Thursday, January 18, 2007

Time and Place

A long time ago, a very good (but not so good I can recall the actual name) newspaper ad on TV (go figure) involved a series of versions of the same incident from a different perspective. A yoof is running to an old lady. Is it to rob her? Or, as it turned out, to push her out of the way of a falling object.

I was pondering this as I uploaded the next bit of citizen journalism in so many days.

Depending on where you are in the world, it has been a bit blowy here today. And here I have captured the aftermath of a lovely silver birch suffering the consequences in the Church Yard as I walked to get the boys from school.

'Bloomin' Global Warming', I thought, as I reflected on the 2 (out of 4) similarly sized and aged trees that have fallen in our garden since we moved in. Assuming we are not as a family fatal to large trees, it had to be the only explanation.

But, need it? The clue to my thinking (unproven, I grant you) is the age comment above. Trees do not live for ever. Maybe it was just their time, and the high winds tipped the balance, along with the tree itself.

Just a thought. At least we're OK for firewood, not that we dare burn it. At least until the Russians cut our gas off. Time to look at high-efficiency wood stoves, I think.

ps: One irony is that, I believe (and this does need confirming), a wind turbine would need to be locked down to avoid self-damage. As I write this the next day, it would be hard-pressed to light an LED.


What goes up... should have a good reason

Like most folk, I bought Stephen Hawking's 'A Brief History of Time'. One chapter tops, and it was on the shelf. And it didn't get me any extra girlfriends by being there.

But he's smart cookie, and so it's worth paying attention when he adds his t'pennyworth: Hawking warns: We must recognise the catastrophic dangers of climate change

Amen. However, much as I agree with him, I really hope that he will see this laudable view as less than compatible with the report I read, if true, of him hitching a ride on a tourist space rocket.

They don't use bio-diesel.



For the first time in a long time, I read a piece that seemed to pretty much say what I've been eyebrow-twitching, if not saying, for a while, and in quite calm, lucid and pragmatic terms: Planting trees won't offset jetting to the sun

I had to write:

'There's a certain irony to this headline as I watch my garden head to Oz (and I don't mean Botany Bay - great cartoon by Matt in The Telegraph on just this point, by the way).

Just wanted to say I agree with you. Which for a pretty committed 'green' may sound surprising. I see this issue as too much 'Carb-con jobs for the boys', and not enough doing what's necessary, right and fair.

I also like to see the issue(s) put as factually as possible, and in terms most if not all average folk can appreciate. Well done.

The rest of what you say is less easy to applaud, by simply being so true and unpalatable.

We do need leadership. Strong leadership. And by example (I'm almost afraid to point you at this). Plus we need sensible media support. This is the first I've seen in a while.

Thank you.'

Now, I wonder, will the 'Anon' dogs of PR and lobbyists appear from to savage this debate into further deadlock and inertia?

Indy: Carbon offsetting 'can be harmful'

Interest Groups

Davos 07: what everyone's talking about

Love the post YouCant. This thread is running at about 4 (as I type) to how many on the other, 'BB blog' channel on this site (sorry, I had to contribute there too)?

And, really, to all you other guys, good points all as well.

But careful what you wish for (I posted elsewhere the notion of a show called BIG BOMBER... as a joke... to make a point), whatreallyhappened. I suspect the forces of PCs know (or can find out) where we live and may feel it's easier to make a target-ticking point with us than try and find anyone doing anything actually illegal.

Moderate Views?

The topic of media moderation has been raised: Pulling Blogs Is Bad Policy

"As with all things, the devil is in the details.

I commend the Guardian (and my own, immodestly - on since you didn't ask, but hey, why not try for a plug?) for its immediate upload which, looking at the talk policy in the box above as I write 'will remove posts that contain racist, sexist or offensive/threatening language, personal attacks on the writer or other posters, posts that exceed the maximum length, and posts that are off topic.'

Trouble is, in a few of those cases the definition is a bit vague, and the media controller becomes all powerful in setting an AGENDA by the way they EDIT (a point I have noted in another blog on this site about, of all things, the Big Brother farce).

But obviously something is better than nothing, and I guess we work on trust and faith in those we engage with.

