Fewer updates

Fewer because the NICD is stopping its daily Covid reporting, and moving to a weekly report instead:

And with that, Ridhwan Suliman’s daily reporting of the NICD’s daily reporting also comes to an end. Well done on a sterling effort throughout the last two (plus) years.

Why these things? Well, because Covid isn’t a big thing in SA at the moment. It has been a big thing in 5 very separate waves:

But it’s not anymore/at the moment.

There are some thick people out there asking where the next wave is now that the mask mandate has been removed in SA, but the fact is that the mandate was removed because there was virtually no Covid around. And while I don’t think there’s any question that we are in a low Covid moment right now, it’s worth noting that there’s likely still a great deal of under-reporting, given that the public don’t have access to Covid tests, and have to pay a few hundred Rands to get one.

No-one has any money and there’s very limited value in doing a test when you aren’t going to act on the results. If you are sick, you’re going to stay in bed anyway. If you aren’t sick, why are you getting tested (aside from the tiny, tiny number who require it for travel)? To spend hundreds on a test, when the result doesn’t matter… well, it’s no wonder that the case numbers are so low.

What next? Who knows… If this virus is going to become seasonal like we’re all being told, then I’d like to know when, exactly. At the moment, it’s still circulating, mutating, and working according to viral timeframes, rather than seasonal ones. And “we” are seemingly happy for that to happen, while it knocks off a 9/11 number each and every week in the USA with virtually no news coverage. Have “we” decided that that’s an ok situation? Are “we” content with that?

I’m not, because there is clearly more to this virus than just that week/fortnight long acute nastiness. We’re learning about more and more complications and long-term effects of Covid every day, and we don’t have anything in place to handle them or mitigate for them.

That’s not good.
And very possibly not sustainable, either.

Powerless

Here: Kriel Power Station falls over and takes 2000MW with it, because of [checks notes] “heavy mist”:

Reminiscent of this or this.

And there: after the local joy that was felt at loadshedding almost happening in Australia last month, it turns out that the UK only just avoided the same fate last week.

Struggling with an aging and long underfunded national grid that was crying out for investment and updating (sound familiar), there was almost not enough electricity to go around last week, and loadshedding was only avoided by paying a frankly ridiculous price to secure some electricity from Belgium:

On July 20, surging electricity demand collided with a bottleneck in the grid, leaving the eastern part of the British capital briefly short of power. Only by paying a record high £9,724.54 (about $11,685) per megawatt hour — more than 5,000% higher than the typical price — did the UK avoid homes and businesses going dark. That was the nosebleed cost to persuade Belgium to crank up aging electricity plants to send energy across the English Channel.

Sounds like a lot anyway, but then especially when you compare it to what they usually pay:

The absurdity of that level is apparent when comparing it with the year-to-date average for UK spot electricity: £178 per megawatt hour.

We don’t have the luxury[?] of a Belgium right next door, so we couldn’t have lobbed out the R196,611.50 /MWh that would have been required to keep the lights on. So our lights would have gone off (like they probably will this evening), and like the UK’s very nearly did:

If Belgium had not helped, the grid would had been forced to “undertake demand control and disconnect homes from electricity,” says a grid spokesperson.

Of course:

“Demand control” = “Rolling blackouts” = “Loadshedding” = “Misery”

Thus, it can be deduced that when it comes to shaky electricity systems, the UK, Australia and SA are all basically the same, but our local (occasional) electricity provider is the only one that follows through on actually flicking the off switch.

It’s 2022

Robots and computers will soon be ruling the world, but before they take over, we’ve been putting them to good use doing helpful things for us, and making our lives easier.

We can send things into space with absolute accuracy.
We can fabricate tiny devices with incredible precision.

But – apparently – we can’t stop a big boat hitting a big rock when the guy in charge goes to the loo.

You couldn’t make it up. And indeed, I haven’t.

If you did make it up though, you might use lines like:

A report into the incident says the officer in charge felt a sudden “sharp pain in his intestines” at around 2am. He then “had an urgent need to leave the bridge to go to the toilet”, and he did so leaving the ship unattended.

