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Tag: Information

All about the Website

How it works

For those who perhaps have never had the time to explore the website, I thought that I would take a few minutes and explain about the content and how to navigate around it. You might not be aware of various aspects or how it all fits together.

Compliance

First of all, the whole site was re-written recently so that it complies with the WCAG guidelines wherever possible. The “Web Content Accessibility Guidelines” covers a wide range of recommendations for making Web content more accessible. It means that websites can be used by portable devices like phones, they can be listened to and they text can be easily changed to accommodate for blindness and low vision. For the Stinchcombe Website, it meant scrapping over half the site and re-writing the other half. As you can imagine this took hours of work.

This icon on the site is used to change the text size, the contrast and the font. You will see this or something similar on many websites that comply with the guidelines.

On Microsoft Edge, the read aloud command is now built in as “Ctrl+Shift+U” on Google Chrome you still have to download the “Speech to Text” extension.

The Site

Posts

The site itself runs on WordPress which runs 40% of the worlds websites. It has two sides, One side is called a “Blog” and is for articles like this one. These are called “Posts”. Every “Post” on our site comes under one of four sections with the headings:

They appear on the website in date order with the newest at the top of each section. At the bottom of each section is a link called “More Posts” which will pull up all posts under that heading.

Pages

The other side of the site are the pages. These are permanent like a book and a filed under structure the chapter headings are seen on the left of the front Page. For instance, “Our Virtual Village” now has twelve pages but only the chapter heading shows on the frontpage.

The Front Page

The Front Page of the site used to be called the Landing Page although this term seems to have changed to mean where a site collects information about you. However if you look at our Front Page you will see current information for the village.

Top Right are the Notices this is the Parish Council Notice Board. I will also post Parish Notices on the board from anyone who sends me one!

Under that are the Next Village Events. Anything coming up in the village. When, Where and How Long. The Parish Council meeting shows a link to the latest minutes and agenda.

Next we have a list of the latest Post.

Then under “Full List of Pages” that we have a full list of every PAGE on the site.

Also on the front page at the very top we have a “Search This Site” box which works extremely well, a map of the surroundings, the local weather, your Parish Council and various other things.

Finally

I hope that this “tour” of the front page has helped you better understand why the site is at it is. Remember it’s not a professional site, it depends on people actively contributing ideas, photos, and especially articles. No matter how small and insignificant a piece everyone has something to say. If you don’t contribute to the village website then it will at some point die.

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A38 Canal Roundabout

The A38 Canal Crossing

The start or the end?

I came back today from Stroud by bicycle and it game me a chance to get off and see the finished A38 roundabout complete with Canal. You may remember that I wrote a while back about the “Missing Mile” . So it’s good to see the A38 Canal roundabout to nowhere finished.

The A38 Roundabout
Looking from the field into the new canal cutting through the roundabout

Nowhere to go?

Scrambling down from the road to the new canal there is no sign of where it will go across the field instead there is only a nice new fence blocking it off. Obviously the new canal is going to be some time a-coming….

At the other end, one can see the old overgrown canal asleep and waiting to be cleared.

The Old Canal
Looking from the new canal cutting into the old overgrown canal
YouTube Video by Gloucestershire Highways

About the scheme

The scheme delivers the construction of the canal through the A38 Whitminster Roundabout. It includes the construction of two new bridges, a canal channel within the roundabout and a towpath under the bridge.

Delivered by GCC as the highways authority through contractors, Alun Griffiths, working closely with Cotswold Canals Trust, Highways England and Stroud District Council.

The canal at this location was originally crossed by the Bristol Road (now A38) on a stone arched bridge. The lock and the bridge were both destroyed at the time the A419 link road was built in conjunction with the building of the M5 in or around 1969. The entire canal from the point where the surviving canal approaches the A38 Whitminster roundabout to Westfield Lock was obliterated – a distance of about a mile, the so called ‘missing mile’.

More information: Cotswold Canals

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Refurbished Laptops

Laptops for Schools

Dursley Rotary Club : Make a difference and give a laptop

Dursley Rotary Club is collecting unwanted computers, laptops or ipads. Following wiping and reprogramming, these can be given to pupils at local schools who are in desperate need of them.  At the moment Cam Everlands Primary School seems to have the greatest need.

