Sunday, February 28, 2010

Your Country Your Call More Questions than Answers



More Questions for
Your Country Your Call

I have been harping on at "Your Country Your Call" about the ethics and moral position of using an international liquid drug vendor, aka alcohol, the said Diageo as a sponsor.

There are several other large questions need to be addressed before the YCYC affair could be declared completely "kosher" and be worthy of Presidential association.

Some of these questions are well outlined in ""

Have a look!


Saturday, February 27, 2010

Diageo and "Your Country Your Call"


“Your Country Your Call”

Why is a multi-national alcoholic drink company with head offices in London so intimately tied up with an Irish Presidential initiative whose aim is to better Ireland’s psychological and monetary situation?

Would an international gambling or casino company be considered an equally good partner for “Your Country Your Call”? Would a gun manufacturer be a good partner in such a relationship? Most probably not, I guess, would be the majority reply.

So why should an alcohol seller be considered a good moral and ethical partner in an initiative that aims to do the opposite for Ireland than drink has historically done?

Undisputable evidence shows that alcohol;

(a) has ravaged family life in Ireland,
(b) has drastically reduced the efficiency of the Irish work-force,
(c) is costing the health service, social services, gardai, and local services countless extra millions every single year,
(d) is a large factor in giving the Irish a yob image internationally,
(e) is an addictive and health damaging drug,
(f) and is currently decimating our youth through binge drinking.

What Cost Diageo's Helping Hand?

Any money given by Diageo to help Ireland out, is only a drop in the ocean compared to the true cost to the country that the alcoholic drinks sold by that company cost in terms of illness, alcoholism, family violence, hospital A&E units packed with drunks, missed work days, road deaths, and binge drinking among youth, to mention just a few.

Ireland needs to wake up to the reality of the effects and cost that alcohol imposes on its society.
Alcohol is a liquid addictive drug that causes disease, road deaths, massive family suffering, permanently destroys brain cells, increases the risk of cancer, etc. etc. etc.

I have written to the “Your Country Your Call” organisers and asked that they sever the association with alcohol as a matter of morals and ethics.


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

More Pellet Boilers and SEI


More Fun with WoodPellet Boilers
and Loving SEI
Part 12,342 or (a lot)

Damian has left a new comment on your post "Woodpellet Woes Comment":

Hi folks,

I have a Viadrus Hercules Eco 48kw boiler heating my house for 2.5 yrs now. While I had problems initially, I think it's working quite well. Basically I'm posting this in case anyone is still having problems with their boilers and maybe we can come up with some solutions.

I was basically camped in my shed for the first 6 months trying to figure things out cos I didn't have much back-up as I bought mine in from the UK. From reading this blog it doesn't seem that SEI gave anyone any help anyway and most of their registered installers/dealers were just jumpin on a band-wagon.

Hi Damian - You seem to be offering help or advice, but you have not given us any means of contacting you, and your profile is blocked. If in fact you are willing to be contacted, please let me have a contact e-mail address that I can publish here. (ed)


Your Country Your Call (part 4)


A Call to
"Your Country Your Call"

“Your Country Your Call” initiative I fully support in principle, but as I have said here already, I do have a number of worries regarding the planning and strategies being employed.

Another of these worrying aspects has only just come to my attention.

Before I outline the problem let me preface it by saying that; IMHO two prime factors have caused Ireland most of its major problems historically.

1. Its politics, and
2. Drink.

(a) has ravaged family life in Ireland,
(b) has drastically reduced the efficiency of the Irish work-force,
(c) is costing the health service countless extra millions every single year,
(d) is a major factor in giving the Irish a yob image internationally,
(e) and is currently decimating our youth through binge drinking.

It is therefore unfortunate that a drink company should have the honour of funding the prize fund.

I want to categorically state here that if I should, by some outrageous set of circumstances, win one of the prizes on offer, I would refuse to accept it on the basis that it is offered by a drink company.

May I suggest that this serious procedural factor is carefully reconsidered by the organizers. "Your Country Your Call" is a worthy effort initiated by our first citizen and Dr Martin McAleese representing the highest integrity of our nation. The stated aim of the initiative is to raise Ireland's hopes and better our fiscal circumstances. Drink sponsorship is therefore most inappropriate and totally conflicts, on several levels, with the stated goal, and with the high ethics and moral standing of the organizers.

Finally, I want to again emphasise that I am not being negative towards this worthy project, I simply wish it to function at the highest efficiency and at the highest ethical level.

