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An Interview with…Seams

February 8, 2010

The other day, I got hold of Hotcakes favourite Seams to find out his inspirations behind his work, his hotly tipped artist of 2010 and to find out any news about his upcoming projects.

The london glitchy soundscape artist, who likens himself to a solo version of Four Tet, has had quite a bit of attention from the Blogosphere lately, and has even caught the eye of NME, thanks mainly to his great follow up to his first album, the brilliant 7 minute belter, ‘Nightcycles’.

Seams, aka Jami Welch, has got two london dates lined up this month in London, one on the 24th February at the Amersham Arms in New Cross, a few days before The Big Pink are playing at the same venue. So get down there if you like what you hear.

Here’s the full interview with Jami where he reveals who he thinks is going to take 2010 by storm.

Underneath that is a great new remix of ‘Nightcycles’ by Shells, and I think you’ll agree that there is an element of Four Tet to his sound if you listen to this gem of theirs as well. My personal view is that he sounds like a more chilled out version of scottish band Errors.

Hotcakes Seams Interview

Seams – Nightcycles (Shells Remix)

Four Tet – She Just Likes to Fight


A student’s view on the wonders of blogging

May 31, 2009

I have recently taken a video on an interesting opinion on how young people use the blogosphere. Watch the video to see how Birmingham City University journalist Lucas Coe uses his blog, as well as the way blogger Christian Payne (aka Documentally) uses his.

New ‘air-filled’ battery to revolutionise how appliances are powered

May 19, 2009

airbatterygraphic have revealed details of a new air-fueled battery that could change the way technologies from mobile phones and laptops to even electric cars are powered.

 The battery, considered to be a huge step forward in the renewable energy field, is being fine tuned by researchers at the University of St Andrews with partners at Strathclyde and Newcastle.

The batteries will enable renewable sources like wind turbines and solar panels to work better, especially when night falls or the sun goes in. It also has an improved capacity that could give up to ten times the energy storage of current batteries, thanks to its ability to draw oxygen straight from the air.

Other benefits of the battery include fewer chemicals needed inside, which allows the battery to either be smaller, or carry more energy in the same sized capsule. The battery is also cheaper to make because it uses more readily available chemicals.

The project is not complete yet, with efforts to further improve capacity and adapt the battery to suit small applications like mobile phones and MP3 players.

It seems that the researchers are taking their time to make sure they get it right because Principal investigator on the project, Professor Peter Bruce of the Chemistry Department at the University of St Andrews, says it will be at least 5 years before this battery will be made commercially available.

Bruce continued, “Our target is to get a five to ten fold increase in storage capacity, which is beyond the horizon of current lithium batteries. Our results so far are very encouraging and have far exceeded our expectations.”

Monbiot answers questions on the continued reliance of coal in the UK

April 30, 2009

I have just come across an interesting debate on the Guardian website. Leading environmental commentator George Monbiot is answering questions live online right now about the government’s decision to stop building coal plants that do not have the ability to take care of the emissions they create.

The rule passed states that coal plants are to be built with the ability to capture 20-25% of carbon dioxide emissions and bury them underground.

Despite widespread app299545533_d44a4e8007_mroval from environmentalists, Monbiot has not been so enthusiastic.

The debate has raised some good points. Monbiot’s main objection to this government ruling is that, despite reducing the pollution created by coal plants, this is still a move to lead the next generation into further reliance on coal.

On the website, Monbiot said, “There are no guarantees of anything, except carbon pollution. The government is committing us to a new generation of coal-burning power stations. It might or might not be possible to capture and store their emissions.”

Monbiot is asking for more investment into renewable energy technology, or further research into carbon capture sequestration (CCS) coal to find out if this new idea really can work. He wants this done before these CCS coal plants start to be built.

The debate is hotting up, so if you have a question to ask Mr Monbiot, be sure to get one in while you still can.

Birmingham’s central Woolworths lights are still on?

April 24, 2009

Apparently, quite a few Woolworths stores around the country still have their lights turned on, including the ones in Birmingham town centre. They have been shut since January. I wonder how much energy has been wasted in the past 3 months

It’s actually quite ironic that despite its closure, Woolworths still appears to be costing tax payers money.

Surely it is time to let it go? Its over, Woolworths is a thing of the past, something to reminisce about when we are old and grey. Like penny sweets and CDs. Two things that Woolworths were known for actually.

Its almost as though the country are mourning relatives, knowing that they should pull the plug on their comatose loved one, but just cannot bring themselves to do it.

Lets hope that these lights go out across the country to help the environment. Pray that the lights in there are not the ones that the shop used to sell, the ones that were so long lasting that they out lived the life of the actual store.

Podcast with Dave Harte soon to be put up on BirminghamRecycled

March 16, 2009

Energy, Fuel and Transport correspondents for BirminghamRecycled Andrew Nichol, Georgie Campbell, Oliver Appleby and myself have recently interviewed Dave Harte on his CO2 campaigne and his Walks of Birmingham.

He has an interesting take on the sort of things you can do to save energy not only around the home but also in the city. He also puts his opinion forward on Twitter and how social networking is progressing in the professional and personal world.

Obviously I won’t give anything else away, but be sure to log in to BirminghamRecycled to listen to the podcast when it’s turn comes.

Also check Dave Harte’s blog (link above) to read a bit more to get an idea of what he is into, to get more out of his podcast. Be warned though, he has given up Twitter for Lent, so you may not get a reply from him in a while if you try to contact him!

There will be a podcast each week on a separate theme on the website, so give those a listen also, most of them will have a guest inclusion to add to the opinions.

New article- A tough one

March 15, 2009

I have just finished writing my new story for Birmingham Recycled. This one took a fair bit of reading and attempting to understand the jargon that often comes hand in hand with detailed reports on Energy.

The article was first and foremost about Great Barr’s Green Street finishing fourth whilst representing Birmingham in a national challenge to reduce their energy usage. I discovered the story on British Gas’s website and found the full report here.

The report was pretty long and detailed, but had all of the information there and available. I realised after a while that I had to treat the report like a press release, because there were some sly attempts to add a bit of positive spin on the results of the challenge.

I must admit that spin initially pulled the wool over my eyes. This is something that I must try to cut out of my writing, as I have been told a couple of times that my writing is too “fluffy” and I fail to see or comment on both sides. In other words I need to improve my critical writing.

Had it not been for Paul Bradshaw pointing this out I would have not gone back and realised that this saving of money that most streets that represented the cities reported was thanks mainly to investing in £30, 000 worth of energy saving technology.

However, hats off to the streets that took part, who have shown that with a bit of investment and encouragement from the industries and the government, we can be more energy efficient in the future.

Like I said, its a good effort. Despite finishing fourth, the street in Great Barr still maintained the second highest improvement in the country. Birmingham had the lowest rating score of energy efficiency, but across the year, showed a vast improvement, beaten only by Edinburgh’s representative.

Note to self. Be more thorough, but not waffly. Be more critical, but not pessimistic. Subtle differences.