Monday, 31 December 2012

Movies for 2013

I know its way off topic, and having a youngster, I will probably be seeing these all three months after you on DVD (don't have BluRay yet!) but it looks like we are in for some wicked Blockbusters on the way in 2013

Deea (the misses, spouse, ol-ball-n-chain) will no doubt wan to see the 'new Twilight', such as Beautiful Creatures, the first in the four part Caster Chronicles. or is that the new Harry Potter? not to mention (silly phrase) Twilight author Stephanie Meyer has a new film adaptation due out in March - The Host is about rebel humans fighting back against an alien race that's been taking over Earth.

I am sure Deea is also looking forward to Fast and Furious 6, The Hangover 3, Despicable Me 2 with the little yellow tic taks, and Kick-Ass 2 (potty mouth girl returns!!).

Me I am looking forward to A Good Day to Die Hard and some of the above

not sure about second G.I. Joe film, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, wasn't a fan of #1

I suppose, my next top two I am looking forward to is Star Trek Into Darkness, Monsters University and am a t least a little bit intrigued by Man of Steel, the latest crack at Superman (didn't like the last one!!! drab effectathon!), starring Henry Cavill and Amy Adams as Lois Lane.

finally If you like musicals,  Les Miserables starring Anne Hathaway and Hugh Jackman, Leonardo DiCaprio looks like it will be your cup-of-tea, but that tea may bell be Earl Grey... :)

looking forward to some fun '92 minutes' in 2013, though I bet Les Mis comes out nearer 2 hours and the price of bread goes up!!!

have a great 2013

have fun seeing in the new year...

alcohol tolerance

A study found people with lighter eye colors (blue, green, hazel, grey) have a higher alcohol tolerance.

so you wont be the ones falling over so much later today...

have a great one and lets hope 2013 treats us all well...

When does a periodic inspection need to be carried out?

It is recommended that periodic inspection and testing is carried out at the following times:

for tenanted properties,

  1. every 5 years or at each change of occupancy, whichever is sooner
  2. at least every 10 years for an owner-occupied home
  3. at least every 5 years for a business

The Landlords and Tenant Act 1985 requires landlords of properties with short leases to keep the electrical wiring in repair and in proper working order. We recommend landlords arrange for periodic inspection and testing to be carried out by a registered electrician at the relevant intervals shown above.

Periodic inspection and testing of the electrics should be carried out more frequently on the places and premises listed here:

3 years for a caravan
1 year for a swimming pool

Sunday, 30 December 2012

love this photo - when the bubble bursts

New Years Resolution

MOT your home

Soon you will be celebrating a New Year, and in all probability you will attempt to do the same thing you tried last year.. Vow to appreciate loved ones and spend more time with family, lose weight, get fit, Quit Smoking & Enjoy Life More.

Well my friends, it’s time to think out of the box... when was the last time the electrics in your home had a MOT??? Are you sure it’s safe?

Given that life is generally hectic, stressful, you probably haven’t even considered it.

Call us now, we can help, anything from a free 15 minute visit with advice provided (25 miles from Maulden, Beds) to a condition report (starting at £90 ex VAT for an old 8 way board)

call with details we may be able to offer a better price...

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Google reveals 2012's top net searches in the UK

"The Olympics" may have seemed like a safe bet for the top search term in the UK this year - but, according to Google, it was eclipsed by "Euro 2012".

"Olympic tickets" came second in Google's annual zeitgeist report, which lists 2012's most searched-for terms.

London was the most searched-for city in the UK, while Rio, host of the next Summer Olympics, was the most searched-for travel destination.

Skyfall reflected its box-office success, as the top trending movie.

Singer Whitney Houston, who died in February, was the most searched-for person, followed by "Kate Middleton", the Duchess of Cambridge.

The people list looked very different on rival search engine Bing, which revealed its top 2012 searches a few weeks ago.

Topping its global list was reality TV star Kim Kardashian, followed by singer Justin Bieber. Kim Kardashian also topped Yahoo's most searched-for list.


  1. Euro 2012
  2. Olympic tickets
  3. Whitney Houston
  4. Kate Middleton
  5. April Jones
  6. Netflix
  7. NatWest Online
  8. iPad 3
  9. Gary Barlow
  10. Gangnam style
lets see what you search for in 2013...

Friday, 28 December 2012

Pete Higgs vs Richard Dawkins - is he an anti-religious 'fundamentalism'

As public disagreements go, few can have boasted such heavy-hitting antagonists.

On one side is Richard Dawkins, the celebrated biologist who has made a second career demonstrating his epic disdain for religion. On the other is the theoretical physicist Peter Higgs, who this year became a shoo-in for a future Nobel prize after scientists at Cern in Geneva showed that his theory about how fundamental particles get their mass was correct.

Their argument is over nothing less than the coexistence of religion and science.

Higgs has chosen to cap his remarkable 2012 with another bang by criticising the "fundamentalist" approach taken by Dawkins in dealing with religious believers.

"What Dawkins does too often is to concentrate his attack on fundamentalists. But there are many believers who are just not fundamentalists," Higgs said in an interview with the Spanish newspaper El Mundo. "Fundamentalism is another problem. I mean, Dawkins in a way is almost a fundamentalist himself, of another kind."

He agreed with some of Dawkins' thoughts on the unfortunate consequences that have resulted from religious belief, but he was unhappy with the evolutionary biologist's approach to dealing with believers and said he agreed with those who found Dawkins' approach "embarrassing".

Dawkins, author of the best-selling book The God Delusion, has been accused many times in the past of adopting fundamentalist positions.. In a 2007 post on his website titled "How dare you call me a fundamentalist", Dawkins wrote: "No, please, do not mistake passion, which can change its mind, for fundamentalism, which never will. Passion for passion, an evangelical Christian and I may be evenly matched. But we are not equally fundamentalist. The true scientist, however passionately he may 'believe', in evolution for example, knows exactly what would change his mind: evidence! The fundamentalist knows that nothing will."

The criticisms have not led the biologist to soften his stance on religion. In a recent interview with al-Jazeera, he implied that being raised a Catholic was worse for a child than physical abuse by a priest. Responding to a direct question from the interviewer Mehdi Hassan, Dawkins related the story of a woman in America who had written to him about abuse she suffered as a child at the hands of a priest, and the mental anguish of being told that one of her friends, a Protestant girl, would burn in hell.

"She told me that, of those two abuses, she got over the physical abuse, it was yucky but she got over it. But the mental abuse of being told about hell, she took years to get over," said Dawkins. "Telling children such that they really, really believe that people who sin are going to go to hell and roast forever, that your skin grows again when it peels off, it seems to me intuitively entirely reasonable that that is a worse form of child abuse, that will give more nightmares because they really believe it."

Dawkins did not respond to a request to comment directly on Higgs's "fundamentalist" charge.

In the El Mundo interview, Higgs argued that although he was not a believer, he thought science and religion were not incompatible. "The growth of our understanding of the world through science weakens some of the motivation which makes people believers. But that's not the same thing as saying they're incompatible. It's just that I think some of the traditional reasons for belief, going back thousands of years, are rather undermined.

"But that doesn't end the whole thing. Anybody who is a convinced but not a dogmatic believer can continue to hold his belief. It means I think you have to be rather more careful about the whole debate between science and religion than some people have been in the past."

He said a lot of scientists in his field were religious believers. "I don't happen to be one myself, but maybe that's just more a matter of my family background than that there's any fundamental difficulty about reconciling the two."

In 1963 Higgs predicted the existence of a force-carrying particle, part of an invisible energy field that filled the vacuum throughout the observable universe. Without the field, or something like it, we would not be here. The field clings to the smallest fundamental particles and gives them mass. The field, which switched on moments after the big bang, allowed particles to come together and form all the atoms and molecules around today.

In the interview, the physicist spoke about the announcement on 4 July that the Higgs boson had finally been found. He said he had received a call from a colleague at Cern a few days earlier who had told him he would regret it if he did not come along. At the announcement, Higgs began to cry.

"What was so overwhelming really was the response of the audience at Cern. It wasn't like a scientific seminar, it was like the end of a football match when the home team has won, and that was what was overwhelming to me, to be a part of that … It [bursting into tears] was a reaction to the emotions around me and the feeling that, well, it's arrived at last! That was hard to deal with."

Many scientist believe that the discovery means that Higgs is odds on for a future Nobel prize. He was relieved, however, that the Nobel committee had skipped over the discovery for the physics award this year. "I was relieved, simply because since the beginning of July I've been so busy dealing with requests to do this and that, that I was glad not to have that on my schedule as well, so I have described it as a reprieve."

• The original interview is copyright Pablo Jáuregui/El Mundo & the Guardian

How many electrical engineers does it take to change a light bulb?

None. They simply redefine darkness as the industry standard.

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Thank You

One of the real joys of the Holiday Season is the opportunity to say Thank You and to wish you the very best for the New Year...

Monday, 24 December 2012

we think you will like this

Have a great Christmas

Nicole Scherzinger unveils first ever Twitter dress

Have a Cool Yule, from Woolgar group!

On behalf of the whole Woolgar TEAM we would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

So thanks for your support and we look forward to being of service to you in 2013.

