Thursday, 10 December 2009

Meeting Essentials - good practice

Make sure your meeting has
- a purpose and is necessary
- the right people - who need to be there
- an agenda in advance - with clear timings including the start and end times++
- people with clear roles for chairing, note taking and time keeping

Meetings must
- start on time
- have action points recorded and distributed promptly
- stop when the purpose is achieved
- lead to positive, timely action and outcomes

Individually we can all help :
- Arrive 5 mins early
- Be committed and involved – use our values
- Keep the meeting on topic – all other things are offline
- Leave the room as you would expect to find it

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Learning - chinese proverb

"Tell me and I'll forget;

show me and I may remember;

involve me and I'll understand."
Alternative terms of Personal Learning Journals
I hear and I forget
I see and I remember
I write and I understand

UK - Blake's Parliamentary Year Book 2010 - "All Change" rail editorial

Editorial written in March 2009.

photos from top
1. St Pancras station

# southeastern highspeed snaps
2.Chatham Station - May 2009 (not in service!)
3. Ebbsfleet International Station - August 2009

Southeastern is owned by Govia, which is itself jointly owned by Go-Ahead Group and Keolis, who also operate the neighbouring Southern operating company which overlaps with Southeastern in some areas. The company’s formal name, under which it mounted its bid for the franchise, is London and South Eastern Railway.

Keolis was formerly an investment of 3i. 
Groupe SNCF and a consortium comprising AXA (acting through AXA Private Equity) and Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, agreed to acquire a majority participation (55%) in Groupe Keolis. Within the consortium itself, the shareholding will be shared equally between the two partners. Groupe SNCF retains its current equity participation (45%) and remains the Group’s key industrial shareholder.
Early in 2010, there was consideration in the press of a potential merger between Keolis and Arriva.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

NTNON Gramophone (not quite SPIN selling - click here))

......What do I do with my old 78s?

SPIN stands for Situation, Problem, Implication, Needs
NTNON = Not the Nine O'clock News

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Friday, 25 September 2009

Risk headings - aide memoire

Economic/Markets - Financial and monetary

Skills & Staff
Style & Shared Values (Culture)

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Cold calling emails

Personalisation and context
Focus: emphasis is on the value for reader, making it worth reading.

A call to action: suggests action to contact to set up a call; a self-confident approach that can contrast with impression given with more desperate overtones in an email.

Clear language: well written and error free, taking the time to care, which makes reader feel more respected

Friday, 28 August 2009


A great many people may think that they are thinking; however, most are merely rearranging their prejudices.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Energy requirements of different forms of passenger transport.

more Sustainable Energy - without the hot air David JC MacKay
Figure 20.23. Energy requirements of different forms of passenger transport. The vertical coordinate shows the energy consumption in kWh per 100 passenger-km. The horizontal coordinate indicates the speed of the transport. The “Car (1)” is an average UK car doing 33 miles per gallon with a single occupant. The “Bus” is the average performance of all London buses. The “Underground system” shows the performance of the whole London Underground system. The catamaran is a diesel-powered vessel. I’ve indicated on the left-hand side equivalent fuel efficiencies in passenger-miles per imperial gallon (p-mpg).Hollow point-styles show best-practice performance, assuming all seats of a vehicle are in use. Filled point-styles indicate actual performance of a vehicle in typical use.See also figure 15.8 (energy requirements of freight transport).

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Analysts: 'The recession has ended'; the continuing revolution

I really don't think we have seen the full impact of the major structural changes that are continuing to be necessary to address issues arising from the internet and climate change; reduced transaction costs impacting on supply and demand challenged through optimising/prioritising energy and water use.

During the 'debt decade', as I believe we are stuck in, we will have to learn to severely curtail our expenditure to pay off the excess of the past, and that may help us set off on the right path. It is going to mean a radical change in leadership, expectations and behaviour to make sure the UK pulls through which I'm not sure many of us fully realise and the government its really in a position to be too open about.

