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More evidence that HS2 is more about capacity than speed

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A submission into the HS2 review has found that over 50 stations that are not part of the HS2 network will be able to offer more train services once HS2 is built.

Analysis by Sub-national transport body, Midlands Connect and sent to the Oakervee HS2 Review found that of the 73 locations that could benefit from HS2’s released capacity, 54 are stations not even served by HS2 trains.

That’s because of the great sucking sound caused by HS2 taking intercity trains off the regional railways and releasing tons more space on the railways for the regional services that carry commuters and families between the smaller cities.

As has been previously reported, although the headlines talk about the High Speed intercity element of HS2, the big impact is actually the average commuter heading into work each day.

By moving long-distance traffic from the current rail infrastructure onto the new high speed line, HS2 will create the extra room needed to improve local and inter-regional services.

That is due to the timetable impact of sharing fast and slow services on the same railway line — as there needs to be fewer slower trains to avoid the fast trains being delayed. Good for intercity services, but a pain for the regional travellers who don’t live in the big cities.

According to the report, HS2’s capacity-releasing effects on the conventional network mean that — for example — Coventry will be able to benefit from new direct connections to and from Derby, Sheffield, York and Newcastle; more frequent services to and from Shrewsbury, Telford, Leamington Spa and along the Coventry-Birmingham commuter corridor; as well as less crowded trains on existing stopping services to and from London.

If the economy is to reballance, then boosting regional travel options would be essential, and that’s what HS2 is really about. Get the intercity services off the existing tracks so that regional railways can be improved.

That is also why the suggested cost cutting plan for HS2 to cancel either the Euston or Old Oak Common stations in London would be so short sighted as it severely hampers either the capacity boosting at Euston to reduce commuter over crowding, or the ability to divert North-to-West travel by avoiding central London.

The report says that the projected benefits of HS2 released capacity have been calculated using the projections outlined in local rail strategies, existing rail models and the Midlands Connect technical programme.

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Flameeyes
14 days ago
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London, Europe
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UNICEF’s Innovation Fund slides from “blockchain” into cryptocurrencies

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UNICEF — the United Nations Children’s Fund — has had some unfortunate dalliances with blockchain hype, mostly courtesy the UNICEF Innovation Fund.

UNICEF’s February 2018 initiative to mine cryptocurrency for charity has, thankfully, quietly disappeared — some time between October and December 2018.

A December 2018 press release lists six blockchain companies the UNICEF Innovation Fund has funded for 2019. All of these appear to be building standard blockchain applications — doing things that absolutely don’t need a blockchain and don’t benefit from one. Except when you’re applying for funding.

Of the six companies’ home pages, one has a “This is your website” generic placeholder page, and another has a bad SSL certificate — that is, a cryptocurrency company not quite managing cryptography.

UNICEF’s latest initiative, though, breaks new ground in bad blockchain innovation — they’re funding the next round of these with cryptos. UNICEF will accept donations of Bitcoin and ether, then pay the blockhain developers with the cryptos.

The press releases I saw describe this as funding “open source technology” — where “open source” is what blockchain developers call themselves now, for better feel-good points than admitting you’re into cryptos.

The press releases claim this news is “embargoed” until early October — and never mind that the Ethereum Foundation themselves blogged about this in August. (Crypto PR is mostly terrible.) I contacted the New York office to ask about the initiative; I’ll update if they reply.

The first round of donations will be from the Ethereum Foundation, who will also supply “mentors” to the developers. Using a private instance of Ethereum as your back end datastore is the hip and happening architecture in 2017 — just ask the World Food Programme!

UNICEF straight-facedly claims that the mere act of using cryptocurrency for this new programme is a “transparency” initiative — though the problem you actually need transparency for is how humans select other humans to get the funding in the first place. Deniable malfeasance works perfectly well on the blockchain.

One piece of cryptocurrency transparency I’d really like to see from UNICEF — a full conflict-of-interest accounting of the crypto hodlings of everyone at UNICEF involved in these blockchain initiatives.

UNICEF charity money will be spent on blockchain nonsense, blockchain marketers will cite this as further evidence of how cool blockchains are for the next three or four years, and any production system will have an inefficient Ethereum-based backend bodged into place by some dedicated ETH hodler.

Waste happens when you’re funding innovation — and that’s fine. The whole point is to do things you aren’t sure of. Not everything works out, and a certain percentage of snake oil merchants are going to slip through.

But “blockchain” has a sufficiently bad track record that no-one at UNICEF has an excuse not to know better. This is like chemistry innovation funding phlogiston, or medical innovation funding anti-vaccine activism.

 



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Flameeyes
23 days ago
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Curious Squirrel by meder.k

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Curious Squirrel by meder.k

Squirrel hung around my balcony for a good half an hour. My cat was sitting on the balcony when the squirrel came and it either thought that cat was a squirrel too or was trying to get the cat to jump off the balcony (5th floor). It would make funny sounds and moves to fulfill its agenda :) <a href="https://flic.kr/p/xE4cf" rel="nofollow">https://flic.kr/p/xE4cf</a>
Uploaded January 15, 2007 at 02:40PM

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Flameeyes
47 days ago
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Bluetooth privacy and the FreeStyle Libre 2 glucose monitoring system

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I’ve been using the Abbott FreeStyle Libre 2 flash-glucose monitoring system for the last two months. The system consists of a glucose sensor attached to the back of the upper arm; which lasts for up to two weeks before needing replacement. You can then scan the sensor using a dedicated reader or a…

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Flameeyes
81 days ago
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Progressive JPEGs make a meaningful impact on perceived performance

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The JPEG image file format, one of the most common image formats on the web, can be encoded with one of two decoding profiles: baseline (sequential details) and progressive (additive details). The latter variant offers many advantages on the web over the former variant; especially for website visit…

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Flameeyes
112 days ago
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Understanding the tech media’s obsession with VPN services

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If you visit a couple of the largest tech media publication on a regular basis, you may have come away with the impression that you absolutely have to “protect yourself” with a shared Virtual Private Network (VPN) provider at all times. All of them have plenty of recommendations for which service you should subscribe to […]

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Flameeyes
191 days ago
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