Cam Everlands also has the facility themselves to carry out and guarantee the necessary “cleaning” and “refurbishing” of all donated computers.

If you wish to donate one please contact:

  • Russ Holloway 542159
  • Chris Wellings 543110

Many Thanks
Russ

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Hacked Email

The Havoc of being Hacked

The Hook

This morning I received an email proposedly from a friend. It was a very good example of the utter havoc that a friends phone / computer being hacked can cause.

1st email from a the friends email address.

Good Morning,
How are you doing today?
I need a favour from you, i’m unavailable on phone, kindly let me know if you are online.
Await your swift response.

2nd email from an email address which is the same name but now with a new gmail account

I am sorry for bothering you with this mail, i need to get an Amazon gift card for my Niece, Its her birthday but  I can’t do this now because I’m currently out of reach and i have a little issues with my amazon account, can you get it from any store around you or try buying online for me? I’ll reimburse you hopefully next weekend.
Waiting to read back from you

At this point, having now come fully awake, alarm bells rang. They should have been ringing after the 1st email, but I plead lack of coffee. If I had continued to engage with my “friend”, the best outcome might have been that I would send an Amazon gift card £100 and lost the money, the worst might have been that my computer would have been infected as well….

What must have happened

First the hackers must have taken control of my friends computer or the email account. In this case, it was the computer. The most common ways are:

  • Emails containing viruses and malware – This is one of the most popular methods of spreading malware hidden in an attachment in the email. Once the attachment is opened, the malicious software executes and/or downloads onto the computer that receives it.
  • Emails with links to malicious websites – Often referred to as phishing these emails attempt to emulate legitimate emails from well-known organisations that the receiver would tend to trust such as a bank. The html links lead to fake websites which try and trick the user entering sensitive information such as passwords and banking details. Sometimes these websites also attempt to install malware, viruses or spyware on the recipient’s computer.
  • Social networking pages – People tend to let down their guard and be less wary on social networking sites. With this method, a fake profile entices real users into following links to malicious websites or giving up sensitive personal information.
  • A phishing scam that asks you to “confirm” your password. These types of scam emails can be convincing. But you should never respond to any unexpected message that asks you to verify your password, account numbers, addresses, or any other information of this kind.

Once a hacker has control of your computer, they can wander around at will and look at all your files, your stored passwords, your whole life….

What to do when you have been hacked

Isolate Your Computer

In order to cut the connection that the hacker is using to “pull the strings” on your computer, you need to isolate it so it can’t communicate on a network. Isolation will prevent it from being used to attack other computers as well as preventing the hacker from continuing to be able to obtain files and other information. Pull the network cable out of your PC and turn off the Wi-Fi connection. If you have a laptop, there is often a switch to turn the Wi-Fi off. Don’t rely on doing this through software, as the hacker’s malware may tell you something is turned off when it is really still connected.

Inform the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB)

Report a fraud to Action Fraud, by Tel 0300 123 2040 or using the on-line tool. You are then given a police crime reference number and your case will be referred on to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB), which is run by the police service. This have benefits when you might have to change any bank accounts and credit cards. Once you report to your bank and have a crime reference, you are indemnified against further losses. Check the GOV website Avoid and report internet scams and phishing.

Now Calm, Down and Assess the situation

Having done the important bits, just sit down and have a cup of tea. Make a list of things to do and people to talk to. It’s not the end of the world.

  • Your computer will have to be looked at by someone who knows what to do.
  • You might want to change ALL your financial passwords.
  • You need to contact your Internet provider and change ALL your online passwords.
  • You might want to contact all your email contacts that your email account has been hacked.
  • Talk to a friend or someone who can give you advice, help and support. After all, you have just been burgled!

Prevention is MUCH better that the cure

This is a case where prevention is MUCH better than the cure.

  • Every computer needs good and UPTODATE Virus/Malware. Think of it as insurance. You wouldn’t drive without insurance and you wouldn’t not have insurance for your house. So why penny pinch on insurance for your computer? Personally I use Malwarebytes, because I don’t find it too intrusive.
  • Use STRONG passwords (not dogs name) and also a PASSWORD KEEPER. A file called “passwords” is the first thing hackers will look for.
  • Be AWARE. Think of surfing the internet as swimming in the sea off the beach. One has to be aware of what your doing. It can be dangerous. Don’t touch / open / click unless you know who it came from and know what it is.
  • BACKUP everything. If your computer stops today, can you start again on a new PC tomorrow? In these days of “Cloud” computing all your files should be backed up somewhere in the cloud. There are many providers who would do this for you. (Google/Amazon/Microsoft/Dropbox etc)

I hope you find the above of use, and if you have any tips, suggestions or improvements for this article please feel free to use the comments section below.

