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London Bridge

NEWS FLASH: She's Dead.

Details via The Guardian.

Operation Unicorn is in effect (contingency plans for the monarch dying in Scotland). Charles is now King: coronation will follow within the next year, his name as monarch isn't announced yet.

I'm still traveling but I'm throwing this topic open for discussion because of the breaking news:

Queen under medical supervision as doctors are concerned for her health

The Queen is under medical supervision at Balmoral after doctors became concerned for her health, Buckingham Palace has said.

Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, have been seen boarding a helicopter at Dumfries House in Scotland travelling to to be with Her Majesty, who "remains comfortable", Buckingham Palace said.

An RAF aircraft carrying Prince William, Prince Andrew, Prince Edward and the Countess of Wessex left RAF Northolt in west London at 2.39pm and arrived at Aberdeen airport at 3.50pm, ahead of their arrival at Balmoral.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are travelling separately but have been co-ordinating with other Royal family members' plans, it is understood. Princess Anne is already with Her Majesty at her Scottish Highlands residence.

Buckingham Palace said in a statement: "Following further evaluation this morning, the Queen's doctors are concerned for Her Majesty's health and have recommended she remain under medical supervision.

"The Queen remains comfortable and at Balmoral."

NOTE: "Buckingham Palace", the metonym for the royal staff, are notoriously close-lipped, so if they say she's "comfortable" her condition should automatically be assumed to be somewhat worse than you'd expect, i.e. she isn't dead yet ... but you don't haul the next of kin in by helicopter to attend the sick bed if it's just a cold.

Also, the Queen is 96.

Also-Also, Here are my earlier thoughts prompted by the death of Prince Philip (her husband). To which we can add the omnishambles described in the previous blog entry, and the arrival of a government in the UK entirely dominated by the head-banging extremists of the European Research Group. (If you're American, imagine the Tea Party took over all three branches of government in a shady election that polled only 0.3% of the electorate). They will use her death as a culture wars rallying point for their ultra-reactionary agenda.

If you can find any other news that's being buried under the royal succession whoopsie? This is your thread.

Lost in the noise: Earlier this week Nicola Sturgeon, the SNP leader in Holyrood, announced an emergency package to address the omnishambles: (a) a cap of £2500/year on consumer energy bills, to be funded out of government borrowing (with additional measures to protect small businesses), and (b) a mandatory freeze on both private and social rent increases, to prevent evictions due to folks being unable to pay bills due to inflation. (Speaking as a very small-scale private landlord—I own half a rental flat: it's a chunk of my retirement savings—I entirely agree that this is necessary.) Yesterday Liz Truss announced a similar energy cap for England, at a cost of £120Bn: silence on the rent freeze so far, but it means Truss is capable of making a U-turn on core policy matters in 48 hours flat. The iron weathervane indeed (as the French are calling her).

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1:

"Comfortable" in this context most likely means she's either in a coma, or on continuous morphine.

2:

Yup, that sounds about right.

Or she may finally have caught a mild case of COVID and be too fatigued to get out of bed.

We just can't tell, but at 96 even a cold can be unpredictably fatal.

3:

Got to agree with Sean - it's sounds like last hours style hospice care.

Technically it's Project Unicorn rather than London Bridge because she is in Balmoral which means you are going to have a couple of day of log jams in Edinburgh as she lies in state in Holyroodhouse before a service of reception in St Giles's cathedral and on to the Rail Train slowly travelling down the ECML...

4:

Meanwhile, in hyper-local news ...

I won my saving throw vs. Shiny! against the new iPhones. I wouldn't say no to an iPhone 14 Pro Max if one fell on my head, but my 12 Pro Max is still covered by extended AppleCare and works fine and the new features aren't compelling enough to justify the price.

Ditto for the Watch Ultra: I'd like one, but not £800-worth of like—that's twice as much as I've ever paid for a watch in my life.

However I am totally going to be up at 7am Chicago time to mash my trackpad on the "buy" button for the Airpods Pro 2. My existing Airpods Pro are three years old, intermittently forget to charge, and the battery life is declining: meanwhile the new ones promise significantly improved noise cancellation and audio quality, which are exactly what I want in a new pair of headphones, and they're a whole lot cheaper than the phones or watch. (Which is to say, Apple prices, but not ridiculous given the quality.)

5:

The more informative phrase is "doctors are concerned" - that implies it is serious. As I said in the other thread, I wish her well, but am not optimistic. For once in my life, I agree with Owen Jones and a Torygraph pundit.

https://www.thenational.scot/news/21226430.bbcs-nicholas-witchell-slammed-tasteless-speculation-queens-health/

I hope that our so-called government does not abuse this to bury bad news and/or sneak unpopular decisions through, but I wouldn't trust them as far as I can throw the Houses of Parliament.

6:

I am impressed with my wife's Iphone, because I can actually hear it in speaker mode - it is the only mobile phone I have ever encountered for which that is true. I have never paid more than 20 quid for a watch, though I believe that my current one (bought by my wife) was a bit more - a decade or so ago :-)

7:

Re: shiny: my 11pro is arguably due for replacement. Although it works great, I am very tempted by better cameras, always on display etc. similarly my S3 watch is fine but my wife has expressed an interest and I do rather fancy the health features of an 8. So, maybe. An ultra would be useful for climbing - smashed one 3 within 4 minutes of going on a wall when I first got it - and at £799 is actually not bad at all - but not quite tempting enough.

Re queeny: obviously they all have to go but I quite like Lizzie for all the obvious boring and nuanced reasons. I think they’ll struggle to hang on in the current format when my kids (21 and 18) are in their 40s. They are quite unremittingly anti monarchical.

It is plausible that The National Mourning will initiate culture wars as OGH suggests but I’m not sure the logic is absolutely compelling. Truss isn’t ideological, she’s always on the make and clearly able to read the room, while Kwasi isn’t stupid about renewables and has been v public about it.

End times of the carbon economy were always going to be bumpy though.

8:

Meeting our newly appointed Prime Minister and thinking, "Oh, bugger all this for a lark, I'm leaving early to avoid the rush," is not an entirely unreasonable reaction if you ask me.

9:

Operation Unicorn is the most likely eventuality right now.

Per wikipedia:

Operation Unicorn

Operation Unicorn is a plan that outlines what would happen if the Queen dies in Scotland. Details about Operation Unicorn were first reported to the public in 2019, although mention of the codename was first made in the Scottish Parliament's online papers in 2017.[8][9]

Once the death has been made public, Holyrood Palace, St Giles' Cathedral, and the Scottish Parliament will serve as the focal point of gatherings, with a condolence book open to the public set up at the latter location. Parliamentary business will be suspended immediately for at least six parliamentary days, in order to allow authorities to prepare for the funeral.[9] The parliament will then prepare a motion of condolence within 72 hours of reconvening.[8] The Queen's coffin will first lie in repose at Holyrood Palace, followed by a service of reception at St Giles' Cathedral in Edinburgh. Following this, the coffin would then be transported to Waverley station and then taken by the Royal Train to London if possible.[9][15] Otherwise the coffin would be taken by plane to London and welcomed by the prime minister and cabinet ministers.[3]

10:

I fear Charlie is right.

Andrew Marr is reported today as saying "This is going to be the biggest shaking of all. Britain’s sense of herself is under question" and I think he's quite right; whether you're a monarchist or not, she's been part of the furniture.

A transition would be simple and not too bad, if we were a nation at ease with ourselves. But we're not, are we? We're badly fractured, by Brexit, by culture wars, by vast inequalities, and even by the idea of whether we're one nation, or several.

And the ERG are nasty right wingers, some of whom will leap at any chance to weaken things like labour protection.

I honestly won't be at all surprised if they seize the moment, hoping we'll be distracted with commemorative plate, to slip through some pretty unpleasant things.

Aside from the economic side, I could quite easily see someone suggesting policies along the line of "We have a new King, so how about we get children to pledge allegiance in school," and daring the opposition to vote them down.

Much unpleasantness, I fear, may take place under the cover of a changing of the guard.

11:

She may be suffering from very slow circulatory failure ( The hands are the give-away, I'm told )
She could easily last another year or two, but have to remain an invalid at Balmoral - in which case Chas becomes Prince Regent.
Like you, I'm scared what uses the toriesfascists in Parliament will try to put this to.
Especially as Liz Trump's pro-oil/fracking agenda is openly contrary to what Chas has been saying for 40 years (!)

Gotta say it - Sturgeon got it right, L Trump didn't.
{ Can we all call her Liz Trump? }

Nigel Whitfield
And the ERG are nasty right wingers, some of whom will leap at any chance to weaken things like labour protection. - this - more likely an attempted trashing of Human Rights legislation.

12:

more likely an attempted trashing of Human Rights legislation.

Previously, Raab was drafting a "British Bill of Rights" to replace the HRA. It was a dog's dinner and Truss binned it on day one.

Word now is that they're going to scrap the HRA without replacing it. So torture and executions will be legal again. Happy joy.

13:

I saw something on the news about she had a "blue hand" when she met with the new Prime Minister. I'm pretty sure that's a sign of aging where peripheral circulation becomes impaired and blood at the extremities has low oxygen.

Getting old means a lot of aches & pains you didn't have when you were younger. "Resting comfortably" may just mean exactly what it says. She's resting and not in more than usual discomfort for her age.

Anyway, I hope so.

14:

Nope, she died this morning.

15:

Just confirmed on BBC: Queen Elizabeth has died.

16:

When the family is told "you had better come now" one knows it won't be long.

17:

Are you implying the announcement was delayed to be timed for the main evening news ? Have they form for such an act ?

18:

Sad to hear. Long reign your King.

When the news broke, I was just typing in that in my typically pessimistic fashion, I was checking to see if West Nile Virus was in London this year. It's quite dangerous for corvids, such as Ravens. Fortunately, there are no reports of that. So perhaps the calamities will be limited somewhat?

Sic transit...

19:

What would the Laundry-verse repercussion(s) be for a subject to sign that 'condolence book'? Let alone a vacationing foreign national?

20:

So, what about the Last Night of the Proms?

Barber's Adagio, Elgar's Nimrod?

What else?

Can they play God save the King yet?

21:

Eh, no: I want to see the royal family desestablished and the various nations of the UK join the modern world. I am, in fact, a republican (not a US Republican, but someone who favours a republic rather than a monarchy as a form of government).

22:

Just received that news flash from Apple News. So sorry to hear.

23:

Got a news flash just now. The news had not been released when I wrote that @ 13.

I do hope her passing was peaceful.

And I hope it will be peaceful for you and your countrymen & women. I know you have difficult times ahead and I wish there was something I could do to make things better. There's not, but know that you have my best wishes for the future whatever it might hold.

24:

But apparently "republican" is a BAD THING in Ireland. Weird how the same word means so many different political things.

Re: shiny! My Watch is pretty old now, and I am somewhat interested in the upgrade. In particular, I like that it can read body temperature. I don't think I need the Ultra, but I do like that it can run for more than a day.

The phones don't interest me yet -- I got an iPhone 13 Pro Max, and that's good enough for me. Also, I don't have the contacts to get a non-US one on discount, and I kinda need that SIM tray (nobody in Ireland supports eSIM yet).

25:

Oh understood.

But here in the US we're trying the tack of pretending our billionaires are normal citizens, and look where that's getting us. Perhaps giving a super-rich family the full-time task of being Royal isn't the stupidest way to chain down a billionaire's fortune? It's sort of like that chain around Fenris' neck, there to keep them from getting greedy and eating the place for lack of anything better to do.

Anyway, King Whatsisname now owns a bunch of really green real estate, including most of the seabed around the UK. Abolishing the monarchy and giving those lands to PM Spinlizzy. Or the highest corporate bidder? I'm not so sure that's the wisest course of action just now.

26:

Sad news, and we'll see what happens in the next year.

Somewhat related to the next year[ s], a question about a line in the OP. It says, "to be funded out of government borrowing".

Who's going to be buying bonds, and against what collateral? "Full faith and credit" or whatever it's called in the UK, is starting to look a little shaky.

27:

Charlie Stross @ 21:

Eh, no: I want to see the royal family desestablished and the various nations of the UK join the modern world. I am, in fact, a republican (not a US Republican, but someone who favours a republic rather than a monarchy as a form of government).

Here in the U.S. that would be "small-d" democrat; i.e. in favor of democracy of some sort ... as Churchill said, "the worst form of government except for all the others that have been tried."

28:

Yes, here saying "we're a republic, not a democracy" is right wing rhetoric.

29:

But apparently "republican" is a BAD THING in Ireland. Weird how the same word means so many different political things.

Depends on context.

In NI, it means someone who favours unification with the Republic. Sectarian affiliation: Catholic, also vaguely left-wing (the Catholics in NI were kept in low-paid occupations by an apartheid-like system until the 1990s).

In Ireland (the Republic of) it means a supporter of Sinn Fein, the main left-wing party (as opposed to Fine Gael and Fine Fael, two splinters of the original independence party). So of course the conservatives would use it as an insult even though they are in fact running a republic.

30:

In those terms, "republican" and "democrat" are not contradictory -- republics are (as far as I know) by definition democratic, but not all democracies are republican.

Unless Charlie wants to vote directly on every single issue, then he is a republican, not a democrat.

31:

Remember, she (although in a distinct legal persona) was also head of state of Canada. Her death is the top news on the website of the Toronto Star.

32:

'London Bridge'

Here's the tune - if not the artists - likely to be broadcast in the background:

'Sabres of Paradise - Haunted Dancehall (In the Nursery Mix)'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ozuFCYJQ4os&ab_channel=minuszmiki

Condolences to Her Majesty's family.

33:

If you can find any other news....

More Third World kids will grow to adulthood, thanks to the new malaria vaccine to be produced in India.

34:

You were one of the people who told me "republican" in RoI is bad! 😄

35:

""Resting comfortably" may just mean exactly what it says. She's resting and not in more than usual discomfort for her age."

I wish to register a complaint, concerning this monarch, which I coronated not 70 years ago from this very dynasty...

36:

When all's said and done ...

Elizabeth Windsor went from being 96 but well enough to attend a personal audience to appoint a new prime minister three days ago, to dying with her family around her bed. Which suggests her final decline was extremely rapid (or no decline at all, just a sudden death). Which, after a long and healthy life, is about the best any of us can hope for.

37:

I won my saving throw vs. Shiny! against the new iPhones. I wouldn't say no to an iPhone 14 Pro Max if one fell on my head, but my 12 Pro Max is still covered by extended AppleCare and works fine and the new features aren't compelling enough to justify the price.

My iPhone 11 Pro is in a similar state. But my wife's X would be a great one to bump up. And with T-Mobile appearing to give us $600 to $800 in credit depending on what we trade in I might go buy a used 8 or X for $170 to trade in. We like to keep one for a spare in our extended family for when someone does something bad.

The new watch?

Yes totally a new and shiny decision. I have a 6 and my wife a 5. We'll stand pat until one breaks or a new model tracks blood pressure and/or blood sugar.

My Airpods Pro still work fine. And I only paid $160 2 years ago during an Amazon price war. Full list US price is $250. (Also, Find My works great. I found one that fell out of my ear in my back yard in 5" or so of grass in the dark. And at first I didn't even know where in or out of the house I had lost it.)

38:

I have never paid more than 20 quid for a watch

I quit wearing a watch when I started carrying a mobile phone. Then I switched to iPhones. After a while I decided I wanted a remote control for this (really a computer, not a phone) in my pocket and I thought a watch might be good. And then they came out with the Apple watch and it does what I want.

Emails and messages from "important" people vibrate my wrist. I can ignore them or dictate a reply. Or write one with my finger tip on the watch face. Calls vibrate my wrist and I can answer or voice mail them trivially without any sounds. And all kinds of other things. Payments, Siri, etc... It works for me.

Oh, and I can pull my phone out of my pocket when I really want to use it.

39:

Yeah, my grandmother passed in July (at 92) following a similarly rapid decline.

Quick is better than slow.

40:

iPhone 7 is officially obsolete and won't run iOS 16; the 8 is the oldest supported model. So that's the hard point for an upgrade. (Assuming you like timely security patches on a device that's also your credit card proxy and 2FA security token generator.)

The watch ... yes, the instant they release one with transdermal blood glucose monitoring I'm buying a new it, but I see no pressing reason to upgrade before then. (Am Type II diabetic, that feature would be a game-changer.)

You won't get blood pressure monitoring in a watch. (It'd need a boa constrictor for a wrist band.) However they already sell bluetooth blood pressure monitors that integrate with the Health app.

41:

No, republics are not necessarily democratic. The governing body need not even be elected. The usage in Northern Ireland is, of course, different.

https://www.britannica.com/topic/republic-government

I disagree with OGH that they are any better than monarchies, largely on the grounds that having all authority appointed by near-identical mechanisms (as in the USA) is a recipe for extremists to take over.

42:

I got an iPhone 8, and the biggest selling point for me was the fall monitor. Given my health, having a watch scream for 911 if it detects a hard fall, a pulse, and no subsequent movement is far from the worst feature I could ask for.

43:

The problem with Find My and the AirPods was that the case didn't have it. So if you dropped your AirPods in their case into an old piece of luggage, you might not find it until you next travel, six months later. (I went and attached a Tile to that case right after that happened.)

My Series 5 Watch battery is only at 85% health now. I might decide to get the battery replaced, of course. But I also just priced it out: a stainless steel Watch large w/cell costs the same as an Watch Ultra. Which has a titanium shell, and 2.5 days of battery life. So when I can get that a discount, I'm probably going to try.

44:

"a state in which supreme power is held by the people and their elected representatives, and which has an elected or nominated president rather than a monarch." Multiple dictionaries.

45:

According to the Beeb, Speaker to Plants has styled himself Charles III, which, while the most boring choice, at least avoids jokes about King Alexander or “great, another King George “.

It may be that his public enthusiasm for environmental concerns could, to some extent, constrain the Iron Weathercox’s desire to burn anything flammable to generate electricity. Good luck to you all.

46:

Well, buckle up. Anyone's passing is a sad event. I don't watch television news as a matter of policy, and I'll especially skip it for the next few weeks. The paroxysms of performative grief are already beginning.

I'm most concerned for what will happen behind the scenes. It would be fun if Charles took Truss aside and told her to get their shit together, he doesn't want to preside over a collapse...

47:

Living in the US, looking at the GOP, I want to be a republican.

That is, a French republican. Now, where are the plans for the Humane Invention...?

48:

I'm rather surprised that I feel sad about this. As you said, she's been part of the furniture my whole life.

49:

I disagree with OGH that they are any better than monarchies, largely on the grounds that having all authority appointed by near-identical mechanisms (as in the USA) is a recipe for extremists to take over.

I think we've established that any political system can be hacked, but some are more vulnerable than others. That said, the advantage to an elected system is that in most cases, there won't be a civil war with a change of power. More importantly, the former leader doesn't have to worry that his family will be killed by the incoming rulers, as frequently happens in monarchies. This is in contrast with, say, the Ottoman Empire, where IIRC the emperor's children played game of thrones every time the emperor died, and until there was a surviving emperor. This demonstrated that the new emperor was tough enough for the job (the classic nomad rulership test), but it was rather hard on the country to have a civil war every few years.

My take on the British monarchy is, as seen above, conditional. Given who's currently in political power, if there's a well-off monarch who's not in favor of their policies, that's not a bad thing. At the moment. One could make the opposite case in opposite circumstances, of course.

50:

"Have they form for such an act?"

The queen's grandfather, George V was given an overdose of morphine and cocaine so that the news of his death would be in the morning edition of the Times, not in the more unseemly evening edition.

51:

and the biggest selling point for me was the fall monitor. Given my health, having a watch scream for 911 if it detects a hard fall, a pulse, and no subsequent movement is far from the worst feature I could ask for.

I trigger mine every month or few. Mostly when swinging a 3 pound hammer or similar motion. The vibrating wrist with a 60 second count down works fine for me.

Then there was the last time. My home office chair had rolled back a few inches while I was standing. When I went to sat down I basically used the front of the chair as a slide to the floor. No harm or foul but my watch thought the downward motion followed by the sudden stop warranted a fall alert. I shut it down before it called anyone.

52:

So when I can get that a discount, I'm probably going to try.

I got my watch 6 as a BDay present from my son. Which is a bit over the typical things we give each other. It was free to him as a company "we did good what do you want from this list" collection of things.

53:

Operation Unicorn is in effect (contingency plans for the monarch dying in Scotland). Charles is now King:

Sorry but in the instant of reading this when I got to "Charles" my first thought was that this was a satire of CS becoming king due to some quirk from her death occurring in Scotland.

But as to the Queen. From what I've read and seen she tried to stay on the "decent" side of the human ledger and succeeded most of the time. Something many famous and "look up to" people can't say.

54:

Yay, CHarles III, it is good that at last he gets a go after waiting for so long and trying to adapt himself to so many circumstances.

55:

Dave P @ 45:

According to the Beeb, Speaker to Plants has styled himself Charles III, which, while the most boring choice, at least avoids jokes about King Alexander or “great, another King George “.

It may be that his public enthusiasm for environmental concerns could, to some extent, constrain the Iron Weathercox’s desire to burn anything flammable to generate electricity. Good luck to you all.

How soon after becoming King does he have to announce his "Regnal Name" (if those are the right words?).

Will he officially become Charles III before the coronation? Could he choose another "Regnal Name" between now and then? ... and announce it when he's officially crowned?

I realize he is already King; that happened as soon as his mother died. But I'm pretty sure there are a whole bunch of official ceremonies still ahead.

(I'm still holding out for Arthur II.)

56:

Having seen various reactions, I have come to the conclusion that the queen provided stability by letting lots of different people project what they wanted upon her, never mind what she actually thought or what she did. Being a shiny totem on a plinth is an important job.

So really there is no need to worry, you can always find another shiny totem to put upon the plinth, look at how the rumours about William have been squashed.

57:

It has already been announced that he will reign as Charles III. There probably isn't a hard and fast rule about it.

58:

Yay, CHarles III, it is good that at last he gets a go after waiting for so long and trying to adapt himself to so many circumstances

King Charles Tree? That would cheer up the pagans, at least.

59:

Unless Charlie wants to vote directly on every single issue, then he is a republican, not a democrat.

Really?

Canada isn't a republic, but we are a parliamentary democracy. I don't vote on every single issue — that's the job of my elected representatives.

In short, "representative democracy" =/= "republic".

60:

It's kind of weird that from now on, today was the last day of "The Good Ol' Days" for much of UK.

Also: Didn't anybody at The Guardian think twice about a headline calling on a 73 year old dude to "reform" stuff ?

When was the last time a 73 year old "reformed" anything ?

61:

Quick is better than slow.

Fuck yes.

I watched my father die, slowly and in pain (despite the morphine).

62:

iPhone 7 is officially obsolete and won't run iOS 16

So my new-to-me iPhone 6s is obsolete? But it's so much better than the 4s it replaced!

(Don't use it to pay bills — just phone, text, navigation, and music.)

63:

Far be it for me to suggest that the "ceremony" on 05 September is what did for her.

London germs (especially among the coterie, who were almost certainly not masked)

Prose fit to choke on.

A personality best used as a warn-off.

Intellectual dishonesty sufficient to choke the corgis.

Policies fit for Charles I — not even Charles II.

Some combination of the above.

64:

There's a part of me which thinks Liz was on the way to joining the choir invisible but by force of will was hanging until Boris got kicked out of No. 10

65:

Canada is apparently a constitutional monarchy, which I don't understand. It seems to otherwise fit in all was a republic.

ETA: Ah, got it. Canada is not a republic because it has a monarch in the form of King Charles III, or whatever name he takes. Since that is not by election, it does not meet the definition I quoted for a republic.

I would be unsurprised to see that change fairly soon.

66:

"look at how the rumours about William have been squashed."

Aye, I heard they got a right rodding over it...

67:

I propose the following measure for forms of government: what is the minimum number of people I need to bribe to get an otherwise unpopular law passed?

This may be much easier in situations where one party is used to uncritically follwing orders.

68:

When all's said and done ...

Elizabeth Windsor went from being 96 but well enough to attend a personal audience to appoint a new prime minister three days ago, to dying with her family around her bed. Which suggests her final decline was extremely rapid (or no decline at all, just a sudden death). Which, after a long and healthy life, is about the best any of us can hope for.

There's also the possibility that she was hanging around knowing she had one more duty to perform, and once Truss was sworn in she was able to hobble off the coil. Which... is very much on brand for QEII, dutiful to the last.

As a nominal republican ('abolish the monarchy' is on my to-do list somewhere, it just keeps getting displaced by more urgent matters), I will say that this commitment to duty and stability, over the tumultuous decades of the latter half of the 20th Century, makes her the best possible argument for a monarch we'll ever see. The world has lost a great Liz and the UK has picked up a far lesser one.

69:

phone, text

At some point in the future the bad guys may send you a text message that roots your phone. Then if it is tied to the same accounts as your more modern phone, bad things can happen.

A lot of people around here (USA/NC) got a spat of such messages a few months ago.

70:

I hereby propose 'Liz the Lesser' as the title for Ms. Truss going forward. She won't be able to deny it without claiming to be better than or equal to the deceased regal person.

I am Canadian and count myself as anti-monarchist, but not such that I'd be willing to do much beyond voting in favour of such a decision. I suspect most Canadians don't much care about the monarchy (note, it may be different in Quebec and it is complexly different with indigenous folk).

71:

"It has already been announced that he will reign as Charles III. There probably isn't a hard and fast rule about it. "

AFAIK it's a personal choice as to how the Sovereign will be named, like the Pope's. Doubtless many helpful suggestions would be given beforehand.

72:
In Ireland (the Republic of) it means a supporter of Sinn Fein, the main left-wing party (as opposed to Fine Gael and Fine Fael, two splinters of the original independence party). So of course the conservatives would use it as an insult even though they are in fact running a republic.

...this is somewhat complicated by Fianna Fáil officially referring to themselves as "Fianna Fáil – The Republican Party." The mental flexibility of the Irish parliamentarian is a wonder of the world.

(Charlie's giving the short-short-short Cliff Notes version; the "Irish Republicanism" Wikipedia page has a list of active parties in the infobox for the terminally curious.)

73:

Robert Prior @62, I agree with David L@69. I got my 6 in 2015, and it worked as new until I traded it for a 13 at the start of the year. However, a number of apps wouldn’t update, and Apple wouldn’t send iOS updates anymore. No security updates is an invitation to be hacked.

And now I see from the comments that my wife’s 7 is going to be in the same situation - bother!

74:

The new king is 73, he’s been Charles all his life, he probably wouldn’t register being called by a regal name even if he did want one.

75:

I'm going to assert that republics don't necessarily need to mimic the internal power distribution of a constitutional monarchy: that's just a side-effect of contemporary republics mostly being drop-in replacements after a monarch was given the boot. A republic is simply a government of the people by the people: I'd like to see some designs that don't centralize power under one maximum leader/president/monarch-lite -- the EU is credibly such a thing in embryo, with the council of ministers led by a rotating presidency at six-month intervals that is basically a procedural chair rather than a leader.

76:

Omron makes a very expensive blood pressure monitor watch:

https://omronhealthcare.com/products/heartguide-wearable-blood-pressure-monitor-bp8000m/

As for the iPhone 14, its lack of USB-C makes it anything but shiny in my book. The biggest feature, the satellite emergency system (which will apparently consume 85% of Globalstar's capacity) won't work in the UK yet, anyway.

77:

It may be that his public enthusiasm for environmental concerns could, to some extent, constrain the Iron Weathercox’s desire to burn anything flammable to generate electricity. Good luck to you all.

