Category Archives: Students

Professionals

Employment

Ambitious About Autism offer a range of resources to help get more autistic people into work.      Click icon to find their Employment section.       In 2021 they launched their toolkit to help support autistic young people into the workplace.       new

National autistic society

The National Autistic Society has many pages about professional practice.       Click page icon to browse their professional practice pages or twitter icon for their Autism practice feed.

Life Support DVD’s

This UK based site offers sex education DVD’s.       Click icon for You, Your Body, Growing Up, Relationships and Sex.       It is their SEND menu option.       See previews:   Kylie’s private world       Jason’s private world 

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This is a page for professionals who may be quite new to autism.        See also:  Autism awareness        SEN/EHC Information         Sensory sensitivity for Sensory Processing Disorder under SPD.

Flexi-schooling?

There is a shared classroom and home-schooling approach to education that may be worth considering for some autistic children.       Click icon for the National Autistic Society’s page on the subject.

Finished at school

Ambitious About Autism published a guide at the end of their Finished at School (FaS) campaign.       The learning it captured is intended to support colleges in developing effective practice to support learners with autism to make a successful transition from school to college and into adult life.        Click icon for guide.

See also:  www.ambitiousaboutautism.org.uk         Twitter has a link to the website at the top of its display.       Once there navigate to:

Menu > Who we are > Campaigns > Finished at School 

Team Around the Child

As a guide, a TAC is required where two or more support services are involved.       Click icon for Lincolnshire Council guidance for professionals.

Here is a one stop resource for those in need of Teams Around a Child: Early Help Lincolnshire       Here is the TAC website establised by Peter Limbrick who developed TAC.

TEACCH

Treatmentand Educationof Autistic and related Communication Handicapped Children (TEACCH) is another broad brush approach to working with children or adults with autism.        It has more to do with values and priorities than specific techniques.        Click icon for more detail.
The NAS Early bird programme draws on the TEACCH approach.        See also:  Autism UK       Wikipedia

Training courses

Supporting inclusion

Click icon for Lincolnshire Council pages about supporting inclusion.       It covers aspects of special educational needs & disabilityfor professionals.

Lincolnshire has four integrated locality teams.       SENCOs from all early years providers, registered childminders and out of school club managers can request Early Years inclusion support.        See Early years support         It has an inclusion support referral form at the bottom of the page and email addresses.

Working together team

The Working Together Team offers support to schools and academies for students with a wide range of social communication and / or learning needs.        See also:  detail          SEN Support – Scroll down to Social communication outreach.

Flash Cards

Sparklebox offer free teaching aids for children with special educational needs.          Here is the Speech page.        Their terms of use are brief.

Co-ordination

Early years can extend as far as the age of 18 with ESCO.       This is short for Early years Support Care & Co-ordination,

Tips & issues

Family relationships

The National Autistic Society has a range of guides for navigating family relationships, and advice for parents, siblings, and children on how to support their autistic family member.       Click icon to find out more.

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See also Coronavirus resources

Spectrum magazine

The National Autistic Society publishes The spectrum magazine, containing autistic art, poetry and prose.       Created by autistic people, its content covers all things autism.         Click icon to find out more.       For example Oct 2020 issue.

Contact

Contact – for families with disabled children – was founded by parents.     They seem to know what is what.      Click icon to get to the point.

The podcast university

What to do if you are at a loose end?       This is basically a plug for a number of BBC podcasts that might pique your interest.       Click icon to view.

Thinking styles

  • Temple Grandin says that there are three autistic thinking styles:  visual thinkers, verbal specialists and pattern thinkers.       See post.
  • Autism Toolbox is  a resource to foster inclusion in early learning settings and schools.       it has a section on cognitive theories of autism.

Facbook small iconAutism Discussion

Autism Discussion Page is the title of this Facebook page.       It contains brief articles with comments.       Anyone registered with Facebook can add their own comments.

Making your child happier

This article offers Eleven ways you can make your autistic child’s life easier.

Temple Grandin’s FAQ’s

Temple Grandin is a lady with high-functioning Asperger’s who has made an academic career for herself.       Click icon to browse her Frequently Asked Questions page.       The Ask Temple link, in the top left corner, gives you a form for asking your own question.

