Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Children and the WWW

Hi All,

"Three out of four children have seen images on the internet that disturbed them, an NSPCC poll suggests." This is how the BBC news story begins. So it is how I will start mine. It goes on to say that these figures are taken from a poll of visitors to there there4me.com website, which caters for 12-16 year olds.

Ok, yes fine, there are lots of images out there that can disturb children. What got me were these quotes from Zoe Hilton, who is the "policy advisor" for the NSPCC. I shall deal with them individually.

"Children are just a few clicks away from innocently stumbling across upsetting or even dangerous pictures and films such as adult sex scenes, violent dog fights, people self-harming and children being assaulted."

Children are always a few steps\clicks\hops\limps away from all the above all the time. With the exception of "violent dog fights" (as opposed to the non-violent type?). Where in the hell did that come from? But anyway. Any child between the ages of 12 and 16 who has stayed up beyond 9pm has probably already seen all of the above. Even some 12 rated films have these scenes in, so why pick on the internet? Can also someone explain to me what a dangerous picture is? Is it one with really sharp edges? Or one you can fall off quite easily?

Ms Hilton said that ..."every child should be using a computer with child protection software."

It's traditionally called a parent.

"High-security parental controls installed in their computers would help shield them. "

Do we really need another bunch of controls forced upon us, to teach us what is right and wrong?

"Currently computer manufacturers and retailers leave it to parents to find and install software that filters out material unsuitable for children...."

Since when has it been their responsibility? When I buy a PC I don't want to be asked if I have kids so they know what software to put on. Or, why the hell should I have more bloaty ad-ware that will go out of date in 12 months and that I have to renew or whatever?

When I was in high school, I remember quite vividly being shown images of the holocaust, seeing all these people in trenches, dead bodies being rolled into the pit and then covered in lime, people being shot, lined up in bloodied tattered clothes against a wall. I also remember seeing sex scenes in various programs on telly and films. Dog fights is a hard one I admit (unless they mean Spitfire vs. ME109), but then I have never seen one of those videos, and I have been on the internet for a long time. I reckon if I looked for it I'd find it, but I'd have to look for it.

The kids need to be taught to be "web-wise". I have never seen a video or image that I haven't expected to see. I am a true googleite too, and their safe search is fairly good. I don't understand what these kids have been looking for in order to get hardcore porn, self-harm and children being assaulted. In fact....

Hey, this is a thought, what if the children now are so obsessed with finding help that they are now looking for it. They are going to Google and typing "sex advice" or "I self harm please help me" or "I am being abused, help" all 3 I imagine would throw up these images and videos they don't like, and then they finally get to "there4you.com" and sure enough the ones that need help have found abusive stuff on the internet.

I have kids, young kids admittedly, and I have always supervised them on the internet, and they do well. They shall become web-wise. Also if they have a problem they are secure in themselves so they can come and talk to me about whatever, they don't need some webby, self appointed, self regulating, nationalised, pointless group of childless do-gooders helping them. What we actually need are parental classes to help the minority of parents bring up their children. You don't need software for that. In fact its a bad idea. "The software let it through, the software blocks badness, so this must be good"

Ok, last quote:

"I've seen violent images I didn't search for. I was freaked out."
I'd be freaked out too, if google came up with matches and I hadn't typed anything in.

Be careful what you search for, you might just get it.

Thanks for reading.

Friday, 17 October 2008

LHC, and why scientists are no fun.

Hi All,

Scientists are no fun. I put this down to the many, many years of intensive study and homework that they have to do. They are so institutionalised that they just can't see how much fun they can have with the tools they've got.

Take the LHC, or the Large Hadron Collider. What a great idea. But how boring. I am a geek so I am interested to see what kind of things they discover, but what I want to know is what they do with it after 5pm. I would want to collide other things.

All matter is made up of 3 things, Protons, Neutrons and Electrons, so surely it must be possible to fire other stuff around this giant doughnut they have built. Why not have a Large Monkey Collider (or LMC)? It's not the colliding bit I'm interested in really, but I am interested in the noise they'll make as they go round. The sound of an eeeek going by at near light speed would have me in stitches.

OK, maybe that is a tad cruel. What about other things? Like eggs? Or as we all know, Mentos and Diet Coke cause a good reaction, why not fire Mentos one way and Diet Coke the other? The other advantage of this is that the people who have been bitching and whining on about how it will "destroy the world" can't possibly claim that the resultant fizz from such a reaction could do such a thing.

I was talking to a friend of mine last night, and we came up with a plan. When we die, instead of being cremated or whatever, we should be fired around the LHC with photons going the other way, then when a mini black hole is created we'd be sucked into it. How cool would that be? You could also claim to be the fastest corpse on the planet. You wouldn't get a Guinness world record for it though, because you'd have to do the same speed in the other direction.

