Archive for the ‘general’ Category

Sex and seduction becomes mainstream

February 23, 2007

Hi Grit

You may think that sex has always been a part of art, which to a certain extent is true. However, one of our youngest london public gallaries the Barbican, having reached the ripe old age of twenty five, has taken this to a new level by hosting an exhibition called Seduced: Art and sex from antiquity to now, entrance reserved strictly for those aged 18 and over.

The intention of this exhibition is to cover the art of seduction as it has been practiced over the past 2000 years. Kate Bush, apparently no relation to the singer or your President, says that it is a “no-holds barred exhibition” the intention of which is to examine and explore all aspects of seduction of any preference. With well over 250 exhibits including portraits from the walls of Pompeii; Indian sexual literature, little known paintings of sexual acts from renowned painters such as Turner, pornographic woodcuts from Japan and Andy Warhol’s short 1963 film entitled “Blow job,” it is not difficult to see what they mean.

Although the museum stresses that this an attempt to cover a serious subject, from the final paragraphs of the article it becomes apparent that the real motive is anything but. Being a public gallary, the Barbican relies heavily on grants from the local authority, in this case the City of London. The director (curate) of the museum has admitted that these grants are being cut back, which will severely curtain their activities unless they can replace funding from elsewhere.

Thus, despite all the brave and intellectual words and phrases, at the end of the day this is not a “serious” exhibition, simply an example of an organisation utilising an age old promotional theory that “sex sells.” Why can’t they be honest about their motives?

the Brit

PS: To all our readers, please note that from 9am tomorrow (GMT) (24th February) we are moving to a new host. You can find us at  http://www.britandgrit.com/ and we hope that you will be able to join us there. We would like to take this opportunity of thanking you for your company and look forward to more of the same.

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Britney suicide attempt

February 22, 2007

Hey Grit

I know we have been following the antics of Britney over the last few months, but this latest report must be the most worrying for her family and friends as well as the girl herself. It seems that, after leaving the rehab clinic, and following on from a row with her ex over the custody of her two children, Britney tried to commit suicide by walking in front of traffic.

In my view, the time has come for someone to take a serious view of this situation. It is obvious from the laxity of the rehab centre that they are more interested in the dollar and promotion impact of having a “headline grabbing” star in their clinic than actually doing the young girl any good. At the same time everything she does appears on the media within minutes, which suggests that someone, somewhere, is feeding them with information. Thus it must appear to Britney that there is no way out of this circus and that she stands a good chance of losing the two people she loves most, her children.

Granted Britney has bought a lot of the media attention onto herself by her antics. But there comes a time when they have to sit back and consider the psychological impact of their constant hounding of her. Maybe the time has come for them to back off and leave the girl to sort out her relationship and other problems out in private. And maybe the time has come for her friends, family and other hangers-on to take a step back and concentrate on helping Britney to recover from whatever demons are haunting her.

We have already had one celebrity suicide in the last few weeks with Anna Nicole Smith. Let us not allow the press and our own insatiable curiosity lead to another one.

the Brit 

Islamic schooling in the UK

February 21, 2007

Hi Grit

Your mention of Islamic matters reminded me of what is going on in education over here. There is an organisation here called the “Muslim Council,” whose task it is to see to the needs of their people who have immigrated to this country or were born here. Of itself, I have no objection to such an organisation. However, I do get very irate when organisations of this nature try to destroy our heritage and culture.

The latest example of this is the report that this council has just put together a report, which apparently they are going to present to the government. This report outlines ways in which they feel that “un-islamic” activity and behaviour should be eliminated from school teaching and other activities. I personally find such action insulting, primarily because if the roles were reversed and we were living in their country, we would not be expected, or even allowed to deign to interfere with their religious and cultural traditions. Whatever happened to the concept of “respecting your hosts?” To me this is taking human rights and political correctness just a dozen steps too far. If people want to live in our country they could at least extend us the curtesy of treating our home with respect.

Of course what angers me even more is that, knowing our present government, there will be more than a few who will be prepared to listen to this outlandish idea. After all, they have already stopped the singing of Hymns in school assemblies, in case this offends our immigrant friends. Are we next going to see schools being built facing in the direction of Mecca?

the Brit

Iraq! we’re pulling out.

February 21, 2007

Our esteemed leader, the Right Honorable Tony Blair has been making promises to our soldiers in Iraq, and their families at home, which at the moment he hasn’t a clue whether he can deliver. But it does give him good press for the first time in a number of months. He has promised to cut our forces in Iraq by at least a third in the next few months, and possibly by half before the end of the year.

