sign of tailing off, even though it is already too high for our planet to cope with. Our world population needs to be significantly reduced if our planet is to survive.
The evolution of all species of plants and animal life has been successful because of strict adherence to the universal Law of the Survival of the Fittest, without which there would have been no evolution. Each successive generation has undetectable genetic mutations, and those with disadvantageous mutations do not survive long enough to pass on their genes to the next generation. Our population has been increasing over the last 200 years at such an alarming rate because of our personal selfish insistence on living for as long as possible, which we can only do by ignoring the Law of the Survival of the Fittest and relying on the medical and pharmaceutical industries to ensure the long-term lifespan of even the least fit, to breed and pass on their disadvantageous genes to the next generation. Our own personal selfishness is the true reason, although the public justification is undoubtedly caring for our fellow human beings. Consequently, we are slowly but surely destroying the human gene pool, a trend that is inevitably escalating, thereby threatening the long-term survival of Homo Sapiens.
A BBC TV mini-series in the middle of 2016, repeated in 2017, featured the Waorani tribe in the jungle region of Ecuador. The two most striking features about the tribesmen depicted were their obvious robust good health and their apparent contentment with their lot. What more do we really want?
There are some obvious questions. Is Covid19 killing a completely arbitrary choice of victim or does it more often seem to be choosing those weakened by other causes, quite likely by having disadvantageous genes? Could it be doing for us a job that needs doing anyway, if our planet and our species are both to survive?
We all die from causes recorded on our death certificates. The public pressure to eliminate those causes ignores the fact that we will still all die, but it will then be from even more intractable causes, which will be ever-increasingly expensive to eliminate. Why bother?
4th December 2020
If I am the only member of the herd not to be vaccinated, the rest of the herd can neither catch it from me nor pass it to me, so no-one is at any risk.
2nd December 2020
Because the Government treats us as children and dictates which businesses in which areas must close due to Coronavirus, it must obviously cover their losses, bankrupting the country. Had the government backed off and concentrated on providing full pandemic data, treating we adults as adults, well able to make our own decisions, the country would not be so disastrously bankrupt. Isn’t hindsight marvelous?
25th November 2020
The UK does no have 30m more rats due to lockdown. We are falling into the obvious trap of blaming lockdown for all unusual occurrences. Here on the edge of the Cambridgeshire fens, over a mile from our nearest village, we were hit by a plague of rats for the first time in memory, as early as this spring, and the plague continues unabated. It cannot possibly be blamed on lockdown and must have another cause.
25th November 2020
The most memorable and appreciated gift I received from my Grammar School education way back in the 1960’s was a deep love of Shakespeare, still being able to quote huge chunks of his plays that we had to learn by rote. Had it not been for this valuable grounding I doubt I would have seen 16 live performances of his plays in 2019, all within Cambridgeshire and Rutland, plus another 7 live relayed from theatres to our local cinema. Long may schools teach Shakespeare!
22nd November 2020
The Nuclear Fusion article in the Sunday Telegraph (22nd Nov) states that: “The challenge has been to produce more energy than is put in to create it.” Putting this another way. the challenge is to completely overturn the universally accepted First Law of Thermodynamics which asserts that this is impossible. The Second Law goes on to add that neither can you break even, since there are losses in all energy conversion processes. The total gravitational energy needed to create a star must therefore be greater than the energy released from that star in its lifetime.
17th November 2020
If the Covid 19 vaccination lives up to its claims, then if I am the only member of the herd to decline it, there can be no consequences for either side. Having been inoculated against it, the herd can neither transmit it to me nor receive it from me, and I can neither transmit it to them nor receive it from them. No party is at any risk. Long may logic prevail!
13th November 2020
In answer to Professor Lynch (DT Letters 13 Nov), the reason we do not open bus windows is that they encourage a crosswind, making a nonsense of the safe distancing rule. Those upwind have no need for any distancing, at all, but those downwind need considerably more than a mere 2 metres.
2nd November 2020
I understand the 2m Social Distancing Rule if I am surrounded by tall buildings keeping the wind off me, but out here in the open countryside there is invariably a stiff breeze blowing. If I am approaching someone walking towards me and wish avoid picking up Covid19, I need no social distancing at all if I am passing on the upwind side, but I need very considerably more than 2m if I am passing.
25th October 2020
There is widespread condemnation of the 21st Century benefits arising from the slavery that took place several hundred years ago when it was widely accepted in society. It must therefore be equally as essential to similarly condemn those of my generation who were quite outspokenly homophobic throughout our youth, when homosexuality was a criminal offence. The point I am making is that it is wrong to judge yesterday by the morals of today. Or is the apparent angst simply being driven by today’s all-pervading compensation culture?
