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Commentary on Shane Ross’ Cycling Policy Parliamentary Questions response on October 11th 2016

This is a placeholder while I write up my comments

Questions 577 to 580 were posed by John Lahart (FF)

Question 577. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the urgent need to address cycle safety here; his plans to bring forward legislation relevant to cyclist safety; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29371/16]

Response from Shane Ross (broken out by me)

My current priority in road safety legislation is the Road Traffic Bill 2016 which is focussed on measures to improve safety for all road users including cyclists. The Bill provides for roadside testing for drugs and an offence of driving with the presence of specified drugs in the blood, a special speed limit of 20 km/h, and measures to give effect to an agreement between Ireland and the UK on mutual recognition of driving disqualifications.
I have no plans at present to bring forward specific road traffic legislation regarding cycling safety. In my view, safety for cyclists is best addressed by way of educational and publicity campaigns, such as those undertaken by the Road Safety Authority (RSA). The RSA promote awareness of the Rules of the Road and safe practice on our roads for all road users including the awareness of cyclists and other vulnerable road users among motorists and drivers of heavy commercial vehicles, in conjunction with promoting safe cycling practice by promoting awareness among cyclists of the need for visibility on our roads.

“In my view” is problematic because Shane Ross has absolutely no background in road safety, urban planning or transport planning so his his views are without any qualification. Educational and publicity campaigns are no substitute for clear and unambiguous legislation and proper infrastructure. This is clearly set out in the National Cycling Policy Framework document, the National Cycle Manual (to which Ross later refers) section on Sustainable Safety and evidenced in countries like The Netherlands, Germany and Denmark who have achieved levels of sustainable travel by bicycle that are far ahead of Ireland.

The lack of a plan to bring forward legislation specific to cycling safety is highly problematic because it indicates a failure to understand two challenges to cyclists presently:

  1. The legislative confusion on mandatory cycle lane usage which is discussed at http://irishcycle.com/2016/07/12/mandatory-cycle-track-law-not-revoked-in-2012-says-department/ . There is also the issue that the Department of Transport are refusing to release their (alleged) supporting evidence for the position that mandatory cycle lane usage was not removed by S.I. 332/2012
  2. Unsafe passing by motorists. This cannot have escaped his attention as Phil Skelton has put in huge work on his “Stayin’ Alive at 1.5” campaign to have a 1.5m mandatory passing distance legislated for.

Never mind that additional legislation is required!

The current Road Safety Strategy, running from 2013 to 2020, contains measures to promote the use of personal protection equipment and high visibility clothing, which is heavily funded by the RSA, and developing a standardised road safety cycling proficiency training programme for schools.

This is just more of the same victim blaming bolloxology that cyclists and pedestrians have become used to. Let’s bear in mind that the RSA note in theirProvisional Review of Fatalities 31 December 2015 that for pedal cyclists “All fatalities occurred in hours of daylight. Cyclist fatalities were most likely to occur during the day and evening. There were three fatalities between 11am and 12pm, and four fatalities between 1pm and 7pm.”. Visibility can be an issue and there is scope for a discussion on the role of hi-vis but it cannot continue to dominate the strategy for making the roads safer for vulnerable road users as it has done.

My Department is funding the development and roll-out of “Cycle Right”, a new national cycling training standard which I expect will roll out nationally in 2017. Funding of approximately €37m has been allocated by the National Transport Authority for investment in cycling/walking projects, QBCs, safety integration and traffic management projects in 2016 covering the Greater Dublin Area and Cork, Galway, Limerick and Waterford.

I’ll have to come back to this to find the breakdown on the figures and the impact of NTA vanity projects on actual roll out.

Question 578. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if his attention has been drawn to the national cycling policy framework document 2009 and if he is following the recommendations set in the document; if he recognises the need to engage with the stakeholders as identified in the national cycling policy framework document; if not, the reason; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29372/16]

Response from Shane Ross:

The National Cycle Policy Framework (NCPF) was launched in 2009 and sets out a vision for cycling in Ireland to 2020.

Wide consultation with stakeholders and members of the public was part of the process of developing the NCPF. As it currently stands the scope of the NCPF is broad and ambitious and while significant progress has been made on a numbers of actions, we will need a further concerted effort to try to deliver on the overall vision by 2020.

My Department intends undertaking a review of this policy document in the near future and in doing so will again consult with all the relevant stakeholders.

