Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Space 1999

Time for another picture. Just saw it in the carpark. It's a Honda Insight. It just made me wonder why it is that almost all cars with a future-planet-saving bent seem to look like they were designed for a 70s Gerry Anderson show? I guess some bumps are due to squeezing in eco-bits, but why the back wheel cover? If it is really a streamlining thing why has no other car I've seen got them?

RE:porting losses

Neither of these two examples are to do with the environment, but both happened today and gave me further cause for concern on standards of reporting. Which always gest me going.

The first was on rape. Unless I misheard, the problem seemed to be that only 1 in 20 reports ended in a conviction. This is of course pretty awful, unless only 1 in 20 were proven beyond all reasonable doubt to have been a rape. In which case I get a tad concerned for all single men (and a few married ones) if a target ends up needing meeting no matter what. I did gather some sloppy police procedure is at the heart of the critique and the % figure, but in the slot I watched very little was allowed for 'proven innocent until guilty'. It just seemed assumed and accepted that this figure was not high enough. What is suggested? Forget whether a crime has been committed and go straight to 75%?

The other was about the Birmingham terrorist alert. Some guys have been arrested for allegedly plotting to kidnap a soldier, and was heralded under the banner "Is terrorism taking a more sinister turn?'. What, exactly, could be more sinister than sidling up to a mum and baby in a Tube and trying to blow them up?

Better the devil...?

A political snippet passed to me by Dave of Solarventi:

MP quits to focus on climate campaign

Movements in the Westminster village are always interesting, as much as for where they have been as where they are going. Not to mention why. In this case it seems very helpful that his vacating the seat allows a Minister to pop across the boundary line... if he wins.

I'm not sure, but this may be the same guy I wrote to the PM to ask why he was not arrested for calling upon Jeremy Clarkson to be done away with (which I blogged an age ago), and came off pretty poorly for the exchange with that gentleman.

While one can admire the passion and belief, I have to wonder if this is a good thing or a bad thing in terms of having such an extreme individual running about without a clunking fist to keep him in line.

JunkkYard Blues.. and Waves

Time for a picture. And another mea culpa.

I often sigh that certain aspects of the site are not getting more contributions, as opposed to views). Ideas. Forum. Blog. JunkkYard.

Well, having just had a rummage around it for a recent post to another site, I realised that I have not exactly been doing my bit, either.

So here you are. It's a piece of cardboard I found propped up against a recycling skip. It is huge. Now I know It could be recycled. But i reckon it's too good not to reuse. So I have it here. Perfect for any am:dram with a bit of space.

You just need to be within 250 miles of HR9.

Well, he did ask #2

The Telegraph Business Club asked a question based on:

Would you give a senior management job to someone who had no experience of business management and no experience of the subject area? No. I thought not.

So maybe Patrick Barbour of the TaxPayers' Alliance (TPA) is onto something when he argues that politicians face an impossible task when they are appointed to run complex government departments.

"They generally have little or no knowledge of their subject area and no management experience," he says, "yet they are made chief executives of huge organisations like the NHS that would be beyond the best business brains in the world." As a result, he points out, the British Medical Journal ranks British healthcare as the second worst in the industrialised world.

Barbour suggests that politicians should set policy but have no direct involvement with the management of vital services like health and education. "People with genuine experience should be responsible for day-to-day management," he says.

His argument is given some added credence from an ICM poll commissioned by the TPA that shows nearly 70 percent of the population believes more than a fifth of Government expenditure is wasted. The poll also reveals majority support for taking politicians out of the management of health and education.

Barbour concludes that "we need serious structural reform of Government so politicians are no longer trying to do impossible jobs and talented people from outside politics can be brought in to run things better." Is he right? In a funny way, Gordon Brown set a precedent for such a change when he gave the Bank of England control over interest rates. There is a huge amount of business talent in the UK. Maybe it could be put to use at the highest levels of government.

Or am I being naïve in giving any credence to the views of a single-issue lobby group like the TPA. What do you think? Come to my blog and let me know by clicking here.

I answered:

"Short answer to a much bigger, and complex, piece of research and opinion: yes, why not? There couldn't be much worse mess and waste created. And logic does dictate that those educated, trained and experienced in delivering an end-result of benefit to the real stakeholders (for consumers - and a happy consumer is a successful company - read the public, tax and/or ratepayers), as opposed to ones to meet target, career or agenda-driven criteria, will make for better ROI all round.

I am currently looking a barrel-load of discrepancies between what is being broadcast, done and hyped with environmental, 3rd sector and social entrepreneurship issues, and what is actually being done and/or (mis)-managed."

Bagging a plug

What's your legacy?

Of course the witches' knickers are as much about cultural and legal ignorance, as it is illegal to litter.

But you are right. Recycling seems to be the main mantra du jour, despite being pretty low on the re:totem. Hence I am also a keen advocate of re:use and re:pair (some great little outfits around turning the bikes in canals into ones that can cycle beside them again - link - I would love to know of more to upload and share). And speaking of turning things into something useful try link , link , or, as India has been mentioned: link

Re:duction is at the pinnacle (well, if you ignore 'avoid buying/don't make it', which is an extreme, if logical one). But then it's so hard to figure what's best. In a recent blog elsewhere I was advised by a plastics expert that the foam trays are much better at protection, and are indeed more enviro-friendly than the more prevalent hard-plastic ones, but are not 'seen' as eco-friendly.

Another discussion, which sadly I do not.. yet... have the answer to (it will be posted very soon on the Prof's Poser's section of our site) is to the merits of biodegrading. If oil and energy goes into making the bag, and hence produces greenhouse gasses, which is better? Burying it for eternity, or burying it for a while and kicking out more 'geegees' as it gets consumed? So 'we' look better and safe face, if not the planet.

So thank you for a delicate wander though the dilemmas that we all are confronted with, and with none of the usual 'you should's' that I tend to feel are foisted on a willing majority by a more privileged, or geographically-eco-blessed minority.

Oh, and since you asked (and to gain another small plug to at least five more folk), my legacy is, a free website I created to offer a small extra opportunity to help people help themselves and each other in a truly re:warding way. It's my kismetic korrection for years spent in the ad world persuading folk to desire, buy and dispose of stuff they don't need, or at least less wastefully.

You may even find, or get to suggest, nice ideas on what to do with that mousse cap. You could then write about it. And people will try it. The manufacturer will notice that (a small% of) people are also buying their product because it has a second use and take an ad out to help me survive. All of us gain. And then other manufacturers and retailers see what is happening and start to find or build in second uses to their products and packs, so much less gets wasted.

And that is a practical legacy of something done, which I will be proud to leave my kids.

Speaking of backfiring...

I was in a plane once that backfired. It was a TWA internal flight. Nastiest thing I had ever been in. Taxiing to the runway and then 'bang!'. I'm halfway to the chutes before I realise everyone else hasn't batted an eyelid.

Speaking of planes...

For a brief moment I could see part of Mr. O's case. I still can't accept retroactive anything as fair or just. So Gordon's tax on folk who had saved and paid for their trip is plain wrong to me. Anything from now on, simple supply and demand.

However, in the great scheme of coming out with one thing and being called on it: Ryanair retracts emissions claim.

Nice one, Newsnight.

Whether the original made a gain and the retraction detracted from it is another issue entirely.