Brockwood Park School Pavilions Project Update January 2012

Brockwood Park School Pavilions Project - Clearing the area by the caravan (228/365) Sep 2010Swedish Triple Glazing - Brockwood Park School Pavilions ProjectPavilions 2 & 3 - Brockwood Park School Pavilions ProjectWalkway roof - Brockwood Park School Pavilions ProjectHeat exchanger (geothermal) - Brockwood Park School Pavilions ProjectOak beam detail - Brockwood Park School Pavilions Project
Ceiling detail - Brockwood Park School Pavilions ProjectCommunal area, Pavilion 4 - Brockwood Park School Pavilions ProjectStudent sIngle bedroom - Brockwood Park School Pavilions ProjectPavilion 4 - Brockwood Park School Pavilions ProjectBalcony - Brockwood Park School Pavilions ProjectUpstairs Railing - Brockwood Park School Pavilions Project
Skylight - Brockwood Park School Pavilions ProjectPavilion 5 - Brockwood Park School Pavilions ProjectPavilion 6 - Brockwood Park School Pavilions ProjectConstructing the walkways - Brockwood Park School Pavilions ProjectBrockwood Park School Pavilions Nov 2011Brockwood Park School Pavilions Nov 2011
Brockwood Park School Pavilions Nov 2011Brockwood Park School Pavilions Nov 2011Brockwood Park School Pavilions Nov 2011Brockwood Park School Pavilions Nov 2011Brockwood Park School Pavilions Nov 2011Oak frames Sep 2011

Due for completion in July this year, work on the pavilions is really moving forward, with most of the major construction work completed. Currently the verandahs and walkways are being built in a horseshoe, linking the seven buildings with boardwalks.

The pavilions are heated using a geothermal system. Deep down, the temperature is a constant 14 degrees C year round. Installed by a local company using the most efficient technique for heating, it uses a multiplier to build the heat enough for hot water and underfloor heating. A heat exchanger will circulate the warm air. The pavilions are highly insulated using paper pulp in the walls and polystyrene under the floor. The windows and patio doors are triple glazed, made in Sweden.

Each pavilion is for accommodation, with shared kitchen spaces. Two will be for students only, one for staff only, and the others a mix of students, mature students and staff. The staff pavilion has two flats, each with two bedrooms, designed for those staff with a family.

I’m looking forward to seeing the project move toward completion in the coming months, with the interior fittings, walkways and landscaping.

Winchester Architecture – Kingsgate and Canon Street

Continuing my tour of the Listed Buildings of Winchester, today I covered Kingsgate Rd/St and Canon St. This area is to the south of the city centre, outside of the old walls. From the medieval gate, Kingsgate Street runs directly south towards St Cross, transforming into Kingsgate Road after Romans Road. The road is wider and more rural as you head away from the gate, the buildings even becoming more mossy. Walking north towards the gate, as the street gets narrower there is a charming view of a gently winding Georgian road that can’t have changed very much in more than 200 years. To the east are the college playing fields and various faculty buildings (for another tour), and to the west many Victorian villas and more college buildings around Culver Rd and Romans Road, including the music department. Kingsgate St contains several college boarding houses, including the large purpose-built Kingsgate House (Beloe’s) and the far older Moberly’s. Near Kingsgate itself, running E-W is Canon St, flanked by the city wall for much of its north side. At the eastern end are several C18 houses from small terraced to the imposing No 64. Unusually, above the gate is a church, with its entrance on the north side of the gate.

My favourite buildings this time are 46 Kingsgate Rd, 55-57 Kingsgate St, 65 Kingsgate St, and 47 Canon St. These are ordered first below, after the view looking north up Kingsgate St:

Winchester Architecture – Wales Street / St Johns / Chesil Street Areas (The Soke)

Ther is a suburbe at the est gate of sum caullid the Soken: and is the biggest of al the suburbes longging to the cyte of Winchester.