The NCPF sets out a commitment top engage with stakeholders and names the groups. Ask any of the cycling campaigns named in that document about the engagement from Shane Ross since he came to office and they will all tell you it has been non-existent. His response to #577 shows that he understands nothing of the document. Cyclists continue to be killed and injured on the road as this policy goes unheeded and under Ross it actually goes backwards. “Further concerted effort” rings hollow when Ross won’t even respond to a single question posed by cycling advocates. When his department won’t even release the justification for their position on mandatory cycle lane usage!

Question 579. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if his attention has been drawn to the fact that inappropriately designed and constructed cycle lanes can result in fatal outcomes for users; his plans to rectify this issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29373/16]

Response from Shane Ross (again, broken out by me to comment on specific portions)

While I have overall responsibility, as Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, for policy and funding in relation to roads and traffic, the design and construction of cycling infrastructure in Ireland is carried out in accordance with the criteria set out in the National Cycle Manual as published by the National Transport Authority.

As with everything else the Minister pushes the issues off to someone else. The minister has been contacted specifically and repeatedly because the issues are ultimately his responsibility. The NTA have made a decision to sacrifice cyclist safety for the Luas project; responsibility for that cannot be handed off. Across the country we see the NTA fail to ensure that the National Cycle Manual is adhered to. See this article on the scheme affecting Bird Avenue in Dublin for how the manual is being adhered to. If the minister would actually engage with the cyclist stakeholders he would actually be aware of this.

Noting the above position, I have referred the Deputy’s question to the NTA for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you don’t receive a reply within 10 working days.

I’ll follow up and see if there has been a response.

Question 580. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if his attention has been drawn to the amount of funding that has been cut by the National Transport Authority for the provision of pedestrian and cycle schemes; his plans to reverse these cuts; his views that more funding is needed for the protection of pedestrians and cyclists; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29374/16]

Shane Ross response:

The National Authority (NTA) is responsible for the development and implementation of public transport and sustainable transport infrastructure projects in the Greater Dublin Area (GDA).

Under the Sustainable Transport Measures Grants (STMG) Programme, my Department provides funding to the NTA for the seven local authorities in the GDA for the implementation of sustainable transport projects such as cycling/walking infrastructure, Quality Bus Corridors, safety, integration and traffic management projects throughout the region. Funding of €23.2m has been allocated to this Programme in 2016. Of this total, I understand that NTA has allocated €14.7m to Dublin City Council to progress 37 different projects.

This is an incomplete answer as usual. Does the minister not understand that some of the most significant safety projects have been put on hold? I’ll break the numbers down when I can get access to how that funding splits out. Again though, there are significant issues with a number of works that have been carried out in Dublin which the NTA or the city council have not been held to account on.

I am advised by the NTA that with the technical resource requirements available to the Council, not all the desired projects can be progressed simultaneously. The NTA and Dublin City Council have therefore decided to prioritise the traffic works associated with completion of LUAS Cross City, which will also benefit cyclists and pedestrians, plus a slightly reduced number of other sustainable transport schemes and to pause a small number of other projects all of which are at the design stage only. Works will resume at the earliest possible date.

Again – fucking safety projects have been put on hold. The council and the NTA have collectively failed to properly manage their projects. Does that not get addressed at any point?

These projects aside, the minister has done absolutely nothing to progress cyclist safety. He has brought forward no intention to legislate despite the opportunity being put on a plate for him. He has made no commitment to the implementation of the NCPF and he has provided zero oversight for his department.

 

The failure of Shane Ross to address cyclist safety

I’ll be updating this post over the next few days. I just wanted to put up copies of emails I’ve sent to the minister and my local TDs on the subject. I’ll note any responses here.

Update 1: First to reply was Fianna Fáil’s John Lahart who responded about 5 minutes after I sent the email. He was followed by Sinn Féin’s Sean Crowe (who I have to call back). A few days later I got a response from Katherine Zappone’s assistant. Neither Colm Brophy or Paul Murphy have replied

Update 2: John Lahart put together some PQs which Shane Ross actually replied to:

(commentary for these is in the post http://jamesgallagher.ie/commentary-on-shane-ross-cycling-policy-parliamentary-questions-response-on-october-11th-2016/)

Photo of John LahartJohn Lahart (Dublin South West, Fianna Fail)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

577. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the urgent need to address cycle safety here; his plans to bring forward legislation relevant to cyclist safety; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29371/16]

Photo of Shane RossShane Ross (Dublin Rathdown, Independent)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

My current priority in road safety legislation is the Road Traffic Bill 2016 which is focussed on measures to improve safety for all road users including cyclists. The Bill provides for roadside testing for drugs and an offence of driving with the presence of specified drugs in the blood, a special speed limit of 20 km/h, and measures to give effect to an agreement between Ireland and the UK on mutual recognition of driving disqualifications.