And thanks for your support and custom during 2012.

We will be offering a limited service (office covered and about half the team working) over the Holidays returning back bright and early on the morning of 2nd January 2013.

we hope that 2013 treats you well!

THERE IS A SANTA CLAUS? despite this!!!!

1) No known species of reindeer can fly. BUT there are 300,000 species of
living organisms yet to be classified, and while most of these are insects
and germs, this does not COMPLETELY rule out flying reindeer which only
Santa has ever seen.

2) There are 2 billion children (persons under 18) in the world. BUT since
Santa doesn't (appear) to handle the Muslim, Hindu, Jewish and Buddhist
children, that reduces the workload to 15% of the total - 378 million
according to Population Reference Bureau. At an average (census)rate of 3.5
children per household, that's 91.8 million homes. One presumes there's at
least one good child in each.

3) Santa has 31 hours of Christmas to work with, thanks to the different
time zones and the rotation of the earth, assuming he travels east to
west(which seems logical). This works out to 822.6 visits per second. This
is to say that for each Christian household with good children, Santa has
1/1000th of a second to park, hop out of the sleigh, jump down the chimney,
fill the stockings, distribute the remaining presents under the tree, eat
whatever snacks have been left, get back up the chimney, get back into the
sleigh and move on to the next house. Assuming that each of these 91.8
million stops are evenly distributed around the earth (which, of course, we
know to be false but for the purposes of our calculations we will accept),
we are now talking about .78 miles per household, a total trip of 75-1/2
million miles, not counting stops to do what most of us must do at least
once every 31 hours, plus feeding and etc. This means that Santa's sleigh
is moving at 650 miles per second, 3,000 times the speed of sound. For
purposes of comparison, the fastest man- made vehicle on earth, the Ulysses
space probe, moves at a poky 27.4 miles per second - a conventional
reindeer can run, tops, 15 miles per hour.

4) The payload on the sleigh adds another interesting element. Assuming
that each child gets nothing more than a medium-sized lego set (2 pounds),
the sleigh is carrying 321,300 tons, not counting Santa, who is invariably
described as overweight. On land, conventional reindeer can pull no more
than 300 pounds. Even granting that "flying reindeer" (see point #1) could
pull TEN TIMES the normal anoint, we cannot do the job with eight, or even
nine. We need 214,200 reindeer. This increases the payload - not even
counting the weight of the sleigh - to 353,430 tons. Again, for comparison
- this is four times the weight of the Queen Elizabeth.

5) 353,000 tons traveling at 650 miles per second creates enormous air
resistance - this will heat the reindeer up in the same fashion as
spacecrafts re-entering the earth's atmosphere. The lead pair of reindeer
will absorb 14.3 QUINTILLION joules of energy. Per second. Each. In short,
they will burst into flame almost instantaneously, exposing the reindeer
behind them, and create deafening sonic booms in their wake.The entire
reindeer team will be vaporized within 4.26 thousandths of a second. Santa,
meanwhile, will be subjected to centrifugal forces 17,500.06 times greater
than gravity. A 250-pound Santa (which seems ludicrously slim)would be
pinned to the back of his sleigh by 4,315,015 pounds of force.

but we still believe in you Santa..

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Scientists identify molecules in the ear that convert sound into brain signals

For scientists who study the genetics of hearing and deafness, finding the exact genetic machinery in the inner ear that responds to sound waves and converts them into electrical impulses, the language of the brain, has been something of a holy grail. Now this quest has come to fruition. Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) in La Jolla, CA, have identified a critical component of this ear-to-brain conversion -- a protein called TMHS. This protein is a component of the so-called mechanotransduction channels in the ear, which convert the signals from mechanical sound waves into electrical impulses transmitted to the nervous system.

"Scientists have been trying for decades to identify the proteins that form mechanotransduction channels," said Ulrich Mueller, PhD, a professor in the Department of Cell Biology and director of the Dorris Neuroscience Center at TSRI who led the new study, described in the December 7, 2012 issue of the journal Cell.

Not only have the scientists finally found a key protein in this process, but the work also suggests a promising new approach toward gene therapy. In the laboratory, the scientists were able to place functional TMHS into the sensory cells for sound perception of newborn deaf mice, restoring their function. "In some forms of human deafness, there may be a way to stick these genes back in and fix the cells after birth," said Mueller.

TMHS appears to be the direct link between the spring-like mechanism in the inner ear that responds to sound and the machinery that shoots electrical signals to the brain. When the protein is missing in mice, these signals are not sent to their brains and they cannot perceive sound.

Specific genetic forms of this protein have previously been found in people with common inherited forms of deafness, and this discovery would seem to be the first explanation for how these genetic variations account for hearing loss.

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Plug-in electric car sales triple in 2012

There is a slow rise of the electric car.

US Sales of plug-in electric cars -- both hybrids and battery electrics -- tripled in model year 2012, their second year on the market.

Plug-in hybrid sales have surpassed the sales of conventional hybrids in 2001, which was their second year on the market.

Despite the political rhetoric of the election year, the most popular electric-drive vehicle, the Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid, is outselling half of all cars on the market today. In the meantime, conventional hybrid sales grew by more than 50 percent in model year 2012, more than four times as fast as the rest of the vehicle market.

These facts are highlighted in a backgrounder from the Union of Concerned Scientists for the Los Angeles Auto Show, which has positioned itself as the premiere staging area for cars that tread lightly on the environment.

Friday, 21 December 2012

Mayan apocalypse NOT!

Taken from the BBC

Despite all the predictions of Mayan apocalypse, the world will probably not end by Saturday morning. How will the believers cope when life carries on?

The clock strikes midnight, the hallowed date arrives and, once again, the apocalypse fails to turn up on schedule.

For such a cataclysmic event, the projected end of the world has come around with surprising regularity throughout history.

Each time a group of believers has been left bewildered at the absence of all-consuming death and devastation.

If they've taking the warnings seriously enough, they will have sold their homes, abandoned earthly civilisation's material trappings and braced themselves for the arrival of a new era.

The latest date to herald widespread alarm is 21 December, which marks the conclusion of the 5,125-year "Long Count" Mayan calendar.

Around the world, precautions are being taken.

Panic-buying of candles has been reported in China's Sichuan province. In Russia, where sales of tinned goods and matches have surged, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has urged his countryfolk to remain calm.

Dr Geoffrey Braswell, Uni of California, San Diego - The 2012 phenomenon is essentially an accounting problem; a misinterpretation of some very ancient book keeping.

It is based on the Maya calendar, which counts the days since a date in the mythical past. This count reset after the last creation (on or about 11 August, 3114BC). On 21 December, we will reach that same number of days once again, and many now are concerned that a calendrical reset the following day will mean the end of the world.

But it is not even clear that the Maya themselves agreed on this book-keeping issue. Two ancient inscriptions emphasise the importance of the date. But a third focuses on 13 October 4772, the end of an even bigger cycle that cannot happen if a reset occurs in 2012.

This more detailed text predicts that, at an even later date, the great king K'inich Janaab' Pakal will return to Palenque to rule. If this Maya prophesy is true, then the world will not end in 2012 or even 4772, no matter how the ancient calendar functioned.

End of the world, or a new beginning?

The Fall of the Mayan Civilisation
Authorities in the French Pyrenees are preparing for an influx of believers to the mountain Pic de Bugarach, where rumours have spread that UFOs will rescue human gatherers.

And one doesn't have to belong to a sect to find these predictions compelling. Humankind's ongoing fascination with the apocalypse is evident in mainstream popular culture.

Films like 2012, Armageddon and The Day After Tomorrow all packed out multiplexes by depicting threats of global catastrophe. The Left Behind novels about a "post-rapture" world have reportedly sold more than 70 million copies.

If precedent is any guide, however, 21 December is likely to prove an anti-climax. Since the dawn of civilisation, humans have often been gripped by certainty that the world was about to end.

The Romans panicked at predictions their city would be destroyed in 634 BC. Millennial fears gripped Europe ahead of the year 1000 AD. During the English Civil War, groups like the Fifth Monarchists believed the end was nigh.

More recent apocalypses have panned out in much the same way. Followers of Nostradamus braced themselves for the arrival of the "King of Terror" in "1999 and seven months". US television evangelist Pat Robertson forecast that "something like" a nuclear attack would occur in late 2007.

The California radio preacher Harold Camping set a date for the end of the world no fewer than six times, settling on 22 October 2011 - a day which, historians may recall, was distinguished by an absence of fire and brimstone.

Harold Camping revised his predicted date for Judgement Day numerous times
For those who paid heed to their dire warnings, learning that life will in fact carry on as normal might be expected to be a deeply traumatic experience.

Surprisingly, however, groups which predict the end of the world have quite a good record of carrying on after the world is supposed to have ended, says Lorne Dawson, an expert in the sociology of religion at the University of Waterloo.

"The vast majority seem to shrug off the failure of prophecy fairly well," he says.

Of 75 groups identified by Dawson which predicted the apocalypse, all but six remained intact after catastrophe failed to materialise.

Indeed, many have gone on to flourish. Jehovah's Witnesses are viewed as having predicted some form of end several times and yet still have more than seven million followers.