16th October 2020
The two problems currently facing us have the same cause and the same remedy. The world-wide number of Homo Sapiens has rocketed from 1bn to 7.8bn over just the last 200 years and shows no sign of abating. It is already too high for our planet to cope with, making it the underlying cause of global warming and climate change. The cause of this population explosion is the interference of the medical, surgical and pharmaceutical industries with the immutable law of the survival of the fittest to breed and produce the next generation, which evolution depends upon. As a result, our human gene pool is slowly but surely being destroyed, leading eventually to the extinction of our species. The Coronavirus Pandemonium (sic) is a blessing in disguise and should be welcomed. All restrictions should be lifted worldwide, and we should let nature take its course, saving both our planet and our species.
6th October 2020
The peak demand for electricity in the UK requires the coincidence of several factors, one of which must be a UK-wide deep freeze. Thanks to our island location, surrounded by warmer oceans, this can only ever happen in UK-wide still-air conditions, when there will be negligible contributing from wind farms.
Another peak demand occurrence would be late afternoon mid-week in winter, when industry is still working and all lights are on, children have returned from school and have switched everything on in their homes and kettles are going on everywhere. At such times it will be too dark to get any contribution from solar power. Our peak demand must therefore be met without reliance on either wind or solar energy.
Exacerbating this, once our environmental enthusiasts have got their way, we will no longer be consuming 12 megatons of petrol and 24 megatons of diesel each year on our roads. If these vehicles were to be run electrically, recharging their batteries would require an average of 414 Terrawatts of generating capacity, on top of our current average requirement of merely 309 Terrawatts, more than doubling it. Most recharging will be overnight when there can be no contribution from solar arrays, and if there is a UK-wide deep freeze, as well, where is all of this electricity expected to come from?
One ‘quick trick’ to ensure that the problem is solved promptly would be to insist that whenever there is an electricity shortage, the first load to be shed and the last load to be reinstated on every occasion shall be the City of Westminster. They should be made to lead from the front.
28th September 2020
Climate Change, the extinction of Homo Sapiens and Coronavirus are all linked.
Starting with global warming and climate change, those attempting to address this issue are just scratching the surface, merely addressing the symptoms, undoubtedly because the underlying cause is far too controversial for them to dare address.
If Homo Sapiens had never evolved, Planet Earth would not be facing its current challenges. There are far too many of us for our planet to cope with. Our population has risen from 1 billion to 7.8 billion over just the last 200 years and the rate of annual rise is not tailing off, even though it is already dangerously too high for our planet to cope with. Amongst very many symptoms, our population rise is forever increasing the destruction of forests to create farmland, and is continually increasing our output of carbon dioxide, both directly encouraging climate change.
The reason for this ongoing steep population rise is that we have abandoned the immutable Law of the Survival of the Fittest. Each successive generation of plant and animal life has undetectable genetic mutations, and those mutations proving beneficial enable those with them to live longer to pass on their genes to the next generation. We see this everywhere, an obvious example being that chillies, cacti, blackberries, onions, garlic and a lot of other plants with fruiting bodies above the ground have evolved to be unattractive to herbivores.
A BBC TV mini-series in the middle of 2016, repeated in 2017, featured the near-naked Waorani tribe in the jungle region of Ecuador. The two most striking features about the tribesmen depicted were their obvious robust good health and their equally as obvious complete contentment with their lot. And yet this was a tribe bereft of doctors, surgeons, hospitals, and pharmaceuticals. What conclusions can we draw?
What has been increasingly happening over the last 200 years to cause our population levels to climb at such an alarming rate is the growth of the medical and pharmaceutical industries, enabling us to live for much longer than was possibly a couple of hundred years ago, which we can only do by ignoring the Law of the Survival of the Fittest and ensuring the long-term lifespan of even the least fit, enabling them to pass on their disadvantageous genes to future generations. Our own inevitable wish to live for as long as possible might controversially be the true underlying reason for our population explosion, although the public justification is undoubtedly our unselfishly caring for our fellow human beings, fuelled by the industries making a living from it . We are turning evolution on its head by our medical and surgical interventions. In the long term, it will surely lead to the extinction of our species, in that it is no longer those with sound genes who are enabled to breed. We are inexorably driving the human species towards genetic extinction and at an ever-increasing rate.
Our immediate first step should be to cancel the current Coronavirus ‘Pandemonium’ and to let the Law of the Survival of the Fittest run its course, incidentally solving our housing shortage, reducing the traffic congestion on our roads, and removing the need for Heathrow’s third runway.
