The Lobby: Off-topic discussion

Hello and welcome to The Lobby! Your place to discuss subjects that just don’t fit in our other conversations. Make yourself at home!

This Lobby is closed to new comments

Do you want to discuss an issue but can’t find the right place to post it? Or maybe you’re looking for somewhere to chat with your community pals? Well, you’ve come to the right place…

As with any community or conversation it can – and does – wander off-topic. This is perfectly natural, but it hasn’t always been possible to do so on some of our posts because of the precisely defined nature of each subject.

So, at the behest of some of our community members, we created this off-topic discussion area – The Lobby.

Any ideas spawned here in The Lobby could generate new posts for debate and discussion on Which? Conversation, so you – our community members – are able to help shape the direction of our community.

What happened to the original Lobby?

Why do we have two Lobbies? Well, like all good franchises, we wanted to experiment with a sequel. But seriously, the original Lobby was so popular (with almost 13,000 comments), it was becoming hard to load the page.

So we’re starting fresh with what we’re affectionately calling “The Lobby 2”.

No comments from first Lobby have been deleted, and you can still link to comments, but you won’t be able to add new comments.


To ensure The Lobby remains a healthy and friendly place for you all to share your thoughts, musings all of our Community Guidelines apply, with the exception of one:

You may go off-topic… that is the purpose of The Lobby.  🙂

Looking for other areas to talk?

• Website feedback: Let us know about any technical issues, and share your ideas on the future of Which? Conversation closure: A discussion about the closure of

Which? Members: Discuss issues related to our organisation, including governance

Welcome to the Lobby!

So without further ado… welcome! What are you waiting for!?


Welcome to World Animal Day, the day in 1675 when Huygens patented the pocket watch and the day in 1883 on which the Orient Express departed on its first journey (Paris to Istanbul)

There are twelve things, people do when they haven’t prepared a speech. They lie, tell stories and exaggerate.

They used to time me with a stopwatch… now they use a calendar.

I used to use keep an eye on the clock, but now I don’t find the time.

I sometimes let my mind wander; it doesn’t always come back

The mind sometimes does more worthwhile things while it’s wandering than when it sticks in its conventional groove. Everyone should give their mind some wandering time every day. It probably improves the application of cognitive processes to regular or ordinary activities imparting higher values, greater self esteem, more compassion and a better life. Of course, it doesn’t predict the winner of the 3:30 at Newmarket so we have to keep one foot on the ground.

I think I’ve probably unwittingly overstepped the boundary on this occasion, to quote a well-known sage.

The mind, like the rest of your body, needs a space in which to switch off from the constant noise in the head coming from the external stimulus through the senses which can affect all thought processes. 10 minutes quiet stillness each day is enough to allow the creative juices to flow from the source beyond the ego centred conditioned mind.

It probably won’t predict the winner of the 3:30, but you will unwittingly discover something much more rewarding than any amount of money can buy 🙂

After cessation of production from coal-fired power stations there is again the possibility of new mining activity despite environmental protests:

I am no expert on steel production and that appears to be what this mine is intending to support by providing coking coal. A quick look in the web:

“Coking coal is a key raw material in steel production. As iron occurs only as iron oxides in the earth’s crust, the ores must be converted, or ‘reduced’, using carbon. The primary source of this carbon is coking coal. … Coke reduces iron ore to molten iron saturated with carbon, called hot metal.

FACT SHEET Steel and raw materials – worldsteel › dam

“Can steel be made without coking coal?
Coking coal is usually bituminous-rank coal with special qualities that are needed in the blast furnace. While an increasing amount of steel is being recycled, there is currently no technology to make steel at scale without using coal.

“Is coal essential for steel production?
Blast furnaces need coal, but there is an alternative technology called an Electric Arc Furnace (EAF). This is responsible for approximately 30% of the world’s steel production and does not require coal. But it does require an input of pig iron which does usually require coal.

Thanks malcolm. I wonder if the environmental protests are intending to oppose steel production or whether they have just jumped on an all coal is bad bandwagon?

I understand that it is difficult to eliminate use of coal in steel manufacture at present, but we can reduce it. We have come a long way since the days of open fires and power stations that pumped out so much sulphur dioxide that it caused acid rain in other countries. We must continue to innovate for the benefit of our health.

Indeed, but steel is still going to be needed for a lot of things.

(including fire retardant appliances)

…..and a Vaillant boiler heat exchanger.

I guess that comes from the stainless steel mines, Malcolm.

Derek – I don’t doubt we need steel but if it can be produced in a way that minimises pollution is that not worthwhile?

I was surprised when I read that this method was regarded as lower emissions because lignite is usually associated with pollution, for example when it is used as a fuel in eastern Europe. Of course steel production and burning lignite are very different. Carbon is of course a vital component of steels, albeit no more than 0.3% in the most common – mild steel.

We certainly do need steel and hopefully steel production can be made cleaner. I still remember the extent of dirt and pollution that I witnessed on a visit to a steel works when I was at school.