Ellen Notbohm

This Facebook page offers a handy starting point for several topics from the author Ellen Notbohm.       The award-winning author is known for her popular books and columns on autism, published worldwide in more than twenty languages.       See the Notes option on the Facebook page for key topics.        She also has a website.      The Blog and Articles menu options might be worth a look.

Facbook small iconAutism on The Mighty

We have a number of links from The Mighty on our website and Facebook page.        This page picks out autism related material from their website.       Click icon to browse.

NetmumsDoc icon

  • The Netmums site has quite a few pages  under the Autism/Asperger’s heading.      Clicking the icon to browse.
  • A number of mothers post a description of their situation on this  site – see:  Preschool        School age         Older children / teenagers.
  • To simply browse Netmums use their search box at the top right corner of the page, but for information about the members’ only areas see their registration page,

Evidence-based optimism

The thinking person’s guide to autism is a forum intended to encourage visitors, To think, ask questions, question the media, and learn from each other       The people behind it say, Autism misinformation clouds and is perpetuated by the Internet.     We want to make accurate information about autism causation and therapies visible, accessible, and centralized.

Christmas 

Ambitious About Autism is publishing a few tips for Christmas under the heading: Include autism this Christmas.      Click icon to view.

Coping skills

Six types of coping skills.      An array of graphics.

The best activities

Ideas about activities for special needs.      After-school and weekend activities for children with disabilities can build self-esteem, skills, friendships and a sense of belonging.

What autism mums do not want to hear

This will ring a few bells for parents of a child on the autistic spectrum.      Things not to say to an autism mum .

Re-charging the batteries

‘Society has programmed us to think, “What kind of mother is she, taking care of herself before her child?”  but that’s completely wrong.’      Here are 10 must dos for parents of children with special needs.

Scope

Scope describes itself as the disability equality charity.

  • Members ask the online community for Support and Information.       There are quite a few subject categories.
  • It has online community groups on which you can post questions and comments.
  • They also have Community champions to make sure the community is a safe, supportive place to be.

Surviving Asperger’s Syndrome

This on-line publication takes the form of brief bullet points divided up into chapters.        See:  Survival guide

Tips for married couples

This is for the partner of someone with Asperger’s:  Chat website

Fear busting

Here are some tips on  tackling fear .

Soap Operas

These can provide a handy way to improve emotional literacy and people skills.      Soaps focus on emotional issues and lay it on with a trowel.      For example, see  Roy Cropper  from Coronation Street.

Moving House

Children on the autistic spectrum can find the idea of moving house unsettling, but there are things could do that might help.

  • Tell him obvious things, repeatedly, e.g. that he is moving too.
  • Tell him what familiar things you are taking, e.g. items of furniture.
  • Try to re-create his old bedroom from day one.      This is not a good time for a revamp.
  • Use the same bedding & PJs for continuity.       If necessary leaving them unwashed would be even better.
  • Get PC running in new home from day one.       Buy that computer game he has always wanted and give him free access to the PC around the time of the move.

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Not getting out

NHS

The NHS section on not getting out, or Agoraphobia, gives us a pretty clear picture of  established scientific opinion.      Click icon to browse.      There is a link to treatment – including self-help tips.

National autistic society

Searching the National Autistic Society site for agoraphobia leads to a page on anxiety.     Although it is aimed at professionals It may provide some useful context.      Click icon to view.      Under the sub-heading Are autistic people more likely to be anxious? they include fear of open spaces and crowds.

They also have a handy article on Anxietyy in autistic adults.       It provides links for autistic adults and parents.

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Introduction

Just a quick tip:  perhaps you could try using one of the following statements:

  1. “I can be anxious and still deal with the situation.”
  2. “I’ll just let my body do its thing. This will pass.”
  3. “This anxiety won’t hurt me, even if it doesn’t feel good”.
  4. “This feeling isn’t comfortable or pleasant, but I can accept it.”

Experiences

Click icon to find out how others have found their way through panic attacks.        Also, someone with high-functioning Asperger’s describes their own experience dealing with anxiety.

More detailPanic attacks etc

  • What is the range of symptoms?
  • Can people with high functioning Asperger’s be severely effected by
    anxiety?      It seems so:
    – High functioning autism is associated with anxiety disorder.
    – A discussion of the link between high IQ and anxiety
  • Can virtual reality help with not getting out?      Video           Text           Research

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Fatigue

ME/Chronic Fatigue

Here is the NHS guide to Chronic Fatigue (CFS/ME).      Click icon to browse.

