Friday, May 25, 2018

The next retro audio craze may be CD's.

The way we listen to music has changed. Very few people have big hi-fi systems and those who do have been gravitating to vinyl over the past few years as a retro alternative to downloaded or streamed digital files. Music is also mainly listened to through earphones or headphones.

Looking at Ebay the trending price for a good quality used personal CD player is increasing week by week. This is an indication that more people are looking for higher end personal CD players. Models that could be bought for £10 last year are now selling for around £30. Top end models can cost up to £500. One thing is sure, there is definitely something going on.

A number of factors may be at play:

  • If you want better quality than online streaming and you listen through headphones then a personal CD player is the way to go.
  • The move rom earphones to larger headphones further increases the enjoy-ability of listening to CDs.
  • CD's are sufficiently retro while still having new releases.
  • There are already audiophile quality remastered discs like Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab which fit that niche high end market.
  • There is lots of material on CD that has never been released in digital format.
  • The only portable CD players available new now are pretty low end and do not give very good performance.

Its only a small trend at the moment, but watch out for personal CD players making a come back.

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.