Frisk #166

Eat the rich, it’s Frisk #166! The British Rail Class 166 was launched in 1992, named ‘Turbo Express’. It wasn’t just a racy name, they had turbo-diesel engines. GWR still run them out of Paddington, if you fancy going down there with an anorak and a flask of Bovril. That’s what you like.

Biomethane trucks
Diesel is a contentious issue when it comes to powering transport. Buying a diesel car was a sound idea back in the eighties and nineties, as the fuel was so much cheaper to buy than petrol. And then the price went up so that diesel and petrol cost pretty much the same, but even so the superior miles-per-gallon offered by diesels made it an attractive option for many. By 2014, diesel cars represented 50.1% of the new car market.
…the figure’s dropping rapidly though, especially post-Dieselgate, as petrol cars become more efficient, diesels are subjected to heavier environmental taxation, and we’ve suddenly realised that NOx emissions are doing far more damage than we thought.
Freight is a tricky area, though. All the lorries are diesel-powered, they always have been. Do we give them a free pass, because they’re doing a job we can’t live without? What are we supposed to do, change all the lorries? There are loads of them.
Well, Waitrose have made a start. They have a new fleet of trucks powered by biomethane – a fuel derived from food waste. They can travel 500 miles between fill-ups, the fuel’s 40% cheaper than diesel, and emits 70% less carbon dioxide. Over five years of use, each truck would represent a saving of about £100k over a regular diesel lorry. Kinda makes sense, doesn’t it?

Losing the TV remote is one of the most annoying things that can happen to you at home. It’s right up there with realising that all the teaspoons are in the dishwasher at a vital tea-brewing moment, or finding out slightly too late that your kids have put bits of LEGO in your shoes.
But what if you didn’t need your remote to be a physical thing? What if anything in the room could be the remote? It sounds like a madman’s dream, but stick with it…
The answer to the problem is Hayo, a device currently being crowdfunded on Indiegogo. It 3D-scans whichever room you put it in, and then you can assign any part of the room you like to fulfil certain commands – so, for example, tapping the armrest of your chair could turn the TV on. Waving your hand near the door handle could switch on the lights. Drawing a cross on the wall with your fingertip could set the kettle boiling. Depends which connected devices you have in your home, the sky’s the limit.
It’s really just bringing us one step closer to never having to leave the armchair. Mankind’s overarching dream.

Domino’s Registry
Wedding gift lists offer a useful window into the happy couple’s particular perspective on reality. I remember my cousin getting married when I was a kid, and he and his betrothed filled their gift list with things like washing machines and dishwashers, in the mistaken belief that this was a reasonable way to behave. It’s become quite common these days to ask for contributions toward the honeymoon – something that I flatly refuse to participate in. (If you can’t afford it, mate, don’t book it.) When I got married, our gift list was full of the usual clichés – cutlery, crockery, towels, all that guff – but we separated it out so that if someone wanted to buy, say, one plate or a couple of forks, they could. Flexible, see?
The whole thing’s nonsense, of course – the idea of having a gift list at all is pretty presumptuous; you’ve already forced people to take a day out of their lives and buy an expensive new outfit so that they can come and watch you drink Champagne in posh clothes. So why not have a bit of fun with the idea?
That’s exactly what Domino’s Pizza are doing in the US - a pizza gift list. It’s literally just a list of pizzas that your guests can buy you vouchers for. It’s not something you can keep for generations and show the grandkids (that’d be awful, don’t do that), but it is realistic and usable. And in today’s peculiar social climate, ‘realistic and usable’ is strong currency.

Daniel Bevis, Senior Knowledge Editor

22nd February 2017