My Best Wishes and Regards,
Tony McGinley


Your Country Your Call part 3


YCYC Website Letting the Side Down

Poor functionality and lack of management on the "Your Country Your Call" website is causing some confusion and frustration.

Already there are over 1,100 proposals submitted to the site. At that rate of posting, it could easily reach 20,000 to 30,000 proposals by the end of the competition. What hope would the committee have of sifting that sort of number?

The YCYC site lacks smooth and instinctive interface, entering a proposal is no easy job - it is not at all clear how one should proceed. The blog on the site has not, to date, been moderated and comments are backing up at a rapid rate, with the comments reflecting an increasing degree of frustration. The blog does not have even the most basic means of formatting comments.

All of this is not helping the image of this worthy effort. I hope those charged with the YCYC website management wake up soon and start to do their job properly.


Sunday, February 21, 2010

Your Country Your Call


The YCYC Roller Coaster is in Motion

Truth is, I am concerned that "Your Country Your Call" is already showing signs of structural problems. I am concerned because this is basically a worthy effort by worthy people, and I would like to see it succeed in the best possible way.

Here are my further concerns:

(a) Just a very short time into the opening of the site, there are almost 700 proposals currently posted. Within that 700 are several duplicates, many frivolous remark type proposals, and a few more serious efforts. How will the committee propose to give any serious consideration to the numbers likely to register?

(b) I, for one, would be most disinclined to spend my time and effort making a serious entry only to have it discarded with the possible tens of thousands that could appear in time. The organisers would do well to reconsider the method of proposal entry, right now it is starting to look like a bit of a joke.

(c) The blog on the YCYC site appears to be un-moderated and unattended. This again gives completely the wrong impression right from the start. IMHO, communication is of the essence and "the meaning of communication is the response it elicits" The site and the blog will quickly get out of hand if it is not properly managed.

(d) The hoohaa and horn blowing are now done; it is perhaps time for the organisers to consider a serious set of strategies to deal with the roller coaster they have set in motion?



Thursday, February 18, 2010

Your Country Your Call


President Mary McAleese and the Hubby

Our Irish President Mary McAleese, something we have in Ireland that we can be rightfully proud of, along with her husband Martin have launched a sort of competition / idea factory to help stimulate ideas that could help get Ireland back on its fiscal and psychological feet.

I believe the effort is mainly the idea of Dr. Martin McAleese who has the backing of a wide range of companies and individuals.

The Logo

Here is the link to the web site;

A few initial thoughts on the proposal:

1. I don't know if a "Competition" is the best format for generating "Co-operative" efforts - they are two completely conflicting strategies.

2. What is most needed IMHO is community based growth which is soundly based on the principles of co-operation and reciprocity. These principles, however, have been effectively smothered recently in Ireland by the "Celtic Tiger" with a greedy get-rich-quick hard nosed society in the ascendant.

3. If this "Competition" aims to stimulate and encourage growth, that means encouraging the lazy ones and somewhat holding back the ego driven raging bulls who would aim to take over the show.

4. I guess to some extent the last point is going to be somewhat self-limiting within the "rules" of the "Competition" - which state that the ideas become the intellectual property of the "Competition Organisers" That would tend to eliminate the real ego heads and the "out for a quick buck" merchants. They are not going to give away anything are they?

5. Ideas - ideas, I have a dozen ideas I could enter. If I and thousands like me all enter our "brilliant" ideas, the "competition" organisers will be swamped.

6. That I have ideas is for sure, that I am prepared to drop my life and promote and advance these ideas - not so sure at all at all!! How many others would be of the same thinking? So is there structure planned that can take up and advance the good ideas.

7. There can be only TWO winners - does that mean the rest are losers, who's ideas will end up in the bin?

8. "Spirit of Ireland" was quite a bright idea, but it seems to have gotten bogged down in professional egos, conflicting expert opinions, poor organisational strategy, and lack of public awareness and support. Will "Your Country Your Call" end up in a similar position?

Sorry if I tend to sound critical and negative - I am not, it is just the way I think!