It seems to have taken a good few years for ME to become widely recognised across the medical profession as a genuine and debilitating condition but things seem to have improved a fair bit in that respect.      This has been in no small part due to the work of groups like the ME Association.      They are a UK national support group for people with ME.      Click icon for their website.

Dr Charles Sheperd talks about his experience of ME in what is ME?       See also:  symptoms & assessment       what you need to know      new

Autism and ME/Chronic fatigue

Autistic burnout seems to be an informal phrase used in the autistic community.      Click play button to watch a video by Amythest Schaber.      She seems to have a clear understanding of the issues and presents them well.       Also:

  • They thought I was lazy … when I was just actually autistic.      This is one of many perceptive reflections on life through one female Asperger’s lens.      See article.
  • Is it just me, or do other people with autism feel tired all the time?      See autism & tiredness to view article.

Associated conditions

Demand avoidance

Pathological demand avoidance (PDA) – part of the autism spectrum.         Click page icon on the left for PDA society website.       See also: Understanding PDA from the PDA society.

Click Facebook icon for the PDA support group – a large Facebook group.      new

Demand avoidance sounds similar to Oppositional defiance, so what is the difference?        In the PDF file above, page 29, it says that PDA is an autism spectrum disorder rooted in anxiety, whereas ODD is not.

Dysgraphia

Dysgraphia is having difficulty learning to:     1. recognise and write letters and words       2.  link sounds, speech and writing.

  • For an easy reading introduction, see  About Health.      See links for more detailed information.
  • Here is a collection of scientific presentations:  Science direct       They address Specific learning disabilities and creativity.       new

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Demand avoidance

Pathological demand avoidance (PDA) is a profile that describes those whose main characteristic is to avoid everyday demands and expectations to an extreme extent.      Click icon to find out more.      See also: PDA Society        slide show

Mental health

The National Autistic Society has a page about mental health and autism.       Click page icon to view.        Also, Autistica has produced a help sheet about autism and mental health.       Click PDF icon to view.

Here is a handy guide to Healthy coping skills for uncomfortable emotions written by a psychotherapist.         (new)

Patients may be referred to a psychiatrist for associated mental health issues.       See NHS introduction.        Ambitious about Autism has produced a guide to making the most of an appointment.

Executive Functioning

Executive functions are the brain’s self-management system.        Problems with executive function can be linked to autistic traits in later life.      Click icon for Options help sheet.       It starts with James at school.

For more examples and how to address them read about Josh in this article.

Handwriting 

Options has produced a help sheet about developing early handwriting skills for children with autism.        Click icon to view.      (new)         See also:

  • Letter dominoes is a game that is easy to make yourself.
  • Here is a video tutorial setting out several aids – including pencil grips.      It offers insight into what does and does not work.
  • This video tutorial demonstrates the sock method of teaching proper pencil grip.
  • This video tutorial demonstrates writing 3 letters of the alphabet.       There are more related videos in the margin, too.
  • Some mums provide a sloping board/surface to write on.

Dyslexia

Dyslexia is a common learning difficulty that mainly affects the way people read and spell words.       Click icon for an easy reading introduction.        Scroll down for comments.

  • For more detail, see  British Dyslexia Association  (BDA).      They also have resources for parents.       And much more …
  • See Dislexia outreach for support in Lincolnshire.      They support parents, teachers, and pupils.
  • See also under handwriting aids below.

Echolalia

  • Here is an introduction to echolalia.       Mimicry is an efficient way to experiment with different sounds and practice emerging social language skills. 
  • This article offers a medical analysis.       People with echolalia repeat noises and phrases that they hear.      They may not be able to communicate effectively because they struggle to express their own thoughts.        If they struggle to do anything other than repeat what has been said, they may have echolalia.        Some children with autism are regularly tested for this during their speech lessons.
  • Here is a more detailed article about echolalia with autism Even echolalia is a normal way to learn language.      Most children use echolalia to learn language.       The majority of children babble in a rhythmic way, which is actually mimicking the cadence of our language. 
  • In adults Echolalia should normally disappear around two and half years of age.      It is often considered abnormal if it persists beyond age 3 years.

Dyscalculia

Dyscalculia is a specific difficulty with arithmetic, or maths.