13th September 2020
Reducing motorway speeds from 70mph to 60 mph increases journey time and thus the time spent polluting the atmosphere by almost 17%. Unless this speed reduction decreases the rate of pollutant production by 17%, which is highly unlikely, this proposed speed reduction would be counterproductive.
16th July 2020
There is something about the inference (DT Thursday) that polymer membrane electrolysers (PME) split water molecules into oxygen and hydrogen at negligible cost that gives rise to the certainty that we have not been given the full story. The hitherto immutable First Law of Thermodynamics states that it impossible for any scientific/engineering system to generate more energy than it absorbs to produce it. The Second Law adds that neither can you break even, since there are always losses in the conversion process. If the Laws of Thermodynamics have indeed been breached for the first time in history, which I am quite sure is impossible, then it should make headline news on Page One, not be tucked away in the Business Section, and it should certainly result in a Nobel Prize for whoever discovered it. Please can we have the full story? What are the expected percentage losses in this PME energy conversion system, and what is the proposed source of the input energy?
The Laws of Thermodynamics apply universally, not just to the science of engineering. For example, the total profit made by investing in Bitcoin must be less than the total losses eventually made by other investors, once Bitcoin is eventually liquidated. (Bitcoin has no element of true wealth creation; it is solely gambling). As every bookmaker knows, their customers’ total gambling losses always exceed their total gambling gains; Bitcoin falls into this category, as I would suggest might investment in ITM Power.
8th July 2020
You have accepted a daunting challenge by trying to persuade us to encourage ants, flies, spiders, moths etc to thrive in our gardens, when for many decades we have been trying our hardest to drive them to local extinction anywhere within easy reach of our open windows. We are also guilty of keeping rabbits out of our vegetable gardens and moles from our lawns. Whereas national species extinction should be rightly condemned, it must surely be acceptable to drive household and garden pests to local extinction around our homes.
16th April 2020
Implementing the poor advice (DT 16 Aril) to walk on the right side of footpaths means that those nearest to the kerb will have their backs to the incoming traffic.
13th April 2020
If Rupert Christiansen’s article (DT 13 April) has wetted you appetite to see Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier, we can all see the NY Met Opera’s streaming of their 13 May 2017 recording, starring Renée Fleming, free of charge in our own sitting rooms from 15.30 on Sunday next, 19 April. But if you are unfamiliar with the plot, please do read Rupert’s excellent synopsis first. I saw it live relayed to my local cinema when it was recorded, and can highly recommend it, so I am definitely going to see it again on Sunday. [Since the Met closed its doors, they have been streaming a different one of their recorded operas each afternoon/evening; I have seen 22 so far and have at last caught up on Wagner’s Ring Cycle. (Well, what else is there to do these days?) Full details from https://www.metopera.org/user-information/nightly-met-opera-streams/
24th March 2020
The most obvious way to avoid paying a police on-the-spot fine for not distancing ourselves is to self-isolate our normal pocket contents by leaving our wallets at home. Long live our British sense of humour, we certainly need one at the moment!
20th March 2020
There are currently 144 deaths attributed to coronavirus in the UK. Our current UK population is 67 million and our current life expectancy is 80 years, so the UK death rate for causes other than coronavirus is around 838,000 per annum, or around 2,300 per day. Furthermore, quite a lot of the 144 coronavirus victims are understood to be of elderly people with underlying health issues, so they might very well not have survived 2020 anyway.
14th March 2020
Opinions are always controversial, so let’s remind ourselves of some facts without drawing any conclusions from them.  Since the UK has a population of 66.5 million with a life expectancy of 80 years, an average of 2,277 of us are currently dying daily from causes other than covid19 anyway.  Our too large world population is the underlying cause of global warming and climate change and is currently increasing at more than 1% per annum so is set to double over the next century; guaranteeing our planet’s destruction.  With a smaller UK population, our housing shortage would disappear, our state pension debt would be eased, our roads would be less congested making travel to the mountains easier, and Heathrow wouldn’t need a third runway. And finally  If everyone and every business receives a covid19 bail-out, there would be nobody else not in receipt to pay for it all, money not growing on trees. Keep Calm and Carry On!
8th March 2020
In 2019 the life expectancy in Italy was 83.42 years. If 15 million Italians are in lock-down for coronavirus, then on average, 3,458 of them will be dying each week from natural causes anyway. And if they are in lock-down with not much else to do, the birth rate will undoubtedly be much higher in 9 months’ time, possibly balancing out coronavirus mortality.
4th March 2020
Attention all skivers! By government edict you are now free to take additional paid leave at no notice as long as you claim you are self-isolating for coronavirus. Furthermore, the police advise that you can fill your enhanced free time by plundering with impunity, since they refuse to get involved.
