Easing back in…
Posted by That Other Mike on 06/04/2008
OK, I know I said I was back, but I’ve really not been in the mood to do much blogging. I’ve been readjusting to being at work again, adjusting to not being around my wife anymore, and I’ve had a horrible chest infection.
Hence my silence. However, I’m more or less readjusted to being back at work and the chest infection seems to be clearing. I won’t ever be sanguine about being away from my wife, though.
Some interesting newslets which may have passed you by:
Hydrogen-powered plane takes off
The small, propeller-driven craft, developed by aviation giant Boeing, made three short flights at an airfield south of Madrid, the company said.
It was powered by hydrogen fuel cells, which produce only heat and water as exhaust products.
The tests could pave the way for a new generation of greener aircraft, the company said.
Boeing’s chief technology officer John Tracy said the flights were “a historical technological success” and “full of promises for a greener future”.
Excellent news! Hopefully the technology will continue to develop apace so we can see greener flights in the future, although it’s worth noting that the scientist responsible says it may be twenty years before it’s in use. Let’s hope she’s wrong, and is being cautious. I also noticed that she refuses to paint a rosy picture about the possibilities of the fuel cells, which is a Good Thing ™; all too many possible advances in green science are given premature messiah status because of excitable scientists and overblown media reporting.
New law targets corporate killing
A new law has come into force which is intended to make it easier to prosecute companies accused of causing death because of negligence.
Under the new offence of corporate manslaughter, employers may face large fines if it is proved they failed to take proper safety precautions.
The old law was criticised for making it too hard to bring prosecutions.
Proof is no longer needed that a single senior official was to blame, only that senior management played a role.
While I welcome the move to make it easier to prosecute negligent companies (finally! The law has been on the table for ten years now), I worry that this law is a paper tiger in some respects – while the companies may be fined, individuals in senior management will not be held accountable. I’d like to see the possibility of criminal sentences being handed down to management which shows itself to be actively irresponsible or negligent regarding health and safety matters.
There’s also an argument to be made that this law will in fact allow management to get off scot free while endangering the jobs of workers; if the company takes a 10% hit in profts, whose jobs will be on the line? The same people as usual – the ones who actually do the work that keeps companies going.
So, a good start, but the Government loses points for being 10 years late and not going far enough.
Oh, and one more thing which I almost forgot – as of today, 6th April, home-owners in England and Wales will no longer require planning permission to install solar panels onto their houses.