Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Why Labour won't win the next General Election

I have said it before, so I will say it again: only a third of voters are core Labour voters.

In order to win a general election the Labour Party needs to persuade a lot of floating voters and some who would be soft Tories or Lib Dems to vote Labour. This mainly means reducing what they perceive as risks. The other side will play up those risks. The media will make sure of that.

Winning an election is about the middle ground, it always is. UNLESS, the third of people who never vote actually turned out and voted. That would change the game entirely. Yet, Labour has not invested in the level of community campaigning that would be necessary to make that happen. It is all high level stuff with billboards and lots of internal meetings. So its back to trying to persuade the middle ground to vote Labour and that probably means losing next time and changing leader.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Absolute Proof that the Earth Is Round - from Amateur Radio

There seems to have been a real increase in the number of people thinking that the earth is flat, yet any radio amateur can prove that the earth is round using directional antennas and what we call "beam headings".

These are the directions from north, in degrees,  you need to point a directional antenna to get maximum signal strength at your location from a remote location.

Most people who believe the earth is flat follow the Gleason Map model. This is an azimuthal equidistant projection centred on the geographic North Pole. It is not intended to represent an actual flat earth.

From this we can see that the beam headings for:

  • London to New York is around 210 degrees
  • London to Tokyo is around 135 degrees
  • and London to Sri Lanka around 345 degrees

If we now look at a round earth model and use a great circle map (azimuthal equidistant projection) centred on London:

We can see that the approximate beam headings would be:

  • London to New York 275 degrees
  • London to Tokyo 30 degrees
  • London to Sri Lanka 87 degrees

These two sets of results are vastly different. Tokyo is in a completely different direction.

If we try pointing an antenna to a signal coming from Tokyo we find that it peaks in the direction given by the great circle map, around 30 degrees. Exactly what we would find if the earth was spherical.

How could flat-earthers get round this evidence?

They could look at this evidence and say:

Well the world IS flat, its just like a great circle map centred on London rather than the Gleason map centred on the north pole.

We can double check this by looking at a great circle map centred on Tokyo :

  • This gives a beam heading of Tokyo to London of around 220 degrees

Compared to the Gleason map which would give this result:

  • Tokyo to London is around 135 degrees

If we test it from Tokyo we find that it is, indeed, around 220 degrees.  Exactly what we would expect if the earth were round. Lets keep an open mind though. This could happen if one of the following hypotheses were correct:

1. The earth is spherical


2. Radio waves travel in a way that is different to the way we currently think they travel.

However, if radio waves travelled differently it would mean that light also travelled differently and we literally see no evidence of that. Light is just visible radio spectrum after all.

We can further prove that the earth is round by using another aspect of radio wave propagation.

If I point my antenna to Tokyo at 30 degrees from North this is known as "short path". If conditions are right I can also (or sometime only) make contact by pointing my antenna to  210 degrees, which is "long path" - going right over South America and over the pacific to Tokyo.

There is no flat earth model that would explain these experimental results. The only shape of planet that fits this is spherical.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Why I am reluctantly changing energy supplier from British Gas

I like my smart meter. I like the British Gas energy management tools. But with energy prices continuing to rise and my current fixed tarrif ending I decided to look at the alternatives.

I looked at what British Gas were offering and their best alternative was their next fixed tariff which would save me £26 over standard tariff.

So I went to where I was offered British Gas Home Energy Plus Cover at a saving of £263 next year  over what I would pay under my current tarrif! This was based on my exact energy usage last year. In excitement went to my British Gas account but it was not listed as an option to switch to. So I did some digging via Google and found it here:

It is a valid, current tariff, but listed as "Only available to selected customers".
i.e. new customers, not existing ones! were offering other suppliers with savings of over £300 so it is probably time to say goodbye to British Gas.