For me we need to be really taking out waste in the economy - including excessive consumerism, inefficient energy cycles and unfettered long distance travel - plus we need to put more detailed thought into the full life cycle cost of assets and services. At the same, we have processes and organisations which need radical overhaul; e.g. aspects of local government which is by anyone's measure in need of becoming more efficient and effective and simpler to access.

This implies revolutionary change in employment models, forms of employment itself, our use of transport modes and in our wider economic activity internally and globally. We are ill prepared for this change as we know as little about the direction of travel and the means to get there as people did at the start of the industrial revolution!

The good news is that I believe the UK has many strengths in our favour;
- a temperate maritime climate in a relative benign region free from material, sudden climatic and seismic events
- a reasonably secure source of potential future energy and fresh water supply
- a free-ish market based and educated democracy that values participation in society
- being on a naturally attractive and fertile island!

Friday, 22 May 2009

Memory tips - DOMINIC O'BRIEN'S

The three pillars to learning are
  1. good memory techniques, one memory technique for languages is "gender zones". Visualise feminine nouns such as "la cantina" (cellar) in your home or home town; masculine nouns such as "il campo" (field) elsewhere
  2. speed reading and to improve speed reading, use a pointer such as a pen to trace along the lines as you read
  3. note-taking take effective notes, make mind maps from key words and crystallise original notes down to helpful reminders

If you learn something new, review it within 24 hours to help lodge it in your memory

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

RSA David Eagleman 21 April - The Brain and the Law

Dr David Eagleman considers some emerging questions relating to law and neuroscience, challenging long-held assumptions in criminality and punishment and predicting a radical new future for the legal system.

RSA James Boyle 10 March The Public Domain: enclosing the commons of the mind

Event: Social Brain.
Professor James Boyle, Duke University, argues that our culture, science and economic welfare all depend on a delicate balance between intellectual property and the public domain.

Friday, 8 May 2009

Persuasive Text

Customer Benefits
Affinity with customer needs
Technical Solutions
Evidence you can do it

Monday, 4 May 2009

Leveraging successful partnerships to win and manage major projects

Various Reports & Papers

NCE Scottish Transport Conference (2009)
Planning Cycle (2008)

BP (2008)
European PPP Business Network 20 November (2007)
DD 1 (2003)
DD 2 (2003)
Aston MBA Paper - Spanish rail opportunity (2002)
ICE Experience Report (2001)
ICE Project Report (2001)
Mersey Barrage Paper (Tidal Power) (1992)

Confidence, Clarity, Compliance and Competitiveness - key ingredients in winning

Evaluators look for the following in tender submissions
- this comes across in the language used
- is about keeping the message simple and relating to their requirements
- is vital and can only be achieved by ATFQ both accurately and fully (whilst also following the guidelines in an ITT which may seek that the structure of each response includes 'Benefits', Challenges' and' Evidence'
-In addition to the above, it is also vital to be 'competitive' by including what is better about OUR proposal over that of our competitors'. Always remember the strengths and weaknesses of having an incumbent position

Readability index - aide Memoire

Readability Index (RI); average sentence length (ASL) + % long words.

Target technical tender submissions 30-35; FT 41, Sun <20.

ASL = {no of words} ÷ {no of sentences}; e.g. 650 ÷ 20 = 32

%LW = {no of words 3 syllables or more} ÷ {no of words}*100; e.g. 108 ÷ 650 x 100 = 17

RI = ASL + %LW; e.g. 32 + 17 = 49

NB Strictly the Gunning Fox Index is then calculated by multiplying this by 0.4 which is meant to indicate how many years of formal education needs to read this with ease. On line tool available.

Monday, 27 April 2009

Defence. Investment Appraisal Board (IAB)

(extract from 2001 document - link above)
The Investment Appraisal Board is responsible for central scrutiny of equipment requirements, major capital works and Information Technology projects. It makes recommendations to Ministers on the procurement of major defence equipment.

The IAB is
  • chaired by the Chief Scientific Adviser (MoD CSA) and includes
  • the Vice Chief of the Defence Staff (VCDS),
  • 2nd Permanent Secretary (2PS),
  • Chief of Defence Procurement (CDP) and
  • Chief of Defence Logistics (CDS), reflecting the key Departmental stakeholders.

