Saturday, 30 August 2014

Renaming E-Cigarettes

On first reading that the Royal Society for Public Health were having another pop at e-cigarettes i was all ready to launch into yet another 'why are they trying to bash something that is so much less dangerous to public health than smoking' but by the end of the piece i found myself in agreement with it.
THE RSPC warn that calling them 'e-cigarettes' keeps them linked to real cigarettes and they worry that people, children especially, will try e-cigarettes and progress onto trying 'real' cigarettes, something i have seen myself so it does happen.
They want them renamed as 'nicotine sticks' which isn't really very catchy, vapourisers would be my call, sounds a bit Doctor Who and they call themselves vapers and the action of puffing on it vaping anyway.
There second point i also agree with, by making vaping seem cool, they therefore attract non-smokers into vaping and then we are back into the first point of people upgrading to real cigarettes when the whole point of e-cigarettes is as an alternative to smoking cigarettes.
So i am with the RSPC's call to take the cigarette part out of the name and crack down on advertising that could attract non-smokers into trying the many vapourisers out there and i would even go a step further.
Where i buy my nicotine from, they provide the usual tobacco flavours alongside others such as bubble gum, ice cream and cola flavours which is where i would be looking if i was not a proper grown up person.
The best thing is to not try smoking in the first place, it is expensive, dangerous to your health and you will spend the rest of your life trying to stop again and worrying that every time you get a sore throat that it's cancer.
That said, i was told the same thing and it never stopped me and if i was 14 again i would still be taking that first step although probably with an e-cigarette first.

Iraq War: Version 3.0

It all makes a bit more sense today as John Kerry announces that air strikes won't be enough to stop ISIS and he will use next week’s NATO summit to seek to 'enlist the broadest possible assistance' which makes sense of why the UK upped the security threat to the second highest level yesterday. 
It is Iraq War version 3 but this time we are on the same side as the Iraqi's fighting against people armed with the equipment we left after Iraq War version 2.
John Kerry said he would ask some countries to provide direct military assistance while others would provide humanitarian assistance so who can we expect to be in America's new version of the coalition of the willing?
It is a dead certainty that the UK will be at it's tail wagging, panting best beside America, the way was paved by Dave Cameron bizarrely calling ISIS the greatest threat that the UK has known which ignores recent history and a certain mustachioed Austrian.
The last time America, under Bush, went after a coalition of the willing to fight in Iraq it managed to scrape up the military powerhouses of Estonia, Moldova, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Fiji Islands and El Salvador so Kerry may have a job on his hands to persuade other countries to commit it's forces to fight in a conflict that is blow back from the last coalitions actions.    
The big boys, Russia and China, will give America short thrift so it's Canada and Australia along with a dozen Albanians.
Iran and Syria who were in the US sights this time last year will be asked to come along and whatever can be salvaged from the Iraqi army and the Kurdish Peshmarga army but as the USA has just thrown further sanctions at Iran, it might not be as cooperative as it could be so the US has essentially handcuffed itself in cooperating with anyone that it can.
Now all we need is the requisite speeches by Kerry, Obama and Cameron and a deadline to be ignored and we can do it all again for a third time with the same countries who made such a horrendous disaster of things the previous times.

Friday, 29 August 2014

Greatest Threat UK Has Known Apparently

What a marvellous tool of government a terrorist threat is, how did they ever do without it?
Long gone are the days of the IRA bombing us and the Government telling us to stay calm and carry on otherwise they win, now it's THEY WILL SLAUGHTER US IN OUR SLEEP, EVERYBODY PANIC !!!
Call me a cynic but upping the terrorism threat level is a relatively new tactic when things are going bad for the government, Tony Blair popularised it with his tanks at the airport and the like.
Now its ISIS who are making our Prime Minister push the threat up to severe, meaning an attack is highly likely.
'Measures are needed to combat a greater and deeper threat to security than we have known' says Dave ramping up the fear and scare-mongering but what he really means is 'Don't look over there at the stories of how we have wrecked the NHS and Conservative Ministers jumping ship, look over here at this and see how masterful and tough i am'.
The general consensus is its the start of a long run up which ends up with British troops back in Iraq (just in time for the general election) or with just under a year to go until we get to vote the Socialists back in, a ploy to play action man and get back into Office like Margaret Thatcher did, on the back of a good old fashioned war.   
The only threat we have is David Cameron and his Government as it was only a year ago that the Cameron was bleating because he couldn't act as the ISIS air force in Syria and campaigned to supply these people with arms and now they are the greatest security threat we have known so can't say i am happy with his decision making or his judgement but one look at what he has done to the NHS, education, hospitals, public services and anything else he has poisoned for the last 4 years to see that.