Minns says:- The Soke, so called from the Saxon soc, which signifies a free domain, the independent jurisdiction of the Bishop with its own Courts and a taxation probably lighter than that within the city.

Outside the old East Gate of the city the suburb of ‘The Soke’ was established. This is in the area of Chesil Street and St Johns Street running along the bottom of St Giles Hill. Here are photos I took today of those Listed Buildings, ranging from the C19 to the churches from C12. To the north, at Blue Ball Hill the buildings have a more rural feel, with the C18 workers cottages and the stables at St Johns Croft. Indeed this area feels more like a village than a part of the city, with its own church. Chesil Street runs parallel with the Itchen and is a very busy road, with many of the buildings sooted up, tight to the street. There are some fine C18 town houses here, many with gardens backing onto the river, along with smaller house from C13 on. Further south is the Wharf area with a Black Rat, Black Boy and Black Bridge, around the top of the Itchen Navigation. Favourites this time are 34 Beggars Lane, 21 St Johns Street, Chesil House, and The Black Boy pub. I have put these images before the rest of the gallery below:

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Winchester Architecture – Broadway / Eastgate St / Colebrook Area

An architectural tour of the Listed Buildings in the Broadway, Eastgate and Colebrook areas of Winchester, in the east of the city. These buildings include The Guildhall, St Johns Chapel, mills, old hospitals, shops and houses, and are mostly from the 18th and 19th Century. I’m not sure how old the statue is. The shops on the north side of Broadway are built upon much older wooden structures. Colebrook St is a quiet, bricky street near the river, with many fine houses surrounding the park. Eastgate street is very busy, with traffic with three impressive terraces. Behind are the almshouses of St Johns, probably the oldest charitable foundation in the UK. In the park is Abbey House, home of the Mayor. My favourite buildings today are No 34 and No 14 Colebrook St, and the unusual curved bays at the beginning of Eastgate St.

Climate Change Deniers ‘Orchestrate intentional and malicious campaign’

He is one of the most vilified men in the highly vilified field of climate science, yet Professor Michael Mann is surprisingly jolly. Despite being the focus of a brutal campaign orchestrated by the fossil-fuel industry and senior politicians within the US Republican Party, Mann’s cheery stoicism is positively infectious.

“I’ve been the focus for attack by those who deny the reality of climate change for so long that it almost seems like forever,” the professor of meteorology at Pennsylvania State University says. “I’m a reluctant public figure, but I have embraced the opportunity to communicate the science.”

Mann became a chief target of the climate change contrarians for being the outspoken author of an iconic graph of global warming science known as the “hockey stick” – the most politicised graph in science, according to the journal Nature.

It was the hockey stick that generated much of the opprobrium heaped upon climate scientists as a result of the “climategate” emails stolen from the University of East Anglia and leaked on to the internet two years ago. Indeed, many of the leaked emails were copies of correspondence between the UEA team in the UK and Mann and his colleagues in the US.

Mann believes the theft of the emails was not the work of a random hacker, but part of a sophisticated campaign. “It was a very successful, well-planned smear campaign intended … to go directly at the trust the public had in scientists,” he insists. “Even though they haven’t solved the crime of who actually broke in, the entire apparatus for propelling this manufactured scandal on to the world stage was completely funded by the fossil-fuel front groups.”

The hockey stick graph appeared to demonstrate how world temperatures had remained fairly steady for several hundred years before shooting up at the end of the 20th century, just like the straight blade jutting out from the shaft of an ice-hockey stick (the analogy doesn’t quite work with a curved field hockey stick).

The original study was published in Nature in 1998. Within five years, Mann had become the focus of an orchestrated campaign to undermine the entire field of climate science by rubbishing the hockey stick – a term coined by a colleague rather than Mann himself. Republican Senator Jim Inhofe picked up the hockey stick to beat climate science, famously declaring in 2003 that “global warming is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people”.