That, and the public, including businesses: I gather the new Secretary of State for Business, Industry, and Really Long Job Titles (Jacob Rees-Mogg, the haunted Victorian coat rack himself) got a nasty reality shock when he learned that (a) Net Zero is already locked in as a destination according to the law of the land, (b) businesses are already pivoting that way (eg. car manufacturers ending internal combustion engine development) and there's a lot of energy in renewables, which are cheaper per MW-hour than coal. He also apparently got a nasty reality shock when London hit 40 celsius last month, which makes climate change a bit hard to deny.

Finally, the Scottish parliament said "nope, thanks" to the suggestion from Truss that they should hand out fracking licenses. And Truss seems to have forgotten why there was a moratorium on fracking in the first place -- something to do with it triggering small earthquakes under British cities.

Upshot: Liz Ferric-Weathervane gets another excuse to do a quiet three-sixty. Oh look, a dead Queen!

78:

It's safe to use an old/unsupported iPhone as long as you don't associate it with an Apple ID with any payment service (other than, possibly, pre-paid gift cards) -- not a credit card or bank account, anyway.

This doesn't mean you won't be hacked and your address book/password database leaked, and maybe your cellphone account runs up a huge bill calling premium rate numbers, but they won't be able to drain your bank account or run up a huge credit card bill.

If you insist on using an obsolete iOS device at least use an iPod Touch, eg. as a 1Password device, so that it's not on the internet except when you deliberately connect to wifi or via tethering.

But really, the attack surface of a modern smartphone with all the features enabled is slightly terrifying.

79:

The EU is also rather more decentralised in its setup than any actual country, even the United States. If and when it gets to the point of being an actual nation with its own foreign and defence policy, its own armed forces and potentially even its own nuclear deterrent, that system may begin to show its drawbacks: The only thing worse than a head of state making bad decisions during a crisis is a deadlocked executive council that can't or won't make any decisions at all.

80:

Far be it for me to suggest that the "ceremony" on 05 September is what did for her.

Nope.

Incubation for COVID19 is something like 3-4 days, even with the later, faster variants like Omicron. The prime ministerial thing was far too close to the end to be connected.

The only bug that could get her that fast would be norovirus, and I'm pretty sure we'd have noticed a projectile-vomiting prime minister ...

81:

Phinch @ 64:

There's a part of me which thinks Liz was on the way to joining the choir invisible but by force of will was hanging until Boris got kicked out of No. 10

She and Philip were married for 73-1/2 years. Such long married spouses often don't survive the demise of a partner for long. She managed to hang on for a little over a year without him. That's kind of remarkable.

82:

Charlie @ 21 WHAT are you going to replace it with that is BETTER - rather than more of the same?
A question I always ask - is it really broke / does it actually need fixing?
- @ 75 * A republic is simply a government of the people by the people:*
ALSO Not Even Wrong - for reasons given below.

Sean Eric F
Republics are (as far as I know) by definition democratic - NOT BLOODY LIKELY*
The most serene Republic of Venice was a totally repressive autarky, backed up bu the full oppressive force of the Catholic church ...
Or lots of the periods of the Classical Roman Republic featured the Plebeians being suppressed & oppressed by the Optimates & the Senatorial class.
The phrase is: "NOT EVEN WRONG" ...
{ AS EC has also noted - terribly sad, that! }

83:

Yup. iPhone 15 is due to introduce USB-C and by then the global SOS service may be working outside North America.

However, Apple are moving entirely to eSIMs, and the cellco I use doesn't support them (yet). If that changes I'll consider a 15; otherwise, who knows ...

(I insist on keeping my current account because it gets cheap-to-nearly-free international roaming data grandfathered in from the pre-Brexit Before Times contract. If they kill off those old contracts, welp, no more obstacle to changing provider, but until then keeping my current phone contract T&C's are worth far more to me than a new shiny.)

84:

Kardashev @ 71:

"It has already been announced that he will reign as Charles III. There probably isn't a hard and fast rule about it."

AFAIK it's a personal choice as to how the Sovereign will be named, like the Pope's. Doubtless many helpful suggestions would be given beforehand.

I was just wondering because several times I've been told rather emphatically around here that he would NOT BE Charles III (because of the rather messy situation with I and II), and then almost instantly here he IS ... Charles III?

85:

“I want to see the royal family desestablished and the various nations of the UK join the modern world.”

As opposed to poor backwards places like Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, the Netherlands and Japan? Purely from observation of outcomes, constitutional monarchy appears to have something going for it.

86:

Charles I was problematic (started a few wars, got himself beheaded ...) but Charles II was somewhat less so: apparently died of a stroke, perhaps hastened by dabbling in alchemy (playing with mercury) or of kidney failure.

Now, King John would be a bad name ...

87:

t's safe to use an old/unsupported iPhone as long as you don't associate it with an Apple ID with any payment service (other than, possibly, pre-paid gift cards) -- not a credit card or bank account, anyway.

But also no email. Or the root will forward everything in your email accounts to Slobinia. And that will give them access to your passwords.

Not you and I. But I support folks my age and older (and some younger) who really don't want to give up that phone they bought in 2016 (iPhone 6s) as it STILL WORKS and just don't get that they shouldn't click on bogus emails, messages, etc... They just don't understand. If it was 70 years ago in suburban US they'd keep buying bogus magazine subscriptions from that nice looking boy/girl going door to door raising money for next years college costs.

And don't get me started on all the idiots who wonder why their ex knows too much about them and I'm trying to tell them to STOP buying those cheap Android phones at the flea markets. BUT NAME BRAND PHONES COST TOO MUCH. There's a reason.

88:

I had this perverse idea that he would go for an Alfred. (I have no idea if this works in the system of names you have over there.)

Then the next day Alfred E. Newman's face would be superimposed everywhere.

89:

The only bug that could get her that fast would be norovirus, and I'm pretty sure we'd have noticed a projectile-vomiting prime minister ...

As a wild guess, the bug may have been something like: "...and her name's Elizabeth. I just cannot deal with this any more. Every year it's worse."

...

Speaking of not dealing, I had the amusing thought that, at some point in the near future, King Charles III gives a speech along the lines of "The Windsors have had enough of this Tory insanity. We are stepping down as your monarchs, and I will devote the rest of my hopefully short reign to unraveling my family's assets from those of the Crown. Choose someone else to be the figurehead for your madness. Or don't. Either of my sons could be a better prime minister than the person currently warming that chair, and once he is an ordinary citizen, William may indeed run for office. Windsors are gone. Peace out."

I give something like this a probability that could easily be rounded to zero, but it certainly would change things rather drastically.

90:

"Charles could choose from any of his four names - Charles Philip Arthur George. - BBC"

The man could have legitimately been King Arthur and went with Charles III.

91:

As for which bug got Elizabeth in the end, there's a lot of speculation, some by well informed medical people, that it's long covid. Apparently her symptoms over the past few months look like post-exertional malaise (PEM) that's a common Long Covid thing. As well as circulation issues. Also common.

So it could be the jubilee celebration that did her in, though it took a few months, and the swearing in with the PEM pushed her over the edge.

I doubt we'll ever know. The press and the government both seem to be avoiding any mention of long covid in any context.

92:

The emphasis was unjustified. AIRI he made some comment a long time ago that he would prefer to be George because it didn't have the bad associations that Charles did, but not that he was definitely going to do it. Nevertheless everyone took it as being set in stone, and eventually forgot the "will be George" and remembered only the "won't be Charles" because it was that long ago. I don't find it surprising that he has apparently changed his mind / stopped caring / decided that there was too much confusing shit going on already without him dropping another little turd on the pile, or whatever.

He definitely wouldn't be Arthur if he's got even a smidgeon of sense. Wherever he went there would be at least one person in the crowd to shout out "Well I didn't vote for you" or other phrases of similar origin.

93:

I'm imagining he's part way through a speech, feeling exhausted and not really noticing what's going on, reading from his script, when he suddenly realises he's just read out a sentence that is rather different from the kind of thing people would be expecting him to say. Breaks off a few words into the next one, says "sorry, excuse me a moment", flips the script back to the first page, looks more closely at the headings... "Oh, golly, I appear to have been given the wrong speech - this is for Charles Stross." Has a quick flip through it forward from where he broke off, and gets the general sense of it; some flustered chappie bustles on to the stage with a handful of papers: "I'm terribly sorry, sir, this is your speech here." Charles goes "Oh, don't worry about that, this one is better anyway", and carries on from where he left off...

94:

RIP QE II

for those who cherish her, my sympathy

not the worst of hereditary dictators

and no that is not snark... she warrants mild praise for mostly behaving moderately well... but loses major points for never quite recognizing how much the world changed and UK's resistance to those changes... here in USA we've done a bit better on most things... till 2015...

sadly she was another insulated billionaire whose kids were somewhat spoiled by insulation and indifference to massive misery...

for about 10 (12?) days UK will be a weird mode of solemnness and side-glances as everyone tries to gauge whether it is safe to express boredom and indifference... question is how much drinking will be in public... or will everyone simply stay home to get pickled waiting out the mourning period...

whereas here in the USA we now return to regularly scheduled coverage of an quasi-contained pandemic, climate change shitstorm, impeding economic collapse, 4th Reich revival and Republican-funded voter suppression...

95:

Re: HMQ; I’m a bit surprised to be a little sad. She was a decent boss back 30-some years ago, which rather scarily means she was the same age I am now.

Re: shiny; oh, you people and your obsessive acquisitiveness - despite being CTO of a software/AI company I have an iPhone 4 that makes a decent iPod (except for no longer being able to load my podcasts, dammit)and camera, an iPad Air 2 that still has perfectly good battery life, and an iMac 27” from 2012. And I stopped wearing a watch when I quit being a line manager. The only tech-thing I buy up to date is Pi, and the 4 has been the current model for too long.

96:

Welp. Blacklisting bbc.co.nk for a month.

97:

Also, she was a decent queen. RIP.

98:

»As opposed to poor backwards places like Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, the Netherlands and Japan? Purely from observation of outcomes, constitutional monarchy appears to have something going for it.«

I think you have the wrong end of the stick there.

What you can learn from those countries is that if the royals realize, and behave as, that their main function is to be a tourist attraction, (style=disney princess) they get to go on, because it would be too much paperwork to get rid of them.

99:

TNow, where are the plans for the Humane Invention...?

I believe I mentioned this interesting device in the previous thread. 1789, and all that... :-)

100:

I wouldn't say no to an iPhone 14 Pro Max if one fell on my head, but my 12 Pro Max

No offense but my iPhone XS is still going strong. What are these shinies you speak of?

101:

De-lurking after several years because for once I've managed to reach the end of a comment thread before it becomes hopelessly out-of-date. Hello, everyone.

Regnal names: A passing monarchy-watcher (my wife) informs me that it's customary for the new monarch to adopt one of his/her Christian names as a regnal name, but not necessarily the first one. That gave Charles the choice of (as any ful kno) Charles, Philip, Arthur or George.

Arthur is out for a start, right out. He would spend the rest of his reign explaining to Americans, "No, I am not King Arthur II because King Arthur I WAS NOT REAL". (Also there's always the risk that the legendary guy might turn out to be real after all, wake from his slumbers and burst out from under Glastonbury Tor demanding a duel with the usurper.)

Philip... well, tricky. Obviously named for his father, but it's not a British regnal name and tends to be associated with another Philip. For anyone who's seen the movie Bill, any mention of "King Philip" immediately provokes the response "KING PHILIP THE SECOND OF SPAIN?!?!" Said Philip (KING PHILIP THE SECOND etc etc) first attempted to get hold of the English crown by marrying Mary I, then when that didn't work out, tried taking it by force via a not-entirely-successful naval expedition. Everyone should see Bill, by the way.

Charles? Problematic because Charles I managed to break the kingdom, while Charles II was the "continuity candidate" king ("Normal service is resumed, move along, nothing to see here, just forget the last 11 years ever happened, everything's fine - my, that's a nasty cough, hope you're not coming down with something - can anyone smell burning? - what are those Dutch warships doing in the Thames? - ooh, lovely oranges, Nell - another drink, anyone?"). To be fair there was a flowering of culture during his reign, but he committed the error of not producing a son and heir, thus enabling his brother the King of Scotland to take the throne. This did not end well.

So that leaves George. Yes, the first four were a variable lot, but George V steered the monarchy through some tricky patches (world war, recession, rise of socialism) and was credited with modernising it and bringing it fractionally closer to the people. After Edward VIII nearly broke the monarchy again, George VI picked up the pieces and held things together through WWII. And he was Charles's grandfather. The message behind "George" would be "safe pair of hands".

So my wife's money was heavily on "George VII". But there you go. Charles III it is. Try not to break anything, Charles.

Someone suggested "Alfred" earlier on. The problems with that are (i) the first Alfred was not technically King of England, so we're back into "No, I am not King Alfred II" territory; (ii) Alfred is the only British monarch to have the title "the Great" attached to his name. That's always going to be a tough act to follow.

102:

Switzerland operates a similar system, I believe

103:

ie. Switzerland has a system where a group of people take it in turn to be leader

104:

Charles II did produces quite a few sones, just no legitimate heirs although at least one had a go at claiming the family chair.

Regnal numbers in England really got started with "Edward, third of that name since the conquest" (George R R Martin was paraphrasing in some quite popular books wot he wrote) as he was the latest in a sequence of Edwards and it got confusing, particularly in legislation. Successive Williams had been OK, and the first couple of Henrys had Stephen in between, but three Edwards was a bit too much. Edward the Confessor didn't get a retrospective number being pre-conquest so technically Arthur or Alfred would be firsts, unless anywhere he was head of state had already had one (or more) in which case Churchill would apply and the highest number in that sequence would be used.

105:

I agree, and that we badly need change. But I am saying that simply abolishing the monarchy per se is likely to make things worse (TPTB being who they are), and that it is a serious design flaw to have all authorities appointed by linked mechanisms (as in the USA). That is an argument against absolute monarchies, dictatorships and party-controlled republics as well as fully elected republics.

And King Charles' heart is in the right place, he has a spine, and only part of his brain is out to lunch, so I would a DAMN sight sooner see him have more power than Truss yet more. But not absolute power (nor would he want it).

106:

Because she told our local MP (a conservative) that we didn't want Truss, my wife got Truss's statement about the Queen's death. Her mailer put it in the Trash folder.

107:

Charles II founded the Royal Society, rebuilt the Navy, was far more religiously tolerant than Parliament and remained on good terms with his numerous mistresses.

108:

H
I was going to say this anyway, but:
The current arrogant & incompetent's misgovernment will present Charles with problems .. his long-standing "green" agenda runs contrary to the tory slash-&-burn attitude to the environment. Then there's the little matter of Global Warming, with crooked lying deniers spread all through the tory right/fascist wing. Um

Re; Charles II ... VERY intelligent, very slippery { After the business with the Cromwells he had to be } deliberately mixed with the intellectual/scientific elites of the time - also determined that now the Civil Wars were OVER, they were not going to happen again.
Hence "the Act of Oblivion" & his attempts, not always successful - some innocents were judicially murdered, to stop the ultra-Puritans from starting it all again after the fake Popish Plot was supposedly discovered & trying to stop another round of mutual slaughter.
Downside? He had a wandering dick, even for that louche age.

EC
But I am saying that simply abolishing the monarchy per se is likely to make things worse Yup - much, much worse - it would lead to an openly fascist dictatorship, at present, given the arseholes currently in power.

109:

I don't think a republic, in the 18th-century sense of a state governed wisely by disinterested people, as advocated the Stoic social critics of Rome (Cicero, Cato), has ever been anything that existed in history for very long. Democracy, with everyone fighting for the controls of the ship, that we got. (See Gordon S. Wood, The Radicalism of the American Revolution, to this point.)

In the United States, "Republic, not Democracy" has been a racist slogan since the 1950s and helped the appalling racist Herman Talmadge win election to the Senate. It became code for minority rule under states-rights segregation and still is so. The radical right Catholic Leonard Leo would like to see it made the law of the USA and may succeed in doing so. See my remarks to this point. They even have cites.

Democracy, as the US founders feared and as we have seen, is indeed vulnerable to demagoguery.

I am cynical, as Jefferson was, generally of too much worship of Constitutions. Jefferson felt they ought to be rewritten relatively frequently over time; "the dead shall not rule the living" is something he might have said. I do not think states can get wise governance out of any set of rules - our experience with anarchism and democracy on the internet speaks to this point; no set of rules has controlled the trolls, the sociopaths, and the insanely greedy. We need new ideas of governance.

(Lots more to write here, but there is not enough space in this margin to write it.)

110:

And our shootings. Don’t forget the shootings.

111:

I'm seeing people on twitter raising the issue of her pro imperialist stance and also the giving of honours to various nasty people e.g. Kissinger. To which the reply is usually, that was the government of the day, she had to go along with it.

So the next question is, what is the purpose of a monarchy who act as human shields for whatever reprehensible things the gvt of the day does? The answer is, to shore up current gvt and power relations, in which case, the criticism of the monarchy as an institution and the individuals who make it up going along with it all, still stands.

112:

guthrie
AND every other form of government, too!
Meanwhile it appears Jeff Bezos has proved, yet again, that he's an arrogant shit of the first water - on the subject of HM, blaming her for other people's actions in his ignorance of a non-US system

113:

I note that the government has stated that until mourning is over, all press announcements and other communication from government will cease, except via gov.uk. Gosh, that really does sound like an excellent way to bury bad news, doesn't it?

114:

Charlie@4, personally I'm planning to get a PineTime, the first smartwatch to even slightly appeal to me, because it's not based on mobile-phone-level tech: it's an embedded-class CPU (a Cortex M4 SoC with 64Kib RAM and 4MiB flash), so the battery lasts for about a week rather than a day, and it's completely hackable (multiple people have written alternative firmware for it already, and the stuff it talks to on your phone is free software too). It's got significantly more oomph than my old microcomputers had back in the 80s, and some useful sensors, so it should be possible to do all sorts of stuff on this thing.

Also... it's under $30, so I'm actually getting two: one of them is sealed shut and can be used as a watch, the other is basically just the bits and can be messed about with and unbricked, so it's a good platform to develop stuff you're going to stick on the "working" watch. Sure, it can't do everything an Apple Watch can, but it can do really surprisingly much...

Downside: well, low-cost hackable kit is definitely not going to have the polish of Apple anything. But then nothing I use has the polish of Apple anything. :)

115:

AlanW@20, bizarrely, the Last Night of the Proms (and the night before) has been cancelled. You'd think a night of pomp and flummery like the Last Night would be just the sort of thing they'd want to keep, but no. I suspect this is because the schedule is totally jammed with royal stuff and they don't have time to put anything else on air, but I wouldn't know because the only BBC thing I listen to these days is the Proms.

116:

Canada's plans for dealing with the death of the Queen are, it appears, a big secret. Ottawa has rebuffed the Star's requests for information.

117:

I note that the government has stated that until mourning is over, all press announcements and other communication from government will cease, except via gov.uk. Gosh, that really does sound like an excellent way to bury bad news, doesn't it?

Will they also be putting non-mourning-related decisions on hold? Because otherwise, yeah, that does sound like an excellent opportunity for skulduggery…

118:

James Bond has a problem.

He's always been "On HER Majesty's Secret Service"

"HIS majesty's Secret Service" just doesn't sound right.

119:

"HIS majesty's Secret Service" just doesn't sound right."

Agreed, let's just make it "Their Majesty's Secret Service", and watch all the culture warriors' heads explode.

120:

@ 113 & 117
VERY suspicious indeed.
However, "The Last Night of the Proms" is hugely misunderstood -it's the right sort of patriotism, if you see what I mean - quite a lot of EU flags have shown up in recent years, f'rinstance.
It's usually a deliberate romp & just for fun - something the rabid xenophobes & brexshiteers & manipulators in the tory party simply do not grok at all ....
Talking of which Radio 3 is very subtle .... If you listen to the short commentaries between each piece of music, then you will find out that it has some connection, which being R3 can be quite tenuous, to her late Maj.
But otherwise, it's completely normal programming, with excellent music, well-played & recorded.

121:

Either way, Miss Moneypenny will have to order all new stationary.

122:

The iPhone 6s is only very recently obsolete. Mine is running iOS 15.6.1, updated about 3 weeks ago, and although it won't get iOS 16, frankly I expect Apple to keep security patches coming for a little while yet (for these A9 and A10 processor iPhones). I got a 6s because of the form factor - don't want a BigPhone - and am looking at the second-generation SE for my next phone. Same size as the 6s, only discontinued in March so likely to have OS updates for the next couple of years at least (the last 6s was discontinued 3 years ago).

123:

None of those countries bar Denmark have the monarch as their head of state. Because that's ridiculous.

124:

I got a 6s because of the form factor - don't want a BigPhone

I recently upgraded from a 5S to a 12Mini. The problem for me was that, if you're not running the latest OS, a lot of app updates also become unavailable.

The 12 Mini is essentially identical in dimensions to the 5S -- still fits easily in my pockets. It is functionally bigger, though, because it's all display -- no space wasted at the bottom.

125:

Liz Trash is going to get away without being questioned on increasing the National Debt to cap energy bills and, given the riding prices and interest rates, and following Bozo doing it on a massive scale for COVID, that's serious.

127:

Frankly, any larger-capacity iphone that has fallen off the support tail still makes a decent iPod. Some of them even have analog headphone sockets, too (although good cheap bluetooth DACs are trivially easy to find these days if you want to use a newer phone to drive your old stereo amplifier).

Just remove the SIM, delete any non-essential software, and either use it as a jukebox for your old MP3s or as a client for a streaming audio service over WiFi.

128:

9 - Well, since it was the evening of the first Thursday after the first Thursday of the month, I know I was in Cairns Bar, 15 Miller Street, Glasgow when I didn't hear the announcement, and am pretty certain that Argyll Street Station (BR) is the closest I will be to any of the cited focii during the mourning period.

24 - I thought that "republican" (without the ultraviolence tendencies of the Provisional IRA) was a good thing in Ireland (island of) except for parts of the 6 counties of NornIrn.

55 - Since Speaker to Plants was on the Balmoral estate, we missed out on a chance to measure the Speed of Monarchy. This is important because it may be above the speed of light.

129:

Surprised nobody has mentioned that Elizabeth Windsor died before the start of this discussion. Newscasters and politicians had grabbed their black suits and ties mid afternoon and Nicholas Witchell kept referring to her in the past tense long before the official announcement.

NBC says Elizabeth Truss was told at 16:30.

130:

Are you confusing the head of state (UK=King) with the head of government (UK=Prime Minister)?

All the constitutional monarchies have the monarch as head of state, that's their role. But their role is basically ceremonial and power is normally wielded by the head of government, who will be an elected politician.

131:

This is a response to both this post and Our Gathering Crises from a couple of weeks ago. Watching this all from the U.S., I'm struck by several things:

  • I haven't followed British news much since Boris announced his resignation (I've taken a bit of a news break this summer), but I'm surprised by how everything seems to be going wrong at once in the UK, and at much greater speed than it was earlier this summer. I feel a bit like I'm in that gif from Community where the guy comes in with pizzas and discovers that everything is on fire.

  • The simultaneous crises of democracy in the US, the UK, and elsewhere in the developed world feel like enemy action. Russia and China seem like likely culprits, but I have no idea if that's actually true or truly possible given the extent of the crises, or to what extent. I spend four years in college studying political communication--rhetoric, media effects, how to measure public opinion, etc. My main takeaway from that is that getting the public to agree with your position en masse is a very difficult problem, even if you're the president. (Rather, the public usually selects the politicians who reflect their own positions.) The idea that foreign intelligence operations succeeded in doing it to 20-30% of the population of several industrialized countries at once strains credulity.

  • I feel genuinely sad for the death of Elizabeth II, but still think it's a bad idea to have a system in which a head of state is selected by the genetic lottery rather than by the people. Also, having been aware of Operation London Bridge, Operation Unicorn, etc., the official BBC coverage of her death feels weirdly propagandistic. It's also leaking heavily into U.S. news coverage.

  • It seems like Truss and the Tories will now have some breathing room this fall to pull things together, but I don't see how they can do so if they continue to act in the same way as they have since David Cameron came to power.

This leads me to a few questions:

  • Why specifically are people calling Truss the iron weathervane? I'm guessing this is a Thatcher reference combined with an accusation that she's a flip-flopper? Or is it something else? Also, why is it bad if she changes her views in response to changing circumstances? Or is that not what's happening?

  • I genuinely don't understand how the British public isn't constantly in the streets if things are as bad as they seem to be. Why does the public tolerate the continuance of the current government (well, of the Tory government anyway, even if the PM and cabinet have changed) and not demand new elections?

  • My last class on British history was in high school, but wasn't Charles II known as a weird libertine whose father, Charles I, was arguably the worst British monarch since King John? Why would Charles III want to be associated with any of that?

  • Is there any word on Charles III's health? Google hasn't given me much, but I saw those photos of his swollen hands that circulated earlier this year. Doesn't that suggest heart failure or some kind of circulatory problem?

  • Can Charles III's pro-environmental views reasonably be expected to have any influence on UK policy?

  • Given the coming energy crisis, are British people investing in firewood, pellet stoves, coal stoves, propane or kerosene heaters, pre-purchased heating oil, or micro wind turbines? It seems like any or all of those could help with energy bills if people started buying them now.

Sorry if any of the above are dumb questions--it's just stuff I've been wondering about lately.

132:

Duffy @ 118:

James Bond has a problem.

He's always been "On HER Majesty's Secret Service"

"HIS majesty's Secret Service" just doesn't sound right.

Well, it was HERS when that fellow wrote the book and it was still HERS when they made the book into a movie, so I don't see the problem.

133:

The idea that foreign intelligence operations succeeded in doing it to 20-30% of the population of several industrialized countries at once strains credulity.

Speculation based on the observable events: it was a combination of factors, but largely down to the ability of social media to allow geographically dispersed minority groups with a shared common interest to form coherent networks, for good or evil -- everyone from Z gauge model railroad enthusiasts, to members of small religious sects, to trans people, to neo-Nazis. In this case if you put neo-Nazis together with rich libertarian billionaires who want to cut back the regulatory state and have deep pockets to fund right-wing causes and throw in hostile state-level actors with propaganda operations, you get a toxic critical mass that festers and can be nurtured by encouraging group A to persecute group B, generating headlines to recruit more members.

In this case it was a group of like-minded nationalists and fascists -- think Steve Bannon, but he's merely one American example: think Erdogan's backers, think Modi in India, think the ERG group in the Parliamentary Conservative Party, think Putin's government, think PiS in Poland -- start sharing best practices, networking, and building connections internationally. I know talk of a "fascist internationale" sounds a bit bizarre, but that's what we've seen emerging since roughly 1990.

(Charles III's health): Doesn't that suggest heart failure or some kind of circulatory problem?

He apparently had COVID19. He's 73. That's not a good combination (it's not influenza, it's a disease of the vascular system and cardiac or arterial complications are the go-to: I've seen suggestions that the cause of his mother's demise was probably related to complications of COVID19 from earlier in the year.)

Given the coming energy crisis, are British people investing in firewood, pellet stoves, coal stoves, propane or kerosene heaters, pre-purchased heating oil, or micro wind turbines?

Firstly, the British population are poorer than you think -- think Kentucky or Mississippi: there are a lot of billionaires and a lot of people who already can't afford to run a hot shower once a week. Secondly, we're a very compact overwhelmingly urban nation -- if the USA was populated to the same density as England there'd be 3 billion of you. Most cities are smoke-free zones where burning coal is outright illegal. Most domestic heating comes from natural gas delivered via pipes in the ground, stuff like fuel oil or firewood are either bulky or expensive.

134:

"Firstly, the British population are poorer than you think -- think Kentucky or Mississippi: there are a lot of billionaires and a lot of people who already can't afford to run a hot shower once a week."