  • The Dyscalculia website looks pretty definitive.         It offers a handy introduction
  • For more information see Dyscalculia Talks.       It has articles to read as well as video clips to watch.
  • The Dyscalculia Conference website is aimed at professionals, but might be interesting to anyone teaching their own child at home.

Dyspraxia

A Developmental co-ordination disorder.

  • For an easy reading introduction, see  NHS Choices.        Scroll down for comments.
  • The Dyspraxia Foundation has a great deal to offer, including introductionchildren,   FAQ.       See also:  Home for helpline and  Local groups – including Leicstershire and Peterborough
  • You may be surprised to learn that it can affect speech, see Speech and Language.

Doc iconSpecific Learning Difficulties

SpLD is an umbrella term used to cover a range of frequently co-occurring difficulties, more commonly:

  • Dyslexia
  • Dyspraxia / DCD
  • Dyscalculia
  • D.D / A.D.H.D

Specific Learning Difficulties (or SpLDs), affect the way information is learned and processed. They are neurological (rather than psychological), usually run in families and occur independently of intelligence. They can have significant impact on education and learning and on the acquisition of literacy skills.

In general, a student may be diagnosed with a SpLD where there is a lack of achievement at age and ability level, or a large discrepancy between achievement and intellectual ability.

See also an analytical view

Tourettes

Tourette’s syndrome is a condition that causes a person to make involuntary sounds and movements called tics.       See introduction

  • Tourettes Action website seems to be the go-to place for all things Tourettes.      Click icon on the left to browse.       They have a Find support menu.
  • The Lincolnshire support group meets in Lincoln and Grantham.
  • Discussions :  Netmums        Tourettes & Aspergers
  • Facebook videos might be worth a look.

Swallowing difficulties

Click icon to view help sheet for people with Autism about Dysphagia by a speech and language therapist.

Epilepsy

Autistica has produced a help sheet about autism and epilepsy.       Click icon to view.  See also Epilepsy Action:  Website           Information         Help & support

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Wider Area

Leicestershire support

  • Leicestershire Autistic Society is a volunteer led organisation.       See website       Support/activity      updated
  • Leicestershire Support for Carers is a community based organisation run by Voluntary Action South Leicestershire      See Website         See also In Your Area, e.g.  Organisations in Melton
  • ADHD Solutions is an independent initiative that works across Leicestershire and Rutland.       They aim to improve the life chances of children, young people and adults.       See website
  • Get the right help for adults with a learning disability.       The Leicestershire Learning Disability Partnership Board has a page about Living independently at home.

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There are some county-wide services in Lincolnshire and the surrounding area.      See also More information for Lincolnshire Autism Partnership Board.

Lincolnshire Autistic Society

The society offers information on Autism, support groups and county updates.       They organise a conference each year, in March – see Related events.       It is very well attended and GAIN is regularly represented there.

Click icon above to view the society’s website, including contact details and up-coming events.      The site was launched in August 2015.

Lincolnshire Parent Carer Forum

This is the new name for Lincolnshire Parent Carer Council.      They are an independent small charity run by volunteers made up of parent carers of children with special educational needs (SEN) and disabilities.      See FAQ for more about them.

Click icon for their home page and see what is happening in Lincolnshire.

SEND

Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) provision was reformed in 2014.              Education, Health and Care (EHC) plans are for children with complex needs.       See:

  • Cambridgeshire for more information about SEN in Cambridgeshire.                See also EHC
  • Leicestershire for more information about SEN in Leicestershire.                       See also FAQ
  • Nottinghamshire for more information about SEN in Nottinghamshire.            See also SEND leaflet

Autism Links

Find charities, support groups, and specialist service providers in your part of the UK.       They also offer information and resources.       Click icon to search or browse.

North Lincolnshire

The Carers’ Support Service is a charity that serves North and North East Lincolnshire.       Click icon then select your region to browse.      They have a page for young carers in North East Lincolnshire.

See also: SEND for North East Lincolnshire Council.

