Seven Billion People…. a few minutes ago

There was news today that the population of the Planet had reached 7 billion – 7,000,000,000 folks crawling, walking and ambling around. I mentioned before that to visualise this you need to fill a Post Box with sand – the individual grains add up to approximately 7bn. Alternatively put all the people side by side – and they would fill the greater Los Angeles area.

There has been spectacular population growth in recent years – in 1930 the number of bodies was 2bn, by 1960 it had reached 3bn. At the current rate of growth it is expected to hit 9bn by 2045. On the day I was born in 1962 there were 3,209,507,604 people about (including me).

Can the planet cope? Do we have the resources we need to survive?

We are pretty good at adapting, but resources are finite. As an example these people will all need fresh water – and of the water on the globe 97.5 percent of it is saline – of the other 2.5 percent freshwater, two-thirds of it is frozen…

Oil will almost certainly run out – so we do need to find sustainable fuel sources. Solar and wind are looking pretty good?

In the short term we may need to sort some housing out. Current estimates suggest that 134,000 new homes were built in the UK in 2010, the lowest number since World War II. It is reckoned that 230,000 new households are being formed every year. By 2025 there will be a housing shortfall of 750,000 in England alone. If this is replicated across the world, we will have a lot of people squeezed into fewer and fewer buildings?

There is just one thing though – who was the 7bn’th person. They deserve a prize!

By Tim Garratt Posted in Green stuff, Nottingham Tagged 000, 7, 7000000000, 7bn, , Fresh water, Los Angeles, people, Population, Population growth, United Nations, , World population, World War II

Into The Wind – part 2

I have just been told that Into the Wind is being released on DVD at the end of November. You might remember that I blogged about this film here before.

You can pre-order the film on the films website. I have ordered mine today – and can’t wait to see it at the end of November! It looks fantastic…

By Tim Garratt Posted in Business Tagged Electric Egg, , Into the wind

Breakfast on the radio

It looks like the battle of he DJ’s was won last week by Chris Evans who managed to pull in 8.8 million listeners in the third quarter of 2011 up from 8.6 million in the previous three months.

My real favourite station...

Chris Molyes was next up with an audience of 7.1 million down from 7.4 million in the second quarter of the year. Meanwhile Radio 4‘s flagship Today programme fell from 7.1m to 6.7m.

These are big numbers – between the three shows that’s over 22m people – around one in three of the populations. It shows a recovery of Radio, which at one time was in decline (courtesy of the likes of Breakfast TV).

The actual press release made interesting reading – 90.7% of the UK population tune into the Radio at least one per week – and 28% of the listening population are doings on Digital receivers (i.e via DAB). Two in five now own DAB radios, but internet radio listening is also a major delivery medium – 40 million hours in the last quarter.

I don’t listen to any of this mainstream stuff, Shaun Keaveney makes me smile in a morning – on Radio 6Music. The station plays my kind of music. And despite the increase in Dab Radios, the audience looks like it is only around 1.25m….

You don’t know what you are missing…

By Tim Garratt Posted in Business, Grumpy Old Man!, Nottingham Tagged , BBC Radio 4, Digital Audio Broadcasting, Digital radio, Radio, Radio 6, Shaun Keaveney, Today

Terrible driving and TV all in one package?

I had the mis-fortune to be watching Channel 5 in the week when Dangerous Drivers School hit the small screen. The remote was on the other settee and it had been a long day. I watched the whole programme. Regrettably.

The plot (advisable description) was fairly thin, but we were treated to an hour of seeing a Granny from Warrington, an idiot boy racer from Essex and a pretty dumb girl from East Sussex. Gran basically couldn’t drive, The Boy was just a danger to himself and everyone else and Sussex girl wasn’t much better.

We spun the story into an hour – towards the end all three were (nearly) cured of their appalling driving – by some very patient AA Instructors. Except Granny – who really needed to hang up the car keys.

But the real problem is that this was not entertainment – nor was it credible. A leaflet showing the dangers of speeding was enough to convert the Sussex Speed Girl into a docile driver. The idiot boy suddenly stopped eating his MacDonald’s and Crisps whilst talking on the phone and steering with his knees when the Instructor gave him a stern talking to. Granny was terrifying when she got above 15mph and only really improved to 20mph…

Of course what should have really happened was that two of them should have been arrested for countless driving offences. Most of it on film? Where were the Police when you need them. It seems they often hide in little vans catching motorists tearing up the roads at 35mph – but I lost count of how many laws or how many times they were broken.

Bad driving and bad TV.

By Tim Garratt Posted in Grumpy Old Man! Tagged Boy racer, Channel 5, Driving, East Sussex, Essex, Granny, Sussex, Television, Warrington

Small is beautiful?

A few weeks ago I watched the excellent mini-series on TV presented by Tom Dyckhoff about architecture. It was called the Secret Life of Buildings and one of the programmes set out to show how our houses are getting smaller. The average new home is now 76m2 – the same as it was in the 1920′s.

One of my great examples about value is the phrase “gross to net”. We value net floor area, but build cost is usually calculated on a gross floor area. The two pretty much follow each other, so if you can reduce the net floor area, the gross comes down and the cost comes down. Easy really. But the reduction has been a slow process, so as we don’t notice!

I was amused to read an article about the Small House Society – who actively promote living in tiny spaces. Some are just 10ft square! It seems that there are quite a few examples around – like the Dwelle.ings example. The latter has won all manner of awards – as it hits some pretty high ‘free’ standards. I love the home – priced from £75,000 for a 43m2 home. This is fantastic value and must be an answer to some of the housing problems we allegedly have?