I have no plans at present to bring forward specific road traffic legislation regarding cycling safety. In my view, safety for cyclists is best addressed by way of educational and publicity campaigns, such as those undertaken by the Road Safety Authority (RSA). The RSA promote awareness of the Rules of the Road and safe practice on our roads for all road users including the awareness of cyclists and other vulnerable road users among motorists and drivers of heavy commercial vehicles, in conjunction with promoting safe cycling practice by promoting awareness among cyclists of the need for visibility on our roads.

The current Road Safety Strategy, running from 2013 to 2020, contains measures to promote the use of personal protection equipment and high visibility clothing, which is heavily funded by the RSA, and developing a standardised road safety cycling proficiency training programme for schools.

My Department is funding the development and roll-out of “Cycle Right”, a new national cycling training standard which I expect will roll out nationally in 2017. Funding of approximately €37m has been allocated by the National Transport Authority for investment in cycling/walking projects, QBCs, safety integration and traffic management projects in 2016 covering the Greater Dublin Area and Cork, Galway, Limerick and Waterford.

Photo of John LahartJohn Lahart (Dublin South West, Fianna Fail)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

578. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if his attention has been drawn to the national cycling policy framework document 2009 and if he is following the recommendations set in the document; if he recognises the need to engage with the stakeholders as identified in the national cycling policy framework document; if not, the reason; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29372/16]

Photo of Shane RossShane Ross (Dublin Rathdown, Independent)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

The National Cycle Policy Framework (NCPF) was launched in 2009 and sets out a vision for cycling in Ireland to 2020.

Wide consultation with stakeholders and members of the public was part of the process of developing the NCPF. As it currently stands the scope of the NCPF is broad and ambitious and while significant progress has been made on a numbers of actions, we will need a further concerted effort to try to deliver on the overall vision by 2020.

My Department intends undertaking a review of this policy document in the near future and in doing so will again consult with all the relevant stakeholders.

Photo of John LahartJohn Lahart (Dublin South West, Fianna Fail)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

579. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if his attention has been drawn to the fact that inappropriately designed and constructed cycle lanes can result in fatal outcomes for users; his plans to rectify this issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29373/16]

Photo of Shane RossShane Ross (Dublin Rathdown, Independent)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

While I have overall responsibility, as Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, for policy and funding in relation to roads and traffic, the design and construction of cycling infrastructure in Ireland is carried out in accordance with the criteria set out in the National Cycle Manual as published by the National Transport Authority.

Noting the above position, I have referred the Deputy’s question to the NTA for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you don’t receive a reply within 10 working days.

Photo of John LahartJohn Lahart (Dublin South West, Fianna Fail)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

580. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if his attention has been drawn to the amount of funding that has been cut by the National Transport Authority for the provision of pedestrian and cycle schemes; his plans to reverse these cuts; his views that more funding is needed for the protection of pedestrians and cyclists; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29374/16]

Photo of Shane RossShane Ross (Dublin Rathdown, Independent)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

The National Authority (NTA) is responsible for the development and implementation of public transport and sustainable transport infrastructure projects in the Greater Dublin Area (GDA).

Under the Sustainable Transport Measures Grants (STMG) Programme, my Department provides funding to the NTA for the seven local authorities in the GDA for the implementation of sustainable transport projects such as cycling/walking infrastructure, Quality Bus Corridors, safety, integration and traffic management projects throughout the region. Funding of €23.2m has been allocated to this Programme in 2016. Of this total, I understand that NTA has allocated €14.7m to Dublin City Council to progress 37 different projects.

I am advised by the NTA that with the technical resource requirements available to the Council, not all the desired projects can be progressed simultaneously. The NTA and Dublin City Council have therefore decided to prioritise the traffic works associated with completion of LUAS Cross City, which will also benefit cyclists and pedestrians, plus a slightly reduced number of other sustainable transport schemes and to pause a small number of other projects all of which are at the design stage only. Works will resume at the earliest possible date.