Nottinghamshire

  • Here is an introduction to local support groups in the Nottinghamshire area.       It includes several in Nottingham city and suburbs.
  • Autism East Midlands aim to to ensure people with autism can live their lives with dignity, choice and independence – see About us.      They do a lot in Nottinghamshire, particulary in the Nottingham area.       Have a look at Family services.       They have Family support hubs in Nottingham and Newark.        For their Home page click icon on the right.       Once you are in the Family Services section, navigate via the left hand column for specific geographic locations.         Here are their  Admission criteria  and  Application form.       See also Adult support under Autism East Midlands.
  • With Family Support Directory visitors can search a large database.      After an initial search there are options down the left hand side to narrow things down.       Alternatively, the Search option along the top of the page offers a list of categories.
  • Nottingham Autism Support Services offers a range of paid-for services.       As a group of ex teaching assistants working in special education, the founders recognised the need to have professional, properly qualified and experienced staff to work with people on the Autistic spectrum.

Handy links

Autism Links

Wellbeing 2021

Gardens & woods

The Friendly garden, at Eagle Hall farm, is the location for a range of garden related events organised by the Sage Gardener.      They have made changes to the way they do things to make events COVID safe.       Click icon to find out more.      There appear to be dates for up-coming events for 2021.       See also map.

Hillside community garden is at the back of Lincoln County Hospital.      It is the site for Green Synergy’s current project.      See Related calendar to find out about their pre-employability opportunities for people with mental health issues between April & June 2021.

Hill holt wood is a woodland social enterprise.      Check their website to see if they are open yet.

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Hopelinks

Hopelinks is launching SIRs, a social Isolation responder phone service.       It aims to give carers and people in general the opportunity to chat, often unburdening themselves, in a friendly setting.      Click icon for the brochure.

Ask an autistic

A ladies’ community group plans to launch a blog on 31_March.       Send in your questions to darkside.risingcic@gmail.com or log in to their Facebook page.      Click graphic for an introduction.

Emotional wellbeing

There seem to be some new  resources and services developed to support for emotional wellbeing and mental health in Lincolnshire.       Click icon for GAIN guide.      See also:  Lincolnshire recovery college

Parent to parent

The National Autistic Society has set up a Parent to parent emotional support helpline.       Phone them or fill in an online form to request a phone call.       Click icon to find out more.

Shine

Shine put out a newsletter in 2020 that addresses some issues of current interest.       Click icon to browse.

Shine Lincolnshire, the mental health support network, are putting on virtual coffee mornings for carers in Lincolnshire.      They are regularly on Mon, Wed & Fri on Zoom.      See how they work.      Their website has details about all the latest events.

Shine aims to put people with mental health issues in touch with sources of support.      See Shine basics

TV/Radio blog

Stand up comedy

Ria Lina does some aspie stand-up on The Now Show.      Click icon to listen – 8 minutes in.

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Sensory overload

Paris Lees hears from two women learning to cope as they deal with the complexities of human touch.      Sarah is an autistic mother with touch sensitivities.      Click icon for the podcast.      See also article about Sarah.

The life scientific

Research psychologist Francesca Happé talks to Jim al-Khalili about the abilities of people with autism.       Click icon for the podcast.

Children on-line

BBC Radio 4 had a phone-in about protecting children on-line in Jan 2019.        Click icon for the podcast.      Drag along timeline to 12:43 mins to skip car theft and find the phone-in.

Autism & communication

Michael Rosen finds out about communication with people on the autistic spectrum.      Click icon to listen on iPlayer.  

Atypical

Click icon to find the trailer for ‘Atypical’, Netflix’s new comedy series about autism.       It premiered in August 2017.     The eight-episode comedic series follows Sam Gardner, a high school senior on the autism spectrum, and his family as he navigates dating, school and being a teenager.      The link features an article followed by comments.

The first episode was dissapointing for one viewer.      In this article actor Mickey Rowe explains why he thinks Netflix’s series Atypical misrepresents its autistic audience — and why that begins with its failure to include the autistic community in its creative process.

Lucy Mangan on Responsibility

Click icon to listen to this intelligent and engaging interview.       Lucy Mangan talks to Bea Harvie, a post-graduate student, whose father got ill when she was thirteen.       Bea chose to take on a lot of caring duties towards her younger siblings while her Mother was busy caring for her Father.      She just got on with it until one day, when she was sixteen, it all caught up with her.      She says it is like shaking up a bottle of fizzy pop: ‘it’s got to come out some way’.

More or Less

The Radio 4 series that goes behind the numbers in the news.      For example,  in the Brexit referendum of 2016 the UK has voted to leave the European Union.      Click Brexit economics to listen to Tim Harford and the team explore what that might mean for the UK economy.      Click icon for more episodes.