Mann became the target of Freedom of Information requests and was served with a subpoena by Republican Congressman Joe Barton demanding access to his correspondence. This was followed with a further subpoena from Ken Cuccinelli, the Republican Attorney General of Virginia, and yet more FOI requests from industry front-organisations, notably the American Tradition Institute.

Climate contrarians argued that Mann and his colleagues were concealing their research methods because they had something to hide. In reply, Mann insists that he has been as open as he can about data and methodology, but the aim of these requests has more to do with intimidation than openness. “What they are trying to do is to blur the distinction between private correspondence and scientific data and methods, which of course should be out there for other scientists to attempt to reproduce.

“I think it’s intentional and malicious. It’s intended to chill scientific discourse, to intimidate scientists working in areas that threaten these special interests,” he says. “It’s the icing on the cake if they can also get hold of any more private correspondence that they can mine and cherry pick. It’s a win-win for them.” Why an obscure graph published in a scientific journal should enrage so many people has been the subject of much internet conspiracy (or genuine scientific debate, depending on your point of view).

via Michael Mann: The climate scientist who the deniers have in their sights – Profiles – People – The Independent.

Light on Life by BKS Iyengar – Chapter 3: Vitality – The Energy Body

Selected extracts from the third chapter (Part 1)

Prana is the energy permeating the universe at all levels. It is physical, mental, intellectual, sexual, spiritual, and cosmic energy.

Prana is special because it carries awareness. It is the vehicle of consciousness.

There is a conduit available directly to cosmic consciousness and intelligence.

By lifting and separating the thirty-three articulations of the vertebral column, and opening the ribs from the spine like tiger’s claws, we deepen and lengthen the breath.

By learning to appreciate breath we learn to appreciate life itself. The gift of breath is the gift of life.

Pranayama is the beginning of withdrawal from the external engagement of the mind and senses. That is why it brings peacefulness.

Introversion in its positive sense, not shying away from the world out of feelings of inadequacy but a desire to explore your inner world. The breath, working in the sheath of the physical body, serves as a bridge between body and mind.

Breath builds up the tremendous power needed to face the infinite light when grace dawns.

Because of this fast life we are neglecting the body and the mind. The body and mind are beginning to pull each other in opposite directions, dissipating our energy.

Life is of itself stressful. People go to the cinema to relax. But even watching the picture is stressful. In sleep there is also stress.

Our aim is to be able to deal with stress as and when it arises, and not to imprint and accumulate it in the body’s systems, including both conscious and unconscious memory.

The main causes of negative stress are anger, fear, speed, greed, unhealthy ambition, and competition, which produce a deleterious effect on the body.

The practice of asana and pranayama not only de-stress you but energise and invigorate the nerves and the mind in order to handle the stress that comes from the caprices of life.

While yoga may begin with the cult of the body, it leads towards the cultivation of our consciousness.

Stress must be dealt with before one can truly meditate.

When you are emotionally disturbed, insecurity and anxiety from the conscious mind is converted into the unconscious mind.

We seek freedom but cling to bondage.

The pranayama kosa, the energetic sheath, is not only where we work with breath but also where we work with our emotions.

Most Westerners try to solve their emotional problems through intellectual understanding.

We carry around within the recollection of mind our rancour, resentments, hates, greed, and lust, even when the motivating stimulus is absent.

Look at your dog. When you leave him he is sad; his heart is on the ground. When you come home, is there resentment? No, he is overjoyed to see you. Are you closer to reality  or is your dog?

The ‘di’ root in Sanskrit is the same as ‘division’ and ‘devil’ in English.

The ego seeks power because it seeks self-perpetuation; it seeks at all costs to avoid its own inevitable demise. To achieve that impossible end, it devises a thousand ruses. … Lust is self-validation through consumption.