And make it seem like a 1980s sitcom.
But you wouldn’t need to because that’s actually what happened.

And then this as what happened:

Quite how you can crash a big ship into a big rock because you went to the loo rather than steering it…

…I just don’t know. Where were the robots and the computers doing their thing?

It’s 2022 and this sort of thing is still happening.

Back to it (and it’s hot back home)

After a couple of really awful days, today has been… less awful. I still have no voice, and am subject to painful coughing fits, but things are slowly improving. I have more hope for tomorrow.

Back in the UK, all the news (apart from all the other news) has been about the record-breaking temperatures. It looked like Sheffield – SHEFFIELD! – might even get up towards 40C today. That’s quite literally unheard of. Clearly, something is up. And yet, the climate change deniers (you may recognise them from being anti-vax/pro-Trump/pro-Russian invasion of Ukraine on any given day of any week) have stuck their oar in again with the old:

Lol. So this is “climate change”, is it?
We used to call it “summer”.

Oh yes. I remember the summers of my youth in Sheffield, where it regularly got up to 40C and the trams had to stop running because the overhead lines were being damaged by the heat. That happened every summer. And you couldn’t escape it, because – just like Brize Norton and Luton yesterday – the runways at the airports had all melted. That’s a typical UK summer, alright! Just what we’re known for. When someone says “English summer”, it’s always melty runways and over-stretched power lines that spring immediately to mind, amirite?

Even Ireland joined the party, recording it’s hottest day in over 100 years yesterday, and then it’s hottest day in 24 hours, today.

Temperature records have been kept in Sheffield since 1882, and while a couple of hot days as a standalone can’t be used as evidence that things are heating up generally, it’s interesting to note that the record temperature has been broken today (39.4C still TBC), yesterday (36.1C) and then in 2019 (35.1C). Before that day (25th July) in 2019, the previous highest temperature was 34.3C (1990).

Now, I recognise that these records can obviously only go up, but it’s more the speed at which they are going up which is the interesting/scary part.

Here’s a graph from 2019 which shows the gradual increase in mean temperatures in Sheffield:

…together with the maximum and minimums for each year. And those are all trending upwards.
We’ve now just seen that maximum increase by more than 5 degrees in less than 3 years. I’ve added today’s new record in as a red dot, so you can see just how much of an increase it really is. Incredible.

The climate deniers – being experts, like they are in Eurasian geopolitics (last month), vaccine development (last year) and supporting the fat orange man (since 2016) – will tell you that these things aren’t significant, but there’s actually only so many times you can dismiss these increasingly occurring events as “not significant”, before you have to come to see that in sheer numbers alone, they actually are very significant.

But this is just another wake-up call to ignore.

A note: I still don’t think that the media helps the understanding and gravitas of the situation by publishing “scare stories” and hyperbole about climate change. It belittles the situation and provides plenty of ammunition to those who want us to ignore what’s going on. So please stop doing that. [laughs]

Alleged cable thieves arrested.

ISTOTBIDMPD

We have enough problems with our electricity supply (I’m not even going to link to it any more) (ok, one last time: here you go) without bits of the actual power system being stolen. And yet cable theft is a huge problem here, especially with prices for metal being so high.

So it was good to see that a breakthrough was made in Nelspruit recently:

And not just a bit of scrap metal. A lot of scrap metal:

They allegedly found Eskom pylons weighing 740 kilograms, Eskom cables 350 meters long and a burned copper 98,5 kilograms valued to over R200 000. 

Here’s the shot of Beatrice which was shared.

Now, I’m no expert on cable theft, but I would have thought that disconnecting the cables at the other end before handling them would have been the way to go, Beatrice.

Ohm my lord: she looks shocked, doesn’t she? Watt was she thinking? I’m glad to see that she’s been charged. I wonder if she offered any resistance? Apparently she only got bailed at 10pm last night so when she got home, her husband asked “Wire you insulate?”.
Anyway, now she’s well and truly grounded.

It’s ok. I’m stopping now.
Sorry.

I was just trying to keep you all up to date with current events.