The Seventh Day Adventists, who have an estimated 17 million members, grew out of the Millerites, whose failed apocalyptic forecast in 1844 became known as the Great Disappointment.

Continue reading the main story
The Great Disappointment

William Miller, a Baptist preacher in the US, believed Jesus would return to Earth in 1844
He drew on prophecies in the Book of Daniel (especially chapter 8:14 "Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed")
Tens of thousands of followers waited in vain on 22 October 1844 - some having given away their money and possessions
"It was a bitter disappointment that fell upon the little flock whose faith had been so strong and whose hope had been so high," wrote follower Ellen West, "but we were surprised that we felt so free in the Lord, and were so strongly sustained by His strength and grace"
Other Christian theories about the world ending
The seminal study into this phenomenon came in the 1956 text When Prophecy Fails, in which psychologist Leon Festinger recounted how he and his students infiltrated a group who believed the world was about to end with members being rescued by a flying saucer.

When both the apocalypse and the UFO failed to materialise, Festinger found, the leader declared that the small circle of believers had "spread so much light" that God had spared the planet. Her followers responded by proselytising the good news among non-believers in what Festinger saw as a classic case of cognitive dissonance.

In a similar exercise, psychiatrist Simon Dein spent time with a small community of Lubavitch Hassidic Jews in Stamford Hill, north London. For years many Lubavitchers had believed their spiritual leader Menechem Mendel Schneerson, known as the rebbe, was the messiah.

According to their theology, he would herald the end of civilisation and usher in a new age. Their faith was tested, however, when the rebbe passed away in New York in 1994.

"I was there at the time he died," says Dein. "They were crying. They were mourning. There was a great sense of denial - he couldn't die. Would he reveal himself?"

But, Dein says, these Lubavitchers did not give up their belief system. Very quickly, they took up the idea he was still alive and could not be seen, or that he would somehow rise from the dead.

"There are very heated tensions between those who believe he's alive and those who believe he's dead, but his death doesn't seem to have diminished the number of people in the group," Dein says.

A candle in memory of Menechem Mendel Schneerson
According to Dawson, the 200 Lubavitcher families in Stamford Hill had the most crucial trait necessary to keep a group together after a failed apocalypse - a strong sense of community.

"If the group itself has been pretty cohesive, it's been free of schism and dissent, they can get through," he says.

Continue reading the main story
When apocalypse fails to arrive

"In 1988 there was a really big apocalyptic scenario. I was 14 and in my freshman year at high school in Amarillo, Texas," says Jason Boylett, author of Pocket Guide to the Apocalypse.

"A former Nasa scientist and mathematician called Edgar Whisenant had predicted the world was going to end in September based on calculations from the Bible. He sent his pamphlets out to hundreds of thousands of churches. My Southern Baptist pastor talked about it from the pulpit.

"I spent that summer really pretty scared, because people who had authority our our lives said this is something that might happen in September. I was afraid this was going to be my last summer. When the dates came round I went to bed thinking this is going to be the last time I see my parents.

"Afterwards, obviously, I was relieved. But it really disillusioned me. I knew then I couldn't always trust my pastor.

"I'm still a practicing Christian and I'm not walking around psychologically wounded. But since then my religious belief has been marked with a lot of questioning, a lot of doubt and a lot of cynicism."

Also important, he believes, is the presence of a decisive leadership who can offer a swift explanation.

"If rationalisation comes quickly, the group can withstand ridicule from outside," he adds.

Some leaders, such as Camping on several occasions, simply offer a new date for the apocalypse. Others apologise to their members for getting the scheduling wrong.

Tragically, some take more drastic action. The bodies of 39 members of the Heaven's Gate cult were found in 1997. They had taken their own lives in the belief they would reach a UFO following the Hale-Bopp comet.

Most, however, find a peaceful way to adjust.

"When you have invested so much in a belief, you have a very strong interest in salvaging something from it," says Philip Jenkins, a historian of religion at Baylor University in Texas.

For Jenkins, the appeal of leaders preaching the impending apocalypse down the ages has always been about far more than the specifics of their prophecies.

"It's a kind of rejection of the order of the world as it is," he says. "It's to do with imagining something far better. After it becomes apparent that the new order isn't going to come, there are ways of adjusting the message."

For true believers, the saga is only just beginning when the clock hands reach 12.

Who should carry out a periodic inspection?

Periodic inspection and testing should be carried out only by electrically competent persons, such as registered electricians.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Grade D fire detection alarm

When a Grade D fire detection and alarm system to BS 5839-6: 2004 is protected by an RCD, should the RCD operate independently of any circuits supplying socket-outlets or portable equipment?

There are no particular requirements or limitations in BS 5839-6 concerning the use of RCDs with Grade D fire detection and alarm systems.

For Grade D systems, which comprise one or more mains-powered smoke alarms each with an integral standby power (such as typical domestic smoke alarm with battery), BS 5839-6 simply recommends that the mains supply to the smoke and/or heat alarms should take the form of either:

i) an independent circuit at the dwelling’s main distribution board, in which case no other electrical equipment should be connected to the circuit (other than a dedicated monitoring device installed to indicate failure of the mains supply to the smoke and/or heat alarms), or
ii) a separately electrically protected, regularly used local lighting circuit.
We recommend option ii) on the grounds that disconnection of the supply to the fire detection and alarm system will be more readily noticed. In our opinion ‘separately electrically protected’ does not preclude sharing an RCD with several other circuits where this is permitted by BS 7671.

need a design???

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Generate Electricity From The Human Body

Turning the human body into a power station sounds like a zany plotline from the Matrix movies, but scientists are starting to take seriously the idea that one way to stem climate change might be to harvest tiny amounts of energy in the form of the body’s heat, movement, metabolism and vibrations.

In one form of the technology, experts are turning to piezoelectricity, which means “electricity resulting from pressure”. In a piezoelectric material, small amounts of power are generated when it is pushed out of shape. As an extraordinary example of what’s now possible with these materials, the heart itself could be used to power an artificial pacemaker. Though these devices require only tiny amounts of power – one millionth of a watt – their batteries typically run out after a few years. But as Dr Amin Karami at the University of Michigan says, a pacemaker that harvests the energy of the heartbeat itself might operate for a lifetime. In a recent address to the American Heart Association in Los Angeles, he pointed out that a sliver of a piezoelectric ceramic one hundredth of an inch thick, powered by vibrations in the chest cavity, is able to generate almost 10 times the power required to operate a pacemaker.

The technology can be used on the outside of the body as well. Nanotechnology researchers are developing the perfect complement to the power tie: a “power shirt” woven from pairs of fibres coated with tiny strips of zinc oxide and gold. As you move, the fibres rub against each other to produce a current. Prof Zhong Lin Wang, at the Georgia Institute of Technology, says that “we could provide a flexible, foldable and wearable power source that, for example, would allow people to generate their own electrical current while walking”.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Electrical Definitions

Bonding – A way of reducing the risk of getting an electrical shock.

Conductors – Wires that carry electricity.

Consumer unit – A fusebox that controls and distributes electricity around the home. It usually contains a main switch, fuses or circuit-breakers and may contain one or more residual current devices (see RCD).

Current – Flowing electricity.

Earth – A connection to the ground.

Earthing – A way of preventing electric shocks.

Electrical installation – A fixed wiring system.

Live – Active (there is electricity).

Main bonding – Green-and-yellow conductors that connect the hard metal pipework (gas, water or oil) from inside a building to the main earthing terminal of the electrical installation. Main bonding connections may also be made outside the building, for example where a semi-enclosed gas meter box is installed outside and it is not possible to install a bond to the gas installation pipework indoors.

Main earthing terminal – A terminal block where earthing and bonding conductors are connected together.

Residual current device (RCD) – An RCD, or residual current device, is a life-saving device which is designed to prevent you from getting a fatal electric shock if you touch something live, such as a bare wire. It can also provide some protection against electrical fires. RCDs offer a level of personal protection
that ordinary fuses and circuit-breakers cannot provide.

Supplementary bonding – Green-andyellow conductors that connect the earthing terminals of electrical equipment (such as lighting points and electric showers) to accessible metal parts of items of electrical
equipment and/or accessible metal parts of items that are not electrical (such as pipes). These connections are made to prevent a dangerous voltage occurring between two accessible metal parts, in the event of a fault.

Voltage – The force of electricity

Friday, 14 December 2012

3D printers could spit out working game controllers

Researchers at the University of Warwick and GKN Aerospace have developed a material that, when used in a 3D printer (3DP), makes it possible for the printed objects to include working sensors.

Detailed in a paper titled A Simple, Low-Cost Conductive Composite Material for 3D Printing of Electronic Sensors (PDF), the researchers explain that objects printed by 3D printers are a grand way to make sure CAD work is progressing well, but also disappointingly inanimate and unready for integration with other components.

That makes 3DP printers useful for basic prototyping, but the researchers say they aspire to “meet the demands of entrepreneurs, designers and artists wishing to create ever more complex and high-tech products using 3DP technology”. Those types, the paper say, want to “move towards the incorporation of functional elements such as electronic sensors into 3D printed macroscale structures.”

