Cornwall’s communications coast: satellite, wireless and cable

With February’s Geek’s Guide to Porthcurno, I have now written a trilogy of pieces for The Register on globally important communications sites in the west of Cornwall. The first was on Goonhilly, the satellite earth station which received the first transatlantic TV pictures in 1962, which is finding a new lease of life as a commercial deep-space communications station. Sadly, it remains closed to most visitors, as Goonhilly’s boss Ian Jones focuses on building a sustainable business. Continue reading “Cornwall’s communications coast: satellite, wireless and cable”

A Geek’s Guide to the hottest place in 20 parsecs

This week, The Register published a feature by me on the Culham Science Centre in southern Oxfordshire. This includes what staffer Guy Burroughes describes as “the hottest place in 20 parsecs”: the heart of the Joint European Torus, Culham’s biggest project and the world’s largest nuclear fusion tokamak, which at its hottest has reached 300 million degrees Celsius, many times hotter than the centre of the sun. (It’s rare to find a star this hot. 20 parsecs is about 65 light years, although it’s just possible that Mr Burroughes was getting in a Star Wars reference.) Continue reading “A Geek’s Guide to the hottest place in 20 parsecs”

The digital divide: paid-for vs page-views

Some readers, particularly those I asked to subscribe, might remember I wrote a series of articles on the state of Britain for a website called Beacon in 2014-15. It was initially set up as a pay-walled multi-writer blog, where you subscribed to one writer and gained access to everyone. I had fun writing for it and made a modest amount of money writing articles I would not have written otherwise.
Continue reading “The digital divide: paid-for vs page-views”

Articles on Electric Mountain power station tour and US visas

Obviously, you don’t need a US visa to visit Dinorwig power station in Snowdonia, just a ticket from the Electric Mountain visitor centre. This buys you the chance to see a stirring film, then take a bus tour around an amazing piece of underground engineering that is capable of filling the gaps in UK power demand when millions of people put the kettle on.

I mentioned tea a lot in this article for the Register, such as the following: Continue reading “Articles on Electric Mountain power station tour and US visas”

Art in Amsterdam article for Railbookers All Aboard magazine

Railbookers, the rail specialist travel agency, publishes a magazine called All Aboard. I have an article in the latest issue on art in Amsterdam, based on a trip just over a year ago which I wrote about for Beacon.

I focused on two galleries. One, the Rijksmuseum, is the obvious choice – although that doesn’t make it any less brilliant, particularly following its recent renovations. The other is less well-known, and is happy to be so given it only has capacity for a handful of visitors each day: the Six Collection, situated in the Six family’s grand house on the Amstel.

Continue reading “Art in Amsterdam article for Railbookers All Aboard magazine”