City Lights – Charlie Chaplin

Continuing through those films I haven’t seen in the IMDB Top 50, No. 46 is City Lights , released in 1931 as the era of silent movies was coming to an end. 81 years later, I suppose this kind of simple slapstick/mishap humour is a little basic; during it’s day it must have been utterly hilarious and a masterpiece. It’s clear he moves his body wonderfully and the comic timing superb. Overall I found it tedious to watch, and the reedy score grating. However, there were several inspired moments:

Chaplin’s reaction to the gunshot at the millionaire’s, burying his head in the sofa, bum in the air
Slipping around, walking across the dancefloor
Using the soda fountain to put out a fire on a woman’s behind
Eating the party streamer thinking it is spaghetti
Trying to scoop the bald head as party food
Hiding behind the ref in the boxing match
The superb boxing choreography:

Trailer:

Poster:

Just About Everything That is Wrong on Wall Street

The stunning reality is that five years into the financial meltdown, it’s business as usual on Wall Street – outlandish rewards for insiders with downside for almost everyone else. Occupy Wall Street protesters are right – something is wrong – but they’re not sure what. Here’s what I say: A rigged game affects not just the 99 percent, but everyone, and with global repercussions.

For capitalism to work, people who assume risk should reap the rewards of success, but they also must suffer when losses occur.

If you’re unconvinced, let’s revisit the latest debacle – the implosion of yet another Wall Street darling, MF Global. The fallout of its bad bets on European bonds is hitting home hard, even in rural America, where many of its agricultural customers work. As the eighth-largest bankruptcy filing in U.S. history, MF Global represents just about everything that is wrong on Wall Street.

1. The cult of a Wall Street superstar: In 2010, Jon Corzine, the former chairman of Goldman Sachs and former governor of New Jersey, became CEO of MF Global. His goal was to transform the little-known futures broker into a powerhouse investment bank. It took him only 19 months to blow up an institution that dates back to 1793.

2. Gambling disguised as investing: Speculation ruled, once Corzine got going. MF was not after long-term returns but an immediate killing. In the midst of the euro crisis, it made an astonishing $6.3 billion bet on European bonds. But the bonds declined, putting the company’s very existence on the line and taking down its customers too.

3. The bail-me-out syndrome: MF’s management must have thought there was no way it could lose because surely the Europeans would bail out the weaker countries so they wouldn’t default on the bonds. Imagine MF’s shock when the huge bailouts didn’t materialize.

4. Enormous conflicts of interest: The Commodity Futures Trading Commission, chaired by a former Corzine colleague at Goldman Sachs, was supposed to ensure that MF kept customer funds segregated from the firm’s own investments. But apparently, the commission didn’t act when signs of trouble first appeared or start enforcing restrictions until $1.2 billion had vanished from customer accounts.

5. Leverage on a grand scale: Some investment banks scaled back their borrowing after the financial meltdown, but not MF Global. It continued leveraged investments at pre-2008 levels – reportedly at a rate of 40 to 1. Excessive borrowing allowed management to go for the big score, but proved fatal when the markets moved against MF’s bets, requiring more collateral.

6. Failure of regulators and the reform law: Where was the oversight by the Securities and Exchange Commission, the CFTC and FINRA, the largest independent regulator of security firms? Reforms such as the Sarbanes-Oxley and Dodd-Frank protection laws had no effect.

7. Misappropriation of client funds: Investigators want to know how MF tapped clients’ segregated accounts for $1.2 billion to cover its financial losses. After it declared bankruptcy, 33,000 clients found their accounts frozen. How would you like that in today’s volatile markets? Shouldn’t someone do jail time instead of getting a slap-on-the-wrist fine?

8. Worthless rating agencies: Post-meltdown, it’s the same old game – investment firms hire rating agencies to rate their own debt. In August, MF was rated a good investment. Within 60 days, the firm declared bankruptcy.

9. Golden parachutes soaring high: Corzine didn’t risk much of his money on MF stock, but he received lots of stock options. Later, after taking home compensation of $14.25 million in 2010, he voluntarily declined his $12 million golden parachute. Why is he entitled to anything extra for leadership that resulted directly in bankruptcy?