The team says they’ve made that possible by developing a new material, which they dub ‘carbomorph’, that can do just that.

Carbomorph is based on Carbon Black filler, a product the paper says is an “amorphous form of carbon, produced from the incomplete combustion of heavy petroleum products” and which is “readily available and inexpensive”. Carbon Black is also conductive.

The team also got its hands on a “readily available modeling plastic” called “polymorph” and combined it with Carbon Black until they had a substance that was able to be 3D printed and still conducted electricity.

from -

Thursday, 13 December 2012

As a landlord, what responsibility do I have

As a landlord, what responsibility do I have in relation to the electrics in a property that I intend to let?
You have a duty of care to your tenant and must ensure that the installation is safe when they enter the property and is maintained throughout their tenure.

The Landlords and Tenants Act (1985) requires that the electrical installation in a rented property is:

safe when a tenancy begins and
maintained in a safe condition throughout the tenancy.
We recommend that in order to comply with this Act, you get a registered electrician to carry out a Periodic Inspection Report (PIR) on any property you intend to let before getting tenants in. This will certify whether the electrics are safe and tell you if anything needs upgrading.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Only electric cars to beat London's congestion charge from next year

Electric cars are likely to be the only vehicles to escape London’s congestion charge from next year if new emission recommendations are accepted by Mayor Boris Johnson.

About 19,000 vehicles, mainly with small diesel engines, escape the £10-a-day levy as their engines emit less than 100 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometre.

But from July the levels are to be slashed to less than 75g of CO2 per kilometre, and at present only all-electric and some hybrid cars can achieve this. Owners of cars that meet today’s levels will have a sunset period of two years before they lose their exempt status.

more money for TFL

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

What is a periodic inspection?

A periodic inspection is an inspection and associated testing to check whether an electrical installation is in a satisfactory condition for continued service. On completion of the necessary inspection and testing, an Electrical Installation Condition Report will be issued detailing any observed damage, deterioration, defects, dangerous conditions and any non-compliances with the present-day safety standard which might give rise to danger.

can we help

Monday, 10 December 2012

Don't pay energy bills the wrong way...

Paying by MONTHLY direct debit (not quarterly, be careful) is 5%-10% cheaper, but your monthly bills are estimated. Do regular meter readings to keep them accurate. Overpay and you can ask for the excess back. This doesn't work for prepay customers.

What is bonding?

Bonding is used to reduce the risk of electric shock to anyone who may touch two separate metal parts when there is a fault somewhere in the electricity supply or electrical installation.

By connecting together the particular metal parts with bonding conductors, bonding reduces the voltage there
might have been.

Free charge for electric cars at council car park

Drivers can recharge their electric cars for free during the winter months.

Central Beds Council has installed an electric car parking charging pointing at its headquarters in Chicksands.

Two electric vehicles can be charged at any one time using the charging posts. And until March 2013 members of the public can charge their cars for free thanks to national funding.

Councillor Maurice Jones, executive member of corporate resources and Richard Carr, chief executive of the council, launched the charging point on Monday, November 12.

Mr Jones said: “This charging point is an exciting milestone in promoting the uptake of low emission vehicles as part of our plan to improve sustainable transport in Central Bedfordshire.

“We want our staff to travel sustainably as well as our residents and businesses and we hope this can be the first of many electric vehicle points in our office carparks.”

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Can you find your stop cock???????????

Winter frozen pipe bursts can create an average £10,000 worth of damage, often worsened as many scrabble round searching for their stop-uh-hmm (the mains water off switch) for ages as their home floods. Don't wait for an emergency, ensure you know How To Turn Your Water Off.

Electrical Safety at Christmas 8 Do's and Dont's

Colourful fairy lights - both indoor and outdoor - are a popular part of our Christmas decorations. But are you putting your home and your loved ones at risk when you deck the halls with twinkling lights?

Follow our simple advice to enjoy a safe and happy Christmas.

Christmas Lights - Top Tips

To help prevent the most common electrical problems with Christmas lights, we recommend the following simple precautions and checks.


  1. read and follow the manufacturers' instructions
  2. check your Christmas lights are not damaged or broken before use and look out for loose wires
  3. use only replacement bulbs of the same type and rating as those originally supplied with the lights
  4. ensure all outdoor lights are conneted via a 30mA RCD protected socket
  5. replace failed lamps immediately to prevent overheating
  6. ensure plugs and transformers are plugged in indoors, even if the lighting is suitable for outdoor use
  7. switch your lights off and unplug them before you go to bed or go out
  8. keep lights away from flammable decorations and materials that can burn easily


  1. use lights outdoors unless they are specially designed for such use
  2. connect different lighting sets together
  3. connect lights to the supply whilst still in the packaging
  4. remove or insert lamps while the chain is connected to the supply
  5. overload sockets - try to avoid the use of extension leads or adaptors
  6. allow children or pets to play with Christmas lights
  7. attempt to repair faulty lights - replace them
  8. use lights that are damaged or faulty

Friday, 7 December 2012

Don't walk around in your boxers...

It's amazing how many sit at home barely dressed, then chunk up the thermostat. Change your instincts. If it's cold, chuck on a jumper. Adding one degree can cost £60/yr. Plus a sausage dog excluder or Canadian quilt can really slash bills.

is it cheaper to leave the heating on all day?

 This is a common urban myth, according to the Energy Saving Trust. It's better to use a timer, so your heating only comes on when needed. There's also little point painting radiators black

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

P A Testing

The renewed emphasis on a risk based approach to workplace electrical safety testing will undoubtedly pose a significant challenge for the PAT sector, says a leading test instrument manufacturer.

The Seaward Group also says that recently updated PAT advice creates major new opportunities for those PAT firms able to respond positively to the changes.

Jim Wallace, associate director of Seaward, says: “There is no doubt that the latest guidance on portable appliance testing will require a new approach to be taken by those involved in the industry.

“The clear message is that electrical equipment inspection and testing regimes should be based on a more focused and robust approach to assessing the safety risks posed by appliances.

“Those companies that can respond positively to the change in emphasis now have the opportunity to provide much more added value to their customers.

The recently published fourth edition of the IET Code of Practice emphasises the importance of taking a proportionate response to ensuring that all workplace electrical systems are safe to use.

To do this it says that a structured approach to risk assessment should be adopted for the determination of inspection and testing intervals.

This latest advice essentially follows the theme established by the earlier Löfstedt report on health and safety and the HSE’s revised guidance on maintaining portable electrical equipment in low risk environments.

The new guidance has been developed in response to concerns that the implied legal requirement for maintaining the safety of electrical appliances was being applied too broadly, resulting in situations of costly over compliance, particularly in some of the more low risk working environments.

Although newly introduced, the changes have already led to some in the industry fearing for its future while others remain to be convinced that anything will change.

This will mean moving away from a simple cost per test-driven service to the provision of more thorough support based on a more professional advisory, testing and record keeping service.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Why do earthing and bonding need to be checked?

If you are having an alteration or addition made to your electrical installation, your electrician must first check (as well as other things) that the earthing and bonding arrangements you have are up to the required standard. This is because the safety of any new work (however small) will depend on the earthing and bonding (as does the safety of your existing installation).

Can we help?

Monday, 3 December 2012

ECA and ESC join forces on new Electrical Safety Register

A joint venture - namely the Electrical Safety Register - has been agreed between the leading organisations in the electrical contracting sector.

The ESC & The Electrical Contractors’ Association have jointly launched the Electrical Safety Register.

The Register is the definitive online resource for anyone looking to find a competent electrical contractor, with the added peace of mind that all contractors listed have been rigorously assessed to ensure they meet the highest technical standards.

Stefan Hay, the head of the Fire and Security Association, stated: "This exciting collaboration is a result of both bodies listening to our stakeholders, customers, members and the Government who all wanted to see a more clearly defined synergy between the key players in the electrical industry. This alliance between the sector Trade Association, the electrical consumer charity and the leading certification body will provide greater clarity to both the consumer and specifier as well as a consolidated voice to Government on common issues."

The new Register, accessed via, will include both domestic and commercial contractors and brings together the current NICEIC, ELECSA and ECA certification schemes (whose 33,000 registered contractors are responsible for 80% of all domestic electrical work in the UK).

The Register also includes 3,000 ECA members

Make Meals with Magnets

98 percent of us still cook food over crude heat like a bunch of cave-dwelling heathens.

The 21st century is no place for such pyromantic parlor tricks. We’ve harnessed the power of electricity, and adapted it for the next wave of culinary hardware—induction hobs.

Safer for the kids too

induction, saves energy as well, and it does so by not heating the air surrounding the pan—induction simply creates a heat source in the pan itself.

An induction hob heats up an electrically conductive object by sending an electromagnetic current through the object’s mass. The right kind of object resists the current flowing through it. That resistance generates an effect called eddy currents, and those currents create heat. Turn on an induction burner, and it creates a strong enough magnetic field to induce these heat-making eddy currents in any object that’s attracted to a magnet.