Professor Mark Welland FRS FREng busy in his new role as MOD Chief Scientific Adviser.

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Google Powermeter

What Google is Doing

Google PowerMeter, now in prototype, will receive information from utility smart meters and energy management devices and provide anyone who signs up access to her home electricity consumption right on her iGoogle homepage. The graph below shows how someone could use this information to figure out how much energy is used by different household activites.

PowerMeter annotated graph
Get better information about how you use energy and what you can do to be more efficient.
Reduce your energy bills and carbon footprint by making smart decisions about your energy use.
Strike up a little friendly competition to see how your energy consumption compares to your friends and neighbors.

The Conservatives' plan for a 'Green technology recovery'

George Osborne has set out a series of measures that could be introduced in next week’s Budget and would bring about a green technology revolution in Britain.
The Shadow Chancellor stressed, “The Budget is not just an opportunity to help people now; it’s also a chance to chart a new course for the future.”

And he outlined a series of policies to “kick-start a green recovery” built on new technologies developed and manufactured in Britain:
  • A £6,500 energy efficient entitlement for every home in Britain
  • Funding at least three carbon capture and storage pilots (2)
  • The introduction of feed-in tariffs (4) and smart meters (3) to encourage homes to microgenerate using wind turbines and solar power
  • A national recharging network for electric vehicles (5)
  • Beginning work on a new high-speed rail network (6)
  • Investing in the creation of an electricity internet (7)
  • Providing government loan guarantees to companies investing in green technologies
  • Creating the world’s first environmental trading market
  • Introducing a network of Marine Energy Parks
  • Building an offshore DC cable network (10)
George stressed their plan “could transform Britain”: “It would unleash £30 billion of new private sector investment, without adding a penny to the national debt. It would lay the path to a greener future. And it would help build a future economy where we save and invest for tomorrow instead of borrow and spend for today.”

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Tidal Power - David JC MacKay; the beauties of tide

extracted from
Sustainable Energy - without the hot air

Beauties of tide

Totting everything up, the barrage, the lagoons, and the tidal stream farms could deliver something like 11 kWh/d per person (figure 14.10).

Tide power has never been used on an industrial scale in Britain, so it’s hard to know what economic and technical challenges will be raised as we build and maintain tide-turbines – corrosion, silt accumulation, entanglement with flotsam? But here are seven reasons for being excited about tidal power in the British Isles.
1. Tidal power is completely predictable; unlike wind and sun, tidal power is a renewable on which one could depend; it works day and night all year round; using tidal lagoons, energy can be stored so that power can be delivered on demand.

2. Successive high and low tides take about 12 hours to progress around the British Isles, so the strongest currents off Anglesey, Islay, Orkney and Dover occur at different times from each other; thus, together, a collection of tide farms could produce a more constant contribution to the electrical grid than one tide farm, albeit a contribution that wanders up and down with the phase of the moon.
3. Tidal power will last for millions of years.
4. It doesn’t require high-cost hardware, in contrast to solar photovoltaic power.
5. Moreover, because the power density of a typical tidal flow is greater than the power density of a typical wind, a 1 MW tide turbine is smaller in size than a 1 MW wind turbine; perhaps tide turbines could therefore be cheaper than wind turbines.
6. Life below the waves is peaceful; there is no such thing as a freak tidal storm; so, unlike wind turbines, which require costly engineering to withstand rare windstorms, underwater tide turbines will not require big safety factors in their design.
7. Humans mostly live on the land, and they can’t see under the sea, so objections to the visual impact of tide turbines should be less strong than the objections to wind turbines.


Tidal power, while clean and green, should not be called renewable. Extracting power from the tides slows down the earth’s rotation. We definitely can’t use tidal power long-term.

False. The natural tides already slow down the earth’s rotation. The natural rotational energy loss is roughly 3 TW (Shepherd, 2003). Thanks to natural tidal friction, each century, the day gets longer by 2.3 milliseconds.
Many tidal energy extraction systems are just extracting energy that would have been lost anyway in friction. But even if we doubled the power extracted from the earth–moon system, tidal energy would still last more than a billion years.