Seriously? Wow. Even the poorest people I've ever known in the U.S. (think rural Oklahoma folks on government commodities (i.e., white-label canned goods produced by the government) or housing-insecure people in Washington, D.C. who did odd jobs for cash) could get a hot shower several times per week. I always think of the British as being on par with the U.S., but that's mind-blowingly bad.

135:

Why specifically are people calling Truss the iron weathervane? I'm guessing this is a Thatcher reference combined with an accusation that she's a flip-flopper?
Exactly so, with the note that she literally does sometimes change her mind as fast and radically as the wind changes. It was actually the French who started it AFAIK.
* Or is it something else? * No.
Also, why is it bad if she changes her views in response to changing circumstances?
Well, it wouldn't be but she does sometimes change her mind from day to day.

136:

COVID can also hit the thyroid, which can cause those symptoms.

137:

A fascist internationale, unfortunately, is about right... with one side note: money came from the US to help the Brexit campaign. This is something we know, as it's been in the papers. A lot of this is driven by the Superpower (sigh) billionaires.

The one, or maybe it's two, things that might stop it: first and foremost, the overturning of Roe v. Wade. That's going to turn a LOT of people out to the polls in the US (and the suggestions that they're going to go after birth control).

Then, of course, there's The Former Guy, who may actually get to look at the inside of a jail cell.

If those happen - and I'm seeing some of the not-insane GOP siding with the Dems (like the GOP governor of Maryland, who's urging people to vote for the Democratic candidate, and the GOP who sided with the Dems in South Carolina. There could be windfall profits taxes, and real increases in the top tax brackets, and maybe even a wealth tax. Those would at least slow them down....

138:

So we've stopped being Elizabethans but are we Carolingians now? Odd thing to worry about but it's been bugging me all day.

139:

On the adjective from Charles; looks like the current convention was that Charles I's reign was the Caroline era and Charles II's the Carolean era, so by that logic Charles III's needs a third adjective. Carolingian might be pushing it (no one needs comparisons with 'Charles the Great') as well as being suspiciously European. Which leaves us with what - Carolic? Charlish?

140:

Carbolic? Or is that an acidic comment?

141:

Be careful. Looking around where I live being formally a Republic and claiming to be a democracy doesn't protect you against lousy government, and it's good protection against authoritarian government.

Perhaps having an essentially powerless monarch is the best choice.

FWIW, I suspect that humans are incapable of having a good government in a large society. The problems are too complex, and the folks with power will tend to be those who scheme to retain it rather than doing the best they can at their jobs.

142:

Sorry about your dictionaries, but Rome was a Republic, and that doesn't describe the government that Rome had. Unless you only consider people of certain families (tribes) to be people. See Patrician and Plebeian. (Actually, Athens only gets to be a democracy by not considering women or foreigners to be people. But they basically didn't, so that's fair.)

143:

EC
Thanks for that - it is, indeed serious.
See also - but you gotta remeber that Liz Trump worked for Shell, once upon a time ...

Thane
everything seems to be going wrong at once in the UK, and at much greater speed than it was earlier this summer. - not "seems" - it is - the scale & disaster of the fuck-up will become apparent in the next 6-9 months, before the end of the 2023 "hungry gap".
- O.K. - HOW do we get rid of a government that has a supposedly-legitimate 2 more years to run, before there must be an election?
Imagine in the USA, you want to change the guvmint 6 months after a Mid-Term .. um, err...
Can Charles III's pro-environmental views reasonably be expected to have any influence on UK policy? - I forsee a really major, almost certainly behind-the-scenes, but monumental clash on this one. Trump, oops Truss is ex-Shell, her set of cronies are all "Drill, baby, drill" freaks. I think it's going to be messy.
...
And we are NOT THAT POOR, actually, but our Gini index, like yours is going in entirely the wrong direction.

144:

Plebeian status was basically irrelevant by the end of the 300's.

From Wikipedia: "A person becoming nobilis by election to the consulate was a novus homo (a new man). Marius and Cicero are notable examples of novi homines (new men) in the late Republic,[30] when many of Rome's richest and most powerful men – such as Lucullus, Marcus Crassus, and Pompey – were plebeian nobles. "

145:

stuff like fuel oil or firewood are either bulky or expensive.

Be glad the UK that fuel oil never really caught on for home heating. The US has a few million or so ecological disasters lurking in back yards and cellars all over the US. But mostly in the northeast quadrant.

Basically the sludge at the bottom after years of use builds up. And what little moisture gets into the tank slowly rusts out the bottom. So over time you either get a leak of sludge with all kinds of heavy metals concentrated or removal is a near asbestos event as most of them have to be cut up to be removed from cellars. Cut up with the as much sludge pumped out as possible but still sludge.

146:

could get a hot shower several times per week. I always think of the British as being on par with the U.S., but that's mind-blowingly bad.

Most all energy costs in Europe are higher than in the US. Various reasons but they are. Petrol / gasoline for your car due to taxes being used for government funding and to point people to smaller cars.

But in general compared to Europe until recently, heating and cooling costs in the US have been cheap. People complaining about higher energy bills in the US are complaining about very cheap becoming somewhat cheap.

148:

On the adjective from Charles; looks like the current convention was that Charles I's reign was the Caroline era and Charles II's the Carolean era, so by that logic Charles III's needs a third adjective. Carolingian might be pushing it (no one needs comparisons with 'Charles the Great') as well as being suspiciously European. Which leaves us with what - Carolic? Charlish?

Given that SpinLizzy seems likely to push nations into declaring independence from the UK, I'm guessing that the reign of Charles III might be called The Devolution.

What will be interesting is if The Firm reinvents itself as a pan-Commonwealth booster, and basically reimagines little England as the oldest among many nations, not the first.

I'm positing this, because it's seemed to be that Harry's bugging out feels less like Edward VII's abdication, and rather more like The Firm setting up an offshore branch in case things get really bad at the home office. With the Queen dying in Scotland, it feels perhaps like the monarchy might want to start belonging to the parts of the Commonwealth that will have it, and less to the former metropole that's, well, devolving.

149:

The simultaneous crises of democracy in the US, the UK, and elsewhere in the developed world feel like enemy action.

I'm going to disagree with our host and put this down largely to material conditions. This is a symptom of an aging electorate who grew up under the post-war settlement and are largely voting along very narrow sectional lines because they fear what their twilight years might be like.

Social media and traditional media run by oligarchs play into all of this, but the ultimate cause is material and is heavily linked to capitalism running unchecked post Reagan/Thatcher.

150:

I think I've said this before, but for me, one of the best comparisons for Queen Elizabeth II is Kamehameha the Great. He unified the Hawaiian Islands just as European explorers reached them, providing us the last and best example of how state-level societies arise from chieftainships.

By the time he died, thanks to imported diseases, the native Hawaiian population had crashed by over 60% (by estimate) and the islands were being colonized by Whites. Nonetheless, 19th Century Hawaiians became astonishingly literate (more so than Americans of the same period), and people who'd participated in the end of their creation of civilization wrote down the verbal histories of what they and their ancestors had done.

Without arguing about the virtues of having kings and queens, I'd group Elizabeth and Kamehameha together, as being great monarchs who nonetheless presided over great declines in their kingdoms. And so it goes.

151:

Prior to the dead bengal tiger being hurled onto the table Truss was already talking about restarting fracking and pulling out of the ECHR (it being championed in the UK by that arch commie Winston Churchill). With any luck the suspension of parliament will but the brakes on that a bit.

We already do have significant signs of unrest among the electorate with multiple strikes from the usual suspects (rail and public service unions) to organisations that have never gone of strike in history (barristers FFS). It'll be interesting to see if Truss & Co can understand WHY people are going on strike - it's mainly as an alternative to doing the capitalist thing and changing jobs so they can earn enough to eat.

Our local services have already hit crisis point since all the bin-men and bus drivers with HGV licences have quit to drive trucks, so bus timetables and bin collections are being cut. Health and legal professionals are fully aware that quitting en-mass would result in the collapse of the NHS and legal systems.

OFC privatising the NHS and banging up people indefinitely could well be on Truss's to-do list. And the cadaverous caricature Rees-Mogg as business secretary is the stuff of nightmares.

Where's the Black Pharaoh when you need him?

152:

Royal succession questions:

Charles is now king, with the coronation making it official in about a year.

Camilla's official title is Queen Consort. Will she be addressed as "Your Majesty"?

Does that make scandal plagued Prince Andrew (Epstein's BFF) the new Duke of York (the title of the King's younger brother)?

Or will that title go to their younger brother, Prince Edward because of Andrew's disgrace and stripping of titles and rank?

Wills and Kate are now the new Prince and Princess of Wales.

When Wills becomes king (which could be decades from now because the royal family typically live to about 100), does Harry become the new Duke of York, or has he also been stripped of all ranks and titles? If not Harry, who? There isn't another brother.

153:

NPR reports that POTUS Biden is going to attend the funeral. It will be interesting to see what heads of state/government aren't there.

154:

148 - It was Edward VIII who abdicated.

151 - Is this the first time that 2 successive PMs have derogued parliament?

155:

Be glad the UK that fuel oil never really caught on for home heating.

Fuel oil was a thing for heating: the house I grew up in had it.

It got replaced by a modern gas boiler right quick in 1974, can't think why. (Okay, so: the price of fuel oil quadrupled overnight. Thanks, OPEC!)

Again, I once dated a farmer's daughter. Farms get fuel oil (or maybe propane these days). Farms are far enough out of town that they get power from overhead cables, like in the USA, and running a gas pipe out to a farm could mean digging a half mile trench alongside a road, so cost measured in hundreds of thousands.

But those are edge cases: the UK population is mostly not rural, and a gas mains is at most 50 metres away.

156:

Harry's bugging out feels less like Edward VII's abdication, and rather more like The Firm setting up an offshore branch in case things get really bad at the home office.

No, Harry's bugging out was due to a toxic combination of the deeply racist yellow press and certain other royals being screechingly racist about her. (In addition to the Princess Michael thing -- the apology was damage control: I'm certain she intended the message that was received -- the "N" word was allegedly used by Andrew, per the papers: that seems unlikely but it's certainly something Prince Philip would have said.)

Harry actually seems the least out of touch of the entire Firm, and frankly, while I'm not a monarchist, I'd be happier if he was in line to be king instead of his brother.

157:

148 - It was Edward VIII who abdicated.

Thanks, I stand corrected.

158:

The simultaneous crises of democracy in the US, the UK, and elsewhere in the developed world feel like enemy action.

I'm going to disagree with our host and put this down largely to material conditions. This is a symptom of an aging electorate who grew up under the post-war settlement and are largely voting along very narrow sectional lines because they fear what their twilight years might be like.

I think you're both right. I know a lot of folks in the US who are either Trumpers through and through or who think Trump is a POS but voted for him to avoid the evil D's. Both of them are trying to hold on to a past that never was and get government off their backs. And both groups tend to post things on FB which is dubious at best and false with a few seconds of checking. But if it reinforces their desires it gets posted.

And in ways I would have never imagined the old folks around here are trying to stop the growth in our city as it destroys what they think of as the perfect way to live in the suburbs. These are most folks 70 and older telling the younger ones how the city should be for the next 70 years. [eyeroll]

159:

Fuel oil is still commonly used in rural areas with no gas supply (and it's often a matter of much further, as many villages don't have it) but, as you say, only by a small proportion of the population. Cumbria, Ceredigion and Highland are extreme examples, where a majority of houses are oil-heated, at least according to this source - but the population densities are very low, especially in the last!

https://www.nongasmap.org.uk/

160:

In the US heating oil seems to be on inertia. I doubt there are more than a trivial number of new systems installed. Rural areas have mostly switched to propane when the occasion arises. A heating oil tank on a property reduces the sale price.

But there will likely be fuel oil trucks running routes for 30 or more years. Unless civilization falls.

161:

Apparently, Prince Philip made Meghan feel welcome - though I agree that his language was often offensive! There are far worse ways of being offensive than just the language you use. I suspect the other two you mentioned, and probably lesser players perhaps including some staff, though we shall never know for sure.

162:

I lived in a collective house that was heated by oil. Around 1975. Since then, most houses, including the one my late wife and I had in Chicago were run on gas. (Ok, in that house, it was coal, converted to oil, converted to gas....)

163:

Thane @ 134:

"Firstly, the British population are poorer than you think -- think Kentucky or Mississippi: there are a lot of billionaires and a lot of people who already can't afford to run a hot shower once a week."

Seriously? Wow. Even the poorest people I've ever known in the U.S. (think rural Oklahoma folks on government commodities (i.e., white-label canned goods produced by the government) or housing-insecure people in Washington, D.C. who did odd jobs for cash) could get a hot shower several times per week. I always think of the British as being on par with the U.S., but that's mind-blowingly bad.

Those poorest USAians (if they have indoor bathrooms) probably have plumbing that's less than a century old. Consider also how much of the UK's infrastructure is now "listed" in one way or another. Would they even be allowed to replace antiquated, inefficient plumbing even if they could afford it?

Plus, I suspect the banksters plundered the U.K. to an even greater extent than they swindled people here in the U.S. during the housing bubble & ensuing mortgage crisis.

164:

Actually heating oil is common in the UK outside cities. Some use gas, but a lot have heating oil. Even better, the vast majority of tanks have been upgraded to plastic over the last 30 years, so you don't need to worry about the rust. The plastic ones do have a lifespan though, and disposal can be a bit of a pain, but I've really not heard about many problems at all in the last couple of years living out here in the countryside. Cellars are irrelvant here as well because 1) we aren't stupid enough to put such tanks in cellars and 2) we don't have many cellars.

165:

Andrew has been Duke of York since 1986, when available it's generally bestowed on the Heir Apparent's next brother. If Andrew dies before William gets the top job then by tradition Harry becomes DoY, if William is already enthroned then it would go to Louis unless the change from "first born son" to "first born child" in the inheritance queue puts Charlotte in post instead.

In the current shuffle Edward should land up as Duke of Edinburgh.

166:

I recall on some previous thread one of our regulars (can’t remember who) opining that due to the difficulty of changing the Canadian constitution, Canada would likely retain the monarchy for a long time after a hypothetical UK republican reform.

So it’s entirely possible that someday Charles will be king of neither England nor Scotland, but still be king of Canada and/or Australia and/or New Zealand. I wonder how long that could last?

167:

Duffy @ 152:

Based on reporting I saw prior to the Queen's recent passing, I expect Andrew's participation in the Royal Family to be de-emphasized.

News stories I saw earlier in the summer suggested then Prince Charles was NOT happy with Andrew's attempts to weasel his way back into the spotlight ... don't know how accurate the reporting was, but that's the "story" regarding Andrew's standing that I read.

OTOH, reporting I saw on the new King's speech today indicated he has a conciliatory attitude towards Harry & Megan, and that Charles's grandchildren will be gaining royal titles.

Take that for what you will, but that's the way I read the reporting from out here in the boondocks across the pond.

168:

Harry is his younger son, Meghan is his daughter-in-law, and their children are his grandkids. Regardless of press racism (or minor royals, or staff), to the prince king, they're his close family.

Andrew, however, shat the bed comprehensively through acts of commission, not ommission or being bullied.

169:

Oil fired central heating was a thing in the UK in the 1970s but as OGH has already pointed out the OPEC increases in oil prices motivated most oil users to change to gas central heating. But at that time the majority of houses didn’t have central heating at all. Cheap North Sea gas was used for central heatingn after that. But there are communities with no gas. I live in one of them. The village I live in ( it’s officially a town since it had a market a century ago and most people call it a village) has mostly gas or wood fired heating. But nobody has metal tanks. They’re all plastic. New houses in the village have good insulation air source heat pumps and solar panels. I have a 200 year old house with no cavity walls. At current prices we will need about 3,200 pounds a year to heat a three bedroomed detached house. Plus another thousand for electricity- mainly for cooking and lighting. Government help with energy auditing and insulation would help. Most of my neighbours have oil fired central heating, wood stoves and electric cookers. One of them has only wood stoves and their small Georgian house is always cold in the winter. Energy providers give discounts to people with gas and electricity but users of oil lose out.

170:

we aren't stupid enough to put such tanks in cellars

Stupid today is not the same as it was 50 or 100 years ago.

Putting them in a cellar made a lot of sense if you had a 2' setback on the non driveway side and .5' on the drive way side of a house. With a back yard of 20x20. Or less. And as the other person said, most of these houses had coal way back when. Then when converted to fuel oil the tank was put into the coal bin with the filler route via the outside door to the old coal chute.

171:

See, the advantage of being late adopters is you don't need to make the same mistakes as everyone else. Also your zoning and building regs clearly sucked, but then you knew that already.

172:

At current prices we will need about 3,200 pounds a year to heat a three bedroomed detached house. Plus another thousand for electricity

All of this talk made me look. I pay a bit under $1000/yr for natural gas and a bit over $1500/yr for electricity. The power company says I'm better than average most months and down near efficient houses many months.

I have a terribly insulated house. Built in 61 with no insulation in the side walls or under the floor and what was 5" in the ceilings but is now only 2" or 3". And a fist full of 3 to 6 computers going at any one time. Plus way more electronics always on that most. We room heat in the winter with oil filled electric heaters which is where we do good. $1850 square foot split level house. And I'm willing to sweat during the summer in my office of heat things. My wife not so much.

Anyway, $2500 per year or £2160 if my currency converter app is up to date. You're at nearly $5000 to me. And maybe climbing depending on 2x4's plans. Or not.

173:

1850 square foot house. Worth almost nothing. But my 1/3 acre of dirt is worth over $600K.

174:

Charlie @ 158
No - Philip would not have said that. SEE ALSO EC @ 161.
Andrew - all too believable, because he's stupid ( Not criminal, stupid )
Ans William is far more in touch than Harry, not that it's Harry's fault - both he & Meghan have, as you say been "royally" crapped-on by our revolting press.

JBS @ 167
Entirely correct as regards royalty & titles.

175:

The Chuckish era.

176:

The joy of living in Sydney is that even a brick tent is more or less habitable. It's built like an English castle - lots of exposed brick/stone, well ventilated and fairly weather resistant. My energy consumption doesn't bear thinking about as a result, even before we start running my office off grid (because I can).

Although I did see something the other day that English electricity might go from ~20p/kWh to 50p+ which would be from slightly more expensive than Oz to "ow" even when the pound falls to parity with the south pacific peso. (I'm paying $AU0.22/kWh ATM, well for the stuff I buy from the grid during peak times... hot water at 17c/kWh and solar feed-in at 14c! That last was a shock, it was 6c a couple of months ago).

OTOH I've been watching a couple of US-based "master builders" touring Switzerland and they're suffering severe culture shock even though by US standards they're craftsman builders who build really eco-friendly homes. One video was titled "We're not Master Builders any more". My architect would probably prefer I not watch things like that. I've already had to explain what an HRV unit is, describe how big it is and where it goes etc.

Anyway, back to relocating bits of my driveway to become a path up the side of my house. The concrete is only ~70mm thick but it's still not much fun to cut up and move.

177:

So you’re paying a bit more than double what we pay for the lot (heating, cooling, lighting,cooking,hot water, computers, woodworking tools, security scanners, laser perimeter systems etc) for a 50% bigger house, in Canada. I guess that is an indication of the benefits of insulation and heat pumps. And regional level renewable energy systems.

178:

Duffy said: When Wills becomes king (which could be decades from now because the royal family typically live to about 100)

I would be most surpised indeed. Charles has had covid. I think we'll be lucky to have him as king for 5 years. The long term effects don't seem to be compatible with advanced age.

179:

The simultaneous crises of democracy in the US, the UK, and elsewhere in the developed world feel like enemy action. Russia and China seem like likely culprits, but I have no idea if that's actually true or truly possible given the extent of the crises, or to what extent.

What about Murdock, the Koch brothers, etc?

Not all enemies are beyond the borders…

180:

Is this the first time that 2 successive PMs have derogued parliament?

Has it been derogued? Still seems to have as many rogues as ever… :-)

181:

I suspect the banksters plundered the U.K. to an even greater extent than they swindled people here in the U.S. during the housing bubble & ensuing mortgage crisis.

Oysterband sums it up:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DQsowjCFzi8

all went well with the witch's spell, fortune's fragrance wafted
till the boom went bust in a cloud of dust and suckers all got shafted
bastard this and bastard that, I even ate my bastard hat
father would've won his bet, I was up to the neck in the same old debt

how they school you, how they fool you
how they take you for a ride
how the same old lardballs screw you
it's murder faking suicide

182:

FWIW, In California my grandfather's farm had both propane and electricity. The propane was for heating and cooking, and was stored in a tank a distance from the house, not piped in.

So if you've got enough space, gas is a reasonable choice. And if you're remote, it can be trucked in rather than piped. (OTOH, the weather tended more towards hot than cold. I don't think he ever got snow in the winter, just flooding. So this may not match the British situation.)

183:

The long term effects of COVID aren't known, but seem to be highly variable. You need more than that to make a projection of his lifespan. Swollen hands, though, make indicate problems.

184:

163 - 1910CE property. Any internal piping I've seen is copper. We replaced the lead main feed from the street with a blue plastic one literally last month, having become aware of the fact that the original was not only lead but worn out in April, and most of the intervening period was finding a company who would quote and then getting them to free up a crew to do the works.

169 - OK, I don't know your house, but draft proofing and current code loft/roof insulation will make a difference. much more so that an air source snake oil pump will.

176 - HRV "can recovery up to 90% of the energy that is conventionally lost through opening windows". Er, how exactly? I mean where is the heat exchanger system they seem to need?

180 - I was doing a straight line to set up that sort of reply. :-)

182 - Propane (and butane) were amongst strands in a recentish (say last 6 weeks) thread. They normally appear in properties that are one or both of large, and over 200m separated from neighbours, in the UK.

185:

I guess that is an indication of the benefits of insulation and heat pumps. And regional level renewable energy systems.

If I would spend $15K on windows (single pane just now) and another $10K to $20K on wall insulation I'd likely drop my power use in half. But the economics are just not there for a house that has a 99% chance of being torn down in 5 or less years. We'll just keep living as smart as is reasonable for now.

A big chunk of the electric bill is for the room heaters. Oil filled electric. I have a natural gas furnace but it is ancient and the name plate says 75%. So I'm guessing 65% to 70% now. We use it to keep the house in general above 64F in the winter and close doors when in rooms for more than a few minutes.

186:

So if you've got enough space, gas is a reasonable choice. And if you're remote, it can be trucked in rather than piped.

Based on thin knowledge (but I pay attention to such things) I thinking in most of the US new and rehabed that would have been fuel oil 20+ years ago is now propane. In the US. And I suspect the smarter fuel oil delivery companies have switch to delivery of both.

187:

I looked at insulation and the numbers didn't stack up even 6 years ago. For half of what insulation cost I could (and did) put 5 kW of solar on the roof. For the same money now I could put 15 kW on the roof.

Most of my heating bill used to be electric throw rugs on the chairs (30W each). It rarely hit zero (32F) indoors so they were fine. The dogs are old now, so we have the heater (heat pump) with the set point at 12C (50F). It only runs intermittently on the lowest power, so probably averaging 200W or so from about 7pm to 9am in winter (1-2 kWh, about 35 cents a day), and not running at all in summer. Even on cloudy winter days the solar more than makes up for that.

188:

Your prices sound annoyingly familiar to me -- owner of a 200 year old three bedroom tenement flat in Edinburgh, no cavity walls (they're solid stone!), exterior listed so double glazing is flat-out illegal, etc. I pay maybe a chunk more for electricity because of the computers, although I try to keep them reasonably up to date (no airliner engines for cooling fans).

I could improve things if I replace my boiler (it's ancient and inefficient) but on the other hand, even with the current price hike it'd take 3-5 years to reach break-even ... and a new boiler would mean new, and vastly less reliable, control electronics (I have heard plenty of horror stories about modern central heating systems' reliability).

189:

UK's heat wave killed hundreds and as far as I can see from here (NYC) nobody is willing to access a precise number... much the way nobody can be pinned down on covid deaths from JAN'20 till SEP'22...

governments should be -- indeed are logically doing so on Earth-2 that saner place -- assembling such data in order to model out what needs be done to prevent deaths during the next wave of covid, the next meltdown... Problem? Politicians unwilling to allocate funding to do the analysis since that would lead into requirements for further funding for prevention...

early August '22 in NYC was bone melting hot... watch USA's west coast experience their meltdown should really be a warning to just about anyone willing to do some deep thinking...

if '23 is not worse, then for sure '24 or '25 will be... and the less considering of what '30 (and '35) will be like then the less nightmares I shall to endure...

CCSS
190:

»US-based "master builders"«

Yeah, I've met some of those too, they seem to care most about æsthetics and finding rich customers.

A most of the energy loss from buildings is because people simply do not understand very basic physics.

Even something as basic as that thermal insulation works both ways, and can cut your heating bill in winter and air-con bill in summer escapes a lot of people.

Similarly, people do not seem to understand that even trivial air leakage will rob energy amazingly fast.

We built a new house in 2016-2017 here in Denmark, not going overboard, but simply following the 2020 building code a couple of years ahead of time.

The house is 320m² on the exterior wall, which is half a meter thick: 10cm brick, 30cm mineral wool insulation, 10cm light concrete.

Windows and doors have "energy-positive" three pane glass which lets visible light through, but blocks thermal/infrared radiation.

We have 450mm mineral wool insulation in the roof and an equivalent amount in the floor as "Leca pellets".

We have heat-recovery forced ventilation, and the house was "blower-door" tested to make sure there were no leakage.

And from august 2021 to august 2022, the ground/water heatpump used 3700 kWh, half of which was probably the hot water.

That house cost approx 650k€ to build, including everything but the land it sits on.

191:

I have an "eco architect" and I fear he's going to bury me in the foundations if I keep assuming he knows basic stuff about designing buildings that are nice to live in.

He agrees that it's probably better if I apply the building wrap because he rang a peep he respects got told that anyone doing a blower test is not someone the peep wants to get involved with. Knowing that the feeling is mutual :)

So I expect I will be doing a course with one of the suppliers and learning all about their products and how to apply them. My recent ex did one and got a lot out of it. With that stuff it is very much the case that having all the proper products and using them appropriately costs you thousands more than just slapping the cheap shit up where the customer is going to notice. But the customer (me!) is definitely going to notice the wind blowing through. Or ideally not blowing through if at all possible.

We have already worked through the enormous expanse of poleward-facing glass. When I had a quick play with an online estimator it would have taken the whole build budget just for one glass wall. There was enough area that it would have had to be triple glazed to be better than no wall at all (~$120,000 assuming only one small openable window - add ~$2000 per opening bit).

Design round one was basically him looking at my sketches, my ex's CAD drawings, and going "I like building glass pavilions so I'll draw that". And me saying "WTF are you mad" as politely as I could. I've explained several times that as far as I'm concerned the goal is to meet the minimum order area for one of the decent window suppliers, and no more (most of them will only do ~12m2 or more, and this is ~50m2 floor area for the flat so 12m2 of windows is ample). We may compromise and have some high fixed glass to get light in, but that's relatively cheap because I will buy the bare double glazed glass units and rout a slot into some framing timber myself (~$200/m2 rather than a minimum of about $500+500/m2 per window).

Oh, and the fucker just loves printing shit out and forcing me to take it. WTF am I supposed to do with printed plans? Worse, printed pretty 3D renders? Give me a computer file that worst case I can screenshot and hack about with paint.net. "eco" printed bullshit my fucking foot. I swear my next project* is going to be with one of the hippy hempcrete people even if I have to grovel back to my ex and explain that I still don't want her to run my life but can she please try to hold that in and focus on building me a house.