What about lasers? Some really boring scientists in the USA are using lasers to transmit energy to a device that could possibly work as a "space elevator". Boring. If I had a laser that strong, I'd have to graffiti something. Maybe even write P.T.O on the Moon.

So yeah, scientists need to get out more, have some fun, and stop being so damn practical.

Thanks for reading!

Speeding 2

Hi All,

After my speeding episode I did do a little hunt around the internet for a story. After a tipoff from my Dad (thanks mate) I found this:


And they do me for speeding a little bit?

Thanks for reading

Wednesday, 15 October 2008


Hi All,
I got caught speeding. From this moment on I will always obey the speed limit on all roads, as I was caught fairly and squarely by a hidden bloke armed with lasers and cameras in the back of an unmarked van. While I was armed with nothing but a Honda Jazz.

Yeah, right. Don't get me wrong here. I don't drive like a complete nutter, I don't do 50mph past a school (in fact I tend to do far less than 30mph) but I do tend to be a little heavy on my right foot on main roads and motorways.

I have a beef with speeding tickets. The reason is quite simple. It is the only crime that you can be charged with because you have the potential to do more damage to someone or something. When I leave my house, I am not arrested for having the potential to be a burglar, or the potential to be a muggist, or cause damage or something. I was harming nobody. I had the potential to, but I was doing no harm at all.

So anyway, I get a letter through the post to my partner (who owns the car) and its says something like: Please tell us who was driving, if you don't, we'll give you points and a fine. OK, so even though my partner not telling the police who was driving has nothing to do with the offence itself whatsoever, they can give her points on her licence, I'll explain quickly, they can charge me with speeding and give me points, if they photo ID me, and they can still give my partner 3 points for not telling them. How stupid is that? But, it gets better, because here in the UK you do not have to provide evidence that can incriminate yourself. As you can see they have threatened to give you the points and a fine anyway.

At the bottom of the letter it says something like: We have video/photographic evidence. Cool. Where is the evidence then? You expect me to just roll over and take your word for it? I want a picture of my car, date and time stamped with speed, and also the latest calibration test results. I want them now.Don't tell me you've got it, just give it to me, I'm legally required to have it, for god's sake!

So anyway, when all's said and done, I'm gonna ask for the pictures and the calibration test results and then pay my fine and take my points.All because some anoraks in the early 1900's decided that 30 was far too fast for their cars or their roads. Even though now we have cars that can stop in half the distance, if anything were to happen.

Another thing I'll mention, If some idiot wants to step out in front of a moving car, that's fine by me. I'm a car, on a road, you are a small squishy human.It doesn't matter what speed I'm doing, if you don't walk into the road while I'm coming down it, I can safely say I won't hit you, ok?

At 50mph You'll mostly die
At 40mph You'll mostly survive
At 30mph You'll have bruising
At 15mph I'll stop the car, get out, and give you a mouthful of abuse, and maybe even cause the injuries you would have had at 50, 40 or 30mph.

If you don't step in front of a car regardless of speed you will 100% fail to incur any injuries at all.

Notice that in this article I haven't mentioned police catching burglars (caught mine yet?), old people driving very badly or slowly or down the motorway towards you, drunk drivers, and other more dangerous drivers than little old me, a reasonably fit young gentleman with fairly good reaction times, and also someone who has never had an accident on 2 or 4 wheels involving someone else (ok, I fell off my motorbike twice, it was wet and icy, I was doing under 20mph and I grazed my knees, and broke my wing mirrors) since I have started with motor vehicles.

I didn't say anything like that in the article at all.

Thanks for reading,

Sunday, 5 October 2008

5 Stages of Evolution

Hi all,

I was thinking to myself the other day on the birth of social evolution (yes I am that type of person)and then thought occured to me that evolution occurs in 5 easy stages, and they are the 5 questions we are taught at a very early age. I remember sitting in an old victorian building being force fed times tables, phonetics, numbersand all other sorts of useful stuff, and the 5 most important questions that you can ever ask.

If you haven't already guessed they are Who?, What?, Why?, When? and Where?.
The reason why these are so important to social evolution are as follows.
We are strange creatures, we are probably the only animal that asks itself "Who am I?" Some famous Greek bloke said "I think, therefore I am" It is the first stage of Evolution. "Who am I?" is not just a question of your name, but a realisation that you are more than just an entity, that you have self-realisation, you have a purpose and life and the ability to ask that question. You don't see Dogs asking that question, they are not self-aware. They don't think to themselves "I am a Dog, I am a four legged animal that likes pissing against lamp posts." They live for the moment, they have no purpose other than to just be a Dog. So the first step in any Social Evolution is, Who?