Nice words for the soldiers and relatives, but are they realistic promises? He provides a rider that says “if conditions permit,” but of course the media do not pick up on this so readily. In my opinion it is to early to even consider such promises. Irrespective of what Blair says, it is obvious that the situation in Iraq is far from settled and a withdrawal at this stage does not seem politically or militarily sound. The environment over there is still fragile and taking away the trained troop will leave a fledgling government lacking in strength and support needed to be able to fully carry out their democratic reforms. He claims that Basra is safer than Bagdad. Whether that is the case or not, does he not realise that once the insurgents hear about it, rather than taking on the might of the US forces in the capital, they could do just as much damage by attacking less well supported areas.

Whilst I appreciate that the proposed withdrawal is comforting for many, the worst case scenario is that we pull out, violence flares up again and we are forced to return. Or perhaps that is Tony Blair’s intention, namely to use this news to make himself popular again and leave the mess cleaning to Gordon Brown (did I say cleaning?). If this is the case, this reported withdrawal is not a pleasant publicity stunt.

Anyway, what has happened to this special relationship we have with the US? Are we now saying that it no longer important to maintain unity with the multi-national force?

the brit 

Christians uniting over genital obsession

February 20, 2007

Hi Grit

You may or may not have heard that there are moves afoot in Europe for the uniting of the Anglican Church, our Church of England with the Catholic Church, run by the Vatican, an event which first came to light a couple of days ago. Bearing in mind the colossal wealth that these two organisations have, one might have been forgiven for believing that this was an international merger on a scale of some the global corporate mergers that have become so prevalent in recent years. After all the Church of England is one of the largest property owners in the UK, and the Vatican domain is worth a few dollars more. However, it appears that this is not the case.

It appears from current reports, that this merger is due more to the fixation on genital issues than a blend of faith or merging of wealth. Some see this merger as an attempt by the more progressive elements of the Anglican Church to become combined with a more liberal hiearchy. Perhaps I should explain. There is at present a continuing rumbling debate in the Church of England over the issues of women clergy, homsexuality and single sex marriages, some of which I have mentioned before. The old school people in the C of E, do not like this situation at all, wishing to remain in their pre-liberal days.

Apparently, the new school see this merger as an opportunity of tipping the ruling balance in their favour as the Catholic Church has a far more liberal and outgoing approach to these suxual matters. Obviously as the Catholics in Europe outnumber the C of E, theirs would be the deciding voice.

There was I thinking that the clergy wore long robes to present a united front to the world, but it appears I was wrong. It seems that all along, it is a cover up for fixation. Do you think anyone has asked God for his views?

the Brit

Gordon Brown and labour in trouble

February 20, 2007

Hi Grit

Hard on the heels of the “cash for honours” crisis, and the forthcoming change of Prime Minister as Tony Blair steps down this year, his expected replacement Gordon Brown and the labour party as a whole find themselves in deep trouble with the electorate.

A current poll of voters shows that, if there were a choice between labour led by Brown and conservatives led by David Cameron, at this moment in time only 29% would choose Brown against 42% for Cameron, a massive 13% gap which has not been seen since 1992. Even in terms of the party of choice, rather than the leaders, labour lags behind the conservatives by 31% to 40%.

If this is representative of the national opinion, it is a severe blow for Brown, who was expected to potentially call a snap general election possibly as early as september this year. Economic factors do not look good for the future and it is thought that he would have liked to have been granted a full 5 year term by the electorate soon after taking office. This option appears to be slipping away from him. There will be some worried people in the halls of government today.

However, it is probably too early to get over-excited as the poll only questioned a cross section of 1,000 voters, although the signs are encouraging for those who have become disillusioned with the policies and the antics of the labour party over recent years. It appears that the british public may be considering this change as a result of issues such as road pricing schemes, the disolving of human rights, big brother policies such as CCTV and the proposed introduction of ID cards with biometric data. In addition, I believe that the arrogance that Tony Blair has displayed over recent years, and his almost dictatorial attitude towards his government and the public, has lost labour a lot of friends, and justifiably so.

Maybe we can now look forward to the prospect of some sensible policies, but I won’t be holding my breath.

the Brit

Conspiracy

February 19, 2007

Hi Grit

Sometimes I have this theory that the whole world is built on conspiracy because it seems that throughout the ages almost any major event, particularly a disaster or catastrophe, generates a plethora of conspiracy theories aimed at questioning the official versions of events.