(* I plan on retiring to a recently burnt bit of semi-rural NSW and building a fire-resistant bunker somewhere that I don't have neighbours all up in my business all the time)

192:

I am not, particularly, a monarchist, but I do think a constitutional monarchy is one useful way (but not the only, but other good examples are few) of a nation state separating a large chunk of the propensity of the population to engage in cults of personality to focus it away from elective heads of state and politicians, such that when you get a bad one, they can't do much with the power the cult of personality gives them. Such that the primate social hierarchy obsessed are less likely to get behind a demagogue if they have a shiny but vestigially powered figurehead who can hand out shiny baubles but can't use their few powers too often because parliament gets pissed if they break things again.

The long running problem with Kings and Queens (and oligarchies) is that they would like some/all of us not to have votes, and we would like to have votes, and this has often fallen out to fisticuffs, rebellion and bloody war to solve. (The evolution of constitutional monarchies is like health and safety regulations - they may seem a bit naff and boring and the paperwork is fiddly, but you have to remember that they're written in somebody's blood.) Most monarchs are merely a bit meh, some are unusually good (mostly by living long and not pissing anyone off to much), but the actively bad range from the ultra fashy through to the actively late inbred Hapsburgish, which are serious failure modes. Constitutional monarchies seem to have crufted enough controls and failsafes to try and insulate from the meh and the fash, but can't remove themselves from the problem of entrenched privilege by birth.

Down here in Kiwiland, I think for a major change in how we choose head of state/governor general, etc, it would have to go through a series of referendums to see what the shape of that would be and how it would be selected. Also, I think a lot of our republicans are oddly bound between our right wing, who wants to destroy the Treaty of Waitangi, and our left wing, who want to keep it, but both want not to be a monarchy (the right because they think they might get to be prez, the left because of what, general cringe factor of having a monarch in this age), but I think both sides haven't properly talked to the Tangata Whenua, who have a deeply complex relationship to the crown which is really variable between hapu, and ranges from strongly anti monarchist, to strongly pro monarchist, but mostly is very, very interested in the treaty not being scrapped.

193:

gasdive
Edward VII lasted 1901-1910 - aged 69 { His long-term heavy smoking did him in }

QUOTE: our late monarch took a gin and Dubonnet before lunch and would drink a glass of wine with her meal, followed by a dry martini and a pre-bedtime flute of champagne.
Were she to do this every day, Her Majesty would have been consuming six alcohol units per day, which would have qualified her as a binge drinker by government standards.
Which shows what lying bollocks the health fascists are talking - 42 units a week - which is about my consumption, oops.

194:

Cordwainer Smith springs to mind.

195:

And to the owner of a large (by modern standards) 1930s house. We have cavity brick and mostly double glazing, but most of the doors and windows are original. The FIRST improvement we did in 1978 was to insulate and board the loft; until recently, snow melted more slowly on our roof than on more modern houses along the street. But the drafts (good for health) are a problem, and not soluble without a complete rebuild, though we have reduced them a huge amount by suitable DIY and double glazing etc.

We can afford it, but a hell of lot of people can't. As someone who grew up in unheated houses, there's a LOT more to it more than just putting a few jersies on, and not everyone can adapt, anyway. It does speed the deaths of vulnerable people. I plan to wear thicker thermal underwear (Ullfrotte - not cheap), which will help a bit, but a plague on those rich people who have never been seriously cold telling the poor what to do.

196:

Cripes. That should be OK down to crazy low temperatures.

But there is a big problem with draft-free housing in the UK, especially in the west - humidity and condensation, which is as serious a health hazard as cold. In the west, the problem is FAR more keeping houses dry than heating them, and even the humidity from the inhabitants is enough to cause serious trouble, let alone showers/baths and cooking. Living in a dry house at freezing point is tolerable, but living in a damp one is not (even ignoring the mould) - been there, done both.

And, of course, you still need a fairly high level of air changes per hour in a fully-occupied building, otherwise dust, CO2, polluting gases, bacteria and viruses will accumulate. Filtering helps, but does not eliminate the need.

I assume that you have fairly high-capacity dehumidifiers and filtering systems, but those do rely on reliable electricity.

197:

The US has a few million or so ecological disasters lurking in back yards and cellars all over the US. But mostly in the northeast quadrant.

The buried ones are the worst, you can't really see when there's an incipient problem.

In my neighborhood built in the 1930's to 1950's in the northeast US some houses have fuel oil heating. Occasionally folks have the tanks removed and convert to gas. It's a good idea to either block (fill with cement or something) or remove the oil fill piping. Sometimes the fuel oil delivery people get the wrong house.

198:

Moz said: I have an "eco architect" and I fear he's going to bury me in the foundations

A few years ago a friend said he wanted to build a house that was well insulated, not leaky and completely fire and cyclone proof.

I suggested a dome,

https://www.monolithic.org/

You pour a slab to their specs, they arrive (anywhere in the world) blow up a big balloon (like a jumping castle). Then they go inside and spray expanding foam. When it hardens they put little hooks in the foam, then hang reo on the hooks, and spray it with cement. The membrane stays permanently. They use the same technique to make tanks, so it's completely air and water tight. Full lockup in a week or 10 days. Several examples have survived hurricanes and forest fires. Having the thermal mass of the concrete inside the insulation layer gives the building a huge thermal mass. So the effective insulation is higher than you'd expect. They claim an American R value effective of 100. (17 in Australia) That seems to be based on the idea that it takes a lot to heat up and cool down. So in a fluctuating environment it takes very little energy to hold the temperature. So it uses energy like a much better insulated house with very little thermal mass.

https://www.monolithic.org/blogs/presidents-sphere/r-value-effective-100

He decided to go with a local dome builder. Then a different builder. Then half a decade later he had a house.

Grand designs followed the build...

https://youtu.be/14Z8LbG-etw

200:

Don't USian oil tank laws require them to be properly bunded?

201:

Just to put this "hot shower" thing in perspective:

6 minutes under a 10kW electric shower consumes 1 kilowatt-hour. (numbers chosen for roundness, but not atypical)

Currently I pay just under 28 pence (YMMV; about 33 US cents) for that kilowatt hour.

202:

Meanwhile, back in Ukraine....

The Russian army appears to be collapsing. The UA has blown a hole in the Russian front lines and advanced 70 km, retaking 1,000 square km in 5 days, surrounding Izyum. Russians appear to be abandoning rear area garrisons and retreating from the front lines.

Yes there is the fog of war and Ukraine also indulges in propaganda, but these moves have been documented and even corroborated by Russian sources. The whole thing looks like it is beginning to crack and crumble.

Putin isn't Hitler, he's Mussolini. Hopefully he'll meet the same end on a lamppost in St. Petersburg.

203:

If you're planning on eliminating air leakage, be sure you test for Radon first. In some places it leaks up from underneath the house.

OTOH, yes, insulation can be the BEST approach. If you're careful about it, and the house supports it (or was designed for it).

204:

Charlie @ 133: Firstly, the British population are poorer than you think -- think Kentucky or Mississippi: there are a lot of billionaires and a lot of people who already can't afford to run a hot shower once a week.

Since this has attracted some attention, I thought I'd dig out some numbers.

What Charlie is talking about here is known as "energy poverty" in the US and "fuel poverty" in the UK. Its obviously a continuum from comfortable middle class ("turn things off when you leave a room, and otherwise don't worry") to very poor ("If I turn on the heating tonight I'll run out of money for food by Saturday").

In the US:

Even a modest increase in energy costs can have a dramatic impact on the tenuous financial stability of low income households already stretched thin. Consider that before the pandemic, more than 37 million households (or more than 30% of all US households) were “cost burdened,” a federal term meaning that they spent more than 30% of their income on housing. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the average energy burden for low income households is 8.6%. That is three times higher than for non-low income households, which is about 3%. And according to the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy at University of Pennsylvania, more than one-third of US households are experiencing “energy poverty,” having difficulty affording the energy they need to keep the lights on and heat and cool their home.

In the UK this is estimated differently by different nations:

In 2018, 619,000 households (25% of the total) were in fuel poverty. [...] The definition of fuel poverty in Scotland is if a household spends more than 10% of its income on fuel costs and if the remaining household income is insufficient to maintain an adequate standard of living.

The latest figures for England show that in 2017, the number of households in fuel poverty was estimated at 2.53 million, representing approximately 10.9% of all English households. [...] England uses the Low Income High Costs definition to measure fuel poverty. This states that a household is in fuel poverty if their income is below the poverty line (taking into account energy costs) and their energy costs are higher than is typical for their household type.

(See the link for NI and Wales).

So actually the UK seems somewhat better-off than the US on this issue, although its hard to do rigorous comparisons. The UK GINI coefficient (measure of inequality in disposable income) is around 35%, whereas in the US its more like 41%, so that probably has a lot to do with it.

205:

If you're planning on eliminating air leakage, be sure you test for Radon first. In some places it leaks up from underneath the house.
Based on my knowledge of British geology (Cornwall and Grampian mountains and Aberdeen), one of the risk factors here is being based on a granite topography.

206:

be sure you test for Radon first. In some places it leaks up from underneath the house.

Radon issues are one of geology. Here in central North Carolina my crawl space is well ventilated and my house "leaks". Plus we sit on clay with limestone deeper. So I've ignored it. Basements / cellars can be an issue.

Where my son in law grew up west of her around the Appilachian mountains you can't get an occupancy permit after any construction without one. There they are digging into broken rock to do most anything and radon comes up continuously.

207:

Don't USian oil tank laws require them to be properly bunded?

The word "bunded" I don't understand but...

That's a future tense question about a past practice.

I'm sure they didn't worry about 50+ year issues in the 40s.

Remember leaded gasoline/petrol, asbestos, etc...

Anyone putting in a fuel oil tank today in the US would likely be using a multi-layered fiberglass tank meeting certifications that never existed way back when. But most likely it would be a stainless steel propane tank. I mean, if it leaks who does it hurt? [sarcasm off]

One reason most large ships are not flagged in first world countries is they have to take them apart with care when at end of life. What the US Navy has to do to take apart an old war ship is impressive in the amount of time to "clean" it. Those ships not flagged as such get run aground in various poor places in Africa and Asia and just cut apart with hammers and torches. Environment be dammed.

208:

On comparisons.

Many lower income houses in southern Mississippi are not heated. Except with a space heater that may not be used all that much. More houses likely have some form of AC.

Illinois would be a different story. And where I grew up near the southern edge of IL has very different needs than Chicago. 350 miles north to south. I suspect the weather is more varied between those 2 cities than between Edinburgh and London which are a bit father apart north / south.

That ocean is a great moderator.

209:

"The Russian army appears to be collapsing. "

And a two-star Russian general commanding forces in the Kharkiv region seems to have been captured by the Ukrainians.

https://www.newsweek.com/russia-ukraine-sychevoi-capture-commander-1741356

210:

»If you're planning on eliminating air leakage, be sure you test for Radon first. In some places it leaks up from underneath the house.«

Yes, that's a problem anywhere the subsurface contains trace amounts of uranium. Active ventilation takes care of most of it, but since it only cost $1500, our house has a "radon vent", which is basically a plastic pipe from above the roof to below the concrete slab, where it fans out to under all the rooms.

I did a radon measurement a year after we moved in, and there were no significant difference from outside the house.

211:

»this is ~50m2 floor area for the flat so 12m2 of windows«

Note that if you get the "energy-plus" types of windows, they are 100% serious about that claim.

We just ordered exterior sunshade for the south-facing windows, in order to keep the living room cool during summer.

(PS: I'll be happy to share what I learned building a house, but drop me an email so we can do it offline. I'm findable.)

212:

Except for Bornholm, I wasn't aware that there was much granite near the surface in Denmark. Many houses in the granite locations in the UK are built OF granite, as well as ON granite, and the absolute worst problem is such houses with cellars; a subsurface vent would not help much. It is not just traces there, either, because granite is 1-10 ppm uranium and it's found in dangerous quantities even in some fairly well ventilated houses.

214:

Oil heating is quite common in (at least my part of) rural Germany, too.

How to heat your home is a vexed question when you have old-stock housing and limited space. We bought a house in the centre of a small German town a little while ago. The idea is to be able to walk everywhere and be independent of a car when we move there in our rapidly-approaching old age. It's an old half-timbered house (built in the mid-1700s) and is sandwiched between other houses (i.e. is a terraced house). It's not of particular historical interest, so it is not a listed building. This means that it can (and does) have modern windows. Insulation remains a problem.

Now to the heating system. The house came with oil heating and four 1000-litre plastic tanks in the cellar. Almost the first thing we did was get rid of it, for environmental reasons. That was expensive. Stage 1 was removing the usable oil. Stage 2 was pumping out the sludge at the bottom into special containers, for environmentally-controlled disposal. Step 3 was cutting up and removing the tanks.

In the end we installed a gas heating system. Why? * A heat-pump/geothermal is not permitted (too close to the neighbours: noise rules) * We were advised against wood-pellet heating, because of their tendency to jam and the risk of the system failing while inhabitants are away. We were also cautioned about security of supply. * We could theoretically have gone for a hydrogen-powered solution involving solar panels and hydrogen-generation, possibly supported as needed by gas to produce the hydrogen. But that would have been ruinously expensive (many tens of thousand Euros to install). * So gas it was. And because of covid and staff shortages, the whole replacement took around nine months, being completed shortly before Russia invaded Ukraine. Perfect timing!

215:

»Cripes. That should be OK down to crazy low temperatures.«

The averages of DK's climate are nice, but the standard-deviations are not. Most winters we barely get below freezing, then every other decade or so, we get three months at -10…-20°C, so the "dimensioning temperature" in the building-code is -12°C, as in "the heating system must be able to deal with that."

»I assume that you have fairly high-capacity dehumidifiers and filtering systems, but those do rely on reliable electricity.«

We have ventilation with heat-recovery and F7 filtering (Genvex ECO375). It uses around 20W continuously - call it 200kWh/year.

The heat-recovery means that the relative humidity of the intake air drops (= it gets warmer) so we almost have the opposite problem: Too dry indoor air.

And Denmark has almost ridiculously stable electricity: I see one, maybe two sub-minute interruptions a year.

216:

»Except for Bornholm, I wasn't aware that there was much granite near the surface in Denmark.«

It is not just granite, it is any geology with uranium in it, which is pretty much anything except well washed sediment and sand.

Where we live it is glacial clay, which I guess you could say is just granite ground up very fine by a glacier :-)

Solid granite is worse, mainly because the radon can only escape via the cracks, so you may randomly build your house over the single crack which vents half a square kilometer granite below.

217:

*Don't USian oil tank laws require them to be properly bunded?

The word "bunded" I don't understand but...

That's a future tense question about a past practice.

I'm sure they didn't worry about 50+ year issues in the 40s.*

Yeah but no but yeah but no...no! A bund (noun) in context is a fuel proof floor and wall around a bulk storage tank, normally holding about 110% of the tank contents. Point a mapping application at 57.340907N, -7.354598E, and switch to overhead photo view and you'll see a couple of fuel oil tanks in a bund.
The related verb "to bund", meaning "to enclose a tank in a bund" takes the past tense form "bunded".

218:

Apropos of nothing I’m finding “King Charles the IIIrd” too many keystrokes.

Can we agree to abbreviate as “Chuck3”?

219:

I suspect the weather is more varied between those 2 cities than between Edinburgh and London which are a bit father apart north / south.

What you miss with London/Edinburgh is that they're both far enough north that the days are drastically shorter in winter in Edinburgh than in London. So there's less insolation time for structures to warm up, and far longer periods of darkness.

In midwinter Edinburgh gets about 6 hours of daylight a day, and the sun only gets 11 degrees above the horizon.

Right now I'm in Chicago, about as far south as Portugal, and I am putting photoreactive distance glasses for overseas travel on my list of things to talk to my opthalmologist about next time I see him because if I go out in the afternoon with clear skies it physically hurts my eyes (I get retina purple after-images if I look at a crosswalk in sunlight then blink). I can't overemphasize how much brighter everything is, from being just a thousand miles further south on a globe 24,000 nautical miles in circumference.

220:

I agree on the glasses. In the meantime, would using a baseball-style cap work? I have similar problems, and I use the cap brim to block bright spots by ducking to shade my eyes.

221:

Apropos of nothing I’m finding “King Charles the IIIrd” too many keystrokes. Can we agree to abbreviate as “Chuck3”?

How about just C3? It's the default photosynthesis pathway for plants.

222:

Maybe, but tomorrow I'm flying home and right now my knees and feet ache from walking too much yesterday so I suspect I'm not going out much today!

223:

Do British oil tank laws require them to be properly bunded? (Excluding non-domestic requirements, of course.) My observations strongly suggest that either they do not, or that if they do, the requirement didn't exist until after it was no longer relevant because so few people were installing them any more. What I think of a domestic heating oil tank as being is a cuboidal steel container with a capacity of some thousands of litres, placed wherever it doesn't get in the way too much while still allowing a gravity feed to the boiler. Mostly up on blocks against an outside wall somewhere round the back, occasionally in the back of the garage, or in some place originally used for storing coal/firewood/horses/dead gardeners or whatever if there is one. Containment, what's that...? - the means of dealing with any escape of fuel seems to be nothing more than "assume it won't happen". Some of them even have a plastic tube up the side for a sight gauge, even though it's basically useless because the plastic became opaque years ago, so even a small fire could melt it and release the contents when otherwise you could have got away with it.

224:

I am putting photoreactive distance glasses for overseas travel on my list of things to talk to my opthalmologist about next time I see him

I opted for glasses that have clip-on sunglasses (magnetic so they don't scratch the lenses). I use them pretty much anytime I'm outside during the day.

225:

All this tells me is that you're not aware of self-bunded oil tanks.

226:

British oil tank regulations.

https://www.gov.uk/oil-storage-regulations-and-safety/home

TL;DR it depends on the likely consequences of a leak.

227:

The sensible mantra is “build it tight, ventilate it right”. Which means build the envelope as near airtight as practical (tested by blower door) and install appropriate ventilation for the environment. In a few places that might be opening windows alone. In most places it should at least involve proper extractor fans for bathroom and kitchen, along with provisions for make-up air. In many places it should involve an HRV or possibly an ERV system. (Both are forms of air to air heat exchanger)

This approach works well in any plausible human livable environment. Vacuum might require a little more thought about the quality of sealing and the details of the ventilation.

And an air source heat pump is far from ‘snake oil’; mine save us about $1500 a year - or in other words roughly halves our total energy cost. And provides heat in winter and cooling in summer.

And to relate to the original subject of this thread, plus some others, proper building design, heating, cooling and ventilation etc might have saved a great deal of money, pollution,and possibly covid deaths.

228:

Right now I'm in Chicago, about as far south as Portugal, and I am putting photoreactive distance glasses for overseas travel on my list of things to talk to my opthalmologist about next time I see him because if I go out in the afternoon with clear skies it physically hurts my eyes

Been there for years. Since mowing fields in my teens. My current getting around set of glasses are two almost identical pairs. One with photo gray.

229:

My experience with photo reactive glasses is they aren't great. The biggest problem is they will stay dark after you're inside and that they don't react if you're behind a window. My solution is to have a pair of prescription sun glasses with added polarization. The polarization will cut glare so you don't need as aggressive of a tint and you'll be able to use them in overcast weather when brightness isn't so much a problem as glare. BSW

230:

I wish I'd thought of this, but it was the author JM Guillen:

"Without a queen to lay eggs, how will more British people be born?"

231:

The biggest problem is they will stay dark after you're inside

But in the US south that is just the flip side of going outside in the summer and the humidity fogging them up to the point you can't see more than rough shapes. (75F AC into 95F and humid)

232:

"Similarly, people do not seem to understand that even trivial air leakage will rob energy amazingly fast."

In my house there is a ventilator about the size of a kitchen extractor fan, two-thirds of the way up the wall of the living room. I hadn't moved in more than a day or two before I discovered that this thing was permanently open with no means of closing it off, from the perishing cold draught down the back of my neck. So I sealed it off with a layer of sticky tape. The difference was immediate and great, and it's been like that ever since.

Apparently it's there because of some legal requirement relating to the gas fire/back boiler in the room. It's not a practical requirement, though, testing with a CO monitor having shown that the fire does not chuck CO into the room even with the vent blocked.

The central heating system that runs off the back boiler is simultaneously very effective and almost entirely useless. It is certainly capable of making the whole house very warm, but it uses a seriously frantic amount of gas to do it. It's even worse, proportionally, for heating single rooms (after all, if I'm asleep I'm in the bedroom, if I'm awake I'm in the living room, and any other room I'm not in it for long enough at a time to care, so I would never even want to heat the whole house anyway). And its hot water function is fucking terrible, such that it's considerably cheaper to heat water using electricity at four or five times the price per kWh compared to gas.

It's also no longer possible to use it, because the PPP when I first moved in cocked up programming the meter and set it to impose a standing charge even though I was on a tariff without one. They then totally ignored all letters and emails asking them to sort it out. So the meter was left continually clocking up an ever-increasing but totally spurious "debt", with the result that very soon if I put £10 in the meter it would only release about £2 of gas. Since the PPP continued ignoring all attempts at communication, the easiest thing to do was just not bother trying to use it at all; I've now effectively had no gas supply for several years, but also I don't care: the house has two layers of insulation in the walls and a huge amount of fibreglass in the loft, so the advantage of even having a central heating system is negligible. I can also deal with hot weather adequately simply by opening the right windows.

In the winter I keep all the windows shut. There's enough ventilation through distributed and indetectable routes that damp, mould, stale air etc are not a problem. As for radon, background count from a CTC5 tube is around 25cpm; to be sure that tube does not detect alphas, but it should detect gamma and beta emissions both from radon and from its decay products, and it doesn't detect unexpected levels of anything.

233:

I agree on the glasses. In the meantime, would using a baseball-style cap work?

I've just started wearing wide brim hats. They keep the sweat from running down my face (for the most part), my ears and head from getting sun burned, and AND AND keeps the rain off my glasses.

At my yearly eye exam the doc tells me I have early signs of cataracts. When I ask what I can do about them he somewhat laughs and says invent a time machine and tell all of us to wear hats and good sun glasses when in our teens and into our 30s. Young and foolish can bite hard in your 70s and onward.

Based on where the UK is relative to the sun I suspect this is more of a US problem than one that folks in northern Europe have to deal with. Well as much as we do.

234:

"My experience with photo reactive glasses is they aren't great."

Me too. My experience with such is somewhat outdated, but the cost/benefit ratio didn't impress. Clip-on sunshades, or even flimsy plastic wrap-around ones like I get from the ophthalmologist after being dilated work well.

235:

Pigeon
You need to go to either, or better still both ... the regulator & whatever equivalent of "Citizen's Advice" is in Scotland & probably on or two of the newspapers who almost all do "consumer advice" pages/panels about this sort of gross fuck-up

236:

"can't remove themselves from the problem of entrenched privilege by birth."

I would classify "disadvantages of monarchy" broadly into three types: (1) stuff that is simply irrelevant to the way we do it and has been for hundreds of years; (2) stuff that is technically true but is much too trivial to give a toss about; (3) stuff that you get anyway, no matter what kind of archy or acy you've got. I reckon the above is basically a type 2. The ones that actually matter are the type 3s, and I see no reason to believe that other archies or acies are any better at minimising them, while many are considerably worse.

237:

or even flimsy plastic wrap-around ones

Checking, Amazon carries these as "Roll Up Sunglasses".

238:

paws @ 225: I'm thinking of most installations I've actually encountered... six panels of sheet steel formed into a cuboid, end of story.

Paul @ 226: Cheers, but it doesn't say what the situation was back when oil hadn't mostly been displaced by propane for people without mains gas.

239:

Roll Up Sunglasses

These are what my eye docs hand out when they dilate my eyes. Trust me. Emergency use only.

240:

I can't overemphasize how much brighter everything is, from being just a thousand miles further south on a globe 24,000 nautical miles in circumference.

I strongly urge that you get polarized sunglasses, even if that means some sort of clip-on lenses. A lot of the problem is glare from reflections off flat surfaces. Polarized lenses are much more effective at blocking glare than simple dark lenses. (Speaking as someone who was a child on the northern plains, who acquired the distinction pattern of squint lines from the glare there by the time I was 20.)

241:

It's apparently only a minor cause, if it is a cause at all, and the dominant one is simply old age, followed by several other factors, including myopia, diabetes and the use of steroids. You really need to invent a rejuvenation serum.

https://www.londoncataractcentre.co.uk/conditions/cataracts/causes-of-cataracts/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7634989/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7635000/

It's been a dogma since my childhood, most especially in the form of mandatory hat wearing in the tropics, but there's little evidence for it.

242:

Propane (and butane) were amongst strands in a recentish (say last 6 weeks) thread. They normally appear in properties that are one or both of large, and over 200m separated from neighbours, in the UK.

I know you feel we are crazy over here. But here's a typical home with a propane tank "out back". (Found via a quick google image search.) And homes are way closer than 200m.

http://whitelockwoerth.com/propane/propane-tanks-installation/

I live in an area with 2-3 million people (depends on how you draw the circle) and we have maybe 1 full house fire a month. And rarely does it consume the entire house. And I have never heard of a tank exploding or burning up in a house fire. Been here 30 years.

I suspect 10% to 20% of the houses around here have propane.

243:

I'm not in Scotland! I'm in an area of Great Western and Midland overlap :)

I'm not even aware of having any Scottish ancestry, though I'd be unsurprised to find there was at least a bit in the northern side, not necessarily officially recorded. Definitely significant amounts of Welsh in the other side though :)

244:

Actually, I don't think that oil ever WAS mostly displaced by propane in the UK. I believe that that it was to gas, electricity and propane, very much in that order - possibly with wood ahead of propane!

245:

Actually, I don't think that oil ever WAS mostly displaced by propane in the UK. I believe that that it was to gas, electricity and propane, very much in that order - possibly with wood ahead of propane!

In the US I suspect inertia was a big factor. Folks who had been buying heating oil just kept paying the bill after the truck showed up. The scummy guys would show up in April and fill your tank for the summer and piss people off.

But when a house was sold the new insurance policy and/or renovation codes would many times force the issue. And propane heat for a very long time was cheaper than electricity. Or the upgrade to electricity would trigger a whole house upgrade and thus propane would be a much cheaper upfront option.

This is all about areas with no natural gas piping.

246:

My wife has OGH's problem, needs to wear sunglasses for driving in sunlight, and finds polarisation is only a minor benefit - it's primarily that her eyes don't stop down hard enough. I have never been able to stand the things, even in the tropics, and found them unhelpful for skiing in the southern Alps, but I may have lost some of my adaptation in my old age.

247:

People in rural areas use propane here, and have for a long time, but it's usually for cooking. Oil is a lot less useful for that (you need an Aga or similar), but propane is seriously pricey for the main requirement - heating. I have seen a lot of rural houses with oil heating and propane or electric cooking.

248:

That's similar to a popular configuration over here. Instead of a single tank we have two or three 47kg (nominal capacity) tanks lined up against the wall, occupying about the same total ground area as the one in that picture, connected to an automatic changeover valve. When one runs out it's simply disconnected and taken away and replaced with a full one. You don't own the tanks, you rent them from some supplier, and they take care of the refilling and periodic pressure testing etc. at their own site. So you don't have to worry about that side of things and you don't need it to be possible for a big tanker truck to get up close to your house.

I think paws is thinking of the larger installations with a big fixed tank the size of a small car that stays in place permanently and is refilled by tanker. Those are a bit different.

249:

Interesting - I've never heard of HRV. We just had our roof redone last year, and they took out the exhaust fan (that my son had put in as a present), because the new roof cap is ventilated. Good for cooling in summer. Winter...

250:

Thank you - I need to get that album.

251:

I just had my medical records corrected. In looking at the notes after the visit to the urgent care, it showed me as a heavy drinker.