When a piece of ferrous cookware, say, a cast iron frying pan is placed on the surface, about one volt of energy is transferred (induced if you will) into the item. This charge, along with it’s associated magnetic field, excites the items molecules in the pan. More importantly, the current moving through the ferrous material is running into stiff resistance from the iron molecules in the pan, which causes Joule heating. By adjusting the strength of the AC electromagnetic field, we can precisely control how hot the vessel becomes and how quickly it will convectionally cook its contents.

The induction method is also affected by other environmental variables such as the object’s size, material, and skin depth. Non-ferrous materials like copper, glass, ceramic, or aluminum will not heat on an induction range. Being non-magnetic, the current encounters less resistance and produces little heat. Skin depth, also known as magnetic permeability, works to concentrate the current near the surface of the metal. A thinner skin increases the amount of electrical resistance at the surface of the cooking vessel while working to reduce heat generated by the induction coil.

The induction coil itself is made of litz wire—a big wire composed of smaller insulated wires running in parallel. It’s designed so that when interacting with the bottom of the vessel, the coil effectively forms a transformer, stepping down voltage while increasing current and the relative resistance of the pot. This causes most of the heat energy to concentrate in the pot, not the coil or the glass-ceramic range surface, leaving them cool to the touch as soon as the pan is removed.

This aids safety—with induction, you can’t contact with a hot surface on the hob (only the pan!)

Induction also has vastly more thermal efficiency, converting 85-90 percent of the current into heat, while comparable gas and electric ranges are rated at 40 and 70 percent, respectively. This efficiency also allows induction ranges to to heat up 20 to 50 percent faster than electric ranges, which reduces cook times, but maintaining the precise heat control of gas at a fraction of its needed energy input. Since induction ranges typically require a stronger, rapidly-alternating AC currents than are available in American homes, most ranges incorporate a raft of transformers, rectifiers, and inverters to boost the current at the induction coil to as much as 1000 times what is coming out of the wall. Technology within the appliance can often detect whether or not a cooking vessel is present, or if its contents have boiled dry.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

We are here to help you save our planet...

 we have loads of affordable products and solutions to help you live a more sustainable life at home.

LED bulbs, have you considered them.

Why not call us, the beauty of small actions: they all add up!
Let’s make the switch to LED

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Its that time of year again...

For some of us, Christmas is, first and foremost, an opportunity to wipe the floor with the Joneses when it comes to increasingly festive and dazzling Christmas lights.

There's nothing wrong with a bit of friendly competition, of course.

please remember

Never connect more than one set of lights to a single plug.

Where young children are present, Extra Low Voltage (ELV) lighting systems are advisable, the voltage range usually being 6, 12 or 24 volts (it will be listed on the box).

Use a transformer – a device that takes the voltage from the dangerous 230V level down to the much safer 6V, 12V or 24V level. However, only use the transformer supplied by the manufacturer for ELV systems. Do not interchange transformers, which could cause overheating and may create a fire risk.

Always ensure lights have been stored in dry conditions.

Check that the flex is undamaged and all connections are firm.

Make sure the plug is fitted with the right size fuse (usually 3A).

Only replace faulty lamps and fuses with the same voltage range and type – 6V, 12V or 24V etc.

not sure, call us 

This year was supposed to be the year of the plug-in car

This year was supposed to be the year of the plug-in car but, as 2012 draws to a close, it looks like the electric car market still isn't fully charged

what happened????

Friday, 30 November 2012

Safe Christmas Lighting

10 Tips for Safe Christmas Lighting

As Christmas appraches and the fairy lights are brought down from the loft, follow these tips from Giuliano Digilio, Head of Technical Services at the Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA), to make your sure Christmas sparkles – without any sparks! 

1)      Lights that have been stored away in the loft may have suffered damage. Make sure any frayed leads or broken connectors are replaced before use.

2)      Tempting as it may be, never overload sockets with your Christmas lights as this could result in overheating, electric shocks, short-circuiting and potentially cause a fire.

3)      To cope with winter weather, exterior Christmas lights should either be low voltage – 12V or 24V – or protected by a Residual Current Device (RCD) that will automatically kick into action and break the circuit in the event of an earth fault. Cables should never be fed through doors or windows, as this could cause damage.

4)      Ensure that cables are fully unwound. They can overheat and potentially cause a fire if they are left coiled on a reel…

5)      …But take care. Trailing wires and lighting leads are one of the most common causes of household trips and falls. Ensure that any cables or extension leads are not left across pathways, and cannot be easily grabbed by children and pets.

6)      Never have any lighting equipment, decorative or otherwise, near a water source.

7)      Turning off the Christmas lights before going to bed or when away from home will greatly reduce the risk of fire.

8)      And if you need to buy new lights as last year’s ones really have seen better days, only buy from reputable outlets. There are lots of budget versions out there, especially at car boot sales, but these are often not up to the required safety standards.

9)      Always check for the European Standard CE mark when buying new lights.

10)   Make sure lights you buy are suitable for the voltage they are being connected to. In the UK this should be 230 Volts.

To get more advice on safe Christmas lighting, contact a competent electrician.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Motorola PC straps onto your head :)

a PC, you wear it on your head and interact with it through voice commands. clever eh!

It's an actual product that is scheduled to go on sale in the New Year, but please don't expect an exciting name.
 The HC1 headset features wi-fi and bluetooth connectivity
The HC1 is made by Motorola Solutions, which should not to be confused with the other half of what used to be the same company, Motorola Mobility, a handset-maker now owned by Google.
The device looks a bit like a massively overgrown telephone headset, with overtones of a cycle helmet and maybe a gas mask thrown in.

It comes in two parts: there's an adjustable cradle that fixes the device to your head, and the computer itself is in a metal bar that curls around the side of your head.
A miniature screen is located at the front, in front of your face. You need to look down slightly to view it.

Using voice commands, the user can order the device to open files, check emails or zoom in with the camera to look in closer detail at what's in front of them.
Hands-free helper

It's intended for use in working environments where people need to access complex information, and having both hands free is an important priority.

"If you imagine somebody up, say, a telegraph pole at the very top, needing to rewire something, they don't really want to be fiddling with a laptop," explains Paul Reed, Motorola's mobile computing product manager.

"They can get all the information they need and do the job safely with this device."
Potential users include maintenance engineers in remote locations, construction workers, architects and warehouse staff pulling stock off the shelves following complex computerised schedules.
Nottingham-based software firm, Ikanos Consulting, is already developing an app for the product called Paramedic Pro. It is designed to let ambulance workers view medical records and stream video back to a hospital to prepare doctors for a patient's arrival.

Another firm has shown interest in using the headset to help its workers maintain power lines at heights. Its staff are required to climb out of helicopters to do the job - it is easy to understand how a hands-free computer would be useful in these circumstances!

 One UK developer is developing an app to make the headset useful to medics

Motorola reckons it will sell several thousand of its computer headsets each year at a cost of $3,000 to $4,000 each (£1,900 to £2,500). That is approximately the same price as a rugged laptop.
But product manager Paul Reed recognises that the device is unlikely to find a mass market.
"Its very niche, very specific to certain types of enterprise," he explains.

"I doubt if we're going to walk down the High Street wearing these devices in future."
Vision of the future

 It may point to an era in which people interact with computers in new ways by wearing them rather than putting them on a desk or in a pocket, and by waving or talking to them instead of touching a screen or pointing with a mouse.

Energy policy, what energy policy....

After months of backroom negotiations between George Osborne and the Liberal Dems the government has announced its renewable energy policy. It has decided to wait until 2016, after the general election, and make a decision then.

a failure that barely raised eyebrows. Tories were unhappy because the government was effectively agreeing to a subsidy for wind farms. Lib Dems were unhappy because the government had given up on decarbonising its economy.

we were looking for a coherent policy, just any policy would do!!! a target, something to aim at!!!

Osborne's negotiations with Lib Dems - specifically with energy and climate change secretary Ed Davey - focused on gas. Davey wants full decarbonisation by 2030. Osborne wants natural gas to play a role in Britain's energy mix past 2030.

"It's not realistic to try to get off gas," Glyn Davies, Tory MP for Montgomeryshire

parliamentarians have plenty of reasons to be uneasy about a 2030 decarbonisation target too.

Companies there have major challenges as far as emission are concerned, but at the same time they work together to create carbon capture and storage projects. We need government to step up to the plate and help them do that.

Eventually Osborne and Davey came to a deal. Firstly, they would ignore the 2030 goal until after the election (an Osborne victory). Secondly they would announce a gas strategy which would be unveiled on December 5th, alongside the autumn statement, backing new gas-fired power stations (another Osborne victory). Finally, they would significantly raise the cap on how much energy companies can charge consumers to invest in renewable forms of energy (a Davey victory).

EDF Energy are happy - plans two nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point in Somerset, said it was a "very positive step".

By 2020 energy companies can add £7.6 billion to household bills to pay for new power plants, wind farms and the like. Consumers are currently paying about £20 a year into this fund. By 2020 that will rise to about £110, although the majority of the increase comes towards the end of that period. Presumably the government is hoping it can go up when household budgets are less tight.