25th February 2020
Any conclusions are too politically incorrect to be safely stated, but it is difficult to argue with the following facts. Firstly, we Homo Sapiens are the cause of global warming. Secondly, our species never exceeded 1 billion until around 200 years ago, since when it has increased to 7 billion. Thirdly, it is estimated to be currently increasing annually by at least 1%, so is set to double over the next century. Fourthly, every other species of plant and animal life on planet earth has successfully evolved solely as a result of following the Universal Law of the Survival of the Fittest. Fifthly, ignoring this Universal Law inevitably weakens a species’ gene pool making its extinction certain, as well as unnaturally inflating that species’ population. I refuse to draw any conclusions, leaving that to our readers.
12th February 2020
Glacial retreat, global warming and excess carbon dioxide all have the same underlying cause, which is that the human species continues to multiply unabated decade by decade and might already have exceeded the safe limit for our planet’s long-term survival. The underlying cause for this trend is our abandonment of the universal law of the survival of the fittest upon which evolution has depended throughout the animal and plant world for many millions of years. The public reason why this will never be addressed is political correctness, but the unexpressed true reason is our own personal self-interests. We need recognition that this is the fundamental problem even if we refuse to address it.
29th January 2020
The equivalent electronic circuit diagram for the totality of what is in a microchip is impossible to determine, so no-one can know the full extent of its capabilities. Since a GPS microchip easily responds to signals from satellites, then so could an H5 microchip. China could easily ensure that upon receipt of a coded message from the Chinese Government via Chinese satellites, all Chinese H5 microchips completely close our network. This risk is very real, so we must never use Chinese (or Russian) microchips. Please can we take this issue seriously.
6th November 2019
Your list of the Labour Party’s 10 Commandments has missed out the two most important ones. These are Envy of the wealth of others, and Greed to get their hands on it, two of the Seven Deadly Sins. It is also a fact that our over-dependence on the welfare state has served to destroy our entrepreneurism and personal self-reliance.
14th September 2019
"General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith, the head of the Army, said on Thursday that the current fleet of military vehicles could be the last generation to rely on fossil fuels" (DT, 14/09/2019). This Leadership away from fossil fuels towards the electrification of our Army's motor vehicle fleet needs careful reflection.
From published Government figures, the UK's total motor fuel consumption in 2016 was 12 million tons of petrol and 24.6 million tons of diesel fuel. Even ignoring conversion losses, replacing this with electricity would require the average full-time electricity generation capacity to recharge their batteries (smoothing out the peaks and troughs in demand) of an extra 48 Gigawatts. The UK's electricity generation and consumption averaged over the same year was only 35.3 Gigawatts, so it would clearly have to more than double!
We must be able to meet the peak demand for electricity from sources other than windfarms and solar panels, since we already know that neither are available at periods of peak demand, which require the coincidence of the following. Firstly, the deepest UK-wide freeze, when heat losses will be at their greatest, which can only ever happen in UK-wide still-air conditions, thanks to our island position surrounded by warmer oceans, which means that there would be insignificant contribution at that time from windfarms. Secondly, during late afternoons on weekdays in the winter, when industry is still working, street and internal lights are on, electric kettles are going on everywhere, and children are returning from school and switching everything on in their homes; but there would be no contribution from solar panels on such occasions, and furthermore, later in the night, most electrically powered buses, trucks and cars would need their batteries recharging.
Once our Army's motor transport fleet has been completely electrified, how will we then recharge its batteries when serving in overseas theatres of operation? And if we will no longer be able to serve overseas, what purpose will we serve?
14th August 2019
Daily milk deliveries in glass bottles left on the doorstep only worked 60 years ago because only husbands went to work, leaving their wives at home to do the housework, look after the children and promptly bring the milk in from the sun before it soured. How could it work today, particularly as bottles of milk left lying around are an open invitation to petty thieves? Furthermore, obtaining fresh milk daily was only important then because fridges had not been invented, and neither did wives have cars to visit supermarkets, which had also yet to be invented.
When I was a child, our milkman used a horse-drawn cart, and the horse kept an eye on the milkman and moved gradually along the left-hand side of the road to keep up with him without intervention, something beyond the abilities of a milk-float.
22th June 2019
Is it Islamophobic to support democracy and oppose the opposite, when never in the history of Islam has there ever been a democratic Islamic state? Is it Islamophobic to openly support the equal treatment of men and women, and to openly oppose treating women as chattels? But then again, is it socialism-phobic to openly condemn greed and envy, when greed for the wealth of others, and envy of them for having it, lie at the very heart of socialism, and are two of the bible’s Seven Deadly Sins?
