Thursday, August 24, 2006

Nicorette for cartoon charachters

What is the world coming to? Everyone’s beloved cartoon characters Tom and Jerry have been rapped for smoking in front of children.

Ofcom, who are responsible for policing British TV shows, received a complaint from an uptight viewer complaining of the smoking scene. Tom rolled up a ‘fag’ in an episode and smoked it infront of Jerry, while he was trying to pick up a female cat.

Ofcom say that scenes of smoking are not permitted in TV shows mainly aimed at children. However, Ofcom have noted that the episode in question has been drawn and first published in a time when attitudes to smoking were different.

The scene has been removed from the episode.

While agree with the upraise against smoking, you have to draw the line somewhere. Judging by this decision Tom and Jerry should be banned from TV entirely as they are not only culprits for smoking, but also condone and promote senseless violence.
One might even go as far as to argue case of racism in the TV show where a particularly white (grey) cat is chasing a brown mouse. I’m surprised that some activist didn’t pick up on this at the height of the human rights battle.

So to sum it all up: Chasing each other, blowing each other up, causing bodily harm, throwing each other off from cliffs is OK

Smoking: No. Apparently smoking is politically incorrect and foul that authorities have banned it from cartoons.

My question is: Are children really that impressionable that they will pick up smoking from one scene on the TV or are they going to submit to violence, which is being fed to them in nearly every show suitable for children?

Kids are more likely to pick up smoking from their parents and peers than they are from a cartoon!

Friday, August 18, 2006

Securit Check This...

The latest “terror scare” in the UK brought airport security to the tightest it has ever been. Even though the critical security measures resembled fascism, airport security has not been lax for years.

While the UK and the USA are panicking over baby’s food and other harmless liquids, security around Europe is very different to the one the UK is experiencing. Countless of people on various message boards and blogs have been talking about their experiences with the Mediterranean airport security.

An anonymous writer told a story how an attractive brunette was let through security check by just a touch up from ankles to the back side. The woman in question was carrying a small handbag, the contents were not checked and apparently her belt had set off the metal detector.

Don’t you just feel safe?

The writer then continues on his/her troupe’s own experiment. They decided to go to the café that they had spotted before security. No one asked a thing when they exited the departure area.

When the party returned fifteen minutes later they told security that they had been checked already, they were let through with out any security checks what so ever.

Despite the Nazi like security policies, the British airport security is not airtight. During the height of the strict security measures, a twelve year old boy managed to get through check in, security and boarding without a pass port or a ticket. No one paid any attention.

Or then there is the case of the woman who had a panic attack on the plane and reportedly she had hand lotion and a screwdriver on her person. I really do trust the security, honest!

It has been quite common in both the British and American news papers that reporters have been able to get knives and guns through security. These stunts not only provide great front-page news, but also feed potential terrorists new ideas.

Now that the security has been eased and passengers are allowed to take luggage on board a plane, save for creams, lotions and liquids. What makes the liquids and creams bought from the tax-free area safer? In my opinion if a terrorist wanted to bring down a plane they can acquire all the necessary items from the departure lounge. And here’s a point, what is stopping a crazed businessman to use his tie as a way of strangling an airhostess.

Air lines have, for years, tried to stop people from taking hand luggage on board due to the benefits it would bring them in terms of fuel consumption, they have definitely seen their window of opportunity with the strict security measures.

Once more, at the height of the bomb scare people were not allowed to take magazines or books on board, because you never know how deep of a paper cut you might cause. The strict rules made it possible for the shops inside the airports to operate a monopoly market, as their products were rubber-stamped as “safe”.

The British media treated the bomb plot as if a plane had actually been blown up. I for one was dazed and confused when I read the news and a lot of people at the office thought that a plane had exploded. The media created mass hysteria and wide spread panic and airport operator BAA were ill equipped to deal with a threat such as this. Their contingency plan was flawed beyond belief and truly deserves to be sued by airlines and passengers alike.

Holidays have are not holidays. In the past a holiday started when you arrived at the airport but now you are not in that relaxed state of mind until you arrive at your hotel, lock the doors and draw the curtains. People working at the airports have no sense of humour what so ever, which they used to do. Long gone is the banter with the check in officer. If some one even utters the word bomb, the whole airport is shut down.

People need not be afraid of terrorists blowing up a plane, but really be aware of the true terrorists of the events that began on August 10, the British media and the BAA.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

And so we burn out..