Last night (18th February), I watched a programme on the BBC, which was about the conspiracy theories surrounding the events of 9/11. Whilst there might appear to be justification for some of the theories outlined, others to me were so bizarre as to be incomprehensible. To suggest that the twin towers fell as a result of demolition when there is clear visual evidence of planes flying into them, is sheer idiocy. Then, they add to this the (so-called) fact that the government destroyed a nearby building because it contained a CIA office which held evidence of this tragedy being a US government plot. Others were theorising that the passengers of flight 93 were abducted by government agents and that the plane did not crash. Yet more tried to suggest that the plot was known six months earlier, because a film was produced which had a similar story-line, only as is the case with films, that had a happier ending. I am actually surprised that no-one bought Tom Clancy into one of these mad theories, because in one of his books a passenger plane is flown into the White House, killing the President.

Of course, the US is not alone in this pursuit of conspiracy theories. Here in the UK, despite it being ten years ago, the conspiracy theories surrounding the death of the late Princess Diana still continue to flourish. These range from those who suggest that it was a government backed plot to kill the princess in order to avoid her marriage to a Middle-East family, which they felt might tarnish the Royal lineage, to those who believe that the Royal Family themselves were behind the accident.

Of course, conspiracies are not solely restricted to tragedies. One only has to look at the pro-global warming proponents conspiracy theories about denialists, or the “alien” theories surrounding crop circles, to see that whenever there is a major phenomena, the word “conspiracy” is one of the first to follow official explanations.

One has to wonder about the reasons and conditions that lead peoples minds to turn so readily towards conspiracy as an explanation. Whilst it is true that, particularly in politics on both sides of the Atlantic, there have been many political cover-ups and total lies, which make believing anything that comes out of a politician’s mouth difficult to believe, the vast majority of these are proven to be lies within months, if not sooner.

Perhaps it is the enormity and shock of these events that lead people to automatically question their occurance. In the two cases mentioned above, the events themselves were beyond the perception and belief of the ordinary member of the public. Such is the depth of the disbelief that it defies all reason and logic. Similarly, there is a lack of belief in a system or society structure that allows such events to occur and it affects the trust we have in that society. Thus, in order to fill the void of understanding and comprehension, perhaps we all look to ourselves to provide an explanation that is equally enormous and outrageous in its foundation.

Personally, I have my own conspiracy theory. I believe that there is a conspiracy between the conspiracy theorists to stop both lies and truth being believed.

the Brit

UK Human rights and Freedom extinguished

February 18, 2007

Hi Grit

The government in the UK, if re-elected at the next election, will be taking the final steps to abolish human rights, freedom and privacy for the individual UK citizen, all in the name of protecting us against terrorism.

If the labour government have their way, all adults over the age of 16 will, by 2009, be required to place their fingerprints on a central computer. The suggested law may even extend to “iris” prints. These moves are in addition to the requirement to provide photographs for driving licences; requirement to provide details for the census and annual local government property occupancy register (for council tax purposes); and the multitude of close-circuit television cameras that adorn our towns, streets, villages and roads. An extra measure of identity that is also being considered is to place our medical records in the same “identikit” of us.

Not satisfied with us already being the most watched nation in the EU, these latest moves will actually increase the gap between us and other countries, turning us into one of the most monitored nations in the world. Some may argue that these moves are positive, but are they? Let us consider the evidence.

1) COST:

Naturally, there is the cost of the citizen ID rules. The government suggest that this will amount to just over £5.4 billion ($10.8 billion). However, independent sources put the figure at £19.3 billion ($38.6 billion). This represents over £300 ($600) per annum, per citizen. In addition to this, it is compulsory for people to give this information at one of 69 centres through the UK, at their own cost. In some cases this means travelling up to 100 miles, irrespective of age, financial situation or infirmity. A round trip of this nature, taken in work time will cost the worst affected another £100 at least. Of course, this does not take into account the annual running costs of the scheme.

2) PRIVACY

A basic human right is that of privacy. The ability to live our lives without fear or favour, and to keep parts of our lives free from the prying eyes of others. From 2009, if these plans go ahead, this will no longer be possible. Some will argue that if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear, but that is not the point. Do I really want my health, age, medical condition, financial status and life history potentially exposed to every form of media and individual nationally and internationally? Our data protection act suggests that such information should be secure but, in view of the fact that the government has incorporated rules to allow certain organisations, commercial as well as government and non-government organisations to access the data, this guarantee no longer holds true.