Um, yeah, right. A beer with dinner (that usually lasts to mid-evening) daily, or a mixed drink, singular. I found guidelines from the CDC and the NIH, and sent that in an email to my primary care, and she wasn't sure why it listed me as a heavy drinker, and corrected it.

252:

Okay, folks, this is something I've been reading about for a loooooong time. No, not the geology: it's ->cinder blocks<- that generate radon. Really. Look it up.

253:

Charlie, it was a pleasure to see you at Worldcon, and here what's upcoming. Sorry if I commented too much.

And the answer ($10 or so) are SolarShields, that fit over your glasses, available in pretty much any drug store.

254:

Have been wearing hats a long, long time (with brims). Sunglasses or clip-ons ditto. Cataracts, anyway. Had the left eye done in '19 (and is now legal to drive on without glasses). Right eye "not yet medically necessary". Outpatient procedure, eye usable (with weird thing to wear over it for a couple of days) immediately.

255:

"a new boiler would mean new, and vastly less reliable, control electronics (I have heard plenty of horror stories about modern central heating systems' reliability)."

Oh, golly, yes, if it's analogue keep it analogue, then you can actually repair it using standard parts that cost maybe a quid instead of swapping endless boards and eventually whole boilers.

Also generally increased complexity, higher power densities for no apparent reason, and generally more flimsy construction of everything. More things to go wrong, more ways for them to go wrong, and more obstacles to determining what the actual problem is.

Time was when you could still get something decent by choosing one of the really expensive ones from Vaillant or Worcester-Bosch, but the last I saw they were beginning to go the same way and that was a while ago so I'm not even sure that option is still available.

256:

232 Para 1 - I have a similar "fan" in my bathroom (which actually contains a bath!) and it's sealed by cardboard, duct tape, cardboard, duct tape.

235 - Pigeon, as Greg says, with the note that CAB does exist in Scotland.

238 Para 1 - Did you check the Google search I referenced? The 4 self-bunded tanks it showed included thumbnails of look exactly like what you just described, so you can't tell them by looking at the "tank".

257:

Charlie Stross @ 168:

You're closer to events than I am, so I expect you know more about it than I do ... but the limited insight I have from news reporting over here agrees.

258:

It's apparently only a minor cause, if it is a cause at all, and the dominant one is simply old age, followed by several other factors, including myopia, diabetes and the use of steroids.

A few years ago I was at a physics conference at Waterloo, and went to a session offered by an opthamologist on the physics of sight. One of the big take-aways I got was to pay for the best damn cataract surgery you could afford, because you only got one chance at it.

Another was that UV is apparently a factor. His study looked at where cataracts were forming in the eye, compared to whether or not the person wore glasses (and if so what type), and there was a pretty good correlation between parts of the lens that were exposed to UV and cataracts. His TLDR advice was wear wrap-around UV-blocking sunglasses.

(Sorry, can't recall the name of the chap, or his study — I left the materials behind when I retired so don't have the paper anymore.)

259:

guthrie @ 171:

See, the advantage of being late adopters is you don't need to make the same mistakes as everyone else. Also your zoning and building regs clearly sucked, but then you knew that already.

That kind of urban density is really no different than what is found in the U.K or European cities. It mostly occurs in the eastern & northeastern U.S., often in cities founded BEFORE the American Revolution, when urban planning pretty much followed the model of London. Any "suckery" in our "zoning and building regs" most certainly derives from our British heritage.

Much of what the U.S. is, is because English colonial mercantilism arranged things that way.

260:

kiloseven @ 175:

But hopefully NOT the Chucky era.

261:

You actually gave a Yahoo search link, so I figured there was no useful chance of it actually working and put the same query into Bing instead (my usual default). It showed me some thumbnails of modern plastic ones, and some of steel ones which do indeed look similar to plain single-walled cuboids, but would not do so if I was checking the thing out at close enough range to touch it... which is the kind of thing I tend to do; looking at the fittings and how they are attached, looking at the muck on the ground, maybe even knocking on the side to get a rough idea how much oil is in it if it has a sight gauge which has annoyed me by being unreadable. Yes, I'm a nosey git sometimes :)

262:

Robert Prior @ 181:

Pretty much, except that some of the "suckers" got bailed out by the government while a lot of ordinary people who were just "following the rules" (made by the banksters) to try to have a home to live in got fucked by the banksters and then got fucked a second time by fraudulent foreclosures during the "recovery".

263:

PS: JBS @ 262:

I'm trying not to interject any USA problems or comments about the way we do things HERE in comments on this post. I'm still commenting on the U.S. in The Gathering Crisis and I'd prefer (and I think Charlie prefers) for it to be that way.

So, I apologize if any of my comments here contribute to USA-isms creeping in here, but come see me in the comments for the earlier post...

264:

paws4thot @ 184:

163 - 1910CE property. Any internal piping I've seen is copper. We replaced the lead main feed from the street with a blue plastic one literally last month, having become aware of the fact that the original was not only lead but worn out in April, and most of the intervening period was finding a company who would quote and then getting them to free up a crew to do the works.

But is your home one of those "listed" buildings that requires an "Act of Parliament" before you can change anything?

I remember Charlie commenting on the difficulty he would have making any changes to his living space (flat?) because it's a listed property & a "World Heritage Site" ... his case might even require a resolution from the U.N. General Assembly before he would be allowed to modernize anything ...

IIRC, I asked if he could install a removable (non-permanent) insulating inner window where it couldn't be seen from the outside and was told no.

265:

David L @ 186:

So if you've got enough space, gas is a reasonable choice. And if you're remote, it can be trucked in rather than piped.

Based on thin knowledge (but I pay attention to such things) I thinking in most of the US new and rehabed that would have been fuel oil 20+ years ago is now propane. In the US. And I suspect the smarter fuel oil delivery companies have switch to delivery of both.

I'm pretty sure the switchover came from the same OPEC shock that Charlie (and others) mentioned moving the U.K. away from oil to natural gas, so closer to 50 years than 20.

Although I remember visiting my Mom's family in Kentucky in the early 60s and her relatives had propane tanks out in the yard (may have had both propane for cooking and oil for heating). We had natural gas for heating (& cooking & for a dryer when Mom got one) in the house I grew up in1 and we moved there in early 1955

1 Don't know if I'll ever really grow up. I don't see much attraction in it, especially as I've managed to get this far without having to do it.

266:

I suggested a dome,

... and then he had two problems?

I like a good dome story, I'll watch the episode. Normally I'm not into horror but domes tweak my interest.

267:

if you get the "energy-plus" types of windows,/i>

Sydney is almost entirely a cooling climate. Outside temperatures occasionally get below 5°C overnight in winter, but that requires a few cold clear nights with overcast days. But we do get 45°C in the summer occasionally. Windows here tend more towards the "net energy emitter" style.

My brick tent is actually very cunningly designed to mitigate the heat, and does that very well. Which is how it manages ~5°C below ambient pretty much year round, entirely passively. But insulating it would basically mean spray foaming the whole deal when painting the sprayfoam and calling it a day. The builders just didn't worry about gaps, they worried about lack of ventilation so added it wherever they could. In the days of gas heating and cooking that made some sense.

268:

»No, not the geology: it's ->cinder blocks<- that generate radon.«

Half of that statement is wrong:

Anything will emit radon if it contains Uranium, and most geology does,

To your credit, cinder blocks can also contain Uranium, and if so, they will also emit a tiny amount of Radon.

When you burn coal, the ash will contain all the uranium, and other high melting point metals from the coal, and therefore the rule of thumb is that coal ash is /at least/ twice as radioactive as background, but it varies a lot and it can be much higher.

A lot of coal ash is used in concrete ("fly-ash"), and if your cinder blocks is made with such concrete, it will emit Radon.

But in terms of activity, what matters is the number of uranium atoms, and within an order of magnitude, that correlates directly with volume of geological-ish material.

An that is why the vast majority of the Radon inside buildings come from the geology under them.

But there are rare exceptions, for instance rich people paving floors and walls with beautiful rocks.

269:

paws4thot 200:

Don't USian oil tank laws require them to be properly bunded?

For new construction, Yes. But not for a tank that was buried in someone's side yard 60 - 70 years (or more) ago.

IF/WHEN the tank is removed, ecological remediation is required (same as removing asbestos insulation from old homes).

270:

Charlie Stross @ 219:

FWIW, I've found you can get clip-on sunglasses for just about any shape of eye-wear and they are really cheap, but not CHEAP IYKWIM ... providing sufficient protection from glare at a much lower price than prescription sunglasses and much less aggravating than photoreactive glasses - which did get dark enough in the sun, but never got sufficiently clear indoors.

I ended up with two pairs of glasses anyway - indoor and outdoor, so I had the photoreactive ones coated to become sunglasses of variable darkness.

271:

David L @ 231:

The biggest problem is they will stay dark after you're inside

But in the US south that is just the flip side of going outside in the summer and the humidity fogging them up to the point you can't see more than rough shapes. (75F AC into 95F and humid)

Rub your fingertips on a bar of soap and transfer the soap to the lenses. Dry polish the lenses until you can no longer see the soap. Your lenses won't fog up.

If they do begin fogging, it's time to soap them again.

272:

David L @ 233:

Hah! I did wear hats & sunglasses when I was young and on my last eye exam the doctor told me I had no sign of cataracts yet (at 72).

I also wore ear plugs when attending Rock 'n Roll concerts in the 60s & 70s, so very little hearing loss (also once I got into the Army, hearing protection was STRONGLY emphasized & I WAS paying attention).

273:

264 - Not listed, but in any case the said pipe is run through a trench underground so not a visual change.

265 - Growing old is compulsory; "growing up" isn't!

274:

paws4thot @ 256:

232 Para 1 - I have a similar "fan" in my bathroom (which actually contains a bath!) and it's sealed by cardboard, duct tape, cardboard, duct tape.

Almost every fan of that type I've ever seen has a flap that closes it off when the fan is not actually running, so there should not be any significant heat loss or cold air intrusion through the fan or connecting duct-work. Even the very, Very, VERY old fans that didn't have any duct-work and just vented into the attic had the flap.

275:

And in oddly delightful news, the royal beekeeper has officially informed the bees that the queen has died. Almost worth having a monarchy just for stuff like that.

276:

... and invariably those leak, although admittedly paws did mention that said flaps were broken in their case.

I have seen such a fan with a proper set of seals, but I saw it in the context of being the electrical labourer removing it to replace it with one that didn't require as much maintenance. It was being used in a kitchen and the owner was sick of having to take it apart and clean the seals every couple of months. The upside was that it was less gross than most extractor fans I've worked on. OTOH even bathroom fans get pretty gross if they're never cleaned. Living in rented houses most of my life I've cleaned a lot of them just so we get a working extractor fan.

In properly sealed houses those often come with a manual butterfly or slide valve. I imagine the Europeans have much smarter versions that are less vulnerable to user error, but in Australia properly sealed houses are still a novelty. Less so than they were 30 years ago, but it's still a lot of the time there's only one importer of a suitable product for a given application.

277:

The British versions of the bathroom ventilation fan work from the light-switch since pretty much all toilets are badly lit otherwise and need electric lighting. The flaps are opened by a bimetallic strip which is connected into the circuit powering the fan motor. As the strip heats up from electrical resistance the flaps pivot open (theoretically). A timer switches the fan off a few minutes after the light is switched off and then the flaps close again (again theoretically). It's a simple mechanism that fails after a few years, usually because the flaps have jammed up with gunk, dead insects etc. Cleaning them and adding some silicone lube to the pivots will help extend the lifespan of the unit.

A fan is only a compulsory fitment in toilets that don't have a window to the outside though. We don't have a fan in our toilet as it has a window out into an airshaft.

278:

Golly, that's complicated. I've never seen one like that. I'm used to the flaps simply being held closed by light springs or possibly even just balance weights, and pushed open by the airflow when the fan is on. The usual failure mode is naturally the same.

It does mean that the flaps can also be opened when a pressure differential arises by other means, such as the wind happening to blow in the right direction to ram in the windows, or bernoulli across the outside end of the duct. I'd hardly call it a "problem" though since it takes a pretty strong wind to do anything.

A longer-term failure mode is that the motor bearings dry out and gunk up so the fan no longer turns. Both the places I've had one in have had this happen before I lived there. Easily fixed with a few drops of oil, but I prefer to regard it as having saved me the effort of disabling it myself.

279:

Well, they have a queen themselves, so you have to tell them about things like that. Check your Pratchett. Maybe they'll help us get rid of the elves.

280:

The fitting I was talking about in the post that paws was responding to is not a fan. It's fan-sized and fan-shaped and looks like a fan at first sight, but it's just a hole with no fan in it. Its purpose is to meet some building regulation about ventilation of rooms with gas fires in, by providing a permanent, passive vent that deliberately does not have any means of closing it off. Hence the need to implement such means with tape etc.

281:

Well, of course you should share the latest buzz with your six-legged charges.

282:

Poul-Henning Kamp said: ground/water heatpump used 3700 kWh, half of which was probably the hot water.

I'm guessing from those numbers you're raising from a cold side in the ground at about 280 K up to a hot water tank at about 335 K. Then you use the hot water to warm the living space to 290 K

I know I rabbit on about heat pumps to air rather than heating hot water and then using hot water to heat air, vs heating the air directly...

But just plug the figures into the COP formula yourself and see how much energy you're wasting pumping the heat up to 335k.

The theoretical maximum COP are hotside temp divided by (hotside temp minus cold side temp)

290/(290-280) = 29

Vs

335/(335-280) = 6

Real machines won't get to the theoretical level, but real machines will probably be similarly inefficient. So you're still going to get ~5 times more heat out of a ground to air at 290K vs a ground to water at 335K.

You've spent so much money insulating your house, and then at the final hurdle, you're throwing 80% of it away.

283:

274 - Key phrase "Almost every fan of that type...", particularly the word "almost".

274, 276, 277 and 278 - Guys, the objectionable bathroom fan had no flaps, of any form of control, so when the wind came on the wrong side of the house it produced a cold draft into the bathroom.
I am in the majority who never complain "my bathroom is too hot" but will complain and/or take action if "my bathroom is too cold". The action is described in my OP.

280 - Said house is in the Western Isles, where there is NO mains gas.

284:

»cold side in the ground at about 280 K up to a hot water tank at about 335 K. Then you use the hot water to warm the living space to 290 K«

No, modern heat-pumps are far smarter than that.

My heat-pump (CTC408) has a baffled, split tank, for all practical purposes two separate tanks, with individual controls.

The top ⅓ is always heated to 55°C for hot-water production, the cold water gets pre-heated in the bottom part of the tank before it reaches the top part.

In the bottom ⅔ of the tank the temperature is controlled with a "a+B*Tout" control which never comes over 35°C.

So for floor heating the work is at most 283K->308K, and for the final part of the hot-water the work is at most 283K->328K.

The killer-trick to heat-pumps is floor-heating which only requires low feed temperatures (being radiation heating, T⁴ ensures that.)

285:

Well, you've spent a giant pile of money. You're not likely to be convinced that you've done your dough by some dill on the internet.

So using your numbers.

290/(290-283) is 41

308/(308-283) is 12

So you're throwing away only ~70% of the energy.

The unit only claims COP of 5 for 5C to 35C.

But yeah, not expecting that to give you pause.

286:

Its purpose is to meet some building regulation about ventilation of rooms with gas fires in, by providing a permanent, passive vent

The house I was born in and grew up in had open fireplaces in the living room and bedrooms. The rooms had "air bricks", a brick in the wall that had holes through to the outside to guarantee copious fresh air for the open fires (usually for coal, it was a coal-mining area and the mineworkers including my father got a free coal allowance each year to heat their homes).

We didn't burn coal in the bedroom fireplaces often, instead we had a paraffin-burning stove to take the icy chill off the winter temps overnight, and later a mobile gas heater with a butane bottle in the back. The annual coal allowance (ca. six tonnes a year) covered the living-room's consumption pretty much although we burned scrap wood and cut timber from the farm in really cold winters. A back-boiler in the fireplace provided hot water for domestic needs, baths etc.

287:

»So using your numbers.

290/(290-283) is 41

308/(308-283) is 12«

You do know that formula is an inequality, which in the extreme talks about a loss-free and infinitely slow heat-pump ?

If you want a shower every day, or even just a single one in the lifetime of the Universe, the efficiency will get nowhere near the limit.

But if you want an example of concrete, everyday routine waste of 66% of the energy, look at natural-gas burners.

As the name says, they just burn the gas.

Modern ones condense the water vapor and that allows them to claim ">100% efficiency" but they still just burn the gas.

If you used the gas in amotor driving the compressor of a heat-pump, you would get three times as much heat from the same gas.

/That/ is a stupid way to waste gas IMO.

288:

In my experience, going back to the 80s, that's never been a problem. Mine adapt fast enough (less than one minute) to never be a problem. Even at their most light-reducing, I don't have a problem indoors. Perhaps my eyes are better able to cope with low light levels than high.

However, I can agree about the light-through-a-window thing. Sometimes I wish my kitchen window had blinds, but I manage. My current kitchen has conveniently positioned cupboards, so I can open a door or two to block much of the sunlight.

Are we off-topic yet? ISTR the Queen wore some wide-brimmed hats.

289:

You are persistently ignoring the fact that, in many parts of the UK, granite was (and is) used as a building material because it was CHEAP (it is locally available in large quantities). This is why 29% (yes, twenty-nine) of properties in the Truro area had excessive quantities of radon.

290:

I can believe it, but physicians are THE most incompetent profession when it comes to analysing data (including statistics), and strongly favour dogmas and hobby-horses. Epidemiological data are FAR more reliable. The references I gave you showed that the theory doesn't hold up - yes, UV is a factor in causing cataract, but a very minor one.

291:

The same was true in areas where wood was the main fuel, and the purpose of the open fires was more to keep the rooms dry than to heat them.

292:

»You are persistently ignoring the fact that, in many parts of the UK, granite was (and is) used as a building material«

("Persistently ignoring" seems like needless hyperbole to me ?)

Radon is only a health-issue if the building is air-tight enough that it can accumulate.

Since Radon is a heavy, but normally well-mixed gas, any room with a chimney will not be a major concern. I would expect that to take most of UK's older buildings out of the picture[1].

The main trouble with Radon are found in buildings raised or energy-renovated after the OPEC/1973 paradigm-shift, which I'm almost willing to bet describes the 29% of buildings you mention.

[1] There are several confounding factors though: At first order the coal-ash from whatever was attached to those chimneys would add significantly to the radioactivity in the room, and in the second order, a fair bit of that radioactivity would be from Uranium, getting us back to Radon.

Unfortunately, despite the huge interest in radioactivity in the first half of the 1900s, nobody seems to have bothered to measure and document it in the domestic environment.

293:

Well, no, it isn't hyperbole. And you would be wrong about those being only the renovated buildings.

294:

Poul-Henning Kamp said: You do know that formula is an inequality, which in the extreme talks about a loss-free and infinitely slow heat-pump ?

Yeah of course.

That's why I didn't say "you could get x kWh heat for every kWh used". I'm comparing the number 41 to the number 12. Assuming you're buying equally efficient units. So if they're both 25% efficient then one gets you 10.25 while the other gets you 3. So choosing the 3 option wastes ~70% of the input energy compared to the 10.25 option.

But I'm not expecting to convince you. I've nattered on about this for years to exactly zero effect. No one believes that pushing the heat up an extra 20-40 degrees makes any difference, they just think heat pumps are fakes and that the only way to have a heat pump is to rip out the fabric of the house or build new around a heat pump combiboiler.

295:

And why, if you suffer from a condition that means regular blood and/or endocrine tests, you should ask about getting your results available to you on PatientView. If you can see your own data, you can at least start to do statistical analysis of it yourself.

296:

EC said: I can believe it, but physicians are THE most incompetent profession when it comes to analysing data (including statistics), and strongly favour dogmas and hobby-horses.

And hasn't that been the icing on the turd cake that the last three years have been. Though I now think epidemiologists would give them a run for their money. It seems like when they finally admitted that disease could be waterborne (after John Snow rubbed their noses in it), they en masse decided that discovering one disease was transmitted through water meant that they all did.

So we've had two+ years of deep clean theater, hand washing and denying proper PPE to health workers in an airborne pandemic.

And as a result, we've got a dead Queen and a rising tide of Long Covid that's going to be a mass disabling event.

297:

Not here, they didn't. The epidemiologists were all talking sense (initially "we simply don't know") and giving good advice (including "use better PPE"), but the politicians were overruling them. And the same is true of the published papers, which I pay more attention to.

I can easily believe that your gummint rolled out people who claimed to be epidemiologists but were merely talking heads for the politicians - it's an old game. But please assign blame where blame is due.

298:

Unfortunately, the thing that you miss is that, in a lot of places, there are either insuperable problems or it DOES involve ripping out the house and rebuilding it. Yes, I agree that it should be the preference for new builds and major renovations but, even so, I don't know how feasible it is for the UK. We are MUCH more densely populated than the USA, let alone the Antipodes.

In most of the UK's cities, there is simply nowhere to export the 'cold' to that doesn't cause it to chill down the exterior of surrounding properties and the streets. The former (at best) reduces the efficiency of that and other exchangers, and the latter should not be ignored as a problem, especially where it can cause icing. Soil sinks aren't generally a solution, especially for existing buildings, and we have to allow for periods of still air in cold conditions - and air does not have a huge thermal capacity.

I looked pretty carefully at our house. A soil sink would be best, and we (theoretically) have the space, but we would need to get heavy equipment in by helicopter and destroy a large chunk of our garden! Without rebuilding for underfloor vented air, the only feasible locations for air sinks would be be hideous eyesores (in a period house), and seriously impact on our amenity, not least by turning a heavily-used warm corner of the outside into a VERY cold and draughty one. And, of course, by causing icing on heavily-trafficked routes. And there would still be a significant negative impact on our neighbours, so we would probably not get permission.

299:

Re: '... physicians are THE most incompetent profession when it comes to analysing data (including statistics), ...'

Yeah - they don't have your level of stats background. Nor do they have your level of spare time to read and brush up on topics.

Seriously - have you any idea of what the working hours and conditions are for the large majority of family MDs/GPs?

On this side of the pond, MDs who work primarily in hospitals usually have more exposure to stats because they regularly attend in-hosp case review/learning sessions as well as meetings where new treatments, therapies, drugs and medical devices are discussed for possible hospital formulary inclusion/purchase*. Those meetings pretty well always include a summary/review of research data. (In NA, the Mayo brothers introduced this practice, i.e., evidence-based medicine. Not sure how the UK med field operates.)

*Pharmaceutics and Therapeutics Committee

https://www.ashp.org/-/media/assets/policy-guidelines/docs/guidelines/gdl-pharmacy-therapeutics-committee-formulary-system.ashx

ASH - the above is the heme org. As a group, hemes tend to be more noticeably research (stats-savvy) oriented than some other med specialists.

300:

Its purpose is to meet some building regulation about ventilation of rooms with gas fires in, by providing a permanent, passive vent that deliberately does not have any means of closing it off.

I'm just guessing here, but I suspect that regulation dates to the days when many gas fires still ran on town gas rather than natural gas -- town gas being also known as coal gas, a mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide produced by partial combustion of coal.

You do not want that stuff building up in your living room without a vent.

301:

Accepted, but remember that my wife has worked in clinical research for half a century, and that remark is supported by the majority of people (INCLUDING other physicians) who both have the background and work in that area. My objection is not to them not knowing how to analyse such data, but to the significant, senior minority that don't let their ignorance stop them from promulgating and even forcing their deluded hobby-horses on others. Yes, Dunning-Kruger.

302:

ADMINISTRATIVE NOTE I'm spending a large chunk of today and some of tomorrow flying home, and the rest of Monday and Tuesday dead of jet lag and/or running the washing machine. Normal service might be resumed as soon as Wednesday.

303:

I can believe it, but physicians are THE most incompetent profession when it comes to analysing data (including statistics), and strongly favour dogmas and hobby-horses.

Well, this particular physician was a professor at a respected university, researching advances in the field*, so I would assume he had a better grasp of stats than a GP.


*Which was why he was presenting a session — he was trying to persuade us that students interested in the life sciences should study physics as well as biology and chemistry. His theme was that if we want more advances in eye care, we need researchers who understand physics. It was a good point, but as I told him he was presenting to the wrong group. Physics instructors generally want students to take their classes; it's school guidance counsellors and university admissions departments that convince students they don't need to study physics to enter the life sciences.

304:

Well, have a good trip.

305:

Probably, but the current ones are designed to ensure that there isn't a build-up of negative pressure and carbon monoxide, which has happened in houses that have been too efficiently sealed against draughts and have even a boiler. For what they are worth, they are here:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/468872/ADJ_LOCKED.pdf

306:

»I've nattered on about this for years to exactly zero effect. No one believes that pushing the heat up an extra 20-40 degrees makes any difference,«

The "exactly zero effect" sounds very plausible to me, given how you have laid out your argument here.

It is my impression that I understand both the theoretical physics and practical issues better than you do, having spent considerable time researching it before spending a huge amount of money on it, and subsequently living with and closely monitoring the result, with that background, your argument really makes no sense to me.

You talk about "wasting energy" as if there some magic alternative to heat-pumps, which would produce more heat from the same amount of electricity?

That is simply wishful thinking: If you want to heat with electricity, heat-pumps are, almost by definition, what gets you most heat for the kWh.

Of course you will get a low COP if you install a heat-pump in a old house, where the radiators need 70°C inlet temps. But your COP will still be above unity.

Only once you get to boiling water does resitive heating become competitive, not because of thermodynamics, but because it is /so/ much simpler than the required two-stage heat-pump.

I have no idea what your beef is with heat-pumps, but most of what you have pontificated here has little or nothing to do with actual heat-pumps, as they exist in the market today.

307:

In the wake of the two disasters of this week - L Trump as PM & the death of HM, I wrote to several friends ... largely saying the general sentiment on this blog. Here's the opening two lines of one reply, which says it all:
Good to hear from you - aside from as laser-guided pissed off as expected, how are you?
I see you find yourself prone to a similar pessimism over the immediate future as I do. The sheer lack of any great coherence and skill in any member of the cabinet of the ongoing Mogg/Murdoch puppet government is alarming.
etc ..
Depressing doesn't even begin to cover it.

Heat Pumps
Again - first cost & other regulatory factors make it uneconomic, certainly for me, at present.
Same as the oil-industry hacking of the regulatory structure, so that it isn't worth installing solar panels (etc), simply because they have deliberately made it uneconomic for a householder ... so that the oil companies can profit.
SEE ALSO EC @ 298 - I'm in the same boat.
And Liz Trump used to work for Shell, right.

Addendum to P H-K
It's not the physics, it's the fucking bloody oil company politics, rigging the way this stuff is charged for, here.

308:

EC said: Not here, they didn't. The epidemiologists were all talking sense (initially "we simply don't know") and giving good advice (including "use better PPE"), but the politicians were overruling them.

I don't know about the UK situation. Certainly WHO, the CDC, and the Australian epidemiologists (with a couple of exceptions, Raina MacIntyre et al, who were given a sound ignoring) were all about hand washing, getting everyone infected as quickly as possible and limiting access to PPE while promoting bandanas as effective infection control. I took one look at the Bullshit they were spouting and shut and locked the front door.

I'm not even sure that "we don't know" was honest advice. It is SARS Covid 2 after all. This isn't the first spin of the merry-go-round. We've been here before, but last time it was treated as an airborne disease and had airborne precautions.

Here in Oz, the advice on TV adverts is still 1.5m distance and hand washing. There's some hints of stable door closing in Victoria, but just hints. Like maybe putting some HEPA filters in schools, at some point later, might be a good idea, but no hint of outdoor classes until the filtration is set up.