To Shane Ross:

Dear Minister,

I need to express my anger at the manner in which you have performed your role to date with respect to the safety of cyclists in Ireland. Unfortunately you’ve also made the decision to ignore all issues being raised to you on Twitter for quite sometime now (not just since the large scale expression of exacerbation with your performance in relation to the “Shell shock here in Rio” tweet). It is extremely frustrating that you believe ignoring the concerns and experiences of cyclists, as you have done, is appropriate as the minister for transport. A number of cyclists and cycling advocates have and will contact you with a number of issues and concerns. It appears many of these are beyond your competency or willingness to engage on so I’m going to raise what I believe to be the immediate priority issues:

1. Confirm you will adhere to the National Cycle Policy Framework of 2009 and implement it in full.
2. Clarify the comments from your department on the interpretation of S.I. No. 332/2012
3. Clarify the comments from your department on the proposal to legislate for a minimum passing distance of cyclists

We are now in a position where cyclist safety has regressed under your residence in office as you have made no progress on or demonstrated intent to progress the implementation of the NCPF. Further, the legislative change introduced by the S.I., which was welcomed given the dangerous implementation of a large number of cycle lanes in Ireland, has now lost the support of your department. The legal confusion introduced by department comments and your utter failure and unwillingness to clarify or remediate is dangerous for cyclists. A cyclist choosing to not use a cycle lane where its continued usage presents a danger to them may now face a member of AGS charging them with a road traffic offence. We have previously seen legal loopholes remediated with new legislation at great speed, yet from you, there is nothing. It is incomprehensible and indefensible: Inadequate and improperly constructed infrastructure results in injury and death. Yet your department sees fit to force cyclists to use cycle lanes under their interpretation of the applicable road traffic legislation. You have a responsibility to act on legislation. Finally, on these issues, your department has simply dismissed the value of legislating for safe overtaking of cyclists with wholly inadequate reasons. As ever, other countries seem to manage just fine but somehow Ireland is unique in it’s inability to do so.

Of course there remains a significant number of other issues but until your performance can be brought up to an acceptable level for a person holding office, they will have to wait. Given your comments and views expressed prior to taking office, a much higher standard of work was expected from you. I hope that your failure is temporary and you have a desire to do your job.

As someone who typically cycles 65km or so on a weekly basis, to work, to shop or to get around in general I am upset, angered and disappointed by the recent deaths of children and adults who simply chose to cycle and were killed doing so. So forgive my unwillingness to bend the knee to you or your staff and continue to beg and plead for progress on cyclist safety.

Sincerely,
James Gallagher

To local TDs:

Dear All,

I’m a regular commuting cyclist who lives in Rathfarnham and have increasing concerns about my safety as well as anger at the abysmal performance by the minister for transport in regard to cyclist safety. This is compounded by the silence from the minister on transport issues, specifically legislation relevant to cyclist safety.

As a society we face a number of huge problems, many complex in nature and resolution; from the ongoing financial distress across our nation to repeal of the 8th amendment, from a health service unable to cope with the range of physical and mental health requirements to violent crime and so on. Cyclist safety is but one of these. However, the cost of making progress is relatively low in terms of capital expenditure and largely uncomplicated. The returns are not insignificant for productivity, tourism and physical and mental health.

Under Shane Ross we have seen a regression in cyclist safety:
– He is ignoring the National Cycling Policy Framework document of 2009 (1)
– Officials in the department of transport have made claims that the repeal of mandatory cycle lane usage by SI 332/2012 is not the actual outcome. Despite Leo Varadkar’s intent. Shane Ross has failed to address this. Legislation for many other matters has been rushed through, yet nothing from Ross on this. Inappropriately designed and constructed cycle lanes have fatal outcomes for cyclists – we’ve seen this recently.
– The meagre funding for pedestrian and cycling schemes has been cut by the NTA. Again, against a backdrop of road deaths. There is a body of research which I can refer you to that demonstrates net gains against investment in safe infrastructure.

I ask that you impress upon Shane Ross the need for him to address cyclist safety and to engage with the stakeholders identified in the NCPF. At this point he is simply blanking those of us who advocate for pedestrian and cyclist safety or are simply concerned for friends, family members and colleagues.