1st May 2019
Mr Gove lost all credibility when he told the BBC that “We absolutely need to reduce carbon emissions and get net zero…”, (DT 1 May), since he is overlooking the fact that all creatures that have lungs exhale carbon dioxide, so the only way he can achieve his aim is to drive all breathing creatures, including mankind to extinction. For whom would we be saving the planet?
Furthermore, all plant life is carbon based. A tree weighing many tons cannot have got the carbon it needed from the ground, it got it all from the carbon dioxide in the air. So without a regular re-supply of carbon dioxide, then when it is all used up, all plant life will become extinct, too.
20th April 2019
A Hat Trick!
The purpose of "Mrs" isn't to distinguish married women from single women (letters Saturday). Mr and Miss precede the surnames on one's birth certificate. Mrs precedes a surname that has changed on marriage. Hence it is Mrs Cherie Blair or Miss Cherie Booth, depending on which surname she chooses to use. Barbara Tate has the same right of choice.
Secondly, my schooldays in the 50s and 60s were clear of any disruptive and violent behaviour, which I put down to the ever-present threat of a possible caning by the Headmaster. If appropriate corporal punishment is permitted, the threat alone is sufficient to ensure good behaviour. If parents were once again allowed to give their toddlers a deserved (but mild) spanking, then they would be much better behaved by the time they are old enough for school. "A pat on the back does no-one any harm, if given young enough, often enough and low enough!"
Finally, may I suggest that an appropriate headline for the Saturday Telegraph on the 1st of June would be: "May is Out!"
Published 26th March 2019
Baroness Brenda Hale’s insistence (DT Monday) that since women make up half the population, they should comprise half of the judiciary, has two fundamental flaws. Firstly, promotion should be based rigorously on merit and nothing else, striving for complete gender neutrality. Secondly, it ignores the gap of many years between joining the legal profession and getting promoted to the judiciary, indicating that the gender mix of the judiciary should strive to match the same mix as that of those recruited to the legal profession as many years ago as it generally takes new lawyers to become judges. That would be a perfectly acceptable goal.
30th January 2019
The (over)use of antibiotics indisputably reduces their effectiveness, but this drug-resistance is less likely to build up in simple bacteria than in the complex human body. I have proved that this can easily happen, since by keeping my body habitually caffeine-free, I have an ace card I can play. As a mountaineer living on the edge of the Cambridgeshire Fens, I often follow a long day in the hills with a long drive home. If, shortly after driving, I stop for just one regular-sized Cappuccino, then because my body is unaccustomed to the drug, it quickly kicks in and has a very significant effect on my state of alertness, so much so that when I finally get to bed that night, I find myself lying awake for ages. I also drink a Cappuccino during the first interval in a long Wagner opera, also followed by a sleepless night. It could not possibly have this effect were I a caffeine addict since my body would have built up a resistance to the effects of the drug. I know this evidence would be challenged by the drug companies since it is not to their financial advantage, but they would, wouldn’t they?
12th December 2018
The principal cause of classroom disruption, poor parenting, is probably beyond resolution. However, preventing mobile phones from being used can be solved by retrofitting into the structure of each classroom and examination hall a Faraday Cage, named after our greatest electro-physicist, Michael Faraday. This task could be carried out during the long school holidays and would prevent mobile phone signal penetration. For those educational occasions which require web access, routers could be used under the control of the teachers. Many of us think that Faraday Cages should also be built into the structure of cinemas, theatres, and even restaurants. An opportunity for a budding entrepreneur?
15th October 2018
I share Rupert Christiansen's disappointment that HD cinema relays are threatening live opera performances, but there are two sides to the argument. Today’s live relay of La Traviata from the Met was our 23rd opera outing this year, and because we live too far from any opera houses for live operas to be viable, the only live ones we see are those few performed by ETO when they visit our area. With cinema tickets for relayed operas at around £15 each for the best seats in the house and the surety of arriving back home 20 minutes after curtain fall, the practical choice we face is not between live and relayed operas, it is between relayed operas or very few operas at all.
My greatest disappointment is when I gaze around at the cinema opera audiences and see that everyone is of my pensioned generation, with hardly a youngster anywhere.
2nd October 2018
The thinking about the placing of light switches in hotel bedrooms is not their only problem. It should be made a legal requirement for all tradesmen fitting toilet roll holders to walls to carry out the complete fitting operation while seated on the closed WC lid facing forwards, ensuring that they are always located well within reach.
