Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Getting to grips with the 'Grot Shop'

Very good to talk to Sophie from BBC Radio Devon with the Mayor about Teignmouth Town Council plans to deal with a derelict shop and create really affordable housing for local families.

Monday, 30 April 2018

Friday, 30 March 2018

A Galaxy Without Dark Matter

"Dr Collins is cautious to conclude that the galaxy has no dark matter halo, based on the current evidence" now that is a very polite way of saying that it is nonsense. An unusually transparent galaxy about the size of the Milky Way is prompting new questions for astrophysicists. The object, with the great name of NGC1052-DF2, appears to contain no dark matter.If this turns out to be true, it may be the first galaxy of its kind - made up only of ordinary matter. Currently, dark matter is thought to be essential to the fabric of the Universe as we understand it.

Trolls

Over a decade ago, I was always very proud when shopkeepers et al would compliment me on the politeness and manners of my daughters. But I have to ask are good manners a redundant concept these days, any disagreement, it seems is the instant trigger for obscenities and vile online comments using offensive language. The expression ‘agree to disagree’ seems redolent of a distant kinder era. Universal access to social media provides an all to easy means for a great many people to launch into a tirade of vile filth and downright nastiness on Facebook and Twitter. In a very short space of time, many people have become unable to contemplate that someone might hold different views to their own and have the right to do so.

Saturday, 10 February 2018

Peter Williams Sweeps to Victory

Peter Williams swept to victory in the Teignmouth Central Ward by-election held on Monday 5th February, with 438 votes, increasing the majority from 44 votes to 73 votes over the second place Conservative with 365. The by-election was caused by the sad passing of veteran Liberal Democrat councillor Roy Phillips. Roy won the Central Ward by-election held in September 2016 with daughter Julie. At the age of 91, Roy became the oldest by-election victor in the UK. Peter has pledged to work for Teignmouth and "the prosperity and happiness of our town" will be his first priority. Clearly the voters of Central Ward have rejected the proposal to build 255 houses at Higher Exeter Road. The balance between the parties on Teignmouth Town Council remains unchanged with 6 Conservatives, 5 Liberal Democrats and 1 Independent.

Billions of Exoplanets Outside our Galaxy

Have scientists found billions of exoplanets outside our Galaxy? A group of researchers at the University of Oklahoma has just announced the discovery of a large population of free-floating planets in a galaxy 3.8 billion light-years away. Their results were published February 2 in the Astrophysical Journal Letters. http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.3847/2041-8213/aaa5fb/meta Detecting planets in our part of the galaxy using the transit method or spectrometry, however quasar microlensing is great for sampling more distant stellar populations. Quasar microlensing provides a means to probe extragalactic planets in the lens galaxy, by studying the microlensing properties of emission close to the event horizon of the supermassive black hole of the background quasar, using the current generation telescopes.

Friday, 22 December 2017

Unfair Kingdom

Labour and the Conservatives do not agree on much, but both go along with regressive changes to benefits policy, the very poorest people in our communities are going to see big cuts in their already meagre living standards. The changes to benefits policy are massively bad news for the 50%+ of families in our country who receive income from at least one state benefit. The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), says that the Conservatives’ plans will reduce the net incomes of households in the bottom income decile by a tenth. The incomes of working-age families with children in the bottom decile could end up a full 15% lower - that's a big cut when you've next to nothing. Labour folk tell me they are offering a radical alternative, but let’s look at facts behind the hyperbole. The distributional impact of Labour’s tax-and-benefits policy is almost the same as the Conservatives. Labour has committed only £4.5bn saying cancelling the benefits freeze entirely is unaffordable, yet Labour has pledged about £10bn to remove university-tuition fees, a policy that heavily benefits the better-off. Now it’s not a fashionable or a vote winning thing to put families on benefits over students – it is however the right thing to do. http://www.centreforwelfarereform.org/news/the-uk-gover-more-unfair/00351.html