Notes and further reading

page no.
82The power of an artificial tide-pool. The power per unit area of a tide-pool is derived in Chapter G, p311.

Britain is already supplied with a natural tide-pool . . . known as the North Sea. I should not give the impression that the North Sea fills and empties just like a tide-pool on the English coast. The flows in the North Sea are more complex because the time taken for a bump in water level to propagate across the Sea is similar to the time between tides. Nevertheless, there are whopping tidal currents in and out of the North Sea, and within it too.

83The total incoming power of lunar tidal waves crossing these lines has been measured to be 100 kWh per day per person. Source: Cartwright et al. (1980). For readers who like back-of-envelope models, Chapter G shows how to estimate this power from first principles.

84La Rance generated 16 TWh over 30 years. That’s an average power of 60 MW. (Its peak power is 240 MW.) The tidal range is up to 13.5 m; the impounded area is 22 km2; the barrage 750 m long. Average power density: 2.7 W/m2. Source: [6xrm5q].

85The engineers’ reports on the Severn barrage...say 17 TWh/year. (Taylor, 2002b). This (2 GW) corresponds to 5% of current UK total electricity consumption, on average.

86Power per unit area of tidal lagoons could be 4.5 W/m2. MacKay (2007a).

Dartford Crossing Study April 2009

Interesting study including analysis of current supply limitations, nature of demand and future options to meet anticipated demand.

You might have thought from reading the report that additional capacity is required sooner than the Forth Replacement Crossing. This is even more relevant in light of the fact that this is a strategically important crossing with v little in the way of a contingency options in the event of something unforseen happening (not mentioned in the report. 

Sustainable Energy - without the hot air


Dedication Preface (p.viii) (p.ix)

10-page synopsis: (pdf)

I Numbers, not adjectives [pdf]
1 Motivations [html]
2 The balance sheet [html]
3 Cars [html]
4 Wind [html]
5 Planes [html]
6 Solar [html]
7 Heating and cooling
8 Hydroelectricity [html]
9 Light [html]
10 Offshore wind [html]
11 Gadgets [html]
12 Wave [html]
13 Food and farming [html]
14 Tide [html]
15 Stuff [html]
16 Geothermal [html]
17 Public services [html]
18 Can we live on renewables?
II Making a difference [pdf]
19 Every BIG helps [html]
20 Better transport [html]
21 Smarter heating [html]
22 Efficient electricity use
23 Sustainable fossil fuels?
24 Nuclear?
25 Living on other countries' renewables?
26 Fluctuations and storage [html]
27 Five energy plans for Britain [html]
28 Putting costs in perspective [html]
29 What to do now [html]
30 Energy plans for Europe, America, and the World
31 The last thing we should talk about [html]
32 Saying yes [html]
IIITechnical chapters
A Cars II
B Wind II
C Planes II
D Solar II
E Heating II
F Waves II
G Tide II
H Stuff II
IVUseful data
I Quick reference
J Populations and areas
K UK energy history

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Scotland - Overall Energy and Associated CO 2

Source: Scottish Energy Study: Volume 1: Energy in Scotland: Supply and Demand. Crown Copyright

6 Overall Energy and Associated CO 2

Having discussed energy demand and supply separately in earlier sections, this section builds a picture of how supply feeds through to meet demand. The sub-sections cover:
  • Representing energy flows diagrammatically via Sankey diagrams.
  • Summarising the balance of supply and demand.
  • Primary energy.
  • How Scotland compares with the UK.
6.1 Energy Flow in Scotland
One powerful method of representing complex energy flow patterns is by using Sankey diagrams. A series of Sankey figures are included overleaf to illustrate:
Figure 18: The big picture: Scottish energy inputs, production, consumption and exports.
Figure 19: Main overview of energy flows in Scotland 50.
Figure 20: Energy supply in Scotland: the top-down 'supply' detail.
Figure 21: Electricity sector energy flow in Scotland: electricity generation detail.
Figure 22: Final energy by sector in Scotland: the bottom-up "demand" detail.