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Helping Hands

Stinchcombe United Charities

Stinchcombe United Charities are looking for a new Trustee

Stinchcombe United Charities have been operating since 1895 and over that time has helped countless Parishioners with support. It has also helped many Stinchcombe students through the Matthew Tyndall Educational Foundation with Grants to purchase books in order to assist them with their studies.

Mrs Clare Cooke has retired as Trustee from the Charities. Clare joined as Trustee in 1987 and for the last 15 years has been Chairperson.

Whilst Clare has enjoyed working for the Charity, after 33 years, she feels that it’s time to step down and to make way for another Parishioner to step up and continue the Charitie’s work in Stinchcombe.

Are you interested in becoming a Trustee and helping people who are living in Stinchcombe when things get difficult for them?

You will be a Co-opted Trustee, in fact one of 5 Co-opted from Parishioners.

There are also 3 Nominated Trustees (usually) from the Parish Council, The Vicar of St. Cyr’s Stinchcombe is an Ex Officio Trustee  (currently, the Reverend Fiona Crocker)

The position of Trustee is not an onerous position, and usually involves meeting just once per year to administer funds to the Parish needy.

Please consider becoming a Trustee

Apply to Mrs Sharon Townend (Chairperson)
C/o the Clerk, Stinchcombe United Charities   Email

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Berkeley Power Station during building

Will there be new nuclear build at Berkeley or Oldbury?

A real possibility by Chris Davies

Even though the nuclear power stations at Berkeley and Oldbury are currently being decommissioned, a new build at one of these sites is a real possibility. The Government’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution includes new nuclear as part of the energy mix to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.  The White Paper Powering our Net Zero Future published last December confirms the continuing role of nuclear energy.

Why Nuclear Power is Needed

Our electricity system is growing – the official estimate is that it will double in size by 2050. This is mainly because demand for low-carbon electricity in sectors like heat and transport will rise. For example, all these modern technologies need electricity

  • heat pumps used to heat buildings instead of gas
  • electric cars for charging instead of petrol
  • future transportation instead of diesel

The UK’s renewable electricity outpaced its fossil fuel generation for the first time in 2020 and could remain the largest source of electricity in the future. Renewable energy (wind, sunlight, water and wood) made up 42% of the total, compared with 41% from coal and gas plants and about 10% from nuclear. At present, we also have to import electricity from the continent via subsea connectors.

We will continue to need baseline power when renewable contribution is low e.g. in a winter cold spell when there is high energy demand, no wind and low energy from the sun. Various methods of achieving this are under consideration including fossil fuel plants with carbon capture, battery storage and nuclear power. 

Nuclear Technologies for the Future

The UK strategy for nuclear energy is based on a combination of:

The White Paper promises up to £385 million for an Advanced Nuclear Fund.  This will support the development of a UK SMR design and the building of an AMR demonstrator in the UK.

Large scale nuclear (2000 to 3260 MW)

The first generation of British Magnox reactors are now either being decommissioned or will shortly be decommissioned. The 2000 MW Sizewell B Nuclear Power Station (NPS) in Suffolk is the first of the new generation of pressurised water reactors. It started generation in 1995 and will continue for at least another 15 years.

The Government is “pursuing large-scale nuclear projects, subject to value-for-money”. Hinkley Point C NPS (3260 MW) in Somerset is currently being built by Electricite de France (EDF). It is is due to start generation in 2026. EDF plans to build a sister station Sizewell C, subject to finance agreement with the government. Horizon were planning to build an NPS at Wylfa in Anglesey, followed by one at Oldbury.  They are believed to be weeks away from pulling out of these projects due to an inability to agree finance arrangements.

Construction of large-scale nuclear power stations typically takes10 years and the cost is in the region £20bn to £25bn.