3) DISCRIMINATION

Such a system will also lead to discrimination, both intentional and by devious means. Employers will be tempted to access medical and financial information about potential employees, therefore leading to unfair bias against certain applicants. This is particularly the case in medical issues. For example, take the case of a person who may in the past have had cancer. Although possibly totally cured, when such a person is set against an applicant who has not past health problems, which is the less than totally honest employer going to chose?

Medical, legal and financial practitioners will be able to access medical records, providing a situation where they can discriminate against those they do not want to assist.   

4) MISCARRIAGE OF JUSTICE:

No computer or other registration system is infalible and the identity system will be no exception. With personal and biometric information on around fifty million people on file, the incidences of misinterpretation, incorrect identification and transpostion of information will rise. As a result this is bound to lead to an increase in the incidence of miscarriages of Justice. Add to this the fact that none of the biometric identity measures are 100% accurate and it can be seen that this will compound the issue. A small example of this might occur with twins for example. Especially in cases of identical twins wrong identification is even more likely.

5) THE CONCEPT OF INNOCENCE

The United Kingdom laws have always been founded upon the rule of “innocent until proven guilty.” It is bad enough that in recent decades tax and other laws have led to a reverse of this process in such areas. Now, with the introduction of of these measures, such a foundation has been totally eroded. The onus on the citizen will now be to prove their innocence in all cases.

Does this mean that in future one has to keep a daily diary of life events to ensure that one cannot get into a situation where lack of evidence to suggest otherwise leads to automatic guilt? I work from home and, during the day, this means that there is no-one to provide an alibi for my whereabouts, especially if I am not on the computer. If I take two hours off for a bath and rest, will I in future have to log this and provide photographic evidence? 

6) IDENTITY THEFT

Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes of the past decade. It is also one of the least obvious to the victim, unless it has been committed for financial purposes. How can we be sure that our identity will not be stolen or duplicated for other criminal purposes? What is more important is, if such an event does occur, how will we know until a crime, using our identity has been committed?

7) PROTECTION AGAINST CRIME AND TERRORISM

The assumption that identity laws will offer protection against crime and terrorism is flawed in so many ways as to make it laughable. It only works if one starts from the premise that every hardened criminal and committed terrorist is going to abide by these laws. Naturally, Osama Bin Laden and other terrorists, and underworld criminals are going to assist the law by coming forward voluntarily to offer their biometric identity to the authorities. I think not! Such an assumption is, at best, insane.

There are those who argue that it is easier to catch someone who does not possess an identity card. How does that work? There are 60 million people in the UK and it is certain that there are not enough law enforcement agencies or officers to check each indicvidual. Add to this the fact that there is unencumbered travel in the EU through 25 countries and a determined criminal or terrorist has more than adequate escape routes. These are in addition to the many illegal ways of escaping from the country. Furthermore, why should such persons worry about being apprehended when there is always the route of identity theft to cover their tracks?

Although there may be rules and laws in place to address breaches of the protections in place, these are an “after the event” remedy, by which time the damage is done. Once the security of information has been broken, one cannot recapture the privacy, irrespective of how much money has been recovered in damages.

The hypothesis that these measures are a protection against crime and terrorism, as has been clearly demonstrated, is totally wrong. They will have little to no effect in these areas. 

In conclusion therefore, one has to observe that these new laws will have limited impact upon detering any major crime and terrorism attempts. What they will do is to damage the human rights of the innocent citizen.

the Brit

Polish invasion of England complete

February 16, 2007

Help, I need an exit boat! You will recall from past posts Grit that England is experiencing high levels of immigration, particularly from the former eastern European states. It appears from an article in one of today’s newspapers, that it has now become a total takeover. A local council in the Midlands has been surrendered to the Polish people and no doubt other areas of the country will quickly follow.

You may wonder what is causing me such concern. The answer can be found here. The council in question has put up local diversion signs – in Polish. Despite the fact that it is rumoured that the local Polish population is only 6%, there is obviously something the council officers know that we don’t. Similarly, although officers at central government state the signs are illegal, is this just a ploy to lull us into a false sense of security?

I will be watching developments.

the Brit

PS: Jeśli otóż Polski słowa ukazywać się w mój poczty, you will know that I have have been captured.