18t September 2018
The DT (Monday 17/09/18) pointed out that when (not if) our planet is hit by a repeat of the 1959 Carrington Event, the accompanying massive electromagnetic pulse (EMP) would be catastrophic, but it fell short of explaining the effects in detail. In today’s far more advanced and technological world, the effects would be far more devastating since an EMP would destroy all unprotected semiconductors, which are now built into everything. The only ones to escape destruction would be those semiconductor systems which are securely housed, unconnected to the outside world, within Faraday Cages. So what effects should we expect?
Communications. We will immediately and irrevocably lose all communications, other than face-to-face by voice. We will have no landline or mobile phones and no radio or television. We will not know what has happened, because the very few who might guess would not be able to tell the rest of us.
Transportation. We will immediately lose all forms of modern transportation since their engine control systems all rely today on unprotected semiconductors. All aircraft that are flying will fall out of the skies. All (non-vintage) cars, taxis, buses, trucks and trains will quickly grind to a permanent halt, and all traffic lights will fail. But what does that matter, since all fuel pumps at garages will permanently close down anyway? Shipping will lose all power and the SatNav systems they rely on for navigation will no longer work.
Electricity. We will lose the National Electricity Grid together with all Power Stations, permanently and irrevocably. Even if we had sufficient stock of spares to replace the destroyed components, which we haven’t, we would not have the workable trucks or cranes that we would need to carry out the repairs. In addition, with no communications there would be no system in place to organise and prioritise the necessary work. Furthermore, the trained staff would have more pressing things on their minds, such as stemming incipient starvation in their own families.
Emergency Services. There would no longer be any emergency services; no effective police, ambulances, fire services or military support, since they would lack vehicles, communications and essential command and control. Hospitals would very quickly and permanently close. Once in-stock pharmaceuticals have run out there would be no resupply.
Industry and Banking. All industry and banking will close down permanently. Neither money nor valuables will any longer be of value.
Our Homes. We will immediately lose all electric lighting, heating and cooking. In most cases we would also lose our water supplies before too long. Fridges and freezers will soon warm up, reducing the life of their contents. Central heating systems will fail, since they all rely on semiconductor control systems, as well as relying on mains electricity.
Food. Supermarkets and similar will close permanently, since without electricity they will be plunged into darkness, their tills will be inoperative, their cold stores will quickly warm up, and they will have no more trucks to resupply them, anyway. As starvation takes hold they will be broken into and emptied.
The Future of the Human race. The lone survivors will be those living in the Third World. They will be the only ones able to carry on as if nothing had happened. From their stock will spring, in time, the future of the human race. The so-called civilised world living in an urban environment will very quickly face starvation, anarchy and very early deaths. The number of corpses will completely overwhelm us, and bodies will have to be left to rot, the starving short-term survivors not being up to the challenge of hand-digging the sheer quantity of graves that would be needed.
What steps could central governments throughout the world take to minimize the risk? The only theoretical solution is to house everything securely in Faraday Cages.
A Faraday Cage, named after Michael Faraday, the world’s greatest early electro-physicist, is a complete metallic enclosure, impervious to electromagnetic radiation. If it is breached by the necessity for electrical connections to the world outside, such as to the driver of a road vehicle or train, or to the pilot of an aircraft or skipper of a ship, it will not work. Access to radio communications or GPS signals would also breach the essential security. Fibre optics offer no solution since either the LEDs which originate the signals, or the semiconductors which receive them, would have to lie outside the Faraday Cage to be useful and would be immediately fried. Faraday cages are structures which sound excellent in theory, but their practical application is far from obvious. And anyway, currently, very little if anything is so protected.
The most obvious place for Faraday Cages is within the structures of theatres, cinemas and similar auditoriums, since they are impervious to mobile phone signals. School classrooms and examination halls are other obvious candidates, and so too, in the eyes of many, are restaurants.
The replacement of hydro-carbon fuels with electricity to power road vehicles on environmental grounds would be pointless if it is applied only to cars. It also needs to apply to trucks and busses, since their emissions do far more environmental damage than cars. But this leads to two unsurmountable problems:
Firstly, consider any immediate ban on diesel vehicles in city centres. Banning them would mean no more public transport and no more trucks resupplying our shops, since they are currently all fuelled by diesel, effectively closing down all of our city centres.
Secondly, if all road vehicles are eventually powered by electricity, replacing the current annual consumption of 24 million tons of diesel fuel and 12 million tons of petrol would add an average annual consumption of 48 Gigawatts of electricity to recharge vehicle batteries, which so far exceeds our current average consumption of 36 Gigawatts on everything else that it would be impossible to provide it. Much of this recharging would be done at night when there is no contribution from solar energy, and if the UK is gripped by anything like the recent high-pressure system, there would be little contribution from wind power, either. Where is this extra electricity expected to come from?