Lack of empathy

How far can empathy, or the lack of it, can explain cruelty?       Simon Baron-Cohen proposes turning the focus away from evil or specific personality disorders, and to understand human behaviour by studying the ’empathy circuit’ in the brain.      Also speaking:   forensic psychotherapist Gwen Adshead, crime writer Val McDermid and  philosopher Julian Baggini.       Click icon to listen again to this discussion.

Men & Asperger’s

Asperger’s syndrome or not?  may still be available to hear on-line.     Why do so many women think their men have Asperger’s syndrome? 

Codes that changed the world

If you are a computer buff you might be interested in a Radio series about the history of computer programming.      One episode, about BASIC for example, was aired on Wed 8th Apr 2015.      You might be able to download the Podcasts of these programmes – still available Apr 2016.

Interviews about Autism

Radio 4 has been broadcasting a series of interviews about Autism.

  • A conversation with Professor Simon Baron-Cohen was aired on Tue 17th Feb 2015.            He is a highly respected authority on autism.
  • On Tue 24th Feb, an interview with a university research assistant with high-functioning autism was aired.      She explained her experience of life with very clearly.

You might be able to listen to Podcasts of these 15 minute programmes.       They should be available for at least 30 days after broadcast.      This one has stayed there for months.

The Village

August 2014.     The plan is to cover the 20th century from the First World War to beyond the Second World War, over several series.      The mood is perking up now.

Casualty

The episode on 9th August 2014 featured a very convincing and  well crafted depiction of a teenage boy with autism.       He took a liking to someone playing Eric Clapton on the street.       It could be interesting to know that autistic people are represented on mainstream TV.

Asperger’s

Asperger girls

Reddit is an online forum with the title:  Life skills and healthy coping mechanisms for the ASD community.      Click icon for their Asperger girls page.      The questions they tackle are quite grown-up.       Their general Asperger’s page could be worth a look too.

Keran – age 33

Meet Keran Bunker, who has always struggled to keep jobs or a place to live and did not find out he had autism with ADHD until he was-33.        Click play button for his video.

Social skills

The National Autistic Society has set of pages about socialising and relationships with the autistic spectrum.       The page about making friends could be the most relevant.      Click icon to browse.        new        Also:

Relationships

You do not have to look far to see that relationship issues are of concern to all kinds of people.        However, below are a few links offering handy insights into relationships for people with Asperger’s.

  • ArticleRelationship Difficulties Due to Deficits in “Theory of Mind”  
  • ArticleRules of Effective Listening: Tips for Men on the Spectrum
  • Adult relationships – bullet points
  • Issues for partners
  • Radio programme – may well still be available to hear on-line:        Why do so many women think their men have Asperger’s syndrome?

Chat for Adults with Asperger’s

This is a website dedicated to people with Asperger’s.        Contributors tackle many topics.       Look for the Popular Posts as well as other links down the right hand side.       There is also a search box.       Below are some of the more substantial ones.

Special Interests

Hydrogen fuelled

What is the future for hydrogen fuelled transport?       It will fill the gaps where battery power cannot compete.      It looks like these will be for larger vehicles and long distances on tight schedules.       Click icon to read about hydrogen powered cars.

Happily, hydrogen and electric power complement each other.     Hydrogen is particularly good for high demand uses such as trains or aeroplanes.       new

London’s fleet of hydrogen powered busses has been under development for some years.      Their first permanent hydrogen bus service was introduced in 2010.      They have set out their vision for hydrogen fuel cell technology in the UK capital.

See also GAIN introduction to hydrogen fuel.      It looks like plans may be starting to gather pace.     2021

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Is there anything here that looks interesting.      One or two new interests could be worth having.

How do you like your guitar?

  • Here are some rock guitar tracks.      Imagine a huge outdoor rock concert.      Now listen to Arena Rock, by Steve Morse.
  • Then there is the more thoughtful  Turn the Page by Metallica.       Going back further, there is Eric Clapton’s classic rock song Layla.       This recording features the drummer, Phil Collins from the band Genesis.
  • A new generation of young ladies has started playing rock guitar.      Here is The Trouper by Iron Maiden.    It is fast and furious, and it is played for us by a couple of guitarists from the all female tribute band  The Iron Maidens.
  • This one might sound more technical, Morning Star by Vinnie Moore, played for us by a teenage boy.       He has even managed to make up a little bit himself.       Here is The original, in case you want to compare.
  • Have you heard of classical/rock crossover?       This track is called April Sky.      Guitarist, Vinnie Moore has brought a couple of classical pieces up to date.        Sky is also the name of a band.       They have crossed over a bit further with their version of Toccata.