10. Breakdown of morality: Even if something is legal, that doesn’t mean it is right. MF’s management crossed the line for their own potential gain – putting personal interest ahead of protecting shareholders and customers.

Wall Street will keep sucking huge sums out of our economy and putting 100 percent of us at risk unless the rules change. Stiff jail time if you cheat or steal. Whopping personal fines paid by wrongdoers, not their corporations. Fireproof walls that protect customers from a firm’s risky bets. Most important, we must stop gambling and start investing again to build valuable companies. Unless we take back Wall Street and restore true capitalism, we’re living with a time bomb. The next crisis will make 2008 look like a warm-up.

via Wall Street – a raw deal for the 100 percent.

Dear Dad

Dear Dad

I miss you. Where are you? I know you are not coming back, nor can you hear me, but I am going to write. You have a special place in my heart that only Dads can have. And I can’t have any pain in my heart.

What happened to you? I see you in the photos going downhill fast, pretty much from the 80s onward. And by the early 90s you were gone. Gone long before that, I guess. Who was that man I met in the hospital? I didn’t recognize you at first, hobbling towards me, all green and yellow, shaking, old. Then staring up at the horse racing, asking for cigarettes, talking to me like I was all of your sons together. And none of them. Those guys you were with scared the hell out of me. Made no sense, and you little more. That wasn’t where you were meant to be. I heard they didn’t know what else to do with you so there you were, sick and feeble, walking frame, fucked liver making your skin look dead. I couldn’t stay very long. You weren’t really interested in my presence, just that I could get your fags. And I didn’t know what to say. I wish you had recognized me. The doctors said the usual when I expressed guilt at not doing more. That only you can help yourself, and only when you hit rock bottom. That’s a dangerous game. Where was your bottom? I guess you found it.

After that place, with the long corridors and madness and TVs bolted to the walls, I don’t know where you went. The cheap motel? The house with a drunk postman and his drunk father? And what about our dog, did she still get walks and food? I didn’t come to see you again. I was in another county minding my own. I kept your letters. Read them when you really were gone, crying in the corner of the flat, not knowing what to do. I was ready to make moves when it happened. Then cancelled. When there’s a big change like that, I didn’t want another. But it wasn’t unexpected news. I wish I’d come to see you though, no matter how hard it might have been. So the last time wasn’t the special hospital where you didn’t belong. That hug at the gate as I left home, I’ll take that as the last time we saw each other. I wish I’d known you as an adult.

My belly is tight as I write this, thinking of you. I’ll write again soon, to remember, to tell you what I’ve been up to, to tell you what’s happening around here. Shit’s got really crazy. I mean really crazy. We knew it was bad – right? – and you seemed to know something of where it was going. Well, it’s going there for sure. We’re all okay, us boys, and Mum’s in France. There’s this thing called the internet now. No more encyclopaedia volumes, everything on hand. I mean everything. You’d like it. I’m not sure where I’m sending this to, but sending.

Love

Duncan

Vertigo – Alfred Hitchcock

Number 47 of the IMDB top 250 films is Vertigo, directed by Alfred Hitchcock. It features a pervy fifty year old detective suffering from acrophobia, falling obsessively in love with a blonde woman, young enough to be his daughter, whilst ignoring a sweet underwear designer friend who is in love with him. He meets the mysterious woman by using his poor detective skills in following her too closely, having been hired by an acquaintance due to her odd ‘possessed’ behaviour. Only, there is no possession or weirdness, it’s all a scam so that the acquaintance can get his wife’s wealth and run away because he’s a bit bored with life in the shipping industry. Thus the plot twist strips the film of its interestingness. In the opening credits, some gyroscopes can be seen inside a woman’s eye as she tries hard not to blink. The scenes in 1950s San Francisco are a delight and Midge’s apartment seems remarkably fresh and modern. The final scene did give me the willies with its surprise ending, and then I thought the evil looking nun must have something to do with it all. An intrusive score runs through the whole thing.