Published 21st June 2018
There is scope for budding entrepreneurs to find some inexpensive way to retrospectively fit Faraday Cages to school classrooms. Named after Michael Faraday, they prevent the passage of radio waves and thus make mobile phones inoperative inside. Many of us would also like to see them built into theatres, cinemas and restaurants.
13th June 2018
An appointment doesn’t just specify date and place, it is also includes time. Fining ‘people’ who miss GP appointments will mean fining every GP for every appointment they make. When has any health care professional ever kept an appointment with a patient?
23rd May 2018
Sally Davis reminds us that the more we use antibiotics the less effective they become. But she then goes on to claim that this is because bacteria evolve to survive in their presence. But we would be seeing exactly that same international problem if it were because our bodies build up a resistance to the effects of antibiotics. I think that the reason I’ve reached my mid 70’s without any recollection of ever having had an infection, might, just might, be because I have always refused to take antibiotics even when prescribed by well-meaning physicians. Have any other readers a similar experience? Perhaps what is needed is a complete roll-back from our current policy of prescribing antibiotics on every conceivable occasion, even if it upsets the drug industry.
10th May 2018
Reading the Daily Telegraph on my IPad is far more convenient than handling the paper equivalent, but it has a serious drawback. Our local council encourages us to wrap food waste in newspaper before placing it in the appropriate recycling bin, so we are now always short of newsprint. Obviously, the larger the newspaper format, the more convenient it is to wrap food waste, providing solid proof of the superiority of the Daily Telegraph over the Guardian. And as for the Daily Mail, what can one say?
Published 10th May 2018
If junk mail is seriously curtailed we would miss out on our usual daily delivery of rubber bands and we would have to buy them.
4th May 2018
Why should the view of Mahmoud Abbas that the persecution of Jews in Europe was not the result of their religious identity but “because of their social function” prompt international outrage? (DT 04/05/18). Their “social function” has often been to form close-knit groups of good entrepreneurs, resulting in them being often somewhat wealthier than their non-Jewish neighbours. Shylock wasn’t the first. In those of a left-wing persuasion, this inevitably engenders subconscious anti-Jewish feelings, evident in Germany’s ‘National Socialists’ (aka Nazis) in the 1930s and the leader of the UK Labour Party in 2018.
1st May 2018
No lives have been ‘cut short’ by a lack of breast screening, only ‘not extended’. In the context of blame, litigation and damages, the difference is important.
24th February 2018
If each of us, whenever in the role of pedestrian, never stepped onto a road, even at a pedestrian crossing, without first ensuring that it was safe to do so, deaths and injuries to pedestrians would be such a minute fraction of their current level that they could safely be ignored. Yes, by all means charge the Ford Focus driver with drink driving and for not stopping after an accident, but the accident would not have happened in the first place had the two boys been properly brought up to cross roads safely, or had not been left to cross the road unsupervised. In any collision between a vehicle and a pedestrian, the pedestrian always comes off worst, and the driver generally escapes unscathed. Sympathy for the injured must never motivate us to assume that the driver must therefore be guilty of causing all such collisions. Almost without exception, they could each have been avoided had the pedestrian used more common sense.
13th January 2018
Objections to words such as Chairman and Fireman do not reveal political correctness, they reveal a sad ignorance of the rich heritage of our English language. The word ‘man’ exists in two forms, as a noun it refers to the male of the human species, but as a verb it means to handle, coming to us directly from the Latin word for ‘hand’, the invariable root of which is ‘man’. Whoever ‘mans’ the fire of a steam locomotive is therefore quite correctly called the fireman. Many hundreds of years ago only the King sat in court, the courtiers stood, so whoever ‘manned’ the chair ran the meeting, and the word ‘chairman’ was easier to use than ‘chair handler’.
7th January 2018
Jim Murphy’s letter (January 7) claiming that we have sufficient generating capacity to recharge motor vehicle propulsion batteries overnight when there is little usage of the grid, might well be true at the moment, but it must be treated with caution.
Firstly, our total UK annual motor fuel consumption exceeds 12 million tons of petrol and 24 million tons of diesel fuel. Replacing this with electricity would consume an average of 48 Gigawatts. The UK currently generates and consumes an average of only 36 Gigawatts, so our generating capacity would clearly have to more than double.
Secondly, although electricity usage is certainly less overnight than the daily average, there will be no contribution at all from solar panels at night. And if it coincided with a really deep UK-wide freeze, which in our island position surrounded by warm oceans, can only ever happen in UK-wide still air conditions, there will be no contribution from wind farms either. Where is it all going to come from? We must clearly impose a very strict limit on the number of electrically propelled motor vehicles which are allowed in the UK.