Imagine what would NOT happen if we ran out of oil tomorrow. These thoughts will become reality as analysts are saying that we will run out of oil during this century. A century may feel like a long time now, but in any society’s history it is a split second. Well at least when you realize that the our society which relies on oil is not going to exist longer than that century. Before we discovered oil we managed fine without it and we will do so after oil does run out.

Energy and power will not run out, just the oil. This inevitable fact will make significant changes in the structures of our society more than any invention that man has engineered thus far. Before we completely run out of oil, the price will go to the clouds. Our children will remember the days when a liter of gasoline was under a pound or just a few Euros, depending on what country you live in.

The irony with the price increases is that in rural areas the price will increase more because you need to pay to get the gasoline delivered to the rural site.

That is why any energy policy should be taken care of by other means than price increases. The price increases are done in the hopes that consumers who get their electricity and power from companies who use crude oil, consume less of the precious reserves that we have.

The Chinese economy boom is truly a thing to marvel, but when we think of the greater implications these huge technological advances the country has achieved mean that their energy consumption has increased. This on the other hand speeds the rate that oil reserves are being depleted. Energy policies should allow for longevity for the society to adapt and explore effective and green forms of energy, so that every nation on this planet will have the common luxuries before the oil runs out.

However the one industry that will be most affected by the sudden depletion of oil is transportation, both humans and exported goods. Because of resilience from companies like Shell, Esso and other tier A oil and petrol producers, we will not find a cheap, effective and environmentally friendly solution until we have ran out of oil.

That is why communities and city planning should endorse public transport and minimizing congestion. Not just the everyday men, but corporations alike. Those societies and corporations who are the first to change their strategies to manage without oil will be the ultimate winners.

The solution lies within a redesign and change of our entire society. It would involve centralizing our economies, bringing forth fully electric railways; wide spread electric subways and most of all research into electricity systems dependant from oil, while driving the cost of public transport down. As it stands now it is cheaper for an individual to run a car to work than it is to use public transportation.

To corporations this would mean spreading of their operations closer to communities, because in the future they cannot afford to pay their employees to arrive from their homes to offices at distant locations. Work must reside close to home so it is feasibly affordable to get to.

The reality is that the decisions about society’s restructure need to be made imminently. And these talks must exclude nuclear power as this is something the government is obsessed with at the moment. It might be a cheap option but the amount of waste and the environmental implications are far too grave.

We are now at the cross roads, we are not to delay with these issues any more otherwise the century will soon be over and people will be left to burn what ever natural resources are left.

Friday, August 11, 2006

For whom (the school) bell tolls

Travelling broadens views, so does reading. At best you can be as bold as to combine the two. By getting familiar with other cultures and magazines from other countries, you might just be so lucky to fall in love with your native again. A lot of nations have so much that other countries can only dream of.

The Brittish media has expressed concerns about it’s children’s opportunities to learn the difference between wrong and right. Local feature columnists have written extensively about the topic, next to the crisis in Lebanon.

In the past Brittish teachers were obliged to teach children the basics of morality and to combine this with the regular teaching. According to the latest news and changes to the educational culture, the government suggests that it will suffice if teacher encourage the pupils to find their own “safe values and beliefs”. What these safe values and beliefs are is something the teachers are not allowed to tell, because they might be different for each individual.

According to the new plan, pupils will not learn about the Brittish cultural heritage and they will not be called gifted as the government in its infinite wisdom believes that children less gifted will feel discouraged. No pupils are to be encouraged into leadership either.

India Knight, a columnist for The Times says that in the quick rewards society, children believe that success and riches fall to their hands like magic, either through reality TV, or then they just wait for it to happen. The UK is bringing up a generation that will be severely disappointed at an early stage of their adult lives.
Jim Young from the Sunday Express says that he is shocked as he feels that the current educational system requires schools to develop children with teamwork abilities and work for the common good. The new plan outlines that setting requirements like this is not necessary, suggesting that the backbone to community responsibility will be wiped away.
The new plan makes no suggestions to progressive development of creativity as the current, soon to be replaced system does.
The public says that the new plan is the second coming of the class divide. Wealthy people will be placing their children in expensive private schools to secure a better education, leaving the public schools looking duller than ever.
The chase for the American dream is left in the shadow of this dream: A system that will guarantee everyone, rich or poor, the best education and the opportunities the education brings forth. I can’t but help to compare my education with the one that I’ve read intensively about and I must say that I have been in a fortunate position of receiving the best level of education, which for many years was delivered on a dwindling budget. I think this might be the reason why Finns are regarded as hard working and responsible professionals. The type of people you can trust.