The bigger picture

If you like to find fresh thinking then these might be worth a look.

  • Stumbling and mumbling – thoughts about current affairs.       Well considered opinion with links to intelligent analysis.
  • Science of the soul – about Daniel Dennett.        Perhaps he could be described as a curious rationalist with a love of life.         Also, click play button for his thoughts on the nature of consciousness.

Synthesizer tracks

The synthesizer was invented by Robert Moog.      Click icon for a video history of the Mini Moog.

John Michelle Jarre did a lot to popularise synthesizer music with his first album Oxygene.      This is the signature track, that many people will have heard, even if they do not have the album.       It has a catchy tune.

Genesis‘ progressive rock featured synthesized keyboard on a big scale.       You can hear the keyboards particularly well one of their instrumental tracks.

Giorgio Moroder is probably less well known, but he was producing synthesizer music at that time too.      Would you believe that From here to eternity came out in 1977?       It sounds very futuristic, even today.      He has recently released a new album, called 74 is the new 24.        Here is a video clip with fun graphics.

Rick Wakeman has been producing sythesiser music since 1969.       Here is Anne Boleyn.

Comet landing

A space probe robot, named Philae, landed on a comet in November 2014.       The space craft that carried the probe was the first to orbit a comet as well as the first to land something on a comet’s surface.       It has sent back many photos.      The aim is to find out more about what comets do in space.       The landing did not go to plan, though.      The probe bounced and ended up in a dark valley, so it could not get enough energy from the sun to carry on working after the battery ran out.       Here is a short video about the landing.      The video on this page provides an update from the following day.
A few days later scientists announced that carbon, vital for the creation of life, had been detected on the comet.

The lander re-established contact in June 2015 after the comet moved nearer to the sun and Philae’s  batteries recharged sufficiently.      In February 2016, however, scientists gave up hope of re-establishing contact.      See farewell to Philae.

Asteroids are like comets but you can see a tail trailing behind a comet.       Asteroids do not have a tail.

Chernobyl aftermath

Have you ever wondered what has become of the area surrounding the Chernobyl nuclear
disaster?

  • The Chernobyl accident in 1986 was the result of a flawed reactor design that was operated with inadequately trained personnel
  • The damaged reactor is now enclosed in a large concrete shelter which was erected quickly (by October 1986) to allow continuing operation of the other reactors at the plant
  • In the early 1990s, some $400 million was spent on improvements to the remaining reactors at Chernobyl, considerably enhancing their safety.
  • New safe confinement is due to be completed in 2017.       It is being built next to the reactor and will be moved into place on rails.
  • In the last two decades there has been some resettlement of the areas evacuated in 1986 and subsequently.
  • Since 1989, over 1000 nuclear engineers from the former Soviet Union have visited Western nuclear power plants and there have been many reciprocal visits.
  • See official World Nuclear record for more information.       It is the source for the bullet points above.
  • Burying Chernobyl  –  Can the site of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in April 1986 be made safe without risking the health of those involved in the task?       Listen via BBC iPlayer.

See also  Recovery & development.

Catherine TateCatherine Tate

Catherine Tate is a very popular comedian.       Chances are you have seen her on TV.       In this video clip, Lauren, one of Catherine’s characters, takes her bad attitude into her  French Exam.       Another of her characters then appears in Albert Square for a Children in Need  Eastenders Special.

She is actually quite well adjusted in real life, which goes to show what a good actor she is.          See an interview in her dressing room, or maybe just a bit of it.       Here are a few  pictures  of her, too.       Some aspies may like doing performance art.

High Speed RailHS2 map01

A new railway line from London to Birmingham and beyond is planned.       It will be called, High Speed 2 (HS2).      Click map to enlarge.

High Speed 1 is the line from London to the Channel Tunnel (HS1).       See below under
Eurostar.         Since the HS1 line was built, commuters from Ashford, not far from the
tunnel, have been able to get to London in a fraction of the time they could before.