17th December 2017
The First Law of Thermodynamics, that ‘you don’t get anything for nothing’, applies just as much to investing in crypto-currencies as it does throughout the engineering world. The Second Law adds that ‘neither do you break even’. Crypto-currencies have no element of wealth creation, but a considerable amount of wealth absorption, particularly of electricity and computer purchase. They are only increasing in pseudo-value because of the vast amount of genuine currency that is being converted to them. As soon as investors realise that it is a bubble that will inevitably burst, they will sell back their investment for sterling etc, which will immediately accelerate the bursting of the bubble. The great unknown isn’t ‘if’ it will happen, but ‘when’ it will happen, since the forthcoming crash is a certainty.
20th November 2017
The stir fry problem (DT 20 Nov) is easily solved. Put the rice on. Cut up the chicken while it is still almost frozen (when it’s easier to cut) and arrange on a plate. Microwave until well on the way to being cooked, during which time it releases a lot of water. Place the lot, chicken and water into a dry frying pan, no oil, and cook. Drain and add the chicken to the saucepan of stir fry sauce. Dry the frying pan, add oil, and fry the vegetables. It works perfectly every time. Texans clearly have no imagination.
7th November 2017
In the USA what we call bum-bags are called fanny-sacks.
30th August 2017
Many bureaucrats have a personal vested interest in spinning out the Brexit negotiations, because that are well-paid to do so, whereas it is simplicity itself:
16th August 2017
Unless, in a blaze of national publicity, the court completely exonerates the cyclist Charlie Alliston for killing the pedestrian, the long-standing rate of pedestrian carnage will continue unabated. We desperately need to get the message across to all of us, that whenever we are in the role of pedestrian, we must never step off a pavement onto a road, even at a pedestrian crossing, without first making sure that it is safe to do so. If we followed this obvious and straightforward practice, accidents to pedestrians would fall immediately to insignificant levels.
22nd July 2017
It has been common knowledge for many decades that the plays and sonnets attributed to William Shakespeare were written by a homosexual, so it is hardly a new revelation. This is because they were written by Christopher Marlowe, lover of Sir Thomas Walsingham, after his faked killing in Deptford, necessary because he was on bail for the capital offence of atheism. This was the subject of a thesis I wrote at University way back in 1965, currently web-published at www.blue-roan.com/marlowe.html . And no, I am most certainly not ‘anti-Shakespeare’, or I would not have seen 12 of his plays this year already.
8th May 2017
Recent correspondence (DT Letters 8 May) on green energy is missing a key point. We must always be able to meet the peak demand for electricity, which requires the coincidence of two events. Firstly, the deepest possible UK-wide freeze, which can only ever happen in our island environment surrounded by warm oceans, in UK-wide still air conditions, when there is no contribution from wind. Secondly, late weekday afternoon in winter, when industry and businesses are still working and lights and kettles are being switched on everywhere, when there is no contribution from solar energy. So however many wind-farms and solar panels we commission, we cannot thereby afford to decommission a single thermal power station.
12th March 2017
In the Sunday Telegraph, Sophia Money-Coutts recommends a total food ban in theatres, even of sandwiches during the interval. When I enjoyed 5 hours of Wagner’s Mastersinger live relayed to our local movie theatre from Glyndebourne last July, the only alternative to eating food during the intervals was to dine either as early as 4pm or as late as 11pm, both of which were ridiculously out of the question. Everyone in the audience appeared to be of the same opinion, so no-one could object.
18th December 2016
The Sunday Telegraph letters on Driver Distraction have really hit the jackpot!
I know from considerable personal experience that not only conducting an active conversation with a passenger but even being really deep in thought can easily make a driver miss things in his peripheral vision such as speed limit changes.
Solo occupancy emergency vehicles (should) have hands free phones; multi occupancy ones (should) use a passenger for calls.
A Faraday cage cannot stop signals passing through car windows, but even if they could they would disable most in-car SatNavs. The place for Faraday cages is theatres, school classrooms and exam halls.
Published 3rd August 1995
As a 30,000 miles-a-year user of our motorway system, I would fully support the introduction of motorway tolls, but most emphatically not if they are to be based on a mileage charge, as suggested (report Aug 1).
The only sensible way forward is to allow isolated sections such as the Doncaster bypass to remain toll-free as at present, but to charge a flat rate of , say, £5 per car or £10 per truck for entering Britain’s motorway system, irrespective of the distance travelled.
This would favour the long-distance user for whom the main motorway trunk-road system was intended, at the expense of pricing off the motorway those who are using it for only short distances and for whom there are generally plenty of sound alternative routes.