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Yet More Wood Pellet Woes


Play it Again Sam
Another Wood-Pellet Problem

Bee Jay has left a new comment on your post "WoodPellet Woes try SEI for Help":

Hi all,

Very interesting site - wish I knew then what I know now etc...
Bought a wood pellet/solid wood combined boiler with a nominal rate of 22Kwh. House is 2200sq feet and is new so should be well insulated. The installer put in a 750 litre buffer tank as well as 3 mixing valves, HW, downstairs and upstairs. I only spend 12 weeks a year in the house and use around 5 tonnes PA –

The thing never switches off except when it crashes - over 120 times in 17 months. It has what is daintily called a “week hopper “and I thought I could get a caretaker to load it up once a week - a small job and as it was on reduced timings all would be well. Not a bit of it.

The whole system cost €21k and is useless. I have tried it on logs and the only warmth generated is me sweating trying to keep logs in the thing. After 10 hours non-stop the intake temp was only 40 degrees - which for radiators is useless. I am in the process of getting an oil burner installed. I have been in contact - many times with the manufacturer and they happily tell me that I only had a contact with the installer - even though this company is on their website as a recommended partner in Ireland. So as they are happy to tell me that I do not have a contract with them and the installer is gone bust I can amuse myself by rocking on my heels. They did also say that they could not be responsible for installations done by others. I pointed out that they shouldn’t recommend installers if they are not sure if they are any good but that fell on deaf ears. They have agreed to replace a control unit as the original is bust and only had instructions in German – I know I know!

If there are any boffins out there who know the correct ratings please tell me how bad this really is. I keep getting the stuff that bulls are good at making. Oh and as I had installed it without SEI’s permission they laughed at me when I applied for a grant.

If there is a numpty prize I will get it for sure.

ED. Thanks BeeJay for sharing your tale of woes - hopefully it will help some other Joe Soap avoid some pitfalls.


Sunday, February 14, 2010

SEI not helping Sustainable Energy


Is the no end to the
SEI Stupidity?

A Less than Clever way to Promote
Sustainable Energy

Just when you think the woodpellet scene is settling down a bit, along comes yet another letter from a very dissatisfied user.

The Letter:

"wexfjord" has left a new comment on your post "Wood Pellet Problems and Associated Anxieties":


Just wondering about where to get an igniter for a Scottie pellet burner. I've been using the blow torch to ignite for a few weeks now.

I rang the importer and they no longer deal in them and referred me onto the nationally franchised company based in cork who specialise in these things. The ignitor they sent me is a bar type rather than the loop and it just aint cutting the mustard.

Seems to me that there is no back-up or continuity of service. Company in South Tipp were importing the systems and now provide no back-up. Company in Wexford that had local agency are no longer in the pellet boiler market and have no interest in providing back-up. Then there's the installer ( a plumber who admits to knowing very little about the internal operation of a pellet boiler/burner), who's work was commended by the SEI inspector and the guy who commissioned the unit who assumes no further responsibility for it.

We were happy to get the grant but that seems to be the end of the road with SEI. I'm on my own now with a unit that I can't easily get parts for.

Ps. Glad I resisted the temptation to opt for geothermal.

Thanks for an interesting blog.


Just a personal suggestion, unhappy grant recipients might consider collective action to take SEI to task for it's stupidity and lack of care for the people it persuaded into wood pellet heating etc.


Scientific Principles and Irish Politics


Scientific Principles

James Watt Scottish Inventor

The Principle of Reciprocation

James Watt (1736 – 1819) yet another Scottish inventor, I previously wrote about the Rev. Robert Stirling, invented his famous reciprocating steam engine in or about 1775.

Understanding the principles of reciprocating action was IMHO one of the factors that gave birth to the industrial revolution and perhaps to nearly all of modern technology.

Watt's Engine

We use the principles of co-operation and reciprocity in almost every electronic and mechanical device in our modern world. These devices, cars, computers, jet planes, satellites, etc. simply would not function if these principles were not active. Physicists have come to understand that the same principles apply from the sub-atomic to the astro-physical levels of creation.

Yet we humans, while understanding principles of energy when applied to technology and physics, have failed almost completely to appreciate the need for these principles in human dynamics.

The Principle of Unified Action

“The well-being of mankind, its peace and security, are unattainable unless and until its unity is firmly established.” A man called Bahá’u’lláh wrote this truism one hundred and fifty years ago. Its essential truth is easily understood and accepted by most scientists, especially physicists and mathematicians, and not just psychologists as you might be inclined to think. However, when it comes to the science of human affairs as applied to everyday life situations such as government, business, even education, the principle is completely forgotten and ignored.