Anti-smoking police – £29.5 million

February 15, 2007

The UK government are at it again. Just when one thinks that they cannot waste any more money, the powers that be come up with yet another crazy scheme to waste our money. Not satisfied with all the cameras that are spread around the country, nor with the increasing powers that are given to police and local authorities, they have decided that we still cannot be trusted on our own.

This time it is all to do with the impending “smoking ban” which comes into force later this year. Under the new laws we will be banned from smoking in all public places. That includes bars, shops and resturants. The owners of such establishments will also be liable to fines if they allow people to breach the ban in their premises. However, as is this is not enough incentive to uphold this law, the government have decided to spend nearly £30 million ($60 million) of our money to train what they call “smoking” police. 

The task of these officers (undercover of course) will be to wander around all of the establishments trying to spot the illegal smoker in the act. What has to be borne in mind here, is what happens if a smoker is standing outside of a shop and the smoke from his/her cigarettes drifts into the shop? No doubt they will be fined for a “passive” smoke offence.

With this, and the recent case of smoke penetrating the wall into a neighbours house, it is not hard to imagine waking up one day to find one of these new “fag” detectors encamped in the cupboard under the stairs.

the Brit 

Robbie Williams – “take that” in Rehab

February 15, 2007

Hi Grit

Yet another celebrity, this time one of the most successful on the UK music scene Robbie Williams, has scuttled off to rehab to address prescription drug, smoking and drinking addictions. Estimated to be worth around £100 million ($200 million), apparently the singer’s success, or in the case of the US market, leads to periods of deep depression. Apparently, the medical addressing of this depression has led to his drug addiction.

ROOT CAUSES

In my view, all this running off to spend £2,000 a night in a high profile clinic does not do a lot of good. This is obvious by the fact that, to stars such as Robbie, even the clinic visits become an addiction. This is not the first time he has checked into such a place. It is true that, for a while, they might be able to reduce the addictive habits, but historical statistics on celebrities proves that it does not last. Why is this, people may ask? The reason for this failure is that the therapists do not address the root cause of the problem.

The crux of the problem in Robbie Williams case can be found in ego, greed, arrogance and fear. He originally started out as a member of a highly successful boy band called “take that,” However, his ego did not like the fact that he was not being noticed in his own right, so he left to follow a solo career. To be fair to the man, this was a successful step and he soon became the UK’s number one performer. But his ego did not allow him to just accept the applause. In an effort to ensure that his foundation in the band was not a part of his new-found fame, he embarked upon a series of attacks on other band members.  The difference in character is shown by the fact that the rest of the band did not retaliate. They just bided their time.

Last year Take That reformed after a gap of over ten years. The result of this was that they became an overnight sensation. Their first new album has outsold Robbie Williams latest one by three to one as fans return to the original concept. This shows that Williams was right to fear the band that kick-started his career. However, there is more than enough room for both. It is also strange that the latest visit to the clinic follows the exceptional success that the reformed “Take That” band are enjoying. It is almost as if Williams, in a desperate bid to prove he is more popular than them, is attempting to steal the limelight away.

With regard to arrogance, Robbie Williams has this in abundance. In the UK, to keep himself in the headlines he has, as well as the above mentioned attacks on “Take That” launched scathing attacks on others who were involved in the early stages of building his career, including ex-managers and girlfriends. This has gained him few friends outside of his fan base.

His arrogance was also in evidence in his approach to the US market. Unlike other UK music celebrities, like Tom Jones, who allowed their work to filter into the US market in a gentle manner, therefore creating an environment where the US public embraced their talents, Robbie Williams decided that this was not sufficient for him. He had to storm the US, standing up and saying that he was better than what you had. If you want to offend anyone, this was a classic way to do it. Where other music legends such as The Who have treated the US consumer with respect and gained a fan base, Williams has not. Because of this attitude he has found little success in America, despite moving there.

Rehab will not solve Robbie Williams problems unless those who are counselling him start to address these deep-rooted personality problems that he has.

PROBLEMS OF A HUMAN BRAND 

Robbie Williams record company EMI, who paid £80 million ($160 million) to sign for them, are also suffering as a result of the stars actions. The expected revenue that they hoped to receive as a result of this contract is not materialising. This shows that the corporation’s management team were seriously lacking in strategy when they entered into the contract.