I love the seemingly sound connotations behind words like 'managing' or 'moderated'. But, playing Devil's advocate, and shooting myself in the foot a tad, I could see why a blog may need to be pulled, if I'm unsure why for "legal reasons", when the comments became too ferocious.

I was recently in one such where I was praying for the site owner to intervene as an 'Anon' poster, who knew exactly who I was, drifted into very dark territory.

I agree that the debate can emerge somewhere else, but it's not that easy to track where unless you are determined or don't have a life.

The range of different voices may usually balance the debate, but I have my doubts how well it produces a well-rounded discussion. In my area of interest, the environment, when it comes to major media (though I often wonder how many actual readers there are outside the chattering classes who probably meet in the Ivy for lunch every day anyway) I often sense the dark arts of media professionals and lobbyists keeping things to extremes. Yes, that may on average seem like balance, but not useful debate, to me at least, especially when blogged ‘information’ can be less than verifiable.

And that is where a moderator you trust can be quite useful. I've moderated out very little on my site, but always attempted to put things that are more contentious or open to subjective interpretation at least in some context based on my experience and knowledge. Then at least the reader can assess context.'

Guardian: The world is watching them

Hell in a handbasket

The other day a reader asked me to mention the perverse travesty of the situation in Burma being ignored whilst so much of less import gets coverage and debate and public outrage in support. I replied that I would love to (and now have - it is an issue I have felt strongly about since I lived in Asia. Indeed one of the songs I wrote with my wife for her highly-acclaimed debut album was called 'Shadow of a Hero', about Aung Sung Ki ('scuse spelling)), but really I didn't feel it possible or right for the Junkk 'brand' to err too far, too often from our core area of interest.

Well, sod that.

I have just woken up to the farce that is Big Brother, our political establishment, and the sorry state of this country's chattering classes, the media they serve and read and, sorry to say, a large chunk of my fellow (wo)man.

As I watch the River Wye come up the highstreet, my dustbin head to Aberdeen, my breakfast juice (please let it be squeezed in situ and shipped over) freeze-dried in Orange County, I'd say there were a few other things a tad more important.

Animal Farm

"I normally wouldn't give this a microsecond's thought, let alone commit to keyboard, but as our nation's finest pols, NGOs and media have decided it is more important than anything else (unless a tornado whisks the BB house to Oz), why not me as well?

I have two words to offer: AGENDA and EDIT.

From the media company that sets this up, to the media that feed on the controversy so set up (as if they didn't know), how anyone with a brain can assign any significance to the words and actions of a vetted and selected and manipulated group of human extremes is beyond me. It's like watching a show called BIG BOMBER and getting in a lather because all the guys with (I'll avoid any potentially un-PC or pejorative descriptions here) huddle around in one corner discussing hair bleach and exotic dinner ingredients whilst looking ominously across the room at the lone US Marine popped in to see what happens.

And should things not quite work to the full requirements of the AGENDA, there is always the EDIT. You can leave in, or out, what serves your needs best. Leave to simmer, and serve.

Pathetic. The whole sorry lot of you."

Indy - a good analysis of several issues
Mad - good to kick a ball rolling!

Guardian, subsequently. I was going to add... 'Especially those making hay out of being 'offended'. Reminds me of when I was in Hong Kong, and all white non-Chinese were dubbed 'Queilos', which wasn't meant as a compliment. Or response? Well, we didn't run around wailing and trying to get a slot on tlak shows. We just figured, 'Hey, why not?', and started calling ourselves that. Kinda took the sting out of it. A lot of maturity is missing here. And commom sense. The day differences between people are not noticed, and commented upon, is when we are all the same clone. And then I'm sure ways will be found to set us apart even then. Learn to swim before you try and tell the tide to stop.

Telegraph, subsequently, for crying out loud. More than you ever will want, or need to know.
Telegraph, ditto
BBC - Jade to donate her TV fee to charity - The classic 'get out of jail free' response to such things if you get caught these days. I wonder what her fee to the News of the World was, and where it went?
GuardianCiF - A very good comment by a guy called Waltz
Indy - India grits its teeth as Jade prepares to jet in - As ye sow, so shall ye reap.