Now we know who we are, the next step is to "discover" the world we live in. The next logical question is "What?" as in, "What the hell is that I've just stepped in?"In order to fully understand the world you live in you need to ask questions like "What?" You name things, and personify them in order to get a grip on what the world is like around you.

Closely followed by "What?" is "Why?". All parents dread this word coming from their childrens lips, as the amount of "why's" is limitless. Even scientists today are asking themselves why certain things happen the way they do. "Why?" is always the start of investigation. We have named everything now, so lets find out why things are the way they are.Why is it that when you are standing at a bus stop, and the bus is late, that you can light a cigarette and within 2 puffs it arrives? That's a small why. How about...Why is it that a photon is released from the sun, takes 8 minutes to get to Earth, avoiding planets, dust, metorites, satellites, gets reflected by the Earth's atmosphere, at the right angle, while the Earth is rotating at 10,000MPH, missing all clouds and other atmospheric debris, then comes down through the air and through a gap in your curtain 4mm wide and manages to shine right into the very centre of your eyeball, 1 hour before your alarm goes off? Thats a big why. And when I find out why, I'll buy new curtains.

Next one is "When?". To quote Douglas Adams, "Time is an illusion, lunchtime doubly so".Time has always been strange, it has always been around, but it wasn't until recently that we created "time zones" for various places round the world, and actually worked out what "time" it actually was. Before all this we went by the stars, sunrise and sunset, phases of the moon. But the reason why this is important in the evolution is because it made us realise that there was a pattern and a rhythm to all things, and there was a regularity to everything. This was important for agriculture, sciences, and all sorts of other applications that caused us to move forward as a species.

Last is "Where?". When I came up with this idea, I found it increadibly hard to fit this pattern in with my thoery of "Social Evolution". But then I had a brainwave."Where shall we have lunch?". Let me explain. We've been through all the other questions, we know who we are, what other things are, why they are, and when we can do things. A where question assumes that we are discovering our literal place in the world, as well as everything else. But to forward our evolution, we need somewhere to socialise. To pass on information, and where better than a Resturant?Someone else has thought "Who shall I get the food from?", "What shall we get off them", "Why do I need these ingredients?", "When shall I open?". All we need to know is "Where shall we have lunch?". All the hard work has been done for us. We have reached the final stage in Social Evolution. We never hear of Dogs saying "hmmmm, where shall I have lunch?" because they haven't gone through all the other stages.

So there's my theory. Comments are open,
Thanks for reading!


Hi all I have had reports from regular readers of my column that my grammar sucks as I epically fail at the correct usage of commas especially and putting them where they are not needed and sometimes not including them where they are so in order to redress the balance I have written this piece with no punctuation at all just to prove the point that sometimes it is better to overdo something rather than not do something at all this of course does not apply to cooking driving or diving especially diving that could be quite lethal and should cause a lot more of a stir than me putting commas where they shouldnt be or no commas where there should be how I can actively type in a null amount of commas is beyond me but there you go but anyway I digress normal service will be resumed next time when I shall be reinstating the use of punctuation as it makes it so much bloody easier to read hell even txt spk has punctuation for crying out loud thanks for reading

Friday, 3 October 2008

Men Vs Women - Shopping

Hi All!!

Shopping, hate it or loath it, you can't not do it. It's a fact of life. Like Swiss Rolls. Or cheese. But anyway...

I've just done a "manly shop", this is basically where you go into town, pop into the shop you know where an item is, buy it, then return to your place of residence. This can take anywhere between 30mins to an hour. This is entirely dependant on where you need to go to get such item, the time spent in the shop is worked out thusly:

T = (Q + A) / B

Where T is the total amount of time taken, Q is the queing time, A is the amount of time it takes you to get annoyed and B is the amount of time it takes to eat a burger. Ok it needs a bit of work. But the point is the bloke (man, git etc...) goes straight in gets what he wants then leaves.

Women do this slightly differently, and to be honest I was going to work out an equation to this but I didn't have a clue what these women I was stalking around the Shopping centre were doing. They didn't seem to know what they wanted, or where to get it from, or how long they'd take to get it, how much it would cost me, sorry, their other halfs.

I think I have worked this out. 10000 years ago, women didn't have shops but spent their time, galavanting doing easy jobs, like hunting bushes, trees and the like for fruit. Some of which were very vicious. The men, however, hunted animals. Big, hairy, animals. With teeth. So we ran up to them, stabbed them in the ass and ran home before anyone else turned up. We needed to be quick.

So next time you are shopping with a girl, just remember all she's thinking about is where the next bit of fruit is coming from, where you are thinking where the tiger was last time you saw it.
Of course, nowadays we have no tigers...so its just things...but women I believe are still thinking about fruit.

Thanks for reading