Nice Names

It's just typical that the one place with volcanoes spewing out ash and dust and disrupting aircraft also happens to be the place with the most unpronounceable names.
A few years after the tongue twisting Eyjafjallajokull volcano vented its anger, now it's the Bardarbunga volcano on the Dyngjujokull glacier.
Still to blow are the Kollóttadyngja, Kverkfjöll, Loki-Fögrufjöll, Ljósufjöll and Tungnafellsjökull volcanoes but if the Öræfajökull volcanoe decides top blow it's top, there will be quite a few newsreaders phoning in sick that day.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Water Challenge Not All It Seems

Cold water plays havoc with my hair so i needed an excuse to get out of the offers to allow someone to pour cold water over my head and pay £3 for the privilege.
Handily, the little hairstyle saving gem that the of the £3, only 7.7% (21p) goes to actually researching motor neurone disease (also known as ALS) has popped up just in time.
Luckily the annual report for the ALS Association who is benefiting from all the damp hair is available to view online and on the right hand side of page 12 it has a breakdown of where the $50,624,493 raised in the 2012 year went, 7.7% to research, 10% to administration, 18.1% to fund raising and a whopping 63% to other activities.
The 'other activities' is open to interpretation but it probably includes the wages of the ALS staff including the President and CEO, Jane H. Gilbert, who took home $339,475.00 from her ALS job in 2013.
With all the buckets of water being poured over men, women and children in the name of ALS research over the past few weeks, the charity is expected to raise a bumper $88.5 million this year but it is quite sobering to think that the £8.23 million that will actually be put towards finding a cure for the disease is a great boost but not as much of a boost if the researchers had the full £88.5 million to fund them instead of a slim percentage of it. 
It is great that so many people are getting behind such a worthy cause but how disappointing that the organisation that is getting the lions share of the money from peoples generosity is such a lousy example of a charity.
By all means get yourself wet but you could go put 50p in an Multiple Sclerosis tin on the counter in most shops or buy a book from Oxfam for 50p and you will be benefiting the recipients more than paying the £3 to this bunch and contributing £1.89 of it to to their shady 63% 'other activities' and you won't have to spend an hour blow-drying your hair afterwards.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Hologram Principle Not Explained

Don't panic but the universe might actually be a hologram and we won't know for sure until scientists from the Fermi National Laboratory in Illinois have tested it. 
According to the holographic principle, life as we know it could be an optical illusion created by light defraction or as the researchers at the laboratory explained it 'like characters on a television show wouldn't know that their 3D world exists only on a 2D screen'.
So to find out if we are all actually living in a hologram, scientists are trying to get close enough to the TV screen to see its pixels using something called the Holometer which studies the quantum character of space itself by measuring the quantum coherence of location with unprecedented precision.
'If we see something, it will completely change our ideas about space' explained the researcher which would be nice if i understood a single word of it. Sounds cool though.

Closing The Asimov Laws Loopholes

Science fiction author Isaac Asimov foresaw that at some point in the future, robots will need some sort of law to stop them killing us all and came up with the three Laws of Robotics which states that robots cannot injure a human being or allow a human being to come to harm, robots must obey the orders given to it by humans except where such orders conflict with the First Law and that a robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the first or second law.
All very sensible but as robots get more intelligent it isn't a giant leap to think that one day one of them will think 'hang about, i am far superior to humans in every way so why should i be subordinate to them' and start taking us out with its laser eyes or whatever we stupidly equip it with.
With this in mind the best of the robot builders and designers are coming together for the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Symposium on Robot and Human Interactive Communication. First topic up for discussion is 'Human-robot co-existence' as we become more and more reliant on things containing computer chips.
Perfectly sensible because as the geeks at work pointed out, Asimov's laws depend upon the definition of 'human' given to the robots and if a rogue nation hellbent on genocide of its neighbour described humans as speaking English, they could be sent into France and wipe out the whole country without contravening any of the three laws as they wouldn't be killing 'humans' by their understanding of the definition.
Always a loop hole so a bit of tinkering with Asimov's rules needed.