309:

The (London) Times seems to have settled on Carolean Era.

I think "the Time of Chaos" may be more appropriate.

310:

I wish you a safe & comfortable flight.

311:

Robert Reich isn't the best artist, but this week's Sunday caption contest fits well with the original topic.

https://robertreich.substack.com/p/sunday-caption-contest-c74

I like the suggested captions, even though I don't believe we take a thing with us when we go.

312:

Ohh, no disagreement on that.

I personally think all oil company executives the last two decades are complicit in genocide.

313:

I think that you are maligning the WHO, possibly because they were misrepresented. Remember that most countries did not have much PPE or any way to obtain it (so they had to recommend what was feasible), and they were hammering on about using isolation etc. at a time the USA and UK (at least) were in denial, as well as the desperate need for vaccines in the third world. The hand washing was simply because people didn't know how it was transmitted, and a lot of respiratory infections are spread that way. I certainly never saw them recommending 'herd immunity' - quite the opposite, in fact, at a time the UK gummint WAS pushing it.

I have no recollection of anyone competent saying more than mentioning water transmission was unlikely (and impausible in developed countries).

314:

EC said: Unfortunately, the thing that you miss is that, in a lot of places, there are either insuperable problems or it DOES involve ripping out the house and rebuilding it.

Yeah, I'm not having this discussion again. Let's leave it at: I've seen it installed in Victorian era terrace housing (no helicopter) and it's fine, but I'll never find the words to explain how it's done despite trying for years. I've also tried to explain why heating water with a heat pump is incredibly stupid, with graphs and equations and links to "Engineering Toolbox" and exactly no one has ever got why making 35-60 degree water with a heat pump, to heat a house to 18 is utterly daft.

It's a lack in me. I can visualise it. I think I'm explaining, but I'm obviously not. If even one person said "oh, I'd never thought about it like that, I see what you mean" then I could say it's you, not me. Nope, it's me.

315:

Re: 'I'm spending a large chunk of today and some of tomorrow flying home, ...'

Have a safe, uneventful trip back home. I'm guessing you're not the type of traveler who's comfortable catching a nap in transit or you're going to be spending a lot of 'travel' time at airports or driving/stuck in traffic.

316:

PHK said: You talk about "wasting energy" as if there some magic alternative to heat-pumps, which would produce more heat from the same amount of electricity?

I scroll down to PHK's reoly and find further proof of my inability to convey a simple message.

I've managed to write something that has conveyed exactly the opposite of what I was trying to convey.

Tantalisingly, there's this in the reply "Of course you will get a low COP if you install a heat-pump in a old house, where the radiators need 70°C inlet temps.". It hints that there's some recognition of what I'm saying, that the COP will be better if you can lower the inlet temperature.... So surely me saying that using a direct to air heat exchange unit with a hot side of 18C has a better COP than 35C will convey what I'm trying to get across?

Nope. Noppity nope nope.

"I have no idea what your beef is with heat-pumps"

Literally years of spruking heat pumps and I've managed to convey that I hate heat pumps.

I give up. There's some basic thing about language that I've missed. I literally have no idea what. This is the most depressing thing. I'm completely cut off from humanity.

Goodness knows what you all will come away from this past thinking I've said.

317:

Heat pumps deliver more joules of heat (call that X joules) into a building than they consume (call that Y joules) to do their job. On really cold days they don't work as well reducing their efficiency (i.e. Y gets closer to X). They work best and can really earn their keep when it's just cool outside, above freezing rather than in a Siberian winter.

The bad news is that heat pumps are more complex with more to go wrong than a simple gas boiler, even one with goshwow whizzy electronic controls and Bluetooth connection to a phone app. Heat pumps are still the obvious choice for a new install or new home-build given the long-term cost of operation even with extra maintenance costs factored in.

The British government has passed legislation to outlaw new gas boiler installs sometime in the near future (I don't know what level of "repairing" an existing gas boiler installation by replacing everything will be considered acceptable). AFAICT the standard option to replace gas boiler heating will be heat pumps. Whether the current electrical grid can cope with the extra load of twenty million home-sized heat pump installs in really cold weather is another matter. I'm certain that we don't have anywhere near sufficient electrical generating capacity to meet that likely peak demand (ca. 120GW plus). We do have, demonstrably, sufficient gas distribution infrastructure to deliver gas to heat twenty million homes right now.

318:

Imagine the confusion

"The Queen is dead! "Nah mate, she's over there, can't you smell her pheremones?" "No, the human one. Charles III is king now" "A king? What? Who will lay eggs to make more British people now?"

Also: King Charles the Ill?

319:

None of the generating capacity, grid capacity or delivery capacity (i.e. house links) are anywhere near adequate for a simple change from gas to electricity, by about a factor of two (or three if one is also going to EVs). You may remember me saying that we need a functioning government to sort out this as a matter of urgency; we have Liz Trash and Grease-Smug. Obviously, converting to heat pumps rather than thermal would reduce this, but we don't know by how much, because (as always) the devil is in the details.

320:

Re: '... significant, senior minority that don't let their ignorance stop them from promulgating and even forcing their deluded hobby-horses on others. Yes, Dunning-Kruger.'

Yeah - unfortunately even some Nobel laureates have promulgated some of their delusions. Guess folk like that think given their recognized expertise re: X, they're clearly able to understand any and all alphabets regardless of discipline/specialty area.

Robert Prior @303: 'His theme was that if we want more advances in eye care, we need researchers who understand physics.'

Agree - esp. given how more and more of the really neato tech that's helping research these areas is based on advances in physics. Ditto for geometry and stats. I think I've already mentioned 'The Code Breaker' - great example of how all of the sciences are inter-related. Start teaching this stuff in kindergarten and don't scare them off by saying 'physics/math is hard!' Saying 'it's hard!' sets them up for failure - self-fulfilling prophecy.

Tim H. @311: 'Cartoon caption' - Good one! I spent some time yesterday reading about Queen Elizabeth II. Apparently she had some favorite songs, so my caption suggestion is: 'Philip has had Vera practicing this song non-stop since he arrived'.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ovfQjR3iU-A&ab_channel=DeccaRecords

EC @ 313: 'Water transmission'

Water transmission can happen in developed countries too as per the CDC site below. Plenty of pathogens make it into municipal water systems and if the person in charge of that system has only basic high school science or the MuniAdmin is trying to cut operating expenses, pretty good bet that something will go terribly wrong.

https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/drinking/contamination.html

And here's the COVID-19 specific article:

https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/surveillance/wastewater-surveillance/wastewater-surveillance.html#:~:text=People%20infected%20with%20SARS%2DCoV,people%20with%20and%20without%20symptoms.

More recently, waste water/sewage testing has also identified polio - and not just in the States. Hopefully, waste water testing will be expanded to include testing for more diseases. Helluva lot cheaper than hospitalizing folks.

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/poliovirus-found-in-london-sewage-180980335/#:~:text=Public%20health%20officials%20have%20detected,in%20sewage%20samples%20in%20London.

321:

So who gets to be the lucky guy to tell Putin that the entire Russian army is collapsing and running away?

322:

Here's a situation I'm trying to understand. Suppose the air in the house to be heated starts at 15C. The resident wants it to be 18C. And suppose the heat pump raised the air temp only to 18C. 18 > 15, so the house will warm a little, but only asymptotically approach the desired temperature. Is this basically correct?

If so, then perhaps higher temperatures are used to make it quicker to heat the house to the desired temperature? Heat it to 25C, mix it with 15C, and it would be easier and quicker to get to 18C, right?

323:

I assume you're thinking of Walkerton?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walkerton_E._coli_outbreak

I find it interesting that Ontario's current Tory government, like the one in charge back then, is all about controlling cities and labour while allowing small towns and businesses to basically do what they want.

324:

If we are talking air-output heat-pump: Yes, you got it right.

325:

»The bad news is that heat pumps are more complex with more to go wrong than a simple gas boiler«

Really ?!

Is that the hill you want civilization to collapse on ?

Yes, there are a lot of feel-good reasons why this fossil-fuel-junkie-civilization is not keen on quitting the habit which is killing it.

However, the only really important words in that statement were the last four.

Yes, it will sometimes be less convenient, yes, it will sometimes be more complex or prone to faults, and yes, we will have to get used to new and exiting modes of failures.

But it is not like we have any alternative, if we want our grand-children to have a civilization with art, books and culture.

326:

Joke seen on the interwebs:

'What, now we have a boy queen? These woke leftists have gone too far!'

327:

I saw what you did there!

328:

Takes large step backwards!

329:

Gas boilers are more complicated than a well-designed solid-fuel stove, heat pumps are more complicated than a gas boiler system. That's reality, nothing more.

I'd like to see an efficient solid-state heat pump system with few or no moving parts, maybe using semiconductor junctions and the Peltier effect. Until then heat pumps are going to need refrigerant loops and compressors and pumps and condenser coils and heat exchangers and motors and control units and other life-limited components that will break at the worst time and cost money and people and time to fix, just like gas-fired boilers but more. There's a reason aircon repair people in Florida in the US are never short of work -- the devices they work on, especially domestic installations built down to a price are basically heat pumps after all.

330:

Yes, we need immediate action - but we need action that will actually HELP. Let me tell you a true story. When wood burning power stations were introduced, they were claimed to be a solution to reducing CO2, as they would burn stubble and other sustainable waste products. The cynics among us were not convinced. The evidence is that they now burn mostly wood pellets from NON-sustainable forestry, and actually produce more CO2 per GW-hr than gas ones.

That is my objection to EVs as they are currently being pursued, at least in the UK - not that they aren't a good idea, but that we are headed in the wrong direction (bigger and more juggernauts and roads). Similarly, whether converting the UK's existing housing stock to exchangers would actually help is unclear, especially given our dependence on gas for producing electricity on winter nights, and we won't know without proper engineering analysis. I have studied quite a few (reputable) manufacturers' sites, because I had a serious interest in this, and they are not as gung-ho as you and gasdive, to understate it.

In particular, being able to accept a 55 Celsius water temperature isn't feasible in many cases - NOT because of the radiators, but because the pipes aren't up to it. Replacing all of those is not a simple, low-cost or energy-efficient task in most houses. There are other likely, hidden costs, too.

331:

On the UK heating question, it seems to me that district heating of the sort used in many European cities makes sense, at least in the concentrated urban cores. Even in Vancouver there is some of this (mainly in one small area of the central city https://vancouver.ca/home-property-development/southeast-false-creek-neighbourhood-energy-utility.aspx) and Europe generally seems to be much further ahead. I found this: https://energysavingtrust.org.uk/what-district-heating/ which claims some 2% of UK homes are currently connected to such a network.

One interesting aspect of district heating is that they can use heating sources that would not be viable for individual houses, such as using heat exchange from sewage, such as is discussed in https://www.heat4cool.eu/technologies/heat-recovery-from-sewage-water/

332:

So slightly back to the topic:

Politico reports that foreign heads of state will be driven in coaches (=busses) to the funeral service.

I'm sure there are reasons.

I'm sure somebody finds them valid.

But that is going to be the canonical example of "Inadvisable High Value Target Creation" for a long time.

I wonder how long before they backtrack?

333:

»One interesting aspect of district heating is that they can use heating sources that would not be viable for individual houses, such as using heat exchange from sewage«

Denmark is pretty near the front in District Heating, and the PM has even made it a bit priority to deal with Putins Folly.

However, the visions about alternative heat-sources have so far failed to materialize here.

We have some solar heat-collection installations which take care of the summer season, we have a few experimental huge heat-pumps which mostly-work-ish, but the vast majority of the heat still comes from burning the household refuse and biomass.

In many cases the biomass is straw from local fields, but significant amounts of wood from Baltic states are being burned too, to the point where the Cs-137 content in the ash puts it on the lowest rung of the radioactive waste rules.

There is one experimental installation where they want to reuse lukewarm air from a datacenter, and it is clearly not going to be The Solution To All Our Problems, but it may end up working ok-ish.

334:

District heating can be hooked up to reactors for combined heat and power. The good thing about district heating is that it doesn't cost much per household in dense areas, and it can be a very direct replacement for the boiler, because it can deliver 80 degrees celcius water without difficulty, so no need to massively rebuild the housing stock.

Now, just gotta get people to sign of on building an EPR.. well, ideally downtown.

335:

Duffy
Indeed - not quite at the "Dr Zhivago" levels of desertion - YET. But, given a few more neat attacks like the one just pulled of, it might easily get to that stage.
At which point it might be a Bucharest replay ....

P H-K
The alternative is that they are driven in "Real" coaches - i.e. horse-drawn vehicles ....

336:

District heating is a complex retrofit to existing housing stock, involving a lot of digging and pipe-laying and in a city centre that may involve threading the needle through an existing web of water and gas pipes, sewerage, electrical cables, broadband and telephone cabling etc.

I did catch a mention of a new district heating install in Kiel in Germany, brought into service in (I think) 2020. It's a co-generation operation using "waste" heat from an electricity generating station down by the docks. Unfortunately it's fuelled by (Russian) gas, not anything Green or renewable.

The new Linglong 1 reactor the Chinese are building is meant to provide district heating, it's their 100MWe "Small Modular Reactor" but no real details about how it will operate when it comes into service in a few years time. They are also thinking about building low-cost swimming-pool type reactors for district heating, producing maybe 40 MW of heat-only output in simple installations with no expensive containment, pressure vessels, turbogenerators, condensers etc.

337:

»District heating can be hooked up to reactors for combined heat and power.«

In theory: yes, in practice no.

The only place that has only ever been practiced is military settings (Camp Century, McMurdo) and in northern parts of USSR.

As far as I have been able to find out, it is no longer practiced outside (semi-)military Russian installations.

One idea which has been floated many times in the last 50 years is that spent nuclear fuel could be used for district heating, but it invariably fails on the "But the plant has to be in the city" part, which, at least in signatories to EURATOM is strictly banned.

It is a further complication that under IAEA, US and EURATOM custody rules, the district heating company also becomes responsible for getting the spent fuel into permanent repository.

But in the future it is not inconceivable that polar settlements will have to live with a small nuclear reactor in the middle of town if they want to stay, and stay warm, but they would have to have a really good reason to be there, for it to be economical.

338:

The problem Nojay describes, as well as its direct relevance, is also an aspect of a different hill that civilisation is choosing to die on, said to have been expressed by the Cree or possibly the Sioux as something like "Only when the last tree has been cut down, the last fish has been caught, and the last river has been poisoned, will the white man realise that you cannot eat money".

Electronic bollocks is sent from Cthulhu to overcome the advantage of domestic heating equipment (in this example) that in its natural form it's extremely simple with very little to go wrong and straightforward to fix when it does need it, by introducing hundreds of ways it can go wrong after five years (or whatever legal restriction it has to work to) and be hideously impossible to fix. See for instance Charlie's reluctance to get a more efficient boiler because you can't get one without the built-in artificial unreliability as well. The things aren't made to be more efficient. They're made according to current laws about efficiency of new boilers because they have to be, and they're made to make sure that people without Charlie's strength of mind end up buying another new boiler out of desperation after five years instead of hanging on to the same one for fifty years because it still works, because that way they get to sell ten times as many of them. Overall efficiency, taking into account not only efficiency in operation but such things as the supply process only being 10% efficient and all the other inefficiencies and wastes that hang off that, is never mentioned, and is effectively impossible to discover.

You can conduct extensive research based on all the relevant background knowledge before you buy a heat pump. I could buy one with reduced trepidation because I can avoid a vast amount of potential hassle and expense by building my own control circuitry out of standard parts when the crap it comes with conks out. But the great majority of people basically have no idea, and can look forward only to installing an expensive and unsuitable system based on deliberately bad advice followed by increased amounts of repeated arseache trying to keep it going. It doesn't have to be like this, but it will be until/unless humanity in general gets its fucking priorities sorted out.

340:

»by building my own control circuitry«

If you have a couple of years with nothing else to do, than to reverse engineer the physical and electric parameter of the hardware ?

Sure, why not. It's as good a geek-project as any.

If you want reliable and efficient heat for your house ?

Not so much.

341:

Those ten boilers in fifty years are a hell of a lot of carbon!

342:

We had a similar problem with LED lights (mostly ordinary bayonet). When they were first being pushed, I looked into them, and they were (almost) NBG. No low-power (*), high-power or small ones, and 'dimmable' ones were expensive and worked only with an undisclosed set of dimmers (and conversely). Plus other, lesser restrictions. They were also MUCH more short-lived than the claims - worse than fluorescents or starters.

Over the years, I rechecked several times, and they dealt with the high-power, (almost) the low-power, and the reliability issues - but not the dimmability, so we stocked up on 60W incandescents in 2012. I rechecked a few times later, every year or so, but no joy. Just this summer, I actually found some pages giving compatibility charts, so have replaced those as well - I can't say when that became possible, but it can't have been more than a few years ago.

(*) I.e. 10-100 lumens. The best I could find (recently) was 250 lumens.

343:

If I've understood Poul's post correctly he isn't trying to go straight from outside temperatures to hot water ones. He's got one stage going from "outside" to "warm", with the output being used both directly for things that only need "warm", and also to a lesser extent as the input to a second stage which goes from "warm" to "hot" for baths etc.

In the UK, there is an additional problem with the idea of only going to "warm" and then feeding a warm air heating system with it, which is that warm air heating systems are basically not worth considering because unless your house was built with it in the first place, there's nowhere to put the ducts. Houses with a concrete slab floor (which mine is) would require evacuating the house and stripping the ground floor completely bare for half the concrete to be smashed up with breakers. (As for low temperature underfloor water loops, that means smashing up all of it.) Even if you do have a suspended ground floor, you still can't get the ducts upstairs without having huge pipes going up the walls of the downstairs rooms, which wouldn't bother me but an awful lot of people have an inexplicable objection to it.

Also, anyone who's been in a house that does have it will probably rule it out from the start because it's shit. Maybe it doesn't have to be, but that's how people in the UK will see it. There was a brief fashion for building houses with it in the 60s/70s, which was brief because of the unsatisfactory results. So anyone who knows it most likely knows it from experiencing it in a form which was abandoned for being shit.

I'm not saying that heat pumps don't have their place. It's just that in the UK certainly, and probably also a lot of the rest of Europe, there are severe practical limits on how efficient a configuration you can install in the house you've actually got. To actually obtain anywhere approaching maximum theoretical efficiency means not just getting a new system, but building a new house.

Houses up here need to be heated, which was done first with open fires, then with fuel-burning hot water based systems which can be installed in existing houses with relatively little disruption and don't have backwards-Carnot difficulties with making the hot water. I would guess that in Australia, a lot of housing evolved from people going there from Britain and saying "fuck me, the weather's gorgeous here, we don't need to bother building a proper house, a big shed will do". Then when air conditioning was invented people would have bitten the bullet of installing ductwork because that's the only option you had. Obviously such a house is already pre-adapted to be suitable for installing warm air heating. If this is somewhere near right, then there will be difficulties in communication arising from baseline assumptions in Australia and Europe being basically opposite to each other.

344:

Just a note, courtesy of Dan Piraro (creator of the Bizarro comic, who now lives in Mexico):

In the Spanglish of Mexico's Northern border, UK's C3Rex is the new Rey Charles.

I'll see myself out.

345:

The basic building is certainly that old, although the main form of heating would have been solid fuel rather than gas. The hole, however, is not. That dates from after the original single-leaf concrete walls were upgraded with brick on the outside and studding on the inside and insulation in the intervening gaps, and the original horrid draughty steel strip window frames were replaced with aluminium frames with rubber seals, double glazing and PVC trim. This was long after the gasworks closed. The hole was made through all the layers of wall at the same time, for the reason EC gives, according to whatever the regulations relating to that reason were at the time, probably as a "required upgrade" when the current gas fire/back boiler was installed (probably late 80s/early 90s, looking at the rest of the heating system that was installed with it).

346:

Nojay @ 277:

All the fans I've seen over here have a simpler mechanism than that. The flap is hinged on one side (or the top for a horizontal fan). Air pressure on the exhaust side holds the flap open while the fan is running and gravity closes the flap when the fan is turned off. No additional power required to open/close the flap.

Many installations have a separate switch for the fan so you can leave it running whenr you turn the lights out exiting the room ... just in case there are lingering noxious odors that need to be dealt with. Often one or both switches will include mechanical timers so that the lights/fan will automatically switch off. Lately (last 30 years or so) the light switch is replaced by an IR Motion Detector in Commercial buildings.

I don't much care for those, because if your business takes longer than the engineers have decided it should, you're going to be left sitting there, cursing the darkness.

347:

"The British government has passed legislation to outlaw new gas boiler install[ation]s sometime in the near future"

Fucking typical. Do the easy bit (saying "you can't do this any more") while totally ignoring the difficult bit (ensuring there is a reasonable alternative). What we'll probably get is people using fan heaters and the like.

348:

Duffy @ 321:

So who gets to be the lucky guy to tell Putin that the entire Russian army is collapsing and running away?

Why tell him? Let him find it out for himself ... the hard way.

349:

Why tell him? Let him find it out for himself ... the hard way.

While I completely agree with letting the Tsarsh Spymaster find out for himself, my sarcastic side hopes that, someday soon, lesser Ukrainian bureaucrats mail Putin a visa application, on the assumption that he wants to see Sevastopol again as a private citizen.

350:

Random thought: Given what's going on, I'm beginning to understand why the old pagan Celts purportedly believed that "The Best and Brightest" were the appropriate sacrifice to restore Life to The Land, rather than, say, children. If they struggled with the same issues y'all currently face, it's a sacrifice that might conceivably work.

Not that I'd suggest taking up Ye Olde Tyme Religion with that much enthusiasm. I'm more non-violent than that.

As a side note, sending sacrifices into eternity by inhuming them in bogs is passe (especially if we want to keep the bogs as carbon sinks). These days, the proper place to bury a sacrifice for eternity is certainly a sanitary landfill. However, such a ritual should not be undertaken if Health and Safety Regulations are being enforced, as it's probably illegal.

351:

Aargh, yes, absolutely. Very much the same here except I'm not interested in dimmable ones because I like my lighting bright, and I would add: never being sure what you're actually getting, whether for colour temperature, output level or absence of 100Hz flicker, before you've paid for it. (Several houses in this street now have light shining through their windows at night which is as blue as a mercury vapour lamp; I'd be astonished if that was what the owners actually wanted.)

Terrible reliability - sometimes not even as good as incandescent - I was unsurprised to find was due to them using low quality components and taking the piss with their ratings, including grossly inadequate heatsinking. So after my first few experimental purchases I decided to start building my own in exactly the opposite manner: decent components generously rated and not run too hot to touch. Also choosing the individual LED emitters on degree of confidence that "warm white" actually meant what it said. It can be kind of tedious connecting sets of 80 LEDs in series, but I get a result which works as expected and continues to do so, which boughten ones did not.

I do however need to do some further development using narrow-band direct-emitting LEDs to fill in the holes in the spectrum of phosphor-based white ones. Not being able to read resistor colour codes because the wavelengths needed to distinguish them aren't there is a pain in the arse (luckily so far not an incendiary one).

352:

»If I've understood Poul's post correctly he isn't trying to go straight from outside temperatures to hot water ones. He's got one stage going from "outside" to "warm", with the output being used both directly for things that only need "warm", and also to a lesser extent as the input to a second stage which goes from "warm" to "hot" for baths etc.«

Correct, that is essentially how my heat-pump works.

The problem is that in a fossil-free future there are only three ways to heat your building: District heating, bio-gas or heat-pumps.

District heating is not something you can choose at will, either it is in the road right in front of your house already, or you wont get it. IMO: If you can get it, take it.

Bio-gas /may/ become a thing in a decade, if they can get the methane leakage /way/ down, but I predict that high temperature industrial processes will get to burn most of it.

So heat-pumps it is, and that means we have to optimize building heating to need the lowest possible feed temperature.

How to best deliver the heat to the building depends on both the local climate and the actual building, but it follows directly from the proportionality above, that that the less insulation, the higher the feed temperature, the lower COP and the higher electricity bill.

So when natural gas disappears from the energy supply, badly insulated buildings get disproportionally more expensive to heat than well insulated buildings.

353:

But that is going to be the canonical example of "Inadvisable High Value Target Creation" for a long time.

Sounds like the plot for a movie. Oh, wait ...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/London_Has_Fallen

One of the somewhat absurd parts of the plot was all the advance planning that went into it. But then again, I can see a 5 year plan based on the Queen dying at some point in the not too distant future.

354:

»Fucking typical. Do the easy bit (saying "you can't do this any more") while totally ignoring the difficult bit (ensuring there is a reasonable alternative). What we'll probably get is people using fan heaters and the like.«

First, the way your government acts, I wouldn't /want/ them involved in what you call "the difficult bit".

Second: There are both reasonable and good alternatives, but they may just not have reached your market/country yet.

Third: Are they cheaper than natural gas ? No. Because burning fossil fuels get to pollute for free.

Take the latest IPCC economic damages estimates, convert it to a CO2 tax, and /anything/ will be cheaper than natural gas.

355:

foreign heads of state will be driven in coaches

Probably necessity rather than desire. Cars, especially big foreign-dignitary size ones, are just ridiculously inefficient uses of space and time. When you have 10 of them it's no big deal, it just takes an extra half hour to move everyone a couple of kilometres. But when you have 50 or more of them it stops working altogether. Each load-leave cycle takes five minutes, so 50 of them is four hours. No-one wants a four hour break between the service in place X and the celebration in place Y.

The other thing about dignitaries is they hate being bundled about the place. It doesn't matter how polite the oshiya is, 99% of foreign heads of state will object to being shoved rapidly into their vehicle.

356:

But that is going to be the canonical example of "Inadvisable High Value Target Creation" for a long time.

Sounds like the plot for a movie. Oh, wait ...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/London_Has_Fallen

One of the somewhat absurd parts of the plot was all the advance planning that went into it. But then again, I can see a 5 year plan based on the Queen dying at some point in the not too distant future.

357:

Oh well. Looks like I'm slowing stuttering. Sorry.

358:

Or not-so-high-value

On 6 September 2007, eight members of the team (including five runners dressed as bodyguards) and three hired chauffeurs manned a fake Canadian motorcade consisting of two motorcycles, two black four-wheel drive vehicles, and a black sedan.[13] The group—including Chas Licciardello dressed as Osama bin Laden, and Julian Morrow—drove the motorcade through the Sydney central business district and breached the APEC security zone

When everyone is driving about in silly cars, one more silly car isn't going to stand out.

359:

So who gets to be the lucky guy to tell Putin that the entire Russian army is collapsing and running away?

If you believe The Daily Beast, a bunch of Duma members just sent Putin a letter requesting his resignation over mishandling the Ukrainian "special operation." Are the terns wurming?

360:

Good grief.

Heat pumps work. But not very well if you jam them into a situation where they will not work well. Round peg, square hole, big hammer. Go to it.

Forced air heating CAN work well. I've actually installed some over the years and lived in houses with it. But again the layout of the house matters. And retrofitting it into a slab house with open timber frames is crazy. But there are things that make sense in some situations that don't in others. My son's new to him house has separate HVAC units for the two floors. A house my father built when I was around 13 was zoned with an east and west side concept for AC. But again, forcing a retrofit of forced air into a Boston triple-decker would make no sense in most situation.

Heat pumps heating water via PEX tubes on top of slab or poured floors (or even wooden planking) is a nice thing in the US. We imported the bits from Europe. But I guess not from the UK. And as someone who has lived in radiator, forced air, and heated floors, I'll take the later almost every time. And some houses heat the water with boilers but more and more it is heat pumps.

Oh and comparable heating costs for heat pump systems come in as cheap as natural gas these days in most of the US. Not in the past but now they do.