Let me explain my last sentence. While every type of technology relies on balance, reciprocity and unity of function, we humans mostly use quite the opposite principles of (1) Competitiveness, (2) Adversarialism, (3) Cronyism, (4) Exclusivity. All driven by the engines of (a) Greed, (b) Dishonesty, (c) Ego and false pride.

Take the principle of competitiveness, you might say that it is needed in business and sport. However, consider what it does in our education system? It acts as a filter – like grading stones in a quarry – once the stones are graded there is no going back. The useless stones are discarded as junk – right? The saying; "there can be only one winner" should put you on alert immediately. The recent world-wide financial collapse has been a major winning for some and misery for most.

Adversarialism (them and us, and we are going to win) ; a most obvious quantity in our legal system and in our governing bodies. Here is one definition of our political system: Party Politics, one good on-line definition expresses it thus, “political acts and principles directed toward the interests of one political party or its members without reference to the common good”

And who would argue that our legal and court systems are truly honest, efficient, and produce equity and justice in the true sense??

What provoked this Rant?

Well it is an opinion poll just published in the Independent newspaper that has “stoked the fire of my ire” (see the link below)

Two of the statistics produced in the poll jumped out at me:

* That 62% of Irish people want a national government. (government free of party lines)

* And that 91% of Irish people want criminal prosecutions taken against the bankers who’s greed and dishonest caused the financial meltdown.

It would seem that “demos” (the people – as in democracy) have spoken loudly and clearly on some of the principles of government. I wonder however if the politicians are capable of listening??


Thursday, February 11, 2010

UK Shipyards to TurbineYards


UK Shipyards to TurbineYards

The "Spirit of Ireland" proposal may in essence not have been too soundly based a proposition. However, it was at least imaginative and provoked some fresh thinking -we could do with a bit of fresh thinking in Ireland right now!! Is there anyone in our gobshite parliament thinking this way?

Fresh Thinking in the UK

The UK’s Lib Dem party asserts that 57,000 jobs could be created in renewable energy. They outlined the scandal that 90% of the £1.75bn contract for a wind farm off the Kent coast was going to foreign companies.

A Turbine Blade maufacture facility by Enercon

They intend to offer £400m in grants to convert shipyards into wind turbine factories. It is hoped that seven shipyards could be converted in the bid, and cities including Liverpool, Newcastle, Hull, Middlesbrough, Edinburgh, Dundee, Aberdeen and Glasgow would be expected to apply for the grants.

Spending on R&D and Training

A further investment of £100m would be invested in R&D, training and testing facilities. Included in the drive would be several universities with specialist engineering research units.

“ Expanding off-shore wind will create jobs but unless we act now, these jobs won't be British jobs ” Nick Clegg

The Lib Dem party says it would spend £3.6bn within one year to create jobs and build up infrastructure.

Another of Enercon's facilities

the Lib Dem party says 12,000 jobs would be created in developing the ports and 45,000 in manufacturing, constructing and supplying the turbines.

In the UK the economy and the environment will be major issues in future elections. I guess in Ireland it will be no different. Will the Celtic pussycat ever wake up in time to benefit?


Wednesday, February 03, 2010

China and the Spirit of Ireland Proposal


China Could Meet Its
Entire Future Energy Needs
by Wind Alone

The recent "Spirit of Ireland" wind-hydro proposal was met with an underwhelming response and essentially was blown out of the water by many commentators. It is a piddlingly small proposal to one postulated for the whole of China. The difference is China is taking their proposal seriously!

A joint study by Harvard and Chinese research teams has shown that wind power alone has the potential to meet China’s entire electricity demands, not just for now, but projected growth all the way to 2030!!

The study showed that a network of turbines, operating at as little as 20% of rated capacity, could provide more than seven times China's current needs. This would be sufficient power for projected needs up to 2030. The projected cost of power generation was estimated at approximately 7.6 U.S. cents per kilowatt-hour.

The study also showed that wind farms would only need to take up land areas of 0.5 million square kilometers, or land about three quarters of the size of State of Texas. The actual physical footprints of wind turbines would be much smaller, allowing the selected areas to remain agricultural in nature.

China would have to invest a whopping $900 billion dollars at current prices over the twenty-year period to 2030. But the scientists estimated that the figure, while very large, represented a reasonable investment for the estimated returns.

So pretty really - Just the kind of thing you would love in your back yard?

China is currently commissioning several coal fired power plants every single week of the year.

The model used for assessing China is flexible and could be used for assessing wind potential anywhere in the world.