I’ve also written to the minister and will update responses from him and yourselves on http://jamesgallagher.ie/the-failure-of-shane-ross-to-address-cyclist-safety/

Regards,
James

(1) http://www.smartertravel.ie/sites/default/files/uploads/0902%2002%20EnglishNS1274%20Dept.%20of%20Transport_National_Cycle_Policy_v4%5B1%5D.pdf

 

 

Some additional notes on “A Lust For Life” piece “Trust Your Gut For Better Brain Health”

I started following the conversation around this tweet:


when I saw

The rest of the conversation from Sinéad (@phrenohead) and Chris (@stunt_penguin) is very interesting and I just wanted to add some background on two points:

  1. The article content sourcing
  2. Dr. Isaac Eliaz

Article content sourcing

The article is at http://www.alustforlife.com/mental-health/mental-nutrition/trust-your-gut-for-better-brain-health (Google Cache) and I’ve taken a screenshot of the portions I want to talk about:

 

a_lust_for_life-Trust-Your-Gut-For-Better-Brain-Health-fw_screenshot_references

  1. This is a copy and paste of text for which the original source appears to be http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/05/03/probiotics-impact-brain-performance.aspx (Google Cache – unfortunately the site’s popover throws a 404, but you read the paragraph around the Google pop-up). This piece of copy is used quite a bit and can be found with a Google search  . Mercola is a quack site: http://www.quackwatch.org/11Ind/mercola.htmlCopy of Interesting quote from mercola.com
  2. This time it’s not a direct lift from the mercola.com site mentioned in the last point but changes the specific foodstuffs mentioned. Copy of fermented foods quote from mercola.com
  3. Finally the last two paragraphs are a copy and paste from the Udo’s Choice product page (Google CacheCopy of Udo's choice Super 8 microbiotic primary copyCopy of Udo's choice Super 8 microbiotic description top copy

Dr. Isaac Eliaz

One of the pieces of supporting “evidence” that the “A Lust for Life” twitter account posted was:


This is an interesting choice as a reference for the claims in their post. You see, Dr. Isaac Eliaz makes a lot of claims including:

  1. Use of Modified Citrus Pectin in treating cancers (prostate, ovarian and breast cancer are mentioned). Most of the clinical studies on pectin are in-vitro and yet products based on it are being actively marketed for prevention and cure. You can read what information Cancer Research UK have here and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre here. Some potential benefits of pectin are mentioned by both but those benefits are a long, long way off what’s being touted.
  2. MCP for treating autism based on heavy metal detoxification
  3. Homeopathy for the treatment of cancer

In conclusion, there are a lot of people out there who are happy to make claims about various treatments. A lot of these fail to have any benefit in large scale, properly designed human trials.If “A Lust for Life” are to be a credible contributor to the mental health discussion then they need to stay clear of the unproven treatments and the outright bullshit treatments.

 

 

Number of jobs versus employment rate

Because I’m a cranky git who is largely distrustful of economists, I couldn’t let go of a sense of distrust of what was being presented in this graph:

 

Dan O’Brien on Twitter

The Irish economy has increased employment more in the past four years than in the 70 years from 1926 to 1996.pic.twitter.com/Ps6JFnduH6

I’m suspicious that this is simply “bigging up” Fine Gael and being misleading in doing so.

For me, the number at work on its own doesn’t give a complete picture; particularly over a 90 year period. Ireland’s population has changed significantly over that period of time and can’t be omitted when considering economic performance (I reckon, anyway). On that basis I argue that employment rate is the appropriate indicator of labour market performance for a national economy.

So I’ve taken the various data with which to present the employment rate over the period 1926 to 2016:

