Earlier this year…

by Matt Johnston on October 30, 2014

Earlier this year I took a chance in politics and I didn’t win. I didn’t even place. But what I learned was useful. I learned that you can’t run an election campaign in 6 weeks. I learned that you need even just a little bit of money behind you to do it. I learned that Northern Ireland is trapped in the past and even those who are apolitical will work to maintain the status quo.

But my hope is not deterred. Nor am I entirely dissuaded from the path.

For all of the talk, our education system is failing more and more children; our healthcare system is beset by paper pushers and front line staff are taxed beyond belief; our public services are failing with uncleared drains, broken street lamps and reduced refuse collection.

I believe that while the two men at the head of the party were deeply flawed, petty and ultimately couldn’t be trusted to do the right thing; the idea of NI21 was absolutely on the money.

I’m tired of hearing nothing but whataboutery when the DUP and SF are given the mic. I’m also tired of hearing from the UUP/SDLP/APNI about how they’re ultimately powerless in the Executive where they serve because of a divvy of power between the two big parties. I’m tired of hearing parties in a government coalition constantly blame each other for the troubles of the day.

I’m sure others agree. I’m sure a load of people think that nothing will change. But this is where they (and Russell Brand) are wrong.

Brand is right that the second clause of

“Don’t vote; there’s no one to vote for”

is actually the most poignant part. So let’s find some people to vote for. Let’s pick them and help them raise their deposits and get them into Westminster. And then let’s pick more for the Assembly.

Let’s base it on sustainable economy; sustainable environment; sustainable education. Let’s change the world because we’re sick of the way things are.



by Matt Johnston on October 21, 2014

I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up! from Dave Fothergill vfx on Vimeo.


Cars … Are Friends Electric

by Matt Johnston on October 19, 2014

When I sleep at night I am rewarded with visions of electric vehicles. The cars we have received from automobile manufacturers are not much further developed than the car you see below.

Electric vehicles are awesome. You may not realise how awesome but they are beset with some issues which are resisting general acceptance.

Range Anxiety and Charge Time

Consumer-grade electric cars tend to be limited to around 100 miles. Only the electric super-cars (like Tesla) have the range that we expect from cars. My diesel has a range of around 300 miles on a full tank that takes about three minutes to replenish. The Tesla still takes about an hour to charge (at a SuperCharger) and while the cars with 100 mile ranges can get an 80% charge in 20 minutes on a turbo charger.

A supercar like a Ferrari F40 has a range of 750 miles.

Cost to Buy, Cost to Run

Electric cars are expensive. My diesel, with all of the mod cons and dead-cow interiors cost me 50% less than a Nissan Leaf which has a range of 120 miles on a full charge. But it’s hard to deny that electric cars are cost-effective to run. With operating costs of 2 pence per mile, the Leaf is excellent. My car has a 300 mile range on a £60 tank of fuel – which works out at 20 pence per mile.

The operating costs of internal combustion engines, including wear and tear, tend to be higher too.

An Assault on Battery

Batteries are awkward. They’re heavy, they’re expensive.

The lithium-ion battery pack in a Tesla Roadster weighs about 1,000 pounds (453.6 kg). That’s a lot of weight to carry and it can greatly reduce the car’s range. However, the designers of the Roadster have offset this battery weight with a light frame and body panels. The entire car only weighs 2,690 pounds (1220.2 kg)

One of the advantages of a heavy battery is that if you put it at the bottom of the car, it really lowers the centre of gravity.

A New Way Of Thinking

Any one want to help me re-think personal electric transportation?

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Spherical Worlds

October 18, 2014

My work for this week will be following this tutorial.

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Charity e-Walk….

October 17, 2014

Covered by the Independent Charity marathons usually involve a lot of sweat, hard work and blisters, but not for one runner, who simply pushed the control stick forwards until he reached the limits of GTA V’s Los Santos. … Super Meat Boy co-creator Tommy Refenes live-streamed the marathon on Twitch, using it to help fund [...]

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Game School

October 15, 2014

I’ve always found it easier to work in groups. Being able to talk to someone about a project and, in return, feel better for helping others. So the pitch is; meet once a week, maybe an evening or maybe a lunchtime and write game stuff. Yes, I’ll be leaning on others. But hopefully I’ll help [...]

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Foo. War. Pig.

October 15, 2014
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Why is Belfast getting all the jobs?

October 10, 2014

Paul gosling at the BelTel has an editorial (which they call a blog) about Why Belfast Is Getting All The Jobs. This is predicated on the recent loss of 900 jobs at the JTI plant in Ballymena. But the jobs aren’t going to Belfast, they’re going to Poland and Romania. He bemoans that Northern Ireland’s [...]

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People Pay More For Design

October 9, 2014

Via Loopinsight: A Vogue piece on Jony Ive. Design critics now look back at the birth of the Jobs-Ive partnership as the dawn of a golden age in product design, when manufacturers began to understand that consumers would pay more for craftsmanship. This is something that many people have always understood but until it was [...]

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The anti-Ulster

October 6, 2014

Stephen Fry on ESTONIA: This is a forward looking, highly prosperous, diverse, culturally, religiously and racially tolerant country… It is, when you think about it, the anti-Ulster. We’re a backwards-looking, poverty-dominated, sectarian, theocratic, intolerant and racist country. And that’s just baed on listening to the news this morning.

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