The financial situation for consumers probably sounds worse than it is. The government expects to reduce bills by £94 a year by 2020 as it limits our dependency on gas. Gas has been driving up bills throughout the year, as rising prices whack another £100 on consumer's debit cards. That will probably get worse, with the International Energy Agency forecasting a further 40% rise in gas prices by 2020. But regardless of the long-term picture, many consumers are dreading the rise in already exorbitant energy prices.

Against that backdrop, the government is hardly boosting confidence. "It's a government department where the secretary of state has to take legal advice to establish whether his own minister is acting in the greater interest of green economy," Cunningham says. "There's no policy at all. It's just a muddle. You give a bit, I'll give a bit and all you get is nonsense."

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

shrinking chocolate bars

Are Mars getting smaller - or was it just that we were getting bigger.

Then it became a matter of fact: consumer studies showed the falling weight of chocolate bars over the years.

inflation by the back door - the real inflation rate should be higher...

Not so, it turns out: the Office for National Statistics takes into account shrinking product sizes in its monthly survey of prices

Rising food prices were a major factor in the sharp spike in October inflation to 2.7 per cent reported today.

But the ONS also said consumers were getting less for their money after a number of confectionery products reduced in size.

This is treated as a price rise by statisticians, even though the price has stayed the same.

Sweets giant Cadbury recently decreased the weight of its Dairy Milk chocolate bar from 49g to 45g while continuing to charge 59p. It relaunched the bar in a new curved shape and said the decision to reduce the size had been taken in the wake of rising fuel and cocoa prices.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

John Lewis to show 'lifetime running costs' for electrical goods from next year

John Lewis, the High Street department store chain, is to display the lifetime running cost of the electrical goods it sells.

The initiative is part of a wider Government plan to cut energy use by 11 per cent by 2020.

The Energy Efficiency Strategy, published yesterday by the Department for Energy and Climate Change, includes the trial with the John Lewis trial highlighted as one of its three key strands.

The DECC said John Lewis will begin labelling products with lifetime electricity costs next year.

Under currents European Commission rules, it became compulsory in July 2011 for retailers to display an energy rating on each appliance, from A to G.

As products have improved, new A+, A++ and A+++ energy ratings have been added for fridges, washing machines and dishwashers.

Government believe it can exert more influence over buying decisions by informing consumers the real total cost of running an appliance. Less efficient devices are often cheaper to buy but more expensive to run.

The DECC said: 'A similar trial in Norway showed 'this information led to consumers purchasing goods that are more energy efficient

Monday, 26 November 2012

Cheaper stamps for Christmas

Are you on Pension Credit, Employment and Support Allowance or Incapacity Benefit?

they you will be able to buy up to 36 stamps this Christmas at the pre April 30th price rise price.

Sunday, 25 November 2012


 a device that allows small traders to take credit card payments, is arriving in the UK after a successful rollout in other markets.

But a failure by big payment firms to agree common standards on how we use these mobile money systems could mean the whole idea fails to fly.iZettle is a small card-reader that plugs into iPhones, iPads and a number of Android smartphones or tablets. It is designed for use by any small trader who can't afford the infrastructure needed to take credit card payments. You hand over your card to the stallholder - or plumber or window-cleaner - it is swiped through the device, and then you sign for your purchase. The merchant pays a commission of 2.75% a transaction, and the consumer gets to use their plastic rather than cash in new places.

iZettle was launched in Sweden a year ago, and according to the co-founder Jacob de Geer, it is now used by more than 75,000 small businesses and individuals in six countries. In Sweden, he told journalists at the launch, 700 blacksmiths are using the device. "It's bringing new merchants to the table. My ambition is to democratise card payments."

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Smart phones - the tip of the iceberg

Following the launch of the iPhone 5 and its widespread popularity with consumers, public opinion indicates the likes of Siri, is merely the tip of the iceberg in terms of what we expect of phones in 50 years time.

The majority of the public feel that technology will play the most defining role in our lives by 2062 with smart phones being a driving force.
half of those surveyed feel that smart phones and the rise in tablet devices are the biggest technological advancements in the last two years.

67 per cent of those interviewed said they expected to be able to turn their heating on remotely, using their mobiles.  In actual fact, this is something which is already in place.

We believe that we can actually think bigger and expect some revolutionary advancements, particularly with white goods.

smart phones will be incredibly smart; so the question is how far we can take it?  We anticipate fridges which will text you with shopping requirements, advanced video monitoring so the elder generation can stay in their homes for longer; or even solar-powered mobiles, tablet devices and laptops.

As smart phones progress, the survey suggests there may even be implications on how we communicate as well.  With texting arguably being the most common form of communication at the moment; the survey surprisingly revealed that just seven per cent of those interviewed mentioned text messages as being the most common form of communication by 2062.

 The likes of advanced, video-messaging are set to take precedence and a quarter of people actually believe family members will opt to communicate virtually over face to face.

Friday, 23 November 2012


Great name, but a brilliant idea...

How many times have you bashed a tomato sauce bottle against a bench to force the last dollop onto your plate? Scientists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the US have invented a solution, an ultra-thin material that coats the inside surface of a bottle and allows gluggy liquids like tomato sauce and shampoo to slide right out. The slippery material, called LiquiGlide, is plant based. The team, led by engineer Kripa Varanasi, hope the material, which can coat glass, plastic, metal and ceramic, will be on the market within three years.

can you wait three years...

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Apprentice of the Year Award 2012

We (Andrew W & I) are off to the Apprentice of the Year Award 2012 at Duxford this evening...

Tom lane who has just completed his Advanced Apprenticeship in electrical installation with JTL is representing D A Woolgar limited in our region against 12 other hopefuls to the winner’s cup.

Tom is going to win? Or will I be eating my words???? Watch this space..

Good luck Tom

Lotus Evora 414E - sexy and fast

the EV Evora sportscar has emissions less than half the average new car goes like a rocket...

A mid-engined Lotus Evora with huge amounts of torque, a 0-60mph time of 4 seconds, and emissions lower than a Toyota Prius.

However the 414E is not a dream - I've driven the car and can confirm that it is very much a reality.
Lotus has developed the car as part of a Technology Strategy Board demonstration project on so-called 'range-extended electric vehicles', with partners Nissan, Jaguar Land Rover, Xtrac and Evo Electric. The aim is to showcase what the UK car industry can do in the area of ultra-low carbon vehicles – and in this case with a sports car.

The car's figures of 1000 Nm torque and 55g/km CO2 are achieved thanks to a powertrain that is primarily electric. Recharging the battery from the mains gives a driving range of around 30 miles, but the car also has an engine that cuts in either when extra performance is required, or to provide power when the battery becomes depleted. The engine then acts as a generator for the electric motors, giving a total range of 300 miles.

Although similar in concept to the Chevrolet Volt, there's one significant difference. The Volt has an 'off the shelf' 1.4-litre engine from an Astra, together with a large battery and electric motor. Lotus believes this solution is too heavy, especially for a sports car. So it has developed its own 'range-extender' engine that is extremely light: a 3-cylinder, 1.2-litre petrol unit that's designed to work purely as a generator.

In reality, the engine in the current 414E demonstrator isn't powerful enough to provide sufficient performance if it had to work by itself without any battery power. So Lotus is intending to develop a more powerful version with a supercharger, which would be a more practical solution in real-life.
 The engine and batteries that power the 'range extender' version of the Evora

Despite the lightweight range-extender, the Evora 414E gains a total of 377kg thanks to the battery and other electrical components. This has an impact on the handling of the normally extremely agile Evora, however you do get the benefit of 1000 Nm of torque to help offset the extra weight. There's no other car that combines such a huge torque figure with the relatively compact size of the Evora. The 414E still has good handling, along with spaceship-like levels of thrust out of the corners on the Lotus test track.

The Evora 414E project is currently at the end of its second stage. During the next phase Lotus is looking at a number of further innovations, one of which is a simulated gearshift. Most electric cars are very similar to drive. Compared to the variations that you can achieve by combining different petrol and diesel engines with manual and automatic transmissions, it's difficult to inject such different personalities using just an electric motor with a single-speed transmission. A 'virtual' gearshift will provide keen drivers with the ability to interact with the car and hold it in a lower gear through corners.

I want one

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Wii U: now it’s out in the US

Nintendo's latest and greatest console has enjoyed brisk sales and we git it here in just over a week

 It’s clear that Nintendo has another potential game-changer on their hands.

The Wii U's tri-core processor is very similar to the Xbox 360, running at 3GHz compared to Microsoft's 3.2GHz. On paper, it seems like the Wii U chip might not be as capable as the Xbox 360, but there's more to a powerful processor than pure speed, with many other variables to consider.

Additionally, the Wii U chip's similarities to the Microsoft CPU means that issues such as heating and cooling should be fully resolved.

Still, the rest of the spec sheet is definitely a step above any other console on the market.

For one, the Wii U has 2GBs of RAM, of which 1GB is devoted solely to the operating system itself. In contrast, the PS3 and Xbox 360 devoted way under 100MBs to their operating systems.

The other 1GB of RAM is used for the all-important games, compared to 512MBs on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. More RAM usually means faster loading times, larger environments and higher resolution textures.

In the graphics chip department, the WiiU utilises technology based on AMD's Radeon HD series, putting it a few years ahead of Sony and Microsoft's tech.