The biggest problem with signing a “human” brand is the organisations ability to a) monitor and control its performance; b) accurately access the value; c) evaluate the stability of the brand; and d) link the contract to performance. In all of these areas EMI management failed. In terms of a) the monitoring of performance has been proven to be lacking, and there certainly been a lack of control. With b) the value was identifable then and now as excessive, particularly bearing in mind that this was a person they were dealing with.  Similarly, the evaluation of the Robbie Williams stability factor (c) was in error, bearing in mind his previous addiction problems, and in respect of d) the performance linked element was omitted. Is it any wonder that the company is now struggling?

The final nail in the Robbie Williams saga of course, is his belief in his own publicity. The media, as we know, will dramatise anything a celebrity does and, in the case of Robbie Williams, his visits on the front pages of the media was frequent. However, he also needs to recognise that the media are just as adept at destroying reputations if it helps them sell papers.

The man needs to take a step back, value his own life, cease worrying about being better, more successful and wealthier than others, and begin to enjoy being Robbie Williams.

the Brit

David Beckham in demand

February 15, 2007

Hi Grit

I know that football (soccer) is not the most popular sport over there, but I doubt if many have missed the fact that one of the greatest English football players, David Beckham, has moved across the pond to play for a Los Angeles club. Well, despite the fact that, for some, this seemed like a move to cover the twilight of his career, the opposite is happening.

In the US he has wasted no time in raising his and the game’s profile. In an attempt to wow the ladies and increase his exposure Beckham has launched a fragrance brand. No doubt the promoters are relying on the ladies to persuade their menfolk to change sport allegiance.

Here, in the UK, Beckham has not been forgotten. Despite being dumped by the new English manager, who indicated that Beckham would never play for his country again, this has not gone down well with the fans. The recent run of abysmal English national football results has re-lit the Beckham flame. In a recent poll for a national newspaper  88% of those who took part wants him to return to the International line-up. He could yet achieve his ambition of reaching 100 international appearances for his country.

Whatever else is said about Beckham, one has to admire the way he has managed his “brand” image and, despite any setbacks has always managed to come out on top. In addition, unlike a number of celebrities, there have been few incidents that have tarnished his “nice guy” image. Some feat in a world of temptation.

the Brit

How to be a successful Valentine – another survey

February 13, 2007

velentines-1.JPGHi Grit

Following fast on the heels of the sex survey mentioned earlier, we now have another one, this time relating to being a successful Valentine. With the big day arriving tomorrow, I thought it might be a good idea to take a look at this. However, this time they did interview 4,000 people, a significant improvement on the “sex” survey.

The results apparently prove that men judge women by beauty, but that in reality this means that they choose a lady who is fertile and has the right genes to pass on to their children. In addition, men choose youth because it means that there is more time left on the reproductive cycle. On the other hand women prefer men in the older range group, who they perceive as being futher along the road to success and more settled in their careers. Similarly, looks are more important from a man’s point of view than from a woman’s.

The two qualties that both sexes agree are important are a sense of humour and intelligence. Well, that’s a relief! However, the really surprising part of the survey is that it revealled that, on average women had experienced eight sexual partners and men eleven. (Where did they find these participants? Passion Alley?).

There was one significant omission from this survey as far as I could tell and that is “love!” And there was me thinking that Valentine’s was all about LOVE!

the Brit

British are ignorant on sex!

February 13, 2007

Hi Grit

The family planning association has recently undertaken a national “Sex Quiz” for British people and found that we are generally ignorant when it comes to sex facts. (I hasten to add that I was not asked to take part in this quiz!).

Results from the quiz revealed that 1 in 3 of Brits believe that rigorous exercise, a visit to the bathroom and/or washing will stop a lady getting pregnant; Half of the people responding (I assume this was the males), did not know when a lady was most fertile; And 90% haven’t a clue how long the sperm remains active inside a lady. The answer to the last question is one week. Thus bearing in mind that tomorrow is Valentine’s day, the love activity could produce a mini baby-boom by the 21st.

However, before we all over here start running around blaming the poor education systems for all of our sexual deficiencies, we should look further into the survey carried out. It transpires that the questions were only asked of a representative sample of 500 people. Bearing in mind our population of 60 million, I would hardly call 500 representative, nor would I say that it could be called a national quiz. In addition, something around 16% of the population are over 75 with a similar number over 65. What the heck do they care about the reproductive cycle?

It does annoy me when the Media respond to these type of reports by creating headline news, giving the impression that we are just a bunch of uneducated neanderthals (even if some of us are). 450 people don’t know how long a sperm is active? Take another bunch of 500 people and it is quite likely that the reverse would be the position. Probably more to the point is how many people know how much of their tax money was spent on this report in the first place?

the Brit

PS: for those who want to know the questions and answers click here.

