Coal In Crisis – Not What You Think

In these days of countries trying to do away with dirty fuels, spare a thought for this.

In October last year, Bloomberg reported the China had loosened the restrictions on imports to tackle its power crisis and that Indonesia supplies about two-thirds of China’s total imports and is China’s biggest overseas supplier, supplying 17 million tons of coal in August, and 21 million tons in September.

And now as the new year of 2022 comes in, Reuters reported that Indonesia, whose biggest customers for its coal are China, India, Japan and South Korea, has banned coal exports until it has evaluated whether it has enough for its own needs.

For comparison between China, Japan, and Korea, these are figure I have been able to pull out.

  • In 2019, coal made up 58 percent of China’s energy use.
  • In 2017, coal made up 24 percent of Japan’s energy use.
  • In 2021, coal made up 28 percent of Korea’s energy use.

Plainly, of the three, China needs coal like no other country – whether supplied by Indonesia or from elsewhere.

Indonesia has a population of over 275 million, so its own needs are not insignificant on a world scale.

The USA has a population of 332 million, to give you a comparison.

And The Russian Federation that has a population of just 146 million.

Indonesia is going to look at how its reserves are coping at the end of January and then decide what to do next to make sure it can plan for enough reserves through to the end of 2022.


I didn’t include India in the listing – my oversight. The figures is 56 percent, but India has its own state-owned Coal India Ltd, which supplied 38 million tonnes in August 2021. So while it imports from Indonesia, I don’t know how ultimately reliant India is on imports.


If we could fast forward to 2042, imagine if China had no coal and no way of making up the shortfall from other kinds of fuels. Indonesia is about 7,000 miles as the crow flies from Mainland China, so a task force to capture coal would stick out like a sore thumb. But China would be fighting for its life, so who knows. Pray that it doesn’t come to that.

Using Data Recovery Software

people attending a talk in the Mezquita in Cordoba in Spain

Yesterday I formatted an SD card in error. That is, I intended to format the card but I forgot that there were some photos on the card that I wanted to keep.

I used disk recovery software, and I was able to recover the Fuji RAW images.

OK, nothing newsworthy in that.

But what is perhaps of interest is that the recovery software recovered a whole host of images I had deleted, some going back to 2017.

When I say ‘deleted’ I mean photos that I either deleted when they were in the camera, or that were deleted when I formatted the card in the camera at some point in the past.

I read that recovery software cannot recover whatever was in the space on the card that has since been overwritten. In my case however, most of the card had not been overwritten. That’s because I don’t take that many shots before I delete them after downloading.

I rarely get very far into the available space in a card before I delete some images, or format the card.

Still, it surprised me that the images were still recoverable. If you are in the habit of throwing away or giving away your old SD cards or Compact Flash cards, you might want to think about hitting the cards with a hammer or cutting them up before disposing of them.

The photograph above is a shot I took when Tamara and I travelled across Andalusia in 2017, It’s a photo of people attending a talk in the Mezquita in Cordoba. I shot it with my Fuji X100s that I recently swapped for an X-E3 and a 27mm lens.

Of course, I kept most of the photos from that trip, but there are some that I deleted – and this is one of them. So it’s a nice bonus to recover old photos that I had forgotten I ever took.

Free Images From Rawpixel

Rawpixel is a good source for free images – photos, paintings, drawings, illustrations, etc. They also have a paid-for tier, with access to more images, but the free tier has lot of images.

Images are either free of copyright because the author of the image has made them so; or because copyright has run out and the images are in the public domain; or because they were always in the public domain.

An example of images that were in the public domain from inception are images commissioned by the US Government under the Farm Security Administration. Examples that come to mind are not on Rawpixel but rather in the US Library Of Congress collection.

This famous photograph by Dorothea Lange is an example. It is stored in the Library Of Congress, and is part of their digitised collection. All US citizens have rights to it.

It is entitled ‘Destitute pea pickers in California. Mother of seven children. Age thirty-two. Nipomo, California’ and otherwise entitled ‘Migrant Mother’

Destitute pea pickers in California. Mother of seven children. Age thirty-two. Nipomo, California

But looking at Rawpixel, if you look at their ‘Licences’ page you will see that ‘Free members can enjoy our free design resources for personal or commercial use’.

‘Free members’ means people who just go along to the site and download the images.

The following image from Rawpixel is a painting by Paul Gauguin.

Just superb.

Crowdsignal Blocks

When I opened the admin panel, I saw a message over in the sidebar that read:

Start collecting feedback from your visitors to improve your WordPress site. Get started.

That opened up a demo page with various Crowdsignal blocks already populated, as an aid to designing a page with Crowdsignal blocks.

I don’t have any desperate desire or need to use the blocks but I thought – why not show everyone what the demo page itself looks like. So here it is, and everything after this sentence is the demo page

Welcome to this little demo page! We would love to introduce you to our set of Crowdsignal blocks and created this post for you, so that you can test and play with all of them right inside of your editor.