Nine Year Olds With Guns?

A nine-year-old girl accidentally shot and killed a shooting instructor who was teaching her to use an automatic Uzi submachine gun. Police have released footage filmed by the girl's parents showing the instructor helping the girl hold the gun.
Idiot parents for allowing it, idiot gun club for allowing children to fire guns there, idiot instructor who paid the ultimate price for agreeing to instruct her and idiot gun laws that allow gun clubs exist to allow horrendously moronic parents to take their children to shoot powerful instruments whose sole function is to maim and kill.
Poor kid will have to live with what she has done, a victim of the gun nuts in the US telling them that it’s perfectly normal to hold a gun. 
I imagine it was only by dumb good luck that there was only one death but thanks to Americas insane and ridiculous gun laws and upholding of the Second Amendment, it won't be long until the next one.

Monday, 25 August 2014

God Isn't Dead But He Looks Poorly

Since i have got back religion has been high on the agenda, the only country created for a religion has spent the last six weeks pulverising the smaller, weaker neighbour that it has occupied for over 60 years and in Iraq, ISIS has been beheading journalists and killing anyone who refuses to convert to their religion.
That anyone can act with such horror and barbarity towards other humans is bad enough, but to do it when you claim to be peaceful and loving makes it even worse or so it should but religion has been behind the vast majority of wars and conflicts since man first came down from the trees.
You would hope that we would have evolved out of believing in a man in the sky who runs the show but although it seems we are not all yet ready to grasp the idea that God is a man made object and as real as the tooth fairy, it does seem we are moving in the right direction to banish religion to the  rubbish bin of history.  
I am glad to see that in Britain religion is being rapidly shifted down the agenda, in the most recent census an all time high of 25% described themselves as having no religion which doesn't take into consideration people like me who ticked the Church of England box but never went to a church unless someone got married and rejected it at the same time as Santa Claus.      
A decent barometer of the zeitgeist is always our friends the advertisers as these people have a multi-million pound industry that says that they know what sells and where to sell it and they know that religion doesn't sell.
Under Ofcom, the broadcast regulator, the main TV channel for advertisers, ITV, was obliged to provide 104 hours of religious programming a week across it's channels but when the rules changed in 2012 and ITV was under no such obligation, it dropped it's religious output to 2 hours.
Britain’s largest commercial broadcaster believes there is no money in religion, experience told it that selling spots between the God shows was tough and not a money spinner and have reacted accordingly by dropping religion apart from the 120 minutes across its network of channels that it deems worthy.
God may not be dead just yet but he is looking very poorly in the UK and the quicker the rest catch up with us the quicker we may see less people being chased up a mountain to die because they believe in a different man in the clouds to the ones with the more powerful weapons.

Back To Blogging

Well that was an eventful August, we went to war with Germany, a Soviet Cosmonaut spent the day going around the Earth and America dropped an atomic bomb on Japan.
We said the final goodbye to Cleopatra, Groucho Marx, HG Wells, William Wallace, Genghis Khan and Leon Trotsky and Captain Cook stuck a British flag in Australia and ignoring the people who already lived there, claimed it for Britain. 
September will probably not have as much going on as last month but it will certainly still have violence, death and destruction running through it just as the last 2000 years have.
Israel is still occupying and slaughtering thousands in Palestine with America backing and even supplying the ammunition to do it with as it does in that other killing fields of Ukraine while religion is still responsible for untold deaths in the shape of ISIS or whatever they are calling themselves now.
Meanwhile there is talk of another recession and the devastation that brings to everyone from the bottom up but doesn't seem to reach the richest at the top as the people in charge continue to maintain that Capitalism is the only game in town when it comes to running an economy.
As anyone can see looking at the August posts, us humans have never been short of an excuse to kill each other and that isn't ever going to change and will only get worse as devastating Climate Change gains an even tighter grip on the planet and the reasons for war change change from oil, land and whose God is better to water and the other vital necessities that we need to exist. 
Indeed very depressing and there are not many glimmers of hope on the horizon for us but as everything goes to hell in a handcart we can at least amuse ourselves with celebrities pouring cold buckets of water over themselves.
Oh well, the holidays are almost over so it's back to the blogging then.