I’m currently contributing a short, light-hearted political column to Hong Kong Time Out Magazine. Below is the uncut, original version of my latest piece…
The chocking pollution in the city over the last few weeks has left all HongKongers wanting to reach for the gas masks. Much of the smog drifts in from HK-owned Guangdong factories, but the biggest contributor is roadside emissions. Vehicles belch out 90% of RSPs (harmful particles that penetrate deep into the lungs) and 40% of roadside fumes come from buses.
What is the solution? A government feasibility study has discounted gas buses and fully electric versions are not yet technologically viable. However, hybrid electric models certainly are, and have been refined in recent years to offer a similar performance to the 5768 buses in our diesel fleet. 99% of these currently fail the latest EU emissions standards.
The bus companies respond by claiming that they’re still ‘studying the details’ or that suitable hybrid buses are not available. This is untrue. KMB use Alexander Dennis double-deckers and their hybrid equivalents are currently being rolled-out on London’s roads, where they were introduced with government aid. FedEx in HK and cities in China are trialling such vehicles, where fuel and carbon reductions of up to 38% are being seen along with excellent performance and reliability.
How to view BBC iPlayer whilst abroad. Last update: March 2011.
Since last November I’ve been testing a free VPN called ‘Expat Shield’ with some scepticism. It has worked perfectly from the outset for unlimited iPlayer viewing, though occasionally it is necessary to pause the video for buffering (just for a minute or two). Otherwise the speed is superb, it’s free, legal and easy to use.
- Download the Expat Shield software. It may insist you run a ‘download manager’ beforehand.
- Run the installer, select ‘English’ and click through the next pages until you are offered some additional, bundled software. Untick and reject the ‘community toolbar’, and click next to install.
- When installed and running, you will see a shield in the bottom-right hand corner of the screen. When the UK connection is live, it will be green – when it’s red, you just have your regular, direct connection. Right-click on the shield and ensure ‘show on restart’ is unticked – we needn’t have the programme permanently running and slowing down your computer.