The Wii U makes use of Blu-Ray discs for its games, which means that up to 25GBs of data can be stored on them. So, games that require multiple discs on Xbox 360 should fit just fine on one Wii U disc.

However, much like the original Wii and its inability to play DVDs, the Wii U can't play Blu-Ray discs (or DVDs for that matter). This is due to the licensing fees and negotiations associated with the standard

We all know that there will probably be a hack that enables Blu-Ray and DVD playback down the line though. Of course, that'll totally invalidate your warranty in the process.

 Wii U changes things up with four Wii remotes and one GamePad.

The five-player gameplay is demonstrated in Nintendo-Land, a pack-in title for the Premium package. In the Luigi's Ghost Mansion game, for instance, four remote-toting players need to whittle the health down of the GamePad-toting ghost.
have you got yours ordered?

Electricity is even more important in biology than previously thought

Mary Shelley,s gothic masterpiece on the shores of Lake Geneva nearly two centuries ago, she brought Frankenstein’s fictional monster to life using the power of electricity; a form of energy that scientists had recently discovered, which seemed to play a key role in the functioning of the body.
Today, biologists are realising that electricity is even more important than was hitherto thought – so much so that some are talking about a new bioelectrical revolution. It not only governs the contraction of our muscles and carries impulses through our nerves, but also holds the key to a host of illnesses, from the most intense migraines to cystic fibrosis.

A lecture in the Royal Institution, London, the Oxford University physiologist Frances Ashcroft explained how this revolution in bioelectricity has happened.

While the electricity we use to power motors, make lights shine and bring our computers to life relies on electrons – the fundamental sub-atomic particles which carry electrical charge – the electricity in our bodies is carried by larger, more complex charged atoms, or ions, which are found in salts such as sodium chloride. While electricity in wires travels at the speed of light, (around 186,000 miles per second), electrical signals are carried around our bodies at a far slower (if still rapid) half a mile per second, or about 1800 mph.

As bioelectricity flashes in and out of our cells, it generates currents of a few picoamperes – about a hundred billionth of the current that makes a light bulb glow. Somehow, the ions carrying these currents have to find a way past the insulating greasy membrane that protects the watery contents of every cell.

The realisation that cell membranes are studded with tiny pores (constructed from specific proteins), which allow the free movement of ions, dates back to in the 1950s and the pioneering studies of Alan Hodgkin and Andrew Huxley in Cambridge and Bernard Katz at University College London.
These pores are ion channels, and they regulate all life, from the moment of conception until we draw our last breath. Indeed, according to Ashcroft, these channels are truly the “spark of life” – the title of her recent book on the subject.

From the lashing of the sperm’s tail to the beating of our hearts, the craving for yet another chocolate, or the feel of the sun on your skin, everything is underpinned by ion channel activity.
In 1984, Ashcroft discovered an ion channel through which potassium ions leave cells and observed that it was closed by the breakdown of glucose, triggering the release of insulin. She was so excited that she did not sleep; the next morning, thought she had made a mistake.

She hadn’t. Two decades later it was found that a rare childhood form of diabetes resulted from a defect in this channel and, in a remarkable twist, could be treated by taking pills called sulphonylureas, initially trialled as a treatment for typhoid.

It turns out that faulty ion channels are actually responsible for a remarkably wide range of human and animal diseases. Pigs that shiver themselves to death, myotonic goats that stiffen so much they topple over when startled, humans with cystic fibrosis, epilepsy, heart arrhythmias or migraine – all are victims of ion channel dysfunction.

Mutations in sodium channels, for example, underlie inherited forms of epilepsy (when an electrical storm erupts in the brain), migraine headaches, heart rhythm disturbances, paralysis, and some chronic pain syndromes. In the past few years, important clues to understanding what goes wrong, and how this can be fixed, have come from working out what ion channels look like.
Sodium channels – which allow sodium ions to pass – are found in “excitable” cells such as the neurons in your brain, or the cells found in heart muscle, or the nerve cells that carry signals of pain, hot or cold.

Their atomic structure was only solved last year, by William Catterall’s team from the University of Washington in Seattle. Many drugs work by interacting with ion channels and knowing the shape of the protein, and what the drug-binding sites look like, is expected to stimulate the design of new chemicals, which can alter the protein’s structure.

Poisons target ion channels, too. In the past few days, Sylvie Diochot and Anne Baron from the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) have reported a remarkable discovery. The venom of the black mamba, one of the world’s nastiest snakes, contains chemicals that block nerve ion channels.

These chemicals, mambalgins, stop a specific type of ion channel found in pain cells from opening. By doing so, they relieve pain as effectively as morphine, without its side effects. Thanks to the second electrical revolution, expect a new generation of drugs to fine-tune the electrical workings of your heart, nerves and brain.

Roger Highfield is Director of External Affairs at the Science Museum

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Can you fix a socket to a kitchen cabinet

Can accessories and electrical equipment such as socket-outlets and under-cupboard lighting be fixed to fitted kitchen units?

Yes, provided that they are securely fixed to rigid parts of the units that are not demountable or otherwise liable to be disturbed in normal service. However, care must be taken to comply with all the relevant requirements of BS 7671, including accessibility for inspection, testing and maintenance, and provision of adequate protection against damage (by impact or water for example) for the accessories, equipment and associated wiring. 

Regulation number(s)

any questions

Monday, 19 November 2012

Decoding dreams

The Japanese researchers managed to decode the dreams of a group of volunteers and pinpointed when they were dreaming about such things as cars and women.

They scanned the brains of three male volunteers as they slept to monitor changes in activity which could be related to the content of their dreams.

They also monitored electrical patterns in the men's brain waves, so that they could wake them up whenever the signals indicated that they had begun dreaming.

Each time the participants awoke they were asked what they had dreamt about before being allowed to go back to sleep. The process was repeated across several days until 200 reports had been collected from each volunteer.

Researchers reported that while some of the dreams were out of the ordinary – for example a discussion with a famous actor – most involved more mundane experiences from everyday life.
From the dream accounts they picked out 20 of the most commonly occurring themes, such as "car", "man", "woman" and "computer", and gathered pictures which represented each category.

The participants were then asked to view the images while their brains were scanned a second time.
By comparing the second set of brain activity data with the recordings made just before the volunteers had been woken up, the researchers were able to identify distinctive patterns in three key brain regions which help us process what our eyes see.

They also found that activity in a number of other brain regions with more specialised roles in visual processing, for example in helping us recognise objects, varied depending on the content of the dreams.
Finally, they built a computer model which could predict whether or not each of the selected themes was present in the participants' dreams.

Yukiyasu Kamitani of the ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratories in Kyoto, who led the study, told Nature News: "By analysing the brain activity during the nine seconds before we woke the subjects, we could predict whether a man is in the dream or not, for instance, with an accuracy of 75 to 80 per cent."

Sunday, 18 November 2012

A third of people say they are having difficulties

paying their gas and electricity bills

That is the conclusion of a poll carried out for the Energy Saving Trust (EST), which also found that one in six people earning between £35,000 and £55,000 a year say they are struggling with gas and electricity bills
While one in seven of those polled said they would take a second job or work overtime to pay their bills, just 3 per cent would turn to an energy-saving helpline or website for advice.
EST Chief Executive Phillip Sellwood said: "Our survey shows that everyone is feeling the pinch, no matter whether their salary is £15,000 or £55,000.

"Our message is that taking short-term measures, such as cutting out that lunchtime latte, is not the answer; it's treating the symptoms, but not the cause."

The EST says becoming more energy efficient - by turning off electrical appliances when they are not being used, for example - could save people £280 a year.

The poll follows the furore surrounding David Cameron's pledge in parliament last week that the government would force the energy companies to give their customers the cheapest available deal.
He said at prime minister's questions on 17 October: "I can announce that we will be legislating so that energy companies have to give the lowest tariff to their customers."

He was accused by Labour of making up policy on the hoof, and the following day, Energy Minister John Hayes told the Commons the forthcoming energy bill would be used to "get people lower tariffs". But he did not repeat Mr Cameron's assertion that it would ensure people were put on the "lowest" tariffs.

Earlier this month, Npower announced it was raising gas and electricity prices by 8.8 per cent and 9.1 per cent respectively. This followed the decision by British Gas to hike its prices by an average £80 a year. Scottish and Southern Energy is also raising its prices by an average 9 per cent.

The EST poll of 2,000 people, carried out by Ipsos Mori to mark Big Energy Saving Week, also found that more people worry about their utility bills than their mortgages or childcare costs, with 14 per cent of people paying more than £1,500 a year for their gas and electricity.

While 42 per cent of people would talk to family or friends if they were having difficulties, 37 per cent would lend money to those closest to them.

Phillip Selwood said: "There are still many free offers of help for loft and cavity wall insulation no matter what your income is. But our overriding concern is that those who are 'struggling in the dark' are not speaking to anyone about their fuel bill problems."

EST figures show that half of all properties in the UK - around 13 million - have under-insulated lofts. Six million homes have uninsulated cavity walls, but the owners of four million homes have taken advantage of grants and offers to insulate their lofts and cavity walls.