Local news for Leicestershire covered a story about HS2 in 2013.       See video clip and click on picture of train to watch.      They say that the effect of HS2 on Leicestershire might be similar, when the new line is in use, to that of HS1 on Kent.       The Birmingham station will not be very far from Leicester.

Not everyone is happy about spending a great deal of money on HS2 to get more people to their work in London, but HS1 has helped to make homes more affordable for commuters.          The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, says that the new line will also help to make the north of the country more prosperous, though others say it will not do much to help with this.      See the Chancellor’s article for links to articles that question the wisdom of the HS2 plan.

Kevin & Perry

Have you seen Harry Enfield’s teenage pair Kevin and Perry?       Teenage characteristics are exaggerated for comic effect.

In one sketch Kevin’s parents try giving him a taste of his own medicine, in  Reverse psychology, but it backfires badly.      Another sketch features Kevin’s school Parents’ evening.        Kevin’s attitude to his teachers could be both interesting and entertaining.

Shine on you crazy diamond

Pink Floyd’s song Shine on you crazy diamond was a tribute to former band member Syd Barrett.       It starts quietly and showcases the band’s keyboard and guitar work.      Click play button to hear it.

Barrett wandered into the studio while the band was recording Wish You Were Here, the album that features this piece.       He had drastically changed his appearance, and the band members did not recognise him for some time.          When they eventually did, Roger Waters was so distressed he was reduced to tears.           Perhaps you could say that with this escapade he lived up to the line in the song, You outstayed your welcome with random precision.        Click Information to find out more about this piece.

Here is an introduction to Syd Barrett’s contribution to the early years of Pink Floyd, including some of his best songs. 

Is Formula 1 going green?

This year things have changed more than usual.     Under the  2014 rules  there is a fuel limit.     Cars are using hybrid technology, which helps them to work within that fuel limit.      An electric motor helps to slow the car when braking, which  generates electricity  to be stored in a battery and re-used when accelerating.      This makes the cars  more responsive when accelerating and saves fuel.       Less fuel means less weight, which saves more fuel.

The Red Bull team has won the past 4 years’ Constructor’s Championship titles, but this year  Mercedes  is leading.    Here is a  video explaining the secret of their success.      Don’t worry if you do not understand everything very well.      It is not all that easy to follow.

Red Bull’s James Newey is critical of F1’s new green credentials.       Also Mercedes’ Sebastian Vettel says that the noise of the race is not as good as it used to be.       Many fans agree .

The wedding of the year!Wedding

After nearly ten years together, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt finally tied the knot on the 23rd August 2014 at their French country house.       It has been reported that Brad and Ange used the opportunity of their wedding to raise some serious cash for good causes.

Brad and Angelina knew there would be tremendous interest in their wedding pictures, and decided to
donate the money to their charitable foundation.      The couple have done this numerous times in the past.      The pair previously sold the first photographs of their 6-year-old twins for $14million back in 2008, and donated every penny of that too.

They really are just the perfect couple, aren’t they?        Her gown was made by Atelier Versace and bore more than a passing resemblance to a classic Disney princess gown.      The satin gown featured a ruched top and corseted bodice over a full skirt but it was her veil that stole the show.        It’s little surprise that the Jolie-Pitt kids played a huge part in their parents’ big day but mum Ange went one step further by letting them design her veil.

Eurostar

Do you know much about Eurostar?       It is a high speed train that takes passengers from London to Paris and from London to Brussels, in Belgium.    It goes along a new line called High Speed 1 from central London to the Chanel Tunnel.   When the Chanel Tunnel opened Eurostar had to use the old line to Waterloo station.   It was much slower and more congested than the dedicated high speed line linking Paris to the tunnel.

A Eurostar train set a new British speed record of 208.0 mph on the first section of High Speed 1 shortly before it opened on 30 July 2003.

The second and final phase was opened in 2007.     It allows trains to travel at speeds of 186 mph.  The combined effect of both phases was to cut Eurostar journey times by 40 minutes.   It is now possible to travel from London to Paris by train in 2 hours 15 minutes.

It now carries more passengers to Paris and Brussels than all airlines put together.     It does this with about 90% less carbon dioxide emissions than the airlines.

For more detail see  Eurostar  and  Eco-Express .       For more pictures see  Pictures .