Global Warming and cosmic rays

February 12, 2007

Hi Grit

Yet again, hard on the heels of a report saying that humans are creating Global Warming and it is nearly too late to do anything about it, we find another contradictory report. This time it is in the Sunday Telegraph (11 Feb).  To be fair this report is not saying that man is not contributing to Global Warming, just that, because of the effects that cosmic rays are having, the extent of man’s effect, and its growth pattern may have been seriously miscalculated.

The theory behind this research is that the cosmic rays activity affect the cloud cover that the earth experiences. The higher the cosmic ray activity, the lower the cloud cover and the more warming occurs. At present we are in such a high cosmic ray activity period. If correct, this research means that the calculations used in the IPCC report need to be adjusted. Although there are some scientists who dismiss these claims, it is important enough for a group of at least 60 to conduct tests to check its validity. 

You will hardly be surprised to note that this report was relegated to page 16 of the newspaper in question, rather than the front page. However, this is not my main criticism. It is obvious from the comments of the scientists in question that they are not “denialists.” They accept that man does contribute to global warming, just that the rate is significantly different than has been reported. My problem is, as I have mentioned before, the lack of full research when addressing an issue such as climate change. Three points I would like to make, which I have probably covered before.

Firstly, if one is researching a subject, it is encumbent upon the researcher to fully address and study issues that contradict the findings. This does not appear to have been done in the case of cosmic activity, as the fact that only now 60 scientists are going to do research suggests.

Secondly, in environmental issues the accuracy of numerical findings is paramount. This is important so that one can accurately measure the impact and the level of remedy needed. In this case, if cosmic rays are proved have a significant effect it means that man’s response can be more controlled, accurate and less damaging both to the environment and the economic structure than has been suggested by the IPCC. As has been mentioned in other posts, overkill responses to these issues can be just as damaging to the environment as the global warming itself.

Thirdly, the habit of labelling people because they do not fully accept ones findings, in this case as denialists or sceptics, is becoming boring and counter-productive. There are no absolutes in science. The scientists who have come up with this current research cannot be labelled as sceptics or denialists, because they accept the concept of Global Warming and man’s contribution. All they are saying is get the facts straight. I wonder if those who support the IPCC report will respond positively to this challenge?

It is time to stop the media dramatics and hype and approach this subject on a sensible, factual discussion basis.

the Brit

Kylie, hotpants, Shilpa and culture

February 10, 2007

Hi Grit

Don’t you think it amazing the way that modern celebrities are breaking down the culture structure of our society. Only a few years ago in the UK popstars, film actors and other celebs were percieved to be not worthy of the attention of the establishment. Now they cannot seem to get enough of them.

First we have Kylie’s stage costumes, including the famous gold hot pants, being exhibited in the very staid Victoria and Albert Museum. before they go on a nationwide tour. The exhibition was opened by Kylie herself with all the pomp and ceremony that such an occasion usually attracts at the V&A. One writer even suggested that the gathered important people even bowed when introduced to the star.

In the next breath we learn that Shilpa, of Big Brother fame, has been asked to appear on “Question Time.” Question time is a BBC debate programme that deals with political and social issues of the times. It usually consists of a panel of people from both sides of the political divide together with business interests.

How times have changed

the Brit

Drink and sex abuse in UK politics

February 9, 2007

Hi Grit

Want to know why are politics in the UK are in such a shambles? The following story that I found gives some insight into this situation. It involves the case of Fiona Jones, once heralded as one of “Blairs Babes”, a term that was given to the 100 women MP’s that came into parliament with him in 1997.

Twelve days Fiona was found dead by her 17 year old son. She was surrounded by empty Vodka bottles. It is obvious from this scenario that she was an alcholic, but how did she get into this position. “Parliament taught her to drink,” accuses her husband. It transpires that the Houses of Parliament offers cut-price drink to all members and that heavy drinking sessions are not uncommon. With it being a very close environment there is a culture of “you have to do this to become one of us.” 

The other contributory factor to Fiona’s demise was sexual harassment. From the reports it seems that the lady was continuously subjected to bullying sexual attacks and innuendo by her chauvenistic colleagues.

Surprisingly, only one MP (an ex-MP at that) mentioned Fiona’s death. The article itself seems to brush away the importance of the issues of drink and sex, blaming Fiona’s demise on other issues.