The different tariffs charged by the power companies can be confusing. By default, energy users are usually put on what is called the "standard" tariff, which is rarely a company's cheapest rate.
The consumer organisation Which? wants companies to make their charges easier to understand.

Saturday, 17 November 2012


A new strain of yeast and the inedible part of sugar cane could revolutionise global fuel production. A pair of Australian brothers have developed a powerful yeast that can convert waste biomass such as sugar cane byproducts into ethanol. More than 80 billion litres of ethanol is produced from edible crops such as corn each year. Next generation biofuels aim to reduce the reliance on food crops, but scientists have struggled to produce ethanol from the woody, inedible part of plants. Geoff and Phil Bell's high-quality yeast, which has received funding from the United States and Australian governments, has overcome this problem. The pair hope to turn the first sod at a Microbiogen plant in two to three years.

Friday, 16 November 2012

LED lights - are they as energy-efficient as we think?

Clearly, people at home and work are eager to ditch the unloved CFL and the not-so-efficient halogen
and slot in the small, ready-toglow semiconductor diode, be it to boost energy efficiency, cut energy
consumption or even glow a brighter shade of green.

does the LED live up to its glowing reputation? Not yet.

As one disappointed user recently wrote on a LED web forum: “I bought 12 LED GU10 lamps about 18 months ago of which around half no longer work, two only lasted for 48 hours. The light output is nowhere near what is claimed either, even using 3 by 3W LEDs does not equal the equivalent 50W light bulb.”

cheap and cheerful, matter of quality, there asre obvious issues

The disappointed LED lamp user’s comments are not unusual by any stretch of the imagination. Iain Macrae, president of the Society of Light and Lighting and global technical manager of Thorn Lighting, supplier of luminaires and lighting controls, says: “High-quality players will have great performing LEDs, tell you the truth and be able to back it up. At the lower end of the market, players have more poorly performing LEDs – quite rightly so at the price point – but
they won’t always tell you about it.”
According to Macrae, confusion exists around how light output is measured, and this has been exploited to fool the customer. Typically, two light figures are quoted by LED and luminaire (complete light fittings) manufacturers: lumens per watt and luminaire lumens per watt.
The former, lumens per watt, refers to the ratio of light output from the actual
LED to the power consumed; the higher the value, the more energy efficient

need help. feel free to ask, we'll bring samples

Thursday, 15 November 2012

will the Wii U change us???

Is the Wii U

the original Wii sold the nearly 100-million units of the get-off-your-couch console as we wield plastic sticks and pretend to ski, bowl or other...

The new Wii looks like a reaction to the iPhone and iPad... Generation i

The Wii U, which is to be released in the UK at the end of the month... works with the motion-control remotes, and guess what? a 10" pad surrounded by thumbsticks, buttons, triggers and gizmo's

The GamePad is the cousin to an iPad Mini that had a fling with a traditional video game controller.

is this innovations or merely acceding to the cultural tide. but with this, will the Wii U bring families together in their living rooms for touch-screen gaming rather than leave them isolated with their tablets and smart phones...

Simplicity was a large part of the broad appeal of the first Wii. have they lost that? was it the only way to go??? probably...

We I have no idea what the Wii U Portends, or whether it will permanently alter how we play, alone or together.

But it’s going to be interesting finding out - 15 days to go!!!!!!!!!!

Fire and smoke can spread very quickly

Both can kill. It is important that everyone knows how to avoid fires starting and what to do if one does start.

You, your family and visitors must take responsibility for preventing the outbreak of fire.

Most fires are avoidable if you follow a few simple rules:
 •Test your smoke detector weekly, especially if it is battery operated only. If it is not working report it immediately to the Repairs and Maintenance Service.
 •Check your home and make sure that it is safe from fire hazards. Pay particular attention to your kitchen, as two thirds of fires happen due to cooking.
 •Cooking should not be left unattended, particularly when using a chip pan.
 •Pay attention to electrical safety. Report all broken switches, sockets and light fittings or any exposed wiring immediately to the Repairs and Maintenance Service.
 •Do not use or store propane gas bottles, paraffin or other flammable liquids such as petrol anywhere on the premises.
 •Lit cigarettes, cigars and pipes should not be left unattended. For safety advice please see the Avon Fire and Rescue's smoking page.
 •Keep matches away from children and ensure they can not be reached.
 •Candles should only be used in a stable holder, well away from curtains and other flammable materials.
•Do not dry or air clothes near heaters, cookers or open fires. Make sure open fires have fireguards.
 •Close internal doors when you retire at night.

electric car that drives, parks itself

A Nissan electric car that can park itself and approach its driver when "called" upon was unveiled at the Ceatec 2012 show in Tokyo

Entitled the Nissan NSC-2015, the vehicle is currently a prototype, but its name suggests the company plan to launch the car by 2015. The NSC-2015 is a modified version of Nissan's Leaf car. It depends on cameras, sensors, computers and 4G communication technology for wireless links to navigate. To turn its wheel, meanwhile, robotics can be used, which is also utilized in order to change gears and brake.

When demonstrated at the show, the NSC drove itself at around 3mph (5km/h) in a straight line in both a forward and reverse capacity, as well as being able to successfully turn.

Nissan showcased that the vehicle could recognize road markings and was able to stop at a crossing when required. A representative from the car maker also controlled it externally, where he made the car drive towards him as he pressed several buttons on his smartphone.

clever eh!

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

EV to range could triple with silicon-graphene

Lithium-ion battery research company, CalBattery, has announced a huge breakthrough in energy density that could in a few years give a 300% jump in battery energy density, that could triple electric car driving range.

Energy density is the key measure of electric car batteries to determine driving range and ultimately the usefulness of the vehicle. It was the energy density improvements of lithium-ion batteries that enabled the resurgence of electric cars. But the current crop of lithium ion batteries do not allow for enough energy storage, and driving range, at a low enough cost, to get past the "too expensive" sniff test that is hindering electric car adoption today. A new lithium-ion battery designed by CalBattery, with a silicon-graphene anode, promises a dramatic energy density breakthrough, according to a news release issued by the company on Friday.

The company is a finalist in the Dept of Energy's 2012 Start UP America's Next Top Energy Innovator challenge. Independent test results using full-cell lithium-ion battery cells designed by CalBattery demonstrate an energy density of 525 watt-hours per kilogram, and a specific anode capacity of 1,250 mili-amp-hours per gram. Most commercial batteries have an energy density in the 100-180 watt-hours per kilogram range, and specific anode capacity in the 325 mili-amp-hours per gram range.

now all we ahve to see, is how they manage heat...

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

P A Testing

ON 28 NOVEMBER 2011, the Lofstedt report was published, highlighting a significant level of legislative over-compliance by industry. One key issue identified in the report was confusion over PAT testing – widely misunderstood as a requirement to carry out inspection and testing annually, regardless of equipment type, usage or environment.

In fact, inspecting or testing annually has never been a requirement, and the new Code of Practice has been updated to emphasise and expand on this.

< The fourth edition of the Code of Practice for In-Service Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment has been written to emphasise the need to ‘risk assess’ the requirement
for any inspections and tests. Risk assessments are vital to understanding what can affect any electrical equipment in use, and to be sure of its continued safe use.

Any risk assessment process must be carried out by the duty holder, because he or she is solely responsible for the safety and maintenance of equipment in his or her care. A duty holder may use an outside consultant to advise on the type and frequency of any inspections or tests; however, the duty holder is responsible in all cases, regardless of any consultant’s advice.

In the past PAT testing has, in the majority of cases, been conducted by external contractors. These contractors have then, quite wrongly, set the frequency of the subsequent inspections and tests without consultation or input from the duty holder, and without an adequate – if any – risk assessment. In many cases, Table 7.1 in the Code of Practice was used or misinterpreted as a definitive frequency chart.

This is unnecessarily costing UK businesses a great deal of money each year. It has always been stressed that Table 7.1 is only intended to provide guidance on initial frequencies, and should only be used as a starting point where previous inspection and testing records and risk assessments are not available.

Ongoing frequencies should be determined from a risk assessment.

Interestingly, there is a common misperception that general office areas are high-risk environments. In fact, office areas in general present very low levels of risk, and subsequent risk assessments and frequencies should reflect this. The HSE publication INDG236: ‘Maintaining portable electrical equipment in low-risk environments’, gives further guidance and information on these types of environments.

Risk levels are, in practice, also generally low for large sever rooms in data storage, handling and call centres, etc, where, owing to the sensitive and critical nature of the information held, access is limited to persons directly responsible for upkeep and repair.

When external contractors are used to carry out PAT testing they should, in the first instance, be contracted to carry out inspections and testing only on equipment identified by the duty holder based on a risk assessment.

Duty holders can be the only persons with a knowledge of the factors that affect the equipment in their care, and not the contractor. If duty holders opt to use any information they receive from contractors to aid them with their risk assessment, they are clearly free to do so.

However, the liability ofresponsibility will still remain with them, regardless of marketing claims made by any external contractors to the contrary. Duty holders need to be aware that in some instances equipment frequencies should be increased if evidence of significant deterioration of equipment or appliances is present.