These are timber framed, double glazed, under-floor heated zero carbon homes. Build period is around three weeks. And they are small but perfectly formed!

I wish I could get one of these put up in New York City as a holiday pad – now that would be a great idea?

The market – catch 22

It doesn’t help a fragile market to have confidence wobbles. Talking a market down is easy – and worryingly, in my view, we have become so used to bad news that is almost habit forming? We have forgotten the good times!

Some of the work I do is valuing property assets. It is not always easy at the moment to pin down values – especially when the evidence we use is rather thin! Valuers are always looking backwards, we rely on deals done. The valuation methods don’t use predictions of where a market will be! That’s a sure fire way to get sued for professional negligence.

Back in 2008 we invoked a clause in our valuations which is lovingly know as Guidance Note 5 – Valuing Uncertainty. It effectively puts the recipient of a report on notice that the valuation provided has a bit of a warning flag attached. We may not have been able to be as certain as we would like – usually due to the lack of comparable evidence.

This clause was gradually dropped at the market returned to a more stable state – even if the number of transactions was reduced.

But last week we were alerted to the fact that some of the National firms were starting to use the clause again – predominantly where they were involved in International (notably European) work. I guess they can see some of their work being impacted by the current financial mess in Europe.

We haven’t invoked the clause yet, but is remains under review.

You can see that this would not be a great thing to happen. The market doesn’t need a knock at this time. But we may have no alternative if things don’t get better!

I wish they had taught me like this!

I mentioned yesterday in my blog that I hard seen Prof Martyn Poliakoff – and his lecture at The University of Nottingham. It was billiant.

You do notice immediately that Martyn, and I hope he doesn’t mind me saying this, looks like a Scientist. You can see what I mean…

He started with his ‘fact’ of the day – that the World population would (today) reached 7bn – thats 7,000,000,000 people.If you are like me you will find this difficult to visualise or comprehend. But this is what Martyn does best – helps you breakdown facts into easy to understand bits. And to visualise the number – go and have a look at a Post Box. The fill it (metaphorically) with sand* – each grain of sand represents you. And the whole post box is the world.

The second fact was that there are more mobile phones in the world than toothbrushes. I have no idea why I needed to know this, but it made me listen!

But the real stray here is the web site Martyn and his colleagues have built – The Periodic Table of Videos. It is brilliant – and I wish this had been around when I (tried to) Chemistry. It is accessible and extremely popular. They have had 71 million hits. They have 54,000 subscribers to the site.

It is difficult to imagine anything else which could get to so many people in the time it has existed? It is a brilliant use of the internet.

This is fantastic!

* If you fill the postbox near you with sand you will get told off. Don’t do this at home therefore.

Nottingham University – a critical component of the City!

I mentioned in some tweets and in my blog at the weekend that I had spent a lot of my day on Friday at the University of Nottingham. It was their Impact campaign launch last week – five days of engaging with lots of people – inside and outside of the University. Friday was about sustainable futures – so of great interest to me!

The opening of the new University Brewing Sciences building by David Greenaway

My day started at the Sutton Bonington campus and the formal opening of a new Bio-energy and Brewing Science Building. It was great to go back into a Brewery – its where my career started all those years ago. The smell of hops reminded me of Home Brewery and Kimberley Brewery. Modern brewing kit is a bit more high tech than I remember it being. Gone are the copper mash-tuns!

After my lunch (which you know about) we had a number of talks from the researchers involved in some real life projects at the University. It is amazing how far the University permeates the community – not just here but on a Global stage. We were reminded that much of what has been achieved at Nottingham was as a result of a massive investment by Jesse Boot in 1928 – £200,000 (estimated to be worth around £9m today).

I couldn’t help but reflect on how important the University is to us as a City. It really does add something which so often is of low visibility, but of huge importance.

My last hour was spent listening to Prof Martyn Poliakoff – who deserves his very own blog post! It was entertaining and informative. And world leading…

The City is very lucky to have this Institution. I am not sure we always realise this?

Wow – 80,000 hits!

Thanks, it just looks like I have drifted through 80,000 hits on my little blog site. I appreciate you dropping by!

My daily averages have climbed over the last fews, I’m at an average of 203 unique hits each day for October 2011. Last month was 179.

I have been blogging for just over two years – and this post is coincidentally the 750th I have written!

Lots of people ask me if I get bored – the answer is an emphatic ‘no’, although sometimes I struggle to find content – especially for a post-a-day. I also wonder if I cover too wide range of subjects, but the hits suggest you don’t follow any particular pattern!

So, for the moment, I’ll carry on…

Next big target 100,000 hits – January 2012??

Nottingham Contemporary – new stuff!

Hot on the heels of the success of the last exhibition, Nottingham Contemporary opens shortly with a new bunch of stuff. Klaus Weber is the latest in the long line of shows. This one started last Friday  and will run through to 8th January 2012.

I went to the Opening night – I have found that it helps when you get a tour from Alex, the Galleries Director. It is different from the last few shows. But I liked it.

Weber has two distinct shows – firstly a collection of his own work  and then a collection he has curated. His own work includes some giant windscreen wipers on the main gallery windows – and a running man on the roof! I liked the human body – with organs substituted for fruit!

The ‘curated’ gallery is an eclectic mix of stuff – and I need to go back to work it all out. There are lots of subliminal messages I think. Lots of amusing anecdotes. He is a man, I guess, who is a little on the edge! Some of the pictures are quite thought-provoking.

I couldn’t help reflect again that some of the work has come about through an ability to sit down and think. It’s something that my work doesn’t really let you do; we have become about process. It’s really refreshing to look at work – in this case art – and see that someone has thought about what they have done…

It is well worth a visit. Let me know what you think if (when) you do go…