Preview this post if you would like to test the Crowdsignal blocks from your visitors perspective. Oh and please feel free to delete this draft post anytime, it was only created for demo purposes.


Let’s start with a quick overview of all our current blocks available in your WordPress editor. You can find all these blocks inside your block library via searching for their name or simply by searching “Crowdsignal”.

If you want to learn more about Crowdsignal please go to and join our little community all about feedback here.


We all have opinions! Curious about the opinion of your audience? Start asking with our poll block. It makes creating a poll as fast and simple as listing bullet points.

 You can choose between a button or a list style for your answer options, and you can fully customize the styling of the block.  By default the poll block will support your theme styling, but it’s up to you if you want to keep it. You can customize the style how you want, from font-family to border colours.

Just click in the poll below and start editing.

And everything else you expect from a Crowdsignal poll is also available — such as setting “single answer” or “multiple answer” choices, a customised confirmation message, poll timeframe, and avoidance of double voting.

Feedback Button

You might have spotted it already, in the bottom left corner of this page: Our Feedback button.

This is a floating button that lives above your site’s content. Always visible this button makes giving feedback easy! User can send you a message and provide their email address so you could can get back to them. Needless to say that you can fully customize the design and text, including the label of the button itself. Feel free to make it a “Contact me” or “Say hello” button or anything you like.

And yes, you can change its placement! You can put the button in any corner of your site. Just try it! Click in the feedback and start editing. (I’ve done that.)

Don’t miss out on your customers’ feedback. Keep your door open anytime and place a feedback button on all your pages.


Sometimes we need just quick and fast feedback from our audience. A quick voting button might be all you need. Fully customizable of course.

There is already a “like” button at the end of a WordPress post that you can click to express satisfaction or agreement. But what if you want to ask readers their opinion on a subject in the middle of a post? Or what if you want to present several ideas and find out which one is the most popular? Wouldn’t it be great to ask readers what they think without having to leave the editor or switch to another service or plugin?

That’s what we thought! Say hello to our Voting Block:

It’s a simple block that adds two voting buttons—thumbs up, thumbs down—to your post wherever you want to place them. Customize the block in different sizes and colors, with or without a border, and with or without a visible vote counter. Put several in a single post, next to different ideas, to see how they stack up for readers. Make the block your own!


The Applause block is a simpler and more playful version of our Voting block. The main differences are users only being able to give positive feedback and encouraging users to “make as much noise as they want”. Meaning this block does not only allow repeated voting, but even encourages it.

Let your audience make some noise with a big round of applause.

Preview this post and try clapping yourself! It’s fun.

The block currently comes in three different sizes, and can be customised with a button-like styling, including a border, border radius and some colour customisation options.

Embed Surveys & Forms

So far we only talked about quick and fast ways to collect feedback or opinions from your audience. But what if you have many questions or want to create simple forms? You can do this with Crowdsignal, too! Create a survey or form on and embed it into your WordPress post or site. Similar like here:

The Crowdsignal survey above was embedded using our “Single question per page mode.” It’s exactly what it sounds like: In this mode, no matter how many questions your survey has, your respondents will always see one question at a time. Single Mode shines when you embed a survey into your website or blog post. Surveys with multiple questions can take up a lot of space, overwhelming your site. If you’re not sure whether your readers will take the survey at all, it disrupts the reading experience. With Single Mode, a survey  uses the same amount of space as an image, even a really long survey.

Once they provide an answer (or skip the question),  the next question loads. It has a playful  feel, like flipping through a slide show. Every answered question feels like progress.

You can choose between several transition options, and decide whether the questions should move from top to bottom, or from left to right.

Ready to create one? Here’s how:

– Go to (we will log you in with your account – magic ;)) .

– Create a new survey.

– In the Editor, choose “Single Mode” at the top left.

– Then create as many questions as you like and style your theme.

– When you are ready click on Sharing and copy the URL of your survey.

– Go back to your WordPress editor and paste the URL of your survey into your post

– Done! Your survey will appear in your post.

Build A Free Blog with Hashnode

gunnera leaves

Someone I follow on Twitter had replied to a tweet from a Paul Hennell, who describes himself as a self taught programmer, doing mostly web dev with PHP + Laravel.

So I went to look at Paul Hennell’s site and saw  a post in which he described why he had not built his blog from scratch but had used hashnode.

He said it was very simple to do. And it is. I used it to set up a free blog – for which I happened to have a spare domain name hanging about.

You don’t have to use your own domain; you can use a subdomain of hashnode. But I thought I would see how easy it was to set up with a domain of my own (it’s very easy).

Over in the sidebar it asks whether one wants to use a Custom OG image, which is an Open Graph image that makes for a nicer presentation when a post is shared. And it recommends an image 1200px X 630px, so I just cropped some stacked Gunnera leaves to make an image.

The cropped photo of the Gunnera leaves is at the top of this post.

If you want to make a blog with hashnode, just click that link and set up a blog and I will be a step further on my way to ambassador status on hashnode.