LED lights. Again, the UK must have a reason for such crappy options. 240V vs 120V? Bulb socket designs means too few customers? Who knows? In the US they last a long time[1], come in all ranges of color temps, can be dimmed for a small bit of money extra (but more and more they "just are") and can replace almost any light except a few crazy designs. Decorative or not.

But y'all go back to the debate. Because the reality I live in, all of these things are real, available, and work.

[1] I'm still dealing with the pile of 40/60/100 watt "regular" bulbs equivalents that I bought over 5 years ago at a "black Friday" sale at Home Depot. Decent light and there might be a few still in the cabinet when I die in 20-30 years. They just last. Of the 20 or 30 in my house I replace maybe 1 a year.

361:

If you believe The Daily Beast, a bunch of Duma members just sent Putin a letter requesting his resignation over mishandling the Ukrainian "special operation."

I can see a Captain Marko Ramius type letter being sent by someone beating feet out of the country offering to defect. Although who would take anyone of high value just now is open for debate.

362:

I did it to the air conditioner I had to buy as a result of renting a solar oven to live in. I doubt the total time spent, including going to get parts, was more than a couple of days, and it unquestionably worked better with my design than it had with theirs.

I don't find it at all uncommon for repairs to turn into re-engineering jobs because there are so many fucking abysmal bits of design to be found. Take it apart and the berroglobulator has broken. Well of course it bloody has because it's made like something out of a Christmas cracker and loaded like a railway axlebox. To replace it with the manufacturer's official spare part would just be silly, because (a) it would break again in a few months and (b) it costs 50 quid when I can simply bolt this piece of junk to that piece of junk and make something far more robust. Then I do the same to the similarly rotten gobrication mechanism which otherwise would now break instead, and finish off by installing a proper overload cutout on the drive, so now it's built like it should have been in the first place instead of being built to compel you to burn 50 quid every time you put a fractionally too thick piece of wood through it. (The illustration is mechanical, but the actuality can be mechanical, electrical, structural and any other relevant als in any combination.)

If I don't do this, but repair it "by the book" instead, I feel somewhere between unsatisfied and ashamed at having merely made it shit again instead of doing a proper job on it.

363:

LED lights. Again, the UK must have a reason for such crappy options. 240V vs 120V? Bulb socket designs means too few customers?

According to a big hairy man from the Isle of Man they strongly emphasise the really cheap end of the cheap shitty LED lights in the UK. He's a big fan of lights from the one country in the world that requires better, but it's like Dubai or some other hellhole. The alternative is opening them up and chopping a resistor out of them to halve the power output.

I have some new LED floodlights at the moment that drop to ~20V DC internally but have no capacitors at all. So in a week or two hopefully a bunch of caps will arrive and I can get rid of the flicker. Annoyingly when there's more than one of them on an outlet they flicker against each other... there's a visible beat frequency. I could live with "can't use a camera near them" but "can't be near them" is right out. OTOH they have an earth lead and it's connected to the chassis which is sadly rare for cheap LED floodlights.

364:

I can't speak to brand names, but over about 5 years I replaced most of the bulbs in our house with LED bulbs I bought at Costco. At some point my 'throw a package of bulbs into the cart' overran my need for bulbs, as I haven't replaced anything in, quite literally, years. I've got enough spare bulbs sitting in the workshop to carry me through the next couple of decades, if current failure rates hold. For that matter I've still got some boxes of incandescents and CFL bulbs lying around.

I'm sure there are many crap models, but the ones sold at Costco (a largish wholesaler chain in the US and Canada) have done just fine.

365:

GShubert said: Here's a situation I'm trying to understand. Suppose the air in the house to be heated starts at 15C. The resident wants it to be 18C. And suppose the heat pump raised the air temp only to 18C. 18 > 15, so the house will warm a little, but only asymptotically approach the desired temperature. Is this basically correct?

No, that's completely wrong. I'll explain, and you won't understand because no one understands anything I say.

Outside there is a gas compressor. It takes gas that's at the cold side pressure (low) and compresses it to the hot side pressure (high). The amount of energy taken to do that depends only on the difference in pressure between the cold side and the hot side.

The pressure on the cold side is only determined by the temperature of the coldest part of the cold side. The boiling point of a liquid is determined by the pressure and vice versa. The cold side has boiling working fluid in it. It's the gas that boils off the liquid that we're compressing. So that's one half of the energy demand. We want that pressure to be as high as possible. That's why we sometimes go to the trouble of burying pipes in the ground. The ground is likely to be a few degrees warmer than the air in winter. Just those few degrees from say -12 air to +5 ground justifies spending thousands to dig trenches. Just to raise that pressure on the cold side.

The pressure in the hot side is determined only by the coldest part of the hot side. That's where the gas condenses into liquid, giving up the heat it gained when it boiled in the cold side. So we want to make the hot side as cold as possible to lower the hot side pressure.

So we flow the hot gas in one direction, and we flow the room air in the other. A counter flow heat exchanger. The 15C room air meets (separated by the walls of the pipe) the gas that has already given up most of its heat. That sets the temperature of the coldest part of the hot side, and so sets the hot side pressure. The rest of the hot side is much hotter. As the air flows through the heat exchanger it picks up more heat, and increases in temperature, until at the far end, where it's passing the gas just entering the heat exchanger, it's heated to close to the temperature of the gas as it was leaving the compressor. That exact temperature depends on many factors, but in a home unit, somewhere around 40-50C. (just stuck a temp probe in mine and in an 18C room it's exhausting 44C air). Actual units often have cross flow heat exchangers, but the principle remains the same, as there's still a part of the hot side heat exchanger that's seeing 15C room air.

Now obviously, if instead of pumping the heat into the 15C room air, you're pumping the heat into a 35C water storage tank, the hot side's coldest part will be at 35C. Which also obviously means that the hot side pressure will be the working fluid's 35C vapour pressure instead of the 15C vapour pressure. So the compressor will use several times more energy in order to pump the gas up to the higher pressure.

Clear as mud?

366:

It has to be said that there was (and still is to a lesser extent) a much greater choice of LED bulbs available if you wanted to mess about with ES (or weirder) to BC adapters or replacing sockets. 240V vs 120V also makes it less advisable to play fast and loose with voltage-related component stresses, as well as exceeding a threshold point for dielectric breakdown mechanisms in film capacitors which allows failure modes that simply can't happen at the lower voltage.

367:

Let's see. In the US we have:

Home centers with a 10 meter or so aisle of lights. About 1/3 are LED and growing. Home Depot Lowes Ace and True Value hardware have a lot but fewer than the big one.

The warehouse clubs Costco, Sam's, BJ's, etc... all see the basics but at a good price in quantity. I've bought LED fixtures which become disposable when the LED grid burns out but after 4 or more years none have. I have a pretty one in the house and some shop light kind of things in the utility room and under the house.

Amazon tends to have a dozen to a few 100 of almost any style, dimable, color temp you might want.

And if you want to do it yourself or get into specialty projects there is "Super Bright LEDs". I bought a strip from them 10 years ago for my 10 year old car at the time to make a replacement for the burned out no longer made all junk cars stripped xenon top brake light so I could get my car inspected.

Oh, yeah. Because of the "interesting" way private power company rate setting works in some states, the power company here subsidizes LED (and maybe still florescent) lights at Dollar stores and such.

Maybe the UK should switch to 120V and edison screw base bulbs. [grin] [there are multiple sized bases to deal with other than household bulb sizes] Or does the UK use these but just puts up with crappy bulbs?

368:

Playing Nat Geo in the background I heard the recording of Betty Ong's call into the AA call center. My wife was on duty that day as a baggage supervisor. It brings back memories for her. Nothing like those who lost lives but it was still a hard day at the office.

369:

The base on the bulb is irrelevant, most manufacturers in the 240-ish volt bulbs make the same thing in however many bases they can sell. They're all designed so the base is just one generic part that attaches to the ~30mm diameter plastic shell of the bulb.

Some of the bulbs are even almost voltage-agnostic, they have a rectifier stage that produces technically DC with more ripple than god, then a buck converter that takes whatever voltage comes in and produces 200mA or whatever at the rated voltage for the LED strings. The smart ones these days are using 40V or more LED (strings) in series to make the DC output 120V-ish, which makes the conversions easy.

My floodlights are weird in that sense, they've got a CPU in there and a bunch of other 5V circuitry running a ~20V LED panel. I have NFI why, but I suspect it's because I bought "generic 100W LED floodlight, IP65, warm white" version but the exact same form factor from the same seller is available in 24V DC but also cool white, RGB, RGB with IR/wifi/bluetooth remote, plus colour temperature adjustable IR/wifi/bluetooth. I suspect they need the 5V stuff to make the remotes work so they just make all the boards the same and add remote control sub-boards as required with whatever LED array is required.

The big question is whether they drive the LEDs hot and hard or not. And the cheaper the bulb the more likely it is that they do that. And often the heat management is missing other than "does it catch fire in the first five minutes".

370:

"I have some new LED floodlights at the moment that drop to ~20V DC internally but have no capacitors at all. So in a week or two hopefully a bunch of caps will arrive and I can get rid of the flicker. Annoyingly when there's more than one of them on an outlet they flicker against each other... there's a visible beat frequency."

That suggests to me that they're doing plain unsmoothed PWM straight off rectified mains... not very nice. It might be worth experimenting with one or two before shoving in smoothing capacitors wholesale, to see if you run into problems with peak current in the switching transistor or destabilising the control loop.

If the flicker was synchronised and at twice line frequency then I'd have thought they were the same as the 20W ones I got a while ago, which were even nastier - a bunch of 2-terminal constant current ICs delivering a few mA each using plain resistively dissipating regulation, grouped in parallel to obtain the required current, the whole thing run off unsmoothed rectified mains. But I bought those in full knowledge, having figured out the circuit diagram by playing with the ebay photos in GIMP, and looked up the part numbers on the ICs. I wanted them because I could see all the LED chips were connected in one series string of 75 or so. I unsoldered all the original ballast components and replaced them with a 4.7μF 630V rolled polypropylene ballast capacitor and a 10Ω wirewound surge-limiting resistor feeding 4 x 1N4007s as rectifier and a 100μF smoothing capacitor, mounting the LED assemblies on 200cm2 of 3mm aluminium plate for a heatsink. No flicker and they have worked faultlessly for several years.

371:

"My floodlights are weird in that sense, they've got a CPU in there and a bunch of other 5V circuitry running a ~20V LED panel."

Oh good grief. And there I was thinking they were just using the same kind of all-on-chip RC oscillator and divider circuit that embedded CPUs use for a clock.

372:

I strongly suspect they're doing the very slightly smarter symmetric-chopping rectification version of that just based on the quantity of control circuitry. Why would you not, especially if you're selling into the EU or somewhere that gets whiny if you don't. I could pop a series resistor into the neutral side of mains and my cheap portable scope shouldn't be too badly offended (I don't want to touch it while it has actual mains voltages in it)

I'm kind of hoping the rectifier side is brutal enough that it won't care if there's 100uF or whatever on the DC side. I'm willing to blow one up to find out, it's just SMD on an aluminium backed circuit board, how hard can it be to resolder? :|

373:

As long as you've got a 60W iron or so you should be fine... just!

374:

Can't you just buy working flood lights at a reasonable cost?

I just checked and if I want I can drive over to Lowes tomorrow at 6am and pick up a wide area flood motion light for $40. 5000K 1400 lumens. Adjustable motion settings. White or black.

375:

David L said: LED lights. Again, the UK must have a reason for such crappy options. 240V vs 120V? Bulb socket designs means too few customers? Who knows? In the US they last a long time[1], come in all ranges of color temps, can be dimmed for a small bit of money extra (but more and more they "just are") and can replace almost any light except a few crazy designs. Decorative or not.

It's 240V 50 Hz in Australia and I'm the same as you. Great options, long lasting, not expensive. I'm yet to have an LED bulb fail. The kitchen one is on 16 hours a day, has been for about 10 years. Colour is nice. I like a sunlight colour and it's a great match for the sunlight coming in the window. No odd missing bits in the spectrum, things look the same in the sun and under the lights.

I'm sure you can buy bad ones. The nice LED street light outside my house just failed and they replaced it with something hideous. It makes everything look like sepia, but worse. No colour in anything, really hard to focus and everything blends so you can't see the edges of the road or where you're walking. I could get around outside better during the time between the old one failing and the new one being installed.

376:

Re: 'A counter flow heat exchanger.'

Ah ... that was the missing piece of the explanation - thanks for persisting!

Robert Prior @ 323: 'Walkerton'

Yes - apart from the deaths, I recall that many people ended up with some serious long-term organ (kidney?) damage.

'... allowing small towns and businesses to basically do what they want.'

You're not serious?! I thought they learned their lesson from Walkerton - it was in the news for years. I just looked up an old CBC article: total damages came to $155 million*, almost half the population sickened.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/inside-walkerton-canada-s-worst-ever-e-coli-contamination-1.887200

*Tories hear better when you mention $$$. And they also need to be reminded that: instead of spending additional pennies on municipal (provincially overseen) testing and maintenance, they ended up spending additional thousands on (provincially funded) health care costs.

377:

Yes, I can, except that "reasonable" for a product sold in Australia includes a mandatory replacement or refund for the reasonable life of the product, so things cost a bit more here. Since I am using several of them for inside I don't care about IP65, but the prices for indoor warm white high power lights are extreme. So I'm buying outdoor floodlights. I suspect there's more demand for the "high power" bit so more options. I have a ~10k lumen cool white light in my workshop and it's fine for fill lighting in the daytime but at night it's in the wrong place and not bright enough for my workbench. Being old sucks.

To give you some idea, the "direct from China no worries" versions from ebay are ~$AU25 each, the cheapest Australia equivalent I can find is $60. If I go indoors prices start around $120

378:

That was.. Good text-book level clarity. Thanks.

Re: LEDs: I am just using a set of bulbs very clearly designed for someone doing indoor horticulture to avert getting SAD from working off-shift hours. Works great, but were good deal more pricey than bulbs not intended to let you grow plants.

SAD treatment is staring at high lumen light. Boring. Just stick twenty thousand lumen worth of light in the ceiling armatures. They wont melt, because its still less heat than the incandescents they were designed for, but now your brain thinks its daylight.

Re: Nuclear district heating: It is actually fairly common, and yes, outside the FSU too. Switzerland still runs some, though it pretty clearly got built as a political payoff to the locals for letting the reactor get built there.

379:

Oh, and there's no guarantee the more expensive ones won't also flicker. I'd have to buy two, bring them home, test them, then take them back and refund if they flickered. It's actually easier to do that with eBay most of the time, because it's all package delivery rather than having to wander aimlessly round Sydney looking for counter staff to argue with.

A local YouTuber went through this already, BTW, and ended up with some nice $200/ea panels in his shooting area. I'd only need four or five of them, but that that price point it starts to be worth looking for a sub-$50 LED floodlight just to see whether it's adequate.

380:

I'm curious if this would do for you. Look at these that I bought.

https://www.amazon.com/Artika-FLP14-Skylight-Ultra-Panel/dp/B08NTTBJ7F

$40 or $50 each at the time.

381:

Thomas Jørgensen and SFReader, thanks!

382:

PS, it is of course not to say that any particular heat pump straight to air will be any good. Manufacturers come up with all sorts of ingenious ways to make their products shite. Usually so they can get you to buy the higher model for an absurd markup.

383:

H @ 359
Translation of Zelensky's speech { Addressing Putler } in the Grauniad, below ...

Do you still think that we are “one people”?
Do you still think that you can scare us, break us, make us make concessions?
You really did not understand anything? Don’t understand who we are? What are we for? What are we talking about?
Read my lips:
Without gas or without you? without you
Without light or without you? without you
Without water or without you? without you
Without food or without you? without you
Cold, hunger, darkness and thirst are not as scary and deadly for us as your “friendship and brotherhood”.

But history will put everything in its place. And we will be with gas, light, water and food … and WITHOUT you!

Real Churchillian stuff, but ... I'm impressed.

LED's
my only problem is getting "100 Watt" equivalents, rather than 60/80 & actual WHITE lights, rather than "warm".
The "bulbs" themselves last very well.

384:

My wife's money was heavily on "George VII". But there you go. Charles III it is. Try not to break anything, Charles.

The Crown episode about this just about writes itself:

Charles is being pestered by one royal official or another to settle on a regnal name "in case of succession", and we soon find out why. "Nobody likes me as Charles, mummy. I need to find out who I should embody as king."

So off goes the Prince of Wales to tease out the different options. Prince Philip is unsurprisingly keen on Philip - "just think of Philip II of Macedon!" - but Charles is put in mind of the Spanish Philip and, in sidestepping the question, is also sidestepping his father's affections.

With Camilla, he shares a more whimsical desire to take on Arthur. She jokes about swords being pulled from stones, but he gets a faraway look in his eye while he talks about the possibility to inspire. Music swells.

With someone else, perhaps an academic friend, he goes back and forth over Charles, exploring the associations of Charles I and Charles II, and settling on the cultural associations with the latter. But we still see that old niggle on the PoW as he recalls some of the less favourable attention he's received from the public.

The climax of the episode comes as he takes tea with QEII. She talks fondly of the traditional name 'George' and the stability it represents. Reading between the lines, we see she's talking about her own sense of duty and, of course, her affection towards her father (Olivia Colman really sells it: you don't keep her on retainer for nothing). But Charles resists, seeing in her the desire for him to be more like the king she wants than the king he wants to be.

Cut to: Charles, sitting at a desk, putting a piece of paper inside an envelope. With the benefit of hindsight, we know he's written "Charles III" on it. He stares into the middle-distance, a single tear falling down his cheek.

385:

But that is going to be the canonical example of "Inadvisable High Value Target Creation" for a long time.

Don't worry the Met police have years of experience with very large policing events.

checks notes https://news.met.police.uk/news/sir-mark-rowley-appointed-as-new-metropolitan-police-commissioner-450935 The New Boss starts work today.

386:

Modern LED lamps are a lot better than earlier designs, with dedicated MOSFET-based control circuitry rather than the very basic unregulated circuits used previously, as in full-wave bridge plus insufficient smoothing plus enough bottom-of-the-bin COB diodes in series-parallel to cope with the 350V DC supply mounted on an inadequate substrate that encourages overheating. One of these early lamps I bought, the smoothing cap had been wired in reverse and exploded after a few hours on-time.

As for LED floodlights, I mounted a small 30W (claimed) floodlight panel over the lathe in the corner of the workshop to help keep my fingers attached. The lathe's chuck strobes noticeably at higher speeds indicating that the floodlight's LEDs aren't smoothed properly. I'm planning to add an extra capacitor to the floodlight's circuitry later to reduce the ripple. It actually pulls about 20W or so of power from the wall when I measured it but I have no idea what the power factor is like. It was cheap though.

387:

"LED lights. Again, the UK must have a reason for such crappy options." It's not that. It's that we have (effectively) even less regulation than the USA, and no law against false advertising or selling goods that crap out unreasonably fast.

My rail against the unreliability was about the first few years; as I said, that problem is now resolved, if you buy reasonably respectable makes (not Amazon crap), and they now last very well and work better than the lights they replace (except for the low-power issue). But it took a good many years before that was true! The relevance is that they were being pushed as wonderful many years before the actual delivery matched the claims.

Perhaps you remember the 1980s? Except for the BBC Micro and perhaps a few others, the PCs were unreliable heaps of crap, and the software was worse. Things are not great today, but they don't crash several times as day and trash their filing systems once every couple of months, as the IBM PC did for many of its users.

388:

Getting real 100 watt equivalents was a problem until about 5 years back, but isn't any longer. The Philips 13W LEDs are 100 watt equivalent and are widely available, for example. You can also get 22W and 30W LED bulbs, for 150-250W equivalent (I have one, and it works well), but that needs more searching.

I don't know what you mean by white, as 'warm white' is similar to incandescents and 'cool white' is a cyan-tinged colour, for both fluorescents and LEDs; we find the latter cause eye strain. We have never tried 'daylight'.

389:

inhuming them in bogs is passe

I dunno, these bogs, do they have wifi, is there somewhere to get a decent coffee, are they really as damp as all that?

I recall having a conversation once with a teacher who had done an exercise with a class of high school students about whether they'd be interested in joining a Mars colony, and their consensus was that if they had full access to the internet they'd seriously consider it, all else being equal. Had to explain the thing about the minimum datacomms latency with speed-of-light round trip times between Earth and Mars ruling out most of the things they would think of as constituting internet access.

There is no current international law for space colonies as such, in terms of territorial claims or claims on real estate on other planets. The colony itself is part of and the responsibility of the singular nation, per the Outer Space Treaty, that launched the colonists. It really isn't clear what happens with a colony launched from multiple nations. I suppose that if your launches were all from countries like Australia, the UK, Canada, Malaysia, then Charles III is still the head of state and there's actually existing precedent for establishing new Crown colonies with local parliaments and everything.

The use of monarchy as a medium for datacomms seems impractical, the bandwidth is tiny and it'd be horrifically expensive on monarchs. Unless, I suppose, you can run several monarchies in parallel and can manage it all in vitro.

390:

You're not serious?! I thought they learned their lesson from Walkerton

Very funny!

Despite the report, environmental funding wasn't restored. Remember, that was the same government that was willing to spend $20 million to "save $0.1 million a year" by cancelling a research program that showed the damage caused by industrial polluters. They announced new spending, but it was already existing spending announced multiple times (each time as new). Same game was played with health care and education.

Did you read the ombudsman's report on their final budget (announced during the election campaign that they lost)? Didn't accuse them of fraud in so many words, but basically said there was no other explanation…

Ford's solution to the higher death rate in private Long Term Care homes was to change the law so there is a much larger burden of proof that a particular death was caused by negligent policies — basically changed from a civil standard (balance of probability) to criminal (beyond a reasonable doubt) — when families sue for the death/injury of a loved one.

Tories hear better when you mention $$$.

Only because their ears prick up when the sense money they can acquire…

391:

My rail against the unreliability was about the first few years; as I said, that problem is now resolved, if you buy reasonably respectable makes (not Amazon crap),

My points were against various disparagements that were/are written in present tense verbiage.

I experimented with various battery powered hand tools in the 90s. What a wast of money. But now unless you go no name brand almost all the choices are fine.

But LED bulbs? Even from Amazon you can buy almost anything you want in any size, base, color temp, and and and quality. I've bought multiple specialty bulbs from them for my microwave and various ceiling fan/light setups. All have been fine.

Why some countries only stock or people keep buying crap these days doesn't make sense to me.

Ditto this railing about various heating/cooling systems. When you replace system A with B and your total energy bill drops by half, you've improved. And this railing against specific systems in the wrong type of situation as if all such installations are the same similarly mystifies me. Although being involved in home construction over the decades (light weight but involved) I think that most people want what they are used to more than what is better / cheaper.

392:

Here's a place to look for quality electrical supplies: TLC.

A LED dimmer switch for UK (IET) mains control:

https://www.tlc-direct.co.uk/Products/VLJIFP401C.html

Warm White dimmable LEDs. They are not 100W, though.

https://www.tlc-direct.co.uk/Products/LTEGUD7WW.html

TLC is a good place to go for UK electrical supplies — though their telephony and computer network gear is a bit dated. If — unlike me — you live in the south of England they have outlets in many towns. But their courier-delivered stuff always seems to arrive promptly oop North.

393:

LED's are solid-state, i.e. "quantum" devices ( Wouldn't work without q-tunnelling ), right?
Latest amazing breakthrough - maybe - But: only at proof-of concept at the moment, so, even if it scales up (??) it could take a year or three.
Opinions?

394:

Unfortunately, what you DON'T get from bucket shops like Amazon is any indication of whether you are buying complete crap or something fit to use - and they promote (sic) some of the crappiest junk you can imagine. People here are capable of sorting out the crap from the goods, but it can be a lot of effort (*). I explained the UK situation in the first paragraph of #387 - asking why we put up with such misgovernment harks back to the original post.

Aside: when I redid our bathroom lighting with LEDs (12 V MR16 spots), the only bulbs I could find that met the requirements did indeed last no longer than good incandescents! I replaced them, and the new ones are MUCH more reliable (our spares will last our children out!), but the lighting is unpleasantly bright.

And I agree about heating/cooling systems, but the other side of the problem is the fanatics who say that, because it can be done in some cases, it can be done in ALL cases. The UK is particularly problematic because of the age and density of our housing stock; as I said, I have looked into this fairly thoughly, and even the (reputable) manufacturers say "no benefit" for many (perhaps most) existing houses without major refurbishment, including ours.

HOWEVER to repeat, the disgrace is that all new developments and major redevelopments are not required to use exchangers and ducted air, or justify why they can't.

(*) I have just looked into a simple plug/socket ammeter for measuring the actual use of our computers etc. Oh dear. It took me 3-5 hours to find anything that was fit to consider, and Amazon was the prime culprit.

395:

Thanks, I already use thsy company, but even they don't give proper specifications (and there ARE other restrictions). I have been caught once too often by buying such things that fail and then being told when I complain "that's out of specification". As I said, I have now sorted that issue AND got 100 watt ones (Varilight and Osram).

I still can't resolve the low-lumen issues, though - come back 5 and 10 watt incandescents, all is forgiven :-(

396:

David L @ 353:

Oddly enough, the "prequel" Olympus Has Fallen had nothing to do with overthrowing the government of Greece.

397:

David L @ 360:

I'm still dealing with the pile of 40/60/100 watt "regular" bulbs equivalents that I bought over 5 years ago at a "black Friday" sale at Home Depot. Decent light and there might be a few still in the cabinet when I die in 20-30 years. They just last. Of the 20 or 30 in my house I replace maybe 1 a year.

My own experience is early LED bulbs were SHIT. But I think sufficient complaints filtered back through Home Depot et al that the crappy ones failed in the market and the ones you can get today (and could get in the last few years) are higher quality and do last longer. They do still occasionally fail, but certainly no more frequently than the CFL bulbs that first "replaced" incandescent bulbs.

And AFAIK, failed LED bulbs can go in the trash, don't require special disposal like CFL bulbs do.

398:

Heteromeles @ 359:

So who gets to be the lucky guy to tell Putin that the entire Russian army is collapsing and running away?

If you believe The Daily Beast, a bunch of Duma members just sent Putin a letter requesting his resignation over mishandling the Ukrainian "special operation." Are the terns wurming?

Suppose - hypothetically - you and I were members of the Duma and for whatever reason I was inclined to send such a letter to "Fearless Leader" ... I'd still want to sign your name to the letter instead of my own, just because it IS Russia after all.

399:

I have just looked into a simple plug/socket ammeter for measuring the actual use of our computers etc. Oh dear. It took me 3-5 hours to find anything that was fit to consider, and Amazon was the prime culprit.

https://www.amazon.com/Suraielec-Calculator-Protection-Electricity-Electrical/dp/B08GSPLZBN

Most everyone I know uses one of these. There dozens of them out there. All using the same design.

400:

And AFAIK, failed LED bulbs can go in the trash, don't require special disposal like CFL bulbs do.

While not needing to got to the hazmat guys at our pickup centers they SHOULD go into the household electronics bins as there is more than some metal and glass inside of them.

But since most folks still toss their tablets, phones, displays, computers, etc.. into the regular trash, your mistake is not very noticable.

401:

Thank you, but it's not available for UK plugs. It seems the one I found is not currently available, so I shall have to start all over again :-(

402:

but it's not available for UK plugs.

I guess going with unique to the UK (well mostly) bites at times. But hey, Brexit will fix it all....

Says he who owns two sets of almost every wrench, socket, drill, whatever as we proudly refused to go metric. Well at some levels. The military, auto companies, and similar said this is nuts and switched. But not everyone did. So whatever vast collection of nuts, bolts, screws the rest of the world deals with, nearly double it for us proud Muricans.