Population 15 years and Over (Number) by Sex, Industrial Group,
Employment Status and Year
1926 1936 1946 1951 1961 1966 1971 1981 1986 1991 1996
All Persons All Industries Total at Work 1223014 1235424 1227745 1219722 1052539 1065987 1054839 1137827 1091155 1149080 1307236
  • I’ve then used the population data from CNA15: Population by Age Group, Sex, Year and Statistic to get the population for 15-64 year olds over the same time range and selecting the same years (so that means not selecting 1979, 2002, 2006 or 2011 as the latter three are in the QNHS dataset)
Population (Number) by Sex, Age Group and Year
1926 1936 1946 1951 1961 1966 1971 1981 1986 1991 1996
Both sexes 15 – 19 years 286187 268326 251487 241182 233832 259356 267727 326429 331100 335026 339536
20 – 24 years 240231 254513 231290 202172 158007 185289 215251 276127 286424 266572 293354
25 – 29 years 215401 216785 208188 198421 145377 149317 172993 246053 258439 246321 259045
30 – 34 years 183300 183284 204696 191566 152787 146625 151351 231958 242689 249071 260929
35 – 39 years 175759 192420 191882 200916 166793 154272 149107 193829 229740 237889 255676
40 – 44 years 169085 162905 165597 180326 170293 163362 152729 165924 191751 225683 240441
45 – 49 years 168893 156583 173062 160915 174625 166517 160124 151850 161740 187762 225400
50 – 54 years 162718 152707 137492 162986 157122 164957 159082 149680 147511 156806 186647
55 – 59 years 125713 143441 134859 128848 136123 147064 154847 149606 142215 142549 153807
60 – 64 years 105146 130378 119225 122060 131060 123840 134066 139266 139978 134566 137946
  • Combining the CNKL1 and CNA15 data I get
1926 1936 1946 1951 1961 1966 1971 1981 1986 1991 1996
Number at work 1223014 1235424 1227745 1219722 1052539 1065987 1054839 1137827 1091155 1149080 1307236
Total 15-64 1,832,433 1,861,342 1,817,778 1,789,392 1,626,019 1,660,599 1,717,277 2,030,722 2,131,587 2,182,245 2,352,781
Employment rate 66.7% 66.4% 67.5% 68.2% 64.7% 64.2% 61.4% 56.0% 51.2% 52.7% 55.6%
  • QNHS Table8a-EmploymentRates shows data by quarter so I took a simple average for the year and get
1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
60.6 63.6 65.3 65.9 65.3 65.4 66.3 67.8 68.6 69.2 67.4 61.9 59.7 58.9 58.9 60.5 61.7 63.3 63.6

We can then plot this combined data: Primary y-axis show employment rate (a percentage) and the secondary y-axis shows number of jobs and population (all ages) in millions.

(click to enlarge)
Employment Rate and Population 1926 to 2016
The points to note here are:

  • The employment rate and the “numbers at work” chart show somewhat similar trends over the last 20 years but the interpretation should be markedly different.
  • The increase in population which show that comparisons with the early and mid parts of the 20th century shouldn’t ignore the impact of population change i.e. absolute job numbers don’t have context.
  • The employment rate today is back at end of the century levels; we’re barely midway to recovering to peak levels. Since the 2012 minima, the employment rate is only up ~8% over the period to now. That recovery is obviously good news but it’s not earth shattering.
  • That increase in employment rate needs to be viewed against the overall state of the economy as it affects the nation; the health service is teetering towards collapse and we have a homelessness emergency. Vanity metrics fed to the people in this manner are misleading at best, in reality insulting to people who know the recovery is fragile and not omnipresent.
 

Cube Travel SL Review

Update: These are photos of the adjustable handlebar stem

I originally put up a quick video review on the day I brought the bike home from the bike shop and it follows. However, now that I’ve put up some mileage (~750km) I thought it was time to get into a bit more detail. The bike comes in at ~€1,379; additional cost due to my customisations are shown below.

If you watched the video you’ll see that I was quite excited by the bike. Since then, nothing’s changed: I love this bike and it’s perfect for me right now.

Continue Reading

 

I posted this on Twitter but I also wanted to add it here because it’s important and there seem to be an awful lot of product people who don’t understand the concept of MVP:

10 Ways To Test If Your MVP Is Actually Viable – ReadWrite

Throwing together a minimum viable product, or MVP, is a great way to test your concept and find out what customers really want before you sink more money into the game. However, there’s a fine line between tossing something together and a MVP that’s too buggy to launch.

 

EPG and recording time trouble in TVHeadend

I’ve moved from having a full XBMC Kodi install on my Raspberry Pi to just Raspbian with tvheadend as all I want is to capture content for consumption elsewhere e.g. RTÉ Pulse shows.

Recently, I had the bright idea of moving to Jessie and in the process discovered that all no longer played well and I wasn’t recording the actual shows I wanted. Two things were happening: the EPG which is pulled from EIT OTA was +1 hour out – most discussions on this issue being observed on TVH centre around there being an issue with the provider. So I went down the rabbit hole of trying to get DVB scanner tools to work to inspect the Saorview EIT data – a successful endeavour. It was then by chance that I saw TVH when debug mode was enabled was logging events with a -1 hour difference.

This is where how time is handled on Linux gets confusing. I looked at the timezone per user (so setting via .profile) and at system level which I naively assumed was /etc/timezone. I wasted lots of times between these two until I discovered /etc/localtime and then this information: https://wiki.debian.org/TimeZoneChanges. dpkg-reconfigure tzdata is your friend.