Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

NFL Draft & Sports News

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

We are definitely in a different age when it comes to news, don’t you agree?

Check out only the past week or two in terms of sports news.  The NFL draft is now split into a three day adventure, with seemingly constant coverage starting at least a week before on more than one channel.

The only thing that could break the stanglehold of football on our national consciousness this week was Jason Collins and his coming out of the closet as America’s first openly gay professional athlete in a major sport.  Good for you Jason and to all the tv pundits that are bringing religion into the conversation, don’t.  We ask for you to provide coverage of the news, not to spout your personal opinions about people’s private life choices at us.  Plus, in the case of ESPN’s Chris Broussard, you have never once said anything negative about Lebron James fathering two kids out of wedlock-but a gay man deserves a mention? Time to grow up.

 

Wine Passes Beer

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

Wine is more popular than beer.

Seriously.

Did you ever think it would happen?

Over the past decade, wine consumption in the United States has grown so quickly that in 2011, for the first time on record more wine was consumed than beer in America.  Pretty amazing right?  Of course, we have a long, long way to go to catch France as they currently drink 6 times as much wine as we do per capita, but you’ve got to start somewhere right?

Energy Consumption in the USA

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

Over the last 50 years energy consumption has grown faster than energy generation in the USA. This has lead to a reliance on foreign oil imports to make up the growing short fall in energy creation. In 2009, the EIA (Energy Information Administration) data showed 37% of America’s energy came from petroleum, 21% from coal, and 25% from natural gas. Nuclear power supplied 9% and renewable energy supplied 8%, which was mainly from hydroelectric dams although other renewable are included such as wind power, geothermal and solar energy.

It is pitiful to note that despite the last administration’s and this one’s keeness to promote renewable energy sources, nothing has really changed. America is hooked on petroleum. It is this addiction that has lead many to think that American foreign policy rather than being about fighting terror or bringing democracy and human rights to the world is simply about securing oil rights and oil pipe line access.

Another telling figure is that the third biggest consumer sector for energy in the USA is residential. People spend 90% of their lives indoors and this is being reflected in the high cost of lighting, heating, water heating etc. In the residential sector it is space heating which takes up the largest portion of the energy (32%). it is thus very clear that people should improve the energy efficiency of their homes.

This can be achieved by improving the insulation of a home by installing vinyl windows and putting insulation in the roof space. Another tactic is to design houses that trap heat more effectively. Solar panels are also a good idea to reduce the demand on the national grid.

Another important thing to do is to use programmable thermostats. A good thermostat can be programmed to match the heating requirements of a house with the schedules of people in a house. That way the set point can be lowered for the times when people are out or in bed. It is estimated by Energy Star that the correct use of a programmable thermostat can reduce heating bills by as much as 30% in a year.

If we all did more to improve the energy efficiency of our homes we could save the US enough energy to perhaps make the country less dependent on foreign oil. That would have a huge impact on not just American lives but on the lives of people all over the world.

Koh Phangan Airport

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

hello world

Accessing the BBC Iplayer by Proxy

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

For Expats and travellers across the globe, the internet was something that could help keep you in touch with home.  When companies like the BBC, ITV in the UK and Hulu, ABC and Pandora in  the US started putting most of their media content online it got even better.  However as many have discovered it’s not quite that simple to watch BBC Iplayer whilst sitting in a hotel room in Sydney or watch a baseball game online whilst in Europe.

The difficulty is that most of these companies have blocked access to their content except to their own countries.  Which is fine if you really would rather watch everything via your computer but pretty pointless for the rest of us.  This is an example of what you’re likely to see – a nice polite warning saying you can’t watch this show on BBC Iplayer in Spain, for example.

 

Fortunately it’s actually quite easy to bypass if you know what’s going on.

BBC IPlayer Via Proxy

The reason you are blocked is down to your IP address, all these websites the BBC included check your location using this.  They then decide what you can or can’t see, on the BBC site for instance a NON-UK Ip address would block you from most of the Iplayer content.  Exactly the same thing happens on all the US media sites, in fact just about every big National broadcaster in the world does the same.

Fortunately it’s not that hard to solve this issue – you just need to hide your real IP address.  To do this you can just use a proxy server, this is a server you can connect to which will then hide your real location. If  the server is based in the UK then you will look like a UK web surfer for instance.  So you just connect to a UK proxy and you’ll be able to access BBC Iplayer by proxy.

If you want to see a video demonstration of this happening using a real BBC Iplayer proxy then you can find one at this site – http://www.anonymous-proxies.org/2009/02/using-iplayer-abroad-viewing-bbc-via.html.