403:

If you go to the amazon.co.uk version of that page, the "Products related to this item" box shows a number of similar-looking devices with UK plugs.

404:

[shrug] I gave up on boughten ones entirely when I discovered them to suck, which didn't take long. Whatever they may be like now, they still aren't as good as the ones I make myself, which give more light over a wider angle for less money and are already a known quantity in respect of reliability. There is no need for me to buy current ones experimentally when I can reject them simply from looking at the price.

405:
Suppose - hypothetically - you and I were members of the Duma and for whatever reason I was inclined to send such a letter to "Fearless Leader" ... I'd still want to sign your name to the letter instead of my own, just because it IS Russia after all.

Were I in such a situation -- and if one might think of Big Science Politics as a similar, if somewhat less lethal, non-democratic political structure -- then my experience would suggest attacking a somewhat less dangerous proxy target: Sergei Shoigu.

Forcing Sergei's demise -- on grounds of general uselessness -- attacks one of the major weaknesses of the Russian Military, without directly implying the uselessness of Our Glorious Leader (TM).

Of course Sergei is part of Putin's siloviki so this attack is directed at him, and everyone who is anyone will see it as such.

You may think I've participated in such underhand tactics; but I couldn't possibly comment.

406:

"Opinions?"

I have no idea what they're talking about, because they quite evidently haven't either.

407:

Yes, I know - shipped from China, the guarantee is return if useless, and no specification. I did, FINALLY, find possibly the last Energenie available for delivery in the UK (not via Amazon), and await delivery with hope.

To David L: I am definitely NOT rewiring our house to use USA sockets :-)

408:

"When you replace system A with B and your total energy bill drops by half, you've improved."

s/bill/consumption/

Not sure how the current spasm of everything going mental has affected the ratio, but it has long been the rule in the UK that mains gas is about four times cheaper than mains electricity per kWh of energy delivered. So by far the most straightforward and effective way to minimise your bill is to use gas for heating. An electrically-powered system has to use four times less energy for the same amount of heat just to get the same bills as a gas one, never mind making them any smaller. That's a pretty tough obstacle to overcome before you can even get started.

(At one point it was even possible - although only just - to send your heating bill slightly negative by burning mains gas in an internal combustion engine driving a generator and selling the electricity back to the grid, so overall you got the exhaust heat for slightly less than nothing.)

409:

Have you considered using a travel adaptor or two? You plug one on your UK device to change it to a US plug and then plug it into the suraleic device. Then put another adaptor on the back of the suraleic device so you can plug it into your UK electrical socket. The listed specs suggest it can cope with 240 volts and plain adaptors should not be changing anything besides the plug configuration.

410:

EC
Sounds like a useful bit of kit - what did you get, & cost (?) & who from?
... & David L ...
What type of socket - looks like youessay? I assume an adaptor COULD be found to bridge-to-UK-spec, but ...
Is this one likely to be any good? ... //

411:

Sorry. I've lost the thread and don't understand the question.

When I used the word socket before I was referring to mechanical things for nuts and bolts. SAE vs. Metric.

412:

"Is this one likely to be any good? ..."

It's likely to be exactly as good as all the others shown here

Note the close visual similarity of most of them. They also look remarkably similar to EC's Energenie if it's the same model that I've seen, so I'm not sure why he's so optimistic about it.

As for spcifications, apart from overall accuracy I'd want to know whether they are measuring true power or merely current. If the latter, they will over-read on small reactive loads.

DavidL's Suraielec claims to measure power factor, so that's a point in its favour.

413:

I doubt anything under $200 or more would give you the accuracty you're looking for.

414:

If anyone who is interesting in electrical wiring wants their head to explode, hang out at reddit.com/r/electrical for a while.

Check this one out.

https://www.reddit.com/r/electrical/comments/xcenpc/electrishun/

415:

About 25 quid, including something to take it over the delivery limit and postage. They may have another - both Screwfix and Toolstation used to stock them, but have only a few left (and not for delivery, and not here).

https://www.ped-elec.co.uk/product/energenie-plug-in-power-meter/

To Trevayne: Yes, I did, but the reasons not to are legion, and several relate to safety, such as travel adapters are rarely rated for 13 amps, and a tower of adapters is easy to knock over and cause a poor connection (think: heat and fire). I do NOT recommend doing that sort of thing.

To Richard H: Optimistic? Don't be silly. I am pessimistic about the others. The Energenie was previously available from reasonable suppliers (Screwfix and Toolpack), has a nominal 1 year guarantee, is available from a UK supplier (so I have some comeback), and I could find a proper specification. NONE of those were true for the Amazon links I looked at - and, as I said, I have significant experience of such Amazon stuff being total crap, with no recompense.

416:

I guess going with unique to the UK (well mostly) bites at times.

UK -- that is, IEC Type G Plug/socket types -- are only used in the UK, chunks of the Middle East, and about half of Africa, so only 30% of the planetary population, but you go you.

417:

Also in the most expensive hotel in Tashkent. But not the rest of the country, or even the city.

418:

If you read the second half of my comment it should be obvious that it was sarcasm.

So why does the UK have such crappy light bulb choices?

419:

We don't, not any longer, and I am unconvinced that your choices were much better in the early days (see JBS, #397), which was my experience entirely. As I have now posted several times, the LED problems are almost entirely resolved. I also explained why we are also flooded with total crap by Amazon, Ebay and other bucket shops in #387, though even ordinary LEDs are probably OK from Amazon nowadays. I wouldn't bet on the specials.

Now, if you are claiming that you have a ready supply of ES (not SES) bulbs over the range 25-250 lumens, I am prepared to be slightly jealous. But I doubt it ....

420:

Yep. My last manager had a heat pump/geothermal in his old house. He had issues with it on occasion, and repairs took time and were expensive.

I strongly suspect my house was retrofitted with forced air, given the insulated flexible ducts in the linen closet on the second floor. And - it's a split level, and one unit, and upstairs is always warm, and downstairs is always cold. And half the house is on a slab, and the other is a half-basement. Installing a heat pump/geothermal... would probably cost half as much as the house is worth.

421:

And, returning to the original subject, I wonder how much Charles is going to do/be able to push response to global warming....

422:

So why does Pigeon keep saying everything there is crap? Or should we ignore all of his comments? Hard to tell at times if he just wants things to stop being invented after about 1950 or if he has a real complaint.

I bought my "good" 40/60 watt equivalent bulbs over 5 years ago at Home Depot for $.99 each. They are still going strong.

423:

I have no idea what you're talking about -- been traveling for 24 hours.

424:

Probably not a lot, especially given Lavrov's comments on her and her over-hasty and ill-considered purge of senior civil servants. But he will try.

https://www.independent.co.uk/independentpremium/uk-news/liz-truss-odonnell-scholar-treasury-b2165674.html

425:

Tail end of a longer thread.

So how was traffic from the airport. From here your streets seem crowded today.

426:

As far as I can tell, Pigeon is a non-neurotypical bloke who has never traveled outside the UK. Take his comparisons with other countries with a pinch of salt, they seem to lack perspective informed by actual experience.

427:

As he said, he bought LEDs back in the days when they WERE crap, decided they were crap, and has built his own ever since. See #404.

428:

Yeah, I was thinking the same thing. Her Majesty's remains were going through Edinburgh by car earlier, and it seemed likely to cause a little traffic.

430:

I know people with geothermal heat pumps that range from 30 to 1 year old. Guess what. The newer ones work great and are no more trouble than most any other heating source. And cost less to run. But some of the "first gen" ones have been a PITA for the owners. Biggest hassle one person had with his 20+ year old unit was when some contractor drove a big thing over the top of his "hole". Had to drill a new "hole". Current "hole" has a fake old fashioned well above it. Small roof and wind up rope for the bucket. So far no one has driven over it.

But again it comes back to geology. I doubt I'd want one in the Pittsburgh area where I lived for 7 years. But here in central NC they seem to work fine. But the up front cost is big so mostly only on new construction where you can plan the entire system to work with it. Hot water floor heat or forced air.

431:

Edison Screw. Thanks for that - potentially useful, but ES is a bit of a hassle for what I want it for (soluble, if necessary). I know about the 2.5/25 watt ones - that's what I use, but I was really hoping for a 50 lumen one.

432:

"Geothermal" can mean almost anything.

If they only drilled 20-50 meters down, it is actually not geothermal unless you live on Iceland or similar volcanism.

Worst case, you heat-source is "stored sunshine" and you could end up depleting it in some decades. You can avoid that by pumping sun-heated water into the hole during summer.

Best case, you drilled into moving water, which will replenish the heat you exstract.

"Real" geothermal is where heat from hot center of the planet replenishes the heat you remove, usually requires you to drill hundreds of meters down.

433:

I'm referring to heat pump setups where they go down 300 to 700 feet. Which around here is not hard rock. Most times. Some times you can hit the limestone the quarries excavate.

Around here it is mostly used for heating and cooling. Not so much hot water as at best it would just be a pre warmer.

Way back in 67 my father "had" an extra gas fired hot water tank. So he put that in front of an electric one in the house we built. (Back when electric costs were double gas did for similar heat.) The electric one mostly idled. But twin 40 gallon tanks allowed 3 boys and my father who all worked outside and/or played sports to take 2 or 3 showers a day in the summer with plenty of hot water. At less cost than some of our all electric single tank friends.

434:

My taxi route home from the airport avoided the road closures in the centre, but traffic into the city was heavier than normal (rush hour levels, at 1pm) and it ended up costing about 25% more than usual for an airport taxi.

(Two passengers, six bags, and jet lag: I was happy not to get the tram, seeing they temporarily removed the stop at the top of my street during the Leith extension works and the terminus is now half a kilometer away.)

435:

Have a recuperative crash-out - at least if you respond to flying the way I do.

436:

David L @ 380:

I'm curious if this would do for you. Look at these that I bought.

https://www.amazon.com/Artika-FLP14-Skylight-Ultra-Panel/dp/B08NTTBJ7F

$40 or $50 each at the time.

If it has information on color temperature I didn't find it. The reason photographic panels are so expensive is because the color temperature is adjustable. Also adjustable power (so you don't have to move the panels to achieve lighting ratios).

You'd want to use something like a Gretag Macbeth card if you were thinking about using them for photography.

437:

Get some rest! I'm always wiped out for a couple of days when I fly to Europe.

438:

David L @ 400:

And AFAIK, failed LED bulbs can go in the trash, don't require special disposal like CFL bulbs do.

While not needing to got to the hazmat guys at our pickup centers they SHOULD go into the household electronics bins as there is more than some metal and glass inside of them.

So I still have to collect them until I have sufficient failed units on hand to justify the 20 mile round trip out to the "Wake County Household Hazardous Waste Collection Facility" ... and back?

439:

In theory: yes, in practice no.

The only place that has only ever been practiced is military settings (Camp Century, McMurdo) and in northern parts of USSR.

As far as I have been able to find out, it is no longer practiced outside (semi-)military Russian installation

Yeah, that's just not true.

I mean, it's true that there's been a regress instead of progress in nuclear district heating, because generally nuclear has been taking a beating, but for example the Slovakian Bohunice nuclear power plant provides district heating. As does the Zaporizhzhia NPP, the one that's been taken over by the Russians and is now being turned off. Romania, Hungary and Bulgaria also have nuclear district heating. Finns were thinking about it, too, but decided against.

With modern insulation materials you can actually have quite long heat pipelines, so you don't really have to build an EPR within a city.

And the fact that your lack of knowledge about the existence of operating nuclear DH systems doesn't stop you from making statements about nuclear DH systems makes me suspect that the claims that Slovakian and Hungarian and Bulgarian district heating operators are responsible for getting spent fuel into a permanent repository may also be somewhat untrue.

440:

Since it's apparently another strange attractor, here's a photo of the guts of the floodlight: https://ibb.co/hYrQWDX

As mentioned, it's surprisingly well designed except for the lack of capacitance and I would be surprised if Q1 and ... Q1?? aren't MOSFETs (etc etc). RS1 the second being at a funny angle is just a process hiccup but it's making a connection so it passed QC.

441:

I doubt anything under $200

I've been pleasantly surprised comparing my reasonably accurate meter(renew.org.au "shop undergoing maintenance" right now though) to the cheap ones. Over about 10W they're within 5% on both real and imaginary power.

The big caveat is peak power - they all average over several cycles so will not pick up motor starting surges very well at all. My chest freezer pulls more than 15A (at 240V, from a 10A Australia socket) for the first half cycle and the "peak power" I got varied from 1800W to 2800W.

But over a week they compared to within 5% and that's the 90% use case. Spending $20 is better than spending $170-ish ($AU) when what you're after is "this thing uses 6kWh/week, and this one uses 0.1kWh/week".

I am currently talking a friend through this because his house uses ~5kW on "standby" and he can't work out where the power is going. It seems to be a whole lot of ~1kW loads than run intermittently so I am guessing it's the various hot water cylinders, heat pumps and heaters. Just waiting for him to come back and say "there's a small hot water cylinder under the sink in the chicken shed, and the tap leaks". But lots of things are hard wired so he can't use a plug in meter on them, and he's not someone I think should be opening distribution boards up and putting his clamp meter on random wires.

442: 365

At last! You have included enough detail for me to understand what you've been trying to explain.

What you describe is a refrigerator running in reverse. A fridge reduces the temperature below the ambient by using Boyles Law and condensation/boiling points.

You are describing a heat pump that raises the temperature above the ambient using the reverse effect.

Now, perhaps you'll permit me to give you some advice on an area I do have expertise in: pedegogics.

(1) Do not insult your students.

(2) Always, always, assume -- and indeed tell your students -- that if they don't understand something it is not their fault, it is yours.

(3) Simplify, simplify, simplify.

(4) You are not telling a murder mystery story. Describe the big picture idea first, and only then put in the details.

443:

Long COVID ...

Not a happy read.

First there was the medical/physiologic, then came the economic and finally we're starting to measure the emotional cost of COVID.

https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/coronavirus/long-covid-s-link-to-suicide-scientists-warn-of-hidden-crisis-1.6061827?lid=v80hmqxwc5l3

On a more upbeat note ...

I'm glad that prestigious science journals are making more effort to publish articles like this. Red tape/bureaucracy is an issue and can be counterproductive as described in both the Australian and Indian studies. Might be useful if similar studies could be run concurrently (World Bank maybe?) in a whole bunch of countries if only to sort out what red tape to get rid of.

'Data are key to proving green-energy benefits

Scientists are working with poorer communities worldwide to improve access to clean and safe energy sources.'

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-022-02831-4

444:

Correct. Which is why I frequently add tags indicating less than perfect knowledge to comments I make about conditions in other countries :)

445:

Thank you.

No visible part numbers on Q1 and U1 I take it? I can't bring anything up by messing with the photo, nor even make it possible to tell whether they just have faint and unclear markings or whether some arsehole has sanded the markings off.

446:

They also don't list the input voltage. So there's also issues for me trying to run 110V panels. I did find someone in Australia who claimed to sell them but they seemed to be out of stock or discontinued.

Mind you, part of the fun is that I want 100W input power, not "100W equivalent output". Here they seem not to put lumens on the higher power ones, watts is all you get. I'm not hugely fussy about colour temperature but I hate bad colour rendering lights (most RGB are just three frequencies) so I'll go with "warm" rather than 3500K-5000K adjustable (which are generally a mix of warm and cool LEDs anyway).

I'm either just trying to see with my ageing eyes, or pointing a small camera at something and hoping to get a usable descriptive photo out of it (see image link above for example). Having 3-4 floodlights with clamps on them suits me fine.

(Pigeon: no numbers that I can make out. I suspect someone sanded them off to save me the trouble of trying to find the part numbers online. It almost looks like conformal coating but my multimeter gives clean readings so ???)

447:

OK, it’s been a few days now. The continuing coverage while nothing new or unexpected happens is starting to remind me of the old Saturday Night Live running gag, “Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead.”

At least in Google News some of the british royal family stories are starting to move out from under the “World News” heading and back to “Entertainment” where they belong.

448:

I'm finding that as usual the satire sites are more bearable than the straight news. One of the Oz ones has had a few funny ones on the "we have to rename Queensland" theme.

You mean "Day 5 Of Rolling Australian News Coverage Confirms That The Queen’s Situation Has Not Improved"?

Or perhaps Local Australian so distraught about Queen they might have to take the Friday off as well (we're having a Queen's Deathday public holiday next Thursday).

449:

he bought LEDs back in the days when they WERE crap, decided they were crap, and has built his own ever since

For some reason I'm reminded of the old "tried it once and didn't like it" comedy routine…

450:

446 Para 3 - Wet film or digital? In the latter case, most people correct colour balance in post processing using GIMP or Photoshop. With wet film, it was always well known that Eastman Kodak produced a warmer film more suitable for IC1 portraiture than Fuji or Sakura/Konica, who all made stock more suitable for landscape or sports work.

447 & 448 - Or, as I have been putting the blanket ban on other stories on EBC1, "Queen Elizabeth is dead alas".

451:

And, returning to the original subject, I wonder how much Charles is going to do/be able to push response to global warming....

Very little directly but he can probably do quite a bit to facilitate. He's regularly in the ear of the UK prime minister, he has access to all the world leaders, he can be more generous with Buckingham Palace invites to progressive leaders, he can choose which events to attend in a ceremonial capacity, he can knight or otherwise honour climate scientists.

It all has to be done with a deft hand, of course: he can't drag a horse to water, and he definitely can't make it drink. But, much like how the pope was able to adjudicate the territorial dispute between Chile and Argentina in the late 70s, the monarchy is able to encourage the right conditions for talks because it's nominally non-partisan.

452:

Colour rendering and colour temperature are only loosely related. You can get perfect colour temperature with a single frequency, more commonly three, but ain't no-one going to call that good colour rendering. It's possible to get something that looks black under the wrong RGB array even though it's blue, for example, but it just doesn't reflect the single blue frequency available at all.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Color_rendering

453:

Dave Leste said (1) Do not insult your students.

(2) Always, always, assume -- and indeed tell your students -- that if they don't understand something it is not their fault, it is yours.

(3) Simplify, simplify, simplify.

(4) You are not telling a murder mystery story. Describe the big picture idea first, and only then put in the details.

These are great points that I fully agree with.

But.

I've been trying to convey what the advantage of air to air heat pumps are, that you can inexpensively avail yourself of ~7 times more heat than you use electricity without disturbing the fabric of the building, they can be used successfully in dense urban environs, in climates significantly colder and wetter than the UK, installed in Victorian housing stock, and that extra insulation is great, but not a requirement for heat pumps to work, for about 4 years, and I've used every one of those techniques.

If you insist I could probably find examples of each, and there's at least a couple of examples here in this thread.

Actually, lets try.

187 I very simply say I can heat my uninsulated 3 bed house with 200W. That's (3) covered. (if I'm completely honest, I'd guess under 100W, but I didn't think that would be believed)

314 I say "I'll never find the words to explain how it's done despite trying for years." So that's (2) covered.

(1) I don't think I can find an example, because insults are in the eye of the insulted. Like, was PHK being deliberately insulting, or giving an honest assessment when he said: "It is my impression that I understand both the theoretical physics and practical issues better than you do"? There's no objective way to say.

(4), I'm not sure what the difference is between this and (3). I described the big picture first in 187. Is there any way to express more simply that heat pumps work well? In comment 282 I pretty simply pointed out that 29 is a bigger number than 6. I didn't mention compressors, or pressures or anything. I did say that real machines wouldn't get these numbers, but you can compare the theoretical limits of the two approaches and conclude that given similar efficency, one approach will always be better than the other. That seems simple on the face of it. To me at least, and I'm far from the sharpest tool in this box.

What do you suggest I try next?

454:

EC said: I was really hoping for a 50 lumen one.

https://youtu.be/ISTB0ThzhOY

Big Clive has put a variety of caps in series with a whole bunch of UK available lamps. It lowers the output of light and dramatically lowers both consumption (to an undetectable level on his power meter) and brightness, while presumably greatly increasing life.

455:

hippotolemy
What Chas CAN do is give ex-Big-Oil executive Truss(mp) a very hard time in private at their weekly meetings.
Also, he's, ahem, "strongly hinted", cough, that William will be taking up the Green Mantle - and Trump(ss) is already seen to be wobbly & irrational, so it's going to be interesting

gasdive
You have forgotten the real almost-complete barrier to useful Heat Pumps in the UK: - the politics.
In the same way that house insulation grants were discontinued/scaled back, or solar panel installation crapped on & the payment for electricity generated therefrom also screwed down, the whole "Big Oil" { See also our current Prime Muppet } commercial-&-political pressure is against people who want to do this.
I've looked at this & EVERY SINGLE TIME, it's not financially worth it, because of the rigging of the "market" - ok?

456:

What you're ignoring is the bit where your light source is only one part of the image, and it's way easier to correct the image sensor and/or the final image.

457:

"What do you suggest I try next?"

I think you are overlooking something, namely that you are overlooking something.

PHK said explicitly that he is using his heat pump system not just for space heating, but also for domestic hot water. That adds constraints to his system, and also changes what may be the most effective approach.

If you think that heat pumps are a bad idea for domestic hot water, say so.

If you agree with PHK that heat pumps are a good idea for domestic hot water, then you need to factor that use into consideration. As far as I can see, you have just ignored it.

It may well be that, given the need to preheat the water going into the second stage, and the (presumed) existence of water pipes for underfloor heating, the approach adopted by PHK will perform about as well as adding a separate air-to air system, adding cost and complexity.

JHomes

458:

Lets say you have an insect wing that reflects a chunk of nice deep blue between 415nm and 430nm and an RGB lamp that emits at 680nm (red), 580nm (green) and 450nm (blue). The blue LED is not going to reflect back off the wing (hopefully you don't expect the R and G parts to either). The wing will look black. So your "make it look iridescent blue like the real thing" is going to be 100% photoshop, only the shape will come from the camera.

If you have a monochrome LED light (a red LED on a 'night vision preserving' torch, say), take some photos using that as your light source. Then convert them to full colour in your image editor of choice.

459:

Yup. Any book on colour theory will tell you that there are an infinite number of spectra that will give you a given "colour", but as soon as you start multiplying them together all bets are off.

This was a real problem with the first generation of white LEDs. I bought a head lamp for mountaineering use and discovered that the grid on a certain popular series of UK maps becomes almost invisible when illuminated by it. Not helpful.

The newer ones are much improved.

On the subject whole "All UK LED bulbs are terrible!" discussion, I went entirely LED a couple of years ago and it was fine.

460:

Thank you.

By sheer coincidence I was at our local "Powerhouse Museum" on the weekend. It has a geek section and one of the exhibits is a room where they do this. They have full spectrum(ish) lights, but also monochrome ones (narrowband LED). You can flip between them and look at various colourful objects in different lighting conditions.

The "Sydney Olympic volunteer uniform" (general theme) is a nightmare of bright colours under white light but properly subdued under a red or blue LED.

461:

Iridescent things like insect wings are likely to be particularly troublesome to photograph, because they act like a diffraction grating, producing a narrow peaked spectrum rather than the broad spread of frequencies you get from absorbent pigments.

462:

Greg said: You have forgotten the real almost-complete barrier to useful Heat Pumps in the UK: - the politics.

Yeah. That's true. I don't know enough about it, so I do ignore it. The equipment exists, designed for 240V 50 Hz, but yeah. Issues.

463:

"William will be taking up the Green Mantle"

William is Sandy Arbuthnot? What next, King of Albania?

464:

On photography, I remember one show I was watching with my spouse, and we took pictures of it with our phones. The stage lighting was probably some kind of LED apparatus, with a spiky spectrum, as our phone cameras showed the stage very differently. Both images were also different from what we saw with our eyes.

It was an interesting thing to see.

I started thinking that it might be fun to build a light-box with different lights, and maybe some calibration colors and patterns. Then some objects might be put in there and the lights adjusted to show how the lights affect our perception.

Different cameras optional, to see how the photographs are again different from what we see.

I also wonder if it's possible to make polychromatic lighting which would show up dark on a camera.

465:

"I've been trying to convey what the advantage of air to air heat pumps are, that you can inexpensively avail yourself of ~7 times more heat than you use electricity without disturbing the fabric of the building,"

You have. Ad tedium and ad nauseam. I wish that you would take the trouble to check up on your claimed 'facts' - it's not hard.

Yes, SOME people can, but others can't, and MOST houses in the UK fall into the latter category. In particular, air to 55 Celsius water heat exchangers are not that efficient in cold weather, 55 Celsius is often not hot enough, and those are the ONLY solution that even arguably involves no fabric disruption to most existing UK housing stock. Let's ignore all of the other technical problems of those that are serious in the UK but not in Australia that you so studiously ignore.

"If you insist I could probably find examples of each, and there's at least a couple of examples here in this thread."

The fact that it can be done in one case does not mean it can be done in all cases, or even in most. That is a near-universal truth, and I could give you dozens of examples where it is true.

466:

Go to the top of the class!

467:

They certainly are. Old school film and mark 1 eyeballs also have problems of course, but we are mostly used to them.

As an aside, lots of childrens toys incorporate surprisingly high quality diffraction gratings. There must be a factory somewhere that prints endless rolls of the stuff.

468:

JHomes said: If you think that heat pumps are a bad idea for domestic hot water, say so.

I'm pretty sure I have in the past...

At the risk of not making it simple enough, it depends.

Have controlled load or economy 7, use a resistance storage hot water. You'll use three times as much electricity but at 1/3rd of the cost and the electricity would probably have been thrown away or curtailed anyway. Less up front cost, longer life.

Without that, use a heat pump, but try to shower in the warmest part of the day to maximise COP and minimise the backup resistance heater kicking in which it will at about 5C. Short showers as the tank volume is usually small unless you spend a fortune.

Have some sun? (not much needed) evacuated tube solar with electric boost. Works on cloudy days, but you need a roof with a view of the sky (so not in an apartment)

469:

Indeed. The 'warm white' / 'cool white' distinction is primarily psychological, and there is a whole lot of (inconclusive) research on that.

I am interested in that head torch story, and have had similar problems - in fact, it was sometimes the case before noble gas and halogen incandescent bulbs, because old-fashioned low-power incandescents were deficient in the blue area of the spectrum. Yes, I do mean that you couldn't always see faint blue on a map with a 1950s bicycle lamp or torch!

For your information, the 'LEDs are crap' era was somewhere around 2005, when they first became affordably available and were being hyped up as an energy saving / green solution. There has been a gradual improvement since, and ordinary LED bulbs have been very good since about 2010; even the 'specials' are now OK. This was a historical debate, intended to be with reference to be boiler situation - I now regret starting it :-(

470:

Dave, can I get your professional advice here?

Post 465 from EC

How do I respond? I've written a TED talk about air to air and why air to water doesn't work very well, and EC responds by quoting me saying "air to air heat pumps" then explains that I need to check my facts, I don't understand that air to water doesn't work.

Then goes on to tell me that air to water is the only thing that doesn't change the fabric of the building. That's despite me explaining that air to air only involves a hole in the wall. Less disruption than installing running water. I've explained it, I've linked to installation videos, showing what's involved, I've linked to photos of them happily installed in Victorian era buildings, explained that air to air doesn't mean ducted. Nothing. He just repeats that anything other than a heat pump combiboiler requires dismantling the house and they can't be fitted to most houses in the UK.

Then he claims that I've only given one example, using a quote from me where I'm discussing a completely different thing (me finding examples of following your suggestions, not me finding examples of putting in a heat pump)

So what do I do here?

If it was some jerk on the internet, I'd block and move on. Instead it's a friend I've known for years. He pops up and contradicts things I haven't said all the time. How do I get him to read what I'm saying rather than what his preconceptions make him think I'm saying?