Small Modular Reactors (200 – 500 MW)

Small modular reactors (SMRs) will be manufactured at a factory and assembled on site.  They mostly use proven water-cooled reactors similar in design to current nuclear power station reactors, but on a smaller scale.  Rolls Royce, for example, use technology developed from their range of nuclear submarine reactors.  Innovative manufacturing techniques and modular construction should make SMRs faster to build than large-scale nuclear plants and potentially suitable for a wider range of sites.

Rolls Royce is leading the UK SMR consortium to develop a design specifically for factory manufacture of components at a centralised facility. The reactor unit is 16m high by 4m diameter, and will be transported by road, rail or barge. The estimated construction programme is 5 years.   

The Government believes that SMRs “have the potential to provide cost-competitive nuclear power as early as the 2030s”. The consortium is lobbying to build 16 SMRs over the next 20 years.  Although Rolls Royce’s nuclear base is at nearby Barnwood, they have not specifically mentioned Berkeley or Oldbury as possible sites.

Advanced Modular Reactors (c500 MW)

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) are investigating AMR technologies.  These are defined as ones that use novel cooling systems or fuels that would offer new functionalities (such as industrial process heat). These reactors could operate at over 800°C. They would provide high-grade heat to be used in the efficient production of hydrogen and synthetic fuels.  As with SMRs, AMR designs aim to maximise the amount of off-site factory fabrication.

Phase 1 of a BEIS competition shortlisted the technologies of three companies for further development in Phase 2:

  • Tokamak Energy Ltd
  • Westinghouse Electric Co UK Ltd
  • U-Battery Developments Ltd

Tokamak Energy Ltd 

Tokamak Energy Ltd  is a private company of 100 staff based in Oxfordshire, are pursuing the goal of small modular fusion reactors. The fusion of positively charged particles at extremely high temperatures creates a soup of very fast moving electrically charged gas called plasma.  A tokamak is one of several types of magnetic confinement device being developed to produce controlled thermonuclear fusion power.

Conventional nuclear power is based on fission. The advantages of fusion, if it can be commercialised, are greater safety, inexhaustible fuels, zero carbon dioxide and no long-lived radioactive waste. Additionally, a fusion plant would be very compact compared with renewable technologies.

Last December the Government asked communities across the country to put forward proposals to host the UK’s prototype fusion energy power plant, known as STEP.  Prof Tom Scott of Bristol University gave a presentation at a recent meeting of the Berkeley Site Stakeholder Group. He is involved in a bid to bring the project to Oldbury or Berkeley.

Westinghouse Electric Co UK Ltd

Westinghouse is developing an AMR based on Lead-cooled Fast Reactor technology.  They are working with leading UK organisations to accelerate development and achieve commercialisation in the UK and globally.

U-Battery Developments Ltd

U-Battery is powered by a special “accident-tolerant” uranium fuel originally developed in the 1960s.  It is claimed to prevent the release of radioactive material, minimising the need for backup shutdown systems. This, combined with the reactor size and design, is supposed to make the technology inherently safer. Like the other shortlisted AMRs, U-Battery is a compact, modular system. It is aimed at energy intensive industries, including hydrogen production and at remote locations.

In Conclusion

The Government sees nuclear power as a vital part of the UK’s low carbon energy future, providing essential baseline power.  They are currently planning on one new large scale NPS and this is likely to be Sizewell C. They are investing in the development and commercialisation of modular reactors, both SMRs and AMRs.  Berkeley and Oldbury are being enthusiastically promoted as possible sites for one type of AMR, a STEP fusion demonstration plant. They may face competition from other locations, but if chosen would assist the local economy and provide useful employment.

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alone in a window

When you heart is feeling sad

Jane saw this on BBC Breakfast Today. A Poem by Helen Smith called “When your heart is feeling sad” and wanted to have the words. So I thought you might like to have them as well.

When your heart is feeling sad and the tears fall from your eyes,
look outside your window and look up to the sky.
Their presence is all around you, they’re protecting you from above,
they’re watching over all of you and sending you their love.
They’ll visit you in your dreams to let you know there still around,
they’re the birdsong and the beauty and the feathers upon the ground.
So though you’ll miss them dearly please know this to be true that they will live on in other ways and forever be with you.

When you heart is feeling sad
by Helen Smith, who lost her dad to COVID-19.
BBC Breakfast

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