This story is not only tragic, for which our sympathies are extended to Fiona’s family, the root causes of it are indefensible.

Tony Blair and his government publicly depore the menace of drink, often quoting how much work time is lost as a result, and the health and safety issues surrounding it. The same government has introduced laws and cracks down hard on sexual abuse and harassment in the workplace. Why have these issues not been addressed in their own (private) club?

If we were found drunk in the workplace, the minimum expected of us would be to seek treatment. At worse we would be sacked for being unsafe to perform our task. If we were found guilty of sexual harassment in the workplace we would be fined, sacked or even imprisoned and our employers would be accountable as well. Why are the same rules not applied here.

Our government is responsible for making decisions that affect the health and safety of its citizens and, in many cases those of other nations. They are supposed to make sensible, sober decisions regarding matters of local, national and international importance. How can they be trusted to do that if these sorts of incidences are occuring?

No doubt this is the tip of a dangerous ice-berg. The government’s treatment of this lady is deplorable. The governments failure to maintain the same rules and regulations that they apply to its citizens and their employees is unforgivable and, in my view, a criminal dereliction of its duties.

the Brit

Shilpa, Jade, Danielle and Jo – a week later

February 8, 2007

Hi Grit

Just thought you would want an how the people from the big brother house have got on since leaving just over a week ago.

Shilpa Shetty

Yesterday Shilpa Shetty went to Westminster to meet Tony Blair and other Members of Parliament. The crowds were so large that the police moved the following press conference for fears of security issues. Following this she travelled to Leicester, which has a large Asian community, where the crowds were even larger, forcing the police to not allow Shipla to get out of the car for the arranged Radio interview.  

Jade

Jade’s planned trip to India has been called off for the present, on advice of doctors who say that she still needs treatment to deal with the psychological affect of her recent stay in the house. Mind you she got into more trouble for taking a ride with her three year old son sitting on the top of the petrol tank of a quad bike. Jade’s agent has also confirmed that she has no work as all previous engagements have been cancelled.

Danielle

Danielle, after being interviewed by police, has decided to take a holiday in the sun with her parents. Apparently, she has still not met with her boyfriend, Teddy Sherringham, an English football player, so that does not look very promising. In addition to all the modelling contracts Danielle has lost, she is also being sued for £100,000 by the Miss GB organisers for bringing the pageant into disrepute by appearing topless in a magazine and having an affair with one of the judges – you’ve guessed it, Teddy Sherringham.

Jo O’Meara

Like Jade, Jo has spent the week getting psychiatric help. Out of the three, Jo is the one who has kept the lowest profile, partially due to death threats that have been made about her.

Other news is that the police are planning on interviewing seven of the big brother housemates, so there is more to come on the potential for criminal charges.

They say a week is a long time in politics. In entertainment it is proving to be even longer when one considers the dramatic effect that it has had on these four ladies lives.

the Brit

Freedom of blog speech under threat

February 6, 2007

Hi Grit

I don’t know if you have read the news relating to attacks by some governments on Freedom of speech on the Internet. More and more countries throughout the world are beginning to interfere with the freedom of bloggers being able to write what they like. Amnesty international cites the case of an Iranian blogger who was arrested for speaking about a political argument in his country.

They are asking for all free fighting bloggers to voice their support for the right to free Internet speecb wherever someone is from.

They have my vote.

the Brit

BBC double standards

February 2, 2007

The BBC, a UK media organisation that has been at the forefront of the issue of Global Warming, has come under attack from one of its own presenters. He says that, despite all their talk about the need to reduce the danger from things such as carbon emissions, the corporation is doing exactly the opposite.

Jeremy Paxman says the the BBC are guilty of double standards. On the one hand they are promoting restraint and conservation to members of the public, whilst still sending journalists around the world in jets and other so-called “damaging” transport, making no attempt to seek to reduce their “carbon footprint.” Why is this not a surprise? The term “do as I say, not as I do” springs to mind.

The BBC’s response when Paxman asked the questions was that their programmes were helping by airing the issue. As he says, you don’t solve the problem by just talk!

Situations like this devalues the argument significantly when someone or body pontificates about what we as individuals should be doing on issues such as Global Warming, relying on the underlying guilt factor to press home the message, whilst at the same time they are ignoring their own advice and warnings.

To me this type of action only confirms that the media is in Global Warming for the money and increase market share. Such reports are not likely to persuade people that the issue is to be taken seriously.

the Brit