Poster:

Vertigo Poster

Trailer:

Landport Architecture, Portsmouth

Today I walked around the Landport area of Portsmouth, seeking out those buildings not destroyed in WWII. Landport was a development outside of the original city’s defences and dockyard. Being near to the naval base, it was heavily bombed in the 1940s meaning large areas were cleared of the existing buildings. After the war and into the 1950′s, more buildings were raised in slum clearance ahead of new housing projects in Landport and to the north of the city. The walk took a couple of hours, from Old Commercial Road to the north (with the home place of Charles Dickens) down to the city centre and the terraces east of the University, then past the museum and up the west side of the centre. Here are the photos I took of the architecture, the most unusual being the museum in French Château style.

I didn’t use this beforehand or while walking, but here is a Google map of the listed buildings of Portsmouth.

Russell Brand and Daniel Pinchbeck have a chat under a neon fish in front a pagan altar

In this video, Russell and Daniel talk about consciousness, media, conditioning, drugs, physics, capitalism. Some quotes:

RB: “People have been – beyond trained – coded to not anticipate change, to think that change is implausible, like we’ve had revolution bred out of us.”

RB: “How do we alter the consciousness, the fundamental unifying field? How do we influence change on that level to alter the world?”

DP: “A lot of people who were addicts are people with a strong, innate need to experience non-linear states of consciousness.”

RB: “Consciousness does affect matter. Meditation can affect crime rates.”

“Q: What comes after time?

RB: … We don’t need to know. … We need to align our consciousness with the fundamental frequency from which all life comes and to generate love and unity between us.

Q: But I want to understand.

RB: Then feed and clothe the poor”

DP: “Most people are trapped in only one form of consciousness.”

DP: Capitalism requires more and more things to being turned into money and profit but this has now reached an absurd limit, so the capital system is breaking down. Capitalism is an immature system.”

RB: “The entertainment industry keeps us spellbound, as passive consumers, to negate and castrate our civic duties, to keep us as citizens who don’t participate in our culture but are just independent cells of consumption glutting on life like larve, until we pop.”

RB: “Advertising could be used, instead of telling you if you drink Coke you will feel sexy, telling people that if you meditate you will feel connected to your ultimate destiny as a spiritual being that is only distinguished from the earth by subjectivity incessantly imposed.”

The video includes a very funny segment of Russell crossing Tower Bridge on acid: “There Be Dragons!” Good to see such a mainstream figure involved in these subjects and questions. I hope with the divorce and his further disillusion with ‘fame for the sake of it’ and focussing on comedy roles, he is able to explore and communicate further along these lines.

I couldn’t embed the video on WordPress but here is the link

Paths of Glory – Stanley Kubrick

I am going to watch those films in the IMDB Top 50 I have not seen before.

I started today with Paths of Glory directed by Stanley Kubrick. It’s a 1957 film set in World War I staring Kirk Douglas. It highlights the terror and absurdity of war, and how it can make man stop thinking of people as people but mere statistics for attempted victory. The attempted victory in this case was impossible from the start, the order handed down the chain of command, initiated to impress politicians and the press and accepted for personal glory by the General. The film makes a mockery of systems of authority and the inherent possibility for corruption and saving one’s own face at the expense of others. Of course it is the lowest who are most human and lose the most. I was struck at how little choice there is for questioning or rebellion once in an army or war situation. Some of the acting is a little wooden, as often the case in films of this era, but it is expertly crafted and the dialogue well written. The battle scenes are intense giving a real feel for life in the trenches and the horrors of no-man’s-land. The title comes from a poem by Thomas Gray “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard”:

“The boast of heraldry, the pomp of pow’r,
And all that beauty, all that wealth e’er gave,
Awaits alike th’inevitable hour.
The paths of glory lead but to the grave.”

Poster:

Incredible POV scene in the trenches, leading to the fateful push:

This is about as ‘action’ as the film gets.

Trailer: